Saturday, September 6, 2014

End of summer!

My former home hasn't sold, yet... I have a couple of very nice buyers who are waiting for their own home to be sold which should happen any day now... I hope... 

While I'm waiting, I'm enjoying the end of summer and my flowers!


I've also rekindled my love of sewing, which I had abandoned for years. Why? This is a bit embarrassing but I was sure my old sewing machine was broken and I thought it couldn't be repaired. Once in a while I even looked at buying a new machine but never went through with it.

Well, that's a good thing, since it turns out that I took a good look at it a few months ago and found out it worked perfectly... Duh!  What happened? Gremlins??? Oh well, like the Bermuda triangle, it's just another mystery that will never be solved. ;-)

Sewing is so fast and satisfying, how could I have gone for so long without missing it? I guess I was so busy with the whole house restoration, my husband's illness and everything, that it just escaped my mind...

Since rediscovering sewing, I made myself 5 simple summer dresses and a few tunics, repaired or upcycled clothes I wasn't wearing anymore, bought a lot of fabric, spent a lot of time on sewing boards on Pinterest and following a few sewing blogs!

I also discovered that you can buy PDF patterns on the web. Oh my, how things have changed over the years!  

I also found a nice spot in my workroom for the sewing machine, right next to a window overlooking the St-Lawrence! :-)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Selling my former home!

I'm currently in the process of selling my former home (two houses are way too much for one person!!!) and it's taking up almost all of my spare time, I also have a lot of job related work, it's really fun work, but it does impede on the precious few moments of knitting and blogging time I have left. ;-)

Here's a peek at my house:

If you want to see more (I know how much fun it is to look inside other people's homes) here's the English language link.

On the fibre front, the modified Peacock Eyes cardigan has been finished for weeks! I just haven't had time to write a blog post about it, or even to take pictures... Now it's much too warm to wear outside. Yeah!

It fits, it's nice and soft and I love the colour! I'm quite happy about the results. I really shouldn't have waited so long to finish it...

I also made a shawl. It's a mix of the body stitches from Seems Like Old Times and the bottom part of Doris Chan's All Shawl. I made it in very fine cotton thread, held double, and it went fast! It would have been a whole lot faster if my cat Titine hadn't decided to help me, every single time I picked it up!!! That cat really wants to help me when I knit or crochet. You know, she might be trying to ask me for some knitted toy mice...

I made a big shawl so I would be able to wrap up in it. I don't need a skimpy shawl, I need one that's  large enough to look luxurious (and mysterious)!

After a lot of searching on Ravelry and in my stash of old knitting magazines, I've also chosen what my next knits will be!

Let me just tell you what I'll be starting with, it's Liesl, which I'll be making on the Passap. I've looked at the pattern, I have the right yarn and it should be very easy, if I can only find the time!

With everything that's going on, it might take a while before I post pictures of my finished knits or get to finish all those summer clothes projects...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What's next?

The Easter holiday was absolutely lovely! My brother and his family came over from Ottawa, my daughter, her boyfriend, as well as my son travelled from Montreal. We had a wonderful few days together, ate wonderful food, laughed a whole lot, enjoyed each other's company and had a very, very good time!!!

Sadly, everybody's gone back home, I'm back to my day to day life and to preparing for summer.

The rain washed away the remaining snow (well almost!), the green grass and the first blooms should follow quickly!

I'm still knitting my modified version of the Peacock Eyes cardigan in a huge amount of Eroica from Steinbach Wolle, I've had in my stash for years. The body and one of the sleeves are finished, so is part of the second sleeve. I should have it blocked, dried and on my back in a few days.
This reminds me that I still need to find buttons...

Here's a sneak peek!

I love that yarn even though it's a wool/nylon mix, it's kitten soft and warm and a joy to work with.

Now, I have to start thinking about what I need to knit next. Should I knit a few light tanks? A summer shawl? A linen t-shirt? I've been going through my summer wardrobe to decide what would be the most useful... I like to wear what I knit!

