Saturday, December 31

December FO's

K&C- Secret project for a friend; a good friend of mine moved at the beginning of December, and I started on a houewarming present for her. It's about half done, but the next time I see her, I'll give her what I have.
K- Secret design for Knitty; this one is probably not going to get submitted after all, but I need to fix the pattern up a bit before I decide whether to offer it here, or submit it elsewhere first.
K- Camo socks for Alex; this is the only pair I completed before Christmas. THey turned out really cute, but I haven't gotten Alex slowed down enough to take a pic yet!
C- Evening bag; this is my own design, and still needs to get beaded. It's a cute little bag for nights out when you need to carry very little, but still need a bag.
K&C- Elegant top out of RH Casual Cot'n; this one was mostly knit in the summer, but I finally finished the edging and got it all sewn together for a night out for Derek and I.
K- Three scarves for the girls; I whipped up three easy scarves for the girls. these were all made with one strand of LB Bouclé and one strand of LB Fun Fur. They turned out adorable!
K- Stocking caps for Alex and Lissa; I knit them each a stocking cap. I still need to get a pic of them and the pattern completely written for the various options.

Goodbye 2005, greetings 2006... waxing philosophical

Well here it is, the last day of the year. I guess that's the traditional time to reflect back on what you've done, and contemplating what the new year will bring and what you'd like to accomplish. I try not to have any regrets, just try to do what I can, and set realistic goals. I hope that I've done that for my goals for 2006. Mainly those goals are to shed a few of my UFOs and work on the Bistro. I know that I will have no regrets at all about that.

I know from my FLYing that clearing some of my UFOs will remove a lot of weight off of my shoulders and my mind. I feel guilty about not finishing them {or not wanting to finish them}, and I know that mental weight is often more damaging to the body and soul than actual physical weight. I think that the goal of one major UFO a month is a realistic and attainable level.

I also want to pay a lot more attention to the Bistro this year. That means getting some designs done that are in progress, and a major redo of the site as well. For the next 3 months or longer, I will be on 4 day work weeks, so I'm going to "schedule" "work time" to get the Bistro web site to match what my new vision is for it. I've been talking to a friend of mine, and I think she's going to be doing my new graphics for me. That means that I need to sit down and actually figure out what all I need to revamp everything.

Both of these together will help bring me some inner peace. My life feels like it is in turmoil these days. I love my job at Wal-Mart, but I hate working there. I love my DH, my kids, and my home; but I can't stand being here. I can't change others, all I can change is myself. Knitting, crocheting, designing... these are all things that I love to do and bring me calmness and serenity. With a crazy life like mine, I need all the help I can get when it comes to relieving stress. I can hope that the added concentration on NCB will contribute to better success for the business end of things. But even if it doesn't, I will feel better to have spent my time and energy on things that I love to do; rather than wasting all my efforts on that which I can have no effect on.

Friday, December 30

My trip today to Ram Wools

Well I went to Ram's today hoping to come home with some bamboo dpns, my first Addi circ, and the wool for my booger bag. Well, I came home with 2 balls of Kroy, a pair of 2.00 mm 10" straights, a wool kit for some fuzzy mittens or socks, and a tentative order for some Regia!!!

They didn't really have any Boxing Day sales on, just their regular sale stuff that I saw on the web site. I looked through their entire clearance section and I'm going to have to go back with a few of my patterns I want to make to see if I can match them up.

They had quite a bit of Kroy on clearance, so I picked up 2 balls to make myself a subdued pair of blue socks {Westport check; two very close shades of denim in a marl}. There was a few other sock yarns on clearance, so I'll pick some more up the next time I go. The only thing that kept me from filling my basket this time was knowing I wanted to go home with more than *just* socks!

I looked at a lot of their kits and the dreadlocks cape/poncho was crying to come home with me. I might treat myself to that after I finish the Skacel sweater. The yarn in that one reminds me of the boucle I need for the round sweater shrug that I want to make, so I need to find that magazine. They have such a wide selection of stuff that's not on the website, that I'll probably find a suitable substitute for the handpainted yarn the pattern calls for. *wonders where that magazine ran off to*

I found where they had the thrummed mitten kits, but a fuzzy gob of wool in a gorgeous lilac shade called out to me instead. It's got a Fleece Artist pattern attached to it, and the fibre on it says: Mohair & Blue Face Leicester. I just need to decide if I'm going to make the socks, or the mittens out of it. Maybe I'll just go get another package of this and not choose at all!!! There was also a blue blend that was tempting, but not as tempting as the lilac. I'm trying to think of what reason I can come up with to get myself that as well!

I found out that the Selkirk Wool doesn't felt all that well, so it's not a good choice for the booger. They recommended either Lopi or Patons Classic. I found some really nice colours in the Lopi, but it will felt fuzzy. The Classic will be a smoother felt, but the only colour that really jumped out at me was the deep violet. I wish they would have had a pale silvery grey that I could use as a base colour for the tote. I may just decide to do Hudson's Bay stripes if I can't find something to go with the violet. I'm going to have to sleep on this a bit more and then go back when my mind is totally made up. I really want to make myself a felted tote, and was sorta ready to buy the wool for it today, but nothing begged to come home with me except the one yarn.

The FT patterns were all between $6 and $10, so I looked a bit, but gave them a pass. I am going to have to find a place that has them online so I can look at them a lot more carefully and decide which ones to get. Or else pay closer attention the next time I'm on their web site.

I was going to get a Patons Booklet and some fuzzy pink yarn {the exact yarn escapes me right now} to make Lissa the cover pattern, a cabled poncho. I figgered that the fuzziness of the yarn would make it an ideal first cable project for me. To make the poncho in her size would take 3 balls, or 4 balls for bigger. That would have been another $30 or so that I wasn't really willing to spend today, since this was supposed to be a "me" trip. The poncho is actually the only pattern in the booklet I'd end up making, but I've spent a lot more than $4 on a pattern book/magazine and not made anything out of it.

They didn't have the 2.75 mm bamboo dpns that I wanted in stock. They may have had them in the SB, but I wanted the nice SR Kertzer ones like I bought the last time I was there. I would have bought a different size, but couldn't think of any size other than 4.5 mm that I would use a lot. I have at least 4 sets of aluminum 4.5 mm, so I'm not going to buy a set of bamboo ones, just for the sake of having them.

I nearly bought the 12" 4.5 mm Addi Turbo circular, but the lady there recommended against it. I really wanted to treat myself to them, but after taking it out of the package, I could see how awkward it would be to work with. I will simply have to make the mini-HP scarves on dpns or a larger circ. Again, I couldn't think of a size of circular that I would use enough to justify the $20+ price tag. I'm not going to bother with Addi straights right now as they only come in a 14" size, and that's too cumbersome for me most of the time. I prefer working with circulars.

I did find some baskets of Aero needles, and the smallest they had was 2.00 mm. I want to do some fine knitting for the girls' dolls... perhaps some scarves or something similar out of fingering yarn or my crochet thread. I thought that the scrunchable scarf pattern would look really cool for the dolls done in my leftover sock yarn. I got a 10" length which hopefully won't be too troublesome for me. They have smaller sizes in the Addi's, so that's something for me to think about as I work on stuff for them.

I found some really cool new Regia sock yarn in my Mary Maxim catalogue and I asked them if they could order it in. If they can, Derek will be sporting some new BC socks, and I'll be wearing Manitoba ones! *rofl* I hope they can... I find out early next week if I can get it. I really don't like doing mail order, so it would be preferable to me to get it there. It will probably be cheaper too.

Well I better get some sleep now. I'll be able to fall asleep thinking about all the projects I can choose from to do, and pick up the yarn for. I work tonight and then am off for 4 nights, so I hope to get lots of knitting in {and maybe even an FO or three!}.

Thursday, December 29

I'm gettin' organized!

Well it's improving here... slowly but surely. I got the girls to clean a lot of my stuff out of Alex and Lissa's room yesterday so that I could start organizing it all. Well as of lunch time, I had at least half of it untangled and balled up. I bought myself a 3 drawer cart that I can keep my the desk to put my yarn into, or perhaps my UFO project. It's got wheels on it, so I can pull it over into the living room too. That will be nice since we haven't replaced my endtable that had the cupboard in it since the fire destroyed my old one. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit under my keyboard tray, so it will be a constant struggle to keep the top from becoming a clutter collector. Wish me luck on that one!

Scrunchable scarf #1 on the needles.

Well I bit the bullet and frogged the short row ribbed scarf I was doing for Alex. I got the pattern from the magknits site, and wasn't happy with how it was turning out double-stranded. I'll try that one again with the girls' scarves since those ones will be single strand WW. For the scrunchable scarf, I cast on 23 {mult. of 3 + 2} stitches. I'm using 2 strands of RH Comfort WW, and 10.0 mm needles. I'm slipping the first stitch and knitting the last stitch of each row. It's working out to be about 8 inches wide which I think will be much more managable for Alex. I'll keep knitting until I think it's long enough, and will be adding a conventional fringe. Then I'll make one for Lissa... not that she *needs* another scarf. =o)

Wednesday, December 28

Gettin' organized!

Well I got another big chunk of sleep last night. With the 12 hours I got last night, that makes about 26 hours in the last 2 days. Last night's rest was much better than the night before though. I don't recall waking up with several coughing fits like I did Monday night. I'll be *soooo* happy once this cold finally goes away.

