Monday, March 31, 2008

Karlia's Koifish Socks

I still feel like death warmed up - sore throat is still sore despite bombarding it with chicken soup and garlic. My sinuses are blocked and my muscles hurt - classic flu symptoms [blah...]. I'm popping the pills, but as we all know, a virus is a virus is a virus and the pills only help ease the symptoms.

Despite the flu, it's hard to keep a good gal down, and if you think a flu would stop me from blogging and blazing a trail in Ravelry, you don't know me very well [laughing].

My adorable niece, Karlia, will be celebrating her birthday in June when she'll turn 5 yrs old. So I am, of course, knitting for her. I have two projects on needles for her birthday - Diagonal Lace Scarf knit in Shepherd Color 4 Me variegated yarn; and Koi Socks from the Koi Collection knit in Junghans Wolle Junghans Freizeit Bamboo - also a variegated. Karlia looks absolutely beautiful in turquoise/aqua and green [compliments her beautiful hair and eyes].

The socks are very patterned and I adapted the Koi Fingerless Gloves pattern to suit a child's sock. I cast on 48 stitches for this one because Karlia is very tall and has a 20cm long [can you believe it!] foot. My foot is only 23cm long and I'm a size 7 (average).

Here's where I'm up to with the Koifish socks. I'm using the Magic Loop Technique here (one long circular needle):

And here's the Diagonal Lace Scarf:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bewdy Bonza Felted Bag

Although feeling somewhat miserable today (cold sore AND sore throat) (playing the pity card here as hard as I can!) I did finished my Betta Bonza Felted Bag, and I don't mind saying that it is bloody brilliant!

I love, love LOVE it and I know my Mum will too!

I heavily modified Angela's Fabulous Felted Bag - not only the number of stitches, the type of yarn, and the needle size, but also the number of rows and gauge.

I designed and knitted a tag for the bag with "Mum" written on both sides. If you recall, this is a Mother's Day gift. I designed the tag using Microsoft Excel [a spreadsheet program] and knit it using the stranding method of knitting [similar to fair isle].

The bag was 27ins tall and 47ins around when I'd finished knitting it. The tag was 7.75ins long and 4.75ins wide when I finished knitting and sewing it up.

I put both items in a pillow case and put a rubber band around to keep it closed. Then into a hot wash with two towels.

Just 10mins later, the bag was beautifully felted to a size of 15ins tall and 38ins around. I let the tag wash for a further 5mins before pulling it out. It's finished size was 5.5ins long and 3ins wide.

I'm absolutely delighted with the finished product.

If you're interested in the pattern, send me an email and I'll send it to you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Update to Betta Bonza Felted Bag

May days of knitting are a thing of the past [boo hoo]! I can only knit at night-time now since our business season kicked off again on 1st March. And although there are not many bodies wandering around the greenhouses just yet, there are huge amounts of preparatory work to be done.

I sent my niece's Tickled Pink Tootsies off to her yesterday. Her birthday is on 12th April, so the package should arrive in Australia in plenty of time.

Oh, and there was a wonderful surprise in the post yesterday! My new wooden (birch) yarn swift arrived from the USA! I ordered it on-line [a delayed birthday pressie from myself to myself!]. Tonight I am going to set it up and wind my first skein into a ball [hopefully without a gazillion tangles as per usual!]

My Bonza Felted Bag (mark II) is going well. I really like the colours. It is knitting up really fast despite having 186 stitches on the 6mm circular (that incidentally is only 24ins and waaaaay too short!).

Here's the latest pic:

Should get this finished in plenty of time for Mothers Day - as long as I don't bugger it up! [lol]

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Betta Bonza Felted Bag

Last week I bought some great felting yarn from Michaels Craft Store - Patons Classic Merino Wool. I'm determined to make a successful Bonza Felted Bag....even if I have to knit until my fingers bleed!

The original pattern was from Redcorset Designs and called Angela's Fabulous Felted Bag. It is knit from chunky yarn (Cascade) at 3.5sts and 4 rows to an inch in stockinette on an 8mm needle.

