Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Best Present Ever!

I got the best present ever from my hubby. Before I show it to you, let me give you a bit of background history...

Last year, my hubby suggested we each make a present for us. If you know my hubby, you will be floored by this suggestion like I was. I was good with that idea.

This year, we (I) decided to continue this new tradition. He grumbled and groaned about how much work it was last year. My response was that's what makes the gift special...you're giving a bit of yourself in the gift. In the end it was decided that those who felt like it (me)will make stuff.

Christmas day rolls around and there's a long flat package under the tree for me.


...it's a shelf for my loom! And knowing how un-handy this man is, I appreciate this a whole lot more.

Thankful for:
1. Hubby' shelf.
2. A light dusting of snow on Christmas day.
3. Dog didn't throw up until after everyone left.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Good Year!



I wrote a great long post about my feelings and thoughts on this time of the year and what it means to me...blah, blah, blah. It was long and wordy and it really didn't say what I wanted to say.

In the end, all I wanted to say was that I wish you and your family the best for this upcoming New Year. I hope that, after tallying up the good and the bad, 2007 was a good year for everyone.

Thankful for:
1. A sound and solid house to live in.
2. Family and friends to eat, drink, and be merry with.
3. Good health.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm not ignoring you...

It's not that I'm trying to ignore anyone...it's just that I've run out of time.

I'm sure December is the shortest month in the entire year. And this is with us doing only the bare bones for the holidays.

Ack!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

We all scream for Ice Queen

Sometimes you just can't help yourself. I have no willpower.






Ice Queen at Knitty.

A simple feather and fan lace pattern with beads knitted in Kidsilk Haze. Knits up super quick.

Thankful for:
1. Good tires on the car.
2. One of the bestest week off work ever!
3. Christmas tree done.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stalled Christmas Knitting

My MIL has larger hands than I do. That's a problem because, while I do know her hands are larger than mine, I don't know how much larger. So I guessed. And I think I guessed wrong. The index finger might be right but the rest of the others will be too small for her. Darn!

I have three options here...I could reknit them, I could turn them into mittens, or I could go and buy her something. I can't even keep these for myself as the index finger is too big for me.

This is what happens when you anger the Knitting Goddesses by boasting that you're on schedule with your Christmas knitting.

Thankful for:
1. Today's sunshine.
2. Dog didn't throw up.
3. Tree outside looks wonderful with the Christmas lights.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dog, Fibre, and Chocolate

I asked my husband to remind me how much we love the dog. My one week off is slowly turning into a week of carpet cleaning, thanks to him...the dog, not the husband. On Monday, as I was cleaning one area, the dog was busy throwing up in another room. Today, same thing. It's really not his fault. He's old and he eats too fast. Add that with the household upheaval of moving furniture, etc, he throws up.

Yeah, sorry...dog barf is not good blog material.

On to fibre stuff...

Last night was the last class for weaving but I signed up for another session in January. I did learn a lot in this class. Considering that I knew nothing at the start, I think I've come a long way and still have much more to learn. Now, I know what is the difference between weft and warp.

The Christmas Knitting has been picked up again. I'm halfway through the fingers for the first glove. Fingers knit up fast but are tedious. You have to knit them one at a time. The cuffs for the second pair have been started.

I've added a new project to the list...a knitted teddy bear. I couldn't resist when I saw the Blue Sky Suri alpaca sitting in a basket at Three Bags Full last week. It just looked so bear-ish.

I think the carpet is dry enough to go move the furniture back now. This afternoon was going to be devoted to chocolate making but I'm out of chocolate. Not true...I'm out of the chocolate discs. I have a slab of Valrhona but don't feel like chipping it. It might be a quiet afternoon of knitting instead.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Placemat #1



WOO HOO!! Halfway through placemat #1! :D

I seem to be having a problem keeping the tension on the warp. It's either the brakes are slipping or I didn't do the warp properly.

Thankful for:
1. A week off.
2. Continuous Christmas music playing on satellite sations.
3. A warm and toasty fireplace.

PS...the previous post was deleted due to me not paying attention to what I was doing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pithy details of the loom

There really isn't anything more boring in this world than sitting through 8 hours of WCB regulations. That was my day today. I think my brain melted and leaked out of my ears around 2pm. How I made it to 4:30pm without falling asleep and, thereby, falling off my chair and embarassing myself, I don't know.

Anyway, here's a couple pictures of my Minerva. I removed the really bad tape marks off with something called GOOP OFF! It smelled really toxic but it was my last resort. I used oil and got a little bit off. Next came vinegar and that took off a bit more. Murphy's oil soap got the loom nice and clean but didn't do much for tape marks. I tried Citrisolv and that worked for most of it. The hardcore stuff like GOOP OFF! removed the final really dried crusted tape.



It's not an 8 harness but 4 harness. It has slots for another 4 and it looks like it should be easy to install should I go that route. I emailed Leclerc and they said I can still get harnesses for it. The total width is 25.5" and 39" tall. Fully opened, it sits 34" long. It's a nice little loom.



I think I will get a new reed for it. It's going to take me a while to clean the rust off the other ones. I want to start weaving NOW!

Thankful for:
1. Having so much to be thankful for that it's hard to pick 3 things.
2. No snow yet.
3. Random kindness of strangers - Dunn's Tailor seamstress.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas countdown

1. 1 pair of red gloves.
2. 1 pair of grey gloves.
3. 1 pair of socks.
4. Weave 4 placemats (optional)

That's all I have left of my Christmas knitting. I have 30 days left. Piece of cake, right? If I don't finish the placemats in time, I'll just put everything away and pretend they don't exist.

Other things to do for fun (and me):
1. Block and sew grey cardigan.
2. Knit Misson Falls sweater.
3. Finish Kiri shawl.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Funny string pictures

This is where the cord is. It's nicely chained and out of the way. One diagram I came across had this attached to the friction brake wheel.

But there's another cord that's attached to the brake wheel on the botton. This is attached to the lever and it's working well.

The missing crank is for winding on the warp. I think I can find a socket that will do the job for now.

