Thursday, 25 June 2009

Demy'steek'fying the steek.

Kiki-Mariko (aka Clickety-click) is all done!

Yesterday my good friend JennyP came over to witness the process. I had already finished the knitting, and the felting. For the record, this rug felted better than anything I have ever felted before. I am/was very happy with it!

I grabbed our sharpest scissors, and prepared myself to steek!

Right about here, I was thinking "I hope I don't make a misteek!"
Then, I snipped away!
TA-DA! Rug!
I have the same problem as most - ruffly, flared ends. I might address this, I might leave it. As yet undecided.
This is just about the most perfect project to learn to steek on. If you eff it up, it's not a big deal. Just trim a bit more. You're not losing a whole (expensive, lengthy) sweater. Using Cascade 220 doubled worked pretty well. It's certainly not a large rug. I'd call it a scatter mat more than even a throw rug - but it cost less than $50, and provided a great deal of entertainment. Oh, and learning, there was learning in there too.
Great project. I would totally do it again. In less . . . riotous colours.

Friday, 19 June 2009

In bloom!

Some of them are still making promises . . .

Some of them are still considering it . . .
And some have made good on their promises!


I should have KNOWN there was a reason she was sitting so quietly at my feet for so long.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


My new Project

With which I am well pleased.

New skills learned:
  • knitting left handed (perhaps Continental? I do not know)
  • 2 handed stranded fair isle
  • when it's all done . . . STEEKING!
In fact, the steek is the whole reason for the knit. Yeah, yeah, the rug is nice and squishy and I'm sure it'll be great -- but . . the steek! THE STEEK!

I'm so excited, I can't wait to be done.

Kiki-Mariko rug from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines
Yarns: Cascade 220, held double.
Needle: 10mm.


Sunday, 14 June 2009


Yesterday was world-wide knit in public day. Every year, yarnies all over the world gather to knit en mass in the streets, parks, malls . . . wherever! 2 years ago, I celebrated WWKIP day with 2 friends on the TTC-along in Toronto. We used the TTC (transit system in Toronto) to travel to a number of yarn shops, knitting all the way. Last year, I celebrated with swollen feet, ankles, and a wee baby on board. I went nowhere, I did nothing. I was saddened. This year, Mr. Wonderful took Sweet Pea to Nana's, in order to free me up for . . . .
The Shall We Knit WWKIP Extravaganza!

It was awesome! I wish I could show you, but in a moment of sheer excitement, I left the camera at home.
I did take pictures when I got home though . . not quite the same, but still.

To begin with, I was in a weird place. I had no WIP's, and no idea what to bring along. I mean, there's the lace shawl, but lace is not conducive to a KIP most of the time - add to that the fact that this lace is/was in time out for extreme naughtiness, and you can surely understand that I didn't want to bring it. I wasn't feeling the love. Not for anything new, not for the lace shawl. What's a knitter to do?


This is what I brought:

Here's a better view:

I'll wait while you count.

Yes, that's right. 10 balls of yarn, 2 patterns, and 2 pattern books. The pink on the left? That's the ill-behaved lace. I won't even embarrass myself by admitting to how many sets of needles I brought along.

Now, guess how much knitting I got done.
If you guessed none, you're right! I did get out the lace. I worked a row, I tinked it. I worked the same row, I tinked it. Over and over. Finally, I put it away.
The event was a blast nonetheless. There was sock blank painting, a timed contest with 6 foot needles, and $1960+ raised for breast cancer research! Best of all, I didn't have to chase my wee girl around - I got to relax. I did A Lot of zoning out.

After knitting, we went for a little family excursion to Family & Co. This place is really a treat. I mean, really! If you live in Ontario, and you haven't been - you really should go. How can you resist a place that does this for a bag?

Hint: when they say 'do you want it wrapped up?' Say YES!! (I didn't know that until yesterday)

Inside the bag? TOY GOODNESS! Sweet Pea's Nana picked her up a few of her favourites.

From left to right - blue dragon finger puppet, Squeaky clicking girl, black pony finger puppet.

This one, though, was so well-liked by the wee lass that she wouldn't even allow it be placed in the bag:
It's a bath toy. Sometimes I fear the child is addled. She actually fell asleep with this silly bath toy in her tiny hands. Aw.

So, I like to think we all had a pretty great day yesterday.

Today, I cast on for something new. I'm feeling really happy about it. More on that later.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The big reveal! Or: Mavis Bacon Teaches Typing.

