Monday, 31 August 2009


I ran out of yarn last night while working on the afghan. Mid row!!

I'm hating this pattern. It's sorta ugly. I don't want to work on it...

The pattern (which I'm not sure I'm doing correctly, by the way, since my blanket doesn't have the nice peaks on the star points) is soooo boring that it is mind numbing.

I just wish I could be done with it, but it's too small right now (~26" across) to be a full afghan.

So now I have to go back to the silly yarn store that has the silliest hours so I can only go on weekends... Just to get one more skien.

Oh well. At least until then I get to work on something different...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Stash use

Hi. My name is Jeanne. and I'm a... pack rat.

Yup. I am. Not a bad one. But I am when it comes to yarn. I have a lot of yarn. I just can't throw it away if there's a chance I may want to use it at some point. Waste not, want not and all that. And I buy yarn far too often! FAR too often. So I'm always on the lookout for projects I can make with yarn I already have. This pattern did just that.
So this hat wins on many fronts.

The pink you may remember is from N's Christmas vest/sweater and the grey yarn (if you can believe it) is left over yarn that I still have from a pair of mittens I made in HS for this guy I had a crush on. (See. That's how serious my stash is. It's huge. Full of half skeins I've had sitting around for as much as 10 years! And sadly, the mittens wasn't the start of a beautiful relationship. Sigh...)
Both yarns were a perfect fit for what the project needed. And perfect length. So perfect that after weaving in the ends, I only have 18 inches of pink yarn left. How almost exactly perfect is that? (I still have a bunch of the grey, but that is neither here nor there...)

And you know, this hat may just make me partially rethink pink. I'd wear this hat. But really, I think that amount of pink is still the most I can handle.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Afghan, again

So... I thought I could follow a crochet pattern. Does this look like a huge sea green doily to anyone else? That's what it looks like to me.

It's supposed to be the start of a baby afghan for some friends of mine whose first baby is due a month from tomorrow. (I know... not a lot of time to throw this one together...)
So, I chose a pattern.
After my latest crochet success, I was fairly confident that I could follow a pattern. Maybe over confident? But hey. Maybe I can. I mean, maybe this is what it's supposed to look like. ? Only, I don't see those huge holes on any of the other projects on Ravelry... It makes me a little worried.
Anyways, this is my latest big project... Wish me luck.

I'm going to need it!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Chunky Scarf

I love it when things come together. When things just fall into place like it was meant to happen. See, I've been meaning to make a Mustard Scarf (pattern name. I don't want a yellow scarf...) for a while, but I haven't. I had the right yarn, reclaimed from a project I didn't like, and I knew I'd like the finished product. I just didn't make it. Why?
I didn't have a button for it.
Well, that changed mid last week. Looking down at the buttons I got in the mail I automatically knew what one of the was going to be used for. This! And although it's not really scarf season I started knitting it that very night.

I didn't choose out the exact button until the scarf was done. I originally thought I'd use the white flower button, but this one just worked better, I think.
And I was right. I like the finished product a lot. I think it'll look pretty good under a nice/dressy winter jacket. ... you know, if/when I ever one of those again... In the meantime I'll just have to see if I can pull it off in the office. & Wear it on days at work when the AC makes it feel like I'm in the arctic. That's, um, everyday. So it's already packed to go into work with me today.
Move aside old scarves. There's a new one in town.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

I can crochet

Looking back at recent posts, I noticed that I haven't blogged about many crafts recently. That is all about to change. I have been crafting. Crafting like mad actually. Just I've either been a) more excited about other blog posts or b) waiting until the right time to post about big things.
It still isn't the right time for the big craft... but I have a lot of little ones to write about, and for whatever reason, this is the first one.

A crochet hat.
When I was in University, my SIL taught me the basics of how to crochet. She's never been much of a knitter, but you give her a crochet hook, and she goes at it! So I know the stitches: single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet. Sure I can theoretically crochet, and have. Just like with knitting patterns, being able to crochet, and being able to read a crochet pattern and follow it correctly are two very different thing. Drastically different. Last time I tried, I failed horribly.
This time I had more luck!

