Monday, January 31, 2005

Recycling

I call these my dream jeans. What do you think?


I used to call them my dream jeans because I dreamt of one day being able to fit into them again. Now they're called that because they have stars and moons all over the side panel. Very cute.

I just separated the side seams and inserted some fabric, sewing them back up again. I love the look though I realize it's not for everyone.

I've actually been doing this with my jeans for years, even before I needed to recycle them due to size. I like the personal nature of them as opposed to the generic jeans that everyone wears.

I had a very productive weekend and this was just one of the projects that got started, finished or worked on. Productive weekends are my favourite. Okay, well maybe camping weekends are my fav but it's a little cold for me to be doing that right now.

Hoping you're feeling productive, too, M

Sunday, January 30, 2005

All's Quiet on the Prairie

We've been having some fantastic sunsets here so I snapped a photo of one earlier in the week. It doesn't really do it justice but you get the idea.



It's been fairly quiet on my blog this week because I've been busy seeming together this:

At long last, I've finished Danger's christmas sweater. It's a little hooded sweatershirt in Santa cotton blend, with one silver and one white thread running through it. I've had to leave the neck very wide open and stretchable as his little 10-month-old head isn't that little!

Here's a picture of my gorgeous nephew showing off all his new teeth!

I think he'll look so adorable in his new sweatshirt but then I think he looks adorable every which way!

I used a pattern off the Lions Brand website to make this hooded sweatshirt but I have to say that I wasn't very impressed with the clarity of instructions. I would hate to think that a newby knitter might have tried this one because there was definitely a lot of fill in the blanks.

I went back to the website a couple of times to check the picture for clarification on something and noticed that the pattern was missing altogether. I guess someone finally clued into the problems. Still, I'm grateful that I had a starting point and could get such a cute finished product anyway.

And just for a finishing touch for my guy, I added this label:

Handmade For a Special Little Boy

Nothing gives a sense of accomplishment more than a finished knitted project! I have a few more I'm working on this week so wish me luck with that!

Knitting as fast as I can, M

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tattoo Gallery

Today's tour will include the tattoos of a knitter. I came across KnitTattoo a while back and have been meaning to to have my own minor showing. There's nothing knit-related (so far) but I like them nonetheless.

The first is a symbol of the time I spent studying in Costa Rica. It's on the inside of my left ankle.

Yes, I actually got to see some of these little creatures up close and personal, although I didn't work with them directly. My work was plant-related, not animal, but they kept showing up in the swampy area where my research project was based.

My second tattoo is a paw print on the top of my right foot.

It was done the day after my last dog died. It's a representation of her paw, though much smaller.

The third image is the Celtic Tree of Life and Death and it's in the middle of my lower back, about the size of my palm.

This one is actually done over a very large scar from a back surgery I had when I was 19 years old. It took over three hours to do and was very painful to have inked over the scar tissue. It's my favourite because it holds a great deal of symbolism for me, and not just because I'm Irish Canadian.

Will I ever get another? Hard to say. Some days I think "definitely" and others I think "not." To be honest, I never thought I'd get the first and once that was done, I didn't think I'd do it again. But I keep surprising myself so I guess the lesson here is "never say never."

On the knitting front, I've been seaming up my nephew's sweater (finally, it's only a month past Christmas!) so there's not much to show right now. I'll post a picture when it's all together and blocked.

I gotta say thanks again to SnB because she's totally made the seaming process so much more enjoyable. Yes, enjoyable. I've always been so frustrated with how my seams came out that I have refrained from knitting many things that need sewing together. But not anymore. I'm totally motivated to finish because it's looking great and I don't have to rip it out 37 times before I send it away. How cool is that?!

Looking forward to more sweaters in my future, M

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Secret Pal 4 Questions

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high- a nd/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I am definitely not a yarn snob. I like bright colours in acrylics and lovely soft fibres in wools.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I am trying to teach myself to spin with a drop spindle.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
I'm deathly allergic to apricots, which is often a flavouring in peach or other fruit-flavoured things. Not good with perfumes and smoke, either.

4. How long have you been knitting?
More than 30 years, but am still learning all kinds of wonderful things every day.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Not yet, but I was thinking about starting one. I'll do that today at Chapters.indigo.ca!

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like fruity scented things and vanilla.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
I love milk chocolate - but not the expensive stuff. Love Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Don't care for Hershey's anything.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I also sew, do beadwork, quilt, . . .

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like most kinds of music - opera, country, celtic, world - not hugely into main stream pop stuff. Yes to the MP3.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?
My favourite colour is green, any hue. But for knitting and crafts, I am usually drawn to blues, purples and pinks in colourways. Or anything bright and cheerful, or rich looking. Hmm - I'm starting to think I don't have a favourite! LOL

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm single with no children but I do have a dog and a cat.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
I would like to own a house soon and have a big, wild English-style garden. I love gardening and miss it very much lately. I also love to travel and would like to spend more time learning languages.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Zara's Merino Superfine is my favourite right now. I just discovered it about six months ago and I love to knit with it. But I also like chunky stuff. So the theme is probably very, very soft.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Ribbon yarns.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Latvian Mittens (I just ordered a book!) and, of course, yarn collecting!

