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Monday, March 30, 2009

soggy

My knitting at the moment is held prisoner by 24 inch circulars which make the pie I am knitting look like a Jiffypop we eat when camping or icefishing. I love popcorn and haven't had lunch yet...could be another good reason why my knitting is looking yummier.

Flip it over and you get a nice size bowl. A little silicon spray and I could paddle around my yard which is more like a lake at the moment.
I have my very own iceberg(ish) floating in the yard. The excess water and frozen drains are driving HD mad these days. The rain is lovely to wash away the ugly grey but the flood is public enemy #1.


I was visiting my Sister last weekend and took this picture of her Pinwheel beginning. The large cookie is a treat to ourselves from the Gaia Restaurant where we had lunch. It is a Vegan/Vegetarian restaurant. The food was delicious. The vinaigrette on my salad was so good I bought a bottle to bring home. I must find a recipe for Brown Rice casserole too. I think I will try my hand at inventing one of my own. Topped with a slice of roasted Gruyère...mummm.

On the sewing front: I went shopping in the shed today. I have my many containers of fabric waiting patiently for me to create lovely garments. I've decided to use this very special piece of velour fabric to make a knitting notion bag. The one I've been using for over 20 years is sad. Time to treat myself to a fabulous one à la Bergère. I've put it off long enough.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A girl and her pearls

The hook and eye business just wasn't happening for this blouse. I found some dainty pearl buttons to do the trick.

Here are two swatches I'm blocking for knit class. Every little stitch counts for knitting when you love to blog. These swatches I knit up for teaching students how to follow the stitch dictionary. Many wannabe knitters state they can't follow a pattern. I don't let that discourage me. This way, I teach them the tricks to understand the formula behind the asterisks, and the reason for multiples of X plus a number.

Class is going well. Everyone is turning a heel and picking up stitches. I have enjoyed teaching my students how to read the knit fabric they are making. When I point out an increase they look at me like I've just walked on water. Too funny!

In response to popular demand, voilà La Bergère wearing the Whisper cardi and the new blouse in the flesh . The colour of the blouse is a little off in this photo but you get the jist of it. I wore it to class last night and the buttons didn't all fly open on me which was a small concern of mine... The Whisper Cardi is not designed to hide boobs. Gulp.

P.s. Hannah Fetig faved my Whispering about Bliss on Ravelry. I can die now...le sigh. Merci Hannah!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Pinwheel KAL has begun!

Donna, Ip and myself have decided to collectively knit the Pinwheel Cardigan designed by Shelley Mackie. The pattern is free at this link. We wanted to start this last December but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and here we are end of March. Go man go.

I like to use a solid colour for the entire cardigan. Of course, I picked orange and in keeping with that, my Ravelry name for this project will be Cracker Barrel. I've fond memories of this Kraft product (cheese ball)and thought that this sweater would be a cozy old friend to curl up with like a slice of cheese when you get the munchies. What I love most about this design is that it is very versatile for all body types as you will see when this KAL progress'.

This knits up so fast that I am already half through the pie since casting on after dinner yesterday. Hiccup. Of course, I've made this sweater before. I used baby yarn last time and now am breezing through with worsted wt Galway...yum!

A little help for my friends: When you start, you need to cast on 8 stitches. You slip these onto three needles following the pattern carefully and join in the round using the fourth needle and increasing one knitwise every stitch by knitting into the front and back of each stitch (each stitch has two legs; use them both!) before slipping it off the needle as one.

Working with DPNs can be a pain if you are not accustomed when working so few stitches at first but it grows really fast and next thing you know, you are already cruising along on Circulars. Hang on it is worth it.
I hope this is enough help to get you guys started...I'm just a phone call or email away. xx

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Whispering about Bliss

Whisper Cardigan

Interweave Knits Spring 2009
Hannah Fetig design
Size: S/M
Yarn: less than 200 grams of homespun 2 ply lace wt merino/Jacob fleece from my own chocolate lamb (Freida Clavelle)
Wheel: Little Gem II Majacraft NZ
Needles: 4.5 mm DPNs, 3.5mm circs, 2.75 mm circs.
Modeling: 'Delilah' the vintage dressform
Mods: I picked up less stitches around the back. I lengthened the back and stopped the front side increases at one point and continued the remaining rows to the end.

