Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIP Wednesday #32 - In which I start talking to inanimate objects.

Happy Wednesday everybody.

After a brief pause last week to knit myself a lovely hat, I am back on the Christmas knitting bandwagon.

My Goodale is blocking. With a lot bit of luck, I hope to have it ready to show you on Friday. All I have left is the neckline, some seaming and the icord loop for the button... but I have sneaky suspicion that it's all going to take longer that one would think. Man, I hate you, seaming.

I'm also mildly concerned that it's going to be big for the intended recipient.
I'm choosing to completely ignore that icky feeling for now.

While I wait for the cardigan to dry, I have started on my next gift project. It's another popular one (although I think I'm behind the bandwagon by a couple years)... It's Bella's Mittens!

I'm knitting with Malabrigo Chunky. Mmm Malabrigo. How I wish I could bathe in a tub full of you & Madelinetosh.

It is so awesome how fast chunky yarn knits up. Love it!
I apologize for the crummy photos. Monday it was 30 C (86 F) and summer was in it's glory. Tuesday was 10 C (50 F) and raining. Things are not looking up for today either. Sigh. Hello Fall. I'm Ok if you'd like to take another month or so off. Just saying.

Hmmm, I have, so far in this post, managed to speak directly to "seaming", "malabrigo", and "fall".*** Clearly, I need a coffee, or maybe a nap.

Well, that's the state of affairs around here. I hope I'll be back on Friday with a cardigan unveiling!

Cheers Nikki

*** If you find this all a bit much, feel free to click away to find sanity and more importantly, other WIP's on Tami's blog.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Have a Yarn - Have a Visit!

This is a long overdue post about my visit to Have A Yarn. A lovely little yarn shop in beautiful Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

Mahone Bay is a gorgeous little maritime community on Nova Scotia's South Shore. It is a very picturesque place, full of lovely little shops and cafes.

Have a Yarn fits right in.

This wonderful little shop is literally packed to the rafters with yarn and fiber related goodies.

I didn't have a lot of time to browse (as my father-in-law was on his own on Monkey & Doodlebug duty outside). The amazing supply of both local and international yarn was immediately evident.

My favourite part were all the "little extras." There were handmade ceramic buttons from South Africa,  and tons and tons of pattern books that were all very well organized by theme and indexed. There were also sample projects to look at in every single yarn that I picked up. I loved that! It was fabulous to see the yarn knitted up and to be able to compare it side by side with other yarn knitted in a similar fashion.

On the left are just a few of the sample scarves.
Each one was clearly labeled with the pattern and yarn used.

But, of course, I know what you really want to know... what did I get?

3 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow label DK (2 in Sand and 1 in Moss)
2 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
2 set of ceramic buttons
2 etched metal buttons I hope will work for my Goodale.
I don't have any concrete plans for the wool yet (beyond something stripey with the TFA and lacy with the silky wool) but I certainly couldn't leave empty handed (lest my husband think I was unwell).

In other news... it a big day today at our house. It's Monkey's first day of preschool!

Of course, I was the only one who was teary when we dropped him off.
Cheers, Nikki

Friday, August 26, 2011

FO Friday #22 - The "my friend moved away so I knit myself a hat" Hat

Happy Friday everyone!

As the mornings get a little cooler and the evenings start a little earlier, I decided to give myself something to look forward to in the coming months and knit myself a new winter hat.

I absolutely LOVE the colour of this hat!

I absolutely loved the Felicity hat I made a while ago, but alas, it was not made for me. I decided I wanted something in a similar slouchy style but wanted to try a different pattern. 

I love Woolly Wormhead's hat patterns. I made Tinker a couple months ago and this was my first attempt at one of her adult patterns. I was not disappointed. The pattern was both interesting and easy enough to thoroughly enjoy knitting. The pattern consists of a four row repeat which doesn't take long to memorize.  I also learned an "alternate cable cast on" and that Woolly Wormhead has some great tutorials on her website. A word of warning: this is NOT a quick way to cast on.

I used Ultra Alpaca for the hat. Despite being a worsted weight yarn when the pattern calls for DK, I did not have to make any size or pattern adjustments. I have tried this yarn once before to make a Star Crossed Slouchy Beret for my friend last Christmas. She is the one who has moved back to Australia (not sure such a warm hat will come in very handy there... it will be great for when she visits though ; ) I thought it would be nice to make myself a hat from the same yarn. I had read that this yarn makes very warm garments so I was happy to find a pattern I liked with  built in ventilation eyelets. This yarn does tend to grow quite a bit. It fits great now but it will be interesting to see is gets much looser as I wear this winter... I'll keep you posted : )

The "my friend moved away so I knit myself a hat" Hat

Pattern: Castiel by Wooly Wormhead
Size: 21"
Yarn: Ultra Alpaca by Berroco 
Colour: 62172 (kind of a blue/purple)
Needles: 4.0/4.5mm / US 6/7 Knit Picks nickel 16" circular
4.5mm/US 7 Susan Bates DPN's (they're pink!)

