Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Queue Review

taking a peek into my never ending queue...

carrie bostick hoge

This is a great cardigan called the Belfast Hoodie by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I love it!

I keep thinking about how great it would look with jeans in some kind of tweedy yarn with giant wooden buttons.

I don't have enough tweedy yarn in my stash to make this. All that really tells me is I need to start buying yarn in sweater quantities to help out my poor queue.

I mean really, who doesn't need 1500 yards of tweed in their stash?

So whats in your queue?

Monday, March 28, 2011

This is all that's left from one skein of Spud and Chloe Sweater. The colourway is called Toast. I bought it last year and have been using it slowly in all kinds of projects.

Like this one,

and this one,

and this one,

and this one.

What's even more amazing is I still have enough leftover to make something else!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

FO - Swap Bunny

Well here he is! This little guy doesn't have a name yet. I always like to name the toys I make but I'm not keeping him, he's destined for warmer climes. I hope my Easter Swap partner picks a good one, and loves him up!

I sure had fun making him. This is a Susan B. Anderson pattern that was published in the Knit Simple Holiday Edition last year. I made the owl a few months ago, but he was also destined as a gift. I really need to start knitting some of these woodland critters for myself! They're just so adorable.

I love taking pictures of toys outside. The light is so much better than in the house (although I'm pretty lucky to have some super huge windows and great natural light inside too). I also love outside for it's stunning backgrounds.

Except maybe today.

Today is -15C and that's cold! Like stupid-winter-is-no-where-near-over cold. The snow isn't melting and my poor bunny friend froze his paws off. I think that's why his whiskers are droopy. But that's just a theory.

Friday, March 25, 2011


That's what I've been feeling this week. I wasn't sure if I should post about it but I'm hoping that if I get it out there then I'll feel some closure and maybe a bit of peace.

We had some pretty severe spring storms early this week that froze the roads, dropped some snow, shut down the buses across the entire school district and made driving totally hazardous.

On Monday at about 4pm a young 18 year old from our high school was driving from the city to another town to go to work and she lost control on an overpass and hit a semi truck. Her car caught on fire and they had to use the jaws of life to get her out. B saw them opening the roof of her car as he was driving home from work that night. He said the car (a little Neon) was totalled and if would be something if the driver survived.

She did. For 2 days she hung on. But on Wednesday she suffered a stroke and passed away.

I've talked here before about how much I love this little town we live in. I love how well people know each other and that my kids are growing up with roots and history. It's a special thing to have those connections to a place and the people who create it. That's why it's so hard to come to grips with this death I think. Everyone is feeling it. There isn't any where to go to get away from it. The kids at school are reeling, the teachers are in shock, the community is in mourning.

And I can't stop thinking about it. The tragedy and unfairness of it. I keep thinking about Karrie (the mum) and wishing I could do something for her.

And I look at the Superstar and whisper thank you to whoever may be listening that it wasn't her.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Queue Revue

Taking a peek into my never ending queue...

I'm a bit in love with these fingerless mittens! I think they'd look smashing in brown and pink or blue. A blue rose would be awesome! I can already see them in some Tern by Quince and Co. I have some in my stash earmarked for other projects but you never know, I may have to order more!

You can find this free pattern here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

March Charity Hats

I knit 3 preemie hats out of leftovers from my Ripple Blanket this past week. I love how little and sweet they are. Preemie hats are such instant gratification projects. They also use up those tiny bits of yarn that I can't seem to throw away.

Over on the Itty Bitty Knits board on Ravelry we run a charity knit-along (or KAL) every month. Each month a different member hosts and chooses a charity for us to knit for. This month Becca or Borkles as she's known on Ravelry is hosting. She had this to say about her charity:

"For this month’s charity knitting, I thought we could knit baby hats for the babies in the hospital where I work as a nurse- Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, CA.

I work on the antepartum unit, where we often care for mamas who have lost their babies- either due to extremely early preterm labor, or stillbirth at any point up to full-term. We have the need for teeny tiny hats (for extremely early babies who are too early to survive), up to newborn size. Our unit could also use small sized blankets (which we often give to grieving families as mementos, along with the little hats the baby wears.)

We also have a large NICU, and they could use hats for preemies up to 0-3 months (as some babies have a longer stay with them). Any machine-washable, baby friendly (not scratchy) yarn should be fine."

I knit preemie to newborn sizes. I cast on 44 stitches for the small purple and blue striped hat and 52 stitches for the teal and purple hats. I'm not fond of the rolled brim for hats for tiny babies, I think the ribbed brim is more comfortable. I knit about an inch of ribbing before knitting the next few inches in stockinette. 

