Monday, April 30, 2007

the good, the bad, and the ugly...

I'll start with the good - the Knitter's Frolic on Saturday. I got there early, scored primo parking, met up with LuckyCanuck, and we hit all the vendors before it got stupid crowded. (Pictures of my score to come). My goal was to find the unique, the stuff I don't have, or stuff at such a great price, it would be asinine to turn it down. Lucky's was to find black laceweight for a special project, and to learn the Turkish Toe cast on from me.
Missions accomplished on all fronts! We were so early, that I gave Lucky a Turkish Toe Tutorial in my car before they would let us in. I found Lorna's Laces, Claudia Handpaint yarn (nothing special to those of you in the States, but remarkably rare in my neck of the woods...). I got cashmere sock yarn. Cashmere. Sock. Yarn. Not going to be socks, mind you! I scored some Twilleys Denim - a big bag for $25 at - a clearout place. It was the only score there - usually they have a ton of good stuff, but they seemed a little heavy on the novelty stuff this time around.
Lucky was looking for black laceweight - we saw Zephyr (her first choice) at a number of places, but no black. Our last stop was Needles Arts bookshop - a treasure trove for Fiddlesticks stuff - she spied some dark yarn in a basket on the floor - "oh, it's navy" she says. We gt closer - no, it's, it's EBONY ZEPHYR! Could not have planned that any better. She grabbed two of the 5-6 balls that were there, and when we went by about 20 minutes later, the black was GONE! Good score!
OF course, the major good was meeting up with Amy Singer, whilst I was wearing my Tuscany shawl. Yes, there is a picture of her and I together - it's coming, probably tomorrow. How cool is it to have a picture of a shawl you've knit, together with the designer of said shawl. By the way, that shawl got me manhandled a lot (in a good way)!
We left early - to be honest, I was feeling somewhat unsettled, and even skipped our planned lunch at Memories of Japan. Also, I had a family thing later that day, and it was a very good thing that I was available early - suffice it to say, I was sorely needed early. So the bad is that Stephanie and I missed meeting up as we had planned. Damn. Also, I missed picking up the raffle prize that I had won (didn't find out until I checked my email on Sunday). Double Damn. Now I have to figure out a way of getting it from the DKC.
That unsettled feeling? Hit me full force in the middle of Saturday night, and I was SICK. And the ugliness continues - I get to work this morning and there is a message to call my husband at home. This can't be good. I call and find out that Son is now sick. Hubby can stay home for a little while, but he has a meeting this afternoon - can I come home. Well, of course I can - this is my child we are talking about! I'm just waiting for my boss to arrive so I can over a few things with him, then I'm out of here.

Keeping with the movie theme (if you're a Clint fan), tomorrow is another day (for the Gable / Leigh fans...) - Fiona Ellis is coming to our Guild! I get to pick her up at her home, and keep her captive, erm, I mean drive her to dinner and the Guild meeting. I can't wait - Fiona is a lovely person, and we talk non-stop all the way from her home up to Aurora. News of the meeting on Wednesday!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I'm driving to work this morning, and composing a post in my head for today. I must have been happy with the topic, as I wasn't going to post the stuff below - I was going to save it for another day.
I got in to work, made myself a coffee, sat down, checked email, etc. Answered an important request from a vendor in China... normal stuff I do. Then I opened Blogger.

I have no idea what my post was going to be about. None.

I'm such a dumbass.

So, I'm posting the below - it's funny.

If you blog, or have a website - go here - enter your own URL - you'll feel soooooooooooo good afterwards...

Of course, it's a bunch of hooey, but really, who doesn't like hearing nice things?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

blocking love

It's been said so many times, but blocking lace really is cool!

Lace knitting right off the needles looks like crap. It's wrinkly, bunched up, way smaller than you anticipate, and basically looks ugly. Add a little water (or steam), some pins and time...

and you get something beautiful.

Project Specs:

Teva Durham's Lace Cravat, from Interweave Knits Winter 02/03
Knitpicks Gloss in Concord Grape - 75% merino, 25% silk - I used less than 1 skein, and a skein is about 200m, so a very economical project!
I also made it longer than the pattern called for - dumbass me didn't trust the measurements on the pattern - it says to knit for 33 inches from the base of the leaf. I wrapped it around my neck while still on the needles, and thought "that's not long enough!" so kept going. Of course, there is a fair amount of stretch during blocking. D'uh! The picture shows it wrapped twice before coming back around to knot it. No biggie, and it can still be done in a day or two even with the extra length!
4.00mm needles

And, I have to say you get something this beautiful in record time. I started this on Thursday, while waiting for my Mom at the hospital. I knit on it, but not exclusively since then, and finished it last night. During that time, I also worked on some socks, and my Son's sweater, as well as dealing with everything else in my life (family, job, asshole boss... yes, he's at it again - I foresee HUGE changes around here in the next little while...)

