Monday, December 26, 2011

A few days left in 2011...

...and only a few stitches left on my needles!
The last few days have been quite productive, and I'm happy to end the year with a few less bags of unfinished projects.

First, the eternal cardigan.

No, it is not finished. But I am so close...17 stitches away from wearing it, to be exact. And I could have finished it (I mean, I had the time to do it), but I definitively do not understand how to graft the collar. I tried, but not too hard, because I just didn't want to spend any more time undoing anything on this sweater. I really, really felt like just sewing both ends of the collar together instead of following the instructions, but I figured out that I might as well finish it well, and keep learning as much as I can from this pattern, so, no, that's not what I wore for Christmas this year.

I also started a R2DTuque for my man (, but there too, there is something I don't understand (the duplicate stitch part). So I put it aside.

Which gave me time to finish this hat that I had started last winter.

 Actually, I knitted one last winter, and sent it away to my friend in Hungary. Then I knitted a second one, and sent it off to Hungary again, for the daughter of the friend who had received the first one. Then I cast on one for myself, and the weather got warmer, and I started other things and never touched it again. So while I was kind of on hold with my other projects, and because winter finally arrived 2 days ago with a nice -18, I decided to get back to it, and this time, finished it in 2 days. I also read some comments on ravelry, and decided to change the needles for bigger ones after the ribs, so it is a little bit "slouchier" than the previous ones I knitted. That was a great way to see how much I progressed in the past year, because I was able to make it in 2 days only this time, December 24-26, mostly in the car as we went from one Christmas party to another, as opposed to a month last year, because I kept making mistakes and didn't know how to fix them. I think I also understand knitting better, so I knew that small mistakes would not make a big difference in the overall project, while last year, I kept counting the stitches at every row and panicked when there was a slight difference. 

But I have not been the only one knitting: my mother decided to offer me a sweater this year. We went yarn shopping a few months ago, she bought St-Denis Yarn Spring 2011 pattern book, and I picked the Dolman Aran.

It was quite a challenge for my mum, even if she has been knitting for over 60 years. Even if she doesn't speak a word of English, she can knit in English, because she understands the abbreviations, without knowing what the actual words mean. For example, she knows what to do when she sees "yo" (which she calls yo) but she has not idea what "yarn over" means. To her, yo means that to have to bring the yarn in the front, that's it. This pattern, because of its intricate motives, had a bunch of abbreviations she didn't know and she had a hard time figuring out what they meant, since their definitions were in English. She also got very frustrated that she could not find the actual St-Denis yarn, because she really wanted to make the sweater exactly as it was in the book. She ended up with some Cascade yarn, which made a beautiful job.

I love the details
I also receive a beautiful pair of mittens, Northlights pattern from the same magazine. I love that they fit me! My mum traced the shape of my small hands on a napkin the last time we met for brunch, to make sure they would not be too long. It's a perfect fit!

I think I'll attach them to a ribbon which I will pass in the sleeves of my coat, just to make sure I don't loose them.

I'm now all ready for the next few months of Canadian cold winter!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another sunny day...

...means another productive day, especially that I went to bed at 9 last night, right after sending out my last English essay! I have one more day of work, and then it is time off until January 9th!

So, right on time to be distributed at tomorrow's office Christmas party, here are:

Blue jeans booties (they don't make me think of blue jeans, but they were blue in the original pattern). I really like this pattern, it was so well explained, and it is a very quick knit, for a very cute result! The original pattern called for a ribbon to put trough the holes, but I think I like it better this way.
This pair is going to be given to Isabelle, new mother of Samuel, and Master's student in my research group.  

I was so productive this afternoon, I also finished a pair of booties for Charles, another student of my research group, and soon to be father of a little girl:

I still need to find mini buttons for these...

I love Mary Janes, so this was an easy pattern to choose. Also quite easy and very fast to knit.

I still didn't finish the cardigan. It's quite ridiculous, really, because all I need to do is to get 2 pieces of about 3 cm long together. I just don't know how to do it, so I need to have at least an hour of peace and quiet by myself to try to figure it out. But I have all of Thursday to do that, so there is still hope I will wear it on Saturday night for Christmas dinner at my parents!

Next in line: a R2D2 hat for my man. Yeap, that's what he wants.
And then, the possibilities will be endless. I can't wait for the new year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

back to some productivity

As you know, because I keep repeating myself a lot here, I have a lot of things I would like to finish before the end of the year. So, this week, I kicked my bum a little bit, and finished my present for one of my ex-colleague's baby (born at the end of October, I hope she is as little as her mum is and that it will still fit her when I mail it this week.)