In the evenings, a shawl would get a lot of use draped over a dress, but I also need cute summer tops to wear with skirts...

Since summer will get here very soon (it better get here soon or else!) I guess the most efficient solution would be to hand knit or crochet a shawl and machine knit the rest. Cotton and linen are so easy to knit by machine, just like butter!

Who knows, I might even machine knit an additional shawl, like this one!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ready for Easter!

After some trials and errors (mostly due to a week with a big head cold and a debilitating fever), my Penny Candy Tee is finished and it fits!

I gave it a nice long bath in hair conditioner to make it softer. The Fabel sock yarn definitely needed it to bloom, it felt kinda stringy.

Sadly, after soaking and blocking, the Fabel yarn is still scratchy. I'll have to wear a cotton t-shirt underneath. Yes, I should have known it was a bad yarn choice but I liked the colours too much to be sensible... Oh well, live and learn.

I have to admit that I'm a lot like the "Princess and the pea", I can feel everything! If it isn't really soft, I can't wear it next to my skin. Since I value comfort above all else, I have many form fitting  t-shirts I wear under stuff, so it's all good. ;-)

Have a very happy Easter!!!!!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring is here!!!!!!

Wow!!!!! It's 12 degrees celsius today, that's 53.6 degrees fahrenheit for my American readers. Do you know how long it's been since we had that kind of warm weather? Over 6 months, 6 very long and very cold months!

For the first time, this afternoon I went out without a winter coat. I wore a trench coat and would you believe it, I had to come back home to change, because I was too hot! Wow! When your body gets used to a very cold winter, as soon as it gets warmer it feels like t-shirt weather. LOL. Everyone is outdoors and smiling from ear to ear. Happy days!!!

I spent some time shovelling the old snow from my deck, I can't wait to get out the patio furniture and knit outside! A lot of rain will fall starting tonight so the snow might melt faster than expected, it will get muddy but I don't care, I want it to go away, I want the leaves and grass and flowers to start growing! I want it to get green!!! ;-)

This warm weather motivates me to knit on my Penny Candy Tee. I could have worn it today!

As soon as the hand knit version is finished and blocked, I'll have all the information needed to plan a machine knit version or two, one with long sleeves. I've already chosen the yarn!

Here's a glimpse at the candy cane stripes: 

It looks very uneven now (because it's knitted with sock yarn on 4mm needles) but it's going to look scrumptious after it's washed and blocked. My swatch blocked beautifully! :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Frogging isn't a four letter word!

You know how sometimes the best ideas (in theory) don't turn out the way you imagined? Well, that's exactly what happened with my colour choices for the Penny Candy Tee.

The Regia and Fortissima were the colours I had chosen for the striped part of the Tee.

Do you notice something?

The two colours are almost exactly the same! Duh!

The stripes didn't come out subtle, they came out almost indistinguishable and since the Fortissima is quite thinner than the Regia, which I hadn't noticed, it made it look too flimsy!!! I knit those stripes for a while, watching tv and not really looking at what I was doing, before realizing that it really was rubbish. So, this morning I frogged it back to the lace portion and have now started making stripes with the Fabel yarn (at the top of the picture) and the Regia at the left. The stockinette part is so quick and easy that I'm almost back to where I was when I frogged and it looks a whole lot better!!!

P.S: I wen't to another yarn store to buy knitting needles and to see what pretty yarn they might have. This is a sample of what I bought, I also remembered to buy the circular needles I needed. ;-)

 Aren't they pretty?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Yummy yarn!

Friday, I spent some time at my LYS.

Friday, I bought yarn (surprise, surprise) and forgot to buy more circular needles (once again!) but after having a great time looking at yarn, in a display shelf facing the sock yarn wall, I saw, touched and fell in love with Regia Angora Merino sock yarn!

A picture cannot do it justice, it's so soft, so perfect! As a matter of fact, it's much too delicious to be hidden in a pair of shoes or boots, it's just much too gorgeous for socks, it should be used to knit sweaters, shawls, hats, mittens or anything else my heart desires!

