Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brea Bag

Today when I was in the grocery store I picked up some of that Arm & Hammer carpet deodorizer, the stuff you sprinkle on and vacuum up. I sprinkled it around in my living room (where the carpet is surely older than I am! yay Rental carpets!) and was instantly overpowered by the scent. I was completely unprepared for how overwhelming it is in the time between sprinkling it on and vacuuming it up! Then when I went to vacuum it up i got halfway done the living room when the vacuum started to make a funny noise and there was a whiff of rubber smoke, which really added to the overall scent I had going. So I unplugged the vacuum and turned it over to find a whole wig's worth of hair clogging up the roller bar. (Sorry, you weren't eating were you?) So I finally got the vacuum fixed and got it all vacuumed up but now I forgot what I was going to tell you. I'm sure I had a really funny story or something but... gone.

So I'll just show you my Brea Bag instead.

Brea Bag

Pattern: Brea Bag (free pattern link)
Yarn: Mystery chunky weight yarn bought in a mill ends bag years ago.
Mods: Knit with size 8 needles; subbed chunky weight for 2 strands worsted weight

Brea Bag 1

I knit a little flap and used a magnetic snap for a closure instead of a button and loop.

Brea Bag inside

Lined with some random cotton from stash. I sewed a patch pocket on the lining for my cell phone.

Brea Bag strap

I cut 1/4 inch strips from the leftovers of my leather bag project and braided a 5 strand braid for the strap. I folded a rectangle of the same leather around a metal ring and sewed that over each braid end. Then I hand stitched the strap loops on the purse itself and voila!

The only thing I'm not 100% happy with is that the strap is about 4" longer than it needed to be. It's in that awkward length where it's not a long strap but it's not short enough to really just tuck under your arm either. Oh well. In all, I'm really happy with it.

Monday, December 28, 2009


First off: (belated) Merry Christmas! (also belated: Happy Hanukkah! or any other winter celebration I may be forgetting) I hope you all had a great Holiday time however you celebrated.

Mountain view in Jasper

The Boy decided I needed to get away from here with it being my first Christmas without Mom and took me to Jasper for Christmas. It was so beautiful there and a really nice get away. It didn't feel like Christmas, but it felt Christmasy, if that makes any sense. We had a very fahncy (read: small portions/confusing construction) Christmas Eve dinner at one of the restaurants at Jasper Park Lodge and then a less fahncy (but larger portioned/better tasting if I'm being honest) Christmas dinner at our hotel on Christmas day but no real turkey/mashed potatoes/gravy/fixings dinner. I think that's what makes it feel like Christmas for me. That and the million (well, 9) nieces & nephews opening gifts and playing. And the baking. And the leftovers. mmmm leftovers.

Athabasca Falls
Athabasca Falls

We drove around, did a bit of wandering in the shops and just were lazy most of the time. Christmas Eve day we rented slip-on crampons (just mini-ones not the big ice climbing ones) and did the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk which was so amazing. I was very grateful for the crampons. The Dog wasn't as impressed with the ice as we were. He was so relieved to get back on snow that he rolled around for about 5 minutes once we left the ice.

Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon Ice Walk

Maligne Canyon - riverbed
Maligne Canyon Riverbed

I even got to visit a great yarn/quilting store in Jasper: Stychen Tyme. I saw it listed in an information book we picked up and jokingly told the Boy about it. Next thing I knew we were looking for it (his suggestion!). I bought yarn for a toque for him (his ulterior motive probably). (I'll show you that another day soon).

In all it was a really nice, relaxing time. I miss seeing my family but it didn't feel like Christmas so it wasn't really that sad for me which was kind of a relief. I'm planning to do a turkey dinner this coming weekend just to get my fix. I'm mostly looking forward to the leftovers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Selfish Knitting for the Holidays

Inspired by Marie I have cast on and completed the first side of a Brea Bag (pattern link).

Brea Bag side 1

This is like (almost) instant cable gratification. I'm using a chunky/bulky weight mystery yarn I got in a mill ends bag at Walmart years ago. I love how the cables and moss stitch are popping in it.

Knitting feels really really really good after all that crochet!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Breathing a little easier...

Thanks for all the encouragement! I was really glad that I had the forethought to wash the blankets beforehand. I would have been even more upset if this had happened after they had gotten home!


I'm done repairing the squares with pink centers and the rest of the squares seem secure, but I'm a little hesitant about them. I'll send a repair kit with leftovers of the yarn and a needle with my sister in law, just in case.

