Functional Friday: 60 Quick Baby Blankets

I am horrible for writing reviews out of order, the Mochimochi books are a classic example of that. The book I am reviewing today has a predecessor called 60 Quick Baby Knits, but I doubt I am going to be buying that one anytime soon. One of my good friends is pregnant, due in May, and I anticipate the future will only hold more of my friends requiring tiny baby knits. I ended up going with the blanket book because clothing is always very dependent on taste and the style of the mother. Blankets, on the other hand, are always in demand.

Spine

I chose this particular book because I had heard really excellent reviews about it and when I went to buy it, I hardly looked inside. I am really pleased with this book and I don’t think I could have picked a better one if I had spent hours in the bookstore trying to decide.

For starters, there are 60 baby blanket patterns in this book. Chances are, you are going to like at least ONE of them. Upon flipping though, I stopped counting my favourites when I got to ten and had only looked at 12 patterns. There is something for everyone in this book. There are blankets heavy on texture, cables, patterning and even some that are just plain garter stitch. Regardless of what level you are at in your knitting career, you will be able to make these blankets.

Googly-Eyed Gator

Like the name suggests, the patterns are not overly complicated, but there is a really good range of blankets you can do without thinking. However, if you want something more complex you can find blankets that would take your attention. One of the patterns is Fair Isle and heaven knows you need to be paying attention to that! I’ve been rediscovering my Fair Isle skills with Sara’s mittens and I feel a bit rusty.

Finely Woven

The last thing I want to mention is the sample yarn used in the book. All the samples are made from superwash and Cascade 220 or 128. It’s very clever to make them from superwash, because really, what new mother has time to hand wash a blanket. Secondly, Cascade has a billion colours and it is usually a staple of most knitting stores. Since there are so many colours to choose from, most of the blankets are made with bright and happy colours. It definitely screams cheerful nursery, even from a distance.

All About Aran

Overall I am really happy with this book and I feel like you are going to see quite a few of these blankets happening before May. They are going to have to be gender neutral though; I’ll make it work some how. I take this as a challenge to play with colours.

WEDDING!! Part One

I know everyone has been patiently waiting for the story of our wedding! If you would like to see more photos than I post on this page, here is a link to our photographer’s blog post. He has posted a bunch of photos and whoever gets the most ‘likes’ (at the bottom of his blog) wins a free canvas. Considering that I am going to get some wedding photos on canvas I would really like to win one, so help me out and please ‘like’ at the bottom of Jesse’s page!

Bride Robe

My wedding day started at the ungodly hour of 8:00AM. Even though I was getting married at 3:00PM, you need to start that early when you are doing hair and makeup for ten people. I should preface the hair and makeup talk by saying that my mom, wedding party and some friends went to a salon to get our nails done the Thursday before the wedding so we were all ready to go in that aspect. It was something I had not really thought of, but I am really glad we went a few days before the wedding because it would have been crazy to attempt it on Friday or day of.

Dresses

Since there were so many people, I was placed in the middle of the queue because the bride’s hair and makeup should be perfect. I think they knew I am not used to getting my makeup done and thought if they did it closer to when the photographer is likely to show up, I might not mess myself up too badly. During the time we were waiting for the photographer all the girls chatted and talked about wedding stuff. I also had to practice the Vietnamese version of my speech.

Bride and Mom

That’s right, the VIETNAMESE portion of the speech. This was discussed between Paul and myself, we decided to go ahead and have Paul’s mom write me up a sentence to say in Vietnamese. This sentence turned out to be a PARAGRAPH. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I will tell you that I do not speak Vietnamese… at all. I can say thank you… that’s it!

Bride and MIL

What I ended up doing is had Paul’s mom read me the speech and I wrote it out phonetically. Then I said it to her. I could tell when the girls in the next room were listening because there would be silence then a lot of giggling. I am not going to lie, it sounded really funny. At some points, it sounded like a duck choking on something, but I am sure that was my poor accent. Alli, my sister-in-law-to-be on January 10th, came over and said some of it with me, which made me feel slightly more competent.

Jumping

Then the photographer got there and it was time to start taking all the photos! The photos of my dress, of me getting ready, flowers, etc. Pictures for the next three hours (approximately).
Just before 3PM it was go time. Everyone trooped out of our room and the girls headed for the place where they were going to walk out and I went upstairs. I opted for the dramatic stairway entrance; which is one more reason I did not wear heels!

