Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Busy days

Amanda & I went to visit with my younger sister Tina. Her real name is Katrina. Everyone else calls her that except family and she will never be anything but Tina to me! Tina took us to a Vietnamese restaurant where she made excellent recommendations. Tina has been a part of the Vietnamese community for the last 12 years. When it was made know in our congregations (Jehovah's Witnesses) that there was a need for Vietnamese-speaking ministers, Tina jumped right in with a passion. She is amazing - speaks, reads & writes the language like a native. It's freaky to see my sister move her nouth and have no clue what she is saying!! Most Vietnamese don't hear the first few sentences that she speaks because they are unaccustomed to hearing their language come from the mouth of a Canadian. We were given Jasmine tea to start with. Amanda & I thought it just tasted like (nice) hot water, but Tina assured us that it was a wonderful yet subtle jasmine flavour. Amanda had rice noodles & chicken, I had broken rice (apparently it used to be only for commoners - the busted-up leftover rice bits - but has become very popular. Who knew?) with beef and Tina had rice noodles & pork. These all had a Vietnamese flavour that we enjoyed with chopsticks!!! I mean, if I can manipulate 2 knitting needles to create unique fabric I should easily be adept at using 2 sticks to put food to my mouth. Yeah. It's a great diet. I expended much more energy trying to get small bits of food to my mouth - and they got smaller the further away my mouth was! Amanda did quite well. Tina was a pro, but reassured us that it took some practice.
We then went to Georgetown for a tour of the
Watchtower facilities. I have been there on various occasions & have taken the tours before, but they recently installed the new Hantscho press. This baby puts out 40,000, 32 page full-colour magazines per hour - definitely worth the drive to see.

Peter Kim was our guide and Amanda was the happiest person in our group of 9. And talk about a small world - I met Jocelyn's (great friend from Milton - hi Jocelyn!!) Aunt Marilyn who came for the tour with friends from England!! The tour started with this gorgeous copy of a 15th century sheepskin scroll. I didn't take very good notes, but it is a Biblical passage.
Then we worked our way to the printing facilites. The layouts get sent directly from the MEPS (Multilanguage Electronic Phototypsetting System) program to the aluminum sheet printer. This happens 4 times to print the plates in yellow, cyan, magenta & black. That sheet is then sent through a "washer" that cleans off all of the unnecessary colour bits. Here Jeff is showing us the yellow sheet that is going to go to print.
Please be advised that Peter gave us all of the proper names & terminologies but that I did not memorize them. I am using la
y-people words.

We had a great time! Then we took Tina home & drove
back up to Angus.

Then there is this - a 28lb t
urkey!! My dad gave it to us and it was so big that it didn't even totally fit in my Super Plus High Dome Paderno Roaster!! It turned out beautifully and we managed to eat most of one half in 2 days. I put the other half in the freezer to be enjoyed at a later date and am making soup today with some of the carcass.

I have finished knitting the Tumbling blocks cushion cover and will block it out tomorrow (probably). Today I am swatching for the FLAK. I am doing a sampler swatch and then I can decide on the "filler stitch" after washing it. I started with seed stich, am on stockinette stitch, then will try moss stitch and/or rice stitch.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What's Wannietta Knitting Today?

I am on the 3rd of 6 final squares for my Noro Afghan. I like a really functional afghan - long & wide - perfect for snuggling, cuddling & sharing!

The 2nd iteration of my Jaywalker socks is working out quite nicely. I like a fitted sock and generally work to a tighter tension (8.5 - 9 sts/inch) than most. Lovely - n'est-ce pas

Here are Jasmyn & Chantalle's Nakiskas - Chantalles' isstill on the needles. I love how the Paton's Look at Me knit up - a nice swirl of the colours!! The darker one is not coming out quite as gentle a swirl - a few more rounds will tell the tale.

Amanda made a gingerbread house at school today. I think that it is more of a candy house, but she was all impressed. The cupcake was a gift from one of my students - Amanda called dibs. Kyle had the 2 cookies that were also on the "sweet plate". Thanks Natalie!!

