Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm in love with Odessa

Got to love the self portrait shot, right? ;)

I finished yesterday evening and it's not been off my head since. Which is perfect timing since it snowed all last night; we don't have a tonne of the white stuff but it is cooooold!

I love the calmer yarn for this project -- it has a lot of elasticity. Even better, I dug it out of my stash! That and the beads were just laying around the house waiting for some much deserved attention.

And speaking about just laying around the house... check out how the B&B team spent the day:

Monday, January 28, 2008

You know you've got too many projects on the go when... don't have enough of a certain size of needle to knit them!

It seems that I have a serious bout of startitis at the moment. And I've been convincing myself that they are all 'needed'. Yeah ahem, right.

1. Odessa Hat

As I was bundling up to go to Breckenridge this last weekend I swiped one of Joe's store-bought hats. Joe was in disbelief -- a knitter should own at least one handmade hat. So I cast on for Odessa yesterday. And I even delved into my stash to make good use out of some Rowan Calmer that I'd squirreled away for a rainy day.

Thuja was temporarily placed on a circular needle so that I could use the 6 dpns for this project.

2. Fantastic Flower Hat

3. Dougie Dog Hat & Scarf

A colleague has adopted a little boy and girl and I wanted to make a little something for them. I've had the Lucinda Guy book on my shelves for a while now and this is the perfect excuse to make a couple of the adorable projects in there. I did go out and buy some of the Berroco comfort that I'm subbing for the Rowan yarns -- because it's machine washable and was available in the colors shown in the book (yeah, zero creativity on my part). So before I cast on I'll need to figure out how to adjust the pattern from the dk weight that it calls for to the worsted weight that I bought.

I'm hoping to post some FOs soon....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Snow Sculptures

This weekend there is the International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, Colorado. Fourteen teams from around the world compete to create mammoth works of art from 12-feet-tall, 20-ton blocks of snow.

Joe and I bundled up (it was verrrry cold!) and made the drive up to the mountains. It was well worth it -- the sculptures are amazing:

More pictures here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My day was made!

I was giddy with delight when I logged on this morning to find out that I'd received the 'you made my day' award from Bea.

Quite the compliment indeed!

The idea behind this award is that you “...give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”

Here are some of the blogs that make my day:
  • 3 Sleeves to the Wind - A truly talented knitter. I learn something new with each visit
  • Baa Baa Blacksheep - Gus and Abby's grinning chops beaming up at me; the beautiful hand dyed yarn and hand sewn goodies; the fantastic photos
  • By Elin - Stunning, stylish and adorable
  • Cashmere, Construction and Canines - Soo many great knitted projects, and the handsome hunds (I especially love Pedro!)
  • Ishi - I can't read a word, but the pictures speak volumes. Amazing work!
  • Joli House - Lovely projects, beautifully photographed (and a little taste of home aaaahhhhh)
  • Kelly Girl Knits - Always a good giggle! ...ooh and there's the 'finds' that she shares
  • Knit Eat Sleep - Knitting at the rate of knots -- there's always something new to admire
  • Star Spry - She'll tell you she's a new knitter but her finished objects are perfection!
  • Tiennie Knits - Soo many impeccably crafted knits, shared in beautiful photos
You should go check them out, I'm sure they'll put a smile on your face too!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kicking off the Colorado Yarn tour

Nachaele had this fab idea to go visit all the yarn stores in Colorado in 2008, buy a skein of yarn in each, and make a Colorado afghan. We'd had grand plans of starting in Estes Park today but given the snowy weather decided to stay local and visit those stores that are open on a Monday. In hindsight I should have done my homework and figured out what I wanted to make before I headed out the door. But luckily when I walked into the first store I found my colour inspiration:

Duck egg blue, olive green, chocolate brown, beige, cream and copper. Yum!

So here's the list of store, in the order we visited them:

1. Yarn Arts, Parker
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pics in the store. But I did get a good one of the outside -- it is in a cute location off Parker main street. The lady there was very helpful had some lovely local alpaca yarn. In addition to finding my colour scheme, I also picked up some Berroco Boho.