I have a few other gifts to make but I won't see those friends until after Christmas, so I'm breathing a little easier right now. I plan to work on projects for me this next week. That's my Christmas gift to me. Knitting time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The sound of one heart breaking...

I finished the third afghan last night. This evening I threw all three in the wash to soften them up a bit. When I pulled them out of the dryer I was happy with how soft and cozy they are.

And then I saw this:
Heart break

and my heart nearly stopped.

I used the "magic circle" method of starting each square. It held really well for all of the squares except the ones that were started with the pink yarn. It's shiny and slippery and ... all 40 squares that were started with this yarn have come apart at the center. I have started repairing them by running a piece of yarn through with a blunt needle and knotting it really tightly but it's taking a long time. I have repaired 8 or 9 of them in the last hour...

I see my niece and nephews tomorrow.

I might not see them again before Christmas.

This is the only present I have for my niece.

I have to be at work tomorrow.

I want to cry a little.. :(

I'm exhausted and going to bed now and will just have to find the time to fix it and get it to her before they leave the city on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Looking ahead

The end of afghan #2 is in sight. I need to focus on afghan #3 for Logan... but...

I'm really really really looking forward to doing something else. I just read a blog post by Kate Davis of needled about cables and history. It got me itching to knit something cabled and woolen. It got me thinking about all of the awesome yarn my friend brought me from Ireland...

So, dear reader friends, any suggestions? I have 600 grams (i think, if I recall correctly) each of a light grey and a dark grey. I don't think I'd have enough to do an entirely cabled sweater or cardigan but I would love something with some cables. I'm open to suggestions. I'm leaning towards a cardigan just because I would get more use out of one what with overheated offices etc.

For now, I'll keep plugging away on the afghans but looking ahead to that wool...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh! Hi There!

So... how are you?

christmas tree and snow

We had a blizzard this past Friday. A real, honest to goodness, blustery blowing wind blizzard. It was awesome. And a bit scary. There are meter deep banks on streets all over the place. Some of the communities on the edge of the city have so much hard packed snow on the street that buses are snowed in and can't move. Following the blizzard our temperatures dropped so now it's wool season. Whee!

I've been working on afghans for my nephews & niece in Houston. I made afghans for the other nieces & nephews for Christmas 5 years ago so I figured the newer ones needed afghans too. I don't often crochet but I've been on a crochet kick the past few weeks while working on these blankets.

First up: If you knew my nephew Nicholas, you would not be surprised by my choice here.

Spidey blanket

If you ever want to hear a really in depth analysis of Spiderman, taking into account aspects of Black Spiderman (Venom?) and all the ramifications of the changes in Spiderman, good vs. evil, ask my 4 year old nephew about Spiderman. Or just wait 5 minutes and something that is happening around him will bring Spiderman to his mind and he'll talk about it. We were joking that he can bring any topic back to Spiderman. I said that when he's defending his Doctoral dissertation he'll end up working Spiderman in there somehow.

(and if you think i used the word "Spiderman" too many times just now, that's a small small example of what it's like to talk to Nicholas)

Pattern: Superhero Dreamcatcher Afghan by AngelCrafts. Nice, simple pattern that works into a really interesting afghan.
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable from Michaels (a nice, fairly inexpensive acrylic)
Mods: I left off the last band of blue as it was already 5' in diameter. And I wanted to die. I think I figured that I had over 600 stitches per round at the point where I stopped.

For my niece, Kaylee, I'm working on a granny square afghan in what I hope are sufficiently girly colors. She's a bit of a princess... haha

granny squares

Pattern for the square: Summer Garden Granny Square from Attic24
Yarns: Purple: Bernat Berella "4"; Pink: Red Heart Soft Touch; Green & White are both Loops & Threads Impeccable.

My plan is for 121 squares to be laid out in an "Around the World" type pattern. I'm about 2/3 done. Woo.

I need to get working on an afghan for my other nephew (the boys are twins), Logan who is a BIG fan of Disney's Cars... I see charted picture crochet in my future and I'm a little scared of it.

I got a bit sidetracked by these on the weekend while it was snowing for real:


I've since made 6 more and hung them by threads in the hallway window in my office at work. (what's that you say? Did you just cough-speak "dork" at me? really? hmm).

Pattern: White Hooky Snowflakes also from Attic24.
Yarn: um... some acrylic I found lying around here.
I stretched them slightly and pinned them, then sprayed with spray starch. I then removed the pins and covered them with a cloth before pressing with a warm (not hot) iron to give them some shape and make them a bit stiff. It worked really well.

I need to get back to Kaylee's afghan. Surprisingly it's not crocheting itself!