It has been since I last bought yarn!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Something New to Obsess Over!

The Magnum Opus is done y'all! I've been sitting back and enjoying the feeling of knowing that there is nothing else that needs to be done on that blanket. In fact it's so done it's not even in my house anymore. It's on it's way to a special little girl- and well, I'm relieved.

Magnum Opus took a lot of me!

Being the process knitter I am though, I couldn't just leave the blankets alone, I bit into my next big challenge. The "Pink Insanity" blanket. Why did I give it that woeful sounding title? Simple- when I started I thought I must be INSANE to knit a blanket on yarn with such a small guage.


In fact when I first did this gauge swatch my rational brain said "NO. This is not going to be the project you recover on. NO NO NO NO NO NO." Thankfully I rarely listen to the rational side of my brain and I cast pink insanity on.


It turns out that even though this is knit in the finest, most whispy of yarns, I actually really sunk my teeth into the project. And despite thinking that it would take an eternity to knit... it actually starting moving a long really fast.


A week later from that photo? I was nearly halfway!


My pattern notes suggest that I need 6 "panel rows" of patterns. I'm nearly done 3. I think we can safely assume that I'm going to finish this for Stampede this year. So, as long as I stay focused, and committed to not making errors, (because there has been some unpleasant ripping back sessions already), this blanket is turning out to be quite a great little project!
Maybe I should listen to my irrational side more often?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dear Sophie

Dear Sophie,

We haven't met yet- but I already know how special you are. You see, I know your mom and she's a very special person to me. In fact, I consider her and your aunty Renell as special members of my own family. I have been waiting rather impatiently to meet you because I'm convinced that I'm already going to love you. (Yes, even if you barf on me when we meet. You and your cousin Ky are one of the few people I will make this exception for.) When I found out that you were going to join us I wanted to do something really special to welcome you into this world.

You've probably figured this out pretty quickly, but your mom and dad really love you. I hope you've also already noticed that they really love each other too. Your mom and dad have a great story before you came along, and I thought maybe I could tell you that story since I'm one of the few people who knew your parents when they first met.

Because you're small, I thought you'd prefer a picture story instead of one with many words. This is the story of your parents and how you came to be in this world.


The blanket reads like most stories- and starts at the beginning. Once upon a time there were two people, one named Brandy and one named Blaine; you know them better as "mommy" and "daddy".


Mommy and daddy grew up in different towns, but when they were old enough to leave home, they moved to Saskatoon to go to university. It was at the University of Saskatchewan where they met each other for the very first time. (I know how much you like puppies, isn't it neat that the U of S mascot is a husky??)


Your daddy REALLY liked you mommy when he first met her. A LOT. He used to tell me all the time how much he liked your mom. And, when I was spending time with your mom, I would tell her how pretty your dad would say she was. Very soon your dad got the courage to ask your mom on a date. Your dad, who, whether he'll admit it or not, is a big romantic, took your mom to the symphony for their first date.


That first date must have been pretty great because soon your mom and dad were spending lots and lots of time with each other. And, when you spend lots of time with someone you get to know each other pretty well. Your dad learned that your mom was not only very pretty on the outside, but also on the inside. Your mom learned that your dad was a very special person who cared very deeply about life. Before they knew it, you mom and dad fell in love.


Your mom and dad were in love for a really loooooooong time. They loved each other so much that even when they were apart, everyone around them knew that they really wanted to be together. One day your dad surprised your mom with a trip to Mexico where it's nice and warm. (Your dad loves surprises.) That was a really a great surprise... but an even bigger surprise is that he also asked your mom to marry him on that trip!


As you've probably already figured out, your mom said "yes" to you dad. And, on September 25, 2004 on a beautiful fall day in Saskatoon, the city where your parents met, your mom and dad got married.


After your mom and dad got married, they went back to Toronto where they set up their new life together as man and wife.


Because your mom and dad have so much love to give to others, they adopted your furry friends, Benny and Teddy who brought lots of excitement to your mom and dad's lives.


Even with your puppy friends adding some excitement to your family the story wasn't complete. Your mom and dad loved each other so much, that they decided to make you. (Please, please, PLEASE don't ever ask me to tell you how.... unitl you're maybe 46 years old!) And, on a crsip late November day, you were born and everyone was so excited that we couldn't stop smiling and being happy.


While the blanket stops here, I can tell you that the story doesn't, it just begins a new chapter. There are so many people; aunts, uncles, friends and family who love you and will be there for you whenever you need it. On top of all this love and support, you are so lucky to have such great parents who love each other so much and love you because you represent their love together. I hope this blanket wraps you up in the love that I'm sending you, but also serves as a lifelong reminder about the two people who brought you here.

I can't wait to meet you Sophie and tell you this story in person- but for now, just feel the love I'm sending with this blanket and know that I'm so excited to welcome you to this world!


Aunty Jen

(PS... please come for a visit really soon, I'm really impatient to meet you!)

For the knitters reading this- blanket details as follows:

Pattern: Story by Blaine & Brandy, concept and math by me, all dishclothes (except stork) by Lisa Millan (Digknitty Designs) and stork by Lisa Vienneau and Allison Barrett. (Dishcloth details and patterns are listed on Ravelry)
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy in "ivory", "flamingo" and "lilac mist"
Needles: US size 6
Notes: Special thanks to Lisa Millan, who upon reading my idea for this project was immediately supportive. Not only did she modify the design for the first square to reflect new names, but she also designed, from the ground up, the Toronto square. Without her help, I wouldn't have been able to complete this project and tell the story.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Here We Go Again

With the excitement of the Olympic knitting over and the shakes from Olympic watching withdrawl subsiding, it's time to turn my focus back on the regularly scheduled knitting.

