Friday, December 26, 2008

ah! snow!

Hope everyone has had a good holiday so far. We definitely got our white Christmas...and then some. There is probably two feet on the ground right now, and it was snowing heavily again this morning. However, now the southeaster has really come in strongly and is turning the snow to rain - lovely! Needless to say it's pretty gross outside. We had been excited to finally go snowboarding today as Mount Cain was set to open, but despite all the snow down here the mountains seem to be short on the white stuff and the opening had been postponed yet again. So we are having a quiet day at home, watching the lights flicker occasionally, and I'm plotting new projects - did I mention I got a spinning wheel for Christmas? That mom of mine, she's full of surprises. But first, thought I would quickly share a gift project that I finished early this week.

I think I mentioned that I hadn't really planned any gift knitting, but then my sister sent a list, and on it was a request for a long striped scarf. I haven't knit a scarf in ages, and find they tend to go on forever, but for some reason the idea took over my brain. This is basically Jared's Noro Scarf Pattern, except that I did not use Noro. If you've been here before, you know that I love all things Noro, but I couldn't find any of the colourways that I thought would appeal to my sister, who tends toward pastels and soft blues - periwinkle, baby blue, etc. Enter Patons Soy Wool Stripes, which also makes the scarf even softer.

She seemed to really like it, so I'm glad it turned out well. I would like to make another of these using Noro, but it's low on my list right now. At the moment I'm fascinated by the Tapestry Cowl I am working busily on - double knitting is crazy stuff, man. And I'm even using the suggested yarn! The Koigu I picked out is a lovely dark teal and "Golden Brown", which is yellow-brown in some lights, but in others has quite a bit of green in it. And did I mention the spinning wheel? Hopefully more on that soon, and maybe some more snow pics if I get around to uploading them off the camera - seriously, it's never like this around here!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

99 things meme

I've never done a meme before. But for some reason this amused me. Borrowed from Pea Soup.

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. Duh.

2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band.

4. Visited Hawaii.

5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland/world. (Euro Disney, 1994 - does that count?)

8. Climbed a mountain.

9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sang a solo. Well, if you count in the car, otherwise no freakin' way.

11. Bungee jumped.

12. Visited Paris. (1994)

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. I do a few mostly self-taught artsy things, but not sure I would qualify as completely self-taught from scratch.

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.

20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.

24. Built a snow fort.

25. Held a lamb. Picture being the only one at home when Dora the sheep decides to have triplets in the middle of the cold, wet field - but yes, a few other times as well and they are just the cutest things.

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon. Umm. No.

28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.

32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.

35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language. Not all by myself.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. What a weird question.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.

39. Gone rock climbing. One of my biggest loves.

40. Seen Michelangelo's David in person.

41. Sung Karaoke. Not on your life.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. 1987.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted. Kind of - had a silhouette artist make a cut out of me, and my dad drew a pic of me once.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I feel like there are a lot of France-related questions, and I did them all at the same time - grade 9 school trip.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling. Shudder.

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.

55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies. Girl Guides, actually (I guess it's a Canadian thing?).

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood.

65. Gone sky diving.

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.

67. Bounced a cheque.

68. Flown in a helicopter. So very nearly. But many small planes.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Does it count if my mom has saved quite a few for us?

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.

75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London. Wow, that school trip is covering all the bases here.

77. Broken a bone.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican.

82. Bought a brand new car. Actually, my first car was brand new. Second one, less so.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.

88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous. I feel like there might be more than one, but the only one I can think of is William Hurt.

92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby.

95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit.

98. Owned a cell phone. Sadly, yes, and currently my only phone.

99. Been stung by a bee.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

could it be?

It just might be possible for us to have a white Christmas. White Christmases are pretty rare around here, but it's definitely in the air, and by "in the air" I mean freezing arctic outflow wind. Snow in itself is a rare occurrence around here, showing up in light dustings that disappear nearly before they hit the ground, or one or two good dumps per winter that also start melting and turn to slush right away, which definitely takes the charm out of a foot of white stuff on the ground.

But this stuff is different, perhaps (says she full of doubt and years of cynicism). After a week of freezing temps and a bit of snow on the weekend, this stuff started this morning and fell most of the day. It's light and fluffy, which has me dreaming of powder on the mountain (which is finally opening this weekend, geez). With more snow forecast for tonight, then cold and clear and cold, and more snow on Sunday, it just could hang around long enough for the holiday.

I took a little walk down to the beach this afternoon, after heading home early from work where it was still heavily snowing (ugh for 35 minute drives that became over an hour both to and from work today, but thank god for 4x4 and winter tires). I love how the snow dampens sound and makes you feel isolated. I was only 50 metres from the highway, but huddled in my puffy coat and watching the ducks in the frigid water made me feel all by myself, tucking my face against the icy wind.

