Category Archives: Works in progress

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.

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

Keeping busy…

I’ve been keeping busy knitting these days. Sweaters and test-knits and part-time school Oh My! We have had a steady parade of welcome visitors and as the summer draws to a close, I find myself feeling the pull towards knitting some sweaters. Must… knit… sweaters! I just hope that we have a colder winter this year so that I can actually wear what I’ve knit. Take a look at what I’ve been working on this summer.

ON THE NEEDLES:

Of the three projects I have on the needles right now, this one is my favourite. I am knitting the Platte River Pullover by Kirsten Jensen (rav link) and I am so excited with how well it is going. This fair isle pullover is knit in sport weight at a tighter gauge. This pattern is free, however it only comes in one size, 34-inch bust. I am a 36, but luckily my stitch gauge is resulting in this being the perfect size. It’s like it was meant to be, because my row gauge is spot-on. I am knitting my version out of Mirasol Nuna, in Metallic Gold and Cardinal Red, on size 2.75mm needles. It’s knit bottom-up and in the round and is really quite easy. I’m actually nearly done the bust shaping, but here is the most recent photo I have of my progress:

The next project is a test-knit (rav link) for Twiss&Weber. It’s an awesome shrug/cardigan with really unique construction. I love how it’s turning out. I’m knitting it out of Berroco Blackstone Tweed Worsted & Chunky on 6.5mm needles. I only need to finish the edging and it’s done.

Lastly I have been working on Candelia (rav link) which is an adorable short-sleeved cardigan with pockets. I’m knitting it out of Loopy Ewe Solid in Mulberry on 4mm needles. I’m following the pattern so far, but I have decided to make mine with long sleeves instead of short. It’s going to be so cute, at least after I block it.

RECENTLY FINISHED:

On the Christmas front, in April I knit a pair of house-socks (rav link) for my Auntie. I knit the Comfy Socks pattern which is available for free on the KnittingDaily website. It also appeared in KnitScene Fall/Winter 2005. I knit this pair out of Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds on 6mm needles. These only took me three days to knit, they were that fast.

Later that month I knit the Child’s Beach Top which is available for free on the LionBrand website. I knit this top (rav link) for my niece, who was in swimming lessons this spring. It was part of her birthday gift in May. I knit it out of Patons Bamboo Baby on 4.5mm needles. This took no time at all, less than a week.

And at the end of April I participated in a local fingerless gloves swap. Round-robin, the person you knit for did not knit for you. I knit a pair of cabled fingerless gloves (rav-link) for my swapee out of Mirasol Yarn K’acha. Can you tell I love Mirasol? These were lots of fun to knit, and are really soft and quite beautiful. She loved them.

FUTURE PLANS:

I am participating in another local swap this winter, but this time we’re knitting shawls. I’m planning on knitting Daybreak (rav-link) by Stephen West. It’s an awesome pattern, knit in fingering weight using two contrasting yarns for a cool striped effect. I’m planning to knit my version out of Noro Silk Garden Sock, which has been languishing in my stash for too long. I’m using a beautiful cream, with a variegated rainbow colourway for accent.

I am also playing with the idea of knitting my niece and nephew double-knit blankets with their names in binary stripes. I think it could be super cute, and need to think it through. It could be so awesome and geeky, even if I’m the only one that gets it.

Long-awaited update

I really must get back into blogging. I keep finding excuses to not do things I need to do. I’m even slacking with replying to emails, which is so not me! I promise I’ve been knitting. I’m participating in the Hot Cocoa Swap again (and mailed out my package this afternoon). I’m even participating in the Ravelympics this year. I have my first FO under my belt.

I started a pair of Fetching gloves in January, but I added fingers. These fall under the WIPsDancing event, and I’m very pleased that they’re done. Before and after pictures!

I’m also extremely pleased with the bunny I knit for the Hot Cocoa Swap 2010. He’s made out of some yarn in my stash that I dyed in a workshop in Perth. He’s awesome, and I’m particularly proud of the embroidery. And the tail!

Let’s see… what else can I show you? OH! I knit a pair of lined mittens for my sister in law. They’re made out of Miraso K’acha and it’s beautiful! She loves them 🙂

I really have been doing a lot of knitting but this is the highlights. Check me out on Ravelry (riizu) if you want to see more. I’m really going to try and blog more often again. Happy winter everyone!

Where did April go?

I mean, holy crap. I haven’t posted in ages, and I am sorry. There has been lots of knitting going on, so I will sum up best I can.

At the end of March I finished Topaz (ravlink) for my niece, Emma’s first birthday. Unfortunately I was sick this weekend, and missed being able to give it to the happy proud parents. My fiance did it for me though, and ensures me there were appropriate oohs and aahs.

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I finished my double knitted, dk weight cowl and it’s beautiful. I even managed to wear it a couple times before the weather got nice.

I finished the woodland shawl for one of my bridesmaids as a thank you gift:

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Knit a kitchen set for my brother’s wedding, which is this weekend (!!!)

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And finished knitting a thank you shawl for my Maid of Honour just last week.

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Major progress was made on my fiance’s sweater; both front panels are done, as well as the back. The sleeve caps are intimidating!

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And I even knit a baby blanket for charity! Whew… I’m glad I got that off my chest. I’ll be away for the next week or so for my bro’s wedding, and hopefully will be back to show you more knitting (and maybe some pretty wedding pictures, who knows!)