Friday, August 29, 2008

the end...

...of summer. Or, if you look at the weather forecast, possibly the beginning. It's the nicest 3-day stretch of weather (sunny, warm) that we've had all weekend. As usual, we are headed north to the cottage tonight, to try and squeeze what we can out of the summer. Tuesday, I'm back to packing school lunches, checking homework, organizing after school activities and everything else that comes with it. Luckily, my son loves school and is looking forward to it. They've posted the class lists, and he's in a grade 4/5 split class which will be something new for us - he's never been in a split before. I'm happy that if he is in a split, at least it's a 4/5 and not a 3/4 - this way, he's exposed to some grade 5 work.

There have been some other signs of fall showing up:

22 litres of garlic dill pickles - Son and I made these last weekend, and he's a little peeved we have to wait a couple of months for them to be really ready - he wants to eat them NOW!

There are also plans to do something with the masses of basil and rosemary that have taken over my herb garden - I'm thinking herb jellies, and if I get really ambitious, I'll wait until the apples are ready and make it with fresh apples. Personally, I don't eat this jelly myself, but my Mom and my In-Laws love the stuff, as do some friends. I will use it in a marinade or something, but other than that - I'd rather make it than eat it.

I don't know what it is about this time of year - I feel the need to stock up on home made stuff. I like to bake bread on the weekends, and all that stuff that I don't really have time for, but I make the time. It's like the knitting - I start with the woollier stuff (although I have been working on the Kauni through most of August already). I start planning out any Christmas knitting that needs to be done. Other than the fact that I love my creature comforts too much (nothing like knitting in front of a big plasma TV, and indoor plumbing is a necessity), I would have made a good pioneer.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


One authentic Icelandic shawl. Authentic pattern (thankfully translated from the original Icelandic to English). Authentic yarn, direct from Iceland.

Like any unblocked lace, it looks like crap. But man! add a little water, some Eucalan, some time (about 30 minutes soak time), and a whole lotta pins, a couple of sore knees*, and magic.I love what blocking lace does.

Pattern - Hyrna Herborgar from Three Cornered and Long Shawls - original book in Icelandic, English translation provided.

3 balls of Istex Icelandic laceweight in the natural colour. The shawl calls for two balls and it can be done with two, if you stick to the required needle size, but no, I had to be difficult and go up 1mm in size, which caused me to run out of the second ball with three rows and the crochet cast off left to do. You've already heard the story of how Tove got me the extra ball, and voila! a shawl, with all the softness of a dish scrubbie. Seriously, there is not enough soaking time in the world that will soften this stuff. There's no way this can be worn against bare skin - this is for over a turtleneck in the winter! But I love it. While it was blocking, I would sit there and look at it, amazed as always that the combination of knits of purls and some yarn overs can make something so beautiful. I think I'd do this pattern again, in a softer yarn.

*sore knees indeed! I had knee surgery abut 14 years ago, and at that time was told that I would need more work done in about 5 years time. I stretched that out and gained an extra 9 years, but it's catching up to me. I'm schedule for an MRI, and will probably get that in about 2 months, them off to the ortho cutter. A new one, because my old one retired, and I don't want to go down to Mississauga again, when I can get it done close to home. Fingers are crossed that they can do it arthroscopically again, but it sounds more like there's some cutting involved. Let's hope not.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I love August in Aurora

Last night, the York Region Knitting Guild hosted another successful night with Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee. Stephanie and Rachel H arrived around 5:30, and we enjoyed a massively delicious dinner - Susan, the butter tarts were to die for, Helga, I need to get that wild rice salad recipe, and everything else was just outstanding. But the food paled in comparison to the company. Knitters sitting around a table, telling stories, knitting, comparing patterns and yarns, asking about colourways. It just doesn't get any better. Unless of course you ask my son - he arrived home, saw "The Knitters" in the kitchen, and beelined for the living room, counting down the minutes until husband arrived to whisk him away for a guys night out. I called and gave them the all clear once we were on our way to Needles and Knits, and I'm sure they happily reclaimed our house!
Once at the shop, Stephanie talked. It's a different dynamic talking to 40 people than it is talking to 400. Steph would read an excerpt from her book, and then the discussion started - comments came from all parts of the room, and it was great. I love that kind of back and forth action, and I hope all that attended felt the same way. After talking, we headed down to the store for a little stash enhancement, and more chatting.
Back to my place for coffee and surprisingly enough, more talking, then Rachel and Stephanie headed back to Toronto, and I headed to bed.
I could go into details about what was talked about, and people's input and feelings, but really, this is something you need to experience. Join a Guild. Go to a Knit Night. Find our people, and knit with them. There's nothing like hearing people express what you have always felt, or perhaps given you something new to think about, or as was for most of last night, having a ton of laughs.
Stephanie, Rachel - thanks for coming. The welcome mat will be out again next year.

