Thursday, July 30, 2009

I think we watch too much Survivor...

We have a large extended family, and many of them cottage on the same lake we do. This coming long weekend (for those of us in Ontario) will see 24 assorted family members and hangers-on gather for the family Olympics at the lake. We've done this before,and while we always say it will be an annual affair, it's been quite a few years since the lat one, i.e. my son was not around for it, and he's 10. But the games are being revived, and we have divided everyone into teams, and are coming up with events. (certain family members have been given the task of event planning). I'm hearing talk of blindfolded kayaking (with other team members yelling directions and instructions from shore), and we are devising an event around our two water balloon slingshots. These are not your average slingshot - it takes three people to use them, and it can launch a water balloon the length of a football field and beyond. They are fun. We're going to do distance as well as accuracy events with these.

Note the type of event - we are competitive, sure, but it's all about the crazy with us...

But one of the jobs designated to to my son and myself was the acquisition of "buffs" - those lengths of cloth that differentiate one team from another. This term became common since the advent of Survivor, as each tribe had a different coloured buff. Son and I had fun at Fabricland the other night. We could have gone basic - red, yellow, blue, green. We could have gone cheap and we even checked out the clearance bin, but MAN, were those fabrics ugly. There's a reason they were in clearance, I guess. But I was not subjecting myself or my family to wearing them...

So we hit the novelty fabric section - we had a hard time narrowing it down, but we finally came up with:


Owls and of course, Flaming Skulls.Son has assigned each team a buff - I believe am a Lizard, his Dad a Monkey, and he kept the Flaming Skull for himself.

What a surprise.

And, a note from the comments:
Can you share the source of the skirt pattern, please? I just love it.

I lurk here from time to time and am always impressed with your projects.

Dianne R in FL

Absolutely! this pattern can be a skirt or poncho and is designed by my friend Elizabeth Fallone. The pattern itself can be found here.

I love this for two reasons - First, a lurker leaves a comment. (Trust me, we little bloggers LOVE comments... especially from lurkers). Second, I get to share the talents of Elizabeth - she's a local designer and teacher and her stuff is outstanding.

Monday, July 27, 2009

wet weekend equals lots of knitting

Rain at the cottage is not necessarily a bad thing. Rain every weekend since the beginning of July IS a bad thing. Seriously, this is getting out of hand. We share the cottage with my husband's family, and after this weekend we're verging on justifiable homicide. There are limits to how much family drama I can deal with at any one time. So I spent a lot of time hiding away, knitting and listening to my IPod. Loudly. Thankfully, my son and his same-age cousin were immune to the drama and had a great time as they always do.

I finished one hat for charity, then started and finished another one. (they're blocking here)
I even got back to some socks! (WooHoo! I think the sock mojo is returning!) I was stalled at the hem of one and the heel of another, but I got the heel done and got an inch or so of the leg going.

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Not Done.

This is why I prefer top-down cardigans. When you finish knitting, you sewn in the ends, block and wear. This one? not so easy. I finished knitting the 5 different pieces, but It's Not Done. then I blocked it, but It's Not Done. I did a three needle bind off on the shoulders, but It's Not Done. I even had to knit some more (that was a surprise!) to create the collar, but It's Not Done. I sewed in a bunch of ends even with wet splicing, there are ends), and It's Not Done. I sewed down the collar, but It's Not Done. I still have to sew in the sleeves, side seams and find some sort of closure before It's Done.
I hate this sweater already, and I haven't even put it one. Some of my other worries about it - the variegation (I've mentioned this before), and the fact that it's a textured knit in a bulky yarn. I'm bulky enough to start, so I'm thinking this might make me look like the Michelin Man that fell into a mix of brown and blue paint.
(I'm hoping that all my negative feelings towards this sweater will be corrected once I put it on. As much as I hate this sweater, I really, really want to love it...)
Of course, this week has not be conducive to actually getting this stuff done. I've been super busy, and brain dead enough to shy away from complicated knitting. I cast on a hat in Classic Merino as part of a bunch I want to make for charity. This year's cash flow is a little tighter than normal, what with cottage and bathroom renos, so the financial contributions to my favourite charities are a little lighter than normal. At least I can donate some warmth to someone who needs it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

