Saturday, June 30, 2007

Am I Too Hard On Myself?

Yes, I definitely am. I've always been like that. Thank you so much for your kind words and ideas with the Speedway sock, but I'm very certain they're not the right ones for my Sockapalooza recipient. I looked at her other FOs, and nothing was even close to being as bright. No worries; the socks aren't going to waste! Shar was the first to request them, so the socks will go to a loving home!

Here is an update on the Indigo Ripples skirt:

It's coming along very slowly. I can only do a few rounds at a time because the cotton makes my hands so sore. But the fabric is very soft and squishy. This skirt is going to be so comfortable to lounge around in!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Not Feeling The Love

I finished the first Sockapalooza sock. I thought I had the perfect yarn. I definitely had the perfect pattern, and I got the sizing just right. Remember how cute it looked before? My feelings have changed for it. Take a look:

Whoa! Who turned on the lights?
In her questionnaire, my recipient wrote, "Knit a sock you love, and I'm sure I'll love it too.". I'm not feeling the love for this sock.
It's knit for a size 9, 10" foot length and 9.25" circumference. It's quite stretchy, so it can fit a little larger. If you think that these socks were meant to be on your feet, let me know in the comments and they are yours. I will knit up the second sock and send them to you.
Anyways, I went to Serenity Knits today to find some replacement yarn. This is what I chose:
It's blue, it's self-striping, and it's safe. I'm going to knit it in the Rhodie Gus pattern (pdf), and it's gonna be awesome! (I'm speaking it into existence)
And there's more...look what Serenity Knits just started carrying:
Undyed Trekking!! Hooray, more Kool-Aid fun! Their sock sale is until the end of June, so you have two more days to grab some at 20% off.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Busy Weekend

I had a very busy weekend, and didn't get much knitting done. On Saturday we had a "birdhouse building day" event at our church. A volunteer from Kortright Conservation Centre came over and gave us a little presentation on birds in our area. Then we built some birdhouses following the blueprint that Kortright gave us. The weather couldn't have been better, and afterwards we had a great BBQ.

By the time I finished hammering in the first nail, my kids were already bored and ran off to play with their friends. Later when I pulled out my camera, Grace said, "Mommy, and you take a picture of me with the house I built?".

Our church moved to this incredible piece of property in Woodbridge about 8 years ago. It's about 2 acres, and has a bit of forest, lots of open space and a big pond full of frogs and turtles. We have been holding our services in an old house that was gutted out. Last year we began building a new church, and it will be done next month.

I love how it's panelled in cedar. It fits perfectly in a nature setting. When you walk near it, you can smell the cedar wood. Reminds me of a sauna! Our birdhouses are made from the scraps of cedar, so they smell great too!
On Sunday, we celebrated my grandfather's 80th birthday. We had an amazing Chinese banquet, and the food was awesome!
Long ago, my grandparents were wealthy land-owners in China. When the communists came, they took everything away from my grandparents, and they were left with nothing. My grandfather came to Canada by himself, and worked very hard to earn enough money to send for my grandmother, my father and aunt. One of his first jobs was as a janitor in a social club. One of the members of that club invited him to church, and soon after gave his life to Christ. My grandmother was saved later through my grandfather. When I visit their home, and I see them studying the Word, I just want to cry with joy. I'm so thankful that they know Him. They are the only ones in my family that are Christians. My grandfather has had a tough time with his health lately; knee replacements, aneurysms and he just beat colon cancer this past spring. But I don't worry for him, because of the infallible promise of John 3:16.
I'm off to do a little knitting now, so hopefully I'll have something to show you this week!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sweet Stripy Speedways

Isn't it so cute? At first I wasn't too excited about the base yarn of this Vesper, but after knitting with it, I found it to be very springy, soft and almost slippery. I really like it. For this sock I increased each chevron by 2 sts. and added 2 more rows of garter to the cuff.

I need all of your opinions on something. My recipient says she doesn't like neon. To me, neon means fluorescent yellow, green, pink and orange. But then, could neon mean any bright, super-saturated colour? Is this sock considered to be neon? Sorry if I'm being paranoid; just want this sock to be perfect!

