Cardigan

Last Day of 2015

I suppose the last day of the year is a time for reflection on what has passed and looking forward to a new start but I’m not going to do that. It’s been a year I’m happy to put behind us. Yes, there’s been plenty of good but there has also been heartache. I would rather concentrate on the now.

It will likely be a quiet New Year’s Eve for us. Kristen and the kids will probably not be here as she’s come down with some kind of bug. I’ll try to stay up until midnight to help ring in the new year but, realistically, I rarely stay up that late. Part of today will be spent making olie bollen (fritters) and I may make some soap but I’m not even sure about that yet.

I do know I will be doing some knitting… have already, in fact. John’s cardigan is coming along, if slowly. The back is finished and I’m working on the fronts simultaneously, sort of. I started with the right side and have it almost to the armhole shaping. Then I decided it would be a good idea to work on the left side as well, and get it to the same point, then work the shaping at the same time. That way, the shaping will be the same, at the same time.

Incidentally, the soap making thing? It’s really coming along. I’ve been making, and selling, quite a bit of soap. Christmas, it seems, is a good time for soap sales. This week, I even made shaving soap… real, use a brush, soft, creamy, shaving soap. It’s awesome!

Anyway, I need to get this day going. To all of you, from all of us, we wish you a very happy 2016. I’ll borrow an image, posted by an online friend, that perfectly describes what I wish for all of you.

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Categories: Baking, Blogging, Cardigan, John's Sweater, Just stuff, Knitting, Making Soap, Review | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

So… Colour Me an Idiot

John’s cardigan is coming along. I worked on it for a bit last night and came to a realization.

Let me back up a bit. Before I cast on any project, I choose the size I’ll knit and circle or highlight the numbers for that size I’m knitting, usually as I go along. I did the same with this cardigan. Except….. sigh…

HL2

I’m up to the arm scye shaping and my stitch count was out. Apparently, after 17.5″, I cast on for the wrong size, one size larger than the size I had intended to knit. It’s only a few stitches difference and I don’t think it will really matter a lot but, really??

I’ve been knitting how long?? (Since I was seven, thank you very much.)

Did I mention I’d already knit seventeen and one half inches? I am NOT frogging it. John may have room to grow but from what I’ve already checked, it will fit him just fine.

What was I thinking?? Or maybe I did intend to cast on for that size and I circled the wrong numbers.

I think I’ll go make some soap.

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, John's Sweater, Knitting, Soap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Just Another Weekend

It’s been… hmm… I was going to say that it’s been a quiet weekend so far but it hasn’t, really. On Friday, our kitchen baseboard heater decided to stop working… again. It does this every year – works for a week or two, then stops working for the rest of the year. We’ve been lucky enough to have an extra space heater that we’ve been using but it has decided it’s usefulness had expired this year and has now become nothing but garbage.

We let the landlord know about the heat situation and, on Friday night, K showed up to check the heater, the wiring, and whatever else he could determine. Yesterday, he and the landlord came by with a new heater to install but there seems to be some kind of an issue with wiring so, for the moment, we have no heat in the kitchen. Thankfully, it’s not yet cold enough that it’s an issue but it has made for a busy kitchen. By the time I returned from my shopping trip, there were three men and two dogs in my kitchen, with furniture all over the room, making it something of an obstacle course.

Later, Kristen and the kids came by for a fire and some roasted marshmallows. They even brought “coloured fire”, some packets of chemicals that you throw into the fire to make some fun and funky colours. I think it would have been more effective if we’d waited until dark but it was fun anyway. After a few marshmallows each, Kristen suggested we all go out for dinner and she managed to talk John into it. After a bit of discussion, we ended up at the Mission Tap House; if you’re in Kelowna and looking for a decent place to go for a meal, try it; everyone enjoyed their meals. I was the only one with leftovers, only because I really wasn’t all that hungry, not because it wasn’t good.

I even managed to get a batch of soap made. I’ve been watching a video channel (Soaping 101) and she’s made a couple of videos in which she takes a popular brand of soap (in this case, Dove) and breaks down their ingredients, creates a formula and makes a copy. I decided to try her recipe, now that I have all the supplies on hand. I added a scent (ylang ylang – just a little bit) and a little bit of silk protein, just because I still have some.

NoDoveBefore we even left for dinner, I was able to remove the soap from the mold; it was still a bit warm but already quite hard. By the time we got home, I cut it. Had I waited until this morning, I think it might have been too hard to cut! Do you see the white flecks in the soap? That’s from the titanium dioxide I used to colour half the batter. It’s nothing but cosmetic, just a little bit of interest in an otherwise pure white bar.

