Thursday, December 13, 2012

To frog or not to frog?

Some projects I'm just not sure about - frog or not frog? Some projects, although they languish for months, I eventually finish. Some projects, I might have finished almost all the way, case in point, my Picot Edge Cardigan by Debbie Bliss. I had bought the book probably more than 15 years ago and always wanted to make this sweater and finally started it. I struggled through all the cabling and bobbles and had everything done except for the sleeves. Here's how it looked:

The fabric was so stiff and tight and it finally dawned on me that I was not going to enjoy wearing it. I finally frogged it after probably more than 30 hours of working on it and didn't regret it at all. I eventually repurposed the yarn into the Brise Soleil Cardigan and I've gotten compliments everytime I've worn it.
Well, here's another project that's been sitting in a bag forever. It's not a big one and I really am not sold on it, however, I'm not sure what else to do with the yarn. I have 2 balls of it. I've started a ruffled scarf:

It's not very wide, 3 inches at the most, so not very practical.

So, my indecision keeps this in limbo for now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hexagon template reboot

Later that same afternoon..... Ugh! - well, I tried the 4 cm hexagon and it's too large so will go back to the 3.5 cm size instead. It was too much of a stretch and then the polyfil started peeping out between the stitches. Luckily I saved my original template, but wasted 4 sheets of cardstock with the larger size. 

Hexipuff Geek-out

So to help with my hexipuff production, I made a hexagon template in Word so that I can block all my puffs to the same size. I think if I block them larger I won't have to make as many - in theory anyway. My template has worked out to be 4 cm in length per side. I printed a page of 6 on manila cardstock and if I print 4 copies, I can fit 24 on one blocking board.

I was going to just keep moving my template over after pinning the 6, but found my pins blocked the paper, so the puffs will just have to dry with the templates in place.

There's my template, simple as it is :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Craft Room?

What elements comprise the perfect craft room?

Since some of the kids have moved out of the house, there is a bit of extra space to work with. Unfortunately, my husband likes to hold on to stuff, so even though there's room, there's also stuff stuff and more stuff. (I can't call it JUNK in front of him).

Anyway, one of the spare bedrooms has my sewing machine set up on a desk. Into this room I've now placed my dressform (name still to be determined - I'm leaning towards "Daphne"). Today we just moved up the table from the laundry room which will be perfect for blocking and cutting fabric.

How to describe this room? It was a back bedroom onto which the former homeowners knocked out the rear wall and extended it. The back portion has vaulted ceilings and bay windows. Unfortunately with the house settling from this addition, the seal on the double glazed windows has broken and now the window panes cannot be cleaned since moisture has seeped into the inner core. However, natural light does come in.

One or more of the boys has used it as a bedroom/playroom over the years. There is a sliding glass door leading onto a back balcony at the back portion of the room where the vaulted ceilings are. My husband got the brilliant idea of installing a climbing wall over and around the sliding glass door. Yes, a climbing wall with hand holds. You can climb up one side, across the top of the sliding glass door and come down the other side. Don't ask me how often the boys have done this - not as often as dh thought they would, obviously.

Another playroom addition? The lovely vaulted ceilings have trapeze bars installed. My husband found those in the children's area of IKEA one year and thought the kids would like to swing from them. Anyone want to come over and use the rings and do an Iron Cross?

There is also a woodburning stove smack in the middle of the room. So there is firewood and cardboard boxes waiting to be burned all stacked around - not so neatly, most of the time.

So this is the room where I will be crafting. I hope eventually to clear out the extraneous items, repaint the walls and install shelving for my fibre. I also want a photo corner. I don't think I will ever be able to afford to have the windows replaced.

Once that's all done, I may be brave enough to post before and after photos. Right now, the sight is not fit for public consumption.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another Dyeing Experiment

This is a second over-dyeing attempt with some very ugly orange yarn I bought on sale - Rowan Felted Tweed at 70% off. I bought 23 balls. I dyed 9 balls of it for this project.

This is close to the actual original colour.
Getting ready to over-dye
I wanted the final colour to be more greyish than brown. The first over-dyeing with this yarn was a brown colour (I'll show that project another time.)

