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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review

So as we come to the end of another year it is time to reflect and consider on the last 365 days. According to I had 40 projects for 2009 and despite my intermittent posts, I have posted photos of most of them on this blog.

Let me start with what I didn't do in 2009 - crochet. I don't crochet very much but this year, I didn't crochet one thing. Not sure why this was apart from the obvious, if I'd really wanted to crochet I would have.

Of the 40 items, there was one I started and completely unpicked just before I finished; one I started in 2008 and still isn't finished; and there were a couple of items started right at the end of 2008 that were finished in 2009.

And I have already lost one glove from a pair I knitted.

The Dishcloth group I belong to has instructions for 2 dishcloths each month. Out of a total of 24 I made 21 cloths with another currently on the needles.

So to sum up my 40 items are as follows:
21 dishcloths, all for my house;
4 pairs of socks, one pair still in progress, one pair for spousal unit;
5 scarves or wraps, all for me which sounds a bit excessive when counted up!;
3 pairs of gloves or mittens, one pair for spousal unit and one glove has been lost already;
1 hat for me;
1 bag for me;
1 sweater for spousal unit;
1 tea cosy, a gift;
1 baby jacket; unpicked;
1 baby blanket, gift;
1 shawl, still in progress;
Oh and I've remembered the charity sweater I knitted this fall.

It is surprising looking at this list as I felt that all I have knitted this year are dishcloths but it would appear that I have made a lot of things for myself. Didn't realise how many scarves I had made although one is still wrapped around Winnie the Pooh.

The other thing that this list doesn't show is how much stash yarn was used or, in other words, how little new yarn I bought for these projects. And when I bought new yarn, any yarn left over was immediately used for another project. The yarn for the sweater was purchased especially for that item and the left over yarn was immediately used for the bag. One of the scarves and pairs of gloves were from yarn left over from old projects; another scarf was from yarn left over from gloves; another pair of gloves was from yarn left over from socks. It actually feels good to use up yarn rather than put it into the stash for who-knows-when. The only other yarn I bought was dish cloth cotton when it went on sale and the yarn for the baby blanket.

Currently on the needles are a dishcloth (which would be finished except I'm on the computer!), a shawl, a sock, and a sweater for charity. Although this frightens me to think I have so many projects on the go, they range from super easy to need lots of concentration so they each have their place.

On the reading front, to save you counting all the books on my bookshelf, I have read 103 books. Not quite 2 books a week but that number includes picture books which shouldn't really count as a whole number for each.

And on a personal note for the year, I still have a wonderful husband. Happy anniversary dear one.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year End Dishcloths

Here are the dishcloths from November and December.

November had a Christmas theme with a tree and an angel. I like the tree but am not sure how practical the angel will be. It is hand size so may turn out to be useful.

This cloth is a simple cloth that turns into a gift bag but I will be keeping it for myself - note the Christmas yarn which I also used for the pattern for mid-December.

I like this pattern although I dislike patterns which produce a curved cast on edge and a straight cast off edge. This pattern would look very nice in a scarf if you knitted two halves and joined in the centre.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nothing Like a Sale To Force a Decision

A little while ago I wrote about wanting a new stove and how hard it was to make a decision. When we went out yesterday, I suggested going to Future Shop "just to see what was on sale". They had some stoves that were on sale for just two days. Thanks to all my research I knew which one I wanted and now I have a new stove. (Well almost I have to wait a couple of weeks for delivery.)

Oh and I did buy some sock yarn on sale but more about that later.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

Today in Canada like many other countries of the Commonwealth is Boxing Day. Which is the day for sales but I'm thinking it is a day to stay indoors and do your own thing. The sales will still be there tomorrow.

We had a really nice day yesterday; at one point, boy child was playing PS3, spousal unit was reading a book on art and I was knitting a sock. All happy doing our own thing and then getting together periodically to play games. I stomped on the opposition in a word game but was truly beaten in monopoly.

The cats slept through the whole thing.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

There's More to Life Than Dishcloths

So I've brought you up to date with dishcloths but surely I must have made something else?

Checking my blog and Ravelry, there's a hat, two scarves and a pair of socks that you don't know about.

One scarf is really lacey and started before the baby blanket, otherwise the others are easy projects that act as a peon to the holes. I don't have a decent picture of the lacey scarf so I'll post later.

Knitted from this pattern although as I was using totally different yarn I had to make changes to stitches and row count. The yarn is Sirdar Snuggly 4-ply that I had bought in a closing down sale. I started a baby jacket that I really didn't like and unpicked when I had almost finished. Not wanting to put it back in the stash where I knew it would lie for a very long time, I immediately cast on the scarf. I like the scarf but I think it would look really nice in a thick yarn as suggested in the pattern.

