Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer

Apparently the phrase "the dog days of summer" have to do with the appearance of the "dog star" Sirius, in the sky, not the fact that my dogs have little desire to move, in the 29 degree afternoons.  I'd show you a picture, but they both hiding, somewhere cool.

I have to agree with the dogs, the hot weather makes moving a chore. After 42 days spent knitting on Alberta, I decided to go for something that required less mental capacity. (Thank you for all the lovely compliments on Alberta.)

I have made 3 of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jackets (known in knitting circles as the BSJ). They are quite quick and simple to do, and make a lovely jacket for a baby of either gender, so they make a great shower gift.

I have some lovely bamboo yarn, sitting in my stash, just asking to be knit, so I started a BSJ.

They start out looking like this.  Oddly, although this is my fourth one, I don't have a single picture of a completed jacket. I guess I finished them just in time to give them away. They are knit in one piece, and require seaming, only at the shoulder. Not a lot of counting, no markers to juggle and not a bead in sight! Far more suited to a hot afternoon.

Meanwhile, Layla has joined us at the Resort and spa, for a couple of weeks of R & R after 6 weeks in the shelter. She is Foster Cat # 160, at our house.

She is a pretty little girl, but she needs to get rid of her infection because it is making a mess of her lovely fur.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Alberta Shawl

On May 11, Anne-Lise Maigaard offered her pattern for the Alberta Shawl, for free, to anyone who donated to a group providing relief to the victims of the wild fires in Fort McMurray.

I made a donation to the Edmonton Humane Society and encouraged others to do the same. I also heard about Anne-Lise's generous offer from my friend Cheryl of Grandma CoCo's Designs.

On June 1, we challenged each other to a knit along. It wasn't a race, just a chance to work together, even though we live about 2 hours apart. As one of us got to a tricky section and worked it out, we would tell the other how we solved the problem.

It took us six weeks, many emails, and a lot of beads, but now we are done.

I had a hard time finding a towel big enough to lay under it. You can't quite see the whole shawl.

A closer view of the lace. My points aren't all exactly the same, but the fault is in the blocking. Doesn't it look like a giant lace doily?

The yarn is Gloss Lace, by Knit Picks, 70% merino wool, 30% silk, and 100% a joy to knit with. The colourway is Sterling.  The shawl has in excess of 700 beads and  about 600 m of yarn.

Drop over to Cheryl's blog and see how hers turned out.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Weekend of Finishes

Sometimes it feels like I'm are getting nowhere.  Then, sometimes, everything just starts to work.

The blog is called Arts and Socks for a reason. I have this odd addiction to knitting socks. Not usually very fancy socks. Just plain, ordinary, wearable socks, in interesting yarns.

Two pairs were finished this weekend.

The pair on the left are an adult men's size in Regia Pairfect Cotton. The pattern is the one I have stored in my head. This is very nice yarn to knit with, and, although one of the nine year olds, in the group where I teach knitting, thought the the tiny bit of pink in the yarn meant that no man would wear them, I think I will have no problem finding a new owner for these.

The pair on the right are in newborn size. These are My First Regia, and are from the ball I bought last week when I got caught having to wait, without my knitting. The pattern is Baby Socks by Kate Atherley, and I have knit them enough that I can do much of it without the pattern. I am told by new parents that they do not kick off.  Unlike the adult socks it is pretty much impossible to make the baby socks match, unless you want to waste a whole bunch of yarn.

I am obviously in my Turquoise Period, since the socks are very similar colours. I love the contrast in the sizes.

Meanwhile, the Alberta shawl is currently swimming in the hot tub. The knitting is FINISHED!

In a few minutes, I will rinse it, and block it. Pictures, soon.

This week, we again had a feline staff change. Maddie is now with her forever family, and we have Copper carrying out all the cat duties.

She is a little cutie pie. I am told the female red tabbies only occur once in 10,000 red tabbies. Not sure how true that is, but they are rare enough that the staff member giving her to me kept referring to her as "he".

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Ramblings

I have not yet blogged in July. Our weather has been really hot, so I have been doing little. I actually drove a friend to an appointment this past week, and forgot to take any waiting room knitting. Luckily, there was a wool shop nearby, and we were early, so I could make a quick stop. Equally lucky, I don't need a pattern to cast on a pair of socks.

Yesterday, at the local farmers' market, the strawberries looked wonderful. Since this was probably the last week for strawberries, due to the heat and lack of rain, I bought a 3 litre basket. The berries have now been transformed to this.

I made 10 one cup containers of uncooked strawberry jam for the freezer. When February rolls around again, and the snow is up to the windowsills, some strawberry jam tastes wonderful on a warm scone.

In other food related news, I discovered these at the store, yesterday.

