Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Two Edgars

I finished knitting Edgar times two, one for me (pinks and purples) and one for Elly (blues and browns).

Both were knit with Noro Silk Garden, a wool-silk combination that everyone raves about. I've never been crazy for Noro yarns, I've always found them to be scratchy, but most people I know swear that the yarn softens up as soon as it's blocked. To be fair, it does soften up a fair bit, but I decided to use this yarn mainly for the colours it comes in. The colours jump from one shade to the next in large chunks - perfect for this particular pattern, as each diamond turns a different colour as you work further along the pattern.

I had planned to make them while we were in Dublin, but they were just too much fun to sit idling. So, now, they're done and I have to decide what to take on the road.

So many projects, so little desire for anything complicated...

While I consider my options you can see Elly's new fashion accessory for her dog.

Since Whimsy's bows are a thing of the past,

she's opting for hats.

Poor thing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A New 'Do for Whimsy

As many of you know, Elly and I are spending this week preparing for her move to Dublin.

It's been a feverish whirlwind of activity - mostly organising, cleaning, packing, and curiously, shopping (does Ireland have shops? We both seem to be assuming they have none!)

While we're gone Nigel and Ian will be on they're own to cope for eleven days without me (I'm going for the first week and a bit to help her get settled, Elly has to stay for three years, you can read about her gripe about it here.). In anticipation of this we had a salon appointment booked for Whimsy to have a new 'do. Something short and kicky - and low maintenance. She has a coat which her stylist calls "rotten cotton", meaning it tangles easily and soaks up stains and spills like a rag.

Elly loves to keep Whimsy's topknot long and brush it up into a big Las Vegas-style spray with a bow. However, it always comes undone and looks a state in no time. Needless to say, I've been eagerly anticipating today, when we get to cut off that topknot and have the dog stay tidier. But wouldn't you know...

The night before last Whimsy was in the back garden, saw a rabbit, and chased it under the deck and out again, right through a weedy patch full of burrs.


She didn't even remotely resemble a dog anymore.

She was completely covered in burrs.

She sat on a towel on my lap and I painstakingly (for both of us) pulled them off her back, belly, legs and ears. It took four episodes of the X-Files worth of time - did I tell you I bought seasons 8 and 9 to watch while Ian and Nigel are in Alaska?

Thankfully Elly came home around midnight and took over. I left the worst parts, the tail and topknot, for her to do. She was up til the wee small hours, with good results.

And today was the day...

no more topknot.

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Belated Blogiversary!

Yesterday was the one-year mark for my little blog.

I had the date written down...somewhere, and had great plans to write something insightful and inspiring, but I'm just too busy this week.

Instead, let's celebrate with the late, great Helen Kane.

Ain't Cha kinda' glad I loves ya?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lotus Blossom Complete!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

How shall I rate this project?

On the up-side:

the yarn - felt lovely - very silky and smooth,

the pattern - was just interesting enough to compel me to knit, but not so impossible to frustrate,

Ravelympics - was a good introduction into the Ravelry community.

On the down-side:

the yarn - was FULL of knots, there was at least 20 in that second skein.

the pattern - went up in large increments size-wise. Hence, it's a smidge on the small side. I'll try to drop a size before next summer.

Ravelympics - well, let's just say I've been reminded why I hate knitting to a deadline. Too stressful. I won't be doing that again.

All in all, I'm delighted it's all over.

I don't feel like knitting at all for a little while and that's just as well, Nigel and Ian have gone to Alaska for a week and I plan to clean the house top to bottom while they're away. Elly and I also have to get her ready for her big move. On September 1st she leaves for three years in Dublin! Now that's some serious packing.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tribbles for Jane

Martiangirl has left the city. It was just a quick visit, but fun none-the-less.

I sent her home with Jane's handmade-of-the-month.

A set of Tribbles.

Made from cotton yarn they're designed to be used in the kitchen or bath as a little scrubbie.

Happy Handmade Jane!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ravlympics Update

I've officially finished the Sock Put competition.


And I'm also officially past the "tragic error" point on the Lotus Blossom.

Double Hoorah!!!

I don't have time for anything but knitting this week, so consider yourselves warned.

Friday, August 15, 2008

martiangirl has landed

My niece Thea arrived yesterday, and she brought gifts from afar.

She brought the August button-of-the-month (the dragonfly button that just arrived was July's - I'd lost track)and it's a very lovely golden sunflower.

It's a perfect button for the month of August, a salute to the happy sunshiney faces of late summer. Thank you Jane!

Jane also sent this fantastic book:

A lovely book with loads of interesting and amusing patterns to stitch for our little creatures. I'm already planning a couple of Christmas gifts - Gus really needs a new sweater, and maybe a hat for Whimsy. Can't wait!

The ravlympics continue, though I've slowed down considerably.

I escorted Thea and Ian to the pool today and knitted poolside while they enjoyed a swim.

