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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year in Review

According to my projects listed on Ravelry, I have 31 items for 2010. Of these, there is one I unpicked, 2 that I started in 2009 and 1 I started in 2008, and 2 projects that are not finished. Of those 31 projects, 9 are pairs of socks, 4 are dishcloths, 8 are for charity, 1 baby blanket, 5 shawls or scarves, 1 skirt, 1 bag, 1 hat, 1 pair of mittens. Fewer projects than in 2009, but last year I made way more dishcloths. 3 of the items were gifts, everything else was made for me, the advantage of this is that I know I am going to like the finished item and if I don't then I am not hurting anyone's feelings by unpicking it or giving it away. I am pleased to say that everything mentioned in this post has been completed.

I have worn the skirt a couple of times and really like it. This is the pattern. It can be easily adapted for any yarn and I would not be surprised if I made some more. Will post some photos when I can persuade someone to take a decent one of me wearing it.

Here are photos of the mystery socks for September and November. I really enjoyed the patterns for both of these and am grateful that both designers gave of their time to provide these free patterns for the group.

What I haven't talked about are the blankets I have worked on for Western Canadian Odd-ball Baby Blanket Society. Information on this group which incorporated as an official non-profit charitable society this year can be found here.

The stash did increase rather this year with the shopping trip in Denver and a yarn crawl with other like minded people from my neck of the woods. More about plans for the stash to follow.

On the book front, I read 97 books this year. This surprised me as I thought that I wasn't reading as much. Some of these books were children's books and graphic novels. As usual my reading is across the board but does tend to avoid science fiction and fantasy. Books that I have read are shown on my shelf on this blog.

On the personal front; the boy child graduated high school this June and spent the last three months of the year in Denver although he plans to come back to Calgary to study or work. Our beautiful white cat has an idiopathic chylothorax. The first visit involved draining over 400 ml of fluid from her chest. Subsequent vet visits drained over 300 ml each visit. The last visit was a month ago but I am religiously giving her supplements twice a day.

And as usual, as today is our anniversary, I thank my husband for another wonderful year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ready For Winter

In October I told you about the yarn my husband had bought in Finland. He had purchased the yarn with a hat in mind, so as winter was knocking I started knitting and this is the hat.

The pattern is from Shawl and Scarves: The Best of Knitters Magazine. I used about one and half balls so decided to make the matching mittens.

After completing one mitten I weighed the remaining wool. I have a balance scale and with the mitten on one side and the remaining wool on the other, the scale balanced. I had no room for error.

There was just enough yarn. Which means no extra in the stash - yea.

A word about the pattern for the mittens. I achieved gauge and the hat fit fine; as written the mittens were enormous. No wonder they were photographed flat. I rewrote the pattern to fit my hands.

Do you like the snow effect in the photos?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Blanket

I recently completed a blanket for an ex-colleague whose baby is due 1 January 2011. I didn't rush to start a blanket as I had plenty of time. I had had an idea of the blanket I wanted to make and even had the yarn in my stash but for whatever reason I chose not to make it and started looking in all my books for something that I thought would work. The next pattern I chose was knitted with elephants on it but decided against this one as the crochet blanket with giraffes was given to a colleague at the same work place and I didn't want my friend to think I was fixated on African mammals.

Eventually I decided on a pattern from Vogue Knitting on the Go: Baby Blankets Two. A bit of a risk I know as these books are riddled with errors but I checked on Ravelry and Sixth and Spring's website and couldn't find any errors. Having made a decision on the pattern, the next job was to find the right yarn. I felt that a flat colour wouldn't work with this pattern and I needed a variegated yarn or yarn with a bit of texture. I eventually bought Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots. This is a great yarn as it comes in non-traditional baby colours. i.e. there are colours other than pastels in the range. I chose dark pink. I bought the yarn at the end of August and started the blanket on 7 September. It was an easy pattern to memorise, the only bug bear was on one row you worked knit 4 together and then knit 4 together thorough back of loops. I was in pain after that row as I was gritting my teeth so tightly. I had to come up with a solution if I wanted the knitting to be an enjoyable experience. So on the row prior to the decrease, I wrapped the yarn twice round the needle for one of the stitches in each set of 4. This gave me just a little extra yarn and made it easier to get the needle in the stitches for the decreases. I'm glad I came up with this solution as it made the knitting much easier and enjoyable. Which was a good thing as I thought I had plenty of time to complete the blanket, but my friend decided to have her shower on 21 October. I suppose I could have turned up without a gift and given her the blanket later but she knew I'd be knitting a blanket and I didn't want to disappoint her. I exclusively worked on the blanket and finished it completely on 12 October.

