Saturday, 27 December 2008

More Christmas crafts!

I have this thing about being on time. I kinda don't like getting places late. I'm not crazy about it, but I do always try to be on time when I go places if not a little bit early. I think it's polite. I am pretty much the opposite of my brother whose favourite shirt says: "Procrastinators of the world unite! Tomorrow..." That said, you'd think that I'd be great at giving Christmas gifts on time. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. I just finished these up. December 28th. i.e. late. 

They are very simple mittens I made for Xavier. But really, they were a gift to my mom. She requested them. She wanted a pair of knitted mittens for him, but didn't have the time to make them herself. So in steps Aunt Jean. (somehow, I'm Aunt Jean, not Aunt Jeanne.)

And that isn't the last Christmas craft I'm planning on giving either... I have another that I've only sort of started. It might not get done until January.
Oh, the horrors.... I'm going to be ridiculously late on those. 

But in other fun semi crafty news, look at what I got from Jen (the older sis)! 
It's Kirigami. I had no idea what it was before I started. It's Origami, but you are allowed to make cuts into the paper. 

These ones just look like the snowflakes that you make in grade school, which was always one of my favourite crafts. I even decorated my University residence window with snowflakes, so it's a great gift.
It's from a calendar that gives me one to do a day. Obviously... I haven't quite stuck to that. According to my calendar it is now January 6th. Oh well. C'est la vie, and they are fun! 
And they will get harder. I think they are just trying to ease you into it. But if there are any cool ones, I might post some more in 2009.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas everyone! (It's still Christmas in PST, and I might be on EST, but can we let it slide? It's been a busy day...) 
It's been a good day here. Hope it's been good everywhere else too! I think that my crafted gifts have been well received in general. I was hoping to post some pictures of people in their gifts, but it wasn't to be. Not with all the rushing... but I did get a picture of them before and a few other fun things, so be prepared for some pics!

So, let's start with some semi-bad new. Xavier's Twisted Tree Sweater? Too big. WAY too big. Wanna know how I knew even before Christmas? This is him in his sweater from last year... (taken Dec 23rd, 2008)
At least it's still cute on him! And although I was initially suspicious that he was only wearing it to please his aunt Jeanne, well the permanent tomato something-or-other stain on the shoulder placated me. And on the bright side, at least he can wear the Twisted Tree eventually right??

My other (finished) crafted gifts were Caliometry (I can't spell that name) for the girls in the family. (Sister, sis-in-law & brother's gf.) This is the one the gf got:

A blue striped and a green with a funny cable added were also made. I still think I like the grey one.
But the sweater for the unborn niece was appreciated. 
& There are about 3 other unfinished Christmas gifts still to come...

But, back to the gf... toques off to her! She's only been around us crazies for 6 months and she already passed the packy snow test. Say what? you ask. Well... this is what we did on Christmas eve day. 
It started out at about noon. I was playing outside with Moxie (the dog) and couldn't help but notice that the snow was packy. When I got inside, I called my bro's cell and said: "John, I have two words for you: packy snow." He said, "I know and A (the gf) is going to come prepared."
They arrived about 2 hours later and we didn't get outside until about 2:30pm, and since John and I have been doing this forever we just started rolling snowballs. 
BIG snowballs. 
There were no questions. No discussing. Nothing. We just started. We've done this so often, always with a slight variation, but there wasn't much to talk about. 
When you grow up 'in the middle of nowhere' with about 1.5 acres of snow, you learn how to use it! It probably started on some snowday where we got to stay home and Mom made us play outside.

So, we start rolling these snowballs... and not that long afterwards this conversation was heard:
A - "This one's getting pretty big."
John - "Keep going."
A - "But it's getting big. We won't be able to lift it on top." 
John - "Just keep going."
A - "Isn't this going to be the middle ball?"
me - "Middle ball?"
A - "For our snowman?"
me - "You haven't explained to her what we do?"
A - "We aren't building a snowman?"
John & me - "No."
A - "What are we building?"
me - "Um... a big snow thing."
John - "Sort of like a tower. Sort of. You'll see. Just keep rolling."

A while later my other brother arrived. And this year by some stroke of genius or because we were remembering our 7th grade science basic tools we decided to use a ramp... proving in fact that the pyramids could have been built using manual labour.
But they would have needed better organization than us! That's what you get for having 3 engineers on the job. We probably had about 20 conversations that started: "Wait a sec. What's the plan for getting this on top of that?" And at least once someone said: "I don't think we are up to building code! And we definitely don't have a permit."

Well, enough bad lead up. This is what my sister saw when she finally arrived at 7pm:

I'm even impressed with us. It's two people high, and that huge ball required five adults (+ one supervising toddler) to roll it up. Unfortunately... it didn't last until morning. The ramp is still there, but the top snowball has fallen... But the fun is in the making.

Hope you've had just as good a Christmas. 
Merry Christmas! (and happy boxing day.) 

Monday, 22 December 2008

When in Canada...

