Friday, May 30, 2008

soccer mom

So sitting at the side of a soccer pitch for 2 hours a week means lots of sock knitting. That is, once we get past the "oh, you knit? what are you making? I don't know how you can do that, I have no patience! or "I wouldn't have time for something like that!" comments.

The first couple I don't mind - really, don't we like showing off what we're working on? Especially something as colourful as Noro socks (which is my soccer mom project at the moment).

The "I have no patience" comment kills me. I mean, these are parents of kids the same age as mine. If you have no patience, and you're the parent of a 9 year old boy, you either beat your child (and I'd better not find out that's the case!) or you have full time help inside your home and never deal with your child's questions and antics. Trust me, if you can raise a child, you have the patience to knit.

The "wouldn't have time for it" comment is just hysterical. I mean, what are you doing while you say you don't have time? You're doing exactly what I'm doing - sitting in a chair, chatting, while watching your kid play soccer. (exception to the one mom who was chasing 2 year old twins and a 3 year old while her 9 year old was playing and she was on the phone with her husband who was at their 5 year old's game. She's got an excuse). But the others? You have time. If you choose to make it so.

I have this same issue with my SIL - she isn't working right now (her disability has run out and her company bought her out, so she's paid until the end of the year, then she has to go back to work. (as an aside - she REALLY doesn't want to go back after 3 years off, and is thinking about part time work. Her husband, thinking of mortgage and bill payments, has other plans. I am staying SOOOO far out of that discussion...) Anyhoo, she isn't working. Her kids are 9 and 14, and reasonably self sufficient. SHE HAS NO HOBBIES. What the hell does she do all day? Drives me nuts to think of all that spare time, and what I could do with it. I've offered to teach her to knit, to sew, to make cards. to scrapbook, to DO SOMETHING!! Nope. She shops and watches TV. Doesn't even like reading. It hurts my head to think about this...

But, back to the knitting. The Noro socks are chugging along, as is the lace shawl. I've also got something in mind for that cone of laceweight silver Tencel - the Adamas shawl. I'm thinking it may be stunning. And even the Tilli Tomas Disco Lights - I had one option that Elizabeth gave me, but I don't have enough yarn to do this pattern justice. I may make River - the yardage fits, but River originally was made with Kid Silk Haze, and the Disco Lights is a much heavier silk yarn. But, it still might work.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

he's baa-a-a-c-c-kk...

(you may have to click to embiggen this... Sorry, I'm on the wrong computer for photo enhancing)

My buddy, the giant Mr. Peanut hot air balloon made a return visit to my morning commute! My first glimpse of him was right out of the driveway - I could see him at the end of my street, but I couldn't grab the camera fast enough to catch him there. Too bad, because that would have been the best shot. I basically tried at different parts of my drive, and this was the best I could do. These things move fast!

He brought a friend this time, although you can't see it - the ReMax hot air balloon was along for the ride.

I had another post all ready to go with Noro sock pictures and everything, but this was too funny to let go. Noro tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

yeah well, maybe not...

So, I can't seem to stop with the beads. They sit there and stare at me, taunting me to try to ignore them! Damn them! They MAKE me pick them up and knit them... really they do...

But, I'm knitting socks as well - the Noros have become my travellers - now that my son is playing soccer twice a week, these go to games and practices with me, so we should see an end to them soon. And since my sock wearing season is long past (I'm into the flip flops now), they will hibernate in my sock drawer for a few months, because I am keeping these ones.

I think I'll put some gift socks on the needles next - I always like to have some pairs of men's socks handy for gifts. And socks are the best thing for soccer mom knitting - once the toe increases are done, there's no need to pay attention until I get to the heel. and then the same thing up the leg.

I also want to get back to the lace shawl I'm working on, but that's not good travelling knitting. so I'm limited with the amount of time I can spend on it. Speaking of time, I'm spending more time at the office these days - we work an extra half hour each day to get Friday afternoons off in the summer - well worth the 7:30am start!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

step away from the beads...

