Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Friday...

Need I say more? I really need this weekend...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm converting them one by one...

You know about my knitting co-worker - how I've helped her with blocking, seaming and finding patterns on the Internet (not only Knitty, but she's become a huge fan of Twist Collective...). Her husband, our company CEO, has even commented on the fact that I am his wife's knitting coach. (I would have preferred that this was not brought up during a senior management meeting, but whatever, he's the CEO.)

Now it's the beads. Another co-worker had a bracelet and earring set from her Mom - Mom didn't like the silver tubes on the bracelet, and never wears earrings, but she loved the large beads and the crystal parts. So as a Mother's Day gift, D decided to remake the set into just a bracelet. So we headed off to Michael's, and bought what she needed, I brought in my tools, and we spent a lunch hour remaking the bracelet. The colours are much more vibrant than they appear - the light has washed them out a bit - we're talking pinks, blues and purples. I wanted to do a little more variation of sizes and maybe add a few more things, but D was thrilled with it this way, and hey, it's her bracelet, not mine.

Before: During: After:
We had a bit of an audience during this, and now it seems they want me to do a "lunch 'n learn" series - show them how to make them one day, then give them a week to go out and get the supplies, then another day help them with the making of. I said sure.

We have a lot of fun here. And the company on the whole is doing a lot better after a bit of a scare last year, so I am optimistic about staying here. When this kind of stuff happens, and I love what I do, it's hard not to want to stay.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I should tidy up more often...

So I cleaned out one of my knitting corners this past weekend. It was starting to overflow in to actual living space well, overflow MORE than usual...) so I decided to pack up a few potential projects and move them.

This is what I found: 4 socks on the go. I had remembered two of them, and two were surprises.

Clockwise from top:
Kertzer Bamboo in pale and medium grey. The pale grey 100g ball was not enough for the foot length and requested length of shin for my FIL, so I had to add the darker medium grey at the top. These have been my travel socks for a while that were temporarily displaced by the baby knitting. I knew about these.

Mary Maxim Bamboo Stripes in a rust/green/blue multi stripe. I was working on these in Florida in December, and then promptly forgot about them once I got home. This bamboo yarn is no where near as robust as the Kertzer, so I am not sure how well these will wear. They seem a bit flimsy, so I may end up keeping them for myself. What a shame.

At the bottom - this is embarrassing - Helga gifted me with this Opal yarn, and I love, love, love it, but it got lost in the shuffle a few weeks back. These are definitely for me, and have moved to the top of the pile for immediate knitting. I knew about them, but couldn't remember where they were.

Last but not least, a complete sock and a toe of Regia Galaxy. Not sure when these were started. I'm not a huge fan of Regia yarns, but they are good workhorse type socks, and will be appreciated by someone. I'll finish these eventually, and they will go in the box for Christmas gifts.

Maybe I shouldn't le things pile up so much. I wonder what I'll find in the next room I go after...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the cute continues...

The February baby at work has been taken care of, now the March baby is bootie-d and hatted as well. And I've given them to C - she loved them, and has taken them home already. What's missing from this? Pictures! I thought I took some before I gave the set to her, but obviously, I didn't because I can't find them. Picture the February set, only in Knit Picks S'mores colours - browns, creams and greys. As is pretty obvious, I don't do pastels for babies - I prefer more colour.

C loved the set - booties and a beanie with 4 icords sticking out the top, and that's what matters.

So, in lieu of a baby picture, I have the February lady sweater progress. I'm quite happy with the black and sage green combination - this will actually go with quite a bit of my wardrobe. the green is a little greener than it appears here, but it is still greyed down quite a bit. I think that's why the black goes with it so well. Of course, I will prbably have enough of the green that I could have done the whole sweater in green - but that's the chance you take!

***Late breaking news - the February baby has been born! A healthy baby boy, Mom and babe are doing well, and the office is expecting a visit in the near future. Unfortunately, the early delivery blew my chances at the baby pool winnings...

Monday, February 23, 2009

still with the sparkly...

Needles asked about my online source for Swarovski crystal beads. Please note that I have not yet ordered from here, and cannot comment on their customer service, but they are Canadian, based not far from me, and have a storefront in Toronto, so they don't appear to be fly-by-night. Once I order, I will comment on their service level. However, their prices are astounding and way better than anywhere else I've found. is the place. Beads of all sorts - as well as all the findings you need. I may have added a few pendants and other things to my potential order. I'm letting it marinate while I make final decisions...

