Monday, December 23, 2013

A very merry Christmas to all!

We've had a lot of snow this month, so it's easy to have that Christmas spirit!

Although I haven't had much time to knit these past few months, I've managed to make a few gifts in very few days. It was a very close call and I still have a bit of finishing to do tonight. We'll see how much I can get accomplished!

In the meantime, have a very merry Christmas!!!

My cats are sure enjoying the Christmas tree!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy mother's day!!!

I'm reposting the cartoon I posted last year because I think it's adorable! I wish you a very happy mother's day surrounded by your loved ones!

Friday, May 10, 2013

I saved a parasol (and a lot of money)!!!

This has nothing to do with knitting but a whole lot to do with dyeing!

My red parasol became pink over the years, pink and streaky... Red is a very finicky colour, red pigments aren't stable and they're prone to discolouration. But, my patio furniture is red and I want a red parasol!

You have to know that this is a very nice parasol, I paid good money for it and the fabric was in very good condition. The sun had only bleached it. I didn't want to just throw it out ( I hate wasting good stuff).

Since I felt I had nothing to loose, I took the fabric off (very easy), washed it thoroughly and soaked it in a steaming hot bath of red Tintex dye for over an hour, even though the instructions say 30 minutes.. Since the parasol is large, I used 3 packets. I then rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. I put it back up on the frame while it was still damp.

Well, I was a bit scared that the dye wouldn't take since the fabric has polyester in it... But the results are phenomenal! The parasol looks brand new! No more streaks!

Now, I won't mind when it begins to fade, I'll simply over dye it again! :-)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

We won!!!

I have great news! We won the referendum today by a comfortable margin, we're over the moon!
Our little town will have a public library and the presbytery will be saved! Yeah!!!!!!!!!

Until then, now I'll have more time to knit ... and to blog! ;-)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 5, or why I didn't have time for days 2, 3 and 4...

I was supposed to follow the blog suggestions for the Knitting and Crochet blog week but life sort of got in the way and I fell behind, far, far behind...

Today the topic is blogging in a completely different way... I don't have time to look into this, the same way I didn't have time to make a graphic yesterday or to write any of the other posts. So, I'll just tell you what's going on here on the shores of the mighty St-Lawrence for this procrastinating knitting manatee and I won't show you any pictures. That's almost completely different for me!  ;-)

I'm still spending a whole lot of time trying to convince people that a public library is a must for our little town, especially since the government subsidies mean that our property taxes won't even increase! Can you believe that our library project has become a pawn in a political battle? It's all very disconcerting and a bit discouraging... I'm so disappointed with many of the town's citizens...

The polls will be open next sunday and on May 5th. Send us positive thoughts and wish us luck!!!

Luckily, to keep my cool, I have my knitting. I don't know what I would do without it!

The Drop's Puddle and Briggs & Little Sport sweater coat is coming along nicely. Even though the weather is finally getting a lot warmer, I still love the feeling of that cushy yarn in my hands! It's so scrumptious!!!

I didn't have enough Briggs & Little Sport in the right colour and they were also all out at my LYS, so I've decided that the yoke and sleeves will be knit with a strand of Briggs & Little Heritage instead. It's thicker, so the upper torso and sleeves will be even warmer! I haven't tried it yet, I hope it won't be too thick and that it won't look strange... We'll see...

If it is, I might try to un-twist the Heritage and knit with one strand, which would make it the same thickness as the Sport yarn. I sure hope it doesn't have to come to that, untwisting that much yarn would be a pain in the...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day one of the Knitting and Crochet blog week!

O.K. This is the first post of the week, I'm supposed to tell you if I'm a bee, a manatee, a monkey or a peacock. Well, I first thought I was a bee, but after thinking about it for a while, I've come to the conclusion that I'm really a manatee. I live in a part of the world that's really cold for a big part of the year and I love to wrap those I love in warm clothes and accessories. Even though I share some aspects of the other candidates, I have to go with the manatee, a knitter that goes for the soft cuddly part of knitting.

As a matter of fact, I'm presently knitting something that's completely cuddly and cosy. The epitome of comfy and warm knitwear. A sweater coat in Drop's Puddle!

