Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Presents for a Friend

Unfortunately the photoshoot of my Clapotis didn't happen this weekend, however, I'm going home this weekend so I should have many opportunities to get some gorgeous shots. Until then, I'll tide you over with some FO pictures.

One of the best things to come out of my most recent schooling (besides my fabulous job) is my friend Kristy. We bonded instantly as soon as we met, sharing a background in theatre and love of all things wedding-related. When I got engaged, she was always up for a trip to the wedding dress store, or the florist, or a bridal show. She's even more organized than I am and I am so relieved that she'll be coordinating our wedding. I call her my Wedding Fairy.

Her birthday was in November and I just had to knit something for her. I know how cold the theatre she works at can be so I made her a pair of fingerless gloves.

(My hands, her's are much daintier and she doesn't have my ring)
Pattern: Women's Hand Warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (thanks for the suggestion Heather!)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in plum, 1 ball (thanks for the swap, Heather!)
Mods: I wanted to make them longer so I added a full pattern repeat to the arms before the thumb.

Shortly before Christmas, Kristy mentioned that she needed a new scarf. Naturally, I couldn't let her buy something when I was happy to knit a scarf for her. I offered many different pattern and yarn suggestions to get a sense of what she'd like.

This is what she wanted:
Pattern: Just Enough Ruffles from Cosmic Pluto
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Emerald Blue (a gorgeous blue/green)
Mods: I was worried that the scarf would overwhelm her so I did 3 fewer short-rows than the pattern calls for.

Verdict: Kristy loves them!

Friday, January 23, 2009

My New Favourite Toy

Time for the second installment of Random Friday!
For a while now I've wanted a little scale to weigh my yarn. I figured that there were lots of reasons why I needed a scale, such as to make sure I'm using the same amount of yarn per sock. There's probably more reasons but I can't think of them right now :)
Shortly before Christmas, Heather, ever the enabler, pointed out this little beauty on Lee Valley's website. I asked for it from my parents and they were happy to oblige.

Look at how cute it is!

The inside view.

This scale is pretty teeny so my yarn cakes are too big for it. Luckily it has a tare function where you put a bowl on it and then with one click of the button it readjusts for the weight.

Here it is posed with my little yellow bowl and yarn cake.

This scale has been invaluable while working on my Clapotis. I calculated how much yarn I had for the whole project and then I figured out how much was needed for the increase and decrease sections (which each make up 1/5th of the total yarn needed). With this knowledge I knew when to stop increasing. Also, in theory I could tell by weighing my last ball of yarn when I needed to start the decreases. I say in theory because I finished knitting my Clap yesterday and I had tons of yarn leftover. I guess there were some flaws in my theory. For instance, I didn't actually weigh all 4 balls of yarn, I just weighed one and assumed that the others were the same. Oh well, it's definitely better to have too much yarn than not enough!

Next up, pictures of my Clapotis in action (mental note: take pictures this weekend when on the town with the girls.).

ETA: I'm getting married in 1 year and 4 months from today!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Few Little Things

There will be no WIP Wednesday today. I've been working exclusively on my Malabrigo Clapotis and it doesn't look all that different from last week. Actually, it does look somewhat different as it has doubled in size but since I'm halfway through the decreases right now I'm hoping for a FO post some time this weekend. In lieu of a WIP to show you, I thought I'd talk about a few small projects I knit in December.

As I'm sure many of you would agree, one of the best things about Ravelry and the online knitting community in general is the ability to make friends with people all over the world. Tam is one such friend. We met in the wedding planning community on Rav and just hit it off. Last fall, when she told me that she was pregnant, I was so excited that I just had to make something for her. I couldn't even wait until she found out if it was a boy or a girl. I usually worry about the gender neutrality of colours and go with green to be on the safe side but this time I was able to be neutral and still have fun. 
This poor misshapen thing is actually a baby bear hat.  I'm sure it will look much cuter on a little one. Tam, make sure you take pictures!
Yarn: Elann Superwash Worsted (which is totally misnamed since it knits to dk gauge)
Modification: shortening the ears

In December I was procrastinating from working on Granny's tall socks so I decided to whip off some Christmas tree ornaments for some of my coworkers.

I took this basic pattern and had fun with it. I don't know how well you can see it in this picture (clearly my idea of using the tree as a model isn't panning out so well) but the ornament in the bottom right has beads on it. My coworkers loved their presents and were so impressed that I'd made them. 

Next up, on Random Friday, I will introduce you to my favourite new toy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My New Camera (Part 2)

Last week I told you about my new camera and shared some of the cool pictures we've been taking. Today, I'm going to show off some of the interesting features that we've been playing with.

This picture was taken in front of a bright window using a spot focus. Without the spot focus, I'd have been really dark in contrast to the window. This is such a cool technique that will definitely come in handy when taking pictures of buildings against a bright sky.

We discovered that the camera has a feature where you can replace one colour with another. In this picture, the towel on the table is actually blue and white stripes.

We also used it to change the wood tone of the little table seen in the above picture. I could see this technique coming in handy if you want to redecorate. I don't think I'll be painting this table green :)

Another feature allows you to select one colour and make the others black and white. I played with this with my Silk Garden Clapotis. The top picture is how it looks in real life.

Here it emphasizing the purples.

And here with the pinks.

And finally, here is a picture of Olde Tyme Cleo, taken using the Sepia feature on the camera.
Poor kitty, the things we do to her :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Random Friday

I've decided to start a new weekly tradition, along the lines of WIP Wednesdays. I'm calling it Random Fridays (sadly, there can be no alliteration since no day of the week starts with "r" unless I call it Random (f)Ridays, but that might just confuse people). Anyway, the point of these posts is to get me posting more often by giving me an opportunity to blog about whatever I feel like.

