Friday, December 28, 2007

just because...

... it's pretty. The ice crystals forming on our cedar hedge were just stunning - on the 26th, the whole street had been dusted by frost and the trees were all glistening. Lovely.

Oh, were you coming here for the contest results? Did I distract you with the icy cedar? Sorry about that.

For those keeping count: there were 35 bracelets knitted and given away (this was easy, as I had mentioned it in a prior post) There were actually more bracelets knitted, but they didn't get given away, so I'm not counting them.

there were 29 other knitted gifts - lace scarves, socks, a couple of beaded chokers, handwarmers galore and assorted other things.

that totals out to 64 total knitted gifts. I know - I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that number. I've got to start knitting less or culling the list a bit.

which makes the winner:

Katrynka, email me at curlerchikATyahooDOTca and give me your mailing address, and I'll send off the Wellington Fibres skein.

Christine was actually closest at 65, but I did say without going over... I feel bad about that, so I'm going to send another Wellington Fibres skein to Christine - email me your mailing address.

I know Jennifer is going to want to know how some of the gifts were received - and I have to say, it was positive all around! (I'm so pleased!) The bracelets were particularly well received, and my notoriously hard-to-gift niece saw the one I made my Mom, and shyly asked if I could make her one as well. She even offered to pay for the beads! She's growing up. (And yes, she's getting a bracelet, and no, I'm not taking any money from her.)

Hubby loved his alpaca hat and handwarmers, and most importantly, my son LOVED his socks. These are the first socks I've made for him that he likes. He even put them on right away. THe chokers were a huge hit, as were the socks (some new recipients of knitted socks this year, and they were happy to be added to the list. My 27 year old nephew was wearing his socks that I made him 2 years ago, and hinted rather broadly that he would take more. He loved his legwarmers (he's a dancer) and the slippers, and had all of them on! He stays high on the list.

The only issue was one SIL who loved her lace leaf cravat scarf, but REALLY loved the beaded chokers that other SILs got. There was an aside remark about the difference, until it was pointed out to her (not by me) that she got a lace shawl last year. (Yes Jen, THAT Sister in law...)

But everyone seemed very happy with the results - I love it when something I give of my heart is so well received.

Now I'm off on a hunt for next years gift - I'm not sure I can do the bracelets again...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

back to reality...

Well, that was wayyyyy too short! (I'm back at work - if it's not required by law, they don't give us the time off, and they frown on anyone taking this time of year off. No, I don't understand it either...)

Christmas chez Curlerchik was wonderful - everything I could want. We spent Christmas Eve with good friends, eating fondue, talking non stop and watching kids and dog run around. The next morning was just me, Hubby and Son - just the way we like it. Hubby went against our "no big gift rule" and presented me with this:

He knew I was rekindling my interest in sewing, and that my old machine was hurting, so he bought me the cream of the crop - a computerized machine that does everything I need it to do, and then some.

I also blew the no big thing by getting him Guitar Hero III, but that wasn't nearly as big. It's just a lot more family fun! I suck at it, by the way. I see lots of practice in my future before we take on the rest of the family. However, we more than made up for the discrepancy by going out and getting the 42" flat screen TV that Hubby has been coveting. We're a happy family. Son did pretty good - Santa cleared off a lot of his list, and then some. What impressed me the most was Son's selflessness when it came to the gifts. He was as interested in what we were unwrapping, and he opened things one at a time, and appreciated them, and thanked us.

After breakfast - off to my brother's place for more family and friends, and more Guitar Hero! Watching my husband and my brother competing on "Barracuda" was priceless. Especially since right after, my 14 year old niece blew them both out of the water.

The final stop of the day was the in-laws for another family of 17 gathering, and dinner. Once we ate and cleaned up, we all pretty much headed home - the energy levels were flagging all around.

Today, Hubby and Son are at home - I'm hoping son gets some thank you's written, and dinner will be waiting for me. Tomorrow, both Hubby and I are working, so some semblance of reality will return. I did get some knitting done - the Selbu mitts are coming along nicely:

I'm still loving this colour mix. I also worked on Hubby's Black Watch socks - straight stockinette for car knitting is the way to go.

There's one more day to get your comments in from my December 24th post - guess the number of knitted Christmas gifts I gave away and you could win this:

Wellington Fibres, 3 ply 50% mohair, 50% wool, 140 grams, 200 yards of light worsted weight - colourway SPRING BREAK TWEED - it's a beautiful steely blue with tweedy bits of mauve and pink and purple...

As a hint - so far, everyone is guessing low! There's still time to revise your guess!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Have a SUPER holiday! (and a contest!)

I have an 8 year old. It's all about the Super Friends...

I realized that I never did a final tally of the knitted Christmas gifts - lets do a quickie contest - comments on this post only, with your guess as to how many total gifts were knitted. You have until 9am (EST) on Friday the 28th, and the person who's closest without going over wins a yarny prize. I haven't picked it yet, but it will be yummy.

Hints - lots of socks, the beaded bracelets, handwarmers and scarves...

To you and yours - if you celebrate the next few days, have a wonderful time. If you don't, have a wonderful time anyway. I will be surrounded by family and friends, right where I want to be.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Not exactly traditional...

Sorry I missed you yesterday - I had to attend a funeral in the morning, then there was some catch up to play at work. Not the best of days, but we are through it, and are looking forward.

