Thursday, December 25, 2008

A very Merry Christmas!

Today, I had a very merry christmas - I received my BSA Swap Pkg in the mail yesterday and waited until today to unwrap it - my swap partner, yarnpiggy, wrapped everything in lovely pink tissue paper - from the lightest pastel pink, medium pink, to a bright hot pink - all which I love. Yes, pink is still my favorite color.

Here's the before:
P1030086

and the after:

P1030087

I was treated to:
- 2 skeins of the lovely and very soft BSA Suri Merino in Dawn (Lt Pink)
- 2 cookie a patterns - thelonious sock and millicent (both on my list)
- yummy chocolate treats - ritter sport milk chocolate; lindt double milk chocolate mini balls (which i've never seen); and "hottie", a dark chocolate chili & cinnamon chocolate bar (also never seen - but can't wait to try) AND my very own chocolate "M"
- 3 pkgs of tea from "The Blue Teapot" in Vancouver - one is honeybush, green rooibos, and green gunpowder - love tea, and will definitely use these both at home and at work
- set of 6 pink and white handmade beaded stitchmarkers (always come in handy)

Love love love this package - and Hilary included a note saying there's another small package to come -I am so spoiled, and thankful. What a great Christmas :)

As for Christmas, I spent the day doing some knitting and reading, calling friends. My mom gave me a lipstick, and a 2009 pocket calendar, and an iou from mom and dad for new luggage, since mine is starting to wear out. My dad made an amazing christmas turkey dinner with all the fixings. The stuffing was really good, and I'm sitting here so stuffed now, and happy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Knitting warm in this Winter Wonderland

Dec21 Winter
Winter time is definitely here -snow fell early last week and our power went out for an hour or two. I tried out my new windable flashlight and it works well. This week, we were given a short reprieve - no new snow, but definitely icy parts, and parts where the snow had packed down, so it was difficult to drive. I went on a couple of adventures with my car - fish-tailing it back down the hill near my house into oncoming traffic - luckily, noone else was around. The 2nd incident was on a back country road, and traffic stopped and stared as I did my little fish tail dance as a stunned pedestrian looked on - that was on my way to work.

I met with Chris earlier in the week for our Christmas lunch - we went to Little Thai Place (yum!). For the first time ever in a restaurant, I was seated with a heater blowing on me. It was cozy. Normally, I'm next to the fan or the AC. Food was good, and she loved her hat. She gifted me a handmade clove orange, which is literally cloves pushed into an orange. It smells wonderful and is expected to last for years (10 or more), as long as I keep it dry. I hung it up next to my closet, so I can smell it whenever I want.

I finished up the cowl and fetching gloves I'd been working on as Christmas Gifts - quick and easy knits. The Malabrigo is so soft - it's very enjoyable to knit with.

Bijou Cowl -
Bijou Cowl

This past week, with the winter weather - I tested out my new Hushpuppy boots (success!) - they are very toasty. Also, finally wore the handknitted socks from pdx knit in worsted weight artyarns sw merino. They're lovely, and warm. My neck cowl definitely keeps the winds out - and my camel coronet hat keep my head and ears warm. I've dug my german man's scarf out of hiding, and whip that around my head and upper body before putting on my coat. My wool coat which has stood by me year after year is just not warm enough for this below zero weather, but with the scarf, it's holding up fine. My gloves have been sadly lacking, however, though leather, the lining is a synthetic, and my fingers are icy cold.

In the spirit of keeping my arms, hands and fingers warm, I started in on the Gingerbread Dude Silkie Sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It's silk and merino together - to make Evangeline arm warmers. Since it's fingering weight, i have doubled it - the yarn is making a firm yet stretchy fabric, and it is very silky soft.

Gingerbread Evangeline 2

The cable pattern definitely requires some attention - especially because it doesn't have a chart, so it was fine when I was watching tv, and checking each row.
Gingerbread Evangeline Front
Later, when I tried to knit a row here and there, I'd lose my place, and forget to knit the even rows, which are just knitting the stitches as they are (gives the pattern it's height). So, I ripped back, and did a bout of knitting last night while watching a sappy comedic tv movie. I finished 5 repeats. I've started on the thumb, but I think i'll change the pattern to a proper thumb gusset, as I don't like the instructions in the pattern. If I have enough yarn, then, i'l pick up and knit a cap,so I have arm, hand, and finger coverage. In this cold weather, I'll knit just about anything to keep warm!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gift 2 on its way...

