Monday, April 28, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment #5

You know with Spring the famous saying goes "April Showers, bring May flowers", please tell us what you like to do when those April Showers are pouring down on you. Do you like to curl up with your knitting, take in a movie or crawl back in bed?

What are April Showers? I am unfamiliar with this concept unless you mean April SNOW showers! ha ha!

I'm sorry - you just have to laugh about it otherwise it would drive you slowly mad living here! Last week we had beautiful sunshine-y weather. The yard was finally drying up and it felt like spring was in the air. Then it got cooler and cooler all week long until Thursday when the mercury plummeted and we got a snow storm. Yes, you did read that correctly. A SNOW STORM. Now fortunately we weren't as badly off as Calgary with their horrendous amounts of snow, but chances are, they've warmed up now and here we sit in, well not quite cold enough to be called a deep freeze, let's just call it a fridge. Brrrr. Hope "springs" eternal though and it is suppose to be sunny all week long and by the end of the week they're calling for 14C. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me will you?

Anyways, onto matters at hand... I love rainy days when I have the luxury of keeping cozy warm inside the house. I love to wear my sweats and hoodie, and a pair of cozy wool socks, put the kettle on and park myself on the couch and knit to my heart's content. Of course first I've made something hearty and warming (soup, chili, or stew) in the crock pot for supper. More often though, I'm grabbing my rain jacket, and umbrella if I can find it and heading out to where ever I have to be at that particular moment.

In other news, I'm back from a brief trip to Toronto. I had a "field trip" to the university and it was absolutely fantastic! I really did feel like the little country bumpkin gone to the big city, but not for any reason other than the sheer size of the library there. Previously, when I first started my library career I worked at one of the largest highschools in the province, so it stood to reason that our library was very large (or so I thought). Then I transferred here to the university and I work in the largest library in our system and I remember being amazed at the size of it. So here was little me under the assumption that Dafoe was huge. Then I went to the Robarts library on Friday at the U of T. All 14 floors of it!!!!! WOW! I have to say, I was lagging a little in my enthusiasm for library work as of late, but seeing U of T and talking "shop" with the people I met down there has sort of given my enthusiasm the "jolt" it needed to get back in my groove.

Toronto is fun for other reasons too, of course besides their large library! I met a few knitters there that gave me directions to Romni Wools! I guess alot of things are just bigger there because I've never seen such a large wool shop in all my life! I was overwhelmed. I roamed the aisles over and over upstairs and down. In the end I bought a couple of patterns and a few skeins of yarn, but really couldn't even focus on what I wanted! Apparently I was hitting TO at a good time too, as they were having a fibre festival. It was going to be tight timing, but I was busily making plans to sneek over to that before heading out to Oakville on Saturday evening for a BBQ with my friend. Then the TTC went on strike and put a halt to that. I didn't figure I'd be able to easily get a cab for love or money, and with transit down, there was no way to get to the festival, so I settled for walking to Kensington Market to Lettuce Knits for a little peruse around their shop. All in all a good "knitterly" time!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment #4

Let's pretend for a minute we all live in the home of our dreams, have land, and don't have to work so time is unlimited! It's Spring planting season! What would you grow? A little veggie garden? A bed of bright spring blooms? Or is your thumb so far from green that the only thing you'd be planting is your tushy into a nice chair on the porch to get some knitting or crocheting done in the nice breeze?

I would definately have a veggie garden and a flower bed! Growing up, my mom always planted at least two huge (and by huge I mean bigger than the space of my entire lot here in the city) gardens. One year she actually had three. I miss the fun of planting a garden and the opportunity to decide I want beans for supper and just run outside to pick some! In my veggie garden you would find tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, beans and peas. Oh and potatoes. There's nothing as good as baby potatoes! I forgot the onions and chives too. Oh and throw in a zucchini plant as well, because even though as a kid I dreaded the always bumper crop of zucchini, in adulthood I've grown fond of it and almost choke every time I spend money on buying a teeny tiny one at the grocery store. Of course I'd also like to have the rows of strawberry plants and rasberry bushes Mom used to have as well!

