Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween From A Little Queen

Ruby loves her queen costume -- though she won't let anyone call her Queen unless the crown is on, as the dress alone is not transformation enough. We did an early trick or treat at the mall this morning and we might take her out to a few houses tonight, though probably only a few. The good news is, it seems I have a kid who doesn't love crappy candy. I let her choose one treat to eat when we got home and after opening, tasting and rejecting a red lolly and a pack of sour patch kids, she finally settled on an Oh Henry bar. So far, of the limited amount of candy (and it is limited, I'm a super mean mom), she likes chocolate and caramels (and the odd tootsie pop) but dislikes cheap suckers, red licorice and most jelly beans. Not bad.

Monday, October 29, 2007

This Charade Is Over

According to my notes in Ravelry, I started these socks in June. June! Last night, after months of pretty much exclusively knitting these babies while waiting for Ruby's preschool classes to let out, I finally finished off the toe to my Charade socks. Hooray. Here are the specs:

Charade Socks by Sandra at I May Be Knitting A Ranch House
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Downey
Needle: US 1 metal Addis
Mods: none

These socks didn't take so long to finish because of the yarn or the pattern (I looove both), just because of my summer of doing nothing and the heat pushed the idea of wool socks to the bottom of my priority list. The pattern was super easy and super fun and I'd recommend it to anyone (I'll also point out that it's super free). I will mention that while Sandra is responsible for both the pattern and the yarn (she bought the same colourway herself for a different pair of socks and led me to the shop that carried it), they may not be the greatest match in the world. She did warn against using self-striping for Charades and since I'm such a terrible judge of how a colourway is going to turn out, I didn't realize this was going to stripe like this. Oops. The pattern doesn't show as well as it could, but since I made a bunch of mistakes (and carrying it in my purse caused for some weird needle-sliding and stitch-dropping), the busy-ness of the yarn hides my gaffs.

And I do dig how very fraternal they are. Same dye lot, but the red is much more prominent in sock #2. Since I'm keeping them for myself, I don't have to worry about anyone else not appreciating this as much as I do.

In other news, I just returned from my first ever trip to Las Vegas. Wow. We had fun, but man, I never have to repeat it. We (by we I mean me and the very lovely Aaron) did have an amazing and romantic dinner and went to a really campy showgirl show, but we are not Vegas people. I can still hear the slot machines ringing in my ears and I was only there for two days. On a side note, I'm never taking non-direct flights again. Or flying that stupid Ted airline. What should have taken three hours (and was scheduled to take five) ended up taking 12 and a half hours. I could have gone to Europe in less time than that! Gak!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


When I somewhat foolishly bought Ruby a snowsuit a few weeks ago that didn't come with those snap-on water-proof mittens (I was swayed by the style -- unfortunately, it was a slightly higher-end brand that didn't feel the need to sweeten the pot with those handy robo-mitts), she immediately demanded that I knit her some mitts. So, to match the little hat I made for her, I used most of the rest of my Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (in the Child's Play colourway -- which I think looks way nicer when knit flat, thus avoiding those crazy stripes I got on the hat) to make these little mittens.

These are a non-stripey variation of Zoe Mellor's Bold Banded Mittens from my handy old copy of Adorable Knits For Tots. I'm not totally in love with the pattern, but it's what I had, it's what I've used before and it's what'll have to do for now. I am aware that I have not solved my mitten crises completely. These babies will do fine under Ruby's jacket on crisp fall days, but there's no way they'll work for building snowmen and ice skating and all that soggy winter stuff. I will have to cave and buy some kind of snowsuit material store-bought mittens. Until then, I have a satisfied customer, which is good enough for me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fit For A Queen

Well, I just alleviated one source of October stress. The sewing of Ruby's princess (excuse me, I mean QUEEN) costume is complete. I know this picture isn't the greatest (kids' clothes never look great on a regular sized hanger), but I had to capture this moment of victory. Hooray.

I know it ain't perfect, and a master seamstress I am not. Sure, it looks like a nightgown (Sleeping Beauty, perhaps? The Princess and the Pea?). And yes, the hem is a little too short and the arms a little too long. But damn it, it's done. I winged it and it wasn't a total and complete disaster.

As previously mentioned, I based the costume on an old Butterick pattern that was a staple of our family's Halloweens in the '70s. I picked up my copy at a church garage sale a while back -- the problem being that it was sized for a 10 year old. So, I glanced at the shape of the pieces, loosely followed the instructions and just went for it. Like I said, imperfect, but entirely suitable for a two-year-old. Even better, it seems to fit and should even fit over her coat.

Now I just have to make her a foil-covered cardboard crown. Oh, and one for Aaron, who Ruby has decided must dress up as her king when he accompanies her on her trick or treating. Pictures of costume on kid to come at the end of the month. If I let her pose in it now, I'd never get it off.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dishcloth Dish

So, as previously mentioned, I kind of thought I'd spend a good part of my summer knitting up dishcloths to use as stocking stuffers and hostess gifts over the holidays. Of course, I ended up making about five (three of which have already been given away) and then decided that pregnancy granted me the right to do absolutely nothing over the summer. Well, with holiday party invites already trickling in (I know, really), I've decided that I have to finish at least three dishrags between any other project I start. And guess what? I've actually whipped off a few!

This time around I did another good old Grandmother's Favourite (all of these patterns, by the way, are taken from the Dishcloth Boutique, which I would highly recommend to anyone), which I won't go into detail about, since it's a classic pattern and I think I've already talked about it. But I did print off a bunch of other fun looking patterns to alleviate any potential Granny boredom.