finishing weekend

We went north this weekend, as we do most summer weekends. Although lately, I'm using the term summer loosely. In October, we would have been thrilled with the weather we had, however, in July, it was frickin' cold! I kept trying to sit outside, but the wind kept pushing me back in. Sigh. At least it meant that having a lap full of wool wasn't too uncomfortable. So I took advantage of that fact and pushed through a couple of projects. The brown and blue Tailored Scallops Cardigan is blocking now. I've finished the pieces, and as per directions, have blocked them before picking up for the collar and sewing it all together. I'm reserving judgement on this - I've got to start ignoring my love for variegated yarns for anything other than socks. I love these colours, and the yarn is super soft, but I just don't think this is going to be flattering to me. In which case, it will get gifted. But I should wait until it's done. Who knows what will happen once it's sewn up?
I also finished the first of two Andrea skirts. I changed the top a bit, making it a little more skirt like with a slightly more substantial waistband.
Noro Silk Garden - gotta love it for blocking out well. When I took this off the needles, I was a touch worried about size - it measured a skimpy 34cm in length. Right - give my head a shake. After blocking? A perfect 47cm, without a whole lot of stretching - just enough to open up the eyelets a bit.

(The colours are truest in the closeups).

By finishing up these two projects (one of which is quite big and bulky), my knitting bag has shrunk considerably. I'm still working on the never ending ball of yarn (6 more inches of scarf, no discernable reduction in the ball...)

I think my sock mojo might be returning. I've been eyeing my sock yarn stash, and falling in love again. I may have to get a smaller bag now, if all I have are scarves, socks and a small cardigan...

Friday, July 17, 2009

I have a sick sense of humour...

okay, before anyone jumps all over me - I love dogs. I love most animals, but really, I am a dog person.

So why did I find this so funny (in a sick way)?

look at the first featured recipe.

Seriously, Lab Chops? That's just so wrong... but it did make me laugh. actually, a few of us laughed at it.

Then again, I guess to some, the concept of eating lamb chops would be just as bad...

I sent this to my best friend and her two beautiful black Labs. She said the if the dogs could have laughed they would have. But in actual fact, they really sort of ignored it. But she laughed.

Heading north tonight to see our boy again - he's been at the cottage all week with his cousins, and I can't wait to see him. We'll return the favour in August when we take my nephew with us on holidays. 2 kids are way less trouble than 1.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

at least she wasn't outside...

Sunday night, we arrived home from the cottage, with little time to spare before we had to dash out to a funeral home. (father of a friend). The phone was ringing as we dashed in, and it was my Mom. She didn't want to bother us at the cottage, but thought we should know her place was touched by a possible tornado.

Well. That stopped me in my tracks, and I got the info from her. She's fine (if a little freaked out) and the insurance guy was coming Monday to inspect the damage. It seems that the storm hit a towering blue spruce beside her patio, whacking the top 15 feet of it into her roof and down onto her patio.

After assuring us that all was well, we finished up what we needed to do Sunday, then Monday morning I drove out to her place to see the damage first hand, and talk to the insurance guy. (Mom's a widow and feels more comfortable having us handle legal things.)

When I got there, this was what I saw:

(if you click and embiggen, you really get the full effect of this). We don't know the damage to the roof yet (a roofer was going to come this week), if there's any, it's minor, but we're kind of hoping there's enough damage to warrant a new roof. Mom's planning on selling soon, and a new roof would be an added bonus.

Her patio set is somewhere underneath this, and when they cleaned it up, it was discovered that the set is pretty much a write off. I've talked to her insurance, and we will probably end up negating her deductible as payment for a new set.

But really, all that matters is that she's fine, the house is fine, the tree is looking a little funny, but what's left is still about 50 feet high and sturdy. The tree top was cleaned up off the patio later that day, and Mom is feeling better about things.

