Friday, September 29, 2006


I've got nothing. Work has exploded around me (and not in a very good way). Very little sleeping has been done, even less knitting. I hope to have the alien hat done soon, so please come back and check.
Can someone warp the time-space continuum for me? I need about 8 extra hours in the day - just for a couple of weeks... or months...
Send chocolate...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

pen pals

I remember when I was in grade 5 - our teacher arranged for us to be pen pals with another school. It wasn't very far away, certainly in the same district, but far enough away that we didn't know any of the kids we were writing to. Elizabeth and I kept in touch through the school year, and a little bit beyond that. We gradually lost contact over the next few years. Fast forward 4 years later - grade nine. Small fish in a big pond. My high school drew from about 3 or 4 middle schools, and my middle school sent very few kids to this particular high school, so those of us that went were pretty close knit (most of us had been in school together since the first grade). We made up a small contingent of the incoming grade nine class. You know what's coming next - the 10 or so of us that had been in grade 5 together met up with a contingent of niners from another middle school - yep, our pen pals were there! At the time, we were very impressed with how it worked out. Of course, looking back now, it seems out grade 5 teachers knew what we didn't - that for the most part, we would meet up again in grade nine, since she knew how the school boundaries worked. Still, at the time, it was very cool.
What the internet has given us (certainly me), is the opportunity to recreate the concept of pen pals. Maybe not in the traditional sense of the word - there are very few hand written missives being sent along snail mail routes. Email and forums (fora?) and chat rooms have become the new pen pal venues. I know, whenever I log into the forum, I will see familiar names, and some new ones. Many of the posters I consider friends in a loose sense of the word. For the most part, we've never met, and probably will never meet. Others have become friends in our 3-D lives (Hi Lucky! Hi Tracy! And some become a little bit more than just a name on a screen. Take CatBookMom for example. A while ago, on the forum, she made a comment on Chibis, those bent tip darning needles that everyone in the US seems to be talking about. I commented that, being Canadian, I have never seen them in the LYS's I frequent. (Admittedly, I rarely venture to downtown Toronto - I'm a suburban chik!) She took pity on me and sent me this

How cool is this? All the way from Burbank, CA. (I will always associate Burbank with Johnny Carson) And, she is promising to come to Toronto to visit. In summer, she says. I think our winters scare her. CBM - anytime you want to come, Lucky and I will roll out the hand knitted carpet. I'll even try to wrangle the Yarn Harlot for you. (I'll have to bait the traps with beer, veggie quesadillas and the promise of more new yarn at Tove's).

By the way, I still write letters. Not to my original pen pal, but my university roommate now lives near Cincinnati, and I have a cousin in St. Sauveur, Quebec. I write (intermittently, I admit) to both. There's nothing like getting a hand written envelope in the mail.

CBM, get ready. I know I promised Fleece Artist in return, however, all the FA I have is sock weight - not your favourite. I went to my LYS, but her supply of FA was not what I was looking for (as much as I love the Chibis, I coudln't bring myself to send you the FA cashmere. But if you come to visit this summer, I'll bet some goes home with you!) I wanted to send you someting uniquely Canadian, so may I introduce you to Shelridge Farms. (can you see the little flag on the label?) Four ply, worsted weight, hand dyed, superwash wool. Sproingy, delicious, and the blue and purple you crave. The blue is called Misty Blue, and is nicer than the picture shows. The purple is Eggplant, and the depth of colour is wonderful. Mix them up. use them individually, whatever turns your crank. I just hope you enjoy them as much as I will the Chibis. Now I can start sewing in the ends on projects!
(I'm heading to the post office tomorrow, right after I go to the dentist. Sending luscious wool to a friend should offset the bad karma of a dental cleaning.)

And speaking of karma, help me deflect the bad stuff away from Stephanie - she had a book deadline and a shawl deadline both coming up on Saturday. We really want her to make both, so I've offered myself up as a "bad karma sacrifice", so that she gets only the good vibes. Dude, I've got your back.

Monday, September 25, 2006

10 knitterly things...

I was reading Grumperina, and she had a meme - 10 knitterly things about you, so I considered myself tagged...

1. although I've known how to knit for decades, I've really only become a Knitter in the past 4-5 years. I'm still surprised that I'm a reasonably good knitter. The woman who taught me told me to never be afraid of a pattern. So I guess I never learned to worry about techniques tht were new to me. I can usually figure them out. (And if I can't, I have Tove or Elizabeth nearby!!)

2. I joined a Guild, not knowing what to expect, and discovered how much I love being part of a knitting community. I wish we met more often.

