Sunday, November 18, 2012

Finishing Frenzy

I've just started into my Christmas crochet. I know, it sounds a bit worrying, but I have it under control. Five days in (and one where I couldn't do anything because my wrist was really sore) and I already have the first pair of mittens done. Considering I only have 5 or 6 projects left and that I really could have done those mittens in just over a day... I think I'm safe.

I finally got a free moment the other day to take some photos of recent finished projects. Life has been more than a little crazy- I haven't had a weekend without at least two major events or travel since... September. 
I have got a lot of crochet finished, though. Like this fun Brioche stitch cowl, and my sophisticated chevrons cowl. I got this beige/brown yarn at a yard sale ages ago. It's not my usual style- I do go for bright, happy colours. But then I saw a knitting pattern and thought that this would be perfect in a simple tunisian knit/purl combo. I love how it turned out.


These fingerless mitts were made with some yummy alpaca blend I got on my vacation this summer. I loved the pattern (Himbeerwellen, if you're wondering)  because I love all things slip stitch right now, and these just turned out so well. All the knitters think they're rib.

 Speaking of fooling the knitters, I just finished this simple slip stitch hat. It's made with a possum blend yarn, and it is so soft and cuddly and warm. My angora hat has some serious competition now!

And I finally finished my weekend cardigan! I absolutely love it. It's not a super flattering, curve hugging thing- but everyone needs a sweater that is just cozy and relaxed and snuggly. This is mine, now.

I also finished a shawl last month for my best friend's wedding. It was a really wonderful day, and both of us needed the shawls I made at a few points during the day!
I'm in love with the finished shawl. I've made a Maia before, and the last one was out of crochet cotton. Great stitch definition, looks beautiful. This one, though, is made from merino silk blend. What a difference. Drape, softness, sheen, warmth- I adore this shawl. 

I photographed it on a trip away. I was lucky enough to head to a cottage for a weekend, and I got a lot of work done! There was a lot of knit and crochet done that weekend,and it was so relaxing.
Here I am finishing my cardigan as I wear it. I was cold!

And this is the pile of yarn and spinning I found it necessary to bring for a 2 night weekend. Addiction? What? No!

Now if you'll excuse me, my brother and his girlfriend are coming for dinner tonight and I have to get the slow cooker going. Then I'm heading back to bed for a nap, because we stayed up until 3 chatting with a friend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Shinies!

I finally finished the shawl I've been making my best friend for her wedding.

It's huge! I gave it to her last night, she seemed quite happy. I hope it keeps her cozy and warm. It is lightweight, but all wool and long enough to cover her whole arms.

I spent this weekend at the Creativ Festival, and came home with more than a few treats. These babies are the big one, though. A new sewing machine and serger. Oh man, they are awesome. The sewing machine is so much smoother than my old one, and I love all the features it has. It's got automatic tension, an automatic needle threader, and automatic bobbin string puller-upper (that's the official terminology, I swear). It's also got 99 different stitch patterns, and a bitch is one. I'm not kidding there, one of the stitch patterns is a doggie. That alone won Andrew over to the dark side of the sewing machine. He's fascinated by the sewing machine stitching the cool patterns all on it's own.

I was going to lug them home on the subway, but my boss and her husband told me I was crazy and were kind enough to back that up with a ride home.

I realized the other day that I've surrounded myself with a moat of yarn. I had to take a picture.
Sometimes Andrew tries to wheel over from his side of the room to look at something, and is thwarted by a stray ball of yarn or a hook that I need to pick up. 
The green bag on the floor is holding the rest of my treasures from the show. I got enough yarn for a cardigan from the last Interweave Crochet I've been dying to make, a few balls for a brioche stitch cowl, a ball of yummy red possum yarn and 4 little bags of spinning fibre. Not to mention the yarn I got last week when my friend Alia was destashing some lovely extra yarn she was given.
Getting the spinning fibre means I need to use up what's on my spindle before I can start with the fun new stuff. That means I've actually been spinning! I'm thoroughly enjoying it and wondering why I put it down in the first place. Too busy, I suppose.

