Saturday, June 30, 2012

And so the Tour Begins


Today is the first day of the Tour de Fleece so I thought I'd post about my goals for this year.

1. Sew for 30 minutes each day.
2. Work on one of the projects that are already on my needles or hooks at some point each day that they ride.  I'm not setting a time limit on this one, I'll just work on a project as I can, but the goal is to do at least a little each day on something in the hopes of getting a few WIPs done.

I have been wanting to get back to my sewing for a long time, and now that my studio is almost done, I have the space to keep my machine set up and have access to my fabrics and supplies.  A few things that I know I need to sew during the Tour are a wedding shower gift (I'm thinking an apron and something else, but I'm not sure yet), 2 dresses for the weddings we have in August, a cat tent for Bingley and some project bags.  That should keep me busy, and if I finish these up, I'd like to sew a few other pieces of clothing for myself.

The other goal is to help me finish up some of the projects I've already got on the go so that when the Ravellenic Games start, I will be ready to focus on my project(s).  What I am working on today is the Cascading Stylish Shawl by Michelle B.  I started it last year on our Scandinavian trip, but never got it finished.  That's it in the picture at the beginning of the post.  I'm using Chroma Fingering Weight in Lollipop and I've decided that if I had to knit/crochet from only one skein of yarn for the rest of my life, it would be this exact yarn.  It has every colour I could ever want and it's so soft, I adore it!!

Are you participating in the Tour de Fleece this year, and if so, what are your goals??


P.S. Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians tomorrow!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Things


I know today is supposed to be my One-a-Day Tuesday post but there's been a change in plans.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to put the Hexagon Blanket aside for the next while, because this coming weekend starts Tour de Fleece and then right after that is the Olympics (I still don't know what we are calling it yet) and I want to be able to focus on my projects for those.  Then after the Olympics are over we have two family weddings, and I'm baking the cake and making the favours for one of them.  Also, our Pancake House is opening up for their summer season next weekend, which means I will need to be baking my products for that.  So from here on out, the next while is looking to be on the busy side and I think it's best to put the blanket aside for now.

Since it's officially summer, I've got a line up of smaller projects and lace shawls in my queue.  I find small and lacy things easier to work on when it's hot, and they easily fit into my bag when I'm on the go.  Plus, I think its nicer to work with thinner yarn when its warm outside.

I finished Mom's Stripe Study Shawl over the weekend, (it still needs to be blocked which is why there are no pictures yet) and I immediately started the Jeanne Lois Bandit by Linda Permann (that's it in the picture above) and Georgiana by Susanna IC from the first Jane Austen Knits magazine.

I'm hoping to get Georgiana done in time to wear to one of the weddings at the end of August.  I thought it would be the perfect thing to throw over my shoulders if it gets cool in the evening.

What are your summer project plans and do you have any favourite warm weather patterns or yarns??


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meet Maybellene


I'd like you to meet Maybellene the Cow, isn't she a cutie?  She's the plushie I was working on for the Fresh Stitches June CAL.  One thing I like best about making toys is that you have a sweet little friend when you're done.  This was a very fun and well-explained pattern and great for an almost beginner toy crocheter like me. I can hardly wait to make another Fresh Stitches pattern now, I'm thinking it will be the Raccoon from Stacey's Woodland Animals Craftsy course.  I picked up all the supplies I need at Michael's the other day so I'm all ready to get started.

In some knitting news, I'm on the boarder on Mom's Stripe Study Shawl  right now.  I think I'm at 2 1/2" and it needs to be a total of 4" before I can bind off, so it's getting close.  If I dedicate some time to it this weekend I should be able to get it done.

These two things are what I have been working on mostly this week.  I really hope to get Mom's shawl done so that I can start next week fresh and maybe cast on for something new.  We will see how it goes.

