Wednesday, March 28, 2007

...As Promised!

Dalarna! Fitting like a charm! So. Loving. It. The red is nowhere near as bright as it looks in the picture. I was finally able to tame the edging thanks to a LOT of steam. A lot.

*sniff* I love this sweater...

And, as promised... I allowed myself one purchase during the first 9 months of 2007. And of course, I made the purchase at Virtual Yarns.

It has arrived.

Such beautiful colours, you can't imagine. But, I will be good, and finish up a few WIP's before I start Rona. In the meantime, I'm happy to fondle and smoosh my face into the yarn.

And, guess what else?!! Now, this was totally unexpected, and such a wonderful surprise!

My Dale of Norway kit! (No! Wait! Don't get mad at me, I didn't break my promise! Come back!) See, this is how I received it. I swapped my Henry VIII kit with Jewel, and in return... I received my lovely Dale kit! It's the Sapporo 2007 Norwegian Ski Sweater, purchased for me from Spin Blessing. So, I should have a lovely ski sweater for the fall. I'm so excited - thanks Jewel - :D!

It's all too much for Atticus and Gandalf.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby Mae!

Happy Birthday Baby Mae! My little fluffy girl is 8 years old today! Here she is on her first day with us, at 7 weeks old.

And meeting her big brother Atticus for the first time. We shall not speak of his slender physique back then... He sniffed around her a few times, shrugged his shoulders and decided she could stay. I adopted her through a lady at work.

She continues to be a joy to have around. Loving, sweet and tough when she needs to be, she's always been mild-mannered and gentle. She loves to have her tummy rubbed, and her ears scritched! Unlike Atticus, she's quite the hunter. Now, keep in mind I live in an old Victorian house - so the fact I get the occasional mouse is not unusual. In 9 years, I've only had 2, and both were stalked and caught by my little Mae. Atticus just lay on the couch like a slug, watching the action...

Atticus is less than a year old than she is, and they both share the same Kitty Mom.

"Happy Birthday Mae! You're the best big sister ever!" - Gandalf

"Happy Birthday Mae! Yeah, I guess letting you stay was a good thing..." - Atticus

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Everything Old Is New Again

Phew! Here she is - Dalarna!

She's been sewn together and blocked, and awaits her crocheted border and buttons before she can make her debut. In my mind, she's done! DONE!

What: "Red and White" cardigan from page 164 of "Poetry in Stitches". Christened "Dalarna" by Wendy of Wendyknits!

Yarn: Hifa 2 yarn - yarn for this project was purchased from Nordic Fibre Arts, who supply all the yarn packs specifically for "Poetry In Stitches" and "Norsk Strikkedesign". I have A LOT of yarn left over, I'll probably be able to make a matching pair of mittens with what I have left over. I have teeny hands...

Needles: 2.5mm for the red upper portion, and 3.5mm for the stranded design.

How I Blocked Her (Finally): Eucalan, 1/4 cup of sea salt, and a sink full of hypothermia inducing ice cold water. I could barely stand to plunge my hands in the water! Instead, I used an old wooden spoon. A friend at work recommended the ice cold water - a non-knitter at that too! And not a DROP of the dye came out of place.

PITA Factor: Very low. I specifically chose this design as my first Norwegian design as it had everything I wanted to try out - specifically a new way of steeking. I did not find the knitting part difficult (let's not speak of the numerous attempts starting up the second sleeve, 'k?), however I did find that there was a lot more finishing involved than I'm used to with Fair Isle. The front bands alone took me a weekend to complete - probably 8 hours total. Not bad when you're picking up and knitting 150 stitches per side on 2.5mm needles, and knitting for 18 rows per side! The facings on the front bands and the upper sleeves were stitched down in place as well. This is something that I don't do with Fair Isle.

The steeks did not prove to be a problem, thanks to Lorraine and her sewing machine. She had come by awhile back and stitched them up for me.

