Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dinosaur Village

The next week in Christmas Village Oakville, something astonishing happened. A stegosaurus showed up. Her name was Didi Honey Mommy. Peanut Butter was so happy to have a new friend. It was hard for Peanut Butter to find playmates in the village because of his size.

Together, the new friends built giant snow-people (see snow-people behind dinosaurs). This was great because they removed a ton of snow from the streets to build the snow-people thus clearing the roads for the cars to drive on. The village was very happy, too.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dinosaur Sighted in Christmas Village

A Brontosaurus was spotted in a small Christmas Village in Oakville! This is what I’ve been up to the last little while.

Meet Peanut Butter (love the name), my son’s stuffed dinosaur knit with Bernat’s Glow In The Dark Yarn that I purchased at Michaels. The pattern is available for free at as well as in the Ravelry pattern database.

I love these sorts of projects because they’re so quick and easy and give so much joy. The yarn really does glow in the dark but unfortunately, doesn’t photograph too well in the dark so I’m afraid I can’t show you how COOL this really is. How could I resist yarn that really glows in the dark!

On to knit my daughter’s dinosaur.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winter Splendour – Linda’s Hat

After seeing my Autumn Glory Hat, my friend Linda asked me to make her one. I said, “Sure, but I could make you any design or colour you want. You don’t have to have something exactly the same as mine.” So Linda picked the yarn colours and concept she wanted and I went from there. The result was quite different and still pleasing. Thank you, Linda, for letting me put your picture on my site.

I was amazed at what I came up with when I raided my yarn stash. For the background colour, I held two strands together: Grignasco Flash, colour 241, and Madil Denim, colour 043. For the fluffy snowflake part, I used Bernat Bling Bling in colour 65122. It was all knit on 4.5 mm needles. I love working on hats – they go so quickly.
It looks like I’ll need another skein of yarn for my husband’s scarf. I’ve checked four local yarn stores and nobody carries the yarn I need so I asked Serenity Knits in Newmarket to mail me a skein (I bought it there when I attended the Brandon Mably workshop on October 10th).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hip to be Square

While I was visiting Serenity Knits after the Brandon Mably workshop, I picked up a couple of small items. One of them is a luscious skein of Hand Maiden Casbah in the Midnight colour way. It’s 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. A 115 gram ball has 325 metres on it and would typically knit up at about 26 stitches = 4 inches on 3 mm needles. My gauge is always on the tighter side and is different because of the pattern I’m doing. I thought it would make a great dressy scarf for my hubby. He has a warm winter scarf but it’s kind of ratty because he really only uses it for shovelling and snow blowing. I thought he could use a nicer scarf for dressier occasions. The softness of the merino and cashmere against the skin is heavenly.

I thought the colour way was appropriately masculine and sophisticated. The pattern I’m using is of my own design. I wanted it to look like dimensional blocks. The picture gives you a better idea (that's just a gauge swatch - his scarf will be bigger). It’s all stocking alternating with reverse stocking in an attempt to get the scarf to lie as flat as possible. I could have used garter in places to make it lie flat but garter stitch has a very different gauge and uses more yarn than stocking stitch. That’s me, always thinking practically and frugally.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Divine Twist of Fate – I met Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably!

Boy, where to begin with this one and not sound like I’m babbling incoherently. Okay; here goes.

Main St. Yarns in Milton was hosting a colour work shop conducted Brandon Mably with Kaffe Fassett doing a book signing afterward in Fergus on Monday, October 13; a.k.a. Canadian Thanksgiving. Needless to say, with these two names on the venue, I ended up being third on the waiting list since it filled up in no time. Then my husband got roped into working on Thanksgiving Monday and I thought, “Oh well, I couldn’t have gone anyways”.

On Monday, October 6, my husband and I arranged to take Friday, October 10 off so my hubby could have some semblance of a long week-end after working 4 week-ends straight.

On Tuesday, October 7, Carolyn from Main St. Yarns was a sweetheart and phoned me to let me know that a store in Newmarket, Serenity Knits, was hosting the same Brandon Mably workshop on the Friday I had just arranged to take off and they still had spaces available. They’ve only been in two years and hence I had never heard of them. Great store! Lovely people! Kaffe was doing a presentation Thursday night but there was no way I could make that one without a teleporter. My immediate reaction was, “AAAAAAHHHHH!!!” I made it in! It’s an hour from my home, but then again, so is Fergus.

The next day, my husband finds out our client has cancelled their week-end work so we have a beautiful four day long week-end which gives us enough time to do a trip to Quebec to see my mother-in-law right after Newmarket. Frantic packing on Thursday night because I don’t have a list prepared, my husband takes the kids to the Ontario Science Centre (which is not too far from Newmarket and one of the children’s most favourite places on the planet) for the day to keep them occupied while I knit for 7 hours (heaven), then he picks me up, we go to the book signing at the shop, then the almost 8 hour drive to Quebec (because of rush hour combined with a long week-end).

