Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sign of the Times

If you build it.....they will come. So with that in mind, we built it, and they are a comin!

Customers that our store! Yup, our once very sad Bloomin Bog sign is now repaired. The winter finally destroyed the 8ft x 4ft sign at the road, so Nick built a "make do" one. And just as we were all getting used to the white greenhouse plastic with the black "Bloomin Bog" graffiti! I do miss that sign. If nothing else, it had character and was certainly a conversation starter with our customers. Many laughs were shared. I'm still suspicious of the spray can control ..... I think I've seen the artist's work around town [laughing].

Staff around our new sign (pictured from left: Ian, Dave, Kim and I)

Our new sign at night (totally awesome....looks like an 8ft plasma tv!)

Knitting progress is slow at this time of year. April through July I basically eat, drink and sleep business. My knitting time is now restricted to the evenings around 11pm, and only if I'm not falling asleep.

I did cast on a pair of socks last week - two at a time on 2.5mm circs. I finally found a great pattern for my hand-dyed sock yarn (from last year's dyeing party). The pattern is called Nutkin by Beth LaPensee. Nutkin is an easy to memorize pattern with dramatic results. Although the pattern includes many YOs, the sock does not appear lacy. Given the bright colours in my yarn, I didn't want the patterning to get lost in the bright variegations - all that effort for nothing ya know?

I really love the pattern so far. The heel calls for short rows - haven't done a sock this way before, so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.....I'm so used to a heel flap and gusset.

Finished the legs and starting the short row heels on my Limozeen Nutkins

I hope to cast on soon for a felted kitty bed (cat pi) by Wendy D. Johnson. I've already dyed my yarn - Cascade Ecological wool. I spoke to my feline recipient, Sandi Pandi, and she loves the colours [phew!].

Dyed Cascade Ecological wool for kitty bed

And now it's 8pm, and I haven't started dinner. No surprises there. Not to worry though - one of my new staff [bless him] is a great cook, and he brought me a fabulous chicken casserole! I just have to warm it up!! Yep, he's scoring BIG brownie points with me [laughing]. His Indian dinner was fantastic, and so was his slow cooker chicken dish! Ooooooo! I'm getting spoiled.....possible sugar daddy you ask? Naaaah!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Bluebird of Happiness

My bluebird of happiness does not fly. In fact, it doesn't even have wings! Or feathers! And it only has some blue in it [laughing]. But, it is adorable, soft and loves to be petted.

So, to unravel the mystery....towards the end of August last year, I received a lovely little plait of roving from Alana. She brought it back for me as a souvenir from the West Coast of Canada. I’m not quite sure whether it’s Corriedale or BFL, all I really know is that it had lovely 6in long staple length that was great for a beginner spinner like me!

The roving was already dyed beautiful shades or turquoise, grass green and mauve – really pretty. Yes, I should have taken a photo!

I used the Turkish Drop Spindle my Dad made for me for my birthday. Hours and hours later, I had it all spun up – not the most brilliant bit of spinning, but my first true attempt at making yarn. I had piddled around a bit with spinning before, but had never spun more than an ounce.

Once it was spun, I needed something to ply it with. So I chose some bare Louet Corriedale Top Roving I bought from Shall We Knit last year.

Once plied, I had to set the twist in hot water for five minutes and then dry my little skein of happiness!

And here’s the end result:

I call my skein Ozmium (get it??.....ozbambi…..ozmium….) OK…LOL.

Osmium is found in nickel-bearing ores of Sudbury, Ontario. The metal is lustrous, and bluish white – hence the name :-) Get it now?

I’m going to knit a hat from this skein, and since it’s only 134 yards (2.9oz), I will start at the top with some bare yarn, then do as much as I can with my Ozmium, and then the rim can be bare yarn again….or something like that anyway!

It's all fine and dandy to spin, but if you never knit anything from your handspun, then you'll never figure out whether you need to add more or less twist!

Oh and earlier this week, I cut my hair off! What was below my bra strap for the last ten years is now curled on my shoulders. My spring do! I love it – so easy to manage; don’t need to tie it up; no big tangles; faster to wash and dry; no scooping hair out of the drain, and it is light as a feather! It’s quite amazing how much hair weighs!

My next blog post will hopefully have some pictures of Karlia’s backpack. I’m just joining the bottom of the bag to the bag itself, and then I’ll attach the straps. Once that’s all done (hopefully by the end of the day) into the washing machine it’ll go for felting!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Another Birthday - But Not Mine!

Friday, 3rd April was a birthday celebration for my friend, Kata of Odd-ish Creations!

Some time ago, plans were laid to go to Alpaca Acres (Stratford, Ontario) and Shall We Knit (New Hamburg, Ontario) for Kata's birthday. Deb, Will and Kata picked me up around 5pm and off we set!

The day was rainy, windy and c-c-c-cold, but that didn't stop our fun and celebrations.

First stop was Alpaca Acres to catch up with Anne and Dan and their absolutely adorable alpacas:

Of course, I had to buy some yarn - another skein of Madison in a light sport weight @ 188yds:

Kat, Laura and Allie joined us at the alpaca farm, and from there we ventured on to Shall We Knit. Karen was a lovely hostess as always, and supplied us with paper plates, forks and knives and somewhere to do the whole birthday thing. Thanks Karen!

I baked Kata a Hummingbird Cake for her birthday:

And Kata and Will also baked - a Rainbow Cake:

While I was at Shall We Knit, I entered my Shibui Reds into the Ruby Red Sock Competition. Cat Bordhi is going to judge the winner!! PLUS, I'm going to meet her in person on 22nd May! Woo hoo!

What a great day. Happy Birthday Kata :-)