I lucked out big time and my hands weren't all buggered up when I woke up so I could get started on things fairly quickly this afternoon. I've already finished one mitten and am nearly done the second. I've got the girls hunting through Alex and Lissa's room for all of my knitting and crocheting stuff. Once the mittens are done, then we're going to start to organize it. I need to know what is actually projects, and what is just yarn that's hanging out and socializing with the rest of my stash. That will help me focus on what I can clear up before New Year's and what I can add to my UFO project. I might even get some frogging and balling done.

I'm not sure if I'm gonna continue with Alex's short row ribbed scarf. I'm really not pleased with it, and I might just make scarves for the girls using that pattern. Using only one strand of the WW and smaller needles will make it much smaller, and more managable. I might just make him a self-fringing scarf or a mini-HP. I just don't know yet.

Tuesday, December 27

Another FO today!

Well I finished the knitting on Lissa's hat this afternoon, crocheted the pom pom alternative thingy, and wove in the ends on it. I also wove in the ends on Alex's socks. That makes 2 FOs today, and the ends done on 3 more. YAY FOR ME!!! I've got to get pics taken of all this stuff and get it posted.

I hope my hands cooperate with me tomorrow. Then I can get the thumbs done on the girls' mitts, and then that will be two more FOs under my belt! I found another chullo pattern, this one is crocheted, but I think it's DK/sport yarn rather than WW. I really don't feel like trying to convert the pattern, so I'll use the knitted one I found and make it a touch smaller since I already know roughly how many stitches I need in WW for the girls. I hope they turn out cute. I want to make them stocking caps as well, but I think the chullos will be faster so that they can wear them when they go back to school.

I've been up since before 5 am, and it's now nearly 11... even though I had like 14 hours of sleep, I'm really tired. I'm gonna head to bed and cross my fingers that my hands work tomorrow!

Scarf #3 done!

Well I finished the last of the knitting on the last scarf and wove in the ends. All that I need to do now is decide who gets which one, and then take pictures. My hands still aren't really behaving, so I don't know if I'll feel up to finishing Lissa's hat today. I know it will look adorable on her though! I might be able to handle the thumbs on the mittens. It will be tight knitting, but it's only a few rows, so I hope that I can manage. It feels soooo good to be finishing these items off. It's a relief both physically as well as mentally!

Two scarves done... one to go!

Those funny looking yarn needles I bought a while back sure came in handy! There is no way I ever would have gotten the boucle and the fun fur in the same needle to weave in the ends. I just did the ends on the pinks scarf and the blues scarf. I still have a bit of knitting to go on the oranges scarf before I can finish that one off. I want to get a pic of the girls all in their scarves and post it here!

Now, do I try to knit, or do I find my proper tapestry needles to finish off the ends in Alex's socks???

I did a Kitchener seam... YEAH!

Well I downloaded the video for the Kitchener stitch this morning from KH. Since my hands will not allow me to knit {still!}, I figgered I could do a bit of end weaving at least. I grabbed the pair of dpns that held Alex's socks and went at it. The first seam looks a little wonky. I probably put my needle in the wrong spot a couple of times, but that's okay. The second sock looks fine. It's kind of hard to tell since it's on a very dark area of the camo pattern, but I think I did a pretty good job for my first time. A couple more seams and I think I'll have it down pat. I did learn one thing though... I'll want to leave a yarn tail longer than 8 inches in the future. I like a little more than 2-3 inches of leftover yarn to do my end weaving with.

One "task" down... 4 ends to go on these socks! Then it's the ends on the scarves, unless my hands let me knit, then I want to do the thumbs of the mittens.

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!!!

Well for some of us the holidays are basically over, and for others they are still in the middle of them. I hope you all had {or are having} an enjoyable time. This time of year can be very depressing for people, myself included. I often have to force myself into a more sociable mood in order to survive all the festivities. I guess Derek is like that this year too, which is probably part of the reason why he wasn't too enthusiastic about going to his staff party this year. I'm still very happy with the way things turned out that night. The intimate dinner was much more enjoyable.

This week I hope to be able to finish off quite a few of the projects I have on the go. So many items are around me that are nearly finished, and I want to clear them up so that I can actually tell what else I need to make for the kids and such. Finding the top of my desk would be a very good thing right now! Additionally, if I can get the pressure off of cleaning up my nearly-done's, then I can concentrate on the stitch markers I want to release after New Year's. I haven't been able to obtain the jewelry findings I need for the crochet ones yet, but I have my fingers crossed. The department manager in crafts and fabrics is a friend of mine, so she has ordered several items for me, and I can get her to check on the status of them for me. Worse comes to worse, I can go on a mission of various WMs here in town and stock up on what I will need.

Today's plan: Seam Alex's socks, weave in ends on girl's scarves, finish Lissa's hat, and organize bead supplies a bit.

Wednesday, December 21

One more gift done!

Well I finished off Alex's stocking cap yesterday. I came up with a pretty interesting looking tassel/ pompom alternative to finish it off with. It turned out a little bigger than I had hoped/expected, so I'm going to have to play with the pattern a bit more before I can put it up on the Bistro. My 3.75 mm circular has decided to play hide-n-seek, so I can't even start one of the hats for Lissa or the girls. I'll get a pic of him modelling it on Christmas.
I cast on Alex's short row ribbed scarf last night. I went with a 10 mm pair of needles with the two strands of WW. It's turning out huge AND thick. It will be okay for when the girls take him to the park, but it won't be practical for me to make one for Lissa. I'll have to figure out something different for her. Perhaps a mini-HP scarf??? I'll make her hat first anyway since she already has the fur scarf from last year, and I made her a LB Boucle/Fun Fur scarf like I did for the girls.
I doubt if I'll get any more hats done in time for Christmas. I want to get the thumbs on the girls' mitts, and figure out what all I'm going to get finished otherwise.

Tuesday, December 20

An evening out!

Well Saturday was Derek's staff Christmas party. Everything didn't get done as I had planned, but I did get enough done that I could go out in public without being arrested! The Casual Cot'n top is now officially DONE!!! YAY!!! Buttons on, ends woven in. It does need a good blocking, but looked good enough that I was able to wear it on Saturday. The evening bag was also a hit. I didn't get the beads done, but it still looked great as is. It held what I needed it to, and that's what really mattered! We ended up not going it to the party after all. I was frantically sewing up the last of the seams and putting on my buttons, and by the time I finished we ended up being too late to have dinner. Derek wasn't feeling very well because his tooth that he's getting a root canal on absessed, and he looked like someone punched him in the jaw. We decided not to go since neither of us was really all that enthusiastic about it, and we went and had an intimate dinner for two at a local Chinese restaurant. I think I had a much better time since I wasn't in that much of a "party-it-up" mood anyway.

Elegant Knit & Crochet Cardigan in RH Casual Cot'nHere's how the top turned out. I'm extremely pleased with it, and have gotten many compliments on it already. It's actually my first knit clothing FO for me! It's a tad short in the sleeves and length, but that will all work out once it's washed the first time and does its inevitable growth spurt! The RH Casual Cot'n was a dream to work with. It was very soft on the hands, and very forgiving to a newbie knitter. The only problem I had with the yarn is that the nubby texture tended to make some of my stitches uneven, but nothing too terrible. It all adds to the character of the top, and I'm sure that some of the uneveness will wash out.

Evening Bag in Lustersheen and South Maid cotton, before beadingHere's the evening bag, sans beads. I think it turned out really cute. Everyone that's seen it thinks that it's just great. It's hard to see the pattern, but it's just a simple shell variation. I used less than one ball of South Maid crochet cotton in black/gold, and less than one skein of black Lustersheen. It holds my cigarettes, my change purse, hand cream, and chapstick... what more do you need? I still want to put the beads on it, but that may have to wait until right after Christmas. I have the pattern written up to this point, so it won't be hard to get the rest of it done and up on the Bistro site in time for New Year's!

Wednesday, December 14

"Monday" morning ramblings...

Yes, Monday!!! My weekend is over and I work tonight... that makes it Monday to me. *BLEH* At least I've got socks to work on at my breaks to keep me out of trouble -- YA RIGHT!!!
Man, have I got a lot to do on here! I know that my sidebar is in serious need of some attention. I haven't really updated it since the middle of November! *screams* I have a few FOs to report, and links and such to weed through. I want to streamline it a bit more, and add the neato status bars I got from "some" site... I'll link that when I do the update! I'm thinking more and more about the UFO situation, and by New Year's I may have an exciting announcement to make. I won't spill it all since I haven't completely decided yet, but if I go ahead, it will help us all get a few of those dealt with -- be it by frogging or stitching.
I'm sitting here waiting for my hands to uncramp so I can get some more work done on the evening bag. It's turning out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. I've got a pattern for the body of it that I'm pleased with, and now it's just a matter of repeating it until it's the size I want. I still need to decide on what type of drawstring/ handle I'm going to make. I've set up the stitching to make it easy to do the beadwork last. I know how I'm going to attach it and such, but don't know exactly how or what I'm going to do.
Well I guess I'll go peruse KH for a bit until I can get back to work here... more later!

A few projects closer to Christmas!

Just a fast post before I *try* to get some sleep! I just wanted to say how I'm a little bit closer to being done my Christmas projects.

