Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bonsai Tunic and Baby Sock Pattern

Here's the finished back on my Bonsai Tunic from Interweave Knits Spring 2007 magazine. I love the pattern, but the yarn is a bit of a pain ... keeps splitting ... which means I really have to watch what I'm doing (and not watch TV simultaneously)! I didn't use the recommended bamboo yarn, as I had this in my stash (Mark & Kattens ? from France) .

BTW ... I'm signing myself up for the intro to digital photography course at work, so my photos should improve immensely in the near future (much to your relief, I'm sure).

For those of you who have been asking me for the baby sock pattern, here it is:


5 double-pointed needles, size 3mm
1 ball of Cascade Fixation or Elann Espirit yarn


SSK = slip, slip knit
tog = together
sl = slip


Cast on 36 stitches and divide evenly over 4 needles (eg. 9 stitches on each needle). Make sure you don't twist your stitches in the process!
Knit 1, purl 1 around in rib for 3 inches. Then do 4 rounds of knit only.

Divide for heel:

You'll only need 4 needles for this part, so put the empty one down. Using the last needle that you completed your 4 rounds of knit on, knit 9 stitches across the first needle and turn. You will now have 18 stitches on one needle and 2 'holding needles' with 9 stitches each. We're going to ignore the holding needles for now. Slip 1 and purl 17 stitches. Now you're back to the 'right' side.

Row 1 - Sl 1, knit to end of row and turn
Row 2 - Sl 1, purl to end of row and turn

Repeat these two rows until work from end of ribbing measures 1 1/4", ending with a purl row.

Turning the heel:

Row 1 - knit 13, SSK, turn
Row 2 - Sl1, purl 8, purl 2 tog, turn
Row 3 - Sl1, knit 8, SSK, turn
Row 4 - Sl1, purl 8, purl 2 tog, turn

Continue as above until all side stitches have been worked, ending with a wrong side row. You should have 10 stitches total. Knit 5 stitches to the middle of the right side row.

Heel Gusset:

Using a new needle, knit the next 5 stitches and pick up and knit 7 stitches along the right side of the heel. Knit across the instep stitches, keeping them on the 2 needles (remember, these were our previous 'holding needles'). Using your 5th needle, pick up and knit 7 stitches along the left side of the heel and then knit across the remaining 5 stitches.

You will now have a total of 42 stitches, divided in this manner:

The 1st and 4th needles will have 12 stitches each and the 2nd and 3rd needles will have 9 stitches each.

1st round: Knit to last 3 stitches on 1st needle, knit 2 tog, knit 1. Knit across 2nd and 3rd needles. At the beginning of the 4th needle, knit 1, SSK, knit to end of round.

2nd round: Knit the next row.

Repeat these two rounds until a total of 36 stitches remain. Then, just plain knit until the foot measures 1 1/4" from the beginning of the heel gusset.

Shape Toe:

Row 1: Knit to last 3 stitches on 1st needle. Knit 2 tog, knit 1. At the beginning of the 2nd needle, knit 1, SSK, and knit to end of needle. Knit to the last 3 stitches on 3rd needle, knit 2 tog, knit 1. At beginning of 4th needle, knit 1, SSK, knit to end of round.
Row 2: Knit

Repeat these last 2 rows until 20 stitches remain, and then repeat Row 1 only until 8 stitches remain. Leaving an 8" tail, cut yarn. Using a blunt needle, thread the yarn tail back through the remaining stitches, pull snugly, tie off and weave in any loose ends on the inside.

You should have enough yarn left to make a matching baby hat!

Well, it's been quite a week. Working has created some new challenges, health-wise, in my life. Although I absolutely love working at PE, the stress of hustling on my feet, 8 hours per day, has taken a toll on my health. My heart is not very happy about all the stress and activity. I've had to increase the dosage of the beta blocker to alleviate the angina and also emailed my boss to let her know that I need to either go down to no more than 4 hours/shift, or she needs to find someone else, if that doesn't work for her. I was very sad to have to send that missive off, let me tell you! I truly thought I was almost back to normal, but really, who stands on their feet for 8 hours a day normally? How could I possible have known? She was very gracious and said she wants to keep me on and would try to work around it, which they did.

