Thursday, 22 January 2015

Baking, Blocking, Etc.

Winter hibernation means Her Highness is taking over my duvet. I don't always get to sleep under it, because you can't disturb a cat that comfortable. At least, I can't.

To be fair, this time she took over while I was busy blocking the christening dress (so, obviously not using the duvet, right?) Steam-blocking for the method of choice again, and it went quick and easy, laying the dress out on the ironing board. There's always a little twinge of concern than I might scorch or melt the knitting (which would be super obvious on a white lace dress), but so far so good, and now that is folded up ready to deliver.

I'm being sociable again tonight, going to visit friends in the wilds of Gatineau. I promised to bring dessert, so last night I made mint snowballs.

Tasty little things, shortbread-y with mint flavouring in dough and icing, and topped with coconut. Been a while since I've had them, don't know why I waited so long. And now I'm thinking, we've always made them with mint, but I bet other flavours would be good too. Citrus, or cherry, or chocolate...

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sock Phase Begins

With the christening dress off the needles, the next project up is 3 pairs of socks. When my cousins saw the socks their mother got from my mother for her birthday, they loved them. So my aunt decided to commission a pair for each of her 3 girls, and gave me the size and colour info over the holidays.

First up is a pair for Wendy, who wanted grey for the main colour and 4" below the knee. She and one of the other girls are  solidly-built, with wide calves, which is why the sock leg looks like it does. The grey is blackberry cane with iron mordant, with indigo blue and greenweed yellow in the trim.

I'm a little farther now than the picture - working on the heel flap. It's been slower going than normal, but my excuse is that I've been on a cleaning jag. Comes on rarely, so I like to take advantage while I'm in the mood. About the only thing in the apartment I haven't cleaned (yet) in the last 3 days is the fridge inside and the kitchen cabinets, but the rest is done, dusted, and slightly better organized, so I'm happy (it's a load off my normally-lazy-about-housework conscience) and looking forward to more knitting time again.   

Friday, 16 January 2015

White and Lacy

Pegging along at the christening gown for Joan's grandbaby-to-be. It's this christening gown from Marie Connolly's 'The Expectant Knitter'. Getting very close to the end - I have one sleeve left to do, then the finishing.

The lace pattern for the skirt and trim is only a total of 3 patterned rows, 15 stitch repeat, so it was easy to memorize. I ended up making the skirt about 20" instead of the 29" the pattern gives you, but I think that was about the only modification, apart from adjusting the needle size to get gauge. The shortened skirt was because Joan sent 3 balls of light fingering, but the pattern called for 3 balls of lace weight with more yardage, and I was worried about running out of yarn partway through the bodice, when the first ball got me 12" of skirt. Now that I'm almost done, I think there would have been enough to make the skirt longer - but I'm not ripping back now! Only 6" or so of plain knitting to go (albeit on 2mm needles), and sleeve 2 will be done.

I will have to think about the blocking. The yarn is a nylon/acrylic mix, so maybe that's better steamed than wet-blocked, like plain acrylic? Must research.

And then? Tomorrow will be Saturday, and I will get to start something new and fun. Socks for my cousin, with colourwork bordering. Grey for the socks, from the blackberry canes I cut over the holidays, with a trim of daisies on a blue ground. I can't wait to see if they look as good in real life as they do in my head.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Tiny Treasures

Every January for the last few years, I spend part of a Sunday helping count inventory at Canada Beading Supply. Next door is The Glass Shoppe, which has supplies and things for lampwork, and the two share common space. This year, it just so happened that on inventory day, there was a class going on next door. The teacher hails from Quebec, not so far from my parents, his wife is an embroiderer and knitter, has played with natural dyes, and has an interest in mycology, definitely someone right up my alley.

And the little glass things the teacher brought were adorable. Gorgeous. If you haven't clicked on it yet from the class link, look at his pictures on Picasa. I'm afraid most of my day's salary went straight next door, and after hemming and hawing for a while (well, really, he had like half a dozen trays of pretty things to look at), I picked out two pendants and a button.

I'm thinking I will have to incorporate the button into a piece of knitting somehow. The pendants may stay with me or may become gifts, we'll see. For now I'm just happy to look at them, little flower-filled gems.

Oh, yeah, and on the knitting front. I did finally get my sweater done, a few days after the New Year. The steek didn't get trimmed yet; I'm not sure if it needs it, really. Shoulder fit really benefitted from blocking - it's still a little loose there, but overall I like it, and very glad it's finally done.

At some point I have to decide on the fate of the remaining yarn - I overbought by a large amount, it seems, being deathly afraid of running out of any colour, when I wasn't sure anyone in Ottawa even carried the yarn.

After that project , everything seems quicker and easier - I've since banged out a laceweight infinity scarf, and a lopi scarf and mittens, for commissions, and currently tackling a christening gown for a baby due in April, at the grandmother-to-be's request. Details on that one to come.