Thursday, November 17, 2011

Swatches, sketches, submissions, and knitting

I'm getting back into the swing of knitting.  It's easier on the days that Abby naps well.  Truthfully, I should be cleaning the bathroom right now (I'll do that as soon as I'm done this post), but I wanted to get one more swatch done while she napped.

I have a confession to make.  I'm actually a very bad artist.  I'm not actually much for sketching.  I swatch and knit.  I don't really sketch my designs.  However, sketching is a necessary part of design submission, so I am learning to do it.  I am sketching a bunch of gloves, but I had to sort of cheat.  I took a photograph of my hand and turned it into a sketch in my photo editing software, then I shrunk it down, printed it off, and traced it to use as a croquis (fashion blank).  I'm still terrible at turned stitches into drawings, but I think I can get the point across with excessive labelling.  I did discover inthis process that sketching makes swatching easier.  A small 4"x4" square combined with the drawing is ultimately less work than knitting a small sample for every project.  It also gets the point across nicely.

I'll be pounding out about 35ish of these designs over the next month or so, to include with my book proposal when I resubmit.  I don't plan on the book being a 35 pattern book, but I'm hoping that having a large selection of possible patterns will encourage a publisher to pick up the book. 

It's an entirely new process for me and not at all the way I usually design.  I suppose everyone has their own process.  Mine is to get a picture in my head and, because I don't draw very well, just start knitting it.  In all honesty, that's how I did the Sense and Fashion handwarmers for Jane Austen Knits.  I did the design before the "sketch", and was very nervous about my submission as the sketch was really incredibly crummy, so I just included the entire glove as my swatch.  ;)

If I'm going to continue getting really serious with my designing, I might actually take a fashion drawing course.  There's one offered at the local college.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy baby

This face makes it all worth it!  The waiting, the infertility that came before, the tears, the pain, the hopes, the prayers.  The swollen ankles, the stretch marks, the gallstones.  The sleep deprivation, the walking, rocking, bouncing, begging her to please sleep.  The fight to learn how nurse, the feedings at 3am, the late nights, the early mornings.  The complete lack of time to knit because she just wants mommy to hold her.

When she smiles and you know she's smiling at YOU, you want to move heaven and earth for her.  I keep waiting for it to become normal, but it doesn't.  Every time I see her, awake and happy, tired and fussy, or sleeping peacefully in my arms... it doesn't lose it's magic. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jane Austen Knits

I have been absolutely DYING(!!!) to make this post and show off these pictures.

Jane Austen Knits is now available for download in electronic format.  It will be hitting the shelves at your local bookstore any day now.

In it, you will find a pattern by yours truly:  Sense and Fashion Handwarmers. 

Jane Austen Knits volume 2 is scheduled for 2012.  Yes, I will be submitting again.  Fingers crossed that I make the cut.  I expect the competition will be a lot stiffer this time around, since many new designers who did not know about the first publication will be submitting to the second.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where did my knitting go?

We're 3 weeks in (well...almost 3 weeks).  My knitting deadlines have been shuffled off to the side.  They won't be done any time soon.  I'd like to spend more time knitting, but my hands have been pretty full lately.  Literally.

I will say one thing:  Every new mom should have a baby wrap or a sling of some (safe) sort.  I have a wrap and a sling.  I really like the wrap.  It's extremely useful.  I LOVE my sling!!!  Abby has spent nearly every waking moment in her sling for the last week.  In fact, she's in the sling right now, at this moment, as I type this entry.  She's awake, but she's resting her head just above my heart, which means she'll be falling asleep soon and I can put her to bed to do other important pump milk (moo).

I expect I will be able to start knitting again fairly soon.  The nice thing about the sling is how it leaves both my hands free for doing other things (like blogging and eating).  Right now, most of my non-knittingness is due to the fact that every time I sit down to knit, I fall asleep.  Amazing what sleepless nights will do to you. 

I am hoping Abby falls asleep soon.  I'd like to sleep, too.  The lack of sleep combined with the poor weather and dwindling supply of adequate headache-preventing hormones (must admit, I appreciated that little side-effect of my pregnancy) is causing a headache to hover in the peripheral of my brain.

This coming weekend is Thanksgiving (in Canada).  I have much to be thankful for this year.  Unfortunately, that won't include being thankful for finished projects.  I've knitted a grand total of 10 (or fewer) rows in the last 3 weeks.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Baby Abigail is here!

Abigail Zen Yee was born September 14.  She may have been early (10 days early!), but she weighed in at a fully-finished 8 lbs 4 oz.

My blog posts may decline in frequency over the next few weeks.  Apparently babies are a lot of work.  Who knew.  ;)

Her middle name, Zen Yee, is pronounced "seen yee" and means "beautiful and happy".  She is both!!  I feel overwhelmingly blessed and just thank God for her!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

37 weeks and insomnia

"Oh, that's just your body getting ready for the sleepless nights ahead."

I don't get it.  Wouldn't getting ready for no sleep involve sleeping MORE so you are well rested?  I guess I understand the theory.  You have to build up a tolerance to sleep deprivation.  I just wish it didn't come at the cost of my sanity.  I just bit poor H's head off earlier.  He wanted to know if I wanted steak for dinner tomorrow. am I supposed to know if I want steak for dinner??  It's not tomorrow yet.  I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow.  He was being so kind, too.  Offering to cook dinner so I don't have to. 

Pretty sure the heartburn will kill me if the insomnia doesn't.  I wonder if it's possible to overdose on Tums?

In knitting news, I'm kinda feeling down and having a slightly less than awesome week.  My book proposal was rejected.  But alas, I will not take no for an answer!!!  I will work on it some more, flesh out a few more details, write a few more patterns, explain the proposal better and resubmit.  New deadline is December 1st.  Maybe January 1st.  We'll have to see how life works.