This is the yarn I used.

The finished blanket.

And a close up.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eating Animals

I'm not talking about vegetarians versus meat eaters. This is much more important - sweets in the shape of animals.

Do you ever give a second thought to chewing a gummy bear and a gummy worm is just a longer bear, right? Personally I like the blue gummy sharks. And I have even cooked cat shaped pasta for my son.

On Monday when I was doing the food shopping, I noticed some liquorice in an animal shape. There is a limit to the shapes I will eat. I'm sorry I cannot eat black cats.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Coping With Texas’s Air Conditioning

So my last post was about the cold of Texas despite the warm temperatures. Today's post is about how I was able to improve the situation.

Just a few days before I went away I finished a shawl. Not just any shawl but my oldest UFO. The shawl was started on 3 July 2008 and the final blocking completed on 19 October 2010. The yarn was left over from knitting the shawl for my Mother-in-Law which is photographed here. It is also the item for which I needed more yarn.

I wasn't working on this shawl continuously from start to finish. It was put on hold many times when I had other projects that had to be finished. I finished it at just the right time as it was really useful in Texas. Here are some photos of it in its many stages. The pattern is Laminaria from

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Air Conditioning

This post is dedicated to my friend Myrna. She and I have a friendly difference about the need for air conditioning in Calgary. It does not get hot enough or humid enough here to necessitate air conditioning. True, the sun beating in through a window can cause an unnatural spike to the temperature but I have found that there is usually air movement ranging from a gentle breeze to near hurricane so just open some windows and the air cools down. Myrna, who, incidentally, has no meat on her bones, thinks that above 25o C is hot and air conditioning in Calgary is an absolute must.

The purpose of this post is not to point out Myrna's temperature foibles (although I am sure she thinks she is the normal one and I am the one with issues) but to talk about air conditioning in the US. I have visited our southern friends twice this year. In the summer I went to Denver. Having lived there I knew I would not have any problems with the temperatures. I loved the 90 degree weather (note speaking American now) and restaurants were not over cooled so that you did not need to add clothes when you went inside. I have just returned from a trip to Texas, specifically Houston and the hill country. Conditions are a little different there. They love their air conditioning. It was hot, high 80s, loved it although my feet in new shoes weren't so happy. But everywhere indoors was cold. One hotel was so cold we had to have all the blankets on the bed. And I knew Myrna would have been contented so I wonder how she is getting on in Egypt which I am sure is not so heavily air conditioned. Although if you check out her blog she is having a great time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Non-English Speaking Yarn

Earlier this year hubby went to Finland (and was stuck there a few extra days courtesy of Eyjafjallajökull). I asked him to buy me some Finnish yarn. The only stipulation being that he had to buy enough to make something. I had visions of him returning with balls of yarn that would make one glove or one sock. To assist with my request I told him where there was a yarn shop in the town where he was staying. Information I had obtained from a Finnish group on Ravelry.

Being the dutiful husband that he is he went to the shop and bought yarn. I am impressed that the person who helped him was able to describe in English to a non-knitter what each of the yarns were suited for. She told him that there is not much of a demand for Finnish yarns as the locals want yarn from elsewhere which I totally understood because they are looking for something different.

He managed to come home with a ball of Finnish sock yarn and 3 balls of Létt-Lopi from Iceland.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Helping With the Stash

The last post was about additions to the stash. Most of them are skeins which will have to be wound before they can become socks or shawls. This is an occupation for movie watching and something I do by myself - all requests for help from the other occupants of the house being refused. So I treated myself to this as an early Christmas present from my husband.

A Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder

I bought it at Michaels and I used a 40% off coupon which made the price much more reasonable.

I love it. I tried it out on some yarn that I was in the process of unpicking and then I went onto a lace weight yarn. It was yarn that I had already wound by hand but was unhappy with the way I had wound it. Next, I wound yarn from a skein. I had to hold the skein between my hands as I do not have any sort of yarn holder or swift, and having the skein on the back of a chair which I would do for hand winding did not work with this machine. But it is so quick that I wasn't holding skeins for long.

