Monday, January 28, 2008

Fun Monday

I have a busy week ahead and will basically be on the run in between school buses but I decided that I would not miss my spinning group this week even though the house doesn't clean itself. Going to Renée's is like stepping into the wardrobe in Narnia...Like magic I relax and wish I never had a dish to wash again...sigh. Renée gave me this gift today. She was inspired by the stitch markers I am using on my aran cardi. She made me some tinier ones for my next Frieda wool project (Frieda comes from her farm) since those needles will be even smaller. These stitch markers will not snag my wool like the ones I use now. Merci Renée!A nice group gathered this week for tea and fiber news. Claire tried on a tam and mitten set made by Marguerite as a commissioned project using dog fur. Amazingly soft pooch indeed. It was mixed with a small percentage of wool. Marguerite also brought two hats she made with homespun. One hat has some eyelash yarn trim for a Spring day walk in the park. Hey, it would look good with my new boots! tsk.

Anne-Claude brought a felted baby bunting bag. The scenery of which is of a tree and forest creatures. The baby's name is being embroidered on the front and up close you can see bunny ears protruding from the fabric in a very organic way. Can you tell we are country gals? Renée's flock got loose this past week and we listened to the rescue adventure story (none were hurt or lost thank God) while sipping some fabulous thé à la Renée...

I got home just before the bus only to find a note that my postman had come calling... I was surprised because I had ordered from Knit picks on Friday and they couldn't possibly be here already! The note said to pick up after 17:00 so I made my stir fry for dinner and was washing the dishes and thinking about a post I once read on Knittingpharm about when the postman delivered her sock club parcel and he was startled when she 'squweed' at him. Then it hit me...My Rockin' Sock Club parcel was delivered today!! I never washed cutlery so fast...I got onto the hwy only to slam the breaks because I forgot my parcel notice on the window sill...Bloody hell. Back on the hwy I jumped when I heard the sound of police sirens...What? Pheow, he did a U-turn and headed to the side road...nothing was coming between me and my blue moon wool!...Safely back home I opened my very first knitting club parcel...this is the year of innovation. STR-in-my-house. Welcome home baby.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I smell summer

This weekend....
I found these cute little knitting needles with smiley faces while shopping on Saturday. Pepper was pleased and I was surprised to see her drop her snack and proceed to pull out the old dpn and pick up live stitches like a pro... I ran for my camera. I guess those Lucy Neatby Dvds are rubbing off on her too!

As for moi, I have been dabbling here and there in all my UFOs. My swatch is sooo soft! I have cast on a billion stitches of this wicked fine homespun (damn what was I thinking?) and it really does go fast however the smallest pair of circulars in the house are 3.5mm/16" and that is too big for what I am expecting as a knitted fabric/swatch. Call me a martyr but I hopped on the Knit picks page and gifted myself with a few new additions to my knitting legacy...

My collar is clipping along...I just hope it fits and I can put this baby in my closet soon.

I made a decision about my vintage sock. I have become disenchanted with Mr. Lang and I think his busy colourway is overwhelming my lace so I ripped back the two patterns of said lace done so far and kept the original edge which I think still looks smashing and am going with ribbing stitches for now to see if they are at all worth completing this way. The colour was so pretty as a ball of yarn in the store with the help of a 15% discount (let us not forget) but as I knit I am thinking 'yuk' most of the time. The worst is the looks like that weird Dr.Ballard dog food from the 80's that looked like fake hamburger. Why do I remember that awful pink? Why are these socks that pink mixed with hunting gear orange? "Somebody get me something deep fried and smothered in chocolate!" (my favorite quote from the fairy Godmother in Shrek hee hee)

I know this has nothing to do with wool but I found some funky rubber boots to wear to the bergerie next Spring... I must sew myself a matching apron for gardening. These boots look like something I coveted out of my favorite magazine: Marie-Claire Idées . As a result, I spent all of Saturday morning in my sheep pajamas sipping coffee and flipping through all the M.C.I. issues I have in my library just because. Yum. Found several knitting projects and loads of inspiration for the lake house. I can almost smell summer. It is almost February! Get out the Valentine's and kiss your sweetheart! I hope my strawberry plants are sleeping well...and my delphiniums are okay...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hank, hanker, hankering...

Salut mes ami(es)!

Tis moi, I am back. Oh how I've missed thee... I have another bedroom painted. Sigh. While painting, I spent much of that time dreaming about what I would rather be doing woolwise. I have been to the Knitting Guild meeting last Monday evening. It was over way too fast and perhaps it is just me but I love it there! The topic was steeks. Just in time! I am about to finish my cardigan and onto my fair isle project. It was very inspiring to see some lovely projects on display. Who can resist the show and tell? One gal brought a Dr. Who scarf! That was cool.

I decided to start swatching my beloved Frieda homespun. I must say I would much rather make a shawl of this stuff...something really leafy for myself...but my HD goes on and on about the sweater I am making for him and when am I starting it? Lets face it, he built me a beautiful bergerie for my flock so I think the hours and hours of scourging, combing, carding, spinning, plying, washing, blocking, ball winding, and swatching will go to him. Thank you!