And this is my desktop this morning. The pink shawl I'm making to go with my bridesmaid dress, the red beads and silver spacers I got yesterday and made into a super simple necklace. The sparkly bit in the back is a ball of yarn I got from our booth because I loved it too much to pass it up.
The heathery oatmeal kind of colour yarn is one of two that I got at... a yard sale, maybe? I bought it with a grab bag type deal somewhere. I never cared for it until I pulled it out and decided it would make a very sophisticated cowl. I'm doing a sort of textured herringbone wave based off a pattern I love in a pattern book for knitting.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cool Weather

My recovery continues to go well, but I've been surprised at how long it's taking to feel really back to normal. I'm pretty much better now, but I still tire out really easily. Last week I was still having pain around my incisions, although that was possibly from the cats that were jumping on me in the night. I was looking after my boss's cats for a few days while she went on vacation.

She got me this- isn't it perfect? The kitty, the crochet hook... I love it. It's a little compact mirror and it's sitting in my purse now.

She also got me a bit of yarn. She started by telling me it was BC grown, sold by the gram, hard to find... it's handspun and it is so soft and yummy. It has a fair bit of angora in it. There was just enough to make a nice headband for the fall.

I was on a frenzy this week. I finally used up this roving I got in the early days of my crochet, before I knew anything about yarn weights or fibre content or what roving even was. It makes the squishiest little rug in front of the fireplace. 
Don't you love our ridiculous mantle? All the fun stuff from our old "nerd shelf" and some of my decorative stuff, along with usually a couple bottles of my nail polish.

A friend of mine was destashing this week to move across the country for a job. I got this ball of Manos, and it just screamed to be made into a cowl. I love it, it's so squishy. I'll think of Emily when I wear it, and hope she can come and visit often.

Yarn surrounds everywhere I sit in this house. Around my computer, my side of the couch, hooks by my bedside table.. I've been busy.

I finished the project I started on vacation this summer. It's a huge, cuddly sock weight Venus shawl.
I didn't have enough yarn to finish all the repeats, but it's plenty big as is. I really need to block it, though.

This is the start of the rainbow ripple blanket I'm making. It's going to be so bright and pretty! I can't wait to get into the blues and pinks. That's my favorite part of a rainbow blanket. When I had just the reds, it looked really 70's in an awful way. The more colours I add, the better it starts to look.

And this is the project I might be most excited about right now. I'm making the Weekend Cardigan, and I'm loving it. The pattern has a lot of mistakes, but I'm kinda ignoring it and doing my own thing. The pattern also ends up giving you a big line down the back, so I'm totally ignoring parts of it and making the fronts and back all one long piece. No seaming, no ugly line, less yarn used. Which is good, because I don't have enough yarn for what it calls for. I'm not too far off, and I can leave off the big patch pockets to save a lot of yarn too. Still, I don't want to run out!
I love the yarn. It's hard to see, but it's the most beautiful soft heathered gray, with purples and blues and indigos in it. I can't wait to be finished with this cuddly cardigan.

Today, though, I have to start sewing my bridesmaid dress for my best friend's wedding. I'm going to make a muslin first to try and get a better fit. This dress does kinda have to be perfect. I don't know if I can handle perfect, but I'll certainly try.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Moving, Recovering, Crocheting

It feels a bit like life is finally settling back down. I'm mostly healed, and after tomorrow I can start doing some light lifting and carrying. I'll be able to get the house in shape! I can't wait to finish unpacking this place. It's going to look so wonderful once I do.
We went out yesterday to the dollar store and local bargain store to get some things we needed. Exciting things, like soap and a garbage bin and toilet brushes. We also got a bit of candy and Andrew found a little T-rex that has a trigger operated mouth. He spent the rest of the trip making the little guy nom on everything in the store, and I wasn't surprised when he got added to the pile of things to take home.
On the trip home, I laughed at how many toys our future children will already have.

Speaking of buying things, I got myself some absolutely lovely treats on my birthday.

These fantastic sparkly shoes are for the wedding! I just love anything sparkly, and sparkly silver heels did me in. And look, a short heel! I can't wear the tall spike heels that are popular right now.
I adore these. I wish I could wear them to work!

