Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another year has rolled around...

 Every year my dad would preface our annual Christmas letter to Santa with a Dear Santa, another year has rolled around.... Seems to me there would be a recounting of our yearly high and maybe not so high points, and of course our annual pledge to endeavour to be better children. My brother and sister were much older than I so I am sure they got a few chuckles and a few gentle admonishments from the annual Christmas letter. It's funny how somethings just pop in your head at the least expected times, My dad is in a nursing home now and most of his memories have faded or are very dim but I will have to see if he remembers our Christmas letters. Sometimes he will remember an event or a person so clearly it really makes me pause to wonder. Both my father and my elderly wonder cat are on their 100 or 1000th lives right now and I am very grateful to see another year roll around again.

Christmas is quickly approaching and I find I have to remind myself to not get too wound up about getting everything and more done perfectly or done at all. It is all good. I did do a little gift knitting but not nearly as much as in other years- and that's ok too. I have a few pics of somethings and a few others are all wrapped up.

I knit and then felted these Sock Monkey Slippers for my daughter-they are so cute!! She is quite a glam girl but adores anything sock money-ish. I stitched on some suede slipper bottoms too.This will help extend the lifetime of the slippers.

I knit a scarf for my daughter's partner. I knit him a hat out of the same yarn for his birthday and he really liked it-yay!! It is a simple 2x2 rib pattern. It is a great pattern for a manly type of scarf but not as exciting to knit as sock monkey slippers!! I have a few other things but I will have to take a pic post Christmas

Meet Frizzoff the Penguin. I just could not not knit this pattern-he is soo cute.

Such a face! And check out thoses feet! I really like knitting socks,lace...etc. but it is fun to do whimsical things also. I hope he doesn't get in a suitcase destined for Alberta after Christmas.

I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking -it was really hard not to lick my fingers or take sample tastes of this concoction.Good thing too..

It is hand cream. I got the recipe and the ingredients from a local pharmacy-where I get my dad's and my cat's meds-go figure! It is the nicest hand/body cream and it is unscented-if you so choose. And it has lanolin in it! I love it! It is so knitterly. I knew I would use all those jars someday!! And to think I almost recycled them a month ago-heh heh.

  I used to bake lots of Christmas cookies and little squares and goodies, now as the kids have grown up (sigh) requests are quite different now. I have made lots of Bits and Bites, brownies, biscotti and cheese cake tarts with blueberries on top and  a new fav- chocolate covered pretzels (so good and so easy). No more mincemeat tarts or apple or pumpkin pie or shortbread....I still like the old traditionals. I might have to hit my favourite local bakery to indulge in those, but then I probably shouldn't!

 Cathy, one of the talented women I work with made us all one of these little ornaments. It is so sweet. Thank you Cathy.

I hope all of you take a little time to sit down, grab a cuppa and some of your favourite Christmas goodies and have a little knit time !

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Warm hats for colder climes

I recently sent some hats to Alberta to our BC transplants. There was a birthday involved and both hats were quite a hit! I had a mailing deadline so the pictures were taken in a hurry-that's my excuse anyways! It sure is a lot easier to take pictures in the summer-more light and prettier backdrops. These are not the greatest pics but they are great hats knit with good patterns and wonderful yarn.

 This hat is knit with Malabrigo Rios in the colourway Purple Mystery. It is very pretty. The pattern can be found here . I have knit several things with Sweet Georgia Yarns and they are all wonderful. This is the first time I have tried one of her patterns. It is a nice pattern to knit and the hat has a nice bit of slouch,

I have used this pattern. it is a great pattern for guys. It fits well and knits up fast.

It is knit with Louet Gems in the Light Worsted weight- colourway Indigo. I like this wool as it is a super wash and can go in the dryer. Great choice if your gift recipients aren't too wool care savvy. It is nice to knit with too.