Happy Weekending,

Friday, June 22, 2012



Yesterday I was able to get to the city to buy some clear Sterilite containers, so I now have all the upstairs stash re-organized and completely sealed up.  I ran out of containers for what is in the basement, but in the meantime, I'm going to bag everything up and put it into quarantine and keep an eye on it.  This yarn would be the acrylics that were not near the affected yarn.  All things in close range of it were thrown away and the rest went into the freezer where it will stay for a week (to kill the moths), come out for 3 days (to hatch the eggs), then go back for another week (to kill whatever may have hatched).  (Which is what I learned I should do from doing some research.)  If anything shows any sign of moth bodies or eggs or anything of the sort, it will immediately be thrown away - I don't care what it is.  I've read that you can do things like re-freeze the yarn or heat in in the microwave, then wash it and re-skein it, but in all honesty, I would not be able to knit with yarn if I knew it had bugs living in it at one time, even if they were not there now.  I'm just like that.  I have to stop here and say that the yarn that is in the freezer never showed any signs of moth activity.  The roving was the only thing that did, and I threw that away, along with everything else in that drawer.  The yarn in the freezer is only there for precautionary reasons, not treatment.

I've already gone through the downstairs stash and thrown away everything I am not attached to or think I will use in the near future.  And I think I might make another pass through it today.  This whole episode has made me take a good look at what I have in my stash and evaluate if I will ever use it, and if not, out it goes.  Looking at the positive side, this has been a good push to finally do the stashing clean-out that I've needed to do for a long time.

If I have learned anything from all this that I would like to pass on to you it would be:  always store your yarn in airtight containers.  I wish I had gotten that advice from someone, so I am passing it along to you.  Also, I would suggest storing your WIPs in those big Ziploc bags.  Moths don't care if you've already started to make something with all that yummy yarn.  And also, when you purchase yarn from a yarn store, it might be a good idea to put it into it's own container, or plastic zippy bag for a while to make sure it doesn't bring anything unwanted into your stash.  It's probably best to err on the side of caution.

Have a great weekend, and take some time to do something that brings you joy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Purple Stitch Project


Have you heard about the Purple Stitch Project started by Vickie Howell in support of Epilepsy Awareness yet?  If not, you should really check out all the information here on their website.  I think this is such a great way for us crafters to contribute to a really great cause.  As soon as I heard about it, my mind went to work on what I could make.  And when I found out about their Plushie Drive for Camp Brainstorm I went straight to work.

I stitched up this cutie and mailed her off today to make sure she gets there in time for camp.  I don't want her to miss out on all the fun now.
If you are interested in helping out, you can find all kinds of patterns over on Craftsy's site. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tragedy of the Wool Kind


   Today's One-a-Day post is being postponed: 1. because I didn't actually make any hexagons this week (I have a bit of a knitting deadline at the moment) and 2. because I found out today that I have a moth problem in the downstairs stash.  I honestly can't think of anything more tragic that could happen to a knitter's wool than finding moths making their home in it.  I am grossed out beyond words.
   When Mom and I were cleaning out the basement storage room today, I pulled out a drawer that had some yarn scraps and a roll of wool roving in it that I had used for making thrummed mittens a few years ago.  I seen a flutter of moth wings and nearly fainted.  I got Mom to get a big garbage bag and we dumped the whole drawer's contents into it, sealed it up and threw it out of the house.  I then bagged up all other wool, wool-blend and animal fiber yarns and put them in the freezer.  The yarn had been in storage drawers so they were open to the air and not completely sealed.  I must have been living under a rock, because I had never heard that I should be storing my yarn in airtight containers.
   Right now I'm not sure what to do.  Thankfully most of my good yarn is stored upstairs (three flights away) from this stash, so none of it is affected.  Should I be freezing all the acrylic as well?  There is quite a lot and it won't all fit in the freezer at one time, so should bag everything up and then do it in batches?  Do they like acrylic?  How about cotton?  Should I just throw it all away?  There's quite a bit of yarn, but most is acrylic. I'd be sad to have to get rid of it, but if that's what I need to do, I can do it.  I had been wanting to whittle my stash down, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind....
   I can't get to the store until Thursday to buy new sealing Rubbermaid containers, but when I do all yarn, no matter what it is, is going into these containers.  In the meantime, I'm sending Mom to the store for loads of Ziploc bags.  
   Has this ever happened to you?  Any advice?  Oh man, what a day....


Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Knit in Public Week


This past week was World Wide Knit in Public week.  I was only out and about once during this time, but I tried to make the most of it.  I brought my Mom's Stripe Study Shawl with me when we went to visit my Grandma and I worked on it while we chatted.  Grandma said she thought it was pretty and wants to see it when it's done.  She also told my Mom that she should be knitting too, which I found funny since I've been trying to convince her of that recently.  She does knit, just not very much.  I know she would really enjoy it if she did though, she always likes to watch what I'm working on.  I ordered her some pretty ruffly yarn this week, so that's a good start.

The colour isn't quite accurate in this photo, the blue is more deep blue.
This is my beautiful Grandma, she is the Knitter.
The shawl is coming along nicely, I'm at 8 stripes right now.  I've been working on it in place of a vanilla sock (shocking, I know, but I don't have any socks on the needles right now), since all the garter stitch lends itself nicely to conversation and travel knitting.  

It was neat to see how interested a lot of the elderly people at the Rest-Home where my Grandma lives were in me knitting.  They didn't say much, but they'd come over to watch and see what I was doing.  One lady did comment, but in Finn, and I couldn't understand her.  She seemed like she thought the shawl was nice though.  That's one more reason why I really should learn Finn.  I'm working on Norwegian right now, but I may have to just jump in and learn Finnish soon too.

Crocheting Maybellene's body on the car ride home.
I also did some crocheting-in-public that same day when we were in the city.  I recently joined the Jackie the Cow CAL that Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches is doing over on her blog and on her Ravelry Group.  My cow is going to be a girl named Maybellene.  I've been wanting to learn how to crochet better so I've been taking Stacey's Woodland Animals Craftsy course when I can.  Which unfortunately isn't very often because I can't watch the videos at home right now due to the dial-up, but I do watch them whenever I'm at my sister's house.  I've started the bluebird, but that's about as far as I've gotten in the course at the moment.  I eventually want to make all the animals, especially the raccoon.  In the meantime, I thought I'd take part in this CAL and try to learn what I can and get some more practice.  As you all know, I really enjoy making toys, so this is right up my alley.  Stacey has has so many other cute patterns, you should really check them out if you are into crochet.

Well, that's all for today.  Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One-a-Day Tuesday


This past week I somehow forgot all about my hexagons.  They didn't cross my mind until yesterday which left me scrambling to whip them up in time for today's post.  I did all the centers and first two rounds last night and then I did the final round and attaching them this afternoon.  It's amazing how fast they can go when you are in a hurry.  I think I'll make myself a post-it note so I remember about them this week....


Monday, June 11, 2012

Winners and an Update in Words Only

Happy Monday,

Thank you everyone for participating in the giveaway!  I picked the winners this morning and have notified them by Ravelry message.  Congratulations to Clobelle, PurlingPenny, Renee W, and Kepanie!!  This was great fun, we will have to do it again!

I thought I'd do a few updates today, and since I don't have any photos to share right now, this will all be in words only.  Sorry about that.  First up, I finished my Whippoorwill shawl.  I still need to block it, but the knitting is done.  I've been putting it off because I'm a little intimated about getting the edging to lay correctly.  I've enlisted Mom to help me with that.  I am really very happy with it from what I can tell pre-blocking though.  I also crocheted a beautiful wrap over the weekend using Knit Picks Aloft.  I was so pleased with both the stitch pattern and the yarn.  I think the two were the perfect combination.  After having this turn out so well I wanted to crochet more lace, so I started another shawl using Patons Lace in a pretty pink/brown combo.  It's coming along well although I have to think about the patterning a little more than I did with the Aloft wrap.  I've also started a Stripe Study shawl for my Mom today.  I'm using a light purple and a dark blue that Mom picked out.  I have to say they look great together.  I'll try to snap a picture tomorrow.  We were having lovely weather today, hot and sunny, but then an unexpected summer thunderstorm popped up and it's been pouring rain and quite dark out - not ideal picture taking weather.