She's off looking at new patio furniture today. Mom loves to shop...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Andrea, v2.0

Remember last week, I showed all my current projects? The ones I work on somewhat equally? Yeah, well this weekend, it was all Andrea skirt, all the time. Quite the addictive pattern I have to tell you. That and the Noro yarn. I'm always fascinated by Noro - I love seeing what is coming next...
Anyway, I was more than halfway done, and figuring on finishing it by Sunday when I realized I had missed a whole section of YOs and the resulting stitches from them. So I had to rip back about 14 rows. When I took it off the needles, I realized that it was too big for my slim-hipped 15 year old niece, so I ripped it right back to the beginning, and started again with one less 20-stitch repeat. No problem - it's a pretty quick knit, especially when you ignore all else...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

no planes, no trains, just automobiles...

I need a new car. It doesn't necessarily have to be NEW, just new-to-me. We've got a car guy doing the auction thing, looking for one for me, but he wanted an idea of what to get, since he doesn't know me well enough to just choose.

We narrowed down the makes and models - I'm a suburban working mom without a car fetish - I need 4 doors, enough room to cart kids and the crap of my life around. Must get good gas mileage. Pretty straightforward, and I'm not that picky. So it was assumed that I would be pretty easygoing about any car. They we started talking about colour. Currently, I drive a silver grey Civic. And I've mentioned before to the guys how difficult it is to find in parking lots some days, because EVERYONE drives a silver grey sedan. So he assumed that I wouldn't want another silver grey car. Wrong. I like grey. So when I was talking to the car guy he figured that since I liked grey, white would also be okay. Wrong again. I hate white cars (sorry for any of you with them - they just don't do it for me). It was brought up that birds like to poop on my car, so white might make sense. Maybe, but I don't want a white car. Nor will I drive a blue car. (Again, sorry if you like blue cars). Red is good, but only certain shades of red. Bright red - good, burgundy, not good. (I may be pissing a lot of people off here...) So according to the guys, I have made it difficult to buy a car at auction. Most people have specific demands on make and model - I'm picky about colour. Charcoal, silver, black, some reds, and only specific metallic taupes are good. Some reds, all whites, blues, and anything in the yellow family - not good. Green, while my favourite colour, is not always good for cars. A vintage Triumph TR-6 in British Racing Green - good. Anything else, not good.

After this conversation, Car Guy and Husband just shook their heads. "Keep your cell phone on" is all Car Guy said to me. "I'll check with you before I do anything..."

You'd think I was being difficult or something.

Monday, July 06, 2009

the never ending ball of yarn

I finally got around to a long-neglected WIP - the Montego Bay scarf I started eons ago. (I needed portable knitting, and my sock mojo has not returned). It's a lovely wool-silk laceweight blend, bought at either the Knitter's Frolic or the Kitchener Knitter's Fair, 2 or 3 years ago, and a forgotten booth (Maybe Grand River Yarns?) I started the scarf pattern that came with it, but didn't like the way the colourway as forming rigid criss-cross patterns, so I ripped it and started the Montego Bay - a great, easily remembered pattern, a perfect foil for a chart heavy, row counting sweater.
I planned on knitting this until the ball of wool ran out, since a half-ball of laceweight is useless. The problem is, this ball of wool Will. Not. End. It does not grow smaller, even though the scarf grows. (when I picked this up again, the ball was about half gone (it seemed) and I had about 12 inches of scarf). The ball is still half gone, and I now have about 4 feet of scarf. I knit and knit, and the ball stays the same.

Why doesn't this happen with sweaters where I'm never sure if I have enough yarn?

and the flooring job at the cottage? Awesome. The crew of guys arrived at 8am Saturday, and after having breakfast, got right to work. They got all the subflooring in (a HUGE job, and about 80% of the laminate down before we made them quit to get in some fishing and relaxing time before dinner. Sunday, they did a little more, and cleaned up the place incredibly well. I love these guys, and we're going to have them back (and hopefully their families) for a NON-work weekend to thank them.

Just awesome!