Friday, December 21, 2012

A Ho ho whole lot of Christmas spirit!

It's snowing, a lot, there are christmas movies on TV, Christmas music on the radio, Christmas aromas in the kitchen, Christmas decorations everywhere and knitted presents!!!

Here's a look at some of the things I've been working on:

 A Snappy Hat with a pompom and an improvised cowl, both in alpaca.

The cowl that was all scrunched up in the picture above.

One of two Frolicking deer hats in Briggs & Little Sport. They're hilarious!

                                           A red and white Inga hat also in Briggs & Little Sport.

Another navy and white Snaw Heid, missing its pompom...

Still another Snappy Hat with a Palindrome scarf in alpaca. I love those reversible cables!

I have a few more knits that I really can't show you until Christmas...

There's a bit more blocking to do, a few more pompoms to make and add, another cowl to make, but all in all, I'm pretty much on top of things. At least, I think so... ;-)

Let me leave you with a picture of my cat enjoying the Christmas tree and warming himself in front of the Aga.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A sneak peek...

I've been knitting, cooking and decorating for Christmas! Busy, busy, busy!

I can't show you everything, I don't want to ruin the surprise...

But since it's december, since I'm in a Holiday mood, here is a sneak peek at a some things I've been working on.

First of all, a navy blue and white Snawheid.

 I simply fell in love with Kate Davies new hat design. I just had to modify it a little bit to match my gauge. I did 3 snowflake rows instead of 4 and I did stranded ribbing (because I think it looks beautiful!)

Kate is coming out with a book on monday! Go check out her blog for a preview of the contents. It looks fabulous and I want to knit everything in it!!!

Back to the Christmas knitting pile, I also finished an alpaca sweater for a friend's son who is studying abroad for the year. He was very clear about what he wanted, the yarn, the color, the shape and the initial. I listened. I did exactly what he asked for...
I really hope he likes it!!!

It was still a little bit damp when I took the picture, that's why it's on the table. The angle gives it a strange shape, but don't worry, the sleeves aren't tiny, they just look like it! ;-)

O.K. Time to go decorate the Christmas tree!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I won!

Are you one of the thousands of The Art of Doing Stuff readers? If not, go there, now! It's a very funny blog with a whole lot of great DIY written by Karen, an hysterically funny lady.

Well, last week Karen held a great 5 day contest with 5 prize packages and....drum roll.... I won! Yes, little old me!!!!

I was lucky enough to win prize package #5 from Cattails Woodwork and Rough Linen! Let's just say that I'm over the moon! Woooooo!!!!

While I impatiently wait for my prizes, I have to get busy.

It's already the end of november, which means Christmas is coming very very soon!!!!!! I have a lot of stuff to do and to make! I've started my lists, one for what needs to be done to prepare the house (a bit of painting but mainly decorations, inside and out), another one for different menu possibilities and, of course, a huge list is for handmade gifts.

I already have 5 finished hats, I also have two on the needles, plans for knit and crochet mittens and machine knit scarves to match those hats and I have a great gift idea for my daughter that involves a bit of sewing!

I'll post pictures soon! ;-)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wow, mind blown!!!

I've been crocheting since I was 4 and although I'm always learning new stitches, I thought I knew all the basics... Well, it turns out I was absolutely wrong!!!!!!!

While having a look on Pinterest, I stumbled across an intriguing pin. I clicked on it and learned a new way to start a row that's completely mind blowing.

I just had to share, the results are perfect!!!

Go watch how it's done:

And she has a lot more methods to try out! Yeah!

Now, look how good it looks on a cowl I made this weekend. The join is exactly in the middle, can you see it? It's invisible! Isn't that great? And this isn't ordinary double crochet, but I found it easy to adapt the method to this stitch!!!!

        I love that stitch, it's really warm without being too thick. :-)

I also finished knitting the sleeves for my short green cape. They keep me a whole lot warmer.
I wonder why someone would manufacture a cold weather garment that only goes down to the elbows... Oh well...
This picture was taken before I had time to press the cape. I guess it was kind of bunched up on my lap while I was sewing in the sleeves... Oups...

Now, I need to get back to those secret Christmas gifts! ;-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Slowly knitting my way through my Christmas list...