In the meantime, it could be a blessing in disguise.  I have to get the last of my patterns done for Little Seasonals.  They are done, but the samples need to be finished.  I also need to finish my sample for the Gentleman's Argyle Vest I started much earlier this year.  Again, the pattern is done, but the sample is not.  I might hand off the yarn and pattern and 1/4-done sample to a friend to help me finish it.  I have discovered I do not like intarsia at ALL!  It's so pretty when done, but I do not like the process.  I like fair isle.  I do not like intarsia.  Cables and intarsia together are beautifully complicated.  Cables and intarsia with pregnant-brain are a mind-breaking combination.  Cables and intarsia combined with pregnant-brain and sleep-deprivation is a recipe for disaster...or possibly the looney bin.  But I have got to get this done.  It has taken me much too long!

Sadly, I suspect I don't have enough yarn for the entire project.  I hope I am wrong.

I wonder if I'll manage to finish my nephew's sweater before Christmas?  Or my mother's sweater?  Those are the only two personal projects on the go right now.  I want to knit.  I want to sleep more!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moaning, groaning, and general whinging

I like the word whinging better than whining.  I don't know if there is really a difference.  But I will freely admit doing both. This post will have very little to do with knitting, and I apologize for that.  I'll get back onto knitting topics soon.

First and foremost, I'm annoyed with my manicure and pedicure.  The pedicure smudged overnight, in spite of having had over 5 hours to dry between the time I got home and the time I went to bed.  That annoyed me a LOT.  I don't have any more pedicure coupons, so I'll have to find a friend to help me paint my toes some time in September.  Or I might just spring for a full price pedi.  :P  Call me vain, but I want pretty toes when everyone is standing by my lower half staring into my nether regions. Also, the shellac coating on my manicure?  Complete waste of money.  Started chipping on Saturday.  3 weeks?  Very funny!  3 days, maybe.  Didn't last any longer than a normal manicure.  Won't be doing that again.

It is general knowledge that the latter weeks of pregnancy are awkward and uncomfortable.  But no one really can put that into words.  Still, I'll try.  You know how you feel when you overstretch a muscle in the wrong direction?  When the muscle could possible still go, but you run out of skin to let it stretch further?  That's kind of how my stomach feels when Mouselette pushes her feet hard against my stomach.  And you know how you feel when someone sneaks up behind you and pokes you in the ribs?  That's definitely how it feels when Mouselette kicks me in the ribs.  Which she does often.  Especially when I am lying down.  It has caused me to jump on more that one occasion.  Sometimes, when she runs her foot along the side of my ribs, it tickles.  I'm extremely ticklish, and since she is most active around 1am-3am, I will admit to having woken up giggling from her ticklish antics.

Ps, that picture to the left?  That's Mouselette!  I looked and saw that I hadn't posted it yet.  This was taken several weeks ago.  It was the best money I've ever spent!  The opportunity to see her tiny face and perfect features was utterly priceless.  She looks like her daddy!  Of course, she can't help looking like her daddy.  I knew back in May that she would.  Her side profile was just H all over.  And that was in a black and white generic 2D scan.  But the lips?  I'm proud to say, that is my mouth!  Which may or may not be a good thing, since while I have a very pretty mouth, it is known to spout off without thinking on many an occasion. ;)

Tomorrow marks 8 months.  Tomorrow I will have precisely one month remaining...possibly less.  Maybe more.  More likely less than more.  I know it's wrong to expect this, since it sets up for potential disappointment, but I fully expect her to make an early debut.  My money is sometime between September 14-20.  I actually have appointments with the midwife on the 13th and 20th.  I have all my appointments booked between now and Mouselette's official due date at the full 40 weeks.  But since neither H nor I made it all the way to 40 weeks, I really expect Mouselette to follow suit.

H and I are physically ready for her.  We have the essentials.  We have a crib and change table (though not a mattress).  We have a bassinet and gliding rocking chair.  We have clothes.  We have at least some diapers (both cloth and disposable), and plenty of wipes.  My hospital bag is packed and ready to go.

What I don't have yet is this:
I need to knit this hat.  It's the most adorable thing I've ever seen!!!

So in spite of having X million projects to complete and being quite over my head in deadlines and obligations, I think I'll go stash diving tomorrow to see if I can dig up the necessary wool to knit this...or something like it.  I don't really have the pattern, but I'm fairly certain I can wing it.  ;)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Busy days, busy months

I expect it will get busier as time goes on.

I've got roughly 5 weeks remaining in this pregnancy.  Little one has started to "engage", meaning she is facing properly down and her head is moving into my pelvis.  It hasn't quite locked into position yet, but she should be locked in place within the next week or so.  If you're curious, the answer is Yes.  It is every bit as uncomfortable as it sounds.

On the upside, I managed to get out for a lovely manicure and pedicure yesterday.  My feet desperately needed some love, as they are all dry and crackly and swollen and I haven't been able to reach to clip my toenails for a few weeks.  The foot massage did lovely things for the swelling in my ankles.  The manicure was really nice.  I decided to spring for a shellac coating on my nails, which should keep the polish from chipping and my nails from peeling for a few weeks.  Since my nails are prone to peeling, I considered it to be a good investment.

In other, absolutely non-pregnant related news, I've been busy doing many other things.

First, I got my proof back from Interweave for the pattern I submitted a few months ago.  They included a page of photographs.  I don't know if I am allowed to post them yet, since the publication isn't due out until November.  The pictures looked very professional.  Of course, that is to be expected, since it is a professional magazine.  Still, to see something you designed arranged in such a professional layout is quite thrilling.  It's a fairly significant milestone for me.  I feel like I am properly part of the design world.  My designs have left the electronic world and entered the world of paper and ink, settling themselves on the shelves of bookstores.  It's hard to describe how that feels.  Mostly, it feels amazing!

I have been working away at my book proposal and am just about to send it off.  This is a very exciting prospect for me.  I understand that it may not be accepted right away.  I have made peace with this understanding.  Still, I have a new confidence that I did not have before.

And finally, because I have been working so hard at this other project, I am excited to announce the release of Little Seasonals Autumn.

It took me some time to figure it out, but I've got a working design for the Winter edition.  The first pattern is written (albeit not proofed or tested yet).  The second is sketched.  They are going to be amazing, and I cannot wait to get them out.

This afternoon, I think I need to devote some time to a gentlemen's pattern that I started in January.  KnitPicks has been very patient waiting for their sample and I just need to get on and finish it.  Hopefully, if I work hard, I can get the sample done before the baby comes.