Alex's Camo SockToday I finished the knitting on Alex's second sock. All I need to do now is watch the video at KH, and read the article in one of my mags on how to graft the toes. Once the grafting is done, they're done! *YAY* The pic is of the first one I finished. I posted it to KH to show how different the striping is from the ribbing that I made and frogged {twice!} for Derek's socks. Even though it doesn't have a true camouflage pattern to it, I think it looks tons better striped like this than the spiral I was getting on the bigger ones.

I have two of the LB Boucle/Fun Fur scarves done now, with the third on the needles right now. They basically only take a day to make, so it's a fast FO to have at least *something* under the tree for the kids that I made. I'll take a pic of them all once I get the tangerine one done and the ends all woven in. I bought a really neat looking set of yarn needles that I think will be perfect for this. It looks like a regular yarn need for most of it, but the eye is actually a small loop of nylon cord. It will make threading the needle a breeze, instead of the nightmare I'd have with a regular one.

I still need to decide what to do about Derek's socks. I know that I can't make him camouflage ones in time. I think I will have to make him a double-stranded version or use two yarns at once and alternate them in order to avoid the horrid spirals I was getting. I don't want to take the time it would need to play around with it, and I really don't have the mind power for it right now either. I figured it out that it will cost me nearly $25.00 {or more if I need dpns too} to make him the hockey socks from Ram Wools. It *is* worth it since I will be able to use the stripe colour yarn to make more socks in the future, and will have a pattern leaflet with WW sock patterns, plus they *are* knee-high. But, can I *really* do it in time? decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, December 13

New Year's Resolutions?

Well I've been thinking about this for a while, and a thread on the KH Forum got me going again on it. I want 2006 to be a UFO extermination year. I'm going to dig out my ancient UFOs and get them done, at least one a month. Mainly what I'm looking at are my labour-intensive ones that will take a bit of time and concentration to complete. I'll probably set up something on the sidebar to let you know how I'm doing, and to keep myself focussed. This is the list I have so far:
  • Granny dishcloth shawl {about 75%+ done}
  • Popcorn MAM afghan {not touched in 4 years... mebbe half done???}
  • Crocheted aran top in Patons Grace {about half the back done, if that}
  • Homepsun sweater coat {about one third of the back done}
  • DHs fair isle-style crocheted pullover {not even sure where I am on that!!!}

That is more than enough to keep me going for a couple of months. It will sure be nice to get some of these long-term UFOs cleared away. The shawl and sweater I started in Febuary of last year, the rest of the projects are more than a year old, and in the case of the popcorn MAM, it's probably getting closer to 5 years old! I know I haven't worked on it since we moved here, and that was October 2001!!!

Monday, December 12

[brag] I did it! [/brag]

Well I went and did it, I created what I believe to be the world's first fancy crochet stitch marker. Why should knitters have all the fun???

Attachable Stitch Marker

Introducing the first decorative stitch marker designed for the needs of crocheters. Well at least I think it's the first one, I can't ever recall seeing any recloseable ones in the knitting mag ads. I made it smaller than the knitting marker I made the other day. That way it won't weigh as much, and won't get in the way of your hands while stitching. In any case, I think it's a good start to something new and innovative to offer at the Bistro.

The work in the picture is the start {I hope} of a evening bag I'm designing for Derek's Christmas Dinner Party on Saturday. I was having a rough time seeing the stitches since it's all black, and figgered that a stitch marker would help me at least find the beginning of the round.

How cool is that???

Knitting Stitch MarkerWell I've seen pictures of fancy stitch markers in knitting magazines a *LOT* lately. Well since it's all from the US, and the prices and exchange are ridiculous, I never really gave them much thought. Then I found out a lady on the forum was making them and selling them. Of course I had to check them out! Well, like a typical crafter, I said to myself, "Hey, I can make those!" Well an ungodly amount spent on beads and such later, I can now truthfully say, "I did make it myself!!!"
I must say that I think I did a not-bad job considering I haven't done any jewelry-making in about 10 years or so. Definitely longer than 6 years, in any case. It is my intent to eventually offer some for sale on my website. I'll be gearing towards two forgotten markets... the Canadians, and the crocheters... more on that when I actually get some more done!

STR... before and after!

STR HanksHere we go!!! This is the STR as I received it. All pretty and squishy and... in a hank!!! The one of the left is the Romancing the Stone and the one on the right is the Azure Malachite. I hope the colours come through good. I have to admit that there's nothing to compare to seeing this stuff in person! It feels so soft!

STR BallsThis is the "after" photo. Strange how seeing it balled up changes the look of the yarn, isn't it? Also, both are actually centre-pull balls! If you look carefully you can see the yarn tail sticking out of the top of the balls. I did it by hand using a method I learned on I now have a button for them on the margin of the blog... check 'em out, they're a great bunch there!

So far I have resisted the urge to cast on with this yarn. I've even been so goos as to not decide on which pattern I'm going to use with it. I figgered that would make the temptation too great. It's 2 weeks today to Christmas... must not cast on... must not touch the yarn... must not cast on... must not touch the yarn... ROFL

Tuesday, December 6

STR in da house!!!

IT ARRIVED TODAY!!! I got my "Socks that Rock" yarn order in the mail today. Not bad at all, I ordered it 2 weeks ago, and it arrived here in 13 days {according to the postmark} even with the American Thanksgiving weekend caught in there! I got one hank of 'Romancing the Stone' and one hank of 'Azure Malachite' . I lucked out and got the last 2 hanks that Toni had of each. With the exchange and shipping, these will definitely be the most expensive socks I will ever hope to own, but GEEZ!!! look at those colours!!! The web site definitely doesn't do these colours justice. I will need to take a pic of these after I wind them into balls so that I can share it with you all!

Professional looking ribbing.

As promised, here's the link for the ribbing trick I just learned. It sure works up nicely IMO. I've finished Alex's first sock and I'll post a picture of that once I graft the toe. I've got it sitting on a spare pair of dpns right now because I want to learn how to do a kitchener seam properly for once. All I've done so far is sew up the seam, and did a three needle bind-off on another.

Thursday, December 1

Found the camera cord!

Well the camera cord has been found. YAY! now I can post the pictures I took yesterday of the Skacel sweater sleeve and Derek's {now-frogged} sock. Hover your mouse over the pictures for a description of the yarn and needles used. You can also click the pictures to see the full-sized size version of the images.

Bernat Hot Sox 'Army Hot' on 3.25 mm dpns. Here you can see how nice and neat the ribbing stitches are thanks to the trick I learned from Nona's blog. I'll have to find that link again and post it for everyone. Basically, I call it purling backwards, but it's actually a take on a twisted purl. I think it gives a real professional finish to the ribbing. You can also see how the striping decided to spiral around the sock. *Definitely* not the look I was going for! Not bad for one afternoon's work though, I must say! Whaddayathink?

2 strands Sirdar Denim Chunky in Cream and Denim on 12.75 mm needles.Here's the sleeve swatch from the Skacel Sweater Ad. I think that holding two yarns together has given it a much more random look in the variations than if I had used just a normal marl or varigated yarn. Don't you agree? Now that I've finally gotten the gauge to a liveable comparision to what's in the pattern, I will be able to fly on this once the holidays are over. I am just thrilled with how this is turning out. The finished effect will be very similar to the one in the ad, and much softer too due to the fibre content of the yarn. This took me about 2-3 days to get done, if that. I'm always working on so much at once, it's hard to tell how long *ONE* thing takes me!

Wednesday, November 30

November Wind-Up

Man oh man am I beginning to REALLY hate the holiday season! Other than the week I had to take off post-fire, I haven't taken *any* time off from work, and I'm on five days. At least it will all calm down come January, 'cept for inventory week. Dunno if I'm gonna survive until then though!

I feel like I've been knitting and crocheting like crazy, but I have next to nothing in FOs. I've gotten some dishcloths done, but most of the month has been spent working on longer stuff. I have a hat for Alex in progress, surprise Christmas socks going {I hope Derek doesn't decide to read my blog!}, and a thread book cover design. I did up a sleeve {took 4 tries! *lol*} for my Skacel yarn ad sweater, but that project won't be full-time until after the holidays. I've spent the last week working on an USSP {Ultra Secret Special Project}, but I think the recipient of that may read my blog occasionally, so I can't post about that until after she gets it. Same thing goes for a RAK for my best friend. Hopefully that will be in the mail early next week, so I can post that after she gets it.

I have some pics of stuff on my camera waiting to be uploaded, but until the kids find the safe place they put my camera cord in, I'm stuck with no images! I will be posting pics of Derek's sock that I frogged today... I didn't like the way the striping was going on it, but loved the new ribbing trick I learned. I have also added to my review blog finally, and will try *really* hard to get that up-to-date ASAP.

Off to finish up using the frogged yarn on Alex's sock...

Monday, November 14

Time to get back to business!

Well I guess I've taken enough of a break from my online activities lately. We're still in the process of renovating, but it's taken a *very* back seat lately after the mad rush to get the main part of it all done. I'm still knitting up a school of fish, as that's still the only project I've dug out of Alex and Lissa's room to work on. I heard a rumour that my favourite LYS is going out of business, so I will have to run down there on Friday to see if she still has the camo sock yarn I NEED for all the socks for the family for Christmas. This weekend is also staff appreciation at work, so I see LOTS of shopping getting done... hope we have the money to cover it! With luck I'll have about 90% of the Christmas shopping done this weekend... just lots of knitting, crocheting and buying for Derek left afterwards!

