Tuesday, October 31, 2006

stash enhancement

So, while I was down at Mom’s last week, I decided to check out a yarn store in the area. (What? Wouldn’t you Google to find one if you were going to be a different area for a few days??) Mom’s neighbour came over for a while which gave me some time to take off and check out Linda’s Craftique in Port Credit. Very nice. A bit smaller than Needles and Knits, my regular LYS, and Linda stocks many of the same things, but I did find some things…

Hand maiden Sea Silk in a black/grey/brown colourway to die for. My LYS carries the Sea Silk, but she is sold out of it in this colourway (or she was the last time I was there).
And Bamboo yarn. I’ve heard about this, read about this, and so decided to try it. I haven’t swatched it yet – it seems VERY slippery, and I haven’t decided if it is going to be hand knitted, or run though the machine. I’m thinking slinky, slippery skinny scarves for Christmas presents…

Yesterday, I got home and saw a nice big box waiting for me! I had ordered some stuff from Knit Picks. I know, I know, internet shopping while on an emotional roller coaster is not the best idea, but what the hell. I’ve been wanting the S’mores sock yarn, and the Fly Fishing sock yarn (Hubby is a fly fisherman, I mean really! It was calling to me!) Plus, I’ve heard such good things about the Gloss wool/silk sock yarn, so I had to get some of it to try, and then I’ve been wanting to make a blanket of sorts from Mason Dixon – either mitred squares or log cabin, and their mix and match kit in the Storm colourway seemed perfect. I’m leaning towards mitred squares. Opinions?
Anyways, it seems I ordered more stuff than I remembered (that would be the emotional roller coaster effect, I think).
Gloss (Merino/silk) sock yarn - soft, sproingy, yummy! Concord Grape for me(I know, purple? NOT my usual colour!) and Dusk for hubby (maybe, this stuff is hard to give up...)

Sock yarn - the aforementioned S'mores (left), and Flyfishing (top), and the "oh yeah, I also ordered" Yukon (right) and Cape Cod (middle). Oops. But I'm not sending it back!

And the Storm "mix and match" kit. A little beige-er than I was expecting, but still, I have enough stash stuff to fill this out into a nice blanket-y type thing. If I ever get around to it.

Yeah - internet shopping while emotional - great for the soul, not so good for the bank account...

Oh, and boss update? Can we say Childish? He's now giving me the silent treatment. Remember back in school, when the popular chicks would OBVIOUSLY shun someone by turning their backs? Yeah, that's what I'm getting. I laughed out loud when he did it. Good thing he doesn't do my employee review...

tomorrow - Halloween pictures! We love Halloween at our place - lots of pumpkins! lots of decorations! Lots of candy!

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm baa-aaa-ack...

Wow. It feels like I've been away for ever - from here and from my real life. And it was less than a week! But looking after a loved one, especially one's Mom, after surgery can really warp your sense of time and space. First off, Mom's great. Better than great. Other than being an emotional mess, she's doing fabulous. The emotion I expected - Mom's always been a pretty emotional person, but this level even caught me by surprise. A phone call would set her off, so I tried to get to the phone first, and let her know who was calling so she could compose herself. This got better as the week progressed, but when my aunt arrived on Saturday, well, the two of them just melted into a big tub of goo. My cousin and I just sort of stood there and chatted while the two of them sobbed on each other's shoulders. THey pulled themselves together, I got my aunt settled, and by late afternoon, I was on my way home. Of course, I had left my husband and son to fend for themselves for a few days. Anyone want to hazard a guess at the state of my house when I returned? Two men living without the boundaries set by Wife and Mom. Any guesses? You in the back? Right. Only worse. Hubby is a little lax in the "making Son clean up his toys/clothes/plates/insert anything here. Let alone cleaning up after himself. Geez.
But, my Mom is good, my aunt is there, I dug my kitchen out from under the Hubby/Son mess, and all is good again.
Knitting? Why yes, I did. (and I did a little stash enhancement too - stay tuned).
I finished the green ruffly scarf.

