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Archive for March, 2009

Hurray for mail!

I was casting about for a subject for a post and came up with nothing. Nothing. Then, I opened the mailbox. Mail! A package to be exact – a package containing all manner of delightful owlie treats. Awesome.

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This lovely little package is from Kate  – the designer of  my beloved Owl sweater. I entered my version in her Parliament of Owls – and to my surprise, won a prize!  Exciting! I don’t win things very often (okay, almost never actually), let alone things that come in the mail. I think that arriving in the mail makes everything a little more special. Plus, it was a good way to end my already pretty good day (my best friend/man of honour just got himself engaged – yay! Congratulations Ezmy and Lycradog – woot!).

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Inside my package I found stickers, owly post-it notes, a pin (that is so going on my coat) and a fabulous tea towel. I love it. The tea towel is almost too cute to use. Who can dry dishes on that face?

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Aside from all my owlish goodies, I’ve been doing some secret-ish knitting. I’ll have some sneak peak photos soon. Happy knitting!

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Miss Knit's Spring Mitts

Mittens might seem like an odd choice for a  spring project, but here in Nova Scotia, spring is not all warm sunshine and gentle breezes. I needed an alternative to my super warm and cozy Selbuvotter, So I decided that a lighter weight pair of mittens was a good idea. As I have a book acquisition problem ( I am cultivating a respectable knitting library if I do say so myself), I went trolling  through  the library and settled on Folk Knitting in Estonia by the erstwhile Nancy Bush. After leafing through the book about a million times, I decided that Kristi’s Mittens were the ones for me.

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I really like the graphic quality of the pattern and wanted to give it a whirl. I will not lie – these mittens gave me fits. I have knit sweaters in less time than it took me to knit these. In fact, if all were fair in the universe, I would probably have a pair and a half by now. I would like to say that the fault lays with the pattern, but that would not be entirely accurate. It seems that I cannot read and/or follow directions. The whole thumb opening business set me back – mostly because I get ahead of myself. “Hey, I’ve knit mittens before, I know what I’m doing, I’ll skip this part.” Nice call smarty pants. I generally prefer the fit  of  a mitten where the thumb gusset grows out the side of the mitten rather than one that emerges from the palm, but these fit pretty well. What threw me off was knitting the thumb stitches with waste yarn, slipping them back onto the left needle and continuing to knit in pattern. It seems so simple and yet, I managed to mess it up. Sigh.

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Another  point of contention for poor Miss Knit: the double wick decrease along the top of the mitten (and yes, I did double check the directions, but it didn’t make it any clearer. That’s why they call it trial and error I guess). A point of personal preference on the decrease portion of the mitten – I prefer charts that clearly delineate decreases. This pattern asks the knitter to work double decreases as directed (picture the toe of a sock – that kind of deal) while keeping in pattern. I didn’t find this overly difficult, but it does take concentration. I would also council any knitters who choose to knit this pattern to look at the mitten in order to orient the decreases correctly – I found that if I followed  the pattern exactly as written, I ended up with decreases in a decidedly inconvenient place. Now, this could just be my inability to do things precisely as directed, but I’m not totally convinced on that point.

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After all that, I am happy with the end result. They fit nicely and look fab with my winter coat. The yarn, Sandnes Garn Lanett, was recommended by Deco Daco and I liked it. It was my first time working with it and I give it points for holding up to the frogging that I put it through and it feels nice on the hands. The photos didn’t turn out quite as well as I would have liked, but they’ll do.

Now that my spring mitts are finished, what’s next? I’m thinking a quick trip to the yarn store and I’ll get to knitting some  secret gift-type projects.

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. . . even if it is only for the night.

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Those who know me in real life know that my man is away a lot for work. His departures are rarely scheduled with any advanced notice, the absences are of uncertain duration and the returns are impossible to predict. Because of this, I’ve learned to go with the flow. I’m okay with being on my own –  solo road trips are not too bad (I can go in whichever direction strikes my fancy and come home when I please), I can eat popcorn for dinner if I want to and laundry doesn’t multiply before my very eyes. The downside is that I do sometimes get lonely. It’s nice to have someone to talk to about my day, to keep me company while I knit and to warm up the bed before I get in it. That said, I’ve been on my own , give or take a week here or there, since January 3rd of this year.

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A homebody at heart, my man is not really fond about being away so much – he denies it, but he misses naps with the  cat , homecooked meals and maybe even me.  Since he’s been home almost a week, he decided that we need a small vacation. With a wedding in the works and a downpayment to be saved for, a big fancy vacation was not the best idea – but a night away from home? That we can do. And so we did.

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The bag packed and the cats looked after, we hit the road , destination Liverpool. White Point Beach Lodge to be precise. All I wanted was a hotel with a swimming pool. Swimming pools feel like vacation to me. What I got was a side trip to a beautiful sandy beach, bunnies, a tasty dinner, swimming, a soak in the hot tub and an acupressure massage. And a successful stop at Frenchy’s. A pretty sweet deal.