On an upbeat note, I'm designing again! I finally got my hands on a copy of "The Teeth of the Tiger" by Tom Clancy. I was holding out to get a hard cover version of it, but alas, I can't afford regular book store prices for it, and we don't carry much in the way of hard covers at work. I decided I wanted to make a book cover for it since it's so precious to me, and picked up some DMC Traditions thread in violet. I'm working on the cover quite a bit even though the stitch pattern I'm using is slow going. I promised myself that I wasn't going to crack open the book until the cover is done for it! One way of forcing myself to complete a design! *LOL*

Update on the baby afghan: I've found a new pattern to do thanks to my best friend, Lyz. I haven't chosen colour{s} yet, so I'll post all the details when I do. I had decided not to make another round ripple for Daryl, as I feel that that blanket was not meant to be. {I'm a big believer in fate and such.} I was so close to being finished it, and it was ruined in the fire... that wouldn't have happened if that blanket had been meant to be.

Oh well... its the start of my weekend, and I have computer and house housekeeping to do before I get to do too much in the way of fun stuff like knit fish, crochet PITA stitches in my book cover, and write the reviews on the books I have sitting here on my desk!

Tuesday, November 1

Happy November!

Well I finally feel up to posting and such again. Our house still isn't in complete order, but it's getting there. The big drive of momentum that Derek and I started off with began dwindling down after about 5 days straight of cleaning, tearing apart, repairing, and painting. The living room and dining room look really nice now... better than before IMO, and once the bedroom doors have gotten another coat of paint on them, and the one piece of of trim is replaced beside the couch, it will be basically all done. There still are a lot of things we'd like to do in here, but I think Derek wants to get the stairway painted and the upstairs hallway redone first. It's basically just finishing touches I think. I've also been thinking about how we want to redo our bedroom, as well as the kitchen and Alex/ Lissa's bedroom.

I haven't really been doing too much work on my projects. Most of them are stashed away in Alex/ Lissa's bedroom, as that's where we had cleaned out first to make room for all the things we needed to get out of the way fast. I have been looking at afghan patterns a bit, and I think I've found one to replace the round ripple. I *will* make another one of those -- I liked the pattern -- but it wasn't meant to be the pattern I used for Colton's blanket. I have, however, been "fishing" away like crazy. I've been working on the fish, and got nearly 20 done in the last week. I didn't pick up a hook or needle until Sunday after the fire, so I'd say I did about 2-3 a day. I finished off the first ball of the pink/ purple vari, and have bought a second ball. I'm waiting for the RH shipments at work so that I can get at least 2 more of the vari, and one more of the fuschia. So far no luck in the last week or so. I have been going outside at my breaks at work, or else I would have gotten at least 5 more done probably. We starting going outside to smoke again a few days ago, so that should improve my fish stash, or work on my socks once those are found again.

Thursday, October 20

R.I.P. Nigel and Charlie

It is with great sadness that I announce the premature passing of our precious budgies Nigel and Charlie. Due to smoke inhalation from an accidental fire in our living room, our lovely birds are now flying in heaven. We loved you very much, and even though you were with us for such a short time, we will not forget you.

Wednesday, October 19

I'm a fish vet... again!!!

Well I'm nursing yet another sick fishy. This time it's Dory that's ill. He's got fin rot, and was *NOT* happy at all in his bowl. When I went to feed him on Monday afternoon, he jumped right out of his bowl and on to the kitchen counter. Well he was rescued, and his bowl and contents thoroughly scrubbed. He seems to be a pretty happy fishy now, and at least his water didn't get all cloudy right away like it did the last time I changed the water in it. I'm keeping a pretty close eye on him, hopefully his fin will grow back since I'm treating him with his betta medication.

My review blog is ready for viewing!

Well the blog I created for my reviews is now ready for human consumption! I have links back to the reviews I did on here, but any new reviews will be listed there only! I did two reviews this morning, one on the newest Creative Knitting, and the other on the latest Family Circle EKPC. I hope you like it...

Saturday, October 15

Coffee and keyboards... ARGH!!!

Well this time it wasn't my crocheting, it was my keyboard that got the coffee. Strange thing is that I didn't have a cup of coffee on my desk yesterday morning when it happened! My keyboard was acting really funny. There were letters that weren't working, ones that were working strange, ones that would work only when they wanted to, and some that were perfectly fine! Well that keyboard is currently in my dish drainer rack after a well-deserved bath. I bought myself a back-up board at work this morning. I paid like $9 for it, and I sure got what I paid for. The keys feel funny and a few are in different places, and I swear that overall it's a bit smaller, so I can't seem to type correctly at all. I guess the biggest differences to my usual typing are how the keys don't "click" like my old ones, so I'm not sure when I've used enough pressure to actually connect; and the backspace key is a regular-sized one instead of a double-sized one, so I keep hitting the "\" key instead of the backspace! LOL

I've been busy working on my fishies while outside for my smokes the past two days, so I've added five more fish to the "school". I'm trying to decide how I'm going to lay out the finished ghan so that I can start sewing a few more of the fish together. I'm still working on the Kroy socks for my coffee breaks at work. I'm sitting at between six and seven inches total on the first one. I think it's somewhere around the eight inch mark where I turn the heel, so I'll do that during my "weekend". The round ripple is coming along. I'm on the fourth colour change now, and I figure that this colour, one more set of the blue, and then a final one of the vari should make the overall size a good one for Colton. I am going to have to wash it before I give it to Daryl... there's a bit of a musty odour on it from rinsing it out... nothing that a bit of soap and a washing machine can't get rid of.

Thursday, October 13

I'm so proud of myself!

Well after the baby blanket fiasco, having to work on my Homespun sweater has turned out to be a blessing in disguise! I measured it this morning when I saw how far I had gone past the join of the second skein of yarn, which is about where it was, status-wise, when I picked it up yesterday morning. I got between 2½ and 3 inches done on it! WOOHOO!!! I will have to find the pattern again so that I know how far I actually am supposed to go. I seem to recall that it's somewhere around 30 inches where I start the armhole shaping. I haven't gone and checked on the baby blanket today, but I'm sure that it's dry... I'm just too lazy {and tired!} to switch projects right now! =o)

Wednesday, October 12

It's five o'clock somewhere...

That's Lyz's theme today and I'm adopting it! I've been knocking myself out all day it seems and I can't really see much progress at all. I did take out 2 black garbage bags of trash out of what was Johnny's room, and one small bag out of ours. I took about three or four of the huge tubs of laundry out of Alex & Lissa's room, but I still can't see the carpet in there. *cries*

Between all the cleaning, and being so frustrated with the kids, I have a killer headache. I feel like crawling into a bottle of Malibu and not even trying to get out! Better yet, I feel like going and playing pool and getting drunk! But I can't... gotta work tonight. *cries louder*

I'm still working on the last mitten. I would have finished it today, but I was working on my Homespun sweater quite a bit. I've gotten about 10 rows at least done on it, and that feels good. Lyz found me a great stocking cap pattern that I'm going to convert from a flat pattern into a round one, and I can get started on that as soon as I finish this mitten {thumbs can wait!}, and I locate the circs I need. *cheers*

My poor aching back!!!

Well for the last two days I've been making MAJOR progress in the basement. If nothing else, getting rid of all the mould and mildew will help my headaches and such that I've been having. Since my back hurts so much after my 15-30 minute stretches down there, I've been "rewarding" myself with knitting and crocheting time.

The round ripple afghan is still drying. I was hoping it would have been dry by this morning, but no such luck. I have done a bit on the last mitten for the girls, but I decided to dig out my Homespun sweater and get a few rows done on that. I have found out that it takes me about 15 minutes to do two rows on that one, so I might bring it to work as a coffee break project occasionally.

I'm also trying to get bits and peices of my room and Alex & Lissa's room done. I got 99% of the laundry out of my room, and am starting on the laundry in their room. What's frustrating as hell is that at least 75% of the clothes in their room are clean... or rather *were* clean. I figger if I can get all this laundry actually put away, and find a few UFOs in their room to work on, I will have made huge progress in getting this place in order. That and getting a few of my UFOs out of the way before I start too many more projects! LOL

Coffee and crochet... ARGH!!!

I coulda killed the girls last night. While they were "watching" Lissa, she grabbed a cup of coffee off of my desk. Problem is that she spilled most of it all over the babyghan I'm working on as well as the HUGE stack of freebie patterns I had on there too. The worst part is that they didn't tell me, and I didn't discover it until a couple hours later. At least the ones I had set aside for Lyz were all okay, since they were elsewhere. I now have the baby blanket drying over the dish drainer, and patterns soaking in cold water until I have room on the dishtowel to let them dry... *sigh*

Tuesday, October 11

Polly wanna cracker?

Well I went and did it... I went and got the budgie I saw at Petcetera on Saturday. Derek and I got there just before closing today and he was still there. I've named him Charlie... well I think he's a him. His nose thingy is a pinkish lavender, so it's too coloured to be white, and too light to be considered blue. I'll have to look it up in the budgie book to be sure, but we just might have to wait a couple weeks until he's a bit older to find out positively.