They say: When in Rome, do as the Romans. Well, a slight modification to that would be, when in Canada, do as a Canadian would. Well, if you are a smart Canadian you bundle the h*$& up. It's one thing to know snow is cold, it's quite another to have it blowing in your face.
Quite seriously, I went from going outside in a tshirt last week (and being chilly) to waking up to this outside my window for the past 3 mornings:

Oh lovely home. Yes that is a road out there with a stop sign. This was taken before about 12 snowplows went by. 
This may sound like complaining, but it's not. I actually sort of miss the snow. No. Correction. I do miss snow. I miss having to wear all sorts of lovely knitted type things. I miss being able to have snowball fights and skate outside (not that we can go on the canal yet and probably won't be able to while I'm here). Snow and cold is something that just is a part of life that I sort of miss. 
I don't miss freezing cold feet. My toes have been so cold ever since getting her. But I'm also not going to complain about it. With only two weeks a snow a year, I think I can deal.

But it gets me to thinking - I knit now because I love it. I think my mom only ever used to knit out of necessity. No wonder ALL of our mittens were made out of the same pattern. She didn't have time to add embellishments. You got to choose the colour. Maybe you even got to choose two colours for a stripe, but the pattern was always the same. She had to knit for 4 kids and there was no time to be fussing with cables or fair isle detailing. Unlike me where I can wait a week or two to finish a project and it really doesn't matter, if the kids didn't have mittens our little fingers would have been frozen!
But my Bella mittens have been invaluable. I love them even more now that I wear them EVERYWHERE I go. And they've stretched a bit, so they do fit over the sleeves of my winter jacket. I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad about that.

Anyways... More pictures to come of real crafts. I simply cannot wait to give the crafts I've made for Christmas this year!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Good Day

Today is a good day. Why? There are just sooo many reasons. To quote that poetess, “Let me count the ways.”
1) It is my last day before I fly home for Christmas!! Yay. Home for Christmas. I can’t want to see my sibs and rents, and my bestest friend, and my nephew (and the snow!). I still have a ton to do tonight (laundry, pack, etc, etc) but it’ll get done and tomorrow morning I will be at the airport trying to find a way to
2) Mrs. K-S said she liked our Christmas cookies!!! Mrs. K-S is the wife of a co-worker of mine. She is probably the best baker/cook/chef I will ever meet. She makes her own ice cream, bread, chocolates, pasta from scratch… you get the picture. Whatever you want, she can make it for you. She’s the one who helped me practice and taught me all the decorating techniques I would need to make Jim and Erin’s wedding cake. So, L and I actually went through all of types of cookies and only gave her the ones we thought were good enough. Yay for our cookies being good enough!
3) I got two (count them two!) requests for knitted gifts today. As much as I love knitting, I love knitting things for people even more than I love knitting for myself! I’m one of those weird people who would much rather give a gift than receive one (although I like gifts too!). So to get two requests in one day is amazing! One will be a late Christmas gift, but the other I probably won’t start until January. Still, I’m already stoked for it!
There is one reason today is sort of a sucky day (other than the rain outside. Actually – I like rain.). The cookies have not arrived. I had them delivered to work because it’s sort of a pain to receive packages at home, and they didn’t come. *sigh* Thus I have bequeathed them to my office. I’ve told a few people that should a box arrive for me next week they are allowed to open it and partake of the contents. Maybe I can convince someone to take a picture for me and I can post that.

The next post will have more craft details I promise. There’ve been some changes to the Christmas arrangements and thus I’ve been scrambling to finish up a few small projects to give as gifts. I’ll post about them on or after Dec25. Until then they are sort of secrets..

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Baking Interlude: Christmas Cookies

I don't generally post about baking, but with the magnitude of cookies that have been made in the kitchen lately, it deserves a mention. Here they are! The L&J Christmas Cookies:

Look at all those fabulous cookies! 
I'll be the first one to admit that we sort of went a little overboard this Christmas. Okay. We went a lot overboard! The picture doesn't even have all of the kinds that L and I made. Sort of starting at the top, this is what we made:

- Gingerbread [J&L] (Two kinds. One butter, one shortening. I wanted to do a taste test and FYI - butter won. Thank God.)
- Peppermint Brownies. [L]
- Peanut Butter Marshmallow bars [J] (I made these b/c my Grandma makes them.)
- Vanilla Meringue [J]
- Sugar Cookie [J] (the snowflake)
- Hazelnut Linzer with Nutella filling [J]
- Peppermint Bark [J]
- Pumpkin Spice [J]
- Lemon with cream cheese icing [J] (Round cookie on the right)
- Lebkuken [J] (rectangle cookie. I had to make freaking candied orange peel to go in this cookie! That was on ordeal let me tell you!)
- Chocolate Pistachio [J] (They are Christmas trees, although you can't tell in this picture)
- Chocolate Toffee [L]
- Vanilla bean Jam thumbprint [L] (These are fabulous. I ate 6 in one sitting.)
- Cherry Chocolate chip Drops [L]
(Not shown: Nanaimo Bars[L] & Pistachio White Chocolate Biscotti[L])

Did I say overboard? Yes. Yes I did. 
Can I say, I gained 10lbs already this Christmas? Okay, I could say that, but it would be a lie. Although maybe not by much. 
The freezer is is so empty now that they are all gone. L and I packaged them up in chinese food boxes, and when we ran out of those red paper bags. Aren't they cute? Our company is small, so we only had to make 30 bags, but they were FULL to the brim. We actually had more cookies than could fit in the boxes/bags.
(I wasn't lying when I said overboard!)

