Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Most Beautiful Yarn

 Not this. Although the superwash 220 is amazingly soft. I bought too much because I didn't have a plan yet. This is an adaptation of Jared Flood's Noro Two Strip Scarf that has been such a successful gift to the boys. I just started knitting with a stripe in mind. I'm happy how it turned out. When we are in Arizona, friends are taking us to a Canucks hockey game and this will be the thank-you. I have to block it yet. It's the first completion on my 12 for 2012 list. I'm following along with the Knit Bits group on Ravelry.
I'm trying to make room for a travelling scarf project toward the Green Heart Warm Heart initiative. I have cast on for a reversible cable scarf in some lovely grey and lavender mix that I before Emily was in school(!
And our Scooby Doo turned 21 on Thursday. I had his Keurig Coffee maker wrapped and delivered when I picked him up for Christmas. His delightful girlfriend surprised him with a trip to his favourite restaurant, The Noodle Box.
I worked and then went to choir, and then worked. Thank goodness D and I had a night together last night with supper at Earl's and then a DVD. The movie was awful (!!!) Cowboys Versus Aliens. I was so angry that they had stolen the music and premise from Firefly. Let it be known that this movie is not the first time they mixed genres of wild west and space. Thanks to my knitting podcast friends, I'm a huge fan.
During the movie, I worked on the silk hankie mittens. This is the most beautiful stuff. It's Blue Moon Fibers in Farmhouse. It's listed as Mawats/ Silk Hankies. D bought me one for Xmas and I was so excited, but had to buy a second one for a pair of mitts. I'm doing a top down construction to use all the fibre, and knitting them at the same time, to ensure similarity. The pattern is free, but more of a recipe. That suits me because I had no idea what gauge I was going to get. I adore the fabric, but the process is a bit boggling. Thanks to Carin from Round the Twist for demonstrating it.
Don't you marvel at the things you don't think you can do?
I am starting a new eating program from the author of The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron. It's called the Writing Diet. The first time I tried it, I thought she was too new age, but now I'm getting into it. I journal daily, or aspire to, so this is encouraging me. I can take tips from when I was a Weight Watchers leader, and explore what worked for me. As well, there are good ideas from 12 step programs and psychology. I just got to the Clean Eating chapter and recall how well that worked for Wendy Knits. That is encouraging as well.
How are you faring with the post holiday bloating? Mine was made more pronounced by the week of snowbound cabin fever. I want to be fit for our travelling coming up.
Today I walked the dog in cold snowy rain and hail. I'm glad we went out when we did, they were just closing the soccer fields.
Now I can curl up with an audio book (Neil Gaiman's The Grave Yard Book) and my beautiful silk mittens!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Knitting (much)

 When we bought our house, 15 years ago, it was decorated within an inch of its life in green and white. I have done so much undecorating! The big chair is being recovered and I had to tackle the drapes, which I bought on sale in the summer. I dream of more blue in my life. So I took down cheesy fabric valance, attached only with thumb tacks, and then had a look at the heavy damask drapes.
Next was painting the existing valance to match the walls. It kind of matched the drapes so I left it a while. Two coats of Kansas Grain by Benjamin Moore. I chose honey and cream colours to counter act the grey winter skies. It helps.
 The existing rod has to stay, so I slipped out the undulating wire rod and all the carefully inserted pointy,  mean hooks. then came the ironing of the new "silk" drapes, rethreading the rod and reinserting the hooks.
I may have to hem them. They are 'puddled' right now and I can't decide if I like it. I had to hang them anyway to find the hem, so no waste. But my hands are cranky and don't want to knit too much.
Soon the blue chair will be home and I can sit in the winter sun and read and knit and read your blogs on my ipad.
Looking forward to it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not Amused

 My little Japanese Snowbell tree is covered in snow, as is the deck, the bird feeders, the van and the roads. We are not used to such a lot of snow, and not used to it sticking around. I went in to town today and only did half my errands because I just wanted to get home. Drivers are crazy and careless! In my home, I can knit and read and sip tea. As well as write and get down to a few other crafts.
 These frames were given in our annual office gag-gift-o-rama. The funny thing this year is that everyone really appreciated their chosen gifts. These frames were from our book keeper's ex and she thought they were most hideous. I saw potential.
A coat of flat black paint and two musical pictures make a charming pair. I am definitely amused. Now where to hang them.
I worked yesterday and the snow was a big bother. But I was able to get in and get out. D made a big batch of chilli and tonight I made corn bread in a cast iron skillet like it was meant to be made.
Settling in for a quiet evening with choir cancelled.
Loving the Sherlock series from BBC and the book, House of Silk, a new Holmes mystery by Anthony
Horowitz. I do know how to amuse myself.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Would Lala Do?

