Friday, August 24, 2012

Out of town

Stephen is away at a conference in a far-off land, and the kids are I were at loose ends this past week, so we hopped on a train and went to London. The Ontario London, not the British one!

We visited my brother and his family there. We played mini-golf, at which we three are all pretty terrible, and my brother is not bad, so it was a rout, I tell you. We also took a drive to Grand Bend, a beach town like Southampton, but totally dedicated to teenagers who want bikinis and tattoos, it seems.

Elaine creating the world. (Alternate title: Mary is too lazy to raise the camera more than a few inches off the beach blanket.)

The kids stood on a tank in a park one evening. And that is really all we did!

We were just there for a few days and then we got back on the train and came home. Elaine, modern girl, played Angry Birds on an iPad; Arthur played Tetris on a 20-year-old Game Boy we came across one day.

And I knitted. This is the border for my Botticelli. I only need about another 5 or 6 feet of it.... It is a simple pattern but somehow I messed it up and didn't feel like undoing it to find the error.

So I went back to work on the go-anywhere sock. I've been carrying this around for some time, making a bit of progress now and then.

Now we have a week and a half till school starts up again! Some of us are thrilled with that notion, I tell you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Closing ceremony and picture show

There is a bit of last-minute show-off stuff to do before this Olympic athlete heads to the hot tub.

Just to show that I really finished everything, I give you a picture of the button on the bonnet. In fact, I only sewed this on in the last day or so, despite finishing the knitting long ago.

I made a nice, simple beret. I hope it will fit my mom, but will have to play with it more. I blocked it over a plate to make it nice and beret-shaped, but one can, of course, just yank it on like a toque.

I finished the beret and still had a) yarn left and b) more time! So I cast on 88 stitches and made another hat! This is #7, I believe. I made these two with my new needles, which are in fact ChiaoGoos. They are so pointy because I see that I bought the lace needles. Nice!

The toque has the typical Mary top, because I didn't have enough red to finish! A bulls-eye for any passing birds, I suppose.

See, hats with different colours at the top...

I still had time left on the clock, and I am doing another dishcloth swap this month, so I got to work on a Citrus Slice rag. It's quite small, but so cute! Finished this during the closing ceremonies last night. Which were fun. I went and ate dinner before they were finished and didn't get to see Eric Idle, but I did stick around for the Spice Girls.

And the final lineup... darn, no lime slice. The almost complete final lineup!

Friday, August 10, 2012

More 'lympic knitting

This is the dishcloth I started on our holiday. Just plain, in sort of candy floss colours.

And this is my most recent hat. It took me way longer than I thought it would, partly because I am no longer on holiday and have other things to do, and partly because it's on 4 mm needles and it just takes longer than a hat on 6 mm needles, and also because the wool is scratchy and hard on my hands.

I dyed it with Kool-Aid at some point in the past, and it looks sort of pink-camo, don'tcha think?

I have several more bits of this, certainly another hat or two's worth, but I am putting it in the Goodwill bag because it's no fun to knit with.

Nice pattern, though. I would certainly make this again, but perhaps not right now! I have one more hat to finish and then I am off hats for a bit! Barely a dent was made in the miscellaneous hat-friendly yarn stash, but it's a good exercise to just knit little things more or less nonstop for a couple of weeks.

The final hat of these games will be a beret in the red Cascade 220. I'm nervous about the size of the band, but if it is comfortable on my head, it will probably fit my mom. I got some new needles last night, at the knit night of a new yarn shop down the street! (Silly me, I thought it was the grand opening, but that is next week!) The needles were instantly put into use on this hat and I am not sure where the package is, but they are delightfully pointy and smooth as anything. I'll find the name and let you know.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Other things we did on holiday

We managed to fit in some non-knitting activities in Southampton.

Once we went to a place that sold wooden furniture, plastic gewgaws and yarn. Elaine was delighted with this large green ball! (Not delighted enough to want to knit anything with it, but delighted nonetheless.)

I was more taken with the Peaches & Creme. The solid colours were either not very thrilling, or that nice green in the double-weight stuff! I think this is what you need to make Absorba the Great, but it's too heavy for your average rag. I got a couple of balls of variegated, and two balls of Kroy sock yarn, which you know I'll get around to knitting some day.

We also picked up some jello moulds! Make little jelly bundt cakes! And a very useful "beach umbrella screw thingmajig" that you screw into the sand to hold your umbrella up. Now we need to go to more sandy beaches to get some use out of both umbrella and screw. 

We watched sunsets. This one was spectacular because of the clouds. 

We went and visited a colleague of Stephen's who has a great cottage on Georgian Bay. The weather was a bit grey that day, but we toughed it out, eating a lovely lunch on the deck, watching the clouds go by. That same day we saw a potter Stephen knows, Steve Irvine. Really fantastic to see his workshop and kiln and then his house with all these great pots around! He makes pinhole cameras, too, out of clay!

Oh, another sunset, with clouds that seem to distort the sun on its way down. 

One evening before sunset we walked to the big flagpole. Somehow we didn't take a photo of the flag itself, which is 25 feet high and 50 long. You can see Stephen's video of the flag flapping in the wind here, though. And this picture gives you a sense of how high the dang pole is!