It needs to cure for at least 3-4 weeks but I’m looking forward to trying this soap.

And, in case you’re wondering, yes, there has been knitting. I have about 12″ done on the back of John’s sweater and I’ve started the third ball of yarn. At this point, apart from 12″ of straight on knitting, there’s not much to see. Imagine the last picture, doubled, and you get the idea.

Today, the plan is to make another batch of the first soap I made, the Coconut Milk soap, my personal favourite so far. After that, it’s all up in the air but I do anticipate some progress on John’s sweater.

 

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, John's Sweater, Knitting, Making Soap, Soap | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And The Winner Is….

Heather!

Email me your relevant information, Heather, and six samples of my hand crafted soaps will be making their way to your doorstep, along with an extra surprise or two. Congratulations!

Yesterday, Beth asked how she might be able to subscribe to my new soaping blog by email. This morning, I figured out how to add that to the blog and there is now a spot to subscribe by email… for anyone who would like to.

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This is how the soap turned out, by the way. It’s a nice hard soap that was hard to cut. It did gel but not completely; that won’t affect the final product, just the aesthetics. Considering that it’s soap and will all be going down the drain eventually, I’m not overly concerned about it.

I did do a little more knitting on John’s sweater yesterday; I have about 6″ done so far. Right now, it’s straight up the back for 17.5″ before starting the armhole shaping. I don’t think much knitting will happen around here today; there is lasagna to be put together (I made the meat sauce yesterday) and a dinner to prepare for.

John’s planning on making a cheesecake for dessert, using a recipe his mother received years ago from a NYC native. I’m looking forward to it; he’s never made it for me. This is a traditional, basic, baked cheesecake with the cherry pie filling on it. Yum! It will be a lovely finish to our dinner, I think.

Now, it’s an absolutely gorgeous fall day around here. We had a bit of a wind storm last night; it was an amazingly warm wind that scattered chairs and leaves around the yard. Today, it’s bright and sunny out.. beautiful! It’s time to get motivated and out there!

Enjoy your weekend, all, and to my Canadian family and friends… Happy Thanksgiving.

grapes

Categories: Baking, Blogging, Cardigan, Contest, Cooking, Making Soap, The Weather | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It Ends Now

Well, it sort of ends now. Today is the last day to get your comments in (on the blog, not on Facebook); I’ll be making the draw for 6 soap samples tomorrow.

soapsamples

Test pieces for some of my soaps… don’t they almost look good enough to eat?

It’s a long weekend here in Canada; we celebrate Thanksgiving on Monday. We will not be doing the “turkey thing”; I’d rather have a nice quiet weekend without the hectic busyness of cooking a full turkey dinner. That’s not relaxing at all, thankyouverymuch! I was thinking of putting together a big pan of lasagna, to be honest. Not very Thanksgiving-ish, is it? Certainly decadent, though!

I have every intention of filling the weekend with knitting related stuff. I have a book on the iPod (The Confessor by Daniel Silva) and a couple of projects on the needles; I am ready to relax!

First though, John’s slippers are finished… the knitting and the felting, although I will have to throw them back into the washer to felt a little more. For some reason, one slipper felted more than the other.

Johnslippers

My washer isn’t the best one out there, that’s for sure. I get lint on everything, and I do mean everything! I’m leery of washing anything white because I’ll end up with dark lint streaks on it; I’m afraid of washing anything dark because I end up with light lint streaks all over it. It’s rather frustrating, to be honest. In the case of the slippers, though, at least we can brush the lint off.

Because John’s slippers are finished, I’ve allowed myself to start his sweater. I’ve gone through one ball of yarn so far and that’s just knitting a few rows each evening while watching a show or two on the computer (we don’t have a tv… by choice).

HL1

The stitch pattern is an easy one to memorize and read and, as you can see, knits up fairly quickly. The yarn feels really nice in the hand and makes a cozy fabric. I don’t think he’ll be at all disappointed with this cardigan. I’m already a little jealous.

