Thursday, September 26, 2013

Somewhere in the Mountains

Early morning mist rising from the lake. Somewhere west of Revelstoke, BC.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lake Louise, Alberta

Lake Louise, Alberta. The lake is 70m deep and gets its blue color from the "rock flour" (fine rock dust from the glacier runoff) in the water. The silty water absorbs all the colors except the lovely turquoise and vivid blue.
The iconic (at least in Canada) Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise. The Fairmont faces the mountains & glacier.

Obligatory sock knitting photo!
Close up of the mountains from the first photo. It looks like someone went up there and etched a figure 8 in the snow.

I like this photo. That is all.

There is a path along the lake which makes for a nice morning's walk. I like the dots of color (hikers) and the reflection in the water in this photo.
The air was so crisp and fresh, with the most amazing subtle pine smell. It almost hurt to breathe the air, it was so fresh and clean. Wonderful. My Toronto-fed lungs didn't quite know what to make of it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good morning, Mountains

View from our motel in Canmore, AB.

Approaching the Rocky Mountains

Trans Canada Hwy 1: Leaving Calgary and heading to Canmore, Alberta
The mountains are getting closer!

Knitting count: A couple inches of a sock done in the airport/airplane. 1 face cloth completed on the plane and in the car. New sock toe begun!  I'm suiting the knitting to the situation, alternating between mindless knitting and pattern-required knitting depending on the circumstances.

Interesting fact: On the plane I was sitting in the sitting with another knitter! Told her all about Ravelry. She was headed to Calgary for a knitting class.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Westward Bound

Monday I fly out to Calgary to meet my Mom for a bittersweet road trip. We'll be driving through the Rocky Mountains and ending up on Vancouver Island to visit my brother. Then I'll fly home from the island.

I'm very excited to see the mountains. Living here in Ontario we have hills, not mountains. According to Wikipedia, the highest parts of the province are some of the escarpments in the Grey-Bruce regions where you can reach the dizzying heights of 1,400-1750 feet above sea level.

So yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing real mountains. And the car knitting time! No work, no children, no husband. Just me & my Mom who's made this trip a few times before. No doubt I'll be spending the rest of today going through my stash and planning what yarns to pack and what I'll be knitting.

That's the sweet part.

The bitter of the bittersweet? This trip is a bit of a memorial to my Dad who passed away last September 28th. Mom & Dad used to drive their trailer from coast to coast after they retired. They've been to each coast several times and even driven up to Alaska, the NWT, and the Yukon. This is my Mom's first road trip without my Dad. And we'll be arriving at my brother's home in time for the anniversary of Dad's passing - which also happens to be my brother's birthday.

This will be a fantastic trip and a difficult one. I'll be missing my husband and daughter but I'm glad to be able to be there for my Mom as we mark this difficult anniversary.

My Dad and I are very much alike. So for the next week, I'll be there sitting beside Mom as we drive through the Rockies, listening to her chatter away. I'll be the strong, silent type to her outgoing personality. And I'll try to be a tiny portion of the emotional "rock" that my Dad was to her over the course of their 49 year marriage.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tin Can Knits BOGO pattern sale

Tin Can Knits' Low-Tide Cardigan,
knit by me
If you've followed along over the past year, you know I love Tin Can Knits' designs. I've test knit for them in the past and their designs are top-notch. In fact, I was just wearing their Low-tide Cardigan yesterday.

Well, they're having a Fall sale: buy one pattern, get one free. The details (along with some amazing photos of Scotland) are on the TCK blog.

What it boils down to is this, the sale runs Thursday, September 19th for one week only, until Thursday September 26th.

Copied from the TCK blog

"Simply shop on our website (or, add 2 or more products to your cart, then enter the following coupon code: BACKTOKNIT – the lower-priced item will be free!  The Small Print ::: The coupon applies only to products for sale via the Tin Can Knits Ravelry store, the full list is here: – please note that print books are excluded from this promotion."

I also made a Low-Tide Cardigan for my daughter.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yarn + Saturday Morning Cartoons

When I was a kid Saturday morning were the time to watch cartoons. There was no Cartoon channel, no Netflix and no VCRs (never mind DVRs!). If you didn't tune in in time, you missed your show.

Well, now I have a chance to combine childhood memories with my current favorite way to relax on the weekend. I'm so excited to have been asked to participate in the Tripping Yarn Balls Yarn Club which is featuring a Retro Cartoons theme for this year!