I finished the hat in elapsed time 10 days, but probably just a few evenings of concentrated knitting. It's on my dresser waiting to be felted. I missed a good opportunity to do it on saturday night and didn't realize until I thought it was too late that I could have done it. I've already warned her that she might be doing the felting herself and since it's part of the fun, I marked it as finished on Rav.

Here is the side view:
Pillbox Hat

...other than the lime-y stripe, I like the colours on this hat too

I started next gift in the lineup - said fetching fingerless gloves in red for my friend Pam from Portland. I looked up the cabling without a cable needle instructions on stefanie japel's website that megan mentioned and they are very easy - way easier than the way I was doing it. Unfortunately, doing it that way means I sometimes ended up poking my needle where it didn't belong and the yarn split, so there's a few pulls. well, it's handmade. she'll appreciate that. also, the yarn didn't end up being as soft as i'd hoped, so there's that.

in my hopes to keep my attention focused, i've started another project (heheh, mary will be pleased). I wound a nice skein of handmaiden camelspin a couple of weeks ago, dug out a US 3 (3.25mm), and started Alhambra last night. A rocky start with too long a cable (47"), i'm holding the excess in my armpit as of now (don't worry, i'm wearing a shirt). Once I read the instructions on the chart, it went much better. I'm half way through the first repeat (18 rows) x 17 repeats - lol - hopefully, my attention holds. I imagine i'll be knitting fetching on tues knit night.

As for christmas gifts, today, I did a little early christmas shopping for myself and for some friends. I sent some bath bombs to a friend in portland from saltspring soapworks and treated myself to a foot scrub bar that smells like anise (i love that scent). I almost bought one for my swapee (BSA Swap 2), but I thought she might think it too personal a gift to give. I also splurged on something i've been wanting for quite awhile - a goose down duvet. As bad as the US market is, even with the low value dollar, Victoria and western canada are still doing quite well with the lowest unemployment rate in the country. It was on sale, and lower than I've ever seen the prices (although I haven't looked in the last 5+ years or so). The killer was that I do have a duvet cover that i bought in pdx, and surprise (again), it's in my storage unit and unaccessible, so I sprang for a nice red spice color one (see pic below)) with dark red-brown leaves, and creme outlined leaves all over.
New Duvet pattern 2
It was a b to get the duvet in the cover, since the zip's on the side, I miss flipping it in, but it's settled on the bed now and can't wait to get a good night's sleep.

My room's been so cold at night 65-66F, since I usually like it at 70F. I know i'm a wuss. I remember a lady one time at Meier and Frank (before they went belly up) tell me how I could put the heat down to 60F and use a heavy duvet. lol, like i'd want to stick my toes out from under the covers at 60F to get up and go to work!
for you metric canuck readers - that's 18C, 21C, and 15.5C for yous. sorry, still not converted.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's in the air...

Christmas music has started, and luckily, I have started knitting Christmas gifts.
First up, I've started a felted pillbox hat in greens, purples and blues

Noro Kureyon - Chris' Hat

-pre-approved by my friend Chris for her Christmas gift. She was enchanted with mine, and preferred it over the cowl, so I'm about half way through the knitting - just crested the crown. Hopefully, will have a pic soon, the colours are turning out lovely. There's a bit of chartreuse/lime in there, but I hid it away inside, so it's not as garrish looking - the rest of the greens and blues are really appealing, I might end up doing a hat in these colours for myself. We'll see.