This is the crown jewel, so to speak.  I finally found my wedding tiara! A girl who loves sparkly things and being a ridiculous princess and the centre of attention just couldn't pass up the perfect chance to get a tiara, no? I adore it. I wish I could wear it to work every day.
And aww, it's a picture of the old apartment. How I don't miss it. I love you, new apartment.

Speaking of old apartment and weddings, here's a shot of the wedding blanket I whipped up for a dear old friend for her wedding. I only had a week to make it, and I'm pleased with the results. I am absolutely addicted to granny stripe blankets.
I ran out of the yarn and had to pop out to get some more. Unfortunately I couldn't find the same purple, so I got the only one they had. Since it was so different, I added small stripes to the top and bottom with the new purple and the different dyelot blue. It's a pretty andd snuggly blanket, and my friend told me she teared up when she saw it! Just the kind of lovely friend I like to make things for. I hope it keeps them warm for many happy years.

Earlier in the week when I started feeling better, I decided to do some baking. My upstairs neighbor kept her little daughter very quiet for me when I was healing from the surgery, so I decided to bake some muffins to say thank you.
As you can see, the first batch were fail muffins. I found out the hard way that my oven overheats by about 25-50 degrees!

The second batch turned out much better, even if my muffins never seem to rise properly. Yummy little oatmeal chocolate chip muffins. I gave some to my neighbor and some to my new superintendent, a nice man who tells stories so long that I will always have to budget some extra time to pay rent. Not that I mind- he tells a great story!

My next baking was a bit more adventurous- I made a french loaf. I haven't baked bread in quite awhile, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out.

Thankfully it turned out to be the yummiest, nicest looking bread I've ever made! I still want to get my bread a bit lighter and fluffier, but this make absolutely wonderful honey toast. Hmm, I should go have some for breakfast.

My sweet new nephew was born in early August. It was lovely- we all found out on the family reunion. Nothing quite like getting to walk down a little path by the shore with your Dad to the cottages of all your family members to announce the newest addition! It's a memory I will treasure. I love technology- we got to show off his picture on the Ipad and got to do some brief FaceTime to chat with my brother and see the new baby on the other side of the world in China.
I made him a little set of booties and bib. The bear is for his nickname, Teddy Bear.

I also made a little jacket. I don't know if it will fit him or his older brother. Either way it was fun to make and I love how the yarn striped and pooled.
Andrew was watching me make all these baby things, and asked in a slightly concerned voice if there was something he should know. Silly boy, he knows there is a new nephew!

I finally got some pictures of the Lace Pullover I made. Isn't it beautiful? It was love at first sight with the pattern. I found some gorgeous silk blend yarn on sale, and it just seemed to fly off my hook. I had the whole thing done in a week.
This is out by our bus stop. The condos across the street are quite pretty, and I love that there is green space in this neighborhood.

This is my current project, and one that I'm very proud of. The cable pattern took a bit of fiddling, but I really like how it turned out. I can't wait to finish these sockies and wear them.
They've also really inspired me. I am thinking about an e-book of slip stitch socks. Fun ones- lace, cables, all the fun things that knitters have and that crocheters have so little of.

Forgive my very long post today, but I think I've just about caught you up! I feel like I'm just starting to catch up to my own life after surgery. The first bandaid fell off yesterday, and the other two get pulled of tomorrow, 2 weeks after surgery. That's the date where I can start doing things again, and I can't wait!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Life got really crazy for me this week.
Sunday we moved into our new apartment. It's fantastic. Monday I started a two week temp job. That evening I had some severe stomach pains and passed out- luckily Andrew caught me. We headed to the hospital. After about 15 hours in the ER they confirmed that I had appendicitis. So Tuesday around 11 pm I went in for surgery. It was a complete success and I was released from the hospital Wednesday evening- my brother and his girlfriend were kind enough to come pick me up and take me home. I'm now home recovering and doing fine. Sore, but fine! I haven't been able to eat all day, but the pain is better so I've stopped the pain meds and am hoping that takes care of the nausea. I'm trying to eat some plain noodles and genmaicha right now. So far so good.

