Wednesday, March 31, 2010

just stuff

I wanted to post today, but don't really have much to post about, so you get a random stream of consciousness ramble...

I'm still loving the Yorkshire Tweed sweater (but I need to com up with a better name - I can't call it Slinky Ribs - it just doesn't fit the look) I'm just about ready to join the body in the round. As KnitTech said in the comments, I'll probably modify the pattern, and yes, I will. I think I'll continue the ribbing (as much as I hate knitting ribbing) further down, to create a bit of waist shaping (without actually doing any waist shaping).

I've lost 6 pounds recently. I"m not one to slavishly follow the scale, but I've been checking and am pleasantly surprised to see the numbers going down. Not doing anything special except trying to cut out snacking (or at least reaching for a orange instead of a cookie). It seems to be working, and I'm glad. I still eat cookies, just not as many. And walking. I'm trying to walk more. It helps. Huh. Who knew. Better eating habits and more exercise works. (we won't talk of how many more pounds I should drop - I'm not on a schedule, just trying to do things better)

I love coaching basketball more than I thought I would. Except for one kid. We have an 8 year old with some severe anger management issues. Severe enough that he intentionally tried to hurt another kid at practice last night, and I have to get the league involved. I'm worried about liability. The other coach and I have worked very hard with this child to help him, but to very little avail. His parents don't do anything to stem it or help us. It seems to be a cultural thing, which makes it very difficult. I hope we can work it out, but the rest of the team has to be my first priority - both their morale and safety, so we'll see what happens.

I still haven't received my Briggs and Little yarns! It's probably a good thing, as I don't need a distraction right now, but still, I want it.

We're heading to the cottage tomorrow night for the Easter weekend, and I can't wait. For a heathen like myself, Easter is all about chocolate and long weekends... While I appreciate the reason for the season (both Easter and Passover), it's an opportunity for us to have the family cottage to ourselves. The three of us are going up tomorrow night, then my BIL and nephew are coming up Friday morning. We have a turkey planned, and the neighbours are all going to be there, so we'll send the kids on a massive treasure hunt for eggs and peeps and all kinds of good stuff. I talked to a friend up there and the ice is pretty much gone. Plus the weather is supposed to be incredible. They're even throwing around the term "Humidex". In April! Outstanding. Must pack shorts...

My computer issues have been resolved at work. My temporary laptop has become permanent, all my favourites have been restored, my off-site VPN login has been fixed, and my email archives are back. Life is good. Our IT guys are the best. One - they fixed everything up quite quickly, two - they did it cheerfully, and three - they're not your typical IT nerds. (Sorry to any IT nerds out there).

I'm in two NCAA March Madness pools, and I'm doing poorly shall we say, in one, while I have a chance to win in the other. Any Duke Blue Devil fans out there? I need them to win, and as much as I like Michigan State - sorry Spartans, I need you to lose. Actually, I needed Kansas and Syracuse to do better than they did, but that's water under the bridge. Small world tidbit for the day - Andy Rautins, guard for Syracuse is the son of Leo Rautins, former Canadian National Team coach and broadcaster for the Toronto Raptors. Leo Rautins played basketball in my driveway with my brother and friends 20-odd years ago, and I had to fill in occasionally when they needed an extra body. I often got slammed, but it helped develop my love of the game.

I'm wearing my favourite linen pants today. In March. Linen. I think Global warming is a big problem, but I have to say I like the fact I can wear linen pants in March.

It's my husband's birthday tomorrow. Yes, on April Fool's Day. And our 18th anniversary on Sunday. We'll do nothing special. To us, it's more about the marriage than the wedding, so we celebrate each other every day. (okay, not every day, there are times when he annoys me to no end, as I'm sure I do him, but still, it's all good.) I mention this because we just found out his youngest sister is separating from her husband, moving towards a divorce. Truthfully, not unexpected (we actually expected this years ago - the relationship has never been co-operative or good). Their kids are 12 and 16, and they are trying to do this as amicably as possible. We will be there for her and the kids (he was never our favourite person, so severing him from the family is not a hardship). It will be interesting because my SIL and niece both thrive on drama, and are somewhat, how can I say this, shrill sometimes. My nephew is a bit quieter,but is also going through withdrawal from a year long stint in the Sound of Music, so he's kind of bereft right now. He (and his parents) was assuming that he would jump right into another major production. Rejection is difficult for a 12 year old, and I hope his parents recognize that he made need a little more from them, even though they are going through their own issues.

