Friday, February 29, 2008

No, Really!

I had a chat with my son earlier today while we were on the way to get his braces fixed (small repair needed) and he got talking about (again) trying out for Rep Hockey next year.
I reminded him of the Rep Hockey Camp that he attended in the summer...AND his dissatisfaction of same camp! I also mentioned that maybe it was time to choose between hockey and skiing. Skiing opportunities have been missed because of hockey and hockey has been missed (thereby letting the team down; not to mention the cost!) to take advantage of some skiing time.
"Choose between hockey and skiing," he exclaimed!
"Yes," I said.
"That would be like you having to choose between wool and chocolate!"
I took a moment to think about it; could I live without chocolate? Yes, and there would probably be some health benefits as well; so, "Wool.
"O.K.," says he, "bad example."
"No, I thought about it."
"Wool or coffee," he presses on.
That one was even easier ( I like tea too!). "Wool".
In shock, he responds, "What about the massive headache?"
"I'ld knit my way through it," I answer.
"O.K., O.K. What about....Wool and Dad?"
I laugh nervously, "Oh, I can't decide. I love them both." I continue to giggle, which of course gets my son giggling more too.
"Come on, mom. Wool or dad?"
"Don't make me decide," (more giggling)
"Wool or dad?"
"Don't make me decide!"

No, really!! Don't make me answer wouldn't be pretty.

Quick Update

Once again we're in the, "Yea, we can get all that done---if nothing goes wrong!" mode. And usually, that's when life comes along and reminds you that you are not in charge! But onward we go!! (I've just started two sentences incorrectly...'and' and 'but''s difficult to stick to what you know to be correct when you seem to be the only one worrying about it.)

So, to put all your minds to rest...the Star/Skirt issue is fine. I reread the pattern and I'm o.k.; no frogging necessary! Woohoo!

Now, for some real excitement. I received my dotee from my swap partner, Boxoftrix! All the way from Scotland and she's a very talented lady. And thoughtful too, look....

When I was assigned as her swap-bot partner, she checked out my blog, emailed me to confirm that Whoppers were indeed like their Maltesers. I told her that yes, they were similar, but that their Maltesers were far superior to our Whoppers...and she sent me some!! Isn't that sweet?! And a pair of earrings. I received this package the day after my birthday; so it was a special surprise.

The problem I'm having now is my daughter (8) made me a pair of earrings too and wonders why I was wearing these other ones instead of hers?!

So many earrings; so little time!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Neat eh?

O.K. I've been working on this skirt (that is not part of the Creative Plan) and there's this really neat detail that presented a bit of a challenge and I wanted to show you how I'm dealing with it.
The pattern explains how to Make Star: K5tog without dropping sts from left needle, yo, k same 5 sts tog again without dropping from left needle, yo, k same 5 sts tog again and drop from left needle.

I'm working this with two strands of Sublime Ultra Fine Merino and that whole K5tog, yo, k same 5 tog again...thing just wasn't working for me.

And so I thought and I thought and I thought....and then...Ah Ha...I need to be able to hook those babies!!

So, I get a (not too fancy and yet strong) crochet hook and slip the 5 stitches over the end( so that the hook is actually at the end where the point of your knitting needle would be).

I pull the yarn through (and I am NOT a crocheter) wrap the yarn around, insert the hook again into the 5 stitches...

repeat the whole process until I've got the five stitches back onto the hook, transfer them back onto my knitting needle...

and since they've been worked, slip them back to the right hand needle and continue on my merry way.

They've also included a neat way for increasing with this pattern by only using 4 stitches and then increasing it to 5 using the same technique. Genius!

And now, if you'll excuse me I have to go reread this pattern, because I've just read about a small star and I don't know if I've supposed to have been doing them instead! Sigh.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


As I told you (quickly) yesterday. This is a Dotee. I'm in a swap. And it's a swap for Newbies. A Dotee is a little doll with a face, stuffed and has beads attached in some manor. (You can actually Google them)
I was assigned my partner from Swap-bot and followed the link to find out more about her. Using the information that she provided on her profile I chose the fabrics and embellishments with which to make my girl here. She has yarn fabric for the front, musical fabric for the back and I chose a red, black and white yarn for her wrap.
The picture yesterday showed that there are indeed beads hanging from her, but I wanted you to see the shawl that I knit for her and that she's holding a bouquet of flowers.
I've got more ideas; I don't know if I'm addicted (yet), but I love that I've come up with another way to use up bits of leftover sock yarn!
I'm shipping her to the U.S.
I'm also sending the squares with a note. Part of the note says,
"...other embellished squares all have initials sewn onto them of friends of mine who continue to battle this horrific disease."
Thank-you Monica; we appreciate all the time and energy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Buttons and Bows

It's taken me hours; yes HOURS!! To get these pictures up.