I also started my Beret for Emma Woodhouse that's part of the kit and knit-along from the Knitting with Jane Ravelry Group.  I chose to do mine in Highbury, which is this gorgeous deep rich blue.  I thought it would look nice with my blonde hair.  I've done a repeat and a half so far of the lace and I'm thrilled with it.  The yarn is so bouncy and a treat to knit.  I bought the other two colours as well, Hartfield - a beautiful medium pink, and The Seaside - a stunning yellow.  I'm not sure what projects I'm going to make with them yet, but I'm already looking forward to working with the yarn.  These colours were specifically dyed for the Knitting with Jane kits but the base yarn is Annie Sock and you can order that from the Annie & Co. Shop in some other very luscious colours.  I have the Robin's Egg in the Shalom sock, and it's so pretty, I know it would be amazing in this base as well.  Everything this company does is top notch, I have been so pleased with all the things I've ordered from them.

In more Jane Austen-type news, we are doing a read-along and optional knit-along over on the Itty-Bitty Knits Group.  We are reading Emma right now and having a good time discussing the book and the movies as well as our projects.  The knit-along pattern is the Happily Ever After Mitts.  I'm not taking part in the knit-along this time because I've got a lot of other things on the go right now, but I've knit these mitts before and they are a great pattern, I highly recommend it.  I'm thinking about trying to read through some of Jane Austen's books over the summer, so you'll be sure to hear more about it and see some Jane-type projects pop up.  I've got my eye on a few from both issues of Jane Austen Knits magazine....

In family news, we celebrated my sister's birthday over the weekend.  Happy Birthday sis!!  It was fun to get a chance to visit with her and my brother-in-law since we have all been busy lately and don't get to see each other as much as we'd like.  Also, Bingley is doing very well fitting in and has been getting along with the other animals.  He had a run-in with Cassie and ended up beating her up a bit.  However, I do have to say that she had it coming since she ate all his food, twice in one afternoon.  Now that that's over with, they seem to be getting along pretty well.  I think he's still trying to figure out his place in the family, but everything is getting better each day.  I'm so happy to report that because he has won over my heart and I hope to have him with us forever.

Two more things to share and then I will end this rather long post.  One is I've joined the Itty-Bitty Knits Ravelympics team and I'm so excited about participating!  I haven't picked out my projects yet but I've been thinking about doing the Color Affection Shawl and then committing to knitting a hexipuff a day for my Bee Keeper's Quilt (which I have yet to start, maybe this week).  How does that sound?  Any other suggestions or ideas??  The second thing is I've also joined the Itty-Bitty's Tour de Fleece group and I'm planning on sewing for 30 minutes each day of the tour.  I've been wanting to get myself back to sewing and I thought this would give me the perfect motivation and focus that I need.  Now all I have to do is clean out my studio in the basement so I can keep my machine all set up....I must mention that I'm not big on cleaning or putting things away, which is how the room got to be the disaster that it is right now.  I'm really going to make an effort to keep it clean once I get it that way this time though, if it's possible, I think the mess has scared me into being a put-away-er.

Anyways, that's all for today, rather long-winded but thanks for sticking with me.  I should be back tomorrow with a hexagon update.  In the meantime I'm off to work a few stripes on Mom's shawl,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blogiversary and 400th Post Giveaway


I was planning on posting about this giveaway yesterday but before I knew it, the day had gotten away from me.  Bingley the cat is starting to fit in nicely at our house, although interactions between all the animals still requires supervision, which doesn't leave me with much time to get online.  Mom has been busy planting her gardens and flowerpots the last few days, so I've been the main supervisor while she's outside.  I don't mind though, I've been able to get some knitting done when they are sleeping.  I'm now on the final rows of my Whippoorwill.  Yay for nap-times!!  It's funny because I feel like I'm babysitting the animals as I would little children - making sure they get along, stay out of trouble, don't hurt themselves or each other, entertain them, feed them, etc.  It's been good practice for when I have my own kids!  Anyways, enough about all that, on to the giveaway!  Since I recently celebrated my 3rd year blogiversary and 400th post, I wanted to do something to thank all my wonderful readers.