Look at that! It's called Puddle but it sure looks like a baby lamb to me! I'm knitting two strands of Puddel together, with another strand of Briggs & Little Sport (that I soaked in hair conditioner to make it bloom and to make it softer). Those 3 strands make it very thick and warm without being heavy. It's very close to my ideal texture/warmth/weight/looks ratio! ;-)

I'm having fun knitting it but although I'm using 8mm needles, it isn't going all that quickly because of the loops in the Puddle. The needles have a tendency to get stuck in those loops if I knit too fast, so, I'm taking my time, enjoying the cushy feeling of the yarn through my fingers.

I don't have a pattern, I'm making it up as I go, but I can already tell that I won't have enough Puddel, so today I ordered all the yarn they had left from the same dye lot. Now, it's all systems go!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Knitting and Crochet blog week!

Have you heard of the "Knitting and Crochet blog week IV"? Well, I have to admit I hadn't but thanks to Olgalynn's post at O!jolly! , now, I do! Go check out her post about this, she explains everything a lot better than I ever could. Plus, if you've never read her blog, it's a great way to get to know it! ;-)

The Knitting and Crochet blog week is an exercise in blogging fun! If you want even more information and discover another fun blog, just go to eskimimimakes.

On the home front, I'm knitting the sweater coat in curly Puddel yarn and... preparing a yarn bombing for our local projected public library!

We don't have a library in my little town. Some of us are working very hard to convince part of the town's people that a library is an essential part of community life and an invaluable asset for our children. The problem is that mayoral elections will be held next november and that the library is caught in a tug of war between competing candidates... Arrrgh...

Since the library would be located in an historical building (a very old presbytery), we've been accorded a ton of subsidies, so many in fact, that having the library wouldn't even raise our taxes!!! Even after doing a lot of door to door canvasing of the population, I still can't understand why so many people are against it...

But, the town's teenagers are on our side! They've prepared a petition and we're holding a big party next sunday during which they'll present the petition to the mayor (who is for the library). That's where the yarn bombing part takes place. We decided to yarn bomb the presbytery's porch with colourful knitted decorations and pompoms! It's a good thing I have a lot of yarn, knitting machines and also that a few other crazy gals (who don't even know how to knit) will be coming over saturday to give me a hand!
I think they'll be making pompoms! :-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

An almost perfect knitting bag and something to put in it!

A few weeks ago, I told you I was looking for the perfect knitting bag. Well, I found the next best thing, an "almost perfect" knitting bag. Exactly like this one:

I found it here at The BagSmith.

It has everything I wanted, a folding metal stand, an adjustable strap, a whole lot of inside space, pockets for needles and patterns and a neutral colour!!!

The one and only problem is that it doesn't have a flap to close it at the top. Not very practical when it's snowing or raining... I need to find fabric that matches the bag (since it's black, that shouldn't be a huge problem) and make a long flap to go up and over the top of the bag.The inside pockets were also a bit small for my taste but with a bit of seam ripping that was easily fixed.

I've been using it for a few days and I'm a happy camper! :-)

On the knitting front, I spent the past week still looking for inspiration, I remembered that one year ago, I started knitting a Vitamin D which I wear a lot, so I decided to make another one. I cast on with a greyish green merino, knit for several inches and then, decided that the colour I had chosen was very similar in tone to my existing Vitamin D...

So, I put it away for a while until I decide what to do with it. Since I have a habit of modifying patterns, that's probably what will happen...

That didn't solve my problem! I rummaged around my stash and found something I want to knit and wear!

Up to an hour ago , this is what was hiding in my new knitting bag, a modified version of  the peacock eyes cardi! I had started working on one last year and I had frogged it because I didn't have enough yarn. It was still in the back of my mind when Justyna published a new version that rekindled my interest. I love the lace pattern at the yoke (I know you can't really see it in this picture)!  I want something different for the body, so I'm doing some modifications, it'll be slightly flared with a lace border at the bottom, maybe...