It's getting a bit out of control.
And I'm just talking about the fine seed beads on 1.5mm needles, not the bracelets I was (and still am) making. This doesn't even show the ones that I have given away, which would probably double the output.

I still love doing this, but I find I'm missing the tactile sensation of wool flowing through my fingers, as well as seeing my lace shawl take shape.

But the main reason is the fact that the bead knitting entails some closeup work, and my eyes aren't what they used to be. Plus, I seem to hunch my shoulders a bit when I do this, so I have to consciously make an effort to loosen up. I really felt it in the shoulders this weekend, since I was also getting the gardens in shape.

So, I may be taking a bit of a break. But then again, this is so addictive, I may not, especially when I get commenters like this:
"...Cheers, Barbie O. in Montreal (currently threading a gazillion beads to do my first Brenda Franklin beaded choker--thanks to you!)"
Barbie - enjoy! Just remember to stretch your shoulders now and then...

Friday, May 23, 2008

no worries...

Remember this? And this?
Put them together, and you get...



Actually, I'm not surprised, since I did do my homework. I knew the cotton perle thread would take up the dye - that's why I used RIT - it dyes cotton beautifully. I also knew the glass beads would not be affected, as it said right on the package that it will not dye glass.

So last night, I tossed some dye in a mason jar, added very hot water, stirred it up, dropped in the beaded thing, and 10 seconds later - the thread was a lovely chocolate brown, and the mixed topaz beads just POP! The difference is amazing - the beads really sparkle on the dark thread.

No question I will do this again. I may just stock up on white perle cotton for all those beads that I can't find the right thread for...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

got my spot...

... in Franklin's 1000 Knitters Project. Stephanie and Rachel H, in their infinite wisdom (and crazy-assed minds!) are bringing Franklin to Toronto.

Talk about a triumvirate of occurrences - World Wide Knit in Public Day, Stephanie's 40th birthday (or 39th, no one's really sure) and an international sitting for the 1000 Knitters Project.
How do I not attend? I mean, really, when will this happen again? As I said to my huband in an email:

"June 14 - I will be at Lettuce Knit on this day. It is a combination of Worldwide Knit in Public Day, Stephanie's (Yarn Harlot) 40th birthday and a photographic sitting that a Knitter/Photographer is putting together called the 1,000 knitters project.

I realize my nerd factor has increased by an exponential number by explaining all of this to you, but it basically comes down to - will you be home on this particular Saturday so I can be in Kensington Market for most of the day?"

(My husband loves me and understands my yarn addiction, but I know he thinks I'm crazy...) He also works some weekends, so I have to book these things ahead.

So, Steph and Rachel H? I will be there. I'm booked for the afternoon sitting, but I will probably arrive earlier, with my monetary contribution to Franklin's project, cold beer in a cooler, and some raffle prizes if you want them. I will not be bringing Stephanie wool as a birthday gift. Bringing wool to Lettuce Knit? What is the old saying about coals to Newcastle?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

taking chances...

So, as you all know, I've been all about the bead knitting lately. I'm thinking these little amulet bags will make great Christmas presents for a number of the women on my list. And judging from some of the reactions from people who saw them this past weekend, they will be well received.

But the first one I knitted up a week ago is causing me problems. I wanted to use some mixed topaz coloured beads I had. THey would look smashing on black or even better, dark brown thread. Two colours that I did not have. But I REALLY wanted to knit these beads...

So I thought silver grey would look good. And in my infinite deluded state, I continued knitting the topaz beads on the silver grey thread, even though I realized that I did not like the silver showing through: (Note that this is flat, and still needs to be sewn up).

I thought the silver would show through, adding a lightness to the bead fabric. But, really, I wanted a dark background, to show off the sparkle of the topaz beads. (From the back, the silver looks even worse).

So, do I rip it out? Do I leave it, and hope the recipient likes it? Neither option really appeals to me. And, even though I have more of these beads, I really like the mixed topaz colours, so I want to salvage this...