Well! not just random, but a little more insight into my life than I usually share. I promise to lighten up and show more knitting soon...

Monday, March 29, 2010

okay, I lied yet again

I know I said I was going to use my lime green Rowan Yorkshire Tweed for a self designed top down raglan sweater. I even swatched for it, and made plans.

Then I started looking through books - especially Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I matched some gauges, and admired some patterns, and, well, gauge and admiration matched up with this:
Slinky Ribs. (Gotta admit, I hate the name. Slinky is not something one associates with me, nor is it an attribute I aspire to...)

But I love the sweater. I'm much farther ahead than this shows - it starts at the shoulder - you knit down the back to the armscye, then pick up along the shoulders for the fronts, knit them down, and join the underarms. I'm almost to the point of joining the front (under the button placket. (The turquoise is the waste yarn used for the provisional cast on, and is gone now).
It's knitting up quite nicely - Yorkshire Tweed is quite rustic, and I think it suits the style of this sweater - I'm pretty sure I have enough yarn for long sleeves, which is good, as a wool sweater with short sleeves makes no sense to me.
I'm still waiting for my Briggs and Little yarn for the Elizabeth Zimmerman Green sweater (which will be cream for me, red for a friend). I'm hoping it's delayed for a while longer - once it arrives, I'm going to want to start it, and I want to get this lime green one done first. Yes, I'm fickle and easily swayed - what's your point?

Friday, March 26, 2010

signs of spring...

Crocus! This part of my garden is hidden around the corner of the house, not easily accessible, or noticed, so when I went back there last week, these were a pleasant surprise. tulips sprouting...

oriental poppies coming up...

green growth on the roses...

and my new boots! Really, who could resist big white daisies...

and I'm wearing my new sweater today! Even my husband and son, still halfway in sleep induced stupor when I left, commented on it. (Both liked it, so they get to stay...)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

technical issues

Yesterday was a very bad day. Okay, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't all that bad. No one I know got sick, hurt themselves or died (that I was made aware of). But it was a technically bad day, as my work computer pooched itself. Or as our IT guy said as he worked on it, "Well, this is right royally f***ked. Better unplug it from the network before it takes down everything". Great. That's what I need to hear at 7:30am on a day when I need to get stuff done. I'm on a temporary laptop at the moment, and I spent much of yesterday resetting everything I could to get my comfort level up to speed. It's not there yet, and worst of all, I lost (hopefully only temporarily) my favourites list of sites I visit. All my licensor sites (many of which you can't find through a Google search, as they are not really publicly accessible), and worse, my blog reading list! I know, I know, I shouldn't read at work, but I do. I also know I should keep it saved somewhere other than my desktop, but hindsight is 20/20. Suffice it to say, If I'm not commenting on your posts, I've probably lost your address - feel free to remind me of it when you visit, and I'll add it to my list!

Back to finding my licensor sites...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DKC Knitters Frolic


DKC Knitters Frolic 2010 - Saturday, May 8, 2010

Susan (formerly LuckyCanuck) and I usually meet up for this. We meet early to snag good parking, then go off for a breakfast picnic while waiting for the doors to open.

This year we planned on window shopping more than actual shopping and hanging around the lounge area, knitting, eating and gabbing. I was looking forward to meeting up with people I know through the blog, and finally putting faces and voices to names. I was looking forward to seeing the class roster, and deciding what class to take. (and there are some that I would have LOVED to take...)

Then I went to put it on our calendar, and noticed it was the same day as the Boy's final basketball tournament. The one for the medals. The one where he will say goodbye to this level as he moves up an age group next year. The one where I AM THE COACH OF THE TEAM, and really can't blow it off.