Next, I have plans for a red pair of fetching gloves for friend Pam (she's been pre-warned as well, except for the yarn feeling part); and the going away gift pushed to Christmas arm/hand warmers for Linz. That will probably be next. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie Socks in Gingerbread Dude -

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie

which is a red-orange red, brown, and creme mixed in a twisted fiber. I think it's a silk-merino blend. The pattern will either be the pomatomus pattern in a glove form, or evangeline cabled, or possibly another handwarmer pattern in my q on ravelry.

jingle bells, jingle bells...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Latest Project - Vera T

My latest project is this top-down T from Knitting Pure and Simple, knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted - colour Vera - a lovely berry pink, brown, olive green and creme colour.

P1030015

The major mod I made is to add cables below the bust, so the T is more fitted to my body. I love how it's looking so far, just an inch more of cabling, and then, the rib, then, onto the sleeves.

Here's the original yarn:

Lorna's Laces Worsted Vera

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ta da ! Finished Hats, and Cowl

Well, my couple of hats and my crofter's cowl have been finished for a few weeks now, but my flickr connection seems to be bogged down. It just churns. I can upload pictures no problem, but can't get the pages on flickr to change or organize any pics, so i'll have to go back to uploading from my pc.

So...Ta da -here's pics:

Felted hat (modelled by my friend Chris)



Camel Coronet Hat
mods - originally planned to make this coronet hat with one skein of camel yarn (about 82 yds), so only knit the cable band, and picked up to knit the crown, without the backing on the band underneath. The result was I still ended up using 1 + skein, with at least 1/2 skein leftover, so I could have made it according to the pattern properly instead of making the mod.



Crofter's Cowl - with 1 skein (actually, only needed 1/2 a skein) of Malabrigo Worsted in Lorro Barranquero (burgundy, brown and yellow fall combo). Here's the original skein, and half of the finished product. Will post a pic of the full cowl when I get that downloaded.

The yarn - Malabrigo Lorro Barranquero


P1030007



Also, played around with some hand-dyeing again, and made these lovelies:







Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lace Handwarmers and Felted Hat

Currently knitting these lace handwarmers made from some yarn I handdyed - in greens and blues. The handwarmers are pretty stretchy..although the pattern says "Fits most women".

Hand side:
Green Handwarmer Left
Palm side:
Green Handwarmer left palm

As for my felted hat, the sob story is that I made one of these in 2005 and subsequently lost the favorite hat, so I'm making another as I know it'll be cold with that Victoria wind whipping by, and I don't want to go another year without. The hat is made with 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon - at least that is, with the parts of the 3 skeins that I wanted, namely the bright red and pink parts. The dark gray and black parts I just cut out. As one of my BB buddies mentioned, it probably makes the colorway more random. That's true, it's turned out wonderfully.
Here's the pre-felted version:
To-be Felted Noro Hat

Although it's rough on the hands while knitting, Kureyon knits and felts up like a dream into a firm but soft fabric, albeit a little hairy. Definitely use a lingerie bag when felting one of these, it definitely sheds.

Just drying now, when it's dry, I'll post a pic of the finished hat.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pet Peeve Adventure and Rant

Lately, in the last couple of weeks, I have been on a bit of an adventure. Unbeknownst to me, I have managed to pick up (twice now) objects that have lay idle for months secretly storing up gruesome smoky smells. Each time, I have thought nothing of grabbing said object and pushing it into a bag with my knitted objects or projects (Gak!) that are clean and non-smoky. Yuk, Disgusting. Yes, you can tell, i'm a non-smoker.

Last friday night, I was working avidly on my knitted felt hat, the hat to replace the beloved felted hat that I lost a year or two ago -that was my first ever knitting project from a class . This to-be felted hat lies ready and waiting, far away from other projects because when I arrived home on friday night, I realized I had put a smoky project (fall star stitch scarf) into a bag overnight with my other clean projects (to-be felted hat, and finished dream-in-color shrug). ugh. Another bout of febreze and the projects including the scarf smell new - a temporary measure until I can get to rinsing them with wool wash or eucalan. The hat to be felted anyway will have a bit of soap to keep it company in the wash so the smell will go.

Tonight yet again, I managed to put a smoky-smelling synthentic scarf (say that 5x fast!) in with my knitting stuff, after having worn said scarf into work, at lunch, and to knit night. Yuk! I didn't realize until I arrived home and pulled my knitting and knitted items out that they smelled smoky.