Thankful for:
1. Full moon - it's really beautiful out tonight.
2. Warm woolly mittens - it was really cold today!
3. Cheese nachos.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Minerva Loom!

The loom is in excellent shape. She bought it new years ago and other than dust, it's fine. Ok, there's tons of tape marks...she went wild binding everything up with masking tape. I'll have to find some kind of solvent that will take off 15 year old masking tape.

I think there's a crank missing that she can't find. There are two reeds but they're a bit rusty. Hubby thinks the rust can be cleaned off. It's missing the treadle hooks. I have thick wires that I can use.

It took me forever trying to figure out the brake thing. From what I can tell from the diagrams on the Leclerc website, I may have to take the whole thing off and start from scratch.

I got got a huge bag of bobbins and a bobbin winder but she couldn't find the boat shuttle. The warping board was in excellent condition but her husband had taken it apart and now it's missing a side. Not terribly useful, a three-sided warping board.

There are cords all over the place that I haven't worked out what they do. I think it's going to take me a while to figure everything out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pay It Forward

I found this on someone's blog and had to do a bit of blog chasing to find the tail end to join up. I like this idea...kinda like a good deed, craft-style.

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

Football can be fun

The Kiri shawl is coming along very slowly. I've been sidetracked by the Halloween socks. I picked up the yarn a few days before Halloween and was going to save it for next year. Hah!! I tell myself that I'm in between commuting sock projects, I might as well start this one. It will only be for commuting. I LOVE the speckles in the yarn and I can't put it down!

The plan was that I was going to knit while the BC Lions played yesterday. If you're not much of a football fan and you have absolutely no understanding of the game and you're stuck there until the end of the game, what else can you do? It was going to be 3 hours of Kiri knitting. Then I had the brilliant idea of going to Three Bags Full. They were only 5 mins away.



Two skeins of Koigu in varigated red and 12 skeins of Misson Falls wool in dark green and light green. I was thinking of doing the Rowan Neaty in this. Three Bags Full even offered to wind my Koigu into balls in case I wanted to start them. As it happened, I had 2mm needles in my bag - doesn't everyone carry 2mm needles with them?

I also picked up another copy of Interweave Knit Gift issue. The pages seems to be a poorer quality paper what was used in the regular magazine. The pages were really flimsy and tore easily. I left my first copy on the floor and my dog laid down on it and ripped some of the pages. That was my fault but even before that, I was finding the pages would tear on the edge as you turn them. I hope Interweave is not planning switching to this type of paper for all their magazines.

I got back with enough time to start the toes of my next pair of socks. Best football game ever!

Thankful for:
1. Having today off.
2. Rain.
3. Fireplace.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Iris Chang - The Rape of Nanking

We went to see Iris Chang - the Rape of Nanking movie tonight. When I first heard about this movie, I thought it was about her book (of the same title) but it was more on the personal journey of the author - Iris Chang. Her parents were there at the end of the movie for question and answer.

I've been sitting here sorting out my thoughts on this movie and the subject matter. It's hard as this really does hit very close to home. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to think about.

Thankful for:
1. A job that I can whine and complain about but still it's a job that I have.
2. My family is safe and with me.
3. My biggest decision today was what to have for breakfast.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Decisions! Decisions!

When I started my weaving classes, I knew I wanted a loom. I thought I wanted a small loom, maybe a table loom. I found a small floor loom...a 22" Minerva. I haven't seen it yet but it sounds nice. Good price.

Now, I have choices. There's a nice 36" loom 4 harness that sounds really nice too. A bit bigger than what I originally thought of getting. And there's a 45" 4 harness that's even better. I've been told that big is good because it means more possibilities. And then there's a 45" 8 harness for a bit more money but still good especially if I want to weave complicated patterns in the future.

The problem is that I do so many different things. How much time will I have for weaving? The reason I thought of getting a small loom is that it would fit nicely in a corner of the family room. I can weave and still be with the family. The larger looms will have to go upstairs. It's lonely up there and other than using the room as storage (or when I'm doing something messy) I don't do much up there. For me to weave up there would mean that I have to set aside a block of time to just weave. I'm used to leaving my projects all over the house for when I have a few minutes to spare. The 36" might fit in the space in the family room but the 45" definitely wouldn't fit.

All this might be a moot point as no one has returned my calls yet. All the looms might already be sold and I have to wait all over again.

Thankful for:
1. Coffee.
2. Roof is not leaking.
3. Family who puts up with my fibre addictions.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's the end of a long weekend.

1. Didn't block or sew up the cardigan.
2. Finished the weaving sample.
3. Finished the background for the cards.
4. Skeins are in centre pull balls.
5. I have a couple of ideas but not sure what to make yet.
6. Didn't knit until my brains leaked out but I did play Diablo until my eyes fell out.

Thankful for:
1. Family dinners with lots of leftovers to bring home
2. The people who kept this country safe for me and my family.
3. Iris Chang.

Friday, November 09, 2007

TGIF!

It's Friday before a long weekend and I'm leaving at 1:30. It's perfect because I can stop off at the Circle Craft Fair before heading home.

So, it's for sure now...I'm going to get a loom. I've been waffling back and forth - should I get one now or should I wait? There's no reason to wait since I know I want one.

On our round-robin samplers, I made a mistake threading the pattern and had to re-do it. It wasn't hard to fix but I felt bad because now everyone has to re-weave their samples. I re-did mine and brought the loom back last night. It didn't seem as hard the second time around. I think I might actually like this pattern from hell. I shouldn't say that out loud until Irene checks it to see if it's right first.

Things to do this weekend:

1. Block and sew up cardigan.
2. Do the next weaving sample.
3. Work on the FATCs some more.
4. Wind the hemp skeins into balls.
5. Think of something to make for the Guild's Green display.
6. Knit until my brains leak out of my ears.

Thankful for:
1. Long weekend - that's a given.
2. Christmas music on the internet.
3. Quiet day at the office today.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Feeling sorry for myself

It's 9:30pm and I'm at work. There is a football game on tonight and I have to be here. I really don't understand football. Normally, I can go when I finish everything I needed to do...which should have been hours ago. But I'm waiting for the family. They're here at the game. So I'm sitting in my office knitting.

