Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finished and Sunshine

It is so soft.  And knit up so very well.  My kitchener stitching needs work but you can't really tell.  The only thing I'd change if I had to do it again - just wear it as is and don't block it.  The blocking/steaming took away a bit from the scrunched look I had set out to get.  Lesson learned.
I've had the cowl blocked for days but only today did I finally have a) good (enough) lighting, b) time during the day and c) someone else around to take a photo.

It's funny how you get used to taking photos of all sorts of things but the second you need one of yourself, you find it awkward.  I'm often at the mercy of oddly lit mirror shots or the photography of someone whose style isn't the same as mine.  Luckily, and not surprisingly, my mum takes a decent shot.  The cowl is finished and I tried not to sweat it up while modelling (WARM outside today, she said while flushed and dying for a mint julep or something else associated with heat and humidity.)  I also had to avoid getting it drooled up.  No, it's not that I adore the yarn so much, though I do, but I had just asked for assistance when my visiting nephew woke from his micro-nap and desperately demanded auntie-snuggles.  Who am I to deny my favourite nephew/godson/person under 6mos of age?  But he does have a current habit of grabbing blankets, stuffies and his shirts and "tasting" them....

So to recap:  cowl done, modelled and shot.  Nephew snuggled.  Cowl unscathed.  T-shirt, hands and nephew sopping.  :-)

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cowl progress and a really Good Night

I started a cowl the other day based on this scarf pattern.  I wanted something with texture because it's grey but also to showcase the yarn.

I changed it up just a little, preferring to use a provisional cast-on so I can graft the ends together to form one long loop.  I find that cowls keep my neck cosier and I don't have to worry about the migrating off my body while flailing and gesticulating wildly (which I am wont to do, on occasion.  Or daily. Depends on the day, really.)  The pucker stitch looks much more complicated than it is.

I used a merino-cashmere blend with which I fell madly in love and knew I had to stash until I found the right project but could only afford two balls.  But oh my my my, it has such a nice touch to it!! Knits beautifully, too, of course.  I'd have loved to stash enough for a sweater but until I win the lottery, marry rich, or invent the greatest thing since the iPhone, I'm outta luck.  At least a cowl lets me snuggle up to it simply by shrugging my shoulders.  :-)  Sigh.

I've kitchenered the ends already but it still needs to be blocked and modelled for the camera...  Waiting on the light now.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The Good Night & The Great Game:  If you don't care about sports, you can quit reading this post now. I won't be offended in the least.

I've had two teams since childhood.  The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins.  Never have I seen either of them lift The Cup.  Until tonight.  So, that's what it feels like!!  And yes, I cried a bit.

Dear Bruins,
       Thank you.  You played hockey like champions, with hearts on your sleeves and hard work strewn in every corner.
       Thomas, you were beyond amazing.  Unbelievable.  Conn Smythe is well-earned.  And you are one classy fellow.  I'd say, don't let it change you, but I know it won't. Also, that beard is incredible.  And you laying Sedin flat on his ass was one of the greatest things I saw all year.  I owe you a very large beer.
        Bergeron, I may name a child Patrice. (I'm serious.) Also, if you could tell Johnny Boychuk that I'm available, it would greatly improve the chances of that happening. (Kinda serious.  :-)
         Marchand, you're just getting started.  And your heart is bigger than you are.  It may be bigger than Chara is.
         Recchi, you are faster at 43 than I was at 21, or ever, for that matter - one hell of a career - you will be missed!
         Campbell, it's a shame you will never get the recognition you deserve as a solid player because your dad was in charge of the Wheel of Justice. May the Days of Shannahan bring you the accolades.
          Boychuk, you are one good-looking man, in addition to being awesome on the ice.  You may have bumped Jumbo Joe from the #1 spot on my Hockey Crush list.
          Chara, Lucic, McQuaid, Krejci, Seguin, Paille, Horton, Peverley, Thornton, Ference, Seidenberg, Ryder, Kaberle, Kelly, and all the others... I adore you.  That disappointment with Edmonton way back and that one with Philly last year - both are forgotten.
          My continued love forever,

Dear Vancouver rioters,
        Not cool.  You made the city look bad, Canucks fans (real ones, you know, the kind that take losses like Canadians - with sportsmanship) look bad, and Canada look bad, and acted like complete idiots.  This is not how we do things.  Period.
        I repeat, not cool.

Dear Bettman,
        I only wish I could have been there to boo you in person. I'm not generally in favour of booing, especially when it comes to anthems and players, but you're special that way.

Dear Brian Burke,
        Please pretend you're Santa and sign Brad Richards. Thanks for keeping Reimer around.  I already have the t-shirt.  It's flocked.