I know I said I wouldn't touch my Selbuvotter book until after the holidays, since I had so much to do. Yeah, well, it's me we're talking about, remember? (no, my hands are not this pink! I had to do some colour correcting to get the colour of the Shelridge yarn close to reality.)

I only have about an inch left on my son's socks, so they should be finished up soon, so I decided to treat myself to some colourwork. Traditional Selbuvotter mittens are black (or dark brown) and white (or cream). Nothing against tradition, but I wanted a little pizzazz. Hence the handpainted green blend from Shelridge, in place of the white. (The black is SISU - the best plain superwash sock yarn around - comes in every colour you need.)

I love how the green colour changes are broken up by the starkness of the black. I can see many more of these in my future, especially now, that knitting time for the next little while is dedicated mostly to me! Gifts are done, and (mostly) wrapped. I wish I had taken a picture of my dining room table with 35 little bags all lined up, holes punched,, ribbon looped through, a bracelet in each one. So far - three given, and all three warmly received. Warms the cockles of a knitter's heart...

And a note to Deirdre - you made me laugh out loud! thanks for the comment!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Damn youngsters...

Not the 8 years olds that hang out at my house - them, I love.

I'm talking about some of the "youngsters" I work with. You know, the ones, who found out I was turning 45 and say things like "That's how old my Mom is!" Shut up. But the winner is "How stupid can I sound" Sweepstakes is one of our designers. When I came in the other day wearing my Lopi Sweater (Sigridur from the Best of Lopi book) she commented how nice it was, and asked if my GRANDMOTHER knit it for me.
Now, I don't know if my Grandmothers ever knit - my maternal GM died before I was born, and my Nanny died when I was 6. I remember certain things about her - her love of wrestling (the real stuff from the 60's and 70's - think Gorgeous George and Killer Kowalski at the Montreal Forum), her homemade maple spread, and her Scottish accent, but I don't know if she knit. (I'll have to ask.)
I was willing to leave it at "No, I knit it myself", but she kept pressing - did my Grandmother teach me how to do it? (I'm actually mostly self taught, with a little guidance from Mrs. Soucie (a neighbour and friend)). I explained that I didn't have my Grandmothers any more, and besides, people other than Grannies knit. She looked at me in disbelief, and asked "Why? You can get a great sweater at Old Navy!"
I agreed, but she couldn't get THIS sweater at Old Navy. And before she could open her mouth again, I said "No, I will not make you one. Ever." She stopped, because, yes, that is exactly what she was going to ask.

Damn youngsters...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The box o' knitting

I thought I'd show you the box that I've been tossing knitting stuff into once I finish it. It's down about half (I've already been wrapping lots of stuff), but it's still pretty good. It's a handy box to have - it sits in the corner near the computer, and every time I finish something, in it goes. Its fun to dig into it at this time of year - there's lots of stuff in there that I had forgotton about. Surprises like that are always a good thing. Of course, the fact that there's still quite a bit in there means I still have lots of wrapping to do... must bribe child with cookies to finish that up for me.

Like Stephanie, my scheduling has taken a hit. We've had a loss - technically not family, but if we could choose our family, they would have been part of it. It's a phone call no one wants to make or get, but K made it, and we got it. I feel so bad for her - losing a father is tough, and when you're the only daughter, it's really hard. She knows I've gone through it, and has asked if we could spend time with them. Of course we can - other stuff will get done when it gets done. Helping friends is the most important thing, and we do it gladly, albeit with a heavy heart.

Monday, December 17, 2007


This was my deck this morning. (I'm not sure what that small hill in front is. Must check with the neighbours to see if anyone is missing a kid...)

We spent much of Sunday shoveling out, only to have to repeat every few hours. At least Hubby got the snowblower working, so it made for a much easier ordeal. Of course, we waited and waited for the snow plow to come, and of course, it hadn't by midnight. So, there was the mountain at the base of the driveway this morning that needed to be cleared. That's way more work than I want to do first thing in the morning...

After the shoveling part, we got our tree up, I baked and I knit. My kind of day. I finished up my nephew's legwarmers, the last (I hope!) of the handwarmers, and have almost finished my son's socks. This week should be pretty calm - 1 last gift to get that I had forgotten about (or blocked out - it's a generic gift for Hubby's family get-together, and I don't really want to go. But that's another story...) Knitting, once I finish the socks for my son, will be for me. I've got my Selbuvotter book (and the errata from the website - thanks, Lucky!) and I plan on some mitts for me.
We also got the perfect (I think) gift for the inlaws - a digital picture frame. They have been complaining about the lack of pictures since we all went digital. Now they can get them all!

Friday, December 14, 2007

another quick knit

I loves me the quick knits at this time of year. Another pair of handwarmers, this time using Sarek** yarn form Marks and Kattens - 100% wool, colourway is Party. This is a new yarn to me and to Needles and Knits, where I bought it. 50 yards per ball, 2 balls are the perfect amount for a pair of hand warmers. I just left a hole for the thumb on these, but I could have made a thumb gusset if I wanted to. It's an interesting wool - 2 ply, fairly loosely plied - 1 ply is solid dark greyish brown, the other has a longish colour change. This particular one ranges from navy through green, pink and some purple. Sounds funny, but is really pretty. Tove has other colourways, and I may just be picking some up when I go there this weekend to pick up my Selbuvotter book. The timing of this book is perfect. Had it arrived earlier, I would have been distracted away from my gift knitting. This way, I'm almost done gift knitting,s o I can concentrate on some Selbu mitts for ME! The weekend is upon us, and I hope to make my last shopping trip tomorrow. (other than the last minute lottery ticket run on the 24th.) This weekend also starts the "we don't have a night off between now and Christmas" rush. Between dinners with friends, baking and wrapping, we're busy. Correction - I'm busy. Husband sits back and watches! At least my Son has decided to do the wrapping this year. As an obsessive ribbon-tying, paper folding, perfect wrap chosen type of person, it has been difficult for me to let go. But the pride he takes in his wrapped creations more than makes up for it. And it leaves me more time to knit.
** quick! What's the Star Trek reference that immediately comes to mind??

