Sunday, February 26, 2012

Back to the loom

Yesterday, my man and I went to Montreal for a Hungarian party at a workshop that brought together Hungarian dancers and musicians from all over North America and teachers and musicians from Transylvania.

We got there early, and enjoyed listening to music while chatting, knitting (all my knitting friends were there!) and drinking my favourite winter drink, a sarlotka (zubrowka vodka and old style apple juice). (I have some pictures, but did not ask anyone if I could post them, so they're only on my facebook, where only my friends can see them). So you'll have to take my word that it was a wonderful day! It was so great to see everybody, hear live Hungarian music again and dance a bit!

On the 2 hours-long trip there, my man reminded me that I should really get going with my weaving, if I want to be able to move my loom at the end of May. It's been warped for about a year now, and I had only about 34 inches woven on it. I got distracted by my several knitting project over the past few months, but I really have to weave more!

First finished piece + beginning of the 2nd one

We calculated with the 15 yards I warped, I need to weave at least 5 inches every day until the move to make sure we can dismantle the loom on time. So I started tonight, finishing my first 36'' long piece, and starting a 2nd one. I had forgotten how physical weaving could be, after a few minutes, I had to take my sweater off, I was so hot. That should be a good incentive to sit at my loom more often!

Change in pattern
For the 2nd piece, I changed the pattern to weave waffled fabric. I really like it, even if the pedal sequence is a bit more complex than the one for the first piece.

Both patterns
For the patterns, I use a book that I was given to me by the person who sold me my loom. It was written in 1974 by the Quebec Ministry of agriculture (?). It's very easy to follow, and perfect for someone who is still experimenting like me.
I'm doing the #3 now

5 inches - check!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Welcome back, winter!

For the past few days, we had been hearing about an upcoming snowstorm all over Québec. 
And we woke up to this magical landscape this morning. Welcome back, winter, I've been missing you over the past few months!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Craftier news

After my last post, which was all about the new house, I’m back talking about knitting and other things I do (or try to). 

First, let me show you the new yarn I purchased: 

Messa di Voce, hand-dyed by my friends Elizabeth and Debbie (My knitting idol and friend Elizabeth, whom I keep talking about on this blog, has 2 equally talented sisters, who she works with on all kinds of knitting and crochet projects, including an internet business Elizabeth, Debbie and and Elizabeth's husband started a few years ago). They just published a new collection of patterns worth taking a look at! Meanwhile, I'm telling myself that if that yarn doesn't inspire me to learn how to knit socks, nothing will.

I had to take a short break after a few intensive sessions of baby-knitting (2 2-hour bus trips on the same day...) gave me what I think is a tendinitis (burning sensation from the neck down to the thumb - oh, the pain!). But after a lot of ice, some rest, a little weaving and 15 minutes with my chiropractor, I was able to finish yet another hat I had promised a friend last year. That friend lives in Detroit, and I will see her this weekend, so I had a deadline to respect! (Next time I see her after that will be in July, so she has to get it this weekend if I want her to wear it this year!). 
Yes, another Fisherman's wife beret, once again with Cascade's Lana Grande, but this time in brown.
I’m also quite advanced on my seamless baby cardigan. For once, the mother may receive her present BEFORE the baby comes! Although I’m going to have a lot of extra yarn left, so I’m planning to add little Mary Jane booties to the package, and the last time I knit them, I had to restart the 2nd one several times before I could just knit it and finish it, because I lost one (LOST one, how can that happen?) and somehow, I kept making mistakes in that tiny thing I had already knit several times without any problem. I hope this time, everything will go smoothly!

It is an easy knit, and I love the way the pattern is written. It is weird to just knit, and not be  preoccupied by mistakes, because they happen less and less often. Now, I stop knitting because I’m tired, not because there is a mistake that I can’t fix and have to take a break from it. 
Although it happened once so far in this project; I never realized that I became an expert at picking a dropped stitch when knitting stockinette, but I have absolutely no clue on how to pick a dropped stitch in garter stitch. What a mess I managed to make! And no video was helpful; as soon as it looked good on one side, it looked bad on the other one. I asked a member of my craft circle to help me, but it is still not perfect. But it’s going to have to go, because I didn’t want to have to wait until I go back to Montreal again to fix something that will be hidden by a button anyway. 

And my last news is that I finished the R2DTuque again. But it’s not even worth talking about it, other than to say that sometimes, you should not let your mother jump on your projects before they are even started, if she doesn’t knit with the same tension than you do. My man calls it the Gilligan's hat. The main problem is that the ribs are much more loose than the rest of the tuque, so I would really have to restart it from scratch to give it its right shape. Next winter, maybe.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life and more happy changes...

