Friday, December 3, 2010

New Sewing Machine

Happy birthday to me (a bit early)!

 I got my sewing machine, a birthday present from my parents in the mail the other day... even though my birthday isn't for over a month.

But, I did have some projects I've been wanting to do that pretty much require a sewing machine.

Like a tablecloth. When I won Lisa's giveaway a couple of months ago, I received a fall tablecloth that had been on our table up until last weekend. I guess I'd never realized how easy it is to make a room seasonal with just a piece of hemmed fabric. So when my bf suggested that we get a tablecloth for the holiday season, I knew that it would be an easy first project to learn the ropes of my new machine. Although I've done some big projects on a sewing machine, it's been awhile.

And I learned that sewing really is like riding a bike: scrapes, bruises and all (but you'll never put your finger that close to the needle again...). And that hem may not be perfect, but it's a $7 tablecloth.

And while I was at the fabric store, I looked through the remnants; it's just a good idea and a great way to find cheap fabric. Well, I found a piece of remnant fleece to try to make a dog sweater for Freyja.

After finding a few patterns I liked, I ended up kind of blending them to get the finished product I had in mind.

Although this project is also far from perfect, I think it turned out pretty good. I may have to re-fit the sleeves, though. Sometimes she gets out of control while running and gets a foot caught up in it, stumbles, falls then tries to run on three legs. She's not the most graceful creature ever, but she is mighty cute.

And the bf already has some sewing projects in mind for me... but I'd just like to make it through finals and the holidays first!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter Woofstock!

I know, I've been gone a while again. Only one more week, I'll be done with this quarter and life will be a little less hectic.

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to go to Winter Woofstock, the largest event in North America for dogs. Normally, we probably wouldn't have gone to something like this, but it gave us the opportunity to take Freyja to a Toronto Marlies hockey game, which we both thought was a pretty awesome opportunity.

We woke up early and drove into Toronto to get there early so that we could ensure that Freyja would get her picture taken with Santa and a little present. While we waited in line, a woman was handing out Christmas-y  things for your dog to wear. For Freyja, we picked an elf hat, since she already looks a little elfish. She was already pretty tired when we put it on.

She had her picture taken with Santa, which she wasn't that into. But afterwards, she got a bag of rawhides that made it all worth it. We began to walk around and pretty soon there were dogs EVERYWHERE and the place was completely packed. We got a few little things for Freyja, but she was so nervous and tired she didn't even want to sample any of the treats.

She did finally meet a friend; while we were looking at one of the booths, another couple with a dachshund came up. I wasn't paying attention, but the bf was keeping an eye on her. All of a sudden, I feel this mass hit my leg. I looked down and there they were, all tangled up in each other's leashes wrestling on the floor. I'll admit at first I was a little panicked because Freyja is generally terrified of other dogs and here I look down and see this dog has knocked her over. But it was just play wrestling. And I think she was a little sad when we told her it was time to go.

By the time we got to the hockey game at 3 pm, Freyja was already down for the count. Even with dogs barking and pucks and people hitting the boards, she slept through most of the entire game.

Regardless, it was a pretty cool experience to get to bring her to a hockey game. She even watched the Zamboni go around the ice during intermission.

But she was soon again fast asleep, after a little gnaw on her new bone.

And we even got a picture with Duke the Dog, the Marlies mascot.

All in all, it was a great day. And I'm pretty sure we received enough dog food and treat samples to cover the cost of our tickets and feed Freyja for a month.

We did also get our Christmas tree last weekend and did the majority of our decorating, but I'll be saving that post for a little later this week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Freyja is 6 months old today!

It's hard to believe that our little puppy is six month old today....

She was so itty bitty.

She's still pretty small, but definitely has developed a personality that is all her own... and still has a lot of growing up to do...

Wrestling with the rug
Sound asleep and snoring away...

And here's a little sneak peak of Freyja and how she feels about wearing her Halloween costume:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canadian Thanksgiving

The Turkey, finally done.
 It's finally fall... and in Canada, that means thanksgiving! I, however, have never cooked a turkey in my life, let alone a full thanksgiving meal. The first thing I did, perhaps a habit I picked up from my mom, was make a list of EVERYTHING I was going to need. So, a week before thanksgiving, my boyfriend and I do our weekly grocery shopping trip... Only to find that the store we usually go to doesn't have quite a few of the things we need.

