Category Archives: Knitting

My first Twist!

This was the third year for the Twist Fibre festival in Québec, but a first time for me. Thanks to Sue, I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. It was small but packed full of quality vendors. Among other things, Twist features mainly local yarn, fibre, and other materials. I came away with a few very very nice purchases.

4 skeins of yarn and a hand-crafted mug
My haul from Twist 2014

I was really excited to see that Laura Sheppard’s Handmade Pottery was there, so I picked up a mug. Much better to purchase in person. It is beautifully crafted.

I picked up two skeins of Merino DK from The Black Lamb.

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Green and Grey DK from Black Lamb

Some amazing Fingering Bootsie-Loo from Studioloo

Fingering weight yarn in blue, pink, and grey from Studioloo
Hand-dyed bootsie-loo from Studioloo OMG so yummy

And some beautiful pinky-red merino from Yvieknits Yarns

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It’s seriously beautiful. Enough for a full shawl.

I had such a wonderful time. The day came complete with not-so-random bumping into old friends.

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Left to right: Elizabeth, Amy, Sue, Diane, Juliana

In other knitting-related news, I’m working on a new shawl. I am making The Cool Clavicle Cover by Megan Williams. I had a bit of a rough start but once I was familiar with the stitch patterns away I went and it is lovely. I’m using  Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 2 Ply (discontinued) that I purchased in 2010.

A partially knit blue variegated shawl on the needles.
Shawl in progress. Nearly half-way there.

Movie night on the lawn at Rideau Hall

For someone as busy as I am, I have spent a surprisingly small amount of time and energy exploring the events going on in Ottawa since I moved here in 2007. I was very excited when my friend Stephanie invited me to an an outdoor movie night at Rideau Hall.

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They set up a screen on the grounds and hundreds of people showed up for a free screening of The Grand Seduction; an English adaptation of the French Canadian film. We had such a great time. There was free popcorn, beverages provided by a local Scout troop, and even the weather cooperated. The Governor General, David Johnston, said a few words then we all sang Happy Birthday to the director. It was really really nice.

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The Governor General, David Johnston, giving his speech

I even managed to get some knitting done. It was pretty cold, and it got dark so I had to put it away eventually.

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In-progress hat: Rikke.

I finished it a few days later and it turned out perfectly!

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Finished hat!

 

Recipe: Strawberry Banana Trifle with homemade pudding
Strawberry-banana trifle
Mmmmmmmm trifle

I set out to make a simple dessert, but it ended up being a bit more complicated that I’d intended. It still turned out fabulously, so I’m not really complaining. I bought the angel food cake at the grocery store, but the whipped cream and pudding mix I made from scratch.

Vanilla Pudding Mix

Original recipe adapted from The Brown-Eyed Baker.

Making pudding from scratch. Like a boss.

I substituted for the corn starch and added vanilla when mixing up the pudding on the stove. Potato starch was a little “glutonous” in the end, I wish I had used tapioca or rice starch but it still worked.

1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup starch (tapioca, corn… I used potato)
3/4 dry milk powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl mix together all dry ingredients with a whisk.
  2. Combine 2 cups of milk with 1/2 cup of pudding mix in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking constantly.
  3. Bring to a boil, and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (about 3 to 5 minutes).
  4. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Strawberry-Banana Trifle

Original recipe found on Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama

1 store-bought angel food cake, cut into cubes
1 batch of pudding (see recipe above or use instant)
Strawberries, halved
Bananas, sliced
Whipped cream

  1. Cut angel food cake into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Prepare pudding mix with milk as above (or use instant pudding)
  3. Cut up strawberries and set aside. Slice bananas as you layer to keep them from going brown.
  4. Whip up your whipped cream
  5. Layer all ingredients in glass trifle bowl and store in the fridge for a few hours to set, or make it the day before and let it sit overnight. Keep cold until served.

I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top and in-between the layers for a little extra. It turned out great!

New herd addition: Spike

I’m really happy I was able to go to knit night last week since I won’t be able to go for a few weeks. I had ordered yarn (through Jen) from knitpicks.com and it came in, which means this will soon become Christmas stockings. And by soon I mean sometime in the next year.