I needed something easy to make but with a bit of interest and this fit the bill. And I used yarn from the stash. I used two colours of Brown Sheep Worsted that I had left over from a bag I made a while ago. I just kept knitting until the hat fit. I wore it when we had our first snow and it is going to be really warm when the cold weather sets in.

And finally a pair of socks knitted while on holiday this summer. I don't knit socks very often these days as I like my socks to have patterns so they are no longer a mindless project. I used this pattern and the yarn is Patons Stretch Socks. The yarn is really comfortable to wear, unfortunately the pattern doesn't show very well with this yarn.

And that's it until I find the urge to link "this" again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Too Much Choice

Or if I tell you what I want will you get it for me?

I need a new stove. Some may argue that as I already have a functioning stove I don't actually need a new one. So I desperately want a new stove. (For my truly English speaking public a stove is a cooker.)

When we moved into this house we needed a new stove because the one with the house was pretty disgusting. We saw one on sale at Home Depot and bought it. It wasn't self-cleaning and in my naivete I decided that was not a problem. Nearly 4 years later I am sick and tired, literally, of sticking my head in an oven with loads of chemicals.

The first port of call was the website for the store where I bought a fridge. (We really needed a new fridge as the old one was leaking and choosing a new one was easy as they don't make many small fridges with freezers on the bottom so I had the grand choice of 2.)

A few must haves - electric (no gas in the kitchen), smooth top and the all important self-cleaning oven and a decent manufacturer. I did find one I liked and as it wasn't on sale I looked at another store to check their price which turned out to be quite a bit cheaper but I didn't know delivery fees or fee for taking away old stove also I hadn't bought anything from this store before.

I asked a colleague and she said the store had a bad reputation and suggested another place so I looked at their website and it is a much bigger store so has much more choice which is way too confusing for me because what is the difference between stove a and stove b apart from the price. It is hard to tell the difference between products from the same manufacturer. I should just go back to my original choice as it is a small store with limited options and less confusing.

At this point I need to comment on spousal harmony. I do really like my husband apart from one thing - he's an engineer. In other words he just doesn't think the way most normal people do. Dear husband, you are not going to live a long and happy life by asking what makes the oven dirty.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Don't Call them Rags

One thing in life that annoys me is when people call things by the wrong name or mispronounce the name.

Dish cloths are a good example. They are not rags (unless, of course, you really have torn up old clothes to make them). Most people have their favourite type which they buy. How can something you pay money for be a rag?

It's a cloth, give it the respect it deserves for the job it does. OK that's a bit of hyperbole. But I have never called my dish cloth a rag and now I make them they are a revered part of my kitchen.

Since joining a mystery KAL, I have been making 2 dishcloths a month (apart from a couple missed in the summer) and it is a while since I've posted pictures so here they are. Some of the pictures are scans as that is the best way to show the knit/purl patterns.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ever Increasing Circles

Looking back through my knitting notebook it would seem that all I have been making are dishcloths. That is because I have been making a baby blanket.

So I got to thinking about the different ways to make a blanket and the disadvantages of each.

The blanket I am making is circular. I started off with very few stitches, the first rounds go quickly so you think the blanket will be finished quickly but, of course, as you add more stitches each round takes longer so the blanket is no longer such a quick knit. (Even though when you start a circular blanket you know the later rounds will go much slower than the earlier rounds, your brain ignores this each time.)

Another way to make a blanket is to make lots of squares (or rectangles or hexagons) and sew them together to make a blanket. The advantage is the sense of achievement when finishing a square and seeing them pile up but the thought of sewing them all together puts me off such a project.

You could always start with the required number of stitches for the width and work until the blanket is long enough. This way you're not going to be fooled with the speed of early rounds but you do have to cast on a large number of stitches which I am not too keen to do even though with a circular blanket you end up with many more stitches.

My initial thoughts came up with just these three ways to make blankets but then I thought of a couple more which don't seem to have the same disadvantages of these methods.

Corner-to-corner. Starting with 1 or 3 stitches you increase at the beginning of every row until the blanket is half the size and then you decrease at the beginning of every row until no stitches. The advantages are that you can work until half the yarn has been used and then start decreasing; just as you are fed up with each row taking longer they start getting shorter. The immediate disadvantage is making sure that the increases and decreases look similar.

