Monday, April 30, 2007

Feeling quite crafty!

Wasn't this a lovely Sunday? After a week of bleak weather, the sun came finally out! There could be no mood, other than happy! And this translates into feeling creative and getting things done.
Care to guess what this is? It's the best lavender from freaking Provence, France, ever! DH Karl brought it home with him, a full bag of it. It smells heavenly! Some time ago I needed some to fill the knitted heart for my mom. Karl is reading my blog whenever he's away, and seeing the lavender bag in front of a store, he remembered! Wow! ;o)

This time I made some fabric hearts and other shapes to be filled with this potent stuff. I don't think I'm usually allergic to pollen, scents and so on, but while filling these little suckers, I had a sneeze attack and I got a runny nose, like with the best cold ever. Half an hour after I was done, it all stopped. But I still LOVE the smell of lavender!

I have a little left over. I might get another couple of hearts out of it. It's supposed to be a natural moth repellent. I'll put some in my sock drawer for sure. Most of the heart sachets I'll give away, and already did with a couple of them. It was fun making them. Even though, I still don't like sewing - much. I had more fun sewing the little openings by hand. Don't know why that is. When I was still quilting, I liked quilting by hand the most.

I made some cards as well. I was just fooling around. My mom asked for a card to go with the pink scarf I made for her friend, and that led to a few others. One needs greeting cards for every possible and impossible event in life. ;o)

Oh, and looksy here! I finished a pair of simple socks. I used Knit Picks "Dancing", a cotton, wool, nylon and elastic blend. I LOVE the feeling on my feet, now that it is getting warmer. I LOVED how it felt while knitting also. I was not so pleased with the pooling, but I can live with that. They are knit cuff down, yes indeed, with my new old heel, and a simple *K4, P1* repeat for the leg. Cast on 60 stitches and you are good to go. Very nice every day socks.

I've cast on another pair, because, there is a rule, that says, no DP needles are allowed to be free of sock yarn (or something like that). I've dug up all my cotton-blend sock yarn, and believe, it's time to knit some summerly socks. Very fresh. I'm in love with this yarn, stitch pattern, overall look. More about the specifics when they are done.
What's this all about, knitting socks, nothing but socks? I DON'T KNOW! I was looking through my books, and nothing was appealing to me. Even though I did quite a lot this weekend, there are times, where ones energy gets sucked right out of one. I'm learning to overcome that faster. But right now, socks it is. Very comforting knitting, and fast too. Not that I care about how fast I knit my socks. I love the process.
And another thing. I've received some roving and a drop spindle. But that's another story altogether!

Sam, did you have fun running around outside, and playing? Why, yes, I think he did!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

New Pattern is up!

Just in case you hadn't noticed. I've posted the Bluebell Lace Sock pattern last night! Have fun!
Have a nice weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2007


I'd like to thank all of you who commented on my Bluebell Lace socks! Thank you very much. You are the greatest, I love hearing from you and since we are on the subject, I also LOVE to get pictures of your finished projects knitted from my patterns! I'm in the process of writing up the pattern, with the heel so many asked about. The free pattern will be up on the blog in a couple of days. ;o) I can't anser all of you individually right now, too busy, but I'll try!
I'm hard pressed to finish up some simple socks I have on my needles right now. I really, really want to cast on with some of my new Trekking sock yarn, not just one, but many, but I will not do so. I have the (will)power!!!
Now, here I give you Bubble-licious:

I can’t even remember when I thought about knitting a pillow, or why. And knit it with fingering weight yarn at that. But here it is – my Bubble pillow!
I used self dyed yarn (Knit Picks Bare fingering weight), Easter egg color (yadayadayada).
I think the stitch pattern intrigued me, it’s from the Knitting Stitch calendar, a lacey bubble stitch. Anyway, the bubble part was fun to knit, but the stockinette stitch is deadly, boring that is. The yarn is very soft and as soon as it was all done, my head hit the pillow for a nap (na, not really). I guess I’m tired right now, wishful thinking! ;o)

This project needed serious blocking. The bubble part pulled together like it bit into a lemon, and the stockinette part did not. The good thing was, that I knew what size it had to be 40cm x 40 cm, all around in a straight line.

I didn’t even think to the last minute how to close it. At the end I did a row of YO's and K2tog, and hoped that it would work out O.K. - and it did.

