Monday, January 30, 2006


A completed Daisy Meadow Scarf & Jaywalkers. I put in large pictures because I really like these FO's! Thanks for the input on the Hawaii - I am going to try Sockbugs' Lacy Scallops Socks. I'll put up a pic as soon as I have enough to show.

I did the Shedir hat from Knitty's Special Breast Cancer Awareness Issue over the weekend. I will be re-doing it over the next few days. It is just a bit too snug around about an inch short in depth (curse my tight row gauge!!). It is a lovely pattern and I won't hate knitting it twice. I had to firmly deny Amanda dibs on this one while I knit the 2nd - I may just need the extra yarn!

Michaels had another Yarn Event on Sunday. I showed up to defend my last win and .... won another little basket with LB yarn & some needles. If they do this a few more times (and don't keep it a secret from me!) I will have enough to do an afghan. A different bunch of ladies knit against me this time and again they were all very nice. A lot of jokes were made about just conceding, but then the concensus was that I had to work for the yarn. Amanda was a fantastic little cheerleader.

The Top Secret sweater is coming along nicely - the back is done and the front is almost done. The sleeves are
more involved, but not to worry - they will not impede my Olympic goals.
I have officially decided to do the Flirty Ruffles Shawl. Kathy on the KnittinginCanada list questioned the likelyhood of my completing the ruffle in time!!! Oh crap - perhaps I should at least give a cursory glance to the instructions before commiting myself (or risk having myself committed!!). I may have to order some extra circular needles.

Got a new
Olympic button from here. It will be my vice of choice for 16 days & nights. Team Canada is shaping up nicely. We are a diverse & talented crew who are willing to step up to the needles and let the fur/fleece fly. I have placed my order for a team jersey - even if you are not competing, you may want to check it out right away and order one right away the better to be noticed in the peanut gallery cheering section. They are certain to be a collectors item.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


So I finished my Jaywalkers - picture tomorrow. I just had to cast on another pair of socks & Lorna's Laces Hawaii has been on my mind for a long time. I also fell in love with the Embossed Leaf socks from the current issue of IK. I'm afraid, however, that the yarn is not doing the socks justice (or it may be the other way around). My Hawai'ian yarn vacation is going to have to find a new travel agent. Let me know if you have a suggestion for a good one!

The DMS is finished and just needs to be blocked. I wasn't able to get the extra pattern repeat in - I just didn't have enough yarn, but it is lovely anyway. I promise pics of that too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

SP7 - Off to a good start

What a coincidence - I sent of a package to my SP7 recipient yesterday morning and what did I find when I checked the mail yesterday aftenoon? Yes!! My first SP7 package. I was on my way to Barrie on errands and while I had every intention of saving the opening until I returned home and could really savour it ... well, I didn't even last 5 minutes! I opened it at the first red light that I came to. What a little box of delights. Chocolate (dark chocolate!!) covered cranberries, a sweet little notebook, sheepie clips (perfect for attaching knitting notes to patterns in use) and a wonderful skein of handpainted yarn (I think that it's saying "hat" but it has a fairly thick Maine accent so I will have to spend some time with it and make sure that we understand each other) from a little company in Maine called Inspirations Yarn. And a nice knitterly card to top it all off. Notice how the sheep have started grazing around and making themselves at home already.

Thank you Secret Pal - what a great way to start the week off!!

Monday, January 23, 2006


It goes beyond TAKE (Team Against Knitting Enjoyment - Yarn Harlot). My family are all Platinum Card-caryying Members of that club. It's about preventing me from knitting at all!!! She knows that I have deadlines and how I cannot resist the little pieces of a jigsaw puzzle begging me to help them find their place in the "big picture". And yet she does this:
And that is not a cute, care-free, happy grin - it is the insidious smirk of a covert operative bent on knitting sabotage!!! Do not make eye contact ... she has honed her big brown-eyed, hint-of-a-tear-that's-gone-with-a-giggle, bat an eyelash & come hither hypnosis to a razor-sharp edge. I escaped only after lulling her into a false sense of comraderie and then distracting her with a shout of "packing snow!!". It was a narrow escape which I had to repeat several times, using different distracting techniques (she's clever & not easily sidetracked).

I was able to get quite a bit done on the Top Secret Sweater and made
visible progress on the Daisy Meadow Shawl. It is going to be beautiful when it is done & I can work some blocking magic on it.