Well, this soft-as-a-bunny yarn is more than perfect for Jen's very pretty Penny Candy Tee! That's what it will become!!! Some turquoise and lilac Step will also be used...

I also have some very pretty pink yarn for another version of the Penny Candy Tee and even some ecru, charcoal and red yarn for a long sleeved version, because it's still winter outside (even though april is right around the corner)!

Come on already spring! I'm really looking forward to wearing lighter clothes!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sticky yarn...

Last year, while I was hoping and dreaming of spring, I made this crochet scarf. It was a bad decision, it used a few skeins of some yarn that was earmarked for a sweater, it looked flimsy, I didn't like it and never wore it.

Since I have some Filatura di Crosa Mille yarn left in the same colour, as well as in a slightly darker very yummy shade, I need to unravel the Sweet Eleanor scarf to have enough yarn to make myself a light spring cardigan.

Well, this mohair doesn't want to be unraveled!!! It's fighting me every step of the way, it sticks to itself like velcro. I have to cut through tiny mohair fibres to unravel every single crochet stitch...

I have to do this a few minutes at a time. If I try to go any faster, I'll probably cut the scarf up in tiny little pieces and throw it in the garbage. It's that aggravating! ;-)

I'm searching the web to see if there's someone out there who knows a way to tame sticky yarn, Pam, olive oil, silicone??? I'm willing to try anything, that yarn is discontinued and I really need what's in the scarf to have enough for a cardigan.

Meanwhile, the endless stockinette body of the blue peacock eyes cardigan has grown 6 inches. Slowly but surely!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March blues...

I've been entertaining myself by knitting a lot of swatches on the Passap, supposedly for spring tops. Yeah, a whole lot of swatches that turned out to be perfect for summer clothes or for borders or even accessories, but nothing that turned into an idea for a top. I really should stop fooling around and concentrate on knitting myself a few light sweaters. Yeah, right after I try a few summer fair isle patterns and continue to try to find a way to do corrugated rib on the machine... ;-)

Meanwhile, I'm still hand knitting socks.

To be absolutely truthful, when I'm in front of the sock yarn wall at my LYS, my choices are only dictated by the colour combinations that make me giddy. Last time, I went in to buy more circular  needles ( you can never have too many in the different lengths and sizes you use most) and came out with sock yarn. As always, I was so impressed with the sheer amount of yarn, by all those possibilities, that the knitting needles completely slipped my mind... Well, now I have to go back for needles and you know where I'm going with this, more yarn will more than probably come home with me. Listen, I only have enough self-striping yarn left for three measly pairs and very little self-control!!!

The holy grail of sock knitting is the perfect heel! After trying a whole lot of different ways of turning a heel during my rather long knitting life, I've come to the conclusion that, for me, there are a few non negotiable points that the best heel has to meet. First and foremost, it has to fit perfectly! Then, it has to be quick and easy to knit, not have any holes or uncomfortable bumps and look good!

After turning, unravelling, starting and frogging a lot of heels, trying many unsatisfactory, partly satisfactory and a few satisfactory but fiddly techniques, I now have a new favourite!

It's the Lifestyle Toe up socks' no-wrap, no-muss, no-fuss short row heel. There's a Youtube video that explains it perfectly.

It's really hard to take a picture of your own heel...

These are the latest socks that came off my needles. The yarn is Hot Socks New Jacquard.

I seem to be in a blue mood, I even unearthed a blue WIP that had been lingering in limbo for too long and started working on it! Again!

It's a modified version of the Peacock eyes cardigan that I vow to finish, once and for all!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Completely fed up with winter clothes...

This winter has been hard. It's been very hard. Now, it's snowing, again... I have to shovel, again and I'm so bored with winter and with my winter clothes! It seems as if I've been wearing them for ever. When I get dressed in the morning, I don't see anything I want to wear. I pick the first thing I see, just to get it over with. How pathetic is that for someone who loves clothes?