I asked Hannah to bring home some buttons, and I couldn’t have chosen any better. I like the little fake silver buttons a lot!

Bubble-licious hiding behind the chives!

Photo by David

I spied this Robin's nest in a bush out the front door. Here's a picture of it after a thunder storm and hail! It was not even wet where the eggs are. Fantastic!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This one's for you, Heike!

These pictures look like mug shots of Sam. It's nothing personal Heike, really! ;o)

I really wanted to get a cute one for you, but today was not the day to take pictures.

Sam's getting frustrated and Biko's feeling left out. The more I shoo shoo shooed her away, the more she wanted to be in front of the camera. ;o)

Looking cute all the time is not easy!
Why all this you ask?
Some time ago, Heike agreed to go shopping for me. You see, she lives near where the lovely Trekking is being manufactured. You know how much one ball of Trekking yarn goes for around here?! Well, for the prize I paid for these 10 balls, I would have had 3 balls in my basket at my LYS! I gave her carte blanche, to buy 10 balls of Trekking for me. And she did. Look at these lovely colorways!
There was also this very sexy post card and a bag of Harribo goodness, but that didn't make it to the photo shoot. They are just too delicious to resist even for a second. ;o)
Thank you, Heike!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Bluebell Experiment!

Ever since I bought the book “Creating Original Hand-knitted Lace” by Margaret Stove, and I’ve seen her “Sea Spray and Scallop Shells Shawl” I wanted to paint lace. This is one stunning shawl (page 131), a once in a lifetime project. At first I thought I’d like to, not duplicate but make something similar. I was thinking too big! Of course there was an easier way to try this method of painting lace, and these Bluebell Socks where born, at least in my mind.

In the same book I found this cute little blue bell pattern, which she used on a Baby Set. For my purposes I had to rewrite the pattern to my liking. For once I was thinking of a cuff down sock, and naturally the pattern in the book showed the pattern upside down. It did not look the same knitted that way. And I didn’t like the stem, which you couldn’t make out clearly in the original pattern. So, I swatched! People, I swatched and tried and finally came up with something I liked.
I think I was lucky to find the yarn I used for these socks in my stash. I knew how the lace part with the painted blue bells should look like, but until I saw the sweet georgia yarn in “English Bay”, I was not so sure of the rest of the sock.

I thought I would write up a pattern, but they are not good enough. The picot edge is too heavy for the lace part, which gets pushed down. The other reason for being pushed down, might be, that the white yarn is not exactly the same weight as the multicolored yarn. I used 64 stitches to cast on, because I needed multiples of eight for the lace pattern. It’s too loose on top. Later I thought, I could have cast on 60 stitches and increased for the lace part, but it was too late for this pair.

Painting was not as easy as I thought it would be. I used Jacquard color for the blue bell and Easter egg color for the stems. Since I want the color to stay even after washing, I soaked the finished socks in a vinegar/water solution, squeezed excess water out and rolled them in a towel. I put some plastic in the leg part of the socks. Now I carefully painted the stems and the blue bells. Still there was some bleeding, which occurred during the heating process in the microwave. After I finished painting, I wrapped the socks in plastic foil and nuked them for a couple of minutes, after a short cool down, another two minutes and they were done. As I said, there was some bleeding from the bluebells to the part were it was supposed to stay white, but not much, and not with all the bluebells. I think it was the ones, where I used more liquid. The blue color came out stronger after heating, that was a surprise (for me), since I don’t know the colors yet. There might be a better way to paint on wool, but I don’t know about it. This was an experiment, which I will further pursue. It’s fiddly but it’s fun!

So, what do you think?

Sam's not happy about the extra source of heat!

Oh, yeah, did I tell you about my pillow? I'll safe that for my next post. And another thing, as nice as the weather is right now, the bad thing about it is, that you have NO excuse to stay inside and knit, when you've got to be outside and do back breaking yard work. ;o)

Friday, April 20, 2007

And yet another sock ....

Just a quick one, before the weekend takes over. I've started another pair of socks last night. I didn't want to, but I gave in. I have so many other projects in mind, but it looks like I've got to do this first. Sock knitting is number 1 relaxing time. Nothing better! I'm using sweet georgia yarns in "English Bay".
It's totally gorgeous weather today, I was outside a lot and will be over the weekend. After the snow and rain, now we can finally get started cleaning up the garden. Hot weather makes me thirsty. That's fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice. I don't drink it often, but I hate the stuff which comes in cartons. I'd rather have nothing.

