Thursday, October 30, 2008

Your Brain

This is your brain.


This is your brain on Cat Bordhi.

brain on Cat Bordhi

The marvelous, mysterious Mobius Cowl in Mountain Colors Twizzle, Wild Raspberry colourway.

I finished off this scarf a couple of days ago. I am hoping that the snowstorm that followed within hours was sheer coincidence.

Irish Hiking Scarf

This is a seriously long scarf.

knitting 011

Modified "Irish Hiking Scarf", inspired by the Rebecca 23 scarf with hood. In Schachenmayr nomotta Alpaka, many many balls, and held double throughout. It's about 5 pounds of scarf. No kidding.

With hood sewn up:

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(I'm Finnish by heritage... I've never really seen it in myself until I took this photo. Something about those Baltic blue eyes.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Keep It Simple

I refuse out of sheer, purposeless stubbornness principle to turn on central heating until at least November. Given that fact and the brutal fall snow storm we endured last night, it was only 16 degrees in the house this morning. DH and the girls didn't say anything... perhaps they were conserving their strength.

Given that, and the fact that I apparently can't sew anything more challenging than a button on over the last couple of days, led to some practical, fun sewing. Meet a small family of rice heating pads, complete with cushy colourful flannel cases. I'll keep a couple for me and hubby and give the SD's one each to warm their beds at night.

Rice Bags 1

A quick glance out the window to confirm why these are so welcome:

Sewing Snow

On the positive side, the cool house is inspiring our kitties to try to get along. There's only so much room in front of the fireplace, and they set aside their differences to roast their noggins together for a while.

Sisterly Love 001

Mina, the tuxedo cat, regards Ginger with much suspicion. Rightfully so, as Ginger, the young upstart, is of a tender young age where ambushes are good fun. Mina, a somber old senior citizen of a feline, begs to differ.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

As You Sew, So Shall You Rip

I'm in the home stretch on Abby's quilt. The mind-bogglingly tedious yet terrifying free-motion machine quilting is finished, and all I have to do is sew the four border and four corner pieces to the main quilt body. It's not quite as easy as it sounds, as I'm quilting-as-I-go, which means that there's two seams to be sewn for each piece to be attached.

Yesterday I carefully pinned a long side border piece to the main body. It's a large quilt and hard to handle, but I eventually got it all pinned down smoothly. I sat back for a minute for a quick quality check before I began sewing, and was glad I did- somehow I had pinned the piece on upside-down. Crud. What a lot of work gone to waste. I unpinned it and left it alone in disgust overnight.

Today I came back in to the sewing room, eager to re-do what I had to undo last night. Carefully making sure the pieces weren't upside down, I re-pinned the border to the body and did another quality check. Yup. Looked good. I sewed the straight seam, fighting against the bulk of the quilt and feeding it through the machine. A quick iron, and then another round of fighting, this time to sew the decorative zig-zag stitch that holds the "grout" in place. Full of pride, I ironed the top out and then flipped it around to admire the other side.

And realized I just sewed that damned border on backwards.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Creativ Festival (Day 2)

Today wasn't nearly as intimidating; we had a good feel for what was there, and we had made our purchases (for the most part!) so we didn't have to worry about the goodies being picked clean. One thing we both wanted to do was to have some hands-on spinning experience, so Gemini Fibers was our first stop of the day.

You could tell that the staff were there out of a sincere love of what they did. As soon as Kate and I betrayed the slightest interest, I had a spindle in my hand before I could say "sheep!", and Kate was seated at a lovely wheel for some drafting lessons. The two Judy's were extremely friendly and helpful, and fueled our burgeoning interest in learning to spin.

Gemini Fibers Booth

Gemini Fibres booth

I caught Linda MacPhee's Slinky fashion show after that. I've always loved the drape and look of slinky, and Linda's patterns make it quick, easy and lovely to sew. Seeing great potential in the swing and drape of the fabric, I fell down hard in her booth and got several meters of fabric and a couple of patterns.