Wish me luck.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I have a definite tendency to post less during the summer.  Summer is hot, and I dislike hot weather.  I'm a maritime girl at heart and enjoy a cool ocean breeze more than anything.  Yesterday it was so intensely hot that I did not really accomplish much in the way of knitting or spinning.  I got a bit done, but really not much.

I have about 1/2oz left to spin on my braid of alpaca/merino.  It's turning out lovely.  I should be able to ply it this afternoon.  The colour repeats are nice and long, so I will be navajo plying to keep the colour repeats the same in the yarn as they are on the roving. 

I've also been doing a lot of dying just lately, and drying out my lavender in batches.  I think I need to bag up the current lavender that finished drying a few days ago.  It started flaking into the dyepot yesterday, since I do both tasks in the laundry room where they won't be in anyone's way.

I will need to cut some more lavender from the garden, but that involves going outside.  I have to admit, I have very little interest in going outside right now unless it is absolutely strictly necessary.  It's not as bad as yesterday, but it is still quite hot out there.

I'm worried about tomorrow.  H booked what should be a fun (for him) time at a professional enclosed driving track.  I do not know if there is shade or shelter while he drives.  I sincerely hope there is.  I dehydrate quickly these days.  He's promised me plenty of popsicles and slushies if the shade is insufficient, and I will be wearing a big floppy hat and lots of sunscreen.  I just don't know if that will be enough to keep me from swelling like a balloon.  Staying home isn't an option, because we're going out for lunch after.  Wouldn't want to miss that.  ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

A random, utterly non-knitting thread

It's 5:30pm and I need to make dinner.  The problem is, I don't know what to make for dinner.  I never know what to make for dinner anymore because we never have anything dinnerish that I want to eat in the house.

I feel like making roasted potatoes.  But we are all out of potatoes.  Then I thought a wrap would be nice, since we have some leftover lettuce.  But we have no wraps.  Burgers would be great, but we have no buns.  Hotdogs would be okay, but we have no buns.

I want roasted potatoes so bad that my nose is imagining it can smell them.  But we are completely out of potatoes.  Completely out.

I don't feel like making chicken, since I really don't like chicken at the moment (and have not liked it much since January).  We have no french fries.  I've made pasta the last 3 meals In A Row!!  So I am refusing to make pasta tonight on principle.  Although, I could make a lasagna and I don't think that would necessarily count as pasta.  But lasagna is never really good without garlic bread, and I have no bread in the house.

I could do soup, but H and I don't like the same kinds of soup and I don't feel like making two different meals.  I could do pizza, but the last time I ate pizza I ended up with a gallstone attack that lasted nearly 3 hours in spite of taking my medication promptly.

So here I am at 5:30pm trying to come up with an idea for dinner and failing.  Mostly, I think, because I really want roasted potatoes.  But we have no potatoes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More on Needlebinding

I've been practicing my nalbinding a bit more.  I took it with me to the clinic this morning when I went to get my bloodwork done.  Naturally, it attracted a bit more attention than, say, knitting might.  I was quite surprised that it attracted more attention than even spinning usually does.  

So what is this "new" art form?  Here's a great introductory video from youtube.  Follow the link to watch part 2, as well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Things I want to learn: Nålbinding I don't think I'll be able to convince H that I need another hobby, but I've been reading a lot about nålbinding just lately.  I first came across the term about a year and a bit ago.  It seemed like an interesting, if somewhat confusing concept.

I figured the only way to really understand the process would be to actually try it.  Which I did.  Because, you know...I need another hobby like I need another hole in my head.

It has been described by some people as being like single-needle knitting.  I find it to be an interesting cross between knitting and crochet.  It's not hard to see how this craft might have evolved into either and is certainly older than both.

The project in the picture is my second row of what should be a cowl when I'm done.  It's actually pretty difficult to find written patterns for nalbinding.  There are some good resources on different stitches, but very little on how to work these stitches together into projects.  So I'm sort of winging it. 

This first project uses the "Oslo" stitch, which seems to be the recommended beginner stitch.  All projects seem to be worked in the round, and I cannot find any information on how to work back and forth...although I did find a reference to turning a sock heel by working back and forth, so I know it must be possible.

Although all the resources say to take care not to twist your work when you join, I did give the starting row a half twist when I joined to create a mobius cowl.  I'm not sure if the project is actually big enough for a mobius, but I guess I'll find  out in another few rows.

I will say does seem to be a little more difficult to screw up nalbinding than it is to screw up knitting.  Adn the learning curve is a little less steep.

I like it.

Now I just need to get myself a proper nadel (nalbinding needle).  I'm using a blunt carpet needle for now, and while it works, I'd like to have the right tool for the job.  I kinda feel like I'm doing the equivalent of knitting with chopsticks. 

Monday, July 4, 2011


In 2009, H and I bought our first two mice.  Frankie and Benjy.  It turned out those two boys weren't two boys.  Benjy was a boy, but Frankie was quite female.  She gave birth to two litters and was a wonderful companion.

She was sweet and affectionate and would crawl into your hand with very little coaxing.

About two months ago, she began to suffer a sharp decline in her health.  I suddenly realized she was very nearly two years old.  An average mouse lives about 18 months.  She was quite elderly.  She lost interest in treats, and lifting food out of her bowl was a mammoth task.  But she would still dance (albeit shakily) to be held and loved.  And I enjoyed giving her lots of attention.

Last week, as I watched her suffer, I came very close to making the extremely heartbreaking decision to euthanize her.  I researched it well, since I wanted her to die peacefully and not in pain.  But H and I found we couldn't do it.

She died this evening while I was making dinner.  She was alive when I started, but was gone by the time I'd finished.  She lived a long and happy mouse life.  I wanted to bury her under the lavender bush next to Benjy, who died last summer at just over a year old.  Unfortunately, the lavender bush is simply too large now.  She is in the backyard, instead, next to Scruffy.  You were the first.  You were the best!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weaving, knitting, and new crochet projects

I've been dying to make this entry.  On Saturday afternoon, my sister's soon-to-be-inlaws hosted a beautiful wedding shower for her.  I finished a very special gift for her a few weeks ago, and even though she doesn't really read my blog, she knows about it and *might* have read it, so I refrained from posted about the gift on here.