One thing I noticed after moving up here is that quite a few of the grocery stores, especially the ones closest to us, are about the size of a drug store. In the states, all of the grocery stores are huge. And you can always find everything you need and then some. But here? No. We frequently have to go to 2 or more stores to find everything we need.

Boyfriend carving the turkey
So, after our first grocery store, I'm still missing turkey bags, poultry seasoning, stuffing meant for inside of the turkey and the ingredients for green bean casserole. What grocery store selling turkeys for thanksgiving doesn't have poultry seasoning and non-stove top stuffing? Apparently Fresh Co. So, we easily find poultry seasoning and stuffing at our next stop, but no turkey bags and no French's Fried Onions, which has the recipe for green bean casserole on the back. We probably went down the same two aisles looking for these two things 10 times each. Finally, I make the boyfriend ask, because I don't like to ask anyone about anything. The guy tells us to look on the same aisles, but gives us the location of where we should find what we're looking for. We find the turkey bags; there is only one brand, not the brand I know of and they are on top of the aisle. Not on the top shelf, the top. I'm not sure how I was supposed to know to look there and I wonder how Canadians cook their turkeys without a turkey bag (which is the only way I ever remember our turkeys being cooked). Next, it's another ten trips down the same aisle looking for French's Fried Onions. Only, they aren't there. The boyfriend asks again. The employee takes us to where they should be; they aren't there. He finally takes us to the Asian food aisle and finds some bag that has fried onions, but not French's. I call my mom for the recipe, but she's not home. I try to look it up on my phone, only to not have service in the massive store. I guess what the recipe is, and luckily I was right.

Table set

Thanksgiving Monday rolls around, and we have everything we need; I just have to figure out how to cook this turkey that has been taking up my whole fridge the past two days defrosting. I call my grandma, our resident turkey expert to figure out what I need to do. I'm not entirely sure what I'd have done without her help.

It was an ordeal, but at least I'll know what to do next time this rolls around... for us, that's about a month away.
The Credit River
 Last weekend, while the dog and boyfriend were still sleeping, I started looking for some place to take a walk. We usually just walk Freyja around our neighborhood. But, we're right off the QEW, literally, like I can see the concrete sound wall from our driveway. And the compression breaks of those big trucks tends to freak Freyja out.

I do a bit of research and find this trail, that now for the life of me I can't remember, that runs right next to the Credit River. So we drive over to Erindale Park, lattes in hand, hoping it's not just a bike trail like most of the sites say. It was a gorgeous day and I was quite surprised to see that once you were on the trail, you didn't even feel like you were in the city. The boyfriend was focused on all the fisherpeople (there were women too and I do try my best to be PC), who were fishing for salmon which run this time of year. We didn't see anyone actually catch a fish, but we did see a few dead fish (courtesy of Freyja and her nose) that had likely already spawned and the boyfriend was quite jealous.
Freyja leaping for a cookie

 Freyja did pretty well, although she was pretty terrified of every dog (thanks to the husky next door), bike and stroller. I ended up buying her a harness to use when we walk her after this; it'll be way easier to pull her along when you don't have to feel guilty when she starts coughing from pulling her so much.

Freyja finally gets her 2nd wind towards the end

At one point, I saw a yorkie, who wasn't any bigger than her, coming down the path and turned to Freyja and said, "If you're scared of this little thing coming down the path, I don't think you have the right to call yourself a dog anymore..." Freyja just looked at me confused, as usual and the boyfriend started laughing. However, as the yorkie and it's owners neared, she just cowered and hid behind our legs. Hopefully taking her on a walk like this regularly will make her less afraid of other dogs; especially ones that are about her size. She loves people, though, especially little kids, so we do have to stop fairly often so she can say hi and everyone can comment on how little, cute, soft, etc... she is. The trail is actually quite long (12 km/7.5 mi), so we only did about 3.5 miles, but Freyja made it the whole way!
Back at the beginning

We definitely plan on making this a weekly weekend event, though. As long as its "warm" enough that I can still feel my fingers.

