Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am grateful for...

  1. My daughters, my family and my friends.  Boy, can they ever give encouragement when you need it.
  2. The sun is shining after a dreary morning.
  3. Internet access - I can connect with family, friends who are far away and a whole new group of friends I never would have had through online communities
  4. My yarn and fabric stash - Oh stashing for the rainy day certainly is paying off in spades!  I'm fortunate to have so many lovely things!
  5. The ability to knit and sew.  I am SO fortunate to be blessed with a creative spirit!
  6. Hot and cold running water - many, many people are not fortunate to have potable water, let alone the convenience of hot and cold running water
  7. Chocolate Motzartkugels/Mirabell truffle type candies from Austria.  I'm still savouring the ones my mom brought back for me
  8. Green tea.  Served "black" and very hot.  Soothing and Reviving.
  9. Books by Alexandra Stoddard.  Her writing refreshes my being like a breath of fresh air.
  10. A freezer full of food.  We have plenty!  
  11. A Crockpot full of delicious soup.  Yum.
  12. A clear starry night.  The number of stars in the sky are always awesome.
  13. The man who held the door open for me this afternoon.
  14. Bank machines and online banking (there's that internet access again!)
  15. My puppy who is always so happy to see me when I get home.
I certainly am very fortunate to have been blessed with so much richness in my life.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Where does time go???

Wow - another week since I've posted.  I keep telling myself I want to do more of this.  I will get back into my regular routine next week when we officially return to our "regular" office hours.  That means when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning, I don't have to rush out of bed right away, I can actually do yoga, walk the puppy and then maybe do some puttering in the morning before heading out to the office.  Anyway, I digress...

This weekend was a busy one with limited knitting time.  My parents came up on Friday evening, because Saturday I was doing this:

Racing at the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival.  That's me on the left, intent on paddling, but having fun at the same time. What a gorgeous morning for racing on the water!  Our first race we did very well, finishing first in our heat, and our time placed us in the top class.  Make a note of how smooth the water looks in this picture.

Our second race was more difficult, with us finishing in fifth in our heat (aka last).  Our third race, for the consolation round, was a nail biter...

The bay was starting to get very choppy, but we managed to win that heat, but 0.07ths of a second, which put us in 6th overall, out of 55 teams.

 Not bad for a group that's only practiced about 6 times together.  It was an amazing day. Our team was raising money for the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children here in Barrie.  There's so much more to the festival than just racing.  It was a day of celebrating overcoming odds, and a day of remembering those who are no longer with us.  I am definitely doing this again next year.

As far as knitting content...well, I did knit on Sunday, but not much.  I'm finishing up the leg on my Not-So-Secret Socks (that All my Readers know about, but hopefully the recipient hasn't found this blog.  Yet). I'm working on a stripe of red below the ribbing, so I'm almost done, with just the ribbing and the heel to go.  They'll be done in plenty of time for the deadline.

My daughter and I searched endlessly (well, for a couple of hours on Sunday evening) for a sweater pattern for her to start because she's getting bored of Plain Vanilla Socks all the time.  She's chosen the Silken Scabbard, which she is making out of charcoal grey Cascade 220.  It will be a bit of a challenge for her with the cables (new technique for her), but like I told her, cables are easy as long as you keep track of where you are.  So far, she's learned the Cable Cast On technique (which I've been doing forever, just never knew it was called that).

My next project might be The Chrysanthemums, which is for more birthday knitting.  And maybe a cardigan for myself.  It's fall.  Every fall I have a craving to start a cardigan for myself.  This year, I'd love a mustard yellow tweed-y one, but I don't have that in my stash, and I'm trying to be fiscally responsible.  So, I'm thinking of either brown or pine green heathers, both of which I have in my stash.  And I have to finish my Trinity Shawl.  And get started on my Christmas knitting.  Yikes, Christmas is less than 4 months away.  I'll have to knit 24/7 to get everything done that I want to do!

Oh yeah, how did I do on my goals for August??

  1. Finish Plain Vanilla Socks 2.2 Done!!
  2. Finish Trinity Shawlette 2  Nope, not yet.  Haven't even picked it up again.
  3. Start secret knitting project  Started, and almost finished!
  4. Finish cable section Melissa's Ski Sweater - deadline September 30, 2011 Again, haven't even picked it up again.
  5. Plan realistic Christmas knitting  Ideas have been percolating, but nothing formal has been written down.