I'm knitting Kiri again. I made a Kiri shawl last year and gave it away to a friend who ran off to get married in Germany. It was hard to part with but the look on her face was worth it.

It was a toss up between the Flower Basket and the Kiri. I still have 2 Flower basket shawl waiting to be blocked. Do you see a trend here? Not much gets past the blocking stage of finishing.

I think at some point, I must have planned on making a few more Kiri shawl. Apparently, all in the same colour...Dewberry...because I found another bag of Kidsilk Haze in Dewberry. Good thing I like that colour.

Thankful for:

1. game is almost over.
2. 3 hours of quiet knitting time with no one to bother me.
3. Sushi.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'm stuck!

I'm at a loss. I don't feel like blocking the grey cardie tonight. I want to knit something. I have old UFOs but nothing I want to work on (most of these I don't remember what they were supposed to be). There are always socks on the needles but they don't count. I'm thinking of a shawl, perhaps another Kiri or the Flower Basket shawl. Or another sweater but I can't make up my mind.

All day at work I've been mentally going through my stash, trying to decide what to knit next. It has to be something on 4.5mm needles because I'm dying to do a project on my Darn Pretty Needles. :D

I think I'll go spin some more of Ping for now.

Thankful:

1. It's Friday.
2. Daylight savings - we get an extra hour this Sunday.
3. Pumpkin seeds.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ping!

Meet Ping. Ping is a blend of 90% Pygora goat and 10% merino. And yes, it is as soft as it looks. I've felt pashmina shawls and they feel like sandpaper compared with my pygora cowl. A little of Ping goes a long way. Last summer (maybe?) I bought a small sample of Ping to try. I think it was an ounce. It was more than enough to knit a nice lacey cowl. I loved it so much, I bought more Ping. All that she had. The plan was to spin it fine and knit a shawl with it. It sat in the plastic bag (bad me) until now. Last month's guild meeting on down fibres scared me into bringing this out to spin. They had samples of what would happen if you hoard your fibre. Someone had brought a sample of supersoft angora fibre that felted in the plastic bag and it was scary!!



It may not look like much now but once it's plyed, washed and whacked, the yarn really blooms and it is yummy stuff!

I still have a bag of Ping's sister, Apple when I finished this. Ping and Apple came from Mountain Springs.

Thankful:
1. Willpower not to eat all the leftover Halloween chocolates.
2. The bus came on time today. Never did find out what happened to the missing bus.
3. Seeing someone do a good deed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I think this year's kid total hit an all-time low at 13 kids. I guess that's ok...more chocolates left over for me!


I did try to count the wraps as I was winding this on the Niddy Noddy, but lost track. This worked out to be 20 WPI.

Pithy details - 100% Tussah silk, hand painted roving, hand spun and Navajo plyed.

I think I may have a yarn problem...16 skeins of Silky Wool arrived in the mail today. No, I don't really have a project in mind. I might want to save this for a weaving project. I hear weaving will use up a lot of your yarns.

And finally! I'v finished knitting the pieces for the grey cardigan! Now, I have to sew everything together and knit the band.

Thankful for:
1. BC Lions playing on Nov 18th instead of Nov 11th. This means I get a nice long weekend.
2. Not having to walk home from the bus stop today. Somehow, they lost a bus. Go figure.
3. Halloween chocolates.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Phew! It's done!

The never-ending silk has been spun and plyed! Finally! It just needs to be set and whacked before I can use it. I'll do that tomorrow & post some pics.

One thing I'm noticing is that I don't seem to need the fancy bobbins & flyers for spinning. I used my big fat humungeous plying bobbin and flyer for my silk and it turned out great. The silk looked tiny and out of place sitting on my big bobbin but it was the only bobbin empty at the time.

Thankful for:
1. Husband's high blood pressure was found out before it could escalate into something worse.
2. Today's sunshine.
3. Good friends at work.

Monday, October 22, 2007

24 hours is just not enough hours.

There really isn't enough hours in a day to accomplish everything I need or want to do.

To do list for this past weekend:
1. Finally finish spinning the pink silk.
3. Ply the pink silk.
4. Work on the undulating twill sample.
5. Finish the grey cardigan sleeves.
6. Work on the background for the Fibre ATC swap cards.

The only thing I worked on this weekend was spinning the pink silk and I didn't even finish that. I have another 1.5 feet of roving left to spin.

I think I either need longer days or less sleep. Or win millions of dollars and retire now.

Thankful for:
1. Having time to do the fun stuff instead of laundry.
2. Homemade soup on cold rainy days.
3. Computer is coming home next week. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Don't forget to breathe...

This is scary stuff! I followed the directions for warping the loom, back to front, and I think I'm at the part where I take the lease sticks off. Everything is tied and I've woven a couple rows of "sticky" yarn. Why do I have this horrible feeling that everything will fall apart when I do that?

The hardest part was threading the heddles in the proper sequence. I spent two hours last night and only did 23 threads out of 100. And then I discovered I was out of order. That's what happens when you do things late at night. I left it for today to redo. Tonight, it took two hours to do the whole thing. It really helps when you write out the sequence nice and big and put a mark whenever you finish a set.

Thankful for...
1. Remembering to bring my unbrella today.
2. Good day at work.
3. Inspiration for my Halloween costume - now I need to find a top hat.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

coffee addiction

I've always suspected this to be true...



We've been buying our beans from JJ Beans for eons. We buy so much that we qualified for the wholesale price. Considering there's only the two of us drinking the coffee, it's kinda scary. I grind the beans every morning and pack that in an airtight container to bring to work. I have a little french press in my office for that perfect first cup of coffee. Yes, I'm a little obessive about my coffee.