I still have to knit my kids new winter hats... is it wrong that I knit mine first?

Tami has a whole bunch more FO's to check out on her blog today. Have you checked out her fabulous yarn for sale though her Candy Skein business? A word of warning... if you look it will be tough to resist!

Cheers, Nikki

It's hard to tell (since I'm wearing a hat and all) but I went for a big hair chop on Wednesday.
It's amazing how much lighter I feel!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP Wednesday #31 - Still Summer Stitching

Happy Wednesday everyone. 

The kids and I are safely home and our lovely summer continues here in Alberta, although, I have detected that the mornings are a little cooler and the days already seem a little shorter. This, of course, can only mean one thing. I need to start knitting faster if I'm going to get all my gifts done in time for Christmas!!!!

I am delighted to inform you all that I have cast off the body of my Goodale. I thought I was almost done last week and then decided to chance adding one more repeat.

I really, really, really hope I have left myself enough yarn to do the cap sleeves and collar.

Especially since I foolishly optimistically wove in all my ends already
I am really happy with how it looks although I starting wonder is it might be a bit big for the intended recipient (perhaps it just seems that way because I haven't done the pockets yet).

I am committing to having my Goodale ready for FO Friday next week. That's right, I'm getting wild now!

I love the look of the icord edge.
I have also been working a on a new winter hat for myself as a bit of a side project. You only get a sneak peak today because I plan to finish it at my craft night tonight and have it ready to show you on Friday.

The pattern is Castiel - I am really enjoying it.
Ok, my question for you today is: If you could pick between hand knit mittens or a hand knit hat as a Christmas gift, which would you prefer?

Thanks, as usual, to Tami for hosting the very popular WIP Wednesday's on her blog!

Cheers, Nikki

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Award... for me???

I am very flattered that Sam the Knitter has included me on a list of her favourite new blogs and has given me the Versatile Blogger Award!!
I quite like these pass-it-on blog awards because it has helped me to find some really neat new blogs in the past

As part of the award after thanking Sam I've supposed to share 7 things about myself - yikes!

1. Yesterday, in an absolute breach of protocol, I had coffee cake for breakfast - You're shocked, I know.
2. My oldest starts preschool on Monday, sniff.
3. My husband and I come from opposite coasts in Canada and now live in landlocked Alberta.
4. I tend to dabble in things. I've taken more classes and courses than I can count. I can do a little bit of many things, but am an expert in nothing. (This, by the way, is a very common characteristic among nurses)
5. I used to eat when I was feeling down. Now, I buy yarn. I think this is a clear demonstration of my growth as a person. Ok, sometimes I eat too.
6. I have a really bad habit of staying up too late reading and then skipping to the last chapter so I can go to sleep. (Don't tell anyone, 'kay)
7. In my fantasy life, I would have liked to have been a florist. (Ironic considering I am useless with plants.)

Finally, I get to share with you 15 new blogs that I enjoy. Ok, well, 15 is a lot so I will give you what I've got.  Oh, and by "new" I'm going with "discovered in the last year" ; )

1. Adriene's Couch - Do, Make, Create - a mostly knitting blog with beautiful yarn & projects and inspirations thoughts on life

2. Autumngeisha - a beautiful knitting blog with wonderful projects and beautiful pictures

3. It Might be a Metaphor - A fabulous knitting blog that never fails to make me laugh

4. Amber's Ambry - Boy oh boy, can this woman craft. I want to be her when I grow up.

5. Evergreen knits - Gorgeous designs and amazing travel photos. What more could you want?

6. Affiknitty - Another knitting blogger with a great way with words

7. The Adventures of the Gingerbread Lady - Absolutely the funniest blog I read. Mostly crochet about an Irish teacher living with her husband in Germany.

8. What Kate Wore - Absolutely nothing to do with knitting (but, amazingly, did actually mention Ravelry the other day.) Since the royal couple's Canadian tour, I'm addicted.

Thanks again Sam!

Cheers, Nikki

Monkey and his little buddy on a recent hike in Kananaskis.
Alberta might not have much water but it can still be breathtakingly gorgeous.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday # 30 - Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Today I am flying home from a wonderful vacation. I have to get up at 4:30am! Fortunately, my father-in-law is traveling with me this time so I will not have to cross the country on my own with the kids again.

It`s been a great week. I didn`t get as much knitting done as I had hoped (darn that sunny weather ; ) but I am a couple rows away from finishing the body on my Goodale. I even managed to pick up some buttons at a gorgeous local yarn shop (more on that in another post). While the intended recipient for the goodale was here for a couple days, I knit a couple purple hats and even started a Castiel in a gorgeous blue Ultra Alpaca for myself.

I have taken a couple hundred photos this week... of course, none of them have been of my knitting. So instead of actually showing you my WIP`s I will attempt to distract awe you with pics from my trip.

My husband`s family`s home where we stayed in Nova Scotia

I absolutely LOVE these shutters 

The view from one side of the property

The view from the other side

 Have you forgotten that this is supposed to be a knitting post yet? No? Hmmm, well let`s look a couple more then...

