Tuesday, March 20, 2012


An awesome word to describe an awesome birthday!

Normally, I celebrate my birthday fairly quietly with my family and a few friends - especially when the numerous lit candles could quite possibly start a bush fire!

Sometimes in life though we get wonderful little surprises on our birthday.  Friday was just such a day, and I want to share!

The day began like every 16th March, but by the end of the day I felt so blessed to have such lovely people in my life.  Even the weather Gods smiled on me and presented a warm sunny day of 18C.  The norm for this time of year is about 4C!

Now to the fun stuff....  Most of us are delighted to get a birthday cake.....so how splendiferous is it to get two!

DQ Blizzard Chocolate Ice Cream Cake (my husband's choice)
And then there was this one from my lovely friends at Cotton-by-Post:

Thank you so much Suzanne and Garnet!

Throughout the day I received so many birthday cards (thank you especially to Barb and Palmer), lots of emails and Facebook wishes.  Two of the email highlights were from my adorable nieces.  How splendiferous is this:

Jaycee's birthday card (she's 6yr old)
Karlia's birthday card (she's 8yr old)

And my goodness, the gifts!  I was awfully spoiled!  Splendiferously spoiled!

Mum and Dad sent me a lovely necklace:

Amethyst necklace

My sister and her family sent me a gift card:

Got them well trained!

My brother and his family sent me a gift card:

Got them well trained too!

My lovely friend Roxanne gave me a gift card:

Thank you Roxy!

Suzanne (Cotton-by-Post) made me this totally awesome knitting bag:

Hand made knitting bag with sheep, wool and needles all over it!

My friend Laurie, bless her heart, bought me a pdf pattern from my "favourites" list in Ravelry DECENT DAYS waistcoat by Ildiko Eros:

Decent Days Waistcoat

And now, what would a birthday be without me buying myself a gift?  Voila:

Namaste Monroe Bag

And then to top it all off, a customer brought me in a huge bag full of.....Shetland fleece!

Shetland fleece

This fleece obviously needs washing, then carding, then spinning.  Unfortunately, it wasn't skirted, so all the crap is in with the good stuff.  But hey, it was a gift!  And I love it :-)

Thank you to everyone for making me feel so loved and special on my splendiferous birthday!  Mwah, mwah to you all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Out with the Old and in with the New

Closets and cabinets that is, not my husband .... although LOL.

January seemed to be renovation month this year.  For a long time now, storage has been an issue in our little hand built 1959 house.  Back in those days, I suppose people didn't have much of anything in abundance to store, so homes were often built with almost no closet, cupboard or cabinet space.

The rooms that were given make-overs were the office, master bedroom and guest room.  OK, OK.....let's call it what it really is.  The guest room shall hence forth be known as the yarn room [tic].

The office and master bedroom shared a common wall and wardrobe.  Now the master bedroom has a walk-in closet!

The back of the walk-in closet is one of the walls in the office.  The cupboards from the yarn room went into the office for stationery and supplies.

The side of the walk-in closet is the hallway wall, that has now become a photo wall.

And the yarn room has been organised into wall cubes

and a cabinet.

I'm contemplating another row of five cubes in the yarn room.  I have to be stash enhancement ready LOL.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend with a Harlot

A Yarn Harlot that is.....none other than the fabulous Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Profuse apologies for the tardiness of this blog post.  Stephanie was invited by Cotton-by-Post to London, Ontario for a book signing and two classes last weekend (20th - 22nd January, 2012).  And I'm so slack that I don't get around to blogging about it until today!


I attended all three days.  Friday night was the seminar and book signing.  I own four of her books and she happily signed them all!  Whoot!!

The 6 hour workshops on Saturday and Sunday were intense, exhausting and totally amazing!  Saturday's workshop was entitled "Knitting for Speed and Efficiency".  Sunday's workshop was entitled "Liking Lace".

I took copious notes at both workshops.  Knitting for Speed and Efficiency introduced the class to "lever knitting".  I wrote a blog post in October, 2011 about this technique here.  I'm doing my best to learn this technique so I can knit comfortably with the yarn tensioned in either my left hand or in my right hand.  Lever knitting tensions yarn in the right hand, but since I'm a "picker", I learned to tension yarn in my left hand.

Liking Lace introduced the class to lace; the history, the traditions, the different kinds of lace, determining good and bad lace yarn, and knitting lace.  Stephanie even passed around some of her beloved stash for us to pet!  She also showed us many of her beautiful shawls.

Now for the photos:
Book signing
Saturday class
Demonstration of Norwegian Purling
Demonstration of Norwegian Purling

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm So Blue

I'm so blue.

Well, no.  Blue is such a nice colour.  I feel more like gray.  Even worse...black.

Yes. I feel black... and red.  Red cos I'm mad too.

