how it all went together

1 bridal shower + 14 days = 14 knitted and crocheted items. Not bad, huh?

If you’ve been following along then you’ve seen all this, but to recap:

top row- 4 Ballband Dishcloths (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in White with Red, Rose Pink, Sage Green and Hot Orange)

middle row- Puffalump Limbo Line Facecloth (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in French Blue), 2 Mug Cozies (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Jewels and Delft Blue), and Velvet Oblivion (Lion Brand Chenille Thick ‘n Quick in Wine and Bernat Boa in Raven)

bottom row- 2 Reverse-Bloom Washcloths (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Playtime with Hot Orange, and Summer Splash with Banana Yellow), Back Scrubber, Soap Saver Bag and Bath Puff (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in White and Navy, and Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Holidays Sparkle in White Sparkle), Calorimetry (Bernat Satin in Florals)

Here’s how I put it all together as a coheisive basket. It was a “time” themed shower, and my time was 9:00am. I decided to put together a gift basket with a little package for 9:00am at every day of the week. I wrapped each day’s package seperately, and printed a label with the name of the day, and wrote a little message on the back of each label with a hint at the contents. The bride-to-be’s mother has her own handcrafting business, and the bride-to-be herself always comments on the stuff I make (not on the blog, in person), so I hoped I was safe in assuming that she would appreciate handmade items as a part of her gift.

Monday’s package:

To start the week off on a sweet note- Tim Hortons Hot Chocolate (a favorite in their household) and a mug with a mug cozy).

Tuesday’s package:

To take care of the dishes from the weekend- some dishwashing detergent and matching dishcloths.

Wednesday’s package:

To celebrate making it halfway through the week- French Vanilla Cappuccino from Tim Hortons (another one of their faves- and mine too!) and another mug with a cozy, this one purples (the bride’s favorite color).

Thursday’s package:

How do the dishes multiply so fast? More dishwashing detergent (in purple!) and matching cloths.

Friday’s package:

To remove some of the stress from the week- a facial set. Calorimetry to hold her hair back, exfoliating face scrub and face wash, and a face cloth. (By the way, yes, I know Calorimetry is supposed to be a headwarmer for Wintertime…but I like it as a headband).

Saturday’s package:

A kit to luxuriate in a long shower, get ready for the weekend, and pamper herself. Dove Go Fresh Soap and Body Wash, an exfoliating body wash, the bath puff, back scrubber and soap saver, plus an apothecary sampler kit I got her with an assortment of creams and lotions in a mix of scents.

Sunday’s package:

Hehehe. Sunday’s package is for 9:00am Sunday mornings, when her husband will be home with her…velvet oblivion, a massager and some vanilla-scented massage oil. The 302 Calories edible thong was supposed to go in this package too. ;]

I wrapped each package up in its own colored tissue (the background you see behind each collection of items, above), and when I was finally done wrapping, I had 7 little packages all lined up on the couch.
Ever trying to be practical, Yannick had been at Zellers that morning and picked me up a laundry basket to put it all in.
A quick “9:00am” label for the top (we were asked to mark our gifts with the assigned time) and I was done. At 2:35pm. Not bad for 2 weeks’ worth of work!


and then there were four…

Yes folks, another dishcloth has sprung forth from my needles. I feel like all I’ve done all week is knit ballband dishcloths- you’d almost never have known that I had my mom’s retirement dinner on Wednesday, went to the West Island knitting meetup on Thursday, went for dinner with Yannick, Jakob, Maaike and her daughter on Friday…well, you *would* have known about that stuff if I’d posted better over the week. Sorry!

Friday after dinner Maaike and her daughter came over, and once the kids were in bed we popped in Meet the Spartans on DVD and knit and laughed. (Nothing is better than Kevin Sorbo’s “whee” after a particularily amusing skipping dance to I Will Survive!) I cast on for this dishcloth and got through about half before going up to bed. Saturday I had off, so I managed to finish the cloth during Jakob’s afternoon nap, while we watched Walk Hard. (It was cute, but Meet the Spartans was laugh-out-loud funnier).

Same pattern, same yarns, different color. All the details are already up on Ravelry, but I’ll post them here once the full gift basket is complete.
Depending on how much time I have by Saturday, this 4 will be matched with 4 others. If I really run out of time, I’ll split these 4 up into the two parts of the gift that I wanted to have dishcloths.
We’d rented 2 more movies when returning the first 2, so Saturday night I got more knitting done during Beowulf. It was much more entertaining than I’d remembered from reading it in university…although I’d read the early English, 11th century (or whatever) version, not a funky modern version with a smoking-hot Grendel’s mother and some major storyline changes. It was an odd feeling to keep thinking I was watching an extended cut-scene in a videogame, but it was a good movie, all and all.