It's a bit frustrating to be stuck and home and not able to unpack this mess, but I'm glad to be back here. The temp job might even want me back for the second week, which would be wonderful.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Moving, Packing, Insanity

Life is absolutely crazy right now. The only time I have to crochet is on my commute and quiet evenings at work.
That's because I move in two days! I'm on a quick break from packing right now. Ugh. I can't wait to be in the new place, but packing sucks.
I promise an update on all my projects and things once I'm moved!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Heat

 It's been a hot, sticky, humid summer here. I'm glad to escape to the store every day.
We bought a little air conditioner for our room last week, and it has been heaven. Being able to escape the oppressive humidity for a little while is wonderful. Last summer I just went grocery shopping almost every day.
I've really been doing most of my crocheting lately at work because of the heat. It's just miserable to work on anything some days. Last week was a bit cooler, and I just got access to our Netflix account, so I crocheted like mad. Still, most of what I've done lately has been on my commute or at work.

 I finished blocking this shawl. It's absolutely huge- I love it. I'm just looking forward to a chance to wear it. I think the only time I'll be able to in the next little while is to combat the overly cold AC at work.

This little shrug is perfect for work! It's not enough when they have the air really, really cold- but it helps. It's also going to come in handy for covering up bra straps. I'm thinking about you, adorable racer-back dress!

I've made some progress on my laceweight cardi, too. Another inch or so and I'll be moving on to the armholes- and this time, they'll fit properly.

 This is what I was working on- a super yummy cotton tank. I call it my fake crab tank, because that's all I can think of with this colourway. I love it. I'm not a fan of organic products, and I usually try to avoid them... but sometimes a clearance yarn comes along that you just can't resist. Well, that's not entirely true. I resisted this yarn the first time we had it. When we got it again, it was too much for me. I had to have it!

But I haven't been working on my tank lately, because of this beauty. It's the lace pullover from the vogue crochet issue. It's basically the whole reason I bought the issue. I went to Romni the other day after work and let me just say, trap! They're having a 20% off all yarn sale, and I was looking for some fingering weight for this, and this gorgeous 50% silk blend just sorta fell into my arms. It's Diamond Silk 4 ply, and it's awesome. Splitty as anything, but worth it. So worth it. It's 35% microfibre, 15% wool. 
I'm getting near the end of this pattern, and I can't wait to wear it. It will be a bit warm, though.
I've noticed a few errors in the pattern. The last row in the sleeve section is just bizzare, so I rewrote it, and the front yoke was written so that the pattern would be on the wrong side, so I just started at the other end. 
It's getting there, though. Just need to do the other side of the sleeves, seam at the top and weave in the ends. And block- it's gonna need some serious blocking! I'm excited, though. We're heading to my family reunion in New York state at the end of the month, and I really want to wear it there.

I have a busy month before then, though. We're about to leave for a showing for a new apartment, and we have more tomorrow. We want to move by August, although September works too. I am really excited for us to finally have a place just for us, no roommates. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Project Soup

I've been working on so many projects that I feel I've hardly been able to focus on any one. I've finished a lot this month, but I have so many more on the go. I've started and finished at least two projects a week this month. Little things, big things...
Right now I've just started a scarf for a store sample and a tank top for me!
I hardly get time to post about the things I'm making. I swear, one of every five projects never gets a mention on the internet because I've gone and started on the next thing.

I've also been doing some jewellery and drawing some more. It's been really nice to get the sketchbook out again. At work in the evenings, I've been taking some of the books we have on things like jewellery making and reading through just to get a better idea of how things work. It's inspiring, and I have always loved beads. I find it hard not to collect pretty much anything, so something shiny and not too expensive and pretty... well, I think I'm justified in using the word "doomed".

Anyway, take a look at a few of the things I've finished in the last little while.

This little dress is for friends who just had a wee baby girl. I haven't met her yet, but she takes an awfully cute picture. Despite the fact that it was supposed to be a stash buster, I ended up having to go buy more yarn for this project. Not only were the dye lots way off, but the yarn has changed a fair bit- new label, made differently, somewhat different texture. 
I alternated rows of the yarns to blend it. You can tell, but I think it still looks fine. I somehow doubt the wee one will care!

