Not much to report

It has been sometime since my last entry – 3 months. Yikes. The time certainly flew and I haven’t knit as much as I would have liked. I did finish the dino blanket and it looks great. It was a big job, especially the 50 triangles that made up the outer border. I’m really happy with the finished product. I started to make the stuffed tyrannosaurus to match but I haven’t gotten the urge yet to do the duplicate stitch finishing and then finish up the other parts that are left undone. It is a giant at 2ft tall at pattern gauge. Since I get nowhere near that with chunky instead of worsted yarn it is more like 2.5 ft tall. I need time to concentrate for a long period to do the finishing and I’m not sure that will happen in the near future. I also finished the Scylla socks for my sister and I think she’ll really like them. They’ll be a birthday (Nov) or holiday present.

I knit 2 pairs of shorties for Rowan using the usual recipe and they fit really well.  As a request from Joe I had to knit a bunch of dishcloths. Ours were getting old and I was in denial about what that meant for me. I don’t particularly enjoy knitting dishcloths so I used a reward system. I could knit one ball on my new top in Hempathy and then I had to knit a dishcloth. This lasted for 4 balls and I turned out 4 cloths but then I just started knitting and didn’t look back. The top (Elemental Boatneck) is coming along great and I’m on the 2nd sleeve. We’re in the middle of major kitchen renovations and getting ready to move so there hasn’t been much knitting time but I hope to finish the top soon. I really love the yarn and the linen stitch isn’t as bad as I would have thought. I have a single Jaywalker sock that shows no inclination to be matched but perhaps it will be an after moving project. I’m usually not one for UFOs just lying around in hibernation but I have 2 right now which isn’t my usual way. Must be the heat…


Ok, it’s been a while….

Knit blogging has not been a priority as of late. I have been busy – not knitting, but writing. Not blog posts but manuscripts. I have finished and submitted two papers since the beginning of January and finished a decent draft of a third. Ok, the not knitting thing isn’t entirely true.

Charade socks

Things finished

1. 2 pairs of longies and a soaker for the new and lovely Mira Broughton – Cascade Softspun
2. A sweater and matching hat (for Mira as well) – Stylecraft Life DK
3. Charade socks in Aranucia Multi – very much a favourite pair of socks
4. Textured shawl in Malabrigo sock
5. Longies for Rowan in Briggs and Little Heritage
6. Jacket for Rosa in Bernat Countrystyle
7. Bella mitts in Superfine Alpaca

Things started

1.A dino blanket for Rowan in Softee Chunky
2. Scylla socks in Diamond Fancy Feet
Rosa trying on her partially knit sweaterSo actually writing all that out I realize there was a lot of knitting going on in this house in the last two months. Of course writing and knitting are highly compatible activities. You write, you want to rip out your hair, you take a short break and knit a few rows, suddenly feel reinspired, return to writing – repeat * 1000.  Really 7 FO: 3 manuscripts isn’t really a bad ratio.

Happy Belated New Year

I have been a neglectful blogger. However, it is not my New Year’s resolution to blog more. I will just have to do it when I have time. I hit the ground running in 2010. I’ve started back into some academic work so I have been very busy lately with little extraneous computer time. As a grad student, there was always time for computer things while working. A certain amount (well a large amount) of procrastination was necessary. As a Mom paying for daycare so I can work, this is not the case. I try to get as much done as possible in my limited work hours. Things have been productive. I submitted a final draft of the Birds of North America account for the Black-capped Chickadee yesterday. I started working on it in September so it has been a lengthy project.  I am also nearly finished revisions of a manuscript that was rejected one whole year ago. I’m hoping the year interval before re-submission hasn’t hurt our chances. I don’t think I was ready to work on it until now. Not just that I couldn’t, but I didn’t want to. My last thesis chapter was just a tangle of complicated data and once I sent it off to Behaviour, I wanted to be done with it. I didn’t want to do the reviews. Now that I’ve had time to digest it and re-visit with fresh eyes, I realize that it is a good paper and needs to get out there and I’m willing to put in the mental effort. I think a year away was a good thing for me, mentally. I am still excited by what I do so I think that means that I do want to continue doing it. I wasn’t so sure when I finished my PhD about what the future would  hold. I’m still not, given that my employment is limited. I will continue to look for employment in my field and not just look for any job that will pay the bills. I’m not sure I would be happy if I wasn’t doing this. It’s nice to know where I belong, even if I haven’t found the exact place yet.

