Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday #54 - From the Heart

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Last week, my Nan had knee replacement surgery. We knew she needed the surgery but didn't know when it would happen. Nan lives in Wales. She done really well post-op and is already home. It's killing me that I can't be there to help.

First, I sent flowers. I desperately want her to know that we are thinking of her but don't want to disturb her rest (she gets a bit stressed out when we call "all the way from Canada").

The flowers just didn't do it for me. I wanted to do something else but couldn't think of what. I'm 7000 kilometres away, it's not like I can bring over a pie (also, I have no idea how to make pie).

So, I did the only thing I could. I threw all my current projects aside and cast on for a Milk Run Shawl. I had two skeins of gorgeous Bendigo Woollen Mills Cameo in my stash. The yarn is a mix of wool and angora and is heaven to touch.

I can't be there to hug her, so hopefully she will appreciate this warm simple shawl around her shoulders as the next best thing. Nan's birthday is at the end of March so I'm hoping to have it to her by then.

Now for the problem... I have knit the first 200g (the whole thing should take about 400g). According to the pattern, I am already near the end of the body before the ruffle! The final blocked length is supposed to be 30" and at this rate mine with be 21" unblocked! Of course, I didn't bother to check my gauge and maybe the stress has me knitting tight but I am getting 9 stitches and 36 rows to 4" (instead of the 8 and 32 I'm supposed to be getting).

What would you do?

A. Follow the pattern and then block the crap out of it

B. Keep knitting until the shawl matches the pattern's suggested dimensions or I run out of yarn

C. Rip back and use a bigger needle (please don't pick this one!)

D. Something else - I am open to suggestions!

I am loving this shawl. It feels warm and squishy but maybe is a little dense? I thinks that ok though because I wanted it to be kind of blanket-like. I imagine her wearing it while resting on the couch in her sitting room. I doubt my almost 83 year old Nan will be showing it off down the high street ; )

Thanks for your help!

Cheers, Nikki

Tami's Blog

Friday, February 24, 2012

FO Friday #40 - Another Vest

Happy Friday everyone!

I have lived to knit another day. I'd love to tell you that I am on the mend... but the truth is I'm not quite there yet. Still, it's nice to to have a finished project to show you today.

My latest baby gift is Another Vest. Vests are definitely becoming my signature baby pressie. I'm really happy with the way this one turned out.

Another Vest

Pattern: Keene Vest by Marilyn Losee

This free pattern is worked from the bottom up. It is very clearly written. I really loved the effect of the stripes worked into the ribbing.

100: superwash wool
100g brick / 20g bark

A fantastic workhorse yarn than is great for baby knits as it is machine washable. Comes in a large variety of colours. Amazing value for money... if only it didn't have to be shipped from Australia.(fortunately I have a "in" who will send it to me in the regular post : )

Needles: 4.0mm Knitpicks 16" nickel circular
3.5mm Knitpicks 16" harmony circular

I knit the 12-18 month pattern directions but used a lighter weight yarn with smaller needles that the pattern suggests. The finished size is about 6-9 months. The intended recipient is about 1 months old so all's good. I also lengthened the body by a couple centimetres as the pattern ran a little short to me.

the closest I could get to an action shot
I wish you all a Friday filled with fantastic FO's and Fibre Arts followed by a weekend of free time and fun!

Cheers, Nikki

Yes, it's snowing - I'm not talking about it

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday #53 - Down But Not Out

Happy Wednesday everyone.

It has been quite a week!

The Bad
My evil children conspired to infect me with their disgusting colds. Between the three of us being unwell and my husband working the entire weekend (including the holiday Monday - ironically called Family Day), we have continued to spend waaaayyyyy too much time around the house.

DO NOT be fooled by their sweet appearance

The Good
I finally decided we had to get out yesterday. We took a day trip to the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum.

Do you think wearing dinosaur costumes in February is a sign it's time to get out of the house
and go see some real dinosaurs?