Thankful for:

1. Hardcopies of your project when you accidently save the wrong file over the work you've spent 2 weeks doing.
2. No one laughed and called you an idiot for the above.
3. Fibre buddies to take your mind off your stupidity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Black holes

Sleeves are the black holes of knitting. How else is it possible that you can knit and knit and knit and still no closer to finishing? I measured the sleeve on my grey cardigan. I needed another 1 1/2" to go. After what seemed like hours of knitting, I measured the sleeve again and I'm 2" short. How is it possible that you can do all that knitting and have less sleeve than before?

Note to Spiny Bunt:

I read all kinds of comics. My husband collects them. He (and other comic book fanatics) calls them graphic novels. Currently, I'm re-reading all the Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics. Favourite manga - Bleach and Full Metal Alchemist.

Thankful for:
1. Halloween chocolate
2. Having things to be thankful for.
3. My crazy dog

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The perfect Saturday

A little bit of silk followed me home from Granville Island on Saturday. Y'know, it's really hard to take good pictures of silk without doing a lot of work. Didn't feel like setting everything up so the picture is a bit overexposed.

A group of us (Twisted By Choice) caught the demo at Opus by Vivian Zuba. The two hours flew by so fast. She covered so many different techniques, my mind was absolutely swimming at the end. She makes you want to run home and create. Permission to play, as she puts it.

...AND...I finished my weaving sampler. It's off the loom, hemstitched, and washed. I think I would like to do another one but with one colour for the warp and a different colour for the weft. I found it hard to see some the different patterns once the piece was washed.

This Tuesday night, we're discussing our next project. Homework is to bring yarn from home. It was interesting how I'm looking at my stash with new eyes. Going through yarn, wondering if this or that would be good for weaving.

BTW...I think the Darn Pretty needles may just be the best needles I own...and I own a LOT of needles. Even better than my Colonial and Noble needles (both I love), and much better than Crystal Palace! The colours are beautiful...mesmerizing. These needles are PERFECTLY made, smooth and beautifully finished. Not one groove out of place. Knitpicks is now selling something similar and are much, much, MUCH cheaper but I don't know what the quality is like.

Thankful for:

1. Sunshine today
2. Comic books
3. Coffee

Friday, October 12, 2007

Darn Pretty Needles!

And they really are darn pretty! (I know I've said this before)

Look!

2.75mm DPNs - Bubblegum


4.5mm circulars - 60" cord - Carnival


3.25mm circular - 60" cord - Hazelnut


The Darn Pretty Needles are handmade from Grafton Fibers. I asked Tom to surprise me and he did.


Today's Thankful list:

1. Well, it goes without saying, my new needles. :D
2. 3:30pm on a Friday afternoon - It was a very long week.
3. Dinner was ready by the time I got home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thankful for...

1. The high Canadian $$ (more yarn for your bucks).

2. Friends to go on field trips with.

3. My spinning wheels.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Things to be thankful for...

A few nights ago, I was watching a documentary on a study of how people's attitude and frame of mind can affect their health, physically and emotionally. Each night, one group would write down things that they're thankful or happy about, a second group would write down complaints, and the third group wrote down whatever they wanted. No surprise that the first group had a better outlook on life and was generally happier and healthier.

So, here are three things I'm happy and thankful for:

1. My hands still work - sometimes they ache when I knit too much but they work.

2. My family - no matter how bizarre my hobbies and interests may be, they say go for it.

3. Pumpkin pie - especially one I didn't have to bake. :D

Where has the day gone?!

Husband went golfing early this morning and I was supposed to weave until my eyeballs fall out (or until I get to the end...whichever came first). I thought I would spent a few minuts on Ravelry...you know, take a few pics of my stash yarn or something. Next thing I knew the morning was gone and it's time to start Thanksgiving dinner. I did managed to do a bit of weaving but nothing spectacular.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Look! I'm weaving!

Heh! The first part of converting non-fibre obsessed family members is to have them try it. My son was watching me work on my sampler and wanted to give it a go. He thought it was fun. heh!

Now, all I have to do is to get my husband to try. Actually, I think he's already resigned himself to the fact that there will be a loom in our future.

It's slowly making sense, I think. I'm trying to keep the edges nice and neat.

Ok, this is what I've learned so far...

1. If I pull the wool snug so that it pulls the last edge warp thread in as I put the shuttle through, when I squish it down with the beater, it will make a nice edge. The trick is to keep it consistent.

2. Same with beating - keep it consistent and use even pressure.

3. The pattern one is trying to achieve is a combination of raising the warp threads in sequence to produce the weave pattern. The more harnesses you have, the more possiblities for patterns.

This is fun! :D

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Got my Ravelry invite!!

One minute, there was 885 people ahead of me and next minute, my Ravelry invite came! And I'm there as LavenderKnits. Lavender was already taken. The place is overwhelmingly huge! It's everything people said it was and more!

I'm not sure I'm ready to confront my entire stash and catalogue everything but it would be fun to go through my stuff and see what I have.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Good news/Bad news

Good news is that Burnaby Knitworks is having a major sale. Bad news is that it's their closing out sale. When I saw that, I couldn't believe it! I had to phone the store to confirm. Yes, they're closing out after 12 years. I'm hoping this isn't the down trend of knitting. I've seen this happen so many times. Knitting makes a comeback and stores open all over the city. A few years later, they start closing out. This is the second LYS in the past year.

Another bit of good news is that Urban Yarns has opened up their second store in Edgemont Village in North Van. Good for them.

Football first

I can't believe I watched the whole game of football on Saturday! My boss hosted a suite at BC Place & we were invited. I think if one has to be there for an entire game, that would be the only way to do it...in a private suite. The food was good and drinks were plenty. If I had to endure the whole game in the stands, I would go stir-crazy. As it were, it was bearable because you're not limited to sitting in the seats but can move around the inside of the suite and talk to people. I had to walk around a lot. Football minutes can last a lifetime. I had my knitting with me but these business types would probably not understand so it stayed in my bag.

It's a rainy Monday today but I don't mind. I'm home today...YAH!!! Kid is at school and hubby is at work. This morning was spent doing a few miscellaneous chores and the rest of the day will be spent knitting & spinning. Or maybe I'll start on my FATC swap.

