I feel like it's been forever since I've actually finished a knitted something. I haven't been knitting as much as I would like, and when I do knit nothing seems to work out quite right. It was a nice relief to actually get something successful off the needles!

Meet Elijah. He was supposed to be made for the baby shower of my junior high/high school basketball  coach and her little girl way back in April. Unfortunately, that coincided with the final revisions of my honors paper and finals, so knitting took a back seat and poor Elijah was only a head for many months. I really wanted to make something awesome for her. Not to get sappy, but she was one of the most influential people for me growing up and was basically my at-school mom. She took us to Europe twice to play ball and, despite the fact that we sucked, always had faith in us on and off the court. After all that, the least I could do is make something cool for her baby, right?

The pattern is Elijah from the ever-wonderful Ysolda Teague. The pattern was a bit fiddly, and by fiddly, I mean it sat for over a month untouched while an arm-bud was happening, but was really clear and easy to understand. The only thing I really changed was doing the eyes at the beginning once the head was finished rather than at the very end. That allowed me to pull the eyes in a bit and anchor it to the bottom of the chin and have all the dark-coloured ends buried in stuffing. I love that the construction is all knitted together rather than sewn, so I'm pretty confident it will stand up to the wear and tear of (hopefully) being played with by a little one. If anyone reading this is planning on making one of these, make sure you don't over-stuff the body. Since the arms get knitted on they pull some of the fabric and stretch the stitches which you can see a bit in my picture. Also, I suck at grafting. Just thought I'd let you know.

So, now that I've cleared Elijah off my plate, I can get going on my Ravellenic projects! More on that tomorrow.

Do you have any tips for knitted toys? Do you think they're worth it?


Escaping, or trying to

I wish I could say I wasn't a completely introverted person, but I am. My favourite thing in the world is to hang out at home and be lazy, but that isn't really that exciting or memorable. So, for the last 2 weekends James and I have tried to do something different. It turns out that different also equates to a lot of hard work.

We accidentally went on a 17km hike through Elk Island National Park. I hadn't been out to Elk Island since visiting for a High School Biology field trip way back when, it's so easy to forget that we live so close to such a pretty place. Be warned, though. The novelty of a park just 40 mins from the city wears off when hitting the 10th km of a seemingly endless hike with flies everywhere and too-little water, too high of humidity and a 30° day. Oh, and don't hike in Birkenstocks unless you absolutely have to, and check the map before leaving. That helps too.

Then last weekend James and I packed the dog in the car and took off to the mountains for a couple days. It wasn't nearly long enough, but duty called and we had to get back to work. We did get to swim in a fantastically clear lake which was the most amazing shade of turquoise (left), took a brief dip in the fantastically freezing Athabasca river (bottom right), and drive the windy road up to the beautiful Mt. Edith Cavell (top right).  I remember going up to Edith Cavell with my dad when I was small, and it's sad how little snow is left up there. 

This weekend I want to take it a bit easier, though I still have plans to build some shelves, bake some cookies (for payment for use of the necessary tools), do a bit of sewing, and wrap up the last bits of knitting I wanted to get in before the Olympics start. I'm still not 100% solid on what I'll be knitting through the games, though I suspect I'll have myself figured out this weekend. Edmonton is also hosting the Indy car race (I have no idea if it's the race..) and the track is right down the road from my house making this weekend the annual simulated living-in-a-beehive weekend. Joy of joys. At least we get a good view of the fighter jets that zip over!

What are you guys up to this weekend? Have you settled your Ravelympic/Ravellenic gameplan? 


In which the nation ages

Well, this is my obligatory "Happy 145th, Canada" post. To celebrate, I went grocery shopping, watched Star Wars, went to the dog park, and tried some basic HTML and CSS with a fantastic tutorial from Katrina at the Pugly Pixel. (Seriously, if you know nothing about html, it's a great tutorial. I downloaded a program called gedit which worked swimmingly. Katrina is also the lady who provided my blog template. I love it!) James and I might bike down to see the fireworks later, but that's about it.

Now, I plan on using the rest of my long weekend to finish the Elijah that has been on my needles for months. I started it for a baby shower in April and said baby has since been born and seen more than one lunar cycle. So far, the pattern has been great, but would one really expect anything else from Ysolda? The only thing I really changed was adding the eyes on before the body was attached so I could hide all the dark-coloured ends away. Oh, and it reaffirmed my hatred for French Knots. One day I'll make peace with them, but today is not that day.

(Also, apologies for formatting weirdness lately.. I've been trying to get in the groove of this new template and getting used to giant photos)

What are you up to with your long weekend? (Or midweek holiday south of the border?)