So no Frolic for me. Have fun and OD on wool fumes for me, willya?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

so... no Three Stooges fans here...

The "Niagara Falls! Slowly I turn, step by step..." comment was a reference to a Three Stooges routine. I happen to be married to a guy that can quote the Stooges, along with almost every Clint Eastwood spaghetti western and pretty much every episode of the original Star Trek series. But he's mostly normal...

As I mentioned - the drive to and from Niagara Falls made for some excellent knitting time. The olive green cotton viscose sweater is done (I just have to sew on the buttons. I gave it a good soak and laid it out to dry, but two days later it was still quite damp, so I moved it to my dress form to get a bit of air circulation going:

Who knew the fluorescent lights in my basement sewing room would give the best representation of the colour of this sweater?once it's fully dry (hoping for tonight!) I'll sew on the buttons (5 small ones, from the top of where the sweater meets under the V-neck, to half way down) and voila! a spring/summer sweater, finished in time for spring and summer.

That never happens to me...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Niagara Falls...

slowly I turn... step by step...*
(*points to those who get this reference!)
Friday the husband and I both took the day off and took the boy to Niagara Falls. This is not only one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, it's also the husband's birthplace, so we had lots of reasons to go.
the Canadian Falls (also known as the Horseshoe Falls)
It was a stellar day, weather wise as well as every other aspect. It was a great family day, something we don't often get enough of with our schedules.

The American Falls (just the American Falls, no other name for them. Unfortunately for my American friends, you guys got the short end of the stick. Not only are the Canadian Falls bigger and slightly more spectacular, you don't really have a good view from your side of the border - the water all comes towards the Canadian side, so to really see the Falls in all their glory - you really have to come on over.)
a rainbow, with the Rainbow bridge in the distance - the middle of this bridge is the border, and is noted by both flags. We had forgotten our passports, so we didn't make the trek over the bridge this time.

We walked the Falls, checked out all the tacky crap on Clifton Hill, and tried for a Maid of the Mist tour, but it's too early in the season. Even the tunnels behind the Falls were closed - even though the weather was beautiful, it was still too early for many of the attractions to open.
We then drove around the town a bit, and found the house my father in law built - the home he brought his bride to, and where they had their first 4 kids. (the youngest was born after they moved to Toronto).
The icing on the cake was talking to my in-laws on the way back - they had been to the oncologist about MIL's breast cancer. To make a long story less tedious - she doesn't need radiation or chemo. She caught it early, they got it all, and she only needs to take a daily hormone pill. This is fabulous news! (Although hormone pills and mood swings and my MIL may not be great for us, the no radiation or chemo is great for her!)
It was also a good knitting day - the trip down and back allowed me to not only finish the second sleeve, but get the front/neck band picked up and started - I finished it that night, and the sweater is blocking as we speak. All I have to do is sew on the buttons, and it's done!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

answering questions and more random stuff

I always feel guilty when people ask me questions in the comments and I don't answer, so... I'm answering the ones I remember.

Brenda asked if the olive green sweater was my own design - yes it is. My favourite top down raglan style, this time with a v-neck. I wish I had written down some numbers, because I'm loving the way this is fitting so far, but of course, I didn't. I added the garter bands right under where I split for the sleeves, and a vertical line of garter down the middle of each front and in the back. I finished the bottom with another band of garter, adding a triangular increase section where the garter bands meet - it gives the hem a bit of interest. I'm still on the fence about this - we'll see if it stays. The sleeves are fitted, I'm decreasing 2 stitches every tenth row, and will again end with a garter band. I'll pick up stitches all around the front and neck, and again, do a garter band. I still have to decide on buttons - which ones, and where to put them, and how many. I'm not sure if I'll button all the way down, or just at the top. This fabric is a bit light to have too much weight on the front.

