Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy K & P 2009

My sister put together a scarf kit for me this Christmas. She had no way of assuming that the tea set I was getting from HD was the same green. And the Norah Gaughan Vol. 3 I have so long been coveting....A signed copy!! I had to sit down on the floor...

This is what you get for being alpaca/bamboo in my hands...A little lovin'!

It is officially 2009 today. We had our last holiday party yesterday. Here I am wearing my 'Kingston' cardigan that I was knitting last year at the Conroy family party. It is nice to have a picture of this one (finally) thanks to my sons loose with my camera in the house...
I think he has a future in fashion photography. Besides taking a picture of his Aunts toilette, he caught a cute shot of Chloé's new skirt as she spun it around for the hundredth time.
The New Year brings a fresh wish list of things to dream and knit. This morning I read through this relic of mine to find a pattern to make my Papa some new gloves.

I am enjoying this new-to-me brand of sock yarn. Just now in the afternoon sunshine, I have cast-on a glove. My first glove ever. My first cast-on in 2009. Wish me luck! This year is all about the new. I think I will cast-on everything I want to knit up in the house. Make little baskets ready for the inspiration/time to be right. A square of wool here and a row or two of sock there. Cable a repeat now and mindless garter mileage while the water boils then...
I hope the New Year is full of happy moments. Time to excercise and time to rest. Time to love those people you can't live without. You know who you are.xx
Get organized and make the best of every moment. Take nothing without giving twice as much.
Besides, 9 is my favorite 'chiffre'. Let it be a great one.

Chez 'Switzerland'

My son is a very happy man. He is wearing his lovely new mittens. I spun the wool myself for these. My very first consistant 69 grms of grey wool from back in the day. At the time, I was using my Mums Lendrum wheel that I kept when she passed away in 1994.
This fleece was given to me by a good friend that shared her wool and taught me how the use my Mums wheel and spin!...that is something remarkable in itself all the history behind these mitts. With this fleece, I learned how to process greasy smelly fleece from start to finish. What a lovely process indeed. I had just enough to finish this pair. Meant to be.
The lanolin made my fingers shine as I knit these and I had to sneak them away from Gage in order to wash, block and dry on a rack over the wood burning stove to 'Rush' them into use.
Gage says they are the warmest mitts ever.
With the wee folk home for several weeks, I spread out the events of Christmas and New Years to make the fun last longer for everyone and the stress minimal. We had a lovely visit with Papa on Christmas Day. It was in fact 'his most miserable Christmas ever' until we showed up. Poor dear. I am eternally grateful that we were able to spend it with him to ease the misery. The weather permitted the long drive for us and no one had the flu to keep us away from him. A miracle. We are perpetually sick at Christmas.
I cooked our Turkey and Tourtière feast on Sunday. My sister came over to help and spend some time off together. She had a good time 'keeping the stove going' just like Aunt Kate. We stuffed the rather sad looking bird and roasted it in the wood oven. It got so warm in the kitchen that Poune had to make some adjustments to her napping routine. Kept her belly cool on the floor with only her head in soft bed! Small price to pay for what came next. Lots of yummy turkey and meat pie. I moved her bead to the family room but she prefers to be near the stove.

The Sound of Music movie was featured on T.V. that night and we curled up to watch it together.

On Monday, I packed my knitting and left to go home with my Sister for a bit of a rest. My sisters appartment is husband and child free. We kept singing 'Edelweiss' and joking about our fleeing to the comfort of our very own 'Switzerland'. We shopped for yarn and bought some more. We ate our favorite dishes. We knit and we laughed. We had homemade scones with Creton from Charlevoix Qc for breakfast. A real good time for a couple of Québecoise ladies.
I am back home again with my new books, spices, beans and yarn. Ready and set for another year. We are off to spend New Years eve with my husbands sisters tomorrow.
p.s. I am still cranking out the rib warmer inspired vest. I have frogged this so many times that I might need new yarn because I've worn it out from ripping it so much. Some designer I turned out to be! I have finally got it looking good for a Dude. I realized only this morning what the real problem was. The corner on the original pattern is turned to fit over lady ribs. All this time I've been wondering why it kept looking like an empty boob. Then I saw a picture of someone wearing one and it occured to me. So I have heavily modified the corners to fit at the hips in a 90 degree fashion. It looks great now. No more empty boob. hee hee.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

sweets and snow

Five star sack

Yarn: homespun 2 ply fingering wt (forget what breed of sheep)
Needles: 3.5 mm. 2.75 mm dpns
Hook: 3.5 mm
Technique: Double knitting on two needles. Felted. Crocheted strap.
My own design. I didn't bother with guage this time. I changed to smaller dpns for the ruffle at the top by adding stitches every stitch in alternate rows. Cast off loosely.
In October 2007 at the OVWSG Exhibition and Sale, I bought my top whirl drop spindle. It came with a wad of this roving I used to practice spinning and plying. This produced a small skein of lilac yarn that was perfect for this gift.
Chloé loves purple and she needed a sack to carry her MP3 player coming from Santa. A quick knit for this crazy last week. I tried Double Knitting for the first time and I think it is the coolest thing. I want to do this again soon.