  1. Finish items I've already cut out (a couple of pairs of cropped Oxfords, a few more tanks, a gorgeous chartreuse crushed velvet cardigan, a cardigan out of a brown mesh knit) After my marathon sewing session, I haven't even really looked at the sewing machine.  I need to get those done!  It's going to be too cool to wear crops soon!
  2. Plan and start cutting/sewing travel wardrobe for October trip to LA (so excited!!) I have a fixed deadline for this - I MUST get going on it!  The long weekend is coming, so maybe that's what I'll do.

New/Revised Goals:


1.  Finish Not-So-Secret Knitting Project self-imposed deadline by September 6th
2.  Finish Trinity Shawlette 2
3.  Finish cable section Melissa's Ski Sweater - deadline September 30, 2011
4.  Plan realistic Christmas knitting
5.  Start The Chrysanthemums


1.  Finish items I already have cut out
2.  Start sewing travel wardrobe for LA

Wow, some of those look familiar, but with the return to "regular" hours and fall weather and looming deadlines, I should be able to get something accomplished! I leave you with this thought - Should Christmas and birthdays be viewed as looming deadlines??

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spoiler Alert!! Just for Miss Fanny Petting

Oh. My.  I was reading with much jealousy yesterday about the members of Tempted Yarns Club who had received their first package in the Burlesque yarn club.  I eagerly anticipated mine coming in the mail.  And, yesterday it came!!! Hooray!  I'm SO excited!!!

The Tempted Yarns Burlesque Club Members all chose a Burlesque name from a website generator.  Mine was Fanny Petting.  I like it. It's a great name for an alter ego.  Can't you see her sashaying around?  With feathers fluttering and false eyelashes slowly blinking up and down, and fake little jewels glued by her eyes?  Anyway...onto the yarn!

This was dyed JUST FOR ME!!!  I have NEVER had someone do something like that for me before.  I'm super happy.  One of my very favourite colours is Chartreuse, and there it is.  I can't wait to cast this on!  The yarn came with a knitted pastie magnet that Stacy knitted herself, which is now proudly hanging on my fridge, along with a handwritten note also just for me.  Oh are the BEST!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Where does Time Go?

No posts again for almost a week!  I start each day with really good intentions...

Last week, we celebrated the 19th birthday of my youngest daughter, Melissa.  The days before her birthday party  were filled with running errands, going to appointments and prepping for her return to school in a distant province.  Exhausting.

We also hosted a party at our home for some of her friends, where I appropriately served a Jack Daniels (Red) Velvet cake made from The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker (Amazon Link).  I didn't have any red food colouring, so it was just a Jack Daniels Velvet Cake.  It turned out to be "Oh, YUM", and SO appropriate for a 19th birthday here in Ontario.

The university and party prep left me so exhausted that for the remainder of the weekend, I did hardly Anything.  At. All.  That being said, I did sew a few knitting related objects.

Large project bag - fits a whole sweater project

Small-ish box bag, fits a sock project

And of course, there was knitting.  A lot of knitting.

I finally finished these:

Plain Vanilla 2.2
And started these:

Almost Vanilla
Almost Vanilla.  I'm hoping the recipient hasn't found my blog yet.  These are toe up plain vanilla socks.  I CO 14 stitches with Diamond Yarn Happy Feet (leftovers from my Mom's Cafe Curtains), and increased to 74. I then switched to Araucania Ranco Multy in Perfect Jeans colourway.  I did a K5, P1 rib across the top of the foot, and SS on the sole.  When I placed the waste yarn for the afterthought heel (which I'm going to do in the red), I switched to doing the rib pattern all around the leg.  I'm now about 2" up the leg.  I can't believe how much I got done on these already!

Super sloth weekend (the weather actually did promote it, with it being cloudy, rainy and cold).  Yay for knitting time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Summer Weekend

This past weekend was a great summer weekend.  I visited my parents and both girls came along.  There was cake - we celebrated Melissa's upcoming birthday.  (It's a big one here in Ontario).  There were presents.  There was really good food.  There was a family reunion with a BBQ and lots of little people running around in all their summer exuberance.  There was a pool and some swimming, mostly by the aforementioned little people.  There was more cake, to celebrate yet another birthday (my cousin's), and of course...there was Car Knitting!