And now, I should be getting dinner ready for my family; so here it is, short and sweet.

The Dotee I made for a swap that I signed up for. I'm going to do another one, very similar, to keep. I've heard from my partner that mine is on it's way. Neat!!

I've also been busy making 2" x 2" squares to send to Girl Gone Thread Wild (through Cotton Picker) for her Breast Cancer Research Funding project.

The Yarn Harlot visited the Family Button Box; so I dug up mine. It's got old and new, a safe place for memories...

And a picture to show the extent to which I go to set up for a photo op on my blog!

Look...Mini Easter Whoppers!

Aren't they adorable?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Feb. 18

I've just gotten (with the help of my dear friend L-e) my laptop up and online again. Really, lots of times it's the simplist little thing that can hold something up for MONTHS!! Anyway, one of the remaining glitches is that the time is wrong; it's a battery thing and not very much a priority for me.

I'm not liking this idea of calling today 'Family Day'. We need the provincial government to legislate a day to spend with our family???? What happened to Sunday? Or even Saturday? That's how old I am; I remember weekends as a time that families spent together. No more, I guess; we need to have a paid day off to make that happen. And that fact alone, makes for a not so restful time here at Creativehands Central.

We are employers. So the government is not providing a day off with pay for people to share time with their families....WE ARE!! As business owners, we are required (and I was an 'employee' for many, many years; as opposed to an 'employer', so I know the other side too) to pay 2 weeks holidays, plus a (now) total of 9 Statutory holidays, which is as good as another 2 weeks of wages! That is a fair amount of profit going out without any earnings being generated for that same amount of time.

Can businesses continue to grow if they are being chipped away at by the government? Is there incentive to hire more emloyees? Is there incentive for people to start more businesses to provide employment opportunities to others?

I've stood by my husband as he worked 52 weeks a year and usually 7 days a week over the past 12 years to grow a successful business. The early days were really draining and as the workload increased so that he needed to hire people, I wonder if he would've chosen the path of growth if he had known that for everyone you hire, you'll have to pay them for four weeks and they won't be showing up to make the business any money in that time?!

I think I hear you nodding.

I don't generally get into work related rants; I find it too stressful and would much rather stick to yarn and fabric and baking etc. But I did feel strongly about calling this 'Family Day' and when I shared my objections with my husband...well, I got his viewpoint as well and thought that it possesed some merit as well.

Let's see if I can find a fun picture and get it on here for you.

Me posing with my KNITTERS Magazine in the summer of 2005 at the ruins in Pula, Italy. I drove there ALL BY MYSELF!!! The fact that I drove while in Europe is one of most prized accomplishments; someday, I hope I have enough energy to go back!

So Happy Monday everybody; here's to a fabulous Tuesday!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines 2008 and an IDEA!!

Happy Valentines Day Everybody!
Gotta say, I was having a little trouble getting into the whole spirit of things over the past few days; just too many other things on my mind!
I went into the Superstore in Aurora last night (a window of opportunity while shuttling children) and was reminded; without a doubt that today was THE BIG DAY!! But I didn't want to stand there to buy cards. I thought about making cards at home...not lovin' that idea so much, as it would take a lot of time (don't have it), won't truly be appreciated by the people that I would be making them for, not exactly environmentally friendly and last, but not least, we've already got a bunch of crap around here (with more on the way from sources beyond my control...cough, school, cough).
So there I was driving around, feeling guilty (so what else is new?) and my thoughts turned to the lovely things and ideas that Cotton Picker has come up with, but again who here would get it?
And then...BOOM!
What if I made fabric cards that then could be sewn together to make a blanket/quilt? A rag quilt out of flannellette. Making these squares/cards to mark special occaisions throughout the year! It's fun. It uses scraps. It's meaningful. It's useful. It's creative. And, at this point, quick enough that I could actually get it started with this card-giving-themed day!
It all fell into place so easily and you know it's meant to be when that happens.
So here's a close up. They're 7" x 7", with a 1/2" seam planned; for a finished square of 6". I've never actually made a rag flannel quilt and didn't have time to look up the proper directions, so I've kind of basted around the edge and finish it properly after I've worked out the kinks.

The plan so far has gone from including batting in the 6" centre, to leaving it as is (maybe add some quilting) or maybe all it needs is another layer of flannellette in between. Suggestions?

I kept it pretty simple this time around, but know that more detailed squares will be a part of the end result. I've signed and dated the back of each square and look forward to putting something together to celebrate our family's special times.
And dont' worry...I picked up some chocolate at the Superstore and baked a heart shaped cake; so even if I'm the only one getting geared up for this idea, the rest of them will have something sweet to nibble on.
Love to All.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's a Knitter thing.