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Meme

OK, first found at Baxterknits, then the whole thing was stolen from Knitthink...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both and any other type of wrapping - I love wrapping. Some cough*husband*cough people have thrown the word "obsessed" out when it comes to wrapping. I now travel with small scissors to help people unwrap my gifts. I loves the ribbons!

2. Real or artificial tree? Growing up - it was always artificial. Dad always talked about his allergy to pine trees. Turns out he was allergic to the needles on the carpet, not the trees themselves. Since marriage, it has always been real, because Hubby recoiled in horror at the thought of a fake tree. Now the debate is Scotch Pine (him), or Balsam (me).

3. When do you put up the tree? Whenever we can carve out the time to go and get it. Usually mid December.

4. When do you take the tree down? January 2nd. I usually have this day off - Hubby goes to work, Son is out with friends, I get it done.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not a chance. Hubby on the other hand, loves it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Barbie's Country Camper. This thing is a 70's nightmare - all orange and pink pyschedelic swirls, and I loved it! My friend Jennifer got it as well (Our Mom's shopped together), and our Barbies camped together for years.
We also got Pong (the original video game) as well, which was very cool.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope. But my Mom does, and is hoping I may want it in the future. Unfortunately, I don't.

8. Hardest person to buy for? When my Dad was alive - no question it was him. He was easy enough to pick gifts out for, ans we did. However, he also went on a shopping spree for himself around mid-December, and bought everything we already had. We then had to go on a returning spree, and then find something else. Every fricken year! I think he enjoyed this...

Now? Probably my brother's family - their tastes run way more expensive than my budget. So now, we adults don't exchange anything, and the kids get cash or gift cards.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Husband. I can knit him socks, buy him shirts, he loves it. But I always try to get the one frivolous thing he would love. Last year it was a fishing trip. This year - Guitar Hero 3 for the Playstation.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I have to narrow it down to one? I hate to say it but it would probably be something from my MIL. She;s a lovely lady, but she has a habit of buying us girls clothes that she thinks we should be wearing. And none of us do. Plus, she buys us all the same thing, in different colours. A little too matchy-matchy for me. Oh, then there was the daytimer organizer. I use a small 3"x6" daytimer that fits in my purse - I love it, still use it, and carry my life in it. MIL and FIL gave me a 81/2" x 11" BINDER organizer. This thing weighed about 10 pounds. I didn't know what to do with it. It also came with a year's worth of inserts - another 20 pounds of paper. Ack.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. I don't have time to devote to them. My MIL whines every year about doing them and every year I tell her to bag it. She looks at me like I have three heads. "But I HAVE to send them! What would people think?" (As an aside, I hate the comment, "What would people think?" For the most part, I don't really care what people think about things like this)

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Charlie Brown Christmas, The Grinch (animated, of course - I love Boris Karloff!)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I start knitting right away and spread it out all year, but the buying doesn't happen until December-ish.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Ummm, yeah, probably. I've gotten some doozies that I know are much better appreciated in their new homes... I always re-wrap completely, though. (See question #1)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Food. My Dad's stuffing recipe - basic bread stuffing, but a stuffed turkey just smells right.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Both. I'm a white light fan, hubby likes the riot of colour - secretly, I'm getting into the colours...

17. Favorite Christmas song? Barenaked Ladies Version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and John Mellencamp's I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. I like the traditionals done more currently.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We three stay home until noon, then hit my family for the afternoon, and Hubby's family for dinner. Thankfully, we are all within an hour's drive.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? D'uh! You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Blitzen, Comet and Cupid and Donner (or Donder for the purists...) and Vixen, but do you recall...the most famous reindeer of all... any Christmas-phile worth her salt knows this

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? - Angel - given to us by dear friends on our first married Christmas - we spend every Christmas Eve with them, and have a blast.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning - no exceptions, unless it is gifted by friends - then we open with them.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Family drama. It's not worth the hassle, yet I deal with it every year, since I got married. Hubby hates it too, but he silently puts up with it, because most of it originates with his Mom and sister. He is becoming a bit more vocal about it, lately, but we still deal with it, and it usually lands on me. I hate it.

23. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? I used to, then we had a child - now it's a riot of everything and I love it!

24. What do/did you leave for Santa? Cookies, milk (for Santa), chocolate (for Mrs. Claus) and carrots for the reindeer. The carrots are always nibbled on, the reindeer leave poop on the front lawn, and Santa leaves snowy footprints from the fireplace to the tree. But it's magical North Pole snow that doesn't melt, and is easily swept up. (the poop is magical too - it resembles chestnuts...)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bulky weight yarn has its advantages...

