Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WIP Wednesday #76 - A Very Festive Week



Happy Wednesday everyone!

I am in Nova Scotia for our "early Christmas". In fact, Christmas #1 is tomorrow! It's been a very fun week so far. We have walked into the woods and cut down a tree which the kids had a blast decorating. We've been looking at all the lights and decorations around town and doing various festive crafts at the house. My husband and I have even snuck out to see a local concert. It's lobster season here and there are lots of boats in the bay. It's been lovely to get a feel for the place in a different season.

I have also started a new project! I'm doing quite well with my Christmas deadlines (one pair of legwarmers and one doll's dress by actual Christmas to go...). And my cousin came here with a beautiful cowl she got at Ann Taylor Loft. Although, my cousin isn't much of a knitter, here mom is. So I have been to a local yarn shop and picked up yarn and needles for the three of us and we are trying our hands at a little reverse engineering.

I started yesterday using Sidar Faroe and this what I have so far.

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I wish I had thought to take pics of the others.  We are having are having a lot of fun.

Anyways, I will wish you all an early Merry Christmas and get back to it. I hope you are having a great week.

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, November 30, 2012

FO Friday #61 - Done and Dufted



Happy Friday everyone!

It's a big day around here as we are off  to the East Coast for an "early Christmas"on the red eye tonight. The kids are very excited and even though it is only November 30th, there is certainly a festive spirit in the air. Monkey asked me if there will be snow in Halifax. I told him there probably would not. He said "how can it be Christmas with no snow?" I had to laugh. Growing up in Vancouver, I never once saw a white Christmas. It certainly is special to have them now.

A quick update from Wednesday... anyone who knows me will not be surprised to learn that about 10 minutes after I posted, I faced facts and frogged my hat.  The good news is that it is almost done... Again. I just hope this time it's not too small ; )

But, today I am here to bring you a success. I spent some time looking of something interesting, quick and fairly simple to make for presents this year.  I settled on trying some felted slippers for a few of my female relatives. In the end, I made three pairs.  I'm fairly new to felting and it can be a bit finicky but overall, I'm pretty happy with the results.


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Pattern: Duffers - revisted by Mindle Tallack
An interesting pattern with many different possible permutations. The pattern has a lot of pages and really could have been written in a much shorter way but you really only need to print the pages applicable to this style you are knitting and the fill in the blank worksheet at the end. I knit these ones in the round using magic loop.

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Knit using the yarn held double, these slipper use between one and 1.5 skeins depending what size you make. The best part? 24 rows and you have a slipper!

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Felting Technique:
 I felted these in my front load washer which I can set not to spin. It took a while but worked pretty well I think. I did try to do one pair by hand (using my friend "Kim's Method" - essentially involving a sink of steaming hot water and a potato masher) but didn't have the stamina : (

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That's all I have time for today but I hope you all enjoy a lovely weekend.

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday #75: The Race is On and I'm Stuck in the Pits



Happy Wednesday everyone!

Up until a few days ago, I was making good progress on my Christmas knitting. This past weekend was my birthday, my mum came to visit and I caught a nasty cold. All of this seems to have combined to put a stall on my knitting output. I am on the last project that I NEED to have done before our trip to the east coast on Friday. I'm even on the crown of the hat. I love the way it looks but it does seem rather, um, big. It is a hat for a big man but it seems, um, quite big even for that. I'm going to take it to my knit night tonight and get a second opinion. It would be nice not to have to start again.

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Cheers, Nikki

I got an iPad from my lovely family for my birthday! It was rather editing to create this post on it : ). If anything looks glitchy please let me know. I'm still learning!



Friday, November 23, 2012

FO Friday #60 - Merino Mittens (soft as kittens)



Happy Friday everyone!

Wow, this is another week that I am not sorry to see the back of (except for the fact that my husband is working all weekend - sigh).

My 3rd trimester has brought back my worst nemesis (nemes-i? nemesises?) the 2 H's: heartburn and and... well, that's probably TMI. Needless to say, I am pretty much uncomfortable every waking hour and some of the sleeping ones too. Add in a husband who was away one week and then working 12 hours days the next, a little boy who is sick again and an unexpected winter storm with frigid temperatures and I am pretty much done.

I wish I could say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but really all I can see is the addition of a screaming baby in less than two months!

Thanks goodness for knitting. It is probably my only reliable retreat right now.
I spent part of this last week knitting the most delicious mittens.

Simple pattern, beautiful yarn and pretty colours... the perfect recipe for a much needed, if short-lived, escape.


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Pattern: Warmest Mittens by  Kris Percival (free!)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted - 65 grams used total
Needles: 3.75mm and 4mm bamboo DPN's

Modifications:
I moved the position of the thumb on the second mitten relative to the start of the round so that the colour  changes occur just inside the thumb on both mitts.