About 2 weeks ago, while we were swimming during some particularly hot weather, she made a comment that she had not received any towels.  She found this odd, since towels are such a typical wedding shower gift.  She'd received lots of much larger and very beautiful gifts, but not a single towel among them.  It wasn't a complaint, just a comment.  So I decided she needed towels.  I'd just gotten my new and very beautiful floor loom, and I decided the best way to break in my new loom was to weave a set of handtowels for my sister.  I'd never done it before, and I had some amazing purple egyptian cotton that was just dying to be woven.  They turned out so much more beautiful than I'd even expected.  I finished them on Wednesday and had to keep my mouth shut about them until Saturday.  It was more difficult than I anticipated.  She was, needless to say, entirely appreciative of them.  When you give a handmade gift, you never fully expect the recipient to appreciate the time and effort that goes into such a thing, unless they are a crafter themselves.  She is not a crafter, but was very appreciative of every stitch and all the love that has been woven in to these towels.  Which makes me want to weave for her again.  :)

I am also still working on the latest version of my mother's sweater.  Currently ripping back a single row to fix a tiny error in the sleeve that has thrown my stitch count off very slightly.  At the rate I am going, I expect it to be finished or very nearly finished by her birthday.  I haven't worked on it this past week on account of the weaving project taking priority.  This week, the sweater will regain priority and I will redouble my efforts on it.

Once the sweater is done, I have promised H a very special gift!  This one will take me at least a year (possibly 2) to complete.  Last year, on a whim, I created an 8-bit Mario afghan chart.  It is comprised of 3" squares, each square representing a pixel.  I finally crocheted my swatch to calculate yardage.  It will require a whopping 6600 yards of yarn.  That, as H immediately pointed out, is a stunning 3.75 MILES of yarn.  That's kind of a lot!!!  So for the first time in years, I will willingly be picking up massive amounts of very cheap acrylic yarn.  Otherwise, we're looking at a few hundred dollars to complete this blanket. Nevertheless, it's going to be very fun when it's done!  Certainly one of my more ambitious projects.  Let's hope it turns out!! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Seasonals - Summer

Part Two of the ongoing project that is my foray into self-published e-books...

Little Seasonals: Summer is now available on
Check it out!!!  Teresa over at Canary Knits and I are really proud of this one. 

It's pretty full of awesome!!  The patterns are a little shorter and simpler than the Spring edition. but just as fun.  Plus, they are definitely more purse-sized for easy beach knitting!  Go download!  Get knitting!  :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things I don't have pictures of

Today was a gorgeous day!!  It was one of those days that I wish I had a picture of!

I spent the morning out at the Fleece and Fibrefest at Silmaril farmsThe Fibre Garden hosts monthly spin-ins and they decided to hold the May spin-in out at the Fibrefest.  Just a side note, next time there is an outdoor spin-in, I will take my drop spindle, not my wheel.  My wheel doesn't travel well, and I find it difficult to spin on my outdoor folding chair. 

Aside from that, it was just an incredible day!  The Weather Network was promising thunderstorms on Sunday all week, but the sun was out when Incubating Mouselet woke me up this morning.  I was pretty excited.  Sure enough, the sun came and went all day without rain.  We enjoyed a sheep shearing, watched baby goats, held little yellow ducklings...bought more fibre (I bought a lovely braid of silk).  There were even kittens to be adored.

A little later in the afternoon, we went up to Alpacas From Eighth and Mud to enjoy their Alpaca Shearing.  The Alpacas were not as accepting of the shearing as the sheep had been, so it was pretty interesting to watch.  We wandered around the store.  I resisted a serious urge to overspend my budget and buy my daughter a teddy bear made from Alpaca fleece (it was OOOOOOOHH SO SOFT!!).  I very nearly failed in my self-control.  After all, said teddy bear was only $30.  I might go back and buy it for her for Christmas. 

It was truly a wonderful day.  It started raining as I headed home.  Not very much, and not for very long, but the weather had the decency to hold out to make a perfectly enjoyable day!

And I, sadly, haven't got a single picture.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Little weavings

I have started a new weaving project.  It's an idea I had a while ago to use up leftover handspun scraps.  I've got a few 1/4 bobbins of little leftovers that didn't make it into one yarn or another.  Little samples that got spun on my drop spindles.  Half finished yarns on my drop spindles.  Just singles all over the place that need to be used.

So I've tied on a 6.5ft warp, filled the loom up almost as full as she will go wide (it took forever to tie on all those little ends) and set to work. 

The warp is a laceweight boucle acrylic/wool blend.  It's quite lovely and soft, but mostly acrylic.  The weft will be everything from silk to linen to wool to bison!!  The first two stripes are linen/cotton (white) and wool/silk (purple).  There will be green, blue, pink, red, yellow, and everything in between.  I am excited about the finished product.  If it looks especially nice, I might not keep it as a shawl.  I might do two 3ft lengths and whipstitch them together as a baby blanket for Incubating Mouselet.

Speaking of spite of my numerous deadlines and more serious knitting to be done, I have started and half finished her little Homecoming outfit.   :)  The leggings are beyond adorable.  I took an idea from a vintage mag and did pantlets with closed toes.  Heartmelting!!

The dress is stockinette to the waist(-ish...babies don't really have "waists"), and then it will flare out in some cute little lace.  I'm still looking for the perfect stitch. 

I'll just need a bonnet and some little mitties and she'll be the belle of the ball...and the apple of her daddy's eye.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Greensleeves is all my joy

Some time ago...some time last year, in fact, I obtained a small rigid heddle lap loom in an online swap.  It was a lovely little loom that was part of my general fibre arts collection for a while and I loved it.  I made a few scarves on it, but it mostly sat and looked pretty.

I recently swapped it away when someone else on Ravelry was looking for one.  She offered me a spindle for it.