 I am finished my gift knitting for this year, I scaled back a lot compared to other years, easier on the arms wrists and hands. I still have the urge to do some more as there are 10 days left before Christmas. I might have to slip in one more thing heh heh!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rrred and Rrrrufffly

 Earlier this fall I got a super good deal on a new grey winter coat. So I got this idea in my head that a red scarf would be look great with my coat. I had a few patterns that I wanted to use at some point in time but I hadn't found the right yarn for the right project. Art of Yarn, where I teach classes, had recently brought in some Malabrigo Rios in the Ravelry Red colourway. It is such a beautiful red and is in the bluey-red end of the spectrum. I can't wear orangey-reds at all. Anyways I was looking for a pattern for a friend who likes all things ruffly and I rediscovered Just Enough Ruffles. It can be found here. I remember seeing it a few years ago but never got around to knitting it-what was I thinking!! It is a quick and easy knit and it is such a great scarf.

 We found this ebony shawl pin in the shop. It suits it perfectly. I don't often think of using pins,but I should. There are so many different styles of shawl pins available now and there are some absolutely beautiful ones. They are truly knit jewellery. I think this swirly pin really adds some punch to my scarf. Now I am giving all my scarves a second look!

Friday, November 25, 2011

No time like the present to get ready

 The weather has changed again here. All that white stuff is almost gone and today green grass and  warm brilliant sunshine ruled the day. It seems hard to believe a week ago we are all bundled up and slip sliding down icy streets and sidewalks. One never knows what the weather will bring anymore, we all need to be prepared like this little fellow.

 We have a lot more squirrels now. I don't see any of the little indigenous brown squirrels anymore. They have been replaced with larger black and silver tailed ones. They are a crazy bunch. They seem to like sitting in this tree outside my living room window and hurl insults at anyone or anything in close proximity. Too funny!

This scarf was a really quick knit. It is knit with two strands of  a worsted weight on a 9 mm  needle. Progress is so quick and every couple of rows inches magically appear. Some of my projects seem to take forever, I knit and knit and knit, measure and wow I have knit an inch. Knit so more for an interminably length of time and there is another half inch. You know how it goes. It is always good for a knitter's soul to have a quick knit every now and then-it is so rewarding! I loved using the big button. I have seen lots of funky buttons on many scarf, cowl and hat patterns this year. They sure add a real punch of colour and embellishment to a project. The pattern for this scarf can be found here. I especially liked this pattern as the scarf is completely reversible and the knitted fabric is so soft and squooshy. I have knit quite a few Churchmouse patterns and they are simply great.  Nice classic updated styles are presented in well written patterns. I have my eye on a beret pattern knit in Koigu with added beads that looks really really good. I am waiting for this super knitter to finish hers-no pressure Jahknees-heh heh!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Favourite Knits to Wear

 Now that it has turned colder it is time to bundle up in all my favourite knits. I am not a fan of driving in the snow and ice but there is something so special ,so invigorating as going for a walk on a cold crisp day. I should qualify this a bit, our winter weather here  is pretty wimpy as compared to most of the rest of Canada. We have been hit by an early blast which is quite unusual and it won't last too long. However it is really pretty to see all the houses and trees sporting snowy attire. It is also really very conducive to staying home and picking up the needles. I can think of so many knitting projects to do right now!

 Infinity scarves are still really popular and they are so versatile.They can be worn so many different ways. I really like Noro Silk Garden (no kidding!) and had always thought an infinity scarf knit in it would be beautiful.  Recently I saw a similar type of scarf knit up in garter stich using a hand dye- it was quite eye catching. So I knit one for myself. I love it!

As it is knit on the diagonal, the colours stripe beautifully.

Again, the colours!

 This scarf has to be one of my all time favourites. It is the Noro Striped Scarf . I really need to do another one. It really knits up fast and it is just such a great scarf to wear. It was knit with Silk Garden,

Gee what a coincidence my scarves match these wristers too-actually it wasn't planned-I just seem to gravitate to certain colours and yarns!! Seriously, the colours are just wonderful. The pattern is Mulled Wine Mitts. If you follow the link there are lots of other great knitting patterns as well as recipes, articles etc. There are just too many ideas of things to do and create!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Time to wear a cowl it -snowed today

 I haven't any interesting pictures of the snow yet. It is an early snow and caught most of us unawares. I just pulled out my geraniums yesterday and yes they were still blooming. We were out for a walk-I love walking in the snow-and we noticed some people have their lights up already! It sure is cheerful and pretty to see on a snowy evening.