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Verdict?
I love these mittens. They were so hard to send to my friend for birthday. Fortunately, my LYS just had a big sale on malabrigo worsted, and judging my the new additions in my stash, I suspect there will be more of these mittens in my future : )

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Here's one last pic of these pretty mittens with an even prettier project bag that a wonderful friend gave me this week for my birthday. Isn't it cute?

I hope all my American friends out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that the rest get the chance to enjoy one last relaxing weekend before the festive season is truly upon us. If you get a chance, take some time to check out more FO's through Tami's blog and Knit Knit Knit!!

Cheers, Nikki 

Friday, November 16, 2012

FO Friday # 59 - One Hand Clapping



Happy Friday everyone!

I am especially happy to see this Friday arrive. My husband has been away all week and will be getting home tomorrow. Single parenting a 4 year old and a two year old while 30 weeks pregnant is not something I will be quick to repeat. I feel like I could sleep for a week!

Anyways... my FO this week is one that has yet to fail to reach past the fatigue and crankiness and bring a smile to my face. I love it. I am wearing it constantly, even just around the house.

I have finally joined the ranks of all the many many knitters who have made a Clapotis! The pattern is certainly tried and true - and free. I bought the yarn to make myself one in an after Christmas sale last year. I've finally gotten it done and I am so glad I did.

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an action shot during a recent visit to Monkey's preschool


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Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Needle size: 5mm on a long circular cable
Modifications : none!

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I bought 7 skeins and used all but 12 grams to complete the pattern. Because the Noro is so sticky, every dropped stitch had to be loosened by hand (I used a crochet hook). But, I never got bored or fed up. The colour changes coupled with knitting on the bias with dropped stitches was a perfect kind of bliss for me. It was also a good reason to buy a bunch of fancy new stitch markers : ) In the end, mine was determined to block into a rectangle shape. I'm thinking it might make a good nursing shawl come the new year...

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I hope you have some fun activities planned this weekend. I'll be seeing you over at Tami's Amis.

Cheers, Nikki


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday #74 - A *Not Quite* in Progress Edition


Happy Wednesday everyone!!

I made great progress on knitting my Stockholm Cowl over the last week. So great, in fact, that the end is in sight. Unfortunately, right now it looks just like last week's picture... only, um, bigger.

So, I thought instead I would share with you some* of my plans for knitting over the next 6 weeks or so.

First up, is the 3rd and final pair of Duffers in my 2012 Slippers for Christmas spree. I have knit all of these in Cascade 220 and will share them when this last pair is done.

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A Turn a Square hat using Malabrigo worsted and Noro Silk Garden

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Zeg Warmers for a 4 year old dancer in Madelinetosh tosh merino dk.

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And a pair of pattern-yet-to-be-chosen mittens in some Malabrigo worsted from the darkest depths of my stash for a good friend's 40th Birthday - which is on December 1st... in Vancouver... but whatever

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Finally, to distract you from the glaringly obvious fact that I have not shown you any actual knitting in this post, I want to  share a delivery I got tonight that literally made be squeal with delight. I was tipped off by a very enabling friend of mine that the website bookcloseouts.ca was having a 50% off craft books sale...

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I picked these up for $34 total, including tax and shipping. I kid you not.
PS: The sale ends today ; )

Check out Tami's blog for some *actual* works in progress : )

Cheers, Nikki

*it is such a lovely place, this delusional world I live in.

PPS: I've got to give a shout out to Stacey from Fresh Stitches for her recent post about taking photos. I took all these photos tonight on my kitchen table, with zero natural light, on a not-quite-white sheet. I use Iphoto and only played with the exposure but I think they turned out ok!

Friday, November 9, 2012

FO Friday #68 - Fibres of Friendship



Happy Friday everyone.

I'm bringing out a project this week that I finished a while ago... and started a very long while ago. Over a year ago, in fact, during a wonderful trip to Australia.

 I had the opportunity to go to the Bendigo Woollen Mills with a very good friend while we were there and we picked up some 4 ply Luxury wool that we both loved. We hatched a plan to split the wool and both knit the same pattern with it.

In the end, we made the pattern up: sort of a horizontal feather and fan scarf/shawl. And then it took me almost a year to finish it. But it is finally is done and has already been put to good use with the early start to winter we've been having. It was lovely to think of my dear friend and that trip with every stitch.

I never got any decent modelled shots so I'm afraid you are going to have to make do with ever-so-cool bathroom shots ; )




It has been a tough week around here and it's times like these I really wish my lovely friend was a whole lot closer. Miss you Brisie xxx



The 25cm of snow I see out the window means I should have lots of time to check out  FO's through Tami's Amis. I hope you get a chance to check them out too (but that you don't have the snow!)

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday #73 - Open Season for Knitting


Happy Wednesday everyone.

