Monday, January 28, 2008

Mission Possible (Adriana)

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support for my parents' quilt. It makes me feel so good.

Lately I've been feeling strange about knitting. After the Christmas rush I've been craving fast projects and I have been wanting to knit for other people. I've also been feeling the urge to stashbust. I figure that now is a good time to work through a chunk of my stash while I'll not employed since hopefully by the fall I'll have a great job and be able to buy yarn when I want it (instead of hoarding it). I'd come up with these thoughts on my own, and then I read about Mission Possible 2008 on Turtlegirl's blog. The idea is to finish some UFOs or use up some specific part of your stash during 2008. I thought this was a great idea and quickly made a list of 12 items to knit:
Chevron Scarf with peach Koigu and stashed sock yarn - I bought this peach Koigu on sale and then promptly got buyer's remorse. I think a Chevron scarf will be a good use for it.
Do something with the red merino from Vancouver - already underway. I'm making a red extra-slouchy hat for my girl Emma.
Make at least one shawl using laceweight from stash - sometimes I feel like I'm being buried under the weight of my laceweight stash (which really isn't all that big) so I want to make a dent in it
Finish my blasted MS3 already! - self explanatory
Make a huggable hedgehog - early Christmas plotting
Knit a summer top that I'll actually wear - *sigh* why don't I wear my knitted garments? That's a subject for another post.
Knit second Naive sock - I dislike having UFOs kicking around and I have two unfinished socks!
Knit second Pomatomus sock - see above
Play with my Kid Silk Haze - one of these days I'm going to get over my fear of sticky mohair and give it a try. I do have 4 balls in my stash after all (a sweet score when someone destashed)
Use purple Koigu from Christmas to make Annetrelac socks - I started making these Nutkins which were so cute, but I lost interest in the pattern. I'm all about entrelac these days so I think these socks will hold my interest longer.
Super cute socks but I just wasn't feeling it anymore so they've been frogged.

Use up WotA bulky - maybe legwarmers (I might replace this one with using up the grey Jo Sharp)
Finish the second Simply Lovely Lace Socks - done!
simply lovely lace socks
These socks were intended for Gen for Christmas but somehow they ended up being too small for her (I don't know what I was thinking). In a fit of madness I ripped the socks back to the heel to see just how much too small they were (they were very very much too small for Gen). I've been playing Cinderella trying to find feet for these socks and hopefully I have now. Gen will get Deegu socks that actually fit at some point (I've got to break out the dyes).

I feel like this is a very doable list, so much so that I have told myself that if I make it through the list in the next 6 months, I get to buy myself something fun and frivolous.

In other news, Heather and I have received the "You Make My Day" Award from Bertha!
The rules say that we have to list our 10 fave blogs. Since I've got to run in a few minutes, I've quickly come up with a short list of my favourite blogs. Heather, feel free to add to this list.

SpillyJane - our own SpillyJane is a knitting, designing machine!
Karma Kitties - I'm sending this right back to you, Bertha. Your blog always makes me smile, especially when you show pictures of June.
Azura's Vices - now that we got Gen knitting she can't seem to stop!
Lickety Knit - Rachel's blog, now in a monthly format, is always hilarious
Phoe Knits - I recently discovered Phoe through Bertha and I've been greatly enjoying reading all of her adventures
Team Knit - I was so excited to randomly come across Julie and to discover that we'd gone to the same high school and even know some of the same people (such a small world!). I always love seeing the beautiful and creative knits that Julie and Jen come up with.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Best Christmas Gift (Adriana)

Last spring when I was bitten by the sewing bug I kept seeing gorgeous quilts on knitters' blogs (especially here and here). I had just finished helping my parents go house hunting and I couldn't shake the idea that they needed a quilt for their new bedroom. I knew that I was crazy but I'm sure many of you know what it's like when you get an idea in your head. Bear in mind that I had never made a quilt before, or even really sewn much at all (except for my dress). But I had my heart set on a quilt and I wanted to go for it.

On Heather's advice I decided to make a Blooming 9-Patch from Tradition with a Twist. I ordered the yarn from Quiltology, which had been given rave reviews by the Theresa. The owner, Colette, was wonderful. I had decided that since my parents' bedroom was green and since they had both worked in provincial parks, I wanted to go with blues and greens. This is what Colette came up with for me:

Such a great combo of fabrics. I couldn't have come up with something so beautiful myself.

