Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

What am I dressed as today? A turtle, of course!

I have dressed up as a turtle every Halloween since 1999. Why, you ask? Are you sitting in a comfy chair? Ready for a silly story? Good. Here it goes.

I was in my first year in university and my best friend, who was in Grade 12, came up to visit me for Halloween. She wanted to pick up some decorations and a costume at Value Village and, although I already had my strawberry costume, I went along with her.

While Courtney was off looking at festive trinkets, I was perusing the kids Halloween costumes. I found this adorable turtle costume marked "Ages 3-5" and picked it out for a closer look. It was meant to cover a child head to toe. I studied the costume for a moment and thought, "Hey! That would fit my tiny frame. I wonder what it would look like?" I didn't bother to remove the hanger from the costume, nor did I take off the cardboard label that covered the costume like a sandwich board. I slipped it over my head and squeezed into it. I walked over to a mirror to take a look at myself in the turtle suit. "Cute," I thought.

I strolled back over to the rack where I found the costume. I tried to pull it back over my head. Uh oh. It wouldn't budge. I started to panic. I ran over to Courtney. I told her I was stuck in this costume meant for toddlers. She laughed. I was not as amused. I asked her to help me pull the costume off, but she couldn't get it to budge either. I looked at price tag and it read $14.99. Shit. $14.99 is a lot of money for a student. Do you know how many boxes of Kraft Dinner $14.99 could buy? But I had to buy it. I couldn't take it off without destroying it.

You know where this is going, don't you? I walked up to the counter and told the cashier I had to buy the costume that I was wearing. She scanned it. I paid. When we got back to my dorm room, Courtney broke the plastic hanger in two and retrieved the pieces while I cut the cardboard label off the costume. Only then, could I pull the turtle suit back up over my head.

And that's why I've worn this costume for 8 years. I need to get my money's worth.

Of course, this story is only to distract you from the fact that I haven't finished my Socktoberfest socks. I guess I still could finish the second sock today, but, chances are, it'll have to wait until early November.

This is the Hedgerow sock pattern knit up with Oceanwind Knits Merino yarn in sweetgrass. I really like these socks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another FO: Urchin

First off, thank you so much for all of your comments on the cabled jumper (which I've taken to calling the "jumper cable" because it amuses me).

Just like most of North America, it has been unseasonably warm in Nova Scotia. However, I know the cold weather is just around the corner. And when those frigid temperatures wash over us, I will need a hat (remember how I had to sacrifice the Kittyville Hat?). That's why I picked up that skein of Manos del Uruguay wool when Annie and I visited Gaspereau Valley Fibres last weekend. I present to you one of the quickest knits I've ever completed.

Pattern: Urchin by Ysolda Teague
Source: knitty

Materials: less than one skein of Manos del Uruaguay 100 per cent wool in Natural
Needles: US 11/9 mm straight needles
Started: October 22, 2007
Finished: October 23, 2007

Modifications: I had to increase the needle size in order to get gauge and I'm still not sure my gauge was accurate. I knit the largest size and while my head isn't anywhere near large, the hat fits very well.

Verdict: Yummy. I love the way garter stitch looks with a slubby yarn like Manos.

And I think it's really neat that the hat looks like a sand dollar when it's laid flat (and, yes, that's Moustache's tail in the upper right corner).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

FO: Cabled jumper!

The straps were a lot easier and less tedious than I thought. Last night, after our trip to the Annapolis Valley, I finished sewing on the straps and the buttons. My Dad was kind enough to take some photos of the finished cable jumper this afternoon!

Pattern: DROPS Dress with shoulder straps
Source: Garnstudio

Materials: 4 skeins of Galway Irish Worsted Wool in colour #1080
Needles: US 8/5 mm and US 6/4 mm bamboo circs
Started: September 2007
Finished: October 2007

Modifications: Instead of knitting the cabled portion of the dress 45 cm long, I knit it about 55 cm long. I also used a different yarn than the pattern called for.

The buttons, as usual, are from my Gramie's stash. I had picked out buttons in three different sizes and brought them home to try out. The smallest ones seemed to fit best.

Verdict: I am SO in love with this jumper. It is the nicest thing I've knit yet. I think this is going to be my go-to outfit for the winter. It's so warm and very comfortable. It's a big winner.

Yay! I am a happy gal!

And now we're yarn-comatose

Annie and I had a wonderful trip to the Annapolis Valley yesterday. We had a great lunch, visited a nice bookstore, picked up some fresh produce and, of course, went yarn shopping.

Annie pets the black sheep at Gaspereau Valley Fibres while the antisocial alpaca looks on.

I had been to GVF before, but I didn't spend nearly enough time there the first time. I was in Wolfville on business and my meetings ended at 3: 30 p.m. The yarn store closed at 4 p.m., so I rushed over there, quickly scanned the shelves and picked up some sock yarn. This time, we had plenty of time to touch, squeeze, sniff and caress all the yarn we wanted.

We are happy shoppers!

After walking around the store several times, hemming and hawing, we each settled on our purchases. Annie walked away with a skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool and I picked up a skein of Manos del Uruguay wool (40 per cent off!!!)

and a couple of cones of Casco Bay cotton worsted to make matchy-matchy dishcloths for my kitchen.

It was a happy day.