Note - I wrote the above last week. Then over the weekend I did this: Oh my. (Click to make bigger -really, you should.) The brown and turquoise are the glass beads, the blue and green are the Swarovskis. The glass beads are nice, but the crystals? Oh yeah, baby, it's all about the crystals! I don't think the Crystal Bead Shop order will be marinating for long...
(and yes, the brown and turquoise glass bead bracelet is way too big. And the way these are made, it's not exactly easy to rip back. Crap.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

ooo, sparkly...

I swear I must have been a magpie in a former life. I am so attracted to the sparkly, it's not funny. But only in the beads, it seems. I'm not a sparkly type of girl in my regular life. When I got married, there were comments from some family member about the lack or adornment on the dress. (Hey, they were lucky it was even in the white tones, as far as I was concerned...)
But these! These make me swoon!
I found this pattern in a magazine, and fell in love immediately. The pattern uses Swarovski crystals, but the one I'm making is a test piece using less expensive glass beads. It still looks pretty good, I think. But then, look at these: these are the Swarovskis. As nice as the glass beads are, I really think the crystals will be amazing. And yes, I've already found an online source for bulk crystals - way cheaper than what I pay in a store.
You can see the difference in the glass and crystals - the crystals have a much more defined facet and definitely sparkle more.
Just what I needed - another distraction... but I gotta say, this is FUN!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I wish I had something interesting for you. I'm knitting away on things, but only in fits and starts between everything else. Work is busy, busy, busy, which is good, but also tiring. My son is busy, which is also good but tiring, since he still needs me to get anywhere. Husband's business is crazy busy - again, good, but I'm not seeing a lot of him. We did have a wonderful long weekend at the cottage, but we're back into the busy again.
The work thing is interesting - the company is fighting for survival - we've made cuts (back in November), and we've since seen a bit of a rebound, but less people means more to do for those that are left. My boss is great, and he knows my strengths, so he is utilizing them not only in our own department, but I seem to be loaned out to others as well in some cases. Not complaining here - I like being useful and needed, and at least I have the freedom to work at home when necessary. They understand the family-work balance here very well - I know who incredibly lucky I am to find that.
I'm so close to finishing another baby set, and another pair of socks, and I really want to focus on the February Lady Sweater, but I have a couple of other sweaters that are calling my name.
And there's some beading going on too. Nice beading. Crystals. I've discovered crystals. Swarovski crystals. Sparkly fun. Pictures soon...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Is this what I think it is? It is, isn't it? it's.... it's...
in my house!
Near my wool?
I feel faint...

Friday, February 13, 2009

cute v2.0

I finished the hat to go with the booties just in time. D's last day of work is today, so I had it wrapped up and ready for her yesterday. What I forgot about is the hormone level of very pregnant women. (it's been 10 years for me - I have conveniently filed that part of my life away...) She was so happy, she started crying. We got that stopped and had her laughing in no time, but it's things like that that make me want to keep knitting for people. I will anyway, but it's still nice to get that gut reaction of happiness.

Now to get going on the next set for the March baby...

One of these days I'll get back to the February Lady Sweater...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

what I did at work this week...

I mentioned that our CEO's wife is a knitter, right? And that she's working in our department, which I happen to oversee? And she's really, really nice?

Did I also mention that she's a fairly new knitter (she had never heard of! - I changed that and got her rolling along...), and that she had no idea about blocking or seaming or any kind of finishing. She has three dresses, all in pieces, that she was going to pay to have someone put them together for her, even though she wants to do it herself.

So I brought in my little blocking pads, pins, steam iron, pressing cloth, and we got to work. (During business hours!) I offered to come in earlier, or do it during lunch, but no, she wanted to do it right away. She's the daughter of the owners, and the CEO's wife - I'm going to say no?

It actually didn't take long and I eat at my desk on the fly most days lately, so I didn't feel too guilty...
today is a mattress seaming lesson.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

too cute

We have a couple of babies due at the office - one at the end of February and one at the end of March. We have had some small shower-y type things - contribute to a group gift and all that, but I like to knit for babies. My baby being 10 now, I don't get the chance to do the cute much any more...

Hence these: And this:The cutest booties, and a matching hat-to-come. So cute and so quick, and I will do it all over again for the March baby. I've used stash yarn - I think it is ancient Knitpicks sock yarn that I've had forever. It's purple, blue and yellow, and since the gender of both is unknown (cough-I think both boys-cough) I figured this would work with either gender.

(I'm also hoping that the good karma that comes from knitting helps me win the office baby pools...)

Friday, February 06, 2009

happy things

I forgot one very important thing that makes me happy from my last post...

when my friends, (3-D or Internet) get better.

Welcome Home, AlisonH! I'm growing an amaryllis in your honour.

tagged (sort of, kind of...)

