Thursday, April 30, 2009

sewing as a stress reliever

Not only have I been stress-bashing with some knitting, but I've been sewing as well. It's something about Spring that makes me want to sew new clothes.

I've made a couple of summery skirts (that I don't seem to have pictures of, sorry), and some pajama pants for my son. He is a huge fan of the handmade pajama pant, it seems. I don't bother buying them any more, as he prefers the ones I've made him. (I wonder how much longer he's going to appreciate the things I do for him - I figure I have a few more years until he reaches the teen years, then I'm going to lose all cred.)
But I found this fabric, and since he plays basketball, soccer and now this year, baseball*, it seemed perfect.
And in his eyes, it was, on two counts. First, he loved the design. Second, (and here's where the make your own comes in really handy), they are SOFT! 100% cotton, prewashed, and man, these are cozy! (I'm starting to replace all my store bought pajama pants with handmade cotton ones as well...)

*Yes, this year, we have given soccer a pass and are trying baseball. He's pretty good, especially for a kid that has never played organized ball, but we'll see how he stacks up against the other kids that have played for years. And for me, I have to train a whole new set of parents that yes, I knit through games and practices. All the time. And no it's not hard, and no, I won't make something for you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I know I've gone on ad nauseum about how busy I am (I know, it makes me nauseous as well...). And about how stressful it is. But as knitters, I'm sure all of you understand how we deal with stress and craziness. We knit. And, if you're at all like me, we get on a jag with certain types of knits (of course, that may just be me...)

I will always be a sock knitter - I love making them, and I love the wonderful array of sock yarns out there, and I have an unending list of willing recipients for the finished socks.

But lately, it's been all about the sweaters. And, looking at my lifestyle, heavy pullover sweaters, don't cut it. I spend the majority of my time indoors at work, and temperature control is one of the wonders of our time, so heavy pullovers tend to get pt away until we hit on that perfect kind of outdoor day when a jacket is too much, but you need something. And there aren't enough of those days to warrant a whole shelf full of pullovers.

Hence the cardigan. I've hit on cardigans as my new favourite thing to knit. Useful, pretty (most of the time), and fun to knit.

Now, these cardis may all have been finished around the same time, but they were all started at different times, and some have been languishing for quite a while until I got around to finishing them.

But it does make a pretty impressive display!

The Whisper cardigan you've seen, but it fits the theme:
The Kauni you've seen before as well, but again, it fits the theme!
The February Lady Sweater is done! I modified it a bit from the original. I left off the front bands of garter, because originally, I was going to add them on later in black when there was more black on the sweater. But it fits well without the bands, and instead of buttons, I'm using an antique brooch that my Mom gave me.I think it works quite well.

And finally, I got around to putting plain black bands on the black cardigan. This looks better in person than in pictures - the grey alpaca bottom and sleeve bands add a nice touch - some softness and texture. I'm still working out a closure on this. I didn't make a buttonhole, and should have, but the joy of knowing how to sew means that I can try a sewn button hole. I'm going to whip up a couple of garter stitch swatches, and get at it with my sewing machine. I'm thinking a nice big grey button here...

So, to celebrate the addition on 4 new cardis to the wardrobe, what did I do?

Cast on for two more, of course...

