Monday, December 31, 2007

Secret Project

Now that the craziness of the holidays is over, and my energy is much improved, knitting has resumed almost on a daily basis. I have so many projects I'm itching to start. But before I do, I'd really like to finish up all the WIPs lying around. But before I do that, I need to finish a secret project!

A while ago, Valerie from the great shop contacted me about designing a pattern for their sock club. Why in the world she thought of asking me is a mystery, but I couldn't say no to such a fun and exciting opportunity. My pattern will be included in their February installment. I can't really say anything about the pattern, or the yarn, or the yarn's artist, but I will say this...when I found out who's yarn I was going to be paired up with, I was squealing with glee! They are one of my favourites....really, really big...tops in the world of hand-dying! So exciting! The first sock is almost done.

Since I can't show you any pictures of the sock, I'll share a pic of this handsome guy we made a few days ago:

Unfortunately he doesn't look so great today. Due to some rain, he's currently missing an eye and his frontal lobe. Poor snowman!

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was very nice. Usually, Christmas dinner is a big, chaotic party (which I love), but this year it was only us, my mom, and an uncle. The evening was quiet and relaxed, and it was a pleasant change. Mom really liked the gloves, and has already requested her next gift be slippers.

Here is a gift I received from my aunt, which was a total surprise:

Awesome, huh? I'm kinda scared to open it. I think it might turn into a new obsession. I haven't sewed since grade 8 Home Ec. Already my mind is racing with possible projects.

My dad gave me some Christmas money, and it has been well spent. I got some great deals at Serenity Knits' boxing day sale:

Jo Sharp, Koigu, and superwash wool for my mom's slippers.

Did you get any special gifts this year?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Just In Time!

My mom's gloves were finished rather quickly last week, thanks to a Lord of the Rings trilogy marathon. I used 2 balls of Zara, and a little bit of a third, on 3.25mm needles. Didn't make any changes to the pattern, except for extra stitches and decreases on each finger to prevent holes.

I also bought my mom the obligatory gift of chocolate (she loves Toblerone), and also a New Testament audio bible she had shown interest in.

Then, I started working on the doggie sweater. I thought my uncle's Pomeranian wearing a red and white ski sweater would be so adorable, but then I ran into problems with the pattern. I didn't quite get what it was saying, and the whole thing just didn't look right. It looked more like a sweater for a wine bottle. Plus there was fair isle on 2 needles...bleh!

I frogged the poor thing, dug out the pattern I used last year, and following the numbers, knit up this:

It's actually done now, but still drying. I know, the picture looks like a wine bottle sweater, but on the other side are increases for the chest, and two little legs. Hopefully I'll get a picture of the little guy wearing it.

All the rest of my gifts were purchased this year. I feel quite pleased with myself, because I remember running out to the drug store last Christmas day for last minute/forgotten gifts.

Thank you to all of you, who have given me the gift of friendship this past year. I hope you and your families have a safe and wonderful Christmas.

God Bless

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I got my Christmas present early!

After almost 9 years of marriage, I've accepted the fact that my husband will never satisfy my need for thoughtful gifts on holidays. The way I see it now, if I don't have any expectations, I'll never be disappointed. After a failed attempt to drop major hints on my birthday (Grace even presented him with my LYS' business card, with the word "swift" printed on the back and the price) I decided to be more proactive this Christmas. Yesterday I fed him one of his favourite lunches: calzones. When he was done, and was sitting there all full and content, this was our conversation:

me: I have to go to the yarn store to get needles to finish the dog sweater.

him: Hmmm...

me: So...are you going to buy me a Christmas present this year?

him: Why, what do you want?

me: A swift!

him: What the heck is a swift?

me: It's something that helps wind a skein of yarn into a ball of yarn.

him: Why would you need that?

me: Because most of the yarn I buy comes in skeins.

him: How long does it take to wind one ball?

me: With the swift? I dunno...maybe 30 seconds? (Okay...I think I may have exaggerated just a little, but to my defense, I've never timed a skein being wound, and I'm sure if you went really, really fast, 30 sec. is pretty close)

him: And how long by hand?

me: Depends on the yarn...maybe 15 minutes? (Umm...never timed myself winding a skein by hand either, but some of those lace yarns are like 1400m!)

him: How much is it?

me: 80 bucks.

my son: Holy cow, 80 bucks?!?

