Friday, January 28, 2011

Constant Contradictions

O.K. I need the Glee Cast to put together a Mash-Up of "Hallelujah" and "I'm So Excited!"

Does that sound wrong?

I have tried several times to get this post up. The. Pictures. Would. Not. Load.


Yesterday, I just shut down the computer, put it in a time out and walked away. Today, while my will was tested once more, we are up and ready to go. So here's my story.

My life is full of Contradictions; so full in fact, that I was struck, all week, by how constant they truly are.

I have many knitting magazines. Too many knitting magazines.

Those are only the ones that made it to the bookshelf.

And so on these cold and dreary January days I find myself going to the mailbox hoping against hope that there will be a knitting magazine waiting to brighten my day.

There have been no knitting magazines; so then I found myself in Chapters...

I thought I only bought three; turns out I bought four. You'll see more of one of these soon...

I have too much fabric. I need to sew from my stash. My stash is too big. I need to pare down.

So I start a quilt for my nieces birthday. I manage to simplify my design idea to something that doesn't make my head hurt. After completing the top I thought, "Great. Now I just need to buy backing, batting and binding," which doesn't really help with the whole "using up stash" concept.

(Guess what my niece's name is? And the first two don't count!) Wait a minute though...I had found some accent border fabric in one part of the stash; maybe if I searched another part I would be able to find some backing. There must be something somewhere...


O.K. Back again...sigh....

Here is some fabric that I had bought for the same niece another time; found in another area of the stash.

Why Not? While I'm not sure how keen she really is on The White Pig in the Red Dress, I know she still like Princesses. I even found some fabric for the binding.

Yay!! I just need to get batting and that seemed pretty reasonable.

So, for not needing so much stash, it actually came in handy.

Another contradiction associated with this one and I'm sure I'm not alone, is that I don't have a lot of time to complete this. Today is her birthday and Sunday is the party.

So, I'll quickly baste = not enough basting and I'll machine quilt = not faster even if it sounds faster. For one thing, I've had to rip out and try to re-quilt some areas because I wasn't happy with how the backing looked. You know, same old, same old, "More Hurry, Less Speed". I used to visit a patient that would say that to me, and that was back before I had a family to look after!

I don't have enough time to do things I want to do. I won't live long enough to knit all the yarn and sew all the fabric and bead all the beads and design all the designs that I have in my room and in my head.

So why does the universe keep putting things like this in front of me? Doesn't that doll look like she'd be fun to make? (You should see her friends!) And look! When I went to get the batting some stash replacement; not enhancement, came home with me too.

I think I'll just try to accept the contradictions, take each wave as it comes and enjoy the journey. It seems that the only constants are the contradictions, but the journey, that's where the excitement is...if you let it.



Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Blue Christmas Story

Once Upon a Time...I went to Pick Up Sticks and bought some roving, Colourway Royal and some roving, Colourway Jade.
I spun singles and plied them together creating "Blue Christmas".

I washed my two ply in Soak and then draped it, in all it's glory, in front of the fire to dry as I wanted to get it ready quickly to present to my wonderful knitting friends at our Christmas party.
I weighed it, calculated how many grams I could give to each knitter and wound it around a kleenex box so I could make nice little skeins for them.

They all seemed pleased to receive a small token of my affections.

Last night I was pleased to see my yarn, yarn that I had made, yarn that I had taken from it's infancy (o.k. maybe just youth) through to adulthood, had become, at the hands of our newest knitter (newest to the group; having just learned to knit in the past few months, but holds the title of "Most Amazing Crocheter Ever!")...

The PINE TREE BOOKMARK (ravelry link). Get it? Pine Tree? Blue Christmas?
This is so cool! I think I'll go spin some more...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Good Day!

I've posted a few comments on some of my favourite blogs today; so I thought I'd give them something current to read if they stop by here.
Hey! Connie, Laurie, and Wannietta!

In knitting news...
I turned the heel on my sock. I may have come upon a stitch that will provide an answer to my husband's hat demands issue...the swatch will tell...
As far as JSS #5...