Some of you may have been following the recent antics of the Yarn Harlot, and if not, I highly recommend it! She's a wonderful knitter, gets the whole, "for the love of wool" thing, has written books, has won awards for her blog and started the Knitting Olympics (I've already chosen my summer entry!) It's because of her that I own a Shelridge Farm Knit Kit - Border Collie Shirt-tail (not in the Creative Plan for 2008, but the year is young). It's becasue of her that I am part way through the Mystery Stole of 2007 (It's a lovely project, but I need SOLITUDE, wonderful, peaceful, SOLITUDE. (Whatever the kind of Knitter is , that 'waits for a particular mood to work on a particular project'; that's me) It's because of her, that I made the Tulip sweater...just because.

And then, the Harlot started those Vintage Socks and, I'll be darned, those leaves DID look like fun! So I went to the website (Stephanie makes it so easy to connect with her pushers); but I have a lot of sock yarn in the stash already waiting to be brought to life (again, not so much a part of this years plan) and where the idea of the Vintage was GENIUS, the colourways didn't call to me; I was able to click 'Back' without submitting a credit card number. Pat on the back for me! (We celebrate the small victories as well as the large ones)

I'm not sure whether it was before or after the inception of the Vintage socks that Stephanie began the "Must Have Cardi", but one of her entries asked where people might be able to find the Patons Booklet "Street Smart"? I had, only the week before, purchased that same book (!) at Michael's in Newmarket and posted a little blurb about it in her comments.

She wrote back.

The Yarn Harlot wrote back to me---personally and on-line, like!

Now, not to scare her or anything, but I'm a bit of a 'groupie'. I mean, I read her blog (faithfully; I even copied and pasted this awesome quote:

"I may not agree with what you are knitting, but I would defend with all my stash your right to knit it."

I showed up at her birthday celebration at her, of course, LYS, Lettuce Knit. I went to a stifling HOT gathering of knitters in Aurora to see her. I got a picture of her, taking a picture of us, at Stitch N Pitch in Toronto and was aghast when my firend asked Joe where his knitting was?! (she didn't know who he was with!)

And then, just the other day, this came in the mail:

From here:

(Fun yarn fabric added to protect confidentiality!)

And look....

Coffee stains!

I had posted frustration with not being able to find this pattern book; I know I've had it in my hands, but for some strange reason had never bought it! (It does happen) And now, a mere 22 years after it was published, I can't find it!

Well, that's inconvenient.

I needed the pattern to help finish a sweater (the one the lady beside the guy with the coffee stain is wearing) that a dear friend of mine started, but sadly she passed away before she could get it finished. Carole made the back and most of the front, but there was no pattern...

Until now.

Thank-you Stephanie. And just as you "incorporated" into the Vintage Sock a little of your own flesh and blood; (never mind the sweat and tears).

The hair secured to the tape? It arrived intact.

Yea, it's a Knitter thing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's Just One of Those Days!

You know it is just such a GOOD day!!

First, I was able to translate a pattern (from chart to long hand) for a friend of mine to get her started on a cabled wrap she's been coveting. It felt good to give her something to work from that she could understand rather than try to decifer a chart when she's new to the game. Thank God I learned about the 'Copy' and 'Paste' thing on the computer though; it would've taken forever. On the downside, the pattern also calls for short rows, and that's not an especially easy concept to explain longhand, but she's a smart lady; so we'll see how she gets along this week.

I know there's one heck of a storm hitting many of us right now. And I know I'm a lucky one doesn't have to do any highway driving; my kids did not get a snow day; which meant that...



I packed up a bunch a goodies, you know, yarn, books, needles etc. I wore my 'Rock 'N Roll Kitter' baseball style shirt, my sweater on needles earrings, my pink ribbon socks (that I knit) and my oversized homespun shirt with sheep on it; I was set!

I get to the school, I met some of the boys that I know and was directed to the library for the Knitting Club.

There were about 20 - 30 kids, boys and girls, ranging from grade 1-6 sitting on the carpet!

It brought a tear to my eye.

There were only two teachers and myself ready to get this thing going. (One of the secretaries and another teacher appeared later to help out)

We had a lot of yarn...Patons and Bernat, but were a little short on needles. The kids were given a little rhyme to help them learn how to make the knit stitch and the younger ones were enjoying that. The big boys and I settled into our own little group where I cast on and then passed the needles around so that they could all have a try. They all did pretty well for first time out; we're set to meet next Wednesday again.

I've read and agree that when you're teaching kids to learn to knit:

1) They have to want to learn. Period.

Well, they were there; so I figured that they wanted to be.

2) They like to see results quickly.

If we fiddle around casting on we could loose them in a very short time. So cast on for them, get them knitting and come back to casting on later, after they have a little confidence.

3) Nothing in knitting is 'unfixable'.