The workshop was so much fun and it was great to meet and get insight from a great designer like Brandon. He has a great sense of humour and is very down to earth. He tried to get us to think outside our “colour box”, experiment, not be afraid to make mistakes, and combine colours fearlessly. It was really fascinating to see all the colour combinations from the different minds in the group. Mine is second from the right and second from the top. I bought Brandon's book, Knitting Color: Design Inspiration from Around the World, and he signed it for me, too. They were a great group to be with; I have been so fortunate.

My dear husband realizes how important an event like this is in my life that he didn’t want me to miss it even to have extra time with his mother (whom I happen to get along with very well, by the way). So it was a hellishly long driving day for my poor hubby, but hey, how many times in your life do you get to meet Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett and have them both sign your books and you get your picture taken with them and I won one of the door prizes! Kaffe’s latest book, Kaffe Knits Again, with yarn to make the Caterpillar Sweater in it!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHH!!!! Was the long driving day worth it? What drive? I was floating on a cloud, babbling to my husband for hours about what Brandon said. I think I owe him a big one. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Catching My Breath and Getting Organized

My husband finally had a week-end off and we got to go out with the kids, shop, relax, and enjoy life once again.

IKEA is a dangerous place. You always end up walking out with more stuff than you intended, but at least they’re practical goods. We only went there to get my son a desk for his room so he could have a quiet place to do his homework. We ended up getting him a nice book case to go with that desk and a few other handy knick-knacks for the kitchen as well.

The best part for me was getting some lovely yarn storage units! The stacked cardboard boxes, an example of which you see at the base of the closet, really didn’t cut it (so much for my attempt to be frugal). I was considering giving the hanging storage unit on the side, which used to house the yarn, to the kids but then I thought, “I can use that to store the quilting fabric!”

The hanging storage unit and 6 drawer unit are mirrored in the other half of the closet, except that the other hanging unit has art supplies and a little quilt fabric in it. I even got a couple of magazine storage boxes to handle my book shelf overflow. I will eventually get around to putting those away. It’s so nice to be able to see the floor of my hobby room again.

I will also get to listing more sites I visit on my blog and populating my projects section of Ravelry. If only I didn’t have to sleep, I could get things done in a timely manner.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Won the Knit Purse Competition! Now I can finish that Quilt

Slight digression from knitting today; we’re going to talk a bit about quilting.

First of all, I won the knit purse competition held by Ruti’s Needlebed; I’m so happy! I’m going to put that $100 gift certificate for Ruti’s Needlebed toward the purchase of a new sewing/quilting machine. I’ll be getting the Brother QC-1000. I went to try it out yesterday. Ni-i-i-i-ce. Some of the wonderful features are that it’s computerized with a big LCD screen, does alphabets, lots of different types of stitches, 22”x16” extra-wide table is a standard accessory, automatic needle threading, bobbin loading’s a breeze, and automatic backstitching and cutting of thread (if you so choose) just to name a few.

When I get it, I can finish that quilt I started 8 years ago when I first learned piecing. I don’t know if you can tell, but the fabric has an Egyptian theme; I love things Egyptian. The course I had taken was a different piecing method a week. I had decided back then that I would hand quilt it being the traditionalist that I am. Well, it’s been 8 years. I did a tiny section of hand quilting (which I wasn’t crazy about appearance-wise). Being the perfectionist that I am, I couldn’t do a half-baked, inconsistent job. It took me quite a while to do that small area, too.

Note that the intense basting is because I was intending to hand quilt and I used polyester batting. Ruthie suggested that I use cotton instead of polyester batting. She said that in her experience, there’s (what she believes to be) a static build up with the polyester that causes the sewing machine to miss stitches. I tried doing a net search on this with not much success. In fact, a lot of sites were still advocating using polyester batting. I don’t know if anyone else has knowledge in this area. She was also disappointed in the way I had folded the backing edge over the front and pinned it down. She said I was not supposed to do that. I said, it depends what book you’re reading, but reassured her that that was not going to be my binding and I just rolled it over and pinned it down to keep it out of my way; that I was going to make a separate binding strip and attach it. That appeased her.

After my short experience with hand quilting, I thought then that maybe machine quilting wasn’t so bad after all. I made a small sample of something else to try it on. It was then that I discovered that the sewing machine I have, my husband’s grand-mother’s 50+ year old sewing machine, is not the best for this task.

