Friday, September 26, 2008

Staple it Together: September Edition

I've been wanting to learn how to quilt for years. After buying the Janome, I decided that it was as good a time as any to finally get started.

While looking at various course offerings I found a Toronto quilting store called The Quilter's Palette that was offering a free Quilt Sampler program. The program offers participants the chance to make 12 different 12" sampler blocks from one of three colourways. Every month you head down to the shop to pick up your kit during the specified week. If you bring along the previous month's completed block you get the next month's kit for free. Perfect!

I love that I have a whole month to fuss with each block, and that I'm not overly invested in the finished product. It takes the pressure off and makes the learning by trial and error process much more fun.

Cutting Block Pieces

I had some issues during the cutting phase when I ended up running out of white fabric (100% my own fault after some overzealous squaring up of the fabric). As a result, the centre block ended up being a smidge smaller than intended.

My iron was on the fritz so there were also a few setbacks during the pressing (as seen in this photo).

Pressing Block Pieces

After a few kicks at the metaphorical can, I managed to get everything pieced together into something that looked both like a square and the block that I was supposed to produce.

Completed Block: September

It's not perfect but I am pretty happy with it as a first attempt at the whole quilting thing. The seams appear to line up pretty well in the centre and the block is only a little bigger than it is supposed to be (I should be able to trim that down when the time comes).

The next block kit will be ready for pick-up in little more than a week. I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Toy

I spent some time at my grandparents' house in August after my grandfather had his hip replacement surgery. My grandparents own a farm where I spent all of my summers as a child.

Almost every day during those summers was the same. I would get up early in the morning and catch the horses to go for a quick ride. Afternoons were always filled with baking, gardening, crafting and board games. Evenings were reserved for card games in the kitchen.

For the last few years, I've only been able to visit them over the Christmas holidays. It wasn't until I went back last month that I realized how much I loved being there at harvest time. While I was there I couldn't help but fall back into the routine I'd set as a child. I found a reproduced vintage dress pattern and some cheap taffeta and set about making myself a dress (photos to come).

I didn't get the dress finished while I was there but did manage to rediscover my love of sewing. After I got back, my grandmother suggested that I buy myself a sewing machine as a gift for my upcoming birthday and after much debate, I eventually ended up with this.

New Sewing Machine

A Janome 4100QDC. At this point it appears that this machine is the best purchase I've ever made. I've already made two small projects with it with many more in the planning stage (more on those next time).

That said, I'm still knitting. Instead of detracting from my knitting, the sewing has actually kicked it into high gear. Hopefully there will be some Autumn Rose progress worth sharing shortly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A long time comin'

It's been a while. I've spent a large amount of time thinking about how I was going to get back into posting regularly on the blog again. Turns out that the easiest way is to simply start posting again.

Big news is that after many months of little to no knitting, I've finally managed to finish the Autumn Rose Sleeves.

Autumn Rose Sleeves

Seeing the finished product has made me very glad that I took the time to frog the first sleeve and spit-splice the ends. The overall effect is much more polished and uniform.

I plan to cast on for the body later tonight. Hopefully the longer rows on the body and less frequent colour changes will mean that I will actually get this done before next fall.

I'm looking forward to posting more frequently in the coming months. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fly By

The last few weeks have given new meaning to the phrase "flying by on the seat of your pants".

I've picked up a lace bug and knit these:

Montego Bay in Handmaiden Sea Silk

Montego Bay

Montego Bay

Swallowtail Shawl from IK.

Swallowtail Edging

Swallowtail Shawl

I've frogged and made progress on Autumn Rose:

Frogged Autumn Rose Sleeve

I flexed my first-time quilter's muscle to make a baby blanket for a close friend.

Baby Quilt

Finished the Ice Cream Socks (Cat Bordhi's Cedar Master Pattern)

Cedar Master Socks

I've gone to Hawaii to see sand, lava, and sunsets.




Made it back from Las Vegas (sorry no photos of that one).

Finished my original contract at work and received an extension.

Packed my bags for Italy.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Catching Up

Way, way, waaaaay back (nearly a month ago now), I managed to finish the Superbowl Baby Sweater (a.k.a. the Tulip Baby Cardi). After weeks of blog neglect, this darling little number completely fell off the radar. It has only now come to light due to my continued failure at any sort of camera use and a general lull in knitting progress, symptomatic of a potentially finished Lucy Cardi hoping to make its final blog appearance next week.