I've been participating in this KAL for the past 3 years and I can't say enough good things about the generosity of the knitters in our group. They're such a special group of ladies and I'm so pleased to be able to contribute this month.

If you have any tiny bits of leftover yarn please consider knitting up some preemie hats to donate to your local NeoNatal Unit.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finally it's Friday!

I have lists of things I need to accomplish this weekend. Ordinarily laundry would be right at the top but my parents were here this week (sadly gone now) and my wonderful Mum did most of it for me! Yay for Mums!

So here's the list in no particular order:
- finish Easter Swap project
- run to the city for:
                - a bit more Easter Swap goodness for the parcel
                - find my Dad's birthday present, now destined to be late...
                - groceries
                - take back pants that are too big (yes!)
- fill out band trip form for the Superstar done!
- order seeds for garden done!
- finish book club book
- general weekend type chores like dusting and cleaning bathrooms (fun times)
- try to get a start on organizing the paperwork for income tax (bah) done!
- bring up the spring/summer clothes from the basement done!
- take the plastic off the windows! done!
- knit? relax? play outside? All of these? Hopefully!

How about you? Do you make crazy lists on Friday like I do, of all the things you hope to accomplish?

my apple tree a few springs ago

Happy weekend :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Seed Directory

I got this in the mail a few days ago and I'm so impressed! It's grown to be a huge catalogue this year! I've been a member of the Seeds of Diversity for 3 years now and I'm so glad I am. I really encourage everyone to look through their website and read their mission statement.

I'm already plotting and planning my garden. In fact I began scheming in December when I got my copy of porn West Coast Seeds. I got all giddy and excited. OK, I'll admit I may be a bit addled. I made a list of the seeds I want and if I grow them all I'll need to knock down my neighbor's house and steal her yard. Sadly, I'll be whitling the masterlist down to a more managable length. Sorry about the quality of these photos, my flickr link is not being very nice to me this morning.

We have a small growing area in the back of the house on the east facing side. There's a plot about 8 feet by 24 feet (very rough measurements here, I'm visualizing in my head, a rather faulty process) where I grow the bulk of my veggies. It's far from ideal. The house blocks most of the sun and there's a huge spruce tree on the neighbor's side of the fence that not only throws cones and needles at us, but he's a water hog too. I'm not mad at him though, he's been around for at least 100 years.

I have a flower bed along the south side of the house. Last year I took a shovel and hacked another foot of lawn away to make it about 3 feet by 20 feet. It's a nice chunk of dirt that houses my Irises, Lilies, Peonies, and a few other lovely bushes and flowers. It's a very sunny and hot spot in our yard. I've been known to grow tomatoes there and will again this year. I may try a squash like pumpkin too, so the vines can have somewhere to spread out.

Last year I also put in a flower garden under my Spruce tree. I don't know if much will grow there but I'm determined to try. I think mostly flowers and some shade tolerant plants. I'm looking at growing some Columbines this year, they'd look pretty there.

photo taken from online source

So what does your garden grow?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FO - Hint of Spring Mittens

Remember this picture?

I started these mittens last month when the weather was a chilly -28C. I knew even then they wouldn't be a good choice for those cold winter days. But today, ah, now that's a different story! We're slowly inching up the thermometer and into warmer temps like -10C. Seriously a wonderful improvement! These mittens are the perfect accessory for late winter, early spring days.

I love spring. I decided to name these mittens Hint of Spring because that's what we have around here, just the barest hint.

I used 2mm dpns for the ribbing and while I like a tight rib, this pair may be a bit too tight. next time I'll go to a 2.75mm instead. The main mitten was knit with 3.25mm dpns. They are a small ladies mitten for sure and very light weight. I weighed them at work and they are 19 grams each!

This was my first project with Tern by Quince and Company, it won't be my last. I love this stuff! It's so soft and the colour of the Columbine (the pink) is heathered and luscious. A real treat! The ice grey is called Oyster and it's a very cold colour but combined with the pink it's striking. I used less than half of each skein. I could easily knit these again with the colours reversed, I'm just so impressed. Tern is a 25% silk and 75% wool blend that has all the warmth of wool, the shine of silk and it's so soft! I'm glad it worked out so well because I bought 4 more skeins for mittens!

This is the second Strago pattern I've made and I've really enjoyed the colourwork. It isn't complicated to knit but does require a bit of concentration. The finished mitten looks polished and lovely. I'm keeping these!