Reply to Gillian: we don't spray our apple trees. How big is your tree? Sometimes the apples are not doing well because the tree is too big or the soil needs feeding. And it could also depend on the variety of your tree. Some may need a longer growing season than others and some apples takes time to mature after picking. Our apples need another month after picking before they're ready to eat. I don't know if you're in my area but there's the Apple Festival coming up at our local university.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

FATC Swap

The Twisted by Choice group has decided to do a mini Fibre Artist Trading Card swap with each other.

I'm excited! This is going to be fun! We talked about the different things we could do last Wed & might plan an Embellishment night or something. I feel very lucky to have a group of friends with such similar interests. It makes one feel very normal.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

First day of Autumn

How do we celebrate the first day of Autumn?

...by harvesting apples from our tiny apple tree. Last year's yield was 2 apples and this year we got a total of 11.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Not a lot to see...


It may not look like much but this is the blood, sweat, & tears of my first weaving class. Winding warp was not as easy as it looked.

I had a great time and so looking forward to the next class. We're putting the warps on real looms!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Excited...

I'm excited and can't sleep. My first weaving class tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to this. It's something that I knew I've always wanted to try.

Husband just reminded me that I'm not to buy a loom.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rainy Sunday

It's raining today...

I really don't mind the rain. The garden could use the water. Tomatoes might not care for it...they tend to split with all the excess moisture.

I'm so tired today. I really don't like working Saturdays...especially for stuff like football. I just don't get football. What a waste of a weekend.

I was going to go to the LYS on my way to work yesterday. I wanted to pick up some hemp yarn for a vest. At the last minute I decided to go to Lougheed Mall instead. Bad idea. How can someone miss a shopping mall the size of six city blocks? Next thing I knew I was in Vancouver and I knew I've gone past the mall.

Bad idea #2. I wasn't in the mood to turn around to find the mall so I thought I would do a bit of Shoe Shopping downtown. It's been a long time since I've been Shoe Shopping. Now, I've gone shopping and bought shoes but there's a difference between Shoe Shopping, with a captial "S" and buying shoes while shopping because you need them. Three pairs of Fluvog shoes later, I felt much better. Heh! One pair was actually practical and I can wear them at work. It's all good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I need more yarn


I have to work this Saturday. Bah! I told them that I'm not going in to work at the crack of dawn. If they need anything, it has to be done by Friday 3:30pm. I'll be there on Saturday at 4pm and that's it. No more crap like last year. That's ok...I'm planning a detour to a LYS on my way to work this Saturday. :D

The grey cable cardigan is coming along quite nicely. I'm more than halfway up the two front pieces now. The patterns are easy enough to do without carrying around the charts with me, making it a good travelling project.

These are the most amazing tomatoes! Cherry tomatoes that grows in hanging baskets and they're so good! I usually don't eat tomatoes but I love homegrown ones. Storebought tomatoes are too acidic for me. I've been popping these like candy.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A little bit of knitting...

The back of the cabled cardigan is done and I've casted on for the front pieces today. The cables are straightforward enough that I don't need to have the charts with me. It's knitting up fairly quickly once I stop procrastinating with other projects.

This is the earless monkey. The sample ear is just pinned to the head. I think the ear should be smaller and rounder. There's not enough yarn left so I have to pick apart all the sample ears to re-knit.



Ravelry

I take heart that there's 8316 people behind me on the waiting list but it's daunting to see there's another 11652 people before me. I've given up kicking myself for not taking that invite. I'm glad the person it went to, used it...no hard feelings. :)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sock Monkey ears

I'm running out of grey for the Sock Monkey ear experiments. I've tried 3 different styles and not really liking any of them. My son thinks the problem is not with the ears but the head is too small. I think he might be right. This might mean a Sock Monkey head re-knit this weekend.

Last week was my 20 year anniversary at work. I got another clock (4th one now - wonder if they're trying to tell me something?) and a pretty good gift certificate. When asked what store would I like, I thought of several LYSs, Maiwa, Opus, even Treenway. I ended up with Sears. It was easy for my boss to get to. I was asked if I could really spend that much on yarn. Hahahaha!!!!

To Angela re: resin - I don't have a lot of resources for resin but you can buy liquid resin at Michael's and Opus. I got the idea from Crafty Chica. Opus has the set with the resin and catalyst all together as one package. With Michael's you have to buy each separately. I worked out the prices and it works out more or less equal. I think buttons would be a cool project to try. I've been thinking of what moulds would be good. Or, if you just pour the resin on a smooth surface, it would be too runny...unless you let it sit a few minutes first and let it thicken. It's a thought. If you make buttons, I'd love to hear how that worked out.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lists

I've always made lists...lists of things to do, lists of things to pack for holidays, lists for gift giving, etc. It wasn't until Amber brought up the subject one night at our Twisted group, that I gave it more thought. It was just something I do. It was one way of keeping myself organized so I wouldn't forget things. I'm a very forgetful person. If I don't write it down, I will forget it.

I came across this site today...Listography where you can create lists for just about anything. Shopping lists, list of favourite music, list of songs you love, list of songs you hate - you get the picture.

For me, it's not practical using an online list. I barely remember to update my electronic daytimer for work. I still prefer the old fashioned way of writing things down.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Post-Vacation blahs

The three weeks was wonderful! I think that even if it was three months it would still be not enough.

Whistler was fun. The weather was nice for the most part but it doesn't matter. Rain never bothered me. Kinda felt bad for the hubby who had to run in it, though. He was up at the peak running and I was snug in the hotel room, watching the rain make its way down the mountain. :)

The List:

1. Still spinning the silk for the MS3. I think I'm just going to spin up the silk and save it for something else. I have some nice laceweight merino that I could use if I still want to knit the stole.

2. Silk noil plyed and waiting for a project.

3. Decided to card the Corriedale into batts instead of the indigo merino. I have 12 batts completed. The weather was too nice to be indoors carding.

4. Started the cardigan with the Kauni yarn. I decided against the Kauni Cardigan. As much as I like the pattern, let's face it...I'll never finish it. I like my sweaters plain and fuss-free. It is now going to be simple top-down cardigan.