Winter's in the air, Christmas is coming and the start of November feels like open season for knitters. I have my list, I've checked it twice and then I stopped looking at it to try to minimize the feelings of panic it produced in me. I can already tell that this going to be one of those years when I try to do. too. much.

For now, I am taking advantage of these dark cozy nights to enjoy the fireplace and knit as fast as I can.

I'm knitting something new! It is a Stockholm Cowl out of Berroco Flicker. I wish you could could see the gold sparkles in the picture. It has enough to be noticable without being over the top. The rest is the softest alpaca. This the first time I've knitted with a chain yarn.

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So far, so good... except for that moment last night when I got so enthralled with the election results that I dropped a stitch and couldn't figure out how fix it. I ended up ripping out a days work. But let's not talk about that.
I'm back on track and it full steam ahead!

I suspects there are lots more people with works-on-the-go over at Tami's Amis ; )

Cheers, Nikki

Monday, November 5, 2012

Perfect Pins #1

Happy Monday everyone!

Over the weekend I had a new idea for some posts. I've had a brewing Pinterest addiction for over a year now and have actually gotten around to trying some of the things I pinned. I thought I might share some of my favourite successes with you from time to time.

This first one dates back to Doodlebug's 2nd birthday in July. I have a tradition of making cakes for my kid's birthdays. I'm am by no means a pro at cake decorating and the process is usually quite tedious and takes a whole day. This year, I had the added challenge of the fact that we were in the maritimes for Doodlebug's birthday and nowhere near my cake decorating supplies.

My husband requested an owl cake (no, I have no idea why it was his choice, it certainly wasn't his birthday). I searched Pinterest and came up with this pin:



I had never made a cupcake cake cake before but I figured it was worth a shot. Here is my result:


I thought it turned out great. Doodlebug (and Daddy) loved it. A total success in my book.

To top it off, the whole thing took me and my sister-in-law less than 2 hours from start to finish. And I totally overestimated how much candy we would need so we got to eat the leftovers. Bonus ; )

I am sold on cupcake cakes. Easy to make and serve. This was a great pin.

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, November 2, 2012

FO Friday #67 - A Whale of a Challenge



Happy Friday everyone.

It seems everyone in my house needs a new hat this year! After I finished Doodlebug's and one for the new baby, my Monkey knew he was next up. He thought very hard about what kind of hat he wanted (and changed his mind several times). Then one day, last week, while I was driving him home from school, we had this conversation;

Monkey said: Mummy, I've thought about it alllll day and I've decided I would like a hat with a humpback whale on it.
I said: A hat with a whale on it? I think I can probably do that.
He replied: A humpback whale. And I don't want it to have any water coming out of its spout or a fin on its back.

At that moment, I knew I was in trouble. I have never even done intarsia before and figured that I would be unlikely to find a pattern for a (quite specific) humpback whale.

But I love a challenge and my Monkey, so I gave it a shot.

I downloaded an image of a humpback whale, converted it into a knitting chart and went for it. It took me three tries to be mostly happy with the image and to figure the whole intarsia thing out (Did you know if you don't twist your colour changes you end up with big holes in your work? Yeah, I didn't).

I think the end result is perhaps appears a bit beluga whale-ish but I worried if I used a darker gray, there wouldn't be enough contrast.



Monkey was so happy with it that he insisted on wearing it to bed the first night. At the end of the day, if he's happy then so am I : )



Pattern: 
Norwegian Star Earflap Hat (heavily modified)
Size: Child
Yarn:
 40g Malabrigo Rios in Paris Night
10 g Knit Picks Swish Tonal in Pearlescent
Needles:
3.75 & 4.0 mm 40cm circulars and DPN's
Modifications:
Eliminated the earflaps
Started with 5 round of 2x2 rib
Changed fair isle to intarsia
 Began decreases at k10 k2tog


Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Cheers, Nikki




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WIP Wednesday #72 - Denial Denied



Happy Hallowe'en everybody!

Today is a very exciting day in the lives of my children. We've got costume dress-up for school, dinner and trick-or-treating at a friend's house and various other holiday chaos going on. I expect to have two very hyped up, over tired children by the end of the day... again. Oh, well I guess that's what being a kid is all about : )

On the other hand, as a knitter, the end of October means something else to me... I can no longer deny that Christmas is bearing quickly down upon us. This year, I have especially tried to ignore the coming end of the year, because just a a few weeks into the new year I am due to have a baby. Yikes!

But despite my efforts, the days keep ticking by. I was inspired by a friend to create a spreadsheet of my Christmas knitting goals but I am kidding myself if I think I can possibly be that organized. I have at least managed to add some deadlines to my queued projects on Ravelry. And so, today's WIP is a planned Christmas gift for my Aunt.