I also have a new toy therapeutic device. It is a Homedics Parafin Bath. It is seriously excellent for providing a deep warmth for my chronic cold hands and also is helping to prevent the endless dryness and cracking that interferes with knitting. I love it. Should have bought one sooner!!

Thanks for all of the supportive comments about the Worst Day. And I humbly accept Logan's apology on behalf of his former bus driver - I think that we all would like to apologize to someone for something (or a lot of somethings) that we did as kids!

Anne & Secret Pal - my Jaywalkers are Regia Colour #5440 Party Color. And I am repeating the "secret" part of SP7 over and over to myself and am resisting the very strong urge to at least compare the SP7 participant list with the Jaywalker list and find my Secret Pal. I have almost convinced myself (well a small part of myself anyway) that this is a good character builiding exercise.

Cara thinks I'm funny!! Thanks - I try and have moments of success (in which I revel for shamefully prolonged periods of time). I think that J1 is charismatic, engaging and challenging with funny thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Jaywalkin' Along

Thanks in part to The Worst Day Ever, I am almost at the toe shaping of my 2nd Jaywalker. I think that I will definitely have them done by J1's contest deadline.

Well, I got back in the saddle. I wasn't afraid to drive, but I was definitely feeling emotions that I can't quite put my finger on. The principal & vice-principal both personally thanked me (and Ken - the driver at the top of the hill) for our
"dedication to duty". They gave us a lovely card & gift certificates to Tim Hortons too!! (FYI - Tim's is an institution "up here" - you can throw a stone in most any direction & hit one.) I know, it's not yarn, but it means a lot to me that they acknowledge our efforts. Not that I seriously considered abandoning the kids and running home or curling up in the fetal position on the bus floor, rocking & humming to myself, but it's nice to know that what you do matters to someone.

And thank you to everyone for your wonderful & insightful comments on Kyle & his York. A little bit of my brain knew that my hands and heart were wishful knitting, but it knew a losing battle when it saw one. And I'm sure that you're right Matthew - Kyle will like it when he's a few years older and more confident (and wants to wear something a bit more fitted to impress someone - or a few someones).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Worst Day of my Life

Easily, hands-down.
Not giving birth to Kyle (took days and then over 4 years to decide to try it again), not when Kyle broke his leg or when Amanda broke her arm (a very ugly incident - 3 hospitals & several days - she has more enthusiasm than skill at gymnastics).
They were calling for freezing rain yesterday at noon. This was forecasted on Monday afternoon, but we took children to school. It started at noon, nearly on the stroke of the bell. The roads became treacherous very quickly. This may have been aggravated by a lack of pro-active salting/sanding - but what do I know. Maybe they didn't know about the freezing rain. My high school run went well. Yeah, this is where it all starts going wrong. I was driving in 1st gear - not braking and on
ly accelerating to get up the next hill - and was still slipping and swaying. The kids at the front could tell something was up (my emphatic demands for silence were the biggest clue). Then I couldn't go any further and started going backwards. I managed to stop the slide safely and there we sat. The time was 4:05. The two way radio to our base office was crazy - drivers stuck and/or in a ditch all over the place. I used my cell phone and told them where I was and was told that a sand truck would be out as soon as the township could arrange it. Still nothing.
Then a bus stopped up at the top of the hill in front of me. All that I could think was "OMG - pleeeeaaaase do not try to come down & past me!!" He didn't - and we sat in our respective buses looking at each other. I had over
20 children at this point (they look all innocent in the picture - it's a clever ruse - they saw the camera). Mercifully none of them started crying or freaking out. That is not to say that they sat quietly and let me do my knitting. Boys bored out of their minds torturing me with a skill that terrorists could learn from. "Can we order pizza?" "Can't you just gun it?" "Can I get out and walk?" "What time is it?"(x 75,208) "I gotta go!!" I couldn't let them off of the bus so the boys stood on the bottom step and peed out while we all looked away and the girls squatted just outside the door (yeah, they really had to go). For the most part they were really good. I had my knitting, but didn't get a lot done because I had to keep looking up to see what dumb-ass kid-shit how they were amusing themselves and ask them to settle down, take it easy and/or play nice. A few did homework - I love them.
Time kept passing - my throbbing head, growling stomach and the clock said so. And it's not like I could lose track of time, what with someone asking every 8 minutes or so.
Around this time parents started showing up - I nearly cried with relief. The noise level was working on my last nerve - not that they were screaming & yelling, but the chatter of that many children in a bus for 2+ hours was too much. A very nice neighbour brought granola bars & drinking boxes for the children - Thank You Tom O'Leary!!
All this time I had to keep my foot on the driving brake as the parking brake was not holding the bus on the icy incline.
Parents kept coming - they were literally sliding down the road. It was so slippery that it was a challenge to get to the bus. They all were smart enough to park at the top of the hill and not try to drive down.
I saw a sander coming in my rear view mirror and then I saw him going in my rear view mirror. Base couldn't tell me when they might come back and everything was seriously fucked up. All of the graders, sanders & plows were out and trying to get to all of the buses as quickly as possible, but there are a lot of roads out there. And we all know that these vehicles are not built for speed.
Longer story short.
PM - 3 kids left, grader came with a sander behind him.
9:10PM - under way
9:35PM - dropped off last children at their house
10:13PM - parked bus in yard (which was a thick sheet of ice), walked slid to my van and managed to get safely out of the skating rink bus yard.

