Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'b sick. sniff.

There's a mutant death cold/flu going around my office and I managed to come down with it Sunday. I've been holed up on my couch covered in a cozy felted blanket (I'll keep the one with the blues, mostly by default. Wouldn't want to gift an infected blanket... ) watching TV and knitting.

Yesterday I finished a pair of socks for my friend Cobi
Go With The Flow socks 2
Pattern: Go With The Flow socks from Interweave Knits Summer 2005
Yarn: Estelle Cadenza in orange

Go With The Flow socks
This pattern knit up very quickly. Or maybe it was just that I managed to avoid distraction (mostly) while knitting them. They're a touch small on me, Cobi's feet are shorter than mine. I hope they fit. The pooling worked itself in spirals on the first sock and in bigger splotches on the second. It would have been cool if the pooling worked out the same on both but I can deal.

Today I'm working on my mittens and watching the Inauguration and speech and hoopla. What a great moment in history. I know I'm not American, but it really does feel hopeful.

We're in a Chinook right now, but it's supposed to be -12 C by the weekend. I hope to have new mittens by then. I think I can do it.
New Mittens 2

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need more juice and a nap.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recycled Sweater Blankets

Years ago, before this blog, before I knew about Craftster, before it ever occurred to me to take pictures of things i made, I got this idea for a blanket made from squares of felted sweaters. Now, of course, this type of project is all over the internet. At the time, however, I don't know where I got the idea. I don't have a picture of that blanket, it was a Christmas gift for my friend Cobi and she loved it. I always meant to make one for my friend Julie, but never got around to it.

So I finally decided to make one for her and dug out the leftover squares from Cobi's blanket. I added more felted sweaters to make up enough for the blanket. I zig-zagged the squares into strips and the strips into the blanket like I had with Cobi's blanket. But after I was done I realized there were many many many spots where there were gaps in the sewn strips...
Felt Blanket oops 2
Felt Blanket oops

I set it aside, frustrated, and decided to try again. So I gathered more wool sweaters and made a second blanket, figuring I would keep the original one for myself since it wasn't good enough to give away. While I was making the second blanket I realized that I could sew over the original seams and get the gaps taken care of. I don't know why that didn't occur to me before...
Felt Blankets

So now I have a dilemma: Which one do I give Julie and which one do I get to keep?

Blanket #1:
Felt Blanket 1

Blanket #2:
Felt Blanket 2

I think I may ask Julie to pick the one she wants. Is that tacky? or brilliant?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Quiet Sunday

It's been a nice quiet weekend. Well, other than the near heart attack watching the Canada/Russia semifinal game in the World Jr.'s yesterday. That involved a lot of yelling at the TV and jumping/cowering on the couch (reciprocal scoring throughout the game, Canada down by 1 with under a minute left in the 3rd period, Canada scoring with 5 seconds left, overtime and a shootout. It was a doozy)... Where was I? Oh yeah, a quiet weekend.

Today I took down my teeny tiny very fake Christmas tree and noticed that my Christmas Cactus had a big bloom on it that was being hidden by the tree.
Christmas Cactus bloom

After I had the tree and ornaments packed away I decided I wasn't ready to relinquish the tiny LED lights yet, so I put them in a jar. I really like how it looks and I may keep it like this for a while.
Jar of Light

The rest of the day was spent watching Wild Card football games and knitting a new pair of mittens (well, the first of the mittens).
New Mitten
New Mitten palm

This is something I've wanted to do for a long time (since 2006 according to this blog). I charted the pattern from a pair of authentic Norwegian mittens loaned to me by my "aunt" (my dad's cousin's wife) whose aunt knitted them for my aunt's father in Norway in 1949 (I posted a pic of the originals here in Dec. 2006).

The background yarn was spun by me about a year ago (and I just realized I didn't ever post it here, bad blogger)
Snow Squall
The colorway is "Snow Squall", which seems very appropriate for mittens. It's a wonderful wooly Icelandic wool from Spunky Eclectic FOTM. I navajo plied it so it has long color runs. The contrast color is SandnesGarn Tove, also very very wooly. My mom would go squirrelly just thinking about these mittens.

Of course, now that I'm getting to these new mittens the weather will start to improve... Sigh. Oh well, I'm not going to turn down a chinook at this stage in winter. It's been too cold (and snowy) for a month now. I'm ready for some Calgary warm weather.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year Plan

I'm not good at making or keeping resolutions. (well, more the keeping part). So I thought I'd think a bit about what I'm thankful/grateful for and what I'd like to do better in the future.