We'll be carving pumpkins, and likely brewing and knitting, this weekend, so stay tuned for some more photos!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I've been gone awhile...

I just realized today that it's been over a month since my last blog posting... I started school about a month ago, and it has literally taken over my life...

First Cowl
Other than having what seems like no spare time (something I always had when I was in college), I've been doing a bit of knitting when I have a bit of time. For some reason, I've been really into cowls lately; I wear a lot of scarves, but in the colder weather when scarves are necessarily bulkier, I hate how massive they feel. What I didn't know was that they were a fad some decades ago when I tried to explain to my mom what I was knitting.
 After I finished the first cowl, I started on a second, but it wasn't quite what I wanted... So I decided to create my own pattern; something I've never been great at.... It's a really simple cabled pattern but I decided on a provisionary cast-on and finished with a kitchner stitch so I could make it a mobius as well; this way, it keeps my neck really warm, but it doesn't get in the way of my face or chin.  I haven't had a chance to wear it yet so I'm postponing sewing in the ends as long as I possibly can. I'll try posting some more photos and the pattern in my next post.

I've also been knitting socks like crazy... They've always taken me way too long to justify finishing, but I've actually been able to get a pair done for myself and and I'm almost done with a pair for the bf. I prefer to keep socks simple, so it's just the basic magic loop pattern.

Freyja napping on the back of the couch in a sweater
 I've also knit a few dog sweaters for Freyja. It's getting colder here and she's definitely not used to it. The problem is, the majority of dog sweater patterns are created for dogs that are proportional, but miniature dachshunds are anything but proportional. I found some fairly inexpensive acrylic/wool chunky yarn that doesn't feel like plastic and knit up two different sweater patterns that are designed to better fit her little odd shaped body. One is intended to look like a fisherman's sweater and the other (pictured to the left) is done in a brioche rib, an interesting new stitch I picked up when I was trying to design my cowl.
Salt and pepper shakers

I also haven't blogged since I won Lisa @ Suburban Retreat's Giveaway! In honor of (Canadian) Thanksgiving, Lisa gave away a fall/thanksgiving tablecloth, salt and pepper shakers, fall candles and a gift card to Michaels (for yarn, of course!). I was honored to win and it made for a great addition to our first Canadian Thanksgiving!

Fall candles

Canadian Thanksgiving has always been a weird thing to me. My grandma, who is Canadian, often had a dinner in honor of Canadian Thanksgiving, but to me it was just that, a dinner. "Real" Thanksgiving isn't until late November. But I had my first opportunity to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. I'll make sure to get a blog up about that interesting adventure some time later this week....

Until next time.....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Visit to the Zoo

Some exotic turtle
I don't know what it is, but I absolutely love going to the zoo. Even as an adult. So when the boyfriend emailed me about going with a couple of coworkers, I didn't want to miss out. Unlike I usually do, I didn't look into the zoo beforehand; I was AMAZED at how large it is! I've really only been to a handful of zoos, most of those when I was really young, so my only real memories are of going to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, which is pretty great, but nothing compared to some of the larger zoos. Although I was a bit disappointed to miss out on some of my favorite animals, which were not in their exhibits, everything else about the trip was amazing.
One of the most shocking things to me was when we were in the Australia exhibit. There is this huge fenced in area that houses the kangaroos and emus... Which happens to have a door; unlike most of the doors in the zoo, this one was not for park personnel. They actually LET you walk through the area housing the kangaroos and emus. I don't know what others have heard or know about kangaroos, but they can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable. Yes, these ones are in captivity and interact with humans regularly, but there are all kinds of attacks by animals in captivity on  their owners or handlers. Regardless of the fact they tend to be more aggressive than most animals, most of the people who go to the zoo do so because they have kids. I couldn't even imagine trying to get a small child to walk on the path and not dart off to try to pet a kangaroo...

