Monday, September 27, 2010

A Fish, Some Birds and a Hoodie

So what do all these things have in common?  Nothing but ME and my camera.......

I have a sick fish - a koi in fact.  She's been a member of our fishy family for about 7 years now, so it's sad that she's dying.  And what's sadder is that there's nothing I can do to comfort her or heal her.  I can only watch and hope she passes very soon.

She has a condition known as Dropsey.  It's such a nasty infection and almost always fatal.  It's basically an infection of an internal organ, often the kidney.  My koi is no longer able to process her fluids.  They build up inside her causing severe bloat.  What makes dropsy so hard to diagnose in time to treat it is that the symptoms do not show up until the fish has entered the final stages of the disease.  The fish literally blows up like a balloon.  Its scales stick out, making the fish resemble a pinecone.  The eyes will bulge out from the trapped fluids beneath, and fin rot, ulcers and red streaks appear.

I'm not going to display a photo - it's not a pretty sight.


In other news...

Every year about this time, we have a zillion little black birds fill our trees and make one helluva racket like you wouldn't believe.  Kinda reminds me of galahs back home in Australia.  Just try to imagine thousands of parrots talking at the same time!  The trees were totally covered.  Then the birds lifted together and swooped down at the same time to Mega Pond for what I presume was a last drink.  Then they all lifted up at the same time and continued on their migration.  Wish I knew what they are.....

Black birds


And finally, a hoodie for my nephew, Hunter.

It turned out really well in the end. No knitting issues, but I did run out of yarn - completely!  I had to seam it up with some left over yarn from another project that closely matched the colour!  Thank goodness for stashed leftovers!
Hunter's Hoodie

Hunter's Hoodie

I learned a new sleeve seaming technique with this hoodie.  I was having trouble seaming the raglan sleeves so that you could see the double knit stitching.  I found a great website that offered a brilliant solution.  I used a crochet hook and slip stitch crochet stitch to join the seams together.  It worked so well and made such a nice finish on the inside, that I crocheted the hood to the sweater in the same way!

Genius!  Thank you Bonne Marie Burns!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Christmas in September

On 11th September I went on a fabulous road trip to the Kitchener/Waterloo Knitters' Fair.  Our driver was Laurie, and the passenger list was supposed to be rounded out with Barb and Erinkate.  Unfortunately, after counting down the sleeps to the big event, Erinkate had a small family emergency and couldn't make it.  If I were Erinkate, I'd have been totally devastated!

Laurie blogged wonderfully about the Fair here.

I couldn't imagine not attending the Knitters' Fair.  It's truly like Christmas in September!  When I was little, Christmas was steeped in tradition with few gifts, great merriment and much to be thankful for.  For me, the Knitter's Fair is just like that...BUT....all the Chrissie pressies under the tree have my name on them!

This year, I adopted a conservative approach to yarn shopping at the Fair, having just attended the Needle Emporium's Tent Sale a few weeks prior.  In fact, I was overheard mumbling something about "going to look and touch only".  See, my intentions were good :-)

BUT who can resist a bargain??  And there were some good ones to be had if you searched hard enough.

Here's my little Fair haul:

Knitters' Fair Haul

So, the two giant skeins of natural yarn (left) are Blue Faced Leicester 2/8 from Gemini Fibres.  Each has 1000yds and I got them for $18 each!!!!  $18!!  That was a steal.  When I bought this yarn two years ago (to knit Vicky Tempest), I paid $37.98 per skein!

The longer brown skein (middle) is alpaca lace from Alpaca Acres.  This is destined to become a cowl - I already have the pattern for it.

The two smaller natural coloured balls and the lighter brown one (middle) are alpaca DK from Inca.  They are destined to become a stranded hat.

The plastic bag containing the teal blue and coffee coloured skeins (right front) are 50/50 mohair/merino from Wellington Fibres.  This kit has a pattern included for a stranded pair of mittens.  I went back to their booth after lunch to get a second kit, but alas....they were sold out.

And the lovely little kit wrapped in cellophane (top right) contains two skeins of gray alpaca, some bamboo dpns, some lavender hand lotion and a little coth bag filled with soap nuts.  Soap nuts are the laundry soap and fabric softener made by Mother Nature!