And an introduction is in order. This is Kathleen J. Mackay, RMT. She is the new massage therapist in charge of making sure that I can continue knitting in volume to which I have become accustomed. There will never be another like Holly (small sniffle), but since a 2 hour drive each way is a little ridiculous - no matter how good the massage ... and it was very good - but I think that Kathleen will work out nicely.

Le Piéce de Resistance!!! I am joining the Follow the Lead
er Aran Knitalong, lead by Janet Szabo on the Aranknit List. After much hemming & hawing I chose Briggs & Little Regal 2ply in Fir. I made a conscious decision to not choose a blue. I think that this will be lovely. I have made my best effort to make the colour as accurate as possible on my screen. Hopefully it translates as well on all of yours! I love this colour & Linda shipped it super fast! So, Wannietta will be swatching this over the next week of two and pouring over cable patterns galore to chose the most perfect ones! No, I don't have any kind of control disorder - it's perfectly natural. All of you laisser-faire types have a problem!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

To Summarize

Amanda was very ill - 10 loads of extra laundry ill. Photos are too graphic too share. (No one should have to see me doing that kind of manual labour!)

CPR class - Kyle went with me and we are card carrying "lay rescuers" (yes, I thought of some funny jokes too). I am
very intent on my practicing - no dummies were injured during these exercises. Started on the Daisy Meadow Shawl.

Unflattering picture of the finished Wrap Jacket. I'm not sure if I'm not doing the Jacket justice or the other way 'round.

2 hour drive to family dinner, family dinner, 2 hour drive back. 2.5 Nakiska's done (teddy bear's, Amanda's & start of Jasmyn's). Here are some pics of my sister & my nieces. (see the resemblances?)

Cheeky Monkey to Vet - he's fine.

Me to a walk-in clinic for a prescription refill. 1.5 hours of my life & sanity that I will never get back. Though I did finish other half of Jasmyn's Nakiska - a plus to the day, but don't think that it made up for the screaming children, coughing & hacking that I had to sit through.

MF disease-breeding petrie dish aka walk-in clinic!!! Struck down by a bug that I can't even see, that I didn't know was attacking me and am powerless to fight. After many dehydrating visits to the bathroom, I am finally sitting up at the end of today without dizzy spells. Knitting will resume it's regular schedule tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You just need the right diagnosis

Doctor - I think that I am seriously ill! No, no fever, rashes or vomitting. Well, I love my job. I don't get paid a six figure salary - hell I don't get paid even close to what I'm worth. There are long hours, mistakes can't be blamed on the girl in the next cubicle that nobody knows and they have to be fixed - even if it means 3 days work is lost. But the most worrisome symptom is that I can't say no when offered another project! And God help me if it even a bit enticing - like what was in this package. Dorothy Siemens' Daisy Meadow Scarf. I have knit for this client before - she always has the most wonderful and delightful jobs. I'm helpless when confronted with anything knitting related - yarn, patterns, stores - I have more than I can do in 10 natural lifetimes and yet I buy more and get excited when more work falls in my lap. Is there help for me Doctor?
I'm glad that you came to see me before making any attempt to treat yourself. Under no circumstances are you to reduce your fibre intake. Your body has become accustomed to what would be considered toxic fibre levels in anyone in the general population; any treatment plan must be carefully considered. Have you noticed these symptoms in anyone else in your home? Good. While short-term exposure can rapidly transmit this condition to others, prolonged over-exposure (usually to family members) seems to have a reverse effect - almost an aversion to anything fibre related.
I will have to take some samples - a couple pairs of socks, a sweater and definitely a hat. Hmmmm, I should get a cushion too ... just to be on the safe side. When you have these ready for me I will need some time to study them and perform a number of tests. This is a very new field of study; people are reluctant to come forward for diagnosis as they fear the treatment. Rest assured Wannietta that we here at
the It's OKAY (Obviously a Knitting And Yarn) Addiction Clinic are committed to having you knit things for us recovery. We never make any hasty decisions that could affect us having sweaters and socks forever your health.
Thank you Doctor - that's just what I wanted to hear it's such a relief to find devoted, attentive professionals to nuture and encourage treat me. I'll just need a few measurements from you ... and how soon did you need those socks?