Patons Classic Merino is a worsted weight yarn, so I had to adjust the pattern in terms of:
  • cast on stitches;
  • rows required for the bottom of the bag;
  • number of stitches picked up on the sides;
  • number of rows to be knit to the handles; and
  • needle size.
Following lengthy calculations on what seemed like the tiniest piece of paper known to man, I was ready to start!

I cast on 28 stitches and knit 130 rows in garter stitch. Then I picked up 65 stitches along both long sides, and 28 at the two short sides for a total of 186 stitches. My gauge is 5sts and 6 rows to an inch in stockinette on a 6mm needle.

Here's my bag so far (the brown is the bottom):

Friday, March 21, 2008


Our passions can take us on some wild rides at times. Personally, I believe that every one of us should be passionate about as many things in life as possible. Especially these days with mounting stresses, burnout syndrome and very fast-paced lifestyles.

If you'll pardon the platitude "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".

All of us should look deep within our hearts and souls to find what "turns us on". What makes you want to scream your cause from atop the highest peak? What is it that makes you feel alive?

Have you ever noticed that those who "feel" the most are most passionate about life and in turn, have many passions?

I'm one of those wretched souls that is too emotional about most everything - not only do I cry when I'm sad, but also when I'm over-joyed or extremely proud of someone. Awww hell, I admit it that I'm pathetic and even cry when I catch an episode of DOOL!

I have many passions, and 2008 launched a global awareness program that is very dear to me: The Year of The Frog (TYTF). I simply adore those cold-blooded little amphibians [except for the ugly, disgusting, gross plague of Australia, the cane toad!].

"The main goal of TYTF campaign is to generate public awareness and understanding of the amphibian extinction crisis which represents the greatest species conservation challenge in the history of humanity".

Why do we need to conserve our amphibians?

1. Amphibian species are becoming extinct at a pace faster than anything humanity has ever experienced.
2. Up to 50% of the approximate 6,000 known amphibian species are threatened.
3. Many people do not know that amphibians are declining and how threatened they are.
4. Amphibians are indicators of environmental health, and important components of ecosystems.
5. Amphibians are contributors to human health. They provide vital bio medicines, including compounds that are being refined for analgesics and antibiotics.

Via The Bloomin Bog, I plan to organise the following fund-raising activities on behalf of TYTF:
  • frog photo contest
  • frog colouring-in contest
  • raffle
  • promotion, awareness and education through the distribution of brochures and pamphlets

We have at least six varieties of frog at The Bloomin Bog, and we've noticed first hand their decline in numbers over the last five years. Typical species you'll spot at our water gardens include: the Bullfrog, the common Toad, the Spring Peeper, the Leopard Frog, the Pickerel Frog, the Tetraploid Gray Tree Frog, and the Green Frog. Here's a link to them all!

Many of my fund-raising activities will be directed towards children, because they are the ones who will inherit the earth; they are our future!

Keep an eye on my blog for updates. You will also find information on The Bloomin Bog website.

Hey Presto!

Last week I was roaming around Ravelry and reading my favourite knitting blogs. Not an uncommon passtime for me at this time of the year - but all of that is about to change as soon as the weather turns a mild shade of warm [shaking fist towards the sky!].

Amongst many others, I love to read my friend Nadine's blog - Balkan Style (no, not the yoghurt!).

One of the Balkan's [kinda sounds alien...] T, posted up a photo of her recently completed Presto Chango baby sweater! As soon as I saw the photo, I knew I wanted to make one too. T very kindly sent me the link to the pattern.

I went to Michaels Craft Store and bought some Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds in a lovely pastel blue shade with flecks of brown and white, and cast on straight away. This was such a super fast knit [being chunky yarn] and I love, love, love the idea of knitting several front panels that can be alternated depending on when and where the sweater is worn!

Three nights knitting in front of the tele and it was done; sewn up, buttons 'n all!

