Monday, 4 December 2017

Blogmas2017 Day 04: And then down came the tree.

Not much to say today. Alex and I still sick. Dom, fully recovered and energetic enough for this little shenanigan.

Yep, he pulled the Christmas tree down. I launched myself across the room in time to get him out of the way, so no injuries. But it does rather feel like he's the Grinch to my Christmas around here. (She says, of her 18 month old).

In other news, apparently if you're not using five million pins when you're blocking something, you aren't doing it right.

(This is where the picture of my little boxy all pinned out flat would go if I had taken one like I thought I did).

I did put my square in today, and did some knitting, but I'll show you tomorrow. Tonight it's 9 pm bed time for me.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Blogmas2017 Day 03: Hanging in there

Today started good and productive, and ended rough.

Boys both slept like champs last night (we are only just getting past the month long sleep disruption caused by daylight savings, which 18 month olds do not observe). And the day was started with Mom and Dad checking off items on our never ending to do list, while they happily played.

But while Dom seems to be getting over our family bug, Alex and I spent the afternoon feeling worse and worse. We're both well dosed with advil/tylenol now, and he's sleeping, and I want to be knitting in bed.

First however, I'll share with you:

Today's square: dkKnits technicolor smoosh toes in Lady Marmalade.

Today's tea: Strawberry Rubarb Parfait, no caffeine and not my favourite, but I'm too stuffed up to care, it's hot and that's all that matters.

Today's pretty from my Prairie Dye Studio Calendar: that's a beautiful 20g mini from Gingersnap That

And today's cast on..... more on that tomorrow.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Blogmas2017 Day 02: I will not fail on the second day

Last year (2016) for the Tour De Fleece, I boldly thought that with month old twins sure I'd manage 10 minutes of spinning a day. I think I lasted 1 day!

It's 10 PM, and I swear I will not fail on day two of my Blogmas2017, because that would be way to typical of me.

So here we go.

Mini Advent KAL proceeds along, there are my squares for days 1 and two. Day one is the Cyborg’s Craft Room, Assockilate in Stellar, and Day 2 is Tosh Merino Light in Candlewick.

David's Tea yesterday was Let it Snow, and it was so delicious I rushed out today to pick up some more. And then ordered even more online since our shop only had the pre-filled 100g tins. Also for 2 more days, David's has 20% off 200g and 40% off 300g. Perfect time to stock up on your favourite Christmas Teas (santa's secret) so you don't have to ration them quite as thin next Autumn.

Today's tea was Chocolate Macaron, one that I actually have in my own personal stash, and very nice.

The Prairie Dye Studio Calendar is really setting the bar high for days 1 (project bag) and 2. Today was a six pack of beautiful 20 gram mini's in her Unconventional Christmas theme. They are just crying out to be used in some sort of amazing colourwork project.

Progress on my Little Boxy is keeping a-pace, I just three-needle bound off one shoulder seem and will do the other as soon as I post this.

Oh and I managed to get a Podcast video up, it only took all of last night and today, technical issues and what nots.

Anyhow, hope your Christmas knitting is moving along swimmingly. See you all tomorrow for day 03!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Blogmas2017 Day 01: Advent Calendar Overkill

First I said, I don't need to buy a yarn advent calendar this year.

Then the Spicy Homemaker was hosting a yarn advent calendar swap, and I signed up and played along.

Here is my beautiful calendar from Annie (@ann_la112 on Instagram).

Then of course I bought my David's Tea Calendar, because we drink David's every day in this house.

Then I just couldn't resist, and I gave in and bought myself the most exciting Christmas Present ever!

Prairie Dye Studio's Unconventional Christmas Advent Calendar, Day 1 was that gorgeous project bag!

Then since I wanted Kevin to play along too, I made him a super boozy and chocolaty calendar full of surprises.

Oh and just in time for December First, the Body Shop in our mall had way too many Calendars left and marked them down super cheep!

Soooo yeah, maybe overkill? or Maybe it's just Christmas, Christmas, Christmas?!

Either way, I'm  going to try and do one more Calendar here on the blog, and post every day until Christmas. Don't believe me, well we'll see, but as always, my intentions are pure.

So pure in fact I even filmed a podcast tonight! That's a still I grabbed of myself by accident when filming! It should be up tomorrow AM!

More tomorrow! In the mean time, Happy Knitting!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Gift knitting progress report, I might be a little insane

I like to do Christmas knitting. A fair bit of it actually. And last year I didn't mail my box of gift knits to Ontario until well after Christmas (I blame 6 month old twins, moving twice in December for Kev's work, once to a house with no dishwasher, and Kev working literally around the clock in the ICU). This year, however, I am determined to be on time for Christmas, and so I started well in advance.