The smaller of two elephants
I always love seeing the elephants, even if every zoo has one or two; I couldn't resist running over the second I saw them, leaving my boyfriend and friends to fend for themselves at the snack bar. I'm really not sure what it is about elephants. It probably has something to do with their gigantic size and how smart they are... We did, unfortunately, quickly learn why the boyfriend loves elephants, actually, the reason most boys/guys/men come to the zoo.  I should note that every other boy and man there had the exact same reaction. There are just some things that the male gender will never out grow and pooping and peeing just so happens to be one of those things.

We saw many more animals and I took way more pictures, but I decided to include just a few of my favorites
Overall, an amazing trip!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Oh how I miss sewing projects...

Completed family tree quilt
Before I struck out on my own (well, maybe not my own, but moved out and went to college), I was known for various other craft skills besides knitting... For my senior culminating project (which I think my mom explains pretty well here), I even sewed a full sized quilt with an appliquéd tree to represent my own family tree I had been researching and photos that had been taken throughout my life.

But after that project and god only knows how many hours, I'd never wanted to see a sewing machine or an unsewn, unfinished piece of fabric again...

That was over four years ago; now I find myself itching to make things... Nothing as complicated as that quilt (it makes me want to run my fingers under the needle of a sewing machine just thinking about it), but I'd just like to be able to do some of the things I want to do with a sewing machine:

1) Our basement apartment is essentially a bachelor pad... Other than the fact that there is a basket full of yarn and knitting supplies, I'm not really sure you would know a female lives here. When I moved out here, I essentially did so in 4 suitcases and have had my mother mail me other things as I need them; there wasn't any room for anything decorative.

2) Although I've never been much of a decorator like my mom, let alone a seasonal one, I've had the itch lately to do something to spruce the place up for fall... I also have to consider that thanksgiving, the Canadian one, is quickly approaching; yet by the looks of things here, you'd never know it. And Christmas... it takes time to prepare and make things for a holiday that big.
Freyja, getting ready for winter

3) I'd like to make some stuff for my cute little pup. No, not clothes. When it comes to animals wearing clothes, I believe they should only be worn when necessary for warmth. But I found this cute pattern for a dog    bed that would be easy to make it the perfect size for her. My dog is a snuggler, but I can't snuggle all of the time and it would be nice if she had a little place of her own that fits her well and isn't covered in atrocious fabric or insanely overpriced.

4) I hate hand sewing. It doesn't matter if it's joining seams on a knitting project or repairing or hemming a piece of clothing, I hate it. On knitting projects, it's not that it takes a lot of time and patience, I just don't think I'm that good at it. My seams end up bulky and don't really stretch, no matter what stitch I use. In a conversation with my grandma last winter, she suggested just using a machine. That's fine by me. As far as repairing and hemming things goes, My hand stitching looks atrocious. I know sewing by hand is a past time and an art form, but I think god endowed us with the knowledge to invent sewing machines for a reason.

Really, there are probably a billion other reasons an sewing machine would be practical... And maybe, at the same time, I am turning into my mother (one of the craftiest people I know); but I don't really think that's a bad thing at all.

And although this project (pictured left) is a no-sew project, I'm pretty excited to try this one out :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beginning to feel like fall in the GTA

After two of the hottest months I've ever experienced in my entire life, it's finally feeling like fall in Ontario. I know I'll be regretting wanting the temperature to drop in another two, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy it. Who would have thought 60 degrees would warrant putting on pants and a sweatshirt? Not I.

The pup, on the other hand isn't too thrilled... little does she know this is nothing compared to what it'll be like in January, so I probably should find a few more dog sweaters to knit for her.

Speaking of sweaters, I've been working on two. One, I mentioned in my last post, is a sweater for my boyfriend.  He's been nagging me since he learned I could knit to make him a sweater, and although my grandma gave us each a hand knit Icelandic sweater, he still wants one from me. I know I mentioned awhile ago that he asked me specifically for a sweater like "the one Hawkeye wears in that one M*A*S*H episode..." Well, luckily, the only thing he really cared about was the collar/neckline and pockets (which I think is just because he doesn't know stockinette stitch from any other stitch). It's mostly knit up; I only have a sleeve and a half to go, but I'm going to have to pick up another ball of yarn to finish it up. It's knit on US 15's, and thankfully I use interchangeable knitting needles (god's gift to knitters) so I didn't have to buy a new set that I won't use again for 10 years.