The sweater is a surprise for my friend Kanna's beautiful baby boy, Takumi. He's 6 months old now, so I made the 12 month size:

And now I'm going to kick back on this GOOD FRIDAY and do some knitting on my Mum's Bonza Felted Bag 2! I think we all remember the ill-fated Buggered Bonza Felted Bag 1....


Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Everyone hates getting old, and what better way to rub salt into the wound, but to have a birthday!

Despite the age thing, I had a super birthday yesterday. My day started with the obligatory phone call from Mum - it's always nice to hear her sing the birthday song with such passion [hehehe...].

Then I went shopping and got some yarn from Michaels. Call me stupid, but I'm going to knit another Bonza Felted Bag for Mum for Mothers Day. Let's hope I don't bugger this one!

After my yarn shopping, I indugled at the hairdresser and got that bothersome salt n peppa whisked away. The de-hairing didn't stop there....I did the spring-time thing and got my legs waxed too.

Following all that pampering, I went shopping again and this time I got a great new leather bag and a new leather purse! Happy birthday to meeeee!

Later in the evening I had dinner at a great new restaurant in town, Milestones. Dinner was awesome, and the waiter even brought out a birthday cheese cake for me!

When I got home, there was a chocolate cake waiting for me together with umpty bars of cadbury chocolate from friends and family. How did they know???

Then I opened gifts from my family. One of my precious nieces, Karlia (5yrs in June) drew a beautiful picture of me. It's absolutely adorable! The likeness is uncanny. I'm forever immortalsed in purple pencil:

AND there was this supercalifragilistic expialidocious gift:

NOT A BAD BIRTHDAY AT ALL! What a shame I have to get older to get all this good stuff!

Friday, March 14, 2008

BUGGERED Bonza Felted Bag

Sometimes, bad things happen to good people....

Last night I finished knitting my bonza bag. I was thrilled with how it turned out. So many lovely stripes.... And 90% of my bits n bobs used up! The top was knit in garter stitch, and the rest in stockinette stitch, and that worried me a little bit because the top was slightly larger than the bottom....

First thing this morning I decided to felt my beautiful bonza bag. I wondered how it would turn out as I played with some of the mission falls stripes.

Did you all read that last sentence it again......

After 20mins in a hot wash, I pulled out my once beautiful bonza bag. Uh, no, noooooooo!!!! Just look at what I did!

Mission falls is ***!!##$$$!!
My buggered bonza felted bag is now drying on the kitchen table. Just as well I started knitting Mum's Mothers Day gift months before I actually needed it!
I can laugh about it now.......

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Faeroe Gold Hill Mittens

In between all the frogging of my Faeroe Island Mittens [see below], I started another pair of mittens using the same pattern, but sock yarn instead of shetland spindrift.

These mittens are knit as the pattern instructs; using 2.75mm needles for the mitten. I used 2.5mm needles for the cuff. I am able to get gauge nicely on these mittens, and I'm using Lorna's Laces and Louet Gems Fingering yarns.

I'm not very far along, but am enjoying the fair isle knit:

Faeroe Island Mittens Update

You know that saying: "three times lucky"? Well, I hope "they" know what they're talking about!

The first time I began the Faeroe Island Mittens, I frogged them after deciding that the cuff was just too loose for my skinny little wrist [and how is it that you can have thin wrists and fat ankles???].....[note to self: thank Mum for fat ankles]...

The second time I began the mittens, I used 2.25mm needles for the cuff, 2.5mm needles for the fair isle, AND reduced the number of stitches by 10 in both length and width (see post below with pics before frogging). I knit half the mitten, and then when I tried it on, it just didn't fit quite right. It was too big again.

After posting to the Jamieson & Smith Lovers Group on Ravelry, I learned that I could go down to a very small needle with the Shetland Spindrift yarn.

So, I'm going to start this project AGAIN because I love the yarn and the colours. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Faeroe Island Mittens

I ordered some fabulous Shetland Spindrift 2ply jumper yarn from She Ewe Knits in Milton, Ontario.