Oh, and Steph's Manon sweater? Even more freakingly beautiful in real life. Seriously, I have to knit this sweater...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

happy dance time!

It came! It came! The long awaited extra skein of Laceweight Icelandic wool! Woo Hoo! (even the bag it arrived in is cool (and has contact information - excellent!)
So many thanks go to Tove and her daughter. Her daughter, who lives in Norway, got married here in Canada a few weeks ago. In the midst of Tove sewing the stunning wedding dress, and Elizabeth knitting the most gorgeous veil, and Tove organizing everything involved in hosting a wedding with multitudes of guests from overseas, she thought to ask one of the guests who was coming from Iceland to bring me a skein of the yarn I needed. Not only this, but her daughter actually called the guest to remind him of this favour! Words cannot express the thanks I have for people I have never met, nor will I probably ever meet. Tove of course, blew it off like it was nothing, but it was so totally SOMETHING! I am blessed to have not only a LYS owner who would do this, but a friend. I am verklempt.

Now, to find the pattern, figure out where I left off, and FINISH IT!

Monday, August 25, 2008

if it's August, and Aurora...

...that means Stephanie is coming! The York Region Knitting Guild once again welcomes The Yarn Harlot to Needles and Knits in Aurora this week.
While we are keeping this somewhat small (Guild members and their guests), you still have time to join the Guild and come hear Stephanie speak. If anyone is interested, email me at curlerchik (at) yahoo (dot) ca and I'll give you the details.
Do we have any guesses on the weather? We've had extreme heat and the coldest day in August. Personally, I'm hoping for that perfect "sit outside and enjoy" kind of weather. It's dinner at my place first, so I'd like to use the deck - we haven't yet sat outside in two years. LuckyCanuck is bringing her butter tarts (I'll have to save a couple for my husband - he's disappearing for the evening with our son), I'll make the veggie quesadillas again, and there will be other gastronomic delights.
I always enjoy this night - good food and friends, being amongst our "own" and general merriment.I look forward to seeing Stephanie and Rachel H again, and hearing Stephanie talk - she always generates a lot of laughs, and there's nothing better to knit to that good conversations with friends.

Helga, if you're reading this - read your email - you're invited to dinner, and I haven't heard from you!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the demise of a blog...

Yes, it's true. Lucky Canuck has given up blogging. She would have given it up months ago, but I wouldn't let her. She caught me on a weak day, and when she asked again if she could axe it, I acquiesced.

RIP Lucky.

She can be reached through my comments, which I believe she read more often than her own...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm such an idiot v2.1

I took the Kauni sweater off the needles to try it on, and take a picture. When you take a sweater off the needles, you should toss the needle in the bag, right? Close by so that it's easy to put the sweater BACK on the needles, right? Yeah, hence the idiot tag I've given myself. I spent the better part of the day yesterday (when I was working at home) looking all over for this freaking needle. "Wait" you say - "Curlerchik, you have plenty of needles. Just grab another one." Yeah that would work if I had written down what needle size I was using. I know, I know, basic information. But I didn't do it. I knew it was around 4.0mm, but I couldn't remember if it was a 4.0mm or a 4.5mm. So I kept looking. EVERY. WHERE. There's only so many places it could be. In the kitchen/family room, where I usually knit it, and where I took the stitches off. Nope. Up in the bedroom, where I tried it on. Nope. Any and everywhere in between those two places. Nope. I finally gave up, and figured I'd try a 4.0mm, but it seems I have tons of metal ones, and no bamboo ones. Nor do I have any bamboo 4.5mm that are long enough. At this point, the Kauni went into time out, and I went out to the garden to check out my son's crops. The corn is doing amazingly well, and we pulled the first carrot (very tasty). Walking back to the house, I went around the front, to see my Rose of Sharon plant. It's right beside the patch of goutweed where I took the picture of the Kauni. You know what's coming, don't you? Yep, there it was, lying on the ground, no worse for wear after the major rainstorm it endured.

Remember your mother saying things like "You'd forget your head, if it wasn't screwed on!" I'm starting to believe her...