I never seem to quit when it comes to Christmas. I do up a list of things to make and get, and when I get close to being finished, I always think that there should be more. My brother's kids are a perfect example. They pretty much want gift cards. I appreciate the honesty, but I can't just do the envelope. (And trust me, it's not just an envelope - I have a wee obsession with gift wrapping.) The card will be in a box with rocks or jingle bells or something to throw them off. Crazy? Obsessive? Who, me? Anyway, I wanted more, but I'm running out of available time. I stop by Needles and Knits for inspiration. Enter Bulky Weight Misti Alpaca. I wish computers had feel-o-vision - this stuff is decadent. Squooshy and soft and wonderful. And the perfect colours for two nephews who play hockey in the Marlies organization. These were done during the TSN Curling Skins game on Sunday, and the second pair is now complete as well.
I also have this bulky weight in a beautiful blue-green handpainted version, and since they take so little time, I may just make two more pairs for some co-workers that I really like.
yummy, yes? Look at it up close...

There is a time in my frenetic life for bulky yarn and big needles. And that time is mid to late December...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the last of the beads (for this year)...

Okay, here's the last pictures of the beaded necklaces. There's only so many times I can show them...

A modeled shot of the bronze coloured loop necklace:

I've put an adjustable chain on this so it will fit anyone. This is for one SIL who will love it. I know her so well - we met when we dated then married brothers, and have become great friends beyond that. We have kids the same age who are the best of friends. She appreciates the hand made stuff even though she doesn't do it herself.

For another SIL, I went brighter. She loves blue and green and bright colours.

I didn't follow any colour pattern with this - it's just multicoloured glass seed and bugle beads in a random colourway. I'm enamoured of this pattern. It's another Brenda Franklin, not from her book, but bought as a separate pattern at the Kitchener Fair. I've got seed and bugle beads in a copper, bronze, pewter and gold mix, and I'm definitely making this again. For me.And to show how easy this is - here's the back. Simple garter stitch. The front just has loops of beads. Seriously, it's that easy.The clasp couldn't be easier. (But taking a picture of it was obviously hard, as I didn't...) I was in Walmart and checked the bead section. They had silver chain link bracelets with a lobster claw clasp. Hmmm, snip a chain link in the middle, and sew the ends to each end of the knitted piece. Voila! finished chain link closure. Sometimes I amaze myself...

Monday, December 10, 2007


I love my boy. I would, as most parents would, do anything for him. But how do I handle this? He's wearing his alien hat that we designed together and I knit last year. He loves it. A friend commented on it, and my Son turns and says to friend "What do you want on a hat? My Mom can knit ANYTHING".

At first, I puffed with pride - not only does my son love my knitting, he's PROUD of me! I'm not an embarrassment (yet) to him! How cool is that?

Wait... if he keeps this up, I could end up knitting a menagerie of hats for the entire third grade. No! My knitting time is precious, and while I can be a bitch towards co-workers and sundry other adults about selfish knitting, how can I disappoint 8 year olds? I've got to head this off... Damn! he wore his Spider sweater to school! How many of them saw it, and how many did he offer that I would knit for them? What if the girls requested princess sweaters?? Oh Man! that's INTARSIA! I can't do it, I have no time! I'm too selfish!

Wait! What did the friend say?

"No thanks. My gramma knits me hats. They itch, but I'm not allowed to tell her".

Charging the camera batteries - pictures to come...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Comment Q and A

I don't get that many questions or comments, so when I do, I like to answer them.

My Aurora lurker asked:

"Where do you get your thread? I started with a kit from earthfaire, but would like to buy locally if I could. "

I also started with earthfaire (they are responsible for setting me off on this path...) Now I buy my beads wherever I find them - Michael's usually, but I have been know to find some in Wal-Mart. Threads are another issue - I havent yet been able ot find good threads at either of these places. There are bead stores near me, but their hours and mine never seem to mesh. (They are often closed on Sundays, which seems to be the easiest day for me to get out.)

However, I need to get to one soon, because I want to stock up on some silk threads. Right now I usually use Cotton Perle #8, which works just fine. I had a stash of this (I have NO IDEA why), but I have also bought some at a yarn store near me. However, they are discontinuing it, and have very little left. Any place that sells embroidery supplies should be able to help.

And even though you didn't ask, someone at my Guild did - needles may be tougher to find locally. I'm very lucky - my husband owns a manufacturing business, and works with a lot of stainless steel. He even has it in lengths of 1.0mm and 1.5mm rods. Cut down to size, sharpened at one end and beads glued on to the other - voila! bead knitting needles. He's so pleased with them, he got a little annoyed when he saw my sock needles. "You bought thouse? Why? I can make them!" Yes dear you can. And don't worry - you will be...

Tracy mentioned that she's baffled by the beaded necklaces. No worries, a lot of people are, especially when I say they are knitted. Even knitters looke at them and can't really see the "knitting" part. But they are. Really. And easy. Really. If they interest you go to Brenda Franklin's site and get one of her patterns or kits. The instructions are really well written, and if you follow them, you will be amazed. Really. I was. I never thought I'd be making these. And look at me now!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

knitting done and to do

Some beaded knitting is done and in progress:
This is a looped knitted choker for a SIL. The pattern is from Brenda Franklin's first book, and contrary to how it looks - it's very easy to do, and quite quick!

upclose, I hope you can see the beads - they are a bronzy colour, and i used champagne coloured perle cotton. The cotton shows a little - if I made this again, I'd search out silk thread in a colour that matches the beads a bit better, but I'm happy with this, and SIL will be too.
Another SIL likes a little more colour, so she is getting the bugle bead choker using some multicolour seed and bugle beads I had hanging around. (Knit from stash! I love it!)