As for flowers, well there I'd follow my Great Aunt Flora's lead and have lavender and bee balm, clemantis and daisies. I'd also want some petunias, bachelor buttons and lillies in there as well. And hostas. Lots of hostas!

I'd fill flower boxes and planters all along my verandah - you did say it was the house of my dreams, right? If it is then there is a verandah along the entire front of the house. And when the summer sun is high in the sky, the breeze is blowing the scent of the flowers in the air, I could sit on my wicker chair on the verandah and knit to my heart's content surrounded by bright colours!

Sigh... now off to check the Environment Canada's website again to see if they've cancelled our "Winter Storm Warning" that is in effect for today and tomorrow...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ramblings from a tired mind...

It's Monday and I'm tired. Not sure why I'm so tired, just am. So please excuse any strange ramblings today. I'll try to stay focused, I just can't promise it!

So, on Friday night I had to drive G up to the Interlake to her dance camp. It was a beautiful night for a drive. The sun shining, the temperatures warm, spring definately in the air. I got her up there in good time and was promptly dismissed - "Ok - see ya Sunday afternoon, Mom." - and she was off!

So I got back in the van about five minutes after getting out of it and began the just over an hour trek back to the city. Since it was such a lovely evening I decided to take a detour and head back towards the lake for a few minutes.

Spring time on Lake Winnipeg near Camp Morton

Closer view of the lake after a somewhat slippery trek down a muddy hill

After taking some pictures and frightening a flock of birds off the water I got back in the van and headed back out to the highway. Along my way I came across something that caused me to pull off the road and take another picture. There was just something so odd about the sight.

For Sale? For Sail?

Boat in farmer's field near Gimli, MB.

It had a for sale sign, so I guess that explains the reason for the boat in the farmer's field. As I said, it just struck me as a strange place for a boat to be!

When I got home I decided it would be a good time to start knitting Clue 1 of the Mystery Lace KAL that I signed up for. Here's the result. I think it's quite pretty!

Clue 1 (Rows 1-20) Mystery Lace KAL

Knit in Malabrigo Lace

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment # 3 and an FO!

Part One: The Assignment

Tell us how you started drinking coffee. Were you in high school or college and making it through all nighters? Did you get it from a family member? What drives your love of the bean?

Although I always loved the smell of coffee I was primarily a tea drinker until I was in my late twenties! In fact I remember going with my dad to the school he taught at once when I would have been about 14 or 15 and being given a cup of coffee. I could hardly choke it down even with the four or five packets of sugar and creamer that I put in it.

It wasn't until I was about 27 and having a terrible time with my first serious asthma attack that I started what has become an addiction to coffee! I'd was taking my inhalers about once every two hours (as prescribed) and going back to the dr. for treatment each morning and yet I was still not able to get any relief from the coughing that is my main symptom of my asthma. I was staying with my Mom at the time because I'd come into visit and the dr. told me not to drive the 2 1/2 hours back to the town I lived in as he was worried I'd not make it there with all the stubble burning in the fields at the time.

Mom started giving me hot coffee as a way to soothe the cough (she'd read somewhere that it was a good home remedy) and kept giving it to me when we noticed it was having some helpful effects. I must have drank cup after cup in desperation that week! Ten years later, I drink coffee every morning and still rely on it when my breathing starts getting really bad!

I love the taste, the smell, the warmth of it! Hmmm... think I'll have to go get myself a cup!

Part Two: The FO

As previously mentioned in my last post, I caved into the pressure of G's desire for a Two-Toned Fitted Shrug. I'm really glad that I did! I finished it last night and she was thoroughly surprised! I only had a few rows left to go so was sitting in the kitchen trying to finish it up while she was in the other room watching TV. At one point N came through the kitchen and inquired, "Whatcha knitting this time mom?" See? A 13 year old boy notices when I'm doing a different project! Not so for "G the Oblivious"! She wandered into the kitchen and started chatting away. I figured the jig was up and she was going to for sure realize what it was. But nope. She wandered away and then came back as I was casting off the last stitch. "Whatcha knitting mom? Is it a Robbie sweater?" "Nope," I replied. "Is it an Emilie Jennifer sweater?" "Nope," I replied and then held up the finished product for her to see. With a squeal of delight, "Is it a Gwennie sweater?!?!?!" "Yep!!" I said. She put it on and wore it the rest of the evening!

