Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour

Saturday night from 8:30 to 9:30 was Earth Hour. Turn off your lights and such and enjoy the company of friends and family.
We did (and I forgot to take pictures!) - we ate a late dinner by candlelight, then went for walk in the neighbourhood.
Can I say something? I was sorely disappointed in Aurora. Maybe one in three (or four) houses were dark. Far too many lights, and most houses had multiple rooms all lit up.

Made me sad...

Friday, March 27, 2009

sign of the beast??

There's a discussion at work as to whether or not we can trade phone extensions. (They won't let us, because of the pain and expense of printing new business cards). But one of the people I work with, H, has the extension 666. And she's Catholic enough to be a little freaked out by this. I on the other hand, would LOVE this extension! Can you imagine my voice mail greeting?

"Hi, you reached the gates of Hell. Sandra is busy feeding Cerberus, and will get back to you shortly. Please leave a message." (Imagine this in a "Linda Blair in The Exorcist" voice...)

I'm going straight to hell, I know. And I'm not the only one - there's a bidding war for the extension, if they ever let us change...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

still whispering

I've stayed remarkably faithful to the Whisper cardigan so far, with only small affairs of the sock kind. The back/sleeve part is done, and I'm working on the ribbing that surrounds the opening, before picking up the bottom part that will complete the sweater.Any bets on something diverting my attention before I get to that part? Anyone? Bueller?

I'm hoping nothing does, because I really think I'm going to like this cardigan. I'll probably modify the bottom a touch and bring it around the front more than than the original - I have enough yarn to do this without a problem. I also plan on finding some great co-ordinating linen fabric to make a sleeveless dress to go with it. Maybe a top or two as well - summer's comin' and to me, that means linen, wrinkles and all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Whisper cardigan continues...

The Whisper Cardigan is moving along swimmingly. Unfortunately, the black cardigan and the FLS are still within my sight lines, and both are glaring at me, with that "why don't you love me anymore" look on them. So now I either have to pick them up and do some work on them, or hide them away in the black hole with the other UFOs.

My justification of working on the Whisper cardigan is that it's a lighter weight fabric, and therefore more appropriate for a spring knit. Yeah, I'm not sure anyone's buying that...

I've also been making some necklaces, trying to reduce my bead stash. The first one used memory wire - the necklace size. Although it looks like it would be binding and tight, it's actually quite comfortable, and sits nicely at the base of the neck. I'll make more of these, to use up my bead and pendant stash.
This one was a bit of an experiment, using some jump rings, and other finding I had collected. I love silver and turquoise together. The bird sits separate from the turquoise shell circle, so there is a bit of jingle-jangle to this one, however, once on, it sits fairly quietly, so it's not rally annoying.

Friday, March 20, 2009

fun, fun, fun

Today is the final day of March Break (the Canadian version of Spring Break, a term we don't use, because it's a crapshoot as to whether or not the weather will be "spring-like"...). My son's sitter requested the day off, and we were happy to oblige, however, I couldn't get the whole day off as I needed to be at work in the morning. So I came in to work at my regular o'dark o'clock, and then my husband brought my son here at a more civilized 9am. The Son got to spend the morning at my office - basically using a free computer to do his Club Penguin stuff, asking me all kinds of questions, checking out all the stickers that line the walls here, and meeting the people that Mom works with. Apart from some shyness, he did really well, and was treated to walk-through of the plant where stickers are made. Yeah, that made Mom's job of sitting in front of a computer seem really boring, and led him to ask why I didn't transfer into the plant.

After I finished up what I needed to do ("Are you Important, Mom?, loudly enough for some senior management to hear, and they happily answered that "Yes, she is". Must bring brownies into senior management meeting next week after that little bonus...), we headed out. I treated him to lunch, then we did some grocery shopping. He got to choose what we were going to have for dinner, and he chose homemade pizza. So he shopped for the toppings, we came home, and he used the breadmaker to make the dough. A buddy came over for the afternoon, which meant they played and I knit, then we made our pizzas, which beat any store bought or delivery pizza hands down.