Bridesmaids

So like I creeper, I sat at the top of the stairs, and watched people sit down and get ready. It was freezing cold out, so there were a lot of people making use of the hot apple cider we provided. I am not sure if they were drinking it or not, but they were definitely holding it and trying to leech all the warmth they could from those small mugs. There were a couple times when I saw Paul walking around and dramatically ducked out of sight. Luckily he wasn’t actively looking around, but I felt justified in my caution.
Those minutes at the top of the stairs seemed to drag on forever, as had been the theme with the past half hour or so. At length, the time came. I took my bouquet, picked up the edge of my dress, and tried not to trip down the stairs.
I am going to leave it there for this week because I would like to have as much detail as I can in here. I’ll pick it up next week!

Staircase...

Wedding Mittens!!

I can’t believe it is Wednesday again, I think the days before Christmas fly by faster and faster every year. Speaking of flying by, Sara’s wedding is coming up and that means the deadline for her wedding mitts are too! Two and a half weeks left to go!

Wedding Mittens 2

I’ve been working on the mittens whenever I get a chance to do some sit-down knitting as opposed to the one row here or there I normally get. Which means I have been making some great headway on them, but feel like I am slacking off at the same time. I always watch TV when I do my sit-down knitting, so I feel as though I have been watching a lot of TV.
They’re looking really great though, I actually had to rip out about an inch of work the other day because when I started the pattern again, I started at the wrong spot. The curl was going completely the wrong way. I only noticed when I got up to the decreases for the top of the mitten and thought to myself that it looks quite shallow for a mitten.
You would have had to curl your fingers up in order to get the mitten on. So I rectified the mistake and kept on knitting. I actually managed to finish the outside of the first mitten while Sara was here. This was super satisfying because Sara is one of the most grateful people in the world. Especially since she, herself, knits; she knows the amount of work that goes into making a garment.

Wedding Mittens 1

I am going to make both outer shells, block them, then pick up the stitches for the lining. I can’t wait to see what they look like with the little hidden blue lining! They are going to be beautiful and last forever. I’ve been knitting them fairly tightly so in 1000 years people on an archeological dig will find these bad boys.

Technical Tuesday: Without Holes

When you finish a pair of hand knit socks, it is a horrible feeling to notice a hole worn into them after the usual wear and tear. Usually most sources I have cared to look up, suggest using The Yarn Harlot’s style of darning; which involved holding the socks in question over a garbage can and saying ‘darn’ before dropping them in. BUT if you don’t have a significant stash of hand knit socks or there is a special pair you wish to darn, I thought I would make this post for you.

A great intro for sock darning from knit picks! This video was just a brief overview for their succession of videos. Below are the videos in order!

Swiss Darning or duplicate stitch

The Accidental Hole

Patching!

Another amazing resource I found was a blog post by the Twist Collective entitled Darn it All!

Monday Mishaps: Slacking

I know a lot of people don’t update their Ravelry too often; when they start new projects or buy new yarn we are blinded with the need to cast on right away and leave Ravelry for later. A while ago I decided this was a horrible idea.
I still haven’t updated my stash, I will have to go through everything at some point and add it all in, but I do keep my projects up to date. Lately I haven’t been on the ball and really keeping it together. I haven’t been adding some projects or making note of the blog posts attached to said projects.

Projects Page

It started simply enough, I realized I hadn’t added Sara’s Wedding Mittens to Ravelry! I decided to correct this immediately, I kept all the yarn labels and have taken note as to which needles I am using etc. I entered all the info into the project page, tagged Sara as the recipient and put up the progress photos. I felt a nagging suspicion that I was missing something. BLOG POSTS! Ravelry has this neat little function where you can tag your projects to the blog posts that you write.

Wedding Mittens

I went through and tagged the mittens and discovered that I had written about knitting the Teeny Tiny Mochimochi! I hadn’t even added them to my project page! I went through and added Gnomeo and Garf and scrolled back through the blog posts to tag them in all the posts they were mentioned in.

Gnomeo

Of course, as I am scrolling back, there is not one project tagged for a couple months, and I write blog posts every weekday. Needless to say, there were quite a few things that needed to be added and properly tagged.
I always forget to start a project page for my car socks. I had finished two pairs and there wasn’t a project page for either of them. I had to guestimate the start dates, but I managed to get them in with photos etc.
One of the most beneficial things about the blog, is the fact that I HAVE to take photos… constantly. If I want to have a post with pictures I need to have them in order to post. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking them as I go so by the time I am ready to write a post, I have several to choose from. This really goes hand-in-hand with updating Ravelry because most people’s chief concern is not putting up pictures when they put up their projects.