I'm sitting here in my little Ontario house, wallowing in significant amounts of self pity.

I'm SICK.  Really awfully sick.  So sick in fact, that instead of being in Australia, I'm still here in Canada.  I had to re-arrange my entire travel itinerary - it took a long time to sort it all out, and it cost me a lot of money.

Tuesday, 6th Dec:  wake up in the night with a sore throat!  Gasp!  I had a cold a month ago.  I had two cold sores three weeks ago.  I had my flu shot two weeks ago! I thought I was good getting all the nasties out of the way before my trip home.

Wednesday, 7th Dec:  bad sore throat, sinus headache, sneezing, runny nose.  I send forth my army of ONE to buy as many cold/flu drugs as possible.  Make lots of lemon and honey tea.  Eat lots of garlic.

Thursday, 8th Dec:  much of day in bed.  In the evening I had to teach a knitting class, so dragged myself there.  Actually felt better by 8:30pm.

Friday, 9th Dec:  not feeling too bad.  Went to work for the day.

Saturday 10th Dec:  oh dear Lord.  So congested, I could hardly breathe.  Terrible sore throat and massive ear ache.  Go to doctor.  Prognosis:  severe throat and ear infections.  Anti-biotics, ear drops, sleeping tablets, cold and flu tablets, lozengers, and $160 later....

Sunday, 11th Dec:  cancel attendance at Chrissie party.  Much of day in bed.

Monday, 12th Dec:  phone doctor with new symptom - blocked ear.  Should be flying to Australia today....NOT!  Swollen ear drum = no flying.  Bugger and many, many other highly decorative superlatives.  Grounded.

Spend three hours on the phone re-organising trip to Australia.  $500 later.....[ugh].  New pills - antihistamine for swelling ear drum.

Tuesday, 13th Dec:  much of day in bed.  Sore throat gone.  Replaced with a nose blow per tissue!  Not to mention two new cold sores!  Will this nightmare ever end?

Wednesday, 14th Dec:  due to fly out of London at 3:40pm.  Hope I'm feeling better.....

Recognise my symptoms.  Commit them to memory.  This is a nasty little virus affecting many, many people in the community.

Now - back to my wallowing.........

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Window Pain

Yes, I know that's not how you spell it!  But in all fairness, our house windows were built the year the wheel was invented.  Well, OK.  Maybe I'm exaggerating a little.  But they were the original windows from our 1959 house.

Maybe in 1959 our windows were top of the line....nah.  I don't think so.  They were horrible double glass windows, that took fingers of steel to open and close.  Whenever the wind blew, or it rained, they rattled and leaked.  In fact, three of the windows were held together with hockey tape!  Yes, they were a pain!

Oh how I will miss those window pains!

Last week we had new windows installed throughout the house.

Hmm....  I'm terrible at grammar.  I never learned grammar at school, and Im really disappointed about it.

Maybe that sentence above should read:

"We had new windows installed throughout the whole house last week"; or
"Last week we installed new windows throughout the whole house".

[Groan]....why is grammar so hard...!

The new windows are awesome.  No rattling.  No leaking.  They slide beautifully.  They lock easily.  I can see through them!  Oh, how I love my new panes.  Here are some before and after pics:

Old dining room window
New dining room window
Old lounge room window (interior)
New lounge room window
Old lounge room window (exterior)
New lounge room window
Old office window
New office window
My husband is a pain too, but he's not see-through :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Katia Triana Lux

I've been resisting funky novelty yarn for.....oh, as long as I can remember.

It's just "not me".

But now that I work one day a week at Cotton-by-Post (north London yarn shop), I walk past the Katia shelf umpty times a day.  And I fondle the scarf that hangs there just as often!  It's a magic scarf - and like a siren's song it lures me close to touch it.

Last week, I broke down and bought three balls of the stuff.  The scarf pattern is free with the yarn purchase.  I decided (a) I should know how to knit it since customers ask, and (b) that my three nieces (aged 6, 7, and 8) should each have one for Christmas.

I'd heard that the scarf was a "quick knit", and after the initial clumsiness and learning curve, it really was!  I figure I could easily knit one in two hours!  Yes.  Two hours!

So I made a little tutorial for how this yarn knits up into a scarf.  The photos aren't brilliant, but I hope you get the idea.

Katia Triana Lux; 100g; 30m (33yd);
95% acrylic, 5% polyester; cold gentle machine wash,
no dryer; no iron;  $13.99

All you need is one ball of yarn per scarf and 7-8mm needles.  I tried different needles, and the one I found easiest to use was my 8mm 16" bamboo circular.  The addi turbo was too slick and slippery for the yarn.  The 7.5mm Aero needles were simply too long and awkward.

16" 8mm bamboo circular needle, and
Katia Triana Lux (colour #33 - lilac and purple with gold flecks)

The next step is to spread the yarn out and to figure out which end is the thinner one and which is the thicker.