I think it's turning out pretty well.
Here are pics of my project in progress - Rosamund's Cardigan

Happily, the tweed characteristic of the yarn was retained. It's also my first time knitting reversible cables. Project is almost done. I just haven't been working on it because it got too large for purse knitting and at home I seem to pick up other projects.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hexipuff Update

Sorry for not posting for a few days - got sick, an unusual occurrence. I pride myself on staying healthy and don't ever get the flu shot, but last Monday I woke up chilled and nauseous. However, it was short-lived and I was only down for that day and Tuesday morning I was feeling much better after my fever broke.

Knitting during this time was minimal. However, I purled 5 stitches on my Kaleidoscope so as not to miss a day.

So my only knitting news to report is my Hexipuff production.

Total days  = 31
Total # = 63
Daily average = 2.10 (it has dropped down but I'm still above 2 per day :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Riding Jacket

So one of the scooter stores in town is going out of business. Everything is 50% off so I got a proper jacket for riding on the scooter. It's pretty sleek and spiffy - only problem is that it's so close fitting I can't wear any of my sweaters underneath :(

Either I'll have to wait until warmer weather to wear it or just keep wearing my gigantic fleece jacket on top of it.

Here it is:
My new jacket

Note the reflective zippers. The padding isn't too obvious either.
Underneath is my Gnarled Oak Cardigan.

Underneath that is the dressform that my husband just picked up for me from craigslist. I've been wanting one but didn't want to spend the big bucks on a new one. I had contemplated making one out of duct tape as per Custom Knits, but I wanted it on a stand.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I've been enjoying patterns by a local design team: tincanknits

I have 4 of their patterns: POP!, Low Tide (my experiment in dyeing), Antler  Cardigan, and Sitka Spruce.

POP! was the first pattern I purchased from them. I started making it right away (this was back in May!) since I actually had the suggested yarns. However, I ran out of Eco wool because even though I had bought 4 skeins of it, I had used it already for my Aidez:

and my husband's cowl .

I had enough left to make 20 POP! squares:

Earthy colour palette

I'm using 3 different colourways for the Noro.

I don't think that's enough squares. It's only enough for a small lap blanket. What to do......

I've made other cowls, scarves and hats for hubby, so I've been contemplating frogging the cowl and re-purposing the yarn. I also had issues with casting off the squares loosely enough so the edges are kind of tight, as you can see in the pictures, they roll up a little because they're tight.

To complicate matters, I've already woven in my ends.

Ideally, I need to:
1) undo the cowl and use that yarn (easy)
2) knit more squares (pretty easy)
3) undo the cast off edges on the finished squares and redo them, probably spit-splicing additional yarn as I go (not so easy - I most likely will need to break the yarn somewhere just to free an end and see where it leads).

That's why this project has been hibernating, but I'm feeling the urge to work on it again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hexipuff Update

Total days = 21
Total # hexipuffs = 50
Daily Average = 2.38

Here's a graph of my progress. As you see, I haven't been recording data daily. I'm also still playing around with the charts in Excel so my colours are kind of funny. I hope to improve with practice.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Another cardigan

Here's another sweater I'm working on. I bought the yarn at Knit City too! If you missed it this year, be sure to check it out the next time it comes because there were tons of deals to be had.

Anyway, I bought this yarn at the Elann booth, a steal at $2.38 a ball. It was to knit this pattern: Swing Cardigan from Vogue Knitting Fall 2012.

My friend Shereen also bought the same yarn, but in a different colour.

You'd think we could find a copy of that magazine somewhere around town. My husband drove me to 8 different stores looking for it, but it had been pulled off the shelves already. He finally drove all the way to Elann for me and I got my copy.

Here's the yarn I'm using and my progress so far:
Yarn - Lunar Mist (12 balls)
Needle - 5.5 mm
Size 36


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spinning for a Sweater

I found the next big project to spin for. I bought 2 lbs of fibre at Knit City, a lovely 90/10 alpaca merino mix.

Here's what I intend to make:

It's the Cobblestone Trenchcoat from November Knits.

The fibre content of the suggested yarn is almost the same so I'm quite excited.

I don't know when I'll start though because I'm still trying to spin for the Knitmore Girls SPAKAL 2012 which I unofficially joined. I eagerly started spinning in March and then my enthusiasm waned come June. I still have about 200 g of fibre left to do, then there's all the plying and dyeing before the actual knitting. At least with this alpaca/merino, I don't have to dye it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Anson's first handknit wool socks

So, here are the wool socks I started for Anson.

