Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mission accomplished

Remember way back in April, when I set  my friend Aneesha on the path to the dark side?

And then in May when I bought her everything she needed to knit a giant owl for birthday?
 Well - the other day, she messaged me and shared a picture
Mr. Owl is finished and he looks pretty darn fantastic for a newbie knitter who had to learn several new techniques on the fly to get him done.

Her comments when she sent him: "I was actually sad when I got him done and I'm trying to figure out what to knit next"

Well Knitters... it's fair to say we've sucked in another one! And as Aneesha says "The Dark Side is surprisingly squishy!"

Yes it is - and a little sheepy-smelling too!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Hitofude is going along swimmingly. Well... sort of.

Last night I got the second sleeve seamed and started on the collar and ribbing along the body. Tonight I finished up the ribbing, and went to bind the collar off, and discovered I didn't have near the amount of stitches I should.

And I can't for the life of me figure out why... unless I cast on the wrong amount of stitches, or somehow picked up the provisonal cast on wrong... but I don't think so.

You know me... I was sick at the thought of knitting it all again, so I decided to just press forward. I had to change some of the counts a bit, but I got the pattern to a place where I could slide it all on some waste yarn to try it on.
 If it fit, I could forge ahead with my mods. If it didn't... welll.... riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibit!!!!

However, I am very pleased and relieved to say, it fits like a glove! (Thank goodness for narrow shoulders!) In fact it fits much better than I think it would if I'd had the right amount of stitches. As the painter Bob Ross so wisely said... there are no mistakes - just happy accidents!

So - the upper body is complete, now it's onto the body, where I expect the knitting will slow exponentially... there's a lot of increasing in my future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hitofude love

I seem to have hit my stride with Hitofude. Last night I got the  last repeat of the upper body and sleeves done, and even managed to seam the first sleeve before bed.
 Now I know what you’re thinking… “but Valerie, last night was Monday. You said Hitofude was weekend knitting.”

True, but now that I’ve got my groove on, I want to get as much done as I can before I lose it.

When I first started knitting this, I really didn’t love it. Oh – I loved the pattern, and I loved the yarn, but knitting it just wasn’t doing it for me. The rows were long and slow, and my hands ached a little while doing them. It just wasn’t making for a happy knit.

But then I realized something… the discomfort was because my hands were cold! You see, every autumn, I play a game called “No heat until November” and I try to resist the urge to turn the rads on until November first, no matter how cold it gets!

It’s usually not too bad – I’ve got lots of sweaters and shawls and blankets. But I didn’t realize how cold my hands were until the other night when I had to give Mr. Stinkypants a bath.
 (Only having three legs makes it hard to negotiate the box sometimes and accidents happen) Even though the poor boy was wrapped in a towel, under a fleece blanket and surrounded by my legs, he was shivering – so on went the heat.

He got nice and toasty and so did my hands.

And once the heat is turned on, there’s no point going back to cold when the cat is dry. So when I finally picked up Hitofude on the weekend, I noticed a huge difference. Rows went faster and my hands no longer ached!

So – now she’s getting plenty of love. Tonight I’ll seam the other sleeve and see how far I can get on the body. Want to lay bets on if I can have her done by Remembrance Day?

Monday, October 27, 2014

A world of colour

 I love this time of year - such a wonderful world of colour!

It was no different in the studio yesterday.
10 skeins of Slinky Cat dyed up and drying. It should be ready for the shop in a week or two. 

And since Mom has taken so much to spinning, I thought I'd try my hand at dyeing a little bit of bare fibre she had. 
The verdict is still out on my efforts - we'll see when they dry. But dyeing fiber is very different than yarn, and I'm not sure I like it as much. It doesn't take the dye the same and you have to be VERY careful not to felt it. Mom's going to let me how I made out with these ones and send me pics in a few days.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FO: We Call Him Spidey

The Spider Boy Hat is done
I stayed up late Friday night to finish and I'm very glad to have another Christmas present off the needles. I'm also glad I have a head the size of most children
I never have to worry if it will fit or not! 