It has several mechanical…issues. When I got it, the thread tension knob was already not working properly. I thought that rather than destroy what’s left functional of this precious machine, I should just get a new one; hence, the decision to buy a new machine. Let’s see if I can finish that quilt anytime soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Autumn Splendour

Work’s been so CRAZY that I wasn’t able to blog last week. I’ve been holding off posting this for a while because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I must say, I’m quite happy with the results. It's an original design by yours truly, moi.

I love hats! One day, I noticed that in my varied assortment of hats, I didn’t have one that also covered my ears. I also have a lot of purple present in my other hats and decided I needed to expand my color range to better accommodate my fall wardrobe.

I created this bulbous beret to cover my ears. I found this wonderful variegated ball of yellow/green/gold yarn (Berroco Idol in color: 1548 (Princess Grace)) and immediately thought of leaves in the fall, hence the motif of the hat. The background colour is Mission Falls 1824 wool in color: 010 (raisin). It’s wonderfully warm while still being light and extremely comfortable to wear. I knit it on smaller needles than the ball bands recommended deliberately to get a dense, warm hat. The hat is knit in the round as a Fair Isle pattern which enhances its warmth.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pyramid Purse Complete

I can’t believe I’m finally done, and none too soon. The deadline for the purse competition is the 31st, but the store isn’t open then so it’s really today.

It feels like it’s been forever since I completed something. I even managed to line the purse with fabric covered cardboard. It really was necessary so the purse could stand up and have a definite shape.

I went a little simpler on the closure than I was originally planning because of time constraints. I made bobbles with buttonholes – nothing fancy. No time to make a purse strap either; oh well, I guess it will have to be a clutch. Overall, I’m pleased with the results.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm on Ravelry Now!

I almost forgot to tell everyone that I am a member of Ravelry now. I am the "adamantiumknitter". Voila!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Go West! –High River Vacation 2008

What a wonderful vacation we had this year. It’s good to be home, but was so hard going back to work. The weather in Alberta was what summer should have been here - warm, dry and sunny. We had a miserably wet summer here. Anyways, here are some of the highlights from the vacation.

Bar U Ranch
The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is located in Longview, Alberta by Pekisko Creek. We had a nice carriage ride around the site, visited the saddlery, cookhouse, post office, and blacksmith buildings ( We had coffee and tea made for us around a campfire where the chuck wagon was and fresh out of the oven gingerbread cookies in the cookhouse. It turned out that the blacksmith knows my father-in-law and made us a souvenir on that authentic 1800’s forge to take home – what an honour! The plains of Alberta are beautiful. I love the green open land and clear blue sky.

Calgary Zoo
Although it’s not as big or elaborate as the Toronto and Granby zoos, there’s still plenty of animals, fun and interesting stuff for the kids (

We are dinosaur nuts so for us, this is one of the coolest places on earth! In my own opinion, their dinosaur museum is the best museum, period, that I have ever been to. After our museum visit, we took one of the walking trails through the Bad Lands. They are incredibly beautiful (

In this small town not far from High River, there’s the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum and an incredible train shop devoted to Thomas the Train. At the back of the shop, they have an incredible garden railway (

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cape Spear Coverlet Yarn Requirements

Thanks for your comment, Kelly. I’ve put myself on the waiting list for an invitation to join Ravelry; it seems there are quite a few people on the waiting list ahead of me. I’m sorry I can’t post to a thread right now, but hopefully in the near future, I can.

The pattern I purchased is not in a book but a 2 page brochure. It seems to me that they wrote this to simulate the cover but not exactly reproduce it. They call for South Maid or Coates no. 40 crochet cotton, but they don’t state a yardage requirement, they state a weight; 4 kg for a double bed and 2 kg for a single. The pattern recommends using 2mm or 2-1/4mm needles. The resulting shell would be 3.8 cm (1.5” from top to bottom) and 4.4 cm (1.75” from side to side). It says you need to make 1,536 shells for a double bed or 800 for a single bed.

This shell dimension seems to me to be much smaller than the shells I see in the coverlet on the bed in my blog dated May 11, 2008 or the Yarn Harlot’s blog dated August 7, 2008. When I tried to estimate the count I could see in the picture, I get 510.

I’m doing my own thing on this. I’m using the Butterfly Super - 10 mercerized cotton and 3.75mm needles to produce a shell measuring 8.5 cm (3.3” from top to bottom) and 16.5 cm (6.5” from side to side). Each skein is 125 grams, 230 metres. I purchased 12 skeins for a total of 2,760 metres or 3,018 yards, 1.5 kg. At the time, I had estimated that with the dimensions of my shells, I would require approximately 500 shells for my bed. I now have a larger bed and probably not enough yarn – oh well. I’m considering buying more even though the die lot is different, but using it to border shells in the centre. We’ll see; I haven’t gotten that far yet.