Even if it's a big it out; start over! If only life were that simple. They drop a stitch, they increase unknowingly, they twist it...whatever they fabulous!! Get them started, quietly point out how to do something correctly, fix what ever they did to keep the thing going! Reassure, reassure, reassure!

4) Laugh with them at yours and their mistakes! Make it fun to mess up and learn something new. Don't tell them about the time you threw the sock you were working on across the room, because you realized you had messed it up...AGAIN. For the THIRD TIME!!! Ahem, just an example.

5) Let them pick a project withing their limits.

We're not there yet, but I've got ideas...oh, the ideas I have. They plague me.

I have a lot more wonderful bits of information about the benefits of knitting....

but here is the beginnings of a(nother) skirt that I'm working on.

1) I love the combination of yarns I found and was then able to modify the waistband and work the facing in one strand thereby decreasing some of the bulk.

2) I was so proud of myself that I was able to figure out how to make a 'star' by using a crochet hook instead of fighting with a K5tog, yo, etc.

3) I remained proud that, even though I worked the first row of stars TBL instead of how it was supposed to appear, I was able to live with it. Nobody would notice and it was going to be underneath the top I had planned anyway.

4) Having gained the confidence of the above crochet hook technique (did I mention, I'm not a crocheter and watching me work these things is painful!) I got a little cocky and zoomed along into the next set and forgot those pearls of wisdom shared by crafters everywhere.....


It was an 'star increase' row. Curses. And of course I worked a couple of rows after that. Now, do I rip it back? Will it make any difference? (see the part about it being underneath the top)

Last night, when I noticed this, I put it down. (another gem I need to pass along...when it gets frustrating...put it down, walk away, and come back to it later.)

Now, after feeling like the 'Knitting Guru' that I've sometimes been called (and I LOVE the name!) with pattern revisions, introducing young people to the world of knitting (and acknowledging that my hips do need the skirt to have an increase row sooner rather than later) have decided to rip back an correct my (second) mistake (the first one stands!). Yea me.

Another reason I felt so good today, even with the weather such as it is, is that I had a pretty decent nights rest last night and I attribute that to getting a fair amount of exercise at the gym yesterday. Unfortunately, I was too pooped (again) on Monday to get to yoga, but I'm not sure about something...

Is this a downward dog? Because if it is; I'm not doing it right.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I guess there's only so much excitement you can stand in one day!

Yesterday was to be a very exciting day!

First and foremost....the sun was shining!! Ooohh it's nice when the sun is shining; no matter how cold! (well, within reason)

O.K. then, I got to have a nice long chat with my mom; some days you just need to chat with your mom. :o)

I decided to relax for the remainder of the morning and go to the gym after my 'luncheon appointment.' But, what to bring to work on when I go to my 'luncheon appointment'?

No. Too intimidating.


No. Again, too intimidating and I'ld probably mess it up and have to rip out anything that I did manage to accomplish.

Now, here was a little something that I picked up the other day...and NO it doesn't count as S.E.X. (Stash Enhancement eXcursion---please, it's a family blog!), because I only brought a couple of balls of what I needed home!


That's the ticket. I can always find a spot for a couple of balls and because the rest is at the store waiting for me, with my name on it; then I think I'll be more inclined to start and continue to work on a project. Besides, I've been coveting this one for quite a while; it was only a matter of time.

So the winner was.....

I'll take along a ball of Sirdar Baby Bamboo (Yes, more Bamboo; some of us never learn) and straight needles! Shock! Gasp! Are you insane?

Yes; it'll be perfect.

My luncheon date was to go to my children's school and help with the 'Knitting Club'! I was so excited (as evidenced by my difficulty in selecting which project to bring). My son had told me about it Wednesday afternoon and Thursday at lunch I showed up at the office wearing a sheep T-shirt, Sheep sweater; carrying Knitting books for kids and Bamboo yarn and needles, and announced, "I'm here to volunteer for the The Knitting Club"! (I believe I puffed my chest out under my coat)

"Oh, I don't think they start until 12:20 (it's 12:05 and I sign in). I'll page the teacher"

A couple of calls later and in walks the teacher.

"Oh, it's actually going to start next week."

My shoulders slouch beneath my coat; fine, I'll be back then. (it's 12:10 and I sign out)

It really was a positive experience (refer to above note about the sun shining!) in that I gave her all my contact info and I got a feel for some things that they may need to help get this thing going!


And so, I must wait one more week.

And while I wait, and ride a bus into the city ALL BY MYSELF, AT NIGHT, IN THE DARK, I will work on....

This. Sublime Merino and some Mohair too! I've got a beautiful ensemble planned...

It's only a few balls. It's not really stash. The rest is at the shop. I'm working on it. Really.

And mmmmmm it's gorgeous!

Yea, that's enough excitment for one day. Phew, I'm pooped; TGIF!