Look at that Angelic face!

I have been knitting but not at my usual level of productivity. The Christmas knitting extended past the actual holiday. In fact, I am still not finished Marley’s stock though I am past the heel of the second sock and just have the leg to go. I finished Bender for Matt. He sat atop the tree in place of the angel that none of us believe in. Well, we had a star but I don’t believe in its symbolism either. Bender Bender Rodrigues,  is the perfect tree topper in my opinion and it was a great way to surprise Matt on Christmas morning. I hid the star so my mother couldn’t replace it before we got up. I’m sure she wouldn’t have but I had to be sure.  When I started Bender, I knit his body and then half his head and then stuffed him in a bag for months. It took the countdown to Christmas to get me going again and I am truly glad that I did.

Rowan's new sweaterI knit Rowan another sweater. He had only one that fit and I think he should have at least two Mommy knit sweaters for the winter. It turned out well and yesterday I just finished a matching hat with earflaps. Here is the sweater but I haven’t managed to wrestle him into the hat for a picture yet. Hats only work in my house when combined with mittens. Mittens make it hard to remove hats! It is knit in Stylecraft Life DK. I really liked the yarn and bought some more for next year’s sweater. Well I hope it is next year and he doesn’t grow so fast that it is sooner than that. Well that is about all for now. I will be back when time permits.

Finally finished

Rowan's bear suit

After months of hibernation, I have finally finished Rowan’s bear suit. It took many hours of sewing to get all the pieces together. The finishing took almost as long as the knitting given that it was quite a chunky knit. I spent the evening of Friday November 13th sewing it together at Wool-Tyme. If the store hadn’t held the event I may never have finished. I’m glad I did though and I’m pleased with the way it turned out. I find the legs and arms are a big narrow but it is stretchy so I think it will work just fine. When I tried it on Rowan for the first time, Rosa was very confused. Rowan looks like a little Ewok in it and had his back turned. Rosa had been sleeping and hadn’t noticed what was going on and when she caught sight of a strange creature in her house she was very startled. She moved slowly towards him woofing like she does when she sees the long, white, haired hippy or when she’s startled or alarmed. Just as she was getting close, he turned around and she relaized it was just Rowan inside his bear suit. It was hilarious.

Rowan's cabled cardigan

Lately I’ve been knitting a few pairs of socks. I finished a pair for Joe in On Your Toes Boot Socks which has been sadly discontinued. I also knit a pair of Lake Geneva socks for Robyn in pink and purple from Van der Rock Yarns.  I knit Rowan a cabled cardigan in Countrystyle DK. It turned out really well. I sewed the buttons on it at the same time as the bear suit. I just don’t really enjoy sewing on buttons but somehow, the more buttons there are, the more likely I am to sew them on. I prefer to sew buttons on several things that have been piling up if I’m going to bother getting out the thread.

Robyn's Lake Geneva socks

Last night I finished a pair of longies striped like candy canes. They just finished lanolizing in the sink and I’m looking forward to them drying so I can see how they fit. The last pairs I made in April still fit but are getting a bit short in the legs and rise. I will keep using them for awhile until I’ve knit a few more new pairs and then we’ll pass them on to Reed.


Rowan's a pumpkin

Rowan is a pumpkin

I haven’t had much time to write. Well, that is partially true – I also didn’t have any new pictures downloaded or much to write about.