The only fun I have is deciding which socks I'm going to wear and which sock yarn I'm going to knit next!

Look at those colours, they're happy and pretty. That's what I want the rest of my clothes to feel like right now!

In the winter, everything becomes black and white. Now, I really need some colourful new stuff to help me make it until spring, until the first little leaf, the first blades of grass, the first flower. I need joy, I need fun!!!

Since it's still cold, I have to think about lighter clothes I can layer, because I just can't face knitting winter sweaters, not now, not in the middle of march!!! Come on!!!

I feel like making springtime stuff!

Let's see, I've collected a whole lot of inspirational pictures on Pinterest and I have a lot of "favorites" on Ravelry that would be perfect. It's time to stop procrastinating, climb out of those march blues, choose  something, anything, pick a yarn and sit down at the knitting machine!!!

Well, right after I shovel a bit and go out to buy cat food... Sigh...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hostess gifts!

When I'm invited somewhere, along with the traditional bottle of wine, I always like to bring a special hand made gift. The host or hostess is happy and I end up being invited over and over again! ;-)

It can be something I've canned (my blueberry-chocolate jam is a big favorite), or something I knit or crochet.

On the crochet front, for the past couple of years, one of my go-to choices as been a crochet grocery bag, the famous "filet à provisions". They're really practical, easy to clean (just toss them into the washer and dryer), my friends love them and use them a lot!

I make them in various colours.

Those two are the only ones that are left at the moment... I'd better make a few more...

But, since variety is the spice of life, I thought I should have more crochet choices. So, before I started my sock knitting marathon, I made crochet washcloths in 100% coton to put in my hostess gift stash. Naturally, I also kept a few for myself. ;-)

 Although I don't always use the same crochet stitch, I always put a scalloped edge all around, just to make them look more "finished".

 Hum... There seems to be a photobomb in the making...

One of my cats always tries to be in the picture and since he can't manage to take a selfie (paws are notoriously bad with fine motor skills) he follows me everywhere in the hope that he'll end up being photographed. ;-)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sock it to me!!!

I love wearing wool socks. Luckily, I love to knit wool socks!

I usually knit socks on my Passap knitting machine, it does a great job, it goes really fast and they're just as cute and cuddly as hand knit socks. The problem is that I can't put the knitting machine in my knitting bag when I go out and about... 

So, I usually have fair isle mittens or hats (or another small and portable knit) in my bag for those inevitable times when I knit somewhere else than home.

And, even at home, I sometimes feel like hand knitting very simple socks, just for the pleasure of a little mindless knitting in front of the TV!

I started making large socks in Kroy to fit the very large feet of my very tall son. I made a heel flap for a change. ;-)

I have a nagging feeling that they might be a bit too large... My normal sized feet are floating in them! I really have to ask my son to measure his feet... I can't believe they're that huge!!!

Knitting brown socks during a long hard winter isn't good for moral, so I've also knit colourful cheery socks while watching the Olympic games. I almost only hand knit self striping yarn because I love to see the colours change, plus it's a lot more fun!

The green sock (the other one is in progress) and the pink & blue ones are in Step. The blue socks are knit with Drops Fabel.

Don't you love it when the stripes are a perfect match! These socks are in Smile Opal. I love that yarn!!!

I've been trying different ways of turning heels. Above is the after thought heel.

Below is the Fish Lips Kiss heel (I love her cardboard foot model, check it out!).

O.K. I have to come clean about something: I don't like knitting with 4 double pointed needles! I find it cumbersome. I've tried, I swear I have. I love the nostalgia, the feeling of knitting socks the same way my grandmother did, but I just don't find it pleasurable or comfortable... What I prefer is doing it with 2 short circular needles. No more sharp pain as a needle pokes me repeatedly, no more dropped stitches when I have to quickly shove the sock in my knitting bag, no more lost needles in the sofa cushions and (for me) a quicker knit all around.