When I was looking for pictures of this machine (I ended up taking my own photos for this post), I found some reviews. The common complaint was that the balls were wound too loosely. I had this problem at first but found that if the yarn is tensioned before going into the machine, the resultant ball of yarn is more compact. The machine does not produce a cake like those produced by a hand winding machine. The final shape is much more like the put ups from Red Heart.

I love this machine so much that I am winding all my balls of yarn before I use them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In The Stash

This post is courtesy of my husband. I showed him the yarn I bought in Denver and he said I should put it on my blog. Apparently, as I write about what comes out of the stash I should write about what goes in the stash.

We moved from Denver about 4 1/2 years ago and in that time some yarn stores have closed and some new ones have opened. During my trip, I visited 4 yarn shops, plus Joanne's, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. The stores I visited were chosen solely based on their location.

The first place I visited was I Love Knitting, opened since I moved away. This shop was at a disadvantage being the first place I visited as I hadn't really decided what sort of yarn purchases I intended to make this trip. I was the only (potential) customer and the proprietor (I assume) acknowledged me and I said I was just looking. She let me look without talking to me further. I was very good and didn't buy anything just because I was there.

The next shop I visited was Colorful Yarns. I have a feeling that it might have opened before I left Denver. It is in a strange location and I am glad I phoned for directions. It is not in a position where shoppers would drop in as they are doing other shopping so you know everyone is in there because it is their intention. I decided that I wasn't going to waste my time just looking at the same yarn in yarn stores, so when I walked in and the proprietor asked if I needed help, despite there being many other customers she came up to me to ask me this, I told her I was visiting and was wondering if she had any yarn that was specific to the area. She showed me sock yarn dyed by a woman in Morrison. The name of her studio is Red Rocks Fiber Works. That seemed very local so I bought a skein. The other local yarn I bought was a mix of yak down and fine como. This came from a yak ranch in Elbert near where the boy child went to scout camp. I shall have to decide very soon if this will become a hat or a scarf as it is already cold here in Calgary. (Spot the post I wrote but took forever to finish.) I really liked this shop, the helpfulness of the owner and all the different yarn so I just had to buy more. I have decided that the easiest yarn to buy is sock yarn as I know how much is needed for a pair of socks. To the local yarns I added yarn from a dyer in Portland, Oregon. This is where Him Indoors grew up, so it seemed appropriate. I chose the Mount Hood Rose colorway. Then there was all the yarn that I had read about in the Ravelry sock group so I bought a skein of Madeline Tosh and a skein of Smooshy by Dream in Color. Oh and I got some needles – for sock knitting and some gifts to give with the WCOBBS blankets.

Here's a picture of the yarn. (Minus the yak/como which must be so special that I don't want people to see it?)

You would have thought that would be enough except there was a new yarn store I wanted to see. My next trip was to Lamb Shoppe. This is in a nice setting in an older part of town, just north of Cherry Creek North, if that makes sense. I was tempted by some sock yarn that had been dyed in Elbert, not the same place as the yak yarn, but I came to my senses because there weren't any colours I liked so I would really have been purchasing because it was independent and local and not because I liked the yarn. I ended up buying some more sock yarn – Panda - as well as the Noro I showed you in a previous post.

Well that really should have been it. Except I surprised myself and went to Knitty Cat. I hadn't planned to visit but I went to a liquor store in the same complex. (As an aside, I went to the liquor store to purchase Canadian Whiskey. Whiskey that is imported from Canada to the US which I would take back to Canada because it is way cheaper in the US. Go figure.) The reason I was surprised that I visited Knitty Cat is because I hadn't been too keen on the store when I lived in Denver. The owner always came across as aloof with her favourites and cliques. This visit she was very friendly and helpful and even offered the swift and ball winder to wind the yarn I had purchased - Araucania Ranco Solid and Alpaca Sox.

All in all a very successful trip.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Need to Finish Something, Anything

The other day as I entered a new project into Ravelry, I noticed that l now had 5 unfinished projects. How did that happen? Looking at them I had a reasonable excuse for each of them being in a not quite finished state. Firstly there was the crocheted baby hat. It needed ribbon. I still haven't made up my mind whether to use white that I already have or buy some to match the yarn colour. Then there is the skirt. Just needs the elastic for the waistband. I have some but it is narrower than called for in the pattern. Really I should make a trip to the fabric store and buy ribbon and elastic and finish these two things.