Nigel and Charlie are currently cage-mates and are getting along fine so far. Charlie didn't really flip out at all when we put him in the cage like Nigel did at first. He went a little loopy but Nigel gets a little crazy like that every once in a while too. They seem to be happy together, so that's a good thing... it can be hard when your birds are young, but I guess Nigel still remembers being in a large group of birds.

Derek has taken a picture of Nigel, and I'll get a picture of the two of them tomorrow and upload it. All we will have left to do is to get them a bigger cage as soon as money permits... unless we can get them finger trained, then we can let them out to fly around a bit.

I'm all thumbs...

Hmm... I guess I got that backwards sorta! Pretty much all I have left to do is thumbs! I finished mitten #3 a little while ago and cast on #4. I'm gonna have a thumby time once that ones done! The round ripple is coming along nicely and so is my housework! I'm hoping that if I have been productive enough that Derek will be so thrilled with me that he will take me directly to Petcetera {do not pass Go, do not collect $200}. LOL!

Hooks and needles...

Well I have picked up my crochet hook for the first time in months finally! I found a place that had the round ripple online, so that's the pattern I've decided to use for my friend's babyghan. I'm using some blue and some baby veri that I had in my stash for it. Funny thing is, I could have sworn that I had nearly a full cone of blue fingering yarn, but when I dug it out, there was next to nothing left on it... maybe enough for a pair of baby socks or the like, but definitely not enough to add to the multi-stranded blanket I had in mind. I got a ton of it done when I started it yesterday {Sunday} morning when I got home from work. I didn't pick it up at all today {Monday} since I slept until after 1 pm, went to the football game, came home made dinner, and then went out to play pool!

On the needles is mostly socks and mittens. I've got a dishcloth on the go of course, that's just a given! My main focus lately has been on getting mittens made for the girls, and trying to find patterns for hats and scarves for them. I want to make stocking caps for them and short row scarves. I seem to recall seeing a pattern for those once, so I've got a major web surf for that coming up soon!

Fins and Feathers...

Wow... nearly a week since my last post. I guess I *have* been getting more sleep lately! I sure haven't been at the pooter much, that's for sure! I was thisclose to getting myself a bird of my own on Saturday. Derek and I went to Petcetera to get some more bird treats for Nigel since they were on sale. While we were there, I spotted a gorgeous nearly all white budgie. He had a bit of greyish black on his wings, but the surprise was when he spread his wings... his back feathers were the brightest shade of electric blue! I'm still working on Derek to let me get him... wish me luck!

On the fins side of the house, our fish count is still static at five. Didn't get any snails for Dory's or Nemo's tanks since the only ones we could find that were small enough would have reproduced to the point of polluting the tank. Derek has decided on the names Cheech and Chong for our Otto's, so now I can take pictures of them and post them soon.

Wednesday, October 5

Houses built, new cloth on the needles!

Well I finished another dishcloth, which was another one of my goals from yesterday. I've started a mitered-styled dishcloth from the Strings and Sealing Wax blog. I'm going to get this going to the point where I know what I'm doing... erm... do I *ever* know what I'm doing??? ANYWAY!!! I'm going to get a few rows done on this and then get going on the re-work of Derek's soap saver... I don't think he needs a Paul Bunyan sized one!

Tuesday, October 4

Another brick in the wall...

Well the next sock is cast on and a couple rounds of ribbing done to keep it all together... time to pick up my dishcloth!

Another one bites the dust...

Well I've got the ribbing done on my Kroy sock... time for a smoke break and cast on the stitches for my next sock.

One project down... several to go!

Well I just finished my first sock for me! I decided to try a three needle cast off instead of waiting until I can get someone to teach me how to graft the toe. It doesn't look all that bad. I just need to sew in the yarn tails and then I can model it!

Off to go finish the ribbing on my Kroy sock before I cast on the second sock for the first pair.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's time to clean up the nearly FO!!!

Well I'm on a mission today! I want to see how many of my nearly FOs I can get done. My first sock for me will be finished sometime this afternoon. I've only got about 10 more rounds until I need to change colours for the toe. I'll get the ribbing cast on for the next one later on. I also want to get the ribbing done for my Kroy sock. I think I'm somewhere around round 12 of 16 for the ribbing on that. I also have a half-done little houses cloth that I started yesterday. I'm tempted to get adventurous and weave in a few ends and take some pictures too! That will help clear off my desk a bit for sure!

I started a soap saver for Derek today out of some light blue Phentex. I don't like how it's turning out, so I'm going ot have to frog that and restart it. I'd like to try and get that done today too... if I can find a stitch pattern I like for the body of it, that's a doable goal IMO.

Well my laundry is waiting to be rebooted... let's see how far I can get in my goals for today!

Nemo is a bully!

On Saturday, Derek and I went out and bought two "Otto"s for our fish tanks. I'll have to look them up later to see the exact species that they are. In any case they are algae eaters, and now that both fish in aquariums are used to the air pumps, we could add them to the tanks to help keep them clean.

Nus was the first one to get a tank mate. After first warily checking out the tiny fish, Nus decided it was all cool and left the little guy to his dirty duty! It was funny watching Nus under his bridge, hiding, and keeping an eye on the otto.

Nemo got his tank mate shortly after. While the bag was in the tank acclimating to the temperature and all that, the two were checking each other out quite a bit. Once the otta was added to the tank, the "checking" out got kinda violent! Every time the otto would get himself stuck somewhere and be minding his own business, Nemo would come by and threaten him. It started with Nemo simply puffing up at him... showing his dominance. I was killing myself laughing at big Nemo trying to show this tiny little otto who's boss! The otto would swim kinda jerky while looking for something to eat, and Nemo would come swimming by, like a warden. As soon as it would see Nemo. the otto would keep perfectly still. It was pretty obvious that the otto was pretty scared! I figgered it would all be okay once Nemo realized he was the big fish, but I was wrong. As I was getting ready for work on Sunday night, Derek tells me that we had to get the otto out of there before Nemo kills it. He had watched Nemo "hunt" the otto. Nemo spotted it hanging on the glass, swam around his bell, and hid below some plants. Then he made a run for it, knocking the poor little otto off the glass and at least 6 inches across the tank. The poor little guy wasn't even moving or nothing when Nemo attacked it! Derek was able to get him out of there and popped him into Nus' tank. Nus checked him out briefly, "oh, another housekeeper... cool!" and swam off. Both of them are happily keeping Nus' tank all squeaky clean.

Saturday, October 1

A Fast FO!!! And tales from Tuesday...

On Friday last week I bought myself two balls of yarn for a quick scarf. I found a freebie pattern at work for one made with one strand of LB Boucle and one strand LB Fun Fur. I got Tropical Fun Fur and Wild Berries Boucle. I bought some needles too as I couldn't remember which size the pattern called for, and of course bought the wrong ones!!! On Tuesday I got the right ones and cast on the stitches on Wednesday... that was as long as I could wait! Well I finished off the scarf on Friday morning. It went together so fast that I would say I spent less than 5 hours working on it. I'm kinda disappointed that it isn't as long as I was hoping for, but it's still cute, and I hope to wear it soon {for fashion, NOT necessity!!!}. I'll get a picture of that one up soon.

While out on Tuesday afternoon, I also popped into my LYS, Camille's Elegant Yarns, to price out the sweater/ shrug I want to make from Vogue Knitting, and to check out the Patons Kroy. I was pleased to find out that if I want to, I can make that sweater for under $50!!! She doesn't carry the yarns called for in the pattern, but reasonably priced alternatives are available there.

The sock yarn selection there was to die for! I found some camoflage Bernat Sox that's going to have to come home with me soon. I was just going to make a pair for Alex, until the girls started drooling when I told them about it! There was a selection of the Kroy on sale so I picked up 2 balls of a discontinued colour {Fancy Free} to make me a pair of socks. There's all kinds of solids, stripes, and jaquards there, and I was nearly hyperventilating! Most of them are between $5 and $8 a ball, so I can see a lot of trips there for 2 balls at a time!

The main purpose of our trip out shopping on Tuesday was to get the fabric for the bird cage cover for Nigel. I was kinda shocked at how much we paid for the fabric... but it will look nice once it's done. I guess that means I have to get out my sewing machine and start designing! The way I want to set it up is that it will be reversible with a bird print on one side and a fish print on the other. I'm going to use a bias binding edging, and may crochet an attached edging for the bottom. It will close using velcro, and the leftover fabric will be put into what I call a birdcage bumper pad! A strip that wraps around the bottom of the cage to help prevent seeds and such from falling out of the cage. Wish me luck!!

Dishcloths Revisited!

Well I've finally uploaded the picture of some of my dishcloths that have gotten their ends woven in. I'm *not* going to admit how long some of these sat on my desk waiting for that, and I'm also not going to admit how many more are sitting there waiting! ROFL

Clockwise from the top: Fishy Dishy done in Shaded Denims; Fishy Dishy done in a limey varigated {can't remember the name of it ATM}; Lacy Round Cloth {the recent KAL}; Granny's Favourite done in the Limeys; Granny's Favourite done in Denim.

I have a few others I've recently finished, but haven't gotten around to weaving in the ends yet, or taking the pictures! I'm trying to finish off the ball of limes cotton, so we'll see how many more I can add to here!

