Saturday, November 29, 2008

I promised...

... a post before I left, so here it is.

Things at work have settled a bit, but Dudes, it was a rough week. First Monday, when too many friends lost their jobs, and I had to watch it happen. Then Tuesday - a funeral for the mother of a friend who, like me, was one of the survivors. Wednesday - a state of the union address for our department - they sound confident that we can get through it, so for my own sanity, I have to believe them. However, my resume is polished up and ready, should the need arise...
Thursday an Friday - hugely busy days, helping with the transition team, as well as helping in the back warehouse, trying to get orders packed and shipped for month end. It was hard, but satisfying work, but on top of the emotional issues, I was coming home completely drained.
Tomorrow morning, my Husband will drive the Kid and I to the airport, as we will be greeted at the other end by my Mom. Truthfully, as much as she loves me and wants to see me, I'm just there to make sure her grandson arrives. Once there, I'm superfluous. That's okay, down time on the beach or golf course if fine with me - I know the two of them will have a blast. I wish my Husband could come, but he's crazy busy and will use this week to get caught up enough that we will have family time at the cottage over New Years. Works for me.

On the knitting front - the Trekking socks have been completed, two pairs of bamboo socks will be travelling with me, some alpaca will be coming along, and plan to return as handwarmers, and I have a few bracelets worth of stones strung up to be knitted into bracelets. I can't find my USB cord right now, so you'll have to take my word on the above, but really I have been knitting. I've even been working on the stalled Kauni - I have about 4 inches left on the final sleeve, then it's the neckband, cutting the steek and doing the front bands. I still hope to have it available to wear on Christmas, but maybe not. I will have time off during the break to finish it if I can't.

So that's it. A rough week behind me, but an enjoyable one on the horizon. I'm hoping to come back refreshed and ready to work for two weeks and take another one off for the holidays!


Thursday, November 27, 2008


gonna be light reading around here today and possibly tomorrow - busy, busy, busy... I'll get a post up before we leave on Sunday...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I've sucked another one in...

Back when I bought my LeClerc loom, I believe I sucked Deirdre into weaving. She bought the same loom.

Now I've done it again. LuckyCanuck (no link, as she has given up blogging), has resisted all my attempts at getting her into beading. She won't knit them into garments, nor bracelets.

But I got her. The Bead loom got her. She bought one, and shall we start the pool to see how long it takes her to start a bead stash?

Bwahahahaha..... power is a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

just when things are going great...

I've had some crappy jobs in my life. And some good ones. The current one is one of the good ones. Up until this week, I would have said one of the great ones. This week we laid off 86 people. It seriously sucks. Both for the ones that are gone (some of whom are great friends), and for those of us left behind. We are having a little bit of survivor's guilt, as well as trying to wrap our heads around what we have to do. My boss is gone, but I will be reporting to a pretty good guy, so that's good. I'm just not sure it's still going to be the same place.

It was so hard to watch co-workers leave. They had a meeting, were given a package, and escorted out. I was ready to smack one of the consultants who was walking a friend out - when we all stopped her to hug her and wish her the best, he made some comment about "unprofessionalism" and "that's enough of that, now". Cold, man. Really cold.

I guess it's a case of be careful what yo wish for. I had always wished for a job at a company like this - friendly, family oriented, close to home, etc. I finally got it. Now I hope I get to keep it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I got nuthin'

II wish I could show you lots of knitted things that I finished up this weekend, but to be honest, I was shopping, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry all weekend. There was some knitting done, even some finishing, but I forgot to take pictures.
I finished the Trekking socks, I beaded another bookmark, and I started new socks and hand warmers.
I will try to take pictures tonight and stretch it out over the week, because other than that, there won't be a whole lot. My son and I are heading to Florida next Sunday to spend a week with my Mom - we were going to help her clean out her place down there, because we thought she had sold it. However, the deal fell through, and although Mom seemed to want to sell, I don't think she's unhappy about keeping it for another year or so. So instead of a work week, the boy and I will spend a week on the beach, at the pool, going to Busch Gardens, and generally being lazy. My husband couldn't get a way, so he has to hold down the fort here.
So this week will be the regular mayhem of our lives, along with the packing and organizing that goes along with leaving for a week. I'll try to drop in here as often as I can.

Did you know I need a legal, notarized letter stating that my husband is aware that I am taking our child out of the country? Wow. They probably won't even ask for it, but I'm glad I have it, none the less...

Friday, November 21, 2008

not just for bracelets...

Remember the bead loom? How I was making bracelets? I decided to use it for something else. Many of my family and friends are readers. And although I cop to folding pages occasionally to mark my spot, I don't really like doing so.