The Wrap Jacket is on it's final blocking - picture coming soon.
Here is the Nakiska headband that I sneaked into my WIP without anyone noticing! It was a lot of fun & it was made from a stash yarn!! Look at me not buying new yarn for everything little thing! Amanda would like a headband too ... I think I have stash for that as well!!

The Celtic Knitter had this cool link on his blog so I had to try it. Using a few different pictures I had the following results:

Zhang Ziyi - 69%
Shannon Doherty - 68%
Nana Mouskouri - 65% (I was wearing my glasses for this result)
Rita Hayworth - 63 % (all right!! Madonna says that Rita "gives good face")
Chava Alberstein - 62%

Lovely ladies all - and no, I've never been mistaken for any one of them!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cheeky Monkey

Here is a picture of Amanda and CM. And to be fair a picture of Kyle and CM. They were pretty good about damping down their enthusiasm & just letting CM get his bearings.
He is going to be the best loved kitten in the world!
When I picked Amanda up to go and felt the kitty bed (I just didn't have the time during the day ) I told her that we could pick up a kitten afterwards. Her reaction was priceless! Sh
e lifted her little hands to her mouth and drew in a little breath and said "Oh .... oh. I was hoping so hard that you would say that we could get him today!". And on the way home, with Cm in his little carrier on her lap, "It's okay Cheeky Monkey. I know you can't see me but we're going home. We even have toys!"
We'll see how long the love lasts when the cleaning up
starts! lol

Now what you've all been waiting to see - the kitty bed! Here it is in the washer - felting interupted! And then after a tour in
the dryer, it has found an occupant. CM spent some time sniffing around the edges, then settled in and had a snooze. Well, until the flash went off. oops

Cat Bhordi suggests using an inflated wheelbarrow inner tube to block the bed, but in my arrogance due to a lack of time I didn't do this. It is a bit floopy but I have received no complaints ... yet. Tomorrow I will pick up the "blocking aid" and see what happens.

The Wrap Jacket sewing will commence tonight with the start of the finale of The Amazing Race. Go Bransens!!!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Welcome Home Kerwyn!

While it was a great workout for me to shovel out the driveway on Friday I am very thankful that Kerwyn is back home. Not just for the shoveling, either!! Amanda loves helping - and sometimes the best help is staying out of the way & looking cute. Kyle did a great job with the outside chores while Kerwyn was away, but it is very nice to have my main man back.

Kerwyn brought Amanda a set of Chinese health balls & a Hello Kitty purse. She was ecstatic!!! A re
al little woman already who can't have enough purses.

Kyle is the proud owner of an Oris "copy watch" and a black t-shirt with an embroidered silver dragon. He was very impressed. As with any 14 year old young man, appearances are everything. So sporting a watch, that is to the casual observer an authentic Oris, is a heady experience. I told the boy not to walk around bragging because if anyone actually believed that his father would #1, buy him an Oris and #2, let him wear it to school, they would have it off of his wrist faster than he could say "Oris". But what do I know? He's happy, so I won't push it.

No, I didn't get yarn. I have a lovely set of health balls too - which will be great for keeping my hands & fingers dextrous for knitting & a replice Tag Heuer. I did need a watch but just had never got around to buying one for myself. I'm not as hung up on appearances (well, maybe I'm a bit of a yarn snob ... but that's different!) but it is a bit of a thrill imagining that it is real. (The Sheep approves of the gift as "knitterly".)

Cheeky Monkey will be coming home on Wednesday. The cat is out of the bag (sorry - my fingers did
that all on their own) as Amanda started begging Kerwyn for a kitten as soon as he come through the door Friday night. It's okay, she is so excited that it may be just as well that I don't spring an unsuspecting animal on her. The Kitty Bed is knit and awaits felting. I will probably go to the laundromat tomorrow to felt it up (that almost sounds obscene!). Amanda is very impressed. "So that's what it is!!! You're sneaky." BWAHA HA!! Yes I am.