Aren`t these wildflowers amazing?

This is where I spent as much time as possible whenever the kids were napping.
(and I definitely recommend this book)
Now if you still find yourself wholly dissatisfied with the knitting content of this post please make sure you check out more WIP`s through Tami`s blog (where I`m pretty sure you will find more talk about ongoing fiber projects than you did here).

Cheers, Nikki

Thursday, August 11, 2011

FO Friday #21 - Purple Prevention

Hi all. Happy Friday!

I'm having a great time in Nova Scotia. The sun finally came out today and it was glorious. At least the weather for the first couple days left plenty of time for knitting.

I finished my first Click for Babies hat for Shaken Baby Syndrome awareness. I love that we get to knit these wee baby hats in purple. It's amazing how much enjoyment I get from knitting in fun colours.

I didn't have a newborn around to model for me so I found a substitute...

The pattern I've used is Baby Star Hat. As written, the pattern calls for the hat to be knit flat and seamed. Now, normally knitting a hat flat is again my religion, but I knit this first one according to the directions so I could get a handle on the pattern before starting my many modifications. I'm happy with the result but as I suspected knitting the seam was a PITA.

Seam shot - feels a bit like I'm showing my underwear

I knit the 0-3 month size using Diamond Luxury Collection 4 ply superwash held double to approximate a DK weight. The yarn is very soft and has a lovely springiness. This bright purple colour turned the water is the sink a light lavender colour when I washed it.

I have enough yarn for a couple more hats. This time I'm knitting following the instructions for the large size using smaller needles and the fingering weight. I'm also using magic loop.

No more seaming for me!
Overall, a cute hat, great yarn an an easy knit. Much prefer it worked in the round.

I'm so annoyed that the seamed side is showing in this photo. Grrr
Pattern: Baby Star Hat by Lisa Flett
Needles: 4.0 & 3.75mm/US 6 & 5 Knit Picks nickel interchangeables

Don`t forget, there are many more inspiring FO's to be found with Tami`s Amis!

Hope your weekend is full of sunny skies and smiling faces. I leave you with a couple special shots that I was lucky to get yesterday.

Cheers, Nikki

PS: I think it was unclear in my last post, I didn`t drive with the kids to Halifax from Calgary. We flew. I`m crazy but not that crazy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday 29 - Good Going Goodale

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Just a quick post today as I have spent the day travelling across the country with my two little ones on my own. Needless to say I am EXHAUSTED!

We have arrived safely to Nova Scotia and I am looking forward to a quiet week in a gorgeous setting with lots of family time. I will try to post some pics of the scenery here (and hopefully about a trip to Have a Yarn in Mahone Bay ; )

In the meantime, I have finally gotten past all the tediousness of fixing the many mistakes I had been making on my Goodale and so far it is smooth sailing as I knit the body. This is my first top-down project and I am loving it. Getting the hard part done first really suits my style. I usually stress as I get up to the arm hole shaping and neck that I'm going to ruin the entire project. But with top down, all that part happens first before you put in hours of stockinette knitting. And because it's in the round, it is really easy to see the whole thing taking shape.

I apologize for the crummy, late night, indoor photo
 I've also just started a little travel project. It is a charity knit for Click for Babies. I got tipped onto this by luvinthemommyhood's blog. I have worked with shaken babies in the neurology unit of my hometown children's hospital, so this struck a chord with me. I have started a wee purple hat in the Baby Star Hat pattern. The pattern was a little pricey, but hopefully I'll make a bunch of them. The great thing about newborn hats is they are tiny & quick. I'm committing to having an FO to show you on Friday.

In the meantime, don't forget to head on over to Tami's blog to check out some more WIP's!

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Wednesday #28 - Humble Pie

Happy Wednesday everybody.

I have spent the last week getting to work on my Goodale. I am loving the colour of the yarn and of course Pashmina is a dream to knit (and re-knit as you will see below).

Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot to show for my efforts. I realized a couple days ago that I had 2 too many stitches. I found where I had done the extra increases and went back the 3 rows to fix it (very annoying when you have 300 stitches in a row but not tragic). I thought I got that fixed and went on about my merry way. Then I realized that I had mixed up the stitches in my one side of my icord edging in my "fix-it" process. So back I went again. Then the other edging didn't look right. So... back I went again. Each time I went back a little farther to back sure I was starting from a point I knew was right. I think perhaps I finally have it all right now.

This is how much yarn I have left to re-knit just to get back to where I was 2 days ago. Sigh.

The way this is going, if it turns out to still be wrong, I figure eventually I'll end up tinking back to the start (or alternately just setting fire to the whole damn thing ; ).

On a brighter note, I had a lovely Craft-away Weekend to the mountains. We had a great place, with a gorgeous view.

The Three Sisters, Canmore, Alberta
Even though we had these guys in tow, it did feel like a getaway.

Knitting with great friends, in a beautiful place. Does it get any better?
Yes it does. Just add champagne : )
Hopefully, everyone is making better progress on their WIP's over at Tami's blog!

Cheers, Nikki