I bought a kit for this sweater from Lettuce Knit last May. With four good friends expecting over the next five months it seemed like a good time to finally knit it up.
Tulip Baby Caridgan

The Dream in Color yarn was wonderful to knit with. The subtle variations in colour create a beautiful overall effect. The yarn grew a little after hitting a sink of warm soapy water, as expected when dealing with superwash. The sleeves look like they may end up being a little long (based on my limited knowledge of infant proportions) but the striping pattern was too beautiful to interrupt.

Tulip Baby Caridgan

The marriage of colour and texture is wonderful in this project. The seed stitch used for the edging and between stripes complements the different values in the yarn beautifully. Even the inside is gorgeous.

Tulip Baby Caridgan

Although I loved every minute of this project, I am more than a little relieved that the dozens and dozens of ends have finally been woven in. Luckily I still have a few months left over before I have to tackle the matching hat with all the leftovers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I have to say, there is no knitting like vacation knitting.
The hill

Last weekend the significant other and I fled the city in search of a hill or two for some much needed R&R. Being a girl who grew up in Québec amongst some of the finest ski conditions in Eastern-ish Canada, I wasn't expecting much from the Torontonian take on a classic ski resort. It was cliché, it was overpriced, it was gorgeous, and we had a blast.

As a preamble to this little detour on the way to a knitting update, it's been about 6 years since my snowboard has touched snow. Scary, I know.

The fear

Turns out that aside from having to overcome the fear of serious injury that has finally managed to permeate my older and wiser brain since my teenage years, a few runs and it's all old hat again. This picture makes me look way more in control than I felt at the time.

The board

While nursing the inevitable delayed onset muscle soreness I managed to make notable progress on my Central Park Hoodie sleeves. Although this is a never-before-posted picture of the first sleeve I finished knitting at the beginning of March, it looks very much like the second sleeve that is now more than halfway through so let's pretend it's that.

Central Park Hoodie

I have some serious love for the Oceanwind Knits yarn I'm using for this sweater. The cables are really showing up nicely.

Central Park Hoodie

I also managed to finish the first of the ice cream socks from December days past. Sadly, there are also no up-to-date photos of those just yet something to be rectified shortly. I know, I know. Bad knitter!

Why all the dated/missing photos you ask? Well when not knitting, or careening down a vertical incline, I spent much of my time doing this.

The wine

Vive les vacances!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Things have been busy. Too busy. To counteract the disorienting feeling of chasing one's tail for weeks on end, I decided to wake up at 7:00 am one fine Sunday morning and get some spinning done.


These are the first 2 completed skeins of what is lovingly referred to as NBO, short for the "Neverending Blue One." I cling to the eventual hope that one day there may be nearly enough yarn for *gasp* a whole sweater.


I suppose it would help if I found more time to sit at my wheel now and then. Perhaps a challenge for next month.


A more wordy post to come in the not-so-distant future. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Have you seen the new Knitty?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sunny Days

The winter sun is one of my favourite things. It brings the hope of spring as rivulets of melt water forage paths through the winter grime, crisscrossing the sidewalks at every turn. There is something about a sun-filled winter sky that invites us to look up from our cold-fighting winter hunch, press our shoulders down away from our ears, acknowledge our fellow city dweller, and take notice how beautiful our snow covered city really is.

Another gift from the winter sun is wonderful light for FO shots. I managed to finish up Kusha Kusha over the weekend.

Kusha Kusha

This scarf only used up one cone of the Silk Stainless yarn and one and a smidge skeins of the cashmere. It didn't felt quite as much as I had thought it might but I have a deep and passionate love for the resulting fabric. The scarf is so light and airy, weighing only just over an ounce. Thanks to the superfine and supersoft cashmere it's surprisingly warm (warm enough that I'm standing outside in a t-shirt in February).

And next up some long long overdue Tilted Duster photos. Although not apparent in these photos, if I take the time to make a few adjustments this sweater will actually stay completely closed. Something that is a very welcome surprise.

Finished Duster

Norah Gaughan's Tilted Duster
Yarn: Berocco Peruvia in Granada
Amount: 7.05 skeins (could have made it with 7)
Size: 36" bust on my 35" bust so one inch of positive ease
Started: August 2007
Finished: January 2008

This sweater was started in August, finished in October and received buttons in January. The Berocco Peruvia yarn I used, as called for in the pattern, is lovely but perhaps not ideal for a sweater such as this. After wearing it twice the sweater has already started to pill significantly on the inside of the rear section.

Finished Duster

If I were to knit this pattern again, I would adjust the amseye shaping to eliminate the small amount of bulk you can see in the above photo. Otherwise the pattern is genius. Another home run for the illustrious Norah Gaughan.

One last parting shot in honour of the winter sun.