Then we handed them out at work today. That's just us helping to keep the BMI high. I think we did a very, very, very good job of that. If I never see a stick of butter again, that's fine by me. Or maybe at least until next November. 
Okay! Who am I kidding? I still haven't gone home for Christmas. There will be more cookies there and I still won't say no. Especially to gingerbread! 
But that's what New Years resolutions are for. Right?

(Still waiting on my exchange cookies. I hope they get here before Friday! Otherwise, L will be eating all of them. I at least want to see them...)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

When good things happen to bad crafts.

I really, really, really, really want to learn how to continental knit. Really.
Right now I knit using the old fashioned throw method and this is why it isn't as good (from what I can tell):

1) It's slow.
2) My hands hurt after I've been knitting for a while, and I think I'm going to give myself early arthritis in my knuckles.
3) Did I mention it was slow?

So last week on someone's knitting blog I read a random comment about continental knitting. To show you just how little I know, I thought to myself: 'Continental knitting? What's that??" So thanks to the glory of youtube, I now know what it is. All that's left to do it actually learn it.

After looking a bit on Ravelry for a really simple stockinette stitch pattern, I found one. And I really want to try it. (Even though I'm supposed to still be knitting Christmas gift(s) for my family!) But I didn't have the yarn necessary. So, I spent probably about 2 hours last night frogging an old craft. I made this purse earlier in the year and never, ever once used it. Okay - I used it ONCE, but then decided that there was something totally wrong with the strap (It stretched way too much with any sort of weight in the bag) and I didn't like it.
So, it had the yarn I needed and wasn't something I was ever going to use, so this is what happened to it:

Frogging takes a lot longer than one might think! Especially since I sewed it with thread rather than yarn (I ran out of the yarn...)
I really hope I can master continental knitting quickly. I'm a little worried since I'm so right hand dominant, and you have to use your left hand a lot is seems, but I'll let you know how it goes.

(And as a total side note: I made cookies for the cookie exchange hosted by Batter Splattered and this is who got my cookies. I'm so glad they were liked. Now I'm just waiting to get mine from someone else.)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Mitten Madness!

If any month was to be a month of Mitten MADNESS, December really does make the most sense? Doesn’t it?

So, as you may recall here, I bemoaned the fact that I really wanted Kristen Stewart’s mittens. I wanted them so much, I made up my own pattern! (At the time, you had to pay for the one that was on ravelry, and I didn’t like that pattern much anyways. Pictures are so key. I’m not sure I like the free one up there either, even though I do think it’s closer to the movie pair, but more on that in the next post.)
But, look! I made my own set! They’re sorta close.

I love them! But, I hate them. I made a few updates on the 2nd one in the pair, and it’s getting better… But I think there’s still a ways to go.

The next pair I make are going to be better still. I’m sure of it. Really. And I will make another set. (And maybe give these slightly unmatching mittens away as a gift. I can think of a few people who would love them and never notice the differences! Is that mean of me?)
But I have other mittens to make now.
Turns out my family is doing a Secret Santa for all of the older generation of people. We all get things for the kids (oh wait. There’s only one (and two thirds)!) and then we only have to get stuff for one other person. So much easier than buying for 8 people I see only one month of the year. That’s so hard!
So I got my mom, and as part of her gift I think I’d like to make her mittens. I think she’d like a (slightly) funky pair of mittens. Too simple and they aren’t cool. She was the one who taught me to knit after all, so it has to be somewhat interesting to impress her.
Mom also commissioned me to make a set of mittens for Xavier. I wasn’t planning on it. He already has the sweater coming his way, but she wants them for him. She babysits him at least 1 day a week, and she wants knitted mittens for car rides, and things, when super hot store bought mittens are too much, but bare hands aren’t cool for a 2yo.
So. Mitten Madness is about to ensue!
Now, I just have to find a fun 2yo pattern and one for my mom.
And then perfect my Bella Twilight mittens.

(Preliminary pattern to come.)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Twisted Tree!

Here it is! It’s done. It’s finally done!

I just sewed it up this morning. (I couldn’t leave it so close to finished and not complete it. I had to finish it before heading out to work!) And I’m really happy with it.

I’m happy with it even though there's a mistake in it. Yup. A mistake. But I couldn't bring myself to take it out to fix it. I don't even really know where the mistake happened! Somehow I ended up with too many stitches at the end. Three too many stitches and they are all on the left front side. What’s up with that? How did I forget to decrease three times and have it all happen on that one side? Odd I tell you. Odd.
But I’m just going to let it go. It’s not going to hurt anyone if it has a slightly bigger neck. Especially since the neck was too small Xavier's sweater last year that it didn’t fit over his head and I had to redo the neck! Seriously, on Christmas morning I was remaking his gift. Luckily, he was 1. I think he’ll forgive me. So this year a few extra stitches probably doesn’t matter too much.
The sweater is actually probably going to be a little big for Xavier. He turns 2 just before Christmas, and the pattern size was for a 2/3yo, so it’s pretty big. But that is way better than being small. Hopefully he’ll actually get a lot of wear out of it. It’s a sweater. He lives in Canada. He better get a lot of wear out of it.
Hear that bro? Make your kid wear the sweater while you still have control over his waredrobe!
So, best thing about this pattern? That I’m done with it. For some reason it and I just didn’t mesh. It makes a nice sweater and I’m really satisfied with the results, but I had a hard time with it and had to frog or redo or stop to read the instructions a MILLION times over, so many times that it just got frustrating.

