Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday # 36 - Better late than never...

Happy Wednesday everyone!

This post is much later than usual. I am totally stuck in the middle of packing chaos. We leave tomorrow morning and I suspect I will be up very late getting ready (why does that always seem to happen despite how early I start packing or how organized I feel?). It is noon here and I have already accomplished 13 jobs so far today. Just got to keep on moving...

I have been frantically knitting on my Slip Stitch Baby Blanket and Henley Sweater as both projects are too big to take away with me. I am really enjoying them both and look forward to picking them up when I get back. (Please oh please don't let my tension change in the meantime!)

Since I can't take my big projects with me, I have no choice but to line up some new projects for the trip (honestly, there just is no other solution). Since the worst thing would be running out of things to knit while I'm away, I am taking more than I can possible hope to finish (again it is the only smart thing to do... it's not like they have wool in New Zealand or Australia... um, sure, that's my story and I'm sticking to it - just don't look in my case when I get back!)

Clockwise from the top left we have:

  • And in the middle of it all is my brand new Knit Kit that was a fabulous early-birthday gift from a good friend. It has scissors, stitch markers, a darning needle, a tape measure, a crochet hook and a row counter all neatly packed up together... and it's TSA approved!
I'll leave you with a (crummy phone) pic of our lovely indian summer that I will be leaving tomorrow to travel to spring "down under".

Cheers, Nikki

Don't forget that there are plenty of works-that-are-actually-in-progress to check out through Tami's blog!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Whatever the Mood Monday... Fall Harvest

Wow, a Monday post!

In preparation for our big departure later this week, we took the time this weekend to clean out the garden. I would definitely call my first foray into gardening a success. I really enjoyed watching my teeny tiny seeds turn into plants and vegetables. I learned a lot (thin the carrots more!). There are definitely some things I will do differently next year (um, like not plant 10 heads of lettuce at exactly the same time - I'm raising children, not rabbits). But, there are some things I will do the same (like plants lots of beets - roasted beets with goat cheese is a new favourite side dish in my house).

I feel like the garden gave me a new appreciation for the cycle of the seasons. I as I learned about the growing process, I felt much more aware of nature. Watching everything grow and being mindful of the weather made me feel more present in the season and gave me a visual record of the passage of time.

As we got to harvest time, my Monkey got very interested in helping pick the peas, carrots & beets. I was a wonderful feeling to feed him things I had grown myself. Hopefully, next year, when he is a little bigger, he will be old enough to be interested in the whole unfolding of the seed to food process.

My new found appreciation for gardening is moving beyond vegetables as well and I am taking my pride in the small gardens around my yard. This weekend I planted 45 bulbs. I'm already looking forward to watching the snow (that hasn't arrived yet - thank goodness!) melt and the green shoots appear.

About half of our final harvest
(the wine in the background was a recent gift from one of my favourite wineries - Quail's Gate)

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, September 23, 2011

FO Friday #25 - Raspberry Swirl

Happy Friday Everyone.

What do you know, we made it through another week! Hopefully, next Friday, I will be reading your posts from the land of kiwi fruit and World Rugby Cup hysteria. (I say hopefully because I actually have a secret fear of flying - I always do it but I'm always scared).

I am happy to say I actually finished one of my lagging WIP's this week. I originally planned to knit this Swirl Hat as a winter hat for my Doodlebug. Somehow, it has turned out too small for her (not that that stopped me from shoving it on her head for the pictures you will see here today ; ) But all is not lost as there was a (another) new baby born to someone at my husband's work this week and I am only to happy to send this hat that wee babe's way.

The Swirl Hat pattern is very simple and easy to read. I loved that the different sizes are marked in different colours. Of course, the k3tog's in the decreasing were a bit of a pain in the butt. Otherwise I enjoyed this great knit.

This was my first time trying Tami's Candy Skein yarn. I love the Raspberry & Cream colourway. The yarn was great to knit and is perfect for babies... soft AND washable!