If this was an exclusive project - easily done in a day or two. It's that great. I've already cast on another one, using 5mm needles, and some hand painted worsted weight merino/mohair blend from Wellington Fibres. It's is a wonderful autumny colourway that will really work with the leaf pattern.

Countdown to the Knitter's Frolic, and stash enhancement extravaganza... 3 days!

Monday, April 23, 2007

recovery knitting

I got down to my Mom's around 1pm on Friday, and stayed through to Saturday late afternoon. She's doing great - thanks for all the good wishes. Yes, I made her a martini (a weak one) on Saturday! Her friends and neighbours were all over, making sure she was fine, and my SIL was planning on dropping by with the kids at least once a day for the next week, so Mom will have lots of company.

Mom was knitting socks - I brought her down some sock yarn from my stash, because she had used up all of hers - she even used up the odd bits in some cool stripy ones! Wish I had brought my camera...

I worked some more on my Lace Cravat, and my Son's sweater. Of course, this was not really a weekend made for knitting - it was a weekend made for getting outside! I've got a serious case of "bike butt" - we got the bikes out and spent a lot of time riding around - us and the rest of the world, it seemed. It was great to see so many people out and about. Unfortunately, still a little too early for gardening - the ground was still pretty spongy, and you can do more damage that good by raking and stuff too early. But that didn't stop me from checking out the new growths - my peonies are poking through, the hostas are starting to show, the crocus have already finished, but the daffs and tulips are going to show any time now...

But there was some knitting done, whilst sitting on the deck, enjoying a cocktail:

Son's sweater is taking shape - the first sleeve is almost done, I will start the second one soon. Then I'll stripe the body up to the matching point - join all pieces and start the raglan shaping. Should be done in time for the hot weather... Luckily, I made it big enough to fit for the fall.

The purple Leaf Cravat is almost done - just the final leaf at the end, and some blocking, and finished. The merino silk should block out nicely, and feel nice around the neck. I think I've found my Christmas Gift for all the girls on my list!

Friday, April 20, 2007

hospital knitting

First off - Mom is great. She came through the surgery with flying colours (what colours are those that fly, anyway?), and may be getting out today(!) or this weekend. The surgeon came out after the surgery and gave me the thumbs up and said he was very pleased with the results. Once she got into ICU, I was allowed to see her and talk to her. How do I know she's OK? She asked for a glass of wine. Or a martini. Yup, that's my Mom!
We got to the hospital around 6am, and she went in around 7:30. SO I had from 7:30 to about 11:30am to do nothing but knit, read, and drink Tim Horton's coffee. (Did you know that the hospital volunteers OWN the Tim's franchise in the hospital? Brilliant. We get great coffee, they get money.)

Added Note - I wrote the above part last night. This morning I get a call as I'm driving to work - "They're sending me home! When can you come and get me?"

Ummm, not right away. Luckily, my SIL was going to see Mom this morning - I called her, and she will take Mom home, and stay until I can get there around noon. Life is good.

How much knitting can I get done (while also reading a book) in a hospital waiting room?
This much:
(Geez, I love natural outdoor light for pictures...)
The sweater for my son was already done almost up to the stripes, so I didn't do ALL of this... The scarf is the Leaf Cravat by Teva Durham - from Interweave Knits, Winter 2003/2004, I think. Great pattern - easy, lacy, and one 200m or so skein will do it. This is Knitpicks Gloss - 70% merino, 30% silk, and the colour (on my monitor) is pretty true.
I'll be spending the afternoon, evening and night at Moms, so there should be a substantial increase in knitting production. Since I turned Mom onto sock knitting, she's pretty happy to sit and watch TV and knit. Although, with the weather they are calling for, we may be sitting on the patio and knitting!
Now I have to go and email Hubby the schedule he needs for my one night away - Son has swimming tonight, basketball tomorrow morning, and a birthday party tomorrow night for which a present and card are needed... Hubby's going to love this...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Just off the needles... pinned out and spritzed with water, left to dry overnight...
unpinned in the early morning (my only available model)...
pattern up close...
Yes, I'm in love. I'm wearing Tuscany today, and have had two people sniff me already! (In a good way, in case you're here via a weird Google search...)
I promise human modelled shots after next weekend - Amy, I'll be at the Frolic early, and Tuscany and I will be looking for you!
Tuscany Shawl, designed by Amy Singer, from the book, "No Sheep For You"
Handmaiden Sea Silk Yarn - Silk and Sea cell. Colourway unknown, but a mix of silver, blackish grey and copper. I love how the shots of silver and copper appear as waves across the shawl - this pattern really highlighted the colourway much better than the Melon scarf, which was it's original use. I used 1 full skein, and about 1/4 of a second. There is enough left for a small scarf.
This took me a little more than a month? (she says questioningly, not having any idea when I started...) Let's see - Amy came to our Guild at the beginning of March, I started it after that, so maybe a month and a half, with other projects thrown in.
I would make this again - nice pattern, easy to memorize, lacy, but not too fussy. I may actually use the pattern for a straight scarf with the remainder of the Sea Silk for a gift, since the pattern complements the yarn so well.