This year my family has adjusted the calendar so we can spend Christmas day with my Papa that is spending his first Christmas in the long term care home. I didn't have to twist any arms to agree to open parcels a day early this year. So, the 23rd was the 'Eve' for us. The tradition in my home is to bake gingerbread men on Christmas Eve. One of which is reserved for Santa with a glass of milk. Apparently, he comes whenever you set out a plate and cup...Who knew? We were up early with the wee folk passing around parcels and enjoying the surprises. We have spent all day eating candy out of our sock. The dog enjoying her busy bone by the fire. Playing some new games. I have a stew simmering on the wood stove. I plan on making donughts this afternoon. The weather has warmed up to a balmy degree. The rain is coming down now. Perfect for some coffee, shortbread cookies and garter stitch. Hope you and yours have as warm and cozy Christmas. XX

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sparks flyin'

The sunshine was glorious this morning. A relief to be honest after all that stormy weather. I have been waiting for a nice day to take a picture of my next pinwheel yarn. Len was nearby when I started arranging my skeins on the snowbank.
Len: what are you doing?
Me: I am taking a picture of my new yarn
Len: (pause) On the snow bank?
Me: ...To get the best light. To capture the colour of the wool...
Len: (sarcasmic relief) Oh okay, so you're not a 'Nut-case'
Just because I was outside taking silly pictures...I love this wood pile. Man, I plan on burning up alot of this stuff while we try to stay warm cause it's freezing these days.
Too cold in fact for me to venture too far down the trail. The wind was blowing to and fro making sparkles dance everywhere. I hope I've captured the essence here.
I found the kittens were happily sunning themselves early today. Feeling sort of frisky...

A 'stray' has taken up office in Len's atelier. I have concluded that it is a 'she'. She has finally adopted us. Now she comes over to be cuddled and allows my husband to bring her in the shop at night. She rather likes her warm bed. We have named her 'Leah'.
Hovering -22C this evening. The wood burning cookstove is humming. The cats have moved indoors for the night.
I have been cranking away at the rib warmer. I so blew the birthday deadline. This is not going forward but I think I have knit two rib warmers worth buy now... I ran out of yarn. I managed to get to the LYS and forgot the ball band at home and took a wild guess. My colour is 700 and the ball I came home with is 733. Oh the joy. I have decided to frog and start over to work in the new colour like I meant it. I am starting to wish I could start a new project and put the rib warmer under the sofa to keep the sheep vest company ran out of yarn there too but I have no time to play games with reality so click on sister.
On that note, please have a peek at the video I watched today over at The Fabric of Her Reality. I would love to post it here since it so appropriately sums up my rib warmer episode but I don't know the ethics of such things so just visit Susan and come back laughing. I'll wait here.
Okay, so now you know what I'm dealing with over here on my needles. How about you?
The blogs have been so quiet. I moose you.I have a homespun lilac coloured new knit almost ready for sharing here but I have to covertly felt it. It is the last touch to Peppers gift this Christmas. I am very pleased with this little number...stay tuned!I have been thinking about 2009. I have so many wishes for next year knits. I want to try Double Knitting a throw. I am craving some crochet lace for my kitchen but it takes up precious knitting I care? And would somebody please tie-up Norah Gaughan, for the love of wool, because she keeps publishing these sweaters I have no choice but add to my queue... I really hope she goes on a long vacation just to let me catch up. Hiccup. I am so in love with Surface and the Rosebud Cardigan. It hurts.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Journey to the trail

Woke up to -30C. With my first coffee I started a pair of grey mittens. This is homespun 'Jacob' fleece in a rather chunky wt. I am using 4.5mm needles for firm fabric. My own pattern. These will be for my son. I have had it with trying to dry his 'Hot Paw' thermal gloves and mitts. They remain soaking wet and useless unless I roast them on a rack in the open wood burner oven for hours. Real wool is the best of the best for a boy- I realize. Luckily, he has not lost enough mittens to be banned from homespun/hand knit gifts. In fact, he is thrilled these are for him. I love his appreciation for my knitting, bless him. I cross my fingers I have enough of this ball...

I am so excited that Hubness has groomed my ski trails early this year. I thought I would take along my digital camera to capture the lovely snow we have here. I am afraid it might melt away early next week so I enjoyed every minute of my afternoon alone in the wilderness.
At the far end of our property is a long hill, a small field and then the bay. It is a swamp in warm weather but a real playground in winter. The bay freezes before the actual river. When we are lucky, we get some fabulous ice skating done sometimes even before Christmas. Len invented a groomer for blazing ski trails in the wooded area which is perfect for ski and snowshoeing where the wind in less harsh. The neighbours all join in on the fun and usefulness of these paths for walking dogs and getting some exercise.

This is the first year I have been able to ski along the trail before Christmas and to my joy, I discovered the path is in fact decorated for the holidays. Everywhere hangs lovely red berries in big clusters. I have never seen so many! Are they usually all eaten over the holidays by the visiting animals?

