Monday, December 31, 2007

(Modified) Winter Sunrise Toque

The Thursday before Christmas, The Boy and I had planned to go to Zoo Lights, a massive light display set up every December at the Calgary Zoo. It had been fairly warm (for December in Canada) but the temperature suddenly dropped and the wind picked up just before he picked me up. At that point I realized with all the warm toques I make for other people, I didn't actually have a decently warm one for myself! We shivered our way through the light displays, making our way from one fire-pit to the next before we finally made it to the cafeteria for "hot chocolate" (mine was primarily warm chocolate syrup).

I knit this toque so that I would have something warm to wear the next time I needed to go out in the cold:
New Toque

I used stashed beige wool of unknown provenance and stashed Jaeger Shetland Aran for the blue. I borrowed the chart (and modified it for a larger gauge) from the Winter Sunrise Hat (link to the pdf pattern) pattern at Exercise before Knitting.

My new toque is very warm and cozy... I took it out for a test walk before the flu hit.

On the way to the Zoo Lights, we were listening to the radio and talking about music. I mentioned that I had been listening to Boney M's Christmas CD in my car all week. I was saying that when it comes on you can't help but sing along. He was laughing and I sang "Mary's Boy Child, Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day". He said "Is that what it's called?" I said "Mary's Boy Child? Yeah." He said "Really? Mary Boychuk?" I laughed so hard I nearly choked. I said "Yes, Mary and Joseph Boychuk gave birth to Jesus."

Happy New Year all. I plan to be horizontal from now until January 2, due to the ongoing flu that has taken over my life... ugh.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Escape from Santa's Secret Sweatshop (pt. 2)

Once I was finished with the commissioned slipper socks, I had to get moving on the actual Christmas gift making I had planned.

First up:
Christmas Stockings for my two youngest nieces. It should be noted that these represent the 8th and 9th stockings I've made for my nieces and nephews. Yes. 9. (Nine). I came up with the idea about 3 years ago, not long after we lost my Dad. I asked my Mom for some of his clothing that was too worn to be taken to the Salvation Army. At the time, I only (ha) had 5 to make. They are just a simple pieced top which is then machine quilted with some batting and a plain fabric back. Then I sewed the tops to a plain fabric back. The cuff is plain cotton doubled and I have made letters from polymer clay to spell out each of the names. (not shown). When I made the first ones I had never even thought of quilting and had no idea what I was doing. They turned out pretty good, considering, and I've since made 4 more. Unless there are some surprises coming, I'm pretty sure this is the end of the line for the stockings... ehem.

My next project was for my two smallest nieces also: (I have one more to make for my sister's little girl. I'm going to mail it later this week... if when I get it done)
Baby for Kaylee
I found several different sources for free rag-doll patterns online for inspiration and a template to make this little one. I love how she turned out. I decided to use the purple yarn for hair mostly because I thought it would be cute. The dress is reversible, the side showing right now matches a dress I made for Kaylee (the niece this doll went to) in the summer. She seemed to like the doll, but she also got really excited about the box, so I'm not too sure. (Kaylee is 10 months old so I'll let it slide)

Next up was a robe for my mom. I used the robe pattern from Amy Butler's In Stitches. The fabric is cotton flannel. I bought a couple of sets of double sheet sets at Zellers in the summer on sale and have used the fabric to make a robe for myself, this one for Mom and I have 2 more cut out for friend gifts (to be completed)(ehem)
Mom's Robe
I also "made" some soap (melt and pour) and some small bath bombs. I couldn't seem to find citric acid to make them from scratch, but I found a kit at Michael's which produced enough small bath bombs to have a few each for my mom and my 2 friends.

I have a few finished knitting objects that I've completed for myself (gasp!) to show off, and I have a Christmas gift from The Boy to show you, but those will wait for another time. In the spirit of Christmas, one of my nephews shared his cold with me. He's only 2 so I couldn't really explain to him that, while I admire his willingness to give and to share, I would have preferred something a little less achy and snotty. (ew)(sorry)

Must lie down. Finished object posting will resume tomorrow.
I just re-read this post and the grammar is awful. (and yet I do nothing to correct it) Please to excuse me. My head is not working so good. Better next time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The other side: Escape from Santa's Secret Sweatshop (pt. 1)

I've been meaning to post for quite some time now... Somehow I ended up getting sucked into Santa's Secret Sweatshop mode...

This year I was determined to NOT knit multiple whatevers for Christmas gifts. Last Year's frenzied knitting nearly turned me off the whole endeavor (knitting that is. Not so much Christmas) and this year I was not going to do that again.

See these? These are 3 pairs of slipper socks that I knit on commission for a guy at work. 3 pairs of slipper socks I started on Saturday, December 15 to be handed over before the 20th. 3 pairs of slipper socks I designed, charted, and knit starting December 15 and completed at noon on December 19th.

(In fairness to the guy from work, he did ask me about it at least 1 1/2 weeks earlier. The late timing was my bad).

I'm very happy with how they turned out, except for one minor area that I noticed after I had completed pair #2:
D'oh. Lesson(s) to learn from this photo:
1. Don't knit stranded colorwork when not paying attention
2. Don't knit stranded colorwork with The Boy leaning on your shoulder wanting you to pay attention to him.
3. Don't plan, chart, and knit 3 of the same stranded colorwork items within a 4 day period on a deadline.

Mostly though, I love how they turned out and plan to actually knit them again to make myself a pair.

I have more Christmas Crafting to post. Tune in next time to see Purple Haired Babies and Shape Shifted Sheets!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh, so THAT's the way it's gonna be, huh?

Driving home from work Friday evening I decided to change my plan for the weekend. See, I had planned to work on Christmas presents and a sweater I'm making up as I go. But, suddenly Winter decided to check its calendar and it is C.O.L.D.

(Screenshot from 11 AM Saturday. That's in Celsius. Not factoring in the windchill. It's colder now 3 hours later)

(Seriously)(Although, truthfully, it's not as cold as it was this time last year. Maybe I'm getting wimpy.)(but it's still cold)

So, I decided that a change in plans was called for...

Thrummed Mittens:
mmmm fluffy
Obligatory inside out thrummed mitten shot. I used Alpaca roving I got from friends who raise alpacas. So soft.

mmmm  toasty

I decided to go "tone-on-tone" using stash Elann Peruvian Highland Wool. I used the pattern in Interweave Knits Winter 2006, but there are patterns available free online for the Googling.

These mittens should help.
You have GOT to be kidding
(I may or may not be using sign language to express my feelings about the weather in this photo)

Now to go knit the second one and contemplate going out to plug in my car...

PS. Thank you all for the comments and birthday wishes over the past weeks. Bad blogger, I haven't replied. My birthday turned into a week and a half-long celebration, as I was at home with Mom and my older brother and his family on weekend before my birthday, then got taken out for several meals on the weekend of (so. good. so. full. of. food.) and capped off with cake with my younger brother's family the Wednesday after.