Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Binding

I have a fun new little hobby, book binding! I have a Twilight-obsessed friend and we are going to see New Moon tonight so I made her a blank notebook using a copy of the New Moon cover. It was fairly amatuer (there was glue on the pages!) but it was fun, and I learned a new skill. Then when I was away at a retreat a couple of weeks ago I learned a new way of book binding, with no adhesive, it's more of a Japanese form of book binding. While there I made this:

For a ravelry group I'm on we are having a November challenge - my challenge was 50k words for nanowrimo (which I finished, by the way, go me), others are knitting sweaters, finishing projects, etc. As a prize incentive I am throwing in some books, I've made three so far, I hope people like them!

What do you think, too amateur?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The spoils

I finally got my camera battery charged and got a photo of my final secret pal package - though I ate most of the goodies before I got it charged! Sorry Penny!

I am still in shock over those books. I can't get over it!

I also realized I never posted the photos of what I got from the gift certificate, the second package. I got this beautiful Dream in Colour Smooshy yarn, and then some roving to attempt to spin - yikes good luck to me!

This is going to be another hat for me :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sprint to the finish line

Thirteen thousand words to go. I have found this year to be extremely easy, even though I didn't think I had anything to say. I hope to actually complete this novel, I still haven't finshed last year's though!

Now that I've put this out there, you KNOW I'm going to have a difficult time with this last bit!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Secret pal

I am in shock as I am typing this. I have not taken photos because I just put windows 7 on my computer and don't have all my software installed, but I just recieved my final gift from my secret pal and I actually got tears in my eyes as I opened it. First off there were some wonderful smelling avon products, including a really nice hand lotion which I NEED, because my hands are always so dry! Then there were some yummy Canadian treats, which I always miss living here in the US. And then there was not one, but two books - the first and second Barbara Walker Treasuries. The books I have been wanting for so long, that I have been hunting through used book stores for, that I was going to use as my incentive for finishing nanowrimo (maybe). I can't even believe it, I am in such shock! I swear she must have had a telescope poking into my room to know me so well.

Thank you PENNY!! This was the most amazing package I've ever recieved and I'm so glad you were my secret pal!

Monday, November 2, 2009

nanowrimo 2009

I'm working on my 2009 nanowrimo book, but to procrastinate I made this cover instead.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Where's Dexter?

I love Dexter. You couldn't ask for a better serial killer. Try your hand at this game, I can't find him on level 4!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Time to shop!

Thanks to my secret pal I have a gift certificate to the Loopy Ewe, and now I need to decide what I just can't live without! I'm thinking of a nice skein of yarn for another reverie beret, I made one last year and I was sensitive to the yarn so I have passed it on.

I finished my Joelle's Favourite Yoke Sweater but haven't worn it yet as we got a sudden cold snap and it's short sleeved! Unfortunately the pictures of it lieing on the bed do it no justice, so instead I will show you my Knotty Gloves, which we are doing for a knit-a-long and I am making from the remains of my yoke sweater. I have another 3 balls after these are done so I'll probably have a matching hat and scarf too!

Glove one is complete:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Balancing act

As any parent can tell you, life with kids is a balancing act in many ways. I was talking to a friend last night that has a new baby and I was marvelling at the fact that she does so much - knit night once a week, training with us for a 5k (oh yes did I mention that? more later!). After I had my first son I did nothing without him for at least the first nine months. In fact I feel like just now I'm starting to balance out my life again, get out there and do things on my own. It's a valuable skill to have.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Learn from my mistakes

1. If you are trying to dye some cheap wool you found at the thrift store, make sure you soak it before hand so that it will take up the dye evenly.

2. While dying said wool, do not stir it or agitate it as you will felt it together.

That is all for today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

So, I've joined the 21st century and upgraded my 6 year old cell phone and got a Blackberry. I knew I didn't neeeeed one, and I resisted getting one, but now I can't stop playing with it - yes I'm blogging from it right now! So if you have a Crackberry and have any applications you just love, help a noob out and let me know!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

P.S. I love you

A young woman loses her husband and then discovers her husband has left her letters to read after he dies. What could ever be sad about that? This movie should come with a VERY LARGE warning to make sure you're hydrated before starting it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A "favourite"

I'm jumping in feet first to another sweater, Joelle's favourite yoke sweater from Joelle over at the Purl Bee. It's from the Knitknit book (pictured above), which I snagged from the library for a totally different pattern; this yoke sweater really caught my eye, so I changed directions.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Final Scream

It's done!