Anyone else blanketed with snow? I'm back inside now, with the woodstove crackling, working on some gift knitting. My brain is already swirling with plans for the year ahead- I figured out double knitting the other night, so am eager to cast on for the Tapestry Cowl as soon as the previously mentioned gift knitting is done. Also on my new skills to learn in the coming year - entrelac, and lots of fun sewing projects. And hopefully improve my snowboarding skills...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dark days...

The sun came out today, unexpectedly, allowing us to get a few shots of recent projects to share. These days it's dark when I head to work, and dark when I come home, which I'm sure is the same for much of you, but it does add a bit of sadness to the day, and certainly cuts down on my opportunities for daylight photography. Only a couple more weeks and things will be starting to turn around, however.

So...what have I been up to? Despite buying crazy amounts of yarn lately, I am trying to make some dents in the stash, and in that light I made my self a quick pair of fingerless mitts from some leftover scraps. No pattern to speak of, just coziness, a bit of shine, a bit of nubby tweed, and my current love of stripes is a perfect excuse to use up yarn.

The other item that appears in these pics is a cardigan I made after seeing something similar on Anthropologie's website. I think mine is a bit heavier weight, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I think all the ruffles are balanced with the casualness of the sweatershirt grey jersey. I also finished with the bottom with a sparkly silver ribbon, and the ruffles are sewn with silver thread, for a little extra glitz.

Last FO of the day with a super quick project that had been evolving in my brain for a little bit. Knit with Berocco Peruvia, which was a pleasure I'd never tried before, this hat has a lot of different texture. The cables wind lazily across, separating fields of moss stitch and reverse stockinette, and the decreases at the top create a flower. I had hoped for a bit more slouch, but I think it will work well and stay on my head for snowboarding. Well, that is, if we ever get some snow so the mountain can open. Grrrr. Argh.

Yes, I know. Lots of knitting for me. I've kind of given up on any notions of gift knitting as far as Christmas is concerned - I find I'm impossible at deadlines. I'm definitely impressed with others' holiday knits, though, which I was so motivated. BUt next up, a pair of socks for A, using up more scrap yarn!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

cozy ruffles...

I've long been an admirer of Terhi's awesome garter stitch shawl, and when I found some Drops Angora-Tweed half price, it seemed perfect for the project. This shawl came together quite quickly, the garter stitch surprising addictive despite my fear of boredom. It could probably still use a blocking, but for now I am pretty happy.

I had a few yarns in competition for the ruffle, and eventually decided to use two. The lighter brown is alpaca I believe, which my mom picked up on a trip to New Zealand. The dark brown is handspun by a friend, from wool from one of my mom's sheep. Kind of makes an interesting mix, as they are vastly different in texture, the first light and fluffy and the second sturdy and wooly, but I kind of like it. They both also has random bits of hay and sticks in each skein. And the Angora-Tweed is different again, but I love them all.

It's funny that on one side I am looking for some bright colours to liven up the grey days of November, but at the same time the sameness of this shawl and the overcast sky is very calming. I also stopped at Fun Knits on Saturday and let myself run a bit wild, and also continued the neutrals. So much yarn and so little time to knit it all!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

november...(and knitting, and quilting!)

November has sped along quickly, as time seems to do much these days. I'm not actually a big fan - it seems the crisp, bright fall days of September and October are over to quickly and overtaken by rain, wind, and more rain and the world is enveloped by a heavy blanket of grey. But in a way I kind of like it too - I love the howling southeasters that blow through one after the other. And I also enjoy days like this one.

The fog covered us all day, and the air was thick with moisture, but there was no real rain, and a stillness pervaded. We went for a walk along the river and eyed the Chum salmon in their last efforts (and smelled those that were already returning to the earth). This one was still swimming, despite missing most of his tail and pectoral fins. Incredible animals, those ones.

We also checked out Elk Falls, pumping more water than I've ever seen there, a thundering freight train plummeting onto the rocks below, and heavy mist rising to the trees above. A long walk, but so peaceful in the forest, the right combination of exercise and laziness.

I failed miserably at Socktober. I had big plans for at least a couple of pairs, and yet somehow didn't even finish one before the month was out. These are Charades, my second go. I do love this pattern, but it was once again the case of once I have some sort of deadline, I find it is the last thing I want to work on. My dad's birthday was at the end of the month, but I squeaked by as I didn't get a chance to see him until a week and a half later, and I finished the socks that morning.