I'm happy to work part-time, so I can spend some grey afternoons like the one we have today at home drinking tea, knit, weave and spend time on Facebook, Blogger and Pinterest while listening to music (currently listening to this - fits well with my cocooning mood). I also just received this book from Amazon, so I think I'll have a pretty good time not doing anything I should be doing, such as redoing our budget, planning for home renos, thinking about our move, etc...

Remember, a few weeks ago when I was rambling about having a burnout caused by too much happiness? Well...following that post, I decided to drop my translation class this semester, in order to get more time for myself. I was pretty proud of myself to gain those 2 extra hours, and promised myself I would use them to weave and exercise more. Until we bought a house.

It's ours! (picture from the real estate site)
 Buying a house was in the plans for 2012, so it is not such a big surprise. We (okay, I) had a very well structured plan over 10 months for this acquisition:
  1. Make list for everything we have to have, everything we would really like to have, and everything that would be nice to have - Fall 2011 (check)
  2. Look at web real estates sites and choose some houses to visit - December 2011 (check)
  3. Start looking at mortgages to get pre-approved - January 2012
  4. Slowly start visiting houses to see what is available in 3R - January 2012
  5. Buy a house at the end of the spring
  6. Do renos, if needed, in June. 
  7. Move in on July 1st (when our rent is out). 
Everything started very well with the step 1 and 2, but then we fell in love with the 3rd house we visited, so it's all done now. We visited this house on January 15, decided we wanted it, crossed the street to visit another house that was also for sale (it only confirmed we really wanted that one), decided to discuss it calmly over lunch looking at our list (so we would not make any hasty, emotional, decision), and called the agent an hour later to make an official offer the day after. I have to admit that I was secretly hoping for something like that (love at first site), but I was expecting it a little later:-)
One of the reasons why I did not expect love at first site with this house...(picture from the real estate site)

It's a house that was built in 1960 by the late husband of the lady who is now selling it. It was designed to be lived in, which I love. It was also built over a long time, which allowed them to build it well. It has everything that was on our list: 3 rooms, space for my loom, lots of natural light, laundry room, room for a freezer, workshop for my man, entrance hall on the 1st floor (very difficult to find in 3R, all main doors open directly in the living room, which I can't understand in such a cold country), mudroom, space for a garden, storage and a price similar to what we pay in rent.

Finished basement (picture from the real estate site)

On top of that, it has only 1 neighbour (we are next to the parking lot of a small mall, and behind the parking lot of a church, so that means a lot of natural light without too much noise), enough space outside to have not only a garden, but a big one, a few fruits trees (on top of the sugar maple that is already there) and a swing, there is what used to be a hen house and a second shed where they used to organize dances on Saturday nights (really this place was built for me!). There is also a small market at the corner of the street, and it it close to a bigger shopping mall ( I'll be able to go by bike). There is a bus a corner away from the house, and a big bus stop a few blocks away, as well as a big park on the other side of the street. My favourite restaurant in 3r is also a corner away. It is really the best of living in the city with great access to lot of green!

I also love the fact that even if it is clean enough for us to move in as it is, nothing has changed since it was built, so it will need a little TLC, such as replacing the green-and-orange and brown carpet with hard wood floor. I would have felt bad to replace something that would have been installed not long ago.

Future renos!(picture from the real estate site)
Of course, this is a very happy event, and we are both trilled to have found that perfect place. But of course, all changes, even the happiest ones, come with lots of stress. Stress of dealing with the seller, stress of having to find a mortgage very quickly and having to explain our financial situation to a bunch of strangers, stress of having to find a life insurance and having to explain all our medical history to another bunch of strangers. Stress of having to get the house inspected, stress of having to have the house evaluated (not the same thing!), stress of having to answer and making life changing decisions very quickly, stress of seeing new expenses adding up at the speed of the light. 

Anyway, it is done. We are getting the house on May 1st, and we will probably move in a month later, after the floors and windows get changed, and everything gets painted. Now comes the fun part: planning for renos and decoration. And writing to our current landlords to let them know we are not staying another year in this neighbourhood...

Life is good!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Miserable failure

So, I knitted the R2DTuque.

It looked like this: 
Very small, tight and pointy R2Dtuque
The top part got so tight because of how I carried the 2nd colour, it changed the whole shape of the hat. So now it is back looking like this:

I think I'll just do the 2nd row of blue in one colour, and embroider the few grey stitches on top. I just need a few hours of quiet time by myself to figure it out and redo it.

In other news, I did get the chance to go yarn shopping when I went to Montreal last week, and ended with the following:

which, once swatched, look like this:

The red will become peasy, and the purpleish should become this, for another one of my friends who is expecting a healthy little girl!

so exciting! Can't wait to cast on!

Have a good weekend!