The Bad
On the way there, a rock flew out from a passing semi and shattered a window on my car. (Jeesh. I'm starting to get this paranoid feeling that the universe is not very happy with me.)

Monkey proudly taking pictures with his very own camera.

The Good
The museum was totally awesome and the kids had a blast (and no one in the car was hurt by the rock or the window).

The Bad
There have been several low moments this week when I have been too sick to knit - the horror!

The Good
There has also been plenty of other times where I was able to find the will to live and make some good progress on my knitting!

Fibres of Friendship Shawl 
I know its hard to see the progress, but at 366 stitches to a row,
you're going to have to trust me on this one.

 Here you should see a rather horrid picture of my new project - Lace Cotton Ponchette.
The computer is refusing to upload it (paranoia rising!)
I like the way it looks but knitting the cotton is a serious PITA

I'm about 1/3 through the Baby Chalice Blanket.
This is definitely my favourite project right now
It's funny, I had planned to focus on my colourwork this year but it seems so be all about the lace right now. Not that I'm complaining (about this one thing - I AM complaining about everything else). With the lace, I'm learning and enjoying it.

I have to give a nod to The Harlot for today's blog format. I totally stole it from her. Apparently, my head is much too cloudy from the cold medication to think for myself.

Hope your week is having less ups and downs than mine and includes time to check out more WIP's (written with far sunnier dispositions - I promise) through Tami's Blog.

See you Friday.
Cheers, Nikki

Friday, February 17, 2012

FO Friday #39 - Lovely Lavender Legwarmers

Happy Friday everyone!

Well, I knew there was no chance this week that I would be able to upstage Doodlebug and her darling vest FO from last week.

Then it occurred to me... some matching legwarmers would be verrryyy cute with that vest!

Lovely Lavender Legwarmers

Pattern: Of my own design, inspired by the Milo vest

Essentially, I cast on 40 stitches in the round over a larger size needle. I knit 2 x 2 ribbing for 10 rows then switched to stockinette with a simple horseshoe cable, matching the one of the vest. I finished with another 10 rows of rib and then cast off over a larger size needle. Total length about 20cm.

Yarn: 40g Cascade 220 Superwash (still)
I have no idea what I'm going to do with the last 40 grams.

Needles: 4.5mm and 4.0mm

Doodlebug will make one more appearance next Friday. Then, it will be back to knitting for other people's children ; )

Warm weekend wishes from my house to yours.

Cheers, Nikki

Sorry, I couldn't resist one more video : )

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday #52 - In the Sick House

Happy Wednesday everyone from the house of sickness and snot - yuck.

My little ones have taken turns feeling poorly over the last few days. My husband is away on business so I have been pretty house bound. The only positive has been all the knitting I've gotten done while the sickies gorged themselves on extra TV time.

I've finished a couple projects ,, worked on the baby blanket (it looks the same, but bigger) and made good progress on the baby vest.

I sure hope it blocks out wider because it's looking pretty disproportionate right now!

Despite not being here, my hubby made sure that I wasn't forgotten on Valentines and sent me some lovely chocolates and flowers...

and I have it on good authority that he's looking for yarn to bring me back from his trip - yippee!

Click on over to Tami's blog to see more WIP's, but don't forget to check back here on Friday to see Doodlebug's next instalment of new knitwear.

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, February 10, 2012

FO Friday #38 - Lavender Love

Happy Friday everyone.

I am happily sending this to you from my old-computer-made-new-again with a fancy new hard drive with fully restored contents (thanks heavens for back-ups - I will never doubt again!).

I am excited about today's FO. I loved knitting this pattern but really I'm thrilled to have a good excuse to show off more photos of my darling Doodlebug. (You might have to get used to it, she is going to figure prominently in February's FO's : )

Lavender Love

I must fully disclose that some torture tactics *may* have been used in the taking of these photos

Here, I am holding her "baby" out of reach to get her to look at the camera.

