Sunday, August 21, 2011

long time, no hippo

I haven't posted much lately, since I've been enjoying the summer in the south. However, I wanted to make a quick post on my latest knitting project.It's my first stuffed animal, and it turned out so well! I am very happy with it and my little nephew seemed to like it too!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

roadtrip!

As I mentioned in a few earlier posts, T and I decided to make a big move this year. We picked up in Calgary, AB, Canada and moved down to Alexandria, VA, USA. East to west, north to south, health care to no health care, etc. T flew down earlier as he needed to start working asap. However, I took the leisurely move of tying up all the loose ends before making the drive down. And oh what a drive it was!

Here is a map of the route I took:The trip from Calgary to Winnipeg I've made many times, and although there were a few flash blizzards and a lot of empty fields, it's a pretty good drive. Then mom joined me for the drive down into the USA. Heading out of Winnipeg on a Friday afternoon (after all the pertinent border crossing papers arrived), we quickly got lost in a flooded land of closed roads and detours. Mom thought that making up our own detours would be a good idea. I just thought we were lost. Luckily, a few words with the guys at a small town Rona resulted in a hand drawn map that shaved a full hour off the official detour time.

A relatively quick border crossing put us in Fargo for the night. Next day, we were off through Minnesota and Wisconsin. Although I've been through Minnesota many times, I don't think I've ever made it to Wisconsin before. And it looked exactly as I pictured! Rolling hills, farms, cows, it was quite beautiful in a quaint kind of way. If you ignored all the cheese related billboards. We did make sure to grab some delicious Wisconsin cheese before heading out the next morning though.

The next day brought us to the tri-state toll highway of Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. A relatively uneventful day aside from the death defying drive through Chicago. But we made it through, white knuckles and all. The toll highways, while costing us a total of $42 to get across the three states, were well worth it as there were no stops, no slow downs, and convenient little highway "Oasis" stops with gas, food, restrooms and dog walking areas. Winston made quite a few friends at these stops!

Finally, our last day took us through Pennsylvania and Maryland before hitting Virgina. Here is where we starting getting closer to the mountains, and seeing some very beautiful countryside. That is, until we hit the Washington DC beltway and gridlock traffic! After getting lost twice, we finally made it to our new home in Alexandria!

Friday, May 13, 2011

FO: geodesic!

Well, it took almost a year, but I finished my geodesic cardigan.
Actually, once I had some time to sit down and work on it, it really didn't take long to finish. I finished the top half of the body and both sleeves within a few weeks, which is pretty good for me. And here it is:Although the final product is wonderful, the knitting was quite a process. So many stitches to keep track of! Here is a picture of all my stitch counts:And, because I love pictures of cupcakes, here are some red velvet ones I made recently. So yum!I have now completed my move from Calgary down to Alexandria, Virginia. It is so beautiful here! I love it already :)

My next post will be all about the drive down, and the move, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

abominable snow cupcakes and sweet georgia

Even though it is almost May, only a week ago I was driving through a blizzard. So I think it's still topical to write about my latest cupcake adventure - the abominable snow cupcake. This is a white velvet cupcake with a hint of vanilla, baked with marshmallows. When the cupcake bakes, the marshmallows melt into the batter and infuse the cupcake with marshmallowy goodness. So fantastic! On top, a 7-minute icing and coconut. This is the first time I've done a 7-minute icing. It was delicious! Almost like melted marshmallows, so it went well with the cupcake.
This cupcake recipe is found in my usual tome, Cupcakes Galore. However, I thought I'd give you a recipe for 7-minute icing, as it is my new favorite icing and I will be using it again!

7-Minute Icing
2 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Mix egg whites, sugar and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler. Heat and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot. Remove from heat and beat icing for 7 minutes until it is cool and stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread on cupcakes. Lick bowl clean!

I think you could probably replace the vanilla with a different flavour, such as orange or lavender essence, for a different taste. You could also add food colouring to give colour. Although, I do like that the icing is quite WHITE - I find buttercream icing usually takes on the colour of the butter and is more CREAM. So this is a nice, pure white icing for those situations when you really need it!

Aah, being on vacation is nice.

On another note, I visited a local yarn shop a few days ago, and for the first time encountered sweet georgia yarns. I have heard a lot about them, but never seen the yarn in person. It is true to their word, popping with colour! And so soft. Somehow, I caved, broke my "no new yarn" rule and bought the most expensive yarn I've ever bought. CashSilk Lace. 45% cashmere and 55% silk. o.m.g. It is so amazing!The colour is "ginger". I bought it on impulse, so I don't know quite what to do with it. However, it deserves something really special. I'll have to think about it. And squish it lots.

Friday, April 22, 2011

pysanky

I am not Ukrainian, nor do I celebrate Easter. However, there is a tradition in my family to make Ukrainian Easter Eggs (or Pysanky) every spring, to go along with the chocolate bunnies and cadbury creme eggs -- yum!

This year, due to the hiatus between jobs, I had lots of time. In fact, I had time to make 4 different eggs. My first was a little rough, trying to get back into the swing of it:
The second I did not plan in advance but just tried to make it up as I went along. This did not go very well:
The third I am quite happy with. This time, I got my inspiration from a finished egg I found on the internet. I wanted to do a paisley egg. The colours didn't turn out quite like I planned, but I think it still looks pretty good:
Finally, the fourth I made for a friend. I decided to try something different and do a more modern take on the pysanka. I really like the result! I will definitely try something like this again:
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

3-needle bind off

I've been working on my geodesic cardigan recently, and today I finished the body. The next instruction: join the shoulders using a 3-needle bind off. Time to learn something new!