This quilt went a bit more quickly on the weekends, with five day breaks in between the work as I don't like to sew in the dark evenings after work. I was looking for something for the couch, and some of the fabrics are leftovers from some pillows I made, with a few new fabrics thrown in. I love the combination of grey-blues, brown and beige-cream. The backside is blue fleece for the best kind of coziness.

I'm working on a shawl in soothing garter stitch - I was worried it would bore me, but instead I find it addictive. Hopefully something to show soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Okay, the Louisa hat pattern is ready to go. Please contact me with any issues! Enjoy!

March 15, 2010 - ETA: The pattern is now available as a Ravelry download. It can be found here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

belated FOs...

I don't know why it often takes me forever to get a post organized. I guess I haven't been that motivated to blog lately, too distracted by other activites and too loathing of the computer after a long day at work. But, I have a couple of things I would like to share, so here we go:
As mentioned in the previous post, I have been working on the Darkside Cowl (Rav link). Except I refer to mine as the Autumnside cowl, due to the lovely colours. This yarn is TRI, from Ancient Threads, and the colours are ridiculous. Love them. It is sock yarn, but I couldn't imagine hiding it away on my feet (although there is quite a bit leftover for that possibility).
This pattern is a great textural knit that I think works well with the variegated yarn, whereas something more complex or lacey would be lost. I had to nearly double the amount of stitches cast on in the pattern, as the original calls for an aran weight, but it turned out well. It is a perfect hit of colour to brighten up the many browns and greys that I wear.
And after the success of the Inga, I was inspired to try a bit more colourwork with Noro as the background. This hat, dubbed "Louisa" for no particular reason that I can think of, uses Silk Garden instead of Kureyon, but the off-white is the same leftovers used in the first hat. I found this chart online, and am in the middle of cleaning it up so that you too can have your own Louisa, if you are so inclined.

Monday, October 06, 2008

a bit of gifting...

Rain is spattering against the windows in the dark, in time with the gusts of wind that echo through the chimney. Before the night set in, the clouds loomed heavy and grey, low in the sky. This is the first good southeaster of the fall, and I welcome the feelings it brings, urges to curl up on the couch with knitting in hand, to nest and hibernate for winter. Right now I'm working on a Darkside Cowl (Rav link), in gorgeous fall colours, and should have an FO to show soon. As well there are a few projects on the go for Socktober. But first it's time to catch up on a bit of gift knitting that has been finished in recent weeks.

I've been wanting to knit this pattern for ages, and I can definitely say this won't be my last go at it. Embossed Leaves, by Mona Schmidt, for my mom's birthday. This is actually my first attempt at top down socks, which was probably my least favourite part, but I wanted the leaves to go in the right direction. I made very few modifications, although I just did my usual heel.

The yarn is Araucania Ranco, which is the second skein I bought along with the purple that was used for my shell socks, It's great stuff.

The other recently completed project is an Inga Hat for my friend Em (she doesn't know this yet, so mum's the word). I have been wanting to revisit this pattern since I made the mitts, and it's possible this will also be made again (for me?). I skipped a few rows on the chart, as per advice from other knitters, and the size seemed to work out well. I probably should have gone up a size on needles, but with a bit of blocking it seems to fit well.

I love this colourway of the Noro Kureyon, although this skein was a bit disappointing. For the hat it worked out fine, but this colourway is supposed to be purples and GREENS, yet once I went through the purples, it was just starting to change to green and then there was a knot, followed by a cycle back into purple. In the light of my lamp the tiny bit of green seemed hardly noticeable and so I left it in, but now it seems a bit out of place in all the purple and I wish I had taken it out. Oh well, the hat is still pretty and cozy and that braid on the bottom kicks ass. Yup, I'll be adapting that into other hat patterns fo' sho'.

Well time to batten down the hatches and get back to my knitting. I love this time of year! (a few more sunny crisp days would be appreciated though!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

happily lost in the forest...

I try to keep my inner 15-year-old locked away most of the time, well at least so far as my manner of speaking goes, but OMG! I love this sweater. I really consider this my first real REAL sweater, in so far as my first real cozy, cabled, perfectly fall sweater. It turned out just as I hoped, albeit a few errors that I think I'm okay with, for now at least. I just want to wear it all the time.

Are you tired of the gushing? Okay, the deets: This is Forestry (Rav link) from the Fall 2008 issue of Vogue Knitting, knitted with cozy Sirdar Eco Wool. I guess I made some pretty significant modifications, such as knitting it entirely in the round, adding cables up the back, adding some length to the sleeves and body, adding buttons...okay I changed it a lot. But I do think it is a great pattern either way, just that I have an inability to follow patterns to the letter.