Hope this helps!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cape Spear Coverlet Pattern Attainment Information

In response to Shelley and yarndork, below is some information where you might be able to get the pattern for the Cape Spear Coverlet.

The website is and the contact information is:

Cape Spear National Historic Site
P.O. Box 1268
St John's, NL
Canada A1C 5M9
Tel: 709-772-5367
Fax: 709-772-6302

I wish you luck getting the pattern; I hope this works out for you. I purchased the hard copy of this pattern 13 years ago when I was on my honeymoon from a gift shop that I can’t even remember the name of now. Needless to say, there was no contact information on the pattern itself; the internet then wasn’t what it is now. So, I am really grateful to someone named Denise who posted the information above in the comments section of the Yarn Harlot’s blog dated August 7, 2008 where she is actually visiting Cape Spear and viewing the original coverlet.

Failing that, I would advise trying your local public library and look for a motif compendium. I remember seeing one about a decade ago when I was living in Mississauga. In it was a triangular motif similar in principle to the scallop motif with the alternating knitting and purling sections (stockinet stitch for 4 rows, reverse stockinet stitch for 4 rows). When I saw that, I realized how that pattern could be adapted to make different shapes. I wish I had taken down that book’s information now. I think in a future blog, I will take a closer picture of the piece so you can get a general idea of the construction of the motif.

And thank you, Linda, for your recent comment where I posted my pictures of the coverlet pieces I’m currently working on.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pyramid Construction Progressing

I love long week-ends. They enable me to do a blog on a Monday. As of the end of the day Friday, I’m officially on vacation for two weeks!

We had a nice picnic in Stratford with some shopping thrown in on Saturday. Next Saturday, we’ll be flying out to Alberta to visit the hubby’s family. We’ll probably end up visiting Banff, the Columbia Icefields, and the zoo, amongst other things.
Now, on to the purse. I have both the front and back done now. I am currently working on creating the bottom and sides. I ran out of the medium shade of blue that I used in the purse and only have the darkest and palest shade left. I have other blues in my bag of blues, but the textures are very different and I didn’t think they would work as well. So I’m trying to make do with what I have. I used an open cast on (a.ka. provisional cast on) with the darkest shade so I could just pick up the stitches on the other side and start knitting again. Instead of using a different yarn to hold the stitches and help me cast on, I used a stitch holder.

I was eventually planning on lining the purse and adding a zipper or two, but I don’t know if I can make it in time now. Oh well.

I have to figure out what knitting I will pack in the suitcase to take with me. Tough one; it has to be small, yet enough to keep me busy. The hubby’s family will probably keep us so busy, I won’t have time to pick up the needles (which is what usually happens on these types of family trips), but a week without yarn – unthinkable!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tea Bag/Spoon Rest Complete

Well, here it is. Finally complete. I was disappointed with my first use of it though. The heat from the tea bag dissolved the shellac. Oh well, spoon rest it is.
I really need to get back to my knitting. The hubby and I have been so busy with overtime work, I have found I hard to focus on creating the purse pattern I’m working on. I'm very much looking forward to going on vacation in a week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Crochet Garment Bag and Special Cake

I love how fast crochet goes. I finished the laundry garment bag. My daughter’s stuffed animals are in it to demonstrate. I laced some cord through the top for closing the bag.

My daughter will be four on Tuesday so I made her a special cake for this week-end. Family will be over next week-end to celebrate but I don’t have time to make anything special before they come over, hence the private celebration now with a cake made by Mom. Her favourite colour is purple. The icing roses were bought pre-made from the bulk barn, but the rest was all me.
I also finally painted the tea pot shaped tea bag/spoon rest. It’s now drying with Krylon satin varnish sprayed on it; pictures next week.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Crochet Garment Bag

Some years ago (less than 8; wish I could remember), I crocheted a garment bag for laundry purposes. I made it out of 100% cotton. Well, it finally died.

I thought, this time, I will make it out of a yarn and hope that lasts longer. I chose Baycrest 100% acrylic (manufactured for the Bay) because it’s synthetic, I’m not using it for anything else, and I have way too much of it. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of this, it’s because my Mom bought a lot of it many, many, many years ago to make an afghan and abandoned the idea. So, as with a lot of things she no longer has any use for, it makes its way to me.

I picked up my 4.5 mm hook and my wonderful The Harmony Guide to Crocheting: Techniques and Stitches, and began searching for a motif for my garment bag. Whilst I was doing this, my daughter spotted a lovely orange star in the book which she asked me to make for her; I’m such a push-over. The motif I chose to begin my garment bag is the Cranesbill Lace Square.