Garf

That bothers me as well, so you’re not alone. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a finished object photo though. You can take progress photos as you go and that could potentially be helpful to someone else in the future! I know that not everyone has several enthusiastic photographers on-hand either. I usually call on my friends to take finished object photos every couple months. Until then, I have to make due with the photos I can get on my own. It is lovely to get finished object photos with you in the garment, but (unless you have a tripod) it is near impossible to capture the garment with a selfie. That’s why I usually post detail shots first. Close-ups of stitches or cables.
The moral of today’s story is, don’t leave your updates to the last second. It’s much easier to update little by little than do a huge overhaul.

Functional Friday: Teeny Tiny Mochimochi

Onto the other Anna Hrachovec book I managed to get my hands on! As I mentioned in the review of Super Scary Mochimochi, I was really looking forward to that book and I let Paul pick out one as well since he was so enthralled with Gnomeo. He looked through a few of the books she had out and picked this one.

TTMM

I think the thing that drew him to these books was the sheer variety of toys in the book. There are seven sections of the book entitled Tiny Animals, Tiny Edibles, Tiny Humanoids, Tiny Inanimates, Tiny Naturals, Tiny Holidays and Tiny Possibilities. Animals and edibles are fairly self-explanatory; animals and food if you were still trying to guess. Humanoids are things like babies, mermaids and robots. When I was talking with Anna at VKL she said the kit patterns she sells aren’t in any of the books, so to get the pattern for something in a kit you would have to buy the kit. The exception to this rule is the gnome and he is found in the Tiny Humanoid section.

TTMM Gnomes

Tiny Inanimates are things like computers, sail boats and record players; small things of everyday life. The Tiny Naturals are things found in nature such as plants, volcanoes and planets. Tiny Holidays include things special for a specific time of year. What I want to see in the next book is a teeny tiny turkey! I think that would be totally amazing, maybe I should try to work on that and send Anna the pattern, or just a random turkey… I don’t think there are many places random turkey is turned away.

TTMM Chickens

The Tiny Possibilities section is all about different way to display your tiny knitting. Whether you’re wearing, carrying, displaying or giving these tiny little knitted treasures there is a way to show them off with pride.
Like the Super Scary Mochimochi book, all the instructions are extremely well written and there are short tutorials in the beginning of the book. The photography is amazingly funny as well. It makes me want to knit toys until you can’t even see the floor of my house, but I am keeping it in check quite well.

TTMM Elephant

Again, I would recommend this book to knitters of every level, especially if you are into toy knitting. If you’re not totally sure about toy knitting, I would really suggest getting one of the small kits. All the materials are included, which means you don’t have to hunt down yarn that would work or find stuffing etc. It really takes the more difficult parts out of it. Right now the only thing stopping me from going totally off the reservation with toy knitting is a lack of time and really REALLY excellent yarn scraps.

Turning a Page

I am going to push back the one-month post wedding post because our photographer is still putting the finishing touches on all our photos. I am really excited to see them, but the anticipation is killing me. I also feel like the wedding isn’t really over until we have gotten the photos so I am kind of glad we haven’t gotten them yet, in a strange way. I digress; today’s post will be about what I have been reading!!

Outlander TV

I am back onto audio books now and I’ve picked up Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series again. A friend recommended them to me, and I absolutely devoured the first one. I ripped through that audio book so fast I don’t think I ever stopped listening to it. It is a particularly long book as well so this was no small feat.

Outlander

The first book in the series is actually a TV show that has just started (and is excellent as well). I get this strange feeling while I am watching the TV show that I am reading the book, I just expect it to keep going and I am always jarred when the episode ends. I may or may not get slightly upset about having to wait another week for the next episode. I think right now it is on hiatus, which I am ever so patiently waiting for it to be over.
I started the second book of the Outlander series right after I finished the first; the second book is called Dragonfly in Amber. I was really distraught that the second book takes place 20 YEARS AFTER THE FIRST!! There was a lot of cursing, and a fit might have been thrown; I don’t really want to talk about it.