Two-Toned Fitted Shrug from Fitted Knits

So here's the specs.

Yarn: One ball each of black and heather grey Paton's Decor (total cost $8.40!)

Size: Smallest - 13" from shoulder to shoulder

Started: April 7/08 Finished: April 14/08 (Knit on the sly for the most part when G wasn't around so really a very quick knit!)

Mods: None what so ever! I loved this pattern for her!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Drum roll please...

The baby blanket is done! I think it looks cute. It's big and cuddly.

So in a matter of days I've knocked two WIP onto the FO list! I'm feeling mighty pleased with myself about the whole business! And to top it off, unlike two months ago or so when I was in an absolute scramble to finish the baby hoodie mere moments before leaving for the shower, the baby blanket is done ahead of time! I'm feeling somewhat smug, but really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that baby hasn't been born yet. Well - it's a first baby, due date was only yesterday, but the main thing is... I'm DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Quick update! Between typing this post and actually getting around to taking the pic and posting to my blog, baby has now been born. Welcome to the world baby girl! Hope you like your blankie!)
Emilie Jennifer

Back to the project details now.  I'm trying to be good about including specs now when I show a finished project as I always appreciate that from others so here goes:

Pattern: Knitted Angel Blanket
Yarn: 3 balls of Red Heart Baby Clouds in Seaspray (I think)

I knit the pattern as written, right down to the size.

Despite my trying to be stern and make myself finish my current WIP before starting something new, I failed miserably yet again. You see my downfall came when G was looking through my patterns last Friday and came across the Two-Toned Fitted Shrug from Fitted Knits. "Oh Mom! I love that! Oh I'd totally wear that all the time. It would be so great with my tanks. Then I could wear a tank top to school, but still have something covering my shoulders (requirement of rarely enforced dress code). I'd like in in black and grey." Well suffice it to say I folded like a cheap shirt and the next day was off to Ram Wools where they were having a sale. I decided to use Paton's Decor, which normally I wouldn't choose, but it'll be washable and the price was right. $8.40 got me the two balls required for this project. It's coming along quite quickly. No complaints so far. Maybe I can get it done by the end of the weekend for her! Then I'll go back to you my Gathered Pullover. Promise.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment 2

Since some of us is beginning to see glimpse of Spring, while others are still getting snow have you change what projects are working on? Have you put away the hats, scarfs and mittens, and brought out the cute tank top sweater projects and lacy wraps? Have you change yarn to something more lighter and cooler, not so heavy and bulky?

Well I hesitate to say it on the off chance it will jinx it, so I'll just say it very, very quietly. Sssshhhhh... I think that spring is finally arriving. Of course, I could be wrong, because this is the prairies afterall and in the last five years at least once it snowed in May. I remember the date even. May 11/04. I remember it because the next day was the first snow day of the year that staff did not have to report to school the next day. Which was stupid because it was blizzarding to beat the band on the afternoon of the 11th as I made the long horredous drive back to the city, but by the morning of May 12th when they cancelled classes and told us that we didn't need to report the snow had pretty much melted on the highways. But whatever. I remember it was kind of a fun day. And to further my point about the prairies and not trusting spring is here until it's actually summer is that just on Friday night, when I peaked out the window at 11:00pm it was snowing like December out there. So there you go. One never knows. But if I'm to trust the weather forecasters, this week seems pretty spring like to me. Here's hoping.