First up, Brandy's blanket aka "the Magnum Opus". It was off the needles before I left for Hawaii, but everyone who saw it agreed that it needed a border. The first thing I did upon casting off Grandma's socks, was pick the blanket up and weave in all the ends. (Ugh... is there ANYONE who actually LIKES weaving in ends out there?) And then- I faced a familiar foe- crochet.

I spent the entire weekend this last week fighting with crochet. I OWNED the hdc (half double crochet) and I fear that I can actually read a crochet pattern now. (I'll try and forget that knowledge asap.) Sunday evening the border looked like this:


I decided NOT to do the second color border, as I think the first color finishes this off nicely. The blanket is going to be blocked, heavily, and hopefully next week I'll show you the finished product and have it in the mail to my very patient friend.

With the blanket essentially done, I picked up a project I have been practically chomping at the bit to start. Behold! I give you "Pink Insanity!"- hopefully my entry for Stampede this year!


Doesn't look like much does it? Perhaps that's because I have chosen the tiniest yarn and the tiniest needles to knit it with. (Hence the reference to insanity, because I am clearly insane to attempt this.) I'm knitting this blanket on fingering weight yarn and size US 2 (3 mm) needles. To give you an idea of how tiny the stitches are, I took this photo.


Why yes, I am crazy. Thanks for asking!

The husband keeps calling this project my "Stampede 2012" project after seeing the tiny needles and stitches and doing the math on how long this could potentially take. Despite all of his doubts, and quite frankly mine, I have taken on this challenge with great enthusiasm. I'm so excited about knitting this project, and if everything goes as planned, this going to be a BEAUTIFUL blanket when it's done. I'm projecting, and aiming for an 8 week finish. I know I can do this!

Cross your fingers. (And maybe have the men in white coats on stand by... this could be a slightly bumpy ride.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gold Medal for Canada!

Guess what world?


That’s right- I’m a gold medalist! I knit 2 pairs of socks in two weeks and I just managed to finish on time! Knitters participating in the Olympics were asked to select something that would challenge them. You’ve seen me knit countless pairs of socks, but the challenge I knew would be time.

AND HOO BOY, it was close. I finished Sunday, the 28th, around noon. (Thank goodness because there’s no way I would have knit a stitch during that hockey game nail biter.) Time was even more of a challenge than I thought. I didn’t really start until the Sunday I got back from Maui (Feb 14th). I jumped right in, knitting Grandpa’s socks first- and man they were huge! Unfortunately I was presented with a challenge when I got back to work. There was a tsunami, (because tidal wave is just not adequate to express the size) of work waiting for me. There were late nights at work that took away sock knitting time. And yet, somehow I finished Grandpa’s socks in a flurry of efficiency.

Just when I thought I could manage Grandma’s socks, because I had caught up with work, life threw me another obstacle- namely a nasty cold. I knew that the end of my week I’d be helping my sister with her move, so I had planned for efficient knitting in the earlier parts of the week. Except I became a one man snot factory and when I wasn’t blowing my nose, I was feeling too tired to think about knitting. (The fear of another work tsunami kept me in the office, but I won’t lie, I wasn’t an A+ employee last week, I was working on a C average.) And yet, with maybe a few late nights thrown in, I did manage to finish grandma’s socks.


Pattern: Nutkin by Beth Lapensee

Yarn: OnLine Supersocke 100 – Florida Color in “1131” (Gah, I hate when yarn doesn’t have names!)

Needles: US 2, I purposely made sure to knit these a little bigger since I knit rather tightly and really wanted these to fit on Grandma’s legs!

Thoughts: I modified this pattern quite a bit- and outlined the changes here on Ravelry. I just did a ribbed cuff, heel flap and a regular toe instead of the pattern’s changes. Nutkin is a ridiculously easy pattern to memorize and I know why a lot of people have knit this one! I'd recommend it to beginners- but with my modifications.


I’d like to thank my sister for allowing me to sneak a few rows in while I was helping her move and my husband, the supplier of Kleenx, for his patience in not making any plans on the weekend so I could knit. I’d also like to thank my country, and the team I knit for, Canada, because you put on one hell of a great show. Today is the first day I haven’t watched Olympic coverage on television. For the last two weeks I have been RIVOTED to my television, jonesing for “hit” after “hit” of Olympic coverage.

I cheered with Alexandre Bilodeau who seemed so deserving of the status of being the Olympian who won the first gold on Canadian soil. And I cried like a big sap when he hugged this brother. I cheered, (and cried again), when the Canadian ladies of the speed skating track brought in their medals. I cried for Jeremy Wotherspoon who just wanted a medal so badly, and deserved it, and walked away empty handed. I cheered through every Canadian hockey game, I celebrated the Virtue and Moir skate, I cried at Joannie Rochette and didn’t breathe during the entire third period of that last hockey game. (Sydney Crosby for Prime Minister!) I watched everything there was to watch! I have cheered harder and cried more during these games than I have ever before. I am just so proud of my country and how we presented ourselves and who knew it would make me so emotional!? Anyways- thanks Canada, it was fun to be on your team, even if you haven’t recognized the knitting “sport”… yet.

I’m so proud of my "Bob" from the Ravelympics:

Sock Hockey

AND, my medal from the Yarn Harlot:


*In all fairness to myself in this photo- my sinuses are still kinda swollen!