In the mean time, I've been knitting myself a sweater that I found on Ravelry. I'd never used this site before, but it's pretty fabulous; that's especially true for someone like me who often has yarn and a general idea of what they want to do with it, but needs a pattern where the gauge is right (or at least close) for the yarn. I've had this mohair that I got for dirt cheap (100 g, 200 yard balls at $3 each) for years and finally, I'm getting around to using it. I'm hoping to have it done with in the next couple of days, but I haven't been getting as much knitting done as I would like... I still haven't finished my mittens; I haven't even finished the first one. I have some serious doubts I'll get them done anytime soon; I'm just not a person who's great at knitting pairs of anything. That would be why my next goal for myself is to learn to knit two mittens, socks, or anything else that comes in pairs at the same time. Sure it'll take the same amount of time as knitting two, but at least then I'll have a set.

I have been working on my cooking abilities. I'm a decent cook and have mastered a fair few dishes, but there are some I haven't had the time and patience to undertake in the past.

Icelandic pancakes, for one, are something I've never been able to make even when following my grandma's recipe to a tee. But the boyfriend (who is Swedish) has been wanting Swedish pancakes for sometime. I (the Norwegian/Icelandic girl), refuse to eat or cook such a thing. Both types are close in style, so I figured I'd give Icelandic pancakes another go. And voila! For once, they turned out pretty amazing and darn close to what my grandma makes. I can only hope my other cooking endeavors go so well.

Until next time...

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's been a while....

I haven't posted in a while because there has been so much going on.... First, I awoke 2 weeks ago to our basement apartment being flooded from a faulty toilet upstairs. If I thought it was hot before, I was seriously misguided; with all of the equipment that was brought in to dry and dehumidify, it's 80-90 degrees on average... hotter than it is outside more often than not.

Despite this whole fiasco, my boyfriend and I still went on a week long camping trip in Algonquin Provincial Park. My boyfriend (who is pretty forgetful) managed to bring both cameras, but forgot both batteries in the charger, so I unfortunately don't have any photos. The trip, however, was pretty amazing. We did end up leaving early, due to an 'unpredicted' rain storm, but it was an unforgettable experience. We (by we, I mean my boyfriend mostly, but I did catch the first one) even managed to catch a few small mouth bass in a river near by.

I had hoped I would be able to start knitting a sweater for my boyfriend, as he's been wanting one for ages, but it was simply too hot to knit. Hopefully it will cool off a bit so I can get started....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mittens in August

My boyfriend has been nagging me for about eight months to knit him some mittens to stave off the bitter cold of the Ontario winter... I have yet to really see how cold it gets here, but I'm not particularly looking forward to it. Anyway, I started him some mittens about a month ago, but I wasn't particularly a fan of the pattern or the colors (even though it's both of our alma mater); it just seemed a little too seventies-ish for me. He wouldn't have really cared, but I have to be seen with him. So I started hunting for a new pattern, which wasn't too hard.

I went to the yarn store for the first time since I've been in the GTA; it was pretty amazing... Being young, I have a hard time finding yarn stores with employees who don't assume i have no idea what I'm doing. But the woman who owns it was amazingly nice and helpful. And best of all, they carry a full selection of Peer Gynt, which is one of my favorite 100% wool to knit with.... and it just so happens I knit him a hat last fall out of Peer Gynt, so I was able to match the mittens to the hat. I did edit the pattern on the thumb a bit, to avoid the heart look you get when alternating colors, but other than that, it was a quick and easy pattern.

Another problem I have knitting: I'm terrible with things that come in pairs. I actually think this is the FIRST pair of anything I've finished. Hopefully, this is something I can continue...

I also picked up yarn to knit myself some mittens using another pattern.
Unfortunately, much of the yarn in the correct gauge was varigated, which I didn't want, so the colors aren't exactly what I wanted, but I love the yarn (it's baby alpaca). The pattern shows up much better on this picture than it does in reality, but that might be due to the low light in the living room.