I’m freaking excited about the next thing on my list to knit. If it works out, I’ll post it here, if it doesn’t you’ll never hear about it again.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Twilight mitts anyone

So, along with maybe a 1/4 of the female US population I went with some friends to see Twilight yesterday. Not use mincing words: I didn't love it. I found it a bit... kitschy? I didn't think the actors were right for a bunch of the characters, etc. I won't go into it. But there was one thing I absolutely LOVED in the movie, and it most definitely wasn't Edward.
It was Bella's MITTENS!

Yes. Sad. That's the best picture I could find of them.

But I REALLY want those mittens. I want to go out and buy the yarn to start making them right now! Oh... and then I want to live in a climate that allows me to wear mitts like that all of the time. And then I want her hair... and being that skinny wouldn't be so bad either.
Is that too much to ask?
Okay. Then I'd so settle for the mittens. Really. I would. Anyone want to make a pattern, or know where I can get one? It would go to the very, very, very top of my queue. 

In the meantime I got the yarn to finish off Xavier's sweater, so hopefully that will happen this weekend. And I also started some ribboned opera gloves. Mine are way too long for some reason. 

I think I should have done about 7 repeats of the arm rather than 12. Now I'm wondering if I should frog it back. In case I haven't mentioned it before (although I have numerous times) I hate frogging. But will I hate these almost to my armpit armwarmers more? If I frog it back it's more likely that I'll actually wear them. 
They're okay. It's an incredibly simple pattern that's made pretty with the addition of the ribbon. (I'd need a different ribbon. This is just all I had at home.) And they knit up super quick. I haven't done anything on a size 9 needle in a long time, so you forget these things. We'll see. I'll debate it as I'm finishing the TT sweater.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

More yarn needed!

Have you ever run out of the yarn you need to finish a project? Have you ever run out the yarn when you only need a smidge more? Well, I just need a smidge more! Just a little bit. 

See how close I am to being done! And I ran out of yarn! Yarn from my stash, so I was just trying to us it up! I don't want another skien, but another skien has been ordered!! Oh woe. What will I do with another part skein? I don't particularly love this Cascade yarn. I don't know why. But I don't think it would make a nice toque. (Toque is the Canadian relative of the beanie. I believe there is a technical reason why they are different, but I don't remember which one has the rolled up band and which one does not.) But, if I don't make a toque with it, what will I do with it? Oh my ever growing stash.

Speaking of ever growing stashes! While I was looking for the other left over yarn of this type (which I found and used all of already in the sweater) I found yarn I'd totally forgotten about! I remember buying the yarn. There's a half ball of yarn that I bought in Ireland to make Meg and Wendy mittens out of. When did that migrate down from Canada to California? It must have come on some trip! But when? Just how long has it been hiding under my bed. (You don't want to know what's hiding under my bed!) So I have yet again more partially used balls of yarn to add to my stash. 
And still I want to buy more yarn! I think I have a sickness. 

And hopefully my yarn will come soon to finish Xavier's Twisted Tree Sweater. Until then, I guess I'm back to working on the afghan, the tudora or maybe, just maybe I'll start a sweater for myself...?

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Confidence booster: 15 minutes mini-mitts

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I've been busy. Busy with Nanowrimo. (39k words and counting!) Busy with Christmas baking (my best friend and I have baking parties every November/December to make Christmas cookies. We then freeze them and come Christmas all of our other friends get the tastiest, and cutest Cookie boxes ever, chalk full of calories and other goodness. So far I've made lemon drops and sugar cookies in the shape of stars. Also in the freezer are Nanaimos and cherry/oatmeal/chocolate chip drops. It's going to be a tasty Christmas!) Busy stressing out that I'm going to get laid off. (My company has been hit pretty hard by the failing economy. Although I haven't as of yet actually dusted off my resume...) And busy making mistakes on the Twisted Tree Sweater. 

Seriously. I think I have problem understanding some patterns. I must have read the yoke part of it at least 10 times trying to figure out the decreasing (five times out loud in case for some reason that turned a light on in my head. It didn't.). But I was obviously doing it incorrectly. The pattern is supposed to start slanting, but mine was going all... wonky. For the lack of a better word. It just didn't make sense to me when I was supposed to ssk versus when to k2tog. normally that makes sense. But normally you aren't doing it with a knit and purl stitch? At least that's what I think my problem is. 

So last night whilst I was bemoaning my wonky sweaterness, I knitted up these gems. 

I needed something that I could make in about 15 minutes to restore my confidence in my ability to knit. These were just the ticket! They are totally tiny. I found the pattern while looking for Christmas ornaments to knit. Along with my Christmas boxes for friends, I signed up to do a cookie exchange on a cooking blog I read. We are supposed to send a dozen cookies and an ornament, so I figured I'd knit one. I don't know if these are the ones that I'm going to send, but it was a fun tiny project to restore my sanity. (and I think luckily I have figured out the decreasing. I'll get back to that now...)