I got to do a little knitting on our vacation. The toe of the first sock was done before we left, and I got the foot knitted while sitting at the airport from 4:30am to 6:00am when we boarded - the heel and leg were knitted on the plane from Toronto to Orlando, and the ribbing is the sum of 4 nights of knitting at Disney World. (an indication of just how tired I was!) The second sock toe was cast on and done at my Mom's, and the I got to the heel at her place and on the plane. Not as much knitting time, as I spent a lot of time cajoling Son into doing his homework that he was studiously ignoring. (Yarn is Austermann Step with aloe and jojoba - picked from the stash by Son himself).
I also got most of another handwarmer done - just need a thumb and another for the pair - destined for a Christmas gift for one niece or another. Fleece Artist Kid/silk blend, also from stash.

I took stock of what I have done, and what I have left to do, and surprisingly, I'm not in bad shape. I got a lot of holiday knitting done ahead of time, I guess. I thought I had more to do, but I have severely cut back this year - it was getting ridiculous. The kids (nieces and and nephews) were getting a little presumptuous with their requests - there's no way I'm buying my 13 year old nephew a laptop - nice try. and the girls! Very specific in their demands. And you know what? That's what they are - demands. No more nice little lists, once they hit the teen years. So each is getting one gift, and one gift card. The girls are getting something handknit (hand warmers, maybe a bracelet), and the guys - something small they want (I've been told posters of "hot girls" will work. Now I have to find out if he wants Jessica Alba hot, or Jessica Simpson hot. I'm hoping for Alba.) And then it's I-tunes gift cards for all!

So once I finish the above, I have one more (maybe two) pairs of handwarmers, and some bracelets to finish. (and these already have the beads strung). I think I can do this. I hope.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

a caution I take to heart...

We spent the first half of last week at Disney, then went to my Mom's for some recovery time. Hubby and I relaxed, read, swam, and I shopped and knit. Young Son was appropriated by his Nanny (my Mom) to be shown off around her park. (She has a house in a senior's park - they're all prefab homes). He swam in the pool, rode a "giant tricycle" (they all seem to ride these big three wheeled bikes down there), and discovered that when they post signs near the pond, they really mean it:

(that's as close as I was getting...)

I also did some knitting. I finished one sock for my son in the airport and on the plane flying down, and got half of the second one done on the way back. I didn't have as much time on the way back to knit as I was helping Son with his homework that had been basically ignored all week! I also got some handwarmers done, but realy, for a week off, knitting time was sorely lacking.

I'm starting to surface again - I've dug my way out of most of the paper at work, Son has been to swimming lessons and basketball practice, I've been to a Guild meeting, Hubby has been to poker... Now I have time to get some groceries in the house and face the Mount Everest of laundry. Oh Joy. I've also started to realize that we are in December - I'm not sure how that snuck up on me - and now I have to face the fact that I am woefully behind. I need some time to shop for a few things, knit a few things, wrap a few things... I won't even get into the family issues that are arising right now - I've already made my stance pretty clear within the family, and I'm not going to take the crap that is potentially going to be dished out. Not going to happen. I don't have time for drama. I think I need a Lene...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Disney recap

Wow. All I can say is the people at Disney World really know customer service. There wasn't anything we needed that wasn't looked after. A really, really great time. And one thing we noticed - when we asked at booking when the "quieter" time was at DW, we were told "there is no slow time - Disney World is always busy". Well. I can tell ya, go right after American Thanksgiving - it definitely slows down somewhat. We arrived on Saturday, and went to Epcot for the afternoon. It was BUSY! We couldn't get on the rides we wanted to try, and they weren't even allowing Fast Passes. Sunday we hit the Magic Kingdom early, hoping to beat the crowds, but there weren't the crowds we expected. It was busy, but not BUSY. We used Fast Passes for some rides, but others didn't need it. Same thing at Animal Kingdom on Monday and MGM Studios on Tuesday. (We detoured back to Epcot before getting to Animal Kingdom - we had to go on the Soarin' Ride, and it was well worth it.) The hotel was great, and the three of us had a fabulous time. There's a lot of walking, I tell ya! Things to do, places to go, and everywhere, something to see. All in all, a great time.

Some of the highlights:

The picture millions have taken before me, and millions will take after:
Seeing this as you enter the Magic Kingdom just screams DISNEY!

We are a Donald Duck family. Nothing against Mickey - I love the Mouse, but my husband can actually talk like Donald Duck, (to the delight of all kids) so it's all about the Duck. We have family pictures posed with Donald and Daisy, but I don't have permission of husband or son to post them recognizably, so here's Donald at one of the parades:
We have pictures of each of the park symbols - Cinderella's Castle for the Magic Kingdom, The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, the Sorcerer's Apprentice hat at MGM and the golf ball at Epcot. (Is there a name for that thing?) Unfortunately, they all seem to have one of us in them - sorry!
There were so many highlights - each day brought something memorable, but this one stands out:

How many parents get to watch their kid defeat Darth Vader?