Friday, June 22, 2007


It's time to get cracking on my Sockapalooza socks. I know I definitely want a chevron pattern to go with the stripy Vesper. Here is a list of all the chevron patterns I could find:




Ampersand (pdf)

Rhodie Gus (pdf)

Sock It To Me Chevron

Carolina (pdf)

Groovy Socks

Chevron Socks

Chevron and Feather

Peak Experience Socks from Fiber Trends

Chevron from Sensational Knitted Socks

So which one did I choose? I decided to stick with the Speedways. I like how the Chevron is nice and big, and centered at the front of the foot. I also think the twisted rib gives it a clean and sporty look. I'll post a picture tomorrow. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I need more sleep!

I'm the type of person that is not very nice when I don't get enough sleep. And right now, I'm not feeling very nice. This is why:

For the past two weeks, from 7 am 'til 4 pm, there is the constant noise of construction trucks. Arrrgh!! It's so noisy, we can't open the windows, or else we can't hear each other speak. The whole house vibrates too.

We're the last house on a dead-end street, which was nice and quiet. After this construction is done, we will be turned into a corner house, on a street that connects to a main road. We knew this day was coming. Oh well! I guess I could go to bed earlier so that I'm up by 7 am, but that would mean less knitting time, so that's not really an option!
My dream house would be on lots of land, where your neighbours couldn't see into your windows. Where my kids can play outside and I don't have to worry about them being run over. Where all you hear is the sounds of nature! I'm so thankful that my husband wants that too.
Finished up those Kool-Aid socks:

These were so fun! I need to knit up my Sockapalooza socks next.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Speedway Socks

I hope everyone had a great week-end! Last night we went to my aunt's home for a nice Father's Day dinner. My grandmother is visiting from Hong Kong, so we had some fantastic Shanghainese cooking. I really regret not learning to speak Chinese when I was little. I can only speak Cantonese at a child's level, so I can't really communicate in detail. All of my grandparents are still alive, but I really don't know them very well. Any traditions or wisdom they have won't be passed on, and that's really sad! I tell my husband that we should all take lessons together as a family.

My Speedway Socks are complete. I really liked this pattern; the design is very clean and classic. The sock fits perfect with a little tugging (not as tight as Jaywalkers). My Sockapalooza recipient's feet are larger than mine, so I'm still looking for something a little more stretchier. If I don't, then I'll use this pattern with more ribbing squeezed in.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

I don't think there are any fathers who read this blog, but if there are, then I wish you a Happy Father's Day! I'm so thankful that I'm married to a man that is a wonderful father. He loves the Lord, and teaches God's Word to our children. He also allows me to be home as a full-time mom, and I'm so grateful for that! This is what I got for my husband:

Voltron! Defender of the universe!! My husband was ecstatic!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Eight Things About Me

I've been tagged! Thank you Tammy!

I've always thought these things are so fun to read, 'cause unless you've known someone for a long time, you'd never learn about such details.

Here are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I'm addicted to the computer game Zuma. Not a day goes by that I don't play it. It's a piece of cake for me to finish the game without losing a life, but I still play to beat my high scores. I can complete the game with 38 lives left over.

2. I love reptiles: snakes, lizards, turtles, 'em! If my husband would let me, I'd love to have my own reptile zoo. However....

3. All insects freak me out. Even the tiny ones. I know how I got this fear too. When I was about 6 years old, I bit into a chocolate doughnut. Then I looked down to see that it was completely covered in ants. Not nice at all. When I was about 10, my friend and I were lying in the grass talking and looking at the clouds. After a while, our legs were itchy, and we found them covered from the knees down with more ants. I guess our feet were on their ant hill. Just thinking of ants is sending shivers up my spine!

4. I'm an excellent swimmer. I used to swim competitively in my teens. However...

5. I have a fear of open water. Put me in a pool and I feel like I'm home. Put me in a lake and see me freak out. I think it's because I can't see the total contents of what's in the lake. I once was in the ocean in Thailand, where the water is crystal clear and every detail was visible at the bottom, and I was okay.

6. Coffee makes me sleepy. That's why I don't drink it.

7. I don't like to talk. I try to avoid the phone. I'm very introverted, and meeting new people is very difficult for me. That's why I love blogging. I can interact with people without talking! I married a man that talks about anything and everything, so he does enough for the both of us!