2. The Knitting Habitat, Aurora
Wow what a store! I had no idea that this was even in the neighbourhood. It is fabulous! It's a good size with a wide variety of wonderful yarns, lovely staff and amazing finished objects that are showcased around the store. (I think I'll be adding at least 2 more projects to my 'queue' as a result). And they have a movie night! That's definately going to get added to the social knitting calendar. Ooh and they also had a shop pooch sporting a sparkly knitted dress - too cute for words! I chose a kettle dyed Manos del Uruguay cotton in a duck egg blue/cream colourway. I'm wondering if this might be too chunky? We'll see.....

3. Colorful Yarns, Centennial
This is one of my favourite yarn stores in my neighbourhood. They have some beautiful and unique yarns and the folks I meet there are super friendly; there was a fun crowd in there today and we had a great time hanging out. One of the things I most love about Colorful is the range of accessories -- I've been drooling over some of the Amy Butler bags, for example, that they carry. I think I had at least 6 skeins picked out in this store and had a hard time narrowing it down to one -- the Tilli Tomas 'Disco Lights'! Love this yarn!

4. String Boutique, Highlands Ranch
String is another one of my local favourites. I love how Cassidy set up the yarn in the store -- each section a different colour. They also have a fantastic range of yarns and some very cute buttons. I was toying with picking something from the great selection of Koigu and struggled not coming home with some 'just because'. But see my previous post -- I'm really not going to make a dent in my sock yarn if I keep backfilling my stash! I was good and settled on the Tahki Luxury silk yarn for my afghan. Yum -- this is going to be a nice base colour. Oooh and Cassidy was there with her hubby and beautiful baby boy -- aren't they adorable!

By the end of the day I'd also decided on the approach I'm going to take -- to mimic the mosaic afghan from 100 afghan squares to knit. Oooh this might be pretty!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Socks and other ramblings...

I've started a pair of Thuja socks using the delicious cashmere/merino handpainted sock yarn from the Knittery. These socks are going fast on size 6 dpns. The yarn isn't as sproingy as Koigu, but it's certainly going to keep Joe's toes cosy!

I'm attempting to make a dent in my sock yarn and so yesterday I decided to give the Chevron scarf another try this time with different colours of yarn. My last attempt was frogged because there was too much pooling. This one's probably going to get frogged because it's seriously blah! I think I'm trying to coordinate too much instead of going for 2 contrasting yarns.

Despite my good efforts, the sock yarn is coming in as fast as I can whip FOs out -- yesterday I received by Seasons shipment from Sundara in colourway Tickled Pink. I love the name of the colourway. But I wasn't bowled over with this colour. Maybe I'll put it out on Ravelry for trade?

This afternoon I might put the knitting down to stamp and write some much belated Christmas thank you cards. Here's the design that I'm thinking I'll replicate:

And keep your fingers crossed for no snow in Colorado tomorrow. Nachaele had this great idea that in 2008 we should visit all the yarn stores in Colorado and buy a skein of yarn from each to make an afghan. Tomorrow Nachaele, Kelly and I are hoping to head up to Estes Park and visit The Stitchin' Den and Neota Designs. Otherwise the backup plan might be to stay indoors knitting and watching movies. Yep Plan B sounds pretty good too.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Basic Socks

Yesterday I finished a pair of handknit socks for my father in law:

  • Yarn: Koigu Kpm
  • Needles: US3 dpns
  • Pattern: My own 'basic recipe'
  • Start: December 2007
  • Finished: January 2008

Handknit socks are a big hit with the men in my life. And even though there are many beautiful patterns out there, it seems that the men folk I know just want a basic sock. Nothing fancy. So here's my basic recipe for men's socks (foot size approx US 9=10, UK 8ish).