The gorgeous red fabric turned into this shirt the next day... it was like magic. I, who am so afraid of sewing garments (and making mistakes!) turned out this classy little number in two hours. (Looks much more appealing on. Just ask my husband!)


I can see a lot of slinky in my future.

The Oakville Spinners and Weavers Guild had a gorgeous tapestry that was being hand-woven at the festival. It was amazing to watch. The woman working on it, Ixchel Suarez, is quite a famed textile artist in her own right, and had some amazing work displayed there. I also learned about the World of Threads Festival at this booth, which looks like an amazing show.

Oakville Weavers and Spinners Guild Booth

(Speaking of amazing shows- don't forget the Ottawa Valley Weaver's and Spinners Guild exhibition and sale next weekend (Oct 31-Nov 2). This is always a treat for the fibre inclined.)

Rounding out our amazing weekend at the Creativ Festival was the Vogue gala dinner and fashion show. We sat with some engaging women, had a nice dinner, and got all inspired again when we watched the latest Vogue/Butterick/McCalls patterns sewn up and strutting the runway.

It was a grand weekend; I'm so glad I went. I don't know if I'll make a point of attending annually, but what a fabulous treat this was.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Creativ Festival (Day 1)

Kate and I got back Sunday from Toronto's Creativ Festival; the first time I'd had a chance to attend since my first time in 1997 (back when it was still the CSNF.) It's a bit of a pricey proposition, after transportation, hotel and event tickets are summed, but after all was said and done, I reckon it worth every penny.

We got there on Friday about noon, and were immediately overwhelmed by the size and variety of exhibitors. We walked around in a daze, until we ran into Joe. His friendly patter brought us into his booth to see what was going on.


Joe is the husband of Jonelle Raffino, the creative force behind SWTC, the alt fiber yarn maker. Joe gets thrown to the wolves at festivals all over North America at the SWTC booth, and encouraged us to touch and stroke the new offerings (have you seen Therapi??? It's 30% Jade. I kid you not.) Nice guy. Nice yarn.

We took a break mid-afternoon, completely overwhelmed. A sit and knit, a cup of tea, and I for one felt ready to go back in.

There were free workshops going on all day long in different venues on different topics. We attended one on garment embellishments- fairly low on information but long on beautiful examples. The workshop on "Knitting Without Patterns" turned out to be inspirational gold... Nina opened our eyes and made us feel much more confident with ad-libbing our own patterns. Mistakes can turn into design features, and nothing needs to be made as written. What a startling yet obvious truth.

I had a little bit of serendipity at Mary's Yarns. A couple of years ago I ran into some simply divine yarn at a shop in L.A.... I don't know what I was thinking when I failed to come back with a single skein. They had a small selection at Mary's booth... I scooped up a single perfect skein as a momento of both L.A. and the festival. This will be something luscious... I'm thinking a cowl.

Mountain Colors "Twizzle", 85% merino/15 % silk in Wild Raspberry.

I picked up a nice ball of bamboo/nylon sock yarn at the Mary Maxim booth.


The surprise purchase of the day was yarn for a cardigan. Kate and I both bought four balls of this, because we fell in love with this cardigan after trying it on at the Adirondack Yarns booth. It's a surprise purchase because it's an acrylic yarn. I've always considered myself above acrylic yarn (preferring natural fibers) but the beauty and softness of this yarn could not be denied.


I had a comprehensive serger lesson at the Baby Lock booth; I made the error of asking one of the reps there "what's the point of having a serger?" He took 45 minutes and 15 sewing samples to deliver his answer, and thoroughly convinced me. I'm not sure how I ever got along without one now! :)

Day Two will be a separate post, lest this one become too long.

Last Gasp of the Garden

It's harvest time, more or less, and I have to say I'm pleased with the overall performance of my little square-foot garden. This being the first year, there's definitely tweaks and changes I'll make, but overall, I got good veggie bang for the buck.



