Saturday, September 30, 2006

Graphing the stash

Arthur embarked on a large project today: graphing mommy's stash. We got out every bag and basket (well, actually we missed a few!) and counted it all up, sorted it by colour, and then subdivided it by "tweedy," "dark" and "light." And then, best of all, Arthur got to play with the Excel, and made this colour-coded graph:He also made a simpler pie graph that he's printed out for a math project, but our printer doesn't do colour much, so he just used some textures.

An added benefit is that I discovered in my bag of Lopi (the yarn that makes us all sneeze) the receipt! So I can take back the 9 unused skeins and get something else. Whoo hoo.

Friday, September 29, 2006

More Eye Candy

A red and green tree in front of a red and green house! The leaves seem to be turning early this year, but maybe it's just my perception -- I'm not ready for fall yet!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lucky I don't knit for everyone

To disguise the lack of real knitting content, I present... How much time do we have left till Christmas?

I wonder how to get this across the top of the page...

Anyways, scary, isn't it?

What's in the package, I wonder?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Headgear for all

I've done a heap of finishing this weekend!

First, I learned about little Max, who is a new wee baby who needs a hat for the coming winter. I haven't met Max yet, but I bet he'll look very swank in this little hat. It's a Debbie Bliss pattern, from her cutesy period, and she would have one knit little mouse ears and a bobble for a nose, but we are a bit too sophisticated for that around here! (Remember Hugh? Hugh's mom is all tickled because someone's knitting the chicken hat for him. We can hardly wait to see that!)

I also found this hat, half-finished, in a drawer. This is a motley collection of sock-weight yarns that came in a bag at a sale, and I was unsure of fiber content, and anyways, there didn't seem enough of any one colour to embark on a pair of socks. I finished it up, and I think it will go to Streetknit.

Thrilled with these accomplishments, I took a ball of some thickish, woolish stuff and started another hat. It wasn't a full ball, but bits left over from a scarf or two a few years back.

I ended up with something which must qualify as an FO, because it's finished, but I'm unsure exactly what kind of object it is! It could be a wide headband, or a hat with no top or even a neck warmer thingy. It's a tube... I know it's a wool/ acrylic/perhaps-something-else blend, or I'd try to felt it into a bag. I think this will join the miscellany in the hat drawer and we'll see what happens to it this winter! I took a picture, but Blogger won't let me show you!

Still not done the 6th dishcloth, still not done the green cardigan, or any of the other things in the pile, but I've wound the yarn for the Reddish Scarf project into balls and cast on for that. (Mine's the reddish scarf project, because it's not quite red!) Pictures of that when it looks like something more than a few rows!

This afternoon I have to go tell Arthur's class about medieval castles and a few cathedrals. We edited our 500 or so photos of medieval stuff down to 32! Ay caramba!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Birthday Eye Candy

Today is my sister's birthday, so I send her a wonderful September flower.

And this is the decorated garage down the lane. There's a whole decorated van and house that go with this. Look at the details, and imagine the stash of screws, bits of wood, little plastic people and other delights that must reside inside the garage! It's not to everyone's taste, but it sure brightens my day whenever I go by. You should see it at Christmas!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fall is in the air

Lots of pictures today, folks. Just warning you.

Uh oh. I was raking leaves yesterday! Just a few, those first few that will fit in the backyard composter. Later in the season we'll be leaving piles of bags by the curb, but for now we like to think we can handle it. (That's not my house!) And they're so beautiful, see!

It must have been two years ago that I was walking down a nice street near here, marvelling at the purplish leaves that a certain kind of maple tree was dropping. (Google Images is not showing me just the right kind of purple maple leaves, but trust me, they were lovely, and I'll try to find you some "in the flesh" in a few weeks.)

So, when I got to the yarn shop at the end of this walk, I searched for just the right purple fall colour yarn, and finally came up with Freedom Wool by Twilleys, colour 407. And knit a gigantic seed stitch pullover, which I found when I returned to Toronto this summer. It was all knit up, and all I needed to do was sew in the sleeves and deal with the yarn ends. I don't remember having dye-lot issues, but it could be that there are 2 dye lots in there.

Funny how gigantic sweaters always look so chic on those waifish models, but just plain gigantic on me.