Truthfully, I am more of a spinner than a weaver (though I do enjoy weaving), and find myself strangely addicted to spindles.  I don't quite understand the addiction, but I have several spindles of different sizes, weights, and varieties.  I let her surprise me with the one she was most able to part with, and she parted with a Greensleeves McKenna Lee (ganked picture to the right).

I am in love!  She's the prettiest spindle I own by far.  She spins such fine, beautiful lace, and takes my breath away while she does.  There's almost no effort involved in spinning on her.

I don't know what I'm going to do with the superfine sample of yarn I am spinning.  And I don't know why I put yarn immediate on every spindle that comes into the results in every single of the 7 or 8 spindles I own currently being used.

Also, I feel a little bad.  I definitely feel like I got the better end of the deal.  It's just such a beautiful little spindle!!  And while the loom is/was a very pretty and useful little loom, I think the spindle is just far nicer.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A baby update, plus submissions done

I'll start with the knitting update.  My submission for the upcoming Jane Austen Knits publication is done, emailed, and sample sent in the mail.  The deadline isn't for several more weeks, but I discovered yesterday that Canada Post is threatening a strike, which got me really nervous.  If they walk out on strike, it would be on May 24, which is before my deadline and would virtually ensure that my package would not arrive on time.  So I hauled my butt into gear yesterday and finished the last of my editing.  It was an extremely busy and productive day.  I don't think I've ever sat so long at one project.

The project itself was already finished, and my test knitter had finished her sample, too, which made everything easier.  The hard part was scaling up the math for the finished dimensions.  Still, it's extremely pretty and I am super excited to see it on the shelves in the late fall.  :)

Now on to other news.  To the left you can see the tiny little human incubating inside me.  She is absolutely perfect and healthy.

Yes...that's it again, I said SHE!

We found out on May 4 that we are having a little girl.  She was wide awake and extremely cooperative in informing us that she is a girl.  We do have a few names set aside, but we are not sharing them until she is actually born.

She's kicking up a storm and is extremely active.  It's a little distracting feeling a tiny foot imbed itself in your bladder, but mostly it's just really cool.  Not entirely comfortable, but interesting and exciting nevertheless.  Still, I'm looking forward to getting the next 19 weeks finished up so that I can actually meet her.

Knitting and focusing so heavily on deadlines is helping to make the time speed by.  Or maybe it just speeds by when you're pregnant.  I think it's the knitting that makes it go so fast, really, because it just seems to crawl by so slowly at night.  I might "accidentally" smack the next person who implies that pregnancy insomnia is just your body preparing yourself for less sleep when the baby comes.
A) My body doesn't need that much practice.
and B) Wouldn't a better way of preparing be to store up as much sleep as you can now so that you're all rested and happy when she makes her debut?

Maybe that's just me.  Or maybe pregnancy really does make you slightly crazy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fleece back

I got my fleece back from the mill.  It turned out amazingly gorgeous!  I'm really happy with it.  I have some roving and some that was just carded out into a cloud for making batts.  But you can spin right from the cloud, which is nice. 

One of the first things I did was take out a nice big ball of the grey roving and dye it up.  I don't have pictures yet, but I dyed it a rich red with black spots.  I plan on listing it next week under the colourway name "Ladybug".

The white fleece was pleasantly surprising.  I cannot believe how white it got.  It's really pretty incredible.  The cloud will be heading into the dyebath in the next few days, after which time it will go through the carder to be mixed up with other wools for batts.  I think it will mix very nicely with some silk and nylon for sock batts.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

3 down...

I finally sorted through my fleeces in the garage.  One of them is thoroughly bad and is worthless for anything but mulch.  It's an old suffolk cross that I was given 2 years ago.  If you would like mulch for your garden, please let me know.  It has lots of sheep manure attached to it.

I had 3 fleeces that were still excellent.  One had been sorted last fall, and I took advantage of the GORGEOUS (!!) weather today to sort the other two.  I called the mini-mill upon completion and asked when I could make an appointment to bring them over.  It's only about 20 minutes away.  Well, they suggested I bring them over today, which I did.

I've got about 2 kilos of wool.  1.5Kg is a grey dorset, and the other 1.5 Kg are two different white fleeces.  One of the white fleeces is a dorset, the other is unknown.  The two white fleeces will be mixed together.  I'll get half of each back as a cloud for spinning, the other half will be processed into roving.  I am looking forward to seeing the end results.  I've seen the work this mill has done and I am generally impressed.

I'm pretty excited!!  Can't wait to see the final result.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blogging while busy

It's pretty sad.  I have become the worst sort of absent blogger since becoming pregnant.  There are a few reasons for that. 

Mostly, my absent blogging has been due to two major factors. 
Reason #1:  I just haven't been knitting as much lately.  The truth is, I haven't been able to sit for the length of time required to knit, so my knitting has suffered rather badly.  I've even gone to Sip 'n' Stitch without knitting in my purse!  How horrible is that??

Reason #2:  I never wanted to be one of those pregnant woman who talks about nothing else except her pregnancy.  IRL, it's very sad, but I became exactly that sort of woman.  I don't know what it is, but this whole pregnancy tihng seems to be taking up 100% of my time and energy.  Growing an entire person in just 9 short months is exhausting.  Who knew?!

I've been asked a few times how long I plan on waiting before trying for baby #2.  I just want to get through baby #1 first.  Maybe in about 5 years when I forget what being pregnant is like, I might repeat the experience.

Honestly, I am blessed.  I know I am!  I am very excited (if somewhat terrified) at the prospect of becoming a mother.  It's incredible to hold a life inside you and feel it move and know that this little life is a part of you.  At the same time....owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!

I hit a few incredible milestones over the last few weeks.  First, I have started to feel Little One moving around in there.  Baby tends to be active mostly in the evening or after I've done too much.  It's about 4" long right now, maybe a little more.  The movements are just quick fluttery sensations deep inside.  They can't be felt from the outside yet.

Other milestone this week was my very first experience with Braxton Hicks contractions.  I just loooooove how they are described as "painless".  Very funny!  It didn't help that I desperately had to use the washroom, which by all accounts can make the B.H. contractions stronger. 