Son was chosen out of the audience to be one of 16 Jedi-in-Training, and have a chance to fight Darth Vader. They learned proper light saber techniques and well, it was so cool! It pays to dress your kid in bright orange! Even at the parades, the characters seemed to find him and high-five him. And the bright colour was so that I could find him in a crowd - who knew it would also help the Jedi Master pick him?

Monday, December 03, 2007

I'm back, but...

Our return flight was delayed - got in late last night - desk piled to the heavens...

Let me find the camera cord and well, actually, find myself amidst the paper and I'll be back. Give me a day or two, ok, Nancy?

And yes, the trip was wonderful, fabulous and everything we wanted it to be!

Friday, November 23, 2007


See you real soon!
Back in a week or so...

(and the stash is safe - the neighbours are house sitting. Always good to make friends with the guy who works at home, knows EVERYTHING that goes on on the street, and whose kids are always looking for extra cash, earned by getting mail, feeding fish, turning lights on and off...)

And, how cool is this?

Driving in to work today, I saw the coolest rainbow arcing around the sun. Unfortunately, it didn't photograph nearly as nice as it appeared in real life, but it was a hell of a birthday gift.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

can't stay away from the beads!

I try. Really I do. I have lots of lovely wool to knit, using reasonably sized needles, with nicely formed tips - sharp, but not lethal.

But these keep worming their way back into the rotation...

They and their friends keep grabbing my attention, and force me to do things like this:

(the colour doesn't show very well here - think gloriously bronzy beads, on champagne coloured perle cotton..) Both of these are destined to become chokers for some SIL's that will love them.

And the needles are like this:

sharp (really sharp), and small. Small enough that my age is starting to show, and I am looking ABOVE my glasses to see this stuff close up. My husband keeps using the "B" word (bi-focals), but I'm resisting. I mean, why should I, when just taking off my glasses works just fine...

Added note - people, we're Canadian. Snow should not be a surprise to us. But judging from some of the people on the road this morning, they've never seen the white stuff before, and they certainly don't know how to drive in it...
And to my American Friends - I hope you have a wonderfully Thankful day. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, and many of you are part of it. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

lots of little things

I've been knitting - I'm trying to get things organized to go away, and that means a lot of starts, but not a lot of finishes. (yes, I plan my travel knitting before all else, what of it?)

Travel knitting to me is little things that work up easily. No sweaters, probably no beads, (although it's hard to leave them behind...), nothing that requires lots of chart referrals, etc. So we're talking socks and hand warmers for the most part. I've cast on a couple of toes, and got them to the point of off the two circs, and on to my beloved dpns. A pair for my hubby in Rabbitch's Toe Jam, Black Watch Colourway:
I've told you the history of this - Hubby's grandfather was in the Black Watch, and it has a special place in Hubby's heart, as well as historical significance. Good on ya, Rabbitch. These are on metal dpns, so will not make it into the cabin of the plane with me. I know that, by law, I am ALLOWED to bring knitting needles on the plane, and I have successfully done so in the past, but we have a 6:30am flight, and it's young son's first time in a jet (he's flown in Cessnas, both wheeled and float, but not anything bigger - talk about doing things backwards...). Anyhoo, I figure this will be the one time I get a crankypants bag checker who will freak at sharp metal sticks, and cause us all kinds of problems that I will not be able to deal with in the middle of the night with (probably) very little caffeine. Hence, a pair for my son - Austemann Step with Aloe, on bamboo dpns. Should pass muster:
I also have a pair of handwarmers on bamboo ready to go, because as we all know, I have KADD (Knitter's Attention Deficit Disorder), and can't be limited to just one project. Plus, there's always that hope that I will warp the Time-Space Continuum, and whip off 2 full socks, and still have flight time left, and THEN WHAT WOULD I DO? The Need Factor for a back up project is there.
That's just what's going in the carry on. (Well, the Black Watch isn't, but anyway). I'm still deciding what goes in the checked bag. I'm thinking some Fleece Artist Silk/Kid in a beautiful red/pink, as well as some other worsted for handwarmers, and an extra ball of sock yarn. And beads on fine thread. (You know, in case that Time-Space thing happens...)
I've got the knitting planned, now I must see about clothes and such...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I iz not two smart...

I stole this from Carol:

cash advance
She is genius level. I'm not quite there...

Edited to add...
Thanks Wannietta! I think my husband agrees with you...

I think my problem is I hang out with too many elementary school level people. And I'm talking about work, not my Grade Three age son...

Monday, November 19, 2007


The above title applies to Ravelry. It could mean a Ravelry Update (which this is), but actually, it stands for Ravelry Underachievers. A group I happily embraced! Of course, once I did that, I actually started adding things to Ravelry - my profile, some of my books.. It takes joining an underachievers group to actually get me to start achieving things...
However, I still haven't set up a Flickr account, so I guess I am an underachiever.

If you are on Ravelry, and I haven't added you to my friends list (I'm workin' on it...) let me know, and I'll get on that.

Posting may be a bit boring this week - I'm a little busy, and my knitting is well, boring. Small things, finishing up things. I hope to have some more bead necklaces to show one of these days...

Friday, November 16, 2007

fall down, go boom...

I kinda fell the other day. Metaphorically, I should add, not physically. The only thing I hurt was my credit card balance.