More details on ravelry.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Squeal! Lost in Austen replaying!

I missed this last time PBS ran it, so I was very excited to see this on the guide tonight. I'm an unabashed Austen fan and I'm just starting to watch the "spin off" shows that have been done, having reread her complete works in the past few months. I'm also working on the works of Fanny Burney, almost at the end of (the extremely long) Cecilia, which I'm finding most interesting in giving a historical context for the works of Austen.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scream to a whisper

Here is my first adult sized sweater, the Whisper Cardigan, close to completion! I can't wait to get this on, it is wonderfully soft and flowy. The cashmere is from a beautiful sweater I took apart, it was oddly sized as it fit me fine but was quite short, though anobviously not intended for a cropped sweater. The yarn was quite thick so I ended up unplying one skein and I think I should get the entire cardigan made from this one skein, leaving me lots of leftover cashmere for another project. I've been called crazy for going through this for one sweater, but people spin their own yarn and this hardly took that much time and the results are amazing :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Secret pal!

I got my first package from my secret pal and it's perfect! I just took this book out from the library and hadn't had a chance to read it through yet (I'm working on an Elizibeth Zimmerman one) but posted last week on ravelry asking for book suggestions to build up my library, and this was on the list. I also got two skeins of beautiful squishie merino (Shadow from Knit Picks). The package came at a great time, as I was extremely frusterated and tired from the kids, so to see this package on our front porch picked me up immediately. Thanks so much secret pal!

Close up of the merino, showing the beautiful colour!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Calling Dr. MM

Have you heard that Blue M&Ms may contain the cure for paralysis? Well "Brilliant Blue G", the dye used in these and many other unnaturally coloured foods, in any case. Better than red dye, that stuff does some crazy things to my kids.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oh to be a 1950's housewife

I'm afraid I lose at being a housewife. My house is so overtaken with clutter I don't even know where to start, I'm paralyzed even thinking about it. And every time I do get a good start, the boys follow behind and undo it all. How do you other stay at home moms with kids do it?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Knit wit

For those of you not on Ravelry, I've finished my first attempt at a lace shawl (the one I mentioned here). I'm not sure why, as I never wear anything like this, but it IS unbelievably soft cashmere, so I might have to start!

I'm starting on a Whisper cardigan from the Spring 2009 Interweave Knits, though I'm using the schematic more than the actual pattern. I'm using a heavier yarn (recycled cashmere as well, think I have an addiction problem maybe?) so it might not turn out like it is in my head, but at least it will be soft!

This is only my second sweater (unless you count the half cardigan I made for Xander, which I don't), but there is no seaming. A couple years ago I made Gabriel a sweater though.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Demarle products

This afternoon I tested out my new Demarle products. A friend had a Demarle party a couple of weeks ago and I went, fairly skeptical, but wanting a silpat. After the party I like what I saw enough to get a few items: the silpat, the roulpat (for non-stick rolling), a perforated tray (for the silpat to sit on for more even baking), and a mini muffin tray.

I tried to "wing it" and make some fruit tartlet type things, which turned out yummy but didn't stay together. All I did was press an oatmeal crust (1 cup oatmeal, half a cup of sugar, a quarter cup of melted margarine) into the bottoms of the tray, and covered with fruit. Xander likes the blueberry ones best.

The Demarle products are great for this, because NOTHING sticks to this tray! Everything slid right out, and you don't need to use any oil or spray; cleanup is a breeze too, so it's a lot easier to try recipes you think might fail, knowing it will only take 3 minutes to get rid of the evidence!

After my failure I had to try something that worked so I did some tried and true banana muffins from Grand Slam: More Recipes from the Best of Bridge.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups mashed bananas
  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cream together butter and sugar. Add bananas and eggs, beat until well mixed. Sift together dry ingredients, blend with banana mixture, careful not to overmix. Bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes.

You can just call me ...