Raspberry Swirl

Pattern: Swirl Hat by Mandie Harrington
Yarn: Candy Skein Yummy Sport Superwash Sock
Needles: 3.25mm/US3 
(I used a 16" circ and then a longer cable to magic loop the decreases)

Ok. Are you ready for cuteness overload? Don't say I didn't warn you...

More cute, cuddly and creative FO's hosted on Tami's blog.

I've decided to start a "Whatever the Mood" Monday's post. It will be a random musing about whatever I feel like (although I suspect there will be a lot of fiber content - I've even started dreaming about knitting now... shame it doesn't actually get my projects done any faster).

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday #35 - Scattered

Happy Wednesday everyone.

This week I find myself kind of really totally out of sorts lost & confused scattered. I have a huge trip coming up next week. The entire family is traveling halfway around the world. (God help me on the 12! hour flight from LA to Auckland with two little kids - this after an 8 hour layover in LA... Yikes!). I have lots of knitting I want to accomplish over our month away (not that I have ANY of it organized yet, of course). But, I also have several larger projects that I know I need to get going on. So, I seem to have cast on all kinds of thing but have reasons why I'm not sure I feel like knitting any of them.

First up, is the sweater from last week. It is bigger but not enough to be photo worthy. It has gotten big enough to be too big for the 32" circ I have it on and the only bigger circ I can find is bamboo which I'm not really looking forward to with such splitty yarn. There isn't enough time to order a bigger cord for my interchangeables from Knit Picks so I am... stalled

Next, is the swirl hat for Doodlebug. It is looking lovely but is decidedly too small for my petite 14 month old (despite the fact I am knitting the 12-24 month size). Of course, I didn't check my gauge, sigh. I am too far along to frog and there is plenty of yarn left to make another hat so I figure I will finish it for some mystery baby but I'm annoyed and so I have... stalled.
Sorry for the badly lit pictures again this week.
Somehow Fall came while I wasn't looking and it was already getting dark by the time I took these
despite it only being 7pm.

Finally, I have cast on a baby blanket for a baby that is coming in the family in early December. The pattern has simple colourwork with a fun slip stitch that is easy to remember. I am a little apprehensive because I have decided to use cotton like the original (why, why?). I don't particularly like knitting with cotton and I'm worried the final result will look funny because I can't really block it. The pattern calls for a heavy worsted but I couldn't find any cotton like that (that I liked) so I am hold a DK weight double for a funky chunky effect that I can't decide looks cool or just kind of... weird. Currently... stalled.

What I really want to do is cast on my new (first ever) Zauberball for this infinity scarf. I have delayed myself by suggesting that it will make a great travel project and that maybe, just maybe, I already have enough on the go.

Cheers, Nikki

Please feel free to click over to Tami's blog to find inspiration and motivation from those with projects that are actually going somewhere!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday #34 - The birth of a sweater

Hi all. Happy Wednesday!

Sunday was apparently the last day of summer around these part and since then it have been rather cool and chilly. Perfect weather for sweater knitting (and wearing)!

I feel like I have made good progress on the sweater for my husband. I am on my third skein (out of 17 but really, whose counting?) I am proud that I have kept going after I discovered on my tenth row that I had made a mistake on the SECOND STITCH of the entire project. Then I had to go back two more rows at another point because I found I had changed direction MID ROW! This isn't even the first time I have done this. I really have no idea how it happens.
I do not think that any of this is a good sign.

The pattern is written top down. Currently, I am working on the placket button holes while I continue to do the raglan increases. There are a lot of comments on Ravelry that this pattern can be quite confusing. I would have to agree. There definitely seems to be a lot of " the same time..." going on. At this point, I am sort of  relatively pretty confident that I am on the right track.

So far this knit does feel a bit like the birthing process... it is certainly going to be a long labour.
I'm sorry, there is no way to take a decent picture of this sweater right now.
Trust me I tried.

