Monday, February 21, 2011

Um, hello?

Yes, please.  I'll take two.

Oh and a pair of those on the side, please.

While we're at it, why don't you throw one of these onto the pile?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Quilting Fairies

Dudes, I have no idea how it happened.

Or when.

Or who did it (quilting fairies? gnomes? elves?).

But the quilt top is done:

(I know, those two last strips at the head of the bed weren't attached to the rest when I took this photo; I've since sewed the whole thing together, but the light was gone, so this is the photo you're getting.  Also, please ignore the deplorably un-finished state of our home.  It's a work in progress.  Those floors are going to get painted this summer and hopefully, I will get off my arse and put the trim back up around the windows at some point this decade.)

The quilt is made entirely of scraps of fabric from my husband's old button-down work shirts, sheets, remnants from my stash and other little odds and sods.  I used a technique called "foundation piecing", which I learned from Denyse Schmidt's book "Quilts".  That means that the quilt top is made up of two layers of fabric and has a wonderful, sturdy, weighty feeling to it.  I was inspired by our winter landscape:

I recently learned that my local yarn mill actually has a long-arm quilting machine and they've tentatively agreed to quilt this sucker up for me, which means I won't have to spend 40 years trying to get it done with my little machine.  I may have to do some sweet-talking to convince Hazel to do it for me, but I'm down wit' dat.

Ok, Wood.  You win.  I'm keeping it.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I am happy to report that both of my knitted gifts - the Hemlock for my Memère (that's French-Canadian for Grammy) and the shawl for my Mama - arrived at their destinations in fine form.  {Holy cow, can we just take a moment and marvel at the cost of mailing things, these days?  Ayoye (more French, for you).}  I got some e-mails of both of them yippeeeing and squeeeing.  Memère went on and on and on (she's much more easily-impressed than my mother) and she gave me a very fine compliment: she said that she had tried knitting something in a feather-and-fan pattern many moons ago and had found it too intimidating.  She said that I could teach her a thing or two about knitting.

This, coming from a woman who birthed nine children, seven of them boys.  Nine.  By the time she was 33 years old (in 1963).  She said I could teach her a thing or two.

I'll give you a moment to think about that.

Have you recovered, yet?  Whew.

Anyway, my mother probably loves hers just as much (incidentally, she doesn't know that I made the Hemlock for my not to tell her for now...).  It's just that my mother is what you might call a Chinese Mother and does not typically lean in the "gushing praise" direction.  She is much more of a "pat on the head and she walks by" person.  Or a "Great, you got a 95% on an exam.  What happened to that other 5%?" kind of person.  Don't get me wrong, I know without a doubt that she loves me.  She raised me and my (disabled) brother before getting remarried and after they divorced and she did a totally bang-up awesome kickass job of it.  She just doesn't make me feel squishy inside.  Well, she has her days, but let's just say that her approval has always felt somewhat inconsistent.

I've always marveled at how my friends' mothers justified all their kids' behaviour and said anything to make them feel better.  We never got that at home.  God help us if we ever did something at school to warrant a call home.  Hooooooweeeeee, that would have been scary.  Under no circumstances can I imagine my mother or stepdad arguing our case with the Principal.  No siree.  A phone call from any person in a position of authority would have been a VIP ticket to Groundedville.  Regardless of the details of the phone-call-inducing incident.  We all grew up with a very real aversion to getting into trouble.  Let's just say that if I got caught by Revenue Canada for not paying my taxes, I would be less afraid of their consequences than of having my mother find out about it. 

How did I get on this topic, exactly?  Geez, guys.  You really shouldn't let me ramble on like that.

Anywho: knitting.  I have finished Ruth's socks and have moved on to Kenny's (that's her husband).  {Incidentally, Ruth and Kenny both kind of have an elvish look to them.  Not a Tolkein elviness.  A Keebler elviness.  Cute.  Totally cute.}  Where was I?  Oh yeah, their socks.  Ruth gave me a couple of existing pairs of wool socks to use as templates and guess what?  Their socks were the same size.  She wears size 7 or 8 shoes and he most certainly does NOT, but for some reason, their socks are identical.  So, I shrugged and said ok whatever and I cast on:

I am ECSTATIC to report that the Magic Loop, two-at-a-time sock method completely OBLITERATES second sock syndrome.  Gone.  Poof.  Just like that.  Whoever discovered the process deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.  And a box of chocolates.

And I also want to throw out a couple of kudos to some of y'all:

Chris and her Sant'Angelo. Seriously, woman?  This is the top of amazing.

Helena and her no-frills, but infinitely covet-able scarf. (Rav link)

Purl and their herringbone cowl.  {Can a girl ever have too many neck-warmer-uppers? Is there a certain threshold that one should not cross, if one wishes to avoid becoming a joke?}

Oh, and for reals?  This just kills me.  And don't get me started on this.  Holy crud.  {Lori, when the stars in my eyes cleared after setting my eyes on her post, my first thought was ohmygodloriisgoingtoscreamwhensheseesthis.}

And, Miranda?  You must also see this.  No pressure.  But, seriously.  How are you going to be able to resist it?

In parting, if any of you have been harbouring suspicions that my knitting needle collection is getting out of hand, I present to you Exhibit A in my defense.


PS: I checked in with Google Analytics to see if you are all still reading or if it's just a few wandering souls and my sister out there, and I am astonished to say that while yes, you are still reading, the truly surprising fact is that Massachusetts has come out of the woodwork and has completely smoked all their opponents.  Take THAT, Arizona and Michigan!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nothing to see here, just a little impromptu knitting tutorial

Someone on Ravelry needed a little play-by-play on a mini cable maneuver, so that's all this is.  Apologies to those who wandered over looking for some decent photos or fancy knitting poetry.

Ok, here goes:

 Step 1: place the tip of the right needle like so.

Step 2: slip it into the two stitches like so.

Step 3: wrap the yarn around the right needle like so.

Step 4: pull the new loop towards you, through the two stitches like so.   STAY THERE - don't pull everything off the left needle, yet.  Just give yourself a little slack in the yarn that's looped around the right needle.

Step 5: leap-frog over the second stitch and go back and slip your right needle into the loop of the first stitch (you'll see that I had to use my left index to keep the "new" stitch in the right place on the right needle while I maneuvered the tip into place).

Step 6: wrap the yarn around the right needle, as before.

Step 7: pull the new yarn loop towards you, through the first stitch.

Step 8: NOW take everything off the left needle and let it sit on the right needle.  It will look like a hot mess right now, but will emerge as a crossed-over stitch when you knit up the next few rows/rounds.

Voilà!  You're done.