Zucchini. Not overly fond of the stuff to begin with, and the single seed I planted used up so much real-estate and gave me so many squashes that I was filled with despair. Not a bad outcome for someone who actually likes the stuff, granted. Don't ask me why I planted it.

Marigolds. Planted as a pest deterrent, these cheerful blooms often crowded out the actual veggies they were intended to protect.

Peppers: Three plants, two tiny little peppers all season, only one of which was edible. Not worth the effort, IMHO.

Strawberries: I've had both climbing and alpine strawberries going for two years now. While I enjoyed the berries, this summer was so very wet that the majority molded on the vines. As they're good for two good bearing years anyhow, I pulled 'em up.


Garlic: All that real-estate cleared up by removing the strawberries is now turned over to two varieties, Siberian and Fireball. If everything goes well, I'll be self-sufficient next year as far as the stinking rose goes.


Beans: I loved the taste of the fresh and dried-on-the-vine beans. More, please!


Peas: Despite the weird rust that claimed these late in the season, we enjoyed many delicious sugar-snap peas.

Carrots: A sweet heritage seed, these carrots were tasty.

Kale/Chard: What's not to love about these hardy, delicious, healthy greens???



PS: Spot the kitteh!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Will Surprise No-one.

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Pure Nerd

96 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 43% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fun Stuff in the Mail

It was a fun mail day. Aside from my confirmation letter from the college I will be attending in January, I received these:


These are two day-passes to the Creativ Festival in Toronto (formerly the CSNF). This can only mean one thing: ROAD TRIP!!!

Kate and I have train tickets booked, hotel arranged, and tickets in hand for next weekend's all-you-can-handle fibre festival. I haven't attended for years, and am very much looking forward to the festival itself, and a road trip with a dear friend who I don't see nearly enough of.

I got a retirement card in the mail today as well. Velda, who has noted my pouting and stomping about with regards to the lack of ceremony when I left work, has taken matters into her own hands and sent a thoughtful card.


She also is an enabler extraordinaire. One of the reasons I'm rejoicing in my new freedom is that I now have greater control over what I look like. Civilian clothes all the time, painted nails, hair dyed unnatural colours... it's all available to me now. I even confessed to her that I was thinking of getting my nose pierced; I like the look, and it is now lawful for me to do so. Her reply:


Do ya think she's trying to tell me something? :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

What's On the Needles?

With all the whining I've been doing about work and whatnot, I bet you forgot that this is supposed to be a knitblog. I've been woefully inept at including fabric-y content, let alone actually knitting; however, there are a few things on the needles right now.

These are socks I cast on for the trip to Edmonton; I needed something on DPN's so I could knit on the plane. This is my first project using the Harmony laminated birch needles, and I have to say I'm impressed. With a bit of use these needles get glossier and very slick; a pleasure to knit with.


I'm still plugging away at the two socks on one circular needle. I have come to the conclusion that a longer cable would make life so much easier.


I'm half-way between the beginning of the arm steek lines and the neck shaping on the Kauni Damask cardigan. I really have to be in the mood to knit on this one... that's why it's taking crazy-long.



I think I've abandoned the tank-top of Berroco Suede Deluxe- even after strenuous blocking it's about an inch too short width-wise. I could probably compensate somewhat by increasing the width of the back piece. So, do I complete the tank-top, risking the possibility that it will be completely unwearable, or do I plug away on the back, just for the thrill of actually completing a garment and just in case it actually fits???


I am itching to begin a new alpaca scarf/hood for myself. I yearn for the charmingly-named 23 Scarf With Hood (Ravelry link) from Rebecca, but can't see myself coughing up the Euros to buy a copy of the magazine. I think I can also do something lovely with the Irish Hiking Scarf pattern, and then sew the hood in as per the Rebecca pattern. I have 1000 yards of some lovely grey alpaca bought during one of Wool-Tyme's warehouse sales... it's DK weight but I was thinking of holding two strands together for extra warmth. Whatever I do, it had best be started soon... scarf weather is nearly upon us!