Dragonfly in Amber

It did eventually pick up where the last book left off and it ended up not being a complete and total deal breaker for me. I just felt like people should have sufficient warning so they don’t loose their minds… like I did. Now that everyone is sufficiently forewarned, I will also mention that it gets a little slow if you’re not really into the politics of the time period. I am not much for history, but this book is peppered with historical figures and intrigue. Around the middle, the history gets a bit thicker and the romantic plot doesn’t progress a whole lot, so I found myself losing interest.
A week ago when I decided I needed something to listen to, I realized I had it on my phone and still had not managed to finish the book. I started listening and luckily I was almost at the end of the political intrigue and back to the meat of the book, or what passes for the meat with me.
The third book, entitled Voyager picks up immediately where the second one ended so there are no surprises there. I was slightly concerned it was going to pull another, XX amount of years later, with me. As I pressed play, I raised an eyebrow at my phone as if daring it to pull such a stunt. My phone was sufficient terrified by my death glare to make sure the story cooperated with my whim. So far I am enjoying Voyager but I am not half way through the book.

Voyager

These books are very long and when I looked them up, I realized the first three came out in quick succession, only one year apart. The next five books took three to five years in between, the most recent one came out this June. This makes me a little bit nervous about the wait time till the next novel, but I am sure it will take me a few months to get through the remaining books as they get progressively larger as they go on.

The Second of Four

Since I haven’t managed to do a noteworthy amount of knitting, I am going to talk about my second spinning class! This week I managed to be late again, but I claim no fault in this as it was snowing like no tomorrow. There was a point where all the traffic had completely stopped, I think people must have been frightened to continue because of the blowing snow.

Ply-ed

This week we learned plying. Our homework from last week was to continue making singles so we actually had something to ply this week. For those who don’t know, plying is when you take two single strands you have spun and twist them together. The very first class, our teacher stressed that how you twist your singles is important because it affects how you ply those singles together. If you are spinning your singles to the left, you need to ply them to the right. If you spin them to the right and ply them to the right as well, you will just untwist all the work you’ve just done.

Lazy Kate

Plying didn’t actually take too long to learn, then we were taught how to use a niddy-knotty to skein it, then moved onto the drum carder. The drum carder is how you make roving. We started with merino wool and alpaca; if you are working with a blend you are supposed to weigh out the amounts of each you put into it and work it though the drum carder in order to mix it up properly.

Drum Carder 2

We just eye-balled the amounts and worked the fiber through the drum carder to learn how to use it. It looks somewhat like a medieval torturous music box, so it can be a little intimidating to get started. Once you’re onto it though, it is easy as pie.
We sent enough fiber through the drum carder to get us through the next week at least. Next time, we are going to learn how to card manually, with the combs.

Drum Carder

I wonder if it would have been better to learn combing first, so we would really appreciate the drum carder once we got to it, but the teacher is very knowledgeable and I am sure she has this down to a science.
We are also going to learn to use drop spindles next week, which I am looking forward to, partly because I won’t have to pack up the spinning wheel and lug it all the way to Kitchener!
I’ll save the knitting I’ve done this week, for next weeks post… that way it will seem like I am getting a lot more done than I am. I am hoping that my week won’t be crazy busy and I’ll actually be able to relax and knit a bit!

Technical Tuesday: Life Lines

In lace knitting, there are few things worse than ripping out lace. The worse part is trying to read your knitting as you put it all back on the needles. Lifelines are a way to keep your knitting straight as you are putting it back together.

It is usually a good idea to put lifelines in every couple inches just in case something goes awry. Sometimes it is hard to remember to put in a lifeline, but if you have ever had to rip out lace, you’ll know it is well worth it.

I’ve been working on a lace cowl for a few months… or maybe years. Every time I work on it, I manage to mess it up and have to start over again completely. I think I must have restarted it six or seven times. The pattern isn’t even particularity difficult. Next time I am going to attempt to save myself the trouble and put in lifelines.

There are a few different ways to put in lifelines, but these videos are the clearest and most comprehensive! I would highly suggest you use lifelines whenever you get a chance!

Monday Mishaps: Harder than you Think

When Paul and I were in Chicago I got an email with an offer to sign up for a spinning class in Kitchener/Waterloo area. This is an hour drive from me, but I am free on Tuesday nights and I have been dying to try my hand at spinning. Spinning isn’t something that you jump right into though. I wasn’t about to run out and buy a spinning wheel to give it a go. This class allows you to grasp the basics of spinning while borrowing a wheel from the guild. This means they can assign you homework and you have no excuses.