The other method, which I am not sure I have seen used, is starting off with the final circumference and then decreasing to a few stitches. Two disadvantages I can immediately think of are the large number of stitches you'd have to cast on and if you run out of yarn you can't stop as you'd be left with a hole so if you couldn't get more of the same yarn, you'd have to add complimentary yarn or start all over. But at least each round would go quicker as the stitches reduce in number.

The blanket is actually finished, just when I thought it was going on for ever, but I have to cast off. Another problem when making blankets - and another argument for using a method where you end up with few stitches - is making sure the cast off is not tight but also neat. I have a month to achieve this.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Example Of How Bad I've Been

This post was originally titled Summer Holiday Knitting and written at the end of March. It refers to my knitting on holiday last year!

So after the aborted glove attempt. I turned to socks.

The yarn is TOFUtsies., bought especially for holiday knitting. The yarn is a mix including cotton so an ideal summer sock.

The pattern is from The Little Box of Socks which was a present from my mother-in-law.

I liked the pattern and as I wasn't going to be finishing the alpaca glove anytime soon, I worked a pair of fingerless gloves using the same yarn and pattern.

So Easy To Get Out of the Habit

What is my excuse? When I haven’t posted on here for a few days it is so easy to think to myself, “well I haven’t written for a few days what difference is one more day going to make?” And then it got to “I haven’t written on here for so long – it better be good, oh I can’t think of anything earth-shattering to write.”

There has been some knitting going on. Mostly dishcloths which don't seem too exciting to write about but I will post pictures as an incentive to post here more. Mostly I've been working on a baby blanket for a colleague and I can post some pictures of that too.

So check back soon for updates.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Thanksgiving Disaster - Averted

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada. Monday is a holiday but families have their meal on any of the three days. From what I can ascertain the meal is pretty much the same as American Thanksgiving.

We celebrated last night and invited 2 English families to join us - one of which have been in Canada for just a couple of months. The nice thing about having the meal in the evening is that I had the day to prepare the meal and didn't have to prepare everything the night before and get up early to put the turkey in the oven.

It was all going well with no rush until I removed the turkey from its packing. Phew the smell. The turkey was off. Had to pack it back up, find receipt, and husband hot footed it to the store to get another one. This he accomplished within half an hour so I was not too delayed in the cooking. Although it was not a pleasant experience for him having a stinky turkey in the car and he felt really sorry for the guy on the service desk who had to accept the rank animal.

One good thing came from this. The turkey was refunded at the price we paid and then husband had to buy another one. Well they were now half price. So at least we saved money for our troubles.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not-in-the-Stash Bag

Or Not in the Stash-Bag

Writing about the sweater at the weekend gave me a nudge to finish a bag that had been languishing in my sewing room for a few months.

Keeping with my new tradition of not adding to the stash, when I finished the sweater I immediately found something to make with the two balls of wool I had left. I cast on this bag.

I made some changes to the way it was made to limit the seams and to allow for the limited amount of yarn I had. I cast on with Judy's Magic Cast-on so that I was working in a circle, both sides at the same time. I worked until I ran out of yarn which was a few rows short on the rib and I had a length left to work the button strap.

I even went out and bought material for the lining and webbing for the strap and a button and when I got home I made the lining. All good so far, this was all in the space of about a week, but my incentive died quickly when I was missing one part for the strap. I wanted to have the strap adjustable but I could not find the appropriate piece in the right width. (The supply of buttons etc. in Calgary is sorely limited.) So last weekend I decided to just finish the bag and here it is.

Not really summery but as we have rain forecast all week (it is June after all) it should fit in with the overall greyness of things.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Will It Get Cold Again Sweater

This is a sweater I knit for the spousal unit this winter and it is so named because when I finished it right at the beginning of Feb we hit a warm spell. I haven't posted about it as I haven't any pictures of it fully finished. Anyway here is the most complete photo I have.

So why I am posting about a sweater when I still don't have any decent photos. Well, this is this morning.

And to answer my own question, yes it will get cold again and not necessarily when you think.

Some information about the sweater. It is knit with Museum by Artful Yarns a bulky wool. To get the right size I used the measurements from an existing sweater. The yoke was knit from cuff to cuff and then stitches picked up for the body. And this is where I got clever. Spousal Unit tried it on after the yoke and before the body and it fit just fine but I noticed it was riding up in the back so after picking up the stitches for the body, I knit some short rows just on the back and it fits perfectly. Except you'll have to take my word for it as I haven't any photos in use.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Quilt

A long time ago, on a dark and stormy night, I mentioned the purchase of this book and what it had led to. The book is done. I have worked all of the projects.

Here is the final effort.