I'm also thoroughly impressed with the yarn. This wool is ever so slightly itchy, but for the most part nice and soft and cozy (I'm using this word a lot, aren't I?). I wore this cardigan on a cold, damp night on the west coast while camping, with just a t-shirt underneath, and couldn't believe how warm I stayed. At the same time, it is not too hot to wear in my office. All around I can see I will be wearing this often.

I hope to post some fall shots soon - there have been many sunny beautiful days, and a few quiet and grey.

Friday, August 29, 2008

his n' hers...

just back from a week on the mainland - an attempt to go climbing all week in Squamish, but the inclement weather only allowed two days before sending us to the big city and shopping. needless to say it's starting to feel a lot like fall around here, which actually isn't the worst thing, for a knitter anyway.

in the last bit the hat bug hit again, and in between my other WIPs, I fired off two quick toques for A and I. First up:

A's hat is Turn a Square (Rav link) by Jared Flood, in some delish Silk Garden and Sublime wool/cashmere/silk. At first I wasn't sure about the colours, as the Noro turned out darker than I expected, but I think it works out well and fits the colours A likes. Plus the dark bluey-black of the stripes slides right in with Project Spectrum.

Great pattern - knits up fast as most hats do.

My hat reflects my current pre-occupation with the slouch. This is Natalie Larson's Star Crossed Slouchy Beret. I decided to make it even more fall-appropriate, and knit it up in some Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed, which is nice and slubby. Had to do a bit of playing around as I used smaller needles, so I cast on 81 stitches, and added an additional 9 right after the ribbing. I'm pretty happy with the fit of the hat, although I think I would like it a bit tighter in the ribbing as it sometimes slides forward and down on my head.

However, this is the first of what I hope will be a few slouchy hats for fall, so I'll figure out the perfect shape as I go, I'm sure.

The sun has of course come out to celebrate my return home, which is a bit unfair since dry weather would have been a bit more useful for my holiday and the climbing of rock. But must enjoy it where I can get it - I still have a whole long weekend before I return to work!

Friday, August 22, 2008

west coast weekend...

Okay, so this is the west coast creative blog, but in reality I live on the east coast of Vancouver Island, the east coast of the West Coast, if you will. Anyway...

Last weekend we went to a wedding on the real west coast, as in next stop Japan. The wedding was hosted by West Coast Expeditions on phenomenal Spring Island, and various creative forms of transportation were required to get there by the guests. We chose to drive to Fair Harbour (lots of logging roads) and then set out on a 5-6 hour paddle out into the blue.

Here's me near the end of our kayak out, near the village of Kyuquot.

Spring Island

Bull kelp, my favourite.

Still on Spring Island.

A walk into the middle of the island, land of big, old trees.

The morning before we had to leave paradise, sunrise on the beach.

A rumpled fellow on the way home.

The entire weekend was just beautiful, and the wedding a memorable event. We were sad to only have the three days, but after another 5 hour paddle back to Fair Harbour, and a four hour drive home, we were tired and ready for our own bed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

more photos: project spectrum edition

dude, I need to catch up on all these photos I have been taking lately. This set highlights the last element of Project Spectrum, which began with the start of August - Water. I've got a few things in mind for water, knitting wise, as blues and purples are really working for me right now. I'm less into black, but will see where it goes. I really flaked on the Air element, I think mainly because I didn't do much knitting in June and July. However, I did start my new cardigan in the last days of July, and it is grey - it's going along well, but I don't have progress pics to show yet.

A trying out a few boulders on the beach.

Later the same day...longboard cruising, which just made worse my mysteriously swollen ankle. But it was so fun anyway.

Wandering along the marina on a clear evening.

See above.

And my first project that fits in with PS, on the sewing front instead of knitting. I wanted to make a cozy hoodie, but add a few twists from the standard. It's off-white sweater fleece, with a few fun purple accents and an off-centre button front. I might still add some more finishing touches, but I'm digging it so far.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a few thoughts on summer...

i don't have many words today. instead i will share some different views of summer, many centred around the bounty of the garden. enjoy.

the spaghetti squash are growing at an alarming rate. here one finds good support on top of P's whitewater kayak.

sunday morning french toast, cut thick and stuffed with raspberries & strawberries, topped with sauteed apples and maple syrup.

A trying out his new skimboard.

zucchini, bush beans, and pattypan squash fresh picked from the garden.

purple carrots and one lone golden beet.

multigrain pasta tossed in alfredo sauce, and topped with the aforementioned beans, zucchini, carrots and beets (after a light saute). a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

noro stripe socks. more details here (ravelry link).

honey whole wheat bread rising in the windowsill. this bread is yum - also works well in the above french toast.