I'm Thankful/Grateful and Happy:
-that we have my Mom with us and she seems to be getting better. Her memory and speech functions are improving steadily and she is in good spirits. I love my Mom and I'm so happy that she is fighting this latest battle bravely.
-for my family. I love my sister and brothers and in-laws and all of their many many many kids (I have 9 nieces and nephews).
-for my creativity. I rarely am bored as I'm constantly making something or planning something to make. Some people in my life find this humorous but they almost always enjoy the results of this creativity.
-for my job. This one isn't always easy to remember, as my job isn't very exciting nor does it make me a rich woman, but it is a steady income and I'm good at my work. A sub-point here is that I'm happy for my coworkers. I have been pleasantly surprised over the last year to realize that I am friends with many of my coworkers and am on very good terms with the rest of them.
-for the country I live in. It's not perfect and everyone has their own view on how it should run, but by and large we are a peaceable sort and as a whole we have a concern for the world at large and try to do good in it.
-for the Boy. Without being sappy or sentimental. I'm thankful for the way he makes me laugh and the way I can make him laugh. For the ridiculous arguments we have on a nearly daily basis. A boy who isn't scared to argue with me is a valuable thing indeed.
-for getting through the past year without serious illness or injury (that is not to say with no illness or injury... There was the lung infection, scalding my hand, mono, the Death Flu of 08...)
-for my eye sight!!! I almost forgot this one! My eye surgery was a success and the recovery was relatively short. (I was telling my friend Sheri today that I sometimes forget that I used to wear glasses!)

In the future (starting this year) I'd like to do better at:
-exercising and sticking with it.
-eating healthier/not eating junk.
-finishing things I start. Sure I'm creative but my brain has a tendency to skip from project to project and not finish things.
-keeping in touch with people I care about. This includes people I have lost touch with from my past and who I would love to reconnect with.
-not letting frustration get the best of me. I don't deal well with frustration, especially when the ability to change or correct the situation is out of my control. I need to breathe, be calm and just relax.
-getting out of my apartment more. I'm a hermit. There, I've said it. I have my yarn and fabric and computer and TV and Wii and... I need to get out more... which leads me to
-doing things that scare me. I'm shy (people who know me from situations where I was comfortable don't believe this but it's true). I let myself talk myself out of going into situations where I won't know anyone or where I'll be out of my comfort zone.
-being more presentable. I tend to wear the same things over and over and don't really care that much about what it looks like. Comfort is key. I also have a tendency to not bother with getting hair cuts until the situation is dire. I would like to at least appear like I have access to a brush and know the name of the stylist who cut my hair.
-not buying more yarn just because a project popped into my head. I do not want to buy any yarn until I reduce the current size of the stash by 1/3. Reducing can take the form of using it or selling/gifting it. (This will necessitate cataloguing the yarn, which I started to do before my spreadsheet disappeared. argh)
-keeping up with my blog
-following up on comments from kind readers
-remembering to be happy for all the items (and more) in the first list.

I think that's a good start for now...
Happy New Year everyone.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Final FOs of 2008

Happy New Year everyone!

I finally got around to taking pictures of the last few FOs of the year. In order of completion they are:

1. Cabled Purse
Cabled purse
Pattern: Cobbled together from several different free patterns online
Yarn: Some chunky grey yarn of uncertain fiber content (mill ends purchased in bulk at Walmart)

cabled purse 2

2. Mom's February Lady Sweater
Mom's sweater
Pattern: February Lady
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease
Mom loved it! It fits perfectly and she was really happy with it. As was I. I finished it the evening before we drove out to Saskatchewan, cutting it close but it was done!

3. Knitting/Tote Bag for Wen-Shu (My co-worker who just learned to knit)
Wen-Shu's Bag
Wen-Shu's Bag inside
No pattern, figured it out from scratch using a basic square bottomed bag.
Fabric: cottons from stash

4. Raisin yarn (for Wen-Shu to enable encourage her in her knitting)
Raisin 2
Fiber from Spunky Eclectic. I lost the tag (again) and can't remember the breed. Weight is about a worsted and it's around 140 yards.

an aside: You remember when I showed you Wen-Shu's first knitting efforts? She is progressing so fast! I taught her to purl just before Christmas and over the break she figured out ribbing and made her daughter a toque without a pattern! It's like having a kindred spirit in the office and so much fun to see all of her progress. She said she was going to try to figure out colorwork over the weekend too!

Back to the list:

5. Slouchy Devra hat
Devra hat
Pattern: Devra 2 from pieKnits
Yarn: Paton's Shetland Chunky from stash

This was such a quick knit! I cast on in the evening on December 23 and finished in the truck on the way to Saskatchewan for Christmas (having someone else drive on that 5 hour drive=awesome!)

6. Quickie Scarf
Basic 1x1 knit
Yarn: my handspun... the softest squooshiest yarn I've ever produced... :D

And finally (drumroll please...)
7. The Boy's Argyle Toque
Argyle Toque flat
Pattern: I was inspired by Angela Sixian Wu's Mini-Argyle Beret (ravelry link here). I came up with a new chart to fit the sizing I needed.
Yarn: Estelle Cadenza (beige background)
Sandnes Garn Lanett (orange)
Sandnes Garn Sisu (blue)

Argyle Toque both sides

The toque is reversible, and matches a jacket he has (I hope). He had requested a toque to match and I know the orange is perfect. I just hope it's okay. He's away this week, so I'll find out how he likes it next week.

Striped toque flat

I spent today taking pictures and starting to catalogue my yarn stash. I had a whole spreadsheet full and took pictures to go along with it. I just opened the spreadsheet to check on a name for the toque above and the whole thing was gone. GAHHH!!! A whole day's worth of effort gone. Well, I have the pictures but without the info on the yarn I'll have to start from scratch. I was planning to start the (really really really really) long process of putting it all up on Ravelry. sigh.