What can I say? It pays to wait for just the right design to come along.
I jumped the queue the minute I saw this pattern. Perfect match made in heaven for my precious Freida homespun. It was a dream to knit with. I am ever so proud of myself for the lovely way I kept my spinning consistant throughout the 100s of meters. A very long process from first clipping of lamb to finished project. This fleece is more typically merino quality. I hand combed each loch of wool before spinning. Endless hours of hand picking the vegetable matter away. Sheesh. I need a nap just thinking about it.
Thank you 'Delilah' for coming out of storage to model this cardi for me. hee!

I wanted to mention that I visited 'Pogo' yesterday. He has gotten so much bigger! Now that he is not contending with Kounie at mealtime he has gotten alot bigger. His horns are huge. He is still very handsome and quiet although Mr. Dhérouville says he is not to be trusted. A ram can be very dangerous! I really hoped he would remember me...at first he ignored me all together until I asked him where 'Mimosa' was. Upon hearing his twin sisters name he looked straight at me for a long moment and then he gave me the old familiar 'Clint Eastwood' squint he used to sport when he was mine. Ahhh! I honestly felt that we connected.
The best part of this visit, I am being given his fleece!! Mr. Dhérouville was giving it away and asked me if I was interested. I promised to knit him a pair of socks.

P.s. it feels really good to finally have a new knit for the blog sidebar.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A day at the farm

I spent a few hours Thursday visiting a friends farm in Hawksbury. My husband built this log home for her. I took advantage of taking a picture of my knitting in progress in this pretty spot.
I brought my knitting to work on hoping to inspire our friend. She has a new flock of Sheep and Llamas and wonders what to do with all that fleece...

Here I am trying on the Whisper cardi after the ribbing is complete. Next is casting off the collar ribbing and proceeding with the back and sides of the project using short row shaping.
I asked HD what he thought about it and his response was: "it better not shrink!" My own handspun is what it is and in all softness this thing is knitting up to a different gauge but I am determined to finish it and try it on with a camisole before I decide it is too small. So far so good over a long sleeve shirt.

After lunch we spent a few minutes at the barn getting acquainted with the barnyard folk. This boy is identical to the stray cat we have at home...!
Doesn't the darker llama look like Beetlejuice? hee!

The baby llama in the middle is a girl (I've forgotten her name!) and her mum is Lola off to the right...
Koffsky the ram...


My oh my the weather is perfect for a roll in the hay...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Knitting a kayak?

Whisper is a funny looking piece of knitting but it's definitely coming along fast. It looks like a floating device every which way I place it.

I can't wait to try it on. Decent photo will follow...

I have a new sock class idea brewing on the sidelines. It is an argyle pair knit on two needles. Opportunity to teach how to sew up an invisible seam. There is beadwork to this pattern too!
A lovely little bead store has opened next to the yarn shop so this works out well for both owners.

This morning, I sat with my coffee and counted out the 88 seed beads I need to make my test pair. The main yarn is an aubergine colour and the contrast will be apple green and light blue with cobalt beads.

HD went to the store this morning and found me this perfect little whiteboard that I can use as visual aid tonight when trying to explain the smaller knitting details to a group around the table. I can't wait!

Yesterday I went into a frenzy because I noticed that I was missing the fourth bamboo to my plain sock knitting needles for tonights class.
I knit in the family room so I turned it inside out. The dog loves this because I move the sofas and she eats the popcorn that rolled under there since the last time I cleaned up.
I am starting to notice a pattern...
I like to knit with four of the five needles in the package for plain socks. I only use five bamboos when doing lace socks. Even though I have the fifth bamboo to rely on, it really annoys me to loose something this important. Thankfully, I found it this morning under Mr. Clavier. I came across the new Piecework mag and remembered I wanted to share this with you!
I enjoyed this issue because it had some really touching quotes from knitters of the Civil War. Knitting socks was apparently the way of breaking the ice to find a husband in those days. This passage from page 24 "Notes Found in Civil War Socks" made me smile: 'My Dear Boy, - I have knit these socks expressly for you. How do you like them? How do you look, and where do you live when you are at home? I am nineteen years old, of medium height, of slight build, with blue eyes, fair complexion, light hair, and a good deal of it. Write and tell me all about yourself, and how you get on in the hospitals. Direct to ___. P.S. If the recipient of these socks has a wife, will he please exchange socks with some poor fellow not so fortunate?'