I am really proud of this project. I finished my tunisian tee! I love the yarn to bits (it's Silky Wool) and the colour is awesome. I need to block it still to get the collar and cuffs lying flat, but I'll get to that.
I ended up hating the set-up rows at the bottom, so I cut it apart and remade them with a seed stitch mimicking the cuffs and collar. I like it a lot better now. I didn't take a before picture, but trust me- it was way too tight, and it looks much better now!

This- well, I literally just finished weaving the ends in! I love this blanket, love love love it! It's Knitpicks Crayon (why did they discontinue you, baby, I love you...). I have another blanket started in the same yarn, but different colours. I love it. Love working with it, love how it feels and love cuddling under it. It's cotton boucle and very soft. It's light enough to be great for the couch in the summertime. 
And the colours. Oh how I love rainbows. This was a really fast project- not even two weeks- and switching colours was fun every time. I started with the red and worked my way up to the pink. The blues and the pink are definitely my favorite, but I pretty much love every colour in this blanket.
Excuse me while I go cuddle it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I haven't done very much here in May, have I? It was a difficult month for me. There was so much going on- helping produce a cousin's play, getting almost full time hours at work (full days means I'm out of the house over 10 hours), I got really very sick for a few days, I've had things like bridesmaids fabric shopping and a wedding afghan to finish making and I've just been worn down.
I have two patterns written for the month, but I haven't had the time or energy to finish the samples for them. I'm hoping to finish both in June to catch up, but I'm not too worried about it. It was just a plain tiring month for me, and I have to cut myself some slack sometimes!
I wouldn't have made it through without the support I got this month. My fiance has been amazing. Every night I had to come home at 10 pm after work and he was making dinner and told me to go soak my feet and rest and that he would finish cooking. Telling me that he could do the dishes, or go get groceries for us so that I would get just a few more minutes of rest. Making me tea and bringing me ice cream while I was sick and felt too weak to get out of bed.
It can be easy to forget how much you need and rely on someone, but this month certainly brought that home to me. No wonder I decided to marry him! Thank you, dear.

I have been crocheting, too. Maybe tomorrow I'll get to posting some of the stuff I've done!

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Yarn, New Computer

First, check out the gorgeous yarn I got in my Webs order. The green is their alpaca/silk laceweight, the lower right pink is Alpaca Sox, the middle pink is On Your Toes socks, the purple is Centrolovaggi lace and the blue is the stunning Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.
I'm making Betty's Tunisian Tee with it, and it is amazing. I'll post pics soon. The colour, the feel, the drape- outstanding. I'm in love. I had to order more because I realized I needed to make a size up, but it's on the way.

I also got something much more exciting that's new. Ok, at least as exciting! I just bought a new computer. My old one, Katten, was coming up on 7 years old. She's been a great computer, but it was time. I'm copying over all the data I need and then I'll set up my pretty, pretty new system! I can't wait.
Her name is El Diablace. Yes, I bought her to play Diablo 3. What?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Pain of Restarting

 First, here are some gratuitous shots of my Pax shawlette. Yum yum yum, go make this pattern. I can't wait to buy Aiobe Ni's shawl collection.


    Modeled by my couch and by me.

 Let me talk about something that I'm sure you've all experienced. You get so far into a project. You feel like you're really starting to get somewhere, like you're about to make it over a hurdle. Only then are you forced to admit that you've made a big mistake, that you've been ignoring it and that it can't go on anymore.
Such is the case of my poor, poor laceweight cardi.
I've been working on this thing on and off since November. Yesterday at work I had gotten to the part where it was long enough to make the underarm stitches and move on to the body.
I tried to space it out to see how it would look, tried safety pins and stitch markers to make a rough show of what the sleeves would be like. It was then that I couldn't pretend it was ok anymore. It was too small. There was barely an inch of the front of the cardigan, the back was too small, and despite my last minute stitch additions the sleeves were not going to be big enough without adding a lot of underarm stitches, which always seems to make cardigans have weird underarm bulkiness. I also took a hard look at the messy increases that I had haphazardly added at the beginning. One side had increases that kinda got closer and closer to the edge, the other had them much further in and one part was just really, really wonky.