I'll let you know how it turns out...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

the return to normal...

Or at least, what passes for normal around here...

We're back from the cottage. It was wet, a little chilly, but not all the time, and not all at once. Meaning, we got some work done - leaves raked, dock in, one boat in, friends met up with, drinks drunk, food eaten, all the basic necessities of the first long weekend.

And knitting?

Yup, got that done too - lots of bead knitting, since when the weather turned, there were a lot of us inside all at once! My husband's family is large, mine is not, so I still find it difficult sometimes to have that many people around me. So I grabbed me a corner (where I could still see the TV - we had rented all the Indiana Jones movies, in anticipation of Indy IV) and knit - socks and beads.

I worked on the Regia Galaxy sock, as well as my second Noro sock. One will be a gift, one is all mine...
I finished the knitting of the grey and crystal bag, but it still needs to be sewn up and have the string attached. This is the Knitted Amulet Bag from the Rainey Sisters. Not only a free pattern, but a fabulous one! Easy, elegant, what more could you ask for? This still needs sewing up, and the beaded, twisted string attached:Then I strung multitudes of other beads, anticipating a fun summer of bead knitting:Some of these are going to be amulet bags, some will be chokers.
I also read two books, and generally relaxed, when I wasn't doing cottage things (docks, boats, leaves.)
Speaking of Indiana Jones - it was my son who decided to rent the three movies - a great choice, as they spanned all generations - the kids, us, the grandparents. Especially us. I do love me some Harrison Ford in a fedora...

Friday, May 16, 2008

long weekend knitting

As usual, I have a number of projects on the go - each one either fits into a niche of my life, or it's just something I want to do. The Victoria Day long weekend starts tonight, and that means cottage to me. I've spoken of the cottage many times before, and how it is a family gathering place - good and bad. I take many knitting projects with me, since there are different circumstances where I find myself knitting.

Large group of people, sitting around, talking about this and that, eating whatever snacks are about - perfect for mindless, stockinette sock knitting.

Family around, but I don't really want to join in the conversation - lace. With the pattern book open and nearby to refer to. I can still be a part of the conversation, but can also be left alone if I want.

Some family around, and I really want to be anti social - beads. Even though I could pretty easily fit this into the first category, since it really is just stockinette or garter stitch for the most part, there is a mystique about knitting on tiny little needles with sparkly beads. So when my brother in law gives me the "are you STILL knitting?" speech (because he can't believe I would waste my time doing this, coming from the man who thinks nothing of sitting in a boat for hours fishing... (yes my husband also fishes, but he respects my knitting)), I can pick up the beads, go off into a quiet corner and ignore the world (or at least my family). (I'm not sure I've used enough parentheses in that last paragraph. I admit, I have a thing for parentheses...)

Yes, the "are you still knitting?" comment still comes out. After almost 20 years of being involved with this family, through dating, and then marrying into it, I still get it. And yet, BIL will take the boat out after dinner, and fish for hours. Just sitting there. While my husband (his brother) is also a fisherman, hubby prefers the excitiement and interaction of fly fishing, which I believe to be an art. Have you seen the beauty that is a fly fisherman in action? (I may be a little biased here...) Nothing against rod and reel - my husband, son, FIL, BIL and assorted other family members all fish, and love it, and I respect that. But don't diss my hobby when yours can look just as boring from the outside.

And he wonders why his plain grey cotton socks are still taking me this long to knit... he won't wear colours. or wool. And yes, he is genetically related to my husband and their father who love all things socky and wooly and coloured.

Ah, in-laws. Can't live with them, can't kill them and get away with it...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

answering questions and finishing things...

Linda asked in the comments...
What kind of heel are you using for the Noro socks? I have a friend who dyed her yarn in the rainbow sequence and is struggling to come up with a sock heel that will not ruin the color sequence of the leg.