(son gets really nasty look from mom)

him: Okay.

(I silently bite my lip and pump my fist up and down in celebration)

So this year, my honey bought me the most wonderful gift ever! Hooray!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Getting There

My Christmas knitting has been slow-going. The other day I glanced at the calender, and had a mini panic attack when I realized how little time I had left to knit. The last two nights I've forced myself to work on my mom's gloves:

They're the Twisted Stitch Gauntlets from the Holiday 2007 Interweave. The pattern is just okay, but I'm loving this Zara yarn. I have tons of it in my stash, but this is the first time I've used it.
I also worked a bit on a doggie sweater. The patten is this one from Drops.

The yarn is Paton's Classic Wool. In terms of sizing, I'm just hoping it will fit. Last year I knit the same dog a cabled sweater with Patons, and it fit well, so I'm sorta following the same numbers again.
So...13 days left. I know I can finish these two projects. Anything beyond that, we'll see. I really don't like deadlines.
Are you ready for Christmas?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Real Snow

It's been a chilly week, because we finally got some real snow. Real snow is defined in our home as enough snow on the ground to play in. Here's a pic from about a week ago:

Of course the kids were so happy. I was kinda hoping winter would mysteriously pass us by this year. If my husband walked in the room this very moment and told me we were moving permanently to Hawaii or Florida or California, I'd run upstairs and start packing!
I've had to rethink Christmas gifts this year, because my desire to knit hasn't really come back. I'm going to knit my mom some gloves, a scarf for an aunt, and a dog sweater, and that's it. That seems like a reasonable list to accomplish.
I finished my aunt's birthday socks, though a little late. This is the second time I knit the Embossed Leaves pattern from Favourite Socks, which I really like.

The yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit Marmi in Lime, and I chose this one because it can be both machine wash and dry. The yarn was pretty thin, so I used 2.25mm and did four repeats on the leg and 3 on the foot, switched to 2mm and did 1.5 more repeats. This made an 8.5" sock.
I blocked the socks with blockers I cut out of dollar store plastic place mats:
There is a shape template on this tutorial, but I just free handed mine. I will definitely be making more of these!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thank you!

Thank you so much for all of your congratulations! It's so nice to finally be able to share the news with people. I wish you could have seen the looks on my kids' faces when we told them. They were really devastated when I miscarried. Josh was so happy he was in tears! That little sensitive like his mommy!

I'm now 10 weeks (due June 16), and the nausea is slowly getting better. Still tired though, which means no knitting. And I don't think there will be much baby knitting until I know the sex. I'm not too crazy about yellow or mint!

I did finish one project last week, only because it's so cold and I really needed it:

Yarn: Manos Del Uruguay, #113 Wildflowers, 2 skeins

Needles: US 11

I used the tutorial from Mason Dixon, which helped a lot.

About this Manos...I know this yarn is really popular, and I really like supporting yarns that help certain communities, but I really don't get why this yarn is so big. The colours are pretty, and it's fairly soft for wool, but the way it is spun is horrible: it varies from bulky to lace. I can't imagine a garment make from this yarn; you would end up with threadbare spots!
Also, one skein had one knot, and the other had five. I guess with yarns not made in a factory, there is little quality control. I won't be buying this yarn again, but I still really like this scarf. 2 skeins came out to a long scarf that could be wrapped twice around my neck.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Big News

Hello! Is anyone still there?

I haven't come to give you knitting updates. Since my last post, I started a new scarf, and that's all.

The time is right to share some big news. Lately my need for knitting has been replaced for an overwhelming need for sleep. And when I'm not sleeping, I'm fighting nausea. Can you guess it?

I'm pregnant!! Praise God!!