8. I love the smell of concrete. Every time I go down into our unfinished basement, I have to stop and take a deep sniff. I also like the smell of air conditioning, but I'm thinking that if you can smell it, it's not really good for you.

Who should I tag next?

How about: Angela, Babette, Judy, Kathy, Anni, and Monika.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Look At What I Got Today!!!

I got my International Scarf Exchange package today!! Hooray! The box was BIG, and when I opened it, it was FULL!!

My knitter, Babette, put together the most incredible package ever. When I saw what was inside, I was shocked at all the goodies. It couldn't have been more perfect!
First off, the scarf: it's absolutely perfect! Classic, beautiful, and the neutral colour will go with all my coats. Babette included an extra skein of the same yarn, which is such a brilliant idea! I'm going to knit a matching hat with it. The wool is called Steadfast Fibers, and is very soft and squishy.
I also got some yummy vanilla and honey/lemon tea sticks. I am a tea-a-holic, and have 2-3 cups per day, so I'm so excited to try these!
Then there's the yarn...oh my goodness! You'd think I joined a yarn exchange! I don't know if Babette knew my favourite colour is pink, but if she didn't she must be psychic. Every skein is so lovely, and I feel so spoiled! There is a skein of Euroflax linen (which I've been wanting to try for so long), a skein of soft merino in pinks and brown, and two skeins of Mountain Colors luscious Mountain Goat in pink/lilac/lavender.
Babette, thank you so much for these wonderful gifts! You've made my first exchange such an awesome experience! You're the best!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Self-Striping Yarn

Here is my Sunday Night Kool-Aid sock:

I'm loving it! Two of you asked yesterday how to dye self-striping yarn. I followed Eunny Jang's instructions to figure out the stripes. For me, I calculated using 2.25mm needles and a 60 stitch sock, and one round came out to 26". So for the Sunday Night sock, that made a skein of 364", with 4 sections of: 156" turquoise (6 rows), 52" light green (2 rows), 104" grass green (4 rows), 52" light green (2 rows).

As for the dyeing itself, I had to come up with something new. The whole jars on the stove thing seemed too messy for me; putting the yarn in a dish and dumping in colour seemed too random. I tried the hand-painting baster method (that was the Friday Night sock), and it was very hard to color the whole section evenly and took lots of time.

What I came up with was quick and easy. (Sorry I don't have pics; maybe I'll take some the next time). PLEASE NOTE: I used superwash yarn! Merino may felt.

1. Soak your yarn in warm water and a "glug" of vinegar. Don't skimp on this step; dry yarn won't soak up dye.

2. Cover your table with something to keep it clean (I just used a cut grocery bag).

3. You will need a glass bowl that holds about 3-4 cups of water, a glass dish to cook the yarn in the microwave, a spoon to mix the dye and of course your Kool-Aid. Oh, and gloves would be a smart idea. Ask me how I know :)

4. Squeeze out the water from your yarn, and put it in the microwave dish.

5. Mix up your first colour in the bowl, and fill the bowl near the top with warm to hot water. Leave some room so that your yarn doesn't overflow the dye. I found that the amount of water you used didn't affect the intensity of the colour too much.

6. Grasp your yarn so that one whole section is hanging out of your hand. You should be holding it just above where you tied off your sections. Place that section into the bowl of dye, right up to your marker. Quickly use your other hand to squeeze the dye through the yarn so that it dyes evenly. The yarn takes up the dye almost right away, and your water should turn milky or clear with almost no colour left in it. Lift out your yarn, while squeezing out the water.

7. Repeat this with the other sections, making sure you don't have any dye on your gloves before picking up the yarn. Be mindful of where your sections meet to that you don't have uncoloured gaps. Don't worry about the different coloured yarn touching each other; the dye won't transfer.

8. Microwave your yarn for 2 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes, then cook for another 2 minutes. Let cool.

9. Rinse out your yarn and hang to dry.

10. Enjoy your self-striping yarn!!

That wasn't hard, right? Now you try!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Kool-Aid Weekend

My husband was away on business this past week-end, so I thought it would be the perfect time to play around with some Kool-Aid.

Friday Night: This was my first time ever, so I had no clue what I was doing. I didn't know how much Kool-Aid to use, so I made each colour 3 packets.