Let me begin with a bit of a back story.
When I was 16 or 17, I got my first real job. I worked at a chain fabric store, well-known around these parts. I was pretty pleased to have the job - I wasn't slingin' fries, or selling clothes - and I did sew, so it was a decent fit.
I made myself a dress from fabric and a pattern the store I worked at carried. It always got me lots of compliments. One day the store manager told me she'd like me to make a sample of this dress for the store. I was thrilled, charmed, filled with excitement! The fabric was selected - an expensive fabric I wouldn't have dreamed of picking out on my own - but since the store was paying for the supplies, it was their choice. Things were bagged up and sent home with me. I completed the dress in a timely fashion, to the best of my abilities. I even ripped things out that weren't quite right, and went to extreme lengths to make the dress look polished and well-made.
I brought the dress in to the store, glowing with pride. The women I worked with fussed over it and told me how lovely it was. I was feeling very good about the whole thing, so I was a little confused when (weeks later) the dress still wasn't on display in the store.
Eventually the store manager called me in to her office to discuss the dress. She told me it was so poorly made that she couldn't dream of displaying it in the store, that no one would ever want to make, let alone wear something that looked like that! She told me I would have to pay for the supplies and get 'that thing' out of the store. Being young, and being cowed, I did. The 'problem' with the dress? At the top of the zipper, the 2 sides weren't identical. One side was 3mm higher than the other side. I had ripped and re-sewn it over and over, but it never came out right.
My confidence was terrifically shaken. In fact, I still rarely wear what I sew. And the expensive dress, I think I wore it twice and then got rid of it.

So when I was asked to make a store sample of this pattern for Shall We Knit? I was both pumped, and terrified. I look at the finished object and worry. I know it's adorable. I know I did a great job with the details. But still . . . I see spots where the stuffing is showing, or where one ply of a stitch escaped. And I worry. Of course, if I were forced to keep this one, that might not be so bad . . .

Reveal in

Mavis Bacon Teaches Typing (Ravelry project link)
Yarn: Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK. Not exactly a cheap yarn - I do have to say, Sweet Pea's Sally is made from it, and it withstands a beating! While it suggests a handwashing, I've thrown it in the machine on more than one occasion, and Sally still looks like new. And of course, pilling and 'fuzzing' is highly unlikely in a cotton. I highly endorse this yarn, knit at a tight gauge, for stuffies.
Pattern: Rosie Pig from the Organic Cotton Kids Collection. Really sweet book, with some perfectly lovely patterns in it. Most notably, the collection of barnyard animals. Adorable.

I am a firm believer that when making toys, it's the finishing details that make or break your project. When I first gave Rosie her eyes, she looked like this:

And I just didn't like it. She lacked personality. So I did a little soft sculpting, and made her eyes look like this:
Much better. Still not perfect though. When I added her eyebrows . . . .

Magic. There's the personality.


Okay, so I made a crap-tonne of baby hats, and then I gave 5 away. Now I'm trying to give the rest away, but the hospital won't answer my request for info re: HOW to donate the hats.
That, and the repetition of the same itty hats over and over . . . turned my creative brain to mush.

Thankfully, my creative brain was not required for the knitting I had to get done.
Spotty Dotty Cardi!

Complete and in all the glory it could muster. I love this little sweater. Love it! To the point that if I hear it's not used, I will likely cry. Seriously.
Pattern: Guro's Twinkle Vintage Baby Cardi Only available on Ravelry.
Yarn: To die for! Handmaiden Casbah sock. Merino wool, cashmere, nylon. Yummy. I especially love(d) the depth of colour in this yarn. It was a real pleasure to work with.
Button treatment: the pattern calls for eyelets, and a ribbon to be threaded right around the neck. I didn't love this. I tried for button holes, but the whole thing looked . . . off. I took out the button holes. I tried crocheting on button loops. Still looked wrong. I decided on these button tabs after agonizing for a few days. I think they look perfect! Like they were meant to be there.
There were 2 reasons this sweater had to be completed quickly. 1) the shower was rapidly approaching, 2) The top secret knitting project I mentioned last post.

(Here's a little teaser, just in case you haven't figured it out yet.)

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Promises, promises

I swear to Pete it's not that nothing is happening. It's not that I'm overly busy this time either . . . I'm just trying to spend every minute I can with Sweet Pea before I go back to work. On July 7. The day after her first birthday.

I took some quick snaps yesterday while Sweet Pea and I were tooling around the yard exploring. Her favourite thing right now is the maple keys, which have just fallen off the trees in the yard. She's so entranced by them.
Anyhow, while she contemplated the mystery of the maple key, I noted that the peonies are making promises

Promises I hope they keep!
The clematis is in on the promises too.

The Iris . . . Irises? Irises have bloomed.

I think I need to plant more of these. They are lovely!

And the Bleeding Heart is already beginning to fade.

I love the green that surrounds us this time of year. Before the grass has had the opportunity to yellow. Before drought makes everything brown and crisp. Everything is so soft and lush right now.

I also had the opportunity to photograph this:

Which will be made up into . . . . a mystery project! Actually 2. Stayed tuned for info!!