Friday, April 24, 2009


There is a conspiracy afoot. It started this morning (Friday), when my alarm went off at 4:45am. Yes, that is correct - 4:45am. (I know Knit Tech is shrugging right now, saying "yeah, so what?") As early as I usually get up, this was not good. I had to leave the house early, to meet with some people to car pool because we were heading downtown to take an all day training course on some new software. You know it's too early when you can drive right up to the window at Tim Horton's without anyone in line ahead of you. Okay, so it was early, but I had coffee, and we got downtown in good time. But the instructor for this course was a bit... odd. She whipped through some parts, and then seemed kind of lost through others. Whatever, I learned from it, and all is good, except she kept us later than expected, and we were smack in the middle of rush hour getting out. I got home late. So, not one of my favourite days.
The conspiracy continues - the Universe is conspiring against me this weekend. Because I was out of the office all day Friday, I have tons of files to attack before Monday, when I have to present some findings. Which leaves Saturday and Sunday to do about 4 days worth of work.
I had plans for this weekend. It's one of my favourite weekends. It;s the weekend when not only the Creativ Festival is on, but also the Knitter's Frolic. Two of my favourite events, and I CAN'T GO TO EITHER OF THEM!
And just to ensure that I don't go - I have major issues with my car, which to fix entail either a new engine or a new car, both options being a big enough financial drain that frivolous yarn and or bead buying is not an option for the next little while (okay, this is not really a hardship - come on, I have a pretty good stash, but STILL...). Oh, and in case anyone was thinking that the universe was really trying to be nice and not screwing my weekend, the highway that is the best way for me to get to either event is closed for the weekend, and oh yeah, I think I have to go to a family dinner at some point this weekend.
I think Mercury is in retrograde... (scroll to Monday, October 6th)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

what day it is?

Holy crap, this week is killing me. I am busy beyond belief, trying to wrap my head arond the new job, and there seems to be something going on every night this week. I'm at a training course all day Friday, so I lose another day in the office, and of course, I'm trying to make up for it ahead of time...
Suffice it to say - I have nothing of interest to say.

I'll be back soon.

Monday, April 20, 2009

so sad...

I'm working at home today, while my car is getting fixed. I've been caught up in a large work project, and haven't been able to do any blog reading until just a little while ago. I got 3 in - to Mason Dixon. and had to stop. A loss like that is just unfair, and my heart goes out to Kay, her children, and the rest of her family and friends, dealing with a devastating loss. I'm sure most of you know of this already, but, like Stephanie, I just don't have the heart to blog about anything good.

Hug your loved ones today. I plan to.

Friday, April 17, 2009

mistake? hell no! It's a design feature...

After the pain and suffering of cutting off the entire yoke, picking up the stitches (incorrectly the first time, but we won't get into that... I'm extremely happy with how this is turning out. The black stripe adds just enough of a contrast to the entire sweater. The best part of this whole exercise is that finally making a decision on the yoke has rekindled my interest in this sweater - I really want to finish it and wear it in a few months... (note to self - plan knitting better so that wool sweaters aren't completed in April...) (these pictures show the colour a bit better - who knew the light at my office would be better for colour?)

Actually, this is Canada, and we've been known to have sweater weather in June, so maybe this isn't all bad...

There was also a bit of a bonus when I arrived home last night - a giant box sitting on the doorstep! My KnitPicks order arrived! Enough yarn for three more sweaters (I think I'm developing a bit if a cardigan obsession...) A blue/brown mix for the cover sweater from Lace Style (Can't remember the name), and a kettle dyed green and heathery pecan colour, each enough for a little something something. Not to forget, I also got me some coloured wooden sock needles. Not that I needed any more sock needles, but need ans want are two different things, and I really WANTED these... (There should be pictures of all the loot here, but I kind of forgot to take any. My bad.)

And a question - how do you pronounce "pecan"? (This comes up a lot in family discussions - we need new topics). My dad always taught me that it is pronounced "Puh-CAWN", but I notice the more popular way is "PEE-can". Not that it really matters, I'm just curious, because my MIL thinks it's hilarious, the way I pronounce it. Actually, she just thinks it's hilarious the way my Dad used to explain it: "A PEE-can is what you piss in, a puh-CAWN is what you eat".

I try not to make pecan pie often for the family...

Today and the weekend (Saturday at least) are forecast to be beautiful. Today, even though I'm ridiculously busy at work, I'm going to try very hard to sit outside for a half hour and knit in the sun. And tomorrow is all about basketball, bike riding and barbequing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

on to the next...

...or back to it, I guess I should say. I've picked up the February Lady Sweater again, and have just completed the first sleeve. (I spent a little time in sleeve hell - you know that place? the one where you knit and knit, and even keep track of the rows (it's a repeating lace pattern), yet the damn thing NEVER GETS LONGER? I was there for a few days, then the next thing you know, overnight, it became long enough to do the garter border. Frickin' sleeve hell...