You see, I was reading Rabbitch, and she was mentioning some yarns she had for sale over at the Sweet Sheep, and how one of them was her favourite. So I hopped (hopped! get it? Rabbitch... maybe it's just me.) over to the Sweet Sheep to take a gander (I have an animal thing going here, I think) .

Rabbitch's fave was "Anthem" which is lovely, but I kept looking and found "Black Watch". Whoa. Hubby's grandfather was in the Black Watch, Hubby has his regimental tie, and well, it's an important part of his heritage. So I had to get it. And then it looked so lonely in the shopping cart, I just had to add to it.
I ordered on Monday (?) I think, and it was waiting for me when we got home. My son gets to the door first, and sees the package. He picks it up, gives it a squeeze, and says "It must be for you Mom, it's yarn." My Boy! I've got him trained so well, he can tell yarn through plastic Canada Post packaging.
How's this for customer service? Not only does it arrive fast, it arrives all packaged up so pretty:
Pink tissue, label and a handwritten thank you card. "Candy for your Stash" - you got that right!

Rabbitworks Toe Jam - "Black Watch"
C*EYE*BER Fiber - Gregory
Dream in Colour Smooshy - Good Luck Jade
The black Watch is perfect - black and just the right shade of green. Hubby approves, and has asked that they go to the top of the queue. It's wound and ready.
Mama E's C*EYE*BER Fiber is lovely. The perfect brown/blue combination that I am in love with. This may go to the top of my queue...
And the Smooshy. Swoon. Green is my favourite colour, and this is really, really nice.
I also bought the Tulip baby sweater pattern. (See Steph? Your influence again...) I have no babies on the horizon. None. The only person I know that's even getting married will not be baby making. (It's Hubby's 85 year old uncle, and we are thrilled for him and his bride-to-be).

Be warned - a visit to the Sweet Sheep can be dangerous. Fun, fulfilling and a joy, but dangerous to credit cards...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Holiday light etiquette - lets discuss...

First off - yesterday's post was a JOKE! I feel the need to explain this to the people that felt the need to leave me a private email instead of a public comment. I am not mad at Stephanie. I like Stephanie. She's been to my house for dinner, we are friends. She makes me buy things (good things, Sheepstrings...) And now she's making me knit things because she shows how beautif ul these things can be. And yes, I still read her blog every day, and her books are still in the place of reading honour in my house - the bathrooms.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand...
what is the etiquette of when to put up Holiday lights? As a kid, my Dad always put them up around the second week of December - Epiphany (Janaury 6th) was important to my Mom, so we kept them on until then, but they didn't go up until around December 10th or so. Which is kind of what my husband and I do. Early-mid December and we stop lighting them around New Years. Seems to make sense to me, but maybe I'm warped.
There are at least 10 houses around my neighbourhood already lit up. We're talking about November 10th, when I saw the first one! I'm thinking that sort of dilutes the excitement of the season when you drag it on for almost 2 months, wouldn't you think?

Hubby and I are also in conflict on the type of lights - I'm the single colour, sort of laid back type of decorating. Hubby likes colour and flash that would make a Las Vegas Hotelier weep with envy. But this year, his flashing ribbon multicolour lights have bit the dust. And I was given the task of replacing them. I think I hit the happy medium. LED (because, d'uh, why wouldn't you - better energy use, brighter colours and all that), single strand (my liking) BUT, they change colour from red to green, so it satisfys his need for some flash. I also have some twinkle lights (again, LED) for our crabapple tree near the deck, so he gets that extra flash of colour.

I'm not a Scrooge, I'm really the farthest thing from it. I love Christmas, especially since our son came along - I love giving hand knit gifts, and that something special that no one is expecting. This year, Hubby is getting Guitar Hero 3 - he mentioned a few weeks ago that he played it with some of our Godkids out in Calgary, and how absolutely cool it is. Well. That sealed it - he's getting it. What else do I get him? We don't need a lot of stuff. And when we need it, we go and get it. So Christmas is really to give something that we normally wouldn't get for ourselves. I'm kinda looking forward to some riffs myself...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I'm waiting rather (im)patiently for my copy of Selbuvotter to arrive. (I've ordered it from my LYS, Needles and Knits. I try to shop local when I can, and Tove's shop is so great, it's nice to support it). I've got the Shelridge yarns ready and there are mittens (a la Stephanie) in my future.

I may have to stop reading Steph. If she's going to insist on showing cool things to knit, and bringing up the Christmas countdown (41 days! ack!) I'm going to have to smack her with wet wool. Wet wool, fresh off a sheep. Wet wool, fresh off a sheep that hasn't been skirted.

I mean it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

rainbow wristers

I meant to add some details on these wristers yesterday, but I was on a roll with my rant, and it just didn't seem like the right time. I have made these for my niece. Last year, she got a hat out of the rainbow yarn, and loved it. I had yarn left over, so I thought I would whip up some fingerless mitts. I made these very simply - just a tube with a thumb opening, and a picot edge bind off. But they were plain. I stewed for a bit, then found the blue Ovation (kid mohair / silk blend) in my stash, and it matched. I thought about a ruffled trim, but that didn't address the issue of the open thumb. So I thought of maybe a ruffle that covered the thumb for warmth, but still left it open for ease of use. I was also in the midst of one of my beading frenzies, and had these clear beads hanging around - a perfect solution for a very busy yarn like this variegated. I picked up stitches just below the thumb opening, and started knitting. I put in two rows of beads right at the beginning to define the cast on, and I increased around the mid point of the thumb so it wouldn't be too tight, but would still be snug enough for warmth. I continued up to around where the top of the thumb would be, then did two rows of increases to created a ruffly edge. I then cast off, adding a bead to each cast off stitch to add some weight. I love how the beads add a heaviness and swinginess to the ruffle.