Digital Artificial Neohuman Intended for Efficient Learning and Logical Exploration

Get Your Cyborg Name

Get it, get it quick, before our metal overlords discover your true identity!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Secret Pal 14 Questionnaire

I've signed up for Secret Pal 14, so for those of you not involved please disregard this post! For those involved, here by my info:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I find that yarn that has "bits" that come off tend to get stuck in my throat and be very uncomfortable to knit with. I am becoming a little bit of a yarn snob (ie. I don't prefer yarn from the big box stores) but I'm cheap, so I've actually gotten a lot of nice yarn from recycling thrift store sweaters.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
For the most part I use my Addi Turbo Clicks and store them in their case. I do have a needle case for my strays but don't have a good solution for my stray circulars yet.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
My friend Amy taught me to knit several years ago. I attended a knitting group with her but then I had my first child and stopped going, had a second child and stopped knitting. The past six months or so I've taken it back up with a vengence. I would say I'm between beginner and intermediate, I may not have made a lot of things but I'm not scared to try something new (well except for socks!).

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, that would simply make this too easy!

5. What's your favorite scent?
I'm iffy with scents. I like berry scents but nothing too strong.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Heck yes. I love gummy candies, sour patch kids, and Smarties from Canada.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I do not spin. I have a drop spindle I use to ply recycled yarns that come apart and I've thought of learning to spin, but I think I have enough going on to occupy my time right now. I like to sew a bit, though for now I've lost the foot peddle to my sewing machine (long story!). I can crochet but don't like it as much. I like to cross stitch but generally the kits are not to my taste; the favourite I have ever done is this one:

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I have very eclectic musical tastes. I don't like country. I tend to like more independant-type music, as well as a lot of experimental music. When all else fails there is classical :) My computer can play MP3s, and I have an iPod I can connect to my car so MP3s are all good :) I tend to like music such as found at the KEXP blog.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I really like blues/purples/greens, and I like pinks. I think it's because I live in a house full of boys, my self defense mechanism is pink - if it's pink, it's mine!! I don't love orange, though I have a tonne of it in my stash, so I guess I don't hate it!

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Me and hubby, two small boys (3 and 4), two outdoor cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes to all but ponchos. Though I am knitting a shawl right now and I would say no to that, but I plan to try to incorperate it into my wardrobe!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I am really enjoying this shawl! I plan on trying my hand at a sweater next. Possibly. Though I have a lot of possibilities - darn that huge queue!

13. What are you knitting right now?
Entomology from the Summer knitty. I'm using a heavy lace-weight cashmere that I reclaimed from a thrift store sweater :)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
yes! I wouldn't require handmade gifts but I do think they are nice.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I've been using my Addi clicks (aluminum circulars) mostly. I have decided I really dislike long straights and would prefer to us a circ. I don't mind bamboo but I think I knit too tightly so it is more difficult on bamboos for me.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I do own a ball winder and I am putting together a PVC swift - I've been using coat hangers in a box up until now :)

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
2.5 years, it's an accordian sweater from the fall 2003 knitty for my son (that will no long fit), but I think a cat peed on (or near) it so I'm thinking it's going to get trashed.

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe?
Christmas, and Christmas :)

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Not really. I am an entomologist so I love insects. My favourite is scarab beetles, my second favourite would be dragonflies (I worked on those for my masters degree).

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
No not really. I don't have any subscriptions though I think I need to subscribe to Interweave Knits, as I end up buying it everytime anyhow! I like Knit.1 as well, though I think it's going down to 2 a year or something.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'm still in the process of learning most things. There is nothing in particular I'd like to learn, I just want to keep learning it all!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
No, I haven't done socks. Yet. One day I will but for now I have enough in my queue to add socks to that. Size 10 (US) women's feet if that matters.

23. When is your birthday?
December 1rst.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Yes, Umai.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

For those of you not "in the know", July 1rst is Canada Day. Happy birthday Canada!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bonus "sorry for not updating" for you!

Well another two weeks, another update. I'll get better at this I swear.

In the past two weeks I've finished up my Argosy scarf, which is blocking right now;

I used the Noro Silk Garden sock yarn for this, and did 31 repeats (instead of 35) - it's plenty long. I love love love the way the colours blend, who would have though pink and orange and green and purple would look so nice?!

I've also gotten through three repeats of the Entomology shawl from the new Summer issue of knitty. I'm using the softest cashmere recycled from an extra large men's Eddie Bauer sweater, I'm not a huge fan of the stranded look but I might overdye it when it's done. I'll try on a small swatch and see how it looks, but I'm thinking a darker blue or even a red to make a purplish hue.