I've decided to go with an alternate stitch marker. I've also decided that I'm going to wear this to my daughter's Gala at the end of February. I'm happy with my decisions.

Speaking of Happy Decisions...

I had a "High Five Mother Moment" yesterday and since I have on occasion vented/whined/complained about the 'joys' of motherhood, I thought I'd let you know that sometimes I think that I don't suck at it too.
Let me set this up for you.
My son is in Grade 9. He is ending his first semester and preparing for his first set of exams.
He came down with a cold on Monday.
He is his mother's son, ie. the procrastination apple does not fall far from the tree.
So he stayed after school to try to complete a project that can only be worked on at school and I picked him up after dropping my daughter off at dance.
Shortly after entering the van...the teenage angst, drama, hyperventilating, over exageration, self defeating dialogue...begins.
I try to be optimistic, encouraging, etc., but what do I know?
I did point out that maybe after 40 something years and having gone through high school, that I may know a thing or two. He was at least polite about that one, but I don't think that it really made a difference.
The 'freak out' grows in intensity until well after we are home; it has already been decided that he won't be going to his drum lesson and he was o.k. with that. Right there. That tells you what kind of state he had managed to get himself into.
" I CAN'T RELAX!!!", he exclaims!
Well, I don't buy that for a minute!
I get him to sit down facing me on our kitchen chairs.
I tell him to sit up straight.
I show him how to put his hands on his legs palms facing up and ask him to close his eyes.
I say, "Now, breath in through your nose."
"I can't; it'll sound disgusting." And then he starts laughing. Then the dog comes over to see what's going on and because she hasn't seen him all day and his hands are just sitting there she starts licking them. And he laughs some more.
Now, I was going for calm, relaxed and focused so that he could then, without the aforementioned anxiety, write a list of what he needs to do and to prioritize them so that he is only faced with one task before he moves onto the next.
He's still laughing; so I grab a pen and paper and say, "Quick, just shout out, what do you need to get done. Go!"
"Geography. Wait, do you mean in order? Hahaha"
"No. Just say it, don't think; just tell me what you have to get done. Go!"
And so came the list. He's laughing, which I know releases endorphins and we're getting the information that we needed to get started. By the time he settled down we had a list, a plan and what looks like a reasonable chance that it will get done in time.
I don't know if I ever got him to take that deep breath, but you know what a did get?

"Thanks, mom." And a hug.

It was a good day.

TODAY, (being Thursday and all) has also been good. My son went to school without the weight of the world on his shoulders.
My husband went skiing with my daughter for electives.
Most importantly...
I feel I put a reasonable amount of domesticity (aka cleaning and laundry) into my day; so I went upstairs to do a little spinning.

And because I couldn't decide which picture I liked better...

I posted both.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Short and Sweet

I spent the weekend in Niagara-On-The-Lake with three dear friends. We get together every 3-4 months whether it be a quick lunch or a full weekend. We've known each other for close to seventeen years and every time we get together we can't believe that it' been that long!
This time it was a weekend and we LOVE them!
There is always a lot of good food, good wine and good fun. We've all had our trials and tribulations over the years, but these friends are special. We all know all there is to know...And we love each other all the more for it.
Here are some of the spoils of the weekend.

We were all lucky enough to get some gifts (we never get to see each other before Christmas) and we also managed to get some shopping in.
My dear mostly non-knitting, non-sewing friends made sure I got to visit the new little shop in town. bee modern fabrics & yarns is a very cute and friendly store and I look forward to visiting again...when it's warmer!
Here's a little something I picked up near the cash register before heading to the store next door where my "Bee" necklace was waiting for me to rescue it and bring it home.