3. (This one isn't just about me) My entire extended family (with the exception of hubby and son) thinks that knitting is the ultimate in geekiness. Most of my friends do as well. No one will tell me this to my face. I think they like the gifts.

4. I always have at least one (if not many) pairs of socks on the go. I cannot imagine not having a pair of socks in progress. The mere thought of that makes me nervous. (maybe I am a geek.)

5. I have multitudes of knitting projects on the go - socks, something in lace (currently, Icarus), some ancient UFO's that I'm deciding whether to carry on with, and assorted other small projects (currently a skull hat and an alien hat).

6. I don't seem to like knitting sweaters. I always have the best intentions of making them, but the projects fall by the wayside. The last sweater I made was the Sigridur from the Best of Lopi book, and I finished it last spring, just in time for summer. I don't have very good timing.

7. I rarely keep anything I knit for myself. Although, I did keep Sigridur, and I have 3 pairs of socks that I knit.

8. I love giving hand knits as gifts. WIth the size of my Christmas gift list - this is a serious undertaking. Crazy? yes. This is not a surprise to many of my friends.

9. I have achieved SABLE status - Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. And I'm not finished buying yet. Tove's shop has everything at 25% off right now...

10. I'm a fibre snob. I used to knit with synthetics alot, but I just cleared the last chunk of acrylic from my stash and gave it to a friend who uses it for charity stuff. I love the natural stuff, and even better, I love the stuff from local or small mills. The more unique, the better!

Lucky and Tracy, I'm tagging you for this meme!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


This title should bring out the weirdos from Google...

I finished the green regia stripe socks - another for the Christmas box! Okay, gift for the best man from our wedding - check. 9 million more gifts to make/buy/decide on? check. Sigh. I need more time already...

Someone asked me once how I cast off my socks, since I do a toe up style. The first time I did this, I bound off as I normally do (slip one, knit one, psso, knit one, psso), you know, the standard bind off we all learn. Of course, there is very little stretch to this, and well, cutting off one's circulation at the top of a sock? Not attractive. Then I met Stephanie. The first time she visited Aurora, I picked her up at the subway and drove her to the shop. As I drove, we talked, and she knit. She was trying a new sock pattern - toe up - and was casting off the top. SO she shared her cast off with me, and I've been using it ever since. (She doesn't. I see she's back to top down, heel flap and gusset socks). The cast off is simple - knit two together, put the resulting stitch back on the left needle, and repeat. Knit this loosely, or go up a needle size. It works very well for me. It does flare a bit when the sock is just laying there, but as long as it is comfortable on the leg, who cares how they looked shoved, (sorry, folded neatly...) in a sock drawer?

Sorry for the flash-y pictures - I usually take the pictures early in the morning before the family awakes (remember? secret blogging?) and it's too dark these days to take pictures outside, so you get my kitchen table instead. I'll do better son - maybe a session of weekend pictures...

You know, considering I really had nothing to say today, and only a picture of socks, I've stretched this entry out quite a bit. Next up for these needles - some of the denim-y merino I bought in Kitchener - hubby needs a new pair of socks!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

arrrrr, mateys....

Today be International Talk like a Pirate Day,

Capn Aetheflaed the Drunk Toe

What is YOUR pirate name?

Dirty Mary Kidd

Iron Mary

Agnostic Ted Napier

Horse Hung Harry

depending on which Pirate Name generator you use. I kind of like the Drunk Toe part. It makes no sense, which suits me just fine.

And yes, at breakfast today, my son did ask "what crawled out of the bunghole today?" (we school him well on all the important holidays...)

Knitting, you ask? Yes, I do some of that...

as promised, here are the cotton stretch socks. I am very happy with these - nice and cushy on the foot, perfect for someone who walks alot - and my son's sitter does just that. Along with being a fabulous influence on my son, she is always walking around, so I hope these are well used. And using 3mm needles, means these just fly! Compared to the 2mm I usually use for socks...
Last night at swimming I got in a solid 20 minutes of sock knitting - tonight's basketball practice, and I should be well along on the final ribbing of the green regia stripe sock. SO I may have another FO soon!