It looks like I'll be working Mon/Thur/Fri -- 4 hours each day. This is ideal, as it gives me 2 days off at the beginning of the week and then another 2 at the end, to rest. I'm really hoping this does the trick, as I'm just not good at sitting at home all day, plus, I love what I'm doing! It's always somewhat amusing when I have to let someone know that I've had a heart attack in the past year and they look at me, shocked and wonder 'at your age'????? Then I explain how the radiation treatment I had 18 years ago for Hodgkin's disease, damaged/scarred the lining of my arteries. It can be overwhelming.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Little of This and That

Firstly, let me say how delighted/appreciative I was to discover that I had a few comments from some of you who are actually reading my blog ... many thanks !

Brinkley's leg is bothering him a bit today, so he's needing some TLC and snuggle time with Dad while they watch the hockey playoffs together. He was running a bit too much in the park, and then had a tussle with his buddy Kaiser (120 lbs!) down the street and he forgets that he's going to be 7 next month (49 in dog years). Needless to say, it aggravated his elbow dysplasia. I've increased his Lakota intake which is helping. That stuff is amazing! He's been on it for almost a year, and the incidence of injury and recuperation time has diminished significantly.

Ah, Sunday morning and the living is easy! My feet were about falling off after an 8 hour shift yesterday, so it was 'couch potato' last night. Thank goodness we had all the leftovers from Dad's birthday party (see below) so didn't have to think about cooking. Participated in an Intro. to Scrapbooking course at the store yesterday. Just prior to starting, the boss popped in and says to Karen and I, "pay close attention, because you're going to be teaching this soon"! Great ... I'm not really interested in scrapbooking (I prefer cards) and soon I'll have to sound like I not only love it, but actually know what I'm talking about! It was actually kind of fun :)

I was helping a customer out and didn't realize that my boss was behind a separating partition, hearing every word. I was surprised to see her when I rounded the corner! She gives me this big hug and says, "I knew I did the right thing when I hired you"! If I hadn't been so stunned, I would have replied "just ensure that my substantial raise is reflected in my next paycheque"!

Here's my dad (with my mom and sister) on April 20, 2007, celebrating his 73rd birthday, less than a week after suffering a heart attack. When I asked him if he was still up for a celebration, his response was 'bring it on'! He's a little wobbly, due to the various medications, but other than that, says he's feeling fine and you'd never know he'd just been through a major medical trauma. Thank you, Jesus!

Prior to the dinner, I'd asked dad what he'd like for dessert. He's seriously lactose intolerant, so that had to be taken into consideration. He decided he'd like lemon meringue pie. Great! My only challenge? I make terrible pie crust -- which is a well know fact in our family. I used to have a baking business and am a not bad cook, but pie crust is a talent that eludes me. So, off to my local Crumbs Bakery (owned by a lady from our church) and after a lengthy discuss with the pastry chef about ingredients, we agreed on the content of the finished product. It was unbelievable! We all remarked that it was the best pie we'd ever eaten. It had a short crust, done in a flan pan, and there was a thin coating of dark chocolate over the pastry shell, with a luscious lemon filling over top. The meringue was toasted to perfection and they even did a little fondant plaque with writing on the top. Yummy! I'd definitely be ordering this confection again.

Gave dad a Roots padded day pack, filled with his favorite goodies ... he's going to use it to pack his and mom's lunch in, once he's up to bike riding and picnics again. Dad's back is often a problem, but I was pleased to find a pack with a good orthopedic design that takes this into consideration. It was good to have the family together.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

You just never know ...

Well, it's been quite the week ... I started my new job here on Monday; had a staff meeting Wednesday night; worked Friday morning and had a haircut in the afternoon; found out Friday afternoon that my Dad had had a heart attack on Friday a.m. and was taken to hospital by the paramedics, was in surgery within the hour, had several angioplasties and a stent installed, went to see him in the hospital on Friday night and then worked a full day on Saturday beginning a 8:00 a.m. WHEW! It was weird visiting Dad in the hospital, because he ended up in the EXACT same room; in the EXACT same bed as I was in last May when I had a heart attack! It was very 'deja vu' for me. He is doing amazingly well and actually came home today. He's got lots of folk praying for him and coming to visit and we're very grateful for his speedy recovery and return home.
My husband's sister and b-i-l left this a.m. to return to Alberta, after a 2 week vacation here. The dog is still wandering around wondering where they are, or when they'll be coming back ... I caught him looking longingly at the door ... he loves his auntie and uncle (who spoil him rotten)!

Debbie Bliss Cardigan with Moss Stitch Border

No babies yet, so will have to rely on "Mr. Bear" to model. This jacket is from the Debbie Bliss Baby Knits book and is one of my 'old reliables'. I made it in the 0-3 month size, in the very washable, cuddly Baby Cashmerino yarn ... one of my favorites. It took less than 2 balls of yarn. Loved the abalone shell buttons!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bonsai Tunic

I had to put my Somewhat Cowl project on hold until I can find some 3.5mm dpns. The sleeves will just have to wait until I do. Oh good ... a terrific excuse to start another project!