5. Almost finish the miniature rug. I still have to decide on the fringe.

6. Made the ice cube ornaments. I also found a couple of plastic trays at the dollar store that will make interesting molds. Maybe this weekend?

7. Didn't make more soap.

8. No brownies still but made ice cream and banana bread. Three loaves of banana bread barely lasted a day and half here.

9. Still working on the grey cable cardigan. I'm really liking this merino/alpaca yarn.

10. Changed my mind on the Orenburg-ish shawl swatch. I think I will have to rework the pattern. It's too fussy.

11. Annual Trek was fun!

12. Made an appointment to get my eyes checked.

13. The Modern Masters exhibition was really enjoyable but crowded.

14. I still love the Museum of Anthropology! When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to have a teacher who was a good friend of Bill Reid. He took the class to visit Bill Reid a few times and watched him work on the Raven and the First Men sculpture. It was amazing to listen to him talk about Haida art.

15. Signed up for weaving. I'm really exited about this!

Other things not on the list:

Sock monkey is almost finished - just trying to figure out the ears. I've made 2 sets but they don't look right. The consensus is that the head is too small. It will have to be picked open and reknit.

That's about it. I think I relaxed too much on vacation. My brain still feels like mush. People come up and talk at me and I have no idea what they're blabbering about. I'm sure my work-brain will come back soon.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vacation update

So far, I'm at the 2/3 mark of my vacation. It's been really nice and relaxing. Spent a lot of time perfecting the perfect iced coffee. The secret is use coffee ice cubes. Reading my favourite books over and over again. Watching my favourite movies over and over again. When I say "over and over again" I meant it. I think I've watched Howl's Moving Castle at least 5 times in the last two weeks. Still love that movie. Yeah, I get a little obsessive sometimes. The book is much better than the movie. Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favourite authors.

It was nice to visit with the Twisted By Choice ladies on Wednesday night. It was one of those rare occasions that we were all together, with the exception of Rose. No one had to work late, no one had to teach that night, no one was away. It was just a nice night spent with friends, talking fibre.

Amber brought her natural dye project to show us. I'm really impressed with the depth of colours you can get with natural dyes. I wish I had my camera with me that night. Maybe next Wednesday, Amber?

So, it's a done deal...I signed up for Weaving classes at Place des Arts. I'm looking forward to this. Weaving was always something I knew I wanted to try.

My new needles should arrive any day now. Can't wait to see them. :D

I still have to decide on how I want to do the Kauni cardigan. As much as I love how everyone else's sweater looks, I'm not a big fan of knitting with two yarns...and steeks. I think that's what stopping me from jumping in. Just the thought of all that steeking is making me stick with the cable cardigan.

Next week is the trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology. Followed by Whistler and then back to work. ugh.

I think, by most people's definition of vacation, mine is pretty boring but it suits me fine.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Resin Cubes


The resin ice cube experiment is sort of going well.

Things to remember:

1. Food colouring is an inexpensive alternative to the very expensive resin dyes. The little green cube in the photo was tinted with a drop of green food colouring. You need to really make sure the colouring is well mixed unless you want tiny blobs of dye imbedded in the cube.

2. When you pour the first layer of resin, the mixture is still quite runny. All the embellishments sank to the bottom (which will be the top of the cube once inverted). You have to let it sit for 5 minutes. Any longer will result in a too thick gelatenous goop. You can push your embellishment through the goop but it may cause ripples in your final product.

3. The little paper stars kept floating because of the air inside. Make sure all the air is taken out or use solid embellishment. Another thing is to coat the item first before laying it in the goop. Tiny air bubbles can be trapped on the object.

4. The tall narrow ice cube tray was not so great for resin cubes. The narrowness of the cube made it hard to add embellishments properly. I need to find a tray with flat wide cubes.

If you click on the picture, you can see all my mistakes. The cube in front had all the stars floated up and almost out of the cube.

Monday, August 13, 2007

*giggle* Skinny monkey butt

I'm juvenille enough to laugh at skinny monkey butts. At the start of my vacation, I made up a list of things to do...none of which was to make a sock monkey. It's one of those things that if you don't do it, horrible things will happen. The world will come to an end if I don't make this sock monkey.

This is actually the monkey's second butt. The first one was red and pointy. *snort*
This butt is a bit more refined, I think.

And since I'm deviating from my list, it's banana bread instead of brownies. Does it count if I put chocolate in there?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thai food

I love Thai food and my husband doesn't care for it at all. That's because he's never had REAL good Thai food. There's a new Thai restraunt in Coquitlam that's been getting a lot of buzz lately - Chada Thai. Well worth a visit to this restraunt. A tiny little place (used to be a vitamin store) across from Taco Bell, next to a fish & chip shop. If you blink, you'll walk right past it. The food was amazing! At the end of the meal, I asked hubby what he thought and he said he really enjoyed the food and wouldn't mind coming back! Yah! Finally a Thai restraunt that serves good Thai food and it's close to home!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Annual Trek

It was absolutely exhausting but fun! Every year, my sister and I grab our kids and head out for the day. Part of the fun is that we just never know where we'll end up at any point.

It was a trip to Vancouver on the Westcoast Express, Aquarium, lunch, more Aquarium, shopping on Robson, Chapters, Granville Island - Opus, Maiwa, etc...the full deal, Hon's for dinner, and finishing up with a trip to Michaels. Keep in mind that we either walked or took the bus. Yeah, it was exhausting! My feet are still hurting right now.

What amazed me was after all that, I came home with only 1 little wooden stamp from Maiwa and a little tube of glitter from Michaels. Oh, there were brownies and banana breads and other goodies consumed along the way but stuff-wise? This is it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Kauni Goodness!



I met up with Shelly from Fun Knits Yarn Shop today and picked up the wool for the Kauni cardigan. We had a nice visit and she showed me her Kauni cardigan in its final stages...casting off the body and just about to steek. Yikes!