I wonder how long it would take today to snag yourself a mate using the old note in the knit sock trick?

Before I go...I tried a Beef Stroganoff recipe last night that was Gage approved. I substituted the beef for moose and the tomato paste for a half can of Aylmers Tomato soup (all I had on hand). If you ever make Hamburger Helper Stroganoff and like it, this recipe is just as fast and no MSG!
Enjoy xx

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kiss Me Blarney!

I have the freckles to prove that at least part of me is Irish. Another part of me is French and yet another part is Aboriginal. Just a Heinz 57 really... I am so short that I can't imagine where I store all that history but at least I get the fun of celebrating just about every special occasion. Yahoo!
My current love-knit is about as photogenic as a shinny black lab puppy.
I am presently picking up stitches from one arm pit to another. I am going to be the boss of my knitting and pick up as many or as few stitches as I see fit. The pattern I have decided to use only as a guideline. I call it 'Pirate knitting'.


HD had planned for a road trip today. We had to postpone it yet again and so I took the sudden hole in my schedule as an opportunity to take random photos in my house of everything stitchy and green that is special to me on this day.
My sock class heel knitting is sitting on Mr. Clavier (he needs a lick and a promise). Mr. Clavier is my keys to the blog world. I type 100 words/minute and LOVE IT! It comes in very handy as a blogger extraordinaire (self proclaimed, snort! Feeling plucky today, part of me is half drunk you see...) Hey, note the cute turtle stitch markers coming in real handy here. Next, a very appropriate sock yarn for March. Lucky by Socks that Rock. I just might cast this on today. hum.

I found this vintage soap mat at my local friperie. (snazzy french word for second hand store). I use it by the bathroom tap. Keeps slippery soap in place and looks so darn cute.


Then there is my spindle. Very much a lonely item in my home. Sorry! I have a gorgeous green soft as a dream wool roving in progress. My darling little Chloé has green eyes and I imagine knitting a lacy shawl for her one day.

This little hemp bag has some green crochet. I found this in a boutique in the Byward Market in Ottawa. I LOVE this market. I don't spend nearly enough time there. As the wee folk get older, that will change. The boutique is likely gone now...however this bag I use for carrying my spindle. A perfect match.



This pendant is made of wool! My friend Claire made this. She loves to create art with felt. Very cool! I fell in love with it and I have made another one of red wool that I should dig up and finish. hiccup. Note the pretty green stone and bead detail. Yum! Well, there you have it. A little green love from me to you on this day. Enjoy it. Hugs xx

Sunday, March 15, 2009

de Baskerville says 'hi'

I promised both myself and Spoo-girl that as soon as the weather warmed up enough for Poune to take walks without freezing her toes we would walk our butts off. It is great to get out and shed some arse.

Today, we went for the longest hike ever. This time we walked all the way to the 5eme rang passed the orchard and horse ranch.
Note to self: the horse ranch has an unleashed black hound de Baskerville. groan.
The-unleashed-cross-snarling-leaping beasts (every farm seems to have one) cut my walks short. This annoys me to no end. grrr. I do believe there is a law about keeping your dog under control. Mine is.

I always wish in my heart that the horses will see me and come to the fence for a visit like they do in apple season. I saw a black one today break into a race as if to say 'Look at me!' 'What a handsome creature I am.'
Be still my heart.


One of my favorite spots along the way is the deep ditch. A creek lives there. This gully is murder to ride on my bike. hef-hef-hef. I exhaust myself. However, on foot, it is charming to peek over the rail and admire the pretty creek in every season. Today it shows signs of awakening.