I finished this cowl last week. It is the Embers Cowl . It is a great pattern to knit using two different colours of yarn. I used The Madtosh DK in Vermilion and Black Velvet. This yarn is so pretty and so nice to work with-sigh.

It is a modified feather and fan pattern and the contrast colour is carried up along with the main colour. Although I don't have a pic of it, the inside or private side of the cowl is really pretty. That is an added bonus!

The only mod I made is that I made it 12 inches long and not 18 as suggested in the pattern. I just needed a neck warmer and that's when I ran out of the main colour! Perfect!!

The problem is when you are around creative minds and beautiful yarn a lot, knitting sometimes gets the upper hand !

Monday, November 14, 2011


 Well it is fall and it is getting colder. We all know it will get even colder-so time to knit hats!!! It seems lots of knitters I know are knitting hats and lots of them. Hats for themselves, hats for family and friends and hats for Christmas gifts.

Barb and Jen are wearing hats knit up in Malabrigo Rios, I am not sure of the colourway. Jen, on the right , is wearing a hat she knit with a pattern Barb cobbled together using 3 different patterns. (It was her second or third project!!) The original hat was knit with the Rios in the winter white colourway.These two just started knitting last year! Barb, on the left, is wearing a hat Jane knit from a 1970"s vintage pattern.

These two fashionista's keep me on track and very kindly do "glam" knit pics for me! They are both so nice and fun to be around.

  On Saturday I had the pleasure to be with another group of knitters.Cathy is on a major hat knitting odyssey (follow the link and check out her Rav project page). She has knit and designed several hats recently. They are lovely hats and are destined to be gifts for some lucky recipients! She is doing a lot of gift knitting and was seen happily departing with a lots of beautiful yarns for all of her projects. I can't wait to see what she has done next week. I must say I find being around other knitters who are pumped about their projects really a lot of fun and super stimulating. I get really excited too and want to cast on so many things...all at once!

Cue the bagpipes

 I recently finished Highland Fling. I loved knitting this pattern. It is a crescent shaped shawl/scarf. It is started at one corner with a cast on of 2 stitches and increased from there  The body of the scarf is knit in garter stitch with a sawtooth border. Although this looks like a knit on border the scarf/shawl is knit all in one piece. What's not to love about that! I love the bobbles too.

I am really starting to appreciate garter stitch.It really makes a nice squooshy stretchy fabric. I find a long scarf/shawl knit in this stitch is really comfortable and easy to wear-it always lies so nicely.

Barb very kindly did the modeling for me -thanks Barb!! I knit this scarf using Malabrigo Rios in the Azules colourway. I am totally smitten with this yarn. It is sooo nice to knit with and the colours-oh my! It is a superwash which is an added bonus. I think I have knit 3 projects recently with this yarn. Barb has knit some really nice hats with it too. We are all fans !

Monday, November 7, 2011

Log Cabin Knitting Redux

  It is a wet gloomy day today. At one point it was sleeting-yuck. We still have leaves to rake up and I haven't done any garden clean up yet. I always find it hard to pull up the annuals and trim back the perennials. I work so hard to get them growing!
  I found a new Noro blanket pattern thanks to these
ladies again. I found the pattern in the book Craft Activism. It is a great book with a collection of some really great fibre projects. There are also profiles of some really interesting designers. I should have of taken a pic of the finished blanket from the book. It is called The Fussy Cut Blanket. The afghan is composed of garter stitch knit blocks in a log cabin style of design. Each block is knit separately using a different ball in a different colourway of  Noro Silk Garden. Of course anything done in Noro is pretty special. This will be a fill in project for me as I will knit blocks in between my other projects.Well at least that is the plan!

 It is the season of  artisan and craft fairs. Unfortunately they all seem to happen on a few weekends in early to mid November-I always seem to miss something interesting. This weekend I went to Fabulous Finds an artisan/craft show at a local winery. Wow, there sure are some really talented people in our community. I was especially happy to see a booth with a huge collection of vintage buttons.