Dorky picture of yours truly.  I couldn't get the girl to take another picture...but I do look ridiculously happy, don't I?  I was inexplicably happy to be able to knit in the car.  For two hours.  I was sad that it was dark when we left and I decided I shouldn't knit on the way home (I slept instead).  And those Plain Vanilla socks I want to get off the needles to work on some Secret Knitting that has a deadline fast approaching...still not done.  I don't remember ribbing ever taking so long!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yes, Virginia, There is Knitting Content...

Wow, a knitting blog with minimal knitting content.  Who knew???  Actually, today I have knitting progress to report!  I've been way to tired to do much in the way of sewing in the evenings lately.  I'll probably end up sewing pockets to the crotch seam - true story of a friend of mine, we don't let her forget it, it makes us laugh every time we talk about it. Crotch Pockets, right Gracie? < insert girlie giggling here> Anyway, I digress, and I'd like to keep this blog G-rated.

Where were we? Oh yes, knitting content.  I present my Mom's Cafe Curtain Ankle Socks, which were actually finished about a month and a half ago except for weaving in the ends due to the darning needle incident. The ends were finally woven in about a week ago, and here they are in all their blocked glory.  I did these toe up, starting with a star toe.  I used the leg and heel instructions from Cat Bordhi's Discovery Sock and just picked up the leg stitches in 2x2 rib.  I just flipped the chart of the Cafe Curtains pattern around and worked it upside down, which is my rough adaptation for toe up instead of cuff down.  I have no idea if the pattern turned out the way it was supposed but it looks pretty regardless.  And oh by the way, I LOVE the scent of SOAK. I bought a couple of different types a few weeks ago and I love them all!

But wait!  There's more!  Here is the progress on my Plain Vanilla socks:

The heels have been turned and I'm moving right along up the leg.  And I've got scheduled Car Knitting  this weekend on my way to and from a family reunion, so I'm hoping I can get them done by Sunday evening. Yes with Car Knitting with capitals, I'm excited that I don't have to drive and I get to spend time knitting.  I'm thinking of finishing them off with a 2x2 rib.  Simple but effective.

What am I going to do without any socks on the needles? (no, I am not considering that I still have My Vampire Boyfriend socks on the needles at this point - stoopid Vampire Boyfriend, it's a true love/hate relationship). I was hoping to get three shawls accomplished this summer, and it looks like that may not happen.  And, I've got Secret Knitting I need to start, and that will be a pair of socks.  And that's all I'm going to say.  Though I'm fairly certain the recipient does not read this blog.  Well, maybe next time you'll get a picture of the yarn.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I remembered!

I did not do any sewing last night.  I knit about 120 stitches.  I was just exhausted when I finally got home and had dinner.  However, I remembered to bring the fire wire for the camera with me this morning, so I get to share the pictures of my new clothes I made this past weekend.

LH Garbo Jacket and Oxford Pants
The cream jacket is from the Loes Hinse Garbo Jacket pattern.  I've added a centre back seam and a swayback adjustment, as well as two inches to the length of the sleeves.  The fabric is some type of boucle.  The pants are from the Oxford Pants pattern, out of a lightweight wool twill in a deeper cream/tan colour.

LH Garbo Jacket, Perfect Tee and Oxford Pants
This is another Loes Hinse Garbo Jacket that I made out of the same pattern as the cream one, only with short sleeves.  I "tried on" the sleeve pattern and decided where I wanted the hem to go, added 1-1/2" for a hem allowance, and used that as my cutting line.  The matching pants are also Oxford Pants, both are out of some type of wool/rayon/poly/lycra blend, which is SO comfortable to wear. The Perfect Tee underneath the jacket is a wild zebra print that I adore, out of a rayon/cotton/lycra blend. I used a 1" hem for this, because I wanted more of it to show underneath the jacket.  It also has cap sleeves.
LH Perfect Tee
This is another Perfect Tee out of a poly crepe knit, with really great colours (and it introduces the teal colour into my wardrobe).   I think I got this off the ends table at my local Fabricland (a chain fabric store here in Canada).   I love the simple lines of Loes' patterns that really give the spotlight over to the fantastic fabrics I've collected.  I also love funky shoes and chunky jewellery, and these pieces highlight them as well.

Since I got absolutely nothing done last night, I'll include a gratuitous photo of my puppy, Isabella.

"I know you're BBQ'ing meat..."
I can't believe she stood still long enough for me to take a picture.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Life or something like it

Sometimes life takes a different turn then you want it to.  This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life for the past few years.  I believe my life lesson right now is to learn to be patient, and to learn to take life as it comes.  Plans are great are not working out the way I thought, so flexibility is something to rely on.  Go with the flow, and other such cliches are often the bane of my existence right now.