I took the time to fix and finish Velvet Oblivion. First I made a small cut and unpicked the joining round of the black Boa border. Once it was detatched I made sure that the mask itself wasn’t cupping- it wasn’t. It was huge, but relatively flat. Good. Next I picked up over double the amount of stitches I’d picked up the first time. Instead of following the pattern, I picked up stitches as frequently as I could around. I knit 1 extra row with the Boa to add a little extra depth of the border since my mask was so much bigger than the finished size of the actual pattern. Once that was done I bound off with my fingers crossed. It worked- there was no more cupping.
I haven’t unpacked my black elastic I’d bought for this project years ago, and wanted to finish the pattern without waiting until the next day to run out to the store. I was afraid to attach a single tie and have the mask gape at the outside of the eyes or down on the cheeks, so I came up with (what I think is) a good idea. I took a really looooong length of yarn and folded it in half. I tied a knot about 7″ down from the fold, leaving a skinny loop. I left that loop to be the tie, and sewed each of the other ends in a V shape to one side of the mask. I repeated it on the other side, and when I was done I had a mask that held nicely over the temple and near the cheek, with ties that joined together near the back of the head, with the loop after the knot being the length to tie the bow with. (Clear as mud?) The reason I’d tied the yarn in half before attaching it to the mask, as opposed to just tying lengths to each side, is so there would be no cut end of the yarn exposed that could fray over time. The yarn itself could wear out, but I think it would take longer than a cut end.


yet more dishcloths

On Tuesday night I finished the green & white dishcloth.
You can see there is 1 tiny mistake where I forgot to slip the white stitch and accidentally knit it- but I like leaving a mistake in every project (except commissioned ones), so I’m not going to fix it.
The back is pretty, in its own way. I wouldn’t knit a sweater like this…but it’s not horrible.

The same night I cast on for a pink & white one.
I finished it tonight at the West Island Knits meetup.
I couldn’t get any knitting done last night because we had my mom’s retirement dinner. It was a lovely night with good food and some really great speeches, but I was zonked by the time I got home, and after chatting with my friend Debbie (who had babysat for us) I just crashed and went right to bed.

I’m going to do one more in orange and white (so they all can clash, lol) then will move on to some other parts of this gift package. Then, if I have time before the party, I will do a few more of these in other colors.
I have a CRAZY story to share, but it is a long post and I’m wiped, so I will head off to bed, and leave you in suspense until tomorrow…


the good, the bad and the ugly (long)

Sorry for the radio silence, but I went to Toronto for the weekend and don’t like to advertise on the blog that I’m going away. (Although I think I did mention that I was going away…I just didn’t want to confirm “I’m leaving NOW”).

Do you think it was overly optimistic to have packed this much yarn for one weekend?
Asked me if I used even one-eighth of it. Go on, ask me.

My mom, our cousin Mona, Jakob and I left on Friday morning. I sat in the back with Jakob and finished Eden’s Shrug. The photos I’d taken in the car came out awful, so here are some nicer ones that I took the next afternoon at my aunt’s place (where we stayed).
The shrug came out really cute! It was such a fast knit, and I love the fabric obtained by using the Cotton Look on slighty larger needles than normal. I was worried it looked HUGE for the 12 month size, but I tried it on Jakob and it was only a little loose, which is perfect. (No photos of my son in a pink bolero, sorry!)

Here’s the back view. You can almost tell how light and sheer this is if you look at where the back is lying on the fronts- you can just see through it. It is EXACTLY what I wanted to achieve and I’m really, really happy with how it turned out.
Having finished the shrug and still having about an hour to go in the drive (I didn’t knit the whole time- Jakob refused to sleep and I had to keep him distracted) I pulled out the yarn and pattern to knit the Velvet Oblivion (Ravelry link) from Knitty. This was the first project I had ever bought yarn for that became stash, and it has been sitting in my stash since the summer of 2004 when the pattern came out. I’m putting together a gift package for my cousin’s fiancĂ©’s bridal shower in 2 weeks, and I wanted to include a luxurious face mask. It is a PAIN to knit because I didn’t realize my yarn was slightly thicker than the yarn called for in the patter, and the needle size is deliberately smaller to obtain a blackout fabric. Still, I was cruising along when IT happened:

See that missing spot on the upper right? I’d had to force the needle into one of the stitches and didn’t realize that I’d actually torn the core thread that holds the chenille yarn together. I didn’t realize it until 3 rows later when the ends worked their way free and I suddenly had a hole in the knitting. Had this been almost any other yarn I could have fixed it later, but trying to fix an aran-bulky weight yarn knit with 3.5mm needles in garter stitch with NO stitch definition was not my idea of something to do. I had no choice- I cut the yarn and started over.

At that point we arrived in Toronto. We had just enough time to wait for Mona to get picked up (she was visiting her daughter who recently moved to TO), change and leave for the out-of-towner’s dinner. We were supposed to be there for 6:30. We only arrived in Toronto at 7:00. Whoops! Luckily almost everyone was still there when we strolled in around 7:45, and there was still food for us.

Go figure Jakob didn’t nap all day, not a single time during the (took us) 7 hour drive. His usual bedtime is 7:15pm. Once we’d got him changed and back into the car to go to the dinner, it was 7:30. We hadn’t made it 3 blocks before he fell asleep. The 10 minutes it took us to get to the dinner was enough to recharge his batteries, though, as he fell asleep when I tried to transfer him to the stroller I’d brought, and he kissed, flirted and charmed his way through the rest of the night.