I'm not quite done with the first one yet, but there will be much more to come on these when I get done. I've learned quite a few techniques I can't wait to share :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Puppy Sweater!

It seems, I always end up with a plethora of yarn left over from my projects and never really had a use for it. I've done a little entrelac work, but the problem with doing an entrelac piece is the yarn has to be roughly the same gauge, you have to have enough to do the whole piece, you have to sew in about a bajillion ends and you either have to work in the round (requiring more yarn and patience) or you have to back it (and i get bored of hand stitching fast).

But, I have a puppy now! Freyja weighed 5 pounds at her last
vet visit, and she shouldn't grow to more than 11 pounds. So, now I finally have something to knit with all of these spare
partial balls of yarn. It's going to be getting cold here, or so I'm told. A fact I'm dreading really. Being from the pacific northwest, I've only ever experienced mild winters and don't
really enjoy the cold without snow (so maybe I should get working on a sweater for myself?)... But I know it'll be even harder on Freyja, so I better stock up on dog sweaters for her (because there's no way she's wearing the same one two days in a row...

This one (I can't recall where I got the pattern) was
very simple and I was able to finish it while Sten
was brewing one saturday. It was supposed to be broken rib pattern, but the pattern was poorly written... Instead of tearing it up, I just made it a double broken rib pattern (I know, I'm probably making that up).

But even with the mess up, it turned out quite nice; even if it is a little bit too big for her right now.

I do think, it's time for a new "big" project. I'm supposed to be finishing up the mittens for my boyfriend and he wants a sweater "like the one Hawkeye wore in that one episode of M*A*S*H..." Yeah, that's a big help.

So I'm on the hunt for this mysterious sweater... going through M*A*S*H episodes one at a time. Hey, at least I actually enjoy the show now, unlike when I was young and the second it came on, the channel was changed, but seriously? There are over 20 episodes per season with 12 seasons... So god only knows when I'll be able to start this project, let alone finish it.... We shall see.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The blanket is finally done!

The baby blanket is finally done! It turned out much larger than expected... It's the third time I've knit this stitch pattern as a baby blanket, so I'm not entirely sure why it ended up so much wider than I intended. In this picture, it's being held up by the side, not the top... so what if it's a little rectangular... I'm just glad I'm done and hoping I never have a reason to knit a real afghan.

And on top of that, I even found a baby bootie pattern using chunkier baby yarn, which can be found here. It was pretty simple, but because the yarn I had was a little bit heavier than the yarn listed on the pattern, I knit them on smaller needles that I use to knit socks. I really like the mary jane look of these :)

I would like to knit some cute baby socks, but I think that would be a challenge for another time...

As for the other attempted bootie from my last post (which I only partially stitched together), my boyfriend has taken to putting it on Freyja as a "wizard" hat. Personally, I think it looks a little more elfish... I just think he really likes to pretend to be Harry Potter with her, casting spells and what not...

She hates to wear it on her head, but gets plenty of enjoyment chasing it around and pushing it off the couch for a little attention :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baby Bootie Fail

I'm still working away on the baby blanket; only 50+ rows left to make it a square... I'm just hoping I have enough yarn.

When I started the third ball yesterday, there was a really cute baby bootie pattern on the label. I feel as though I've been doing this blanket for forever and decided that I would give these a shot; I just wanted to finish SOMETHING. I start knitting, and it's coming along really well... The two last sets of booties I've tried to knit were patterns I found on the internet. When I was done with those, they looked more like something that would fit a very very small pony, even after an hour of blocking. I was optimistic, until I cast off. It's supposed to fit a 6-12 month old baby. I'm not even sure these would fit a toddler... Finished and sewed together, it's 6 inches long. Whoops.

I'm sure, this time, that this was not my fault as I used the EXACT yarn listed on the label.