My favourite way to end March Break - that is, if I can't be at the cottage or other vacation spot...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

fickle, fickle...

That's me. Fickle. Non-monogamous. I start something, put it down, start something else, fall passionately in love for a while, then phhft! nothing. No spark, no interest. Most of the time this happens because something else has caught my eye. A pattern that I like. I look at it for a while, match it up to some yarn that I (hopefully) already have. Photocopy the pattern and mark it up with potential modifications, sizing etc. All the while telling myself that I'm not going to actually start the knitting of it until I finish the other project. Then I think, well I'll just start it, to see if it looks as good in person as it does in my mind. And so it begins - another new project started - one I'm in love with. At least until the next one comes along.

Meet the black cardigan - I took off the front grey ruffle (Man, was it ugly!), and just need to pick up a band around the front. Sitting forlornly in a bag.FLS - still like this, but it's heavy and adding sleeves in the round is a pain, constantly flipping the whole thing around. Next time, I'm going to knit the yoke, then the sleeves first, THEN the body. Now, I'm debating taking off the black yoke and doing it all in green - It seems my math skills are crappy and I have more than enough yarn to do this. (Can you believe I make my living creating and working with statistical spreadsheets, and am one of the go-to people around the office for Excel help? Yeah, boggles my mind too.)

And my new love - the Whisper Cardigan, using my luscious Wellington Fibres laceweight mohair merino blend. Yum. This one is making me ignore all else. It's the yarn's fault. Really, it is.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

yes, I still knit...

But it does seem to be about the beads, lately, doesn't it? I've made up a few memory wire bracelets lately. Memory wire is that stuff that looks like a Slinky - coils and coils of wire that bounces back into the coil shape, no matter what you do. (On a side note - I love how all beading magazines and "experts" say you need special wire cutters for this stuff, since it's harder than regular wire. Yeah, like I'm going to pay $30 for special "memory wire cutters". I'm lucky enough to have tools around the house, and the wire cutters in our workroom can handle this without a problem, but if you don't have a tool collector handy (like my husband), go to a hardware store - they are way cheaper there compared to a jewellery or craft store.)

But the bracelets. I started by using up some of the stone beads and other bits and pieces I had hanging around. I gathered them into like colours and then randomly went at it. I kind of like them - the jury's still out on the shell dagger ones, but hey, someone may like them.

And to answer Marie yesterday - the Swarovski crystal bracelets take a little over an hour each - much better than my original time of about 4 hours for one!
And I promise - knitting update coming soon...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

what I've been doing with the crystals...

Remember all the Swarovski crystals I ordered from the Crystal Bead Shop? In multiple colours? I thought I should show you what I've been doing with them:
I'm having a blast using these - the pattern has become very intuitive to me, and I can make a bracelet much quicker, now. These ones are destined to become gifts for family members, and possibly for myself. I'm branching out a little with the crystals, using them for other projects, but I do love this pattern - I find it very pretty, and changing the colours, certainly changes the look. The black, white and grey is for one SIL, the brown, topaz and green is for another that loves earthy tones, the pinky one is probably for my Mom, and there's 6 or 7 others on my list I will make some for. I can't imagine holding on to these until Christmas, but at the moment that's the plan. I'm probably keeping the green for myself.For a non-sparkly girl, I just love the way they sparkle.

Monday, March 16, 2009

the things I do...

I'm not that fond of sewing up my knitting. Don't get me wrong - I can do it, and actually, I'm quite proud of my mattress stitching, it's just not one of my favourite things to do. Notice the high percentage of top down raglan sweaters that don't require much in the way of seaming.

So explain to me why this is happening... Yes, it's a pink child's dress, done in multiple pieces (including pockets!). I have a 10 year old son, so it's obviously not for me.