I am turning a heel for teaching purposes. I am polishing off my second sleeve of Whisper. My blanket naps in my canvas tote. Not very productive. Where does the time go?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A new broom and a fresh breeze

A small part of me enjoys crochet. In fact, it is ten times easier than knitting in my opinion although, I prefer the 'look' of knitting in most cases.
About 5 years ago, I met my friend Suzanne and her two lovely cats named Café and Peanut. I took a notion to make a center piece of filet crochet for her apartment. I got this far when both cats died within months of each other. I felt that the gift was ill timed and put it away while I got busy with my knitting again.
A few days ago, I ran into Suzanne and she asked me if I had ever finished that secret project I was making for her...? She likes to tease me.
We had a big laugh about it and I came home and took it out of the cupboard.
Suzanne has a new pet now. A lovely bird. I think it is safe to bring Café and Peanut out of the cupboard and honour these felines. I need to remember which hook I was using for this...oh dear!

I am teaching a crochet tablecloth pattern in my Monday class at the LYS. Brings back the urge to make pretty lacy things for this house. I wish I could blink my eyes and turn wishes into object d'arts.

Gage Harrison turned 7 today. He loves fishing and has a smile that could melt a deep freeze. Bonne fête Gazou! Je t'aime xx

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breaking News...

This is Kermit the frog reporting for Sesame Street news... snort! (I love saying that...tsk)
I've already posted this morning but my head is over flowing with ideas and work and I totally forgot to include the cute gift I got yesterday.
My friend Lynda is privy to the fact that I love Turtles (rah rah rah). She made these stitch markers for me. These are perfect. Little Raoul's for skinny needles. (Raoul was the name of my turtle when I was a teen). Skinny needle stitch markers are awesome because it is my yarn of choice and all the stitch markers I own that are oh so pretty mostly have big honkin' rings that flop around in the most annoying fashion. Thus I reserve them for chunky knits which is a blue moon thing. I have oodles of boring rings that get the job done so I wouldn't necessarily pamper myself like this which makes this treat really nifty. Merci Lynda!!

This next bullet is for Susan. The Snatam Kaur Concert is coming back to Ottawa this Spring on May 3, 2009. I am sooo looking forward to this! This is awesome for the constitution. I need a tune up. It has been a long year. Turn up your speakers if you check out the links. The music is so beautiful. I play her CDs in the house and cottage and it is fabulous.

Do you remember me going on and on about my sheep? You might remember I sold my ram (Pogo) to the neighbour down the road. They called today to say that he is the proud papa of twins born this morning. Yay! I wonder if he would remember me if I went to have a peek at the lambs? Good to know he got the 'job' done. hee hee...

La Bergère reporting from Lochaber Ouest, back to you Lloyd!

The money should follow

I am doing what I love...
I am almost to the second sleeve on my Whispering about Bliss. I am holding back because I wanted new DPNs and they haven't arrived yet.
My new sock is one I've cast on with my sock class students.
I love meeting new people that want to learn how to knit!

I look like a chipmunk in a peanut factory.

happy place - happy place - happy place

We had fun (although I am going to get somebody in the mall admin office to put better music on the blower). Man that music was bad.

Thanks to Darquise for lending me the space and giving me a crack at this! xx



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My wee Pearl is 15

This little baby girl is 15 today!

One of my greatest achievements. She knits too!

We had a lovely meal in honour of our resident teenager followed by a really good cake.



Yum!
The wee folk went shopping with Papa for gifts... I was very intrigued by those tiny parcels...

Chloé (8) wrapped a toonie from her allowance!

A scene straight from Little Women I think...tsk tsk

You can tell by the expression that this thought is what really counts. Awww.

Gage gave her a box of chocolate that I think he was rather sorry to give away. Don't worry, his birthday is on Saturday.

Bonne Fête ma belle chérie

Je t'aime xx

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yours truly, Gibou

I have a thing for owls. I am not one to collect figurines but these two birds had empty shelves to grace in my kitchen. I love 'em.