The Wrap Jacket is KNIT!!! I am going to wash and block the 2nd half today then graft it together and have it photographed tomorrow. The patttern changes will be finished tonight and emailed to Julie for consideration by Naturally. Phew - another one down.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Debra, Stephanie, Ken & Snow Thing

I have not forgotten about you or your sweater Debra! Debra is one of my clients who is a great starter who has discovered that I am (among other things) a finisher. I took her most recent offering (recent here meaning "within the last 6 months") and set to it. I sewed in the ends on the 2 sleeves & back that she had knit. I just need to do the back neck shaping, 1 sleeve top shaping, 2 fronts & assemble. But I have started & that is half the battle won.

I made my way down to hear Stephanie speak at the Textile Museum tonight and it was definitely worth the trip. She is an unpretentious speaker who engages her audience with knitting stories that make us laugh & cry because they have happened to us all. Then it was on to the book signing. Stephanie was quite taken with the Post-its that I used in the 1st book. The red ones are for "lessons" that I found touched a personal chord or made me cry from laughing. The blue ones were just plain ole' funny. I need to confess here that I have a weakness for office supplies that very nearly rivals my yearning for yarn. The pens, Post-it Notes, desk accessories ... is it getting warm in here? Thanks Ada for joining me & being my Photographer du jour.

While Stephanie was speaking, my attention kept wandering to a man knitting in front of me. He was wearing a lovely aran sweater and was knitting on another fine gauge aran. It was w
onderful - fine cables, twisted sts - but it seemed narrow for a sweater piece. So when Ada & I saw him as we were leaving I took the opportunity to introduce ourselves and ask about it. It is indeed a sweater back - a Starmore (I guessed right!). Ken said that it is a superwash wool and he found that it relaxed quite a bit when washed. That and the heavy cabling made it seem narrower than it will end up being after blocking.

It had been snowing steadinly in Angus since I had left - big fluffy flakes. When I turned into our driveway, I saw a couple of handles poking out of the snow. "Great - they started shoveling then left the shovels out!! 10:20 at night ... GDI - I'm going to have to climb in there, get them out ..." When I got out of t
he van I noticed that the handles looked kind of rough to be shovel handles. Okay, it's been a long day and even with a couple of Starbucks' Red Eyes in me I was a little slow. It turns out that Amanda dragged Stephanie (the babysitter) outside to make a snowman. Out of the dry fluffly snow. Well, it has arms and is made out of snow. They had a lot of fun and it was a good for a great laugh.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

It is Magic!!

It's here!! The Magical Knitting book came (thanks Julie)!! Here is the start of the kitty basket. I know that it doesn't look like much, but it is seriously cool.
I am using some vintage Patons Icelandic from deep within my stash. This just goes to show that every ball of yarn has a purpose - if you just bide your time and don't rush your stash into any old project, it's true purpose will be made clear to you. If C
heeky Monkey loves this little basket (one of his lives may be in jeopardy if he doesn't like - in an appropriate way - knitted items) I will make him a larger one as he needs it.
Knitting a Moebius is wicked cool!! It rates very high on the Knitting Magic Scale - right up there with the Magic Loop technique (which I don't use but was impressed as hell to learn) and turning a heel.

Here is another bit of magic. There is a row or two missing from the picture - this is as far as I could hang it over the railing without it sliding right off. When I get home tonight I will have one of the children take a picture while I hold up the afghan. It is 8 x 6 squares - 64" x 48".
Mine will be 10 x 6 squares, 80" x 48". I just need to do 6 more squares for the bottom. I was going to leave it at 48" long, but it just wasn't quite long enough. I need a generous afghan - I love wrapping it around me and tucking it under without having to stretch it out. Plus, then it's big enough to share.
I love the way that the colours don't match up & look all "optical-illusion-y". I included some solid squares, and while I like the Noro ones the best I don't think that the solids take away from the overall effect.
I will be sending off a picture & pattern to be put up on the CKDA website & when it is ready I will let you all know so that Noro Mitered Square Afghan Fever can sweep the nation!