The pattern was actually really easy to follow! I was so happy about that. I did have to modify it a little bit since the original pattern is a kid's size. I added an extra increase row and then just kept measuring it in relation to my head until I thought it was long enough.
I wasn't planning on putting the white band on it, but I think it looks okay. I actually ran out of the blue, and had to frog it back so that all of the bands with the single crochet were white. But it turned out pretty nicely I think.
And best of all, now I sort of think I know how to follow a basic crochet pattern. Score.
And as a plus, I have another hat in my ever growing stash of Christmas gifts. Everything else has an intended recipient already, but I have no worries that I'll find just the right person to give this one to.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Bag & Buttons

Have you ever had a bad day?
Okay. That was a stupid question… everyone at some point or another has had a bad day.
Have you ever had a bad day that suddenly isn’t as bad because one person does something really incredibly nice and totally unexpected?
That was yesterday for me. I was pretty annoyed with work and things in general. I had a really frustrating meeting and was heading back to my desk frowning and in an undeniably horrible mood, thinking the rest of the day was going to be just as bad. Then – BAM. I’m smiling from ear to ear. Why?
Remember how I love mail and all things homemade? Well, sitting at my desk was a lovely package I hadn’t even been anticipating! How awesome is that? They say good things come in small packages, and man were they right. There was a card, some buttons and this super incredibly cute purse made by a talented girl!

Now instead of thinking about annoying coworkers I was thinking about just how nice some people can be. And marveling over the cute purse.

And trying to figure out what projects would best suit each button!

Like, just look at the moose buttons. So cute! I’m really tempted to use them in a cardigan for X. I just need to find a cardigan pattern that will work with them. But maybe they’d be better for something else. I have to scheme…
& really, the buttons were just the icing on the cake. I’d actually been looking the previous day at buying a random set of buttons on etsy. It was serendipitous! And I’m still smiling. And loving the new purse. I brought it to work today, and with the inside pockets, it’s perfect.
Thank you.

Friday, 14 August 2009

In the mail!

Yesterday was a good day! Great day! LOOK what I got in the mail!

Come on. Who doesn't love mail? Everyone should love mail. *I* love mail. I love sending mail. I love receiving mail. Any kind of mail. Pretty much if 'mail' is in the word, I love it. Email. Airmail. Snail mail. Black mail. Wait... No... I don't love blackmail. Black mail is bad. But the rest of them are pretty fun.

I love getting things delivered by USPS. My heart leaps a little when I see an envelope covered in stickers. It always has. I even get excited when something I've ordered from Amazon arrives! Even if it's glassware, it's 10 times cooler just because it got delivered. You know, this makes me sound a little lame, but I don't care. I love mail.
Soooo when my jam arrived from the jam exchange I was freaking excited. It's jam. It's homemade. AND it came in the mail. It is automatically fabulous.

So I ripped open the package right away!

And to my delight I got 4 jars of jam from the talented owner of this blog! That's right. 4!
Cranberry, pear-vanilla, apple-cinnamon and sweet potato butter. Sweet potato butter!!? How awesome is that? I just had to run and try it. It is just as tasty as you would imagine! I just had to try the pear-vanilla and it was reeeallllly good!

Thanks so much! I love it!
And thanks to Steph for hosting the exchange. All around good awesome time!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Christmas comes early

Three years ago when my sister-in-law (aka SIL) was pregnant with her first child (my first nephew) I decided that I wanted to do something consistent for the birthday and Christmas gifts I'd be giving him (now them since I have a niece too) for the years to come. At that time I came up with this idea: I'd make sweaters for Christmas and give books for birthdays. I think it's a pretty good deal. Sweaters and books might be a little boring, but homemade gifts are by far the best and anything that promotes reading is good by me.
Thus far I've been able to keep it up. I'm excited to say that this year will be X's fourth sweater and N's second. And wouldn't you know it? I'm already done N's!

Pretty cute if you asked me.

Seeing as how the gift isn't so much of a surprise, I asked my SIL if there was a colour/style she wanted. (N's about 6mo right now, so I'm guessing she doesn't care.) To my surprise the answer was a pink cardigan that wouldn't be too hot.
Pink? Yup. Pink. Good thing I asked because pink is not one of my favourite colours. (probably because it totally clashes with my hair.) In fact, I think there is about a 0% chance I would have bought pink yarn unless it had been requested. But I like it. For a baby girl, I like it.