I've started working on the Bonsai Tunic in the latest issue of Interweave Knits (my favorite knitting magazine!) using a wool/cotton blend in a lovely chocolate shade made by Marks & Kattens of France. I'd never heard of this yarn before ... it was one of the 'screaming deals' I got at the closeout sale mentioned in a previous post. I think I paid $1.50/ball for 10 balls! It's nice to work with and even though my test gauge measured out perfectly, I think it's going to be too big, what with the stretch aspect ... I see some 'frogging' in my future. Thankfully, I'm not too far along yet :) My friend recently made the same pattern out of Butterfly Super 10, in a yummy shade of green. It has a little bit of a pearl sheen to it and looks beautiful ... I may have to rethink my yarn selection for this project. Oh well, I had fun playing with it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Welcome Karen and Kerry

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome our 2 newest Scrapbook Team members, Karen and Kerry.

Ka Ke_2

Both have been Photo Express (PE) customers for some time, have extensive customer service backgrounds and are as addicted to all things scrapbook related as we are - a perfect fit for our team. Make sure to give them a warm welcome when you see them the next time you are in (they will be behind the scenes for a lot of this week learning the ropes).

Welcome Karen and Kerry and I'm looking forward to the energy, ideas and enthusiasm you will bring to the PE team!

(I was checking out the blog of my new workplace this a.m. and couldn't believe that the above was already posted! Wow ... I got interviewed/hired on Saturday; had my first day yesterday and already we're posted on the store's blog ... not wasting any time! What is with my hair??? One side is totally flat, while the other side is winged out ... grrrrr)

Monday, April 9, 2007

3 months; 1 week

Well, here she is (our daughter, Kala) at the 'just past' 3 month mark ... this picture was taken before dinner and we all had a good laugh after when we saw how much she 'popped out' once dinner was eaten!

Started my new job this morning with a 3 hour orientation. Once the dust settles, I'll be working Monday - Wednesday (days) and then occasional turns on Sunday. I'm impressed with the amount of time they spend with you, ensuring you're comfortable with all aspects of the job, before throwing you to the wolves. I've still got at least 3 more days of orientation ... plus, I get to take some fun design courses ... I'm stoked! Down the way, I can choose to become part of the Design Team, plus, there will be opportunity to teach classes, which really excites me. Imagine, being able to work and play with all manner of paper/scrapbooking products all day long ... and get paid for it! Life is good ...

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen, indeed!
Here's one of the Easter cards I made this year ... love the jelly beans and the 'chocolate' bunny.
The house still smells of cinnamon buns baking, although I think there's only one left :) ... they are truly my favorite indulgence ... obviously everyone else enjoyed them too! We had a late brunch and then sat outside in the sun for a bit until it got too cool. Then, off for a walk with the dog, to wear off the cinnamon buns!

In my last post, I showed you a card booklet that I had made. Well, I packed it up, along with samples of other things I'd made and went to my local favorite paper/photo store with resume in hand. Had an interview on Saturday and as of that same evening, I am now a part-time employee there beginning Monday a.m. I'm excited! I've wanted to work with this group of ladies for some time now and since I'm in there at least twice a week anyway, I thought I may as well work there!

Here's the Somewhat Cowl from here that I started knitting a couple of weeks ago. It's my first time knitting a 'top-down' sweater, but I'm really liking it! Best part of all, there will be virtually nothing to seam up at the end (my least favorite part!). I had a challenge understanding an abbreviation in the pattern, so I emailed Wendy at Knit and Tonic, who was very helpful. I'm doing it in some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (from my stash!) which is by far, my most favorite yarn. It's even machine washable! I have an entire plastic storage container dedicated solely to this particular yarn, in various colours.

The sleeve is on a stitch holder for the moment, until I can decide if I'm making it short-sleeved, or perhaps three-quarter. I'm leaning towards the longer.

The neckline is quite deep, with a doubled over cowl. I'll be wearing a camisole under mine, but there are some who are more daring and simply wear it by itself.
Here's as far as I've got ... I'll post the completed photo once I figure out what I'm doing with the sleeves. It's great to be able to try it on as you go, and make any necessary adjustments, rather than waiting to the end, realizing it's either too big or small, and then having to frog the whole thing ... grrr!