With this ingenious little pattern, 25 rows of Cascade 220 held double gets you a whole slipper ready to felt. At this rate, I should have a pair of slippers ready to give away by the weekend.

If they work out. Fingers crossed!

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, October 26, 2012

FO Friday #56 - Hope for a Small Head


Happy Friday everyone.

This is a quick drive-by post as today is crazy busy with two big events on. We are going to see The Wiggles on their farewell tour, followed by a Hallowe'en party at my son's school. I expect two over-tired, over-stimulated children by the end of the day!

But, today I am here to talk about child #3. I have finally knit my first item for my unborn babe due in just 12 week - yikes!

So, I found the pattern that I thought would make a very cute first hat to wear home from the hospital. The question last week was: should it be blue or pink?

We didn't find out what we were having with our first two children. I have a friend with four kids who told me that in the end, the only reason she ever pushed any of them out was to find out what they were. I figured a little added motivation could hurt. This time felt different though. My husband wanted to get ready in advance and I felt that it might help with the acceptance and understanding of the older two kids if they knew if they were getting a baby brother or sister. So we found out. And I have to say, so far I haven't regretted it (although maybe I'll reserve judgement until I'm trying to garner the will power for those last few pushes ; ).

So this hat will be....

BLUE for a baby boy!



Do you think it will fit??



Click here for the project notes.

Cheers, Nikki

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seriously?

Did I go to bed last night and wake up in December?

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If you need me, this is where you will find me, my knitting and Doodlebug for the rest of the day.

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Hope your Tuesday is looking sunnier than mine!

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, October 19, 2012

FO Friday #55 - The Audrey Hat


Happy Friday everyone!

I am pretty excited to show you today's finished project. Mostly because I love the way  it turned out... but partly because it's a good excuse (again) to show off one of my kids : )

I realized a couple weeks ago that Doodlebug was going to need a new winter hat pretty quick. I could tell this from the way last year's hat kept popping off the top of her head during our first chilly snap of the season - I know, I'm perceptive that way. So, I made it a priority to make her a new hat during my Craftaway Weekend last week.

I really loved the slight variegation to the skein of Maribrigo Rios that I had picked up for this project and I really wanted to used a slip stitch pattern to show off the yarn. I hurriedly measured Doodlebug's head before I left last Friday and then took a stab at modifying the Amanda Hat pattern to fit her. I think it turned out pretty well but I'll let you decide for yourself.

The Audrey Hat

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Pattern: The Amanda Hat by Gina House
A great free pattern, that clearly, I am not the first to discover.

Yarn: Malibrigo Rios in Purpura
Knitting with this yarn is the baking equivalent of making cake using pure vanilla, full fat cream and real butter. It is fabulous and worth every penny. The superwash factor makes it ideal for kid knits. In fact, I've already bought another skein in a different colour to make my Monkey a new hat too. I'm hoping I have enough left from Doodlebug's hat to make her a pair of matching mittens.

Modifications:
I cast on 77 with size 4.5mm needles. I knit the body as written but was worried that it might be a little short. So, I extended the decrease rounds by starting with k9,k2tog and went down from there (with a plain knit round between every decrease round).

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Doodlebug has hit a bit of an awkward photo stage (this was not helped by the fact that I took these shots while she was eating a snack). So, I thought I would show you the hat in action. You know, so you can get a better look at the hat, not just see more of my cute kids. No really! Ok, not really, but here you go anyways.


We have plans for a busy weekend going to the local ski swap and the kids first Halloween party of the season. Hope you have some fun plans for your too!

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WIP Wednesday #71 - The Magic of the Mountains


Happy Wednesday everybody!

I had an absolutely fabulous weekend away. Just four knitting friends and a whole lot of yarn. We ate lovely food, watched some great movies and shows, wandered a mountain town and knit, knit knit.

It was a therapy I would prescribe to anyone (especially any stay-at-home-moms who see with trepidation the long winter months looming ahead).
The view from our condo
It is amazing how much knitting you can get done when you have two days with no children (well, not born ones anyways) and almost no responsibilities (except to sleep and eat which I did do a fair amount of as well).

I made great progress on my Elvira despite my ability to screw up a basic 4 row lace pattern repeat in more ways than you can imagine. I'm hoping to have it finished this week.

Here is a seriously unflattering picture of me doing some significant lace surgery
to fix yet another mistake. At least I was doing it in the setting of a fantastic coffee and bagel spot.

I also knit a whole hat for Doodlebug (I modified the Amanda Hat pattern and it is super cute - check back Friday to see!)

My friends and I managed to do some serious damage at a beautiful yarn store in Canmore called Knit and Caboodle.

And I picked my first pattern that I'm going to knit for my unborn babe!
The question is... will it be pink or will it be blue?

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Hopefully, I will continue to get my knit on and will have the answer for you next week!

Cheers, Nikki