Saturday, March 26, 2011

Two Words

Strep Throat

First B, then me.
Hope to be healthy by Monday

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The last of the Slippers (for a while)

As much as I am enjoying the mindlessness and quickness of these slippers, I am done for a bit. My MIL's slippers turned out just as well as the other pairs.

All 5 pairs followed similar modifications as the initial pair. For smaller feet, cast on fewer sts for the cuff, knit fewer rows for the tongue.

An interesting little tidbit I discovered while knitting these was how the yarn behaves when unwinding from the ball. Bear with me while I lay out the background info...

For my slippers I used centre pull balls that I made on my KnitPicks ball winder. I pulled from the inside and outside of the same ball, even though the pattern recommended against that. The pattern suggests winding the two yarns into a single ball before beginning knitting to make yarn management easier. For both B and M's slippers, I again flouted the advice and decided to knit from both both balls. I considered winding into one ball, but not wanting to wind the balls by hand, and knowing that my ball winder wouldn't be able to handle winding 8oz of worsted weight into one ball, I didn't. For the second slipper for each, though, I thought I'd try it, since the yarns were twisting and I had to stop every so often to untwist things. Other than providing the cats with half the opportunity to bat yarn balls around while I slept, this method did not seem to help with the twistiness. I still had to stop and untwist the yarn.

So here's the tidbit. Use it if you can: When working from both ends of the yarn, it miraculously did not become tangled! I decided to do the same for G's slippers and happily knit along with no tangles. This is why Grandma's slippers are only one color too: makes my life easier!

I'm not certain this would work with a store wound ball. They don't sit nice and flat when unwinding from the outside, but with those wound on a ball winder, it's magic!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rrrrrolll Up the Savings

Tim Horton's is running it's annual "Roll Up the Rim to Win" promotion. It kills me. Every time we go out the kids want to hit the drive-through.

"But we can't make French Vanillas at home"
"Their hot chocolate tastes better than yours"
"I might win a car (or a tv or a bike)"

and my all time fave...


Being the frugal mom that I am, I set out in search of a recipe to quell Reason #2. I was surprised how many recipes were out there. Armed with a well stocked pantry and a basic ingredient list, I only needed to buy vanilla flavoured coffee whitener.

After a few iterations of the chosen recipe, including the addition of some powdered milk, we hit upon paydirt.

French Vanilla Powdered Mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/3 cup vanilla flavoured coffee whitener
2 tbsp instant coffee

Whiz in your blender until it all looks mixed up well. I used 3 tbsp of the mix in a mug of boiling water. Depending on your mug size and your tastebuds, you may need more or less.

B says it's perfect - and at $0.18 per mug, I save a whopping $1.40 each time!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Very Wonderful Thing

Something really quite wonderful occurred during my unscheduled four month break from blogging. I got a new furry baby!

Ever since my dear Thomas died, I'd been bugging G to let me have another kitten. He continued to insist that two cats is two cats too many. At Christmas, when the kids put together their wishlists, I made one too: with only one thing on it - an orange kitten.

Poor G really didn't have a choice. The little dude was the last of a litter of five born at a nearby farm. G drove me out in a snowstorm to meet him and decide if I wanted to take him home.

Of course, it was love at first sight. Calvin came home with us November 19th.

He is the sweetest little cat. He loves cuddling, especially tummy rubs and he makes the cutest trilling noises. He is as mischievious as any kitten can be and is such fun. Tiger and Mia have accepted him. Calvin loves our big lab/husky/shepherd cross too - although Tamika is a bit shy of him. Every time she sniffs him, he starts purring and rubbing up against her.

Helping B with her homeschooling

Climbing the Christmas Tree

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On a bit of a Slipper Jag

I've been working hard on my energy saving plan. I finished my slippers first. Is it selfish that I made some for me first?

My son, who thinks wool is wondrous stuff, begged for a pair too. I decided to knit his pair next, even though B, who hates wool, was working on breaking in my slippers for me. His slippers are one strand of the miscellaneous NZ brown yarn and one strand of Briggs and Little Heritage in "Evergreen". He loves them. Even wears them in bed. Wears them without socks, with socks, to school for pajama day. They've needed washing already. Maybe I didn't need to knit them a size bigger to allow for growth. He may wear them out before he fully grows into them.

B wanted a pair with purple, but didn't like any of the purple in the house. Which wasn't really a problem, since it was M's wool anyways and I try not to steal from his stash. That necessitated a trip into town to go to the yarn shop. (Such a hardship!) I picked up some Purple Paton's Classic Wool to pair with the NZ brown handspun. She loves them. The brown and purple go very well together. She "parks" them on the piano bench when not in use, because I refused to let her put them on the tables.

While getting yarn for B, I also picked up two more skeins of Heritage in "Dark Grey" for G's slippers. He was somewhat surprised that I needed to buy yarn to make his slippers. "Really?! You don't have anything here that you could knit them out of?" I suppose, given the size of my stash, that is somewhat surprising to a non-knitter. So far he only has one slipper, but has pronounced it "very warm" and thinks I should make another pair for his Mom who will be visiting us in a few months.

I may need to visit the yarn store again!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Energy Savings Tip

I finished my Nola's Slipper's yesterday and they are very toasty indeed!

I used some handspun worsted weight held double. This was my one of my first wheel spun yarns and was definitely the first I hand carded. When I bought my wheel (I believe 3rd or 4th hand) the woman I bought from included some Ashford handcards and several pounds of brown fleece that she had washed, but not processed in anyway. I have no idea what kind of sheep it was from, except that the box it came in was marked "NZ fleece". Even though the approximately 800 yds of miscellaneous brown yarn was not amazing or even amazingly spun, I have a soft spot in my heart for it. I learned so much from that plain, seemingly boring, brown fleece. It was appropriate to make something out of it for someone who would appreciate not just the end product, but also what went into it. So I made slippers for me!!!

I've discovered that when I wear them, I have to lower the thermostat by 2 degrees Celsius! I've decided everyone in the family needs a pair - my part to reduce global warming. Even G wants a pair. He specified gray - I don't think he's ever asked for me to knit something for him!

I think I'll knit a purple pair first, though. My pair keeps walking away...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Peacock Baby Booties

Do you remeber this? I had about 120 yards of laceweight left when I cast off. I decided that I was more likely to find a use for a slightly heavier weight yarn, so I added more plying twist to the two ply laceweight and made 60yds heavy fingering weight cabled yarn.

Recently Knitting Iris showed us her Not Nola Slippers. I thought they'd be perfect for a pair of toe warmers for myself.

Halfway through, I realized this pattern would also be perfect for baby booties.

A friend is having a baby next week and I guessed that my 60 yards of remaining peacock yarn would be perfect. I used 2.0mm dpns with the heavy fingering weight yarn and modified the pattern slightly (mods here). I ended up with 15 inches left!

Aren't these just about the cutest things ever? Perfectly sized for a newborn, I expect they'll fit for only the first few weeks!

Oh, and thanks for waiting around... I think I'll be back regularly again