Friday, September 30

September FOs

I'm pre-dating this, but I'd like to make it a regular end-of-the-month feature. All of my FOs in September were knit! How'd that happen?

10 fish for fish afghan
Scarf for me out of LB fun fur and boucle
5 different dishcloths: granny, fishy, lacy round, doily, & feather and fans
1 pair of socks
1 camera sock

Wednesday, September 28

Alexander the Babysitter... err, rather... the Fishsitter!

Well here's finally the story about Alex's baby/fish sitting adventures. Or should I say poor Nemo's adventures on having Alex babysit him! This all started last Thursday night while I was sleeping on the couch in the evening before work, and Derek was taking an evening nap as well. Earlier on in the evening, Alex had gotten into the bedroom by using a broom handle to uncatch the hook on the door, and the knob wasn't locked. He had pulled out Daddy's pool cue, but luckily couldn't manage the combination lock on the case! He also tried some baking, evidenced by the coating of flour over the entire kitchen!

I was running a little late for work {as usual!} and was in my bedroom getting changed and stuff when I turned around to look at Nemo. I was horrified by what I saw! The entire top half of the tank was like steel wool or something! What the hell was in there??? An entire can of bloodworms I discovered a little later. The water was also quite red, so I suspect a candy fish or two made it in there, although it may have also just been from the worms. And as if that wasn't enough, when I had gotten enough of the food out so that I could actually *find* Nemo in there, the air pump was foaming... I don't *want* to know what he put in there for that effect. My simple explanation for Alex's ideas was this... he gave Nemo his dinner {the bloodworms}, he got dessert afterwards {the candy fish}, and after dinner is bath time {whatever the bubbles were!}. As if that wasn't enough shock for that poor little fish, our reserved fishtank water was at least 5 degrees cooler than his tank was because our furnace wasn't working that night. He spent the night in a Tupperware bowl and even that had a ton of food in it just from what was sticking to the net when I caught him.

The next morning at work I was scared that I was going to come home to perform my first fish funeral. I took a good long look in the pet department at stuff. I bought more bloodworms {as that's all the others will eat willingly}, and was looking at the various tank toys and aquarium kits. There wasn't anything there that really appealed to me. I know what the prices are for kits over at Petcetera, and decided that I'd be better off hoping for a sale there, than my discount at work. I really want to get a larger tank, and was looking long and hard at the 10 and 20 gallon starter kits. I was also hoping to find a small betta tank like Dory's in a different colour. I figgered that if I was ever gonna get away with talking Derek into getting a Marlin and/or a Bruce, this was the perfect time. I came away quite discouraged, depressed, and basically empty-handed... hoping that I could get Derek to take me to Petcetera maybe on Friday, or more likely on Saturday after he finished work.

Well much to my {pleasant} surprise, Nemo was still alive when I got home. His movements were a little sluggish, but he seemed happy to see me. It took me over an hour to clean out his tank. As it was, when I was putting some water in to arrange the gravel a bit better on the bottom, you could still see the worms floating around a bit... I guess I wasn't able to completely get it all off of it. I changed a few of his plants and got him back into his refurbished home!

Well it's been nearly a week now since his Alex fiasco, and he's healthier than ever. If any of our fish deserve the name Nemo, it's him! He's gone through having his back scraped up, all healed, but I've noticed that there *is* a scar after all; made it out of the algae from hell; and now survived Alex's babysitting. He's definitely one tough fish!

Monday, September 26

Review Time: Simple 1-2-3 Knitting Scarves

I seem to find interesting magazines in the recipe magazine section. You know all those digest sized monthly recipe mags? Well every once in a while you can find them with a craft topic. My most recent aquisition is one from pil under the "Best Recipes" brand, and is titled "Simple 1-2-3 Knitting Scarves.

The first quarter of the booklet is dedicated to learn-how instructions. It seems to be very informative with several methods shown for casting on and such. This makes it an excellent choice for newer knitters, and there might even be a little hint that more experienced knitters can learn from too. The scarves range from plain and typical to fancy and frilly with a wide variety of yarns used. Some of the more practical-type scarves are dressed up with interesting stitch patterns. The textured yarns are shown in "useful" styles as well as more "accessory-type" styles. Novelty yarns are used as the basis and the trims on several patterns, and there is even two cowl-hood type patterns if that is more to your liking. If knitting scarves is "your thing", look for this one at the checkouts, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Review Time: Family Circle Easy Crochet plus Knitting

I picked up this issue this week at work and thought I would pass on my 2¢ worth on it... that's about all my opinion is worth, and don't forget the Canadian dollar exchange rate! *teehee* One thing I give them credit for is using a Canadian yarn company as their issue sponsor. All of the yarns used were from Spinrite, a mill in Listowel, Ontario that makes {among others} Bernat, Lily, and Patons yarns. For this reason most of the materials used should be fairly easy to obtain for most Canadians, unlike most of the time where we have to use the samples shown of the yarn to substitute. Wal-Mart carries a good selection of Bernat and Michael's carries a lot of different Patons yarns. Those are my two usual places I go to get supplies for a project. Zellers and Lewiscraft are also places you can go to find some of these yarns. Of course there is always your local LYS... I hope that yours isn't stocked with knitting snobs though.

Most of the articles that I took the time to read were very informative. There is one article on working with the novelty yarns which is invaluable to those that are new to working with them. I still find that knitting with them is usually easier, but it is good to have the skills needed to crochet with them as well. There is another article on the latest fad, felting. Most of the felting articles I have read lately have been geared to knitting... it's refreshing to see the crochet side of it for a change.

The magazine starts off with ladies' wearables. Even though I don't think I would take the time or money to make any of them {not my taste}, I'm impressed that they are stylish and not boxy looking like a lot of crocheted clothing patterns tend to be.
The next section is still wearables, but updates of older patterns. A few of these are the stereotypical style that I tend to detest, but others take on a new life in new fibres.
Next comes kids' wearables... a few of the "nasties" peek in, but the overdone poncho actually takes on a new life in two patterns, one a poncho and the other a loose cardigan.
After that we have the hats and scarves. These have to be the hardest to come up with something "new"... unfortunately they decided to do a portion of them in granny squares... UGH!!! Don't get me wrong, the granny square is okay, but it drives me nuts that so many people think you can't do anything else with a length of yarn and a hook.
Next comes my favourite part of the magazine, a few patterns that combine knitting and crocheting. This is my latest interest, and it is nice to see them blended together.
The magazine is finished off with a poncho out of edgings... nice symbolism I think! Not a pattern I'd make, but inspirational for sure.

Overall, I'm not really sure that I'd make more than 2 or 3 items out of this issue. This is the premier issue of it, so I'm hopeful that they continue on with things other than granny squares and toilet paper cozies... there is so much more than that to crocheting, regardless of what the editors of many magazines seem to think. One thing, if you aren't into wearables {adult or child}, give this issue a miss. There isn't a kleenex box cover to be found here, and the only afghan you'll find is in the felting article. For me, I think this issue will be mostly used for design inspiration...

Sunday, September 25

This place has gone to the birds!!!

NigelWow... been a few days since I posted! I've gotten some more cloths done and started a sweater for Lissa, but I'll post about that tomorrow once I'm on my weekend. We also had a major fiasco with Nemo on Thursday, but I'll get into that later today or tomorrow... I'm *really* tired today.

I just wanted to let everyone know that we have a new member to our pet family... a budgie named we've named Nigel. Derek got him yesterday, and boy was he being a bird-brain about it!

Tuesday, September 20

With all these dishcloths, do you think it's time to wash some dishes???

Well I've been on a dishcloth binge lately. I'm not sure when I started the Lacy Cloth... I'll have to check my posts to be sure... I finished it yesterday afternoon and started a doily dishcloth off of the yarn wrapper. That one was finished today, and I whipped up a feather & fans off of another wrapper. I made a F&F before, and it didn't seem to work out. The one I made today worked out fine, but sure seems small compared to the huge {to me} cloths I've been making lately. I will have to take a pic of the "collection" and post it.

Monday, September 19

Woot, woot for the weekend!

Man oh man does work ever drag these days. I'm gonna be on a 5 day work week from now until Christmas so it's going to just about kill me... I'm getting soooo sick and tired of all the crap there.

Anyway... It's Monday, so that means it's Pool Night!!! YAY!!! I finally found myself a pair of shoes that I like, so if they are as comfortable as I hope they are, I'm gonna have to get the beige pair as well! I bought myself a new t-shirt to wear tonight too. For once I seem to be buying more pants than anything else lately, so I figgered a new shirt was in order.

I'm going to finish off my round dish cloth before I crash out for a few hours. I have a feeling it's gonna be a really late {or rather early!} night tonight, so I better get some sleep!

Saturday, September 17

YAY!!! A knitalong!

There's a small handful of us on the CKT list that are working on a dishcloth together... I've just finished binding off my fishy dishy, and am about to cast on my stitches for the Lacy Round Cloth. It looks kinda interesting.. hopefully it's not *too* hard!

Oh the trials and tribulations of being afflicted with the designing gene!!!