Now, I guess I should concentrate on Son's new sweater. Or maybe some socks. Oooo! Lucky picked me up some new Socks that Rock! Maybe a scarf from Arctic Lace... Ahhh, back to my promiscuous knitting...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

there are no words...

for what happened yesterday at Virginia Tech. My thoughts are with the families dealing with a horrific loss.
I'll never understand why people feel the need to take their own lives, and I'll never forgive anyone who take innocent lives with them.

Monday, April 16, 2007

OK, so still no new pictures...

Sorry - but to be honest, there is nothing new that is picture-worthy. Tuscany is so close to being finished, but it just looks like a pile of black goo right now. Luscious, shimmery, silky black goo, but goo, nonetheless.

Once I finish, I will take blocking pictures, and something new, after the 28th, I will have modelled shots! (These are few and far between chez Curlerchik). I will get LuckyCanuck to take some pictures at the Knitters Frolic. (maybe we will find Amy, and I can get a shot of shawl and designer!)

I've started another sweater for my son, using some Cotton-Ease I found in the stash, but it's just a circlet of dark taupe stockinette. Exciting.

Here's something from the archives - My koolaid socks! I don't know if I've ever shown these - but I am extraordinarily pleased with them, and how they came to be. I had some Knitpicks Bare (or whatever it was called before they called it Bare). I knit up two stockinette "blanks" on my knitting machine, each using half the yarn. They I laid them out side by side in a big pyrex dish, and dyed them in three horizontal sections - green, blue and orange. Once dry, I rewound the blanks into balls, and made the socks. Although it sounds like a lot of work, to knit, then dye, then rip then reknit, those of you with machines know that knitting the blanks took me all of about 10 minutes, so it really wasn't time consuming at all.

(You can tell this isn't a current picture - my hostas, are mere dreams right now - not this lush!)

And, from my file of blog things...

You Are From Jupiter

You are exuberantly curious - and you love to explore newness.
Enthusiastic and optimistic, you get a kick out of stimulating intellectual discussions.
Foreign cultures and languages fascinate you. You love the outdoors, animals, and freedom.
Chances are you tend to exaggerate, so try to keep a lid on that.
If you do, you'll continue to be known for your confidence, generosity, and sense of justice.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Triskaidekaphobia - fear of the number 13. Nope. Not here. I enjoy watching those that do have a problem with today, however. My Mom, the most superstitious person on the face of the earth is one. I'm sure she's hiding out today! I'll have to call her later and see...

Since it's a numbers kind of day - I present this:

You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

This does not surprise me inthe least - I am left handed, which means that my right brain is the controlling side. ALthough I currently work as a Sales Analyst, my background is graphic design, and I love to paint watercolours and sketch with charcoals. I'm a huge sports fan, and a big day dreamer. Philosophy? sometimes, deppending on my mood and the people I am talking to.

What's interesting about my lefthandedness - I knit "right handed" - i.e., I knit from the left needle to the right needle. I golf right handed, and bat right handed, although I throw (curling rocks, balls, etc) left handed. So, with that, and my aptitude for numbers, there is some right brain control trying to fight it's way out.

My dad always said, left handed people are the only ones in their right mind!

Tuscany is coming along nicely - I figured if I did 5 rows a night (each row is over 300 stitches now), I'd be good for my self imposed deadline of the 28th. Last night I did 8 rows without even thinking about it. I should be fine...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

random - because it's Wednesday!

