You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

I don’t even know where to start updating. The last week has been a flurry of activity, craft related and otherwise. I think I’ll have to parcel things out in little bits so as to not overwhelm myself.

I can finally reveal all of the secret Christmas crafting projects.

For Erin there was this busy little clutch using fabric gifted from Michelle and a pattern from Amy Butler’s In Stitches. It’s not quite as brain-searing in real life but the flower does get obscured by the fun print.

Chris has wimpy ears that smart with the slightest cold so while he was at volleyball I started planning the Warmest Hat Ever.

I knew I wanted it to be stranded and quadruple thickness around the ears. Executing this was a bit tricky but in general it all worked out. I started writing up a pattern but kind of dropped the ball. For what it’s worth:

Cold Ears Warm Heart Hat

Yarn: Cascade 220, 1 skein Colour # 8393, 1 skein colour # 8400

Needles: size 4 mm, 16” circular needles and 4 mm DPNs

Using Cable cast on, CO 96 stitches
Work in corrugated rib until rib measures 2”. Now, turn hat inside out so the side with the floats is facing you. Slip the first stitch on the left needle (the stitch with the active yarn) to the right needle, P1, K2, P2 to end of round. Continue in rib for 2 more inches.

From this point on I opened up Alice Starmore’s Fair Isle Knitting book, picked some patterns and knit until I got a good height. At the crown I knit two together every eight stitches then every seven, etc.
It was only later that I realized I had unwittingly chosen the same main motif as Magknit’s Fake Isle Hat. He likes it in all it’s boring boy colour glory.

And finally a belated gift for me.

Nutkins and some new wire sock blockers out of old hangers! I really enjoyed this pattern. The heel and toe shaping was all new to me and so fun. No picking up and knitting! Love that! I could have made the leg a little longer but the pattern calls for Wollmeise which has a more generous yardage than my Paca Peds so I was (unnecessarily) cautious. Plus with the hemmed cuff not being so stretchy I didn’t want to go too far up my calves.

Happy New Year everyone! Coming tomorrow: crafty resolutions and incoming knifty giftees.


Tomorrow I will be spending approximately eighteen hours in a rented car so I thought a new sock was just the thing to keep me awake and calm while other drivers did stupid things on snowy roads. At first I thought a plain sock would be my best bet. No pattern to keep track of so it would be easy to pick up and work on. But I strongly feel that the beautiful sock yarns in my stash deserve better. I sifted through all the patterns I have in my Ravelry queue and saved to my desktop and settled on Nutkin. I’m really glad I did.

This pattern reminds me of Monkeys (the socks, not the mammal) because it’s easy to remember and addictive. I’d love to try these again in a solid or semi-solid yarn that would show off the pattern more. I’m using the Pony Pearl DPNs that Michelle sent me. At first I hated them because they’re a bit dull but now I think they’re great. They’re really lightweight unlike Addi Turbos and they have a bit of bend. The dullness actually works well with the splitty Paca Peds yarn.

I’ve realized that I’m never going to feel like putting on tights, my new boots, and the skirt I’ve made, let alone brushing my hair and putting on mascara to get a picture to post. But I’m rather proud of the skirt I finished a few weeks back so my bed was kind enough to model it.

The pattern called for wool crepe or gabardine, which seems to cost about thity dollars a yard, so it was polyester blend suiting for me. Unfortunately it weighs six pounds looks a bit like upholstery on me but I’m really happy with how the pleats, zipper and curves came out considering I’m still a beginner sewer.

The Duo Boots came last week and once the bitterness of having to turn seventy bucks over to customs subsided I took them for a walk around The Glebe. It was not a pleasant trip. Apparently the boots are not as waterproof as one might imagine. I got a waterproofing spray and that seems to have done the trick. They do fit very well in the calve, although they bunch up a bit around the ankles and are quite big in the foot. I wear a size 9 which, according to their site, translates to a 40 European. I probably should have gotten a 39 or 38. They are really comfortable, however, and I have no qualms about wearing them all day.

I also got my wool tights from Tights Online this week. They are loooooong. But, they fit my thighs and hips and they’re warm, so I’m happy.

Now that all of my Christmas cards have been sent, and I’m assuming received, I can show you what I chose from Etsy. It was hard to narrow it down but these ones were my favourites.

A little bird told me from Mew Paper Arts.

Kobito Elves from Fugu Fugu Press.

I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas, or relaxing long weekend, as your background dictates. I will no doubt have some new yarn / knitting related goodies to show you when we get back from out East in a little over a week. So long!

Since we’re heading to Halifax on Saturday to spend Christmas with our best friends, we had our Christmas celebration with my family (minus my dad who was in bed with a cold) last night. We went out for Japanese food and then headed to our place for gift exchanging. I can reveal two more Christmas knit gifts.

When I got my Holiday Interweave Knits my sister inserted a note on the page with the Little Gem fingerless gloves saying they would make an excellent Christmas gift for her. I added up the cost of all those colours in my head and thought it was a little pricey considering you don’t even get fingers. I did some Ravelry scouring and sent some options her way. She picked a few she liked and I settled on Rose’s Fingerless Wrist Warmers.