Out of the 17 skeins I ordered, three are for my Faeroe Island Mittens from the book Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski. The other skeins are for a fair isle vest I'd like to knit in early fall.

The mitten pattern called for sock yarn and a gauge of 9.5sts per inch on 2.75mm needles. The spindrift got me a gauge of 8sts per inch on 2.5mm needles. So I changed the pattern just a little.

I have a small hand (7.25ins diameter). After doing my swatch, I deleted one pattern repeat (10sts) in the length and width of the mitten. I'm not sure whether I'll need to alter the thumb - time will tell.

Here's where I'm at:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Great Cables Sweater

Sometimes something happens that is so remarkable, that even the most cynical of us have to rub our eyes and look twice!

Well, this is one of those situations.

I’m assuming you guys are already sitting down since you’re in front of your puters…..

My bugger of a Great Cables jumper {=sweater} is finally finished! I know, I know…….you don’t believe me right??

Let me back-track a bit. It all started on a sunny warm day in July (I don’t remember the year)…..OK, OK…2006. Our LYS was having a 20% off SALE, and I bought a pattern book and 11 skeins of Philosopher’s 2 ply yarn. I’d only ever knit jumpers throughout my years, and this one looked like a real challenge.

Although a bit fiddly (note to self: hate bobbles), it knitted up fairly quickly within six to seven months. All that was left to do was sewing it together and sewing in the umpty-leven gazillion yarn tails. A day’s work or less….

Now this is the sad part {passing around tissues}. That jumper sat in my cupboard for 15 months before I finally pulled it out and sewed the bloody thing together. Ask anybody and they’ll tell you that I hate HATE sewing things together……I’d rather just knit. Knitting is a stress buster for me and I find it calming. Sewing things together causes stress. In fact, “they” should put a warning on all patterns and yarn – SEWING GARMENTS TOGETHER MAY CAUSE STRESS!

And now it’s the start of March 2008. My great cables jumper is finished, and ironically, so is the cold weather!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bonza Felted Bag II

This bag is knitting up really fast. I'm almost halfway there, and using up left-over bits of yarn, like there's no tomorrow!

The first half of the bag used up my odd balls of philosopher's, manos, mission falls, debbie bliss aplaca silk dk and boku.

Last night at the Ravelry get-together I knitted a little on the bag, but spent most of my time yacking! And what a big group we had - totally awesome turnout. I meant to take my camera, but of course it stayed at home on the kitchen table.

The last half of the bag will use up my odd balls of misti alpaca chunky, atacama, philosophers, manos, baby alpaca and cascade.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bonza Felted Bag

You know how we end up with all those bits of yarn and half-used balls? Well, I've got my fair share of them too. I have sent bag-fulls of the stuff to Goodwill in the past. But I've always thought that there must be something I could knit that would use up LOTS of it all at once [equals - I'm not keen on knitting little things to use up yarn].

I was roaming around on Ravelry the other day [OK, I admit it - I'm on Ravelry every day....] and since I'm a bit of an organisational freak was already searching for a neat Mothers Day knit. Yeah, I know MD isn't until May, but my Mum's in Australia, and I'm in Canada, so I have to allow three weeks for Canada Post to get my item to the other side of the world!

During my raveling, I came across a felted bag pattern that I just know my Mum will love.

My Mum is like the world's most eco-friendly greenie that I know! Not only does she pack all her groceries into washable fabric bags, but she washes dishes in a bucket so she can use the gray water for her plants. She also washes and saves every little piece of aluminium foil and cling-wrap for re-use! Yup, she is the queen of pack-ratting too! She saves everything and anything! When she sends me birthday and Christmas gifts, I recognise the paper wrapping from 20 years ago!

So, when I give her a hand-knitted, felted bag made from 100% wool AND from all my left-over yarn, she will be absolutely delighted!

I've got bits of everything: boku, mission falls, philophers, misti alpaca, cascade, manos, Australian merino and patons merino. The pattern is really easy and should be a quick and mindless knit. Perfect for those Knit London get-togethers at Wortley Roadhouse!