I'm more than half finished that second sock, which I'm sure will be all done by the end of the week-end, and then it's back to the Lotus Blossom and the race to the finish!

In the meantime I'll be enjoying a fairly leisurely couple of days with the family.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

There and Back Again

There she is. The Lotus Blossom is back up on the needles. I'm almost finished the first lace repeat - again. I plan to work on this tonight, and maybe a little bit tomorrow, then I'll start that second sock. My niece Thea is coming to visit on Thursday and through the week-end. Working a sock while visiting is far less consuming than that lace. Next week will be full steam ahead.

Today the post brought August's button-of-the-month.

Another stunner, it's a large (3 cm?) purple glass circle with a dragonfly in the center. Jane also included a backing piece that allows me to change the button into a pendant. I just might do that.

Thank you Jane. It's gorgeous.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Damn You X-Files!

You mesmerise me so.

As I indulged in a few more episodes today while knitting the Lotus Blossom, I set my knitting down on the ottoman for a moment to grab a glass of water. When I returned I pressed "play" and knocked my knitting to the floor (that's not a big deal). I reached down to grab the two ends of the circular needle while paying attention to the plot, and by mistake had hold of only one end of the needle.


Zzzziiiiip. Off fell my stitches.

I tried to pick them up, but the bamboo yarn is so smooth and silky it just unravelled further and further.

It looks like this now:

that's it posing with my marbles.

My horoscope in the paper today said:

LIBRA - This is a mildly accident-prone day, so keep your eyes open. Don't be hasty in your actions or your speech. Whatever trips you up will be minor.

Minor? Bah!

In good news, I finished that first sock last night.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crazy Mad Knitting Demon

The Ravelympics continue at a furious pace.

I bought seasons 6 and 7 of The X-Files to keep me company while I knit. How much have I watched? All of season 6 and a third of season 7.

The Lotus Blossom has almost two complete lace repeats. That may not sound like much, but remember it's 230 stitches on each row.

And the first sock is more than half finished.

I wonder what Mulder and Scully would say...

Mulder: Where'd she get this superhuman speed? A bend in the space time continuum? A gravitational aberration? This is something science can't explain.

Scully: And maybe she's just a bored housewife.

Me: Shh, just one more row...

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Games Have Begun

A few weeks back I signed up for the Ravelympics. Through Ravelry, this is where knitters and crocheters sign up to start and finish a project while the Olympics play out in Beijing. The rules are, you have to cast-on your project during the opening ceremonies and finish before or during the closing ceremonies.

I don't normally sign up for this sort of thing, but it sounded like fun when I was surfing through Ravelry late one night, and so up I signed. There are lots of different events; there's the sweater sprint, the shawl relay and the baby dressage just to name a few. I wanted to make the Lotus Blossom Tank from Interweave Knits and the closest category was vest vault, so I signed on for that (though I did e-mail them and suggested tankoline, like trampoline, as an event, but they never got back to me). Then after thinking it over, I decided that I could easily finish a tank top in 17 days, so I signed up for the sock put too. I'll be making the Bellatrix socks (which I can't link to, because they exist in the Ravelry library, to which you have to be a member).

And so...

I crawled out of bed at six this morning and plonked myself in front of the tv and started to knit.

It wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done: casting on 230 stitches of slippery bamboo yarn, joining on a circular needle without any twisting while watching a distractingly good opening ceremony, but I did it.

(At least I'm fairly sure there aren't any twists in that cast on.)

I also started the socks, finishing the cuff and 4 rounds of pattern.

Now comes the challenge - how on earth do I finish all this in seventeen days?

Nigel and Ian have very kindly skipped town for this week-end, so at least I've got two fewer distractions. They've gone to Minneapolis to see this. Maybe they'll bring me back a droid to do all the housework while I knit.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

To The Grotto

This past Monday, Nigel, Ian and I took a short road trip to visit the Grotto at St. Malo. I say it was a short road trip, but it would have been shorter if I'd navigated us down the right highway (that would be 52 rather than 59). We ended up taking a scenic tour through Steinbach first. We'd read about the Grotto in a Manitoba guidebook, and thought it sounded quaint and charming, almost Gothic.

The site wasn't quite what I'd expected.

I've lived in Manitoba most of my life, and I should know by now that Manitoba doesn't do Gothic very well. Quaint? Yes. Rustic? Absolutely. Charming? Well, sure, in a quirky sort of way.

The Grotto is a little ways from the town of St. Malo, in a wooded area near St. Malo Provincial Park, next to the Rat River and near a series of small rapids. The sound of swiftly flowing water echoes off the stone walls.

And in front of the grotto are rows and rows of wooden pews.

It was very rustic. The trees were growing right up between the pews, blocking some parishioners views.

Can you guess what these are?

That's right, they're outhouses.

Did I mention that Manitoba was a little quirky?