Pattern: Milo by Georgie Hallum
Size: 18 months

Is is no coincidence that Milo has more than 3000 projects on Ravelry. Pretty impressive for a pay pattern! I loved knitting it. I try not to reknit patterns too much but I already know I will be coming back to this one time and time again. I love that simply varying the cable pattern (or making this!) will make each time I knit it unique. 
I had read that the sizing runs a little big. My Doodlebug is a pretty tiny 18 month old. I went with knitting the 18 month size hoping it would still leave room to grow (and no, I didn't swatch - the horror). I love that this is knit top down with no seams. I knit the pattern as written and used Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off for the bottom).
It looks lovely on her now but definitely still has some space in it. Which is exactly the way I like kids knits to work out. It has been my experience that kids (my children at least) have this annoying propensity to grow and grow and rarely (if ever) shrink.  

Modifications: none

Yarn: "Good Ole" Cascade 220 Superwash
colourway: the daring 1949
1.2 skeins

This my usual standby for baby knits. I love that it's wool and I love that it's superwash. I really can't imagine using non-superwash for items meant for everyday wear. Doodlebug has worn it twice and I had to spot clean it once and toss it in the wash the second time. Cascade 220 superwash is a pleasure to knit with, has great stitch definition and is at a very reasonable price point. I have knit with it before and I will knit with it again (and again).

Needles: Knit Pick's nickel 16" circular
Size: 4mm

I know I ;m starting to sound like a broken record, but I still think vests make ideal knits for babies and toddlers. They are quick. They are forgiving with fit. There are no sleeves for little ones to pull or chew or drag through the dirt... and seriously, they are so. darn. cute!

Wishing all the best for the weekend. I hope you have the perfect mix of action and relaxation to restore you for another week.

Happy FO & Fiber Arts Friday!

Cheers, Nikki 

Mwah xxx

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday #51 - Short Attention Span

Happy Wednesday everyone!

It has been quite a week at the house of nursenikkiknits ... and not exactly in a good sense.

On Thursday, the hard drive on our 4 year old iMac went kablooey. When you turn the computer on, all you get is a flashing picture of a file folder with a question mark inside. I called the Apple people. Apparently, this is Not. A. Good. Sign. Then on the weekend, my husband accidentally smashed the lens on my Nikon SLR while trying to stop my daughter from crashing head first into the pavement. Honestly, doesn't he know that cuts and scrapes heal? Lenses do not. Geesh.

Both of these events have made me very happy to spend some time focusing on my knitting (and counting my lucky stars that I bought a back up system for the computer 3 weeks ago  - I must have had a premonition).

In the lead up to my New Year's Yarn diet (55 days to go!), I spent some time organizing my stash and planning my queue so I would have projects to look forward to, that I could knit with yarn I already have. I put some lovely and exciting items in my queue (many of them are even for me : ). Then, of course, the obligation knitting started coming of the woodwork: the blanket for the baby in the family due in May, a vest for new baby born to my husband's close colleague a couple weeks ago, just yesterday I found out someone at his work also recently had twins (they are going to get hats)...

This seemed like the perfect week to focus on getting some of the baby knits done.

The Baby Chalice blanket is coming along well. I am surprised at the stripey effect that's happening with the Eco Duo but I like it. I just hope it continues through all the skeins.

ok, you can't really see stripes in the pic, but trust me, they are there

I started planning the vest for my husband's colleague's wee boy. I picked out the pattern and the yarn.

I really meant to start it, but the next thing I knew I looked down....

I had cast on a poncho for my Doodlebug.

Not in the queue. Not on the baby list.


At least it was with yarn in the stash!

Cheers, Nikki

Click to see a lot more WIP's!