I made great progress on the cotton socks (before this week, I hadn't started the second sock)

I finished the first Tibetan Nun sock (I added a couple of sections of the yarn over, k2tog rows just for interest. I like it)

I made some great progress on my nephew's "comedy/tragedy theatre" hat. The grey is the hem that will be folded to the inside - it's knitted from Truffles, a cashmere/merino blend that is delicious against the forehead.

More tomorrow - must get back to work. I gather there were some snide comments being made about my absence last week. From the boss. Publicly. What an idiot. (I had a stronger term here, but in the interests of decency, changed it to idiot. My apologies to any idiots out there that take offense to being grouped with this person.

Monday, October 23, 2006

still here. still knitting.

Yes, I am still here, and still knitting. I've even effed some ohs! I finished the bowling theme hat for my nephew:

To be honest, he probably won't wear it unless his mom makes him. It may not be cool enough for a 7 year old. But, he may surprise me. He is very involved in his bowling league, so we'll see. I'm just impressed at how well my vision translated into the actual knitted piece. I'm having fun with the designing! Next up - the comedy/tragedy masks of the theatre for my actor/dancer nephew.
I've also completed the purple and black ruffled scarf, and started a green one. This stuff is very interesting to knit - although it is actually knitting, it feels so much different because of the technique. But the end result is pretty nice. (high praise coming from a fibre snob such as myself!)

The Tibetan Nun socks are also coming along - this shows the colour a little better. I've added some rows of K2tog, YO lace around the ankle - my SIL has issues with swelling, so this lace pattern tends to be a little wider than plain stockinette. Plus, I think it adds a little interest to an otherwise plain-ish looking sock.

Oh yeah - that stitch marker? Dropped stitch. Found just a row or two ago. Grrrr!! I'll sew in in when I am weaving in the ends at the colour changes, but still! Grrrr!

Mom should be coming home in the next day or two - she's out of ICU, and all the tubes and wires have been removed, and she's up and walking around, so it's all good. This also means that I will be off work for probably the remainder of the week, and away from home, as I will move into her place to take care of her until Saturday. My aunt is coming into town then to spend a week with Mom and help out. Not much internet access - I'm working on hubby to organize a laptop for me with wireless access, but we'll see. So, very little posting, and possibly no email access. Ack!! I'm not sure I can handle that. I may be a Luddite as far as daytimers go, (mine is still a paper and pen book) but I need my email access!
I should be at Mom's place for at least three days, and a lot of that time will be spent sitting with Mom while we watch TV, or talk, or pack the freezer with meals. Fabulous knitting time! What to bring, what to bring... Oh yeah, I should packs some clothes and stuff, too...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

recovery update, and other ramblings...

Well, Mom is still in ICU, but that's only because there is not a bed available for her in a surgical room. Hopefully today. The doctors have cleared her for release from ICU, and she's antsy to get out of there. I am constantly on the phone it seems - calling the ICU to check on her (those nurses are the BEST!!), and spending the evening on the phone to family and friends, passing out updates. I have "point people" - one person that I call with info and they spread it from there, but even at that, there are 8-9 calls that are made each night, either in or out. I am beginning to hate the phone.
Knitting is continuing, albeit slowly. The Tibetan Buddhist Nun sock is coming along nicely - I'm almost done the gold heel. By the way, the colours are a deep burgundy and rich gold, not the pink and yellow as it appeared in the photo. And yes Tracy, I do have a Buddhist Nun SIL. Not that it means anything as far as I can tell. She does a lot for a Temple, and travels quite a bit, but she's always done that - she's a wonderful journalist and writer. She's met the Dalai Lama (and pronounced him "quite nice" - like what? we were expecting him to be an obnoxious ass??). She dresses in Western clothing, and has no food restrictions or any other restrictions that I am aware of, so personally, I'm thinking the "nun" thing is arbitrary, and not as binding as perhaps a Catholic Nun would be. I don't have fond memories of Catholic Nuns - as a left-handed kid in a Montreal Catholic school in the mid-1960's, good opinions were not formed when one TIED MY LEFT HAND TO MY SIDE TO MAKE ME USE MY RIGHT HAND!! (Can you tell that still annoys me??) Thankfully, we moved to Ontario quite soon after that fact, and I embraced the Ontario Public School System (and my left-handedness). Not surprisingly, I also dis-embraced the Catholic faith - while it means a lot to my Mom, I guess I'm more of a self-practicing person. No organized religion for me, thanks very much. I've been called a heathen, and kind of like it, so I go with that. As long as I try to be a good person, and "do unto others..." I'm ok with it.
Right. Back to knitting... (as she steps of the unintentional soapbox) Icarus has been ignored lately - charts and worry don't get along, but I hope to pick it up again soon. I'm on the third of 4 lace charts, so I really want to get this done.
Hopefully, pictures to come...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