Anyhow, it is all done and just in time for those chilly mornings. It's too enormous to fit under a coat, I think!

I guess I should have combed my hair before taking these pictures...

But what about a nice cotton cardigan, eh? Well, that will be ready, um, in time for winter! Here it is. Forgive the goofy pose, but it's hard to take pictures of yourself in the mirror, showing off the sweater that is under the arm one needs to take the picture!

In this fit of photo taking, I snapped the finished dishcloths, too. One still on the needles -- I have to slip every other stitch, knitwise, which I find awkward, and it's just taking forever, but it'll be practically bullet-proof when done.

The waffly one.

A cheery lime-green and yellow ballband,

... and a won't-show-the-dirt dark green one, with only a bit of contrast yarn!

And there are a couple more, but Blogger is being snarky about the uploading process, so I'll save the others for another day.

So now I'll give you something that's way cool, but all I have to do is add a link... or two, okay three.... Someone on my Toronto knitting list shared this with us: Knit your own Converse All-Stars. The knitted, and the plain-old, plain-old.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Is this Random Tuesday?

I have to tell you a funny story. Actually, I will let the protagonist tell it herself.

(Well, that won't fill up the blog.)

And do you know about the year of colour? Take a box of crayons and deal with one colour a week. If you read the stuff under "Discuss" you can find out the colour of the week. Lucky me, I'm making a whole sweater in this week's colour.

(Also interesting, but not really content, if ya know what I mean.)

Yesterday I made a pan of brownies, and now they are all gone. I saved two bits for the kids' lunches.

We could talk about knitting, I guess. I have been working on the cardigan, but it grows slowly. Especially when I stop every once in a while to knit a dishrag. I'm now on #6, I think, but the bags of cotton are back in the closet and when I finish this one, that's it for a while. But I'm thinking of switching obsessions and getting into felted boxes. Must always have a large project on the go which can be abandoned for small quick projects... Problem is, I have way too many large projects on the go. Or not actually "on the go," but in bits and bags all over the place. Argh. And everywhere I look there's a ball or two of yarn I could turn into a scarf! Oh no!!!

I must add: It's Talk Like a Pirate Day. So, me hearties, talk like pirates!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Learning new things

I learned many things this past weekend.

1) My nephews are very tall. They used to be babies and now they are teenagers.

2) My tall nephews have lots of Lego, which my kids greatly enjoyed. They gathered up all the people, gave them accessories and lined them up along the wall. They got to 100 before we had to leave. There was also a Lego cleaner-upper, a big vehicle you pushed along the floor and it scooped up the Lego bits like a vacuum cleaner.

3) You can't avoid the knitters. I contacted a woman I used to knit with a million years ago, and who now is seen in blog comments worldwide, but she had other commitments so we couldn't make a date. So I went to her favourite yarn shop anyways, and as I was fondling the Fleece Artist, in she walked! She once knit this and now she is knitting this, and I saw a square of it, and it is verrrrry nice!

4) Koigu is real purdy.

5) There's something called Little Big Wool.

6) It's a fine thing to have a hot tub in the back yard.

7) Two and a half hours is kind of a long time to sit in a car going 110 km/h on a busy highway. You need lots of knitting.

8) Most people go faster than 110 km/h on the highway.

9) If you want 50% off at Michael's Craft Store, you just tell them that you didn't get a coupon this week and give them your postal code, and they'll give you 50% off even without the coupon. This is lovely, especially when the yarn you are buying is already half-price. I got Patons Merino for $2/ball!

10) That Michael's is a gigantic store with good and bad stuff all artfully displayed, making you think you can do anything. We're making our own Christmas cards this year, thanks to Michael's.

And lastly, I can document none of this, because I took no pictures! My brother promises a picture of the Lego guy lineup, so check back for that!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Loving the stash

I've just booked tickets to fly out west to see my parents. I'll be going in a few weeks. So, of course, I begin to wonder what to take, knitting-wise. I've never had any trouble with knitting needles on planes on a domestic flight, but it never hurts to plan ahead -- should I find plastic needles, another pair of chopsticks??