According to the pattern, I should be good with 3 balls but I got 5 just in case. Nothing worse than running out of wool. If I have leftovers, I can make a hat or scarf or mitts. The great thing about this wool is that it doesn't matter what the colours are. All the colours repeat themselves. As long as you start one ball on a different colour repeat from the other ball, you're ok. Fair Isle effect without the zillions of ends to darn in at the end.

I am not going to start this until I've done at least 10" of the cardigan. And I'm waiting for my new needles to arrive.

Yup.

Edited to add:

The silk noil nicely plyed...

Monday, August 06, 2007

I could just kick myself!

A while ago, I got an invite to join Ravelry. I didn't know what Ravelry was and never got around to checking it out. I've heard of people talking about it but thought I really didn't have time to join another on-line community. The knitting buddy who sent me the invite finally convinced me to go check it out. Now I'm on the waiting list with 15126 people ahead of me.

Poo!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Computer is fixed!

This is why it's good to have a teenage kid! Tell him that it may take weeks before you'll have time to look into the computer problem and he will fix it out of desperation. Heh!

This is the silk I'm hoping to spin up for the Mystery Stole but I'm not sure if I want something varigated for the stole. I have some plain white laceweight merino that I was thinking of using instead.


I've knitted another 10 rows since this picture was taken. I'm not sure why I'm not all that interested in this sweater right now. Usually I'm all over cables. This is the Merino/Alpaca from Sweaterkit.com

Something is missing...

...from my computer. Some kind of drive is missing from our computer and it's not working again. Weird because it was working fine and suddenly, it's not working. Somehow, a drive has up and ran off. yeah.

So that means it's back to the laptop. I've been busy taking pictures of stuff to post but can't now. I guess I'll have to break down and load the photo program on the laptop now.

Anyhoo...I'm on vacation for 3 weeks. Any day I'm not at work is a good day. Small talk at the office always have people asking each other what are they doing on their vacations. It's hard to explain to people my plans for the 3 weeks.

1. Finish spinning the yarn for the Mystery stole so I can start knitting before the end of the summer.

2. Ply the 2 bobbins of silk noil that took forever to spin.

3. Finish carding the indigo dyed wool into batts. I'm not optimistic enough to add spinning this as well.

4. Pick up the Kauni yarn for my Kauni cardigan. I couldn't help myself.

5. A miniature rug to finish.

6. Make the ice cube ornaments.

7. Make more soap.

8. Make brownies.

9. Force myself to knit the cable cardigan some more - hopefully finish the back and start the front. Considering that I'm only knitting 1 or 2 rows every couple of days, this could really take years!

10. Finish at least one pattern repeat on the Orenburg shawl so I can see if I like it enough to continue.

11. Annual Trek - not sure where we're going this year. The kids are getting tired of Science World. This is our 8th Annual Trek.

12. Make an appointment to get my eyes checked.

13. Go see the Modern Masters exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

14. Spend a day at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. I love that place!

15. Sign up for a weaving class at Place des Art. Yes, that's right. I've gone over to the dark side. Considering the gals I've been hanging out with, it was just a matter of time.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Computers are evil...

...but necessary.

*sigh*

We got a new motherboard. It's much faster and the graphics are much clearer and cooler, according to my son. But we (I) have to reconfigure all our email accounts again. I voted to not bother and just read our emails from the host website. It wasn't a big hit with the rest of the family. So we (I) have to find time to call up the provider and get all the necessary gobblygook from them. I also have to re-load the program for my camera so I can upload pictures. I have to find the disk first.

I've been spinning some tussah that I dyed a few weeks ago for the Mystery Stole #3. At the rate I'm going, it will be winter before I get to the knitting part. I think we're at clue #5 or something and I haven't even started.

Michael's is having a sale on Paton's Classic Merino this week! The down side is that the wool is shipped in 4 balls dye lots. Instead of worrying about matching dye lots, I just bought a whole bunch of different colours. I could either knit a colourful sweater or a bunch of different coloured hats. It's all good.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bad news - Good news

Bad news - my computer died last week. It's the motherboard and it's completely fried. We had just bought a larger external hard drive to back up stuff but hadn't done it yet.

Good news - the mother board will be replace with a faster better one and it's done by my cousin (cheap but reliable). We're not sure if everything will be intact until the new board goes in.

...fun stuff...

I finally sew the buttons and button holes on my green cardigan. I'm using the good ol' standby - shell buttons. I'm still thinking of re-knitting the collar and shortening the sleeves. It's not hard to do...just need time.

One more day (ok, 2 days) to the new Harry Potter book. We're going to head over to Chapters Friday night to eat their cookies and treats and line up for midnight. We didn't do that for the other books but this is the LAST BOOK! I heard that someone scanned the book and posted it online. I'm not even tempted to go look. It's not the same reading it off the computer.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Marvellous weekend of dyeing

I had the most marvellous weekend of fibre and dyeing.

Saturday was the Twisted By Choice Dye Day. We worked with Procion H and silk. The colours came out brilliant. I've never used Procion H before and bought the starter kit last year. This was a good opportunity to play with something new. The process was quick and easy. I like the fact the colours are in liquid and it took very little prep time. The skeins are drying right now and we're going to get together again on Wed to do the steaming. Silly me forgot my camera but I took a couple of pictures with Teal's camera.

Sunday morning was a short trip to Granville Island. One of the few rare times that I'm there and not pick up any silk fibre from the Weaving Studio. I did pick up another kit of Procion H plus a few extra colours to play with. The rest of the afternoon was spent mixing colours, re-skeining some of the silk floss to prepare them for dyeing, and working on my swatch for the Mystery Stole #3.

Something about mucking about with all that fibre makes me very happy. And now I sit here at work, thinking of all my fun stuff at home. It's going to be a long Monday.

P.S. Tammy...punch needle embroidery is really fun. Really fast too. Costco in Burnaby has a kit with three patterns, floss, & needle for $10.00. :D

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Kwik-E-Mart Madness



We couldn't help ourselves. They transformed one of the local 7-Eleven stores into the Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart and we had to go see. It was so crowded there! I think every kid within the area was there buying Squishies and do-nuts.