I found the pattern easy to follow and before I knew it I had strips!
2first strips

And then squares:
3first squares

I managed to make the first few sets of squares during the summer but then school started. Grad school and quilting did not mix and I wasn't able to work on the quilt until December. I spent a full week working 12 hour days in order to get the quilt done for Christmas. It was tiring and stressful at times but it all came together. In the end I was able to finish the top but I lacked the time and the machinery to actually quilt it. I decided to leave it as it was and let my parents decide if they wanted it finished or left as a bedspread.
On to the pictures!

When I came back to it in December I had around 70% of the 9-patches to put together and all of the solid squares to cut
4solid squares
I saved those to the end so that my cutting skills would have improved

Once I had all the squares it was time to lay them out to sew into long strips.
5cleo quilt
Cleo supervised

6cleo quilt2
Here she's testing how well the fabric holds up to a cat bath

Once the strips were sewn it was time to lay everything back out again
7quilt on floor
As you can see, my living room floor wasn't big enough

When I went home for Christmas I didn't put the quilt under the tree. I didn't want mom to have any ideas about what she was getting based on package size. (I'd been trying to confuse her by saying that I was making her and dad smittens or a Tracy Ullman sweater). On Christmas Day I told my brother to entertain the folks, and Pete and I sneaked into their room to prepare the surprise.

8quilt on bed
Here it is laid out in it's new home

I left Pete in the bedroom with the camera while I brought mom and dad to the room. I told them to close their eyes and I led them in. Pete, my brilliant photographer, managed to capture the moment when they opened their eyes:

9mom dad1

Which was followed by this moment:
10mom dad2
(Mom and I may have cried a little)

Needless to say, they absolutely loved it
11mom dad bed

It turns out that leaving it as a bedspread is perfect since they wouldn't have gotten much use out of a quilt and this they can enjoy all year round.

It's hard to get a shot of the full quilt. This is the best we could manage:
12quilt whole

It was a lot of work but I'm so happy that I did it. It makes me so happy to give something so beautiful to my wonderful parents. I'm very blessed to have them. Making them so happy was the best present I could have received.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pins and Needles (Heather)

Back to the grind!

I am still intending to blog about my 2008 intentions, but I've been too busy doing things to plan! Last weekend, as you know, we hit Lettuce Knit's Inventory Sale, and I scored this:

Berroco Ultra Alpaca... enough (I hope) for a sweater. I got 20 sts/4 inches quite easily, but now I am tempted to see if I can winkle 18 sts out of it to try Snow White. If I don't like the fabric at that gauge, I will either consider trying to make the math fit with a larger size, or I will go back to my plan of a plan v-neck sweater. The fabric I got at 20" is just so damn yummy that I may just stick with that plan anyway. And so affordable! Especially at 30% off.

This weekend, Mike and I stayed in and played with our respective toys. Mike is working on his belt (for a Roman soldier, Dacian Wars, approx. 105 AD) and it is starting to come along:

We sure do know how to weird out the neighbours, eh?

I made a pincushion:

Tutorial here. I forgot to take a picture of the bottom, which is in a different fabric. I am really very fond of it. I almost don't want to stick it with pins! What you don't see is the other pincushions that I made and hated. I am impressed that I managed to stick with this to the end result of having an actual pincushion.

In other news, I prewashed my whole uncut fabric stash, and so I am getting close to actually starting my quilt. Still some planning required, of course. I have also knit half a dahlia sock as my commuter knitting, but I keep forgetting it at home and getting caught up in a book instead. I will try to be better this week!

And finally, proof that I finished my Christmas presents on time this year!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Trip to Toronto (Adriana)

This past weekend Pete and I made the trip to the big city to see the sights and to visit the gang (Heather, Mike and Gen, of course).

I got my belated Christmas present from Heather and what it lacked in timeliness it made up in awesomeness!
She made me a sock bag! I was so impressed with the one she made herself in the fall and this one is perfect!

Check out the gorgeous fabric. Heather, you outdid yourself. I love it and have been using it a lot. (Posed in the bag is the remaining STR from Jane's socks. They really do have good yardage.)

FA from Heather
She also gave me this beautiful FA seconds from BC.

No trip to Toronto is complete without a yarn crawl, though out of respect to Pete we kept the crawl to one store this trip. Lettuce Knit just happened to be having a 30% off sale so we had to go there.

When I walked in the door one yarn caught my eye so I grabbed it immediately just in case. I'm glad I did because it ended up being the only yarn that I wanted and Gen bought it for me as my Christmas present. (Thanks Ghen!)
STR Lightweight in Firebird.
I'm worried about pushing my STR luck so I've asked Pete to hide it (along with my FA and Jitterbug). I find that when I buy new yarn it's terribly exciting but after it has marinated in the stash for a while it doesn't thrill in the same way so I figure that if the yarn disappears and I forget about it then it will be exciting again at some point in the future (I'll let you know if this works).