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks, mitts, hats and scarves

17. What are you knitting right now?
Aran socks, softy socks, baby sweater, shawl, adult sweater, hat, afghan.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
Like to make them, can't get away with wearing them.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Straight - can't manipulate circular needles at all well.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I own aluminum and plastic. Never tried bamboo but not sure about the durability of them.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
Yep, definitely, uh huh, absolutely, without a doubt.

22. How did you learn to knit?
My mom and aunts taught me when I was 6.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
In knitting - less than two months. Don't ask me about my other crafts because I'd be embarrassed to tell you.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I really like Max the dog from the Grinch. But I'm a bit of a sucker for all dogs (mutts especially - see Reuben pictures) and cats and horses.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Valentine's Day - I'm a bit of a heart fanatic.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Watches(cutsie plastic things), hearts, socks, old movies (Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Hepburn) and Katherine Hepburn memorobilia. I also have a strange collection of bicycle pictures and miniatures from the days when I used to cycle everywhere.

Thanks for asking! M

Monday, January 24, 2005

Selling Out

Our local Zellers (a previously Canadian department store now owned by Target) is closing out. I think it had too much competition from Walmart.

Because they've been having 20% to 70% off just about everything, I bought some stash enhancing items a couple of weeks ago. (Okay it was a lot more than "some") When we were checking out the last of the sale items on Saturday, the staff had found some knitting needles in the back that they were just putting on the (very empty) shelves when I arrived.

Being the bargain hunter that I am, this is what I bought:


Who can resist a set of knitting needles at $1.68 each??! (That's $1.38 USD according to today's conversion rate.)

Yes, I do have a complete set already but not all of them are 14" long so I thought I'd just enhance a little. Plus I needed some of the smaller sized dpn's, especially since that seems to be what I do most of my knitting with these days.

On the knitting front, I have finished one of the Aran socks for my Sockapalooza pal. After all those cables, though, I decided to start a different pair, just for a change of scenery. (For those of you who have an irrational aversion to the fantasy yarns, please turn away now.)

I call them Softy Socks because I'm making them with a cuff of Patons Twister (chenille and eyelash combo) and the rest with a double strand of baby yarn. They are gloriously soft to the touch and I think they're darn cute, too!

I had hoped to get more knitting done over the weekend but I swear I don't know where the time goes. What's going to happen when I actually get a job?! I'll have to give up sleeping or something just to keep up with my knitting schedule! LOL

Puttering my life away, M

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I Joined Secret Pals 4!

I'm so excited to be able to join SP4. I almost didn't make it, though, due to technical glitches in communications. Many, many thanks to Jacqueline who helped me get that sorted out!



Thanks to the inspiring Yarn Harlot, I treated myself to a copy of this:

I couldn't stand looking at the gorgeous mittens on her blog one day longer without trying them myself.

I love to make mittens (and socks and scarves) and I generally use simple patterns with fantastic colours and all kinds of yarns. (I made my Mom some Twister mittens last week! Scroll down for pix.) But I have decided that I want to try these and see if I can master the artful mitten. Wish me much luck!

The only problem is that I'm going to have to find a good online source for wool. I can only get acrylics in town and would have to drive 2 or more hours to get to the nearest supplier. So if someone can recommend an excellent online wool site, please leave me a comment with the details. (Have I mentioned that I'm in love with Zara's Superfine Merino and any supplier that could ship me that would be my favourite?!!)

Also, some recommendations for the best fibre for Latvian mittens would be much appreciated! I'm getting excited already and the book won't even be here for two weeks!

Ain't knittin' grand? M

Friday, January 21, 2005

Sockapalooza Socks

I'm making some progress on the Aran socks I'm knitting for my sock pal. Here's a photo of how far I've gotten to date.



The picture doesn't do the colour justice. It's actually a much richer green. But at least you can see the texture and the Aran stitches.

I'm making these socks with 100% Aran wool that I picked up while I was on Inish Oirr last August. I was there learning the secrets of Aran knitting from a resident of the Aran Islands. It was an extremely cool experience!

I hope my sock buddy likes them!

And for some gratuitous cutitude, here's a photo of Reuben and my cousin, Sean, from Christmas. I think the dog's the cuter of the two but you decide for yourselves!



Have a great weekend, M

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Will Wonders Never Cease!

I have been doing the Kitchener Stitch for years to graft together all kinds of things. At least I thought I was doing the Kitchener Stitch.