P.S. Check back Friday to see Doodlebug modeling her new Milo!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Whatever the Mood Monday: Stashitis

I am one of those people who tends towards being a bit of a hypochondriac. Maybe I can blame it on a ten year career working in oncology? Or maybe not. The truth is I have always been a bit of a worrier. Wondering if a simple cold is turning into pneumonia or if a new freckle is melanoma are common thoughts in my world. I have self diagnosed myself with brain tumours several times (fortunately the problems have always turned out to be all in my head - ha)

Today, I have realized that I actually do have a disease:



stash - "one's personal collection of yarn"

itis - "the inflammation of"

Every time I feel the pain of my self imposed yarn diet (now at 37 days, but whose counting?), I look at this photo.

What is wrong with me? Is there any hope of a cure?

I much prefer to think of my stash this way...

I think I may have to face facts that my case of stashitis is chronic. When I look at the above photo, all I think is "look at all the room I have for more!" 
Save yourselves, there is no hope for me.

Only 57 more days of yarn diet to go!

Happy Monday everyone.

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, February 3, 2012

FO Friday #37 - (Someone Else's) Happy Hat

Happy Friday everyone!

Well, it seems that perhaps I am not meant to make hats for myself : (
First, I knit myself a lovely hat to start this winter. Somehow (and sadly), within a month of wearing it, I lost it. At that point, I bitterly renamed it "Sad Hat."
Then for Christmas, my mum gave me some lovely wool and I felt inspired to to make a beautiful replacement hat with it. It was to be my "Happy Hat"

Well the hat is beautiful...

(Someone Else's) Happy Hat

Pattern: North Wind Hat by Felicia Lo
This is a great pattern. It is fun and easy to knit. The doubled brim makes it extra warm.

worsted weight
60% Merino/30%Possom/10%Silk
This yarn is beautiful to knit with. It feels lovely to handle. Apparently it grows a bit with washing...

I blocked the hat (mostly to flatten the brim edge a little). After it dried, it was wayyyy too big for me.
Fortunately, it fit my wonderful friend perfectly.

Lucky for me, my lovely friend is also a clever one. I had no idea, but at the same time I was knitting this hat, she was secretly knitting me a replacement Castiel. (How did she know???) Yayyy! So, I will have a lovely knit hat for the rest of this winter (that is, for winter if it makes a comeback. There's not sign of it here this week). Hopefully both these hats will have long and happy lives : )

Thanks L!

Hope you weekend it full of fun, free time, FO's and fibre
Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WIP Wednesday #50 - Stashbusting

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Thanks for the interesting comments yesterday about knitting style and straights versus circulars. I think Chrisknits hit the nail on the head when she says that the time we devote to our craft that is more important than the speed of our knitting. And I also agree when she says, that the joy of knitting is absolutely the most important part. (To that end, don't expect me to be switching to straights any time soon... but I still have hope for two-handed colourwork : )

It's funny. I'm always so excited when I finish a project. But, I have a moment of anxiety if I haven't already started planned the next project when the first one finishes. Last week, I was really looking forward to starting some recreational knitting but didn't have a clue what that knitting would be.

My knitting group isn't quite ready to start our shawl knit-along (we picked  Sunflower Shawlette by Rose Beck  - doesn't it look amazing?) and I don't have any imminently due gifts. Due to the yarn diet I was limited (ha) to "shopping the stash."

In the end, I started 2 things.

I decided Doodlebug needed a new mummy-made top as she is the only one in our family who doesn't fit their sweater from last year (darn babies and their insistence on growing). I have cast on a Milo in Cascade 220 superwash. I am loving the pattern. Top down, no seams and it's making for great TV knitting. Just the recreational project I was looking for. I think the colour will be lovely on my sweet girl and I had absolutely no plans for it in my stash.

I also started a longer term project. There is another baby due in the family in a few months. This one has a mum who is a knitter. So, I have pulled out all the stops and cast on for a Baby Chalice Blanket using Cascade Eco Duo. So far it looks like a puddle of nothing. It's lace so I figure that's probably a good sign.

Note: this pic was taken on the grass in my backyard.
In the 4 1/2 years I've lived here I have never seen the grass in January or February
I am look forward to seeing what the joy of knitting has got everyone one else up to this week : )

Cheers, Nikki