But for now, the cardigan has to be patient, I just got the yarn I ordered from Nordic Mart. It's  scrumptiously loopy Drops Puddel to knit a sweater coat for a friend's daughter. She told me exactly what she wanted and it's going to be a lot of fun to make it for her. If it turns out as cute as I hope it will, I might order more Puddel and make one for my daughter and maybe even another one for me!!!

Since it's snowing right now, knitting warm weather clothes seems quite normal! ;-)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Knitting blahs...

This is the time of the year when I always have a problem deciding what to knit. I try a lot of things  and most of them either don't turn out the way I want, or they just don't excite me...

Last week, I had the feeling I was going around in circles. I made a crochet scarf that I don't like. At all. The pattern is The Sweet Eleanore Scarf. It's really cute but I chose the wrong yarn...

It's Mille, a discontinued mohair from Filatura di Crosa. It's a pretty yarn but it doesn't work with the pattern and it looks kind of cheap and flimsy when it isn't knitted at a tight gauge. Oh well, live and learn...

So, since I have a lot left in this colour and in a deeper pink, this scarf will be frogged and will live again as a striped sweater. I'm thinking it might be a Vitamin D like this one.

Since making this, I've cast on many projects that have also been major failures... My biggest problem is that I don't have much warm weather yarn in my stash. 
So I guess I just need to go shopping! :-)

Monday, March 25, 2013

The last warm sweater of the season...

I'm done knitting mohair for this year. I still have a lot of it, but I'm starting on spring stuff. Winter has to end soon, or so I hope...

So, I made this last mohair sweater (for now) on the SK120. It's an old Kristin Nicholas pattern for Classic Elite Yarns, from 1997. I saw it here on Patternfish and copied it.

 Although I loved (adored!) the original colours, I changed them to match the yarn I had. This is how it turned out:

I used the intarsia carriage to make the motif. Good thing I have everything that was ever made for that machine!          ;-)

I also modified the neckline, the cuffs and winged it for the rest. It's warm but it has bright spring colours, so I'll be able to wear it for a while, at least until it gets quite a bit warmer!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Snow, snow, go away...

I'm waiting for the snow storm, cosy in my new machine knit sweater! Yup! I did it again, I dove head first in my yarn baskets and came up with some cotton chenille. Now, I hate hand knitting with chenille, it has a way of driving a knitter crazy! But, knitting it on a bulky knitting machine is a joy!!! The SK 120 and its ribber performed perfectly. Since the machine is very basic, I hand manipulated the needles to knit the jacquard. It goes really fast when you get the hang of it, really!

It's soft, warm and very cuddly, perfect for the cold weather we've been having and the approaching 30 cm of snow!

It might not be quite clear from the photographs, but I made it slightly trapeze shaped, just because I wanted something swingy, I'm such a girly girl at heart! ;-)

The moose are a personal adaptation of many patterns I've knit through the years. I do love a nice moose or deer pattern, I never seem to get tired of those good old classics.

This is the perfect weekend (or snow day) sweater, nothing fancy, just good old comfort!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To spin or not to spin and some green...

O.K. I really would like to try spinning. Why? Hum... Probably because I read about it in some blog at least once a day, because I like everything that has to do with yarn, because I also want to be able to play with all the possibilities that spinning offers and lastly, because an old spinning wheel would look really good in my old house! :-)

I'll start with a drop spindle before I invest in anything else. Who knows I might like that enough to satisfy me?

Anyway, before I do anything else, I have to find out as much as I can about old Quebec spinning wheels so that I can make sure that whatever I find is in working order or can at least be repaired.

From what I've read on different forums, old Quebec wheels are very desirable. Lucky me, there easy to find around here!

Mind you, there's no rush, just a lot of stuff to find out about and a lot of looking around for the perfect wheel. So, a lot of fun times!

Meanwhile, I'm still going through my stash and so, I knit another sweater. For me. Yeah!

I have a lot of mohair from a great deal I came across a few years ago, that's what I used for my mother's latest sweaters. But I have a lot left, in many colours and since I love green, here's what I made on the SK120. The bulky is getting quite a workout these days!

This second photo represents the real colour a lot better!

It's a very simple sweater with a snuggly shawl collar. A little brushing and it'll look like a fuzzy green cloud! :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Good for you, good for us!!!