I'm very glad I made the most of the "last" day of summer this weekend and went out to the mountains for an open air concert. On the way, I stopped at one my favourite yarn shops and discovered they had a new supply of Madelinetosh. Who am I to resist the Tosh? Of course I made a purchase : )
I'm thinking about making an Embers Cowl with this
When it gets cold and gray this winter, I am going to try to remember
sitting in this beautiful setting, listening to some old school Canadian music,
 knitting a sweater and being warmed by the sun.
Cheers, Nikki

Check out some more WIP's through Tami's blog. I bet there are a lot of people getting their fall knitting mojo on this week.

Friday, September 9, 2011

FO Friday #24 - Les Mitaines Belle

Happy Friday everyone.

I have reached the end of a very long week and am really looking forward to having my husband around for the next couple days. He has worked the last 12 days in a row, including yesterday from 8:30am - 11pm : (

I am excited to show you another finished Christmas present. These mittens were a treat to knit. The bulky wool knit up so fast! 

The pattern is interesting and easy - my favourite combination : ) I shouldn't be surprised 6717 people can't be wrong (especially when said people are knitters, of course). I enjoyed working these mitts with magic loop. I also magic looped the thumb because I didn't have couldn't find the right size DPNs (until just after I finished).

This was my first project with Malabrigo Chunky. It was as lovely as you would hope. It was great to knit with and is super soft. I didn't see any dye run when I soaked them. The mittens just fit when I finished them (exactly the way I like them) but I think the intended recipient likely has larger hands than I do so I blocked them bigger and I think they should work great. **Note: bulky wool mittens can take almost 3 days to dry - even during a heat wave!

Well without further ado...
Les Mitaines Belle

Pattern: Bella's Mittens by Marielle Henault
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky in Marron Oscuro
(I used about 1.5 skeins) 
Needles: 5.0mm/US 8 Knit Picks nickel circular
Modifications: none

Hope you get to enjoy one last summer weekend over the next couple days... unless, of course, you are in the Southern hemisphere. In which case, I hope your Spring has sprung (especially since I will be in in your neck of the woods in 3 weeks!!!!)

Cheers, Nikki

Follow the link to find more fabulous finished objects here.

ETA: It looks like Tami is having a little trouble with the link this morning so I'm going to take this opportunity to finally join everyone over at Fiber Arts Friday. Hi!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday #33 - Calculated Cast-ons

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I hope you are all having a great week. Summer has returned here with a vengeance and I am soaking up every second of it.

With my Goodale finally finished, I was very excited to move onto the next project. I am slowly learning that when I am working on a big project it serves me well to have smaller projects on the go for when I get bored or need some quick-and-easy travel knitting.

So, I have finally cast on the last sweater in my 2011 Family Sweater Challenge. I would really love to accomplish this goal as it's the only resolution from this year that I have a chance left of keeping. I have (of course) left the biggest sweater for last. I have had the yarn for this sweater for a while. I even swatched over a month ago. For some reason, I have been a feeling intimidated about starting it. I'm not sure if it's the miles (and miles and miles) of stockinette that I have ahead of me or if it's because the pattern is written in a unfamiliar manner. Maybe I'm a wee bit worried that I'm going to spent hours and hours on this and my husband isn't going to like it (although even it he doesn't like it, he still better bloody wear it!) In any case, I have finally sucked it up and cast on.

I'm using Royal Llama Silk and it feels amazing but so far seems to be super splitty.

I am also very excited about my smaller, friendlier  project that I am starting at the same time. I am making Doodlebug's winter hat (as it is currently 30 C. outside for once I seem to be ahead of the game). I am really looking forward to using my precious skein of Candy Skein Yummy sport superwash for it. I'm going to use the pattern for Swirl Hat on this one.