This year began with a miscarriage, and I learned a huge lesson on trusting in God and His timing. I figured, lesson learned, now I can have that baby. Obviously I didn't REALLY learn my lesson. The Lord had me wait and learn to be patient. I finally realized it doesn't matter what I want, because if it isn't what He wants then it ain't gonna happen. When I finally got that in my heart, lo and behold, I became pregnant! I had an ultrasound this week, and everything is developing normally. I hope once I start feeling better in the 2nd trimester, my knitting will get back on track.

Gotta go...I need food! I could eat a horse!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I've Lost My Mojo

My knitting mojo, that is.

Because of some changes here at home, and me battling fatigue every day, I've had no desire to knit. Or blog. Or look at knitting blogs. Sigh...

Everything is just stalled:

Esther is still stuck on sock #1 because this pattern is soooo slow-going; reminds me of when I was working on Bayerische.

Minimalist Cardi is stalled because my ball of yarn ran out, and I don't feel like winding a new one. Plus, the moss stitch was so torturously boring.

I did start some new socks. I was knitting at my aunt's place (the same aunt that volunteered me making the 2nd Transformers sweater), and she happily declared that she would like some socks for her birthday. Her birthday is in two weeks. Sure, no problem.

I had two yarns that were both machine wash and dry, so she can take her pick. Or take both.
Don't mind me; I'm just in a little funk. I'm sure every knitter goes through this.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Road

To all of you who were waiting for me to figure out the colour join in the Road to Golden sweater, I must apologize. I ripped the sweater. I did like it, and someday I will knit it. I'm sure km's comment about giving the yarns a full twist is the ticket. There's just too many projects I want to do, and I might as well choose ones that don't frustrate me.

Like this one:

Minimalist Cardigan in Dream in Color Classy, Vino Veritas. This yarn is so awesome; the colour is rich and the yarn is so soft and squishy.

Lately we've been having some gorgeous, mild weather. We took advantage of one of those days by going apple picking.

This fun, little farm had hay mazes, a big fort playground, wagon rides, stinky animal farm, and of course, lots of apples:

Ladders were not provided.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hemlock Ring

Ugly duckling:

Beautiful swan:

This was a fun and easy knit, and the blanket turned out gorgeous! I first bought this yarn to make a bag out it it, but decided it was too beautiful to use to shlep my stuff around. So instead, when I wake up, I wrap this around me and have some tea, and it helps alleviate my morning grumpiness.
Pattern: Hemlock Ring Blanket
Yarn: Peace Fleece Worsted, 3 skeins (had very little left over)
Needles: 5mm or 5.5mm, depending on what length circular I had
Size: about 45" across; I knit the same number of rounds as Brooklyn Tweed

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pleasant Surprise

I had such a great day yesterday. My husband surprised me by arranging to have a friend watch the kids for the afternoon. My husband is not very good at birthdays and anniversaries, but every once in a while he'll do something like this for no particular reason, which makes it very special.

We started off having lunch with our friend and the kids at this neat place called Sushi Train, on Yonge just south of Bloor. They have this revolving track that carries plates of food, and you just grab what you want. Very cute! Then our friend went off with our kids to the Royal Ontario Museum, and hubby and I were FREE!! Whoohoo! We checked out the movies at Varsity, but we were in between shows, so we ending up just wandering around downtown all afternoon. First window shopping on Bloor, then we took the subway to the Eaton Centre. I forgot how enjoyable shopping could be without children! We grabbed a latte, then slowly walked our way back up Yonge St. We had a quiet dinner at a dark, candle-lit restaurant, then picked up our kids at our friend's place. What a great day!

Oh, and I finished my Monkeys:

Great pattern + great yarn = great socks.

Yarn is Koigu; did these on 2.5mm. Love 'em!

The Esther socks are coming along nicely too:

The pattern is by Stephanie van der Linden and is available for free at Socken-Kreativ-Liste Yahoo. The group is free to join, and there are a few other really nice patterns there, but the site is in German. If you're familiar with joining other Yahoo groups, then it's a piece of cake because the sign-up routine is the same. The pattern is in the Files section, or "Dateien", and in a file called "Monatsmuster". There, you'll find lots of nice patterns in either German or English. The Esther pattern is "Juli 2006". This sock is a little slow-going with all the twisted stitches, but I really like the pattern. I started with the small size on 2.5mm, and it was tiny. I'm knitting the large size on 2.25mm and now it fits fine.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I'm quite pleased that I was able to fix the long, lost Jailbird sweater into something wearable, without ripping the whole thing to pieces.

