Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Socks!

Those of you who know me well, will be astounded to see the above picture. Yes, I finally caved. I am actually making a pair of adult (not baby) socks ... not that I plan on getting obsessed with them in future ... no plans to join any sock clubs or anything ... not interested in secret pal swaps ... simply that I saw this pair here, (scroll down) and was inspired. Not to mention a visit this week to BIG sale at my LYS and discovered this cotton blend yarn from Lana Grossa at half price -- perfect for summer, along with purchases of Super 10, Lang Merino and Rowan All Season's Cotton ... sigh.

Tried to do the magic loop cast on to start at the toe and work up (at least 6 times) blew it a big raspberry, gave up for now and decided to go from top down. Much better! Didn't really want a big sock -- just an ankle sock and am just winging it, pattern-wise. I'll let you know how it works out :)

The colour looks a bit washed out in the photo, but I'll work on it for the finale. Promise.

Happy long weekend, all you Canadians!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rowan 'River' Shawl

I started this shawl last Spring, a few days before I landed myself in the hospital with a heart attack. I was trapped in ICU for 2 weeks, and spent the majority of the time knitting on this shawl, which helped to keep me somewhat sane! Although, I did have some 'tinking' to do which I blamed squarely on the numerous meds I was taking. I really dislike mohair, and have now discovered I actually have a mild allergy to it (itchy hives & eyes/sneezy), so this will be my first and last effort with Rowan Kidsilk Haze. The whole shawl took only (not quite) 2 balls of yarn, and at $10/ball, was a steal. I added another repeat of the pattern as I wanted the shawl to be a bit longer, so it's about 72" long and 22" wide. This was my first effort at fine lace and true to form, the whole shawl bunched up, slides through my size 5 wedding band! The above lumpy mess is the result of a bath in 'Soak' wash, waiting to be blocked.
I pinned out the peaks at 3" intervals, rather than 1.5" as stated in pattern instructions. The shawl is held together by the beaded 'napkin ring' you see above, which eliminates the need for a shawl pin (or, not). There's a small 1/4" wide piece of elastic inside to help grip the shawl together. It fits nicely on my middle finger.
Here's the whole works laid out on the guest room floor, blocking (door closed to keep out big hairy dog!) I briefly considered buying the shawl blocking frame that I've seen others use, but as I have no intention of EVER doing this again, it would be a waste of money. The overwhelming boredom of the pattern repeats just about did me in. BTW, I know it looks as though there's an error going across to the right from the napkin ring, but on careful inspection, I discovered it was lying on a seam in the carpet. Whew! Yeah ... another F/O to cross off my guilty list. Three more to go :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Knitting Blahs

Well, I've spent more time 'frogging' than anything else lately :( Can't seem to get inspired about any particular project or yarn. What's the deal with that, eh? Normally, I've got at least 3 projects going simultaneously, with another 3 lined up in my mind. The bell bottoms were a 'bust' as I thought I had gauge, but clearly not. Way too wide at the top. Ended up turning one of the legs into a hat, so at least I managed to salvage that!

Anyway, on to happier topics! Joshua turned 11 on the 19th, so we went over to help him celebrate and eat cake. Here he is snuggling with grandma and suffering through a photo op.

Kala is back from 2 week's vacation in Cancun and sporting a lovely tan, along with a slightly larger belly ... she's almost 7 months now!

Well, that's it ... I'm waiting for inspiration to fall ...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Baby Bellbottoms & Friday Eye Candy

This is the start of the baby bellbottom pattern by Alison, in Lion Brand Cotton Ease, knit on 3.75mm 12" addi's. I'm using my Denise needles to hold the left finished leg and then I'll join them both in the round to finish knitting up to the waist. I thought it looked a bit odd to only have the increases/decreases on the one side, rather than on both, but decided to knit to the pattern exactly the first time, and then I can do whatever I want another time. The waistband is going to be a robin egg blue colour, in contrast to the chocolate, and then a matching blue bolero (eventually!).