The Tripping Yarn Balls yarn club is a collaboration between Play at Life, Please Stand By Yarns, and Shameless Twist. Each of these dyers create gorgeous yarns. Play at Life creates the stunning Maki yarns which are dyed in gradients. Her club yarns will be dyed to complement her Maki gradients. Please Stand By Yarns, who is a fellow Canadian, specializes in self-striping yarns which, when knit from both ends of the skein, result in matching socks. And Shameless Twist is a color genius who will be working with a new luscious super wash merino/cashmere/nylon base for the club yarns. Sign up are open on the TYB site.

So where do I come in? I'll be designing two exclusive sock patterns for club members. Club membership come in 6 or 12 month signups, so during each 6 month time frame members will receive one free sock pattern designed to complement the club yarn.

I'm completely psyched up to revisit the cartoons of my childhoood and see them represented in yarn.  I loved the Pink Panther, the Wonder Twins, Aquaman, Pinky and the Brain (Snarf!). What were your favorites to watch as a kid?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Apple Picking

It's prime apple picking season here. On Sunday, my husband took our daughter and her friend to a local orchard and ended up picking and bringing home 30 pounds of apples: a mix of Gala and Macintosh.

I have no clue what to do with 20 pounds of apples (we sent 10 lbs home with the friend!). I can't bake pies. Actually, I've never tried - but I have a poor track record in the kitchen. The first thing that came to mind was apple crisp.

I Googled for recipes and decided to try this one: Apple Crisp II. The reviews sounded great, so last night I peeled, cored and sliced a dozen apples and made some apple crisp. I followed the advice in the comments and didn't add the extra water - and it wasn't needed. And I doubled the amount of the oat topping (which still didn't seem enough).

I didn't think to take photos. Actually, there wasn't time. My daughter and a swarm of her friends descended on the house about 10 minutes after it came out of the oven. (How do they know these things?) They loved it.

Oh my gosh! This recipe is amazing. This apple crisp tastes heavenly. You have to make it.

Now what to do with the other 18 lbs of apples? Any recommendations?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Harvest Time!

I live in a small town, a bedroom community serving a very large metropolitan area. It's a startling contrast to drive past the new built homes and come to farm land, filled with sheep, donkeys, alpacas and llamas - and then spend the second half of my daily commute in rush hour traffic, arriving at an office in the heart of a city of several million people.

One of the things I love about my town is the sense of community. There is always such a great turnout to local events. Today was the Harvest Festival, filled with lots to see and do. We got there early and had a blast exploring the booths and tasting the yummy treats. It was sunny and warm - perfect weather.

Nova's Ark is an organization which raises funds and provide programs for children with Downs Syndrome.
They have a number of animals which they use as part of their programs.
This box of feathers was a neat combination of colors.

Nova's Ark's hedgehog. So cute!
 WindReach Farm is a charity that is specially designed to meet the needs of individuals with a variety of disabilities, WindReach Farm includes fully wheelchair accessible pathways, trails, buildings, barns and stables.
The WindReach Farm booth had this neat craft. From the empty space, count over 3 strings. Take that 3rd string and slide it into the empty slot. Keep doing that over and over to get....

...a neat braid like this! The girls loved this. Finally, a use for all that acrylic yarn in my stash.

Windreach Farms also has many farm animals like this goat.

And this curious fella.


A local seniors residence offered these swan cream puffs. The chef made 500 of them.
They were gone by 11:30 am. (The festival started at 10am.)  They were delicious!

The girls got to milk a (fake) cow.

The local florist was there with some stunning Fall Mums.

And assorted pretties.
Local companies competed in a scarecrow decorating contest.
The "make your own wine" shop won my vote with their (bad) humor.
Ha ha!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Road Trips: Now with more yarn shops!

I confess: I rarely check out the main Ravelry page. I have my book marks set to the Forum pages. So I only found this feature by reading a post on the For Love of Ravelry forum.

Casey & team have added an awesome new feature called the Road Trip Planner to Ravelry's Yarns tab.

Enter your starting location, your destination and how far out of your way you're willing to go. Then presto: a list of local yarn shops on your route.

This is perfect timing. I'm going on a road trip with my Mom soon. We'll be driving from Calgary, Alberta to Vancouver, BC. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Rocky Mountains. And the yarn shops.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Toe up or Cuff down?

How do you like your socks? Knit from the cuff down or from the toe up?