Finished Duster
Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Once upon a Super Bowl

Last Sunday I was talked into attending a Super Bowl party. Knowing that I lack the "enthusiasm for televised sports" gene, I decided to start a new project that would give me my own little dose of the fun. Enter the Tulip Baby Cardigan.
Picture 114

It's perfect. Fast, easy, pretty, lots of colour, and nice yarn. I've had this kit in my stash since last spring. Now that I have more than a few close friends expecting it seems like a great time to knit it up.

Before falling off the metaphorical goal bandwagon, I managed to accomplish some long forgotten spinning.

Picture 109

The yarn is just over 140 yards of worsted 3-ply, made with 2 plies of Superwash merino top (these singles) and one ply of a merino tencel blend. There should be about a sweater's worth of yarn if I ever get finished. I'm not too sure about the colour since it is darker than I had originally anticipated. We'll see what happens after a bit of swatching before I make a firm decision either way.

Lucy is almost finished. I have about 16 more rows and a bit of neckband knitting to do. Then it's on to weaving in the dozens of ends, buying buttons, and grafting the underarm join shut.

Lucy in the Sky Cardigan

I tried it on over the weekend and it seems a bit small. I think that a good blocking will give me a bit more room, especially since the yarn is superwash. Failing that, I suppose I'll have to cut back on the Mini Eggs.

Kusha Kusha also featured prominently this weekend and a fair amount of progress was made. I have just over a hundred more rows of stainless silk left to knit and it will be finished.

Kusha Kusha

Love the way that this is turning out even if the slippery stainless silk rows are a bit of a pain to knit.

A week and some ago Nicole tagged me for the book MEME. Funny thing was that I had grabbed the book I was reading to see what my answer would before I realized that she had tagged me. Thanks Nicole!

The rules are as follows:

Go to the current book you are reading, on page 161, and copy down the 5th sentence:

“I can almost hear it.”

From Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb, otherwise known as my book club book for February.

Thank you for your comments on my last post. They made for a perfect re-entry.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Absentee Blogger Reporting for Duty

I can't believe that it's been nearly two months since my last post. Hopefully a few of you still stop by here from time to time. December and January have been a total blur. Between working 15 hour days, the holidays, and the constant game of catch-up that seems to be my life at the moment I've had limited time and energy to do much of anything.

Perhaps the most shocking part of being unreasonably busy is that it has sucked almost every creative thought from my brain, leaving me with absolutely no desire to knit.

I have managed to accomplish a few things since the last update. Instead of trying to break everything up into a series of posts I decided it would be easier to just dump everything off the camera into one post so that I can start fresh.

November was a month of rampant startitis.

There was the Flower Basket Shawl (since frogged with plans to make some sort of lace scarf).

Flower Basket Shawl

The Ice Cream version of a pair of Cat Bordhi's socks knit in some Vesper sock yarn that's been waiting to be called into action.

Vesper Neopolitan Sock

And, the Endpaper Mitts that were finished over the holidays.

knitting 026

These were knit using some Sweet Georgia sock yarn I had in the stash. I am still amazed by the fact that these only used about half of a 50g skein in each colour. Do you think I could get away with making a pair of Anemoi Mitts with the leftovers?

knitting 029

December was all about partially complete emergency gift knitting.

A Garter Stitch Scarf, made with some Berroco Ultra Alpaca for the significant other's sister.

Garter Stitch Scarf

The Mason-Dixon Washcloth from some really nice cotton for my mom who is always searching for the softest washcloth known to man.

Mason-Dixon Washcloth

And a pair of Broadripple Socks for my Great Aunt who taught me to knit, still not finished. I'm using some Cascade Fixation that was hand dyed by Laura Chau of Cosmicpluto Knits! love the colours but I'm still not used to knitting with the Fixation. Luckily the recipient understands the pressures of deadline knitting.

knitting 019

January has been a month of resolutions.

With just under a sleeve and a yoke to go, I'm nearly finished the Lucy cardigan I started sometime last year (updated pics to come). I like it but I am ready to be finished now that the end is in sight.

Lucy in the Sky Cardi

I finally got around to sewing the buttons I bought in October on my Tilted Duster (still no FO photos).

Finished Duster

A close-up of the button prettiness. I think it's swell.

Tilted Duster Button

Happily, I managed to swatch for the Central Park Hoodie I started thinking about a ways back.

CPH swatch

My very first Nancy Bush socks finally jumped on the needles. I love easy-peasy stripey socks. These are such a great knit that I was halfway through the heel flap of the first sock before I acknowledged that they were never going to fit me. They are headed to the frog pond for a do-over in the not-so-distant future.

knitting 014

And I decided to frog the Autumn Rose sleeve I plan to reknit it using a different technique to change colours since all the ends that need weaving are already getting me down.

So what's new with you?