In other news my blog went all crazy and I lost some of my buttons and pictures and spent much of my blogging time this week tweaking the thing. I think something is wrong with Blogger. Hope it doesn't make a habit of it. Shhh, in case the universe is listening. So in the meantime, I am starting to knit the collar on my aran cardi and then sew it all up...gulp. I haven't sewn a sweater in....7 years!!

I am off now to swatch from my fresh cake of wool. I am amazed it went so well. I have nearly 200 grams on this baby and no snags this time. Go man. I am thinking maybe the rest of this shack doesn't need new paint so badly after all...snort!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fresh baked monkey socks

Salut mes ami(e)s!

Hope this Friday is well with you...

In cold weather, when I wash my wool or knitted pieces I let the heat from the cook stove dry them out. My monkey socks were toasty warm this morning. Just in time for my morning walk to the bergerie with Poonie in the fresh snow. These are my first monkey socks using my handspun corriedale/2 ply.

Poonie likes to play in the fresh snow but she doesn't last long...too happy inside where it is warm. I think she has a complex about her ears...she pulls them back when I try to take her picture! She says 'hurry up my toes are freezing'.

Mimosa says 'Have you got any bread?' It is warmer outside today and the sun is behind big bubbly clouds that make them light up like chinese lanterns. See my side bar for the view this morning...The Outaouais river is in this direction but our house is closer to the road which is a shame. I would prefer living closer to the ski trail along the river...

I am cranking out my last goes well now that I have been sleeping. I put the dog in her crate at bedtime so she doesn't sneak under my bed and snore all night... I will soon be finished this aran cardigan. I regret now that it is not wool. I was using up some really old stash yarn. It is a lovely colour just the same. I guess it is practice... My last cable cardigan was much smaller and made of pretty turquoise wool for Chloé... I found these 1$ a ball when my LYS decided to move away from Buckingham. The closest little village.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Method to my madness

Yesterday was one of those days...I had not slept much the night before and I woke up feeling like left over meatloaf. As soon as the wee folk were safely on the school bus I took myself outside for a walk and I found this hanging off the wood shed and it occurred to me that I am not the only one frozen this morning and kinda crooked. I must say that made me feel better. That and a visit to the bergerie where everyone is always happy to see me and they never complain about my cooking. Sweet sheep they are...

Oh but my head was hurting by late afternoon and I felt a pang of guilt about my new kit that still lurks in my wool sock in my backpack that needs a frogging and some TLC and my STR club is being shipped sometime after the 21st...eek. Not to mention bookkeeping...arrgh. Knitting takes the edge off I always say so after the dishes I plunked myself down with my sleeve and some St-Urbain and tried to forget that I am useless with sleep deprivation.

It wasn't many rows along until I had to adjust my spectacles and read my own notes about those pesky increases. In theory, the second sleeve should be a breeze because I have documented like a good girl and if I can read my own writing I should easily turn out a second sleeve that closely matches the first with a twist at the end which would distinguish left from right if all goes well. And then it happened... I couldn't understand the notes I had written for the first sleeve. Lack of sleep was not helping. I sat there for a long time trying to figure it out. Counting on my fingers...peering at my sleeve...reading the instructions five times...So much for that.

This morning, armed with a cup of strong coffee I scrubbed the kitchen table and had a meeting with my sleeves and notes. Determined to not let math get me down I was convinced I had a solution. The sleep fairies brought method to my madness... Well would you look at that? It was there the whole time...I was reading the first line the wrong way and now it all makes sense. I am amazed at how stupid weird I am.

By the way, I slept like a rock last night.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Zigging and zagging

I am running wayyyy behind in my chores today. Please don't come over I would die a thousand deaths. The dishes are not done and laundry is in the processes and I am covered in lilac paint... I decided to finish painting Pepper's bedroom today and it is way pokier than I thought. I am gearing up for the last coat but I thought I would extend my lunch break into a little blogfest...

Yesterday was Lundi avec les fileuses... I took the day off from the mess and went to Renée's in the morning and we had lunch and I started my second sleeve
Around lunch time, the gang was arriving and Marguerite has been as busy as ever with her natural dies...
This time she used Madder plants and is spinning a lovely yarn from the dyed fleece and used the second bath water to dye the wool for this whispery soft felted stole that I trie on and love...Can you see the delicate beading next to my painted thumb?

A word about painting...I realize that I am very influenced by the names given to paint colours....In the need for plain old white I was torn between 'Popped Corn' and 'Swan Wing'... No wonder it is taking me forever. That and the fact that I am still blogging instead of painting...bye!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Call me curly

I have been away... With the wee folk back to school I have been out and about. One of my new year hopes is to decorate their bedrooms. I have been shopping for storage bins, paint, new beds and gleaning ideas. I have been shopping for bargains and not enjoying much wool time at all. I have since had a hair cut and half of it is gone. I can't believe how much knitting time I save now
when I get out of the shower... No more tangles and endless drying. My hairdresser mentioned I had curly hair. Since when? I know I have a wonky wave thing happening at the back of my head but no curls that I remember. The hairdresser styled my hair and straigthened it with her fancy iron and fruity was cute and I liked it. After I washed and dried it as usual on my own I must say something has happened in the last few years...maybe its the water? But I have curlyish hair now! (And more knitting time - hiccup)

In other news...I have been watching the mailbox for days now because I was expecting my parcel from Peaknits. I won this cute little contest. The first ever. Fun stuff. After taking a peek inside the cover I thought of my son and his love of Koala bears.