Having discovered a cool set of bright red plastic needles, 4 mm double points, I had to find some yarn and started rummaging through the stash. Ahh, here's the wool left over from the Weasleys! Perfect! Perhaps I'll make a ... scarf?! Maybe I'll start with a hat.

We're off this weekend to London. Not that London, but the one in southern Ontario. We're borrowing a car, so I'll take the Rockpool and a dishrag or two and see what I can get done in the car. I did renew my expired Ontario drivers licence, so perhaps I shall even drive! I hear there's a yarn shop to check out, and my brother has a hot tub!

For the postal lovers among you, KT has taken up pillar box stalking with a vengeance, and has a beaut on her blog.

See you next week!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The dance of the seven(teen) veils

Today you will see all my knitted scarves. Our scarf drawer also holds some non-knitted scarves, and 2 that Arthur made. And hats, but we're not counting hats*, today! I counted 13 scarves at first, but then I remembered a few more, and now we're up to 17! I think that's all.

Left to right: Black and grey slip-stitch pattern, which I later turned into a hat for this book; mini not-a-clapper, that is, a narrow scarf inspired directly by Clapotis, but I couldn't be bothered to read the pattern; a scarf I made for Stephen years ago. It's a strand of sock yarn (grey or navy) held together with some teal alpaca I found in a post-yard-sale pile. I knit it one summer when I had a job which involved shoving pages into a machine in batches. While the machine processed them, I knit. Then later I got to proofread the new pages. I changed patterns and colours at my whim. Next up, the brown novelty stuff scarf, and the sensible beige scarf for Stephen; the handspun, bought on Hornby Island, nice-soft-stuff scarf -- way too short, really, but I'd hate to frog it, since it's so soft and mohairy; the recycled sari silk scarf; and finally the green wool scarf for Elaine.

And another batch! These are the ones I found in a big bag just the other day. There is a reason they were in the closet, for the most part!
Left to right:
Ahh, the Cha-cha scarf for Elaine. One ball was not enough, two was way too much. Also, I started in stocking stitch, but then one day I just reversed myself and so the fuzz came out on the other side, and then when I got around to finishing it, I worked in garter stitch. But who cares, really, coz it's all just fuzz and only a kook would study it closely enough to notice! Then the lime-green in Sirdar Snowflake. Never, ever knit with this stuff, that is my advice to you! In the middle is the scarf I knit for my high school sweetheart, who, it turns out, is now my husband! I gave it to him one Christmas, and he lost it New Year's Eve that same year. But he didn't really lose it, he left it at a friend's house, where he found it again the following winter. (Yes, I married him, even after that!) The red one is a ball of mohair, with ends made of some blue stuff I got at the thrift store. I got so bored in the middle of this one that I just put a bunch of holes here and there. Lastly, the 50-grams-of-sock-wool scarf, which now barely fits around Elaine's neck.

And some details: This is the recycled sari silk, done in mitered squares, one after the other. They sort of stretched and became rectangles... This yarn is really heavy! I made a hat, too, which is completely non-stretchy and just sits on my head. No good in the dead of winter, but so pretty!

And the many patterns of Stephen's scarf. It's all pretty reversible. It's fraying a bit at the edges, but it's still a fine scarf. And by now, of course, it's a family heirloom. One can't give such a thing to the Sally Ann.

The boyfriend scarf made from yarn bits I found at home -- must have been my mom's leftovers. Where it's sort of sewn together in the middle, I had used a tiny bit of angora. Okay, so I was young and foolish and didn't quite "get" gauge and weight and stuff. It was obvious it wasn't going to work, so my mom helped me take it out and "fix" it.

The holey mohair. I realised after a while that with those silly holes, this scarf had to stay in the immediate family and was not suitable as a gift. It's actually nice and warm.
And the sock-yarn scarf. Perhaps I can frog this and use the yarn for something else....

These four I found after the initial search. Two moebius thingies made when the yarn proved insufficient for a whole scarf. The summer tweed stole, which is sort of scarf-like -- it's folded in half here, and the red scarf, not long enough for the Red Scarf project, but fine for a kid here!