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I didn’t get any knitting done, but I am making some good progress on my spring mittens. Hopefully they’ll be done by the end of the week – I like them a lot. And I’ll still need them – as I type it’s snowing up a storm outside. Ah, spring in Nova Scotia.

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After a winter where there was a lot of this:

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I really, really needed some of this:

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I needed some beach therapy. I needed sun, sand and surf. I needed rock collecting. I needed to be outside in the fresh air. I needed to be recharged. It was  a beautiful day – sunny, clear-skied, breezy and cool, but not too chilly. It was a perfect day for my first beach trip of 2009.

Usually the beach foray is a solitary one. I like to set my own agenda, crank up my tunes on the way out (I am not above listening to the same album over and over and over again), comb the beach for nifty treasures and to do it all in quiet. It’s my version of church I guess. This time, I brought a friend along. Mammals, a good friend and knitter, is moving back to Quebec – with nary a beach in sight. Personally I cannot imagine living far away from the ocean  – I’d feel cooped up somehow.  So it was a goodbye to the beach kind of day. Sad and beautiful all at once.

On the drive out she asked me if I had ever found sand dollars there, only bits and pieces I said. All those rocks and the big waves, I’ve never found anything but fragments. I spoke too soon. After filling our pocket swith pebbles  and moonsnail shells we wandered up the beach – and found them:

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Between the two of us, I think we must have ended our day with nearly 30 sand dollars. Awesome. So unexpected. From finding the first one to the last, it never got old. Kind of like easter egg hunting, but way more random and therefore more fun.

I’m looking forward to more beach adventures this summer – even though I may be running out of shelf space for my rocks*.

 

 

*Check out my photo page for more beachy goodness.

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I’m a total copycat.  I’m not ashamed. I’ll own it, it’s entirely true. From the moment I saw Deco Daco’s, I knew I needed a silk kerchief too. I had to have one. Had to. So, after a trip to my LYS  for some Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn, I got to knitting. It’s funny, of all the things I’ve knit, this was my very first garter stitch project. I’m not a huge fan of garter stitch – maybe it’s the nubby-ness of it, the ridges, the feeling that it’s not “real” knitting because it’s too easy. Maybe it’s the 1970s feel it conjures up. I can’t say for certain why I’ve always avoided it, but it took Deco Daco’s fabulous version with it’s fancy lace edging to convince me to give it a try. After whipping my kerchief up in less than a week I think I could knit those for  awhile before I got tired of it.I blame the Noro.

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There’s something about Noro that makes even the most mindless projects enjoyable. I’m a monochromatic girl at heart – subtle variations are acceptable, but the exuberant colour schemes of Noro are generally a bit much for me. In this particular project, I liked the combination of a neutral yarn and the Noro – the Noro got to do it’s thing without overwhelming me with colour. It’s pretty satisfying to watch the colours shift – knitting away just to see what comes next.

The pattern itself is simple and I knit it with only a couple of mods – I knit until I felt it was big enough (which meant until I was almost out of the natural alpaca of mysterious origins that I found in my stash. I swear, the only things I can remember about that yarn are that it is alpaca and I got it at the Student Art store a million and 7 years ago) and I added a picot bind off . I also added two buttons so that I could secure the ends around my neck without worrying about them sliding off or looking silly – now my scarf stays in place. Good stuff.  I like the finished product,  and do not think, as a certain someone does, that it looks like a shoulder placemat.  Sheesh.

Then, as it happens almost everytime I finish something without properly planning ahead, I suffer from Nothing to Knit Syndrome. I’ve sewn in the last end, I reach for my project bag and find. . . nothing. What do I do? I will surely go insane if I don’t have something to work on! What’s a knitter to do?! I consulted some books, raided the stash, rejected everything I own as boring or just not suitable, went back to the yarn store and bought myself something to make a pair of Spring mittens. Mock me not. Here on the East Coast, Spring mittens are a necessity – what else are you going to wear when your bulky winter mitts are just too much but bare hands are not an option? Spring mitts, that’s what. Mine will be Estonian.  And I will wear my shoulder placemat as I knit them.

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A splash of colour. . .

a splash of colour

 

. . .  to remind me that winter doesn’t actually last forever.

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Some news, of a sort.

Hey there – long time no blog.  My new home here is turning out to be pretty nice – I’m still figuring things out by trial and error, but so far so good. I’ve added a photo page and threw in some info about myself. I’ve decided to branch out from strictly knitting  content and put some of myself into this here blog. I’ve been wanting to make a change for a while and thought why not start over in the new space. But don’t worry knit fans, there’ll still be plenty o’knit content. In fact I have  couple of new hats and a scarf to talk about ( a scarf which does not resemble a placemat in my opinion, though a certain someone may disagree).

I hope you’ll come along for the ride , I’m happy for the company.

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