My son liked the motif I made for my daughter, so naturally, he has to have a motif all his own. I promised him I would make him the motif of his choice, too, once I had my own square done. I guess that will have to wait till another blog.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canada Day

First, an apology for not posting on the week-end, but it was our first opportunity at a vacation since Christmas! We took an extra day off for the Canada Day week-end and went to visit my mother-in-law in Quebec; she just finished moving into a new house that could accommodate our family visits.

It was also the end of the school year. My hubby has a buddy who is a school teacher and had to throw a party to celebrate the end of the school year. Fine food (he’s quite a chef), fine wine (not getting drunk but pleasantly “happy”), and getting my ass kicked at a card game called Kung Fu Fighting (hilarious).

The kids were so good on the trip that I got to do some reading in the van. The co-op student working for me right now suggested two books by the author Khaled Hosseini; The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I finished reading the latter before the trip and got two thirds of the former read since. He is a fabulously talented author both for his moving stories as well as his ability to tell it beautifully.

In between relaxing, shopping with my mother-in-law, assembling furniture, and playing board games, I didn’t get much knitting done. I didn’t even get to paint the tea bag/spoon rest I made last week-end. Oh well, here’s a picture of the unpainted object on my son’s now broken clay canons.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Knit Purse Progress

I’m happy to say that I have completed the front half of the purse.

Here’s a close-up detailing the brick stitch I used to give dimension to the pyramid.
This was a bit of a crafty week-end; I love those types of week-ends. The kids and I were playing with modelling clay and water paints. My son is becoming quite the artist. He made an impressive pirate ship, canons, and pirate hats. The tea obsessed person that I am made tea bag/spoon rest. I can’t do just decorative; everything always has to have some utilitarian purpose. I don’t think I’ll have time to paint it today so I think I’ll post pictures on that next week.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pyramid Purse Continued

This was nothing short of a miracle. It was the week-end in I don’t know how long that my hubby and I didn’t have to work, we didn’t have to go anywhere, and we didn’t have anyone coming over. Translation: we had a week-end to ourselves where we could actually relax and do what we wanted.

Saturday, we went to Medieval Times for the first time. They’re having a special promotion on now. It’s one kid free per every full priced adult. What a blast! My son and I had our own fun putting on a pre-dinner sword fighting show with strobe lighting swords while my daughter, the princess, did her interpretive dance in between. My hubby very kindly held our drinks and other paraphernalia.

On the knitting side, I received good news from the proprietor of Ruti’s Needlebed. Not only do I not have to keep to a Streetsville history theme, I don’t even have to keep to a history theme. She said that was really more for the quilters. Yeah!!!! So it’s full steam ahead for my pyramid purse. Here’s where I am now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Knit Purse Competition

Last week, I was distracted by bunnies. Not much knitting. Before I get into the knitting, I have to say that we saw Kung Fu Panda at the SilverCity Mississauga yesterday and it was AWESOME! We’re definitely buying it when it comes out on DVD.

I have started swatching for the purse. I have done a few different things because I’m using various different yarns with various different gauges so I plan to change needles when I change colours. I have mentioned before that the theme for the purse competition at Ruti’s Needlebed is “History Lives”. The one thing I’m not sure about is, does it have to be Streetsville’s history? Right now, my purse wouldn’t be. If it does have to be that, that certainly constrains the design a lot and I don’t think I could meet that design criteria. Oh well, we’ll see. Here’s the swatch.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bunny Love

With the weather being as lousy as it has been in the month of May, I hadn’t gone out to do yard work for quite a while. About two weeks ago, I went out to inspect the yard. I noticed a clump of animal fur in our back yard under the platform area of the children’s slide.
The fur looked like rabbit to me. I thought to myself, there could only be one reason a rabbit would deposit that amount of fur in one area; a warren. Last Sunday, I decided to take a peek under the fluff covering. I saw a tiny head with tiny ears surrounded by other fur bodies. I covered it back up because I didn’t want to disturb them. The next day, I saw some of the fluff covering had been removed. I went to look. There were at least five bunnies that I could count; still huddled cosily together in their warren.
The following day, they were out of the warren. There were seven of the cutest baby bunnies you have ever seen.
They only stayed with us for one day after they came out of the warren. I was so sad to see them go. I had come to think of myself as their surrogate mother. Kids grow up so fast.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The New Seven Wonders of the World

In trying to come up with a title for this blog, I solicited my husband’s opinion. He suggested something related to the Seven Wonders of the World. So I did a little digging to make sure the title would be justified. I came across this article dated July 9, 2007 at the National Geographic website. Apparently, a phone and internet vote was conducted to pick the new human-made Seven Wonders of the World. The results of the vote were released on July 7, 2007 (07-07-07; coincidence, I think not).