I had an awful day yesterday.  Nothing bad in particular happened yesterday, just a reflex to a few weeks worth of life experiences caught up with me.  I just didn't feel like I could face the day.  I wanted to burrow and I wanted to wallow.  I did not want to be social.  I was too tired to do anything, including stand up.  But, I had a dragon boat practice last night, and I committed to being at as many of the practices as I could and  felt I *should* go.  Let me tell you, it was a HARD practice.  I put all my frustration and anxiety into paddling that boat.  I gave up a few times because my body just didn't want to do it any more (I will not do extreme gardening anytime before the big day!), but the last half of the practice my mind was empty and I didn't think about anything else.  I put all my energy into the pace of paddling and the drills we were doing.  There certainly is something for moving that boat across the water.  20 strangers become a team, one unit, working towards the same goal - moving that damn heavy boat through the water as quickly as we could.  I got home after practice, showered the lake water off of me and fell into bed.  I was starting to feel better.

I forgot the fire wire for my camera at home.  I believe it is in with a pile of stuff on my kitchen table. I was so excited to share pictures with you!  I have  pictures of new clothes - some of which I'm even wearing today! And...get this - there's even knitting content!  I have a picture of the finished socks for my mother, and a picture of the very exciting Vanilla socks because they finally look different. I've turned the heels!

I can share this however...

Nashua Sitar.  It has all my favourite colours. I have enough for a vest or short sleeved cardigan.  Or maybe even a small sweater.  I'm thinking it may be my next project, after I've completed a few others (secret knitting, my Plain Vanilla's, Melissa's Ski Sweater, a couple of sweaters I have hibernating that are haunting me...)  One can always dream, right?

I owe you an update on my list of goals.

  1. Finish Mother's Day Socks for Mom - these are in progress, and well on the way to being completed Done
  2. Finish Vampire Boyfriend Socks again, these are in progress, but have been hibernating forever.  I want to finish these  Um...yeah.  Ripped, started and hibernating again.
  3. Finish Plain Vanilla Socks, version 2 yes, another pair in progress.  These are my purse knitting socks.  Because if I tell you that, it justifies me having three pairs of socks on the go at once.  They're not finished, but they're further ahead than they were.
  4. Finish cable ribbing portion of Melissa's Ski Sweater  Again, um...yeah.  Goal for September 30th.
  5. Pick a shawl pattern, and start it! Trinity Shawlette.  Finished and blocked.  YAY!
  6. Start a pair of socks in one of the See Jayne Knits Yarns, if Canada Post ever gets back to work.  So...not a pair of socks, but I started Trinity Shawlette 2.   Notice how I didn't say "finish".  How clever of me!
Two out of six.  Not so great.  Wait a minute!  I actually started a project out of the See Jayne Knits.  That kind of counts, so it's three out of six.  Looking better all the time!

I suppose that since it's August, I really should come up with another list:

  1. Finish Plain Vanilla Socks 2.2
  2. Finish Trinity Shawlette 2
  3. Start secret knitting project
  4. Finish cable section Melissa's Ski Sweater - deadline September 30, 2011
  5. Plan realistic Christmas knitting
  1. Finish items I've already cut out (a couple of pairs of cropped Oxfords, a few more tanks, a gorgeous chartreuse crushed velvet cardigan, a cardigan out of a brown mesh knit)
  2. Plan and start cutting/sewing travel wardrobe for October trip to LA (so excited!!)
That should be plenty to keep me busy.  Especially that ski sweater.  I'm sure my girl doesn't think I love her with the S-L-O-W progress it's taking.  Thank goodness she's not growing anymore!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sew, What's New?

Yes, yes, more sewing content.  I actually did get some knitting done, but it really doesn't look like much,   (a few rounds on my Plain Vanilla socks this morning while having coffee with a friend) so there's really no point in posting a picture of the same thing.