So, you might ask, "how are they getting smoky ?" Well, in my move last Dec, the professional movers I hired smoked furiously at breaks, came in, did a cursory wash of their hands, and went back to packing my stuff. Since I-5 was closed at christmas time, I ended up not being able to transport my clothes myself, so they were pushed into the professional move, and packed by yep, professional movers who smoke and have the dang smoky residue on their hands, and transferred it to my clothes. Great.

Now, as I've been unpacking some clothes from my storage unit I've discovered clothes that have held onto the smoke and ick now, able to store and transfer the yukky stuff again to my clothes. You bet I'm peeved.

I do have to say that I in my past life, I was way more tolerant of smoke. Having lived in Germany for 2 years where smoking, even with dinner, was the norm for many Germans, I knew that going to dinner at 8pm as was the norm for most germans meant grey blue smoke filled restaurants and pubs. My friends and I generally went out to dinner early at 6ish to avoid the smoke. When I returned from Germany to Portland, I was more tolerant than when I had been living in Germany even. That has definitely worn off now.

Now, with the rule about no smoking within 3m of an entry way, I see a habit that has changed its nature. Since smokers can no longer smoke inside the building, outside the building, or near the building, I see way more smokers smoking in their cars, dropping butts on the street, flicking ashes out windows, and smoking up a storm inside their cars before going in to work, or handling merchandise inside stores - including yarn stores.

Anyway, to anyone reading this - if you handled any items knitted by me in the last couple of weeks, and you're a non-smoker and were bothered by smelling my smoky items, I'm sorry if they were smoky, and smelled smoky. I hope I didn't transfer any of it to your knitting projects. I didn't know. I hope I'm training my nose to discern quicker the unwanted smells, and isolate the offending object sooner, and treat them with febreze, wool wash and/or a trip to the laundry.

Phew - let's hope this part of the adventure is over sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Artifacts of Reno and a skein of yarn

Other sights from Reno:

This elaborate statue was outside the hallway leading to the Brews Brothers Brewery in downtown Reno -
Reno
and
Reno
and
Reno

This debit card-style wine vending machine - Buy by the ounce - 1oz, 3oz, and 5 oz:-
Wine Dispenser
and up close and personal:
Wine Dispenser

The bottle is hidden behind a plate of glass, and the spout extends out and literally drips your wine into your glass. Prices ranged from about $1.50 per oz to over $30 for a 5oz glass.

I couldn't resist snapping a photo of this bread -
Alligator Bread
yep, it's really bread. cool..?

and in the main floor bathrooms (restrooms) of the Grand Sierra - these sinkless sinks -
Sinkless Restrooms

The spout is an automatic faucet; and the water runs down the slanted flat surface to be drained away, so no sinks to clean. The soap was automatic too.

The weather was wonderfully warm - about 85-90F, but dry dry heat, with very little humidity. I wore shorts on the Sunday downtown, and felt like the heat was killing me. Good thing I'd changed from wearing my jeans. I found Trader Joe's in Reno, near the Meadowwood Mall, a short bus ride from the hotel (downtown, and then, one transfer out). Across the way - Jimmy Beans Wool, the brick-and-mortar store. It was a smallish LYS - and no buying program. I purchased one skein of Manos Silky merino which matched the top I was wearing that day - in my trademark (now) purple-pink color that I love! We're spoiled in Portland for great customer service and yarn buying programs. The lady from JBW who helped me with directions to the bus stop was very helpful to this out-of-town visitor.

Manos Silky Merino

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Reno Auto Museum

Sunday the 7th September - Reno Auto Museum (dinner and car-browsing).


This is a Jerrari - made by Jeep with a Ferrari engine in the 1950's - It's top speed: 120mph. Hmm..perfect for that stay-at-home mom.
Jerrari

A harley during the times of James Dean:
Harley James Dean

Gull-wing Mercedes-Benz from 1956:
Auto Museum Gull-wing Mercedes

and inside:
Auto Museum Gull-wing Mercedes

Reno Balloon Races

Back to the races..here's some fun pics from afar of the Reno Balloon Races held the previous weekend in Reno, NV.

