Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Movie night

We watched the documentary, Inside Job, last night. It's out on dvd. It's a detailed look at the financial melt-down of 2008 - definitely not a 'feel good' movie, but one that you should see. It's like a real-life horror movie, where the monsters are the people who run Wall Street and the US economy, and they don't go away at the end!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

California in springtime

I've never been to California in the spring before. I could get used to this. I have the window wide open, there's a gentle breeze blowing, and it's 20 degrees Celsius, although it feels a lot warmer in the sunshine.

I'm used to spring looking like this...

This is rather a surprise, though:

On the other hand, we saw more snow driving through the mountain passes of northern California a couple of days ago than we'd seen all winter:

Things did soon improve:

California is lovely and green at this time of year. It has been a particularly wet spring, but it makes the hills look lovely.

We had a lovely break when we spent a couple of nights in Ashland, Oregon on the drive down. We discovered an amazing fabric store there. It's called Fabric of Vision, and they carry an amazing selection of specialty and designer fabrics. I settled on these:

Yes, those are View-Masters (remember those? Dave and I each had one when we were kids) printed on that top one, and the one on the left has vintage radios. I love how they are folded up - I'll show them off in unfolded form when they are being turned into their intended ends: knitting project bags.

Our friend, Kat, who blogs here, discovered the line that include the View-Master and vintage radio fabrics in Portland, Oregon, at Bolt. I first saw them on her blog last month. The designer and her first line of fabrics can be found here.

I haven't been knitting a whole lot the last few days. We've either been traveling, 'touristing', or, most recently, working awfully hard to help Dave's sister around the house, as well as visiting with our niece, who's a delightful twelve now, and so knitting has fallen by the wayside. I did bring the second orange sock to the toe on the drive down. I'm thinking of doing sock fittings tonight, and then I should have some socks-on-feet photos!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not just socks

I've made some progress on my Baby Blue sweater in the past few days. The aran pattern is quite fun over such a small project. I was having trouble with the counting on evenings after I had taught all day, but now that it's spring break I've got the pattern in my head and it's rolling along nicely. Phyllis, whose expectant daughter is the one I'm knitting this for, spent Monday night here and so I had the incentive to make a push. Here is a photo of the front and back, and this evening I've knit most of the first sleeve.

In the morning we are leaving for California, so I'll continue this project when I get back. It should come together fairly quickly now.

I've also been working on the Lacy Foliage socks. The first one is finished, except that I decided not to graft the toe closed yet. We're on our way to visiting Dave's sister, who'll be receiving these, so I decided to wait for a fitting before I commit to finishing, just in case the first one is too small. The second sock is about half-finished now. The stocking stitch foot will be perfect car knitting over the next few days (only when I'm the passenger, of course!). I find that knitting keeps me calmer while Dave is getting us through the hairier portions of the I5.

Here is a close-up of the lace pattern:

I hope you are enjoying some spring-like weather, wherever you may be!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Socks are my life...

Well, maybe not exactly, but certainly my knitting life these days!

Here are the socks for Rob, all finished and dry after their first bath:

I am really pleased with this yarn. It's Heritage Paints from Cascade. It's merino and nylon, and it has knit up into a wonderfully soft sock. Like me, Rob finds many wools itchy, and so to pick out a yarn for his socks I had him go through my sock stash (which is actually not all that big, even if sock yarn 'doesn't count'!) and hold each ball under his chin. This is the yarn he picked out, and I think it will pass the 'itch test' for either one of us, at least on feet. The Wool Station in Fairhaven carries this yarn, and for once I'm working with a colourway that is still available, so that's the place to go if you want some!

I started a new sock on the weekend. In a couple of weeks we'll be visiting one of my sisters-in-law in California, and she doesn't yet have a pair of socks from me so these ones are for her. The Very Pink Socks were for her daughter. These socks are also knit from Knitpicks Stroll Tonal - this colour is called Foliage. I got both of the yarns in a four-pack in my last Knitpicks order.

I'm going with my own basic sock pattern. I thought about doing a short row heel, but this heel flap one is the one I know by heart and can do while watching Lark Rise to Candleford (season 2) on dvd, so it's the one I went with! On the leg I used a lace pattern from this book, which I love. It's number 190. It's a very simple pattern over 13 stitches and 8 rows, but it's very effective.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Check it out

If you haven't read Brooklyn Tweed in the last few days you might want to check it out. Jared is doing a five part series on the mill where his Shelter yarn is produced. He did Part 2 today. The photography is lovely, as always, and I'm finding his description of the process really interesting too.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Signs of spring after all

I'm making steady progress on Rob's second sock. Here it is with one of the hyacinths slowly emerging against our south-facing wall.

Our west-coast spring is slow to arrive this year. No snow so far in March, though, so I mustn't really complain. The rest of Canada is still having winter.

Here is the kale that overwintered in Dave's coldframe on the patio. I think I'll use some for dinner soon. It has actually started to grow again despite last week's cold snap.

And here is our Mookie. He looked so pretty when I brought the camera out that I had to take his picture.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's all I've got

I have a finished sock to display:

The colours are quite true to life in this light. I'm using Cascade Heritage Paints yarn, in colour 9922, which appears to still be available. I bought it at the Wool Station in Fairhaven. It's a lovely soft yarn and feels good to work with.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I finally got up the courage to block the cardigan that I last blogged about in July. I did finish it just before we left on that trip to California, where I planned to wear it for cool San Francisco and coastal fog weather. I didn't have time to block it, though, and so it had to stay at home. In August I sewed on the buttons and tidied up the yarn ends, but I was quite afraid that it was going to be too small, because of how much the lace was pulling in. So, it languished in a knitting basket until last week, when I finally decided it would take the plunge (into the bathroom sink, with Eucalan, of course).

As it turns out, it is not too small. The lace responded well to blocking and the Hempwol is holding its shape well. At the moment I'm finding the hemp-wool combination a bit itchy, but I'll wear it with long sleeves for a while and I know it will soften up, because Kathy's was lovely when I tried it on at the retreat in Sorrento last year.

You'll have to take my word for it that it fits, because there's no one home to take a picture of me in it at the moment! You can find the pattern here.

We'll be heading to California again later this month, so the cardigan will get to see San Francisco after all!