48 Things You Could Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Technically, Marie, but I go by Sandra

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Full name is Marie Sandra Jacqueline - the Marie is from Mary (you know, the famous one? the Virgin and all that?), Sandra is just what my parents liked, and Jacqueline is my Godmother/Aunt's name.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Geez, my Mom is in ICU for god's sake! I'm crying alot! Plus, I can cry over books (Anne of Green Gables when Matthew dies - Little Women - Beth), TV show, movies, life in general. Part of being my mother's daughter.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Actually, yes. I'm a big list maker.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Rare roast beef, or Montreal smoked meat.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably. I'm kinda fun, very generous and a really good listener.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? um, hello? What are we looking at here? Other than the blog, I don't really journal my life.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope. They snagged them when I was three, thinking they were the cause of my illness. They weren't. I had a kidney disease called nephritis. (all better now!)

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? You betcha! I'm so jealous of my friend Neff who bungeed in New Zealand!

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? When I eat cereal, I usually reach for Golden Grahams or Harvest Crunch.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not if I can help it. THis annoys my husband to no end.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically - not bad. I was in way better shape when I was younger. Emotionally strong? you wouldn't think so, but I rise to the occasion when needed.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? I had this once - I wish I could remember where - soft serve chocolate with maraschino cherries. I bought an ice cream maker just to duplicate this - I'm pretty close. ALso, mamacate's recipe for brown sugar ice cream - to die for!

14. SHOE SIZE? I was a 7 until I got pregnant - now I'm an 8.

15. RED OR PINK? Red. Although I've been told I look good in pink.

16. LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOU? My belly. and my inexplicable need for gossip!

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Hands down, my Dad. For the past 11 years, I've missed him every single day.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Of course. It goes back to the need for gossip and info. Let me know if you do this on your own blog...

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Since I'm at work - black pants, black t-shirt, periwinkle blue knit hoodie. Black clogs that look like hiking boots, but are open at the back, and I don't need to wear socks.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Breakfast - coffee, english muffin with peanut butter and a pear in the car.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The Body Rockers - I Like The Way You Move. (Very cool song)


23. FAVORITE SMELL? babies just out of a bath.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Loretta, the ICU nurse looking after my mom. She is the coolest woman in my world right now.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? eyes if I'm looking from the front. Butt otherwise.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? I've never met Cara, but I like her nonetheless.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Local Ontario beers (Creemore in particular). Single malt scotch. Good red wine. Fresh, cold spring water.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Curling (D'uh, what's my name?) Basketball.

29. EYE COLOR? Green

30. HAT SIZE? Huge. Seriously, I've got a melon up there. (You'd think I'd be smarter...)

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Glasses. I wore contacts for years, and abused my eyes doing it. Now I'm into glasses.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Too many to choose from. Hubby and I both like to cook, so we eat pretty well.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Both. depends on the mood.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. especially at the cottage. But it's hard to beat a cold, crisp sunny day with tons of snow...

36. HUGS OR KISSES? yes, please.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? I'm not a huge dessert fan. I love the sweets, but I don't particularly like them after a good meal.


39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Since I'm not sending it to anyone, and depending on people to jus tread it, who knows?