Monday, September 18, 2006

same old, same old

Usually, when you are like me, and have multitudes of projects on the go at one time, you tend to have pictures of progress, or fininshed objects. Or, you get to the point that I'm at now. Progress, but infinitesimal on each of the multitudes, so it's not really worth sharing.
Icarus. One more row until I start the new charts. Woo Hoo. I'm starting to hate this shawl. Good thing I'm giving it away. Although, by Christmas, I'll fall in love with it again. I just know it.
Socks. the green regia stripes are the portable project of choice at the moment. I've got about two inches left on them, so they come to work with me (lunch time gives me about 10 minutes of knitting time), and they come to son's swimming lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays (20 minutes on each of those nights), and basketball practice on Tuesday (a solid hour here!) Hoping to finish these this week. Then I can pick up one of the other "in progress and need by Christmas socks". Sigh. I guess it's January before I get to knit for me.
Did you notice my schedule above? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - each of these things start at 6pm, so I race home from work, grab child from sitter, grab needed clothing, give him a snack to munch in the car, race back out the door and get him to pool/gym in time. Fun. Then home afterwards and try to put together some dinner. More fun. At least the twice a week swimming is only for three more weeks - then we get the much more civilized once a week mayhem. Oh yeah, basketball is also on Saturday mornings. No cottage for a while.
Okay, now some good news. Good vibes directed my way would be appreciated. I've applied for a couple of jobs that would take some of the stress away. One is a long shot, and the other is probably too litte money, but we will wait and see. Fingers crossed!
Pictures soon, I promise. Hubby took the camera today, which is a drag - Son and I went to the Toronto Zoo on Saturday, and we have some great pictures - need to download these ones!

Friday, September 15, 2006

I got nothin...

Zip. Zilch. Nada. I've been working on Icarus, trying to get the boring ladder lace part done so I can start the interesting feathery part. So, I finish the "five repeats of rows 19-42", and think - WooHoo! now I can start the next chart. Of course, I neglected to read ahead. I still have to repeat rows 19-34 once more. Sigh. More boring ladder lace part. So Icarus still looks like a pile of tangled blue string. (Nice alpaca string, but string nonetheless). Nothing else is finished. (Have I shown you the finished sage green cotton socks? No? Sorry, my bad. Pictures to come.)
Work sucks. They have dumped on (sorry, "asked") me to take on a whole new role IN ADDITION to what I do right now. (I somehow don't recall being asked, but whatever). I have tentatively agreed (in their minds, this constitues an acceptance), with the proviso that some of my other responsibilities get re-assigned. Still waiting for this. Somethings going to blow, and soon. They think SLIGHTLY more money will make it all better. Wrong. More time off would be much more appreciated, but that doesn't seem to be an option. Dang.

I can't beleive we are halfway through September - my Christmas knitting is somewhat behind. I still have 5 pairs of socks to finish (and in some cases start), Icarus, A hand dyed chenille lace scarf, a silk scarf (Yeti, Yeti, Yetiiii!!), and possibly 5 hats to do. Plus, 8 pairs of felted slippers (machine knit, very quick), and a sweater for DS - also done on the machine, so again, pretty quick. I could finish the ribbing on a cotton sweater I started for Hubby a couple ofyears ago - that would be a good gift...

Boy, I sound cranky, don't I?? Thank God it's Friday. I really need this weekend.

So, any Survivor fans? It's too early to pick faves yet - 20 people and 1 hour - no chance to get to know anyone. Cao Boi should be interesting...
And Lukas wins Rockstar! Canada is two for two on this reality show!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

what did I start?

Well of course I started SOMETHING...
Lucky had it right - I did cast on for the Atacama alpaca shawl. and frogged it and recast it on. I hate poorly written patterns. Lucky, call me and I'll give you the modifications. The pattern as written is close, but not quite...

HOWEVER... I also cast on a pink cotton chenille washcloth. And frogged it. and recast it on. and frogged it. Cotton chenille has even less stretch than regular cotton, so the cast on is horrible. I need a new one. I'm looking into the tubular cast on, and also looking at other patterns. I'm not thrilled with the Mason Dixon chenille pattern. Interweave has a flower petal shaped on - anyone remember what issue? Never mind - Google is a wonderful thing, and I found it. (Winter 2003) I cast that one on in navy blue, and so far, so good, but making the five petals and attaching them? Not my favourite thing. So the hunt continues. Yes I know about the Dishcloth boutique, and there are a couple there I am thinking about...

I spent Monday night and most of yesterday at my Mom's - she's doing fine. It gave me tons of knitting time, as my most pressing thing to do there was to keep her lying down. Mission accomplished. We sat and watched TV most of Monday night. Great knitting time. I'm finished the 5 repeats of the ladder lace part of Icarus, and will be starting the feathery bits next. I did some work on the Atacama alpaca shawl and some work on the green Regia sock. I'm so close to finishing this sock, and then the pair goes into the Christmas box! It also frees up the needles for some of the sock yarn I bought in Kitchener - I'm thinking Hubby would like some of the denim blue...

Tonight - son has swimming lessons - more work on the sock - then the Rock Star Supernova finale! Will Lukas win it? or Dilana? As much as I want Lukas to win (a fellow Canadian), I think it's going to be Dilana. That's ok, too.