When you wear it with a coat, the picot edge of the variegated and the beaded ruffle edge just peek out of the cuff. And if you need to use your hand, the ruffle flips back over the wrist, out of the way. I hope J likes them. She's 13, and such a great kid, that I know she will be very thankful at Christmas, but I just hope she LIKES them, know what I mean?

Monday, November 12, 2007


When I was younger, living at home, and I got pissed about something, my Dad always told me the channel my anger into something productive.

Can you tell how mad I was on Friday?

Clockwise from the top centre - Striped slippers (pre felting) made of Soy Wool Stripes from Patons. Dark Blue slippers (pre felting) made from Gjestal Naturgarn. Beaded wristers (1 was done, I finished up the second). Green leg warmers.

(before you think I was really THAT angry, the slippers and the leg warmers were mostly done on the knitting machine). I also washed all the sheets and towels, and hung them outside for awhile to get them nice and fresh, cleaned 2 bathrooms, and organized a few cabinets in my kitchen. On top of my normal weekend stuff...

What gave me the need to channel my anger? My HR department. In the past month while I have had the illness that won't go away, I have taken 2 sick days. (My doctor recommended much more, but I was somewhat functional, so I came in to work). Last week, I sent in the form for the most recent, requesting it as an unpaid sick day. (I've used up my allotment of 4 sick/personal days already) Friday I get an email from HR stating that no, these are not unpaid sick days, they have been taken off my vacation allotment, meaning that I have 3 days left of vacation. "PLEASE ABIDE BY THIS" was capitalized on the email. Right. She has conveniently forgotten that I am off in a couple of weeks to Florida for a family vacation. That can't be changed. Correction - that WON'T be changed. I sent back a lovely little note, apologizing profusely at the oversight, but that I WILL be away for 5 days, and whatever is decided, I will ABIDE by. (i.e., I expect to get a written warning.) This is such crap. If HR spent less time policing the people that already work here, and more time finding people to fill the numerous vacancies, maybe there wouldn't be such turnover. (Have I told you that we have had more than 10 receptionists in the last 2 years? And that for the past 2 months, we haven't even had one? We've all been taking turns helping out at the front.)

So I channeled all that into to above. And by Sunday night, I felt much better. I still can't stand her and her policies, but then again, I don't work in HR so maybe I'm just being a pain. I don't know. What I find funny is that if I get 2 written warnings about absenteeism, I get penalized by... wait for it... 3 days off without pay. I'm thinking I should take another couple of days off, and add the three suspension days for a week off. What do you think?

All this just weeks after getting a "Substantially Above Target" rating on my employee evaluation. I get nailed because my priority is my family. Whose priorities are screwed up here...

Friday, November 09, 2007

fun stuff Friday

First off - I have to thank you for the nice comments on Tubey. Nancy did a great job on the pictures, but you really have to see this in person to appreciate the loveliness of the Sheepstrings yarn I used on the arms. And I'm thrilled at how well the Elann Highland wool matched. I may have to knit myself more sweaters...

I stole this from Wannietta, but made some changes...

YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) = Martini Civic (eh, not a banner name...)

YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fav. ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) = Dulce La Leche Homemade (could work...)

YOUR "FLY GIRL" NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of last name) = SRic (boring...)

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) = Green Penguin (sounds rather Marvel Comic-ish...)

YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) = Jacqueline Montreal (yeah, could work...)

YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) = Ricsa (no worse than Jar Jar Binks...)

SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink, put "The" first) = The Orange Beer (this I like!)

STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy) = Obsession Rockets (look for me, starting a 2 week tour at the Brass Rail... JUST KIDDING!!)

WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's & father's middle names) = Pauline Liliane Edward

And, let me add a popular one that I have come across: Here's where we differ - Wanietta has the first street you live on - mine was Mom's maiden name (and since I don't use that for any confidential purposes...)

PORN STAR NAME (name of first pet and name of Mother's maiden name): Martini Martel (and my best friend would be Champagne Kennedy - we have a team!)

ETA: Some people may use this kind of information for nefarious purposes - feel free to alter your answers if they could be clues to your passwords or financial data. But it's still funny!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

mailbox treats!

Amid all the junk mail, assorted bills and other crap that appears in my mailbox, the other day there was this:
Sorry for the crappy photo - but if you really squint, you can see the return address - Tradewind Knits! Yup! Lucy Neatby's company! And inside...
THe Abracadabra Scarf pattern, and a hank of Celestial Merino Dream. THis stuff is wonderful! Soft, squooshy and totally luxurious. And all for me! No CHristmas gifts will be made from this.
Lucky had this sent to me as a thank you for a circular needle storage thing, and dpn holder I made for her. She's got great taste, and I will gladly do stuff for her if this is the result. She ordered it at the Creativ Festival, directly from Lucy Neatby herself! How cool. The pattern is very interesting, and I think I'm going to get some fabulous red beads to go with the delicious cream Merino yarn. How very Canadian of me...

Thanks Lucky! Any time you want to trade, I'm all for it!