I also have another small project on the needles. I’ve decided I like having a face cloth on the go; they’re the perfect small project – they knit up fairly quickly, even with fine yarn, and they’re a usable little item. I don’t especially like using them in the kitchen but I do like using them on my face.

whitefacecloth

This time, I’m using Paton’s BumbleBee baby cotton, a 100% cotton, DK weight, that I do believe has been discontinued (yup… just checked; it was discontinued in 2005… and, yes, I’ve had it that long!). It’s a very soft cotton, nice to work with and knits up beautifully. I have about a half dozen or so balls of it so there will be a few of these face cloths in my linen closet before too long, or they’ll be given as gifts, accompanied by a bar or two of handcrafted soap.

Speaking of soap, I don’t think there will be any soap making this weekend; I’m out of coconut oil and I’m waiting for an order of a couple of items to arrive from Voyageur Soap & Candle in Vancouver. I could just run out and pick up some more coconut oil but soaping isn’t high on my priority list this weekend.

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, Contest, Finished, John's Sweater, Knitting, Making Soap, Slippers, Soap | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Forget – Soap Giveaway

You have one week left to enter to win a 6 pack soap sampler. Leave a comment and you’re entered!

Last week, I left you with a teaser about an upcoming work in progress – a cardigan for John. When the newest KnitPicks catalog arrived, I showed John one of the pictures of a man’s cardigan that I thought he might like. He wanted to see more so I brought up the KP web site and showed him the rest of the pictures there. He liked it. He liked it a lot. When I asked him if I should purchase the yarn and pattern, he said yes! I didn’t wait!

The yarn was ordered and has already arrived. I have been told, though, that I am not allowed to start the sweater until his slippers are finished. Yeah, they’re still not done.

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The pattern is the Hidden Light Cardigan; to see more pictures, click here. When I showed John the colour choices in the yarn, he pointed to the picture and said, “That one.” Apparently, he really likes that cardigan in that colour. I like it, too, so we’re going with it. I’ve already done a test swatch (just a swatch, that’s all!) and my gauge is right on so I’m good to go… as soon as his slippers are done.

This weekend is a weekend without grandchildren around so I’m getting a few things done. Once I’m finished with this post, I’ll be knitting. Care to guess what I’ll be working on?

Already today, I’ve been out – had my hair cut this morning, wandered around the farmer’s market, did some shopping, picked up a new mold for my soaps, stuff like that. Just before I sat down to write this post, I made a small batch of soap to fill my new mold… and a few more molds.

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I love the Fat Daddio’s silicone molds; the flower molds are so pretty. This one is the daisy; I have my eye on the sunflower, the narcissus, and the rose molds as well but those are a special order. I made a small batch of soap with sunflower oil, superfatted with 1 teaspoon of argan oil and scented with the last of my neroli essential oil. It’s setting now and I can barely wait to see how it comes out. The recipe this time is one of my own devising.

Now, I’m done here for today… I’m off to get comfy and finish those %*$(&^# slippers.

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, Contest, John's Sweater, Slippers, Soap | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Frogged

Well, the Little Arrowhead Cardi has been frogged. I did stop in at both yarn shops here in Kelowna on Saturday. Art of Yarn carries the Butterfly Super 10 cotton but the colour I need has, it seems, been discontinued and, therefore, no longer available. Kelowna Yarn and Needlecraft doesn’t carry it at all.

Considering I would need approximately three skeins, I decided I would be better off to frog it and use the yarn for something else. (Frogging, incidentally, for those of you who don’t knit, simply means taking your knitting apart, unravelling it; it comes from rip it, rip it, rip it, similar to the sound a frog makes.) Ethan and I had great fun ripping and rewinding the yarn. That was Saturday afternoon.

In the meantime, I cast on for a little hat, one I designed years ago, while working at Art of Yarn. The Lacy Cantata Hat is a lacy, close-fitting cap designed to be knit in a DK weight cotton and will fit most. At the time, I used a yarn called Cantata (the cap used exactly one ball of the Cantata); the Butterfly Super 10 is the same weight. A lot of people mistake the stitch for crochet but it IS knitted. It’s a quick knit and it’s a cute little hat, perfect for spring, summer, and fall… and it looks very “hippy”!

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I’ll try to get pictures of Trinity wearing it this coming weekend. I think it’s something she might like. It would be fun to dress it up a little, too.. perhaps a fun pin, a crochet flower? I might even make up a few and put them up for sale on my soon-to-be-up-and-running Etsy page.

I may also rewrite the pattern, update it a little. Maybe. If there are enough hours in the day.

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, Crochet, Finished | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uh Oh!

uhoh

This is the back of my cardigan. I still have about 4″ to go on the back of that cardigan. I’m well into the second cake of yarn. I still have the two front panels and two sleeves to knit.