The winners are (in no particular order):

  1. The 105-foot-tall (38-meter-tall) "Christ the Redeemer" statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  2. The Colosseum in Rome
  3. India's Taj Mahal
  4. The Great Wall of China
  5. Jordan's ancient city of Petra
  6. The Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru
  7. The ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá in Mexico

To my chagrin, The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, was not in this list. There was some kafuffle with the Egyptians who were insulted that there was even a contest over this. So, competition organizers withdrew the Pyramids and granted them "honorary wonder" status. As far as I’m concerned, it is still a wonder of the world; seven is too small a number. What about Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The list goes on and is too lengthy to discuss here.

Believe it or not, this is all related to my current knitting project. A while ago, I mentioned that Ruti’s Needlebed is having a knit or crochet purse contest where the theme is “History Lives” in honour of Streetsville’s 150th anniversary. It is interesting to note that of all the items on the original list of ancient wonders, The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only remaining survivor. I would call that “History Lives”. And hence the idea for my purse; pictures to follow next week.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Knitting and a Movie

It looks like May will be our month for watching movies in the theatre. Due to timing constraints of our Victoria Day week-end schedule, we found ourselves going back to the SilverCity in Oakville again (see last week's comments on the theatre), but this time with the kids (and hence no VIP seating) to watch The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

First, the Movie
The movie was definitely entertaining. Great special effects. I would have to say it’s even better than Disney’s first Narnia movie (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

Second, the Theatre
I hope the seating in this theatre is not indicative of a future trend towards smaller seats in movie theatres. I felt compressed in the seat again. The arm-rests, with cup-holders on the ends, were way too short. I had to pull my arm in and up to grab my cup; not comfortable. Once again, this theatre was disappointing. We’re definitely not going back.

When the Coliseum in Mississauga and the Winston Churchill 24 (AMC) Oakville opened, the trend was towards larger, more comfortable seats. For the amount of money we now have to pay to see a movie, why shouldn’t we be comfortable? Heck, the Winston Churchill AMC calls their high-backed seats "loveseats" because the arms in the chair fold back so that couples can snuggle together; brilliant idea.

Third, the Knitting
Just did my first pattern submission today. That’s a huge weight off my shoulders. No idea if it will be accepted and won’t know for a few months until a decision is made.

I haven’t been able to work on any personal knitting because I was focussing on this submission and now on a project for another contest. At least for that, they don’t need to have a written pattern; they just want the final product.

I don’t have anything new to display, so maybe I will show you what is to date, my greatest knitting accomplishment. I knit the Katherine Howard sweater which was designed by Jade Starmore (one of my favourite designers; her mother, Alice Starmore, is another) and can be found in the book Tudor Roses. I made sure I finished the sweater before my son was born because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it afterward. The total time period it was in execution from start to finish was 2.5 years. The tedium of certain areas of the pattern got to me and I put it on the side for too long.

Here it is on display in the Mississauga Central Library in August 2005 alongside a lovely sweater I made in 1992 from the Spring/Summer 1992 issue of Vogue Knitting.

The original sweater called for Classic Elite “Willough” which is a cotton/silk blend. Being a poor university student at the time, I bought an inexpensive 100% cotton yarn and thought, what’s the difference? Thus, I received my first practical lesson in how certain fibres give a garment drape and certain fibres don’t. It still ended up being a beautiful sweater.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

IRON MAN and the Cape Spear Coverlet

What do IRON MAN and a knit Cape Spear Coverlet have in common? My wedding anniversary! That’s right; Tuesday, May 6th was my 13th wedding anniversary so the hubby and I went to see IRON MAN last Saturday (May 3rd) at the new SilverCity with three VIP theatres in Oakville.

First, the Movie
IRON MAN totally rocks! It is far and away one of the best movies I have ever seen. I would highly recommend it to anybody.

Second, the Theatre
I believe the SilverCity in Oakville is the largest digital movie theatre in Canada. It has Dolby Digital Surround Sound, a licensed VIP lounge, and food and drink orders delivered directly to (what they call) plush oversized leather seats in the VIP screening rooms. More details can be found in this review by The Hamilton Spectator which prompted us to go there in the first place. Baby sitting is offered for children from 4 – 10 but my daughter is just shy of 4 so we were lucky a couple of friends volunteered to take care of our munchkins. The actual overall dimension of the seat space seemed to be no different than a regular SilverCity theatre. The “plush” definitely not oversized leather seat actually decreased the internal seat size so I actually felt a bit constricted in my seat and I’m not a large person by any account.