Needle: 3.75 mm
Yarn: leftover dual stranded DGB Ambiance Superwash and Regia sock yarn.

Very thick, so I think they will be quite comfy for him.

I intend to knit waste yarn at 8.5 inches for an afterthought heel, my first time doing that. Thought it would work better than the Houdini socks method because they're so thick.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Felted Slippers

I need to sit at my spinning wheel more regularly. My most common excuse is that it's too cold. I usually spin barefoot but then I got the brilliant idea of making felted slippers.

I found this pattern: Felted Mary Jane Scuffs

I finished knitting them in a few days but took forever to finally felt them and sew the strap on. I decided to needle felt flowers instead of applying buttons.

Additionally, I should have knit the smallest size because they are a little too long. I will have to figure out a way to bring up the ease around the back of my ankles.

Project pix:

Hand-drawn stencil for my needle felted flowers.

Goody bag filled with fibre

Felting needle, a little bent but still useable.

Kinda cute, right?

A little saggy around the back of the foot - to be fixed later.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hexipuff update

Total to date: 33
Days since started: 15
Daily Hexipuff production rate: 2.2

My production has fallen off, but I'm still keeping on track with at least 2 per day :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekly update

So on my needles are numerous projects:
7 sweaters
3 blankets
1 pair of socks

I'll enumerate more completely next time.

Here's one of my sweaters on the go:

Kaleidoscope, a free, seamless, bottom up cardigan using sock yarn.

I restarted this 3x until I was satisfies with the drape. Both my stitch and row gauges are smaller, so I've adjusted the size I'm making accordingly. I eventually settled on 3.25 mm. I changed waist decreasing to every 6 rows and increasing to every 8 rows to accommodate shorter row gauge.

Pix so far:

Most realistic colour

I'm using some lovely sock yarn I picked up at Knit City, which if you didn't make it, was a terrific first time yarn festival in Vancouver. I was one of the lucky first 50 that got the swag back and it paid for the 10$ admission many times over with all the goodies inside. I suppose we'll have to line up even earlier next year to get the bag since there were many disappointed people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wool + Chilly weather riding

How I missed my wool during my commute yesterday. Riding behind my husband on the scooter  I only had a thin cotton sweater, a thin cotton blouse and thin cotton socks. I did have motorcycle pants and my wool cowl and winter jacket and leather gloves, but sadly, the chill still bit. Luckily, my commute is only 20 minutes.

Ideally, I need my wool socks, wool cardigan, and I'm considering knitting legwarmers. The cold air still climbs up my ankles. I'm not wearing boots, only leather shoes because it takes so long discard my riding gear once I'm at work and slipping out of shoes is so much easier than unzipping boots.

Now my only decision for the legwarmers is if they will go outside or inside my motorcycle pants.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baby colours?

I'm making a baby blanket for one of the numerous babies that are always popping into my life periodically.

It's the Big Bad Baby Blanket from one of my knitting books - a pattern I had already made years ago (preRavelry) out of variegated yarn.

This time I'm experimenting, mostly because of what stash I have available. I want it to be superwash merino and I don't have enough of any one type, so I am making it out of grey, burgundy and brown/grey sock yarn. I am stranding both the grey and the burgundy with the sock yarn and doing red and grey blocks with the grey as the moss stitch border. Plus, I'm not sure of the sex.

Here is what it looks like so far:

So, IMHO, nice heathery colours that EZ would definitely approve of.

I happened to answer that timeless question from someone at work: "What are you making?"

"Baby blanket".

"In those colours?????"

I mumbled something about babies wearing more sophisticated colours now, or more natural colours but realized she didn't believe me.

Note that the person asking did not have kids of her own. I guess pastel pink or blue are the only acceptable baby colours in her world.

Opinions anybody??

Monday, November 12, 2012


I love looking at blanket patterns. I add them to my Ravelry queue with frightening rapidity. My latest obsession is The Beekeeper's Quilt.

I suppose it will take me the better part of a year to complete. My aim is to make at least 2 hexipuffs daily.

Date started: Nov. 4, 2012
Total count to date: 24
Daily hexipuff average: 2.67