Posts Tagged With: giveaway

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.


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.


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).


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.


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

Ugly Soap = Learning Experience

One of the things I’ve learned in my foray into soap making is that you WILL make ugly soaps – not intentionally, mind you, but you will make them. I have one soap that I wouldn’t even consider sharing with anyone, ever.


This is a peppermint/rosemary soap I made at the end of August. That batch was cursed from the beginning. The recipe called for way too much of the peppermint leaves, it never got hard and there’s so much peppermint oil in it I could use it as a substitute for Vick’s VapoRub. Seriously, a fail all around.

I went to the Soap Making Forum and started reading about rebatching and confetti soaps and anything else I could find about turning ugly soaps into a usable and, possibly, even pretty soap. Or, at the very least, better looking. Here’s the result of my reading… and learning.

The new, and very much improved, Peppermint Soap.


I grated up three bars of the ugly peppermint soap, made a batch of coconut milk soap, poured about half the batter into the soap shavings, mixed it well and poured that mixture into the mold. Then, carefully, I poured the rest of the soap batter over the base and made the top pretty. It gelled completely within a couple of hours and, by this morning, was hard enough to unmold and cut.


That is a much prettier soap than the original soap, wouldn’t you agree? Just for the sake of comparison, here’s a picture with both bars.


I’m looking forward to trying it in about a month. It still smells very minty but not as strong as the original. I think this will be a great “wake me up in the morning” kind of soap. I just need to practice some patience.

Speaking of patience, I also need to learn patience when it comes to unmolding my soaps from the silicone molds. They do take a little longer to firm up, I find. I’m not sure why, really.


These are the soaps from the daisy mold. I love them but I did damage two of them by trying to take them out too soon. I should have waited the full 24 hours or longer. Ah well… a couple of uses and you won’t see the flower anyway. And it’s not as if they’re for sale. They sure are pretty, though, and I think the recipe is a good one. We’ll see how it hardens within the next couple of days.

Today, I’ll be trying a new (to me) technique, a feather swirl. John’s out right now, trying to make a tool for that purpose. It uses a hanger (yes, a wire coat hanger) or something a little thicker. I found something that will, hopefully, work but it needs shaping; John’s taken it to his work shop to bend it in the vise they have there. The technique creates a feather inside the soap using 3-4 colours. It’s the October challenge over on the Soap Making Forum and I’ve decided to enter; I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Ok, time to stop procrastinating; there are dishes to be done, slippers to felt (yes, I’ve finished the knitting; I just need to stitch them up and felt them), soap to design, a letter to write. Today’s going to be a full day!

Categories: Contest, Just stuff, Slippers, Soap | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Finally Some Progress

Wow! There has been knitting going on around here! I can honestly say that my knitting mojo has returned. Friday night saw one of John’s recycled socks completed, as you can see in the gallery below. On Thursday night, I had him try on the ninja sock of death (his description of a sock in progress) to see if it was going to fit him properly. As you can see, it does!

The second sock is now on the needles and ready for the foot, too. Once the heel is finished, it becomes TV knitting, or listen-to-an-audiobook knitting; we don’t have cable, nor do we have a TV anymore so we watch the occasional TV show over the internet on the iMac.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but the socks above were given to John by my mother. They were knitted for my father by one of my aunts in the Netherlands. When my father was hospitalized, he could no longer wear handknit socks as his ankles were so swollen the socks would no longer fit. Seeing as John loves his handknit socks, Mom gave them to John. When they wore out, and did they ever, he held them up with a wry look on his face and asked if they were destined for the garbage. Normally, I would have said yes but, in this case, the leg of each sock where it met the heel was still in very good condition and I thought I could recover the stitches easily so I decided to re-knit the foot, a first for me. John commented that he wasn’t fussy about the colour; he would even have been happy with red. Fortunately, I do not happen to have red sock yarn in my stash.

In other knitting, and yes, there has been other knitting, I’ve finished the pair of Malabrigo wristwarmers for myself. I’m thinking of leaving them at work because that’s where I’ll be using them primarily.



They could use a bit of blocking, I know (see the loose stitch on the castoff edge?) but once on my wrist, it isn’t noticeable at all. I’m always surprised at just how much this little bit of fabric around the wrist can make a huge difference in the comfort level of the body. I’ve met people who scoff at that but once they try on a pair of wrist warmers, they’re converted.

I’ve also started another pair of wristwarmers for myself. You can never have too many, as far as I’m concerned, especially when your favourite ones are become a little threadbare.



I’m using a Fair Isle pattern, this one from Alice Starmore’s book, “Charts for Coloured Knitting”. As you can see in the Excel printout, I’m planning on reversing the colours in bands. There are 13 rows to the pattern; I’m not sure how long I’ll make these; it will be a minimum of three repeats and a maximum of five (for the sake of pattern balance). I’m using sock yarn (4 ply fingering) on 3.0 mm double-pointed needles. Don’t ask me about the yarn; the ball bands have long since disappeared. If I remember correctly, the yarn on the right is a Fleece Artist yarn; my memory, though, when it comes to things like this, is shaky. It’s knitting up quickly and these should be a nice warm pair of wristwarmers.

Finally, the Metalouse shawl has been relaxing in my knitting basket this past week; it’s resting beside my chair but will be finished in time for next month’s giveaway. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can read about it here, on the old blog. If you’re interested in owning this shawl (and perhaps a Valentines surprise or two), leave a comment on the first post of this blog (yesterday’s post, found here). Details of the draw are in the same post. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator on February 14 and will be announced on February 15. Make sure you leave your comment to be automatically entered.

Now, it’s time to get this day moving. There’s knitting to be done!

Categories: Contest, Knitting | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Welcome to My New Web Home

Welcome to Strings ‘n Things, Two. The title, obviously, comes from my original blog, Strings ‘n Things. This is Strings ‘n Things, too… or Two. This is my new home on the web. If you arrived here through SnT, you will know that I have nothing against Blogger, but I’m happier with the WordPress interface.

It’s taken me a while to make this decision; it was not a snap decision. In the last few months, I’ve been trying to make some changes to my Blogger account and I’ve been having a terrible time finding what I’ve been looking for. In pretty much all cases, I gave up. And now, I’m here.

As announced on the “other” blog, to celebrate the new blog and the new look, let’s have a contest. Here’s the scoop.

If you’ve been reading the original blog, you’ll know about this little project…

If you’re new to the blog, you may wonder why I’ve been calling it the “Hamburger shawl”; well, simply put, it’s all about the colours… red, yellow, green, and brown… they, of course, correspond to all of the hamburger fixings… ketchup, mustard, relish (or pickles), and the patty. Those of you who read my blog will know that I’m of two minds with this shawl. I love it. But. I doubt I’ll ever wear it now that all I see is a hamburger.

And so, to the contest. For the next month, anyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered into a draw to receive this very shawl. Call it what you will… Metalouse (which is its official name) or the Hamburger shawl… it’s up for grabs.

At the moment, it’s not quite finished but is nearing completion. It will be done, blocked, and ready for mailing well before the draw date. Today is January 12… Let’s have the draw on Valentine’s Day, February 14. I’ll put a countdown in the sidebar (you can do that with WordPress!) and the winner will be announced the next morning, February 15 (I do have to work, after all, and it IS Valentine’s Day; John and I might actually decide to DO something this year!)

So… leave a comment. Tell me what you think of my new home. Congratulate me. Chide me. Introduce yourself if you’re a first time commenter. Fill my inbox!

Let’s have some fun!

Categories: Contest, Just stuff | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

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