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``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 :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Miserable Sod

That's me.  I'm trying to stay focused and positive, but the common cold has a stranglehold that's pushing me to the brink of defeat.  Sigh.  Cough, cough!

It's germ season again, and with the onset of the cooler weather and so much rain, germs are rampant.  I don't normally succumb to a cold at this time of year.  However, thinking back to the last few weeks of limited business at The Bloomin Bog, I would guesstimate that 75% of customers entered the shop with one kind of bug or another.  One guy was coughing so badly, I swear he was hacking up a lung!  And now I'M sick.

So here I sit, forlorn and stuffed up.  However, all is not forsaken!  This morning has been productive in a knitterly way.  Last week, I signed up for a KAL (knit-a-long) for Recipe for a Rustic Jacket by Mona NicLeoid.

Recipe for a Rustic Jacket by Mona NicLeoid

See the cable around the waist?  Well, every knitter gets to search out the cable pattern she/he wants to knit for the waist band.  After several hours of research last night, I narrowed my choices down to just two patterns.

This morning, following what I am going to call "sleep" [ha, ha], I decided on a beautiful viking cable by Elsebeth Lavold in her Sigrun jacket pattern.

To hell with work today!  I'm sick.  I'm gonna sit on the couch, cough and sniffle as required, swallow the drugs with reckless abandon, and start swatching my viking cable.  Pics tomorrow!