The other day I was flipping through this:

I was looking for something unrelated but the diagrams with the technique for Kitchener caught my eye because it looked wonky to me.

Well, since I was about to finish the toe on one of these:

I thought I'd give the SNB method a try. I was a little dubious at first, but before I had even finished the toe, I was amazed at how tight and tidy it was turning out. So much better than the method I thought I had learned previously. Trust me when I say I'll never go back!!

It's never too late to learn (or relearn :-p) something new, but isn't that the knitter's mantra?!

While I've been convalescing, I've also managed to knit up a few of these scarves. I was making one to send as a gift when some local women, who were dying to find a knitter to do up some fun fur for them, asked me to make a couple.


I've also started my socks for Sockapalooza. I'm making a pair of aran style socks with the aran wool I picked up in the Aran Islands last summer. I hope my sock buddy likes them! I'll post pictures of these when I've gotten a little further along with them.

I'll end today's post by clicking the heels on my ruby red slippers (socks) together three times and repeating, "It's never too late to learn something new. It's never too late to learn something new. . . "

Happy Tuesday knitting, M

Monday, January 17, 2005

Demolition Knitting

I'm still sick and thus spent the weekend sitting around, watching a lot of movies, trying to do some knitting.

When I first received my copy of this:


I was quite thrilled with the lists of books and movies that included knitting somewhere in their stories. Of course, I had to check to see what I had read/watched and filed the remainder of the list in my mental "To Do" file for future intake.

During my weekend movie binge, I discovered an old favourite of mine that wasn't included in the list and so I thought I'd mention it here.

That's right - Demolition Man with Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. I'm not usually a blow-em-up movie person but this one has a great message and some very fun themes in it if you can get past all the explosions.

My new favourite part is this: Stallone's character receives rehabilitation programs while in cryogenic prison that includes knitting, sewing, weaving, etc. Not being able to sleep one night, he knits Sandra Bullock's character a gorgeous cherry red cabled sweater. How great is that?! Just one more reason for me to love this movie.

This only just edges out my previous favourite scene in which Bullock mentions the Schwartzenegger Presidential Library and Stallone is a little put out by this. Too funny and maybe a little prophetic! It really is worth a look or another look if you haven't seen it in a while.

Have a great day every one. Enhance your calm and be well, M

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Look what I found!

Pictures from some of the many Christmas knitting projects! Hanging around the house the last few days has paid off because I found the cd with these snaps on it.

So for a brief review, check out the photos below.


Aunty Gillian's Mitts and scarf - the mitts are my design with a duplicate stitch heart and the scarf is from knitty.com's breast cancer surprise issue



Mitts for Aunty Gillian's fiance, Paul, and a Lover's Mitten for them to use together


Me modeling Grandma's hat

A scarf to go with Grandma's hat


Mom's hat (To go with the mittens I posted about last week and the scarf I made her last year!)


Blue hat like Grandma's green one (that turned out more like a skull cap so I kept it for me!)


Kim's slipper socks

Well, that's it for the highlights. Now I just need to get some of my new projects completed and ready for posting. Have I mentioned that I'm actually still working on my Christmas list. Any day now, really any day, I'll get them done!!!

Happy new year knitting, M

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Currently Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Body/brain on strike while respiration malfunctioning.

Taking this:


While trying to read this:

(A fantastic read! Mesmerizing!)

Because doing too much of this:


Now have one of these:

Snow Fox Electric Shovel

Please check back later for update! M

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Lost In Space . . .

Actually, more like lost in the snow. Either way, I just haven't been blogging this week. But then again I haven't been reading blogs this week. Haven't even been knitting this week.

Oh well, here's a photo of what I have been doing.




Saturday, January 01, 2005

Start as you intend to go

I don't know where I first heard this phrase but it has shaped my approach to the new year for some time now. I also use it whenever I'm starting a new project or new phase of my life. You can imagine that it's been in my head a lot these last several weeks.

I don't really believe in resolutions but I am a strong supporter of fresh starts. It doesn't matter whether you choose a Monday morning, a January 1st, a new school year, a birthday, or 4:53pm on a Thursday for your fresh start. It only matters that with each one you see the limitless possibilities to reach your potential - in whatever you choose to focus on.

In 2004, I have faced so many challenges and managed to come through them relatively unscathed. But I have also had so many amazing experiences that have enriched my life in their own ways.

Top 5 Highlights of 2004:
1. Birth of my nephew, Danger
2. Completing my first year of teaching in the Arctic
3. Completing my second university degree
4. Moving back to my home province of Saskatchewan
5. Starting my knitting blog

Interestingly enough, number 2, 3, 4 are also some of my biggest challenges of 2004. Funny how that works!

I am so looking forward to 2005. I have no idea where I'll be 12 months from now nor do I know what experiences will have shaped me by then. I only hope that I have the grace to take them all for the gifts that they can be.



Looking out my front door, M