I did however get some MORE sewing done last night.  I typically am too tired to do much in the evenings during the summer, especially sew, but I had to leave work a little early last night (only 1/2 hour if my boss is reading this) to be home in time for the hot water heater guy.  Not to be confused with the HOT GUY my daughter thought I was coming home to meet.  Too funny.  I planned ahead last weekend and cut out a ton of stuff to motivate myself in the evenings.  Cutting in the evening bad.  Sewing in the evening good.  Except when the buttonhole foot decides to make some excitement in my life by strangling the TOP buttonhole.  I think I fixed the messy results, but don't look too closely. are the results of my efforts last night:

Loes Hinse Garbo Jacket out of novelty crinkle knit,
 Lace Tank and Oxford Trousers out of Lightweight Wool

Loes Hinse Lace Perfect Tee

Loes Hinse Tank View D
In an effort to be efficient, I've been sewing all of the similar colours together.  It really does work, but I am getting a little tired of sewing creams.  I have two more pairs of Oxfords to sew that are beige (one cropped, one full length), then I can switch to browns!  Maybe tomorrow I'll go crazy and cut out something green or orange!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What has happened to the knitting content?

This blog has been taken over by the return of the seamstress in me.  I am embracing this, as I thought I had lost it.  It has been a L-O-N-G time since I have enjoyed sewing so much.  I spent my August long weekend sewing.  And not doing much of anything else.  I don't even think I picked up my knitting.  Well, maybe to move it out of the way when I was cutting things out...

I was inspired to make myself some new clothes after visiting Kempenfest this weekend, which is an arts and crafts festival along the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, downtown Barrie.  There were many, many vendors with lovely items of clothing there that I lusted after.  Budget is tight right now due to a number of extra expenses recently, so I promptly went home to create some lovely things out of my incredibly large fabric stash.

The secret to getting so much done is multi-fold.  I had two extra days in the weekend (Friday and Monday off).  There was no one else at home for the majority of the weekend, so I didn't have to comply with anyone else's timelines or questions or requirements.  I was originally going to be elsewhere for the whole weekend, and suddenly had all sorts of "free" time on my hands.  I completely ignored housework and gardening (okay, I did do the dishes and cooked quick meals for myself, but mostly I ate leftovers and salad - it was HOT).  The biggest factor was that I used patterns I had used before, so the alterations were already done.

I just want to insert a little commercial for Loes Hinse patterns here.  I LOVE this designer.  I love the way I feel in her clothes.  I love that I can use great and unusual fabrics and have them shine through the design.  I love how quickly I can whip up a new outfit using her patterns.  I love how I can use these clothes as a backdrop for my fabulous chunky and unique jewelry.  I've been pouring over her online seminars and "tweaks" to make the design look completely different while using the same pattern pieces.  I am *lusting* after her newest patterns - the Cap Sleeve Dress, the Paris Jacket, the Mallorca Jacket and the Sicilian Tank.  (find them here:  I have a few more of her patterns to test and use before I am allowing myself to purchase anything new.  Don't be put off by the envelope photographs.  I've very easily adjusted the patterns to be a little more body conscious for myself, which is how I am most comfortable.  I've added centre back seams to the tops and jackets, sway back adjustments, I used a smaller size then what my body measurements would call for on the pattern envelope, and lowered the waistline a little.

Ok...commercial over.

Without further ado, my accomplishments.  You can see I'm still new at this posting business.  I have absolutely no idea how to make these pictures line up properly.  If the readers out there have any tips, I'm open to suggestion.  (That would be you, Mom and Dad).  And, I need to start relying on my "real" camera instead of my cell phone. It would definitely impart a better idea of how nice these pieces really are!  There are a few pieces that I finished that aren't included in these pictures, I think two additional pairs of Loes Hinse Oxford Trousers, one in an espresso brown pointe de roma to match the Marcy Tilton cardigan, and one in a pair of brushed brown tencel to match the Bolero Jacket.  It's hard to take decent pictures of pants by yourself with your cell phone.

And, oh yes, I spent Monday afternoon cutting out even more! And I'm planning on sewing again for the majority of this coming weekend.  Don't worry - knitting content will return shortly.

LH Perfect Tee and Oxford Pants
LH Bolero Jacket, 4 Button View

LH Bolero Multiples, 3 Button View

LH Tuscan Blouse

LH Tuscan Blouse

LH Tuscan Blouse

LH Tank, View E

LH Tank, View D

Simplicity Tee (Pattern #??)

Close up of  Selvage as Trim on Simplicity Tee

LH Tank, View D
LH Perfect Tee

Marcy Tilton for Vogue Cardigan
with Stretch Lace Trim
Close up of Trim on
Marcy Tilton Cardigan

Marcy Tilton Coordinating Tank

Simplicity ???? Tee

LH Perfect Tee, View A with Jewel Neckline
and long sleeves

LH Perfect Tee with Cardiganized
Garbo Jacket made without sleeves
LH Perfect Tee

LH Perfect Tee