Anyways. I don't want to waste words that could be going towards my Nanowrimo word count. So, 'til I have another small craft to blog about, 'ta!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Quick Twisted Tree update

Just a quick update!
This is how far I am on the sweater for Xavier, my 2 year old nephew. It’s coming out okay, although the pattern was a little bit confusing in the beginning once I figured out the nomenclature, it was smooth sailing from there. Well… after I had to fix a few mistakes by me.

I’m a little bit worried that I’m not going to have enough yarn. This is left over yarn (don’t tell!) from when I made a sweater for me earlier this year and I really hope I don’t have to buy another skein just to finish off this guy. I think I have a 1/8th of a ball around somewhere. I couldn’t find it the other day, but I’m thinking I may have to dig it up before the end.

Once this is done, it’s back to the afghan, and then to the million of things I have in my queue. Oh lovely queue.

Friday, 31 October 2008

The worst

The worst has happened! (Well, the worst thing possible in the wizarding world!) And just when I thought things were pretty bad, they just got worse!

So, a few days back a friend of mine sent me a link to the international trailer for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (which is totally different than the North American trailer by the way). Obviously I got super excited yet again about all things Harry Potter. With the red hair, about 4 years ago I made an easy Halloween costume of being a Weasley my crocheting myself a Gryffindor Scarf. Its Maroon and Gold and the longest scarf too. I love that scarf.
Last summer when I was reading Deathly Hallows, I decided to make my friend who had commented on my Gryffindor scarf (because I wore it all of the time) a Ravenclaw one. Because he is just so Ravenclaw. (Not to be confused with being just so Raven.) Blue and Bronze. None of this blue and silver or blue on blue. I made it with the real Ravenclaw colours and he loved it. I loved it too. And really, I figured it was more of a Ravenclaw than a Gryffindor anyways, even with my red Weasley hair. So I got a little more yarn and made one for me! It's now my work scarf. What I wear when I have to go into the freezing cold lab, or on days when the BA actually gets cold.

But back to this week. I was all super excited about the new movie, but annoyed that it won't be out until next summer. But still excited. My friend and I were analyzing the international trail, and as hard as we thought we couldn't figure out why it seemed there was a scene with a burning house. It didn't seem to fit with anything. So after that conversation, I tried to figure it out by doing some googling. I didn't find anything then, but some combination of 'Harry Potter' and 'house' got me to a sorting hat quiz that tells you what house you would have been sorted into at Hogwarts.

Obviously I took the quiz....
I almost can't even say it....
it's just too horrible to even think!
I'm a Hufflepuff.
I'm the default house!
The no one else will take you house!
Why? Oh Why?

And just when I thought things couldn't get worse... they did!
I mentioned my sad hufflepuff-ness to someone who said (& this is close to direct quote) - "Yeah. You are totally a hufflepuff!"
WHAT?!?! People think I'm a Hufflepuff!? Not just some silly questionnaire? Oh the horrors. I'm crying badger tears over here. I still think that the quiz is somewhat stupid, but if in fact I am a Hufflepuff, I guess there is just one thing I can do: Get some canary yellow and black yarn and make myself a new scarf.
PS - Seeing as nanowrimo starts tomorrow, and I am participating once again, I am quite sure that my knitting productivity will go drastically downhill over the next month. So, I expect posts to be few and far between.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

That Afghan

Here's the other craft I've been working on, oh, so diligently. It's slow and steady with afghans, and that's what I'm doing.

I'm on my third (or is it 4th?) ball of yarn for this one, and the more of the afghan I get done, the more I like it. I hated it when it was just a small strip of an afghan. But with every repeat, it gets nicer. 
But, to be honest, now that I know it's a girl, the red might be a bit much. But at least it won't be too baby-ish. Maybe this could be used into toddler-hood. Maybe? Well, a girl can always dream, can't she?

Frogging and knitting update

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the things I hate most about knitting, is frogging. I try my hardest to NEVER have to do it. I hate it. I hate seeing stitches disappear. I hate seeing all of that hard work get unraveled. 
At the same time, I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, and I know frogging is necessary. I'm sort of like a inconsistent perfectionist. Sometimes I just HAVE to do something perfectly and will take something wrong out no matter how small the mistake is. Other times, I'll let it go, telling myself: "No one is ever going to see this mistake."
I guess it just matter of how noticeable the mistake is going to be. And how much I care about the project. Or how much I care about the person the project is going to. 