I use a double wrapped short row heel, a la Wendy. She has a very detailed description under her "free patterns" tab on how to do this heel. It's now second nature to me, and I don't need the printout to refer to. Actually, my whole sock pattern is like that - stuck in my head - which is great because it's my "go-to" pattern when I need something to do while doing other things (like watching my son play basketball or, as of this week, soccer).

Where did you get your sock needle "suitcase"? I have been looking for some.

LuckyCanuck and I found these at the Knitters Frolic at... I can't remember which vendor. (This would have been a great spot for a picture of it - oops, I guess I should have taken one...) There was a package of two for about $9, and LC and I split on it, since it was the last package, and we both wanted at least one. It works great - the needles stay put, I can toss it in my bag with no worries about dropped stitches. This one is just cardboard, but I've seen them in metal and wood on line. Hmmm... metal. Must get hubby on this - maybe he can fabricate a stainless one for me. (He made me the bead needles I use). Steel might be a little heavy to carry around, however...

One Noro sock is done:
I LOVE this. I love the colouration, but then again, it's Noro. Brilliant colours, no matter what. And, even though I wasn't planning on matching the striping (I thought I would let things fall as they may...) when the sock was as long as I like, it turned out to be one full colour repeat. So I will be able to match them. And I'm betting I will have a fair bit of the skein left over - not sure if there is enough for some ankle socks, but maybe if I make some plain toes and heels, I'll be able to use this up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

it's Wednesday, so I'm random...

A late Mother's Day recap. I haven't had a whole lot of time for me lately. And yes, that does make me cranky...

So, Mother's Day. As per usual, my husband was off on his golf/poker/fishing weekend with the guys. (we think the guy that organizes these weekends doesn't have the happiest of marriages - they always fall on Valentines Day and Mothers Day...)

My son and I did our usual - we went hiking in a wooded trail area near where we live.

We love this. It has become our ritual, and one I want to keep. We have a great time, looking at nature, and talking, just the two of us. The trilliums were in full bloom, and were carpeting the ground:We even saw some rare red trilliums:The trillium is the provincial flower and symbol of Ontario, and one of my personal favourite wildflowers.
I bagged a brunch with 9 members of hubby's family so we could go hiking. I'm probably persona non grata with them, but please! A brunch on Mother's Day at a Jack Astor's Restaurant? Can you say mayhem? With 2 grandparents, 3 adult women, one adult guy (who is useless) and 5 kids?? No thank you. I'd rather spend the time with just my own kid, rather than brave the hell that is a restaurant on that particular day. My husband agrees with my decision, although, had he been home, he probably would have wanted to go. Good thing he wasn't home...

Speaking of Husbands - I'm about to wrap mine in bubble wrap for a while. Have you read what's happening to Knitblogger's husbands lately?

First Claudia's. Then Stephanie's. Now Norma's.

I'm hoping the "these things always happen in threes" rule is coming into play, as we are done with it.

Knitting is continuing - there is some progress being made on socks, shawls and beaded things. Now I have to plan my Victoria Day long weekend knitting...

Monday, May 12, 2008

there once was a man from Nantucket...

today is Limerick Day. Seriously, my favourite type of poetry!

I've also got a full day meeting ahead of me (I love working here, but MAN! do they like meetings...)

There is knitting to discuss, beads, beads, and more beads, lace (2 types), socks (Geez, the Noro sock yarn is beautiful...) and whatever else is going on in my life.

Back soon...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

what's going on...

I have Knitters ADD. I admit it. I am not monogamous to any project for very long. There are some exceptions to this - I did concentrate on the hoodie, and I did finish it. But in reality, I have numerous projects on the go.
3 pairs, all at different stages. There's some Noro socks - I bought the yarn, it was so pretty, I just had to cast them on. The yarn is pretty rough in the skein, but even working it through your hands while knitting softens it up a bit, and I know (and have been told) that a good soak in Eucalan will soften these babies right up. And I love, love, love the colourway. These are probably for me.

Then at the other end of the softness spectrum, some bamboo socks in a pale grey marled colourway. Hubby is eying these. THis is some of the softest yarn I have ever knit with. A touch splitty, but I'll forgive that for the softness.