I started feeling emotional after the last child was off of the bus. By the time I got to my van & home I was a blubbering mess. There were still 2 buses out after me, but they were un-stuck and on their way home. Kyle took good care of Amanda (he's really very responsible when the chips are down), but I worried about them, keeping my own bus on the road, keeping the children calm and reassured, worrying about all of the other drivers and their kids ... I take these things to heart and once my kids were safely home I just let go. Mercifully the buses were cancelled today - I'm using the day to try and sort my head out.
Apparently the Patron Saint of bus drivers is St. Christopher. I'm not really a patron saint kind of gal, but everyone from Northstar Alliston (to the best of my knowledge) got home safe yesterday and I certainly feel watched over.
And maybe I'm just slow, but I still like driving a bus!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Olympic challenge

Stephanie has thrown down the gauntlet in a serious way. I would really like to join this (1st bi-annual? to coincide with the Summer & Winter Games) historic event but I'm afraid that I may have to throw in a light-weight project. I have 2 end-of-February deadlines and I really don't think that I can get them done before the Olympics start. I'm going to sign up but will have to reserve committing to project until I know better what kind of time I will have available.
Stephanie must be striving for "Citius" with her choice of project. I am quite stunned and look forward to seeing it finished after the closing ceremony.
Definitely a challege worthy of an Olympian!!

I am a Flaker slacker. I need to sit down and do some math and I freely admit to procrastinating. These things are never as bad as I build them up to be, but I'm a little scared that the cable patterns that I've chosen will not work out and/or will require serious tweaking re-designing.

And somehow National De-lurking week came and went without my knowledge. So this is a belated salute and in tribute I have added a button to my sidebar that will hopefully encourage you all to leave even an itty bitty comment. I probably won't hate you or stalk you as a result of letting me know that you stopped by.

Here is a picture of my knitting progress yesterday. This is a fairly light-weight fabric so it is not a quick knit. I have received permission from Fiona to post the most useless photos that I can possibly take/edit of my project for her for your blog-viewing pleasure (we all like the blogs with pictures!).

Oh, and I forgot to say yesterday: GO Steelers!!!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Swatching along

Kerwyn took me out to dinner & a movie Saturday - it was wonderful! We saw King Kong. Yes, it was long, but at least you feel that you're getting your money's worth! And I liken it to a good book - time is spent giving you background and a real feel for the characters. What did you expect from the man who put the Lord of the Rings trilogy on screen - a Disney movie? I really enjoyed it - and there were a number of handknits to remark on ... and Kerwyn was sweet enough to pretend to be interested every time that I pointed one out! Dinner was Mexicali Rosas in Barrie and it was fantastic! I haven't had a great Chimichanga since Chi-Chis closed down. Clean, nicely decorated, friendly service & great food - we have definitely found a new favourtie restaurant.

My thumb is healing, but I can kiss any plans of a career as a hand model goodbye! (No, hadn't really considered it seriously, but still ...) It is still quite sensitive around the edges and tends to open if it bumps against anything, like a knitting needle. However, it has healed sufficiently that I was able to -carefully- knit a fluffy scarf for Amanda during the movie. I also swatched for the Naturally DK sweater (for The Needle Emporium - I'll have to think of a name for it) and for a sweater for Fiona. I will be able to give you updates on the "Fiona sweater", but it is a secret project so there will be no photos. It is cotton and though simple enough I have to pay attention as the yarn tends to want to split.