 It's snowing. Close the highway kind of snowing. If it warms up during the day, that just means there's a layer of refrozen ice on top of the snow. Slippery.
It is beautiful. If you don't have to go out.
 Saturday I went out and started shovelling the driveway. We are 300 feet from the road and have a big area in front of the garage for parking. I was raised on a farm where you were careful where you put things. I like the snow to go on the edges of the parking lot and on the grass, not on the plants or where I park. This means I have to do it myself. But D came out and did the long drive. I did ask him to open up as much of the pavement as possible. Not just a little path.
Speaking of doing things myself, I loaded my giant "dog and man" chair into the van last night by myself because I was tired of whining when I asked for help.
Today Emily offered to shovel the driveway. Why yes, thank you. She can't go to school because it's 40 minutes down the Trans Canada Highway and there are many cars in the ditch.
I started Thin Ice by Lala. I love this yarn and the shawl is going quite well. But it's pages and pages of writing, where I usually choose to knit from charts. How can I keep this in order? I remembered Lala uses the iphone app for counting rows, and I have used it before. So it's keeping me on track. Bonus, if you have to rip back, there is a frog button that you hold down and hit the minus button.
I have too many projects on the needles and have to priorize.
Finish the Thin Ice. Gift Canuck scarf for Feb and gift linen shawl for Feb. Then I can cast on nephew #8 sweater. And the baby layette for the fair. And the cotton shawl for our trip.
Actually, Lala would just cast them all on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Almost Mind Blowing

 In the spirit of being more light hearted, I have been lusting after this wig. It's a cap with i-cord applied in the lobes of the brain. I "heart" it. Too many people think this is way out of character for me.
A few smart friends/family commiserate with me that it would be way too much i-cord. Soul sucking.
Enter the brilliant I-cord machine. This was actually ordered for me to borrow from a delightful friend, knitwitty26, and fellow moderator of the Chilliwack Common Threads forum on Ravelry.
I love this because it is based on technology from the 1850's, I think, when the Industrial Revolution began developing textiles. So beautifully, simply, complex. Did I mention it really works?
I cranked out an entire skein of Red Heart soft touch in the "Brain Pink" colourway, which it called for.
Now I'll make a cap and start mapping the hemispheres.
Maybe it'll make me look brainy.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Birthday Girl

We had a little gathering last evening to celebrate my baby girl's 19th birthday.
We didn't have to worry about snow and ice storms, like the day she was born. It was mild and sunny.
Lots of friends and family are away in warmer climes. But we were lucky to have lovely guests. We couldn't go to her favourite Vietnamese restaurant because they're closed on Sunday, but we brought in Chinese food.
And I made a pineapple upside down cake. I also knit her a Moody Kerchief out of alpaca and Noro Silk Garden. Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Win At What Cost?

 I was so happy to finish my sister's 50th birthday shawl in time. It was hard to take time to do the knitted on edging (see abacus post) but I wanted to make her something special without getting too lacy or frou frou. I think this was a win.
This is a very traditional pattern adapted from the Shetland Islands where Border Collies live a life very similar to Jake and Dexter's on her own ranch.
 But, on Christmas morning, when D and I were unwrapping our stocking, I remembered his hat. I like to make him a hat every year that he can lose in the barn or whatever. I knit most of this hat on the road to the Sisters' Lunch and then just dropped my brain in the zip bag and forgot about it. (fail)
I handed him the knitting bag and apologized. Didn't go that well. But I did finish knitting it before breakfast and even knit on an extra brim to make it look better on him. It's the Dean Street Hat (terrific pattern!) in Vanna's Choice worsted. I'm embarrassed to say how much I liked this tweedy yarn. It took less than one ball! (win)
I also have an unfinished scarf on the needles that I hope I will finish for her birthday in the fall. (fail? win?)
I hit the local yarn sale and bought some linen and Mission Falls cotton for more shawls and gifts.
I'm on my second day of a terrible head cold, grumpy and phlegmy.
Thank goodness I bought some alpaca and Noro Silk Garden at electrictree yarn when I was there. I'm almost done a golden Moody Kerchief for Emily's birthday. My third. It was a bit expensive, but it is from my family's store and going to my (almost adult) baby girl.
I'm trying to start a euclidia-along from my sister's awesome shawl pattern.  Pat is working on making the pattern more extensive. But it's the type of pattern you can make any size, with any yarn. It hangs up in the shop and is beautiful. Let me know if you're interested in joining me. Perhaps I'll use my bollywood fuchsia and tangerine silk and camel Marakesh from Hand Maiden. When you visit electrictree yarns, take a good look around because there are delightful surprises in every nook.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Blue New Year

 The super surprise gift was revealed yesterday, so I can show you: Brooklyn Tweed's Bridgestone Shawl. It is huge and soft and not too lacy for my cowboy sister who turned 50. Her daughter-in-law gave her a surprise party with over 50 guests and more tears than I've seen her shed before.
 Licorice is still in the ranch house, even though he is a knitter's menace. In response, the little dogs are friendlier.
 We included a visit to electrictree yarns in downtown Kamloops. A very special store. Another sister owns it with her daughter. Fun.
Here is the unwrapping. She looks a bit afraid of it, but not to worry, it is strong in the Shetland Shawl tradition.
I worked New Year's Eve until 11 pm and D picked me up. We shared a glass of champagne and some hopes and dreams. Then we packed for the ranch.
Hope you had a Happy New Year's Eve and are embarking on all things good.