This first pic shows how far away the balloons were from my hotel Grand Sierra Casino and Resort:

Reno and Balloons

The pink and white one is the ever-famous Energizer Bunny Balloon which a friend of mine tells me is the tallest balloon in the world. I was lucky enough to find a setting on my camera for Macro which pulled the balloons in, and magnified them a little. At the smallest size, they are the most recognizable:

Energizer Bunny Balloon

The pictures on this setting look almost surreal, as if they were painted.
Here's the bunny from behind. That "N" is on the hill behind the balloons. My guess is "RENO", but I could only spot the "R" and the "N":

Reno Balloon Race

The brown head with the gold hat - Smokey the Bear:
Reno Balloon Race Sunday

At the bottom right of this next photo near the "N" is a red, black and yellow Bee - perhaps HoneyNut Cheerios ? Not sure -
Energizer Bunny Balloon, Reno

Here's the "R":
R and Balloons

and a closer pic of the Bee:

Reno Balloon Race Sunday

Lovely Wollmeise

We interrupt the regular scheduled blogging with the exciting news that on a whim I checked out the wollmeise.de site last month, just in the timeframe when Claudia had opening the window for her new sock club. Having seen the wollmeise yarns up-close-and-personal from Tiffany on a previous Friday, I was enchanted. My timing was just right, I submitted my info, and voila, the following Monday was contacted by e-mail and invited to join the exclusive sock club.

While I was away in Reno and Portland - my first shipment arrived - 2 lovely skeins of wollmeise sock yarn superwash - one a deep purple, one a deep green, a pattern for lovely cabled socks (i mog di), and a set of 5 dpns made from remainder wood used to make musical instruments, and a free ruler (lol! claudia uses the ruler to keep the dpns from breaking - what a great idea!).

First off, I love love love the yarn - yes, they're my colors - and no, sorry, no trading on these lovelies. Also, the yarn and pattern are close to my heart as I was in Bavaria myself for 2 years.

I'm not sure exactly the rules of posting pics, so for now, here's the spoiler
Wollmeise_SC_Spoiler

- if you're reading and on Ravelry, look under the Wollmeise Group for pics.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Biggest Little City...Reno

The thing about traveling is that sometimes you take so many pics you don't have time to blog it all in the time you have. Last week, I went to Reno, NV for a work conference. The pics I took were small artifacts of the things I saw, the experiences I had. Many things are only in my mind, so they can't be shared, but here's a few of the sights I saw.

Reno at Night

I arrived Saturday the 6th. My first experiences were seeing an overwhelming number of slot machines. They've discontinued the use of coins, so I was disappointed to find out that the machines only print slips of paper now which can be then converted to cash. On my way to baggage claim, my first introduction to the people of Reno was a man heading in the opposite direction, slicked back hair, wearing shorts, running shoes, and a full-length white-ish gray fur coat. He glanced at me as we passed, daring me to say something. I walked on towards baggage claim.

Arriving at the hotel - Grand Sierra Resort, just a few minutes away from the airport, I was struck by the sheer size of the hotel. The grand entrance opens up under a foyer of lights, and inside, rows on rows of slot machines, black jack tables, roulette and craps tables.

My room was on the 27th floor (the highest) in the dark tower - self-named for the dark and manly decor - black hallways, and dark carpet. The man at the desk told me the "suites" were actually condos, and only called "suites" when their owners' were traveling.

My room -
Grand Sierra Room 1

Bathroom - (ahem, restroom for us readers)
Grand Sierra Bathroom

Entry way - the suite came with a microwave, fridge, and personal ashtray (yuk! Reno is still behind in that respect)
Grand Sierra Room 3

and flat-screen tv:
Grand Sierra Room 1

One thing - no mini-bar, and no free water - This is Voss, an imported water from Norway - $6 per bottle:
Voss Water

On a side note, on Tuesday evening, I ate dinner at one of the hotel restaurants - they offered me a choice of tap water or bottled water. Do-over: pick bottled water.

In the bathroom, no tub - a 2-person shower, with a rain shower head - ooohhh what a treat!