Well, I really do love that nephew of mine. I've restarted his sweater twice! Frogging at least 4 hours of work in the process! The first time I had to frog because I was stupid and used the wrong set of needles. I did the sizing swatch with the set of size 6 needles, but didn't think about what size I needed to use to start. So I cast one, and started knitting. Then reading ahead in the pattern, it tells you to switch to the larger needles. Umm - the size 6 are the larger needles in the pattern. I should have been using the size 4 to start. So I frogged.
I told myself I'd be careful the next time, and so I cast on the project again. I was feeling good about myself when I got to change to a different size needle part, glad I was right on track. But that's the thing. I wasn't on track. I started working on the twisted tree part of the pattern, and something just didn't match up. At first, I thought the pattern was wrong... but with a little more investigation, some math and then some counting, I found out that the pattern was right and I was wrong. Instead of casting on 138 stitches, somehow I cast on 128. So, what to do? I thought for a moment about making it as is, and modifying  the pattern as I go to be okay with 128 stitches, but that seemed like it would be more of a headache in the long run than just frogging. So that's what I did. 
And then I started to wonder - Universe! Are you trying to tell me to make Xavier a different sweater? There was no answer obviously, so I just decided to push through and start again. Here it is thus far, with one repeat of the twisted tree pattern done. 

And as a final update on the Aunt Again sweater - here it is with the buttons sewed in place. You can't tell, but they are little fishbowls and pretty cute if I do say so myself. 
(Oh, and I found out my sis in law is having a girl! So maybe more girly baby things to come...)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Fetchings and being a little annoyed

Has anyone else had this happen to them? I bought needles at my LYS two weeks ago, and when I got home I realized that I already had a set of #3 DPN! Oops. And to add insult to injury, I didn’t even need #3 for my project. I really needed a set of #4 DPN. So I bought needles I already had and really didn’t need! Well, I needed to get my yarn for the fetchings (seen below) so I took them back to the store this weekend, hoping to return them. I had the receipt, but they wouldn't let me return them. I asked if I could exchange them, but no dice. The package wasn't open - it was obvious I hadn't used them and then decided to return them. Supposedly they have a 24hr return policy on knitting needles. What's up with that? They aren't open Sundays and close at 5pm on week days. How am I supposed to get there any day except Saturday? There is absolutely no way I can get to the store 24 hrs later, even if I had realized they were wrong. But, get this. They will take yarn back up to 90 days after purchase. Weird. I think so. I guess they don't want people using needles for a project and then returning them. But this was not that. I say again - the package was still obviously sealed.
Anyways, luckily they weren’t bamboo needles or anything, so they weren’t too expensive. But I was still annoyed.

But, onto my weekend project. The Fetching! I love them. Relatively.
I loved working with the yarn. Berraco Ultra Alpaca. It’s a nice thickness and has a nice feel.

There are a few things that I would change about the pattern if I was going to do it again. I would add another repeat of the cable at the top and I’d lengthen the thumb. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather that the fetching cover more of my hand than they do when you make them as the pattern explains. Similar beef with the thumb. Otherwise, the pattern was fun to do. I love cables, and used a real cable needle for the first time on this project. (I’d always just sort of worked it without the needle or with a spare #3 DPN (ha!) on other projects if that makes sense. It didn’t always work out well.) I was a little surprised that there isn’t a gusset on the fingerless gloves, but to be honest, it does sort of work without it because of the way the ribbing is done.

So, they are in the mail and I hope the best friend likes them.

Friday, 17 October 2008


Who is excited about knitting right now? Me. I’m very, very, very excited!
Why am I so excited? Because last night my best friend sent me an email saying that her quilting room is freezing. Only 10C! (She lives in Canada and the room isn’t on the main heating.) And the exact moment I read the sentence I knew what I had to do. I HAD to make her arm warmers! I LOVE arm warmers! Adore them! Always have! I wear them ALL of the time. Even when my coworkers look at me like I’m an idiot for wearing them, I just smile and pull them a little snugger.
So any chance to convert someone into my way of thinking about arm warmers, I am so there. Especially when it’s my bestest friend.
I thought about making her full on arm warmers up to her mid-bicep, but she wasn’t so keen on those. But she did like the idea of wristlets. So wristlets it will have to be. After numerous emails with possible patterns, the choice was for fetchings. Dark ones. (picture below is from the pattern, and hopefully mine will look similar.)

So I will be going back to my LYS this weekend in search of just the right yarn to quickly knit up a pair of finglerless gloves for her. Because they are the best, and she is the best.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Aunt Again, Afghan

The most surest way to get me to start knitting/crocheting with a vengeance is to tell me that someone I know is pregnant. Baby things are so much fun to knit. And when the person who tells me they are pregnant is my sister in law, well, can imagine my productivity has shot through the roof!
That's who I made the baby sweater for. It's blue, but that doesn't mean the child is a boy. It's still early enough that they haven't found out the sex yet. But that hasn't stopped me. I still don't have the buttons to finish for the sweater (although I did find one to use to finish the calorimetry), but I've moved on to the baby afghan.

Here it is(as of a few days ago): 

I'm not sure if I like it or not. It's a new set of crochet stitches. A single, a half double and then a double crochet, skip 2 chains repeat. I think I've made it too wide and will need to buy more yarn to get any sort of a blanket shape. I'm also not sure about the holes in it.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Calorimetry and my Aunt Again sweater

If only I had buttons! Then I'd be done two projects. Seriously. I would. 

So I knitted like mad yesterday. I was having a lot of fun with the Calorimetry pattern that I found on ravelry, and I just had to try it! And I knew just who to try it for. And I knew just what yarn to use. It was like fate. Or destiny! (um... yeah. maybe not destiny.) So as soon as I was done this little baby sweater

(minus the buttons, which I'm going to try to remedy today) I grabbed the frogged yarn and started. 

