Posts Tagged With: Sweater

The Sun Still Rises

I’ve been spending some time working on John’s cardigan this week. I think I’m making pretty good progress.

HL3

I still need to work about two inches until the shoulder shaping. I’ve also been making more soap. This week’s batch is another batch of the BNA Blackstrap Ale soap. I’m really pleased with how my soaps are turning out. They look good (in my very humble opinion); they are not strongly scented (I don’t like overwhelmingly scented soaps); they lather (that’s the important part!).

BNA Batch2

The colourant in this one is, once again, cocoa for the bottom part and titanium dioxide to make the foam, along with a hanger swirl to make the “foam” swirl.

You’re probably wondering about the title of this post. What does it have to do with knitting and soap? Nothing, really. It is, however, relevant to my family’s experiences this past week. It’s a reminder not to focus on the difficult times, a reminder that there is another day coming, a day that will bring new beginnings, new experiences, even, perhaps, joy. Right now, joy is difficult to imagine.

My family is hurting this week with a pain that will never fully go away. On Tuesday afternoon, my eldest grandson, Zachary, was found dead in his apartment. I will not go into details other than to say he and his roommate were both found deceased. Until the cause of his death is known, we’ll have to wait for a funeral. Please, if you pray, keep us in your prayers. Both his parents are, justifiably, devastated. We all have a hole in our hearts that will never completely heal but we do know that sun will rise tomorrow and our lives will go on.

Zach

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Categories: Blogging, John's Sweater, Knitting, Making 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.

002

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

In Like A Lamb

Well, March certainly hasn’t come in like a lion; John keeps hoping it will but yesterday was definitely a “lamb” day. The daytime high was into double digits (12ºC) and it was sunny. Today looks like it will be heading the same way. I am not complaining! I love it!

yard0302_1

 

Most of the snow is gone now. All that remains is the snow that was piled up beside the driveway. Before long, the guys will be out in the garden. That reminds me; I should check on my garlic. It could be poking out of the ground soon.

yard0302_2

 

And the birds! When I took these pictures (about half an hour ago), it was absolutely noisy out there! I don’t mind that kind of noise, though. Outside my back door, spring is definitely showing as well.

spring flowers

 

It won’t be long  before there are flowers. Spring really is my favourite time of year!

There has been knitting, too. I’ve almost been a bit annoyed that I had to work this week. All I really wanted to do was work on the Lowtide cardigan. I had hoped to be a little further along than I am but sometimes you just have to put the needles down, you know?

Lowtide2

 

At this point, one of the lace panels for the front is finished and the second is more than half done. Then the back lace panel will be knitted and stitches picked up around the bottom edge of the lace panel and worked downward. Lastly, stitches will be picked up for the sleeves and they’ll be worked to the desired length. Sounds simple enough. I’m pretty sure that, once the stitches are picked up for the body of the cardigan, it will knit up quickly.

When I showed John the pattern, he couldn’t understand why anyone would want a sweater that doesn’t close at the front (apart from buttons at the lacy section). I tried to explain that this isn’t a cold weather sweater to keep one warm but that it will be perfect to wear over a short sleeved t-shirt at work but he just didn’t get it. Sweaters are for warmth, after all. I shall persevere!

Lastly, as I commented before, I think I shall keep a pair of socks for John on the go at all times. Socks are, after all, the perfect mindless knitting project, something I can almost knit in my sleep!

moresocks

 

John’s sweater is stalled in the design process at the moment. Even though I’m itching to get started on his sweater, I need to take the time to measure him and get some ideas and numbers down on paper. I’ve done a swatch and shown it to a few people for input. That was an interesting exercise.

I cast on 30 stitches on 4.5 mm needles for the swatch. After about 20 rows, I switched to 5.0 mm needles. I then showed the swatch to three men and three women, not by design; it just worked out that way. All of the women preferred the look and feel of the knitting on the 5. 0 mm needles while the men all preferred the tighter knit.

John and I discussed the merits of each gauge and I’ve decided to knit his sweater at the tighter gauge. I think the fabric will be more stable, with less stretching out and because it is slightly denser, it may be a little more durable and perhaps even a little warmer. Incidentally, there’s only one stitch difference over 4″ but I’m quite surprised at the difference that one stitch makes.

Categories: Blogging, Knitting, Socks, The Weather | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Begins!

I love getting packages at work. When I order yarn from Knit Picks, I have it come to me at work because there’s always someone there to receive it. And our mail carrier is a knitter! When my order arrived, Sylvia was as interested in seeing what I’d ordered as my co-workers and I were.

Fifteen balls of City Tweed HW (heavy worsted) in the Habanero colourway arrived, along with two books. I’ve already knitted up a swatch; oh, this stuff is nice knitted up! Both John and I have already been feeling up the swatch. Now, the process of deciding what John’s new sweater is going to look like begins. I’ll be doing some reading as to recommended styles for his body shape and he’s been given orders to go through a book of men’s sweaters to see what kind of details he’d like.

tools

Already, he’s decided against a v-neck and I’ve nixxed drop shoulders, modified drop shoulders and raglan sleeve shaping. None of those sleeve treatments would do him any favours. He’s somewhat of a pear shape, with his shoulders narrower than his hips. Personally, I like set-in sleeves on him; they seem to give his shoulders a little more definition.

It could take longer to come up with a design than it will to knit this sweater!

Coincidentally, I’ve also started a spring/summer cardi for myself in a similar colour. This will be the Lowtide cardi; the yarn is Knit Picks Gloss fingering weight in Habanero. I really like this colour and it fits in with most of my wardrobe quite well. This will be perfect over a tank top or short sleeved tshirt… or even as a vest over a long sleeved tshirt.

Lowtide1

I think I’ve got my mojo back!

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

Do You See What I See?

Well, that was a lot easier than I expected! I realize this is the second post in as many hours but I just had to share.

Tessa

 

Right there, pretty much front and centre in the first bag I pulled out of the closet! How fortuitous is that? That’s the yarn I need for John’s sweater. Now, it’s time to get to work.

Categories: Blogging, Knitting | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Husband Sweater – Revisited

done3

Remember this sweater? I finished it in April of 2007, and blogged about it here. John still loves his sweater and, though he’s added an inch or two to his girth, still wears it well… a lot. I really do need to knit him another sweater one of these days.

So why am I bringing up the subject of his sweater? Well, earlier this week, he told me he has a job for me to do this weekend. When I asked, somewhat warily, what it was, he showed me one of the sleeves on this sweater.

sleeve

Part of today will be spent on an archaeological dig through my stash. I know I have a little bit of this yarn left… somewhere in one of the many bags and boxes of stash. I have a pretty good idea of which of the two “bags” it’s in, but… well, let’s just say that I’ve been known to be wrong. I do hope I can find it… whether it’s the denim blue or either the green or purple. I’ll only be re-knitting the cuffs after all.

And just a reminder… You’re going to be sick of reading about this but don’t forget…

12 days

Leave a comment (you must leave a comment!) on any post and you’re automatically entered.

I think I see a lot of knitting in my weekend.

P.S. Happy Candlemas… aka Groundhog Day. 

candles

Categories: Blogging, Contest, Knitting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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