There's a theme here -- scarves take more yarn than I think! Maybe one day I'll show you the hats made of scarves that were even shorter! (If you have a "scarf" about 18-20 inches long, sew the ends together, pick up stitches along one edge and work in the round, decreasing something like 8 stitches every other round till you are done. Voila, instant transformation from useless, too-short scarf to quirky, high-fashion hat!)

* There's always the Hallowig, though.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Don't interrupt me; I'm counting

Okay, I think I've found all the scarves. It's a handful, lemme tell you. The full story tomorrow.

The new Knitty is up. I wonder about calling a "coy little skirt" Intolerable Cruelty. Actually, the more I wonder about it, the less I like it. But I do like Ivy and the Lizard Ridge blanket!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dishrags and neck-warmers

Lookee what I won! My friend KT made it. It's a moose dishcloth, in case anyone was wondering! It's nice and cream coloured now, but it'll get dirty soon enough....

I am making dishcloths, too. I have a couple done, and I haven't hit on my perfect dishcloth pattern. I've done the ballband, of course, and the diamond, sometimes called Grandmother's Favourite, and the Mason-Dixon hexagon. Maybe I should try a moose one.... (The link to the pattern I have found is not working... just google and see what you can find!)

I was working on the Rockpool cardigan, and somehow started knitting onto one of the short circular needles that are holding the sleeve stitches. What a muddle... That's fixed up, and I'm continuing down the body. A dishcloth here and there provides a break from paying attention to the lace.

I opened a big bag o' stuff in the closet this morning, and found yet more scarves. Honestly, a family of 4 hardly needs 12 or 15 scarves! I have ones that I specially made for people, and I have ones that I made to use up some yarn. I have long, short, silk, cotton, wool, and even lime-green polyester (you can guess whose that is). Sheesh. I kinda feel like I should line them all up and expose the true situation here. Shall we have a "show off the scarves" day? Wednesday? Okay, I'll show my whole knitted scarf collection on Wednesday, the 13th. If you want to show yours, too, leave me a comment so I can find you!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Eye Candy Friday

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert, and a joke...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The green sweater

One thing I love about my neighbourhood is that you can take out the trash in your pjs and meet someone and chat about how to cook ribs... I've got some in the freezer, but I've never cooked them, and now I'm faced with the parboil-or-don't-parboil debate. Sam does it one way, David does it another. What's a girl to do?? My Joy of Cooking says nothing about cooking ribs! Nothing! And I have one recipe which calls for 3 different sauces and three steps in cooking them: boil, bake and grill... that'd take me all day! Anyone have any tips? Should I find out how to do a Blogpoll?

Um, some other time, since it didn't work... Besides, this is really an essay question, I think.

Moving right along...

In the olden days, when a politician got a letter from a constituent, they multiplied that by 10,000 or some such number to figure out how many people cared, because a very small percentage of people would actually go to the trouble of writing to a politician. (Now I'm sure they get so many e-mails that 1 in 10,000 might actually get read....) However, I am applying the old-school thinking to my comments! If one person says, "Hey, what's that pattern?" then I know there are hordes of you just clamouring for the answer.... Right?

The Green Cardigan

I'm not using a published pattern, except I'm getting the numbers to cast on and so on from a top-down raglan from Patons. I have the cardigan version of this book, but I'm sure you could work something out from a pullover pattern! So I cast on, and mark the stitches at the shoulder raglans - one front and back for each sleeve. Then, increase 1 stitch each side of the marked stitches, every right-side row, till it fits down to where your arm leaves your shoulder... if you know what I mean. And increase at the neck edge to make the V-neck. AND fit the lace pattern in. The one I'm using is called Tile Stitch in my old stitch dictionary, and I was going to type it out, but a) you can probably find it in your own stitch book -- but googling "tile stitch" gets you lots of links to stitch markers made from Scrabble tiles -- and b) you will probably like another pattern better for yourself and c) I was reminded of the soporific properties of knitting patterns and of Anne's Insomniac Knitters' podcast!

I am going to just carry on straight down the body, but add a scallopy-schmancy edging, I think, instead of a ribbing at the bottom. And I'll make the sleeves as long as I can, but am leaning towards "bracelet length" even if I have lots of yarn.

And that's that for now.