Hence: the bookmark. Beaded, personalized, (Nanny is my Mom - sets her apart from the other Grandmas...). Two down, nine to go...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a sorely needed laugh this morning...

This was the back of the truck in front of me this morning...
Heh, heh... Putzmeister...

Yeah, I laughed out loud...

And this was the rest of the scenery I enjoyed this morning: The snowy season has officially arrived, and I'm curious about one thing - why do drivers lose their minds in the first snowfall? Seriously - I saw at least 5 cars in the ditch this morning, and my drive in is not that long. People! think about it! Snow = slippery. Just take a little care...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

fastest quick knitted gift EVER!

Chunky superfine alpaca. (soooo soft...) 5.5mm needles. 32 stitches. 2x2 rib. WOrk in round to thumb, then back and forth for about 8 or 10 rows, join again in round (this creates the thumb hole...) another couple of inches for the hand, and done. One ball (around 100 metres or less) makes a pair, and it's one evening in front of the TV. Hoo-wah! (or an hour's basketball practice for most of one. I'll complete the other one at swimming tonight...)
These are in the colours of the University of Ottawa - attended by my sitter's daughter. Both her and her mom will be getting a pair. (School spirit and all that...) Depending on the time I have left, I may make some with a thumb gusset, but for (almost) instant gratification - this is the one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

off the loom...

I mentioned yesterday that I took the alpaca scarf off the loom so I could put the pink Sterling on it.
Atacama Alpaca - dyelot - ummm, some sort of mottled brown tones... bought ages ago in Kitchener.
Warp and Weft threads the same.

I think I wove this a little tight - it's a pretty substantial scarf - well suited to a man - perhaps my 28 year old nephew. Not sure where it's going to end up. It needs the ends finished off - I'm thinking s short fringe, then a soak in Eucalan for softening.

I am loving my looms, both this one and the tiny little bead one...

Monday, November 17, 2008

new on the loom...

I finally finished weaving the brown alpaca scarf, and was able to get it off the loom. To be honest, I made a concerted effort to do so, as I really wanted to get the next project on the loom.

My Mom is a huge fan of pink - it's her favourite colour, it looks good on her, all that stuff. At the K-W Knitters Fair this year, Lucky and I checked out the Dye-Version booth and fell in love with her Sterling yarn - it has 2% sterling silver spun into the merino/silk/nylon blend/ It's supposed to be a sock yarn, but I thought it would make a stunning scarf for my Mom, especially warped with some silver tencel I had...

it's a semi solid, so it has some depth of colourand the 2% of silver is just enough. Not to shiny or glitzy, but just enough sparkle.

And it's weaving up like a dream the tencel warp threads are nice and supple, and will add a lot to the drape of this scarf, as well as extending the use of the sterling by only using is as the weft threads.

Knowing my Mom as I do, she will love this!

Friday, November 14, 2008

kid's toy?...

...or something else with which to play with beads??
This is a bead loom that was bought through my son's school book club. I had ideas of using it for a Christmas gift for a niece or friend of son's or something. Right. I had to take it out of the box to see what it was like - maybe it was too complicated or fiddly for a 10 year old. I mean, I HAD to check, right?

Then I had to try it out - you know, make sure it works okay, and the instructions make sense. Yeah, I'm keeping it. I'm on bracelet number 8 right now...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the finished steek

So, after the cut, there was some work to do. Not much as it turned out. I picked up the stitches along the front - 3 stitches for every 4 rows. Did three rows of reverse stockinette stitch, and cast off. Makes for a nice, curled edge. Then, to finish off the inside, I wanted to sew in some grosgrain ribbon to neaten it up. I was worried I would have to special order the ribbon - I wasn't sure my local Fabricland would stock grosgrain ribbon in an appley-sagey green colour. But I went anyway - of the maybe 8 colours they stocked, one was almost a perfect colour match! (It doesn't show here - the grosgrain reflected the light a bit, but really, the colour is perfect.)

So the finishing is done, and as much as I thought I wanted toggles or clasps - this sweater is demanding a zipper. It's too heavy, and will fall off my shoulders if I don't give the front complete stabilization. So, now I'm off on a zipper hunt...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

for the boot fans...

***ETA - I was going to upload the flyer for the place, but it won't let me. It's called Luv Shoes Outlet, its in Markham, near the 404 /407 interchange. Not everything is $10 or $15 - I think the prices go as high as $39!!! (They also have bags and purses...) If you want the details, leave me a note with your email and I'll send it off to you!

There's a shoe and boot warehouse sale in the building next to my office. A bunch of us from here were there minutes after they opened.