I think that that's about it. sigh It didn't feel like much knitting and it sounds like even less when I type it out!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

He says She says

He says that it's too tight and not "a guy colour".
She says it's fitted and the colours are deep and rich yet darkly masculine (and certainly does not refer to the purple as "lilac" or "lavender" in his presence).

I think that Kyle is handsome anyway and that the sweater only makes him more so. But since when has a teenage boy listened to what his mother wants hime to wear! LMAO
Well, I love it and gladly wear it. Kyle really thought that he would like it, or maybe he was just being sweet because I wanted to make it for him so much. Anyway, this is Kyle wearing his my York from Noro Knits by Jane Ellison.
Kenny is trying to make a sweater selection for some Iro that he has and has asked for input. Now I know that you are all very shy, but that you do have opinions. Canadians can practice their voting by going over and letting Kenny know what you think.

It doesn't look terribly fitted on Kyle - I made it so that he could grow into it a bit. (I have truly deluded myself into believing that he may still want to wear it at some future time!) My only change for this sweater would be to shorten up the armholes a bit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stupid is as Stupid does

You know how wonderfully sharp kitchen mandolins are? That's what makes them such an awesome tool - right? Of course they all come with the vegetable holder/finger protector whose use is strongly recommended for your safety. Well, those of us whose alma mater is The School of Hard Knocks laugh derisively at such cautions!! And I've done it before with no problems just a little scratch or two. But then the stars & moons & planets all fell out of alignment ... Last night when it happened I thought that I might need stitches, but injuries after 11:30PM turn me into a medical professional of sorts. In that capacity, I stemmed the bleeding (eventually) and after pouring peroxide over it, wrapped bandages over & around it with the hope that I could just "stick it back together". No surprise - I do not hold an actual medical degree!! It hurt like a paper cut to the power of 50!! And while I can't write a new prescription I do have a small stash of Tylenol 3 left over from my knee surgery. Oh yeah - that helped! Here is Thumbkin today. It took like 5 minutes to take this picture using my left hand!!

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to function without the full use of an opposable thumb?!? It will probably be a couple of days before I can knit properly without the fear of opening up the wound and bleeding all over and really needing stitches. I also can't sew or cross stitch (stupid fine motor skills!!) so I guess that I will OD on Pogo Euchre and get into into Ian Irvine's Well of Echoes quartet.

Injuries that impact my ability to knit make me take stock.

The upshot of this is that I will take the 10 extra seconds and use the stupid necessary safety thing the next time every time that I use the mandolin. Final grade on "Lesson 12 Finally Learned in the Kitchen" - A.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Nice contents, nice wrapping

It's here!! I exercised a great deal of self control and did not rip it open at the mailbox. I even waited until I had started dinner and supervised some cleaning up. (And don't for a second think that supervising these 2 is easier than doing it myself.) A moment of relative calm, a nice drink ... then I opened it!
I'm not sure what Julie intends for the Naturally - there was no pattern. I e-mailed her, but I'm sure that it is a mere disease/drug-induced mental lapse.
And movie passes!!! The tangible spoils of knitting that can be shared by all (they both lament the lack of sweaters for themselves - easily rectified if they would just stop growing!!). Thanks Julie - I now have photographic evidence to introduce at my frequent neglect trials. "I'm encouraging your self-sufficiency!!" is my main rebuttal, followed with a quick "That - whatever excellent thing they just got - was bought with knitting money - you should help me to knit more!". They don't see the humour in it. hee hee hee

Of course, when presented with other gifts, they profess all sorts love for me and forgive my knitting other shortcomings. Wrapped in flannelette love from neck to toes (until she grows anyway)!! Amanda kept herself awake with frequent progress checks not so cleverly disguised as I-have-an-itch, I-need-a-drink and the logically ensuing bathroom break. She was so excited that I didn't smack her when she asked about the pyjamas!
I need a proper knitting break child. I did a bit on the DMS (though it doesn't look like much) and about an inch on the 2nd Jaywalker sock. sigh I sometimes wish that she was a little more difficult to impress. But not often - we all need an easy audience!

