Monday, February 28, 2011

Finishing February

As this short month draws to a close, I am sprinting to the finish line on a bunch of different things. I realized by reading other blogs that my desire to get some UFOs off the list was not unique. Several others were also motivated. I wonder why?

Anyway, I did do some more sewing this week - not as much as I hoped, but I think I have enough clothing for the vacation and hopefully the right weight. (sorry for bad phone pic - my camera battery seems to be dead) This is a great tunic top and some very comfy elastic-waist pants, which will both allow unbridled eating in Barbados LOL.


Earlier in the month, as I was showing my new students some different styles of hooking, I realized I had a "teeny" bit left to hook on this Crewel piece. So it got done - at least ready to whip and turn into something.


A knitted skirt that I put on the needles before Christmas is ready for its waistband - and the ultimate decision of who gets to wear it - me or my daughter. (In case you are interested in seeing this lanesplitter skirt, it was a free pattern on Knitty.com and is also featured on Ravelry if you are a member). I love the Noro colourways I picked for it.


And I whipped "Supporting the Girls" while watching the Oscars last night. Seemed appropriate subject matter while seeing the statues and the beautiful dresses.



All in all, a good productive month. But miles to go still with March and April coming up
"Crazy Busy". So just as well to get a few things off the list.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Family Day Without Much Family.

So originally I was going to have two kids here for the weekend. Then their lives got in the way and they rescheduled. One came last weekend. The other will come next weekend. So for Family Day, it's just little ole Rick and me.

I just visited Jenn's blog, where I was blown away with her productivity in the dye pot. When she sets out to do something, get out of the way!!! Such gorgeous inventory for all her upcoming gigs.

I had a productive weekend, but in a different vein. I've been making lightweight clothes for my upcoming trip to Barbados. I have lots of "cottage friendly" summer clothes, but not many little dresses or fancy tops for dinners etc. in Paradise. So I dug into my stash of fabrics, my patterns that have been waiting to be made into something and got a good start on my Caribbean wardrobe.


Here's a little dress/coverup made of "nightie weight" cotton. It will be lovely and cool and very casual. I think that fabric was going to be a shirt a million years ago, but I think it may get more wear this way.


This is a jersey boat neck top. I can't even remember what it was going to be originally, but it finally IS something. I'll get some white lightweight crops to go with this.  I did a little embellishment at the neckline. Little rosettes with beading.


Last but not least a little empire waist sleeveless top. I'm pretty sure it was one of the options for my daughter's drapes when she moved into her apartment.


So a good start, with four more things cut out and ready to go. It's fun to be back on the sewing machine and to be making things basically for free!! I feel like the vacation has already begun.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Belated Valentines Day

Sorry I didn't post yesterday - I was in the car for most of it. We did the Toronto-Parry Sound-Toronto-Peterborough-Parry Sound circuit this weekend, getting back yesterday afternoon.

Yes, I did receive and give the usual chocolate goodies, but I also gave these.


Not only do they make low-cal Valentine treats, but they are also excellent hostess gifts at this time of year. And they were such fun to make. I punched them, but used a combination of wool strips, yarns and other fibers. Anything within the V palette.

Oh, and the definite upside of being in the car for all that time is that I finished "Olive". Here she is drying after a little dip and some blocking. (As I keep saying, I think February is "finishing" month.)


The good news is that she is a top-down sweater, which means you can try on as you go. And the better news is that I LOVE HER! I made her a bit longer than the pattern said (tunic length) and she drapes beautifully - the perfect project for this liquid wool.

Perseverance definitely paid off and that awesome pashmina wool has now become my sure-to-be-favourite sweater. I'm sure in time I will forget the amount of stockinette stitch required to knit two long sweaters out of this yummy yarn.

And it seems appropriate that she is kind of a Valentine colour.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Play Time on the Blog.

Well, inspired once again by my pal Jennifer, I decided to play a bit with my blog and this is what I came up with.

It really is easy enough to do as often as you like, though I do find some of the constraints of the templates a little tough. Then again, the constraints could very well be in my own head.

Fun, nonetheless and I'll wear if for a while and see how I like it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Definitely Worth the Winter Drive

On Friday, I headed out for Toronto in less that desirable driving weather, but by the time I was 45 minutes south, the sun was out and the highway was bare. It's amazing how much it can change within a few kilometers.

The purpose of the trip was to take part in the Upper Toronto Hook In on Saturday, but the trip was made even sweeter by a sleepover at Elaine's with Jennifer. We ordered pizza (which I really miss in PS) drank a little wine, did a little hooking and lots of gabbing.

And that was just the rehearsal for Saturday's event! There were lots of hookers in attendance, since Mother Nature behaved herself and didn't discourage the out-of-towners. I took quite a few pictures of the crowd, but realized that since I was at the back, I mostly got the back of people's heads. Not great shots.

