Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Best FO yet

Gabriel was born on Monday morning at 7:14am.

Mom, Dad and big sister are all over the moon with joy. So far, he's an awesome kid.

Here he is at 1 day old.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A bunch of FOs

Warning, this post is very picture-heavy. I've been busy knitting for new baby and finally got around to taking pictures of the various FOs. I also made a hat and dickie for my daughter and re-knit a hat for me.

Without further ado, I present FO the first: Tulip Cardigan

This was a fun and fast knit. It still needs to be blocked so that the fronts get stretched a little. I think I picked up a few too few stitches in the fronts, but by the time I noticed, it was too late (and I was too lazy) to rip it out and start again.

FO the second -- Unoriginal hat (modified) and Dickie for Erika -- I actually made the original dickie, not the dickie von beethoven, but the original one isn't on Ravelry for some reason.

For the hat, I used Cascade 220, which is much thinner than the Letecia called for in the pattern. I figured that since I was making for a smaller head, it should be OK, but after doing one of the cable repeats, it was most definitely too small, so I added one extra repeat. It was still too small, so there are 6 sets of cables instead of 4. At the top, I just fiddled a little to accommodate for the extra stitches.

There was also a little yarn left, just enough for the pompom, and since it was one of the mandatory items from the 5-year-old-recipient, I was able to oblige.

FO the third -- Way back in January, I had made myself this cashmere hat. I wasn't too pleased with the results, so I ripped it out, reskeined it and it was left to sit for a while while I tried to figure out what to do. After thinking about it, and realizing that what I didn't like was the way the yarn pooled, I decided to bite the bullet and knit it back and forth instead of doing it in the round. This produced the results I wanted, and I can't wait for colder weather to be able to finally wear this hat.

FO the fourth -- Alphabet Blanket -- made in Baby Bamboo in a light green. It was difficult to capture the colour properly, but it's quite stunning in person (if I do say so myself). I decided to omit the triangles around the edges and quite like the look with just the lace edging.

Blanket being held up by the big-sister-to-be (whose face is unfortunately in the shadows in this shot)

FO the fifth -- Pea Pod Sweater -- by Kate Gilbert. This was sooo much fun to knit, mostly stocking stitch with a cable thrown in to keep you awake. Just the right project for me. Made in Baby Ull, which is super soft. I heart this sweater.

FO the sixth - Moss Cable Sweater - by Jennifer. This was another fun knit for baby. It was a test knit for the pattern, and was a lot of fun to make. With the moss and st. st. combo, just when you get tired of making moss stitch, you switch to stocking stitch. Quite remarkable. The pattern is available here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Book Meme

I got this from Jenn's site, and thought it would be fun to see how many I've actually read. Also, now that I'm on semi bedrest (or at least stopped working until baby is born), I figured it would be a good way to get some book ideas.


The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.
*Look at the list and bold those you have read.
*Italicize those you we intend to read.
*Underline the books you LOVE. (I tried to underline some, but bloglines makes it more difficult, so I gave up)
Share this list in your blog, too, if you like.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I've read most, so I'm counting it)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (I actually read all 9 books in the series and loved them all)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

3 FOs and a WIP

It's been a while, and there has been knitting. Quite a lot of knitting, actually. Since I'm technically working, this will be a picture-heavy post as I don't have much time to write right now. (but I've been told that you'd rather have pictures than nothing at all).

First, some photos of the puzzle pillow blanket for the new baby. I had to make it unisex because we don't know (or want to know) the sex of the baby. This is the same blanket that initiated the phone calls with Meg Swansen.

Blanket in pillow form lounging on my new terrace.

Closeup of blanket in pillow form lounging on my new terrace.

Closeup of blanket in blanket form. (on the new terrace - can you tell I love my new terrace? So much nicer than the dirt/mud we've had for most of the summer)

Blanket draped across adirondack chair (on the new terrace)

Blanket came to the park for a photoshoot, and is posing on the 'spider web' during the few moments when there were no kids climbing the thing.

I'm test-knitting a pattern for Jenn, and she's let me blog about it.

I figured that since she gave me permission, I should actually do it. This is a moss stitch/stocking stitch sweater for a baby which is so far a very easy and fun knit. You think you're about to get bored with a section and woosh, you're knitting something different.