O.K. I know I've been slacking... I haven't been writing a lot. But, I've been busy knitting a bunch of Christmas gifts that I can't show! Some people might see their gifts!!!!!!! I've also been busy with my real life work (the one that pays the bills) and preparing the house for winter, you know, installing the storm windows, closing up the pool, putting the potted plants I want to save, in the ground, planting bulbs for next summer, etc...

 There is something I'll be able to show you soon. I have a short green cape my daughter gave me last year. I wear it often, but it's a bit too short to keep my arms completely covered. So, I'm knitting sleeves out of wool in the same green. I'll sew them in as soon as they're finished and then, I'll show you, promise!

I can also talk about a man's sweater I'm knitting for my friend's son who's studying abroad for a year. He wanted a very simple round neck sweater, brown, with his initial on the front. He wanted it very loose and soft and as close as possible to his dog's colour. After looking far and wide, I found a wool alpaca mix in the exact colour he wanted! Yeah! I knit the ribbing by hand because the SK120's ribber needs a new sponge bar and since they don't make them anymore and I have to make it myself and I haven't had the time to go shopping for what I need.... Well.... There you have it, the ribbing is hand knitted and the rest will go on the SK 120 bulky machine. I made that machine a new sponge bar last year! I should have made two... Sigh...

Since a post is always better with pictures, however pedestrian they might be, here's what the brown yarn looks like:

The colour changes depending on the lighting... I still haven't decided what colour his initial will be...

Monday, October 15, 2012

I cut my fall sweater and installed a zipper!!!

A few months ago, I hand knit myself a wool sweater. I never wore it because I was terrified,  reluctant to install the zipper it needed,  also, the sleeves were too wide, much too wide... That's what can happen when you make up the pattern as you go instead of planning it out. Oh well, knit and learn...
The yarns are Galway Worsted and Manos Del Uruguay.

I loved the sweater, it was thick and warm, I wanted to wear it! I often looked at it longingly!
Since the temperature is getting colder and colder and I want to be cosy and look cute, I decided to grow a pair and repair the sleeves then install a zipper! This weekend was cold and wet, the perfect combination for a warm sweater. The perfect weather to do surgery on a couple of humongous sleeves and to install my first zipper on a hand knit.

I did it!!!!! The sleeves were quite easy to fix, a lot easier than I had expected! But it took me a long time to get the zipper just right and to make it completely disappear when it's done up! But I succeeded! The patterns also match!

 The pattern was freely inspired by "Three tams".

The sleeves are now a lot narrower! They fit!

Yes, I cut my sleeves! I'd never done it before and it was strangely liberating!

With time, the raw edges should felt a bit...

I sewed the sleeves twice to make sure nothing would unravel. Once with the Galway wool and another time with red sewing thread (because of all the floats...).

It's hard to take pictures of myself all alone, so forgive me for the crappy photos, but this is how it now fits!

It's a snug fit, so that I can wear it under fall and winter coats or jackets.

It's very very warm, much too warm to wear indoors! ;-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting there. Slowly but surely...

This was a very busy 3 day weekend.

I finished the linen curtains and hung them. :-)

I finished moving furniture around. I just need the new bookcase...

I cleaned the house and cooked because:

I had my family over for supper at Thanksgiving.

I went to a family brunch.

I stored most of my patio furniture in the attic. That means carrying it up two flights of stairs...

I canned turkey stock.

I visited friends.

I started to crochet a baby jacket for a friend's adorable baby girl. I had so much fun trying out different stitches and yarns that I didn't get to finish it...

I replaced all the summer bedding with winter bedding.

Here's what I did to hang my curtains:                                                        

A crochet border! The wrought iron poles are too cute to hide. Look, they swing out!!!

Yes, the basement walls are very thick, 3 feet thick!

I organized part of the basement. 

And after

The other part of the basement is almost done, all that's missing is the new bookcase to match the one above.

Most of my canning jars are in there:
 and in there:

The basement is now a place to fill my mind as well as my tummy! ;-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A little crochet, a lot of moving furniture around...

Hi! I know I haven't been posting much... It's just that this is the time of the year where I get swamped in all my canning and go outside to look at the leaves!