I frogged the yarn as I was updating my ravelry stash last weekend. There are a bunch of great things that have come from ravelry. (Can you tell I'm in love?) One has been the free patterns. I'm always on the look out for a new pattern. Right now I need a sweater pattern for my 2yo nephew X. I've found a few possible ones on ravelry, and now I have to decide which one to do. Another good thing has been organizing stuff. I've found all my needles and logged them and put them in the same place. Now I know what I need for certain projects and what I already have. Same for my yarn. It's been catalogued, and now I know what I have to work with. I also frogged about 90% of my unfinished projects. 

That's where I got the yarn for the Calorimetry. Three years ago at the insistence of my best friend, that her other best friend would die of happiness if I made her arm warmers our of this yarn we saw, I bought the yarn and proceeded to make one arm warmer and never get any further. Yup. That's me for you. All good intention. No follow through.

But when I saw the pattern, it was just perfectly MC, that I had to make it for her. So I did! 
As you can see, the yarn does not compliment my hair colour at all. And if I was going to make it for myself, I would definitely not do the 15 repeats that are in the pattern. I'd make it a little smaller. Maybe 11 repeats? Perhaps I just have a small head, but I had a hard time making it lie flat. 
But I still really like it and do think I'll make one for myself. 
After I try a Tudora for my sister. And the February sweater for me. And the baby afghan. And the legwarmers. And I found a HP bag I might want to try and I think I have enough yarn to do. See! Ravelry is great... but I might just spend the rest of my life knitting. Forget socializing... that is... unless I can bring my knitting along. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Pushing all my buttons...

You gotta be kidding me!

That's what I was thinking this morning when I found out that the buttons I bought for the 'Aunt Again' sweater are too big. Too big! Ack. Seriously. They don't fit through the holes. No joke. And they are such cute buttons too. Now what am I going to do?! 
Okay, okay. I know what I'm going to do. Buy smaller buttons. But what do I do with the buttons I already have? I wonder if I can return them... Otherwise I have 9 blue buttons with which to use at some point in the future. 

But hey - other than the button size, I really like the way that the sweater turned out. Even though I make a mistake on the 'mistake ribbing', I still like it. (I did knit rows for the purl rows and vice versa. I think it just means that the ribbing doesn't stick out as much... oh well.) But yay. 5 months early... 
Now I just have find a PATTERN for the nephew I already have and make him a sweater before Christmas! Eek. 

Saturday, 4 October 2008


I'm on Ravelry. Finally.
I've been reading blogs for months and months where other people link to things on ravelry and I've always thought that it was some very secret society. Or at least some society where they wouldn't let people like me in! Silly people like me. You know, one of those ones where someone has to give you in invitation. Like gmail used to be before it was open to all us lay folk.
Well, I was wrong. All I had to do was request an invitation and wait a few days, and voila! I'm in. And I'm in love already! Really I am. I love that I can organize my yarn and needles and wip and everything! 
So guess what I'm doing today!? 
I'm going to organize all things craft related. (It's about time!) and then I'm going to craft like a runner on steroids. Or something like that... I'm going to craft a lot. Yay.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sticking out & new yarn

Are you surprised when someone recognizes you and you think they shouldn't? I always am. I guess in most cases it has something to do with the red hair. In yesterday's case it may have had to do with the red hair and looking like I'm too young to be knitting. (although I'm way older than I look and have been knitting since I was 6. But, I digress.)
So, I went into my LYS yesterday and after nicely telling the middle aged lady that I was just looking around, I proceeded to spend about 1.5 hours picking out yarn for my four next projects. 4 projects! After the penguin, I've been floundering a little bit as to what to do craft wise. I've felt so weird about not crafting, but I never had time to get to a yarn store. (The store I normally closes before I'm done work on weeknights and if open for only a few hours on Saturday. Not idea. ) Finally, yesterday I got my chance! And did I take advantage of it. I think I spent $130+ on yarn. But at least I'm ready for my next 4 projects. 
So, I went to checkout with armloads of yarn. The woman who rang me up said - "I haven't seen you in a while." I took a closer look, and I recognized her too. She'd cut her hair since I'd last been in the store. But it's one thing to recognize the owner of the shop and another to recognize a patron who only comes in once every like 6 months. I told her that I'd been without a craft for a while and was remedying the fact. "Yeah," she said. "When you walked in I realized you haven't been around in a while."
What? Do I stick out that much? I did once pretty much imply I didn't want her help choosing the yarn for my project (Oops. I wasn't trying to be mean, but I didn't need her help...) but hopefully that hasn't made me notorious. Hopefully, she only recognized me because of the hair an age. Either way, at least I got to shop for an hour and a half by myself. 

And here's what I bought! 
The red is for a gender neutral afghan for a small bun who is going to become either my niece or nephew. (Yay!) The dark blue is a sweater for the same small miracle. The green will be a sweater for me! February lady. And the light blue is for leg warmers. Yes. I know... Leg warmers. We'll see how that goes once I get there. 