But this one is! Elaine (in the foreground) and Jen (peeking out from behind the frame) must have both turned just as I was shooting, because they are the only ones looking my way.


The guest speaker was Trish Johnson, whose work is absolutely incredible!!! You will have seen many of her rugs in Celebrations and Rug Hooking Magazine. She was also featured in A Needle Pulling Thread. But there were lots of pieces there that I had not seen before.

Every mat had a story - must be the Maritimer in her - and they were the stories behind the mats, not the hooking of the mats. She is a testament to the adage "hook what you love" and her love is family and family places. 

Her training as an artist and photographer certainly comes through in her work. And the variety is incredible. With permission from Trish, I am sharing these images:


In her early days, Trish was self taught. She later joined the OHCG and took fine shading from Shirley Lyons - not just once, but twice. This is a farm from her childhood, and Baby Jane, the sheep, is hooked in yarn. The details in her pieces is staggering!


A lighthouse from Grand Manan, New Brunswick, that she said was the first thing she saw when she arrived for her summers there. But as she described it as "bitter sweet" it was also the last thing she saw as she left.


This mat was adapted from a doodle her son did in his Suzuki violin music book, complete with the japanese characters. He drew his little sketch around the piece number and title and went from there. Trish blew it up from a tiny little scrap and hooked it at a good size - probably 18 inches wide. It was one of my favourites - you couldn't look at it without smiling.


Another beautiful landscape mat with text hooked into the background. Stunning, to say the least!!!

This was a mat that I hadn't seen before that was designed with the help of lace doilies cut from paper. The colour scheme was incredible. It is somewhat skewed, as it was sitting on a chair.

One of Trish's latest mats that was done for a new granddaughter. The inspiration came from a START (Teacher Training) weekend, where the theme was borders. Again, her art background comes shining through here.


This is her son in the canoe with the family dog, which was her theme rug when the Annual Theme was water in North Bay.

Family features predominantly in all her work. And she ended her presentation yesterday by telling us that when she thought about her collection, she realized that her first mat was hooked to please a grandparent (sorry, Trish, I forget which one), and that her latest mat was hooked to please a granddaughter.

Amazing how it comes full circle.

The work was truly inspirational. I'm sorry these photos don't really do the pieces justice.

Kudos to you Trish for your talent and for sharing it with us yesterday.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I win!!!

I did it - I persevered and managed to tame the tangles in the dreaded skein. I didn't even have a tantrum and throw any of it out. I just kept making more balls.


When you add in the man hours required to do this, plus the knitting time, these socks would have a retail value of $750.00 - slight exaggeration. I wonder who wants to pay that????

I promise to post a picture of the "most expensive socks ever", when the mate is done.

First Class Cancelled for a Snow Day!!

Yup, we are getting the top end of the big storm that the news says is "paralyzing" cities, airports and general life everywhere. And the sensible thing to do was to cancel the class. I don't want to get in my car, so why would I expect anyone else to.

So, what am I doing instead? Working a bit on "Support the Girls", knitting a bit and wrestling with the most impossible skein of yarn I have encountered in nearly 50 years of knitting (yes, I did start very young ha ha).

Here is a picture of the mess, sitting next to the "unemployed" ball winder, since I can't make hide nor hair of the tangles in this skein. I am winding very small balls by hand. Why, you ask? Because I have finished a first sock for my dear hubby and need enough for its mate.


I am sorely tempted to toss the whole thing in the garbage, but that is not in my nature. So I have been tackling it, little by little, for the past few days. Grrrrr - what a waste of time. There is nothing therapeutic about doing this - EVER!

Rick loves homemade socks - they are his favourite thing for me to make for him. And usually, they are sooooo easy. But January 2011 has been a generally challenging "sock month" for me. It started when he showed me that he had worn through the heel of three pairs of his socks. Not the back of the heel that touches the shoe, but the bottom of the heel, which seems an odd place to wear out.

I found a patch idea online and decided to try it. 
You pick up stitches below the hole and knit to the length you need. 
You pick up stitches above the hole.
Use the Kitchener stitch to graft the stitches together.
Then you simply tack down the sides of the patch.  

It was surprisingly easy and quick. I worried it might be uncomfortable under foot. So, after doing one, I had Rick put it on to see how it felt inside his shoe. No point in continuing if it felt lumpy.  But victory was mine, as he said he couldn't even feel it.

Lessons learned from all of this patching experience. I will now knit all his socks out of steel wool. Well, not quite, but I will use wool that has some nylon in it to reinforce the heel. No more soft merino for his socks - I will save that for mine. I will also consider reinforcing the new socks (see this article on knitty.com)

And once this second sock is done, I will hurl the rest of this horrid skein into the trash - with glee.