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Pirate by Ted Bell. Main character Alexander Hawke. I'm a big espionage, murder mystery, thriller type reader. I don't necessarily need my books to teach me life lessons. I get enough of that in real life. Of course, the Harry Potter books, Narnia Books, and some other classics are piled by the bedside at all times.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? nothing. I don't seem to express myself with mouse pads very well. However, I have most of Franklin's cartoons pinned up on my wall right above my mouse pad...

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Tuesday is a bit of wasteland for me. We watched How It's Made on Discovery, then some baseball, then Jay Leno. Tonight, it's Criminal Minds - I loves me some Mandy Patinkin...

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My son laughing. A really great song. My mom in ICU asking for a martini.



46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Geez. I'm not telling anyone that!!

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Montreal, Quebec, Canada

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I stole it from Cara.

Okay - your turn. DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT! You know you want to.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

she's great. thanks for asking.

Mom is doing great. She came through the surgery fine, was in ICU overnight, and probably through today just in case, but they got the blood flow going well. She had a "small cadiac incident" during the surgery, but the anesthesiologist told us (my brother and I) that she was not concerned, Mom reacted well to treatment, and they don't think it was an infarction (i.e. heart attack). We'll know for sure later today. She was still intubated last night when we saw her around 5pm, but they removed the tube last night, ans when I called the hopital at 6am this morning, they even let me talk to her! She sounds great - things are good.

It was long day yesterday - we got to the hospital at about 9:30am, because Mom is absolutely paranoid about being late. I mean, really. I thought I was bad about getting places early - she's unbelievable. (Her surgery was scheduled for noon). They did recommend getting there for 10am to check in, so I guess we weren't remarkable early, but there was still a lot a waiting with her. So we get checked in, and then wait some more. Around 11:15, they call her in. SHe gets changed, we get asked all the same questions (are you pregnant? is my favourite - Mom's 74). But they asked this one of me the last time I was in hospital. For my C-section. My answer was "yes, but not for much longer, I hope!") Anyhoo, we met the anesthesiologist, who drugged Mom up pretty well, and got all the lines in. Then off she went, and it was back to the waiting room for me, adter a quick stop at the TIm Horton's in the lobby. Thank god for that - no cafeteria coffee - just lovely dark Tim's (large, black, double cupped, please), and a bagel. Here's the cool part. I come into the waiting room, and grab a set of the 50 or so that are there. I take out my book to read while munching the bagel (cream cheese and knitting don't mix well). There's a lady 2 seats over, also reading and having a bagel. We finish our bagels at pretty much the same time, put the books away, and BOTH OF US TAKE OUT KNITTING. We both looked up, laughed, and I commented that only knitters would sniff each other out in such a large room! Sue was making a fabulous wool/silk sweater, and we sat comparing patterns, and petting each other's yarn. We started talking yarn, and she was describing the yarn she was using as a small independent mill, couldn't remember the name - I threw out "Shelridge?" and nailed it! Turns out she's familiar with Wellington Fibres as well, one of my favourite locals! Talk about kindred spirits! Her husband was in for day surgery, and he came out fairly soon afterwards, so we parted. Of course, another 2 ladies saw me, and parked nearby and we talked knitting. They were lapsed knitters, but I'm pretty sure both of them are picking it up today.
So, how much can one knitter accomplish in a hospital waiting room during a day like that?
This much:

That would be the toe and most of the instep of a new sock - Tibetan Buddhist holy colours for my Buddhist nun SIL. Yup, really. I have a Buddhist nun SIL. THe bowling pattern hat for a nephew. I had the black hem part done, but did a little over half of the colour work - you can see the bowling balls, the upper part will be bowling pins. And a scarf. This scarf is a new yarn by ON LIne, and I have totally forgotten what it is called, but it is basically the same as Lion Brand's Ruffles, but the ON line is a two colur yarn. It is very cool to use, although it severely slows me down. YOu have to measure out about 4cm (or so, insert the needle into the mesh, and then knit. On the speed upside, the scarf is only 7 stitches wide, and the ruffles and soft, and full and luscious. Quick Christmas gifts, here we come! (two balls, 4mm needles, around $20 each).