I made a few mods to this one. First up was the weight. The pattern is for a fingering weight, but I used DK (Fat Cat for the win! Love our yarn!). I cast on 96 stitches and did three repeats of the chart. Because of that, the hat is a little long
But not enough that it really matters. It still looks okay.

Another mod is the brim. I just did one inch of simple 2-2 ribbing (the pattern calls for a folded hem). The last mod is the colour sequence. As written, only the bottom webs are in blue. The rest of the hat is red. But I quite like the balance look of all the webs in blue and the spiders in red.

Fairilse is still not my favourite type of knitting, but I do like the results, and all in all, it was a fairly enjoyable knit. Even more enjoyable because now that it's done, there are only three gifts left to knit! One hat, and two pairs of socks! I am on a roll!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Getting ready for spring

Today I tackled a few jobs that I really should have done while on vacation (but I just couldn't motivate myself)

But with November fast approaching, time was really running out. Yup - it's spring bulb planting time. I was in Canadian Tire the other day, getting a new pair of pruners (how I've managed to lose so many pairs, I'll never know) and I walked by the bulb display.
I have a load of tulips bulbs that Dad gave me from his gardens... but how could I resist? Mom used to have these when I was a teenager, but they didn't survive the move to Smithville.  They've always been my favourite tulip.

And then there was this...
I'd never heard of it before, but tt's also known as Spring Snowflake! So pretty.

I mixed the Queen of the Night tulips in with the bulbs Dad gave me...
...and planted them throughout the Lily and Tree gardens out front. It's hard to say what colours are in the ones Dad gave me, but it could be yellow, white, red, and pink and combinations thereof. They were a bunch he dug up when moving his gardens around.

The Spring Snowflake I planted all around the base of the tree. Now, lets hope I can keep the squirrels appeased with the black walnuts this winter and they leave my bulbs alone. If so, it's going to be a riot of colour with the Daffodils and Turkistan Tulips that made it through this spring.

While out there, I cleared out the dead plants and leaves from this summer.
The black clover has taken on a lovely red hue with the changing season.
The violas are still blooming away. Both of these will come back next year. Next year, I'll focus on getting some more fall plants - I've got spring and summer pretty well covered now.

With the front taken care of, I turned my attention to the back yard.
After much research, I've discovered that garlic is supposed to be a good repellant for Japenese beetles. I was already planning to plant some in the vegetable garden, but after reading that decided to plant some aroudn the roses too.
And would you believe the roses are still trying to bloom??? It's October! At least it seems I've picked good ones to weather the winter!

With the garlic planted, it was time to tackle a job I'd been putting off for far too long
Yup - that's the Gooseberry and Josta Berry chopped right back. The plan is to pull them out completely, but I think I'll wait until spring to do that (plus I think I'm going to need some man-muscle for that particular job).

The sparrows and Bun Bun aren't going to be happy about it. But I'll make it up to them next year when I replant. I'm thinking a Lilac and a Butterfly bush, and maybe a Raspberry Cane or two but we'll see what I can get when the time rolls around. Do you have a favourite flowering bush?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Old knits are the best knits

The Spidey hat is going slower than I expected, but that's okay - I haven't messed it up yet!
I'm almost to the decrease section, so the end is in sight.  The pattern continues the red through the upper web section, but I decided to keep the webs all in blue. I'm quite pleased with how it looks.

Since I don't have much current knitting to show, I've got an oldie. Years ago when I first started knitting, I knit a chunky chenille poncho. Despite the fact that it turned out way too big, I still love it. It's comfy and warm and I pull it out every autumn and frequently wear it instead of a coat. Today was no exception. And when I got home from work, I tossed it on the couch so I could sort out my bags and get the cats fed. When I came back out, I discovered Rocky on it, doing the paw dance with a blissed out look on his face
And really - who can blame him? It really is that comfy. But then I moved in for a closer look and realized....
He was also sitting on my keys.... what a cat!