And then there is the really-have-to-concentrate shawl. This is the item where I ran out of yarn during cast off. I now have yarn so just need a simple movie and the shawl will be finished.

Then there are the socks, possibly the only unfinished item for which I have an excuse. They are a mystery knit. Clues (rows) are published once a week. I say "possibly" because all the rows have been published so I should be well on my way to finishing. If I was I would have a reasonable excuse for casting on the last item which started this introspection. I started a baby blanket. The reason? I was worried that if I didn't start, I would keep on putting it off until the last minute. Now I am glad that I have started, I have received an invitation to the shower in the middle of October. I should finish the blanket by then but all the aforementioned items will have to go on the back burner until the blanket is finished.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So Close And Yet So Far

My oldest project is a complicated lacy thing. Complicated because it requires concentration so it is my movie project although only regular movies not the artsy fartsy foreign language with sub titles stuff we like to watch. So as you can imagine this project has been going on for a while. But that's OK, it has kept me happy on Saturday night. It's amazing how much faster the knitting went when I added stitch markers between pattern repeats so that I wasn`t constantly counting stitches. A week ago I stopped I had just one more row to go – the cast off row. I was so excited to be there and finally see what this lace blob was going to look like.

Casting off in lace has to be very loose. For previous projects, I have increased needle size by lots or I have increased stitches. This particular pattern had a different way of casting off and the yarn was used double. After a few repeats I could see that the cast off edge was going to be loose enough so I continued as set. Except throughout the movie I had two mantras: "I don't like that girl" (character in movie) and "I don't think I have enough yarn". And low and behold I didn't have enough yarn (and I didn't like the character throughout the whole movie). How could I get this far and this close and still not be able to finish? Unpicking and redoing the cast off was not an option. Once I had gone through the fiddly process I would still have to work a very loose cast off so there was no guarantee that I would have enough yarn. I posted on Ravelry but no response so I found an online store that had the colour I needed. (A result of combining their Canadian and US operations. So I was lucky to find it as the colour is not shown on the manufacturer's website.) The colour was on sale so the cost of postage brought it up to normal price.

And that was what I wrote yesterday but hadn't got around to publishing so now this post is turning into a real whine. I ordered the yarn on Sunday night and received an automatic response. Then this afternoon I received an email from the company telling me the yarn was out of stock and they wouldn't be getting anymore. How could this be they had a number of skeins in stock when I placed my order and I only ordered one. So I responded to them with that question.

I then Googled the yarn because it obviously wasn't going to be easy to find. I clicked on a link that Google came up with and it took me to that website. (I hadn't realised as the site name and shop name are different.) And guess what? They still show 5 skeins in stock. So Customer Service who emailed me this afternoon didn`t think to update their website. And let me add here this is a well known on line store that yarnies rave about. Hurumph is all I can say.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Holiday Knitting

Had a slightly different vacation this year. I took boy child to Denver, where we used to live, as a graduation present. The spousal unit stayed at home to keep the cats company and look after my garden. Yes, I really piled the pressure on.

As is usual with holiday knitting, I wanted something easy and something new. A week before we went away one of the organisers of Western Canada Odd Ball Blanket Society put forward the idea of knitting themed squares for new blankets. I do admire her as she offered to sew them together. The themes were bugs, flowers, boy themed. I decided to make one square in each theme, as I would just need to take two balls of yarn (from my stash no less) 1 pair of needles and my notions case.

I did take other yarn with me which I'll tell you about after the photos of my squares.

The yarn used for all of the squares was Vanna's Choice which I had purchased when on sale at Michaels; needle size 5.5 mm.

The pattern was from here.

This is the pattern. I cast on fewer stitches and made the border smaller and worked fewer rows at beginning and end so this square would come out close to the required size.

This pattern was from the Yahoo Group so I cannot give a direct link. It is a rectangular design so I blocked it to make it a square.

I could have made all three squares from one ball of yarn but decided that the boy themed should be blue.

I did take other yarn and a pattern and needles with me but I had already been yarn shopping by the time I'd finished all three squares so I cast on some of the yarn I bought instead. I can't say what the pattern is yet as the Spousal Unit is supposed to be guessing, but here is a picture of the yarn.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Heel We Go

The options for June for the Sock Knitting Group were
Technique: Design Your Own Or Vintage Patterns
Designer: Stephanie Van Der Linden

I decided against designing my own pattern as I knew there would be too many choices to make so for June I opted to make a Stephanie Van Der Linden pattern. I chose Grün ist die Hoffnung as it started with knitting lace in the round and then continued into a sock. I used Fleece Artist Merino in a softly variegated green.