Personally, I'm most comfortable with cuff down. I've memorized the heel flap and heel turn instructions and can knit happily along without instructions. For some reason, toe up has never 'clicked' for me.

But I know there's a lot of people who love the toe up method. It's the perfect way to get the absolute most out of your yarn. You can divide your skein of sock yarn into two and then just knit each sock until the yarn runs out.

So, I'm embarking on a quest to deliver toe up versions of my designs - at least the ones which have stitch patterns which can be easily converted to toe up, which is most of them.

As each toe up design is ready (after testing and editing), I'll be updating the existing pattern listing in Ravelry, Patternfish and Craftsy. The toe up version will be a separate PDF. Anyone who has purchased a cuff down copy of a pattern will automatically receive the toe up update!

And going forward, I'll try to have toe up versions of designs available at the same time as the cuff down versions.

So cuff down or toe up, I'll have your sock needs covered.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pucker up, Winners!

Thanks everyone for leaving your comments and tips in the Fish Lips Kiss Heel post. I'll send the pattern to you right away!
Picture someone puckering out their lips
ready to give you a kiss. Well, this heel,
when off the foot, looks a wee little bit like that.
Photo courtesy & (c) Geri Inglis

Our winners are....
LakeviewChica (Ravelry ID)
marmelineravel (Ravelry ID)
Nhsarab (Ravelry ID)
su3385 (Ravelry ID)
QueenDBW - please contact me
 for your prize (maureenfouldsdesigns AT gmail DOT com)

Bonus round:
DKA (Ravelry ID)
knithemiptera  (Ravelry ID)
calendarfish (Ravelry ID)
Woolytanis (Ravelry ID)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Long weekend excitement & The Man in the Brown Suit

I hope everyone enjoyed a long weekend (if you live in a place where it was a long weekend). At our house we kicked the weekend off a bit early as I headed out to the cottage to spend some time with my Mom and my daughter. My daughter loves having the freedom to roam around at the cottage and there are always lots of other kids around for her to play with.

We avoided the holiday traffic by heading home on Sunday morning, which also gave us time to prepare for "Back to School". Laundry was done, a first day of school outfit was selected and her backpack prepared. We're ready for grade 3!

On Monday, our long weekend was enlivened by a trip to the ER (A&E if you're in the UK). My daughter and her friends decided to try a cheer leading routine which involved lifting her up in the air. Except they've never done it or trained for it. Predictably, my daughter tumbled down and hurt her arm. Badly. When the pain didn't abate after 30 minutes, we drove over to the ER for x-rays, just to be on the safe side. We were seen remarkably quickly and received the good news that there's no fracture. Just a lot of pain. Another childhood lesson learned - and a few grey hairs added to my head.
New Pattern
In knitting news, I've just published my latest sock pattern: The Man in the Brown Suit.

The Man in the Brown Suit - moss ribbing and cables
Inspired by the novel The Man in the Brown Suit, by Agatha Christie, these socks offer classic moss stitch ribbing with a dash of cabled elegance. Suitable for a man or a woman, these socks provide an uncomplicated knit, with just enough variety to keep your interest.

The Man in the Brown Suit, at least in the novel, is mysterious, adventurous, independent, strong and loyal. We should all have a Man in a Brown Suit in our lives. Even if we have to knit it ourselves.

The pattern instructions are provided for four sizes, small, medium, large and extra-large (58, 64, 72 and 80 sts).

The Agatha Christie Series, Volume 1
The Man in the Brown Suit is also part of an e-book offering on Ravelry. Follow along as I create designs inspired by Agatha Christie novels.

There are currently 3 patterns included in this e-book: 2 sock patterns and 1 shawl pattern. Three more sock patterns will be added over the next 3 months. When you purchase the e-book you will automatically receive the new patterns when they are released and added to the e-book.

This e-book represents a significant savings over purchasing the patterns separately. And the earlier you buy, the more you save.
Styles Court sock

Buy in September 2013: $12
Buy in October 2013: $14
Buy in November 2013: $16
Buy in December 2013: $18

Styles Court socks - One of my most popular patterns, this pattern’s herringbone rib works for men and women.

The Man in the Brown Suit - Another unisex pattern, made up of moss stitch ribbing and cables on either side of the leg.

Joanna Lymstock Shawl - A crescent shaped shawl with a pretty lace border and a stocking stitch body.

Style Court - herringbone and cables

Joanna Lymstock shawl
E-book details will be updated as patterns become available. All patterns will be released by December 2013.