Nancy asked about Elizabeth Zimmerman's Green Sweater - what is it?

here's a direct quote from Schoolhouse Press (sixth pattern down):

This sweater was designed by Elizabeth Zimmermann and given to Joan Morhard Smith in the 1950s. Joan wished for her beloved sweater to be re-knit as the original sweater (at left) is almost 60 years old and could not be repaired. Designer Sunday Holm reconstructed the pattern replicating the original shaping of the garment. The sweater is worked from the bottom up with a mitered hem and "phoney seams." It is a cropped sweater with Dolman sleeves (we've seen this type of sweater sleeve in many clothing magazines lately) and is knit in the round to the shoulder. We give plenty of techniques (provisional co, phoney seams, securing steeks, EZ's icord button loops and more), along with an option for slimming the sleeve. Sizes (38, 42, 46, 48 chest circumference). Recommended gauge is 5 stitches to the inch.

At one time, you could order the kit and get the original green yarn (from Briggs and Little, I think??), but it's no longer available. Brenda (from the question above), made this her Olympic project, and reading her journey of making this sweater made me buy the pattern. I plan on making this my next big project The plan was to use the lime green Rowan Yorkshire Tweed I have, but now I think I'm going to order the original Sport Yarn from Briggs and Little. (Who am I kidding, I AM going to order the yarn...) I'm going off the track however, I'm thinking of Natural White for myself, and a beautiful red for a good friend. Maybe the Heather Blue as well...)

Multiple people have asked about my wrist. It's fine. It will always be a bother to me - I work on a computer all day, I knit as much as I can, and I use my hands a lot. (even when I talk - I'm half French, after all...) I don't know how to slow down and take things easy, I go full out too much of the time, and I pay the price a few times a year. I brace it, I see the doctor to make sure it's still the same old thing and I haven't done any serious damage, I listen to him lecture me on moderation, I nod, and then go back to my lifestyle. I have the same issue with my knee - two surgeries down, and trying to avoid another one. (so far, I've dodged that bullet). But I still play basketball with the kids, and walk a lot, so whatever happens, happens. It's all part of aging, I guess.

My son is coming into the office to spend the day with me today - it's March Break, and my work is fine with him spending the day - he's set up with a laptop, his Nintendo DS and some books. He didn't drive in with me - I leave way too early for his liking - my husband will drop him off on his way in to work. Tomorrow I'm taking the day off and I think the husband is as well (he's trying to rearrange things), so we may have a family day. Too bad we can't get to the cottage, but there is a basketball game on Saturday morning that we can't miss, so it looks like there will be some in-town fun in store for us.

If you're in the Toronto area - enjoy the rest of this fantastic week of spring weather, if you're elsewhere, I hope it's as nice for you as it is for us. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

mark the date - March 16

I've been wearing them at home, and out and about on errands for a few days, but this is the first official "wear them to work" day.

Since there was frost on my car this morning, I did at least wear the fleece lined ones...
I would have worn them yesterday, but I had a licensor meeting and they didn't match my suit.

Monday, March 15, 2010

set a deadline, and made it...

I decided at the beginning of the weekend that I was going to finish the body of my Spring Cardigan. (I got tired of calling it the cotton/rayon cardigan - it's so pretty, it needed a name.)
I want to wear this soon, so a concerted effort had to be made.
Voila. One completed body, and 2 inches of a sleeve started. I had to force myself to stop - right now it hits just below the waist - once I add the bands and give it a soak to relax, it should finish up right at the top of the hips, which is what I wanted. So now it's sleeves, then the front and neck band (planned for garter stitch, to match the columns and rows of garter I have added in for textural interest), buttons, and I hope to be wearing this is a week or two.
Although it's looking like brown here, it's actually a rich olive green - this picture shows it a little truer to colour.

Up close (and back to looking brown), you can see the rayon (actually viscose) fibres wrapped with the cotton. The viscose adds a dimension of sheen and drape against the matte cotton, which does the job of holding the shape. Pure viscose would be too slinky and pure cotton wouldn't drape the way this does. The problem of course is when you blend two fibres like this, the yarn tends to be splitty. But not as bad as I was expecting, so it's worth it.

I really must find the bag of black Luna I know I bought - I'd make another sweater like this in a heartbeat.

Friday, March 12, 2010

okay, I lied

I did swatch the Rowan, and what do you know, my gauge turned out to be EXACTLY what they said it would be on the ball band. This is why I don't swatch - it either comes out to the exact recommended gauge, or it lies.