As soon as I heard "3 needle", I was sure it was something complicated. But after a quick google search, I discovered it's actually easy as pie! Here are a couple of good resources I was able to find that taught me everything I needed to know about a 3-needle bind off! The first one is a youtube video by Planet Purl, and the second is a knitty tutorial from Techniques with Theresa for those of you that prefer the written instructions.

I took a couple pictures because I thought the result was really neat. From the right side, it is a very neat and even seam:From the wrong side, a very even ridge is created. Since this is a lace weight yarn, the ridge is barely noticeable. You can see it right where my thumb is: What a great new skill to learn, so easy and yet will improve my knitting in many ways!

On a different note, the pictures show very clearly an issue I've been wondering about. I used two different kettle dyed skeins for this project, and in the first picture, you can clearly see the two different shades. When I look at the cardigan, I can see a very distinct line between the two skeins, at about armpit height. I don't believe that it will be very obvious once it is on, but these pictures confirmed my suspicion that it really is there!

Only the sleeves left to knit. Hopefully it will be done this spring sometime!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

new spring patterns

The 2 feet of snow that just fell (and continues to fall) in Calgary wouldn't signify it, but it is now April! And something lovely happened on April 1st. And no, it wasn't an April Fools prank. It was the release of the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of the twist collective. Now, although I've yet to knit anything from this publication, I have many patterns in my favorites list, and thoroughly enjoy perusing the online magazine whenever it comes out. So I thought I'd post the two patterns that immediately caught my eye and were added to that list - for when I get some knitting time again!

The first is Devonshire by Pam Powers.As you may have guessed by now, I am a huge fan of cardigans, and of lace. This is a nice simple cardigan with lace detail. And when you turn around - surprise!More lace!

The second pattern is a blanket pattern called Sunbreak by Margaret Mills. I love that it is yellow. It is so sunshiney and fun! I'd love to do this in a bulky weight yarn - I think it would be a fast knit and a nice throw for around the house. Or a picnic!

I guess while I'm talking about new patterns, I should bring up the Summer 2011 issue of Knitscene. This is another one of my favorite magazines, and I can always find at least one pattern that I absolutely love. This time, it is the Vergennes Pullover by Amy Christoffers.
Love it. And for once it's not a cardigan, which would be a nice change for me! I was thinking I had the perfect yarn in my stash for it, but it uses a sport weight and mine is more of a lace/fingering weight so I think I'll probably have to ... buy more yarn! I have been doing pretty good this year, I don't think I've purchased anything yet and I'm still working my way through my WIPs, so soon I will allow myself to pick one of these new projects and get some new yarn!

And of course, on a post regarding knitting magazines, I can't forget Interweave Knits. I usually love the spring issue (most items I've made have been from spring issues) but the Spring 2011 issue was underwhelming to me. However, there was one pattern that caught my eye and has apparently been very popular in the raverly community as well - the Ruched Yoke Tee by AnneLena Mattison.Very cute.

As for my WIPs, I am still working on the geodesic cardigan. I'm getting closer - have finished the back and left front, and almost done the right front. After that, it's just sleeves! However, I did notice that the second skein of kettle dyed yarn that I am using for this cardigan has a different hue from the first. So in certain lights, it looks like the bottom of the sweater is a different shade from the top. A bit odd. I'm hoping that you won't notice this once it's on!

Well that's all for now. I can't wait to get my stash back - it is currently on a truck somewhere in the US midwest - and start some more spring projects! I'm thinking purple socks ...

Friday, March 11, 2011

moving = stressful

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, we are in the middle of a really big move from one side of the continent to the other, from one country to another. Needless to say, the stress has been insane. However, I am excited for the amazing things that are going to come from this.

I will hopefully post more soon, when details become more ironed out. Until then, my knitting must wait!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

the warmest mittens on earth

The warmest mittens on earth are ... thrummed mittens. Being that I live in Canada, where "cold" means "really freaking freeze your fingers off cold", I decided that I wanted to knit some really warm mittens. After a little research, I found out that those mittens would be thrummed mittens.

I found a kit at colorsong yarn, which contains 125g of Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Wool, and 50g of Fleece Artist roving. What is roving? Roving is wool that has been combed and clumped, but not yet spun. It looks like this:It is incredibly soft and fluffy! I wish I had taken a picture of the kit, but sadly I did not.

Anyways, it is an interesting way to knit. You take little pieces of the roving, twist them up into little loops, and wrap the loops around your needle at intervals so as to knit the pieces in. The finished product looks like this:
And the inside of the mitten looks like this:So awesome!!! And so warm. It's like putting your hand into a basket full of kittens. I used the pattern from the kit, but patterns for thrummed mittens can be found anywhere, using a quick search on the web or on ravelry.

As you can see from the photos, I'm done one mitten. The second should be finished this weekend. Hopefully, I can wrap this project up as I am currently looking at 20cm of fresh snow on my deck and I'm getting cold just thinking about going outside!!



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Beautiful Baby Blanket

Well, the baby this blanket is for is 2 months old now ... but better late than never, right? This was my first blanket project ever, and I have to say I quite enjoyed it!
The pattern is Petal, by Norah Gaughan, from Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans.There are 36 squares to knit, with an interesting textured pattern. Each square is edged with a simple crochet border. Then, all squares are crocheted together and a border is crocheted around the entire thing.By the end, I have to say I was tired of knitting little squares, but all in all it was a fun project. It was very transportable, and easy to do in small batches.

The yarn is super yummy - a cotton acrylic blend that you can toss in the washing machine and dryer. It ended up very soft and cuddly. I hope the baby will like it! Would you?