So this is pair number 4 in my quest to knit 11 pairs of mittens in 2011. I'm sure I'll have no problem meeting that goal although the warm days of summer are coming. I'd like to think that I'll put mittens aside but I know I won't. I've already cast on another pair. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Queue Review

taking a peek into my never ending queue...

photo by adam c. wolf

This is not the best picture in the world but I'm loving this scarf pattern! It's called the Arroyo Scarf and I think it would be so pretty in a fingering weight yarn. I think I may have the perfect yarn too just waiting to be used up!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Apple Swap

Now that my swap partner has received her package I thought I'd share the knitting I did.

Mel, our amazing swap organizer, had us do a swap centered around Apples. We had to knit the Apple Hat, the apple from Finger Foods (a great pattern set found in Itty Bitty Toys),  and the Apple Washcloth. These are all Susan B. Anderson patterns and a joy to knit.

The Apple Hat was a super easy little hat to knit. I love this one for a  newborn. It's so cute! I knit mine to fit a 1-2yr old as per my swap partner's request. It fit Mr. Man (he has a little head) but I couldn't get a picture of him with it on.

I did the stem differently than the pattern stated. Instead of changing to brown to do the i-cord, I stayed with the Spud and Chloe Sweater in Grass and wrapped it with a bit of leftover Spud and Chloe Sweater in Rootbeer. I was able to wrap the top of the stem a bit more to look like an apple stem. I think it worked, I just hope it survives a toddler.

I also adjusted the leaf. I found the one in the pattern too small. This is what I did...

Leaf pattern
CO 3
Row 1 - k1, yo, k1, yo, k1.
Row 2 and all even rows - purl
Row 3 - k2, yo, k1, yo, k2
Row 5 - k3, yo, k1, yo, k3
Row 7 - k1, ssk, k3, k2tog, k1
Row 9 - k1, ssk, k1, k2tog, k1
Row 11 - ssk, k1, k2tog
Row 12 - p1, p2tog, slip 1st purl st over
cut yarn and purl thru last st.

Isn't this Finger Food Apple hilarious? I have to admit this set of patterns I skipped over many times. I just never really thought finger food puppets were something I wanted to knit. After making this apple I've completely changed my mind! Mr. Man likes playing with the one I got in my swap package from Raelynne, so now I may have to knit the rest.

And this last pattern was the one I had the most problems with. This cloth calls for chenille which I've never knit with and I really wanted to use stash yarn in this swap (I did with all three projects). So I used good old dishcloth cotton. The green trim is Mission Falls cotton, a nubbly yarn that I inherited from someone.

Now my crochet skills are not great and when I tried to do the chain edging the nubbly bits just looked uneven. I really try for a polished look for my knits and for the most part I can achieve that but this cloth about did me in. I left it for so long in a partially finished state. Then one night I had an idea. I would crochet around the edge of the entire apple and chain a leaf onto the cloth. I started over and knit the entire cloth in one color. I'm still not super pleased with the edging but it's done and gone now. Hopefully Tara (my swap partner) just uses it!

I try to include in all my swap packages: some yarn, patterns, goodies, a book or two, something Canadian, and a card. This time I made some dried apples and put in a jar of Crab Apple Jelly that I made last fall. I hope Tara likes all the stuff in there!

I had such a fun time creating the package and receiving one from Raelynne! I'd post about it, but she's done a series of posts on her blog about all the great stuff so I'll just encourage you read her posts. Fabulous stuff!

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Three Cups of Tea

The March pick for our book club is called Three Cups of Tea. I'm struggling a bit to get going with it. I have a terrible cold this week that's left me fuzzy headed and tired. I have faith I'll get through it though!

A brief summary up to where I am: The author Greg Mortenson attempts to climb K2 in memory of his sister Christa and fails to reach the summit. On the way back down he stays in a tiny village called Korphe and makes friends and a promise. He will build the children a school. So he goes home to the States, tries to raise funds, gets the money (about $12K) and returns to Pakistan. Once there he purchases the materials for his school. I'm at the part where his supplies and himself are on the way up the mountains to Korphe. Right now they are stopped at bridge due to a standoff between rebels and the military.

I have to say it's been a sluggish read so far. I want to identify with him and feel his commitment to the poor in Pakistan, but all I feel is, humph... I hope it picks up with the actual building of the school.

I'll keep you posted.

Thought I'd share a funny picture of Mr. Man with you. He fell asleep on the couch this afternoon (yes, it's a pj day today). Usually I don't sneak around taking pictures of him while he sleeps, even though he's super cute when he's sleeping.

I just had to this time...

