Archive for May, 2010

A Sweet Surprise

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I got mail!

To arrive home after a busy Friday at work, before an even busier Friday night and see a package stuffed into my little mailbox was the sweetest surprise imaginable.  I know that this kind of squishy package can only mean more wool, or knitted stuff, or fibery goodness.  This package is part of the Pay It Forward Challenge that I signed up for in November.  Each person that signs up for the challenge will get a handmade gift, but they must promise to give 3 handmade gifts over the course of the year. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Michelle from TheSweetSheep.com who sent me the most scrumptious blend of merino, silk and angora yarn.  It is soft and warm–hard to imagine wanting to wear something warm now that May is almost over…

click to enlarge

Self striping, softly spun singles…..the most perfect alliteration….almost too perfect to knit with.  I need the perfect project.  I wonder if it will go well with my impulse purchase of discount merino/alpaca/silk

It would certainly be a vibrant project….

I have given away one pay it forward gift to Lisa who told me that these mitts were useful for this past cold snowy winter.

It warms my heart to know that there are people out there who are paying it forward, spreading the joy of handmade crafts far and wide.  I hope that the chain that we’ve started will continue.

How can you pay it forward today?

And So It Goes…

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Rehearsal and memorizing has taken up lots of my spare knitting time these days–concert week is here!!

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Come hear the Cantabile choirs in our final concert of the season.

BLUE MOON
Saturday, May 29, 7:30

Misty, water-coloured memories… the season finale salutes the golden age of popular song with music by Ellington, Mancini, Simon & Garfunkel, Lightfoot, and Lennon & McCartney. Joining this musical journey through the 1940s, 50s, 60s and beyond will be Kingston’s favourite jazz combo, the Greg Runions Trio.

Tickets for the concert are now on sale at the Grand Theatre Box Office (613) 530-2050.

For a taste of what you’ll hear, check out these arrangements from youtube.  We will be singing these songs and more!

Grandmother’s Garden

Monday, May 24th, 2010
allium and bleeding heart

It felt like summer today!  It was a perfect day to take pictures of my grandmother’s beautiful flowers.  She has been an avid gardener for most of her life, and has a long yard edged with flower beds.

lilac

While we were out in the garden we saw birds and their nests, butterflies and other insects…

tulips

There’s a rabbit and a fox that are sometimes spotted in her yard

lupin

My grandmother sat watching her garden and her trees and wondered out loud how many places you could sit in the middle of the city and see nothing civilized.  We could still hear lots of noises though.

ranunculus--in the buttercup family

The sun was very warm, and after doing a few garden errands, moving some plants up from the basement, and positioning St. Francis by the tree, I introduced her to a refreshing beverage made from her estate mint.

St. Francis is in position

Drink Recipe:

Combine ice, water, lemon juice, honey and mint in a blender.

Blend it until the ice is ground up, and the mint is shredded.

Garnish with a sprig of mint

I first encountered this drink while in Cairo last summer.  It brings back good memories.  I’m planting mint on my balcony, so I’ll be able to make this drink all summer.

Happy Victoria Day!

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The wonderful thing about long weekends is how long they are, and how wonderful they are when the weather is warm, and there’s a relaxing place to be.  My family gathered at our cottage to swim and enjoy nature, good food and great company.  I had a chance to wander along the lane to see what’s growing.

Even dandelions look more spectacular on a long weekend in the sunshine.

My socks are steadily growing, and I took time between flower picking and going for a very chilly swim to knit lots more.

These socks are my new favourites.  I like how they match.  I like how the stripes are not all the same size.  I like how the wool was dyed with natural things.  I like how nobody else in the world will ever have socks that are just like this.  I like how I finished them and had only one meter of wool left over.  I like how they fit me perfectly, how they stay up thanks to the calf shaping (I increased 2 stitches at the back of the sock every 6 rows until the ribbing).  I like how this picture makes me look like the wicked witch of the west–I feel like there should be a house dropped on me!

I like how as soon as I sat down on the lawn to photograph the finished version, I found several four-leaf clovers.

Is there a rule about wearing wool socks after Victoria day?  If there is, I think I might have to break it.

Knitted Sock Monkey

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Here’s a cute idea!

Image source: knitpicks.com

Handles and Things

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I had the coolest grocery bag at the store today!

Yesterday I went on a search for appropriate handle material.  I’m very pleased with the webbing that I found at Fabricland, but it was pretty expensive.  I needed 2.5 meters of webbing, to circle the mouth of the bag and add structural support, and to allow for some generous handles.

I’m not sure if this bag is finished or if it is a work in progress still.  The fabric is soft, and probably not the best match for a bag–it’s definitely not a rugged carry-all kind of a bag unless I line it with something durable.  I tried to carry books and groceries and things, and I’m noticing that the weave is loose, and objects begin to poke through the fabric, distorting the pattern and stretching the yarn.  I am not very accomplished at the sewing machine, but for this bag I may dare to learn!