***Note that this is from memory - if you see any errors, please let me know.***

Basic sock recipe:

  • Size 3 dpns
  • 350yds (320m) sock yarn



  • Cast on 64 stitches, divide between your needles
  • Work in the round for approx. 64 rows (In the example above I use a 2x2 rib pattern; K2, P2)
Heel flap:
  • Put 32 stitches on one needle - you'll work these stitches back and forth for the heel flap as follows

  • Row 1 (wrong side): Slip 1 purlwise, Purl to the end of the row
  • Row 2 (right side): Slip 1 purlwise, K1, slip 1, K1, slip 1, K1... repeat this pattern to the end of the row
  • Repeat rows 1 and 2 until heel flap measures about 2 3/4 inches (approx 35 rows), ending after a row 1/purl row

Turning the heel:

  • Row 1: Knit 18 sts, ssk, K1. Turn work leaving remaining 11 sts unworked
  • Row 2: Slip 1, Purl 5 sts, P2tog, P1. Turn leaving remaining 11 sts unworked
  • Row 3: Slip 1, Knit to 1 stitch before the gap, ssk, K1, turn
  • Row 4: Slip 1, Purl to 1 stitch before the gap, p2tog, p1, turn
  • Repeat rows 3 and 4 until you have no stitches left unworked on both the knit and purl row


  • Pick up 20 stitches up side of heel flap (needle 1), work across the top of the sock in pattern (needle 2), pick up 20 stitches down other side of heel flap (needle 3). I arrange half of my turned heel stitches on needle 1; half on needle 3. We'll be back to working in the round now.
  • Row 1 (decrease): Knit to last 3 stitches on needle 1, K2tog, K1. Work needle 2 in pattern. On needle 3, K1, ssk, Knit to end.
  • Row 2 (knit): Knit all stitches on needle 1. Work needle 2 in pattern. Knit all stitches on needle 3.
  • Repeat rows 1 and 2 until there are 64 stitches on the needles


  • Repeat gusset row 2 until foot measures desired length. (For my men folk this is approx 40 rounds)


  • Row 1 (decrease): On needle 1, Knit to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1. On needle 2, K1, ssk, work in pattern to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1. On needle 3, K1 ssk, knit to end.
  • Row 2 (knit): Knit all stitches
  • Repeat rows 1 and 2 until there are 32 stitches, then repeat row 1 another 2 times. 24 stitches left.
  • Use the Kitchener stitch to close the toe

et Voila! You have yourself a simple sock.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fun times with friends

I had such a fab night with some friends last night -- knitting, chatting, eating pizza, watching a movie... and having a pampering foot soak! Aaah yes this is the life :o)

(I know... all we are missing are the old fashioned hair dryers and our rollers! LOL)

A topic high on the chat list was yesterday's Knitting Daily post about the Sticks n Stitches game in Denver.


Well... It was only this last weekend that we'd dragged our hubbies out and gone to watch the game knit -- it was Sticks n Stitches night here in Denver. And would you believe it, the very lovely Sandi Wiseheart was sitting right next to us! That's right, a knitting celebrity right there in our midst!

Talk about a lovely lady. She's a gem. She chatted with us, oohed and aahed over our projects and even signed one of our magazines as a little tongue in cheek joke. She was a lot of fun.

Anyway, yesterday her Knitting Daily post came out about that evening, and there we were -- our beaming grins right there in the middle of her fab article! Whooooo hooo! We had a good giggle about it last night.

Thank you Sandi, it was a pleasure meeting you in person.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Tangled Yoke Cardigan

My Tangled Yoke Cardigan is finally finished:

  • Pattern: Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang (from Interweave Knits Fall 2007)
  • Yarn: I used Elsbeth Lavold's Silky Wool instead of the Rowan Felted Tweed. I love the weight and feel of this yarn, and the gauge was spot on
  • Modifications: I made the body a couple of inches longer than the pattern called for -- I prefer my sweaters to hit a bit lower than the waist. Other than that I pretty much knit as-is.

All in all I'm really happy with the end result.

...but if I were to knit it over again, I'd probably do something a little different with the neckband -- the pattern guides you to knit a neckband that you fold over to create a double thickness. I think I'd prefer to have just a single thickness neckband. (I'm toying with maybe unpicking the neckband and doing this, but for now I'm just happy to wear it and move onto a new project.)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

White Rabbits

Happy New Year!
I wish you the very best for 2008.

And on the topic of rabbits, look at what my sweet friend had gifted me for the new year: Socks that Rock yarn in colourway "Little Bunny Foo Foo"!
I love browns and pinks together -- it's gorgeous. Thank you Nachaele :)