There seems to be a trend in the blogoverse to keep Wednesday open for random thoughts and ramblings.
Works for me!

I am making a concerted effort to finish Tuscany by April 28th. I want to wear it to the DKC Knitter's Frolic (especially if Amy is going to be there - I want her to see it!), and I also have my nephew's First Communion later that day, and I want it for that as well. So, other than the traveling sock (lunch time knitting, etc.) Tuscany is my only project. Good thing I love the pattern and the Sea Silk! I have about 2 1/2 repeats left, but of course, since you increase on every row, they are 2 1/2 every increasing looooonnnnnggggg repeats.

As mentioned, my nephew is having his First Communion at the end of the month. This is the son of my husband's brother and his wife, J. Now J and I became friends because we married brothers, but have remained friends because we truly like one another and get along well. The problem is when you add her family to the mix. Her perfect family. With perfect kids, perfect houses, perfect lives, and perfect ways of doing everything. Because, of course, the rest of us are so imperfect. It's not the most pleasant of times when we all get together. The fake smile one must paste on the face wears after a while. The other thing I found somewhat annoying was J's comment that we, as non Catholics, (or in my case, non-practising or believing Catholic), could "skip the ceremony" and meet the family at the house afterwards. Now, as much as I would like to do that, having my own issues with the Catholic church, I would find that to be very rude. Of course we will be at the church to witness his rite of passage. It's important to him (or at least his Mom), so it is important to us. So, I will go to this function, with the memories of a great morning spent at the Knitter's Frolic beforehand, and hopefully, that will get me through it!

OK, this rant may be a little regional - those in the Greater Toronto Area may know of what I speak. Years (and years) ago there was a Raisin Bran commercial with a lumberjack ("Sturdy Danny McGee was up his fifty-ninth tree...). I was annoying then. It's even more annoying now since they are REPLAYING it every morning during the news on TV, and on the radio when I am driving to work! Come on people! this thing is more than 20 years old. Make a new one!

So Mom's surgery is confirmed for next week - and unfortunately my brother will be out of the country on business. Timing is everything. I have arranged everything so I am available to take her to the hospital, and be there when she wakes up and the next day when she is released, I will be there to spend a couple of days with her. Biggest surprise? The Powers that Be at work are fully supportive of this. (I'm beginning to suspect Alien involvement - the Big Boss has been incredibly nice to me lately). Whatever the reason, I'm glad I could work it out - I need my Mom around for a lot more years, so it's important to be there for her. Also, Hubby is doing his part, rearranging his schedule to allow me to be away from the house for a few days. It's times like these that he realizes how much work there is in keeping a household running smoothly and on time...

Last night at Son's basketball practice, some of the Mom's and I got to talking. Normally, it's me and the Dad's but for some reason, last night there were more Mom's there. We were talking about the kids, and birthdays, and the talk gravitated towards our own birthdays. Turns out that 3 of us (of the 4 talking) have the same birthday! How cool is that? (The kids thought it was very cool). Of course, I had 5 years on one of them, and 9 on the other, but still, it was an amazing coincidence.

Have I distracted you enough to realize that I have no pictures? No? Sorry - I could take a picture of Tuscany, but to be honest, I don't feel like taking her off the needles to stretch it out, and unstretched lace looks , well, like a pile of yarn. Soon, I hope to have some blocking pictures of her. Countdown to the 28th begins...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter at the cottage

With the amount of chocolate I consumed, this CAN'T be a surprise...

Although, my hair was not this tamed, and I'll never tell what' s in the coffee cup... (but you can guess, from the smile, I would think.) Flip flops are definitely the show of choice (if there are even shoes on... however, this weekend it was wool socks and slippers - it was COLD!

We got up there on Thursday night, and it took a while to warm the place up - we had the fires going full blast, and the heat turned on. Throughout the weekend the small boys (son and nephew) played together and the big boys (husband and BIL) played together and I was blissfully left alone with my knitting and the TV! World curling championships, Masters golf, and a bunch of movies - talk about heaven.

I finished Hubby's Austermann Step socks - the aloe and jojoba wool feels really nice. I actually did the sewn cast off in the car on the way home, and I guess my sewing action kinda freaked Hubby out. He kept seeing the darning needle coming towards him out of the corner of his eye!