I've also come full circle as knitting heels are concerned. I've knit the heel I used to knit for socks. The way I learned it as a child. I like it a lot, and since I graft the toes now, there's no reason to use something else, for cuff down socks. No holes anywhere, and fun, at least until something else comes along.

Sam gets quite lazy in the sunshine.

I was wondering how long it would take Biko to jump into the pool, since we opened it yesterday. Well, she was swimming like a beaver already. First she threw in the tennis ball, to check out what's going on, after the third time, she just jumped in. The water is still freezing cold! Well then, have a nice weekend!
That's last years picture. She looked the same today, but the temperatures are way lower. Wet dog is wet dog, and smelly dog!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Here comes the sunshine.....

After almost three weeks of col and dreary weather, yesterday afternoon, the sun came out and said hello. I still can't believe it. Naturally, the first response for a knitter to warmth and sunshine is to get out the dye pot and yarn and start playing with colors! The following pictures show to days worth of dyeing. Well, we are slow, but we enjoy it tremendously. We used both, powdered Easter egg colors and for the first time I tried Jacquard colors. The procedure was the same. I use the microwave oven, and not the crock pot. Way faster! Same amount of vinegar though!

This is Knit Picks Bare 70% Merino Wool 30% Silk. This mess turned into this mess....

I didn't like the yellow/orange/red, thought hard about it and over dyed it. I like the result much better. The thing with dyeing yarn is (at least with me), it's unpredictable. I don't want to read lots of tutorials, I want instant gratification, and love the suspense. What will the outcome be? This yarn has a shine to it, because of the silk content. I'm satisfied.

click on the pics for a closer look

Yesterday, I was showing Hannah how to dye yarn the easiest way I know. I only used one skein for myself. This red one is Knit Picks Bare 65% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon, 10% Donegal. I used Fire Red, and the skein is almost solid. It's kind of orangey red with the blue, yellow, read and green specks in it. Will be lovely socks when it's all grown up.

Hannah likes bold colors and I like them too. Isn't this combination gorgeous! So vibrant! She used Knit Picks Bare 100% Superwash Wool from the worsted weight variety. These are Easter egg colors. And below is her second skein. This is absolutely lovely. I'd like to have it myself, but I'm afraid, she wont let me have it. Here she used Knit Picks Bare 75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon, especially good for socks. Can't wait to see what she's going to make with it.

The last skein for today is Knit Picks Bare Lace Weight, 100% Merino Wool. I love it! Mixed my own greens with Jacquard colors. I love the fact, that there's still some blue in there. It's got 880 yds, one can do quite a lot with this.

And the pool guys showed up and got the pool started. It's still filling up with water. Biko can hardly contain her excitement! They did a good job this year. They even vacuumed the pool, without me asking them. I know, I'll pay for it later, but it's nice anyway. The lawn isn't even green yet! ;o)

Yesterday, we had an unplanned outing. On this impromptu excursion we stopped at the Len's Mill store in Guelph, because I've heard a lot about it. I managed to get some sock yarn in black and green solids, nothing exciting, but very useful. I had about 15 minutes left, before they closed the store, I still managed to get those lovely fabrics cut and out the door. They are ready to be whatever I want them to be. Now lets think about that for a minute. Got to go now, ta ta!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pomatomus, anyone?

Hannah finished her Pomatomus socks! She used Knit Picks Bare self dyed yarn. I'm so proud, I didn't even knit these yet. She learned how to Kitchener the toes together and needed NO help at all. This is a wonderful free pattern from Cookie A. you can find it at

I had a short night, only a couple of hours sleep. So I'm not really functioning very well today. I asked David, whether he has the right "socks" for the car. Naturally I meant tires, since he's doing car service today. Not good! I should not operate machinery today, don't you think? ;o) I wonder if it's save to knit or use the sewing machine.
See, I wanted to tell you about those pretty tulips, almost forgot about it. At Easter I've got a huge bunch of tulips from Karl (via flower delivery service). Now they have only a short time left. Yesterday most of them opened up, so lovely. They look like paintings. Mother nature is incredible. So, I go now. Need more tea or something. I'm such a child, do I really need my six hours of sleep?

Sam looking pretty and not at all bothered by the camera.