New Look

I got a little case of spring fever yesterday afternoon and started fooling around with the background of my blog. I've been using Hot Bliggity Blog. They have some really great backgrounds but this time I had the hardest time finding one I liked. They were either too gaudy or stretched out. Now I'm no code monkey so computer lingo just goes right over my head. That means if I break it, I can't always figure out how to fix it. That's very limiting and a wee bit frustrating!

So I went over to BestBloggerTemplates.Net and scrolled over to the how to download section. I found a smashing video on how to load the template I like to my blog using Firefox (or windows, they have a video for that too). 


I'm still fiddling with things. I may change up a few items on my side bar and maybe add a menu bar of some kind, some pages... Who knows, the sky's the limit now that I know there are blogs out there dedicated to making mine more enjoyable for me to use and you to read.

So what do you think? Is it a keeper?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

FO - Elmer

Yup, I finished him. Here's a little sample of his cuteness.

I knit him out of some leftover Cotton Ease that I bought when I first learned how to knit. I used it to make baby hats for my friends Jill and Bridie. This blue is almost gone. I think I have enough to use it as the accent colour on a second Elephante toy though. I still have almost half a ball of green and a full ball of "almond", a lovely cream. So now you know what the next one will look like!

I followed the pattern as written except for a few minor modifications:

* I chose to knit Elmer in a solid colour and added some plastic toy eyes.

* I created a bigger tassel than the pattern stated.

* I didn't use any polly pellets this time, just some fiber fill.

* I didn't seam his noggin on the way the pattern described either. In Susan's version the elephant is looking down with his trunk touching the floor. I wanted Elmer to see a bit more of the world and the world to see him so I positioned his head up on the body a few inches.

Finishing toys is always the tricky bit for me. I often fly through the knitting of the "bits" only to procrastinate sometimes for months on the sewing up. I'm not really sure why. Seaming once you get going has a nice flow and feel to it. A rhythm almost. Elmer took me all of a few hours to finish.

I used plastic eyes for the first time. I like them. There's something special about an embroidered face though, so I can still see plenty of those in my future, but these little black eyes give Elmer some attitude. I looked high and low to find them in the city and had no luck. Turns out I had a package hiding in my stash that I bought from a closing out sale at Stedmans last year. Rescued by the stash once again!

Thank goodness for Susan's blog! She has some great tutorials on there and the one to make the ears is the best! I had them both done in no time.

I would definitely knit another of these, in fact I've cast on for another Elephante already!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WIPs - Elmer

He's pretty cute! I've been wanting to make this pattern for ages.  I'm not very far along right now but it really doesn't take much time to knit up. I think I should have him finished up before next week.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Queue Review

here is a peek into my never ending queue...

I thought I'd share another afghan pattern. Seeing as I'm so taken with crochet lately and I'm loving how it uses up yarn and I have 2 kids... I've decided to crochet this pattern as soon as I'm finished the Ripple Blanket. I certainly have enough yarn in my stash for it!

photo by framboise

Another talented lady is crocheting this very blanket right now and I love how it's coming along! Check out Armida's blog, Fairytale Knits.

So what's in your queue?

Monday, March 7, 2011

District Champs 2011

Well they won! Congrats on a great weekend of junior girls basketball! I'm still waiting for a copy of the team photo but here are some shots of the Superstar in action.

In the Gold Medal game, the Superstar shot 2 baskets and made play after play. I'm dubbing her the play maker. She was on fire! It was fun to watch.

You'd think this would be the end of basketball, but it's not. There's a game today and tomorrow. I'm sure there will be more. The Superstar is also signing up for BSI. It's a great spring basketball skill building session. She had a blast last year and I'm sure she'll love it this year.

Way to go Broncs!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

WIPs - Ripple Blanket

Remember way back when I posted about wanting to crochet a blanket for the superstar? Well I started it a few weeks ago. I'm really happy with the way it's turning out, all bright and cheerful and fun.

I'm just pulling random balls of girly coloured acrylic out of the bin in the basement. It seems to be working.

I can't believe how much yarn this blanket is eating up!

I can't believe how huge this blanket is going to be!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Queue Revue

today we are taking a peek into my never ending queue...

Here is a great sweater for the little people in my life. One little person in particular loves robots, and monster trucks and sonic the hedgehog. This pattern fits perfectly with the first love. Robots!

photo by NeulovaNarttu

photo by NeulovaNarttu

How cute are these robot sweaters?! I can't wait to make Mr. Man one!

Maybe for christmas?

Out with the old and in with the new

As I mentioned in my last post, we got a new camper last summer. I've been ready for an upgrade for ages. I loved the freedom that the...