Today I feel like telling you about a recent purchase I made. I logged onto Ravelry one day and discovered that a new shirt had been released, this one with a graphic of Ravelry mascot Bob peeking out from a pyramid of yarn. I was so smitten that I immediately called Heather to tell her all about it and see if she wanted to order one too. The excited shopping had to be put on hold when Heather's husband informed me that she was having a nap. But she called me back within half an hour and we joyfully squealed together over the cuteness that is that shirt. We could not resist and ordered it immediately lest it sell out. The shirts arrived a few weeks later and I wore mine for the first time when we put up the Christmas tree.  As you might recall, that was just after we got our new camera and I had to get Pete to take a picture of me showing off my new shirt.
I feel like Clark Kent revealing the superhero costume beneath the street clothes. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful and warm weekend (there, I got my alliteration in). I've been feeling under the weather so I'm planning on staying in and knitting on my yummy Clapotis.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WIP Wednesday

It's almost 9pm but it's still technically Wendesday so I am following through on my promise from my last post :)

I usually find myself in a bit of a knitting lull after Christmas. There has been such a rush to get everything done in time and often there is something that doesn't get finished until afterwards that takes top priority. Once the major gift knitting for the year is done, I like to knit something special for myself. A few years ago I made the Forest Canopy Shawl (rav link) which, while beautiful, doesn't get much wear. This year I wanted to make something fun for myself but which I would actually use. I also wanted to use up some stash yarn. I just happened to have 3 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in Amoroso (thanks Bertha!) which was begging to be knit into a Clapotis.  After letting it languish in my stash since the summer, I finally gave in to its pleas.

This project is a double whammy: delicious yarn and stimulating pattern.  I have been knitting on it exclusively since January 4th. I've been dropping the stitches as I go along, a lovely little treat to break up the pattern. The Malabrigo is sticky so the stitches don't go very far on their own but the softness of the yarn makes knitting it a delight (though it does tend to get snagged on my poor winter-chapped hands). I did end up needing to buy another skein of yarn but that's ok. Knitting 3/4 of a project out of stash yarn is pretty darn good.

Enough with the chatter, you're probably thinking, show me the goods!

 This picture was taken last Sunday (darn the early sunset) and the Clap has grown substantially since then.

Now if you excuse me, I need to go put in an order at Ramwools (which is having a sale!). 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My New Camera (Part 1)

Pete and I have been thinking about getting a new camera for a while now. We knew that we wanted to have one for our trip to Halifax this summer and we thought it would make sense to buy it ahead of time so we could practice using it. Because of all the great deals just prior to Christmas, we decided it was time to take the plunge.  Of course, it wasn't as easy as that to decide on a camera. There are so many great ones out there which are all so similar and yet slightly different, so it was hard to find the perfect one for us.  Armed with our wish list, we visited Henry's, a highly-recommended camera store where the Canon Powershot G10 was suggested to us. After doing some research on our own, we decided that it was the perfect camera for our needs, very customizable with lots of features but also simple to use. The Christmas holidays proved the perfect opportunity to play with our new toy.

Warning, the rest of this post is pretty picture heavy (click to embiggen).

Pete took this shot from the car when we were driving from his parents' house to mine on Christmas day.  I love how the sunbeams are breaking through the clouds.

Here's a picture of Cleo rockin' the macro setting. She spent most of the time she was at my parents' house without us hiding under the foam on the bed, only emerging for food. This picture was done without flash, relying on the light from the bedside lamp. 

I love being able to take pictures of the Christmas tree without flash. It makes everything look so much truer to life. 

Here we are making use of the self-timer feature in order to send a picture to my brother who was in Tanzania over Christmas. We miss you, Neil!!

Pete is the more adventurous one with the camera (I usually stick to point and shoot, though I have started to play with some features, more on this in the second post). In this shot, he was experimenting with a really long exposure. Partway through, Cleo decided to wander in and lie down in front of the camera resulting in the ghostly image. 

That's it for now. I hope everything had a lovely weekend. I'm going to go knit in front of the tv for the rest of my Sunday. More on what I'm knitting on WIP Wednesday (something I'm going to try).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My New Home

Welcome to my new blog! For the past two years I have enjoyed sharing a joint blog with my friend Heather. We decided to try blogging on our own and here I am! I don't have all my pictures together but I was so excited to put up my first post that I couldn't wait.

Like many of my fellow knitters, Christmas is a time of much fun and much stress. This year I decided to reduce my stress by only knitting for a handful of people. There is one person in my life who always gets a handknit present at Christmas, my beloved Granny. For as long as I've been knitting (since May 2005) she has been receiving handknit socks. I don't know which one of us gets more pleasure out of them, her for getting to wear them or me for knowing how much she loves and wears them.

Look how happy she is!

Pattern: my own stockinette sock recipe, carefully designed for her specs (I've got it down to a science by now)

Yarn: Handmaiden Casbah (mmmm... cashmere) in Paris with Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids (from Bertha!) in Amethyst for the contrasting heel and toe

Last year I knit my Uncle Peter a turtle (Sheldon from Knitty). It went over so well that I knew I had to make him something good this year as well. I was inspired by SpillyJane's Swedish Fish Mittens as my uncle is an avid fisherman. Mittens weren't right for him so I decided to modify the pattern (with Jane's permission). Uncle Peter always carries a water bottle around with him and lately I've been on a knitted-water-bottle-cozy kick lately (more on that some other time), so I altered the pattern to make a cozy for him.

He seems to like it (though he was mighty confused when he opened the present. I guess next year I should make him something more identifiable).

Pattern: my own water bottle cozy formula using SpillyJane's fishy chart

Yarn: Elann's Superwash Worsted in Celestial Teal and White (which I dyed orange)

That's all for now but there is definitely more to come.