Monday, January 9, 2006

SP7 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart & Lion Brand?
Yes, yes and yes. No apologies.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
No. Well I tried it but it was ugly. No, don't even try to make excuses for the rookie - there are no nice words for what I did to that bit of fleece. Yes, but as edgings or doilies. I haven't found a crocheted sweater that I like.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have some lovely decorative tins that I use.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
For about 30 years - definitely advanced. I can/will knit anything with a pattern, though I still really love the simplicity of st st when done with a luxutious yarn or interesting variegate.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other on-line wish list?

6. What's your favourite scent (for candles, bath products, etc.)?
Vanilla, dahling!!

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favourite candy?
YES!!! I love chocolate - white & dark especially. I like cherry, strawberry, lemon & lime flavoured things. Definitely not orange or grape.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself kind of things do you like to do?
I love counted cross stitch - especially hand-painted fabrics ( and thread.

9. What kind of music do you like? Does your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Dance, house, rap, hip-hop. High energy, make me wanna move & groove kinda music! And yes.

10. What's your favourite colour? Or do you have a colour family/season/palette that you prefer? Any colour that you just can't stand?
I love blue and purple. Rich, deep jewel tones almost always suit me. Nothing dull or drab for this girl!

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Married for almost 17 years, a 14 year old boy and an 8 year old girl. And the recent addition of a kitten - Cheeky Monkey.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

13. What is/are your favourite yarns to knit with?
Rowan, Noro and Lorna's Laces.

14. What fibres do you absolutely *not* like?
Cheap, bargain store acrylic!!

15. What is/are your current knitting obsessions?
I'm always knitting on a variety of things. Right now I am working on Jaywalker socks (there is always a pair of socks on the go), a Fiddlesticks shawl, the FLAK aran and a Knitty hat. I love all sorts of knitting, though Intarsia is my least favourite.

16. What is/are your favourite items to knit?
Just about anything interesting - not gloves.

17. What are you knitting right now?
See 15.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes - especially if it's something that I wouldn't make for myself.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Straights. I knit like I have a knitting belt and find circulars awkward. There are times when I need them - afghans, circular sweaters & necks - but mostly I use straights.

20. Bamboo, aluminum or platic?
Aluminum & bamboo straights. Addi Turbo circulars.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes. A wooden swift and a standard plastic yarn winder.

22. How did you learn to knit?
My mother taught me when I was little.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Oh crap - I'm not good at lying. It's got to be a good 10 years old. It is a lovely lace tablecloth that Chatelaine (the Cdn magazine) had. It's about 6' across when finished and I'm not even close. I don't hate it or anything, I just haven't picked it up in a very long time.

24. What is your favourite animated character or favourite animal/bird?
Hmmmmm. SpongeBob rocks - I guess that's the closest that I have to a fav animated character. I have a few sheep things (thanks to Julie!), but I don't really have a fav animal/bird.

25. What is your favourite holiday?
We don't celebrate the traditional holidays, but have made our wedding anniversary our family "do". I'm a sentimental sap, so it is easily my favourite!

26. Is ther anything that you collect?
Does yarn count? Except for the sheep, no.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to VK, FCEK and Rowan. I always buy IK and usually buy Knitters. I will buy Knitting (a British publication) if there are a couple of patterns that I like.

28. Are there any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there that you are dying to get your hands on?
Where to start? lol I would like the blue & green Barbara Walker books and to own a pair of the Lantern Moon needles.

29. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes. 25.5cm from heel to toe & 10.2cm at the widest width. I like my socks to fit snugly.

30. When is your birthday?
September 25 - though I don't celebrate it. My anniversary (17 this year) is June 3rd)

This is great!!! Now everyone can get me the perfect gift!

Friday, January 6, 2006

Is that your Final Swatch?

Yes Regis, it is. It is washed & blocked and I am very pleased. I did do some decreases across the cables before I did the seed stitch but I obviously know where I have to do more!! To answer Matthew, I love cables and the more involved the better. The Alternating, Seed Wishbone & Loose Braid cable are all quite straight forward & intuitive. The Lorgnette (S) cable is going to take a little longer to memorize and I will be checking the Baroque Cable every RS row!! I don't like all of my projects to be as mentally challenging but once in a while the rewards are worth it!!

Kenny - The FLAK cardigan (I've officially decided!) and the Jaywalker socks are for me. I don't think that anyone could pay me enough to knit socks for money.
I always have a pair on the go in my purse because they are so compact and easy to pick up & put down. The Daisy Meadow Shawl is for a client.