This is the same dress that I helped a co-worker block, and I gave her a lesson on mattress stitching. She did fine on the straight side seams, but brought it back to work, almost in tears, having had a terrible time with the slanted seam of the sleeves, and the set in armhole. She promised her daughter that she could wear it for Passover, and I gather one of the grandmothers is a knitter, and is waiting to "inspect" the work. What could I say? Especially after she offered to pay me in wine AND wool! So I've started seaming it, and I have to say, I still hate setting in sleeves, although, they look pretty good. I'll give it a proper wet blocking as well, and re-weave in some of the ends for her. For a fairly new knitter, she did a pretty good job, considering she had no idea what she was doing at times. And if this will keep her going, then it's the least I can do.
But I still prefer raglan sleeves...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

finally done

I've finished the grey bamboo socks for my FIL. Not that I didn't enjoy making them, but towards the end, they did feel like some sort of life-sucking entity. Grey yarn being knit during grey days is never a good idea. And as much as I love the feeling of these, the yarn is very splitty, so I'd have to think twice about using it again (Kertzer bamboo). However... the feel of them! Oh my, they are soft, and squooshy, and cushy, and did I mention soft? My FIL has foot issues - high arches, and other things I won't get into, so he's always on the lookout for comfy socks. It has been my mission lately to be the provider of such. For Christmas, he got the alpaca silk blend, and according to my MIL, never wants to take them off. (She makes him - she hand washes them after each use, so he only gets them every third day or so). These bamboo ones will probably fill in one day of the rotation, so it looks like I'm going to have to find a third for him. Thankfully, my MIL is happy enough to wash the socks for him.
Sorry for the two days of silence - I had a couple of days of project training, so I was incommunicado for a while. The rest of the week doesn't look a whole lot better, so there may not be much from me.
Lucky, I will answer your email, I promise!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Norwegian house slippers or elf boots...

From this: to this: to this: in record time. Comfy too!
Pattern - Norwegian House Slippers found here
(YouTube Folding tutorial - very helpful!) found here)
Yarn - odds and ends of worsted weight I had lying around.
These slippers are very comfortable and super easy to make - they have a kind of elf thing going, which I find eminently charming, but that's me.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Marie over at Sel et Poivre nominated me for a Kreative Blogger Award!
I'm touched! Seriously, this means a lot to me. I write this as kind of an online diary thing, heavy on the knitting and other things I create. I add in a little of the lifestyle stuff, but not as much as I would in a real diary. (No one needs to know that much about me.)
The fact that there are people out there reading is a bonus. Then, the fact that someone thinks I'm interesting enough to be called this, well, that's just special. It makes it easier and more fulfilling to write these posts.
I'm supposed to nominate 5 other blogs I read. TO be honest, even though I have a blog roll over there, it's not up to date, and there are many that I read all the time, and some just now and then. What I like is being introduced to new blogs through some of my favourites. Especially when they have an archive I can dig through - love finding those hidden gems. I read and enjoy the "big" blogs - Stephanie, Norma, Claudia and the rest, but truly my favourites are the smaller ones like my own - we're not famous, nor will we ever be. But we write what we like and I like reading what's written. I hate to single any 5 out, for fear of reading this tomorrow and thinking, "Oh, but what about (Blank)? I should have nominated her!"
Suffice to say, if you're reading this, there's a good chance I'm reading you. And enjoying your writings. And often commenting, but also know, even when I don't comment, I'm still reading.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

stash addition

I've been trying to be good. Not buying excessively, and trying to knit from stash. I've been pretty good - the black cardigan (must finish that off...) and the FLS are both stash busters, and I haven't bought sock yarn at all lately. (the fact that I could open my own sock yarn store probably has something to do with this...)

But on Tuesday when my Guild hosted Wellington Fibres... well, I just had to grab some. They now have lace weight! I'm a huge fan of their 3 ply mohair/merino blend - the depth of colour that Donna achieves with dye is outstanding, and the drape and hand of the yarn is delicious. And now in lace weight! 658 metres of 80% mohair/20% merino blend, silky feeling, wonderful colours. I'm amazed I stopped at two. Considering the horde of knitters I had to contend with, I'm lucky I got anything at all: But I'm thrilled with the two I scored: I'm thinking a shawl, maybe with a Swarovski beaded edge... The hand paint is called Wellington Autumn Scene, and the solid is Wellington Golden Honey. Yum.

