Monday, September 29, 2008

The weather was perfect!

My father and his wife, Caren, came for a visit from BC this weekend and it was great! Saturday was Eli's big Birthday Bash at the local Rollerskating arena and of course, Opa and Carey were invited to attend. Unfortunately for me (I was hoping for an addition source of entertainment, I suppose), neither fell on their behinds, but I do believe that both had a great time. Eli, of course, had a fantastic time, with lots of Cake, presents and friends from school.

Eli with his best friend.

The cake.... it looked amazing and NO, I did not make it.

Eli taking a turn around the rink. He loves rollerskating!

On Sunday, we drove to Banff. I love Banff! I'm not sure why we don't go there more often. It's so beautiful there! I don't even mind (and kinda like) all the tourists and the bustle of the main street. And the WEATHER... it was just perfect. We had lunch in town and then rode the gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain.

The kids posing at the bottom of the gondola in front of the gift shop (some of my favorite places are gift shops, for some reason)

Chey doing what she does best.... acting cute.

A great picture of me and the kids, windblown hair and all.......

Group shot at lunch.

And Eli, doing what he does best... pose... LOL.

I did very little knitting this weekend, although I did receive my third Year of Lace subscription designed by the owner of my favorite LYS (and the source of the subscription club). I love it! I'd show some pictures, but I want to wait until everyone receives their kits before I post pictures on my blog. I will post some pictures on my Ravelry page with a spoiler photo for anyone who wants to peek ahead of time. I cast on immediately and knit about 10 or so rows, just enough to see the pattern start to emerge... and it's going to be fantastic!

I also had to frog one of the Christmas presents I'm making, but I can't get into too much detail about that here either.....

The last knitting related activity of the weekend was a sweater that I'm designing for Chey. It's going to be *slightly* similar to Wisteria, although I had this idea in my head before I saw wisteria in the premier issue of Twist Collective. It will be a top down, round yoke sweater with what I hope will be heart inspired cables. I've done gauge swatches and preliminary drawings and measurements, but need to chart out a few things before I can actually cast on. I think it'll be a slow work-in-progress, mostly due to other projects that are currently underway and soon to be underway (more of those pesky Christmas-can't-share-too-much-info type projects). It will be my first true, non-inspired (post inspired doesn't count IMO) sweater design..... if it works... I hope it will work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I hate to say it, but

"I hate to say it, but it looks a little bad". That's what Eli told me when I modeled my finished Riding to Avalon Hoodie today. What do kids know anyway.. sheesh! LOL

I really like it, although I am hoping it softens a little in the wash for better drape. In the end I used 320 meters (just over 3 of the 4 extra balls that I purchased) more yarn than the pattern called for and my measurements were bang on to the schematics. Final mods were:

1) Shortened the hood (by 2 inches, I'll NEVER wear it and couldn't be bothered to do the full length)
2) Added a 2 inch border of the purl twist stitch to the bottom edge and finished it off with 4 rows of garter (2 garter ridges). I had initially just cast off the purl twist stitch, but it flared and rolled slightly, so I took out the cast off (again, a provisional cast off on the bottom is pure masterful genius!) and did the garter. That worked beautifully.
3) I only used 5 buttons on the sleeves and 3 buttons on the collar flap, so lessened the total button count by 3.

So, all in all, rather minor adjustments. I'm pretty sure this sweater will be worn to death by the end of winter.......

Saturday, September 20, 2008

So close and yet, so very far....

I'm nearly (nearly as in "close"; kind of like in horseshoes and hand grenades) finished my Riding to Avalon hoodie. I'm about half way through the hood and then I need to pick up my provisional cast on for the bottom (have I mentioned how brilliant it is to do such a bottom edge??? What a great way to control the length, which is probably my number one nemesis in knitting). Then, of course, is the finishing (blech). Sewing in the ends (I've done most of them already), crocheting the buttonholes and attaching said buttons (did I mention there are 16 buttons in the pattern??? I'm already thinking of making it 12). The buttons I've chosen are a lovely pewter flower. OK, I've picked out two full sets of buttons (they're both really pretty and I *know* I'll use them somewhere). One set even has larger buttons that I bought to use for the closure at the neckline. Here is a photo of the almost complete sweater with examples of the buttons (and a close up of the buttons for detail's sake) I'm leaning towards the larger ones, mostly because I'm not sure I have enough of the smaller ones for the neckline:

I've already run out of yarn for this sweater once and I'm not sure why. I haven't double checked, but I seem to be on gauge and it fits, so the measurements should be close. I haven't done any modifications (yet... as I still haven't decided on a completed length and I am going to do the purl twist stitch for an inch or so along the bottom, rather than the one row of garter to stop the bottom edge from rolling (which never seems to work for me)), so I can't use mods as my excuse for running out of yarn. I wasn't a little short on yarn either, I ran out about 1/4 of the way through the second sleeve before I even started the hood or the finish on the bottom. I was able to obtain more of the same yarn in the same dye-lot, but I bought 4 balls just in case and I'm thinking I'm going to need 3 of them which will mean that I was WAY short. Once it's all finished, washed and dried flat (the most blocking it's going to see), I will measure it (and the gauge) to see exactly how short I was. I also couldn't manage to pick up 91 stitches around the neckline for the hood. I only picked up 81 (I'm knitting the smallest size), so hopefully that won't effect the way the garment looks in the end. 91 stitches would have caused the neckline to gather a lot. The other thing I did, was to bind off the shoulders before I started on the hood. The instructions say to do it after, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out why that was. There didn't seem to be a need to do it that way and it seemed like it would be awkward to do a 3 needle bind off once the edge stitches were picked up for the hood. Again, hopefully that won't come back to haunt me...... 

On the non-knitting front, I had Eli's first parent teacher interview on Thursday night. His teacher (same teacher as last year) couldn't believe the difference in Eli at school. He is attentive, interested and works hard. He hasn't had any outbursts at school and even when she was sure he was going to blow, he managed to control himself and express himself appropriately. Any issues she has had (and there have been very few) are of the regular seven-year-old-boy variety. She told me that her class is super easy this year

On that note: my baby boy is now officially SEVEN. His birthday was on Thursday and on Wednesday he finally lost his first two teeth. OK, he sort of lost them... the dentist actually had to pull them because his adult teeth were growing in so far behind that he said they'd never fall out on their own. He was awesome at the dentist as well, super brave and pretty excited to finally have some missing teeth. Here are two pictures; one of my teeny tiny 3lb baby boy and one of the toothless grin of a seven year old.

Eli's official Birthday party is next weekend. He's decided on a rollerskating party. That should be fun (and funny) because my Dad and his wife are coming to visit and the party was intentionally planned so that they could attend  (I cannot WAIT to see my Dad on roller skates! I need some laughs too! LOL).

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Perhaps I should knit mittens more often. I finished Eli's convertible mittens today and wondered why I bothered to make them in the first place..... OK, it was hot for Calgary, which means it was 26C. I nearly boiled out of my skin on my afternoon walk with the dogs and Chey. Her stroller felt like it was about 150 lbs when I was pushing it up the hill.

But, at least Eli now has some finger warmers for chilly morning walks to the bus stop. They turned out great! I am wondering why I used such *nice* yarn for mittens for him. A nice superwash wool would have made WAY more sense for a seven year old boy who, if he doesn't lose them at school, is likely to ruin them on the playground. Sigh... no one has ever accused me of having sense though..... 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fall is in the air.

Is it ever! The mornings are chilly, hovering between 0C and 5C, which makes for chilly walks to the bus stop. This morning Chey complained that her hands were cold so I decided to make her a pair of mittens or something (turned out the something was fingerless mittens). They went super fast (3yr olds don't have very big hands) and I finished one during quiet time and one after supper. Chey loved them so much, she insisted on wearing them to bed. They're made from Handmaiden Fine Yarns "Great Big Sea,", a lovely wool, silk and sea cell blend that is lovely to work with and beautiful to look at. I doubt I used much more than a quarter of the skein, so there is probably a hat (or maybe full mittens) or something still lurking in there. I'm looking forward to using some Casbah Sock yarn that I have, it has 10% cashmere... yummy!

I'll be starting a pair of convertible mittens for Eli from the same yarn (different colourway, of course) tomorrow. They might take a little longer as I'm not quite sure how I'm going to go about making them. 

I also finished Dale's Second Request Hat (the first was a close, but not quite) this weekend. He is thrilled. Apparently, I nailed it this time.... of course, now I'll need a new porta-project. As it's going to be a Christmas gift, I'll have to remain hushed......