I knit a new neckband. I undid the side seams, and lengthened the front and back by about 4 inches. Then I seamed the sides back up, but at where I wanted the measurements to be and not at the edges. All the excess fabric on the inside I steamed flat, and you can't tell from the outside.

The wool is Patons Classic Merino. A little pilly, but soft and cheap.
I also finished a Sidekick Squatty in one evening.
I used two balls of Patons SWS in Geranium, and followed modifications from here. This was my first time felting, and I did it by hand in a tub of hot water. What a great way to get a good arm work-out! I was so surprised at the amount of shedding. Do you remember reading on Yarn Harlot's blog a while ago that she had to replace her washer because of felting? After seeing all that lint, I totally believe her!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Can you guess what I've been obsessed about lately?

Olivia's Lace by the Plucky Knitter

(single ply merino like soft!)

Esther socks in Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, Jungle

Brea bag in Patons Shetland Chunky, Dark Leaf Green

Hemlock Ring blanket in Peace Fleece

Malabrigo Loafers by Cocoknits
These slippers are so awesome! I just happened to have just enough to knit the small size (about 1 3/4 skeins). I don't think they will be very durable, but they are so soft and comfy, I will definitely knit more of these. I love 'em!

Green! Green! I can't get enough of green!

Monday, October 8, 2007


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Need some help, please!

I started the colour part of Road to Golden over again. It wasn't because I didn't like the purple and green (it actually grew on me; reminded me of irises), but because I realized I wouldn't have enough yarn. Now I'm using pink and green. Aside from some 2-colour mitts, I don't have any other stranding experience, so I need a little help.

This is the beginning of the round:

and this is what it looks like when I gently stretch it:

Is it supposed to look so messy? Am I doing something wrong?

When I start a new row, I lay the unused yarn across the working yarn, and it gets picked up. Am I supposed to give the yarn one full twist instead? Check out this join. Mine looks
nothing like that:

If anyone has any tips or advice, I'd greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It's like I made 80 bucks!

Have you ever dug out an old pair of pants or jacket, reached into the pocket, and pulled out a long forgotten 20 dollar bill? Well, this past week, instead of finding money, I found UFOs. Four of 'em!

I was cleaning out my closet, uncovering boxes and bags of my stash. I was gonna start photographing it for Ravelry. I found four projects that I had forgotten all about.

[Btw, after cleaning, I have definitely decided that there is no way I'm putting my stash up. First of all, it will take too long. Secondly, the amount that I have is terrifying. I would much rather have my stash be a fuzzy blur in the back of my mind, especially when I'm not willing to give up yarn buying.]

This is the oldest one:

Mitered Squares blanket from Mason-Dixon. I started this almost two years ago, and it's made of acrylic. Not those new breed of acrylics that are silky-soft. I'm talking about the dry and crunchy kind. You see, I'm a horrible pack rat. I inherited the pack rat gene from my mom, who got it from her mom. When I started to knit, both of them "donated" their stash of yarn to me, which consisted entirely of worsted acrylic. I'm sure there was yarn in there that was older than me! Lots of the stuff doesn't even exist anymore (did you know Simpson's made yarn?). Of course I couldn't throw any of it away, and this is what became of it. I really do like this blanket, even though snuggling up to it is as comfy as hugging astroturf. The colours are fun, and I can see it taking lots of abuse from the kids.

Next is the Graduated Ribs sweater from Knitter's Stash:
This is just the body:

I started a sleeve, then gave up. This was before I learned how to knit socks. I remember trying to use DPNs, and getting so frustrated because I couldn't get the hang of it. Should be a piece of cake to finish this now, but probably not 'til spring because it's cotton.
I noticed a mistake in the lace, but this baby is knit on 3mms, so I'm not really interested in ripping back. Besides, this piece is the back. Nobody will notice, right?
And last, one my husband calls the Jailbird sweater:
This is the first sweater I tried knitting without a pattern. I guess I also tried knitting without taking a single measurement. The fit was terrible: 3 extra inches on both sides of the body, and it ended at my belly button. (???) I'm trying to fix this without ripping out the body, but it may be unsalvagable. We'll see!