Thin end at top; thick end at bottom

Now for the cast on.  Weave your needle into 8 of the top holes from back to front (this is important so you don't twist the stitches).

Weave 8 stitches onto the needle from
back to front (don't worry about the edges)

This next step is a little awkward, but I found that if I held my mouth in just the right way, I could manage it!  Once the 8 stitches are on the needle, turn your work in readiness to knit.  Insert the needle into the first stitch.

Insert needle into first stitch

With your left or right hand (depending on which hand you hold the yarn in), spread out the yarn a little and look for the thin open loop at the top - the next one in line is the one you need.  Yes, it feels clumsy at first, but you'll get the hang of it.  Now knit the stitch as normal.

Put the loop onto the needle and pull it through as if to knit

Knit all 8 stitches.  This gets easier and faster the more you do it.  I also found that the heavier the scarf became (= the more of it I knit and had on my needles), the easier it was to handle).

First row completed

The whole scarf is knit in garter stitch (knit every stitch on every row).

Now if you never listen to anything I ever write, please listen to this.  Whenever you put this scarf down to go off and do something else, please, please, please, don't do as I did.  Put point protectors on both ends of the needle!

Read that last sentence again OUT LOUD.  Twice I put this rotten lovely scarf down, and twice the stitches somehow fell off.  The first time, the ladder ran all the way to the start!  Ugh!  The second time, I was able to rescue the stitches, but lost about 18in worth of knitting.  Ugh!

Point protectors prevent the stitches coming off the needle

When you get to the end of the ball - well, within 20ins or so - cast off in the usual manner.  Easy peasy!

And a final few thoughts.  The yarn twists around as you knit, so frequently, you have to stop, put the knitting down (don't forget the needle point protectors!) and untwist the yarn.  It's a little irritating, but since the project moves along so quickly, it's no biggie.

I actually enjoyed the knit.  A photo of the first of my three scarves is below.  I'm certain Emily will love it!

Emily's scarf.  I used Katia Triana Lux
(colour #32 -burgundy and cherry with gold flecks)
EDIT:  I just finished the second scarf for Jaycee.  It only took me 1.5 hours!  Sweet.  Great for an emergency gift!

Jaycee's scarf.  I used Katia Trinia Lux
(colour #33 - lilac and purple with gold flecks)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Better to Be Born Lucky Than Rich

How often have I heard this idiom.  I've even used it on occasion.  But when I'm saying it, it`s because good things happen to good people.

In truth, I don't believe in "luck".  I know I'm never going to be rich (monetarily speaking), and as for luck....the odds are 50/50.

What I do believe is that "lucky" people, (not those who gamble and win), work hard, persevere, use good judgement, are committed, and meet opportunities head on.  You know..."feel the fear, and do it anyway".  In fact, I would go as far as to say that many successful people create their own opportunities.  There is no luck involved.  Preparation meets opportunity!

Why am I babbling on in this way?  Because I have an exciting announcement!

I am now a part-time employee (just for the winter) at Cotton-by-Post.

I will be working at the store in the yarn department from 10am to 5pm on Fridays during winter.  I will also be there on Friday nights from 5pm to 9pm for Friday Night Knitting.

Some Friday night knitters (Suzanne, Helen, Laurie, Reina
and Alicia)
I`m really quite excited about the new job.  Now I can check another dream off my list!

And, in a related matter, on Sunday I was invited by Suzanne and Garnet (Cotton-by-Post owners) to accompany them to the Diamond Yarn Open House in Toronto!

Diamond Yarn, established in 1963, is the largest importer and wholesale distributor of hand knitting yarn in Canada with warehouses in both Toronto and Montreal.

WHOA!  You guys think Romni Wools is the `mother ship`....it`s like a scout ship compared to Diamond Yarn.  But of course, Diamond Yarn is only open to wholesalers, not the general public.

Bloody lucky, aren't I?  [laughing out loud!]

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cable Swatching

You might remember my post yesterday (can be found here) where I wrote that I was swatching a cable pattern for the Rustic Jacket waist band.

In that post, I stated that after much deliberation (in my cold-induced drugged out state) that I had settled on a viking cable from an Elsebeth Lavold sweater pattern.  Well, after I knit the swatch and blocked it, I wasn't in love with it.  Moreover, it was about an inch too wide.

So I knit two more swatches; one in error because it seems that when I'm sick, my knitting brain goes on hiatus too!

Below is a photo of the cable pattern I have chosen.

Alice Starmore; Interlaced Braid Cable
At present I'm knitting the bottom half of Issara (a bulky weight coat).  The bottom portion is all stockinette and rather boring.

So now, I can alternate between the two projects!

PS.  Still sick, but feeling a little better :-)