Deirdre was tagged for a meme, and then left it open to all. Seeing as she and I are some freaky "never met in person, but we seem to have been twins separated at birth" people, I thought I would assume she tagged me for this, so I'm going with that...

Link to the person who has tagged you.
Write down six things that make you happy.
Post the rules, tag six others and let them know you did it.
Then tell the person when your entry is complete.

Six Things That Make Me Happy...

1. My kid. My wonderful 10-year-old-today kid. He is my joy, and my reason for being who I am. We're having his favourite dinner tonight, then tomorrow I'm taking a dozen kids to Laser Quest. I've gotta love him if I'm doing that.

2. My family. Truthfully, for the most part, my extended family pisses me off as often as not. I love my Mom, but she can be a little over bearing. over protective, over worried, over everything. She still calls me occasionally to check that I have unplugged my iron. My brother and his family live the perfect distance away - not too close, but close enough to see without too much hassle. And my in-laws. 17 of them and counting, not including aunts, uncles and cousins. Too much drama from some, too much apathy from others, and sometimes just too much. But they came with my husband and I wouldn't change them. Much.

3. My friends. I have the best girlfriends. Some I've known all my life, some have recently come into my life, making it that much richer. They come from all walks of life, most are not knitters and have no interest in becoming one, but they are appreciative of the knitted gifts. I also have the best guy friends - and always have. From the time I started school I always had at least one best friend of the opposite gender, and I hope my son does the same. One of his best friends is a girl, and although they call each other "frenemies", they are tight, and they are lucky to have each other.

4. When things go right. Things at work haven't all been smooth sailing - in these economic times, one can never feel too safe. So having survived a huge layoff last November, it is gratifying to sit in on senior management meetings and hear good things said about you. The downside is being given even more to do and increased responsibility, but to be recognized for the work I do and how I do it, makes me happy.

5. My stash. Just to look at it and see the possibilities. Or to look for one thing and find something completely different, having forgot I owned it. (okay, that part can be a little scary...) To be able to "shop the stash" when I've decided recently to stop unnecessary shopping, and realize that I have a pretty good selection right here at home.

6. Summer at the cottage. I love the cottage all year round - each season has it's benefits. Winter is peaceful and snow filled, and fun to sled and skate, Fall is stunningly beautiful, bug free, with crisp mornings and warm afternoons, full of homey food, spring is, well, okay, spring is not my favourite time up there - too many black flies, too much mud, and too much work to get everything going again. But summer. Ah, summer. My Muskoka chair by the beach, my knitting and a frost beverage nearby, a good book, good friends and family, with the sun beating down - Heaven.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

best. aunt. ever.

(They are much darker grey in real life - and this is in natural sunlight!)

I finished the Bella mittens, and wrapped them up to send to my niece. I grabbed a couple of pictures off the Internet that showed Kristen Stewart as Bella wearing the original mittens, and made up a wrapper that said they were knit expressly for my niece and they were inspired by the Twilight movie. I added the movie screen shots, so she could see the inspiration.

My husband plays poker at his brother's place every Monday, and his sister lives nearby, so he was designated as delivery person.

When he dropped them off for her, he said the sound she made was virtually supersonic, she was so excited. (He mentioned something about a punctured eardrum, but really, she's a 14 year old drama queen - what did he expect?) I got a phone call minutes later, she gushed and gushed about them, then she burst into tears! She got herself composed and said she was so happy that someone had remembered her! (I'm should have to have a little talk with her parents about equal time for both her kids, regardless of the excitement going on in her brother's life...)

She was planning on wearing them to school the next day, and I believe the line was "I'm NEVER taking them off!"
*ETA - she called again last night. She has taken them off to eat, sleep and shower, but other than that, they are always on. Her friends are so envious she said, which segued into a "would you be able to make some for...?" I hated to burst her bubble, but I gave her the "they are special, just like you, so no one else can have them" line. I hated to do it, but I'm not supplying the entire female population of a school no where near where I live...

Cool. Sometimes the drama that surrounds her can be a bit much, but I love her to death, so to be able to do this for her? Priceless.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

an interview...

Georgi From To Knit and Write has interviewed me...

Georgi: When did you learn to knit and what was your first project?