I am imagining bringing this bag to the beach, full of towels and sunscreen.  I got so excited about the beach, and feeling so tropical that I had to buy myself a pineapple!  Yummy pineapple….

Fraternal Sweaters

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

It’s always good to know that knitting has arrived at its proper destination–the postal system here is pretty good, but I always cross my fingers until I hear back from the recipient….and it is always lovely to get pictures of the knitting in action.

This picture is of my friend Meghan’s twin girls wearing their almost matching sweaters.  I’m not sure what’s up with their scared faces.

These sweaters are the first cotton knitting that I have done and enjoyed.  The yarn is Cotton Supreme Batik that I got at Wool-Tyme.  I usually stay away from cotton, but once you touch this stuff you’ll understand how it became a little bit of an obsession.  The colours are stunning (I used “Beach Umbrella” and “Watermelon Patch”), and I hope that it will wash well.

Go on and give cotton a try….it’s perfect for cute summer knits!

Pigeon Video

Monday, May 17th, 2010

At least they are trained to nest in their flowerpot!

They’re Back!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

I guess one-month old pigeons are not fully independent yet.  Tonight when I was watering my plants I noticed that Bernice and Bernie had taken up residence in with my radishes.

To keep them from fertilizing my plants, I brought their “home” back again, and within minutes, they were cuddling in their flowerpot once more.

I was talking with my mom, and we agreed that pigeons might be a little like kids.  They can grow up and move out, but they can always come back and expect a spot to stay.  I don’t mind so much as long as they don’t poop all over my garden.

This evening my sewing machine was back in action.  I was making some project bags out of old bed sheets and things.  While I was all set up for sewing I took the weaving off of my loom and sewed that into what might be a bag or a pillow cover or something.

I’m not quite sure what to make it into, but I’m thinking it might be a cool shopping bag, or craft bag.  It doesn’t really match my decor as a pillow case.

The weaving was warped with cascade 220 charcoal gray wool, and the weft was a variety of wool that I bought at a thrift shop.  This is the first time I’ve tried weaving two layers of fabric at the same time.  It’s a pretty neat technique that results in the bottom of the bag being seamless.  I sewed the two side seams with a very dense zigzag stitch to attach all the strings together.  It seems pretty sturdy.  I just need to find something to use as handles now!

My loom is still warped–enough for 2 more bags I think. I need some colour inspiration though–any ideas?

Journey of a Travelling Sock

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Today was a long and wonderful day.  It started off bright and early with a bus ride to Montreal (very productive for knitting!), an adventure through the Biodome where we explored several different artificial biomes.

There were monkeys and macaws and otters and lots of fish and frogs and starfish…

…and penguins…

…and puffins…

…and so much more that were hiding–I never did see the 3 sloths that were apparently up in the vegetation.

In the gift shop I found lots of cute things, including these knitted beauties!  Can you imagine that there are people in Kenya knitting life size penguins?

It seems a bit strange to me, but I was impressed by the “made from scratch” aspect–hand spun, hand dyed, hand knit…right up my alley!

After the biodome and a quick lunch downtown we headed to the Cirque Du Soleil tent at the old port.  I had walked past this site once before, never thinking that I’d have the chance to see a show.  I’m so glad that I took the opportunity to go today!

I am not able to sum up in words what I saw–and photography wasn’t allowed.  There were  feats of strength and balance, daring acts on a trapeze, incredible synchronized performances of unicyclists who kicked metal bowls onto their heads and the heads of other unicyclists–you have to see it to believe it.  There was a hoop dancer, and a rollerskating duo, and a couple of clowns who made several appearances and were very funny!  There were people in monkey suits that you’d swear were ACTUALLY monkeys, and guys doing trampoline stunts on a flexible balance beam.

The costumes, were elaborate and beautiful.  The music was rhythmic and blended so well with the action–at one point scientists in lab coats were playing percussion on giant test tubes, and playing small test tubes like panpipes.

I strongly recommend going to see a show if you ever have the opportunity.

Of course, I took the opportunity to finish my my sock during intermission.  I will always remember that this was my Cirque Du Soleil sock.

People laughed a lot when I was taking these pictures–most of my family and friends know that I knit a lot, and take pictures and post them up here, but to strangers in Montreal I must have been quite a sight.  Some stopped to talk to me, but others giggled and walked right on by.

Trying on my finished sock!  Very excited that it fits and it stays up thanks to calf shaping (increasing 2 stitches every 6 or 7 rows up the back of the leg).  I must get started on the second sock because I want to be able to wear them before it gets too warm for wool.