People presume that when you are a knitter, your little one will be decked out head to toe in precious handknits.  I really want to do that, but my project list is still a bit of a killer.  I'm finishing things, though, and not adding new things, so hopefully I'll manage to kick out at least a little take home outfit.  Maybe a sleeper and hat or something similarly adorable.

H and I start our prenatal classes tonight.  I finished my last purse project, so I've got to start on another fairly big project...the fall Little Seasonals project.  Watch out!  It's going to be fantastic!

P.S. Stay tuned for the Summer edition of Little Seasonals.  Coming soon!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome, Spring

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring.  It almost feels like it, too.  Almost.  It felt like it until I left my jacket somewhere and realized it a little too late.

I've been ridiculously scatterbrained recently.  I can call it baby brain, but it's probably just busy-brain.  I am getting close to the point of doing too much, which I tend to do from time to time.  I don't do it on purpose, I just get so caught up in doing stuff that I start to realize I need to finish things as well.  So when my friend, Elizabeth, asked if I'd be interested in teaching a finishing course at her new knitting school (and yarn shop), it was kind of hard not to laugh. 

Of course, I knew she meant finishing as it relates to projects, such as weaving in ends, blocking, seaming, etc.  But the thought of me teaching "finishing" was still momentarily a pretty funny one.  Don't get me wrong, I'm good at blocking, weaving ends, seaming, etc.  There are tips and tricks that make your project look so much prettier (like blocking all the pieces of your sweater before seaming, and then blocking the seam when you're done to get a much crisper seam).  But finishing?  I need to do a little more of it myself so it is much less ironic when I teach it.

And that brings me to something completely new.  I'm very excited to announce Fireball Knits has opened it's doors as a knitting school (that also sells yarn).  I will be listed among other instructors.  Mostly, I believe I'll be teaching knitting, spinning (especially drop spindling), and some crochet.  And I'll be designing for them.  I'm currently working on a special project, which should be ready by the summer.

The whole thing is very exciting.  I will try blog more.  I may not.  Being pregnant is apparently very hard work.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy to be pregnant, but growing a person is pretty demanding, so forgive me if I blog a little less.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In other news: Sweaters and Lost...Lost sweaters?

I'm back to working on my mother's special sweater.  It looks positively lovely!  I think, when she gets it, she'll understand why it took me so long and why I couldn't work on it all at once.

I'm rewatching Lost.  I never saw the last 2 seasons, so I plan on starting over again and watching it all straight through.  While I watch Lost, I will work exclusively on the Mom Sweater.

I thought about publishing a pattern for it when it's done, but I don't think I even want to think about the effort my poor test knitters would have to go through.  I'm sure I'd end up having to pay someone to knit this thing.  It's mroe complicated than a handknit sweater has any business being!'s lovely!  It will be very pretty when it's done.

Rules for dealing with a Pregnant Lady

This is not a knitting related post, and I apologize for that.  But at a mere (almost) 10 weeks, please indulge me.  These really ought to be self-evident, but apparently they are not.

1 - Don't make fun of the pregnant lady, for she is hormonal and you taste good with ketchup.  Honestly, I'm really new to this whole pregnancy thing and there's a lot of stuff that I just don't know.  So just please be nice and don't make fun of me.

2 - On that note, yes, I am in maternity clothes.  My hips sort of widened and went psychotic on me and now even my "fat pants" don't fit me.  I'm getting tired of yoga pants and track pants.  I'm feeling really crummy about my size right now, so please don't laugh at me when you notice I'm wearing maternity clothes.  Besides, I worked hard at getting pregnant.  I'm entitled to be comfortable in my own wardrobe.

3 - Seriously, don't make fun of the pregnant lady.  Or you'll have a CRYING pregnant lady to deal with, and won't that be a barrel of laughs. nice!

4 - I've lost weight.  Regardless, I still feel kinda fat.  Deal with it.  This doesn't mean I'm dieting, it just means my baby is eating all my fat stores.  When I stop losing weight, I plan to stop weighing myself.  My midwife will weigh me monthly, and will not tell me my weight except to make a note if I'm gaining more than what she deems to be a healthy amount.  I was pretty sensitive about my size before getting pregnant.  I don't plan on contributing to my own self-loathing over my fat.

5 - If you want to touch the belly, just ask.  When it's an actual baby belly, I'll let you know.  But don't just randomly grope and squeeze me.  It gives me license to grope and squeeze back, and you might not like that so much.

6 - Remember, I'm a big old pile of hormones and fun right now.  Everything pisses me off and my mood changes at the drop of the hat, so for crying out loud, DON'T MAKE FUN OF THE PREGNANT LADY!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On maternity pants, weight gain, and a need for test knitters

First, I started my official Mousewife Knits fan group over on Ravelry.  If you're a member, check it out.  If you're not a member, but you're a knitter, you should become a member and totally check it out! 

Second, I am placing a call for test knitters for two fairly simple patterns.  When I say simple, I mean they are really very easy knits.  One of them is literally a 2 hour project.  It's super cute, too.  I'm providing yarn support to one knitter who can help me tech edit.  But if I can find a knitter who will tech edit for free (ie, no yarn support), that would be even better.  Still, I feel just a tad guilty asking for that, since it's quite a lot of work to tech-edit.

On a completely non-knitting-related note, I let out a deep sigh and eased my way into maternity pants this week.  It was so very nice to wear something other than yoga pants.  A dear friend of mine gave me a basket full of maternity wear that she was given, which never fit her (she's a LOT smaller than I am).  It fit me nicely, so I've taken to wearing it a bit.  I felt all awkward and elephant-ish when my little sister started making fun of me for it.  :(  But my mom reassured me that she was always in maternity clothes early.  It's just a factor of my general shape and size.  I've got a cute little 9-week bump that kinda just looks like fat, but is kinda firm and not fat. 

I would have felt worse, but I've actually lost 5 pounds since getting pregnant.  That's most likely due to the food aversions and nausea that have led me to a diet of fruit and veggies for the last few weeks. this rate, I'll be back down to my pre-wedding weight by the time the baby comes.  ;) 
No...I won't.  I know I'll start gaining eventually.  But maybe it won't be very much, and maybe I'll end up slimmer after giving birth.  It happens, you know.  It's happened to at least one friend.  She gave birth and then went down to a lower weight than she was pre-pregnancy. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Busy life, awesome projects

I've made some references recently to a project I'm working on with Teresa over at Canary Knits.  It's been a lot of hard work, editing, testing, editing some more.  But we're finished part one of the project.