It's full of very obvious mistakes, the buttons are not well placed, the sleeves are pulling in a weird way, and it is still missing a button (I realised last night while sewing them on that 3 x 3 buttons = 9, while 2 x 5 buttonholes = 10 - Did I mention that the snow and the sun have disappeared again, and that I am back to my November fog?) but I still really like it. It is made with my favourite yarn (Berocco Vintage), which is soft and easy to knit.  My plan was to make a second panel, but I'm just can't knit that quickly. I'll try to make another one if I see that it might fit a few more months when she receives it.

On the side of the (in)famous cardigan, the extra inch has been added in the back, and now I need to graft the neckband. That's it! 3 cm wide of grafting! I just need to figure out how to do it, although it is very well explained in the pattern. It is a lovely pattern, with lots of picture, diagrams and explanations (4 pages!) but somehow, I always feel like I keep discovering things I need to go to finish the cardigan. But I swear, I will finish it. This year. Hopefully before Christmas.

 Talking about Christmas, I'm not a big fan (I'm probably the only crafter-blogger on the planet who is not a fan, but that's ok). Too much drama, too much stress, too much running around spending money. I am, however, a fan of the season change and of the days starting to get longer again, so I'm willing to get in a festive mood just for that. So we'll eventually install some lights in our windows, and we already got this in the front of the house:

Pine wreath made by my man from left overs bought at the Christmas tree shop, bow made by the ex-florist employee (me).

Have a good week! Hope to get back with more finished items next week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yeah, it's December!

AAhh, it's been over a month since I last wrote something? 
It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, it’s more that November was dark and cold and wet...I just can’t survive, never mind accomplish anything in these conditions. (I also think that a month starting by "No" just can't be positive, really). 

My man thinks I’m obsessed with light - he would be very happy to use the ceilings lights only, but I bought a several extra table-top lamps for each room of the house. I thought it was because, generally, it is just more civilised to have several types of lighting in a room, but it might be more than that. I just can’t function if I don’t have enough of the right type of light. Even if I have done a lot of things this past month, everything has been done as if I was on an automatic pilot, nothing was done well, and mostly, nothing has been finished. I NEED LIGHT!!!!

Craft Project management system. The only thing I finished this month was a new bag (the brown, green and pink one) to carry my hardhanger embroidery.

Oh, how I was looking for the snow and the beautiful reflection of the sun on it to give me back my energy! Sun was announced for today, and, as a result, I got up before dawn, full of energy. 

My backyard this morning, sun reflecting on the snow, at last!!!
For those wondering why I have such an empty backyard, it is the result of this: 
Yes, it was a stressful evening. Me, the over-organised person, just froze, and for a few seconds, I had no idea what to take with me when we got evacuated. Standing on a sidewalk for several hours, waiting to see if you will loose everything  without being able to do anything is really, really stressful and exhausting. When we were finally authorized to go back in, I slept like a baby, and woke up sore from the stress.

But back to December. Things have been started in the past months, and since November ended this week, I am confident that December will bring me a lot of finished items, leaving me with a whole new list of things to start in the New Year. My first step of finishing things was to visit my friend Elizabeth, knitter and designer extraordinaire, to ask her to help me figure out how to finish the last inch (1 inch!!) of the cardigan I have been trying to knit for over a year and a half now. Now that I know what to do, who knows, I might be able to finish it this weekend...

Talking about lists, one of the best ways to procrastinate last month had to be Pinterest.  Pinterest is awesome because it allows you to save at the same place all those things you see on the internet and don’t want to forget about in a neat way. It is also a very interesting place to do sociological and anthropological studies about the mainly North Americans users. Seeing so many references to Christianity next to recipes for the most disgusting, unhealthy food, next to pictures almost glorifying anorexia can be a little bit disturbing. I can also see patterns of an obsession for Harry Potter as well as for ranch seasoning (!?!). But in between all these, there are many inspiring quotes, tutorials, tips, great recipes and DYI ideas, and I really, really like how we can organise them all and leave comments. If this site ever disappears, I’ll be in trouble. When I go to my boards, it just makes me happy to see all those pretty things I like. You can find me here:

On this, I'm going back to my knitting! Happy Saturday, everyone!