Things finished:

– Blaze – it turned out better than expected. Pictures will come eventually. I haven’t had a chance to take any.
– Punkin Hat – turned Rowan into the cutest pumpkin ever
– Hiking socks for me – plain socks in Granite Tuffy (also pictureless)

Things started:

– Socks for Robyn – Lake Geneva pattern in van der Rock Yarns, pink/purple
– Socks for Joe – plain socks in On your Toes, Boot sock

Nov 2009 081

Charlotte and Rosa

We had a great belated Thanksgiving celebration, followed by pumpkin carving.  The very next weekend was Halloween where Rowan was a skunk, I was Smurfette and Joe was a BUI (biking under the influence). Now we have a nice quiet week to relax…. Right, we’ve been joined many times this week by a little fireball named Charlotte who is a pug/beagle mix and is very sweet but sometimes high maintenace. Rosa is very gentle with her, despite her considerable size difference.


Matching hats

Matching hats

We decided to make our annual Thanksgiving camping trip despite lower than preferred temperatures. It was a good opportunity to make use of various types of knitwear and drink lots of tea. Rowan and I got to wear our matching hats. We opted for Frontenac Park instead as the forecast was better than for Charleston Lake. The paddling/hiking distance to our site was about the same and we could reserve it, which meant we didn’t have the added stress of first come, first serve. The leaves were gorgeous and the weather held out. Matt and Robyn, and Rachel and Dudley came with us so it was a festive occassion complete with pumpkin pie and turkey chilli. We all bundled up and had a nice fire each evening to keep warm.

Rowan the bunny

Rowan the bunny

Rowan was perhaps the warmest of us all. He had lots of warm fuzzy clothes to wear and didn’t complain at all. Rosa did complain. She was quite cold and had to borrow some clothes from her Dad and brother. When Rowan was done with his Fisherman’s Wool bunny suit each day, Rosa wore it as a cape all evening. Poor girl had her own sleeping bag and thermarest yet still had to worm her way to the bottom of Joe’s to keep warm at night. The girl does like to cuddle.

Poor cold Rosa

Poor cold Rosa

Now that fall is officially upon us I feel the need to get out and enjoy every day before it is much colder and perhaps much snowier. The trees in the city still have lots of colourful leaves so it is a good time of year for walking. I’m still working on knitting Blaze and Bender but I’ve put them on hold to knit myself a pair of Tuffy hiking socks. I somehow imagined that I would knit them while I was camping. This was, to my credit, a doable feat. There was plenty of time and they knit really fast. I knit the toe on the way to the park in the car and then that was it. It was too cold for knitting and I was pretty tired from the combination of cold weather and poor sleeping to really feel much like it. I started the socks though with the cable I need for my second sleeve so I have the finish them before I can return to Blaze. I finished the first one on Tuesday night and yesterday I knit until just past the heel. If things go well, they should be done today. I do need to get going on the other things….

Watching the weather

Camping at Charleston Lake, Thanksgiving 2008

Camping at Charleston Lake, Thanksgiving 2008

I feel like the week before Thanksgiving I am always monitoring the forecast closely. Once again we’re trying to go camping and really hoping that the forecast will improve before the weekend comes. Last year it was cold and damp for all of early October and then suddenly the weekend was nice with only a day or two warning. We went to Charleston Lake and had a beautiful and sunny weekend. I sat in my lawn chair and knit and looked out at the lake. The pre-weekend weather is similar this year and the forecast is still predicting weekend rain but I’m holding out hope for a repeat. We’re expecting Rachel and Dudley, and Robyn and Matt to come with us so it should be a great trip if we can get there.

I’ve been working away on Blaze and I’m just a few rows from the armpits on the body. Then it will be the nice short and sweet sleeves. They’re short to begin with but I’m making them even shorter. I don’t think I have enough yarn to make them longer and sleeves that end at the elbow just aren’t flattering so I’m going for short sleeves.  Since I’m re-writing the pattern to make it my size, I might as well. I’ve also started work on Bender, which is a Christmas present for Matt and the first of my holiday knitting. I’m a bit late starting this year. I’ve finished his body and I’m part way done the head. There are a lot of pieces so there will be lots of seaming and end tucking. Hopefully I can finish it before the Friday the 13th part (November). The point is to work at UFOs and I expect once the knitting portion is done it will become a UFO since I avoid finishing up. That and Rowan’s bear suit will be my Friday the 13th punishment. I know, knitting is supposed to be enjoyable, and it is, but for me finishing is not always. That is why I like Blaze, Even the armpits are grafted so the only finishing is tucking in ends. That I can deal with.