But whereas I said I would use my Sweater Wizard to design the sweater, turns out I only used it to see if there would be enough wool to complete the type of sweater I want. So I'm not using the software for the pattern, I'm doing what I always seem to do - getting a general idea of how many stitches to start, and going from there. I think I may do cables along the raglan increases for some textural interest, possibly some colourwork banding if the yarn I'm thinking of using has a similar enough gauge. I'll increase until the raglans are long enough, and the sweater fits over the girls. I will use less ease than I normally allow, as all my sweaters come out bigger than I want them. (A carry over from not liking sweaters that are too tight - but too tight, and nicely fitted are two different things - I just have to convince myself of this issue.

However, I'm still holding off starting this for two reasons:

1. I'm making great progress on my olive green rayon/cotton cardigan - I'm very close to completing the body, and then there's the sleeves and front band. I really love this yarn (Luna, from Elann, bought eons ago), and I'm pretty sure I have another bag of it, in black, somewhere.
I'd show pictures, but I've left my memory card reader at home, and can't download the pictures. Next week, I promise.

2. I'm actually rethinking what I'm going to make with this lovely lime-y green Rowan. Yesterday, I received my copy of the pattern for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Green Sweater, and after reading Brenda's account of how nicely it worked up, I checked the gauge, and the Rowan would work almost perfectly. Hmmm, same old raglan pullover, or nice new cardigan pattern...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

still covering necks...

I think I'm finally done with the neckwear. This last Just Enough Ruffles Scarf was the final project. (See here, pre blocking).

The weather turned this weekend, and we got enough of a glimpse of spring that I fell out of love with neckwear. Not that I don't love this piece - I do. I think the pattern is brilliant, and the yarn (Berrocco Lustra, mostly merino, with a touch of Tencel for shine) is delicious. This will make a wonderful gift for someone. (I already have a great grey scarf).
This pattern is really well named - there are JUST ENOUGH ruffles along the edge..

Now on to bigger and better things. Or maybe a return to some things. I've picked up my cotton/rayon cardigan again, and have re-fallen in love with the fabric it's creating. I have to remember to make this shorter than I want it - this fabric STRETCHES when hung. So, my planned 3/4 length sleeves are probably going to end up full length, and that's good. Then there's the Rowan Yorkshire Tweed in that yummy lime-y green colour calling my name - cardigan or pullover? I'm leaning towards pullover - Vneck, top down raglan, garter or seed stitch hems, maybe some colourwork, maybe not.

But I want to finish the cardigan first...

Monday, March 08, 2010

is that a swatch?

For those who know me - this is a rare occurrence.
but I'm hoping the combination of this swatch (Rowan Yorkshire Tweed) and this software product the EXACT sweater I'm looking for... I have high hopes...

Friday, March 05, 2010

all about the neck around here

I seem to be on a cowl kick. This is the Tuesday Night Cowl, by Susan Lawrence, and it's a wonderful pattern.
I had this variegated red, grey and black wool from New Zealand - only one skein - and I wanted to use it for something. One of my favourite jackets is a black leather one with a huge Sonic the Hedgehog appliqued on the back. (Hey, I used to work for Sega! And it makes me the coolest Mom at school...) I knew the colours of this wool would look great (Sonic has red shoes), but I didn't want another scarf. I saw this pattern on Susan's blog, and knew right away that it work for this. The pattern is brilliant - when worn, it looks like the knitted fabric just falls into the perfect folds, but it's clever use of cables is what makes this happens. The cables are not your traditional cables - there are no purl stitches on either side to define the actual cable - it's all stockinette, so it just looks like an undulating, wavy piece of knitted fabric.
Because it's knit lengthwise and joined, any variegation appears as vertical striping, which I love. You start with a provisional cast on, then at the end, you can either Kitchener stitch it closed, or do a three needle bind off. I was in a hurry, and Kitchener is not my favourite thing in the world, so I opted for the three needle bind off. It worked fabulously - you can barely tell where it is on the finished piece.
Even on the inside - it's barely noticeable, and certainly can't be felt.