Arrangements have been made (leaving work early & finding a babysitter for Amanda) so that I can be at the Textile Museum tomorrow night to harass stalk meet & greet Stephanie then sit quietly and listen to her bring her books alive. It's great hearing someone speak and then when you read them you can really feel them.

Monday, December 5, 2005

sigh - Monday

I had a great weekend with Ada & Jocelyn!! We bought a bit of yarn - 50% off is my weakness!! - so I bought some Brazilia Stop n Go to make a fab sweater for Amanda (I know, after I knit one for Kyle). I spoke to them (Knitters Bazaar, where I bought the yarn) about my Sassy Stripes issue. They asked me to bring in the labels (I kept them all!!) and the garment to send back to Moda Dea. Poor little Amanda just about burst into tears at the thought of losing her sweater for some unknown number of weeks while they study it to determine if/what the quality issues are. So Judy suggested if I had pictures that they may suffice. So I will put together the lables & pictures and see what Moda Dea comes back with.

Ada was working on 2!! pairs of Jaywalker socks and brought a beautiful lace shawl that she had recently finished. It was beautiful!!
Jocelyn was working on a bulky chenille hat - designing it on the needles!

You will just have to take my word for it that they were here & had fun as they both adamantly & steadfastly refused to have their picture taken.

I am about halfway down the 2nd sleeve on the wrap jacket & nearly done sewing together the Noro Afghan. My Jaywalker socks are a bit tight. I had convinced myself that it was just the needles that made it feel hard to pull on, but once the heel flap was done, it was obvious that I was once again lying to myself. Yes, I will rip them out. sigh

I will definitely have pictures tomorrow - the batteries (yes, I have 2 and let both of them run down) are dead.

Friday, December 2, 2005

My Day

Amanda had a PA Day today, but once again the poor dear had to be hauled out of bed to drive the bus. I do feel a bit badly for her, then the feeling goes away as soon as she starts with the "Canya buy me...? Can I have ...? But I nee-ee-ee-ed it!"
We had her 1st term interview this morning - it went very well. It was one of those "student directed" affairs (Kerwyn is not a fan) and she presented her work very well. Her teacher (the much loved Miss Hopson) had no problems, issues or concerns. A nice start to the day.

Then we went into Barrie to get grocery at Costco. The weather was fair when we went in, but while we were in there (time lost all meaning after the first 100 "no, no, NO"s) it had turned into a serious squall. sigh Pack groceries quickly, brush off van, deep calming breath ...

and onto negotiating through several seriously fucked-up poorly planned intersections at the 400 & Molson Park Drive. I mean, someone must have had no other outlet for their depraved sadistic tendencies when they put up so many traffic lights, so close together without any obvious timing between said lights. But I really needed to get some beverages (wink, wink) that w
eren't available at the Angus LCBO, so it was do or die. Negotiating these few intersections during the middle of the day during the week is a challenge (and believe me, that is an understatement). Going there on a weekend, getting a parking spot (without having your child get out & run to an empty space and stand there to hold it), trying to get what you needed (you don't go there on a mere whim!), - and God forbid that you should require the teensiest bit of assistance from some uninterested, lazy, putting-in-time&watching-the-clock, "hunh? who-me?" kid - manoeuvre your vehicle back into the outbound lane of the parking lot, turning onto Molson Park then immediately crossing 3 lanes in 2 short blocks to get to the 400 on-ramp (while everyone else is either determined to stay in their lane and have dangerously f-uped issues about the personal space around their car or are making their own single-minded beeline across the same 3 lanes in the opposite direction) is a task worthy of being added to the Twelve Labours!!

But to the victor go the spoils - Ada & Jocelyn will be very happy to know that I am fully prepared to entertain them in a fine style. They are coming tomorrow to play with me!! We are going to Knitters Bazaar & Legacy Books (a very excellent used book store) for a little adventure then settle in for as much show-and-tell, knitting, laughing & drinking as
we can! This thought has gotten and contiunes to get me through the stressful bits of my days.