After watching the sadness that was a lonely guinea pig, we found someone on Kijiji who was giving away their guinea pig. This is the little girl we brought home on Thursday night. We named her Spike, which is better than “The Nameless One” as we were calling her before. I’m guessing her age at around 2, based on weight. She is very active, really likes her hay, and has a very good understanding of how towel layers work.

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New piggy Spike has joined the herd

After work last Friday we drove to KW for a weekend visit. As always, it was equal parts lovely and exhausting. We didn’t get in until nearly 2AM on Saturday, so I opted not to go for my usual run. After catching up with my mom, we spent the day with my friend Alex while she worked on her costume for a convention coming up. Dinner at My-Thai with Darcy, Ellen, Stela, Heather, Alex, and Chris was so nice. We had a really nice time with everyone.

The impetus for the weekend visit was a family reunion. I am so happy I was able to go this year. That’s two years in a row now. I’m grateful that Chris has been so supportive about increasing our trips to KW.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

And in case you live under a rock, Guardians of the Galaxy was so freaking amazing. I want to go and see it again. And again. And again!

The sweater I’m working on is full of modifications, and I can’t wait to be finished it, but in the meantime I’ve started a hat that is already looking really nice. The pattern is Rikke by Sarah Young. I’ve knit it before and I love this pattern. The yarn choice is extremely important because it has to have the right stretch and drape. I’m confident Madelinetosh will work well.

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New hat-to-be: Rikke
Recipe: No-Bake Almond Butter Flax Balls

Original recipe found here:
http://laurenkellynutrition.com/no-bake-almond-butter-balls/

While I was visiting family this weekend, my mom let me taste these amazing treats she had made. They were so very very good, that I feel the desperate need to share the recipe with everyone I know.

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mmmmmmmm almond butter flax balls

Ingredients
1 cup (dry) old-fashioned oats (can use gluten-free)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (can use dairy-free)
1/2 cup natural almond butter (or any other nut butter)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tsp. organic vanilla

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Roll into 1 inch balls and place in air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Moon Crystal Power

The hardest thing about having moved away from my hometown kind of surprised me in the end. Of course I miss the people: my family and friends. But I’ve found that when I’m homesick, what I am homesick for no longer exists. Sometimes my visits home actually leave me feeling even more detached than before I arrived.

That’s why it’s been so important for me to maintain personal relationships with those people. It’s become really important to remind myself that what I really miss is the people, not the place.

So in the interest of maintaining those connections, I got together online with some friends back home for a bit of a nerd-fest. We watched the new Sailor Moon Crystal reboot together online with synced up video and Google voice chat. It was wonderful, and we’re going to do it again in a few weeks.

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Sailor Moon Crystal. OMG a Sailor Moon reboot you guys!!!!

My English course is going really well. I submitted assignment #4 last week and am keeping a pretty good pace. I’ve done a good job of getting ahead during the week so that I don’t have to worry about course-work on the weekends.

Last weekend was the first one in awhile where I wasn’t overbooked. The only thing I had was the Sailor Moon Crystal online party with my friends, other than that I went for a run, did some cooking, and did a crap tonne of laundry (so exciting!).

I even managed to do some knitting. I finished a project I’ve been working on since December and I’m so excited to show it off. I’ve been wanting to knit a Christmas tree skirt for years, and now I have.

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My completed Christmas tree skirt. It only took me 7 months.

The pattern was written by Teva Durham (ravelry link) and I found it in Handknit Holidays. I used Knit Picks Brava worsted and didn’t change anything about the pattern except for the bind off. I used Fleegle’s no-wrap short row technique and it worked amazingly. I can’t barely see them, even with the doubled yarn. And when it came to binding off, instead of carrying the red up the side and binding off normally, I decided I wanted to add buttons. I followed this video tutorial for an i-cord bind-off that incorporates button loops. It worked so well!

The button loops on my Christmas tree skirt
My finished Christmas tree skirt, complete with buttons loops and an i-cord bind off

There was a bit of a dark spot this week. One of our two guinea pigs, Fessik stopped eating and then passed away. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her. We had her on anti-biotics, but I guess she was already too sick. Goodnight, sweet piggy. We will miss you.