All in all, a great knit.

Now I've got a hankering for sweaters again. There may even have been swatching!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

knit geek

That's me. I knit, and I spend far too much time on a computer (or my iPod, through which I pick up work email at home, surf YouTube, etc...)

So a while back, when Knit Tech showed a mug she wanted, it made me look at the mug that sits on my desk at work:
yup. that's me.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I'm in love with Donald Sutherland

Seriously. I've always liked the man as an actor, but I've fallen in love with him as a Canadian. He was the voice and face of the "I Believe" Olympic campaign. He carried the Olympic Flag into the stadium at the opening ceremonies. He was at so many of the events - always in the crowd. He did an interview on CTV (the main Canadian broadcaster) and he spoke so knowledgeably and passionately about so many of the sports and the athletes. He stayed on at CTV and joined in on the hockey analyst panel! He just seemed to personify Canadian Pride to me.
When asked for his favourite moment - he quite honestly said it was carrying in the Olympic flag. It made his knees shake. Okay, he makes my knees shake, and yes, my husband is aware of this. Keifer went to school in Aurora, so it's not out of the realm of possibilities that Donald may grace our town with his presence. Feel sorry for him if he does - it could be my first ever restraining order!

As Canadians, I think we are beyond proud of our athletes. I am, for sure. Whether they won gold (as they did 14 times!), or silver, bronze or finished, 4th, 5th or last, they held their heads up and made us proud.

It's pretty obvious that I'm a curling fan - I've played the game for years, although I've taken a break from it recently. I was a little disappointed in our women's team, but only because they had so many chances to win that game, and didn't. I admit, I don't know the stress level of a game like that, but still - I dearly wanted them to win gold. Like the men. They fought hard for that medal, and John Morris just made it look easy. And what he did was not. He just made it look that way.

I'm not that much of a hockey fan, but every four years, I become one. I cheered the women, and cheered the men. (although the men caused me a little more stress). Could Hollywood have scripted a more obvious outcome? A hard fought, well played game by both teams, a last second goal to tie, then, in overtime, Crosby from Iginla, Sid the Kid against the MVP of the tourney - Miller. Glorious. I did feel for the Americans - it's hard to accept a medal when you just lost the game.

14 gold medals. The most by any country at a Winter Olympic Games. Not just the most by a host country, the most by any country. Alexandre Bilodeau. Maelle Ricker. Christine Nesbitt. Jon Montgomery (best winner, EVER!). Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Ashleigh McIvor. Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse. Women's Hockey. Francois Hamelin, Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Francois-Louis Tremblay. Charles Hamelin. Kevin Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert. Jasey-Jay Anderson (Finally!!). Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, Denny Morrison. Men's Hockey. So proud of all of them, and all the athletes. Joannie Rochette in particular. Her smile lit up the closing ceremonies. It was just so much FUN to watch our athletes revel in winning. Whether it was Jon Montgomery's stroll through Whistler chugging a pitcher of beer, Scott Moir belting out 'O Canada' on the podium with such joy, or our Canadian Women's Hockey Team celebrating with a brew or two (c'mon, cut them some slack, they just won Olympic Gold!), there were some quintessentially Canadian Moments.

Like the closing ceremonies. Please tell me the rest of the world understood we were poking fun at ourselves, with the Mounties, Beavers, Moose, Voyageurs and Canoes! We find all that stuff as funny and stereotypical as you do! It's called Hoser Humour, and it's okay to laugh at us. Having Catriona Le May Doan FINALLY get to light her part of the torch was brilliant. And yes, William Shatner is Canadian. Always has been.

It seemed wrong last night - I turned on the TV and the Olympics weren't there. Sad.

Monday, March 01, 2010

trying to gather my thoughts

I was really awestruck by the last 2 weeks. I've always been a proud Canadian, but these past two weeks in Vancouver and Whistler have really put me over the top. I have things I want to say, and while I am not as eloquent as I want to be, it's going to take me a bit of time to put them down. I'll be back shortly with things to say...