Dear Maple Leafs,
        Puck's in your end, now.  I'm waiting....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Scrappy Afghan

As I've mentioned in the past, I need to keep my hands busy when watching television.  Frequently, I knit. However, I also try to match the required attention ratio match whatever I'm watching.

Sporting event = simple, simple, simple.  There were way too many mistakes that required ripping on my beach coverup last spring during the Stanley Cup playoffs. K4 rds, rip2.

This year, because I have learned my lesson, and because it keeps me sitting still I'm using scrap wool leftover from many, many mittens and almost entirely straight stockingnette knitting to make long panels.  The plan is to sew the panels together and then felt the whole thing at the end.  I've knit two whole panels and I think I'll need five or six, depending on their width.

My rules:  no buying yarn to finish this project, all of it is leftover or inherited yarn entirely taken from my stash, and everything that goes into it has to be felt-able. I've been trying to use all the same brand and type of  merino wool (Patons Classic) and am prepared for the possibility that the darker blocks will felt up quicker and tighter than the lighter ones but I'm so far away from that point.  I may experiment with some felt-able soy or some squares of non-felting material just to get some interesting textures but that will have to wait until I have the wherewithal to pay attention while I knit.  :-)

What do you do with your scrap yarn?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Disaster Cake

Sometimes you are desperate for a little cake.  Problem?  Everyone around you is on a diet and you can't bake a whole cake or bring one in.  And it's 10 o'clock at night.

In desperation, you turn to the internet to find these rumoured microwave cake-in-a-mug recipes.  You think to yourself, "How bad could it be?"  There's a part of you that knows, deep down, that this won't end well, like when a  promising date snaps at your server before you've even ordered.  But rather than say, "Thanks, I'm going to save us both the trouble and end this now," you throw the ingredients and way too much (one whole) egg for a single serving cake, into a mug and microwave away.

Yuck.  I tried not to waste but I just couldn't take one more rubbery bite of it.  Microwave cake recipe inventor, what did flour and sugar ever do to you to deserve such a horrible fate?  What did *I* ever do to you?  I love cake.  Cake is one of my favourite things in the whole wide world, the one food I could eat every single day, and you dressed up in its ingredients and paraded around making a mockery of baked goods everywhere.

It's the kind of epicurean misadventure that makes you wish the internet was intelligent and could tell you at the top of the search results page when something was a terrible idea.

Not cool, internet.  Not cool.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It just keeps coming... but I was quilting anyway

That old saying, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans", is so very true.  I've had a lot going on.  I figured that once the semester was over, I'd somehow get everything back to normal. HA!! No.

I took a spring class which took up an extraordinary amount of time, picked up more hours at work, logged a serious amount of Nephew/Auntie-time, and haven't missed more than two or three playoff games*.   It has taken me a month to catch up on my blog-reading, get my crap organized, and start planning for my internship.  And then there's been some personal blech that I won't go into here.  PS.  If you're little and donate blood, don't make plans for the rest of the day.  Also, keep candy on your person.

Somewhere in there, a friend of mine had a baby shower for a nugget of cuddly babyness.  And how could  I go to celebrate a wee one like that empty-handed?
I didn't.  A Max&Whiskers charm pack and some Kona solids later... Perfect for a tiny Irish gentleman.  (I also need to call his mother for a coffee date, too, now that I have a little more time.)

Normally, I'm anti-charm-pack, but for baby quilts, they're kinda perfect.  I've got two more baby quilts on the go.  Pictures coming soon, along with pictures of how I'm keeping my hands busy and my language in check during the Cup run.**  :-)

*(And no, I'm not cheering for Vancouver.  Boston and Toronto have been my teams since childhood and I'm not a fan of the Van style of 'hockey'.  Supporting the Bruins DOES NOT make me un-Canadian and I will drop gloves with those who attempt, wrongly, to insist otherwise. I will be happy to unfurl my laundry list of hockey rants and biases some other time.  Plus, Boston has more Canadians on the team. ;p) 
**I can be completely mild mannered but when watching players dive, linemen blow calls and listening to commentators who either don't know what's going on or have blatantly chosen a side, praising behaviour that has no place in the great game of hockey, I am far less eloquent than usual.)

Quilting for a Good Cause

OR What to do when you adore quilting, every bed, sofa, table and wall already has a quilt for every season and the closets are busting at the seams and you just can't stop sewing...

Cheryl Arkinson of Naptime Quilter has put together a project where quilters can donate their quilts to those who've been involved in disasters.  You can read about it on Quilts Recover or aboutthe launch of the project at Naptime Quilter.

I happen to think it's fabulous.  If you do, as well, please check it out.