So I'm still on a quest for a baby bootie pattern using chunkier yarn, if anyone has any suggestions. And this bootie has become a new puppy chew toy...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Current Projects

Other than dropping stitches, I have a huge problem with getting too many knitting projects going at once... but here's what I've been working on:

1) Baby blanket for one of Sten's co-workers

I've knit a few baby blankets using this exact pattern, but this one is proving to be the toughest, not only because Freyja wants to "help out," but because I stupidly bought the wrong gauge of yarn. I went to the yarn store, already frustrated that my boyfriend couldn't get more than "pink" out of his co-worker when I asked about colors (of course, they are both guys and don't realize there are a TON of shades of pink). I took my time picking out what I decided was the perfect color only to make the rookie mistake of not checking gauge.

So, I get home and start figuring how many stitches I'm going to need to caston to make it about the right size. I do the math and it comes out to be something like 182 stitches. I check the needle size recommended for the blanket, and of course, it suggests US 6, not US 10 like I usually use for this blanket. Whoops. So it's taking me a little longer than I would have liked to complete it...

The pattern is just a stitch pattern but it is the best one, in my opinion, for this project. Why? The pattern is four rows, only one of which is a pattern row, so it's great to do when you're watching TV or being distracted by a puppy :). It also looks great and the finished product has a scalloped edge, which is kind of neat.

Stitch pattern (13 st):
Row 1: *P2tog, P2tog, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, p2tog, p2tog (repeat from *)
Rows 2 & 4: purl all stitches
Row 3: knit all stitches

I do use a garter stitch border, usually of about one inch on all sides.

2) Puppy sweater

Well, I'm now living in some place that actually has seasons, other than wet and dry, and have a puppy who is going to be in need of things to keep her warm in the colder months. I started looking for dog sweaters I liked and that I could incorporate the University of Washington "W" in as both my boyfriend and I are not only graduates of UW, but huge football fans. I wanted something with a little more personality than what most of the sweaters out there have (i.e. not garter stitched square swatches sewn together). I came across this pattern, a free one and loved it. Everyone is always saying Freyja looks like a little person, so I thought this sweater, with a little popped collar, buttons and and sleeves was perfect. Problem is, even when she's full sized, the end result with this exact pattern is going to be too big. So, I took it upon myself to "half-it," sort of like you would do in baking.... will it work? I have no idea. Check back in for updates as I continue this one... I'm sure it's going to be way more effort than it's worth.

Also, something I found handy for my color work was using excel to design it. I make all of the boxes squares and fill them in with the colors I want, changing them around until I get the design I want. Way easier than sketching it out on graph paper with colored pencils.

3)Dish cloths

I've knit quite a few of these over the years. They're cheap, handy and easy to knit. I re-found the pattern by simply googling "knit dish cloths." They don't even take one skein of cotton yarn, which you can get for cheap at any craft store. I, however, have been distracted with this endless baby blanket, which needs to be done ASAP, so I haven't even had time to sew in ends yet.

4) Sten's Mittens

My boyfriend has been bugging me since LAST year to knit him some mittens, due to the fact it gets so cold here, he can't feel his fingers in the winter (which makes me oh so excited for this winter). I went with UW colors, purple and gold. I already had the yarn, so I needed to find a pattern that fit the gauge. I found this pattern at There patterns are usually pretty good. But I'd never tried mittens before (I've done socks, so I understand how gussets work) nor had I tried a kitchner stitch (or grafting stitch). It's always good to accomplish something and learn a new skill or two. I, however, am not sure they'll fit his hands. If not, I guess I have a new pair of mittens :) The palm has a different pattern, so be sure to check it out.

And lastly.....

5) Socks!

Oh, this sock. If I remember correctly, I started this over
three years ago, and not until a couple of weeks ago did I pick it up again. Luckily, knitting socks using the magic loop method is like riding a bike. If you haven't tried knitting socks this way, you should. Although I've never knit socks on multiple needles, I've done enough other projects to know what a pain it is to knit that way. Another advantage is that you drop stitches less easily if you put it down and don't pick it up again for three years :)

Oh and did I mention that somehow you can knit two socks at one time with this method?? I'm not really sure how this works yet, but when I get started on a new pair, I'm going to try to do both at once... maybe I'll finally have a MATCHING pair of homemade socks?

I've got to get back to this baby blanket and my little helper isn't helping so much after all....