In the summer months, you will find me at the flea market in Lachute where I found these...among other valuables I deeply cherish..xx

My Papa is one of those that gives everyone a nickname or two. My first nickname as a baby was 'Hibou'. He pronounced it as Gibou which was the lovey-way he used to say it. Le sigh.

Hibou is the french word for owl. Apparently, my big eyes and tiny mouth reminded him of an owl and that is what he came up with!

Anywho, I am thrilled to discover the many knitters of Ravelry who also love owls and generously share patterns that I hope to get around to knitting.

I have been so 'mums the word' lately... Whispering About Bliss is waiting for new DPN needles. How is it, I only have one pair of crappy 4.5 mm dpn needles that are made of suspicious mystery material that is heavy as lead??? Too heavy for my lace weight yarn. I used them for sleeve one and it was torture to both yarn and Bergère.

As I am waiting for the new slick bamboo pair to arrive...tick-tick-tick... I have been knitting swatches for my next batch of knitting classes for socks/mitts.

This is the BEST JOB EVER! I don't mind putting in over time. hiccup. Ah and those Bergère de France patterns are to die for. I need a mother load of self discipline. The sultry weather is coming and I heart romantic knits. If you like the link above it is what Tricot Darquise is all about. 10 minutes from my house. Dangerous combo.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Silver is the lining

Upon reading a post today from Sel & Poivre I was delighted to read that I am the grateful recipient of this award. I have been snoopy dancing all over the house since...Merci!

What a lovely day full of sun and fun it is.
I took a trip with my girls (they are on March break) to the Ontario side of the river to have a quick snack and a much coveted visit to Wool n' Things. I rarely visit this shop because it is rather out of my way should I drive to the nearest bridge...by way of ferry it is closer but it dips into my yarn money...what is a gal to do? We took the ferry because it is fun once in awhile anyway.

Upon parking my Saturn in front of the shop, I could not get my car key out of the ignition. I could shut the motor but not turn the key to 0 and remove it. I had to dash in and back out so as not to get my car stolen or kill the battery. Ack!

This was a blessing because the short list of yarn (for famous bluebell knickers no less) was a brown bill minus some change. Good thing I am working part time again. I have my suspicion that HD has rigged my ignition to fail come close to lush wool shops...but I am probably just paranoid. You think?

Then off to the Fabric store to find my zips but not without falling in love with next years potential wardrobe fabrics. Watching Ghost Whisperer gets me aching for trench coats and romantic blouses.
Look what followed me home...it said it knew a thing or two about ignitions...ya right!
A must have chiffon.
The print reminds me of a romantic picture I recently admired in a room that was warm and romantic. A bouquet of pansy flowers. I love the French word for them: des 'pensées'. Lovely thoughts.

Lainage chevron
This was a sweet bonus price. 3 meters for 1. I see myself in a short coat made of this fabric. I did not bother to choose a lining today. I was too tempted to make a mistake. On the drive home the solution was clear. Silver. I will line this coat with a thick silver fabric. It will be perfect!
My sister gave me a Burda fashion magazine and honestly I want to sew each and every outfit in it!
Mostly knitting though; My Whispering about bliss cardigan is progressing. I am glad to have this on my lap as it happens. You see, it reminds me a lot of my recent history as la Bergère. This is the lambing season time of year. My woolly girls would all be having their babies about now. Last year at this time, I spent as a mid wife of sorts. They were very able to do it on their own mind you, but I was there just the same to coo and make them comfy with fresh hay... Ooh I miss my Emma Koonie, Rhubarbe, Mimz, Frieda and others. Le sigh.

Cuddling up with Freida's yarn is like sharing a cup of Earl Grey with a friend. I miss them.
P.s. the Monday afternoon knit class was a success this week. Everyone is learning including me. I have a wonderful opportunity to teach a new class starting March 11. This time I am teaching sock knitting techniques. I am preparing the kits and already have 5 names on my list since last Friday afternoon! Tricot Darquise is awaiting a shipment of Briggs & Little. The shop will carry this yarn now and I am so pleased. My 'Le Grand Plaid' blanket is made with it and I love the stuff. It smells like clean sheep.