Oh, and the needle size? 4.25mm. I would have been so screwed...

Monday, August 18, 2008

continually pleased

Back from another weekend at the cottage, and it was marvellous - Had a wonderful dinner with friends, the sun shone for the majority of the time, we swam, we relaxed, I knit, we had a great time.

Socks were ignored - the Kauni continues to enchant. I took it off the needles onto a thread to check the fit - I'm kind of designing this on the fly, so fitting often is necessary. So far, so good - the sleeve split seems to be at the right spot, the width seems good (this can always be adjusted by the width of the front bands once I get to them. The thing that surprises me - this will be my first steeked garment. In all my years of knitting, I've never cut a steek, not even a practice one. I know I should be freaking out about this, but I'm not. Of course, I'm also about 14 inches away from actually having to cut the steek, so I'll get back to you on the freak out factor. I got quite a bit knit on this this weekend, more than I usually would for one very good reason. My MP3 player, and my Sister-In-Law, Niece and Nephew.
My husband's sister and her kids were at the cottage this weekend. Normally, it's his brother's family that we share the place with, but this weekend his sister made her annual jaunt. Let's just say it's a totally different dynamic when they are there. Her son is a year older than ours, but whereas my son and his other cousin are two peas in a pod, these two? not so much. My kid would rather swim and be outside, while this nephew just wants to play video games. All day. All night. Now, I don't mind the games. Hell, I used to work for Sega, so I have nothing against video games. At the right time. In the morning, before everyone is awake - fine. Middle of the day at the cottage when the sun is shining and the lake is calling? wrong time. And the bedtime thing! They don't seem to have one. Usually, the kids are in bed by 10pm - the adults get a little time without them. Midnight, and her kids are still up and talking (non- stop. Seriously, the two of them NEVER. SHUT. UP.) Then they sleep till 11am, and wonder where everyone is when they roll out of bed. (Answer? by the lake, playing outside.) Totally different dynamic. Even my husband (whose sister it is), says he doesn't want to do that again... So I sat by the lake, MP3 player going, ear buds firmly in place, the 14 year old niece's constant questions about the 14 year old hottie next door (who COMPLETELY ignored her...) blocked out, and knit about 4 inches on the body. I did answer some of my niece's questions - will I make her a sweater just like this? No. Will I make her a beaded necklace like the one I gave our neighbour for her birthday? No. (actually, I will, but for Christmas, when she isn't begging for it.) I told her I would teach her to knit, so she can make her own sweaters, and got this in return: "Why? you already knit, and my parents are rich enough to buy me what I want."

Family. Can't live with 'em, can't kill them and get away with it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm such an idiot, v2.0

I reformatted the memory card in my camera. Yes, that means I lost all the pictures that were stored there. Thankfully, not a ton, but all the pictures of the kids taken at the cottage on our holidays. This year's picture of my husband and son - every August since the boy was a baby, I have the two of them sit on a rock out in front of our cottage - it's fun to see the growth over the years. I can recreate this one this weekend, but my son and his cousin kayaking... swimming... generally being the best friends that they are... gone.


On a good note, I have split the sleeves off on the Kauni cardigan, and I have to say how much I love this sweater. I really hope it looks good once I finish, becasue I'm going to wear it regardless. I hope to get more done on it this weekend at the cottage, so will take pictures after. If I don't royally srew up my camera again...

Thursday, August 14, 2008


yep, that's my life this week - boring. Going to work, trying to clean up the stuff that sat around on my desk for a week while I was away. Coming home, trying to clean up the stuff that sat around my house for a week while I was away. At least at work, there were people to take up some of the slack. At home? not so much. Looks like I need to get into a re-training program with Husband and Son to reteach them that if they want things done, they have to start doing it themselves.
I apologize to any male readers I may have, but I truly think that there's some sort of genetic defect in males that makes them unable to understand what "equal division of labour at home" is. Seriously, how many times can a man walk past a dishwasher full of clean dishes, and instead of emptying it, simply puts his dish on top of the counter? All this while I am trying to make dinner, find some needed artifact that my son needed for camp the next day, and talk to my Mom on the phone. Welcome to Tuesday night in the Curlerchik household. (yes, he finally emptied the dishwasher - I can drop enough hints that eventually one seeps into the brain - actually I think I point blank TOLD him to empty it).
I've tried to sneak in some knitting - the second Alpaca sock is coming along nicely, and the Kauni continues to enchant me. I think we are headed back north this weekend - a good friend's birthday will be celebrated, and the weather looks to be adequate. That should mean some more good knitting time. I haven't re-warped the loom, so no weaving will be accomplished, but that will come soon enough. So tonight will be more of the same, with some laundry thrown into the mix, as well as gathering what we need in order to leave for the cottage tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Okay, so I felt sorry for the Alpaca socks, and I knit on the second one last night exclusively. Poor Kauni sweater sat in it's bag, watching me. I could almost imagine it thinking "what did I do wrong? we were so close for the past week, and now she throws me over for that hussy sock!"
But lunch time knitting and soccer game knitting is really not the place for colourwork, so the sock made an appearance. I made pretty good progress, and it reminded me just how lovely this yarn is. I should finish these soon... (famous last words...)