Here is a koala baby I knit for my son Gage. My friend Lynda found this pattern for me that lets you decide the size of your bear by the gauge of your knitting wool kinda like An EZ pattern. I bought this gray sock yarn which made a baby koala and a pair of matching socks for Gazou.

So after all the paint clean up and the laundry today, I decided to get Little Gem II out for a spin. We watched some cooking shows and made a few more meters of yarn. Spinning to me is like Yoga for my brain. Well, I must go...the wee people are getting hungry again. The herd says hi!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

black sheep

One last Christmas present I wasn't expecting...We had dinner with some friends and I came home with a new ewe! I love that she is black...just like Frieda. She was the top decoration on a jar of homemade candied pecans. Yum. I just love the way these sheep all seem to come from the same store like my friends and family went shopping together this year. Thank you! These girls might not supply wool for knitting but they look positively natural on my plant a wee garden for some tiny sheep. Bahh!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The hills

I packed my spindle and off we went to Mandeville Québec for two days. We had a sheep-sitter and headed for the hills....

My HD builds log homes and this is first time I got to visit this one since it left our yard a few years ago... I must say, it is very pretty along the Mastigouche river gurgling even in winter. We were invited to stay and take a break from the month of December from hell...

Now I realize how tiny I I could barely get my face into the picture...standing on my toes next to Len which makes for a funny picture.

Here are the wee folks admiring the majestic scenery...but don't fall in! (We didn't hang around because it was freezing cold).

I can't wait to come back in the warmer weather to hike up the mountain..oh so pretty!

So my knitting stayed home and all I managed to spin was a few yards of what will someday be a shawl...I decided to read my book instead which is getting really juicy...Marius falls in love with Cossette...Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

I just got back from the LYS and the knitting gods were smiling because low and behold today was the last day of a 15% sale! So I bought the coveted ball of Sirdar Cossack Chunky to make a new hat that will better match my new coat. I get so many compliments on this cable hat and matching mitt set that I decided to make at least a new hat. I will use smaller needles since my gray hat is getting stretchy which is only good if I wear my hair up.

The Gallaway and Classic wool are for two new hedgehogs this year. I found cute eyelash yarn by On line in fun colours to make punky hair.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Chez Mme. Dupont

My jalopy is having issues with Renée's new driveway... Apparently I am the only one that hasn't made it up the hill this winter. I have new winter tires so perhaps what I really need is speed. I decided to leave my car in the gate and walk up to the house. My hobbies are sedentary and I can use the exercise!

A little about my friend Renée....I met her a couple of years ago at a Christmas Artisan exposition here in La Petite Nation which is what we call this region where I live. She makes lovely pottery and at the time she was raising Merino and Jacob sheep which she would spin, weave and knit. My HD spotted a cake of wool on her table and we raced over to meet Mme. Dupont. Much to Len's chagrin the wool was not for sale but we got to talking and she invited me to join Les Fileuses, the Monday spinning group that meets at her house every week. Thus I learned how my Mum's spinning wheel worked and we searched through old Spin-Off issues to learn that my inherited wheel was indeed a Lendrum!! I was sent home with a feed bag full of smelly Jacob fleece and instructions on how to wash it. On the road to making my own yarn (how great is that) and head over heels in love with the art. Renée is about the same age as my Mother would be and I think they could have been sisters in some former life. What a blessing to meet this talented lady!! I have met so many lovely artists through this Monday group. We all share and inspire each other. Its fabulous.

Here is Doux-doux Renée's border collie busy admiring the pretty chickens...You can see a wee bird landing on the feeder if you really get your spectacles on tight.

This week I brought knitting to work on versus spinning since my sweater is no where near done and its Dec. much for that deadline, eh? I also wanted Renée to see my new sock in progress and my Grass Creek Park Vest kit since it has a Border Collie in the pattern that I knew she would love.
Renée was spinning some gray fleece from her previous farm...oooh. Just what I needed to watch to get my spinning mojo simmering again. Here she is using her Louet wheel and note she is wearing her birthday socks à la Bergère. They look good on her.

I snapped a few pictures of the charming new flock of Shetland sheep for the blog... Aren't they sweet? The black one loves me and is the first to come for a cuddle when I visit. These sheep are so tiny!! They are no bigger than some dogs...The real dog in this picture is Baba the Lasa Apso. I bet ya a serious gal could sneak two of these moutons in a back yard in town, eh? I am just saying...

As for thy knitting... Like a good girl, I brought my knitting to the New Year's Eve party last night. I got as far as I could on the first sleeve until I realized I left behind much needed stitch markers and called it a year.
Today I really really wanted to start swatching for the vest... Since I only got to bed this morning and I am a little wonky in the head maybe I will have lunch then sit on the sofa and read through the pattern.

Happy New Year poppets!