Thursday, March 24, 2011

Miscellaneous meanderings

Yup. That what today is. Miscellaneous meanderings. No common thread. Hopefully completed thoughts.

First off, for those folks who are wondering. The insurance company has decided to total out my car. Which is fine, except that it really leaves us in a bind as far as vehicles go. There are so many requirements for our next vehicle (air conditioning, 4-doors, etc.) as well as dilemmas. Do we get a manual transmission, which both Doug and I enjoy? This would leave Carrie out in the cold, as she doesn't do manual transmissions, and she does still need driving time to complete the requirements and confidence levels to get her full G license before next May. Do we really need a 4-door? After all, how many times do we travel with more than the 2 of us? (Actually, now that I think about it, probably more than I realize!) So many decisions, and the insurance company and I have yet to come to an agreement as to how much my car is worth.

The Patons Lace scarf that I knit has now been washed and dried. Doug threw it in the washing machine in a lingerie bag and regular laundry cycle, using Tide of all things. It washed quite well, and dried even better. And soft. Really soft. (Not as nice as alpaca lace-weight, but I'm learning that I'm a wee bit of a yarn snob!) Nice enough that I can say that this little item is going to be a holiday gift this year.

I'm still plugging away on the afghan for Jason & Coris, as well as the Arching Cables sweater from Interweave Knits. The double-knit vest for myself is still in process, and I'm sorry to say it hasn't really gotten the attention it should of late. In fact, none of these projects has really progressed enough to take another picture.

What has progressed? A little Tunisian Crochet project that I'm needing to get finished and directions written for a class that starts on April 5. Yeah. That's soon. The good news is that I'm ALMOST 3/5 done. Yeah. It's crochet, no matter how you slice it. And while I CAN crochet, I'm not that much a fan. Pictures? Soon, when it's done. That's my motivation to get it finished!

Emily and Carrie were both home last weekend, along with Emily's partner. I've rediscovered the joys of having a university student come home for a visit -- all three of the kids just raved about how good the food was. Nothing special, just my Meatball Soup on Friday, turkey dinner on Saturday, and then on Sunday Emily taught us a new way to cook salmon. Really, nothing special. Just good, nutritious home-cooked food. With nothing coming from an opened box or can. I've been cooking this way for a pretty long time (not perfectly, mind you, but mostly from scratch) and I keep forgetting how good food tastes. Watching the kids enjoy it reminds me of that.

Spring is coming. Lizzie was the proud bearer of a little mouse on Wednesday. While it has snowed since then, I've been convinced to put my ski gear away. Doug is still hopeful, but De Nile isn't just a river in Egypt! Of course, the biking trails are not yet ready for us, so we're going to have to start swimming (at the pool in Bowmanville) for exercise for a bit.

And last but not least -- we have decided that THIS year we will be having a yard sale. Probably the third weekend in May, and we are hopeful that Carrie will be able to come back and assist us. This means that we have 7 weeks to sort thru things and decide which will go, and which will not. All this in an effort to declutter the house as well as make the storage unit in Bowmanville not needed. Good luck to us, eh?

And that's about all the miscellaneous meanderings I can think up. Take care of yourselves!

Monday, March 14, 2011

See that smiling face?

Why is that smile so big? Because I FINALLY GOT IT!!!

At the store we've been teaching a class on double knitting. Our students are doing small projects -- generally -- like headbands and hot pads. One student is making a sweater, and Barb is working on a car coat. So I felt like I needed to do something extravagant as well. Originally I fell down over a colour combination in lace weight -- a beautiful green paired with a hand-painted alpaca from Misti International. Saner heads prevailed, and I realized that the fabric would be too flimsy and delicate for its intended purpose. Regretfully, I frogged.

But what could I do, for I still felt the need for an extravagant double-knit project. I browsed thru the book again. And then I had it! We have several multi-colour yarns from Loyal at the shop that just aren't moving. They need a very special project, and this was it. I paired a lovely blue with a rose/red/pink multi, and the combination was exquisite.

I cast on. I frogged. I cast on. I frogged. Repeat three more times.

Finally, I got cast on and the proper number of stitches. Thrilled, I proceeded to row 3. I tinked. I knit. I tinked. I ... counted the stitches and realized that I had two stitches too many. I completed row 3 by knitting two stitches together. Twice.

Houston, we have lift off!

The project will grow up to be a double-knit vest from M'Lou Baber's Double Knitting. I am getting ready to start row 11 -- just as soon as I get the pesky bookwork from the store and housework from home done. It'll be fabulous. And finished years sooner than the lace-weight idea. Good move on my part, I'd say. Another plus to this project -- I'm learning to knit continental style since I'm carrying one yarn in my right hand and the second in my left.

I've also been working on the Arching Cables (Interweave Knits--Fall 2010), when the frustrations of double-knitting overcome me.
Aside from picking up the stitches, this has really been a great project. The only real cast on was at the beginning of the belt. All of 12 stitches. Everything else was picked up and knit from the selvage edges. Well, the picking up and the ribbing. But still, it's an awesome design. Just a wee bit of one sleeve and then the skirt and I'll have a delightful cardigan. This one is knit in Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Flamme. An excellent choice, if I say so myself!

The next project on needles getting my attention is an afghan destined to be a Christmas gift for my son and his wife. This is the Yggdrasil from Interweave Knits --

being knit in Patons Shetland Chunky. This, too, is a delightful project, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. The Addi click set is going to be very handy, as each successive panel of the afghan after this braid will be larger and more stitches. I foresee having the two long cables hooked together before I'm done.

And now it's March break, the sun is shining, and I'm hankering for my bicycle again. Gotta get the afghan finished before it gets too warm out!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

March? Already?

Well, another month end has flashed past. I swear it was just yesterday it was February first. I really don't know where the time goes.

This year Barb and I are trying to knit a pair of fancy socks every other month. Should be easier and more manageable ... of course, the key word there is "should." In any event, I did manage to start and finish my socks in time. These are the Cables and Lace from Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toes Up book.
The yarn is some that I dyed myself. Pretty, eh? I don't quite remember what effect I was after, but I'm hoping it was self-striping. If so, I was successful. If not, I don't want to hear about it. Again, these are destined to be gifted to someone at Christmas. I just don't know whom.

Several of my customers have come in and talked about the Patons Lace and wondered if I would be getting any in at the store. I decided to get a ball and test drive it before I made any decisions. So, one ball became this delightful little scarf:

The design comes from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace book, and is called Double Border Scarf. I must admit that the yarn has proven to be very durable. I cast on three different scarves, and this one twice, before I really got going. The yarn held up beautifully. I really am not liking the white stripe -- I find it too stark -- but am pleased at how symmetrical the scarf turned out.

The big test is yet to come. Since the yarn is 80% acrylic, it should be machine washable. Patons claims it is. I've got to see it to believe it. If it washes up nicely, then YAHOO! Another Christmas gift off my list!