I've never been one to swoon and faint at the cutting of steeks - it's never rattled me. Just cut. And trust that a few thousand + knitters can't be wrong! So - no issues there, and they worked out just fine. No unraveling at all. I did add a few more stitches to the front steek, probably the Fair Isle knitter in me thinking it would make a difference. But, it was completely unnecessary.

So, I'm very pleased! I was thinking as I was blocking it that it would have made a great pullover. But, I wanted the experience of Norwegian steeks.

What do you think!?!? I will post a modelled shot later in the week, once it's dry! Yay me!!!

"Guys, really - it's done! I saw it for myself. Are you as pooped as I am from the whole process?" - Little Miss Mae

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Done. Almost.

Gandalf makes up for being a pill earlier in the week.

"Great. Chaos and Mayhem warned me about being used as a prop."

What is that, that knitted thingy being so expertly modelled by Gandalf (models only use one name, you know)? Why, hello SECOND AND LAST DALARNA SLEEVE! The sleeve, she is finished. Brigitte, she is relieved. Not for a moment did I not enjoy working on this project - I just got a little too ...comfortable... in how well my first Norwegian project was going. And it brought me down a peg or two by reminding me that if I didn't pay would make me pay attention.

So now the steeks are sewn and ready to be cut, and I have only the neckband to knit up, and the sleeves to sew into place.

I need advice! I will not be able to give Dalarna her bath in order to block her. I took Lorraine's advice and "washed" a small swatch of the red yarn, and lo and behold! The red runs. Good thing I checked it out BEFORE plunging the whole thing in water. If the red would have run into the white... And then it would have become the most expensive and elaborate kitty blanket ever. The design sure to induce seizures in the cats should they stare at it too long (hee hee, anyone remember the Simpsons episode where they go to Japan?!!). But, what I'd like to know - to block it, should I pin her down, spray, and steam? Let me know what you think.

And speaking of Lorraine -

"Wow Auntie Lorraine, you tell the best stories! Is it true Kitten-Chow gets to drink water from a great big doggie bowl? Really?"

(Atticus in the background, vying for attention, paw on her leg) "Hi. Hi. Hi. Auntie Lorraine? Auntie Lorraine? Hi. Look. Lookatme! Hi!"

Lorraine came over this past weekend. We swapped yarn, showed off projects, and Gandalf and Atticus thought she was just the coolest. Here they compete for her attention, Gandalf nicely mellowed out after rolling around in Lorraine's Aran WIP that she brought over to show (oh, and the colour? It's even better than it shows up in the picture on her site). We had a great time! As always :) !

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I normally keep to myself when it comes to current affairs. This is a knit blog, after all. But - this makes me so happy.

How the "mighty" have fallen. Give up your Canadian citizenship to become a British Lord, eh Conny? What's that? You want it BACK now?? Screw over the "little people"? Let's see how well the "little people" treat you in a US jail.

OK. I feel so much better now.

"Oh! I'm so excited! Is it true you might be coming over for a visit soon!? We can play with Sheepie! And go for walks! And play in the backyard! And watch TV! And you can give me all kinds of love and attention! So. Excited!"

Finnegan asked his Moms if I could come over for a visit in April, although the Little Dudes have not been asked yet...


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mr. Potato Head

Something's missing...

Hmmm... Didn't I have 2 sweet potatoes?

The culprit returns to the scene of the crime, in an attempt to appear the hero of the story.

"Found it!"

"What? You're assuming it's me. What?!"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

It's Been A Long Week...


All I'm going to say is that it's been a long one at work... Stupid DST. If computers are so smart...ehn, I'm not even going to say it! So very glad I am NOT on call this weekend for work.

I have much better things to look forward to now that it's the weekend -
Lorraine is coming over tomorrow, and there will be yarn! And it's supposed to be a lovely, warmish (+6C!) day as well. We are doing a yarn swap - my 2-ply VY Hebridean in Witchflower for her Jamieson's DK. Ooooo, the possibilities! Actually, I think I'm going to try for a shawl from the wonderful "Folk Shawls" book, by Cheryl Oberle.