Monday, July 02, 2007

More reasons to love needlepunch embroidery!

It's smaller than rug hooking. Talk about instant gratification! Compare to knitting a sweater, it takes no time at all. It's something you can do in the summer when it's too hot to knit and certaintly too hot to rug hook. Ok, it wasn't that hot today but I'm anticpating that it will be a very hot summer. And rug hooking patterns in minature works well for needlepunch embroidery.

The finished size for this project is 3.5" square. No sweaty hands. No heavy wool fabric or scratchy burlap draped over you. In this piece, I tried playing with different loop lengths to get the watermelon and the heart to "pop" out more. The ouline was done on the lowest setting to create a bit of shadow between the main objects and the background.

I tried the technique here on the snowman one the left but not sure the results was what I wanted.

The snowman on the right was done increasing the loops each row going towards the inside, making the body rounded. It was much better but you can't really tell from the picture.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day!

I have lots of reason to say I'm proud to be a Canadian and I wrote and rewrote a post about today but nothing sounded right. I think it would take me a lifetime to go through all my reasons...my lifetime, to be exact.

So...Happy Canada Day, everyone. I'm going to sit on my deck and think of what it means to be Canadian for my family.

Cheers!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Needlepunch Embroidery needles

Ok, keep in mind that the following are just my opinions on different punch needles. I'm in no way an expert on needle punch embroidery.

The first needle is the inexpensive needle from Dimensions at Michaels. I purchased the kit & needle separately but I just found out recently that Costco has a kit containing 3 patterns, floss, & needle for half the price I paid for just the kit. The needle was comfortable to use - it has a rubber grip - but the needle had a small burr on the tip. I sanded that off with fine sandpaper and it worked better but still catches slightly. I like the clear body of the needle so you can see how much floss you have left. The down side is you can't change the needle and it only comes in one size - 3 strand. You can't change the length of the loops as well.

The second needles are the Igolochkoy needles. The needles are smooth and goes into different fabrics nicely. Easy to make small even stitches and loops. Definitely a quality needle. The needles can be replaced easily if needed. It comes in 1-, 3-, & 6-strand needles. The loops can be adjusted but you have to cut the plastic sleeve to adjust the lengths. Not hard to do but finicky as you have to measure and cut the sleeves. Another thing is that if the sleeves didn't fit snug, it slides down as you're punching and that will change the lengths of your loops. The needles are small and were good for precise details but not comfortable to use for filling in large areas. It was hurting my hand after a while.

The third needle is the Cameo needle. The point is nice and sharp. The needles can be replaced and you can get different size needles like the Igolochkoy needles. The body of the holder is pen shaped, like the Dimension needle. Unlike the Dimension and the Igolochkoy needle, you can adjust the length of the loops easily with a slight twist. No little sleeves to cut and adjust. I can use this needle as long as I want without my wrist hurting. The downside is that you can't see inside so it's hard to tell how much floss you have left.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Oh Phooey!

I was not one of the fortunate few that got into the Maiwa workshop of her choice today. Not even second choice. Barely made it to the wait list. Bah! I was all set with my usual routine but at 9:55, I was called away from my desk and did not get back until almost 10:30. By then, it was too late. The phone lines were jammed for hours and I didn't get through until close to 2pm. Way too late. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone will pull out.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Knitters are wonderful people!

There are so many wonderful knitters out there. I'm not just talking about knitter who knit beautifully but knitters who are caring and kind.

Check out the Rebuilding Greensburg project!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fuzzy goodness

It's Saturday and I had to go into work today. There was an orientation for the new staff...all 125 of them. My bit only takes 20 minutes but I dreaded it since I hate speaking in front of a large crowd. To make myself feel better, I stopped off at Shan's Needleworks in New Westminster on the way home. I think this store is fast becoming my favourite LYS. That's really saying a lot considering there are a number of good LYS nearby.

A month ago, I picked up some Merino/Alpaca from Shan's and it was so wonderful to work with! The label just say Merino/Alpaca Super Soft Yarn. They're based in Ontario. Anyway, the yarn knited up really nicely. I made a little teddy bear for a friend's baby shower. It was really hard to give that away. Sorry, no pics...didn't have time. It was one of those times when you procrastinated and had to knit like crazy all night long to finish it for the next day. I seem to do my best work that way.

Since then, I've been thinking how wonderful this yarn would be as a cardigan. The most the store had was 10 balls of any dye lot. Deep down I knew it wasn't enough for a sweater but I managed to convinced myself otherwise. I'm good at that. I bought all 10 balls of the very soft blue/grey merino/alpaca. I got home and my brain cleared. The total yardage is 1100. It's not even close...not for a cable sweater. I think this might become a snuggly shawl or something like the EZ Rib Warmers.

Merino & Alpaca in all its fuzzy goodness.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

7 Random facts about me...

1. I remembered watching Kennedy's funeral on TV when I was two years old. We were still living in Hong Kong at that time. I remembered my parents waking me up in the middle of the night to go to my grandparent's house.

2. Caffine doesn't seem to affect me. I can have a cup of coffee right before going to bed and will sleep soundly.

3. I don't like price labels on my can goods. I peel them off before putting the groceries away.

4. I always wash new clothes before wearing.

5. I'm right-handed but play a lot of sports left-handed, thanks to my brother.

6. I love to read. When I was 8, I decided to read every single book in the school library. Fortunately, it was a small school library. I started at one end of the room and went through the shelves systematically. I probably missed a few books here & there but for the most part, I did read everything I could...including encylopedias.

7. I've never watched a football game. This fact is amazing considering that I work for a major football arena. The most I've seen is the last 5 minutes of a Grey Cup game.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Recycled bag



Look what you can do with 12" of leftover pant legs! The material was cut off from the pants I hemmed up last week. Ok...I "hemmed" them up to capri length so there was a LOT of material removed. Enough to make a bag to show off my needlepunch sheep. Even the strap is recycled. It's the drawstring from the waist band. There's still a bit of material left that I was thinking of making a little change purse.

It would have been such a waste not to use the leftover material.