Progress on my Avalon hoodie is going well. I've now finished the back (well, nearly... I do have to finish some short row shaping on one shoulder) and hope to have the front finished in the next day or so, depending on how long it takes me to finish Eli's mittens. 

Non-knitting related stuff is also going well. Eli's first week of school was a success and for the first time he's actually happy about going to school AND he's in a good mood when he gets home from school. I haven't talked to his teacher yet, but he's speaking French more at home and enthusiastic about the French he's picking up at school, so I can only assume he's able to focus and learn the language much better this year (he in French Immersion). Hopefully, this trend will continue.....

As for me, I'm off to bed. 6:30 comes awfully early these days......

Friday, September 5, 2008

Too many things to do....

My list of knitting is growing long again. Although, it's not terribly cold during the daytime, the walk to the bus in the morning is frosty.... which makes me start thinking about mittens for the kids and wristwarmer-type thingies for me and maybe scarfs or other neck warming contraptions all round. Plus, I'm starting to feel a bit stressed about Christmas (I know, it's ridiculous, but I'm a bit of a nutbar). I like to be done my Christmas gifts really early (they're usually wrapped and ready to go mid-November) and the item I planned for my step-mother is not progressing at all (due to a lack of yarn). I just can't seem to find what I'm looking for in my local yarn stores and all of their new fall stock hasn't quite come in yet. So, I think I'm going to have to order online. I can't wait for yarn to come in and then maybe not have the yarn that I envision and have to order it anyway..... I really want a nice, superwash wool in an Aran weight (I'm thinking Dream in Colour?? or Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted?? or ????). But, before I can even start on Christmas knitting, I need to finish a hat for Dale and I'd like to finish my Riding to Avalon hoodie (I'm about 1/2 to the armholes, I'd post a picture, but it just looks like a blob of knitting right now). Sigh.... and everyday I think of other things I'd like to knit. I have some beautiful Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb that I rescued from a tunic that I crochet and then felted (accidentally of course) that I'd like to make a top down raglan for myself. I also have some fresh Lion and Lamb that I had earmarked for a sweater for Chey (a top down, round yoke). I've been collecting all kinds of sock yarns that I'd like to sink my needles into and I'm sure there are other projects just waiting for me to show a moment of weakness before they pounce with their whispers of temptation......  I wonder if I could just not cook or clean or take care of Chey and knit all day....... probably not.

On a non-knitting related topic, Eli's first week of school as gone well. He seems much happier about school and life around the house is a much lower key. He still has occasional, minor outbursts, but all in all, medication is going well (watch, he'll come home with a note from his teacher today, just because I posted about his good week).

Chey turns three tomorrow. I can't believe my baby girl is going to be three, sigh.... where does the time go and in less than two weeks my baby boy will be seven... SEVEN.... Yikes! 

Monday, September 1, 2008

As summer comes to the end.

Today was the last day of summer. I know, I know, summer doesn't officially end until September 21st (ish), but Labour Day has always been the last day of summer for me (as I'm sure it is for many others). We had a good summer, all in all. It was quiet and not too busy, but with enough activity to keep it interesting, but we tried to pack in a few extras this weekend, mainly the Calgary Corn Maze and the revitalized Southland Leisure Centre. 

Here's a picture from the corn maze.

I'm a bit sad that school starts tomorrow, but also looking forward to getting our days back on schedule.

I've started two new projects in knitting. The first is a Christmas Present, so the details shall remain vague. It's already been frogged because I'm not super happy with my yarn choice. The colour was perfect, the yarn was nice, but I've decided that bulky yarn is not for me. Fortunately, the pattern I've chosen was also written for a finer yarn, so I'll be looking for that in the next couple of weeks. 

The second project is for myself. I've been wanting to make a nice hoodie (I selected the Riding to Avalon hoodie from the fall 2008 issue of Knitscene Magazine) for myself for a while. Originally, I wanted cashmere, but decided that I'd rather it be easy care so I went with a nice superwash wool from Sublime (which doesn't seem to have a good website, so I didn't link it) in a purple-ish burgundy colour. This has also been frogged once because I'm not sure if I want it longer or not and decided to do a provisional cast on so that I could lengthen it at the end if required (perhaps, I've finally learned my lesson about knitting tops that are too short, Ha!).