The colourway in Raspberries and Cream.
Doesn't it look delicious?
Well, that's about it. Where are Bella's Mittens you ask? I'm sure you already know... you will have to come back for FO Friday to see them!

I'm sorry this post is a little light on photos this week. Just to make it up to you I'll share a couple recent snaps of Monkey and Doodlebug ; )

Monkey at his first day of preschool last week.
Doodlebug enjoying our late summer heat wave in the backyard.
See you Friday. Don't forget to check out more WIP's through Tami's (of Candy Skein fame) blog!

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, September 2, 2011

FO Friday #23 - Walks with Iris Galore

Happy Happy Happy Friday everyone!

What can I say? I'm glad it's Friday (even though my hubby is working the working the entire weekend including Monday - bleh), the weather is set to be gorgeous, Monkey is in a full day of school today and I am floating on a cloud because... I finally finished my Goodale!!!

And, you know what? I think it looks pretty good!

Is it bad form to try on something you made for someone else?
What about if you only wear it for a few blog photos?
Or maybe just around the house?
Or out to a party? Just once? ; )

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern. I have discovered a new love in top-down knitting. I love that you can really see the sweater take shape as you go. I love that you can check fit as you go. I LOVE that there is wayyyyy less seaming when you knit this way.

The neat pocket construction adds to the fun appeal of this this little cardi. It also means that you end up with quite a unique looking garment that is actually very simple to knit.
There is no pooling - it's just the light in the photos

I made a few modifications based on advice from other ravellers.

  • I lengthened the body. A lot. The pattern calls for the length from the underarm to the cast off edge to be 8 inches. Mine is 13 and it's still a shortish sweater on me (probably won't be on my sister-in-law though because she is 4 inches shorter than me). I added the length by doing 10 rounds between decreases (instead of 8) and adding one increase pattern repeat.
  • I added a couple rounds of stockinette before the ribbing on the sleeve just to make picking up the stitches easier.
  • I used an icord bind off around the neck because it was feeing a little loosey-goose
  • I sewed down the front fold over except for the pocket openings
If I were to change anything else, I would consider doing a three needle bind off to form the pocket at the start of the ribbing but the way it is done according to the pattern worked nicely and doesn't feel bulky.

Beside doing top-down construction for the first time, I was finally successful at producing a decent icord for the buttons. I don't know what I was doing wrong in the past. It is, of course, very easy (hence the name, i(diot) cord). I had also never done an icord edging before. I really like the detail and texture it adds down the front of the sweater.

This was my second project using Madelinetosh Pashmina. It is highly unlikely to be my last! I cannot say enough about the gorgeousness of this yarn. It truly is a knitter's dream.
There was very little dye transfer to the water when I blocked it. This yarn does grow and I am so happy I washed my swatch before I started. I was worried that the sweater was looking way too big (my SIL is about 4 sizes smaller than me) but it feels a little small on me so hopefully it will look great on her.
I love the subtle striping I got from alternating the two skeins and obviously alternating skeins was absolutely necessary with this colourway. I alternated just before the icord edge and the end of a wrong side row, as the designer suggests. It worked great.
In the end, even with all my mods I easily got this out of two skeins.

Walks with Iris Galore

Pattern: Goodale by Cecily Glowik Macdonald
Size: 34
2 skeins in Iris
Needles: 4.5mm/US 7 Knit Picks nickel interchangeables
4.5mm/US 7 Susan Bates metal DPN's
Buttons from Have a Yarn
Rav link to my project

I am so happy (and rather proud) of how this turned out. 
Of course, as I finished, all I could think about was casting on my next project. I wonder if I have enough of this yarn to make a puff and jump on the crazy Beekeeper Quilt wagon? It's probably a very good thing I haven't made a lot of socks and therefore do not have a lot of bits of sock yarn hanging around!

Speaking of crazy... you would be crazy if you didn't pop over to Tami's blog and check out what other cool projects have been finished up for this Friday.

Cheers, Nikki