Coming up... a 4 things meme...

Friday, October 13, 2006

eye candy Friday, and other things...

The last time DS and I were at the Zoo, we went into one of the rainforest exhibits. DS is learning to use the digital camera, and snapped this. OK, I'm his Mom, but really, for a 7 year old, this is pretty good!

An FO! An FO! Another one for the Christmas gift box! These are for my 22 yrs old nephew (Actually, I think he's closer to 24, now. I've been calling him 22 for a few years now...) Anyway, he's a jazz musician/dancer/actor, and really appreciates the hand knits. He'll love the brightness of these socks, along with the unexpected shots of brown. Plus, he's getting a hat with the comedy/tragedy masks of the theatre as well. As well as money. He always needs money.

Well, Mom is having her surgery on Monday, so I'm off to spend the day in the hospital waiting room. There's a bonus to being a knitter - waiting rooms don't really bother me. I will be well stocked - Icarus shawl, All-but-forgotten-just-after-I-cast-it-on alpaca shawl, and socks. Always socks. Plus some water, snacks and I'm set for a few hours.
Thanks for all the good wishes for my Mom - this shouldn't be too much of an ordeal, and she should come through with flying colours, better than ever. She needs to. She loves to walk, and this arterial blockage is curtailing her ability to do so. Plus, as she says "there are grandchildren to play with!" You bet there are, Mom, and they will be waiting for you when this is all over and done with.
Once the surgery is done, she'll be in hospital for a week or so - I've arranged as many visitors as she is up to - People will be calling her to talk, or dropping by if she wants them to. (Mom is Quebecois French - she HAS to talk. Alot. and often.) Once she's home, I will disappear from here (and work) again for a few days to stay with her and do what's needed. There's a few more good knitting days while we sit together and talk. (always with the talking...)
So, if I'm scarce over the next little while, you know why. When I get back, I hope to have a whole whack of FO's to show.
(Just how big is a whack, anyway? I've always wondered that...)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thanksgiving, and some questions answered...

Thanksgiving at the cottage - is there anything better? The weather was fantastic - we didn't need jackets during the day, and in the evenings, jackets only, no mitts or hats or anything. (That does kind of break a knitter's heart, but the time will come for the woolies!) DS didn't need to wear the Alien Hat, but we did bring it, which garnered orders for a bowling theme (7 yr. old nephew), fish theme (BIL) - I'm working on that one now, and the comedy/tragedy masks for my actor/dancer 22 yr. old nephew. He's very cool, and never asks for anything, so this will be a joy to design and knit.
I did make a dent in the red and brown socks - I had one done, and the second toe and instep done - I'm now at the top ribbing, and once that's done, there's another addition to the gift box! I also did some work on Icarus - the rows are getting so long, it's an accomplishment to get 2-3 rows done in an evening. But It is beautiful. I'm glad I made it in the same alpaca as my Florence Scarf - Icarus is a gift, and since I already have a blue alpaca shawl, it will be easier to give away. Plus, my SIL will love it and take care of it.

This doesn't really show how absolutely beautiful the colours were on the weekend, but most of the pictures have identifiable pictures of the kids, and well, I don't post those. That's just me. This rock face is just back behind the cottage, and down the road a bit. I took the kids back there, and lay in the sun while they climbed. Seriously, I could have been wearing shorts, it was so hot! The boys were having a blast climbing up, finding a way down, climbing up, down, up, down, etc. Man, to be 7 years old again. The only worry these two had was whether or not I had brought snacks along, or did we have to go back to the cottage to eat.

Since I love getting comments, and want to continue getting them from my multitudes (okay, 4 or 5) of readers, I feel like I should answer some of the queries.

First - the Home Depot foam squares - they are sold as foam flooring for workshops. I guess to make it easier when standing for long periods. The store I bought mine in had them on an endcap - a large display at the end of an aisle. Home Depot buys these in bulk direct from the supplier*, and therefore merchandises them as promotional items. Meaning, they could be anywhere in the store, but check the flooring section first. What you are looking for are the foam flooring tiles. They are used in workshop applications.
(*this is some insider information, thanks to what I do for a living, and who I work for. Let's just say, if you need to cover your hard surface floors with something attractive, talk to me. Actually don't - we don't sell to the public. It's just a figure of speech).