These were taken yesterday afternoon at the park, and since then I've finished the second sleeve and have started the left front. Just need to finish the front peices, sew together, add buttons and I'm done. When she publishes the pattern in October, I highly recommend it as a fun and easy knit for any baby.

Here's the finished BSJ.

It's still missing buttons, but I'm waiting until after baby is born to see which sex it is, which determines the side of the buttons.

Here's BSJ posing on some park toys.

Last, but not least, are some baby booties.

These are done in buffalo, which I picked up while in PEI this summer. I lucked upon the Fibre Isle yarn mill, which makes the most gorgeous yarns ever! They focus on buffalo yarns, but also make some gorgeous blends. When I was there, she was also working on some buffalo sock yarn, which I'm hoping to try out soon too!

These booties were hard to photograph, as they're so light and the wind kept blowing them away. These are the softest things imaginable -- this is one lucky baby! I made the booties from this pattern - One Strand Booties. Super easy to make and very fast too.

Finally got a shot of the two of them together.

I also have a Pea Pod sweater that I am almost finished seaming together (which was put on hold for the moss stitch sweater since I had a deadline of Oct 1st for it). I guess I'll have to post again when it's finished!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I'm still here. It's been a busy summer and not much time for blogging. I did get some knitting done, including finishing Meg Swansen's puzzle blanket.

I also did a fibre-quest through PEI which I will tell you about in another post. Two main highlights include visiting the Fibre Isle buffalo processing mill where they make the new Louet Mooi and the Belfast Mini Mills.

BUT...just so that I don't get accused of not posting some progress pics of my BSJ here's how it looked last Sunday night -- row 68 done. Jenn and I are doing a BSJ-a-long so we each have one for our babies - when they arrive this fall and winter. Being 10 weeks apart is kinda cool because we can each knit baby stuff which goes quickly, and do a bunch of KALs too.

I'm on row 100 this morning (of 114 rows) so should be finished by tonight. I'll post finished pics before the baby is born -- i hope!

Next up - buffalo booties (pattern still TBD) from the yarn I got at Fibre Isle.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm still here


I just realised that it's been almost 2 months since my last post. I guess I'm not a committed blogger...there are too many things in my life away from the computer, and when I do have an hour or two, I prefer to spend it either knitting or reading.

I do have a story to share though...

I'm working on Meg Swansen's Puzzle Pillow blanket for my new baby. Here's how the blanket looks as of this morning. Last night I was just at the end of the first oatmeal triangle, but hadn't continued it to start the parallelogram part of the oatmeal color.

Here's how I got to this point... (see below for the arrows)

I cast on 54 stitches where the pink arrow is (A-B) side.

Then knit back 53, turn, knit back, leaving one stitch on the needle at the A-C diagonal.
Knit 52, turn, knit back
Knit 51, turn, knit back,
etc.. until you're at C with 2 stitches on the needle.

You do some funky slip/knit stuff and then start on the CC (oatmeal). Starting on the D-C side, you knit 2 towards the diagonal, turn, knit back. Then knit 3, turn, knit back etc.. picking up one stitch on the diagonal each time.

The last line of the pattern at this point says "knit 54, turn, knit back. You are now at A". Well, I was was at D at that point and very perplexed. I mean...if I"m starting at D-C, knitting towards the A-C diagonal and being told to knit back afterwards, I should logically be at D, not A. Hrm..

Let me google to see if there are any errata. None... Let me check Ravelry...None posted. Check Schoolhouse press for corrections. None...

The legendary Meg Swansen can't be wrong. No way no how.

Since it was kind of late, I decided to email Jennifer to ask her to bring her copy of the pattern to work the next day so that we could try to work it out over MSN/email.

The next morning, I explained my problem. She agreed that it didn't make sense, but tried to see if maybe I/we were interpreting the pattern wrong. We didn't think we were.

I said that maybe I should email school house press to see if they know of this issue..or maybe when there were less boss-like people around, I would call. Jennifer decided that now was a good time to call, and was it OK with me if she called Schoolhouse on my behalf.

Here's where it starts to get spooky...

Jennifer calls Schoolhouse press, says that she's having a problem with a pattern, says it's the puzzle pillow blanket and is transferred to another department. The lady answers the phone "Schoolhouse Press, this is Meg".

this. is. Meg.