Well I started one of my design ideas yesterday morning... one of the projects I'd like to submit to Knitty for publication. After frogging it twice, I think I got it going. I *do* need to restart it yet again since I found another problem with the sizing. Sorry I have to be deliberately secretive since they won't consider stuff that has already been announced and such! I was wrong about the deadline.. I thought the next one was Novemeber 1st for the December issue, but it's actually October 1st... EEP!!! With luck I can get it done in less than 2 weeks... that is *if* I can get this project to actually work out the way I want!!! The next issue is warm weather wearables... I can come up with a few for that one, and I think the deadline on that one is Feb. 1st... lots of time!

Thursday, September 15

Just when you think you've reached the zenith of human stupidity...

...along comes a Wal-Mart assistant manager and raises the level for everyone!!! *ROFL*

I can't give any names or anything{at least not in print!}, but my AM last night was the biggest dipshit of all time! For those of you that don't know, I'm an overnight stocking associate for one of the local Wal-Marts here in town, and I have difficulty dealing with both my AMs... too bad they weren't "human" like my support manager is!! Anyway, like in any place, night shift is when the major work goes on in the store. Shelves are stocked, merchandise of all kinds is received, store is thoroughly cleaned.... yada, yada, yada.

At work, the overnight maintenence crew usually has some bone to pick with the staff... coffee spilled on the floors, pallet jacks moved over freshly washed aisles... you get the idea. Nothing too extravagant or uncalled for at all but difficult to accomodate everything since things *DO* have to be moved and all. The latest beef that the cleaning crew has had is the scratching of the floors. Mainly it is caused by people not taking enough care when moving pallets and such. The guys spend a lot of time waxing and buffing the floors and such, and some of the staff can't be bothered to take an extra second or two to make sure that the floors aren't damaged when moving something. Common sense and common courtesy are in very short supply on my shift as you can see.

Every night at the beginning of our shift, we have our "morning" meeting where we are informed of all the stuff that Wal-Mart wants us to know about. These meetings are usually given by one of our AMs... or the support mgr. if there isn't an AM on shift that night. So the AMs are the ones that tell us to use a pallet jack to move store fixtures {4-ways}, and get help to stack empty pallets rather than dragging them. Well what does the daft idiot {herein known as Gonzo} do last night???? Not only has a store fixture moved without a jack... but enlists several associates to do it... and not just a 4-way either... it was a 28-foot section of shelving {that's 7 sections together as one, plus endcaps!}... all the way across the seasonal section of the store and into the action alley.... SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH!!! I *swear* that floor was not only scratched in the relatively fresh wax {within the last 2 weeks}, but the tile beneath HAS to be gouged. I would have loved to see the store manager's face when he saw that this morning... AND when he found out who authorized the fixture move and such.

As if that wasn't the bone-headed move of the year... it gets better still. Usually after last coffee break the focus for the back-room stock associates is to clear the sales floor of skids. There is usually a certain way that stock is brought back so that it can be accessed if needed during the day {in the case of foods and other consumables}, left in the back for the following night or two {in the case of overstock} to reduce wasted time bringing out a skid that won't have anything on it that we need for the shelves, or skids that need to be brought out the following night {ones that weren't worked that night}.

The other AM knew that we were all clearing the foods area first {always our first priority}, and gave us instructions as to which other type of item was to go in which aisle in the back. Firstly, there was *WAY* too many skids of foods on the floor {which "Gonzo" had told the unloaders and the support manager to pull} since out of well over 30 skids, less than 6 were cleared. By about 6 am, we had less than ten foods skids pulled back, let alone anything else in the store. Gonzo tells one of my co-workers to start pulling back fabrics because there are 19 skids in there to come back... first of all, what the hell were they thinking putting out that many of skids in the first place {that area is about 6-8 max and usually 4}? and secondly... FOODS COMES BACK FIRST. My co-worker told Gonzo that there is still like 30 skids of foods on the floor... and continues on with what he was doing. Gonzo decides that fabrics has to come back NOW, and starts doing it himself. After Gonzo was told which type of item was to go in which aisle, puts all 19 of the fabrics skids {which need to come out tonight} in the aisle with the stuff that's not supposed to come out for at least 2 nights... WHAT A DIPSHIT!!!

What's really scary is that these aren't the only examples of this person's lack of intelligence of any kind... just another typical night I'm afraid! At least when it comes to this particular AM, it's not just me that's going nuts and pulling my hair out {like I do with the other AM}, but the entire shift just about! Oh well... I've had my giggle and my vent... back to your regularly scheduled blog entry... I've got a "something" I need to design to try and get published in knitty!!!

Wednesday, September 14

Why do weekends have to go so fast???

Man oh man... is it really Wednesday already??? It sucks when your weekend goes so freakin' fast. I feel like I haven't really accomplished a heck of a lot either, which feels even worse. I've gotten a bunch of laundry done, and some fish maintenence... that's about it around the house.

I've gotten a school of fish knitted up. I'm not sure whether or not I should be proud of that since that means I've been outside {probably smoking} quite a bit. I will update the sidebar later on with my fish count. I want to get some hot pink yarn at work tomorrow morning, and I'm gonna hunt for some purple yarn in my stash so that I can start sewing a few of these guys together. I've decided to go with a planned colour scheme {yes... changing my mind YET AGAIN!!!} for this project. I'm going to use the vari I bought as the basis for it. Not sure of the colour name ATM, but it's RHSS, a new colour... it's got hot pink, and three shades of purple in it. If you've been in the yarn aisle at WM lately, you can't miss it! LOL! I'm gonna turn it into a bedtopper or even maybe a bedspread for Lissa. Most of the bedroom-type stuff I've been eyeing up at work for her have been in this colour range, so I think it will be cool!

I looked into the newest issue of Knitty... couple interesting patts this time around as usual. I'll be putting a blog button on the sidebar later on for it. Most importantly, I looked into their submission guidelines and joined their submitters group. Wish me luck in this one... it could get me some much-needed exposure.

Oh well... time for a quick smoke and then it's time to fold up a couple loads of these clothes so that the girls can put it away when they get home. I'll be back later probably with my new issues of FCEK&C and Vogue Knitting...

Tuesday, September 13

Last year's issue

Well I dug out last year's issue of Interweave Knits Crochet from the pile of magazines and pattern books on my desk. I'm leafing through it as I write this to look for any patterns of note.

Brave New Bra Top: the sample for this was crocheted in a shade of Patons Grace that I don't really like, but I do have a stash of it here. It calls for just 3 balls, so I'm sure that if I really wanted to, I could just go to Mike's and get some.
Tunisian Vest: again I don't like the colours that this unisex vest is done up in, but I'm certain I could find soemthing more to my tastes. I just dunno what I'd wear it with... give me time, I'll go buy something! LOL
Lace Dress: this is the pattern from Lily Chin for this issue. I like the idea of it, but I would be altering the pattern a bit if I make it.
Cranesbill Square Blouse: another pattern with possibilities...
Tapestry Crochet Bag: this one looks like I could do up several in different colourways to match what I'm wearing. Since I don't take a purse to work anymore, I'm used to only carrying the essentials with me when I go out... a tiny little bag is perfect for me.

After all this, it seems that last year's issue is a lot like this year's... not a lot of WIMs out of it, but definite potential for new designs, or altering the shown designs to more of my liking.

Is there a light at the end of this tunnel???

I've been piddling and farting around here trying to get a few things accomplished and haven't seemed to have made much headway at all. I got Nus' and Nemo's tanks cleaned. I've moved Nemo into the bedroom. I still need to clean Dory's tank and decide where he will be going. I might just put him on my desk after all, but that will require a heavy duty cleaning of the desk first. I've finally got the laundry on the go, now I just need to arrange a place to fold it all that isn't in Derek's way since he's in a cleaning mood, and I'm safer steering clear of him then!

Anyway, here's the promised review of the latest Interweave Knits Crochet mag. It is labelled simply "special issue"... wasn't there one in the spring? Or is my memory going, going, gone?
Erm... I'm *REALLY* dense... I've got the last issue here on my desk. DOH!!! It's the 2004 issue, this one is 2005... so I guess it's gonna be an annual special. Okay, I'll shut the hell up now about my stupidity, I'll just give you my 2¢ {that's Canadian $ btw, so basically worthless with the current exchange rates!!!} on this issue.