Renee - When I know up front that I'm not getting to keep what I knit it doesn't bother me. I would have a hard time knitting something for me (or my kids) and then giving it up. It's a state of mind for me. And if I really love the FO I just knit it again!!

Here is the blocked Tumbling Blocks cushion cover:
I will be able to sew on the Kaffe Fassett Fabric with my new sewing machine!!! It turns out that the gears were broke on the Athena - being a 31 year old machine, 12
of them with me I think that she did just fine!! Add in the fact that the gears were nylon = bonus points for Singer. It just wasn't cost effective to repair her. I will miss her but look forward to breaking in a new machine - not literally of course!!!

And after a lot of searching I found the Japanese knitting store (sorry - no website) at Woodbine & Hwy7 (Ontario, Canada).
I told Teresa (the owner) that she should walk around the mall and introduce herself to all of the other stores. Almost no one knew that there was a yarn/knitting store there - and she has been there for quite awhile!!! I ordered 2 magazines and they should arrive in about a month. Gorgeous magazines - worth the wait! I also picked up more dream/wish/lucky star strips - like I needed a new addiction.

Finally - I just had to take a
picture of this!! I know that parking spaces were hard to come by, but this is a textbook example of desperate!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Proof that I was meant to knit

After hours of back-breaking pinning, sutting, and marking dots and crap for Amanda's nightdress I set to finishing the overlocking. Kyle (to his credit) did offer to do some. Most of the some was done poorly, but not so poorly as to need re-doing. So, bottom line, he helped. I was going along great, then my poor Singer Athena 2000, which was aged when I bought it used over 15 years ago, started sounding wrong.
Like a man who is one with his machine (whatever his machine of choice is), I can hear when my bread maker, dishwasher, washing machin
e or sewing machine is telling me something. I do have this ability with my Toyota Sienna, but even though Kerwyn only drives it occasionally he is much more in tune with the subtleties of it.
I digress ... my Athena was sounding wrong. So I slowed down a little (and don't think that that didn't pain me - I mean this is boring shit. Sewing a zig zag around the edge of fabric - come on!!! At least with st st I get do move my fingers!!!). Then it came to the point where the top thread wasn
't picking up & locking with the bobbin thread. *%@+ I took it apart a bit, cleaned out the fluff, switched over to a straight-stitch plate & foot to see if it was a stitch problem and the goddess refused to move the needle. A deep, guttural whine was the auditory accompaniment to the lack of movement.
I don't sew a lot. While I can do the basics and maybe muddle through some more intermidate bits, I wouldn't call myself especially adept or remotely skilled at sewing. I have the machine because I like to be able to fix seams that rip, hem a bit or sew some knitting should the need arise. There are also delusional moments (brought on by a knitted FO euphoric
high, hunger-induced delirium and an angelic face asking for pyjamas "can't you just make some?") when I forget the last time I sewed something. And I wonder why my kids are students of the School of Hard Knocks? It's obviously genetic!! I don't ask a lot of quantity time from my Athena, but when I need her I expect quality time. I do take her in for maintenance & (now that I'm thinking about it!) she was just fixed last winter for a zigzag issue. Anyway, that's where the nightdress sits. And just sits. I am going to take it in to a shop on Friday and see if I need to let her retire after many years of faithful service for her family. sigh Definitely a sign to stick to knitting. I can't imagine knitting a nightdress though. sigh

Happier news --- The first Jaywalker sock is almost done! I'm into the toe decs but I just couldn't finish it last night. I've been staying up later & later and laying in later to match. This is going to hurt on Monday!

Here is the altered FLAK swatch. It is upside down so this is how it will look (the Baroque Cable on the right is the Center). The revised version is at the bottom of the picture. Saun helped me nail down what I may have been feeling. The Seed Wishbone just didn't fit in right next to the very bold Baroque. I shifted everything over and put the Seed Wishbone on the left (which will be at the underarm). I like it there. If I don't need to add any more fillers stitches to get the measurement that I need it will give a bit of continuity to the seed stitch that I put into the Baroque. Saun - I did consider using the Alt Cable again at the end (and even swatched it a bit) but decided that I thought it would look too symetrical for the side panel. I think that that combination would be great as a center panel with something a bit smaller to flank it. No, I have no time to knit 2 FLAK sweaters (and I say this very sternly to myself!!). I really think that I prefer the Loose Braid, even though it is a trickier cable and I also did a Bobble in the Lorgnette Cable instead of the Knot. I think that this is it folks. It just needs a blocking and some math and it will start to be a sweater!!