Ravelry just reached 3 million members!!! WOW!!! Knitters and crocheters rejoice, we are to be reckoned with! :-)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Another sweater for my favourite fashionista!

My mother loved her yellow sweater so much that I decided to knit her another one.

I thought it would also make her feel better about her little toe. Her toe had been hurting for a while and although she was sure it was arthritis, it turns out the toe is broken and will probably never quite mend because of her age...

So, a red sweater to lift her spirits seemed to be in order.

Thanks to the SK120 knitting machine and to a well stocked stash, I whipped this up in no time.

 This colour is very hard to photograph...

I did a hand manipulated lace motif at the wrists.

I also did the same motif at the front edges, which I then folded in half to give the edges more body. The neck opening closes with a hidden hook and eye.

Naturally, the same motifs are at the bottom of the vest. Simple but feminine, like my mother. ;-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

How a Bulky can make my mother happy!

I've already told you about my very fashion conscious 91 year old mother.

Well this time she  hinted she could use a nice Chanel type sweater, yellow if possible, to wear when she plays bridge. It seems the room where they play every monday night, is sometimes a bit cold and that a new warm cardigan would be perfect.

She already has many of them but since she always plays with the same people, she says she really can't wear the same clothes all the time! I told you she was fashion conscious! ;-)

So, here is the result of many phone conversations and yarn eliminations:

The edges are bound in knit bands as are the false pocket edges. That's where the Chanel inspiration comes in.

I made it on my bulky knitting machine, that good old SK 120, using some stashed mohair. The honeycomb stitch is in the SK120 instruction booklet.

My mom is happy, chic and warm, so, I'm happy too! :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Can you have too many sweaters?

While I knit one more sweater, I have time to think about my obsession with them.

I like sweaters! No, a better way to put it would be to say I love sweaters! I love knitting them, I love wearing them (and I do wear them a lot!) and I love giving them to those I love!

I love many kinds of sweaters, in many kinds of yarn but I have a preference for cold weather sweaters.

I can never have too many, so I go on knitting away! It's also a great way to put a dent in my stash... ;-)

Here's the latest warm addition to my winter wardrobe.

It's a short cropped sweater (cute with a skirt or skinny jeans) that I adapted slightly from a Norah Gaughan pattern in Vogue Knitting, Fall 2000 . I haven't seen it on Ravelry, so, I took a picture of the original to show you what it looked like and I'll try to put it on Ravelry. I haven't found out how to do it yet... Update! I've put the pattern on Ravelry!

I added a big turtleneck to make it warmer and because I thought it would be more practical considering the climate around here.

It was a quick, easy and satisfying pullover to knit. Chunky yarn and an easy pattern= almost instant gratification! Who doesn't need that once in a while?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The absolute best knitting bag???

My knitting bag (an old repurposed messenger bag) is too small for my needs. It doesn't have enough inside pockets, it doesn't stand upright on its own, the zipper is now broken beyond repair and I've never been satisfied with it.. I need a new one!!!

I've been looking at luggage, book bags, diaper bags, photography bags, you name it...

Of course I've also looked at real knitting bags, but mostly online...

I've read blog posts and forums on the subject and they made me feel completely inadequate since I only have ONE knitting bag! But, truthfully, I don't need more than one, if it's big enough for one big project and a small one. I never carry more than 2 hand knit (or crochet) projects because I'm never away from home for very long and, if I am, it gives me a good excuse to go shopping for yarn! :-)

My dream knitting bag would be lined, it would have a wide sturdy strap or two, be big enough for a sweater's worth of yarn, have a ton of zippered pockets, at least 2 sections for different projects, a special space for needles, be in a classic and "go with everything" colour and it would be able to stay upright, a bit like those old knitting bags with a foldable frame... I would also like it to be easy to keep clean.

I still haven't found THE bag, the closest I've come is the JanetBasket Eco Bag, there's a great discussion about it here on Ravelry, with pictures of what the bag looks like inside. It's almost perfect but it's been very popular since that discussion started and now, the colours I like are sold out!!!