Fingerless Gloves: thanks but no thanks.
Hyperbolic Plane: really cool idea, but nothing that I would ever need {or want!} to make.
Milan Dress: I can see this becoming a WIM. It's done in a WW wool/rayon, but I'm sure I could find something more suitable {translation: cheaper!!}.
Fever Tank: a way-too-cool halter tank... too bad I don't have the courage to try and wear something like this... no matter *how* much I have to drink on Monday nights!
Felted Folk Rug & Chair Pad: I'm sorry, but this felting fad just doesn't turn my crank... besides, I can't see me walking all over something I paid wool prices on.
Go-go Granny Bag: this bag can go-go outta here! I'm not really a granny square fan since they seem too stereo-typical. This bag is different, but I'm still getting childhood flashbacks with this one... too close to the 70s for me!
Zig-zag Skirt: this one is *really* close to being a WIM!!! The pattern calls for baby/fingering {#1 using those new yarn scales} weight which I only have in baby colours. It sits on the hips {which I *will* wear if my tank top can tuck in enough to cover the stretchmarks! *ROFL*}, but could easily be altered to make it higher on the waist, or out of a thicker yarn. Hmm... I wonder if a couple strands of crochet cotton would equal the fingering...
Fifth Avenue Jacket: a semi-tailored jacket. Designed by Lily Chin, it reminds me of the Chanel style... sorry, not my cup of tea. I can't see me *EVER* wearing something *that* conservative...
Shell Stitch Hat: a hat made from raffia??? This hat reminds me of the newborn hats I make, which are nice in their own right, but would I want to wear one??? especially out of this stuff??? No thanks, makes me think that someone squashed a berry on my head or sumlike.
Two-tone Bag: kinda neat... but I have no use for a bag that can carry my two youngest children... and one that takes up like 8 balls of yarn to boot... EEP!!!
Easygoing Hoodie: this one is another defo WIM. It's shown in a cotton/microfibre blend, so I wouldn't be able to use dishcloth cotton or regular acrylic for it. I'll have to find a suitable substitute since I really like this one.
Hemp Flowers Necklace: I've never been one for crocheted necklaces and the like, and this one is no different. If you are into it, this one is a bit different than usual... but you can keep it! LOL
Prism Shawl: nope, nope, nope!!! It's definitely a quick project, but not one for me! It's lacy and bulky at the same time, so it makes me think of that stereo-typical crap again, while not really being useful. The "dingle ball" trim can go too... can you say 70's Chevy Shaggin' Wagon???
Textured Tweed Clutch: umm... okay... a nice idea, but nothing I would want to take my time to make. I *could* take the basic style and turn it into something I do like... but it would be much easier to simply design exactly what I want!
Flowered Tea Cozy: kinda cute if you're into the Gramma's kitchen type of flowery look. My kitchen isn't flowered anymore so all those ends would NOT be worth the effort by any means!
Pirate's Jacket: all I have to say is this: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??? nuff said...
Toddler Poncho: yet another one of the bazillions of poncho patterns I've seen recently. I've seen tons better, even on freebie sheets, so I'll do on eof those if I'm gonna bother.
South of the Border Jacket: another tailored one... not my cup of tea...
Striped Scarf and Headband: a quickie project, but not one I'll be bothering with. If I had a daughter in high school, I could see me making these up by the dozens tho!
Retro Car Coat: drive this one back... PLEASE!!! Some retro is cool, some isn't... I'm putting this with the "isn't".
Extreme Earflap Hats: now these are something that I'd bother actually buying wool and trying to felt it for... too bad none of my kids would be caught dead in anything like this!
Oversize Pullover: hmm... I dunno... I mean I REALLY dunno about this one. It's nice, it's different, it's done with relatively normal fancy yarn {Paton's Divine}... but would I actually want to make one??? I dunno!
Colorwaves Pullover: this one's so plain and simple that you'd think I'd give it a miss... well you're wrong!!! I want to head to Michael's to price out this yarn since we don't have it at work! It caught my eye, and it would defo be a quick to make project for me... a weekend mebbe tops!
Flare Essesence Poncho: very, very few ponchos catch my eye, and this one's no different... if I'm gonna spend the money on a bunch of novelty yarn, I'll find something that I really like.
Ruffle Scarf {cover project}: a neat way to treat yourself to some fancy snob yarn {only two balls}... but nuttin I would use.
There's a couple interesting articles, including one on figuring out symbol crochet {I would LOVE to get my hands on that computer program for charting!!!}. Overall, not bad, maybe even better than last years... but the $10 CAN cover price makes it a treat buy, not a everyday magazine IMO.

Oh well... my dryer is buzzing at me like crazy {so much for a quick smoke break!}. I'll take a quick peek at last year's issue and give a contrast on that later... TTFN

Do I *really* have to do housework today?

I guess I'm gonna have to get off my duff and actually get some stuff done around here today! I did go out last night, so I got my usual "didn't get enough sleep" headache. And of course I'm being too bloody lazy to grab some Tylenol.

Ahh... much better! I went and got a fresh coffee and popped a couple pills. Hopefully they will kick in soon! Once I'm done this entry, I'll go have a quick smoke and then I *HAVE* to get some work done! Derek spent yesterday morning finding the kitchen... I *still* don't recognize it as part of my house!

I have to get laundry done today, and I want to get some work done in my bedroom. Derek wants Nemo's tank off of the kitchen counter, so I am going to put him on the nightstand where Dory is right now. Of course that means that I need to clean the nightstand and all that first, and where in the heck am I gonna put Dory? I would love to have him here on my desk {which was my first intent with fishies way back in March or whenever it was}, but the desk is way to wobbly for his little tank. I know for a fact that he would get dumped out within a week {if that!} and it would end up all over my computer and no Dory and all that horrible stuff.

More later... including my review of the newest issue of Interweave Knits Crochet!

Monday, September 12

It's the weekend finally!!!

Well *my* weekend anyway! Tonight is my pool night, and Derek is probably coming too... YAY!!! That means I don't have to be careful about how much I drink since he'll be doing the driving... DOUBLE YAY!!!

I decided on going with the larger needles for the fish. There wasn't a heck of a lot of difference in the way the larger two feel when I stretch them and such, but the actual needles themselves are a lot smoother to work with... decision made! I got a few done yesterday, I'll have to do a fin count to see how many I've got made with these needles.

I don't know what I'll do with the blue fishy I have, but I've got two beige ones made with the small needles that I can sew together and stuff into a fishy toy for Lissa!

Oh well... I just got up from my after work power nap and I'm in desperate need of a cup of coffee and a cigarette... bbl

Sunday, September 11

There's something fishy here!

*Definitely* something fishy for sure! I just finished doing up another fish with my size 10 needles. Somehow this one seems to be cupped worse than the others! How in the hell did that happen?

I compared all three sizes of fish and I now know for sure I'm not going to bother with the size 8's anymore. I'm still undecided on whether I will use the 9 or 10. There is a bit of size difference, not much on a single fish, but enough that it would matter in the long run. I'm thinking: "bigger fish means less fish and afghan sooner", but at the same time I think I like the look and feel of the stitches better on the "size 9 fish".

I think I'm gonna grab a bite to eat and then {hopefully} pass out for a few hours. Maybe I'll be able to think better once I wake up... YA RIGHT!!! ROFL

Sleepless in Winnipeg...

As usual, I can't get to sleep and I'm beyond just beat. On both Friday and Saturday I got a good solid sleep... hell, you coulda set a bomb off next to me and I wouldn't have flinched! Quite the difference from my usual lately... 2 hours at a time max. Right now I feel like I haven't slept in a week and my feet are so sore they are numb {but not numb enough that I can't feel how much they hurt}.

I *finally* caught up with Lyz yesterday morning. I asked her about my knit fish problem, and now before I make any more, I need to try using an even larger needle. The first three I used a 8, and then I tried one in a size 9. The body is still cupping with that one so I will see if I can get one made with a 10 or a 10½ {5.0, 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 mm respectively} today and see if that helps. If not, then I'll just go back to the 8 or 9 and see how far I can "swim". It's not *that* big of a deal anyway, but if I can un-cup them before sewing them together, that's all the better.

Derek and I went out to do a bit of shopping yesterday, but that turned into window shopping since we couldn't find anything that we were looking for. =o( We also washed the truck so that he could wax it, so I got a few rounds done on my sock. I guess I better get working on those! i have tons and TONS of sock yarn that I want to use up...

Friday, September 9

Does the word "DUH?!?" mean anything to you???

Sheesh, sometimes I'm so dense I could rent myself out as uranium or sumlike! I was just taking a quick peek through my posts here and looked at the one I wrote YESTERDAY morning. It said that I didn't have any WW acrylic yarn at my desk. So that means that I started it YESTERDAY, not Wednesday! Although that's not too bad... 3 fish in about a day! Hmm... now if I could only limit myself to 3 candy fish in a day. Heck, who am I trying to fool??? I can't even limit myself to 3 HANDFULS!!!! *rofl*

Okay... I better get some rest before work! *UGH!*

I got fishy!!! Fishy, fishy, fishy!!!

Well I couldn't resist the pattern anymore and I started my fish afghan on, umm... Wednesday I think. Man, it sucks working midnight shift, you never know what day it is, especially when your weekends are during the week!!! Anyhoo, the pattern is easy even for a newbie like me, and even when I'm overtired! I just finished my third fish while out for a smoke.

The first one I made I used some of the blue varigated that I have for my knitting bag. Right now I'm finishing off a leftover part of a ball of beige. I bought some cool vari's today that I'm also going to incorporate into the 'ghan.

I think this will be my main "going out for a smoke" project for a while... maybe I'll keep a "tote board" on here for how many fish I've got swimming!

Just keep swimming... just keep swimming... just keep swimming!!!

Thursday, September 8

Just call me fish face!!!

Sheesh... I'm so fishy these days I might as well grow gills and fins! I found this cool fish afghan pattern a while back, it was sent as a link to one of the groups I belong to and I've been eyeing it up ever since. I'm pretty sure it's within my abilities, and will be a great way to use up some of my scraps around here. What I find really strange is that I don't have any WW scraps of acrylic here at my desk, just some tidbits of cotton, or acrylic in different weights, as well as a ball of 100% wool that's asking me if I'm ever gonna use it for socks or not!

On a fishy note, Nemo seems to be doing a bit better. He's still not happy about having the air turned on in his tank, but that's just too bad! He spends a lot of time just hiding in his bell cave... guess those air bubbles just won't leave him alone! LOL

Gotta run!