Spinning 1

Last week was my first week of a six week class. It did not start on an auspicious note. I left slightly late, for me, and while on my way there was waylaid by construction. More accurately I was delayed by bits of road that were blocked off for construction but not actually being worked on. If my compulsion for being perfect is not evident enough in my knitting, you won’t be surprised to find out that I HATE to be late. It is a huge pet peeve of mine and normally I leave enough of a buffer that I am chronically early. Needless to say that this time I failed to deliver.

Spinning 2

I was already five minutes late when I showed up to the building, so I was trying frantically to find my class in a hurry, but not appear like the frenzied crazy person I am. The address I was emailed was to a daycare that used to be a school. The front gate was childproof, so I was outside, in the dark, messing around with a gate. Next, the door was locked; there were lights on inside, but the door was definitely locked.

Spinning 3

Naturally, I knocked. No answer. I knocked again with the same result. Seeing as I was already late, I lost all patience and simply pounded on the door until a janitor peeked around the corner with a look that said ‘What the..?’ I let him know that I was supposed to be taking a class with the K/W Knitters Guild and he directed me to the last door on the right. It looks like there were another set of doors right beside the class room, but they were not the obvious ones, so I didn’t manage to see them at all.

Spinning 4

The class was really interesting, but much harder than I anticipated. Usually I catch onto things very fast, but this took some practice. I’ve been practicing this week, so hopefully my next class will go much easier!

Functional Friday: Entrelac 2 by Rosemary Drysdale

I bought Rosemary Drysdale’s first book, Entralac, a long time ago. Not too long after I first started knitting. It was a decision I went back and forth on for a long while. I would see the book, flip through it and admire the patterns, but not get it. At that point, I couldn’t afford to buy it, it was right after I was out of school and didn’t have a job yet. I never forgot about the book and did eventually buy it, but it was a huge case of delayed gratification.

Entrelac 2 two

I was really excited when I realized the free book I was getting from Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2014! I was also going to be taking the advanced version of Rosemary Drysdale’s class. I ended up getting my book signed just before class and there weren’t very many people in the class so there was a lot of one on one attention. The class was based around the second Entrelac book because that is where the more advanced techniques lay. The first Entrelac book was more about the basics and how to knit Entrelac in the first place. It looks very intimidating so a lot of people are apprehensive, but it really isn’t too bad.

Entrelac 2

This book focuses on Entrelac in a more abstract form. Asymmetrical patterns, knitting Entrelac on it’s side or in a pentagon shape instead of a square. There are a lot of really interesting options for these different shapes and Rosemary incorporates them into the patterns in the back of the book.

Entrelac 2 Three

There is still the ordinary how-to instructions in the front of the book, but everything else incorporates lace, beading, strategically placed yarn overs or bobbles. It is an excellent place to get really great pattern ideas.
As with the first Entrelac book, everything is written very well and there are explanatory photos, but I would not recommend this book for a beginner. The techniques needed are easily explained, but I think the average knitter would benefit from doing these books in order.

Resetting

Since I don’t have a wedding to plan anymore I’ve been catching up on a lot of the blogs I usually read. I’ve been seriously slacking for the past few months and have been trying to catch up. In order to show the proper respect to those blogs I’ve been neglecting, I thought I would share a few of my favourites!
The first one I am going to list is Iowa Girl Eats. I know! It isn’t a knitting blog! I read a really wide variety of blogs and quite a few of them are food blogs. This is one of the ones someone randomly recommended to me and I started reading right away. I loved this blog right from the beginning and have made quite a few of her recipes. Everything single one of them has been absolutely amazing. Here are a couple links to my favourites!

Cheesesteaks

This photo is from the Iowa Girl Eats website. Click photo to follow link through.

 

Potato Jack Cheese

I enjoy reading the anecdotes she posts and all the recipes are always amazing!

Another blog I ended up finding is called This Runners Trials and I found this blog a bit later. I was specifically searching for running blogs because I deeply wish I could be addicted to running… or jogging… or exercise of any nature.