You work the lace medallion first, continue on one side to create a short row toe, work the sole in stocking stitch while picking up stitches on two sides of the square, continue in the round on all stitches until foot is long enough, work a short row heel, continue in the round until leg is the required length. And there’s your sock.

The written pattern by Stephanie Van Der Linden was very short and easy to follow except I was not sure what she meant for her short row instructions, so for the first toe I worked a standard wrap and turn that I have used many times for heels. Except when completed I was not sure I really liked the look of it, as I had 3 more opportunities of working short rows in this pattern I decided to try other methods to compare and which I liked best for future reference.

Here is the picture of the first wrap and turn toe.

For the heel, I searched for instructions on how to do the double stitch method referred to in the pattern. This is a photo of just one side. I found plenty of instructions for working this on the purl row but not for working on a knit row. So I am not convinced that I worked it correctly on knit rows.

The second toe, I worked without wraps and picking up a stitch at the side when working back along the rows. This is a picture of the nicer side. With this method I had to really make sure I had picked up the correct stitch.

I had found two clips on You Tube for short row heels that involved knitting two together and making a stitch on the return rows. As I had just one heel left, I chose to go with this method.
This is a picture of what it looked like.

The end result of my experimentation (apart from a pair of socks) is that I decided that my original wrap and turn toe did not look as bad as I first thought; the final method is the one I like best but I will need to make some modifications to ensure both sides of the heel look the same; there are more methods out there for me to try.

Here are the finished socks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Hope He Didn’t Find That In A Dumpster

Yesterday we went out for coffee before facing the supermarket. We must look like trustworthy souls as a guy sitting opposite us asked to watch his bag. I made the typical girl comment that is wasn't safe if it contained chocolate. (I don't know why I say things like that when I don't even eat chocolate very often.)

Anyway, he comes back, takes a container out of his backpack, and says "chocolate". My immediate response, "that's not chocolate, that's Hershey's." "I know", says he " but I found it." Hmm, wonder whose chocolate he's stolen.

The spousal unit then asks about the book he's reading. The guy says he found it in a dumpster when looking for bottles. "it's amazing what people throw away, this is in brand new condition."

So now I'm worried where he found the chocolate.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blogging in Starbucks

So here I am a lonely person on my laptop in Starbucks.

The reason being that I am on vacation and the power is out in the hotel. So in need of coffee I decided to take the computer with me and catch up on a few things.

I was surprised when I walked in that most of the tables were occupied by one person on their computer so I didn't need to worry that I would be the only one. The tables that were used by more than one person were meetings, I don't think anyone is in here with a friend just being sociable.

The point of this post is to ask about the etiquette of using your computer at Starbucks.

Starbucks provides free internet and you don't even have to log in and provide an email address. Very easy. The person sitting next to me came in after me and plugged her laptop into a power socket and is working away, I don't know if she is using the internet. That's OK other patrons are using Starbucks' power but..... she isn't a patron she hasn't purchased a thing. Considering a coffee is less than US $2.00 it strikes me as being rude to use Starbucks facilities without making a purchase. I am sure it has not occurred to her that if we all did that Starbucks would stop the free service and would become like the fast food places where you only get the key to the bathroom if you purchase something.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Mystery Continues

After knitting two pairs of socks in April, I was ready for May's challenge:
Cables and/or Traveling Stitches
Cat Bordhi
Mystery Sock designed by Cookie A

Having knitted a number of Cookie A's socks, I couldn't resist a mystery by her. The yarn is S R Kertzer's On Your Toes Bamboo. A yarn with a lovely feel and had great stitch definition but was horribly splitty so the joy of the feel for knitting was spoiled by the splitting.

But I am really pleased with the end result. I finished with about 5g of yarn remaining. So very close but at least I don't have to worry about what to do with the left overs.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

April's Socks

I've been trying to decide whether to post about my socks or the group on Ravelry I have joined which is "making" me knit socks, in case any of you are wondering why I need a group to tell me what to knit.

I'm going for the socks as I knit two pairs in April. The theme in April was Technique: Socks from a currently published online Magazine
Designer: Cookie A
so I chose 2 patterns from and used yarn from my stash.

This is the first pattern.