So far I have finished:

1 shawl. 1 pair of socks, 1 cowl, 3 hats, and 4 pairs of mitts.

I have on my to do list still:

1 baby, two toddler, 1 child, and 1 adult sweaters.

2 toddler vests.

3 dog sweaters.

1 shawl.

1 scarf.

1 pair of mitts.

1 colour work hat.

1 pair of socks.

Oh and the rest of my thesis to finish before Christmas.

Clearly some of the things on that list are going to have to go. But it's still December, and I am still optimistic (ridiculously so) and ambitious (overly). But I am spurred on by the fact that some of those items are already underway, and others will be knit with bulky weight yarn (which practically knits itself).

Yesterday I cast on that child's sweater. I swatched for it way back when.

It's the Little Boxy by Joji Locatelli (pattern page, project page), and it's stockinette knit flat. Borring knitting, so I have set myself a 4 inches a day goal, to force my way through this project. So here's hoping this sweater manifests itself quickly.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Lab Report Episode 05: Guess who's back...

Back again.

Sara's back.

Tell a friend.

Note to self, get an Eminem playlist on your phone for tomorrow's drive to Calgary.

Guys I put up a new YouTube video! a 'long' format podcast. Who am I?!

Watch it here!

In this video:

FOs Pinewood Pullover : Mix and Match Sweaters Brown: Green: Selbu Mittens: Cat Hat and Mitts: Mario and Luigi Hats: Speckle and Pop MKAL: WIPS Deschain: Knitpicks lindy chain yarn: The Traveller Shawl Design: Babbles Traveling Yarns: Dancing Deer Mittens: New Yarn Borgo de Pazzi Magic Kettle:

In other news, I finished my Speckle and Pop shawl, here is a picture of it blocking. I wet blocked it and stretched it to within an inch of it's life.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Grand Shawl Plans for November

It's another month gone by, and the boys are 17 months old today! They are of course celebrating this milestone by being fussy teethers who don't want to nap.

I am celebrating by lining up four shawl WIPs that need to make their way over to the FO pile ASAP.

1) Westknits MKAL 2017, Speckle and Pop

This one is on it's second last row, something that has been determined by that wee little ball of my main colour 1. And while that should mean it'll be a quick finish, you should know I have something like 820 stitches to bind off with a multi coloured icord.... so you know. Fun.

2) The Traveller

This is a shawl I've been planning for years, I have three beautiful skeins of natural coloured BFL handspun, in about a DK weight, that I knew needed to be a rustic shawl. Babbles Traveling Yarns is having an Outlander KAL, and well it was time to get a move on on this one. I'm just about done the first section... although I may need to spin some more of the oatmeal colour.

3) My homespun Marled Magic

This one hasn't even been on needles for the last month, just the stitches on holders, waiting for me to spin up some more yarn. I've got the next skein ready to go so time to put it back on needles. Well maybe after I finish my other Westknit.

4) My Starting Point (ironically my finishing point as well)

Just keep knitting, just keep knitting, just keep knitting, knitting, knitting.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween from Mario and Luigi

There's been no time for blogging lately, and precious little time for knitting. That's because today was Halloween and I was on a deadline.

A deadline to make all of this.

That's two pairs of overalls.
Two raglan long sleeve shirts.
One adult male's pants;
and vest.
One princess dress, complete with lined bodice, lined skirts, peplums, puff sleeves and a train.
Two crocheted hats
and one ridiculous pillow hat.

I also made those little boys, but I did that back in 2016, so it doesn't really count.

Anyways, busy, busy busy.

Plus I've been thesis writing. passed 20,000 words this weekend. 5 bajillion more to go.

Hope you had a happy October 31st, however you celebrate it.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Knit everything twice - Mix and Match Sweater

This summer, Mina Phillip (@knittingexpat) asked if I would be interested in test knitting a baby sweater she had designed. I've test knit for her before, and she knows I have little ones, so I am pretty sure that's why I got the ask.

The pattern was released last month, the lovely Mix and Match Sweater.

I of course, being a mmother of twins, knit it twice.

The pattern is titled Mix and Match, because Mina provides options for plain stockinette or textured sweaters, short or long sleeves, and with or without short row shaping around the neck and hem. The brown one I knit first, with short in both places, but didn't love them in the back of the neck, so I only did the short row shaping on the hem for the green one.

I knit mine from some Lion Brand Yarn Hearland in Kings Canyon (green) and Sequoia (Brown) click those links for the project pages. I thought acryclic would make for easy to wash sweaters, and to be fair, I didn't want to invest in more expensive yarn for a test knit. I used about a skein and a half of each and picked them up on sale at Micheals.

