Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School Craziness

I've been busy getting B and M ready for going back to school.

Meetings with guidance counselors, meeting with new principal about parent council, prepping portfolios of B's work...

Since I homeschooled B last year, it's taken a little bit more effort than if she'd moved from the elementary school to the high school. She wanted to challenge herself and do two years in one. She was amazing. She worked so hard and accompished so much that we'd like her to get credit for all her hard work. It's meant a number of meetings with the guidance counsellor to ensure they have the information they need and we have the assistance we need. It's looking like it will be quite an easy transition.

All the busyness makes for less knitting time - but I'm up to 31 hexipuffs! Hexipuff production is slowing down some, as I'm out of small skeins of fingering weight wool and have had to start spinning up Phat Fiber samples in order to knit more. I'm averaging about 2 puff out of each sample.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Broke my Tea Pot today...

...and made more hexipuffs. But I didn't want to put that in the post title, in case hexipuffs are becoming boring for anyone but me.

I was packing a lunch for B this morning. As I reached for the granola bars, a bottle of Frank's Red Hot Sauce fell out of the cupboard and fell onto my full teapot, shattering the teapot, and spilling tea everywhere. Words were said that shouldn't have been, but at least it wasn't as bad as what B heard when the basement was flooding. If you've seen the commercials for Frank's, you might find it funny that my son's comment was "You really do put that beep on everything - but maybe next time, not the teapot"

I had to go sit and knit a hexipuff to recover from losing another teapot. If you are a teapot and live in this house, your days are numbered. Apparently I'm a bit hard on them.

Hexipuffs 1 through 13
They were outgrowing the flower vase and are now in this lovely container.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to School Shopping

Not too much knitting. I took M back to school shopping. We bought notebooks, erasers, socks, jeans, shirts, runners, a backpack and a brand name sweatshirt he may decide to sleep with tonight.

There might be a few more hexipuffs though...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Hexipuff a Day, Keeps Insanity at Bay

Have you seen this!!!!

You have to check out Tiny Owl's video too. She's very excited about hexipuffs! I think it may be contagious.

I just found out about it on Pink Lemon Twist's blog last night around 10pm and now I have three hexipuffs!

I haven't got full out hexipuffitis yet though, as I'm not planning to attempt a quilt; only a rocking chair cushion.

I found a rocking chair that is the perfect height for me at a recent garage sale, but it needs some padding to make it more comfortable. I was considering weaving something to make a cushion out of, but then the hexipuffs found me.

I'm using various samples of yarn and fluff from my Phat Fiber boxes. I'm sticking to laceweight (held double) and fingering weight. Some of my handspun is too thin for sock weight and too thick doubled so I've needed to tweak the pattern by casting on fewer or more stitches to get hexipuffs that are all the same size.

The scarf pictured with my new-to-me chair was made with another garage sale find: a $0.50 ball of Mohair Glitter, which strangely enough, contains no mohair. I wove it on my 24inch Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Maeva socks

Since Friday, I've gotten the rest of the foot, the heel, the heel flap and a few round of the leg knit up on my Maeva sock.

I've broken the yarn and started at the toe of the second sock. The pattern calls for 400 yds of yarn, and I only have 360 yds. In the interests of having two socks the same length, I decided now was a good time to start the second sock. Once I bring this one to the same point as the first, I'll divide the remaining yarn in half and knit the leg as far as I can go. Hopefully far enough, as short woolen socks don't make very much sense to me.

I'm loving the way this pattern looks.

I found the heel flap instructions rather lacking. From looking at the photos I assumed that the heel flap is joined to the foot as it's knit. However, other than an ssk at the end of knit rows and a p2tog at the end of purl rows there is no indication that this is actually what you are doing. To make it work for me, I put half my heel flap sts on two different needles and included 16 instep sts with them. As I came to the end of a heel flap row, I ssk'd one of the heel flap sts with one of the instep sts, then turned my work and followed the chart to the end of the purl row where I p2tog'd a heel flap st and an instep st. This seems to have given me the same result as the patterns photos.

It could just be me. This is the first time I've made a sock with this type of construction. I know there are a lot out there, but I've never really looked at them. It could be that this process is widely known. Fortunately I was still able to make the sock work and it fits beautifully so far.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Aye Laddie, it's a Wee Cake

This weekend was G's birthday. B wanted to make a cake that included one of his hobbies. He's a member of the local pipes and drums band.

Last year she found the idea for a hockey jersey cake. And piped the logo all by herself.

(Once word got out about the awesomeness of the hockey jersey cakes, I ended up making a Canadiens cake for M and and Oilers cake for a friend's hubby!)

While it may be hard to top this cake, I think her ideas this year are quite impressive.

Spice Cake from a box. Italian Meringue Buttercream from here (without the strawberry puree). Drones, chanter and blowpipe courtesy of Oreo! Tassels: shoestring licorice!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Bit Oblivious

Apparently I've been out of the loop. Did you know Knitty put up two new issues before I'd even noticed?

Now that I'm up to date, I've got Maeva on the needles.

Loving the little cables and it goes quite quickly if you work the cables without a cable needle.

I had a short set back yesterday evening. I volunteer with the local figure skating club and last night was our registration night. None of us thought to bring thumbtacks to put our banner up. One of the girls said, "even if we had some toothpicks we could do this!" I sacrificed my bamboo dpns that I'm using for Maeva for the job - ripped them right out of my sock in progress. Once I was home again I picked up all my sts, only a few had dropped below the row I was working on and my bamboo dpns were no worse for wear! Just call me MacGyver!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zahara - errata

It has come to my attention that there was an error in my original pattern.