And some Regia Galaxy socks in brown. Destined for the gift box. Someone will enjoy them. Socks are my go-t0 project for mindless knitting. I keep a pair in my bag, so I can knit at lunch, or if I have to wait somewhere. The project is in my mind, so I don't have to refer to anything, and I have a pretty good idea of sizes of feet I usually knit for, so I can eyeball it pretty well.

I love the lace knitting. This is the Blue Jay Shawl from Wrapped in Comfort, and I'm using a linen, viscose, cotton mix. I hope to have this for the summer for those nights when there is just a bit of chill in the air, and in the fall for the mornings where you need something on the shoulders.

Yeah, well, we all know of my bead knitting addiction. I can't help it. I must have been a magpie in a former life, because I love the sparkly things. Which is strange, because those who know the 3-D me know I'm not so much on the sparkly things to wear. But I have lots of friends who like it, so there is always a ready list of gift recipients.

I knit on each of them at different times of the day, and surprisingly, I seem to make progress on them.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

bogged down...

Sorry for the radio silence - it will continue for a day or two - huge meetings at work, stuff going on at home (all good), and just life in general getting in the way.
All is good - I'm wearing the Hoodie today at work, and for my Guild meeting, otherwise Nancy might take my head off.
See ya,

Sunday, May 04, 2008

sucked right back in...

I have a problem. Beads. Beads are my problem. I start knitting them, and I can't put them down. I was addicted a few months back, but fought my way out of it, and put them down, picking up a wool shawl, and silk and wool sweater. I had self imposed deadlines on these, so I could avoid the lure of the beads. It was good - I finished a sweater, some socks, picked up other things, was knitting happily along, then... the Frolic. Brenda Franklin's booth. The Bead FX booth. I fell at both, and made purchases. I got home, and the sparkly things drew me back into their black hole. I found some beads that I had already strung. "How bad could it be? They're already strung and ready... just waiting for me... calling to me..." - so I knit them. (It would have been a shame not to). Here's the finished product:
choker and earrings. And up close, so you can see the different colours. But, I've started stringing some other ones... and have a queue in mind of the ones I want to knit next. I'm thinking chokers, amulet bags, bracelets...

edited to add - not only did I start to string some, I've finished knitting them! Now I have to string some OTHER ones...
my niece loves pink. This will probably be hers...

Man, this is addictive...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

How to thank great coaches...

I've talked here about my Son's love of basketball, and how having great coaches has really fostered that. Well, this session, we have been lucky three times over - our team has three exceptional coaches. Coaches that teach the game of basketball, but more importantly, coaches that treat each kid like an All-Star. And these kids have responded in spades. There's this girl - youngest of 4 kids with 3 older brothers, all players. Shy as all get-out in December, now, an impressive dribbler, and someone not afraid to get under the boards for the ball.

We're also lucky that we have a great team of parents - there's a core group of us are at all the practices, at games we cheer not just for our team, but every other team, we know almost every kid in the league by name, not just our own team. I like to think that this has also made a difference to the kids.

But the coaches. Coach Roy, Coach Max, and Coach Bonnie. They are the best. One of the other mothers and I have been taking pictures throughout the season - of the kids singularly and in team situations. My son and I have put these together, using the pictures, some stickers and other paper craft items. Framed 'em up (You can get scrapbook page frames pretty inexpensively). I think the coaches will like them. Not all people want this kind of stuff in their homes, I know that. But I've done a little research this season, and all three of them collect remembrances of their teams, so I'm in luck. We had so much fun doing these, and had so many pictures, and I can get the other stuff pretty cheaply, we made a page for each kid (not framed - just in a plastic protector. I wouldn't normally do this for a team. But this team is different. They have really gelled and grown together and I want to mark that. Next weekend's final tournament for the year is going to be a sad occasion - it's going to be tough saying goodbye to some of these kids, but we''ll see them through the summer, and next fall.