Since I'm coming clean, let me also admit that, try as I might, I cannot knit in the dark or without  looking at what I'm doing every few stitches. I know, after so many years I should be able to manage it, well I simply can't. I first tried years ago while reading Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac in which she said anyone could do it... After many unsuccessful attempts, which made me feel like a complete failure, I gave up and went on happily knitting with the lights on. Then, one fateful day, knitting bloggers appeared on my computer. I was, once again, faced with my shortcomings. Blogger after blogger commented about knitting at the movies!!!!! What!!!! How on earth can they knit in the dark without splitting the yarn, dropping stitches and generally messing things up??? There's a Youtube video of the Yarn Harlot knitting a sock on double pointed needles while giving an interview. She never looks at her sock!!! To paraphrase Wayne and Garth, "I'm not worthy"... I'm sooooo not worthy...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Trying to remember!

Last night, I was just drifting off to sleep, when, out of nowhere, I got a great knitting idea.

You know, one of those fabulous ideas you get when your mind is somewhere in limbo between two states, not really sleeping or really awake? This woke me up a bit since I was sure I'd really stumbled across something interesting. Today, I haven't the foggiest idea what it was...

Has that ever happened to you? I'm going batty trying to remember! The worst thing is that this isn't even the first time this has happened to me! Now, I think I've learned my lesson. From now on, I will keep a pen and paper (or at least my iPhone) on the nightstand to jot down ideas...  My sanity more than probably depends on it!

I can't even remember if it was an idea for a stitch, a pattern, an easier way to make something or what!  For now, all I can do is hope it'll come back to me! Probably when I stop trying so hard to remember.

Not all is lost, all that thinking about what it might or could have been, has made me come up with some pretty cool new ideas, none of which have rang a bell.That probably means that they're not even remotely connected to what I'm trying to remember.

At least, I can write these down before they try to escape! ;-)

I've often told you about my fashion conscious mother. Well, let me leave you with a picture of my lovely mom that was taken last week at a surprise party for her 92nd birthday (yes, she's 92!!!) :

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Woolly cuddles!

I haven't had time to knit very much during the past months, my mother had surgery on her foot with great success, but after that she fell on her replaced hip! Luckily nothing was broken but she had a very hard time walking for a few weeks.

I was also submerged with work and home repairs... My son moved away to go to Theatre School in Montreal, so I decided to sell the other house I have in town, where he was living. Before putting it on the market, I needed to do some work to it, 5 years of roommates and parties sure had their toll!
I also needed to tart it up to increase resale value, so I worked on it for months, seven days a week! I'm almost done and it's going on the market in a couple of weeks.

Through it all, I still managed to make hats, scarves and slippers as Christmas gifts! You know how it is, they come to expect new handknits under the Christmas tree and it warms my heart to know how much they appreciate what I make them and that I'm keeping them cosy all winter long!

Now, before I get too sentimental, let's see what's off the needles and that I have pictures of!!!

I love how the sweater coat I talked about a few months back, turned out. I made it slightly fitted at the waist and very slightly flared on the bottom.

 It's knit with two strands of Drops Puddel and one strand of Briggs & Little Sport.

Puddel is a lovely yarn, but you have to knit a lot slower than usual or else your needles keep getting caught in the loops. In the end, it's worth the hassle because the finished product is so warm, squishy and cuddly!

It was really hard to see it go... I might just have to knit another one to keep for myself...

Alice, the 18 year old who this coat was for, asked if she could have wooden barrel buttons.

 Since the coat doesn't have a collar, I also knit a Chunky Lace Cowl to go with it, using 3 strands of Briggs&Little Regal. It's a cute, easy pattern with big impact and thick yarn on 9mm needles makes the knitting go really fast! Instant gratification!

The lovely and very grateful recipient promised she would email me photos of her wearing the coat and cowl. You can bet I'm holding her to that promise!

Could it be that I might finally show you someone wearing one of my knits??? ;-)

That could be my New Year's resolution... LOL