And while I looked at and loved the drop spindles, I stomped all over my subconscious and did not buy one. (yet).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

great customer service

Remember when I said I wasn't going to comment on The Crystal Bead Company until I actually placed and order and received it. Well, I did both. I placed an order online, and opted for the option of mailing them a cheque, rather than using my credit card. (we've cleared it, and I want to see how long I can go with that.) I sent the cheque, and three days later came home to this in my mailbox: Actually, it didn't look like this - it was beautifully and safely encased in a bubble wrap envelope - compact enough to fit in the mailbox, and full of wonderfull goodies!
I've made another bracelet using black jet, clear crystal and black ice (a smoky grey) crystals, and started (edited to add - actually, finished) one in smoky topazes and greens. Lovely!

Great prices, fast delivery, good packaging - what's not to like. I'm a fan, and I know I will be a repeat customer.

Can you see these knitted into a stole or scarf? I can, especially with the most excellent lace weight I bought last night from Wellington Fibres...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

fighting with my subconscious

I seem to have a fair bit of roving around here, and I'm not a spinner (yet.) Note to subconscious - NOT "YET". I am not a spinner! (yet.) sigh...

Whatever, I have roving, and I'm not spinning it. (yet).

So what to do? well, there's always needle felting. I have needle felting kits that I have bought, and I just got this book, and I thought I'd try one thing, just to use up some of the roving here. Yeah, I'm intrigued. Actually, beyond intrigued. I kind of wish I had sucked at needle felting, because then I could justify giving away the roving to a spinner (wait, you'll try spinning.)
I didn't even start with the first, easy project, I jumped right to the cutest one, three quarters of the way through the book. Because then I would make a mess of it, and give up, and give away the roving. (No, you need it for spinning.)The problem? I didn't suck, I really liked doing it, and I have the cutest sheep EVER in my possession, and all I can think of it how many more I can make, and then there's the birds, and the turtle, and oh, the penguins!!!

yup. I'm a lost cause...

(But Wellington Fibres is coming to your Guild meeting on Tuesday, and they are bringing fibre and spindles! Perfect for learning to spin!)

I hate my subconscious...

Monday, March 02, 2009

I needed that...

A nice weekend, full of family and friends. Saturday morning, we watched our son play basketball - there's no better way to spend a morning. Then, a great friend came for a long overdue dinner. We hadn't seen her in forever, it seemed. We finally exchanged our Christmas gifts, and more importantly, we spent some quality time catching up. Sunday was a day for getting things done - groceries, laundry and such, but we still managed to spend some family time together.

Last week as a bit trying. Three weeks ago, I went to the clinic because of some lower back pain. Normally I wouldn't do this, but this pain was different, and reminiscent of the pain I get with a UTI.

(A side note - I am VERY careful about UTI's - I had my urinary tract rebuilt when I was a kid, and where UTIs are uncomfortable for most people, for me they can be extremely dangerous.)

Anyhoo, they test, no UTI, probably kidney stones. Drink lots of water, etc. Pain is still there, but somewhat bearable, although, not going away. Last week, my own doctor calls and wants to see me. To make a long story less tedious, it turns out that the lab screwed up my results by waiting two weeks, and yes, I do have a UTI. My doc was livid that the lab messed up like that. And if he was mad, I was worse - I have spent my life being so careful about this, and I even went to the clinic when I thought I MIGHT have something. So I spent last week on antibiotics, trying to keep from being hospitalized. So far, so good. I have to go back for tests this week, once I'm done the antibiotics. But the drugs knocked me out pretty good. By the time my husband got home each night, I pretty much went to bed, having reached the limit to my up-right-ness.

Needless to say, knitting progress was limited. There wasn't much left after working and child rearing, and sleep seemed more important. So sleep it was. At least I was at home, and still able to live most of my life. It could have been worse. At least I accomplished things on the weekend.

My husband has his physical today, and is planning on getting his two cents in to the doc about the lab issue. Not that it will do anything, but he's ticked off.