My day at the Fair was wonderful.  Thank you Laurie and Barb!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Archilles Heel on my Hat!!

Last week I thoroughly enjoyed reading a blog post by my lovely friend Laurie entitled "Going through a Phase".  In her knitting post Laurie wrote about issues with Noro Blankie and the resulting fall-out they had to work through.

I commented to her that I had a similar experience with my China Blue Andean Hat.  I'd knit it up super fast, blocked and dried it, photographed it and posted pictures on Ravelry.  As I was admiring my hat, my husband happened along and laughed at the grumpy face Andean pattern.  Hmm...I hadn't noticed it whilst knitting.  We joked that I should rename my hat accordingly.

Later that day, I excitedly cast on the matching China Blue Andean Mittens.  I knit them up super fast too since the stranded pattern is only twenty rows and quite easy.  Once the Andean pattern was complete, I admired the stranded work, but just couldn't see the grumpy face in the pattern.

UH OH......

Yup, you guessed it!  There was a grumpy face on the Andean hat because I'd mistakenly omitted a row of the pattern!  And not just any row either.  It was row 3 of course.....right at the beginning of the chart and the hat.

What to do?  Rip and re-knit?  I figured there had to be another way.  Frogging the entire hat seemed the very long way around the well as being VERY annoying.

So I thought I'd be clever.  Yes, I know what you're all thinking.......  wipe those smirks of your faces!

Here's what the erroneous hat looked like:

Andean Hat - Mark I

See the first orange/yellow stripe at the brim?  Well, just above that - the fourth row of the pattern looks like a grumpy smile.  See it?  It's where I didn't close the blue box pattern.

So what I did was to snip the blue yarn above the Andean pattern and unravel one row.  This left me with two pieces - the blue crown to the left of me, and the stranded body to the right.  The blue crown had a long squiggley bit of yarn attached to it.....that was the row I'd unravelled.

I then ripped back the stranded work and re-knit the pattern properly.  Worked brilliantly!

I carefully slipped all 98 stitches from the crown piece onto two needles being certain not to twist the stitches.

This is where I think I made the mistake.  Instead of snipping off the squiggley bit of blue yarn (where I unravelled the crown from the body) I decided to knit one more crown round so as not to waste the yarn.

I then proceeded to graft the two pieces together.  It coulda worked!  And it did actually, except I had a row of twisted stitches!  And the join was of course very noticeable.

Where did I go wrong?  I should NOT have knit the extra round on the crown.  In hindsight, I knit that row from the top down.....whereas the body of the hat was knit from the bottom up.  So of course the stitches would be twisted!!  DOH!

Lesson learned - the hard way as usual - as all good lessons are.

Darn this hat.  There was nothing left to do but rip the crown back and re-knit it.  I figured it would be faster than undoing the grafting and that extra row I knit on the crown.

I present to you the correct version of the Andean Hat:

Andean Hat - Mark II

And YES to those who I'd spoken with.....the uneven knitting from the squiggley yarn blocked out without too much effort!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Projects Flying off Needles

My needles have been busy!  Clickety clack, clickety clack. 

Now that the business season is slowing down, I have a little more time between customers to knit.

Projects are truly flying off my needles.

The first project is my Silva Eki Riva Scarf.  The pattern is called Mead Scarf by Elizabeth Morrison.  I bought this yarn in Australia during my last visit.  It is Supreme Fingering, 4 ply, 100% Alpaca by Eki Riva.

Silva Eki Riva Scarf

This next project is one I designed.  It's a felted and lined bag.  This bag turned out fairly well. The only problem was that the cream coloured Lamb’s Pride Bulky did not want to felt very well. So the bag is a little lop-sided.

Geometer's Sketchpad

This next project is a favourite mitten and hat set.  Every year during September I knit for charity. The Newfie Mitts and Hat are for the Women's Resource Centre.  I made up the pattern for the hat, and the instructions for knitting it can be found here.

Newfie Mittens

Newfie Hat

This next project was completed for my friend Kanna who is expecting a baby in October!  This pattern is called Cable Cardigan and Hat SRK 164 by Sandi Prosser.

Cable Cardigan and Hat

I'm currently working on a few projects that I'll post next week hopefully :-)