Friday, September 28, 2007


I finished the sleeves of the Transformers sweater. So, to reward myself (and to avoid seaming!) I started some socks. I'm giving Monkey another shot. This one is so much nicer than my previous attempt. The yarn is Koigu, and the pattern is showing up much more clearly. I haven't knit socks in a month, and it was a good break. I think I'm ready to dive back in. On my recent visit to Pick Up Sticks, I picked up an armful of sock yarn:

From L to R: Dream In Color Smooshy in Cloud Jungle, Araucania Ranco in Multy, Araucania Ranco in green solid, Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet leaf, Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in color #144, Liisu in Calming, and Handmaiden Casbah in teal.

and I got this:

Dream in Color worsted for the Minimalist Cardigan. Take a look at these marvellous Minimalists: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Monday, September 24, 2007

See, I did more than Ravelry this weekend!

I was actually able to pry myself away from Ravelry to start something new. It's the Road to Golden sweater from Knitscene Fall2007. I was too lazy to knit a test swatch, so I charted out a few colour combos on a paint program. Still, I'm not sure I like these colours. I'll finish one repeat before I decide. I was aiming for something like this, but with the yarn in my stash. Her greens and yellow are more muted than mine. We'll see.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm in!

Just popping in quickly to say that I won't be blogging for a while!

I got my Ravelry invite this morning!

As Angela commented to me today, is that a blessing or a curse?

My userID is miknits.

Oh, and I visited Pick Up Sticks today for the first time. Amazing shop!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Not So Fun

Working on this sweater has been very unpleasant. It's definitely no fun knitting something for the second time. Sometimes people say to me, "your should knit and sell your stuff" or "you should do more designing", but right away I think 'No way!". Knitting is my refuge from stress. I could never turn it into work. I don't do well with deadlines and pressure.

I'm so glad I'm done with the torturous intarsia picture. The new bobbins were definitely better. Just the little act of pulling more yarn rather than unwinding the yarn really was more convenient. However, they still became a big, knotted mess on almost every row. I think it was because of me, though, and not the bobbins. Intarsia and I are just not a good match.

In other news, I'm now in the Ravelry hundreds:

Found you!
You signed up on July 10, 2007
You are #15480 on the list.
758 people are ahead of you in line.
18486 people are behind you in line.
43% of the list has been invited so far


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hello, hello!

So sorry for the lack of posts lately. It's been a very busy time, with homeschooling, lots of guests visiting, and recovering from our first "family" cold of the season. The weather here has cooled down quite a bit, which has made me want to knit so much more, but I've actually done very little in the last while. I did, however, finished the Tilted Duster, and have worn it a few times already.

The Peace Fleece is a very rugged and warm. It's quite a unique yarn. If you don't know the story behind it, the description from their site says, "A yarn company committed to helping historic enemies cooperate and prosper through trade." The wool is a blend of Russian, Romanian, American, Israeli and Palestinian wools. It's 70% wool and 30% mohair, and has lots of depth in its' colouring.

One thing I recommend is that you wash the yarn in wool wash before you knit. It's quite harsh on the hands, and there is lots of prickly plant matter mixed in. After you wash it though, it becomes very soft.
I knit the size small, with a couple of modifications. I cast on the large size sleeve cuffs, because I didn't want them to be as fitted as the magazine photo. I also had some trouble with the collar. The pattern said to knit a 5" collar; I followed the instructions and blocked the sweater. When I went to try it on, the top of the collar reached my ears. I wish I took a photo because it looked really ridiculous. Perhaps I stretched it too much during blocking, or perhaps the model in the magazine has an inhumanly long neck, I don't know. Anyways, I reknit the collar, and made it about 3 1/4", which turned out great. Because it's more shallow, I had to omit the first inside button. I love this sweater, and I'm certain it's gonna get lots of use this season!
I'm now off to check my blog reader. I haven't read any blogs in almost a week, so I can't wait to see what all of you have been up to!