Sandra: I first learned when I was about 8 - my Mom taught me the basics, and I'm pretty sure I knit a scarf for my Barbie. I do remember it being a hideous purple and white variegated acrylic yarn. I think I then graduated to Barbie doll rugs and possibly blankets - anything square and in garter or rib stitch. (I could rib, but never seemed to do anything in stockinette). I then put it down until University - saw a girl in my dorm knitting, said, "I know how to do that", went out, bought yarn and a Patons pattern booklet, and proceeded to make a sweater, mostly by following the directions. I believe it was purple Patons Shetland Chunky. I knit on and off like that (I also sewed, quilted, painted and cross stitched, so I was always doing SOMETHING) for a few years, and then about 10 years ago, something hit me like a V-8 smack to the head. I think it was seeing the influx of the wonderful natural fibres, and realizing that I was okay knitting with synthetics, but MAN! did I LOVE knitting with natural fibre. I was reborn from a person who can knit to a KNITTER, and I have never looked back. I still sew, quilt, weave and sketch, but really, I knit.

Georgi: Describe what your dream knitting project would be, if time and money were no object.

Sandra: I don't know if that exists for me. I've never felt held back by time or money in my knitting. If something grabs me, I find a way to get it. I've never knit an afghan, but to be honest, it's not a project that holds a lot of interest for me. I've knit scarves, socks, adult, baby and kid sweaters. I've used wool, alpaca, silk and cotton.
Maybe quivit - a quivit cowl - since that seems to be a bit extravagant.

Georgi: Whom do you prefer to knit for? Children, hubby, friends, charity, yourself or . . . And why?

Sandra: I love knitting for family and friends. Those that appreciate it. My husband, FIL and nephew are my favourite sock recipients - they love them and show them off and take care of them. They get socks all year long - no need to wait for an occasion. I love to knit for my son when he lets me. He's 10 and getting rather particular, so sweaters have to have a certain "look". But he still loves the hats I make for him and proudly tells people "My Mom made it". My girl friends all love the stuff I make, so I'm always on the lookout for a great pattern for them, and of course - me. With the size of my family, I don't get a lot of time to knit for charity, so I make up for it in other ways - I support causes that I hold near and dear in any way I can.

Georgi: When do you find is the best time for knitting? Is this a time when you need to relax more or is it just something to keep you busy?

Sandra: Any time I can! I always have a small travel project - usually a sock - with me I knit at lunch at work, during my son's basketball practices and games, and swimming lessons. (The other parents are quite used to it by now). I always have a bunch of projects around - always one near my chair in the kitchen/family room, so I can pick it up and knit even a few stitches. I love to knit in the car on the way to the cottage (my husband drives...) because it's one of those places where I would find it a waste of time not to. I think because I have a relatively busy life - work outside the home, a husband who works long hours, so I'm doing most of the work inside the home as well, and a child with a busy life, I find all the bits and pieces of spare time and make the most of it.
But my most favourite time is time spent at the cottage - a Muskoka chair by the lake, kids swimming nearby, good friends close by for chatting and a drink and my knitting in hand. Heaven.

Georgi: I see from reading your blog that you read a lot (so do I). Do you have different books that you read at different times or in different areas? (For instance, I always have a romance in the bathroom (does not matter if I put it down for a couple days) a book by my chair in the TV room, another book by my bed and another in the car.) What is your favorite type of book for general reading? What do you like to read in bed?

Sandra: I've always been a voracious reader. My dad always read a lot, and felt that any book in the house was fair game for me. If I chose to pick up a book and read it, he supported me, and would always answer any questions. Hence the fact that I started reading Robert Ludlum at an incredibly young age. Young enough that Dad had to explain the Cold War to a 9 year old. I may not have understood all the nuances of spy thrillers at that age, but I did read them, and I have gone back since and re-read them. They made a lot more sense to a 20 year old... In grade 5, my teacher, Mrs Colgan changed my life. She knew I read, and always saw me reading Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden books. Once during a test when I had finished early, she sent me down to the office to pick up something out of her mailbox. I cam back with two ancient leather bound books, and gave them to her. She gave them right back to me, and told me that she was giving me her copies of two favourite books (she had no kids of her own, I found out later). She told me not to read them right away, but when I wanted to. The only thing was, I had to come back and talk to her about them. I ended up reading Little Women and Rebecca within that year, and many times since. She started me on the classics, and I will never forget that. I remember going back to her retirement party (I was in grade 10 at the time), and told her how treasured those books were to me. That's all she ever wanted.
I always have a book or books on the go - usually from the library - right now it's Cross Country by James Patterson (love him!), and I always keep favourites by the bed in case I don't have a good one on the go - the Harry Potters, Twilight series, Little Women and Rebecca (of course!) and a few others. I tend to like mysteries and spy/suspense books, and I love series - I love to follow the development of characters. Favourite authors would include (but not be limited to): Clive Cussler, James Patterson, Philip R. Craig, Sue Grafton, Linda Fairstein, Perri O'Shaughnessy, Robert Ludlum, and so many more that are not coming to mind right now...
Bathroom reading? Well, I'm not sure if she will consider this a compliment or not, but I have Stephanie's books there, along with a big stack of knitting magazines...