The Covered Bridge Potato Chip people have made Canadian patriotic chips, from red and white potatoes. Covered Bridge Potato chips are made near Hartland, NB, home of the world's longest covered bridge. This is a YouTube video of Rick Mercer, taking the factory tour.

I am progressing on my Alberta shawl. The next row uses 90 beads, so I was trying find beads that go together, since I don't think I have 90 the same. I started with the matte beads in the middle, but I only have 52 and even then they aren't all the same. I expect I am worrying too much about the bead colour placement.

Earlier this week, I dropped my container of beads. They hit the floor and spread everywhere. I had to remove the pets from the room, crawl around, sweeping them up with a whisk broom, then vacuum, and pick the beads out of the vacuum cup. Every now and again I find another bead. If I am short at the end, I have some silver lined clear beads, that will work for the last row.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Artistic Lull

Between the hot weather and an appointment I had to deal with this week, knitting seems to have been the art of choice.

Alberta continues. The rows are now about 450 stitches so I am lucky if I get two rows done in a day.

It lends itself to afternoon knitting, in natural sunlight. I can see the end. I have only 1 1/2 charts left to knit. I hope my beads hold out.

The long rows caused me to look for something simpler.

This is the Ten Stitch Blanket. Ten stitches per row, and you go round and round until it is big enough. the yarn is Bernat Baby Jacquard, so it changes colour as you knit, perfect for a project like this. This is my fourth attempt to get it to work. I think I've got it now. Earlier attempts, with a smaller needle, wouldn't lay flat.

I received a gift last week, from my dear friend, Cheryl.

It's Doug, doing yoga, on a yoga shirt!  Cheryl has done some artwork for a local company called Ladybird Knitwear. Cheryl knew how much I would love Doug on a shirt. It is too nice to sweat into, I think. I'm thinking loungewear, with a pair of leggings.

I must admit, Doug is much better at a triangle pose, than I am. I can't get my hand on the floor.

Yesterday, Baxter had a vet check, and his leg was declared sound. So, he is off to a new home, and Maddie has come to enjoy our Kitty Resort and Spa.

She has been in the shelter for awhile, so she is starting to enjoy the amenities of the resort. However, she is still a bit bothered by the security staff.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Bit of Progress

The weather suddenly turned really hot over the weekend. I was looking for a cool activity, so I spent some time sorting through some of my books and magazines.

I get a gift of money to buy something just for me, for my birthday each year. When I was a stay at home mom, I used to get myself a subscription to a sewing or quilting magazine. I saved them all. Now, in 2016, I can look up most anything I am looking for on the internet. I never created any sort of index for the magazines, so I am not sure how I ever figured I would find anything again.

Here they are, packed in a box, for paper recycling. I have barely made a dent. I will try and do more for the next paper recycling day (in two weeks).

I also filled a box with books, to send to a local book sale. Maybe some beginner sewist will enjoy them.

On Monday, I did a happy dance, after I received my order from Emmaline Bags.

I love these zippers.

The zipper pulls say "Handmade" and she wraps them in pink tissue to protect them in transit.

I also restocked my hardware,

I have big plans!

I actually got started on a summer bag, for me.

The fabric is much brighter then it looks here, but my Ott Light bulb burned out in my sewing room, and I haven't got a new one. You can see from the cutting list the shape of the new bag. Hopefully, I can get some more of it cut out, today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

World Wide Knit In Public Day 2016

June 18 is World Wide Knit In Public Day.

It is a chance for knitters in a community to come together and enjoy each other's company. I will be attending an event in my community and I hope you will too. It looks like the weather is going to be good, so our event will be outside in the park (the nearby library was Plan B).

Check here to find an event in your area.  If there isn't one, it isn't too late to organize one.

I have been working on my Alberta Shawl.

After 13 days of knitting at least a bit every day, I am at Row 90. One day, I knit 5 rows, 3 of them twice. With 289 stitches on my needle, I am lucky to get 4 rows done in a day, and it is definitely not mindless knitting. It may go to WWKIP, but only to show off.

The beads are adding a bit of colour to the piece. I think it might be time to add a life line.

I will be sock knitting at WWKIP.

The Penrose Toes now have heels as well as toes. Since I never knit toe up socks, I think the foot is going to be too long for my dainty little feet. I am going to keep going. I am sure I can find somebody they fit. There is an error in the heel section, which doesn't effect the stitch count or anything, so I have given myself permission to leave it. Now the question is: Do I do the second one with the same error?

Baxter is improving daily. He has also discovered that there are squirrels and birds in the yard. He invited them over for breakfast.
He actually asks us to put peanuts on the window sill in the morning to get the squirrels and Jays to come.