I haven't done much yet, since I only got the yarn yesterday and I've been busy with other things on my errands/rest day. (Oil change, shopping, Stanford volleyball game...) But I did my swatch, and it turned out okay I think. As close as I can hope for. 

And then I started the sweater. Can't wait to do more! Although for now, I'm off to soccer. 

Monday, 8 September 2008


It's done!
My next little project. It's a penguin (obviously) and I made him/her for a friend of mine who is pregnant with her third child. 
Her first two kids got afghans, but I don't think that they got used, so I decided to make something different. (Plus, I didn't want to buy yarn and make an afghan if it wasn't going to be used, and I had all of this cheap yarn left over from old projects. cheap? Yes.)
But I like him! I think he's quite cute. I have a few other doll patterns from the same book, and I think I might make the one of the elephant for Xavier for Christmas. We'll see. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Finally finished and Framed!

Here it is! Finally finished and framed even.
(Sorry it’s another post about this! It’s the last one, I promise.)

I ended up solving my dilemma by writing “September” in a different font than their names. I had to do that anyways so that it would fit! September is just too long and it would have been too tall to fit if I hadn’t used a smaller font.
On the whole I’m pretty proud of it!
But there are a few things that I would do differently next time. Most of them have to do with the framing, so it isn’t too big of a deal.
- I don’t like how far apart their names are. I actually redid the names twice, but wasn’t willing to do it a third time to get the spacing just as I wanted it. I really should have planned that one out better before hand.
- For the framing, the mats don’t totally match. As in, the mats aren’t perfectly square to each other. I should have done measurements rather than just using the mat that came with the frame as a reference.
- I should have cut the aida down to a smaller size, angling the corners as well and then used a sewing machine to finish the edges. As it is now the edges aren’t done. And it was hard to close the back of the frame. If I’d cut the edges so that there would have been no overlap, there would have been one less layer to have to close into the frame.
- I need better tape for finishing off. Hockey tape just isn’t where it’s at.

Now next time I just hope I remember all of this!!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

long, long time ago. In a craft far, far away…
So, you may remember this cross-stitch. Well, I finally have the date to add it in. So the gift is almost complete. After that I just have to worry about framing it! Eek. I’m planning on framing it myself. That will be a first. I'm not sure how it's going to work. I chose this particular craft so that I could try to frame it with a standard 8.5 x 11 frame. That's the size of the picture. But I'm worried that I'm not going to do the framing right. Maybe I should read up on that on the internet...

But let’s step back a second, I have another problem.

roblem? What's problem? How could I have a problem with adding in a few words?
Well, It’s a font problem. After many font trials, I chose one that I partially made myself. Well, I copied it. The capital letters come from a book where I saw the ‘A’ and fell in love with the way it looked. (The book was Alex and the Ironic Gentleman.) But since that time I’ve returned it to the library. And now, happy couple are getting married in September. If it was August, I’d be golden, but I don’t know how to do the ‘S’ in that font! Eek. It’s not a very intuitive font, so I don’t know what I should make it look like.

Either way, it’s going to be a mad few days of crafting and framing. I’m going to try and get my latest afghan done too. I made it sort of on a lark, but I have a different friend who lives in the same town who is having a baby in December. These friends are common friends and thus I’m thinking I can mail them at the same time to the same person, to be divided between them. So, I will need to get that done for Friday too to get it out on time. Yikes!

Wish me luck. And fast crafting.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Another bear

Oh. I know. My crafts are so boring lately. Here's yet another bear. But this one was requested. And I hope he will be liked once he is delivered. (Yes. Although this is a mother bear patterned bear, it isn't going to that cause, but to a friend.)
And with all of the Olympic watching I've been doing, I've had a lot of time to craft. I'm also almost done a very small afghan I've been working on. I got the yarn for cheap, but there wasn't a lot of it. I think that it's going to turn out nicely. We'll see.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

A look back: My first ever project

This is a look back at my first ever knitting project! How cool! I found this when I was looking for something else on a visit to my parent's house last week and recognized it instantly. I remember my mom teaching me how to knit and then starting this scarf for me. I remember working on it on the 1.5hr long bus ride home. I adorned a teddy bear for years once it was complete. Notice how the two colours aren't even. I did the green side first, and by the time I was that much done the maroon, I couldn't take it anymore and quit! Ha.

But look at it! Look at the huge holes that are rife through the green side.

And I love the two lone rows of perl in here. My mom must have thought that I was getting bored, or showed promise to have tried to teach me that!

Anyways, I loved seeing it and thought I would share.
And yes. I'm stilly trying to come up with my next project...

Monday, 21 July 2008

My German Bear

So, in the beginning this bear was going to be a cowboy. I was making his shirt plaid, and then I was going to give him a bandana rather than a scarf, but by the time I was done with his outfit, something was just wrong. I really didn't like him. His head looked funny, his legs looked funny. He just looked funny all over. After I gave him his face, things didn't look any better. So, I decided to give him a hat. He needed something to make him special. So I whipped up this hat, added a pompom, and when I sewed it in place, somehow it just made me remember those german guys you see at Oktoberfest.

Maybe not exactly. But somehow it was close enough, that now I sort of like him. I think the hat makes him sort of cute.