I don't keep a record of when I start quilts which may be a good thing on this one. I went great guns when I started but the lesson I learned is never sew when you are mad at your child for being late home. After that I didn't work on it for a while, and then I didn't have enough fabric for the backing. My MIL sent some from her stash so backing and binding was finally done, just needed to sew down the binding which was where another great delay occurred. I need good light to sew so it is not something I usually do when watching television. I did a little bit each evening and then for some unknown reason I stopped with just a few inches to go.

Finally on Saturday I took it outside and finished it. Which took less than half-hour including cutting all the treads from the quilting.

For this quilt I decided to use a different batting. So that it was thinner and more likely to lie flat, I used a sheet as the batting. I bought a sheet set on sale, nothing very expensive. What I didn't take into account was the weight of the thing. Yes, the sheet might be thin and the quilt lie flat but it was heavy when quilting.

The quilt is all stash fabrics either my own or what MIL sent.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Où Est Mon Croissant?

On Saturday I finished my Clapotis and the other half said he would take me out for a croissant on Sunday to celebrate.

So he took me to Second Cup on Sunday morning but no croissants. Never mind I had a scone instead and, of course, a big cup of coffee.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blogging by Phone

Well almost.

I have mentioned in various posts that my camera has been playing up, well I finally sent it off for repair last week but I still want (need) to take pictures. I can borrow a camera from work but that isn't very useful when I suddenly have to photograph something - RIGHT NOW.

This is the predicament I was in this weekend. I knew the tablecloth was coming to a close and that I would need another project and the complicated lace project won't cut it. I have plans for something else but the skein of yarn need to be wound into a ball but I wanted to have a photo of it before it was wound and there was no way I was going to wait until I could get a camera to wind the yarn. That yarn needed to be wound before it passed its use-by-date. I resorted to my phone and here is the picture of pre-wound yarn.

And here is a picture of it nicely wound into a ball or more like an egg.

The yarn is Anne by Schaeffer. Do you remember this?.
I must admit I had put off winding this yarn because I was worried the same thing would happen again. It wasn't as bad but still a bit tangley at the end.

It is now on my needles as a Clapotis and I should have my camera back at the same time I finish so hopefully some photos.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nearly There

Way back in November I wrote about a mystery knit.

Well, this morning I finally finished the knitting part, the start and the end of the edging were grafted and I have a tablecloth - well almost. It needs serious blocking. Although knitted with 100% Mercerized cotton, it will stretch as I knitted to a much looser gauge. It is bulky and doesn't lie smoothly where the first oval increases were made and I am hoping a good stretch will sort that out. I spread the cloth out on the coffee table to get an idea of what it looked like and then I snatched it up and put it on and it was a perfect size as a shawl. So when I have to pop outside when its a bit chilly I can just grab the tablecloth.

My camera has been sent off for repair so there will be photos one day.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Don't Ask Why

I didn't post pictures of everything I made last year. So as it is hard to take pictures of current projects, here is something from last year.

Another baby blanket for someone else at work who was pregnant (she had the baby in February.)

The pattern is from this book.

The original pattern called for worsted weight yarn but that would have produced a blanket too large and heavy for a baby so I followed the pattern as directed using 4-ply washable baby yarn.

Excluding the fringe, the finished size was 79 cm x 58 cm.

As a bonus, I spotted a small giraffe soft-toy in the local supermarket so I bought that to go with the blanket. (No photo so you'll have to use your imagination.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March's Dishcloths

Here are this month's dishcloths - photos courtesy of the scanner, hence the 2nd one being cut off.

The first pattern of each month has an image related to the month. When this one was completed I thought of a big pot of water over a fire ready to accept its human sacrifice. Boy child took one look at it and said Pot of Gold which is what it is.

I really this pattern, like most of the circular cloths it has come out quite large but I expect I can shrink it a bit in the wash.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Sock

in other words knitting content

The camera is one step closer to being repaired but in the meantime I have found a way to post pictures of the smaller objects I make - Scan Them.

So without further ado here is a sock.

The trouble with scanning is that you have no control over the light but it is a better picture than the ones I have been taking with the cameras I have borrowed.

And yes I did make 2 socks.

I found the pattern on the internet somehow - it appears that I downloaded it in March 2007. It calls for a thicker yarn but I followed the pattern using Patons Kroy Socks 4-ply and it came out just fine and fits me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Am a Cupcake

The internet is full of things that will suck time. Blog Things being a prime example. So this is today's result. Which is very funny for 2 reasons:
this is nothing like me;
red velvet cupcakes from Crave Cupcakes are my absolute favourite.