Not only do I love the big girl boots, I love 'em even more when they cost me a mere $10 a pair! (Hence the multiple colour buy...)
And then the shoes for a whopping $15...
And they continue to restock for the month of November. Oh my... this is going to cost me...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

steeking vs. flat knitting

It's November 11. How I forgot to post this picture today is beyond my comprehension. I am the proud granddaughter of a member of Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment of WW!. I am the proud daughter of a Korean War Naval veteran. I thank them.
back to the blog post...

Tracy left me a comment regarding the extra work I gave myself by steeking the sweater. Whereas I did give myself extra work, it's only because the sweater was considered complete as I had originally wanted it. I knit it as a pullover, and it was a fully finished pullover. It was just after wearing it a couple of times that I realized that a Lopi pullover is silly. I have central heat, and don't need that kind of warmth inside, and outerwear is much more convenient as a jacket or cardigan. So my options were to stop using heat in my house (not a particular popular option with the family...), give the sweater to a needy Inuit, leave it in the closet or cut it open.

Now, the Kauni sweater I'm making is also steeked, but it's a planned steek. So it's actually saving me a ton of time, because if I made the cardigan flat, I would be purling every other row. In stranded fair isle. Not my idea of fun. I'd still have to put on front bands, and a neckline, so steeking in this case, saved me a ton of time - less seams, no purling, etc. The steeking is time built into the construction of the sweater.

Tracy and I both have knitting machines, and I have used the machine for sweaters, but only sweaters that are stockinette stitch, and fairly simple construction. The actual knitting time? very short. Finishing? much longer. Every piece needs to be steamed, blocked, seamed and then there is the edge finishing. So, while there is a time saving on the knitting part, the finishing does eat up a fair bit. That's why I love top down raglans. Once the knitting is finished, the rest of it takes about an evening.

In my convoluted, roundabout way, I guess what I'm saying is steeking saves time, unless you are doing it as an afterthought to a previously finished sweater.

And also on the topic of comments (or in this case, an email) Susan asked me why I blanked out part of my son's face on the Halloween costume post. My policy is not to show my kid's face online. I am in the unfortunate position of knowing a convicted pedophile, a man I once considered a friend, but can not do so anymore. I know too much about how they act and what they look for. Since my son is not of an age to determine this himself, I make the decision for him - no pictures on-line. No mention of his name (if possible). This is a choice I make for our family - I don't preach to others. In a way I'm glad not every one follows this, because I have seem some amazingly adorable and cute babies and kids out there, and I hope I keep seeing them. But it's why you won't get to see my amazingly cute and adorable boy. Unless you come to my house, but as some of you can attest to, he tends to hide from "the knitters"!

and for those that were wondering about the i-cord maker...

Here is a link to the Cool Corder -the cool little thing I have that cranks out i-cord by the kilometre. It's only for somewhat fine yarn, but I'm pretty sure the Embellish-knit (see the left side of the page) can handle thicker yarn. Don't quote me on that, though. It's basically a little crank thing that's a step up from the "spool with 4 nails" we all had as kids. Just feed the yarn through PROPERLY, (As I discovered - if you feed it wrong, all you get is a hot mess, not i-cord) and start cranking. More i-cord that you can shake a stick at!
I bought mine at Michael's, I think, about 2 years ago. Not expensive whatsoever. I've sort of used it, but not really, but I will be pulling it out of it's hiding place (once I discover it's hiding place...) to make some Christmas trees.

Monday, November 10, 2008

cool Christmas decorations

I hope Monika doesn't mind me posting this. She made these to decorate their booth at the Creativ Festival, and brought them to the Guild meeting to show them. They are so cool, I just had to show them - I'm so going to do this...
Some were done with chunky yarn, simply wrapped around a cone and topped with either a crocheted ball, or a gathered icord star-like thing. Some were done with i-cord wrapped around the cone - Monika has one of those i-cord makers that crank out miles of i-cord in seconds. And, surprisingly enough I, the queen of all things gadgety, have one as well. (seriously, you should see my kitchen - I love the gadgets...) Since i have a stash of yarn bits and pieces, and green is my favourite colour, I'm pretty sure I will be able to zip up a few of these. The only difference is that I may have to buy Styrofoam cones - Monika, a prolific machine knitter, has all kinds of yarn cones to choose from...

What better Christmas decoration for a knitter's house?

Friday, November 07, 2008

not the way it's supposed to end...

I posted earlier about a family's anguish about their missing son:

unfortunately, the story does not end well.

there are no words to convey what the family must be feeling - I cannot even presume to offer up an opinion on this. All I can say is my heart goes out to them - This is not what's supposed to happen to 15 year olds.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

slicing up a sweater

So the much anticipated slicing of the Lopi happened on Tuesday. I brought the sweater, scissors, scotch and camera to document it. I was really looking forward to this - the sweater had been sitting around my house for weeks, just waiting to be cut up, but I promised to make a public spectacle of myself and do it at the Guild.