This blog is written by Jen, and I find her passion for running to be so inspiring. She writes about training for marathons, balancing her training with the responsibilities of having small children and everything that leading an active life can throw at you.
Whenever I read this blog, it makes me want to go outside and run 10K… like right now. Never mind the fact that I would probably have some kind of cardiac episode, get lost and freeze to death… all in the same run. I would definitely need to start out small and work my way up.
The last blog I will mention IS a knitting blog and one that most knitters know; the Yarn Harlot. If you have not read Stephanie’s blog, just do yourself a favour and read. Even if you’re not a knitter, she is hysterically funny and I can’t get enough.
That is all for this week, I was really hoping the wedding photos would be done in time for the blog post today, but it was not meant to be. I am planning to do a one month after-wedding-update next week, so it might have been best to get them a bit later.

Kittens and Mittens

The knitting for this week has been really diverse! I knit up one of the Mochimochi cat kits and I’ve been steadily working on Sara’s mittens. I feel like those are two things on the opposite ends of the spectrum. They’re both really great projects to get back into the grove with though. After the wedding and coming back from the honeymoon it’s kind of hard to remember what you were doing before you got so crazy busy. It really feels like you are picking up threads from some kind of dream.
The cat kit I got from VKL Chicago 2014, includes the yarn for two cats; a grey one and an orange one. I started with the orange one because we’ve got far too many grey cats running around our house already.

Gnomeo and Garf

While I was knitting the cat, Chloe was sitting on the floor and staring at me knitting this tiny little cat. It’s not like she wanted to kill it or anything, she was just watching. I actually think she was a little jealous; somewhere deep inside, she knew it was another cat.

Lurker

Don’t worry, she eventually got over it and they are good friends now. By ‘good friends’ I mean they kind of ignore each other. Orange cat, or ‘Garf’ as we have affectionately named him, isn’t very vocal to begin with and after the initial jealousy on Chloe’s part, she thinks he was giving her the silent treatment. I am not too concerned though, they will work through it.

Chloe and Garf

Sara’s mittens! I am making these mittens for Sara for her wedding. I am really excited for them because A) this pattern looks amazing no matter what you knit them out of and B) THEY’RE WEDDING MITTENS!! I am really honoured that she would trust me to knit these up for her and I am going to make them PERFECT. Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows about my mania for perfection; lets just multiply that by three and be done with it.
I’ve been taking lots of photos of the mittens so I have something of a picture story about the creation of these! I’ll post my updated pictures every Wednesday, but at the rate I am going I think there won’t be too much left to do next week.

Mitten Photo Story

Technical Tuesday: Tulip Button Hole

The one thing that will always make or break a garment is the finishing. If your knitting is perfect, but the seaming and castoffs are subpar, it shows. One thing I was struggling with was the buttonholes. In every pattern I followed, it was always the same buttonhole, bind off X amount of stitches and cast them on again on the other side. I felt like there had to be a neater and more structurally sound way to do button holes and that is when I heard about the tulip buttonhole.

As stated in the video, this button band has a lot more structure and looks neater. Structure is something you desperately want in a button band, it is an area that gets the most wear and tear from the whole garment. If your button band isn’t as strong as it needs to be, the holes will warp over time and end up making the garment look saggy.

I know all three of these videos have a different name for the buttonholes, but they are all very similar and quite strong. In case you are new to the blog, I usually try to post multiple videos in case one just isn’t cutting it. Everyone has a different knitting technique and it can take time to figure out what works best in your case. Luckily I was about to find tutorials with both ‘left’ and ‘right’ handed knitting, so you can adjust for your liking.

Monday Mishaps: A Conspiracy

As I have mentioned, I haven’t been knitting a whole lot and what I have been knitting has been going very well. This Monday’s Mishap has been totally ruined by not trying anything complicated and reading all the instructions!
This mishap was not strictly knitting related, but I think it is funny nonetheless. I am knitting something for Sara (which will be blogged about this week) and I took it out to send her a progress photo. After taking the photo I left it on the table beside me, because I planned to continue working on it. My cat, Lucky, would NOT leave this project alone. She kept getting up on the table and sitting really close to it. If it were my own knitting, I wouldn’t be as adamant about keeping the cats away, but it is not mine and I don’t want anything to happen to these mittens.

Lucky Lou Who Yarn Thief

Usually when Lucky sits beside some knitting, she is trying to lull you into a false sense of security. She sits there with an innocent look on her face like, ‘oh, I just want to sit beside you and your knitting while looking cute. See? I am no threat at all!’ Mind you I have figured this out, the sitting usually precedes pawing through the yarn, selecting a choice ball and attempting to run away with it in her mouth.