Monday, September 11, 2006

kitchener trip

Whew! Well it was a trip. I met up with the bus at 8:30am on Saturday morning. (Waaayyy too early for me, by the way - I noticed Helga from our Guild came to the show, but much later in the day - smart woman!) Anyhoo, the bus arrived, with the members of the Barrie Guild, and those of us from York Region jumped on, with coffee in hand. Everyone grabbed a seat, and immediately started knitting on something - I was determined to finish the second cotton stripe sock. The drive down was through grey, drizzly weather but the atmosphere on the bus was much lighter - we had draw prizes to give and get! Nancy, her daughter Margaret and I were at the back of the bus, and throughout the draws, we kept commenting on how none of the winning tickets were from the back of the bus. Well! It seems if you comment (jokingly, yet enough times), you actually win! Margaret and I each walked away with $25 gift certificates to Needles and Knits (our fave LYS), and Nancy scored the last two prizes - two skeins of merino sock yarn! (Yes, Nancy drew her own ticket for the last prize - how lucky can one get?)
So we arrived in Kitchener, ready to shop - I met up with LuckyCanuck and TracyKM - friends from the About Knitting Forum, and fellow bloggers. Tracy was accompanied by Megan - cutest baby at the fair! A little 10 month old, quite content to sit in the sling on Mom's hip and look at everything going on. I never would have attempted that with my son when he was small - he'd be screaming after 10 minutes! Way to go, Tracy! They had arrived earlier and already scoped the place out - they led me directly to Pick Up Sticks - an internet business based in Newmarket. Sock Yarn heaven for me. Lovely colourways and delicious merino yarn. I picked up a couple of skeins, and had my eye on some others, filed away for later.

From there, we started back to the beginning and wandered around. It being my first time there, I had fun. I spent a ton, and came home with some great deals. LuckyCanuck and I enabled each other immensely - we both hemmed and hawed over this Atacama alpaca shawl kit at - simple pattern, stunning look, delicious alpaca. We both caved and bought - I got this beautiful browns colourway, Lucky got a green, I believe.

I got some great deals at a booth whose name escapes me - too bad, because I will go back there again.
Denim toned hand dyed merino sock yarn - almost 400m in each ball, just $7.00!! Yup! Seven bucks! And I only bought two of the five that were there. Lucky, I'm disappointed you didn't smack me and make me buy them all! Plus, 3 bags of 6 balls of cotton chenille. OK, so I'm not really a chenille fan, but this cotton will be stellar for some face cloths with some hand made soaps at Christmas. Oh yeah, each bag was only $8.75.

What else, what else...
Fleece Artist Silk Kid, on sale:

Some Tibetan Silk in the holy colours of maroon and gold. My sister in law follows the Tibetan holy teachings, and will go ape over a scarf in this - I'm thinking two sided - one side maroon, one side gold. It's not the smoothest of silk, rather rustic, I'd say, but the tag has all the Tibetan info and it's even called "Baby Yeti". She'll enjoy the tags as much as the yarn...

My favourite local(ish) supplier - Wellington Fibres - they raise the mohair goats, and mill the wool themselves. Plus Donna and Lorne are the nicest people on the face of the earth. The blue here is flecked with the pink, so I'm thinking mittens or something...

Hmmm, some linen with a handmade soap - also for washcloths, maybe. Another good deal from the Knitting Nimrod Collective:

More sock yarn - Lindenhof mohair, merino blend. Soft as soft can be, in a very cool colourway of mauves, greys and shots of bright blue.

Good Buy Yarns - you know them - bagged bargain yarns? Buy a bag for a set price? Great deals to be had - people were digging into the bins all day. I thought I had finished shopping when I found these two bags of Dale of Norway Heilo - 10 balls of white, 8 balls of navy, at an icredible price!

A beaded knitting book from Brenda Franklin. I took a beaded knitting class last April at the DKC Knitters Frolic, so this will be great - It gives me all kinds of patterns to use with the skills I acquired, as well as using up the beads I acquired! I've already been leafing through this, marking pages...

Roving - no I'm not taking up spinning - I like making thrummed mittens, and this roving will be great. It's 100% alpaca. Cloud soft doesn't even begin to describe the softness. It's either thrums or some needle felted gnomes for this...

Remember Margaret, the teenage daughter of Nancy, one of my fellow Guild members? Margaret is knitting a blanket and pillows for her bed. Tiny squares, each no more than three inches square. Every single square will be different. Every one. Every. single. square. That's a lot of work, and a lot of single balls of wool. I know I'm going stash diving for her - she can have all my odds and ends. THis is Margaret at the end of the trip. She did good. She also got three squares knitting during the bus trip.