I found a flock of beautiful birds feasting on the berries and singing a lovely song. I want to look this up in my bird book. They were gorgeous. I wish I had a National Geographic-worthy lens on a big camera for occasions like this.

Every year the storms and beavers knock down trees that Len cuts and bring home for fire wood. It is too bad this rather pretty tree fell over. It is one of my favorites. Picture perfect in all weather.

When I ski I prefer to wear a pair of grey homespun mittens my Mum knit for me. She gave me these when I was in grade 6! They have always been oversized but oh so warm and cozy.The cluster of berries pictured here clicked like marbles in my hand... So pretty!!
Apparently, we have a couple of wolves that live in these woods. My husband sees them every year. He says they are mates. When he was last on the trail, they were hunting muskrat and were startled by the skidoo and dashed off at a crazy speed. I hope I catch a far away glance of them this year. So far all I ever find are the many tracks. Last year, I found a fresh turd with fur still visible in it. As long as I don't find a turd with woolly mitt pieces!!
This must be a favorite play ground...Good night dear Mr. & Mrs. Wolf.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great Gatsby Headband

Poune has new winter boots to go with her new coat.
She LOVES them. It is totally freakin' hilarious to witness on the kitchen floor as the rubber clings to the floor and the dog takes extra high steps for each leg. Out in the yard, the soles are less gripping and she feels like one of the kids. She is now getting her 'sea-legs'.
I haven't laughed like that in a long time. Good for the soul.

Ivy had her long hair cut over a month ago. I wish a hairstyle could give as much sophistication to old Mum. I'll give it another try tomorrow. Snip Snip.
My secret knitting continues; however Len has been hanging around quite a bit during storms and hockey matches which sent me to my cupboard to find something quick and dirty to knit at night
I had to find something small for in between restless knitting. I had a ball of delicious alpaca homespun 3 ply so I passed it through the yarn meter to discover I had 79.5 meters of this stuff. I connected to Ravelry and searched hats and found the free Drops 86-10 headband pattern that
calls for 77 meters. (I heart Ravelry). This was knit in an evening and I used some of the left over meters to crochet a flower. Then, I recycled some pearly beads and voilà! This is so cozy and buttery soft I want to wear it all day in the house. It reminds me of The Great Gatsby and the awesome outfits of the roaring '20s.
Covers up bad hair very well too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Merry Christmas Bergère...

I took yesterday evening off from knitting since I wanted lots of daylight to attempt my very first steek technique and my other current project is a secret from HD. He was watching the game while we put up the tree.
So, I kicked back with a pile of December issues of Marie Claire Idées from my cupboard to try and conjure up some 'spirit' of which I have none so far this season.
Joy to the world.

This afternoon the sun was gloriously shinning onto to kitchen table so, I steeked.

Not sure if anyone else does this but I stitched a red line of thread to guide my scissors. Very helpful indeed and I highly recommend it.

After everything was successfully snipped and I tried on the vest to my complete surprise. It fits! Poune had to have a little lay-down after the

scissor part...

Meanwhile, I am doing a snoopy dance all over the house. It fits. Merry Christmas Bergère. 'tis the season after all...for miracles that is!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Head in the clouds

I am supposed to be sneaking my birthday present knitting whenever the going is good but yesterday I had a sudden need to work on my magnum opus.
You see, I realized the decreases were done like dinner and I had an epiphany. What if I were to finish my fair-isle sheep vest within the same year I started?
So I am serving salad for meals until I get out of the cloud part of the picture on this knit.
I am also trying to turn the first corner on my rib warmer out of necessity and realize I am not sure I know what I am doing. The instructions are so basic I am surely going to complicate things and end up turning a heel.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December work

There is a lot of handcrafting going on here all year long. We make a living at our art. The latest project in the Shop are these lovely benches made to order for a Log Home owner in Mt. Tremblant Qc. I am particularly smitten with these benches and had to share.
It feels like Santa's workshop with elves (kittens) about...

Meanwhile, by the wood burner inside....

While Hub-ness is busy sanding and sawing, I have started a secret knit for his up coming Birthday (19th). I am making the Zimmermann Rib Warmer in a lovely dark heather wool that looks to me like dark brown but up close could be anything really. I am resizing this pattern which in EZ's Knitting Workshop book is only a guideline anyway. I am using a generic T-shirt from his cupboard (one he wouldn't miss 'cause there are several of these) the trick is to figure out the length at lib. The T-shirt is madningly unhelpful for this. Len has a long torso and I want this to fit well around the bottom to keep him warm while he works or when ice-fishing. See above bending photo...he does alot of bending and fishing.

Guess what?

Last weekend on a reward-for-good-report-cards trip to the mall cinema with the wee folk, I stumbled across a 20% sale at my LYS. I bought some stuff but wanted to have another go at it all by me onesy. I happened to mention this out loud once or twice since and wouldn't you know it? My car has died. Despite changing the battery it keeps starting only when it wants too. Today, Len has removed the part called a 'Starter' and my jalopy sits in the Shop, hood-up, waiting for a new 'Starter'.

I bet ya if I had kept my mouth shut, I would be sipping a latte petting my new yarn by now...