CatBookMom wanted to know about thrums, as in the thrummed mittens. CBM, the nature of the thrum keeps it firmly in place. The thrum is simply a small piece of roving, or unspun wool. I make mine about 3 inches long. They get knit along with the regular stitch, creating a sort of duplicate stitch on the outside of the item (heart-shaped, just like you said), and on the inside, the two ends of the roving hang loose. Now, they aren't really loose, i.e., they won't work their way out unless you are an amazingly loose knitter. Once all the thrums are in place (I usually space them about 4 stitches apart, 4 rows apart, and stagger them), all the ends hanging inside form a kind of mass that you shove your hand into (in the case of mitts). After a few wearings, they form to your hand, and kind of felt into place, locking those babies into place for eternity (or, as in the case of my son, a few months) He's 7 - a tough age on mittens, if he even keeps them that long. I love them, and will make myself a pair one of these days - I have some incredible Fleece Artist roving that I am hoarding for myself, plus the alpaca roving that is mine, Mine, MINE! (can you tell I'm in love with it?) But first, I must finish the green and yellow ones for my nephew before he changes hockey team colours...

Friday, October 06, 2006

now I've done it...

I've committed to finishing something. Our Guild has a UFO challenge - list your UFO's and see what you can finish by June. For every project finished, your name goes into the hat for a draw prize. (And a NICE draw prize, I must say! Needles, patterns, yarn, all wrapped up to discover!)
So I've committed to finishing my one mitt wonders:

Now, I have to find them, and try to remember the pattern for the Thrummed one. You see, I kinda made it up as I went along. I'm hoping I wrote it down, but knowing me as well as I do, the chances are not great!

What else, what else... Oh yeah, Tracy wanted to know about the machine knit slipper pattern. Tracy - it is a variantion of the Marlena pattern from the Daily Knitter - theirs is hand knit, but seriously, It's just a giant rectangle that you felt down after sewing it up into a slipper shape. Stupid easy.

Monday is our Canadian Thanksgiving - and in my world, that means a long weekend at the cottage with lots of turkey! We are heading up tomorrow morning (other plans for tonight), which gives me 2+ hours of knitting on the road. Plus the same on the way home Monday, and the hours I can squeeze in on the weekend itself between stuffing and cooking the turkey, eating the turkey, rolling away from the table... Plus the regular cottage chores - taking the boats out, taking one dock out, clearing out the gardens, etc. We're winterized, so we don't do a complete shutdown.

Next week will be spent trying to get things organized with respect to my mom's surgery - time off, kid care, all the other detritus of daily life. The fun never stops. I can't wait to hear my HR idiot's reaction to the time off I need.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

some administrative stuff...

It's only happened twice, but that's two times too many for me. If you are anonymous, and post a comment about how to make money or some other stupid thing that has nothing to do with the post; I WILL delete it. I do not want to set up comment moderation that makes you do extra steps to leave comments. I love the comments! I love reading them, knowing that people out there are reading my ramblings.

Don't make me reach through cyberspace and smack you upside the head!

God, I hate spammers.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

finally! some knitting!

Yes, here at Curlerchik Knits, there is actual knitting going on. For those reading that are also members of the York Region Knitting Guild, what you are about to see is a repeat of the live performance from last night.
Presenting, the Alien Hat:

This is a modification of the "We call them Pirates" hat, a free pattern from Hello yarn. I've made the pirate hat, and love the shaping of it, and Hello Yarn kindly provides a blank template, so my son (the Alien fan) and I sat down and designed the Alien Hat. (Actually, since I am such an Excel geek, I transferred the pattern grid into Excel, and DS and I sat down at the computer and designed it. He created the basic shape of the Alien head, and I made it more knittable, by putting the shapes in between to get rid of extra long floats. He did a pretty good job, I think! The green is a little brighter than it appears here.
As I said, I do like the shape of this hat - it fits my head without giving me the lovely "Yarn Harlot looks phallic head" look, so I grabbed a skein of Wellington Fibres Merino/Mohair blend, and voila!