  I purchased a couple of buttons that I will probably use on something. There are so many cool cowl, hat and chunky scarf patterns that feature buttons. I am not sure what I am going to use the big rhinestone button for but it really appealed to my inner crow!!

  I have finished knitting some more projects but it is too dark to take pictures now. I will get some of my glam knitter peeps to do some pictures for me. Some people sure know how to wear clothing!

 I was washing my dishes a few mornings ago and I looked up and there was a deer in our backyard-a big deer! She was happily munching away through my garden. She stayed all day eating and eating and eating. Don't get too comfortable Bambi !! My neighbour's cat was stalking her-go Ninja!!

 Here are some of the last dahlia blooms from my garden.

  I am sure going to miss all the pretty colours.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rock your boots

I love all the seasons-even winter! Of course all of us knitters are just hitting our stride in fall. We can finally pull out all of our knit finery!! Yippee, comfy warm socks, cozy cardi's, pretty scarves and shawls and there is nothing nicer than wrapping yourself in a warm handknit throw at the end of the day. Simple pleasures are just the best! I had forgotten I had knit these last winter for a friend.We were out together recently and I am glad she wore them. They were fun to do and knit up quite quickly. I knit them with Berocco's Ultra Alpaca Fine in the Ocean colourway. The pattern can be found in the book Gifted by Mags Kandis. I am definitely going to knit a few more pairs for my gift box.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cute Kitties

Last week Lori came in to the yarn shop with a plastic tote filled with little kitties and other amigurami animals. We all went kinda cuckoo over them, They were just so cute! She crocheted them using a 1 mm hook-(way beyond me) and they are beautifully made.Unfortunately she has just moved away but hopefully will start an Etsy account. I did succumb and bought these two-one is destined for a life in Calgary.You just can't help but smile when you look at their happy little faces.
 There sure is something special about making, giving and receiving hand crafted gifts.  Maybe that is my own perspective as that is what I like to do. I always make things for my family  but I am finding gifting to other friends who are also handcrafters really a lot of fun. Of course I am preaching to the choir on this one!I really am trying to support crafts people and local based businesses a lot more now.. especially now with all the economic and financial turbulence many are facing.For many of us that whole creative process is such a necessary component in our lives-be it knitting ,cooking, knitting, quilting, artwork, woodworking ,knitting, jewelry making...etc. I  was listening to a radio program on the CBC the other day and there was a blurb about how some anthropologists had found some" tool kits" used for cave drawings in India that were estimated to be tens of thousands of years old. Interesting. So my friends keep knitting or painting or gardening or doing whatever makes you feel good-it is important!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Back in the saddle again.....

Wow it is the middle of October already. It gets dark by 6:30 now. Definitely apple crisp season-heh heh. My garden is still hanging in there but it is supposed to go below freezing tonight. It is always sad when all the flowers and veggies are done for the season but then it does free up some time for our favourite activity-knitting!!!And finally there is some actual knitting content today.

No this is not me-unfortunately! This is Jen from my Thursday morning class modeling a cowl I have just finished. We all love this one . It is the Alameda Cowl from the Fall 2011 issue of Knitscene. I knit it using Malabrigo Rios in the pupuras colourway. It is knit on the bias and buttons up on one side. As you can see it is very versatile. There are so many ways you can wear it.It is double sided so it is super cozy and so soft. Now what else can I use to knit this one again...... I have started another project but haven't taken any pictures yet-it does involve some Noro yarn (big surprise)!

 I will finish with some more garden pics. We always let a lot of rogue sunflowers grow wherever in our garden. They always look good and they attract so many birds. Fortunately our old kitty Puff is quite deaf and losing his eyesight so there is no problem there. Mind you he has always been strictly ornamental!

 I planted these morning glories at the base of some old wooden ladders. I planted them in late June and it looks like they are going to freeze before they really hit full bloom-rats!! There's always next year. Have a good knitting weekend everyone!

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