Anyone seeing an issue here?

Yeah, uh oh!

My LYS hasn’t responded to my email so I may have to drop in tomorrow (didn’t want to make an unnecessary trip).

What would YOU do?

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, Knitting | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

And There’s Been Knitting

In all of the posts about our mini vacation, there’s been no mention at all of knitting. I did have a project with me and I have been working on it. At times it’s been frustrating, most times relaxing.

Little Arrowhead

Though the pattern doesn’t have a name, I call it the Little Arrowhead Cardi. I’ve made it once before, a few years ago (finished in 2008) but ended up giving it away. Last time I made it, I used Sirdar Country Style DK; this time, I’m using Butterfly Super 10 cotton, purchased while I still worked at Art of Yarn, almost 10 years ago now.

The pattern is a written pattern, which I find frustrating; I much prefer charted patterns when it comes to lace of any kind so I charted it out and have been making good headway. When I said it it’s been frustrating at times, it’s because of the pattern itself, the written pattern. I’ve started it at least four or five times. Now, I have 14 inches worked and the pattern is easy to read.

I am making one change – l’m making it longer. I really don’t like cropped cardigans; I’m constantly tugging at them. At 14″, the body is long enough that it reaches to my hips. I’m happy with that.

This was the perfect project for taking along on our vacation. I worked on it while on the 40 minute ferry ride and while relaxing on the patio at our motel. Now that we’re home, I make a point of working a few rows every day. I’m now up to the armhole shaping for the back.

The pattern, incidentally, is a Sirdar pattern, No. 8648 and the cardi is worked on 4.5 mm needles with DK weight yarn. This is the perfect summer cover up and will easily fit into my spring and autumn wardrobe as well. The colour is cheerful and bright, great to wear with some of the darker coloured clothes I often wear.

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, Knitting, Vacation | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mobius and More

I should feel badly about not keeping up with this blog, shouldn’t I? It must seem that I’ve been ignoring it, and you, for some time now. That isn’t true, though. There really hasn’t been much to blog about. Life is just ticking along at it’s usual pace, one day fading into another as they go by in a blur. Then it’s the weekend and there’s plenty to do around the house in preparation for the next week.

However, I am still here. Life’s been busy, work has been busy, weekends have been busy. And inspiration, sadly, has been pretty much non-existent. That said, I did accomplish one small project this week. One of the ladies I work with and I were talking about a mobius strip last week and, being a knitter in the know, I asked her is she’d ever knitted one? She thought about it and asked if it wasn’t just a scarf made into a mobius by giving it one twist and sewing it together. When I tried to explain mobius knitting to her, she didn’t understand any part of it. So I made a mobius scarf.

mobius

I brought Cat Bordhi’s, “A Treasury of Magical Knitting” to work to show my co-worker and even it elicited confused and puzzled looks.

It wouldn't hurt me to smile, would it?

It wouldn’t hurt me to smile, would it?

I like this cowl/scarf. The yarn is ancient. I do mean that. Years ago, before my youngest daughter was born, I knitted myself a really nice cardigan. There was just one problem. Let’s me put it this way – I wore it to the hospital the day she was born. The cardigan was buttoned up and there was still room to spare. Yes, it was far too big for me.

dordogne 647

I reclaimed the yarn and eventually re-knit (mostly) the cardigan but never completely finished it because… well… because now it’s too small. So, the yarn is fair game. I will not knit this cardigan a third time. It is, incidentally, Scheepjes Dordogne; I doubt it’s even made anymore.

dordogneIn other knitting, John’s sweater is languishing in a basket in my living room. I’m up to the armhole shaping but just can’t seem to get motivated to work on it. I’ve been spending more time cooking on the weekends than I have knitting. He has mentioned more than once, though, that it would be nice to have a new sweater by Christmas. Yikes! The pressure!!

I’ve also been doing a bit of painting. A few weeks ago, I painted this little painting from a photo I found online.

003I wasn’t completely happy with it, to be honest so I tried to paint it again. I’m much happier with my second attempt.

002My next project will become our Christmas cards this year. I have to say, I’m really having fun with my watercolours. Incidentally, if you’re interested, I’ve added a page to the blog. In the upper right corner of this blog, you’ll see a tab with the different pages on this blog. There you’ll find a page entitled “From My Palette”. That page is where I’ll add my paintings as they’re done.

 

 

 

Categories: Blogging, Cardigan, Finished, John's Sweater, Knitting, Painting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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