I have done a bit on the Daisy Meadow Shawl - it is starting to be a bit intuitive. Not always easy with lace - at least for me. I patted it out a bit so that you can get a sense of the delicate beauty trapped in those scrinchy-looking stitches.

I also spent a great deal of time yesterday making these: {Blogger is tired of uploading my pics - I'll try later}
I read about these Dream/Wish/Luck Stars on somebody's blog, found the little strips of paper that came with instructions and then I totally couldn't follow the pictures!! I felt like the village idiot - there were like 20 little pictures baby-steeping me through it. sigh Then I Googled and found a website that spoke Village Idiot and voila!! Kyle has about the same amount in a small jar & Amanda has a pile too that I told her that she could string and hang from her doorway (with the beadstrings and plastic circles). Some of them have my own dreams, wishes and affirmations written on them and some are just blank. Amanda immediately asked if she could open them & read them. I laughed and told her no, they were like my secret hopes and wishes for her and that she was just to know that each star means that I was thinking a special thought for her. I've mentioned it before - I'm a sentimental sap.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

A Swatchin' we will go

Here is what I did last night:
It is upside down because the FLAK sweater is knit top-down. I have not totally deciced whether this will be pullover or cardigan. If I go with a cardigan (my druther), I have already chosen an Enclosed Cable that is about half the size of the Baroque and with a similar center-knot detail that I can use for each of the fronts. I may have to tweak the number of filler stitches (more swatching) to make sure that the altered fronts knit up to the same measurements as the back. No problem!
(The detail pictures are shown as knit.)
Baroque cable on the right is my center motif. It is a very tightly cabled pattern, but I am loving it!! Even though I have not quite finished one repeat of the pattern you can get a good sense of what it's like.
Then we have a Seed Wishbone framed with a 1/1 Serpentine cable followed by an Alternating cable. I'm unsure if I like the Serpentine - I don't really like it in any width and don't know if I'm feeling it here. I even did a small swith part way up the right Serpentine to make these mirror each other. I don't know ... but if I take them out I don't know what I would put in.
I love the Alternating cable!! Just the last few rows I have taken out the single twisted knit stitch to the right of the Alt cable. I just felt like it was giving too muc
h of a compartmentalized look to the pattern.
On to the Lorgnette cable & the Braid cable. The Lorgnette cable on the right is a bit messed up - deliberately! I decided about 15 rows in that I wanted to mirror these 2 and even as anal as I am there was no way I was ripping out 1800+ cabled stitches!! This is a swatch, a learning tool, and I need to be able to reference what I don't like/doesn't work as well as what I do/does. This is what I am telling myself so that I don't go insane looking at a messed up bit. I am not sure that I am entirely pleased with the Braid cable (sorry Janet - I switched all of your other suggested cables, I thought that this one might be a keeper!). It just seems smallish - though perhaps that's because the L cables flanking it are too big - and tight. I know that this is a tight cable pattern, but again, it may be where I've place it but it just doesn't seem right. I may tweak it a bit from a Tight 5-rib to a Loose 5-rib. It has a purl stitch between the ribs to loosen it up and is cabled every 4th row rather than every other row. I also might change the knot in the L cable to more of a proper bobble. I'll see.

PLEASE let me know what you think!!! I may not agree with you or change anything but I would appreciate the feedback. Sometimes I get a sense that something isn't quite right but I don't know exactly how to change it. It may also be that the cable width proportions are out - although we (the FLAKers - that sounds like a bitchin' gang!!) are going to be calculating the cable swatch against our DFM (Desired Finished Measurements) and adding in the filler stich(es) to get what we need. So there may be additional rev st st or seed stitch in some places.