Do you have or know of a great knitting bag I might fall in love with?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A whole lot of knitting going on!

Well, even though the days are getting longer, it's still winter in these parts and spring is not just around the corner... Far from it...

So, I'm knitting warm stuff and since I have a lot of yarn (that's a bit of an understatement) I just have to go through my stash to find out what I'm going to knit next.

So let me show you what came off my needles yesterday!

A very quick to knit turtleneck.

The stranded pattern is from an old european magazine. I only kept the graph (in an ill-avised bout of streamlining my pattern addiction) so I don't know which magazine it is, I only know the instructions are in french. I made it short because I didn't have enough wool to make it longer (I told you I was shopping my stash) and boxy to allow me to wear another turtleneck underneath to make it even warmer!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Inga mittens!

I knit the Inga Hat before Christmas. I thought a pair of matching mittens would be cute, so I removed a few stitches from each side of the pattern to make it mitten size, added after thought thumbs and ribbed cuffs for added warmth! Here is the result:

I know, the lighting isn't great... It was snowing when I took the pictures and that's the best I could do...

I put the Inga pattern on the front only. I chose to make a plain red palm with a small motif on the wrist.

Won't they look cute together?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Remembering Lillehammer!!!

O.K. It's been cold and very windy, so... I've been knitting like a maniac!

Here's what I've come up with this time:

A Lillehammer Winter Olympics inspired knit! Absolutely the best Olympics to spot great sweaters!!!

I took the picture while it was still a little damp, that's why it's flat on its back.

I already had the clasps and I only needed something to sew them on...

Once again, I mixed a few cards and a few colours...

A few hearts never hurt, especially in february...

There's nothing like new clothes to make winter bearable! ;-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What's hiding behind?

Following my last post, Sheryl asked what the reverse side of double knit jacquard looks like and Tom asked if I could show the cards I used to knit the norwegian inspired sweater. Well, ask and you shall receive!

Let's start with the reverse side (I used technique A, bird's eye double jacquard):

As you can see, the it's very neat and tidy. It has no long floats (in fact, it has no floats at all) and since the stitches are doubled, it makes a very warm fabric.

Now, on to the cards I used.

As you can see, before I punched the cards, I drew some motifs which I then modified. That explains the faint blue circles... ;-)

Now, because it's still very cold and I still feel very "nordic", let me tease you with a glimpse of what I'm working on...

... and the main card I'm using. Card #163 from the "Deco patterns 101-330" book. I used that card for a sweater last year...

I made a few mistakes (trying to go too fast) while punching it, that's why there are a few pieces of transparent tape on it. They do a perfect job at repairing dumb blunders, which is a very good thing since I'm down to my very last blank card! I must remember to order some...

P.S: These are Passap cards, so they're 40 stitches across.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Anything to keep warm!

It was cold last week, so cold that the cat didn't even want to go outside, so cold that the sea smoke over the Saint-Lawrence was like an opaque wall over fifty feet tall!

How cold, you ask? The coldest it got was -40 (that's where farenheit and celsius meet). The warmest was around -25 celsius, -13 farenheit without the wind chill factor... It's very windy here!

It was that cold for over a week, long enough to test a whole lot of gloves and mittens. Well, even though I'm really well equipped for that kind of temperature, I've come to the realization that I don't have anything that keeps my fingertips warm in that kind of cold... None of my mittens or lined leather gloves did the job. My fingers froze in a few minutes every time I went outside.

Since the cold season isn't over and I hate having frozen fingers (it hurts!), this week I'm testing ways to knit super duper hot mittens. The main plan is to try felted, thrummed and lined. I'll keep you posted, I might even need to combine two methods together...

In the meantime, for those nice winter days when you can go cross country skiing, I finished the SnawPaws for my daughter.

To go with the SnawHeid,

The colours don't look the same because of the lighting, but, they are! :-)

I also managed to make good progress on a mitten adaptation of the Inga hat.


On the Passap machine knitting front, I made a scandinavian inspired wool sweater in double knit jacquard for my son:


I made it by combining a few existing cards with some I drew and punched myself.

The snow and cold always inspire me to go with those kinds of knits! ;-)