What have I been knitting? Yes, Dalarna's sleeve is in the home stretch. I had hoped she'd be done, however life got in the way, and I've not done as much as I'd like. It's the mid-winter knitting blahs...all sorts of fabulous projects, and nothing done! *sigh again*


I've said it before, and I'm saying it again - I am not the most prolific sock knitter. It's certainly not because I don't enjoy them - I do. And I love a pair of nifty hand knit socks, however I'm just not very...adept at them. I'm not very good when it comes to the top down variety, so I stick to toe-up. Nothing wrong with that! Rachel H. said that she finds it hilarious that I can do Dalarna's sleeves from the wrist up and not bat an eyelash, but when it comes to socks... I more often than not end with a mobius, poke the cats or myself, lose a stitch or my tension is all wrong. She said I should try a Fair Isle sock! Heh heh, thanks Rachel, I think I may do that. Enabler.

"Oooo, hello pointy sharp stick. I can chomp on this Mom, because I believe you snapped one of your needles trying the sock on. Just sayin'."

Well, you get the idea. I'm using some Lorna's Laces sock yarn, very nice to work with, and very interesting colours! I'm usually quite predictable when wearing colours on garments, however when it comes to socks - anything goes. Gandalf is right - I did snap a needle while trying it on. I'm actually doing a bit of a design on the leg, using Wendy's Feather and Fan for toe up socks pattern. Why yes, it is a lace pattern. Why yes, I did mess up the first repeat. It is lace after all. I can memorize rounds of Fair Isle patterning at first glance, but I can't remember the simple formula of a decrease for every yarn over.

"Finally, he's asleep. That kid's unbelievable! Such a pain in the tail sometimes. But awww, so cute and sweet too..."

"I heard that!"

"You heard nothing. Go back to sleep."

"You love me Mae! I love you too! You're the best big sister ever! Even though you try not to show it!"

"For cryin' out loud...keep it down. So. Embarassed. Getthatcameraoutofmyface!"

Gandalf discovers that even though he may get whacked a few times and more, doesn't mean Mae doesn't love her little bro. She just shows it differently...

Now I'm off to search for another set of 2mm needles for the socks. I'm bound to have some somewhere... After all, I discovered the other day that I have 7 - 80cm length 3.25mm needles, not counting the 2 currently being used for WIP's. I have my priorities.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Little Toes

OK, so it's not the best picture! Do you know how hard it is to even get a picture of kitty toes around here?! I have very tempermental models... And not to be outdone by her brothers, wee Miss Mae allowed me to photograph her paw on her terms.

(little wee Mae paw resting on my hand) Awwww!

*News Flash*

Dalarna's sleeve!

So far, so good! I'm about 40% done, with no messy mistakes or missed rows, phew... I'm going to work solely on this over the weekend, and get her done! Seeing Lorraine finish up her Sirdal (and she gave some great finishing tips too) has given me the push I need to get this done.

As I've said before - it's not the pattern - I absolutely love it. It's my own clumsiness when attempting to complete the last sleeve. If I had been paying more attention, I would have completed her by now. But, looks like this attempt is the charm.

Snow, Snow, Snow!

It's been a strange weather week here in Toronto. Storm on Sunday night into Monday, mild weather through the week, then a kick in the pants on Thursday - another snowstorm that came out of nowhere (so it seemed) on Thursday that packed some pretty brutal winds. It then turned to freezing rain (coating my back door shut with ice!), and then rain. Messy. The ice on the trees caused quite a few branches and limbs to snap, landing (of course) on the electrical wires. Which is what happened to me on Friday, knocking my power and telephone service out for about 6 hours. Good times. Today, it seems to have stabilized a bit. It's still mild (-2C), but we're back into the deep freeze this week!

Who's the boss? Mother Nature, of course.

Keep warm! Today I'm off to search for some kind of Kitty Condo for the Little Dudes. Gandalf continues to demolish the old chair. Little sweet pea that he is...