Before I continue with the swatch there is sewing to be done. I feed my children way too well as evidenced by their continued growth. Amanda needs pyjamas and I said "we (the Royal "we" meaning me) can make some cute ones". She picked right up on that and I have this: that is going to be turned into these:
The overall floral is going to be a
night dress and the other two will be the pyjama sets. I was going to make 2 plain pink bottoms but when I was opening up all of the fabrics for a pre-wash I noticed this!!
How old is this bolt of fabric? GDI. Now I have to go back and buy more. I was really hoping to make this some kind of assembly-line thing and be done with it in an afternoon. It's an easy pattern, not too many pieces & if I can convince Kyle to do the edge sewing I can even get some knitting done in between. We never had a serger and my mom always made us taught us to do an overlock stitch around all of the cut pieces so that they wouldn't unravel with washing & wearing. It stuck and I still always do it ... not that I sew a lot. I'll let you know how this goes - if you don't hear about it again then it's best you not ask.
I must say that "stitch'n save" is a bit misleading. I spent almost $80 on the pattern, fabric and notions. After factoring in my time, for 1 nightdress and 2 pairs of pyjamas this does not seem like "saving". LOL I guess it's like knitting - quality materials and workmanship, a one-of-a-kind FO and the joy of a gift well-received is why we do it. Wish me luck - there is no frogging in sewing!!!

Monday, January 2, 2006

Almost a free sweater!

So off we went today to buy me some Patons Classic Wool for the FLAK. Pia from Knitters' Bazaar had called me last week to let me know that Moda Dea will be investigating the dyelot problem that I had with Amanda's Sassy Stripes sweater. She convinced them that it was a glaring enough error that I should be issued a credit! So, with 20% off (say it with me with feeling people - SALE!!!) of the 9 balls of Classic Wool (that should be more than enough to cover my crippling Yarn Shortage Anxiety) and the aforementioned credit, this is almost a free sweater. Not that I wasn't going to enjoy knitting it already, but this is like the cherry on top of the whipped cream.
Of course, not being one to take the easy road, I am going to be substituting the suggested cables and after much research and narrowing of choices I have made all sorts of notes that should stand me in good stead for this project. I will be doing the cable swatch tonight - I hope that what is a good plan on paper translates as well to wool.
We took the kids to Pizza Hut for lunch. Amanda's school is participating in a reading incentive program that gives children who do their nightly reading all month long a coupon for a free personal pan pizza. She is very diligent about her reading as it is homework so this is a nice reward (for the whole family - hee hee). When she's good, she's very good!!

Julie is sending me more work and a surprise. Not that I don't love surprises but it's killing me to not know what it is!!! Julie knows what I like so I'm not concerned that it won't be wonderful, but it's that I like so much that I can't even narrow it down!! And saying that it is yarn/knitting related does not count as "narrowing it down". A sweet torture - good thing that I have about 20 things to take my mind off of it ... until i think about it. sigh

If you've read this far you deserve my apologies for no pictures. I hate that too ... I'm sorry. Tomorrow, pictures for you and you and especially you!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2006

The best kind of present

Thoughtful, from the heart, made and given in love.
Ada is a talented and prolific sock knitter (45+ pairs) and I am thrilled beyond belief to have these 2 new pairs in my sock drawer. She also made the beautiful bracelet for me - I love it!!!

We had a great day together on Friday and after doing some errands about town settled down to complete a puzzle she had started w
ith another guest the previous day. Of course, all of the easy bits had been done and all of the blackish/greenish/leafy bits were left. Ada is persistent but I am exponentially so. I cannot turn my back on an uncompleted puzzle and never back down from a challenge. Each piece was taunting me, laughing at each unsuccessful attempt to pound place them into their unique place in the grand scheme of things. I came. I saw. I conquered. Here is the finished puzzle with Ada placing the last piece.

I put the last handle on my Alfie purse on Friday! This was a Rowan subscriber gift from a number of years ago that I finally started this past summer. After making a number of finesse changes it got put away because I wanted to buy cord for the handles to give them some substance. I am suitably impressed with the results and am looking forward to warmer weather so use it.
We picked up Kerwyn's Yaris yesterday. Both kids rode home with him (yeah, I was all busted up about that!) and we are once again a 2-car family. I know he's not wearing a sweater - but isn't he sexy in silver?

I have just not been able to get gauge (22sts/10cm) with the Briggs & Little yarn - and it isn't for a lack of trying! I think that some yarns are just more worsted than others. So I set it aside (gently - I'm not mad at the yarn) and found a ball of Patons Classic Wool and started swatching. It seems more inclined to want to be knit at a tighter gauge so I will take myself out tomorrow, find a colour that I like and buy enough of it for the FLAK. I am disappointed because I really loved the Fir-coloured B&L, but I know that I can find the sweater that this yarn wants to be.