I laid out the sweater in anticipation:
with the shot of courage that I think other people might have needed more than me: While we had out regular Guild meeting, Marley the store cat decided the sweater made a comfy resting place:(can you see the disdain in her face?)

Then it was time - there was a collective gasp and holding of breath (and a wee dram of Scotch for me - I wasn't worried about the cutting, I just really like good Scotch...):
And the cutting commenced (many thanks to Helga for manning the camera - she was getting jostled a bit by people cringing or moving in for a closer look - that's why some of the pictures are blurry): Voila! The beginnings of a new fall jacket.
Now I just have to:

- reinforce the stitching (it's a pretty bulky yarn, and I am taking Tove's and Elizabeth's advice to go over the machine stitching again, using a finer stitch to ensure the floats are all caught)

- sew in a grosgrain ribbon facing, to really finish the inside

- pick up stitches to finish the front band

- decide on the closure - zipper, pewter clasps, buttons...

it seems by cutting up a finished sweater, it's no longer finished and I just created a ton of finishing work for myself...

It was SO worth it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

how to plan a super fun day...

Start with a doctor's appointment for a full physical - strip naked, put on the lovely gown and get poked and prodded where no one should like getting poked and prodded. On top of it, add in a flu shot, because, well, what's a doctor visit without getting jabbed with a needle?

Then off to renew driver's license and car license. Drop cash for tiny sticker that lets me keep my car on the road, and have the world's worst picture taken - "we're just like passports now. Take off your glasses and no smiling. Stand there and focus here." Okay lady, you made me take off my glasses -stand WHERE and focus on WHAT? I just know I'm gonna love this picture...

Next off to the tire place to drop a ton of cash on new winter tires on a November day that's so warm that not only are we breaking weather records, I'm jacketless, and wearing capris, while sitting outside. The irony of getting WINTER tires on a day like this is not lost on me...

There was a high point - while sitting in the doctor's office and knitting a sock, a woman comes over and says "Trekking?" (It was.) We have a short conversation on the merits of top down vs. toe up sock construction before I get called into my appointment. She's gone when I come out, otherwise I would have invited her to the Guild meeting that night.

Before the meeting, I have my son's basketball practice, dinner prep, and actually sitting at the computer to write part of this and do some work I brought home as well. Get son fed and to practice, meet husband there, go to Guild. Slice up my Lopi sweater, to the anticipated gasps from those watching, and realize that by doing this, I've just created more knitting for myself (not really a bad thing). Come home and see who wins the American election (American readers, please tell me you voted!), realize that no matter who wins, I don't really like any politicians, whether they be American or Canadian, and go to bed.

Realize as I'm falling asleep that I promised documentation of cutting my sweater. I have the pictures, I have the cut sweater. I just ran out of time to write the post - tomorrow for sure!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Halloween recap

The yard and deck looked pretty good, considering we threw up the decorations in a matter of minutes after getting home:
My child looked pretty cool (if I do say so myself!) The Sorcerer's Apprentice: (no mask, just my policy of not identifying my child on the Internet) We bought the hat at Disney World last year, and I made the robe and hands. Belt found in my closet. We had a great time out and about - fabulous weather, and houses with treats for the adults (Bailey's shooters seemed to be the norm...) that the walk was actually quite pleasant. My husband stayed home and gave out candy - most popular costume? Star Wars Clone Trooper. (CLONE trooper, not STORM trooper, as many a child was quick to correct.)

And best of all, just enough chocolate left over to treat ourselves...

Tonight - fear and scariness of another kind - Tonight I cut apart my Lopi Sweater! (Fear on behalf of the watchers - I'm actually quite looking forward to it!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

a family's anguish

Here we play a bit of six degrees of separation. My friend-I've-never-met (because she lives on the other side of the continent), Catbookmom, is a friend of someone who is an online friend of the blogger above. This blogger, Sandy Cormier, is the aunt of a young man who's name is quite familiar in my area, Brandon Crisp. Brandon is a teenager who has been missing since October 13, when he left his home after a dispute with his parents about his obsession with an online video game. Check out her posts of Monday, Oct. 20, Saturday, Oct. 25 and Wednesday, Oct 29.

I have followed this story in the news, hoping against hope that every day I will open the paper and read, or hear on the news, about his safe return. The fact that CBM sent me the link brings home just how small the world is.

I will continue to follow her story, hoping to hear of good news. I cannot even imagine the anguish the family must be feeling - my thoughts are with them, and I will hug my son a little tighter until Brandon is home safe...