We went out on the point near here and found a kite lying in the bushes. We followed the string back to where it had been held down by rocks. It was quick work to get it back up and we reburied the end of the string further out on the point and left it there again.  I hope the owner was a bit puzzled when/if he came back to retrieve it!

A final sunset, with pile of rocks.

Now, back to the grind. We are in the process of moving Arthur's bedroom to the basement/man-cave/former playroom. So playroom stuff is all over the house, Arthur's stuff is all over the house, holiday stuff is all over the house... The fun never ends.

Monday, August 06, 2012

A bag and a hat

I made Arthur a case for his little laptop. He went on a bus trip for a school course with his computer in a padded envelope, which has a certain coolness indeed, but, really, one needs a case hand-knitted by one's mom to be truly cool, as we all know. I started this weeks ago, it seems, and it was all done but the button before we went away.

It's two strands of ancient Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece held together. I made a vest of this yarn in 1992 or so, ripped that out, maybe 10 years ago?? I still have a ton, too.

Arthur does not have a purple Mac. He does have a purple computer with an Apple sticker on it, though! And now it is all snug in its case.

This is Olympic hat #4. More of that black and gold Patons Classic. It's called Heel Stitch hat, but I used the modifications found here.

Then, of course, I modified it further, by decreasing the number of stitches cast on to 96, because I knew I would be short of yarn. I think it will fit a child of 8 or so. I couldn't jam it on Elaine's head, but that might just be because her hair has got very bushy lately. 

I don't recommend 96 stitches, because it would be better to have an odd number of stitches in the decrease sections. Ninety or 102 would be a smidge more elegant. 

Heel stitch: knit one, slip one all across the row; then knit one row plain. I think it would look good in a variegated yarn or something like Kureyon, alternating with a plain yarn. 

And now an exciting tale for you: Once upon a time, I was looking at Ebay. I don't do it that much anymore, because perhaps I don't really need all that stuff, but I do look occasionally for things like Rowan Denim yarn. Before we left for our holiday I found 25 balls of black denim! Black! Ooh, la la, my little heart skipped a beat, and I bid on it. I had sort of put it out of my mind, but luckily I marked my calendar and went to watch the last minutes count down. At absolutely the last moment, something like 2 seconds before the auction ended, a snipe bid came in. No time for me to respond, but!!! It wasn't higher than my bid! So, yay me, I not only got some yarn, I beat the sniper, and actually ended up paying 2p less than my bid. (Yeah, plus postage for 1.25 kilos of yarn!)

The package was mailed from England, and would have been delivered while we were away. It's waiting for me at the post office and after this long weekend, I can pick it up on Tuesday. My choice now seems to be down to Fleet or the Artist's Smock. I'm thinking Fleet, since I've wanted it forever. But then I think something like the Artist's Smock is also very nice. I'll think again when I get the yarn on Tuesday!

And I will sort holiday pictures, too!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Back with some knitting

We had our week of fun in the sun, and it was very fun and very sunny. Our cottage was just steps from the beach, so although we had to carry chairs and towels and shovels and cameras and kites and sunscreen and books to read and knitting and water and, later, a beach umbrella, it was quite convenient. And if we forgot something we could always go back for it!

Today, knitting pictures. We took lots of other pictures, but let's keep it simple to start.

I had got off to a shaky start with the Olympic knitting, and had to rip out what I did during the opening ceremonies. Lucky me, though: I had a two-hour car ride the next day. It soon became clear that the blue yarn I had was not going to make a whole hat, so I added in some white.

Alas, that was not enough, either! So we end up with a pretty stupid looking hat, I'm afraid. It's Hermione's hat from the Half-Blood Prince, but really, it should be all one colour! It will do. And it was quite fun to make, with a little eyelet here and a cable there.

Best part: taking pictures of it in a Peacock melamine bowl! We had two of these in the cottage. I have a soft spot for melamine, I must say.

Next up, I went for something totally straightforward to knit, since it was black. That brown stripe is all the brown I had, and I threw in the gold stripe as well. I made the hat quite pointy on top and added the jaunty pompom.

We decided not to take our own jigsaw puzzles to this place, since the blurb said they had puzzles and books. Unfortunately, the puzzles were either too silly (cartoon dinosaurs) or murderous (1000 pieces of the Golden Gate bridge in the fog). We got the bridge done, and the one rock, and bits of the sky, but had a couple of hundred pieces left when we had to leave. Stay tuned, and some day soon I will tell you how it all worked out.

After my two pretty standard hats, I was ready to go fancy-pants.

This booklet has escaped recent purges because I love that hat on the back cover. Two big circles on the sides, plain bit in the middle, crazy Grandma-lady grinning. So, with sock yarn and a tiny cable needle and short rows, I made the circles. So fun!

I just guessed at the placement of the chin strap. I need a baby to try it on! Still need to find the tiny button, and then we are done with that.

I also made another hat; finished it last night and have no picture yet. And! We went to a place called the Southampton Market where I chanced upon some Peaches & Creme cotton yarn. There were even 1-pound cones of the stuff, but the colours were a bit blah. I got myself two balls of variegated cotton, and then picked up two of sock yarn. (What was I thinking??) So I have a bit of a dishcloth started, too.  Oh, and we had to go to the local thrift store where I found 3 pairs of wooden needles... as if I needed another set of 4.5 mm straights...

Much more holiday blahblahblah to come, folks!