It's a book.  Part one is the first of four parts.  It will be 16 patterns in total, 4 for every season.  The book is available now for download on

Feel free to mosy on over and check it out!

The blog post that's a follow-up... the blog post I nearly didn't write.

You may have noticed I've been avoiding my blog just lately.  The truth is, life has had a rather limited scope that I haven't been able to talk about for the last few weeks.  Also, I've been rather unwell for the last 2.5 weeks.  If you'd just walked in on my life, you'd think I had the flu.  I don't. And I'm not contagious.

On January 12, my husband and I had our intake appointment at the fertility clinic.  We were interviewed and I was examined, then we were given a rather large folder of bloodwork requisitions (mostly for me), to begin on the 3rd day of my new cycle.  We went home and waited to start the tests. 

Only, my new cycle was delayed.  I waited and waited, and then that little sliver of hope showed up again.  I tried to squash it, but it got louder and louder, until I made H pick up a pregnancy test on his way home from work.  I had two expensive tests under the sink, but I didn't want to waste them on what I was fairly certain was going to be another negative test.  So we got a cheapy test from the dollarstore.  I took it first thing the following morning.  He wouldn't even get out of bed, and I realized then how much the negative tests affect him, too.

But ...

...this time it wasn't negative!  This time, a second pink line showed up.  It was faint, but then it got darker.  There were two lines on the test!!  TWO pink lines!! 

I might have accidentally jumped on poor H's head in the process of telling him.  I was definitely crying, it was so unexpected and wonderful!  The timing was pretty ironic.

I called the fertility clinic.  It had just been a week since our appointment, so I hardly knew what to do.  They had me come in the following morning for a blood test to check my hormone levels.  Then I went back two days later to make sure the pregnancy is, indeed, viable.  My pregnancy hormones had doubled nicely.

Then it was time for an ultrasound.  We saw, but of course couldn't hear yet, a little 6-week old heartbeat flickering at 110bpm. During all this, I had to keep quiet.  Every fiber of my being wanted to scream it from the rooftops!!  I'm finally pregnant!

We've slowly let our friends and family know.  Enough people know now that it can be considered general knowledge.

Yesterday, we went in for a second ultrasound.  It wasn't strictly necessary, but they offered and it doesn't cost anything, so of course I went in.  I am, as of today, 8 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  I'm measuring a bit ahead of that at 8 weeks 5 days.  The heartrate is an ecstatic 177bpm.

The best part?

The baby is due on my birthday!  I'll be 32 this year.  I know that babies don't usually come on their exact dues dates, but it will be within a few short days of it.  Happy Birthday, me!

Now, on to the knitting of booties and hats.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Mice

Today I bought a new mouse.  A boy, for my girl Greedy. 

Where all my mice have been white thus far, the new boy has a beautiful, sleek coat of brown with white spots.  He's quite stunning. 

He's curious and fast and interested in everything around him.  Especially Greedy.  He's much more interested in Greedy than she is in him.  At least right now, anyway.

He doesn't have a name yet.  I'm still working on one for him.  Right now, I'm thinking Tramp or Bambi.  In a few days, when I clean all the cages again, I will move New mouse and Greedy into the big cage and put Frankie in the smaller one.  But for now, all three cages are out and are being used again.

Also, I am soliciting name suggestions for New mouse.  I may go with Neo.  Since he's new...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Funny little happenstances

I'm working on the second part of my joint project with Canary Knits.

We're designing something together, but had only talked about the what, not the how.  We each went our separate ways after our last design meeting and set about to design our complementary projects.  Then we got together again on Tuesday evening at our knitting group to show each other what we'd come up with.

In a week, on our own, without any communication, we picked the exact same stitch to feature on our projects.   I suppose you could say "great minds think alike."

The colours coordinate beautifully, and of course the general theme works together, since we'd discussed that.  But I love when the littlest details work out by chance.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Time for a post

I have precisely one excuse for my lack of updates just lately.  I've been a little under the weather and have spent most of the week hiding from a headache under a warm fluffy blanket.

But it's been a good week.  Last week, my good friend Canary Knits (aka Teresa) featured me in her Indie Designer Day section. 

It was pretty awesome.  It's one thing to enjoy your own designs, but it's another thing entirely to get props from others for them. 

Teresa is pretty talented, herself.  She's even gone a step further in the design world and managed to get herself into a book with this lovely piece.  We've been working on a project together and are getting ready to roll it out.  It was quite a bit of work, but it's also been quite a lot of fun. 

On a completely non-knitting tangent, I've been playing with all the yummy things my breadmaker can do.  I discovered foccacia bread.  Not that I haven't had it before...I have.  But I've never MADE it before.  I made garlic cheesy-dill foccacia bread yesterday evening.  I'm pretty sure, if I let myself, I could eat the whole loaf in one sitting.  It's just amazing!  Of course, the "amazing" might come from the garlic butter mixed with green onion and dried dill, spread over the whole loaf with a basting brush.

I think I am going to serve up the remainder of the loaf with garlic cheesy-dill chicken wings for dinner.  I've never made garlic cheesy-dill chicken wings, and the thought is making my mouth water.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow, Snow, Snowing

It's snowing rather hard out right now.  The snow angels I made yesterday are gone.  Hidden under the new snow. 

I do need to get out and do groceries today.  I have almost no food in the house.  No vegetables at ALL, and very little fruit.  I also need to get to the post office.  I have swap packages that need to be mailed.  Except...there is snow on the road and I can't get out until the plow comes through.

I'm hungry. 

A little part of me wishes we had a fireplace so I could curl up in front of it and knit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tale of a tail.

I've been working on a sweater for a while (not my mom's sweater, different one).  It's bamboo.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do like bamboo.  But bamboo is not a very forgiving material.  Also, you can't spit splice bamboo.  I, being ever leery of anything to do with sewing, was delighted when I learned how to spit splice.  It meant an end to those loathsome ends.  But, you cannot spit splice bamboo, and I wanted to work with bamboo.