Yarn shopping builds up the appetite so we hit up a cool cafe where I finally managed to get a picture of Heather's Wisp in action.
heather scarfette
I think she pulls it off way better than I could.

After regaining out energy (I had delicious french toast) it was off to the ROM to "meet the dinosaurs" (anybody get that musical reference? Gen, you can't guess since I told you :P)
Here Pete and I are able to be devoured by a T-Rex.

All in all it was a great weekend. Thanks to our lovely hostess, Gen (check out the additions to her stash that she picked up at the sale) and to our excellent tour guides, Heather and Mike.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Trip to Windsor (Adriana)

I decided to ring in the new year with a trip to visit the lovely Spillyjane. Naturally this involved a yarn crawl through Michigan. We hit up three stores in rapid succession, my favourite one being Have You Any Wool? where I got this gorgeous Jitterbug:
This is Slate which is so not me and I absolutely love it. Sometimes it's fun to step out of one's comfort zone. I'm thinking cables perhaps, or Azure (since Jane's is so beautiful).

Once we were back in Canada Jane and I exchanged gifts. In addition to some delicious tea and a lovely Christmas Tree ornament, Jane gave me these:
Mittens from Jane1
Aren't they stunning? These are Chevalier Mittens, something that I would totally never make for myself.
Thanks so much Jane, I love them and wear them every day.

While I was there Jane was attempting a pair of socks with STR medium-weight which had been purchased in a hurry before she'd realized that they were heavier than the yarn she usually works with. As a result she was having a bit of trouble finding a pattern that they worked with. After watching her get frustrated I offered to take the yarn home with me and knit them for her (thus allowing me to play with STR again!).
After trying a few things out I settled on Wendyknit's Southwestern socks which were intended to be knit in sport-weight yarn.
I substituted a short-row heel since it is my preferred method of heel.

Here's a close up of the pattern. As you can see, the STR striped pleasantly. I seem to have the magic touch with this notoriously pooly yarn.

I hope these socks fit you, Jane. I'll put them in the mail sometime this week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas Swag (Adriana)

I think that gift getting occasions become even more exciting when you have an interesting hobby (*cough* obsession *cough*) like knitting. I always try to make things easier for my parents by giving them a very detailed wish list and since a number of my friends are knitters they give some seriously awesome gifts. Look at what Sam (celticghirl13 on Ravelry) gave me:

2 skeins of Noro Transitions! The purples and green colourway is so me. Thanks Sam!

I scored another skein of the same and I've started to make an Entrelac Scarf:
transitions scarf
Entrelac is seriously magical. I'd always been a little afraid of it but I'm really enjoying knitting it (I'm almost done the first skein, this picture is out of date). One day, when I have a fancy job, I'm totally going to make Lady Eleanor. Check out Julie's gorgeous version.

I've decided that I need a new grown-up wardrobe for my practicum that going on right now and in anticipation of that fancy job that I'm positive I'll get when I'm done school. To that end, I asked my parents for Silky Wool to make Ms. Marigold.
silky wool
I love that beautiful green colour.

When I originally made up my Christmas list my mom was going to be in Toronto and was willing to stop by Lettuce Knit to pick up some sock yarn for me (I requested some STR). Her trip ended up being cancelled and she tried to order it over the phone but unfortunately every colour that she thought I'd like they only had in medium-weight. After a few more failed attempts to order over the internet it was decided that she'd get me some Koigu from nearby Cloth and Clay. My parents loved this colourway and thought that I would too:
purple koigu

Obviously they were right
Those are the Monkey socks I made for mom in the spring using purple Koigu :)
This purple Koigu is all mine!

My brother asked me what I wanted and so I sent him to the LYS with a few options. By the time Christmas rolled around I'd forgotten what I'd asked for so I was delighted to receive Regia sock yarn designed by Kaffe Fassett!
regia sock
I promptly cast on a stockinette sock but after turning the heel (sorry for yet another out of date picture) I put these aside to finish up Dad's Ginormous Socks, which are now almost done and will be blogged soon.