Sunday morning cuddles

Sunday morning cuddles

Rosa has a new friend. Her best-friend (in Kingston, not to sell Dudley short) Rumi passed away a few weeks ago and Colleen has just gotten a new puppy, Shiva. She is a Weimeraner/Lab cross and is a real sweetheart. She’s very calm and gets along great with Rosa. She’s already been over for a playdate and was really great. Well she does have one problem (for me) – she likes to try to bit my yarn while I knit. She will be trained, of course, to leave the knitting alone but I expect it will take time and a bit of frustration. I hope for sunny days on her visits from now on. It was raining on Sunday and Rosa refuses to go out when it is raining, even when her friend has gone out too. She takes after her Mom.

Our unusual carrot

Our unusual carrot

Oh yeah – and we grew the funniest carrot in our garden! I know, I know. If you look closely he has been Lorena Bobbited somewhat. I had to sort of stick him back together for the picture. Joe thought that he could take it to eat for lunch. He forgot how I enjoy photographing oddities such as this. In my opinion, this is a far superior occurrence to say a Cheeto Jesus (Cheesus, come on people)  or a grilled cheese that looks like the Virgin Mary. So what if those foods look like fictional characters, my carrot looks like a three-legged man.

Potato, fennel and leek soup

Last night I made potato, fennel and leek soup. I hybridized a bunch of recipes (my usual method of cooking) and I was happy with the final product. I’ll post the recipe here, though I must admit I probably didn’t measure things exactly and you don’t need to either. This is just my closest approximation to what I did.

Potato, fennel and leek soup

2 cups of chopped fennel bulb
2 cups of chopped leek
1 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup of butter
2 lbs of potato chopped
4 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
ground pepper
2 cups of milk

1. Saute onion, leek, and fennel in butter for about 10-15 minutes

2. Add to potatoes, stock and water. Simmer until potatoes are cooked (~20 min). Add cilantro and parsley.

3. Puree in food processor and return to pot. Add milk and pepper and salt to taste, simmer for ~10 minutes.

Our trip to Ottawa

Rowan, Rosa and I travelled to Ottawa this weekend to visit Lauren, Reed, and Jay and Rachel, Dudley and Benjamin. It was a great road trip. It was so great to see Lauren with her baby Reed. The amazing thing is we actually managed to talk to each other and catch up despite the attempts of our two little monkeys to sabotage our efforts. They both took good naps for them and slept well at night. Reed is surpassing his cousin Rowan already in nightime sleeping abilities. I hope that will encourage him, if a much smaller baby can do it then maybe he can too.  We were mostly too tired to knit at night but did manage to squeeze in a bit of morning knitting on Sunday.

Rosa stayed with Rachel and her best friend Dudley. We all went for a nice walk in Gatineau park on Saturday. It was a beautiful fall day and perfect for walking. We didn’t see too many birds but it was the afternoon so we really couldn’t expect much. Rosa received her usual praise from strangers about how unusual she is. We rarely take a walk where less than 3 people enquire about her mix.

Blaze is coming along and I am contemplating starting Bender soon too. I’m not always in the mood for constant cable work so it will  be nice to have something else on the go. I am starting to realize that Christmas knitting may be upon me and I should get started. I think I will tone it down a little bit this year. I’ve already made the hat and mitts for Vi and may make socks for Robyn and maybe for Joe too. We’ll see how things go.