Anyways onto matters at hand. I'm still knitting scarves and sweaters and blankets. But the scarf is in luxurious Fleece Artist Sea Silk so it's light and airy and so lovely to knit with! The sweater is in a dull flannel grey (see yesterday's post)but all I've left to do is the sleeves so it would seem a shame to put it away now. At least this way I have half a chance of having it ready for the cooler temps in the fall! And the blanket, well that's a baby gift for a baby whose due date is tomorrow, so there's no choice but to finish it. Besides. After last night's efforts I only have 10 rows left to go and then weave in the ends and "Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt", I'll be done. I did of course take a break from the wintery wear last week and knit my Tiny Tulip Socks as a ode to the birth of spring!

This of course is not to say that I've not been dreaming of switching it up and knitting summery delights! A couple of things right now at the top of my list are the Josephine Top from Interweave Knits and Lanaknits Lacy Little Top.

But first things first. I need to at least finish the baby blanket!!!!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fastest sock pattern ever!

I am so happy to tell you that I finished my Tiny Tulip socks yesterday!!!

Pattern: Tiny Tulips
Yarn: Merino Tencel Blend - custom dyed by Lizzie's Wonderland 350 yds I think, but there's oodles left over making this a great one skein pair of socks!
Started: 9:00pm Saturday, March 29th Finished: 4:30pm Saturday, April 5th Making these the fastest sock pattern ever!!!
Notes: Only one mod - when I started the foot of the sock instead of knitting two stitches at the end of needle two, I k2tog so that I would have a symetrical reapeat of pattern - not necessary to the sock - just to my obsessive compulsive brain. I love this pattern! It fits absolutely perfectly! I always find that my hand knit socks end up a bit snug at the leg and a bit sloppy on the foot, but these ones turned out as if the pattern was written exactly for me! I can hardly wait to wear them today! :)

In other knitting news, I was working away on the baby blanket last night - baby's due any day, but I just found out the shower will be on April 27th so I've got some time. I'm 2/3 done and have suddenly in the last row dropped a stitch somewhere. Urrgghhh. It's going to be a challenge to spot it I think with this yarn! It's so fluffy. So this morning rather than face the search of the drop stitch I picked up my gathered pullover again. I only had a few rows to go to finish off the back, so off I went. Being stocking stitch my mind began to wander and when it stopped wandering I measured how much further I needed to go. I should really pay closer attention to what I'm doing because it ended up about four rows to much. So rip, rip, rip I went and then was able to quickly finish it off, seam it up and darn in all the ends. Now I just have the sleeves to do and the edging around the neckline. I tried it on with much trepidation because it looked sort of short and squat, but wouldn't you know it, apparently my upper body is also short and squat. It fits like a dream so far. We'll see what I manage to do to the fit once the sleeves are in, but so far so good!

Until next time... happy knitting!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment

So this is the first week of the Coffee Swap and we have been given the following assignment:

"Browse around some of the other blogs of participants, and find one person who enjoys a similar roast coffee to you - share something interesting about them that you find on THEIR blog, and tell us what you've been working on knitting or crochet-wise this week!"

I set to work scoping out other participants blogs and found that Gaylen likes a lighter roast coffee just like I do. But what really caught my eye was her sewing. Having a background in pattern making and design it immediately got my attention. I loved the skirts and tops she just made recently! When I went back to look at her blog again today I had to laugh, because she mentioned my name in her assignment! Great minds think alike perhaps? ha ha!

In terms of what's on my needles, I have the following:
- baby blanket for (BF)G's neice's baby (thankfully not born yet although her due date is in one week, so I really need to get cracking on that one!)
- Gathered Pullover, which I've grown bored of now that I'm hoping for spring to arrive
- Clementine shawl - although really, I'm not sure that I can count that as I've not worked on it since sitting on the lumpy bed, while icing my very swollen ankle, in my room in Huanchaco, Peru.
- Montego Bay scarf - which I was so completely excited about last week until I got the last parcel from Darcy which contained the loveliest sock yarn and pattern (do you see where this might be going???)
- and last but not least, I have just this morning cast on for the second sock of Tiny Tulip socks. They are my newest love. Take a look why!Isn't it pretty! It's the perfect spring sock, even on a bed of snow! I'll model them when I've got the pair done! :)