It's also the time of the year that reminds me that very soon I'll be spending a lot of time inside, sooooo, I start to move furniture around, to make curtains, to nest! Every year it's the same thing, I just need to change my surroundings before winter settles in.

This time, I decided to finally take care of the basement. It's a beautiful space but I never quite knew what to do with it. It always bothered me to be wasting so much square footage but I never had a clear idea of what it could become. There were a few pieces of furniture, but no clear purpose...

Well, after a lot of measuring and planning (and spending time on Pinterest), I decided to move my office and all the books (well most of them anyway) there and to turn it into a cosy library!!!

This wall will be getting bookshelves. I've already moved the couch  at the other end of the room.

That was a couple of years ago when some of the yarn was downstairs. Those shelves are now filled with books.

Since my office was in the attic with the knitting machines, I also have to move some stuff around upstairs...

Here comes the tricky part, for my plan to work, I need new bookshelves, similar to those in the picture above, but my handyman isn't available!!!

I don't feel like waiting around for months! I'll just have to make them myself!
Stay tuned to see how it all turns out...

Since lugging furniture from the basement to the attic is hard work, I have to relax my muscles. This is what came out of this down time, I made a few crochet hats!

I just made them up as I was going. They're really thick and warm, perfect for the kind of winters we get around here.

I'm also making linen curtains for the basement. The linen I chose is beautiful but the weave is very loose, so it's hard to work with. I'm hoping the results will be worth all the aggravation!

Now, if I can only get a couple of strong men to move a few big, heavy pieces of furniture up and down three flights of stairs, I'll really be able to rearrange everything! Wish me luck! ;-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What else did I do this summer?

Well, like almost everywhere else in North America, we've had a very hot, sunny season, It isn't even over yet! We're still having gorgeous temperatures! And even though we've had very little rain, it's been a really good summer for fruits and vegetables, so....

I've been canning! A lot!

First I canned strawberry jam, followed by raspberry jam.

Then I pressure canned french cut green beans, lots and lots of green beans!

                                                              My green bean stash!

 I used a nifty gadget to french cut them, adding a bit of salt, chopped onions and red pepper to each jar.

I also canned some beef stew, ground beef, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, pickled beets, chick peas, couscous and peach jam!

Luckily, I still have room to store more jars, because it's not over yet... I still have more to can while the produce is fresh and the prices are really low! :-)

Oh, I also have to dehydrate leeks, sweet red, yellow and green peppers, apples, pears and zucchini...

But that won't prevent me from going back to knitting and crocheting, I need rugs, big rugs!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just too hot to knit!

This has been the most glorious hot and sunny summer ever! So gorgeous that I haven't spent any time knitting, not even cotton! No, I've spent my free time outside building new decks, planting flowers and plants, painting the new fence and enjoying the pool!

When we bought this 350 year old house 5 years ago, it was a mess. It took 4 years to bring back the house to it's former glory and then, it was time to attack the yard... It was an ugly gravel covered parking and the only access to it, was a rickety metal staircase...

After some hard work, the yard is coming along nicely!!!

Here is what I did this summer:

The main deck. It's big and spacious and right off the kitchen.

A lower deck, right next to the pool.

There's still a lot of planting to do, I want  to hide the walls of the pool as much as I can! There's already a lot of vine that will be climbing the fence in no time!

The upper level balcony is also new! 

My handyman and I did everything!!! We are pretty proud of ourselves! 

So, as you can see I haven't been idle, just using my hands for something else. :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Still knitting!

I know, I've been rather quiet for a while... That does not mean I wasn't knitting, I just didn't have any FOBs to show you. I had a temporary falling out with my Passap, which is getting sorted out with a slow going deep cleaning! I also have been spending a lot of time outside, gardening, painting and reading !

Even if the weather is hot and gorgeous, I've been knitting a very wintery sweater, it's from an old Vogue Knitting issue, the "oversized sweater with set in sleeves and pines, reindeers and house..."

I modified the shape, removed the reindeers and the house. What I loved about the pattern was the night sky and the mountains, so that's what I kept! I made it big so that I can wear layers underneath.

The yarn is Briggs & Little Tuffy
If that sweater doesn't keep me warm, I don't know what will!

That's it for now, I'm off to play outside but don't worry, I still have a few knits on my needles to keep me out of trouble. ;-)