I had heard that Meg Swansen answers the phones once in a while, and it happened to Jennifer. how cool is that?!?!

If it were me, I would have fainted, but from what Jenn tells me, she did remain mostly calm and proceeded to explain the dilemma described above. At one point, Meg just stopped and said "uh, yes, you're right" (or something to that effect -- Jennifer will be posting her version later today -- and she did see that you should be at the D side at that point. )

She said that there was an indeed a problem in the pattern, but then she says "You know what the worst part is? Just a few days ago, we got a delivery of 20,000 copies of the pattern, which all have the error.".

What freaked me out (aside from the fact that Jennifer talked to Meg) was that after 13 years in publication, no one had found the error in the pattern. How does that happen?

Anyways, Meg asked Jennifer for our names, so that we could get credit on the Schoolhouse Press site when they posted the correction. She gave our first names only.



An hour or two goes by, we're trying to figure out how to actually correct the pattern -- either adding an extra row or removing one row -- so I can keep going. Jennifer was going to write an email to schoolhouse asking them to send us the correction (in case it takes a while to be posted).

The phone rings at Jennifer's work, and it's Meg Swansen calling her back. I think that she must have stopped breathing for a moment or two. Meg was calling to let her/us know how to correct the pattern (we were right, remove a row) so that we would be able to continue knitting the blanket.

I'm so totally and unbelievably amazed by the service from Schoolhouse Press. I would totally recommend them to anyone.

Go on over to Jennifer's site to see her version of the story.

Hopefully I'll post again sooner than two months from now. I do have pictures of some finished socks that I might be convinced to post. Maybe...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Maaike and Jenn's most excellent adventure

Yesterday (was it only yesterday?) Jennifer and I went on a pilgrimage to Webs - America's Yarn Store. We actually left on Saturday afternoon as soon as Jenn finished working, and drove down to Massachusetts. I had borrowed a GPS (now nicknamed Artie) from a coworker, which did help us with directions, but it seemed to always want to go the shortest possible route -- and not always on the major highways.

As soon as we left Burlington, where we stopped for dinner, it wanted us to take the highway 7 straight down to Northampton. I didn't realize this until about 20 minutes out of Burlington when we didn't seem to be on a major highway, so I figured out that we could cut across the Green Mountains to get back to the I89.

The GPS made pouting noises when we kept ignoring his suggestions, and kept wanting us to make a u-turn to get back onto the 7. Poor little thing.

At the same time, I kept getting text messages from my husband about the score in the Habs game. We ended up losing. :(

We also got most excited when we saw a herd of sheep on the side of the road, and I *think* that Jenn wanted to stop to collect some fleece. (we didn't)

We stayed at the hotel near Webs, which was pretty plain. It was clean and quiet, so no complaints. I pulled out the spindle and did a bit of spinning (Jenn has a picture of that), and then we decided that it was time to get some sleep.

Next morning, we had a nice breakfast at the hotel, which included make-your-own waffles. The trick -- use enough waffle-off -- or the things will stick.

The it was off to Target to do a little shopping for us and our kids. I had heard fantastic things about Target, but it was just like our Zellers. Nothing too extra-ordinary. I did get a few cute things for Erika, but could have probably found most of it at home if I'd looked.

After Target, we went to Webs.

I think we got there just in time, because we were standing in line still in the main part of the store. Soon afterwards, the line for the signings went all the way into the warehouse and looped around a few times.

Just in front of us in the line was the lovely Leah and her mom. Leah is 9 and 11/12 years old, and is an a.m.a.z.i.n.g. knitter. She knit the sweater she was wearing (she's the cute kid just to the left on this shot with the purple sweater). Leah also knit the socks she was wearing, was currently knitting another pair of socks, and proudly told us that she has been knitting since she was 5 years old. She was quite an amazing girl. Later, in the warehouse when we were shopping, I spotted her with a cone of pink/purple yarn that she was planning to make into a top for herself.

We waited for about 30 minutes for Stephanie to arrive, and then the line started to move. We had our books signed just before noon, which was not too bad at all. One of the coolest things was spotting the hand-knits, and trying to figure out which pattern it was made from. We saw MANY clapotis, at least one "must have cardi" and a few others.