"A plan," though I, "I don't need no stinkin' plan! Give me a few stitches and I'll figure this thing out!" This is never a good idea. It never works. I should know this, but somehow it's a lesson I haven't figured out.

So today, I started again. You can see where I was at on the left, and my beginnings this morning.
I haven't had the heart to pull out the old cardi yet.
This time I have a plan. I have a giant mistake of a gauge swatch, notes from other similar designs and a solid plan. 

Look at those wonky increases. Really, what was I thinking?

 This is where it's at now. I worked on it a lot at work today- yay for quiet days! I have a lot left to get it back to where it was, but it's going to be so much better. Even the edge increases are neat and tidy now.
You can see that I've even planned space for shoulders, back and front. 
Now that I look at this, I'm wondering if I've left too much shoulder and not enough back, but honestly, it look so much better. A mistake like that can be called a design feature easily enough.
Sidetrack- I ran upstairs and grabbed a raglan t-shirt. Pulling a t-shirt on over your PJ top nets you a weird look from your fiance. However, after laying this over top of it's raglan increases, it looks like this is actually the right spot for them! I suppose that makes sense- this is sitting lower on the shoulders because the top of the neckband will be in contrasting purple.
Now I feel better.
And check out how neat my new increases are. They'll actually be a feature, as opposed to something I'm ashamed of.
That's what makes me happiest about restarting this, despite how painful it really was. I knew I had to do it, because I never would have been proud of my other cardigan. There were just too many mistakes, too many errors and I want this cardigan to be something I am really proud of showing off.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Budgeting (AKA don't buy so much yarn!)

 (My new scarf, pre-blocking. Fantastic pattern is here: Pax )

I have never been good at budgeting. When my big brothers went and put their money away in their savings accounts, I took mine out 75 cents at a time to buy candy (I must have driven my poor bank tellers a bit nuts- they were right on the way to the Quick-check where I got my penny candies!). I'm terrible for buying impulsively and just getting too much stuff.
I like my stuff, and there is very little I regret buying, but that doesn't change much. I know my spending habits need to change. I've never lived outside my means- close to the limit, sure, but my credit card bill is always fully paid by the end of the month. It's time that I started saving, though, and that means that I've written a budget and I need to stick to it.
I did my first budget in March. I didn't really stick to it, but I'm not surprised- it was just to figure out what I needed in each part of my budget, and what was realistic. In April, I let it slide. Got a bit lazy, needed a few things, decided to just spend "normally" and figure it out at the end of the month to compare. I did spend too much in April, although I still came out a bit ahead (and the Webs order on the way was totally worth it!).

Now in May I'm planning to seriously crack down. I have my budget, and I want to try and be under it by a little bit at the end of the month. It will be a lot of work. Some things will be no issue- I rarely eat out or buy drinks out, so keeping that down will be easy. It's not a habit. I pack my lunch every day.
Some parts of my budget will be hard. Cracking down on craft supplies will be really, really hard. I love new craft supplies, but I really don't need any more. I have enough projects to last a year at least.
May is no new yarn month. I would like to push that further and buy no new yarn in June, too, but I may permit small amounts of yarn. We'll see.
It's going to be really, really hard. I have enough yarn, though. I need to work my way through some of what I have before I buy more. It's getting out of hand, and I know it. It's so hard to resist when amazing yarn comes into the store on clearance and I really, really want it...
This brings me to a new rule I've made for myself. I am waiting at least a day before I buy anything (with reasonable exceptions, like that I need it or that I can't go back for it). Most of what I buy is from the mall I work at anyway, and clearance at work can always be put in my basket for awhile. A cooling off period will help me decide if I really need it or just want it.
So here's to hoping I can stick to my May budget. If I can really stick to it this month- keep entirely to my budget and not buy any yarn- I am splurging for one of the cheap back rubs at the back rub place in my mall.

On another note, I just published April's pattern. I want to try making this in fine weight yarn with just the petals in a band now. This one is more kid-friendly, I want to see if I can make it a bit more elegant for me!
Spring Flowers Headband- free pattern!