This past weekend I dressed the boys up all cute and took the out to play in the yard and try to grab some cute photos showing off their little sweaters. Some turned out great.

Others not so much. That's Dom at the wheel, making that face becaus his brother is trying to fit in the car behind him.

They do play together nice sometimes tho.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Boreal Forest Cowl and Hat

When I hear the term Boreal Forest, I think of Northern Ontario, where I grew up, and driving along highway 17 from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay. It's very nostalgic for me, and moreso now that I've been living in the Alberta Praries for the past 8 years.

Last year when I saw the first pattern released in Curious Handmade Presents Knitvent 2016 (Helen Stewart) was a colourwork cowl called Boreal Forest, I knew I wanted to knit it ASAP.

It was just so pretty, plus I love stranded knitting, something about it makes projects fly off the needles.

Problem, I didn't have any pretty worsted weight yarn in my stash in the colours I wanted for this project.

Solution, I did have a couple skeins of bare Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Worsted in my bin of undyed yarns, and a fearless aditude towards dyeing yarn with food colouring.

You can watch me dye this yarn in this video here (click the link to watch on YouTube).

And the yarn turned out beautifully!

I knit up the cowl straight away last winter.

Here's a shot of my floats, so lovely and even, you can kind of see the trees through them.

And had enough yarn leftover to knit the matching hat this fall.

I did modify the hat a little to lengthen it (notes on my project page describe the simple changes), but other than that, I have a beautiful set ready to be gifted this Christmas.

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that it's only 71 days until Christmas? it seems like a lot (I mean it's not even Halloween Yet) until you consided how long my list of gift knitting is, and also that I have to finish writing my thesis by then (thesis update, 100 pages!!)

How far in advance do you start your holiday knitting, and do you still manage not to get everything done in time like me?

Saturday, 23 September 2017

More than just a sweater, a story of stress bought yarn and tube feeds.

September has been one hell of a month for my little family, and this is only our second one together.

Last September, after taking the boys home to meet all of their family and friends in Ontario, a trip during which Kevin surprised the pants off of me by popping the question.

Isn't he handsome? Anyways, that trip, as wonderful as it was, was shadowed by the fears that had been building all summer, Alex and Dom just didn't seem to want to eat enough to grow. In fact at this point, they hadn't gained any weight at all in over a month, and Kevin and I were bottle feeding them one ounce at a time around the clock.

So we returned to Alberta, with an appointment set up with a new pediatrician in Calgary, and a week later we were admitted to hospital.

I won't go into all of the details of that admission here, it's a story that I have in me and need to write out in full one day, but I will share again the video I made shortly there after.

Long story short, we went into hospital with little boys who wouldn't eat enough to grow, and came home with little boys with feeding tubes. And while feeding tubes are all kinds of no fun, they allowed our boys to get suficient nutrition to grow and develop, and be happy, and play, and sleep.

Here they are last winter in adorable matching cardigans (rav links Blue and Green), with NG tubes. Later you may have noticed their NG tube disapear from photos, but only because they had surgeries in January to replace them with G tube directly into their little tummies.

In that video I talk about stress buying yarn. Some people are emotional eaters (and I can be as well) but when faced with my boys who clearly did not enjoy eating, and had to be tube fed, you can understand why I might not have had an appetite for stress eating. So stress buying yarn it was.

We were in hospital last September for a little over a week (and by in hospital I mean all four of us living in one room) so during a brief window of mommy time I headed to my happy place. Stash Needle Art Lounge, one of Calgary's amazing LYSs. And I stress bought yarn, specifically, my first fingering weight sweater quantity.

Three skeins of Ancient Arts yarn, 75% merino, 25% silk, fingering weight yarn in the Roaring Twenties colour way. I didn't really even know what sweter it would be, but it was beautiful, it was new and it made me happy, independent of everything else that was going on.

For a long time that yarn hung on my wall in my office, waiting. Waiting for the right project. Waiting for our lives to settle down enough that casting on a fingering weight sweter would be a reasonable thing to do. Waiting for the boys to stop throwing up all the time, and to start having some small interest in food.

By this spring the time was right. Alex and Dom were growing, having clawed their way back up onto an actual growth curve (yeah 3rd percentile!!), they were meeting developental milestones, sitting and crawling and pulling themselves up to stand along furniture. We had settled into our version of normal, where I tube fed them, what seemed like all day long, while they happily played. And amazingly, they began to want to eat the tiniest bites of food. Small sips of formula, milk or water, here and there. To let me spoon a mouthful or two of baby cereal into their mouths, to suck some fruit puree out of a squeeze pouch. Not enough to sustain themselves or replace the tube feeds, but enough to show mommy and daddy that they knew how to eat.