I didn't get a picture of Sue. Sue thought she was done shopping. Elizabeth and I were talking to her and she was showing us a pattern for a sweater that had silk ribbins lacing up the front. She loved it, but didn't know where to find the ribbons. I did. Elizabeth and I grabbed her, dragged her to a booth where I had seen scads of silk streamers, and proceeded to do things ass backwards. We picked the ribbon, then went searching for yarn to match! Which we found(Fleece Artist Country Silk - peacock-ish colours). Sue was thrilled, and I discovered it's as much fun spending other people's money as much as your own!

Then, finally, you know it's a good trip when they start winding the skeins before we leave the parking lot so something ccan be cast on...

So one last thing... knowing me as you do... with all the projects I have on the go, who thinks I started something new? And what do you think it was if I did?
(Yes, I did finish the cotton green and blue striped socks - pictures later.) I won't be posting for a day or so - spending some time at my Mom's. She's having minor surgery today, and my brother is there today - I'll stay over with her tonight and through tomorrow, so I'll be away from a computer for a while...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

well, damn!

I had a post all written - it was good, if I do say so myself. It was about Kitchener, and how I've met people in the knit world and had great links to LuckyCanuck, the Kitchener Knitters Fair and the forum where I have so many friends. It's gone. I hate that. I have no idea where it went. I ws pretty sure I hit publish post before I went off to have kunch, and now, poof! gone! Damn!
Anyway, I'm going to Kitchener this weekend, and expect to see tons of stuff, buy lots of stuff I probably don't need, but must have anyway, and generally have a good time.
I've also found the pictures that gave me so much grief last week - here's the "pair" of socks that I finished - I really need another pair of these...

I've actually got the second green one done to the second set of stripes - a weekend, and I should be done. THey then go into the box of planned Christmas gifts - hopefully I will be able to find this box at Christmas...
THe second picture is the stitch markers I've discussed, and can be found at Tove's shop, Needles and Knits in Aurora.

That's about all I can remember. I've really got to learn to hit "save as draft" more often...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

first day of school

I love this day. Not because the Son goes back to school and I have the house to myself - I'm out of the house before he and his Dad are in the mornings, but because of how much he enjoys going to school. He started Grade 2 today, which is kind of freaking me out - I swear he was an infant just yesterday, but I know this is something all Moms say. We walkd him to school, and waited in the courtyard for the teachers to come and collect their classes. He was off with his buddies, doing what 7 year olds do, while all the parents were chatting, getting caught up on a summer's worth of news, and sipping Tim Horton's coffee. Exclusively. This must say something about us, since there is a Country Style just as close, but every single one of us had Timmies. I can't wait until tonight - picking him up, and hearing all about the first day - who he's sitting with, what the plans are, how nice his teacher is. Of course, we have to stuff all this into a short period of time - tonight is also my Guild meeting, so I'm out tonight, and Dad gets to hear all about the day as well.

I figured out that Blogger was not to blame for my picture uploading woes last week, it was my computer at home that was the culprit. We have three computers there - two desktops and a laptop. Here's how lazy we are - the internet is only hooked up to one of them - the one still being powered by the hamster on a wheel. Gotta do some upgrading. I'd post a picture of the "pair" of socks and the stitch markers, but alas, I don't have that memory card with me. Maybe I can get my act together tomorrow...

This past weekend was a rather wet long weekend. Didn't stop us from going to the cottage mind you. It actually worked in my favour - lots of knitting time when cooped up inside. I started and finished the "they must be Pirates" hat from Hello Yarn. Great pattern - nice shaping, nice pattern. I will make this again, and may adapt the shaping to other colourwork patterns. I made the Hat in Smart yarn - a superwash wool, but then made the lining in red Truffles - a completely NON superwash merino/cashmere blend. But man! Does it ever feel nice against the forehead! THe plan is to give this to our cottage neighbour's 16 year old daughter - skulls are the big accessory in the teen years, I gather. She also does a fair bit of kid-sitting for us as well. But of course, young Son saw it this morning, and decided he would like one as well. Good thing I got enough to make two...

Oh, and a note to the preson who wondered why I never knit socks for my Dad? Although I've known how to knit for decades, I've really only become a Knitter in the past 4 or 5 years. Dad passed away long before I ever knit socks, or anything like that. I like to think he would have liked a pair, and appreciates that I make them for Hubby, Son, FIL, and other special males in my life. I still wish I could have made him a pair, though. I'd knit an intarsia martini glass on the leg for him. But no olive - a twist of lemon. Always a twist.