I also made great progress on the Sea Silk Tuscany shawl, and started a new sock out of Fleece Artist - after all the grey and brown, I needed a jolt of colour. Although you can't really see it here, it's a bright yellow, black and coral colourway.
For those that don't get the season changing that we do (CBM...) here's two shots of the ice on the lake - at this time of year, the ice is melting and changing on a daily basis - the first shot is Friday morning, the second Saturday morning:

And. so you can see what the boys do when left to their own devices, (and to prove that I did get off my arse and get outside...) Here's the boys "whacking the ice". Because everyone knows the ice will melt that much quicker when two 8 year old boys whack it with sticks...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

which explains our laid back attitude towards today...

You Are A Realist

When it comes to romance, you tend to take a realistic approach.
You believe that love takes time, and it's something you have to work hard for.
A bit cynical, over the top romance tends to get under your skin.
Your heart is difficult to win ... but it's totally worth it.

15 years ago, I married a man I loved. And I love him more today. We are parents, and we are friends. (we are a lot more than that, but you all don't need to know about it...)

We had the church wedding (much to my mother's and my MIL combined relief), and it was fun. The reception part was more fun. We didn't partake of a lot of the "traditional wedding things". we had good friends and a good party. The whitish toned dress was a bonus. (I look crappy in pure white). My Dad was there for me, and he was the one who said "as much as I'd like to lift your veil to give you a kiss, I think the whole veil thing is antiquated. Plus, I'll be standing too close if anything DOES happen." (Folklore has it that the TRUE symbol of a girl's purity is not so much the white dress, but the veil across her face. Dad lifting it is sort of the "permission" to the groom to have at it.) I think Dad was worried about the potential for a lightning strike... My Dad was pretty cool - after all, Hubby and I had been cohabitating for while by that time.

Our lifestyle is such that we don't do anything special on this day. I'm pretty much of the mindset that the wedding was fun, but the marriage is what's important, and a marriage is based on day to day respect and commitment. We'll probably take an extra nice bottle of wine north with us on the weekend to toast with over the turkey, but that's it.

Oh, and we'll buy each other lottery tickets. Nothing says Happy Anniversary like 38 million dollars...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

just because it made me laugh...

Your 80s Theme Song Is:

Turning Japanese by The Vapors

Do you REALLY need to know how much bad dancing was done to this song among my circle of friends? (Along with "Bette Davis Eyes"). Ah, good times. I am SO not that person any more...

The Tuscany shawl continues along - I'm about halfway up (not halfway through, as each row gets progressively bigger, but it gives a good indication of the pattern).

Up close, you can see the luminosity of the Sea Silk. My husband was looking at me strangely last night - I was sniffing the yarn. Actually, I was inhaling it - I love the smell of silk

Oh, and while I complain a lot about work, you may remember that my immediate boss is a sweetheart, and the reason I am still here. Example number 4,697 of why. He told the HR idiot that HE was giving me this Thursday off. As my supervisor, he doesn't need her approval. Woo, and Hoo! So we will be heading north immediately after Hubby gets home on Thursday! (Can you say "picnic in the car"? I can't wait - it's been so long since we've been there, and it's a place we seem to NEED to go to. (I now, lousy grammar and sentence structure there, sorry.) We recharge when we are there, so I'm looking forward to it. And my BIL and nephew are coming as well. The two small boys will play together, the two big boys will play together, and I will be left in peace, only having to feed them. I can do this. Happily. Especially since it means tons of knitting time for me, while I gaze out at the lake. I will interrupt this time for hikes in the woods, and games with the boys. I've said it before - we know how incredibly lucky we are to have this place, and we try to use it whenever we can. It has been tough to get there this winter, with weather issues, and other commitments. Easter marks the start of what we hope is many weekends and holidays spent there. If I don't post tomorrow, I hope everyone has a Happy Passover, Easter, Sizdah bedar, or whatever your holiday of choice is.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday. blech...

Other than more of the same of the Tuscany shawl, I've got nothing. I turned the heel of the second of Hubby's Austermann Step socks, knit another mitred square, and fell deeper in love with the Handmaiden Sea Silk. I am very happy with the combination of the Tuscany pattern and the Sea Silk yarn. It's the perfect match.

I'm hoping for a short week (shorter than most!) I've asked for Thursday off, so I can get everything ready for the cottage and we can take off as soon as Hubby gets home from work. We want to cook the turkey on Friday so we have leftovers for the rest of the weekend! Of course, I haven't heard back as to whether or not I'll get Thursday off - or HR idiot may wait until the last minute and squash my plans, just because she can. Bitch.

Lots to do in the next three days - I'll try to show some updated progress of Tuscany soon.

Otherwise, I'll leave you with some profound words...