Lucky Lou Who Yarn Thief 2

Every time she got close, to what I refer to as ‘the danger radius,’ I chased her away. Usually I only have to chase her away two or three times and she gets the idea; I’m not falling for it today. However, she was absolutely adamant about this yarn. I couldn’t figure it out! The yarn is Cascade 220 so it doesn’t smell particularly sheep-y or anything. Why was she so entranced with it?!
At this point I happened to look over at her food bowl, I had fed them this morning and usually if I just top off the bowl, she is a happy little camper. The food was fresh, not 15 minutes old, but the water was running low. It was at this point I realized my cats have me completely trained.

Lucky and Sass

If they want more food, water, attention… they threaten the yarn. After I gave her more water, she was fine! The water bowl wasn’t even empty; it was just low! She wanted fresh water, so she came and PURPOSELY tried to mess with my yarn!

I don’t know about you, but I think she might be slightly miffed I’ve discovered her evil plan…

IMG_0124.JPG

Functional Friday: Super Scary Mochimochi

This is the book I was anticipating buying, I had always looked at it online and when Anna Hrachovec was selling them in person. After taking Anna’s class and deciding I liked toy knitting, I bought this book as soon as I could.

Gnome O'Hare

As I mentioned in my Vogue Knitting post, the only reason I had not bought one of these books before, was because I was not sure if I would like toy knitting. I’ve tried enough things that I know better than to do a full cannon-ball into the pool of trying something new. You test the waters first. Who knows, you might not like it quite as much as you think you will or you could love it! I’ve definitely tried things that could have turned out better, but there are also a few hobbies that have exploded into full out obsessions… knitting would be example A.

Gnome Scotch

Needless to say, I loved the toy knitting class and so did Paul. We kept taking pictures of the tiny gnome throughout the rest of our trip. Now that we are home, a small part of me wants to see if I could get one of our cats to NOT kill it horribly so I could take a photo. I have my doubts about their motives with my gnome though.

Cat on a Book

In the book there are four different sections of teeny tiny monsters to make. Old school ghouls has all the classic monsters; vampires, witches, werewolves etc. I particularly like the witches, and the sarcophacat! The second category is backyard beasties, with your run-of-the-mill rodents and insects, just with scarier names! The third section is filled with new monsters Anne dreamt up herself and the fourth section is a make-your-own kind of deal. You can create your own tiny little creature of doom. I completely love all the different combinations you can put together; there are instructions for horns, ears, antennae, arms, tails, body shapes, wings, etc. To summarize the section there is a chart with ‘monster math’. Adding all the different options you get your very own monster.
These books are very well written and designed well for every knitting level. If you’ve never knit toys before you would be fine with buying this book. There are picture tutorials that explain all the steps and some of the trickier bits. I will say that you should practice your i-cord because it is an essential skill!

Book Cover SS Mochimochi

Since this book was my favourite I reviewed it first, but there is another Mochimochi book that I am going to review in 2 weeks. I am going to break up the Mochimochi reviews with Rosemary Drysdale’s book Entrelac 2. Unless you absolutely cannot wait to hear what I say about the Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi book, in which case, leave me a comment!

The Honeymoon

I am not going to do this in order. I am sure everyone is curious about the wedding itself and how everything went. Rest assured that everything went well and we did end up getting married, which is the point of everything right? I want to wait to talk about the wedding itself until I get the professional photos back. I really can’t wait to see them (no pressure Jesse)!!
Paul and I were not leaving until the Monday so we had Sunday to run around and tie all the lose ends. I semi thought ahead and packed a majority of things I needed, before the wedding. When all was said and done, I just needed to throw in a tooth brush and other basic toiletries.

Airport Selfie

Our flight was at 9am so we left home at 6am. I was totally wiped out and ended up falling asleep on the ride to the airport, at the airport and on the plane. This was the best flight I had ever been on because I have no memory of it; I don’t even remember the stewardesses doing their safety spiel.

Vapiano 2014

Immediately after checking into the hotel, Paul and I trouped across the street to Vapiano. I was slightly worried about building it up in my mind and no food could ever be that good. I really wasn’t building it up. The food was excellent! I wish I could live there, right across the street, or maybe have them come home with me. We were in Chicago for a total of 6 days and we ate at Vapiano 8 times. Yes, it was slightly excessive. No I regret nothing.
We didn’t really do too much the first day, the second day we shopped the magnificent mile, day three we checked out Navy Pier and I slept a lot on Day four and registered for VKL. Thursday (day four), Friday and Saturday were taken over by classes and we left for Antigua on Sunday.