The colours came out way too saturated. Much too strong for my liking.

At least the colours didn't pool. I used Iced Blue Lemonade, Cherry, Strawberry, Grape and Lime. I went to about 5 stores, and couldn't find anything else. I don't think we get Lemonade or anything pink-coloured here in Canada.

Saturday Night: I like this one much better. I used different mixtures of Cherry and Iced Blue Lemonade, and a touch of Grape to make burgundy and indigo.

Sunday Night: This one is my favourite! It has different mixes of Lime and Iced Blue Lemonade, and I also used green, blue and red food colouring. I did this one self-striping, so I can't wait to see how it knits up!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pick Up Yarn

Yesterday was "Knit In Public Day", and Connie from Pick Up Sticks graciously opened up her home for this event. Her incredible yarn room was full of eager yarn-lovers, and this is what I was able to pick up:

From L to R: Dream in Color in Dusky Aurora, Oceanwind Knits in Ahoy, Oceanwind Knits in Blu, Claudia Hand Painted in Jungle, Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in #105. I'm in sock yarn heaven!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

She loved it!!

My International Scarf Exchange 4 recipient got her scarf yesterday, and she loved it! She sent me the sweetest email that made me so thankful I joined!

Even though there were some rough parts with the first scarf being to short, and the mismatching skeins (can you see it in the picture above? about 1/3 from the bottom? not too bad, eh?), and almost not finishing on time, it was definitely worth it!

Remember when I revealed my name to her by accident? Turns out she thought I was another Michelle, and was sneaking peeks at her blog, not mine! Hee hee!!
This is the Shetland Triangle Shawl from Wrap Style. It took 1 1/2 skeins of Handmaiden Sea Silk in colour Periwinkle, on 3.25mm. I forgot to take measurements, but it's not too big, not too small.
My scarf pal emailed me a couple of days ago that mine is in the mail. I can't wait!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

New Project

I've been wanting to knit the Indigo Ripples skirt from the spring Interweave Knits, but was waiting for the right yarn. I did place an order with Elann the other day, but decided to be a good girl and use something from my stash. The only thing that I had that was appropriate was Lion Brand Cotton Ease:

I've never had good results with yarn from Michael's, but this yarn has some pretty good reviews. The colour is more of a dusty pink, not the bubblegum pink in the picture. So far it's knitting up quite nicely. It's soft and plush, and the gauge is very close on 4mm needles. We'll just have to see how durable this yarn will be!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Speeding Along

I have one Speedway Sock complete:

It was very quick since the pattern was easy to memorize and I did them on 4 needles. They still need a bit of tugging to get on, so I'm going to have to figure out a way to tweak the pattern a bit for my Sockapalooza pal. Adding more ribbing would make sense, but I want the chevrons to remain the focal part.

I'm going to pick up some new yarn today at This afternoon they are debuting a new cotton/linen blend called Camila, and I'm hoping to use it for the Sangria skirt. I really want to try bamboo yarn, but Elann's prices are hard to resist!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Heat Is Getting To Me...

I heard on the news the other day, that the weather here in Toronto this past week has been the same as Cancun, Mexico. I think the heat and humidity has impaired my judgement, because this is what I started:

Bayerische by Eunny Jang. (That woman is brilliant!)

I wanted to give up on the first row of the leg because it was so difficult. I usually have no problems with level of difficulty. Knitting is like cooking with a recipe: you just follow the instructions and everything will turn out the way it's supposed to. But this pattern...the stitches were so tiny and tight, with a gazillion twists...Anyways, as you can see, I hung in there and it did get easier. Not easy, just easier.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sangria Pattern

Take a look at this beauty:

This isn't my picture. I just bought this downloadable pattern at One Planet Yarn & Fiber. It's by designer My friend Debbie introduced me to knitspot's blog not too long ago, and it was so nice to see her patterns for sale. If you haven't already, check out her other designs(pdf). She has some absolutely stunning lace pieces.

I'm off to the yarn store today to see if I can find yarn for this skirt. The only thing that worries me about this project, is I wonder if my underwear will show through the lace. That wouldn't be a good thing, since most of mine are brightly coloured, with Paul Frank cartoons on the bum. Sorry, maybe that was a little too much information.