Friday, October 19, 2007

And now the end is near

The cabled jumper is almost finished! I bound off the body this morning and it fits like a dream. It's looking like this is going to be my favourite knit garment yet!

Sorry for the fuzzy photo. But doesn't it look spectacular? I am so impressed with myself. And I love the way the cables flow into the ribbing. It's so neat.

I've started knitting the straps. I can already foresee they're going to be the most tedious part of knitting this jumper. At approx. 40 cm each, I think I'll be knitting straps for a while . . .

In other news, I've set up an etsy shop. I need to go to my local framing shop and find out where I can get prints done locally, and then I'll put 'em up for sale in the shop. It's kind of scary, but really exciting.

Tomorrow blogless Annie and I are off to Gaspereau Valley Fibres for a yarn pilgrimage. Stay tuned for photos of our adventure.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Travel knitting

I've been doing quite a bit of travel knitting lately. On the weekend, Jesse and I drove to Carleton for a bonfire by the lake. I knit while Jesse drove there and then I knit by the fire until it was so dark that the giant fire wasn't bright enough for me to see my needles.

Yesterday, we went to Halifax and I brought both of my projects with us. I knit in the car, I knit in the hospital waiting room and I knit in the doctor's office. I got a lot of knitting done.

The cabled jumper is almost done. I am so excited to see the finished product! I tried it on over the weekend and it fits so well. Just a few more centimetres and the body will be complete. Then, there's just the straps left to knit. I already have cute buttons from Gramie's stash ready for this dress.

And since the dress is a little too unwieldy to carry around, I also have socks to knit while I travel. This is my Socktoberfest sock. Oceanwind knits merino + Hedgerow sock pattern = love. Moustache is also in love with this sock. I think his love affair started when he attacked the hank of sock yarn. He must be so attracted to the yarn since the colour is, as Steph pointed out, a perfect match with his eye colour. Now, he's determined to steal this sock away from me and keep it with his little collection of toys. Little does he know, I am bigger than him and will be victorious in the sock fight.

You might be wondering why I've been sitting in hospital waiting rooms and doctor's offices. Well, a few months ago Jesse had a lump removed from his neck. It turned out to be a tumor and now we know that it was cancerous. We haven't been telling too many people about this, but since he'll be starting treatments soon, it will become apparent that he's a cancer patient. He's been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and will be starting chemotherapy Nov. 1. The good news is the cancer is in stage 1A, so we caught it as early as possible. He doesn't have cancer anywhere else in his body, so the chemotherapy will just be to kill off anything that was left in his neck when the tumor was removed. Chances are, he'll have the chemotherapy and will be cured, which is very encouraging. He's also feeling fine (as am I) and we're very optimistic about everything.

I'll be doing a lot more travel knitting in the near future as he'll be getting all of his treatments in Halifax. Of course, I'll be doing most of the driving, so I guess I'll be doing more "waiting room knitting" than travel knitting. In order to make that "waiting room knitting" more pleasurable, I went out and bought myself a gift.

Addi Turbos. My first pair. It's all very thrilling. The next pair of socks on my needles will be knit using the magic loop method.

Also, thanks for voting on the "Amber" paintings. Right now it's a tie between the light and dark backgrounds!

Friday, October 12, 2007

More snowpeople

A few days ago, I sat down and painted four more snowpeople.

Meet Tim:

Shannon and Courtney:


and Amber:

and Amber again:

I wasn't happy with my first rendition of Amber, so I painted a second. Now I don't know which one I like better. Jesse's original colour scheme had a dark grey background (like the second Amber) but I didn't like the way the painting came out all splotchy. But I'm not sure whether I like the less splotchy lighter background either. Hmmmm. Time to have a vote!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

One thing that's nice about living in Yarmouth is that we're close to both of our families. Today, we get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family at lunchtime and Jesse's family at dinnertime. I only baked one apple pie, so I hope to be able to serve half to each family. We'll see how that works out . . .

Happy Thanksgiving/Bonne action de grĂ¢ce!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Finally! A knitting update!

In between the sewing and painting (thanks for the lovely comments on the paintings, by the way. I just switched to Haloscan commenting and I'm still working out the bugs, which is why I haven't replied to you personally yet. I'm now seriously considering making a whole bunch of snowpeople paintings and opening an etsy shop. It's all very scary, though.), there has been some knitting. I've been diligently working away at this cuterrific jumper from Garnstudio.

And I picked up some sock yarn at Tangled Skeins when I was recently in the Halifax area. I just couldn't leave it there. It's Oceanwind Knits merino in sweetgrass and will become my Socktoberfest socks. As soon as I put it down to take some photos, Moustache came running and started eyeing it up.

Then came the attack!*

I swear, this kitty is the biggest yarn snob. If you put a skein of acrylic yarn in front of him, he won't even look at it. He also passes up cotton. He might take a second glance at 100 per cent wool, but if there's merino, alpaca or cashmere near, he attacks it.

*no yarn was harmed in the making of this blog post.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Jesse had drawn a series of snowpeople on the computer a while ago. I decided to recreate four of them in watercolour and give them to him for his birthday.

I used to paint a lot when I was younger and haven't done it in a long time. It's surprising how easily it came back to me. Jesse was so excited when he saw my paintings -- he said he always envisioned them in watercolour (which I didn't know). Now he's bugging me to make more and sell them on etsy. I dunno -- what do you think?