You may have noticed my blog's "new" look. Early Sunday afternoon when we were trying to delay our departure, our hostess commented on how nice my knitting looked with the sun and cushions and everything. I gave her my camera and put her to work with the request that she give me something "Artsy-Fartsy".
I like it.
So that's my short and sweet entry. I had planned to do this all day. I had planned to write more and to write with more whit. That didn't happen; what did happen is I got my oil changed, my emissions test done, dinner made and four loads of laundry done...well almost, I'm going to go throw the last load in the dryer now.
A weekend away just isn't enough and when I get home it was too long to be gone. It's good to know that all three of my friends feel the same way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

There Really Should Be a Warning!

Over the past 24 hours it has come to my attention that there needs to be more emphasis on alerting people to the various hazards that are lurking in our own homes.

Hazard #1:

Did you know that due to too much television exposure you can wind up with some really messed up dreams?
I was enjoying a deep REM sleep this morning and upon being wakened by the dog wanting her breakfast, realized that my dream included a variation of Myth Busters and Dinner Party Wars.

That can't be good; it's just weird.

Hazard #2:

I am not a fan of housework. I would rather knit. SURPRISE!!! To that end, I own a multitude of appliances to make the necessary evil, that is housework, more manageable. It is also important to note here that I own 2 cats and a dog.
This is my vacuum cleaner.

A very fine machine, indeed, that copes well with the hurdles before it on a biweekly basis.

Until last Tuesday. Last Tuesday it said, "No. I don't think so. I will turn on. I will begin to make the correct sound, but then I will make a slightly different sound that will cause you to wonder just what is going on with me? Then, while still having a significant amount of power running through my veins I will stop sucking. That's right, I will suck no more and you will be left to your own devices to ascertain just why I am making this unusual sound; why I am refusing to suck and revenge will be mine...mine, I say. All mine!" mmmmHHHHAAAA!!!

So I looked on line. I sent an email. I waited on hold...and left a message. I waited on hold another day...and left another message. I eventually called the store where I bought it to see what they could offer. My best bet? Bring it back to the store and they'll send it out. For me to seek out an authorized repair store had me going to a different town in a different county. SEVERAL days later I hear back from the phone message; too bad I wasn't home when they called. Today I heard back from the email and just because I was feeling optimistic, I guess, I gave them another call. THEY ANSWERED!! WOOHOO!!

Yes, yes, very busy after the holiday...

So they nice young man was very reassuring that I would have my machine up and running in no tim! He talked me through what we (me) were going to do.

Step 1-remove the canister. Check.

Step 2- locate the intake hole. Check

Step 3- We're going to put the hose over the intake hole to clear the blockage (he was confident there was a blockage).

"O.k. let me take the attachment off. Oh! there seems to be a collection of 'stuff' right here.
I'll just put the phone down and dig this stuff (dog hair mostly) out," and then we can go ahead with this whole turning the vacuum on itself thing.

So I dig and I pull dog hair, some small sticks, but there was something definitely caught up there; so I kept at it.

"Oh Wow. This is embarrassing," I said.

When I explained to the nice young man what had been blocking my vacuum cleaner, he said, "Well, that's a first; I haven't heard that one before."

See?! There should totally be a warning on our wine bottles!

"Discard Seals Responsibly! Your Vacuum Cleaner May Depend On It!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How About This For A Change?

**I would like to take this opportunity to send a Shout Out to all my hard working friends who read knitting blogs while hard at work.
Yay Multi-Tasking!!**
When I last posted I showed you a hat in progress, hoping to improve my 0.5 for 4 stats.
Well, here's the hat, my first FO of 2011. And my stats?

0.5 for 5!!

Yup, a hat, a pair of socks and it's 2 or 3 sweaters that I rarely, if ever see worn.

Good thing I enjoy knitting! Good thing I have stash! So I will try again....someday.

But NOT today!

This is a pair of socks that I started for my Mother-In-Law who will be visiting next month. Apparently there's something in the air that made this yarn jump out of my stash and onto my needles. Mmmm.

The pattern is Socks for Grandpa (with an aside to "make some for Grandma [or Baka] too.") from Creative Knitting January 2011. The colour is actually prettier here than in real life; thank goodness for the blue, is all I can say.
I've also made progress on my JSS cape.