We brought Stephanie some bagels, squeeky cheese, and three dishcloths. Jennifer had designed them all, and I test-knit the Habs one for her. I think that they were appreciated. :-) I don't have the pic of us with the dishcloths, but it's on Stephanie's post. After having met Stephanie, and talking to her for a few minutes (there were hundred of people after us, so we tried not to linger), we ran into Kathy Elkins. If you read Jennifer's post, you'll know that she had placed a (rather large) order of Nuts, which were delivered to Webs for us. We chatted with Kathy for a few minutes, and I was asking her some questions about a Baby Surprise Jacket that I want to make. Kathy led us to *gasp* the back room -- Employees Only -- where we got to meet Pixie!!

I have to say that I've been a fan of Pixie's for a while, listening to her on the podcast, she always has informative answers and logical solutions to most problems. Talking to her about the BSJ, she gave me some good suggestions, as well as pointing me to a few good Valley Yarns that I could use. I ended up getting the Rainbow in the Royal Combo color. Since the sex of the baby who will get this isn't known, I thought this was fairly unisex. Pixie is exactly like I thought she would be. Her voice is just like the podcast, but it was kind of cool to be talking to her in person, hearing her laugh just like we hear on the radio show.

We were starting to get tired and hungry, so headed up the street for a bit to eat, and then to the Calvin.

Here are some knitters going to the Calvin.

and some more

Kathy and Steve started out by giving out some door prizes, but I think that because we were sitting on the left side of the room, we were unfairly disadvantaged. It seems like 95% of the prizes were given out to the right side.

After the prizes, we got to hear Stephanie give us her talk about why she's not stupid. You're not stupid, Stephanie :-)

The talk was funny, entertaining, and educational. Who knew that knitting was actually good for me?

There were about 1000 people in the audience...

There was one part where I laughed so hard, I actually had tears. If you've never heard her speak, I strongly suggest it.

After the talk, and the Q&A session, it was back to Webs for some shopping. I had wanted to ask a question in the Q&A, but never got the microphone. My question would have been: "There are video games about Tennis, about Golf, about driving cars and about eating little dots while avoiding ghosts. What do you think a video game abut knitting would be?". If anyone wants to comment with their thoughts on a knitting video game, please do. :-)

Before we did leave the Calvin, there were a few people blocking the aisle, and Jenn looked at me and asked why there was the hold up. I peeked ahead and whispered "I think that's Jess from Ravelry". IT WAS!! How cool is that!

I stole the photo above from Jenn's site, as I didn't get the pic with my camera.

There were people waiting in line to get their books signed while we were shopping, and when I walked out of the warehouse into the front of the store with this shopping cart, there were gasps all around. I had to tell them that it wasn't all for me. Actually, the top section of the cart is my stuff, and the bottom is all Jenn's. Just sayin'.

I ended up changing out some of the yarns for the blankets, which you can see in the pic below. The nice gentleman beside me is "justonescarf" who did make more than just one scarf. :-)

While waiting in line, we were right in front of Kimberly who had scored some awesome Lorna's Laces in a gorgeous chocolate/cherry with a hint of grape. I was very tempted to try to snatch it from her basket, but I already had enough picked out already. Plus, she's already taken a picture of me (she liked the sweater) and had written my name down in her booklet. Figuring that she knew who I was, I couldn't quite steal her yarn.

When I get around to photographing the individual yarn that I bought, I'll post them. In case I don't (I know myself), I got some Cascade220 Heathers for a Cobblestone Pullover for Dave, some Rainbow for a Baby Surprise Jacket, some Valley Yarns Plymouth for two Puzzle Pillow blankets, and some cool variegated purple Jaeger Baby Merino to make a sweater for Erika (probably Mia). I might have also bought a second spindle.

Edited to add:

We were nervous about crossing the border with all of our yarn (and nuts), but when we got there, the customs agent asked us "Anything to declare?" to which Jenn replied "Nuts and yarn".
I think he gave Jennifer a confused look (they want to declare Nuts and Yarn??)

CA -- "No ma'am, any alcohol, tobacco or firearms?"
J -- "None"
CA -- "Thank you" and he hands us our passports back and lets us through.