For those of you who might want to be interviewed, here are the directions:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions and I will need your e-mail.).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

my other project

With the Bella mittens off the needles and on her hands, I can focus more time on my other project - the February Lady Sweater. Seems fitting to be making this sweater this month, but that wasn't how I planned it. Happy coincidence, is all. The yoke is almost done, and I'm very happy with it. I will soon divide for the arms and start the gull lace,and then all I have to do is keep an eye on my yarn usage, to ensure I have enough of the green for the body and sleeves. I know I have enough black left for the front bands, so I'm in good shape there.

Speaking of front bands - the black and grey sweater has been butchered - at least to the extent of the front bands. The ruffly grey has been removed, and a solid black band will be in place soon. I agree with the comment that the idea of the sweater was to be a useful, black cardigan. The solid grey bottom and cuff hems were fine but the ruffle was way over the top.

Plus, I'm not really a ruffly girl, so this is better.

And the CEO's wife here is a knitter! SHe does some part time work in our department, and she's really nice. When she mentioned to someone that she knits, they immediately called me over! So N and I will be lunching together more often... SHe's pretty new to it, and had no idea of the vast amount of knowledge online. I introduced her to Knitty, and I'm sure she spent the afternoon crawling around there. (Hey, she's the CEO's wife - she can get away with it...) She's a big Debbie Bliss fan, and has three young girls, so although we have different ideas about what to knit, it doesn't really matter - we both knit. SHe wants to ask if we can knit in our weekly (boring) sales meeting. To be honest, while she might get away with it, I'm pretty sure I would not be looked upon well if I did.

Maybe I should work for my husband. No, scratch that - I'd rather stay married...

Monday, February 02, 2009

some people...

So, I had a doctor's appointment last week. It was the during one of our many snowstorms, so I left early to give myself time to get there. I arrived in plenty of time, however, it seems no one else did, and they were stacked up. No biggie - I had knitting, so waiting didn't bother me. It did however bother the guy that arrived behind me. When his appointment time passed, he went to the receptionist and asked when he was going to see the doc. She explained about the delay, due to the snow, and told him there was only one person ahead of him (that would be me.) Now, at this point, my scheduled time has come and gone, so I too was going to be late. He loudly asked the receptionist to tell (TELL!) the person in front of him (me) that he was busy and needed to go first. She sheepishly looked over at me, giving him the opportunity to turn to me and tell (TELL!) me that he needed to go first. I politely looked at him and then the clock, and said "I'm sorry, No. I'm late getting back to work myself." and went back to knitting. He sputtered about his time being valuable, and if people can't make it on time, it's not his fault, and he needs to go before me. I looked at him again and told him I WAS on time for my appointment, and that I was going next. Again, back to knitting. He actually walked over to me and stood in front of me and said "Your time can't be valuable if all you do is KNIT!" and then stood there expecting an answer. I again looked at him and said "Your opinion doesn't mean shit to me, and I'm still going next." Back to knitting, wondering to myself if an orthopaedic surgeon would be able to retrieve a 5mm bamboo dpn from this guy's eye without damage. (to the needle, not the eye). Then I realized that I was on a deadline to get these mittens done, and didn't want to waste time looking for another needle.

Dickhead finally realized I wasn't backing down, and went to the receptionist and demanded another appointment time. He got one in March. I think I actually laughed out loud as he stalked out.

It gets better...

right after he leaves, the nice, quiet older lady sitting next to me takes out her cell phone, calls her friend Mary and proceeds to describe the whole situation to her! "You should have seen it Mary , the girl sittin' here crocheting (I sighed and ignored that part) wouldn't let this guy go first! He was steamed too, and she sat there calm as anything, crocheting away! Mary, you should have been here!" And she looks over at me, grinning ear to ear. After hanging up, she smiles at me and says "crocheting is fine dear, but sewing is so much faster. You should learn to sew - you'd be able to make things so much faster"

I could have explained that I was knitting. I could have explained that I do sew, and each endeavour has it's own function and that they are so very different.

But all I said was "It's too much trouble to carry my sewing machine around with me. That's why I knit."

Then I got called in, got the diagnosis on my knee. (slight tear to the meniscus, my choice for surgery or not). Thanks, no. I'll call you if it gets worse, but if I can avoid cutting, I'll avoid it.

I laughed all the way back to work, answered an email from Lucky and decided to wait and let her read this today. And I thought only Stephanie had experiences like this...