In the section marked "Body" it read:

Round 8: (k2, kfb) around [36 sts]
Rounds 9–19: knit
Begin hump shaping
Round 18: m1, k9, m1, k to end of round
Round 19: k1, m1, k3, m1, k3, m1, k3, m1, k to end of round

this should have read:

Round 8: (k2, kfb) around [36 sts]
Rounds 9–19: knit
Begin hump shaping
Round 20: m1, k9, m1, k to end of round
Round 21: k1, m1, k3, m1, k3, m1, k3, m1, k to end of round

I apologize for any confusion this may have caused. I've emailed out update notifications to those who purchased the pattern through Ravelry. If you have purchased the pattern through my Etsy store and would like the updated pattern please email me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wildfire and Calm

When I posted about my new Thumbelina, I mentioned 8oz of yarn that spun up almost without effort.

The first was 4 oz of Corriedale roving in a lovely calm beige. The second was an amazing batt from Orange Jello called "Wildfire"

These were both spun fine on the Thumbelina and n-plyed on my Ashford Traddy.

The Corriedale is about a DK weight yarn, while the Wildfire is a fingering weight. Both need a little bath to set the twist, and then I'll measure yardage.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Spindle Candy

I've been coveting the Jenkins Turkish Spindles for some time. And I finally caved in. Usually it takes a few weeks on their waiting list before they are able to fill your order, but I got lucky. After returning from Sock Summit, the Jenkins' had a Burmese Blackwood Lark that hadn't sold...

... and now it lives on my coffee table!

Calvin needs to learn that despite its petit size, it is not a cat toy with a fuzzy wuzzy tail.

This darling little spindle arrived in my mailbox yesterday, only 12 days after I ordered. Pretty impressive for cross border shopping. It came with two little samples: one of Targhee roving and the other a merino/bamboo blend. So handy, as I had to wait a few minutes for one of my kids and was able to spin in the van after I tore open the package!

It's so cute, I almost feel like it needs a name. I think it's a boy... any suggestions?

Monday, August 15, 2011


Do you ever browse Kijiji (or whatever is local for you). You know, just looking, just to see if there are any looms or spinning wheels or drum carders... Of course, you have no plans to buy - especially when the dh pops his head into the computer room and asks. "Whatcha looking at?"

Local things for me rarely pop up - so sometimes I broaden my search to include all of Ontario, because I'm "just looking". A few weeks ago, just before my family converged on my small town for a fun-filled reunion, I was "browsing". Now I realized this time that this could be dangerous, since there were three parties of family members driving in from 3 different parts of Ontario. This meant, 3 potential delivery options...

And I found something!!! A circa 1975 Thumbelina from New Zealand*.

The seller was offering the wheel and 2 bobbins for $35. I almost burned the keys off my keyboard I typed the email in so fast. It just so happened that my brother was overnighting in a hotel very near the sellers home, so she offered to bring the wheel to the hotel (always wise to meet in a public place). And now I've got the cutest little wheel sitting in my living room.

She spins like a dream. It doesn't appear to me that the wheel ever saw much use. There are very few marks of any sort of wear, a few minor bumps and dings that you'd expect on any piece of furniture. I took it apart, oiled it, put it back together and promptly spun about 8oz. I hope my Ashford Traditional doesn't hear this, but I think I like the Thumbelina better! I don't need to treadle with nearly as much effort.

My Traddy never feels effortless, and although I've made lots of yarn on her, it seems that there is a lot more resistance on her foot pedal, despite regular maintenance. Now the Thumbelina is no longer made, so I knew that getting additional bobbins would be tricky at best. But... my dad has a lathe, and has already shipped me some reproductions. I've got 2 originals and 3 reproductions that work very well. Should be able to make lots more yarn!

So the moral of the story? Don't go looking if you don't want your living room to start filling up with fiber making furniture!

*Check out this thorough resource on identifying New Zealand wheels.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Canon Powershot Sock

B has just purchased a new Canon Powershot Elph 100 HS. It is orange. She loves it. Of course, as the daughter of a knitter, she immediately thought that a knitted case made more sense than buying a case. That, and she spent almost all her money on the camera...

...with my permission, she went stash diving and came up with this:

and this:

Using Judy's Magic Toe-up Cast on I cast on 40 sts using the orange yarn and my 2.0mm bamboo DPNs.

Using a third DPN, I knit 4 rows of orange. Then I picked up 3 sts on one side of the little 4 row by 20 st rectangle, knit 10 sts. Grabbed a fourth DPN, knit 10 sts, picked up 3 more sts on the other side of the little rectangle and knit in the round. I knit 6 rounds of orange and 3 rounds of green until the sock fit Mr. Powershot nicely.

I cast off 22 sts (being careful to make sure the remaining sts were in a location that made sense for a flap). I knit 15 more rows in stst, slipping the first st of each row. (In hindsight, I shouldn't have slipped these sts, nor the ones in the next section, as it made applied I-cord more difficult to work.) Then I decreased one st at the beginning of each row until it came to a point.

Using the green yarn, I worked a 3 st applied I-cord edging, included a little loop for the button.

All in all, B was thrilled with the result.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pinkuin Pendants

My daughter just opened an Etsy shop where she sells polymer clay pendants. It's quite exciting to me that she's interested in something crafty.

Go check it out at Pinkuin!

Or look at the sidebar for her current offerings!!!