I just went on a bit of a binge of Buying Things That Will Make Me Organized. I got 2 little cases for dpns and circular needles. No more ziploc with holes in for me! And, I got a notebook... My friend and I were in a stationer's a while ago, looking at these notebooks and saying how things would really happen if you had a book like that... but both knowing that notebooks don't really make you organized, they don't change your life, having a cool $4 notebook isn't really better than having scraps of paper stapled together... but today I fell for it, and got myself a nice little book to carry around and jot important things in... Like, if everyone's getting dishcloths for Christmas, I could knit one a week and get that done with little trouble. (If you are related to me by blood or marriage, just disregard that... I'm sure it doesn't apply to you... not at all.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Progress is being made

I managed to snap a few pictures outside this morning before the torrential rain began. Summer is over, with a vengeance! We were hoping for a few scorching days before the snow flies, since we just installed air conditioning, but it seems like Fall is here already!

But, enough of that. Here's some knitting! This is a Tit Bit, which I was inspired to knit for Team Tit Bit long, long ago, during the Olympics! I am woefully late, aren't I? (I knew I wouldn't get it done during the Olympics, but I meant to get it done several months ago. It was the stuffing that held me up...) This is, in fact, a snappy fast and fun knit, and you should all make one. Lucky me, Beryl is nearby, and I will hand deliver it... sometime soon!

I've finally reached the end of the yoke on my top-down raglan lace cardigan. I call it Rockpool, since that is the colour name of this yarn. The final rows of the top were over 400 stitches long, and it is a great relief to be down to slightly more manageable rows! I was going to take a real break, and work on the 90-stitch sleeves first, but I like to work with the same needle for all the bits of a project, and it doesn't seem reasonable to put 200+ stitches on a holder just to use the needle for the sleeves now. I will soldier on... Besides, it's going to be fun to work out how to match up the lace patterns under the arms!

It was so grey and dark outside when I took these pictures, that the camera wanted to flash, which washes out the stitch pattern. But I am smarter than my camera, sometimes, and did get this flash-free shot, up close and personal.

When I started this, I was worried, as I always am, that I would run out of yarn, and was contemplating shorter sleeves, but I've done this much with almost 4 balls, and I have 9 remaining, so I think I'm okay. (You all recognize this pattern, don't you: over-confidence, despair, over-confidence, despair.)

And, it's Fair time! Last year I got a third-place ribbon for a scarf at the fair near my parents' place in BC, and this year they have entered the green wool throw I sent them earlier. Not exactly sure when the fair takes place, but I'll let you know!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I messed with my template, and ... um.... made a mess of it. So things vanished -- I had to make the good vanish with the bad, to get something readable. The kids are now in school, and I have (ahem) loads of time to play with my template again, but just not today because today I have to work through this giant list of other things.
Regular programming will resume shortly.

Later that day...
I indulged in a bit of retail therapy. Got myself some new jeans, big thrill. Found the new Mary Maxim store in the mall at the corner of Young and Eligible, as they used to say, and bought a wee bit of sock yarn and dishcloth cotton.
Now to rescue the kids from the first day of school!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Socks on feet

I made Arthur put these on in the middle of some action in the playroom, so you get my messy floor along with the gaudy socks. They are really the same length, but look at the different swirls on the legs!

Now, green cardigan, and something new... maybe for my next trick, I'll finish the handles on the denim bag....

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday sky, and what we did on Friday

It is rainy and grey, on this last holiday weekend of the summer. There's also an air show on today, and we could see the action from our roof, but who wants to stand out in the drizzle looking at planes fly over? Not me, anyhow.

We saw lots of schmancy aircraft yesterday, when we were out on Centre Island; I guess they were practising. We went to Centreville, a little, very kid-friendly amusement park. We saw this handsome pig in the Far Enough Farm, but they weren't doing pony rides, because the ponies don't like the noise of the air show. We went on the log ride and ferris wheel and bumper boats and carousel and had pizza and ice cream and all that jazz. And saw funnel cakes, which I'd only ever heard of before!

Right by the ferry dock there is a large eucalyptus tree, with a ready-made tree fort space where 4 large trunk-like branches join, and here are my kidlets playing in the tree. Lucky I got that action shot of Elaine's hair swooshing like that!