The more sophisticated food offered in the VIP area includes chicken strips, sushi rolls, bruschetta, mac and cheese wedges, onion scoops, ranging in price from $4 to $11 for a tray for two (that’s what they call it – it wouldn’t come close to filling my 3 year old daughter). My hubby tried the mac and cheese wedges for $4. It came in a glossy black cardboard box approximately 3” x 3” x 5”. Inside were a measly 5 deep-fried equilateral triangles approximately 1.5” per side and no more than 3/8” thick.

Desserts include Rockslide Brownie and Passion Mango Cheesecake at about $6. We didn’t bother with dessert after the mac and cheese disappointment. The supposed “side table that swings up to hold snacks” was not existent. There was some sort of wooden armature in between my husband and myself that could not be moved (I would hardly call it a table) so we couldn’t snuggle. The resultant effect was that I was actually sitting closer to the woman beside me than my own husband.

There was no air conditioning; so for the first time ever, I was actually sweating in a movie theatre while wearing a thin dress blouse.

‘Nuf said.

Third, the Coverlet
I bought this pattern when we were on our honeymoon and passing some historical sites in Newfoundland. History and knitting together – must grab. The coverlet was made during the Victorian era and consists of 1,536 shell pieces (triangles when joined together create this lovely scalloped shape). It is in a light house at Cape Spear.
The pattern uses very fine crochet cotton. I decided to do my own thing and substitute with a yarn of my choosing knowing my scallop triangles would be bigger but hopefully much quicker to knit.

Ten years ago, I bought the yarn to do it. It is a lovely Butterfly Super 10 100% mercerized cotton manufactured in Greece. The colour is Ecru. A whopping 125 gram skein has 230 metres of yarn in it.

Today, I have 21 knit unattached pieces and 5 knit joined pieces.

I’m not sure I’ll get it done by my 20th anniversary at this rate! I know; it’s pathetic. As lovely as this pattern is, the amount of repetition has made it tedious and hence a bit boring which is not a good thing for me when I’m knitting. So, I keep dropping it for more interesting patterns. I will eventually get it done (I’m sure).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

So much yarn, so little time…

Yesterday, I went and bought lots of yarn and saved tons of money doing it (as if I didn’t have enough yarn already and no time to knit it). A YARN SALE must be taken advantage of! My justification for this is that I'm making purchases for my children and hubby, not for me (yeah, right).

So here’s the scoop. Ruti’s Needlebed in Streetsville, Mecca for quilters and yarn enthusiasts, is having an anniversary sale and competition. It’s their 10th anniversary and Streetsville’s 150th. Ruthie’s got $10/bag of yarn! Most of these bags contain 10 balls each of good quality yarn. One exception was the Noro bag, which I seized without a second thought, which contained 5 balls in it. Still, $2/ball of Noro (stunned look of disbelief, mouth gaping open, heavy breathing, palpitations); no brainer! Just look at all the stuff I got!

She’s got other great deals on fabrics and yarns; it’s worth checking out.

There is a quilting competition and a knit purse competition. The prize for the purse competition is a $100 gift certificate for use in Ruti’s. Any entry submitted gets some sort of prize. The theme is “History Lives!” reflecting Streetsville’s anniversary celebration. I’m going to try and come up with a purse for submission by August 31 (deadline).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

So much to knit, so little time…

Okay, this is really frustrating. It’s not like I haven’t been knitting, I have but it has to be top secret if I want to get my pattern(s?) published; that’s one of the conditions for submission. AAARGH! Of course, my pattern(s?) has to be accepted, too. No guarantees.

There; I got that out of my system, now I feel better (well, only minutely and only for a short amount of time). This is supposed to be primarily (though not exclusively) a knitting blog so I would really like to bring the focus back there at some point which means I might have to show some existing UFOs (unfinished objects) for a while interspersed with other crafts / activities.

This week-end, we finally had some nice weather with no risk of frost so I could plant some new plants and bulbs and attempt to clean up the yard. It finally looks like civilized people live here now.

What I was particularly excited about was putting up my new bird feeder with new pole to hang it on. Cardinals are rare to see so I was especially fortunate to get a pair this time. The male was eating some seeds on the patio that he had extracted from my new feeder. The female was a little farther off on the fence so I had to blow up the picture of her hence the slightly grainier appearance.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Now, for Something Completely Different

As the description under my blog title says, “a few other crafts thrown in for good measure”; this one is macramé.

My kids have me wrapped around their little finger. Anything they want Mommy to make, Mommy can do it (well almost – I had to decline the request for a knitted a Spider-Man outfit for Halloween because of the whole "day job" thing).