She really, really loved them. I think it’s pretty cool that a fourteen year old can be counted on to go nuts over handmade gifts.

My mom also finally got her socks as she discovered months ago on this here blog.

I also got a shot of some socks I made for my sister almost a year ago. These are Yarn Over Cable socks from Sensational Knitted Socks in Sandes Garden Sisu yarn, which she purchased herself.

On the receiving end, I really cleaned up this year. Encouraged by Chris, my mom made a trip to Wool ‘n Things. She got me some Austermann Step Sock Yarn:

A hot water bottle and sheepy cover (this is actually from Bouclair):

A little bottle of Euclan, which I’ve never actually tried before, and some Stitchkeepers:

And the pièce de résistance, a beautiful, much needed swift:

I was so excited to try it out I could barely sleep last night (sad, but true). It works like a dream. Just look at the symmetry of this cake of Paca Peds:

Glorious. You done good mom.

An update on the Fleece Artist fiasco: I got the snarled mess shown yesterday untangled and ended up with eleven little balls:

I think I eventually will bite the bullet and knit a pair of socks with it that will have billions of ends to weave in because I can’t bare to chuck beautiful yarn in my favourite colours.

Chris is at work so we’ll have to make do with my unflattering self portraits of the finished, awesome Ultracranberry Pullover:

I did not run out of yarn as the only finishing that needed to be done was to pick up some stitches on a holder at the top of the shoulder and knit them to the centre back neck, join them and stitch it down. That’s my kind of pattern!

The details:

Pattern: Ultraviolet V-Neck from Runway Knits

Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool DK in Port – 11 skeins (exactly!)

Needles: 4.0. mm

Size: Medium

Dates: November 25th – December 18th

Modifications: Almost none. I kitchener stitched the back neck stitches instead of binding off and seaming them. I also had a little problem with a strange hump on each back shoulder when I was done seaming:

I undid the shoulder seam and tucked the hump in and seamed over it.

When I was weaving in ends I tacked the little triangle down. It doesn’t seem to be noticeable from the outside.

Final Thoughts: Love it! I’ve been really wishing for a warm pullover and this is definitely that. The all over pattern of the same four row repeat got a bit boring but I think the stitch pattern and the shape is really flattering. When I wash it I think I might try to stretch it a weensy bit in length.

Having completed the holiday sweater, I wanted to get started on some socks for the car trip and holiday adventures to and in Halifax in three days. Since I already had some oh-so-appropriate Fleece Artist Merino sock out in Blackberry for seaming, I thought I would wind the hanks up. I fitted it on to my homemade (but unfortunately ineffectual) swift and started winding. Something was wrong. I couldn’t figure out what. Without the intervention of evil cats or naughty children my lovely hank, which I purchased for myself after selling some goods on my Etsy shop, became a nasty, gnarled mess. After four hours of cursing and nearly crying I managed to get one perfect cake:

But then I could go no further. In a fit of rage I reached for my scissors and hacked away. I got one small cake of yarn knotted all over the place and this:

This is after many hours of both Chris and I picking away. It’s cut in several places but refuses to yield. I don’t know what to do. Throw it and the tied-allover ball into the trash and replace it next week when I visit Fleece Artist in Halifax? Keep untangling to end up with more small lengths? Wail and curse the gods? Any other more constructive suggestions are more than welcome.

The jury is still out as to whether or not I’ll have enough yarn to finish the sweater. All of the main knitting and seaming is done. I even seamed with a different yarn to conserve. I still have to pick up and knit the six stitch wide neck band and this is what’s left.

If I don’t have enough I will consider:

  1. doing a crochet edge, even though I hate crochet
  2. calling Wool ‘N Things and seeing if she has a ball of the same yarn, most likely in a different dye lot, and going there tomorrow after work
  3. pleading with people on Ravelry to donate their Rowan Pure Wool DK Plum yarn. I dread this option because it would involve grovelling and waiting weeks to complete my intended Christmas sweater.

Please continue sending luck wishes in my general direction.Not all is stress and tears though! While Chris was at Volleyball, the sleeves were drying and the finale of Project Runway Canada was on (Biddell is a bit of a dick but he does have talent) I started and finished an Earflap Cap from Handknit Holidays!

I had forgotten how awkward (yet speedy!) knitting with giant needles and fat yarn is. Eventually, I’d like to do the ties in a contrasting colour but while I wait for some good angel to send some contrasting Cascade Magnum my way, I added some old earrings as embellishments:

It seems very warm but I haven’t taken it for a test walk yet.

Fun Fact! Magnum must be wound into two cakes as it all won’t fit on a standard winder.

I still have almost a whole cake left. I have no idea what to do with it but I could probably be convinced to swap it for the aforementioned contrast colour!

We got thirty six centimetres of snow here yesterday. We just sat here and watched, fascinated, as parked cars disappeared and people were encased in snow drifts. Almost all of that is true.