This past week at the cottage wasn't all about the Kauni, however. I finished the revamped Disco lights silk-sequin-bamboo woven scarf: (Excuse the hanging thread there - I still have to weave in the ends). After ripping out the original incarnation (remarkably easy to do), I rewarped the loom, brought it north, and wove this while watching the final two nights of So You Think You Can Dance?. The boys in my life took off to the dock for fishing while I did this, so I had uninterrupted weaving time, and this was the result. About 10 inches wide, and almost 5 feet long. I love it. It shows off the Disco Lights yarn very nicely, and will be a nice addition to the wardrobe for fall. The sequins are subtle enough that it doesn't have to be kept for "special occasions". You know, since I go to so many galas, functions and such that require a "special occasion wardrobe". Yeah, right.

Monday, August 11, 2008

coulda, shoulda, woulda...

Back from the cottage, and I wish I wasn't. I hate having to wear shoes again...

I could have finished the Alpaca socks, as well as the other pair of socks I had on the go. I should have finished them - they are perfect for dock knitting. I would have finished them if I hadn't been distracted. I am utterly entranced by this Kauni yarn. Utterly. Entranced. It sucks you in and holds on, making you forsake all else.

I ordered the extra yarn I felt I needed from the Needle Emporium on the Wednesday before we went on holidays, and it was sitting on my doorstep two days later, before we left. That's some good customer service. It was my first time ordering, and it won't be my last. Julie even sent me followup e-mails confirming everything and ensuring that it was shipping. While I was ordering the rainbow colourway, I may have also ordered enough of the green colourway for another sweater. Yes, I'm weak. I want to use the damask pattern or Celtic knot pattern that I've charted, so the green will be for that, in probably a pullover. The rainbow one above is a cardigan, top down, raglan shaping - a pattern I'm sort of cobbling together myself. I took a basic top down raglan, but since it was for worsted weight, and the Kauni is thinner, I had to do the math on the numbers. I did a provisional e-wrap cast on at the top so I can pick up the stitches and do some sort of neck edging (I haven't thought that far ahead yet). I'm almost at the break for the sleeves - this pattern is just flowing beautifully. I don't even have to look at the chart I made anymore, and a top down raglan is great for sizing on the go.
There was some weaving done as well - the re sized sequined silk and bamboo scarf is done, but I forgot to download that picture, so you'll have to wait. Now I'm off to rediscover my house and job and life. Groceries, soccer games and laundry. The fun never stops...

Friday, August 01, 2008

heading north...

... for a week. Husband's brother and family will be there for the long weekend, and then they leave on Monday, leaving behind their 9 year old son. The two boys (ours and theirs) are cousins and best friends and so easy to look after. They spend the majority of the day in and around the water, so I end up doing the same. Great for reading, knitting or whatever.

It's a much needed week at the cottage, and I can't wait! We've planned some great meals, and a few jobs need doing, so hubby is happy (He's not one for sitting for too long). He's rebuilding a small deck, and doing some minor plumbing repairs. I plan on deep cleaning and lightly refinishing the dining table - it's getting sticky, and I hate that feeling. I was planning on recovering the chair seats - they are currently black vinyl, and you leave half your thigh skin behind when you get up too quickly in hot weather. However, I checked with my MIL, since it is their cottage. Turns out she likes the black vinyl (??) so I won't be changing it. It's still their place, after all.

I'm bringing some sock knitting (good for dock knitting), the lace shawl, and maybe the Kauni sweater to work out the math. The loom is also making the trip, with soem alpaca sock weight, and maybe some sea silk and tencel.

The library has been visited, and there is a stack of books awaiting their turn.

Ah, summertime...