I was on the very last bit of my project.  I had 2/3 of a ball of yarn remaining.  One sleeve took 1/3 of a ball.  I left a nice long tail for weaving in.  I started the next sleeve.  I was pretty sure I'd have enough, and if I had to do the cuff with a new ball, I'd be annoyed but accepting.  As I worked along, the ball didn't seem to shrink.  I began to get excited.  Maybe I could do the whole sleeve with just this little 1/3 ball.  Maybe I could enjoy having a whole extra untouched ball of yarn.  Maybe...maybe...

And then I got to the last 8 rows.  The never-shrinking ball of yarn began to shrink.  And as it begain to shrink, it begain to shrink really quickly.  I knew I'd make it to the last row, but I was nervous about the bind off.  Very nervous.  So just before the last row, I tied a little knot halfway down the remaining length of yarn.  I figured if I could make it through the row before hitting the knot, I'd be able to make it through the bind off. 

I just *barely* made it with an inch to spare.  So I went ahead with the bind off.  But as I began to reach the last few stitches, the remaining yarn was too short to hold.  I was nervous.  I held my breath....

I made it!!!!  With just 4" remaining. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage styles

I'm at an awkward weight right now where nothing seems to fit me quite right.  I'm at that in-between stage where one size is too small but the next is too big.  As a result, my wardrobe and I tend to not get along from day to day.  A pair of jeans that fits me one day might be too big or too small the next. 

I went shopping about 3 hours before the party.  Really, I was looking for a pair of pants and a top that would fit.  I've discovered that I wouldn't have the problem with my clothes if I shopped at the expensive stores.  My jeans are from The Gap and my top is from Mexx.  Both are out of my budget on a normal day.  But I got these at the second hand shop, so the prices were much more reasonable.  The jeans still had the original tag on them (and were only $15!!) and the top looks and feels like it's been worn maybe once.

On my way out of the store, the dress aisle started whispering my name and making promises of vintage dresses for cheap, cheap prices.  I took a peek and found the dress pictured above.  Beautiful vintage quality dress.  Style is mid 1960's Jackie-O type shift dress.  It fit like a dream.  It accented all the right places and de-emphasized the ones I wanted to hide.  And I got SO MANY compliments on it.  Even though I'm wearing my not-so-flattering orthotic house slippers in the picture, I arrived at the party wearing tall brown boots that came to my knee.  Very gorgeous!

This set my mind to thinking about vintage styles and how nicely they are cut.  This isn't the first vintage dress that I've worn, and I'm always amazed by how flattering the style of the 60s is.  At least, I personally find it flattering.  After buying a second vintage dress online last night (I'm nervous about this, as I've never bought internet clothes before), I've decided that I need to bring it back in knitting.

I have 8 skeins of egyptian cotton yarn that had been earmarked for a sweater.  I've decided to knit a dress instead.  It will be styled similarly to the dress above, but with a rolled collar.  Basic A-line shape.  Knitted belt that will be attached at the back to create a bit of shaping.  Darts at the bust and hips.  Capped sleeves.

I'm very excited about this project.

I won't be starting it until the summer.  I'm finally starting to whittle down my project list, and would like to be halfway through the list before I start adding new project on to it.  My goal is to have the dress ready for Spring 2012.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cleaning up the yarn

According to my husband, who rarely complains about my yarn and fiber addiction, my yarn stash has started to sprawl.

He approached me quietly and said "Honey, I haven't said anything.  I've kind of been hoping that you'd notice it on your own, but your yarn stash seems to be alive.  It's growing and has started taking over the living room."

He was kind enough not to mention the guest room.  So I will.  I'll even give a picture.   And before you say anything akin to "Oh, that's no so bad," let me draw your attention to the guest bed.  Also, there is a full two feet of space between the shelves and the bed...notice how the whole two feet seems to be filled with the overflow of wool?  Filled up until it's level with the bed.  Also, you can't see the yarn under the bed.

My goal is to make better use of the shelf space.  To organize my yarn and wool in such a manner as to make it easy to find what I need when I need it.  I have all that space.  There's no excuse.

I'd offer a picture of the living room, but I'm not *that* humble.  Besides, I've started cleaning it up, so it naturally looks much worse than it did before.  ;)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All about me

I've come to the conclusion that I am absolutely TERRIBLE at writing about myself.  I am okay at writing about what I DO, and I'm pretty decent at writing about what I think.  But writing about who I actually am, as a knitter, designer, and person, does not come easy to me.

The truth is, as fascinating as I find knitting, I find myself rather boring.  I know my friends would disagree, but whenever I have to write about myself as a person and come up with an interesting biography of myself, I get stuck. 

I am....
...what comes next?  What do I write about myself that makes me sound like I'm different from everyone else?  It's one thing to know you are different, but actually putting it into words is not so easy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Momentary heart stoppages

I've been working out the kinks on a sweater pattern.  So far, it's been mostly smooth.  There have been little errors that my beta-knitters have been finding for me.  Nothing major.

I've been reknitting the sweater with my testers.  I got to the end of the body and started on the border, only to get to the end and find myself off by one stitch. 

This is quite possibly the first time my knitting has actually made me sit and cry.  I thought I'd made a mistake in the pattern.  And if it was a mistake in the pattern, it would have been a rather fundamental one.  I thought I was going to have to rip the whole thing and start over again.  Since I'm on a really tight deadline, this thought left me pretty upset.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if the first part worked (which it did) and the second part worked (which it did), then the border ought to have worked.  So since parts a and b were working, then part c OUGHT to be working.  So I went and recounted and discovered...the mistake wasn't back at row one.  It was in the row I'd just knit.  Instead of knitting one stitch and purling the next, I'd knit one and purled one all along and then accidentally knit two instead of knitting one and purling the next, throwing everything else off by one stitch.

Instead of ripping back 50 rows, I only had to rip back 50 stitches.  My stomach is back where it belongs now and my heart is beating properly again.  I'm very glad I recounted before sending off my devastated email to my testers calling a work stoppage on the project.