A close up of the "dragonflies"

We're heading up to my parents cabin at the end of July, so I want something easy and mindless to bring along. I'm planning on making a Satchel in pink (for my pink laptop, fitting), with a brown border. That seems a little plain to me so I charted out a dragonfly to add to the front flap, my attempt was to get the celtic-inspired infinity wings. I'm not sure how it will look but it's my first chart, and as an apology for never updating it's my gift to you. If you use the chart I'd love to see what you make!

Full size (8.5x11) available here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

12 days

I realize I haven't updated this blog in 12 days. What can I say, I'm a slacker. I got myself a pink Dell Inspiron 15 so I can hang out outside with the boys and still get stuff done. I finished another Everlasting Bagstopper, this one for Amy and made out of a recycled cotton Eddie Bauer sweater. She is moving to Hawaii in July so I knew I couldn't knit her something from wool, and I think this will be perfect. She is the one that originally taught me how to knit so I think it's particularly fitting. I used a linen stitch to get a good firm strap, and that thing took longer than the rest of the bag! I don't have a photo with the strap done but here it is:

And "in use":

I've also started on Entomology from the summer knitty that was released last week. I am so excited about this pattern, as soon as I saw it I knew I had a pattern for my first lace attempt. So far it's going pretty well, I did the first chart a few times to get the hang of it, and now I'm half way through my second repeat of the second chart. The further I go the better it's getting, and I'm learning a lot. At least I'm at the point where I can fix my mistakes and make it look like part of the pattern! I'm using the softest cashmere from another recycled Eddie Bauer sweater:

The only problem with this pattern is it's kind of difficult for me to do with 2 little kids climbing all over me and screaming for my attention, which obviously makes most things harder, but counting to 15 is sometimes just too much for me!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The great outdoors

We've had an amazing week weather-wise here, and have been outside every spare moment since Memorial Day, leaving me little time to be inside and update the blog. Not to leave you empty handed, here are a few photos.

This weed has been nagging me for weeks to pick it but, being the procrastinator I am, I kept putting it off.

Two days ago I head outside to discover it's actually a gorgeous Oriental Poppy:

I think that right there is proof that laziness is a virtue. The massive rhododendron trees are also in bloom:

and the boys are pretending to get along!

And now, of course, they are yelling at me to go and play.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A beautiful tote giveaway

Check out this giveaway from Hip Mountain Mama, and while you're there check out the store for some beautiful natural products. I'm seriously eyeing one of those necklaces, I love them!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's been a busy week

As I mentioned last week, I've been trying to finish my nanowrimo novel, and you know what that means - lots of procrastination.

I finished Julia's scarf - hopefully she doesn't see this before I get it to her, but considering she hasn't updated her blog in over a month, I doubt it. Here are photos of it washing and blocking, hopefully I will get some photos of her modelling it soon!

Gabriel wasn't too happy about modelling it for me.

This was done with Cascade Quattro wool and is softer than I thought it would be.

This weekend I did up a quick Everlasting Bagstopper for my friend Joanne, I was shocked at what a quick knit it turned out to be. Right now it's drying and I still need to attach a handle, but I wanted it to untwist a bit first.

This was done with Lily Sugar'n Cream Solid in Sage Green.
I just finished my first "official" refasion project. It was a small one, but considering I haven't sewn in years and halfway through I was reminded why, when Kid1 yelled at me to come wipe his bum, I am proud of myself. All I did was hand sew a lace bit into a pretty little thrift store top, but yes I am proud of it. I can now wear it without breasts falling out everywhere, and the people rejoiced!

While looking through old clothes in storage I came across a very small (read: high-school size) floor length linen skirt I think I can salvage, I cut off the top and am planning to put an elastic in the waist where it actually fits me now for a cute knee-length white skirt that I will probably then dye, I'm not certain a white skirt looks very good on me.

I have a pair of "well worn" jeans I am planning to dye for a darker, more vintage, and hopefully better look.

Once I am done these projects I am going to start figuring out what to do with this load of fabrics that have been sittin gin storage for years. I think the shiny pink in the upper left will make a gorgeous circle skirt. The shiny purple fabric in teh front is actually a floor length skirt I sewed many years ago that I hope to salvage into something. The rest I'm not quite sure what they will become, but it's time to get to work on them!

I don't know how moms do this all and blog about it. My first thought was a meth habit but seeing photos of them with all their teeth makes me think that's not it.