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Fessik: 2011-2014

A reflection on June

I know it’s July and everything but let’s talk about June. A whole fuck of a lot happened in June. June was full of doctors appointments and other various unpleasantness, but the nicest part of June was our (all too brief) holiday in Gatineau. I rented us a cottage for the week about an hour away from home so that Chris and I could get away from life for awhile and just enjoy some quiet time together. It’s was a lovely week, even though it was buggy as hell. Some very good friends of ours joined up for the weekend and then we spent the rest of the week alone: reading, sitting in the sauna, watching movies and ultimately just taking it slow. I wish every day could start slow like that. It was so nice that even a bit of rain didn’t really matter, until we had to pack up the car in it. That was fun.

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Sitting on the dock of the lake. There were so many dragonflies!!!

Another super lovely thing that happened recently was my aunties came to visit. Auntie Julie had been to Ottawa before, but not Auntie Linda. Anyway, it was so very very nice. We went to the Museum of History (otherwise known as the Museum of Civilization until Harper changed it because War?) to see the exhibit on the Empress of Ireland. That was very cool to see. Then on Canada Day we met up with a friend of mine for high tea at the Billings Estate Museum. It was a little disorganized but the food and atmosphere were both spot on.

3 plates piled high with tasty afternoon tea snacks.
The tasty fare at the Billings Estate Museum (that’s my friend Lise looking all gorgeous there on the left)

English Course Accountability:

I’m a little frustrated with my course right now, but it can’t be helped. My tutor went on vacation shortly after I submitted my last assignment so I’ll have to wait nearly 2 weeks for feedback. This is extremely frustrating since I was so motivated and getting so much done.

Running:

Talk about motivation! I’ve been doing really well with my running. I’m up to 4km now, so I’m on track (ha ha, track) for my goal to run in the Terry Fox this year. I even managed to get a run in while we were in KW this past weekend for a family reunion.

Let’s get to the knitting:

Nothing too exciting for my knitting, but the body of my sweater is almost finished. I guess that’s pretty exciting, now that I think about it. I have a camping trip coming up this weekend and I’m really struggling with what to bring for a project to work on. I’ve had horrendous experiences with starting projects while away, and I’m reluctant to bring my beautiful alpaca silk sweater with me just so that I can knit some sleeves. If I have time this week I’ll try and get some socks on the needles before we leave.

A partially knitted sweater.
WIP: Simple Knitted Bodice

Clean slate

I don’t know what it says about me that I haven’t blogged in 4 years. I used to do it fairly frequently. I’m pretty sure I even had regular readers. Since 2010 I have participated in a few weddings, moved twice, bought a house, gained a housemate, and somehow managed not to scare away my husband. I’m reasonably certain the only thing that hasn’t changed is my place of work. Oh, things at work have changed, but I’m still there. And there have been big Life Events this year. In April I got called for jury duty. That was an eye-opening experience if there ever was one. I live in a very nice, tidy, safe little corner of the world my friends. So after 2 weeks of my life were sucked up by civic duty, I took off for my first trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival with some very nice ladies I knit with. There have been lots of visits from family and friends, and I think it’s my turn for a summer of visiting them. The only dark spot has been the miscarriage I had in June. But we have lots of happy things planned for the rest of the year, so I have that to focus on! I’m currently working on an online English course at Athabasca University, I’ve started running again and have plans to do the Terry Fox 5km this year, and we have two camping trips planned this year: one with some local friends, and another with some not-so-local friends. I’ll be in KW this weekend for a family reunion, then back again in August for another one. With all that to look forward to it’s hard to find the time to be depressed about things you have no control over.

Let’s get to the knitting!

There has been so much that it would be ridiculous to try and get into all of it, so I won’t even try. I’ll pull out some highlights from the last 6 months or so: I knit the most wonderful sweater for my brother’s dog, Pedro:   Then there’s this very cute tunic for my niece: And this very sweet baby sweater with the most adorable bunnies: I have a few projects on the go at the moment. As ever, I have an epic scrap blanket constantly in progress. I have a sweater on the needles and a sweater planned. I’ve also been working on a Christmas tree skirt since last Christmas that is very nearly finished. With any luck I’ll finish it before winter. Don’t laugh! Anything is possible.