By the time we got back to my aunt’s house and were changing into pjs my dad and Yannick arrived. They’d come down together later in the evening so they could get a mostly-full day of work in. I put Jakob to bed then crashed myself.

Saturday we had to rush to get everyone up, dressed and fed so we could be at my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah (the reason we’d driven down). We left the house at Jakob’s usual morning-nap time, and he fell asleep en route. This time I had more luck and was able to transfer him to the stroller without waking him. He slept through the first hour of the services, and once he woke up Yannick took him into the lobby area to play for the next 2 hours. At that point we were all starving, and they opened up a lunch buffet.

By 1:30 we were on our way back to my aunt’s house and it was right in time for Jakob’s usual afternoon nap, so the plan was to put him down and I’d knit while my parents went to walk around Yonge street, and Yannick went for a drive to continue listening to the last Harry Potter book on CD. (Don’t say anything- I haven’t finished it yet!). The plan worked…for everyone but me. Jakob REFUSED to nap. I had decided a few months ago that even if he didn’t nap, if we were home or at work and were able to stick to his usual schedule, then 2-4pm he’d be in his crib. It didn’t matter if he cried or played, but he was staying in his crib until 4. He cried for about 20 minutes then started playing with his dolls and blanket, and I managed to get some knitting done on the Velvet Oblivion. I was worried that it looked too big, but it was hard to get it stretched out properly on the needles, so I decided to deal with it later. I was right about to join in the fun-fur yarn, when Jakob woke up.

This is the look I got for trying to get his attention away from the remote he was after. I’d rearranged my aunt’s couches and ottoman to make a safe play area, and we knit/played until it was time to get ready for the Bar Mitzvah party that evening. (The morning part was the services in synagogue, the night-time part was the big party with a 4-course meal, dj, casino setup, sweet table, etc).

While Yannick got himself ready I got Jakob dressed, then myself. Last-minute I decided that Jakob wasn’t fully dressed without a funky hairdo.

You like? ;] We had been joking with the Bar Mitzvah boy’s mom (my cousin) about how the invitations said “casually elegant”, as a code for “no jeans”. We decided that Jakob’s faux-hawk would be just the right touch to throw the “casual” into his look.

The night was a big success. Jakob fell asleep on the way to the party but woke up immediately when the car stopped and spent the rest of the night staring after the laser light displays. He was clearly exhausted but didn’t make a single fuss, and charmed the waitresses by blowing them kisses all night. He was an absolute angel and we left as soon as we could to bring him home and put him to bed.

On Sunday one of my other cousins was throwing a brunch for our close family, so while everyone else was getting ready, I set up the couch area for Jakob again and finished the Velvet Oblivion face mask.

I’m not considering it a “finished object” yet, though.

Once it was off the needles, it had some serious flaws. Forgetting the fact that it is larger than normal, following the directions for the fun-fur part led to the entire outer edge being pulled in too tight (too few stitches to go around). The result is this- a face mask that looks a lot more like a funky bra. I was going to completely start over, but I think I’ll first start by undoing the Boa yarn and redoing it with enough stitches to avoid the cupping. If it looks good, albeit large, I’ll keep it as is. If it still ends up crappy then I’ll remake it and fudge the numbers to end up with a smaller result.

We went to the brunch where Jakob had a blast with his little cousins, then the three of us went to meet Eden. She was absolutely adorable and it was great to see her parents again. I really don’t see them enough since they live so far away.

When we left them it was time to hop on the 401 East and head home. The drive took about 7 hours again, but just as on the drive down, we stopped twice (it’s usually about a 5 hour drive). Jakob did sleep for about an hour, but was up and crying the entire last 2 hour stretch of the drive. (Which was actually a good thing, because he was so exhausted that a diaper change and bottle was enough to knock him out once we got home).

In the car I started and finished more of my cousin’s bridal shower gift: a ballband dishcloth. (Ravelry link). Yes, the pattern has been published in the Mason/Dixon book, but I used the actual pattern from the Peaches ‘n Cream website.

The yarn is Bernat Handicrafter Cotton.
I plan on making a bunch of these in different colors as another part of the gift basket I’m putting together.
Here’s the back, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

Today Jakob had his first dentist appointment (all good!) then playgroup, then while he took his afternoon nap I did some much-needed cleaning around the house. Two of my siblings came over to play with him for a bit, then once he was down for the night I parked myself on the couch with Yannick and worked on the next dishcloth.

This is where I stopped for the night. The Sage Green cotton was left over from the dishcloths I’d crocheted for Esther last year(?) and I just finished the ball. I have another ball in my stash with a different dye lot, but I’m really not concerned about a dishcloth being all matchy-matchy.

So that’s it. A fun weekend away, although nothing beats coming home and being back in your house, with your schedule and routines. Some knitting was done, some turned out very well and some…let’s not speak of it again until we see if it is fixable. And a son who was so perfectly behaved during the entire trip that we are really worried we’re in for hell during his teenage years. No kid can be THIS perfect his whole life!