So I cas on a sweater.

Choosing Joji Locatelli's Granito.

Over the summer I kit it intermediately. It's a whole lot of borring stockinette. A whole lot of grey. But as I worked on it, we began to have something to look forward to. Maybe and end to the long string of days of tube feeding. We had a referal to a pediatrician who would do the hunger wean to transition our boys off their tubes. It was time for me to speed up and finish this sweater, to stop knitting on the yarn that I bought to sooth some of the hurt of not being able to feed my little boys the way every mom wants to.

Progress moved along, a pop of colour (Hedgehog Fibres sock in Jelly) tucked away inside the pockets added some much needed inerest, and by the end of August I was zooming through the sleeves.

September rolled back around. I had finished the knitting but had pockets to seem and one heck of a lot of ends to weave in. Kevin had finished his Family Medicine Resisdency. We had finally moved back home after a year of moving around southern Alberta. And Alex and Dom, walking, climbing and getting into all sorts of trouble. Going through their days with increadible interest in food, eager to taste anything mom and dad were eating. But boy did they still get pissed if you expected them to have more than one bite.

And I stalled. Something about finishing things is hard for me. All those ends, and those pesky seams, they just weren't as interesting as casting on new projects. Until we saw the new doctor, and he told us for sure the boys were ready, it was time to put an end to the tube feeds.

Suddenly we found ourselves back in hospital, in September, in the same little room that felt so horrible last year.

This time however, the room wasn't full of fear and unknowns. This time it was full of hope and progress and success. We gave Alex and Dom their last tube feed on Thursday September 14th at bedtime, and by 4 am Sunday Morning I knew everything was going to be all right.

After I tucked Alex back into his bed, having fed him formula from a sippy cup until he fell back to sleep in my arms, I knew that was it, it clicked, he was a person who ate when he was hungry, and who did so happily (Dom turned this corner earlier the previous day, and by dinner looked like a pro in his high chair).

It might be crazy messy, but these are two little boys who love to eat.

We've been back at home now since Monday night, and over a week since we tube fed them anythig. Sure they are a little bit leaner than they were a week ago, but they are eating and playing and sleeping and exploring and learning and laughing.

So I wove in all those ends last night, and seamed up those pockets, and put an end to this chapter.

It's a great little sweater, but now instead of being the yarn that remided me of the tears shed over a year of tube feeding, its a cozy sweater to remind me of that moment a 4am, with Alex, when some part of me that never quite felt like a real mom, finaly felt right.

If only that was the only sweaters worth of 'stress yarn' in my stash. I guess I better get a move on this lovely pile of goodness, ordered from the waiting room while the boys were in surgery for their G-Tubes, because with any luck, those useless little tubes will be coming out sooner rather than later. (yarn is My Old Black Powder, on SW Merino Worsted, by Prarie Dye Studio)

Sunday, 10 September 2017

A Tale of Two Yarns

You ever order a skein of yarn because you saw it on Instagram and knew you just needed it. And when it arrives in the mail you think it is beautiful and unique and amazing. So you hang it on your inspiration peg board and it lives there for months waiting for the right pattern/project. And it stays there until one day, when you have to pack the whole thing up, so into the stash bin it goes, but what, inside that bin there is a skein almost exactly like it!

Now I don't quite remember which of these two skeins came home with me first, but I do know that that very story happened to me back in March when we packed up shop to move down to Crows Nest Pass, and I didn't want moths to eat my yarn in my absense.

But here are the two skeins, both by Alberta indie dyers, both purchased sometime in 2016. Don't believe me on  just how similar they look?

Sure one hase more pink and the other is a pinky tan, but come on!

The Vivid Yarn, which is on the right is Hello Fox, and the Yarn Ink, on the left, is Calypso.

And there was just no way I'd be knitting these two separately, it'd be like knitting dejavu.

Luckily for me, I have a project in mind for the Joji Fall KAL that needs two skeins of fingering weight yarn. Oh, and did I mention they appear to be on the same base as well, both are 463 yards/100g, 75% Merino, 25% nylon, 4-ply sock yarns.

Here it is all caked up, and I know, you can tell the difference. The one on the right (Now the Yarn Ink, you think I would have kept things consistent for 3 photos, but nope, flippy floppy I go.) clearly has more brown and pink, but when I knit them up into a swatch...

You'd never guess I was alternating strands of two differnt yarns, by two differnt dyers. Plus, I think alternated them (two rows of each) really minimizes the pooling.

As for the project, this will of course become a Little Boxy, but I won't be casting on until I finish one or two other WIPs.