(It's actually a very pretty sage green, not this washed out greyish tone).
I've also decided what to do about the yoke. Remember I made the yoke black because I didn't think I had enough green wool for the whole thing. And yet, not only do I have enough, I will have left overs after I finish this sweater. So what I have decided to do is make the yoke green, by picking up around the colour change, and knitting it back up to the neckline. After a few attempts at picking up the first row of green, I have discovered that it's not that easy, because of the start of the lace pattern (k2togs and yos and all that). So I made an executive decision (since it is my sweater), and will leave 2 rows of black around the bottom of the yoke. I will pick up this design feature of thin black lines elsewhere on the sweater as well. (as seen on the sleeve hem...)
And the Whisper Cardigan? I found out something interesting after wearing it at work on Monday. It sheds like a furry black dog on a white chenille sofa. Seriously. We're not talking bits and pieces of mohair fluff, we're talking large hairballs of the stuff.

No matter, I still love the cardi and will wear it again. After I freeze it, or wash it, or do SOMETHING to it...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

hmph. well, what do I know, anyway...

I finished the Whisper Cardigan. Remember, the one I wasn't sure would be flattering or even fit me properly? Yeah, so what do I know. It's done, it fits, I think it looks good, (regardless of what these pictures show), and I love it.
Pattern - Whisper Cardigan from Interweave Knits, Spring 2009.
I used pretty much a whole skein of semi solid Wellington Fibres Lace weight in a honey gold colour, and about 5/6 of a variegated skein of same. (Can I say how thrilled I am with the variegated? No real pooling or flashing, just a really nice mix and meld of colours.)
Modifications to pattern - I made the bottom skirt part longer and wider - I came around the front farther than the pattern says (I don't know how much, I didn't really keep good notes).

I also knit garter stitch bands at all edges (sleeve hems and bottom hems, because I think the design is on crack if she thinks plain stockinette stitch will lie flat "with a little blocking". I mean, come on - how often does that happen?)
I also picked up along the fronts of the bottom skirt and knit about 3cm of garter stitch to close up the front a bit, then added I-cord ties to the top.
Gave the whole thing a bit of a steam blocking (man! did that make the stitches even out nicely!), and voila! A sweater I am extremely happy with. I will wear this a lot, and I plan on making some sleeveless linen dresses in gold, olive green and a melon colour to go with it.

So happy!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

a day off, and a long weekend

Thursday is a day off work for me - I'm going with my son's class to Medieval Times on a field trip. I can't exactly say it's my favourite way to spend the day, but I do get to spend it with my kid, as well as some other parents who's company I enjoy, so it's not a total loss. We'll also get home in good enough time for us to do the grocery shopping for Easter.
Friday morning we'll be heading to the cottage to spend three days there. Hubby's brother and their youngest son are coming as well, which is about perfect for me. The big boys play together, the little ones play together and they leave me alone for the most part. Lots of knitting time, especially once the turkey's in the oven.
The big thing to plan is the Easter Treasure hunt for the kids. We make them work. We write up a series of clues, and they have to figure them out. We give them clues to a particular place, i.e. where they find tadpoles, so they have to trek out to the pond back in the woods, look for a clue there and so on and so on. It usually takes them about an hour or so, and the treasure chest at the end is worth it. They get their Easter chocolate and some sort of prize. For the parents, the prize is watching these two kids run around, figure out the clues - you can almost see the light bulbs go off when they figure one out!

I plan on bringing the Whisper Cardigan, the February Lady sweater and a sock or two, for knitting once I pass the third glass of wine. (lace + wine = bad.) I may or may not complete any of them, but there will be knitting, reading, movie watching, good food and family time. Regardless of your faith, I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


okay, who's channelling David Bowie, here?

Change. it happens, and sometimes it's good, sometimes not so much. I've written here before about changes at work, where we let go a large number of people. The company has rebounded - there's still some things that need to be worked out, but all in all, there are some positives coming out of it.