I used Patons Stretch Socks which is not the best for showing the pattern off but as there had been comments about the tight fit, I thought a stretch yarn would be good for the pattern. They do fit remarkably well. Here is a link to the pattern so that you can see how good it looks in striping yarn. I would be tempted to make this pattern again in a self-striping yarn.

And here is the other pair I made using Lana Grosa Meilenweit Seta/Cashmere yarn which has cashmere and silk and felt lovely to knit with.

I wore these to book club and I have never had so many comments about my hand knitted socks before, which was rather nice as they are lovely looking socks. Of course, now I want to make the shawl the pattern was based on; Eugen Beugler's Frost Flowers and Leaves which is published in A Gathering of Lace. There are parts of the pattern which could be better written and there are notes on my Ravelry page.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Great Sock Mystery

In my last post I mentioned a sock knitters group on Ravelry that I had joined. Every odd month they have a mystery pattern where "clues" are published once a week for four weeks. March was the first month I participated. The pattern was by Kristi Geraci and after the mystery was complete there was a competition to name the pattern and it is now named Belle Vitini.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Year of the Sock

Last Year was The Year of the Dishcloth and this year is turning into The Year of Socks. For the simple reason that despite already having sock yarn I bought more last year. At the beginning of the year I had enough yarn to knit 11 pairs of socks. I have knitted 5 pairs of socks and am working on another pair so I should have yarn enough for 5 pairs of socks - enough to take me through to the end of the year. Wrong! I bought some sock yarn - just one ball, was given some sock yarn and the spousal unit bought me some when he was in Finland. But if I continue knitting at least one pair a month I will finish the year with much less sock yarn than I started the year.

To help me use all this sock yarn, I joined a group on Ravelry called Sock Knitters Anonymous for those addicted to sock yarn and maybe knitting a sock sometimes. Each month there is a theme and a chance to win (knitterly) prizes. The good thing about this group is the amazing patterns that other members reference or make; the bad thing about this group is the amazing patterns that other members reference or make.

To give you an idea, here's a (poor) picture of the sock I am currently working on.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Yes It's a Dishcloth

At the beginning of January I updated you with the last of the dishcloths. A good thing that I wrote in that post
But I doubt it will be the end for knitting dishcloths.
as I knitted another one this week.

I had the bright idea to make a dishcloth for a colleague - an Easter dishcloth. I came up with the idea on Tuesday, my last day in the office this week was Wednesday; so Tuesday night was spent knitting a dishcloth (and catching up with posts on Ravelry). The only good idea behind this exercise was using a pattern that I had knitted before. I made an illusion cloth that I had made as part of the mystery group last year.

Yes I did finish it and gave it to my colleague on Wednesday and she loved it.

The pictures aren't brilliant as I had to take them in lamplight.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why Did You Pinch Me?

Last Wednesday was St. Patrick's Day. Which seems to be celebrated more outside of Ireland with many large North American cities having parades. There is also the ancient custom of inflicting pain on a person who does not wear green on that day. The first I had ever heard of this was when someone actually pinched me at work for not wearing green. In the litigious world of the US I should have sued them for physical and mental pain. Being British I had never heard of this let alone believed that a grown woman would pinch a temporary member of staff.

Fast forward a few years to Calgary, Starbucks and knitting group on 16 March. Discussion about what people would be wearing the next day, when our American pops her head up from her knitting on DPNs (we are so proud of her) and wants to know what the crazy canucks are talking about this time. It turns out that this east coast girl from Maine had never heard of wearing green and being pinched if you don't.

The next day at work I carried out a random survey of one and asked a guy, originally from Toronto, if he knew about the wearing of green and being pinched. He'd never heard of it. So is this something that started in the mid-west and spread west or did it start on the west coast and is spreading east?

Of course, like most traditions, no one knows how this started and the opinions on the internet range from it being started by school children to being a political statement.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Olympics, Canada and the National Anthem

Well that's it for 2 years. The Olympics have finished. As they were in the country where I live, there was 24-hour coverage and I could watch most events live. Normally I watch NBC's Olympic coverage as I have found it to be superior to other networks but my feed was from Seattle, which didn't start until 9.00 in the evening (they had some daytime coverage). So I'm sorry Bob (Costas) I didn't get to watch you this year. Hope to see you in 2012.

There was much blogging and online news articles about the organization of the events. Many of them having no idea of the history of the Olympics and using their electronic forum to mis-informatively rant. For example, there was the English-speaking Canadian complaining about Michaelle Jean speaking in French at the opening of the games. And, of course, complaints about practicing. All I can say, is read your history before complaining.