I have been wanting to make some stuffed vegetables and fruits for Rowan to play with in place of the plastic ones most kids end up playing with one. Finding the time to get started seems to be the problem though. Most of the patterns out there are crochet which I am not proficient at. Actually I can only do a single chain and a provisional cast-on for knitting so I really can’t crochet at all. My Blaze top is coming along slowly. I think the end of the body is in sight and I am so excited for the sleeves which will just fly by in comparison. I try not to think about the yoke. I also try not to think about how I am going to manage the arm cast-off etc. because I am knitting a size that doesn’t exist due to my loose knitting of the pattern. There will be some math involved….

Sleepy Sheepy Sack

Rowan in his new sleep sack

Rowan in his new sleep sack

I finished Rowan’s sleep sack this week. I finished the knitting one night and the very next day headed out to buy a zipper and then sewed it in the same day after dinner. I finished about 2 minutes before bath time which was cutting it close but I really wanted to test it out. It fit well and I think kept Rowan toasty warm that night. The last 2 nights have been far warmer so we haven’t used it again but it won’t be long now before it becomes a necessity. I’m not the greatest at sewing in a zipper so it looks a little wonky but I’ll get it right on the next one. The pattern can be adjusted in any part of the length. To make it larger, CO more stitches and/or do fewer decreases for top.


3 skeins (573 yards) of Plymouth Homestead
long 5mm circular needle (for magic loop; 32-40″)
shorter 5mm circular needle (if you want to knit in the round)
2 stitch markers
1 zipper (35 or 40 cm)

18 st = 4″ in st st


1. CO 130 sts using figure-eight cast-on and longer circular needle.

(If you really don’t want to do this cast-on, cast on as usual – I prefer long-tailed. When finished, you will have to sew up the seam at the bottom. You also won’t need to magic loop the first few inches and can just knit in the round as usual)

2. Knit in the round using magic loop. Because of the cast-on you won’t be able to knit in the round using a smaller circular needle until you get to about 6-7″ of stocking stitch unless your needle tips are really short as you’re forming a sort of purse and need to get far enough from the cast-on edge to be able to move the circular needle through the stitches. At 6-7″ switch to shorter circular needle (you can continue in magic loop if you prefer) and place marker to denote beginning of the round. Continue until work measures 15″ from CO edge

3. K11, k2tog around (120 sts)

4. k 6 rounds

5. k10, k2tog around (110 sts)

6. k27, k2tog, k26, place 2nd marker, finish round

7. k27 turn and purl; from now on work back and forth. markers denote transition from fronts to back (27, 55, 27 sts)

8. k 9 rounds

9. dec evenly 2 sts in fronts and 4 in back (25, 51, 25)

10. k 9 rounds

11. dec evenly 2 sts in fronts and 4 in back (23, 47, 23;

12. continue in st st until 9” from opening ending with ws row

13. knit until 4 before marker, BO 8 sts, knit until 4 before 2nd marker, BO 8 sts, knit to end (19, 39, 19). Work each piece separately now.

14. fronts

  • continue in st st for 2”
  • next row: BO 3 sts at next edge (16 sts remain)
  • next 6 rows: dec 1 st at next edge (10 sts remain)
  • 4 more rows st st (end with a rs row), slip remaining onto stitch holder

15. back

  • work until measures length of the fronts ending with a ws row.
  • next row: knit 10, BO 19, knit 10

16. graft shoulder seems

17. sew in a zipper

Trying on the sleep sack to test the fit

Trying on the sleep sack to test the fit

Notes: I designed this pattern as I knit, trying it on when it was convenient to do so. For that reason, the decrease rows are somewhat haphazard and unevenly spaced. You can do them any way you like and the finished product will still work well. I decreased until it fit snuggly but not tightly on the upper body so that it wouldn’t twist around too badly. If you need to make it bigger, do one less (or more) decrease and adjust the armhole/neck shaping as needed. Also, the armhole depth should be adjusted to fit your baby. You may want to leave it slightly longer than required so it will fit for longer. You can also divide for the zipper earlier if required. The pattern is knit for a baby who isn’t changed during the night so if you need to do nightime changes you may want to divide for front and back after only 2″ or so and use a longer zipper.