Yesterday, we had a few more changes. A couple more people were let go - nothing too surprising, these were people who's bad attitude never improved, and when most people are working their asses off to help the company succeed, those that don't stand out like sore thumbs. Well, the sore thumbs were amputated. And then, the shifting occurred. They've done a pretty big re-jigging of people and responsibilities.

What this means for me is that I have switched departments, from Sales to Licensing/Marketing. Good for me, but I'm going to miss the camaraderie of the Sales Department. The good thing is that I will still have contact with a number of people in this department. The really good thing is how pissed my current (Sales) boss is about losing me, and how gloatingly happy my new boss is about getting me. The Sales Director extracted a promise from the Marketing Director that I be made available for setting up processes when needed.

It's nice to be loved.

So, I'm looking forward to new challenges, and new relationships. I love working here and I'm committed to doing what I can to help get us through some tough times.

Posts may be less frequent - I'm busier than ever, learning about my new job, and to be honest, there's only so many in-progress pictures I can show of one sweater anyway.

Monday, April 06, 2009

I may have SAID it, but I didn't MEAN it...

I've been wearing my beloved flip-flops for the past few days - my most comfortable shoes with jeans. (we have a casual dress code at work). But even I draw the line at this: We had snow twice in October (that I documented), and now April.
I know last week, when someone commented on how nice a day it was I said something like: "Yeah, well, you know we're due for at least one more snowstorm!"
Okay, so this is my fault - I'm really sorry...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

not quite sure...

The Whisper cardigan continues - I've completed the ribbing around the neck and back opening, and have started the bottom part. I'm into the variegated yarn now, and I love how the colours fade into one another, as well as blend into the solid gold.
The problem I'm having is I'm not sure about the cardigan itself. I love the yarn, and love the fabric it's creating, but I'm unsure that this style of cardigan will work for my body type. I've got a "rack" as my husband kindly puts it, as well, there's too much of me directly below said rack. This style of cardigan tends to accentuate the parts of me that do not need accentuating.
This is my problem a lot. I find a pattern I love and knit, not necessarily taking into account what the final product will look like on me. (My excuse is always the same - "if it looks like hell on me, I can always give it as a gift".) The problem with this is I DON'T WANT TO GIVE THIS AWAY! I really love it - the colours, the yarn, everything. I may have to do some creative finagling to make this work.
I also need to start looking at myself in the mirror a little better...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

my favourite fool

Today is my husband's 50th birthday. (throw me the jokes - we've heard them all...

In 3 days, we will have been married 17 years.

April makes me feel good. It's a month of rebirth for my part of the world - Spring is arriving, the garden is coming back to life, and we are starting to spend more time outside. It's a chance to celebrate the birth of a great guy. He came lock, stock and barrel with a large, close knit family, who made me feel like are part of them (mostly). And he melded perfectly with my not so large, slightly more standoffish family (with the exception of my French Canadian mother, whom one can never call standoffish, and he has dealt with her overly emotional state as well). We created a wonderful child who completed our own little family, and the three of us are an integral part of the larger family of his clan, my clan, and the friends that make up the bigger circle.

Tonight a great friend is coming for dinner to surprise him, with a special bottle of wine - I'm making one of his favourite weekday meals (one I can make with the time constraints of a Wednesday), and we'll have a little celebration. There will also be a family thing, probably on the weekend, but I'm having to force this on him. He'd rather not, but he's too chicken to say that to his mom.

When time and money are a better match, I will take this man to Vegas for a long weekend. It's one of our choice destinations, and one we try to get to every now and then. In the meantime, we will be very low key for both birthday and anniversary. He'd rather celebrate with a few good friends over a fine dinner, so that's what we'll do. One concession he will have to make - what he thinks will be a dinner for four, will actually be dinner for six, when a couple of close friends who live in Calgary come out to Ontario later in the month. The three guys all went to Queen's University together, so this will be one surprise that he will forgive me for.