Amanda is met up with her friend Jenny (whose mom also drives bus) and they played in the snow. Yes, winter is back again! The forecast indicates that it is here for the next week at least - the girls were very happy.

Jenny invited Amanda over and then called to ask to stay for a sleepover. (I saw that one coming!!) I just went to pick her up. They had been playing hard and Jenny has a rabbit. Amanda was pretty wheezy & had the sense to ask to come home. She okay - nothing that puffers, a warm bath & fresh out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookiers can't cure! I just hope that kitty fur & bunny fur ar
e sufficiently different.

I was able to get the kitchen & bathroom cleaned before I went for Amanda.
There are just a few cleaning tasks left, some laundry & prep cooking to do tomorrow morning to be totally prepared to sit & relax with Ada & Jocelyn.

Kyle did his HT today and most of the listed homework so I let him go out with Josh (the older) and Justin to Justin's hockey game. Josh is then going to sleep over here. Maybe Kyle will be able to Tom Sawyer Josh into helping with some of his jobs tomorrow!! lol

The knitting content today is limited to what is in this picture. It was not intentionally posed there, so I'm especially grateful that it's there! At the top left of Kyle's head is one of my Noro Silk Garden Beanies. The blue & white object is my Cross Country Chullo. It has been put to good use already this year & garners it's share of compliments - especially from non-knitters! To the untrained eye, there is a fugly green & black striped scarf. To the discerning, well-read knitter it is obviously the Alien Scarf from Stitch 'n Bitch.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

End of the Suspense; Jaywalker KAL

Even those of you who don't know me know me so well!! It's especially funny because both my cousin (Hi Donna!!) and my twin sister thought that is was a baby!!

The 2 children that I have are all of the happiness that I can stand. Any more happiness would kill someone. It would take me a full 9 months to come to terms with having another child, let alone get excited about it. A kitten will do just nicely.

I have been promising the children a kitten since the house was a definite possibility. Kerwyn (who is not an animal kinda guy) told me (after Amanda used her tiny feminine charm
s begged & wheedled) that I could get them one (remember that baby?).
Bev's mom's cat had kittens and it didn't take me long to put in first dibs. I am really excited. He is an orangey colour with white cheeks, chin & paws. I have named him Cheeky Monkey - I'm sure that he will fit in just fine with Kyle & Amanda. I toyed with the idea of naming him "Nobody" so that when something happens around here and neither one of the kids owns up to it, I can actually find "nobody" to blame. But I already love him too much to put that burden on him.

I am determined not to turn into a crazy cat person. Every oth
er blog entry & picture will not be about Cheeky Monkey. But as soon as I have a picture is will post it - just the one ... I promise - so that you can imagine him. I will remember that you came to hear about my knitting. (CM will need all of his 9 lives if he gets into it!!) Note to self: PUT AWAY THE KNITTING!!! CLOSE THE YARN ROOM DOOR!!!

Saun - There is one thing that the kitty needs - a bed! After Marsha let me know that she was sold out & awaiting a shipment of Cat Bordhi's A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting I went on a www. search! Julie is coming to my rescue by lending me her personal copy so that Cheeky Monkey stands a chance of having a 5-star bed to sleep in when he comes home (next Friday). I ended up calling her because Beth was able to find the dyelot of Naturally Sensation that I need to finish the Wrap Jacket (I'm on my way
down the 2nd sleeve) so she is going to rush out the yarn & book. You sure do know how to make a girl feel special Julie!!

I have just started on the heel flap on my Jaywalker KAL socks. I have received a lot of compliments - amazing what a bit of clever patterning magic can do!

Happy News

It has taken me a little while to get used to the idea and get excited about it, but I am now, so I can share.
There will soon be the pitter patter of new little feet in the Prescod House!! Like I didn't have enough knitting (feeding & cleaning) to do already. I will certainly keep you all up to date with the details as they come in.

Edited to add: Sorry to have to tell you like this Kerwyn, but you know how I can't keep a secret!