My daughter requested a bracelet be made from her seashell bracelet/necklace kit with a few other miscellaneous beads thrown in. My son got in on the beading action, too (I'm so proud of him). I did the macramé knotting. Notice my thrifty use of a cushion actually intended for bobbin lace making (I will get to that hobby one day, really I will; I have the tools and books and everything).

Why am I using a bandage to hold the macramé down? Because someone had me open a bandage for no good reason so rather than throw out the unused, now non-sterile bandage, I gave it a purpose. Sometimes, my thriftiness is a scary thing. The adhesive on the bandage is great to hold the other end of the work down and has been re-used several times already just for this purpose (no humans were injured to use the bandage).

I’m using the read bead at the end as a clasp. Ta da! The recipient is quite happy.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Silent Night, Earth Hour Night

Saturday, March 29, 2008 from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm was Earth Hour. What a blissful hour that was. The kids loved that “camping” feeling. We sat at our dining table with flashlights for bathroom runs and candles in essential house hold places and had a family game of Gulo Gulo (Latin for wolverine).

This is a fabulous family game for kids of all ages. Even my 3.5 year old can understand the instructions. Everybody chooses a wolverine and tries to steal eggs from a nest without setting off the alarm (egg on the pole). Such a simple yet effective device – pure genius. The kids usually beat the adults because their tiny fingers are much more adept at grabbing the eggs from the nest. I’m lucky that my long nails (claws) provide me with a fighting chance against the young’uns. My 6’4”, 310 pound husband with his proportionately sized paws usually loses. (We didn’t have the lights on; it was the flash of my camera that illuminated this so well).

The kids didn’t want to turn on the lights afterward because they were having so much fun but it was bedtime and we had already let them stay up late to enjoy Earth Hour. We definitely plan to do this more often.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lacy Diamond Wrist Warmer Pattern

As I was driving to work one day, I noticed that as my hands reach up to my steering wheel, my jacket sleeve goes down leaving my wrist area exposed and feeling somewhat chilly. That’s what prompted me to make these wrist warmers. I used the left over Mirasol (shade 309) I had from my fingerless glove project . I tailored these wrist warmers so they would taper to the narrowest part of my wrist instead of being a cylindrical cuff. The finished circumference at the narrowest part is 6” to fit my 6.5” wrist. This is not tight at all because of the amount of stretch the yarn has.

I took a lace diamond pattern from the Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches, Volume 1, p.67 and modified it slightly.

Where it says “sl 1, k1, psso”, I use a ssk (slip slip knit); it’s a personal preference. I also knit the wrist warmers in the round on double pointed needles so all the purl rows became knit rows. Since the Mirasol is such a loud yarn, you don’t see the lacy diamond as well. I’m still happy with the outcome of my little project. The pattern follows below.

Gauge: 25 sts / 38 rows = 4” on 4 mm needles knit in the round in pattern

Pattern Notes: PM = place marker (I use a marker to mark the 16 stitch pattern section; the pattern has a 16 round repeat so I work 32 rounds)
yo = yarn over
ssk = slip slip knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
sl 1 = slip 1 stitch knitwise
psso = pass slipped stitch over

Directions: Cast on 44 sts. Join and work in the round on 4 mm double pointed needles.

Work in K2, P2 rib for 2 rounds. Start panel pattern.

Round 1: K14; PM, k5, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k5, PM; K14
Rounds 2, 6, 8, 12, 14, 18, 20, 24, 26, 30, 32: Knit.
Round 3: K14; k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k4; K14
Round 4: K12, ssk; k16; k2tog, k12 (42 stitches in round)
Round 5: K13; k2, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k3; k13
Round 7: K13; k1, k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k2; k13
Round 9: K13; k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k1; k13
Round 10: K11, ssk; k16; k2tog, k11 (40 stitches in round)
Round 11: K12; k2, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k2tog; k12
Round 13: K12; k3, yo, ssk, k2, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k2; k12
Round 15: K12; k4, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3; k12
Round 16: K10, ssk; k16; k2tog, k10 (38 stitches in round)
Round 17: K11; k5, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k5; K11
Round 19: K11; k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k4; K11
Round 21: K11; k2, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k3; k11
Round 22: K9, ssk; k16; k2tog, k9 (36 stitches in round)
Round 23: K10; k1, k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k2; k10
Round 25: K10; k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k1; k10
Round 27: K10; k2, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k2tog; k10
Round 28: K8, ssk; k16; k2tog, k8 (34 stitches in round)
Round 29: K9; k3, yo, ssk, k2, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k2; k9
Round 31: K9; k4, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3; k9

Work in K2, P2 rib for 1 round (you will end in k2 because of the number of stitches, i.e. you will have 4 knit stitches together, 2 at the beginning of the round and 2 at the end of the round). Cast off in ribbing. Work second cuff identically.

Happy knitting!