The other interesting aspect of the reporting of these games were the complaints about Canadians celebrating. So many other nationalities took offense to Canadians celebrating when a medal was won. I didn't get that. Are other countries allowed to celebrate wins but Canada isn't? The Olympics were held in Canada, were the regular citizens expected to carry on with their lives and ignore what was going on in Vancouver/Whistler? it was as if the foreign press and bloggers had a picture of Canadians and when they didn't conform to someone else's expectation they were vilified.

If you have never been to a sporting event in Canada, you cannot imagine what it is like to hear the National Anthem. Everybody sings it, and they mean it and believe in their country. They know they live in the best country in the world. And sure if you want to move here we'll make you welcome. It is very hard to describe the atmosphere if you have not experienced it. And that was the one thing that the non-Canadian announcers deemed OK for the Canadians. You can celebrate Gold only by belting out your National Anthem.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fire in the Sock Chimney

I have waxed lyrical previously about the wonders of the internet and how you can found out something about anything. Through this marvelous means I was directed to Lucy Neatby and her method for finishing sock toes. Her method is to start in the middle of the toe and work to each edge. The web page had photos with explanations - seemed straight forward. So one afternoon I sat in a sunny window and finished my sock.

Here is a picture of the sock with the rows of waste yarn

and here is a picture of the finished toe.

Did you spot that there's something wrong? The toe isn't finished. I managed to get the stitches back on the needles and finished the toe. No damage.

So when I finished the second sock (remember I always knit two) I decided to have another go at the sock chimney. I made a couple of changes; as I tend to knit my socks inside out I continued working this way and worked only a couple of rows in waste yarn and left the stitches on the needles.
I was hoping by doing this I would be able to see more clearly where to sew. I opened the web page and followed the directions again but after a few stitches I realised where I had gone wrong previously - in following the waste yarn I had followed the line of the first row of scrap yarn whereas I should have been going into the stitches of the last row of main yarn. I took out my yarn and started again and ended up with this nice toe.

I like this method of finishing but don't like the three ends that have to be sewn in. It is definitely easier to work from the wrong side and it is not easier if you keep the stitches on the needles.

And here is the finished sock.

The pattern is Rick from Cookie A's new sock book and the yarn is Regia 4 Ply worked on 2.75 mm dpns.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

OR: How Happy Can One Girl Be Over A Bag?

There are so many knitting and crochet books available these days which is a huge change in the last 10 to 15 years. I frequently have a quick perusal of the books in the library as I nearly always find a book new to me. One of these books was Not Your Mama's Crochet which was edited by (at that time) a local designer. One of the designs was a bag made from what I call carrier bags, the plastic part of the now redundant question "paper or plastic?"

I duly saved the required number of bags but didn't do anything with them. Mainly because I didn't want to go to the work of cutting them up and crocheting them to end up with something embarrassingly awful. But in the interests of using up my stash (used bags count as stash?) and because I didn't crochet at all in 2009, I decided to go ahead with the project.

Basically there were three parts:- cutting the bags into strips, joining the strips and crocheting the bag.

So let the excitement begin.
Here we have the bags waiting to be cut up. In the interests of full disclosure they are from the Co-op but they are not the current design. These ones have green and some black print. I used my rotary cutter and three was the best number to cut together. They were very staticy (is that a word?) and clung together.

Here are the bags now cut into strips.

I was full of grand ideas and I was going to join the strips into one big ball before starting to crochet but that soon got boring. I'm not sure how many I joined before I started, but once started I joined strips in as needed. I put all the strips into a bag and just took them out as they came, I didn't plan the order of the pattern. At one point, I joined a new strip at the beginning of the round so I counted how many strips were needed for a round, I then put three times that number to one side for the handle round and the rounds after. Except as you know the best laid plans.....when I ran out of strips instead of unpicking my work back to the beginning of the round, I took some strips from my saved pile to finish the round, thinking it wouldn't matter as I had over estimated. No such luck! I needed a few more strips to finish the last round and the bags I had used were old so what was I going to use, but in the bottom of the bag where I keep carrier bags I found some old design Co-op bags to save the day.

So here it is in all its glory.

The finished size is approx. 25 cm width and 19 cm depth and I used just over 18 bags. The handles were purchased at a fabric store.