I'm going to pick 4 lucky winners at random and they will be able to choose a pattern from one of these great designers:
Susan B. Anderson
Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land
Veera Välimäki

To enter leave a comment at the bottom of this post with your Ravelry id.  The giveaway is open until 11:59 PM (EST) Sunday June 10, 2012, I will post the winners on Monday and gift the patterns to your Ravelry inbox.  This is open to anyone who has a Ravelry account, if you don't have one yet, I highly recommend it, Ravelry is the best thing since sliced bread!

Good luck to you all!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One-a-Day Tuesday


Here is my progress from the last week on the Hexagon blanket.  I have to confess that I haven't been working on one-a-day like I planned, but I do make sure to have all 7 of them done before Tuesday's post.  It's still progress right?


Slightly Healthy Banana Muffins


We always seem to have leftover over-ripe bananas hanging around our kitchen so I thought I'd come up with a good recipe that had a few extra healthy ingredients in them.  My Dad can be picky when it comes to things like whole wheat and flax so I thought sneaking them into some muffins was a good way to get them into his diet.  I hope you enjoy them!!

Makes 12 regular-size muffins

1/3 cup Almond milk (you can use regular milk as well.  The Almond Milk makes it lactose-free.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
extra brown sugar for sprinkling on top

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with paper baking liners.

2. In a large bowl using a whisk beat milk, oil, egg and mashed bananas until well blended.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking powder and salt all at once.  Stir just until combined.  Divide evenly among muffin cups, and sprinkle the top of each with a little brown sugar.

3. Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Immediately remove muffins from pan to cooling rack.  Serve warm or cool.  (My Mom said she especially liked hers served warm with butter.)


Monday, June 4, 2012

400th Post


Wow, today is my 400th post, and Sunday marked my 3rd year of blogging.  These are great milestones to start the week.  The blog has become such a joy to me and I'm so blessed to have such wonderful readers.  I want to say a huge "Thank You" to each and every one of you, I'm so grateful that you take the time to stop in for a visit and that you find my ramblings interesting and worthy of a read.  I'm planning a giveaway for Wednesday, so keep your eyes open for that....

In knitting news, I finished the June socks early Sunday morning.  That's a first, usually I'm stumbling in at the end of the month, just barely squeaking by.  This pattern was so much fun though, it practically knitted itself.

Project: Jaywalkers
Started: June 1st, 2012
Finished: June 3rd, 2012
Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in Rainbow
Needles: 2.75mm Signature DPNs
Mods: Cast on 72 stitches for the ribbing and did a short-row heel.

Be back soon with something that is not a sock, bet you didn't expect that!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June Socks: The Beginning


I started the June socks yesterday.  The pattern for this month is Jaywalker and the yarn is Knit Picks Felici in the Rainbow colourway.  They are turning out so, so, so pretty.  This is fast becoming my new favourite sock pattern.  I sure am looking forward to spending some quality time with these socks this month.

Happy Weekending,

Friday, June 1, 2012

May Socks


I know it's now June and here I am posting about May's socks, but I didn't have time to post yesterday about them like I had planned.  I finished these on the 30th, which was really cutting it close.  I started them on May 2nd and everything was going along great until I hit a snag once I got to the leg portion.  For some reason (my own fault, not the designer's) I couldn't get the patterning to work out correctly on the leg so I put them aside for a while and knit on other things.  When we came from vacation I knew I had to figure something out since it was getting close to the end of the month and I was still on the first sock, so I decided to just knit the leg in plain stockinette.  I actually like them this way.  With this colourway it's hard to see the lattice stitch anyway so I don't think it makes a big difference.  I call them my "Tigger Socks" since that is what the colour is called and they remind me of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.

Project: Tigger Socks 
Started: May 2, 2012
Finished: May 30, 2012
Pattern: Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh 
Needles: 2.75 mm Harmony DPNs
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Muli - Tigger
Mods: Did the leg portion in stockinette and did 2x2 ribbing at the top.

In other news, Bingley the cat had his vet appointment yesterday and he is in good health.  He is neutered already, and got his rabies shot, worm pills and Revolution treatment.  We put an ad in the paper and if we don't get any calls we will either keep him or try to find him another good home.  I'd really like to keep him since he is so lovable and precious, but that all hinges on how he gets along with our other cat and two dogs.  Lots of prayers for a good transition would be very much appreciated!!