I'm off to Toronto again on this weekend but this time it's to visit Gen, Heather and Mike! We're going to see the dinosaurs at the ROM (hey ladies, want to take pictures of the walls again ;P) and hopefully fit in a visit to Lettuce Knit! I need more STR!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas Socks (Adriana)

Last year I decided that I needed a pair of Christmas socks to celebrate my favourite holiday. Since I had very specific image for these socks I decided to dye the yarn myself.

christmas sock2006a
I measured out the yarn to the appropriate length to make it self-striping, then dyed part of it red, part green and speckled the white sections to look like candy sprinkles. I love these socks and they will take a really long time to wear out since I only wear them during December!

christmas sock2006b
My family laughed at me when I lay on my back and stretched my legs up in the air in front of the tree but it is a great shot :)

This year I wanted to make another pair of Christmas socks. Luckily I had recently acquired some STR in Jingle Bell Rock in a Ravelry swap. Like the previous year, I cast on these socks in early December and rationed out the knitting because it made me so happy to work on them. Christmas socks definitely help put me in the holiday spirit.

Christmas sock2
I used the Marigold pattern because the purl rows reminded me of garlands. I can't tell you how delighted I was that this yarn didn't pool.

Christmas sock flash
Here are the socks posed in front of Pete's parents' Christmas tree (I did get a few strange looks from his dad as I prepared for the photo but he didn't say anything)

Christmas sock no flash
Without flash the socks are blurry but you can see the pretty tree

I'd heard of people running out of yarn with STR but I had tons left over. I'd seen some beautiful ornaments on Everwhelming Liz's blog and I thought this would be the perfect use for my yarn (I still have tons left).

little sock1
A sweet little ornament on my beautiful tree

little sock2
This was such a quick knit; I did it in a few hours. My family were all so impressed with it that I think I need to make 6 more for next year. I might work on my embroidery skills so that everyone will know which stocking is theirs.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year, New Thoughts (Heather)

I am not really all that well known for making or keeping New Years resolutions, but I was in Vancouver for the start of 2008 (we just got back, and boy, it has not been easy to get up before noon here!!) and Rosemary was discussing what one word would sum up her resolutions. I will leave it to her to share her own reflections, but it did occur to me that while no English word really covered all the bases for me, there was a Latin one that did.

The verb facio, facere means about three dozen things or more according to the LSJ, but the small Lewis sums it up a bit better (here is a link to the electronic entry in Perseus). The meanings that I will focus on are to do and to make. I want to be a woman of action! I want to do more and hesitate less. I want to make more. I want to get out and get involved in things. I would like to execute the plans I formulate. I want to be useful and to be fit (I would rather avoid growing corpulent, which is apparently also a special meaning of facio).

In that tone, Rosemary let me rummage through her quilt cottons bin and I discovered she is an excellent source of greens!

On a Boxing Week jaunt to a huge(!) fabric store in Coquitlam, I acquired some nicely priced greens and a contrasting foliage-patterned fabric to add to the collection:

I think I have enough for a quilt top now, so it is time to pick a pattern. I also acquired a gently used big clear quilting rulers, so I think I made off pretty well all things considered.

We visited Three Bags Full, Birkeland Brothers (can you say Casbah Seconds?)

And then later made a trip to Victoria in order to visit (among other things) Beehive Wool. I used some of my Christmas yarn money that was burning a hole in my pocket. Fleece Artist Sock Seconds!

Along with some lovely Cascade 220 Heathers (can't resist yarn with my name on it!) that I have optimistically earmarked for the fabulous Wintergreen Mittens (link goes to Ravelry) and will show you when I execute that plan. Beehive was a very lovely shop, and I was impressed to learn that it has been continuously operating for over 100 years! I would have bought the yarn to make the Ivy League Vest, but they didn't have the colours called for in the magazine, and I didn't have the time to formulate a new palette.

And finally, before this post gets too freaking long (I have a lot of catching up to do), some finished objects.

I got hit with a craving for something quick and bulky and satisfying back in November, so I whipped up a scarf from a single skein of Noro Kochoran:

Just a plain ol' mistake rib.

Lots of texture, dead easy to execute. One row of 1x1 rib, one row of 2x2 rib.

I also knocked off a pair of bulletproof woolen mittens for my dad for Christmas (shhh! He hasn't opened them yet!)

These might actually stop a speeding bullet. It was a little hard on the hands in the end. Not much more to say about them, really. Plain old mittens, designed for function more than form. You want fancy mittens? Go talk to Spilly.

Annnnd, while we are on the topic of Christmas knits, I am a little more than halfway through the second sock in a pair of plain cable-y sock for my sister.

(this was taken less than halfway through the first sock)

I have less than 24 hours to finish it, so I had better get cracking! I am a woman of action!

(next time: my knitting resolutions and 2007's knitting accomplishments)