Luckily it was cold but clear on Saturday for our semi-annual Meximas party. We were so busy with food preparation and being dazzling hosts that we failed to take any pictures during the party, but I did remember to take a picture of half of our contribution beforehand.

I made Chow Mein Crunchies and Snowballs. The Snowballs were a little fussy but delicious. Chow Mein Crunchies are super easy and sooo good.

Chow Mein Crunchies

-equal amounts of milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanuts and chow mein noodles

Melt the chips in a double boiler, of if you don’t have one put chips in a small pot and insert said pot into a larger pot of boiling water, or if you’re really hard up for kitchenware, melt in the microwave in a glass bowl. Stir in chow mein noodles and peanuts and drop onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Chill in the fridge, freezer or your garage.

Can you spot my solution for not having an old lady tiered cookie tray? I placed an upturned glass on a large plate and put a smaller plate on top. Classy.

Chris also made up some punch to be enjoyed by all. Because we’re lazy resourceful (I wonder who the first blogger was to do the little strike-through gag?) our Meximas is always potluck so if any of our guests wish to share the Mexican recipes they contributed, please feel free in the comments!

I’m also able to reveal one of my top secret holiday knitting projects since they were gifted to our guests.

Korknisser! These got a little tedious after one or two (I made seven) and as a very infrequent wine drinker I had a lot of difficulty amassing the corks. Fortunately my parents had about seven hundred. I would recommend buying some at a wine supply store as they won’t be printed on or cracked.

I’m a hair breadth’s away from being finished Ultracranberry but I’m very, very concerned that I will run out of yarn for the first time ever on a knitting project. I got the Rowan Pure Wool DK from Elann and they no longer have any so wish me all kinds of luck if you please.

Except perhaps, getting cancer and dying.

We have been following the lead of some of our friends in trying to minimize our use of plastics, especially when it comes to food storage and preparation.

I’m not smart enough to explain all the whys and harmful effects but long story short, it leaches into your food and can cause cancer, fertility issues and other nasty problems (not to mention the environmental impact). Especially heinous are plastic wraps and food containers not meant for reuse (i.e. putting leftovers in old margarine containers).

Here is a really interesting CBC radio report and here is a helpful website.

My right shoulder and neck are still so stiff I look like a member of the animatronic Country Bear Jamboree. This lack of mobility coupled with the drowsiness caused by a prescription for muscle relaxants has left me with zero desire to take pictures of a finished skirt, a new pair of boots and the little progress on Ultracranberry, so I leave you with a cheesy holiday sweater-vest of my creation:

Click here if you’d like to waste some time of your own.

This weekend, like most, involved much hand making, but unlike most other weekends I was a well rounded little crafter and didn’t focus solely on knitting. Unfortunately, a likely hobby-related injury prevented me from finishing most of my knit and sewed projects but I did kick off my holiday baking.

I’ve always enjoyed Christmas baking but what with there just being two of us to polish off a few dozen cookies it usually ends in tears and stomach problems. Saturday my knitting friends Nat, Michelle and Krystyna (blogless all three) were coming over for an afternoon of stitching so I used their visit as an excuse to unleash the goodies.

I had a friend from Newfoundland who’s mother happened to be Scottish. Once I visited her around Christmas and she had set out treats, including some cheese biscuits her mother had just brought her from Montreal. I wanted to be dainty and polite and only eat one or two but they were so frickin’ good Chris and I almost finished the whole tin. She gave me the recipe and I promptly lost it. All I knew was that it had Imperial Cheese in it. Enter the glory of the wide wide world of webs. My friends, I give you Newfoundland Cheese Biscuits:

This one is a little overcooked but it was the sole surviver of the afternoon, so deal. These are delicious. Seriously. Go make them.

After baking these I took stock of my old Christmas cookie standbys and I realized I don’t even like most of them. Sure, I’ll eat a shortbread or two at a church basement function, but I really could do without them. It dawned on me then that I like balls.

Cherry Balls! These were a bit messy to eat and make but very tasty.

I also had some great peppermint cookies that Chris had made a couple of days before, rounding out the triumvirate of awesomeness.

And so my December weekend cookie diet is off and running.

In an attempt to distract myself from knitting I also made some rolls for dinner last night.

I rarely make leavened breads, generally believing they are the devil’s progeny and will rise when and if they damn well feel like it, but these turned out pretty well.

A:  Row upon row of the same cable repeat.  You know I’m bored when raglan decreases get me all excited.  But I managed to finish the back of Ultracranberry.  It wanted to pose in front of the Christmas tree.

I’m not so optimistic about getting it done by the Saturday after next, but you never know.

To my surprise and delight, my Mei-Mei Pros arrived yesterday, a day after I’d ordered them.

If people knew how long I spent fanning these out and photographing them, I don’t think I’d be invited into their company.

So far they look great.  We’ll see how they work on the Elf Hat when I’m finished my sweater or my ears threaten to fall off.