Above is a little stitch pattern called Garter Lace, which I have to say, was a bit of a pain to knit with my sticky wooden needles and that stiff kitchen cotton. But I think it turned out pretty cute. And I must say, I kind of dig these Sugar N' Cream variegation colourways -- they're garish enough that I'd never use them for anything other than a rag, but they're also kind of bold and sassy.

And lastly, a cute little slipstich pattern called Chinese Waves, which was really fun to knit. I'm going to add all of these to the pile so I have a little pantry to dig into when I need something. I have another couple months to go (for the stocking stuffers at least), so I think I can actually make a substantial stock. I just love using my own knit cloths so much (I use them in the shower though -- at the dish sink we're sponge people), I want to share the joy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Breathe, Remember To Breathe

It's been a bit of a tough go in these parts over the last couple of weeks. Between ultrasounds, funerals, potty accidents, news of illness among family members, taking on too much work, gardens to put down for the winter, trips to plan and that damn Halloween costume to finish, I'm spent. Aaron and Ruby very graciously spent much of the weekend out of the house (that Aaron is good for a long father/daughter bike ride by the river when I need some solitude), so I decided to work on something that would take my mind off all that other stuff.

I started in on Veronik Avery's Short-Row Hat, which is an Interweave web pattern that I think came out a couple of years ago (if there was a huge blogger frenzy over this one, I would have missed it, since I would have been having Ruby around the time of its release). This sucker really requires the aforementioned solitude -- I initially cast on during Wednesday's episode of America's Next Top Model. Big mistake. In fact, I cast on for this thing no fewer than four times before finally getting the hang of it. Even then, I made a few flubs, but I think I was able to fudge it well enough that it didn't throw the pattern off too much. I'll talk more about the pattern when I finish it, which could be years from now, seeing as I'll need at least another hour or two of responsibility-free solitude to get it done.

In other news, check out the doll that Leena brought Ruby back from NYC. I forget the series' name (Ruby tore the tag off faster than you would believe), but she's made by Corolle. We call her Susan. I love her.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hats Off

First off, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadians out there. We had a lovely holiday. On Sunday about 20 members of my family participated in a 5K fun walk in memory of my Grandpa, who died about 10 years ago after a struggle with Alzheimer's. Then we dined on turkey and watched Ruby play with all of her cousins, which was really sweet. It was a good one.

Onto the hats. Thanks for your words of encouragement -- last week I managed to crank out two little hats, just in time for autumn to really hit. I did manage to finish my baby gift hat for my cousin's new guy, though not until the period between the fun walk and Thanksgiving dinner when Aaron and I brought Ruby home for her nap. Talk about down to the wire. That hat was just like the one you see Ruby wearing above, but it was pure orange and must smaller. There was no time to take pictures, but I'm sure you don't really need to see it to imagine a plain orange baby hat.

On her part, Ruby loves her hat, which is always a relief. The pattern is just the simple baby hat recipe from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats, knit up in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the Child's Play colourway. I really didn't expect it to stripe like this -- I guess whenever you use LL, it's anyone's guess as to how it's going to pool. The finished result is a little too wavy gravy for my own personal taste, but it's warm and that's what really matters. Now Ruby's begging for a pair of matching mittens, which I suppose I'll get to soon. If I ever finish her Halloween costume, which is beginning to stress me out. Ack!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shake It Up Baby

So, I've been feeling a little bit guilty about not knitting a baby gift for my cousin's new baby who was born in August. I'm especially feeling bad about it because it's her third kid and the third kid just seems to get so neglected when it comes to gifts, you know? But, time has been scarce and projects have been piling up, so six weeks have gone by and no gift. Bad cousin.

After finishing the Spherey for my friend's upcoming little dude/dudette, I decided to try Jess Hutch's Odd Fellow for my cousin's guy, since it was small (i.e. fast) and I'd never made one before. The problem was, once I started knitting him, I realized Odd Fellow is really really small, and hence not that fun to play with. So, I decided to stick a couple of jingle bells in him, omit the arms and legs (which were just too small and fiddly -- eight stitches on DPNs? No thanks) and voila! Baby shaker!

Because he's so tiny, I feel obligated to make a hat too. Can I finish that hat, and the hat for Ruby I have on the needles before I see the baby on Thanksgiving? Can I?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Autumn Harvest

I had foolishly thought that I'd missed out on the year's thrifting, since I spent the whole summer unable to lift myself off the couch. How very very wrong of me. At the very last minute I found out about a huge (and apparently, very well known) rummage sale at a close-by community centre and trucked down there with Aaron, Ruby, Aaron's sister Daniella and her girlfriend Erin (who were both visiting from Vancouver). Holy crap, we scored. Everyone (except the very patient Daniella, who was horrified by the crowds, but stuck in there without complaining because of her love for Erin, who is a compulsive thrifter) walked out with gobs of stuff, even though we had to fight hoards of other thrifty types to get it.

I won't post pictures of everything I got, but I scored big at the art table (the woman working there didn't want to pack anything up, so by the end of it she was just shoving stuff into a bag for me without charge), with finds that included the little praying children carvings above. On the practical side, a really kicky steamer pot (also pictured). There's also bear cubs decoupaged onto a wood plaque, paintings of prairie buildings, a velvet painting of a cactus (Aaron's choice, NOT mine), a ceramic cat, picture frames, vintage cookbooks and tea towels begging to be turned into aprons. I do fear that this may have been my last hurrah for the season, but man, it was a good one.