Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hallowe'en Fun

I don't usually get very into Hallowe'en. I'm a little conflicted about the whole encouraging witches and goblins (or making light of evil in the world) and I have a problem with giving out candy to kids who have so much they're fussy about what they get. (I guess I just like to feel appreciated.) And like so many things, it just seems to have gotten so excessive.

But after all that, it can still be a fun time. My small group usually gets together with a few of us giving in to the pressure to dress up. When I get a good idea (or just an idea I like), I usually run with it. I had fun last year pretending to join the ranks of breeders out there:
Those of you who know me best will most appreciate why this is so funny. And it was a fun night of acting very very pregnant. (Not so appreciated by those who were actually breeding at the time.)

This year I went a little more minimal. I've caught a few episodes of My Name is Earl lately and I have to say I just love Joy. Jaime Pressly is simply brilliant. While watching the episode where her toe gets infected from the hot tub Earl picked up from the side of the road, I noticed just how much she likes pompoms and the like in her hair. Thus was conceived the Joy Pompom Hairband Costume:

Just add big hair (which I don't have) and lots of thick yet flawless makeup, some tight clothes and a lot of attitude and you're there! I wish I could do a better imitation of her voice and accent but I really stink at it.

I needed to bring dessert for the party, so besides the obligatory fall apple pie, I also made up some shortbread witches fingers that I saw on Create TV's The Holiday Table. Completely fun, adult, and edible too.

A whole sheetful ready to bake:

And a plate to serve:
The wart was a brilliant last moment thought just in time to add it to the final finger. The red blood decorator gel was listed as optional on the recipe but it was definitely necessary. All my almonds were falling off, but with the gel they were quite secure.

All for now,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to get Knitting Done

Although this post won't help those with "startitis" or FOF (fear of finishing) I have learned a simple but powerful lesson recently about getting things done. If you've got smaller projects that can travel with you, bring them everywhere and knit whenever you've got 10 minutes. But to make this possible you guessed be prepared.

So what this means for me and knitting is that I am not often sitting at home working on my Caps for a Cure hats or other projects which are perfect travelling knits. I might be casting them on, or finishing them, but I need to leave the main straight ahead knitting for when I'm away from home.

What this has changed in my life is my previous (pretty-much) one-at-a-time approach to projects. Now I might spend an evening gathering supplies and casting on two or three projects that will get me through the next while of lunch breaks, meetings, and waits for choir to start. It seems so extravagant, and yet it's working.

Last night, for example, I started two projects. The first was the lace slippers from my new socks and slippers book. I'm hoping the slippers will make perfect travelling slippers: not too heavy or bulky, yet warm enough to help my constantly cold feet, and dressy enough to let my friends see!
I needed some time to set these ones up because the pattern wants you to knit up four soles and then sew two of them together for each slipper. This will make the sole thicker, warmer and more durable. But I don't like to do more than two of most anything. So I decided to double knit the sole. This will give all the advantages and won't require a seam at the end.

The second cast on was for the Amanda hat for this month's Caps for a Cure. I was the one that nominated it to the group and yet I've done every other hat on the list but this one. And it's almost the end of the month...time to get going. I'm not sure I've chosen the best yarn to show the nice textured pattern, but we'll see what it looks like. I'm pretty committed to using stash and donated yarns for the Caps for a Cure projects. (It's a good thing they like acrylics for the hats because I have a lot of it!)
And of course, the final thing you need for good travel knitting is a great bag to carry it all with you. Not too big, but big enough, cute, and secure so things won't fall out. I found a perfect bag while shopping at Sally Ann with my mom last week.
My only mistake is that I've started using it as a purse. It was so convenient to just throw my new wallet in and just carry the one bag. (Between my knitting, purse and laptop, I really look like a "bag" lady sometimes!) Now, an appliqued cat bag is cute for a project bag, but as a purse?? Not really my style. I've got to pull out a purse purse soon but it's just so dang convenient!!

All for know,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Favourite Kids Hat

Isn't this the best pattern ever! I love it. Simple and genius. I've made two of the hats and they couldn't be easier. These will be going to a cancer unit through Caps for a Cure, a group that votes on new patterns to do every month, and changes the cancer center that gets the hats every two months. I like that all I have to do is try out new patterns and knit and crochet hats!

My Masterpiece Quilt

This is what I am dubbing my current quilt project, Judy Niemeyer's Hawaiian Quilt, a paper pieced wonder. I've changed the colours substantially. My sister, Kim, drove 14 hours to spend a couple days and help me pick the fabric out. I always appreciate how well we work together on these things. She was very gracious in putting her desires for fabric aside and concentrating on my needs. (And I suspect she does enjoy spending my money more than her own!)

I've joined a monthly club at the LQS to help me keep on task with this project. We met for the first time last week and it was a good way to get started. Lots of tips and encouragement. The shop owner/instructor has made the Hawaiian Quilt and one of Judy's other designs, the Dragon Star. I have three "units" to finish by next time.

I got a good start on the cutting, and have started piecing what Niemeyer calls the "corner spikes" unit.
Despite appearances, the blues and greens in these two units are the same fabrics.

I need to make eight of these in total, four red and four pink. It's going pretty well, although I'm having some trouble keeping the larger pieces really flat. Some of my seams will definitely have the dreaded folds of fabric. (Can I really keep calling it my "masterpiece" then? Hmmm...)

All day now I am thinking, "Why am I doing this when I could be quilting?" But I guess I still do need to go to work, eat, sleep, etc...

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...