You Are a Red Velvet Cupcake

You are sensual and self-indulgent. If it feels good, you'll do it.

You're drawn to gorgeous, sexy people. You can't help it if you want your friends to be attractive!

You are like a cupcake because you are completely decadent and over the top.

You believe life is too short to deprive yourself. You rather overdo it than go without.

What Flavor Cupcake Are You?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

February's Dishcloths

The pictures aren't wonderful but here are the dishcloths from February.

I really like this but it has come out very thick so it is more like a pot holder.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Coffee and Knitting

They had these in Starbucks at Christmas and for some reason I thought a member of my family would see them and automatically think of me and get me one. Well that didn't happen.

After Christmas when the mugs went on sale there were none of these. So I kicked myself for not getting one when I first saw them. But last week I worked out that to get one of these mugs you have to be knitting.

Last Thursday evening was our monthly knitting gathering at Starbucks and on a table were a few of these mugs - on sale - and as two of the employees join us for knitting we were given a discount on them as well.

Coffee always tastes better out of a mug that is on sale and discounted.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

January's Dishcloths

Now that we are in February, I thought it is about time I posted photos of January's dishcloths before I start on February's.

This is the dishcloth from the beginning of January and seems very appropriate for this house.

The yarn I used was Bernat Cot 'n Corn which is 67% cotton and 33% corn. It is a nice yarn but the dishcloth doesn't keep it's shape unlike the ones made from Bernat Handicrafter Cotton such as the next one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not in the Stash Mittens

So, I finished requested bed socks but still had some yarn left over. (Each sock used just over 1/2 ball of Alpaca.) And this is the problem with my stash it is mostly left overs. To avoid adding to my stash, I immediately cast on for a pair of mittens and because I'm nice and it was really his yarn, I made mittens for the spousal unit.

Working from the top down, I made a thumb and then the main part of the mitten. I ran out of yarn just as I was finishing the thumb shaping, so a bit of black yarn (from the stash of course) doubled and hey presto! I had a cuff that looks like it was meant to be.

This time the gods were smiling on me. When I knitted the second mitten, there was much more yarn left over than when I had finished the mitten. Lucky me that I didn't use that ball first, otherwise I would have changed the thumb shaping and then been buggered when it came to the other mitten and didn't have enough yarn.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Matrimonial Harmony Socks

The spousal unit asked me to knit him some socks that he could wear in bed when his feet are cold. He wanted them, thicker, looser and shorter than normal socks. I searched for patterns but didn't see anything I liked until the light bulb went off and I realised that I could just use a generic sock pattern.

I took him to Michael's when they had their yarn sale, picked up some different yarns and told him to pick and told him not to choose the cheapest but the one that felt the nicest. He chose Bernat Alpaca, which is 30% alpaca, 70% nylon, in a dark grey.

I used a generic toe-up sock pattern, adding a 3 x 1 rib on the instep for a bit of stretch. I started with needles 2 sizes smaller than recommended but this produced a stiff material, so I went down just one size to produce a firm but still soft material. After the short row heel I changed to 3 x 1 rib all around for the cuff. When the cuff was the correct length I worked one round of all purl stitches, changed to a size larger needle, and 1 x 3 rib for the turn back of the cuff. This produced a nice turn over for the cuff.

Excuse the poor quality of the photos but my camera has stopped working so I am having to use something more basic.

You can see from the next photo what a difference the bigger needle makes to the size of the cuff.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiday Knitting

I've called this holiday knitting because it covers two holidays - Summer and Christmas.

At the Stampede in July I bought 3 skeins of Alpaca as it was a good price for three rather than buying individual skeins. I decided a pair of gloves was the right project for these and if I made them while away in the summer they would be ready for the winter.

Good idea so far. except, instead of making a standard glove I decided that it would be fun to work from the top down. That means I work each finger and thumb individually and then work them into the glove at the right point.

Now I know why there aren't any commercial patterns for this method. It was very fiddly plus I didn't find any advantage in being able to adjust the length of each finger. In fact it was harder as there wasn't the hand of the glove in the right position. I finished one and promptly didn't like it. A combination of the gauge and the size. Although I had tested gauge before I left, this was too loose plus I didn't like the fit of the glove. I don't have very big hands and the glove seemed too big.

So it languished in its bag until the weather got really cold and I thought another pair of gloves would be useful. So over Christmas break I made a pair of gloves the conventional way. Yes, a pair, as I made both of them this time. I went down two needle sizes from the original and they fit much better.

But at -13 degrees alpaca doesn't cut it and I still need two pairs of gloves.