The lilies exploded into bloom this week and as it's supposed to rain (again!) this weekend, thought I'd best get a picture before they turn to mush. Hubby was out mowing the lawn inbetween sprinkles, and I did some dead-heading. After all was said and done, the sun came out for a bit, so we sat back in our lawn chairs and admired our efforts. Happy weekend, everyone!

How cute is this dog????!! Sigh...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Debbie Bliss Baby Shawl

This is a blanket I started knitting the second I found out about our upcoming grandbaby ... it took forever!! Knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (6 balls), on size 3 1/4 mm needles, this was a labour of love. The blanket is knit first, and then you separately knit the edging and sew it on as you go. Oh, you'll find the pattern in Debbie Bliss Special Knits, if you're interested. It's the perfect size for a baby crib -- you're looking at 1/4 of it in the photo. So soft! Love this yarn.

Below is my sister, having dinner at our place on Sunday, celebrating her 44th birthday!!!!! She threatened me with all kinds of things if I even thought about putting her picture on the blog ... I listen real well, huh? Doesn't she look fabulous? Yes, she is wearing the same hat that Brinkley (the dog) wore for his birthday last month ... I didn't tell her that until after the photo :)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Special Card and Baby Pinwheel Blanket

We had some sad news at work this week: one of the gals at work's cancer has recurred. She had just finished treatment only a few months ago for breast cancer, only to find out that her lungs and liver are now involved. She's off work now, awaiting another round of treatment. It occurred to me that often we give cancer too much 'power' and that there are many things that it's not capable of. Based on that, I made her the following card, using a stamp that I bought several years ago, simply because I loved its message.

On a lighter note, the beginning of the Baby Pinwheel Blanket. I tried to start this thing a minimum of 10 times, only to fail. Finally, my girlfriend took pity on me and got it going for me, although, she said it took her 4 times, and she's already made it once! The key, apparently, is to use bamboo needles, as they are less slippery. The cast on method is so awkward with all the sock needles, plus only 5 stitches, I very nearly tossed the whole kit and caboodle! In hind sight, I think the magic loop method or 'Figure Eight' might just be the painless way to do this again for future. Of course, I think of it now, after all the struggles I had with it ... it's a wonder the yarn hasn't completely disintigrated from the many 'discussions' I had with it!

The yarn is called 'Marble' from James Brett (in the Autumn shade) and is a very high quality acrylic. Yes, you read that correctly! Me, the die-hard natural yarn fanatic is actually knitting with acrylic. I've seen this yarn in action before and was very impressed with it. The varigation is subtle and rich ... the yarn itself is very soft. The benefit? Machine wash and dry!!!!! This blanket is for our grandbaby to be. I was having nightmares thinking the mother of the child would inadvertently toss the baby cashmerino blanket (yet to be posted) into the dryer, so I'll be keeping that one for use at our house, and she will get the fuss-free (yet also fabulous!) version.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Preemie Beanies

I've never knit a hat this small before! It would fit a doll ... but in this case, a very live one. A co-worker of my husband's became a grandma this week to a 3lb. 11 oz. little girl named 'Emma'. She was several weeks premature and her lungs haven't fully developed yet, so she's going to be in hospital for a little while yet. Thankfully, a knitting pal of mine had just given me a pattern for a "Preemie Beanie", which she found in her March 2007 issue of Creative Knitting Magazine, so I got right down to it. It came in three sizes: 27-31 weeks, 31-34 weeks and 34-36 weeks. I made one each of the first 2 sizes and will follow up with the third at a later date. Below is the smallest size -- it literally fit in the palm of my hand!

Here, you'll see it sitting on top of a bottle of Weldbond glue ...

And below, on top of the self healing mat grid on my work table, so you can see the actual scale ... less than 4" x 4"!
As Emma grows, she'll need another hat, so on the left side below is the medium size, joining the smaller on the right.

The one on the left used up about a 1/3 ball remnant I had in my stash of Cascade Fixation, and the one on the right used slightly less than that of the Elann Espirit (also from my stash). When Emma's ready for the largest size, I'll have enough of the remaining Espirit to knit a pair of socks to go along with another larger beanie.