It knit up super fast. Last year's sweater took me a month. This one? 4 days. Yes, this one doesn't have sleeves so that helped to make it faster, but I think I'm also a faster knitter.
The lace pattern on the bottom is pretty cute, but to be honest I don't really like the picot edge on the bottom. I wouldn't do that if I ever used this pattern again. I also would add a wider stockinette edge along the side so that it doesn't curl so much.
But all in all, I think it's great!
Unfortunately, since this is done, now I have to go back to my dreaded big project. We are getting towards the deadline, so no more avoidance. Sigh. Unfortunately, avoidance is what I do best.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A bowl

More than three months ago one of my good friends had fairly major surgery. Big surgery. Decent sized surgery? I don't know how to qualify it. It's not like she had a double bypass or anything, but the surgery was very significant to her life. She got a new ACL and had microfractures done. (Whatever that means. I don't even know if I spelled that correctly.) It was pretty crazy. She was on crutches for a month (and couldn't even drive), and then walked with a cane (at least it was the House cane!) for two weeks, and three months later she's still sort of limping. Needless to say, it sort of affected her life. And so, during the time she couldn't walk, or really do much, we looked for sedentary activities - something very outside of her character. One of those activities was something we'd done in the past, but we don't do that often. We painted pottery.

Although we finished them about a month ago, we only picked them up this past weekend. At the time, it was more about the activity than about the finished product.

But I like the bowl. I like the design I finally decided on after half an hour sitting staring at it (puzzle piece outlines if you can't tell...) and the size of the bowl. We used to have one this size... but then I dropped it one day. It was horrid! (Not the bowl, the fact that I dropped it.) It was even full of fresh pineapple at the time! Tragic.

Can't wait to each a fabulous salad out of it! Or maybe even more pineapple.

Monday, 3 August 2009


Ever since this year's Stitches West, I've seen this garterlac and enterlac everywhere. I saw a few scarves at the knitting show and I think even a sweater. At the time I fascinated by it (although I thought then and still think that it isn't the most beautiful of patterns). I just couldn't tell how people had done it. It almost looked like the scarves had been woven together from smaller thin knit strips.
I finally decided, I had to try it for myself.

And so I did and I made this pot holder/dishcloth (shown in the last post too) to give away with the jam I made. I hope my exchangee likes it!

Anyways, it's pretty cool how it's done with short rows, picking up stitches along the side to make the block. I meant to take pictures along the way to illustrate how it was done, but it went so fast I didn't take a picture until it was done. Oops. As others have said, the pattern is addictive. Seriously. I was unable to stop making it, telling myself, I'd stop after the next block. I'd stop after the next row.
Good thing about that? It was done faster than I expected.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Jam Exchange

"We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives, takes us to another place and time..." So says Kenny Chesney. And it's true. Music can totally snap you back to a time. I know that every time I hear the sweater song by weezer I think of the dance my friend from HS made to that song. Hilarious.
Well, I think the same can be said for food. Taste, just like sound, can trigger memories. Gingerbread to me (and probably lots of people) is almost like the ghost of Christmas past, reminding me of all of the Christmases of yon.

The same is true for homemade jam.
I *LOVE* homemade jam. Lovelovelove.
As a child, we almost exclusively ate homemade jam. I remember making it with my mom. Standing on a chair because I wasn't tall enough to see into the pot otherwise, wearing an old apron, stirring the big pot. Oh childhood. Good memories.

And maybe that's why I went a little bit overboard after I signed up to do stephchows jam exchange.
Sure. I could have just made one type of jam... but after I bought all these cute jars... and I saw all this yummy fruit on sale... there was just no stopping me! Besides, just like in my childhood, when I used to give jam to my teachers for Christmas, I figured jam would make great gifts.
So armed with fruit, sugar and lemons I was ready to go! And go I did.

These are the jams I gave in the exchange. And the dishtowel too. (post pending). I sent some strawberry (Don't worry W. Yours is safe and sound.), strawberry rhubarb (simply divine on TJ froyo), and blackberry blueberry.

I made those back when I signed up for the exchange.
But I couldn't stop there. No. That would be too easy. And, well, as I've already shown... I'm crazy. So this morning I made cherry and every-berry-I-had-left-in-the-fridge-plus-a-peach jam. Fabulous! If I do say so myself.
Um... I didn't really follow a recipe. (I hear those gasps out there. No. Really. It's okay.) For all of them I just cut up a lot of fruit, put it in a pot, added the rind and juice of one lemon (two for the rhubarb jam because rhubarb is naturally low in pectin... or so google told me) then added two cups of sugar and let it cook for 40-45 min, stirring ever so often.
(If you get bored, as I did, just go grab the book you're in the middle of to read while you stir. I'm so all about multi-tasking.) Once it passes the plate in the freezer test, I was done. (Don't worry... I did all those sterilizing steps too.)

But all in all, a fantastically fun and tasty experience. And I suggest trying it to anyone out there! It is soo good, and really very easy to do. Try it!

Now I can't wait to see what kind of jam I get in the mail. :)