Sandals

As I mentioned in the second VKL post, our flight was leaving at 5am. This meant we had to be at the airport for 3am and the airport was an hour train ride away. I went back to the hotel room after my class and slept. The four hours of sleep I managed were not near enough to get me by and I remember very little of the first day in Antigua. I vaguely remember being too cold to sleep on the planes and a really good chicken quesadilla.

Honeymoon Pool

That first night we went to bed around 9pm and slept in till 11am the next day; it was much needed after all the classes in Chicago. Our days followed the pattern of wake up, eat lunch, float in the pool while trying various drinks from the menu, get cleaned up, shower, find dinner and play pool and socialize at the Drunken Duck.

Towel Art

The Sandals in Antigua is known for being a more romantic resort, so all the couples we met were either celebrating and anniversary, and engagement or a honeymoon as well. Ironically, we met five or six couples who lived within a 15-minute drive from our house in Burlington. I didn’t anticipate meeting a lot of people from Ontario let alone the GTA.
All the food on the entire resort was amazing; we probably ate almost every two hours. A lot of the time we would also go for ‘second dinner’ because we wanted to try all the restaurants. The staff was incredibly helpful and usually cheerful. I did notice less enthusiasm when it was searing hot outside, but they were wearing pants (as in, not shorts) and I could cope with that.

Drinks

One of the things we ended up doing was a sunset photo shoot. They don’t really give you a choice about the day or time, but tell you to show up and they do the photos. Since neither Paul nor I are real big photo people, we ended up getting a few of the professionally taken photos as a memento from our honeymoon.

Sunset Honeymoon

The photos from the wedding take three to four weeks and we are currently sitting at 2.5, so I am hoping they will be done for next week. Really hoping, on the scale of more wishful thinking than anything. Cross your fingers for me!!!!

I’m Back!

Well, I’ll be completely honest with you, I haven’t done all that much knitting in the past couple weeks. BUT there are great plans for the future!

Gradient 2

Last time we talked, I had a pair of gradient car-socks I was working on. I have managed to finish them! The plain ride back from Antigua was five hours long and that was the longest plain trip I had ever been on. Just sitting still for that amount of time was crazy so I am really glad I had some knitting with me. I couldn’t graft the toe closed because I didn’t have any needles with me, but I just left the needles in the toe, and reclined to listen to my audio book the rest of the way home.

Sock Toe

I was also working on the Rocky Coast Cardigan. I was not totally impressed with the gauge I ended up getting in order to accommodate the pattern for the RCC. It was very lose, which would really cause it to grow in the future. I was looking for a pattern that would be fine with a little growing, but I think this was going to get out of control a little bit. I have decided to rip out the little bit I have and knit a tighter fabric.

RCC

When I was taking Amy Herzog’s class in Chicago, I got to look at all her samples, and there was actually one sweater there made from 100% alpaca. It was a sample sweater that had been tried on a million times and it had not grown at all. The seams and tension were holding it together perfectly. This made me realize that I didn’t have to go through so much trouble for the type of yarn I was using. I am thinking about using Amy’s website, Custom Fit, to make me a pattern for the exact sweater I am looking for.

Next up on the docket is a pair of mittens for a friend! I am not sure how sneaky I should be with this project, but all I need to say is that they are lovely and will be beautiful. I am going to have to ask her if I can disclose the particulars on the blog!

Technical Tuesday: Picking or Throwing

I was listening to a podcast and the podcaster was talking about picking and throwing. I wasn’t really sure what this meant, so I figured I should look it up and share with the class.

Essentially, throwing is when you use your finger to wrap the yarn around the needle. Picking is when you use the yarn to pick up the yarn from your finger in order to knit. Throwing is more common, but picking is supposed to be faster. I found this video which integrates some picking techniques into throwing, so you can increase your speed.

 

For anyone who gets pain after knitting for too long, you may way to try to change up your knitting style; if you pick, try throwing or vice versa. It is probably slightly more ergonomic to switch up your knitting style every now and again, rather than knitting in one attitude for so long. Similar to jobs that have an excessive amount of computer work, you are supposed to get up and move around every 20 minutes to prevent pain.

Picking is more commonly used in the continental method, where the yarn is held in the left hand.