I love this colourway (called "Royalty" no less!), and it is slightly more muter than it appears. The only thing is, this one is slightly bigger in circumference - because there is no stranding to "pull in" a bit, it comes out bigger. But that's ok, it still fits, and the Truffle merino/cashmere blend I used for a lining is delicious against the ears and forehead.

I also did a little work on the machine - trying to stock up Christmas gifts, and decided slippers were good for this year. It's a simple pattern - simply a large gauge, loosely knit stockinette stitch rectangle, seam up the back, gather the toe and seam the instep/ Toss in the washer, and felt away. Here's the interesting part - different wools will felt at different rates. These three pairs were all knit to the exact same size, and all felted at the same time - Can we say that the striped Needful yarns "Joy" felts at a slightly faster rate than the Gjestal Naturyarn? I guess my size 9 wearing sister-in-law is not getting striped slippers yet.

Anyone know a little girl with about a size 13 - size 1 foot? Scratch that - I just thought of someone...

On another random note...
LuckyCanuck and I were talking recently about blocking boards. She was looking at a blocking board to order, and I told her what I have recently acquired. I thought I would show her (and anyone else reading this). This is a great product - easy to use, easy to store.

There are 4 squares in the package, each 2 foot square. They store easily behind a door or under a bed, pins stick in beautifully, and they can be configured to fit just about anything - a square, 4 feet along each side, and rectangle 2 feet by 8 feet, or for triangular shawls (my upcoming Icarus comes to mind...) I'm thinking three across, and one below to handle the point.
The foam is very think (almost an inch), and very sturdy. A bonus? The black side is great for photographing knits (see above). Matte black, no glare. I bought mine at Home Depot for less than $20, but I'm sure they are available all over.

And for those that were asking about my Mom - many thanks for your concerns. We had the surgeon's appointment yesterday, and we are looking at some major surgery in the next two weeks. Nothing that she won't get through, but the next month or so will be a little tense around here. There will be some leave time taken from work, and some emotional time with my Mom (she's French, overly emotional times are de rigeur for her). My brother and I will get her through this, with the help of friends and family that has already been offered. The upside? (other than the fact that Mom will be out of pain and way more mobile soon) - Lots of knitting time. Waiting rooms are great for that.

Monday, October 02, 2006

being pulled...

in so many directions. I've heard my generation called the "Sandwich Generation". We are caught between providing care to our kids, and to our parents. Today, I'm home with my son, who is coughing up a storm and has been all weekend. We've been to the doctor, and his lungs are clear, but I just can't send him to school when he's coughing every 30 seconds. Here's hoping he's better tomorrow, because I have to leave work early so I can meet my Mom at her vascular surgeon's appointment. She had a small procedure to clear a blockage in her leg a few weeks ago, but the blockage was too big and they couldn't clear it arthroscopically. But the doc said there was nothing to worry about, keep exercising and we'll look at our options. Fine. Now she gets a call last week and he says, "I read the angiogram wrong. I'd like to see you Tuesday". She's a little freaked. (Mom gets a touch emotional). So, to make sure we are getting the right info, I'm going with her to hear what he has to say. 12 years ago, Mom had a quadruple heart by-pass and it was the best thing she ever did. She looks and acts younger now that she did before the surgery. But now, she's getting worried again. And to be honest, so am I. No one wants to realize that their parents are getting older. Even though Dad died 11 years ago, I expect my Mom to be there for me forever. I have to be confident that whatever needs to be done for her will be done, and she will be better than ever. I need to hear that myself from the doctor.
Oh, and the other direction I'm being pulled? Work. They've called alot today. If I'm that damn indispensible, get me an assistant, fer gawd's sake!!!!
Knitting. Yep. I've finished the Alien Hat. I hope to be at my Guild meeting tomorrow night to show it off, and maybe get a picture taken so you non-Guild members can see it too...