You know, knitting is a patient, kind and wonderful thing. No matter how you're feeling, happy or sad; healthy or a little yucky, it's there ready and willing to help you through whatever you're going through. I love knitting.
So while my time on the computer hasn't been spent updating this blog, I do check my blogging friends daily---actually, several times a day. There's been some interesting topics over the past few days. Glenna, over at Knitting to Stay Sane spoke of Do Overs and was my inspiration to revisit a summer cardigan that I started 3-4 years ago.

A cardigan using Blue Sky Aplaca's Cotton. I completed the back in no time; managed to get the right front done (as you can see from my cute tags), but ended up ripping it out because the pattern didn't match at the shoulders. This was a "Thank Goodness for Ravelry" moment, as I found out that there was an error in the pattern for the right front and not the entire back. See? Good thing. I only had to rip out half a front and not a whole back. It's also a good thing because there's a big chunk of this sweater already done. It will knit up quickly and will do just nicely for my next March...

Wait and see...

Friday, January 7, 2011

On a more positive note...

Today when I went to pick up some long forgotten dry cleaning...the lady could not believe that I wasn't 32.
I laughed, smiled and thanked her many times and did eventually tell her my real age and had to cross my heart that I was telling the truth and that next month I will be 49.
32?! HA! And without makeup; I think she was just trying to get my business.


I have to make this a quick know, family...

One benefit of that previous thaw was that I got to drive around in my new toy!

I got it just before we went to Mexico and found out upon returning that it does not, indeed, enjoy driving in the snow. In fact, it just plain does not drive in the snow. It sits and spins it's wheels in the middle of a busy street, but driving? It does not.
It's a 2005, in really good condition and the next time you see it I'm sure that it will look quite a bit different. It's a "work" vehicle and will have some artwork done to reflect that. If you look closely enough, though, you will see some knitting references....I promise! I have "the Mini Story" that I will share next time you see it.

O.K. besides the thaw and all that other bothersome whining last post, I mentioned hats and knitting.
This is the had I knit for my youngest niece. I added the corkscrews to an otherwise plain had. There were matching mittens too.

My eldest niece got a (relatively) last minute addition to the Christmas knitting list. She wore it to her first skiing lesson the next day; so I think it was a hit.

This was added after the success of my son's had Christmas morning. My love affair with all things Noro continues as I work on a hat form The Love of Knitting Winter 2010 for my husband who admired my handiwork and only suggested that it fold up a little more to keep a guy's ears warm when he's skiing. It's Silk Garden in browns and blacks. The colour doesn't really show up that well here; some photos I took were too dark and others were too light.
This has gone on for longer than I would like, only because I decided to try to surprise him, and then I forgot to take it to knit night and then I didn't have the pattern handy...anyway, the knitting is now done and I just have a few ends to tie in and then I'll wait for a good time to present it. I think it'll be o.k., but you never know; I think I'm batting 0.5 for 4. And yet, I keep trying.

As of December 28, I officially put away my "Knitting for Other's Projects" (which lasted from Dec. 1-27; I swear I only worked on stuff for other people for the whole month) and worked on something for me. I picked up this yarn and pattern at Stitches West 2007 and thought that I should tackle it since Maria (it's number 13 on her list---COOL POST!!) showed me how nice it knits up. I'm using a choral, charcoal grey and dusty mauve colour combination.

It's nice; I like it...even the garter stitch part. Huh.

I've made steady progress on this too and will have more to show you next time. Happy Knitting everybody and thanks for dropping by.

**Happy day! My spell check only showed one spelling error! WooHoo. It really doesn't take much.

Monday, January 3, 2011

We Interrupt...

...this regularly scheduled "knitting and hat showing" blog entry to show you what happens when a knitter has had it up to HERE with their offspring not doing as they're asked, after a night of very little sleep, after the annual Canadian winter thaw followed by the ever present Canadian Deep Freeze and she goes for a walk!

First, however, she makes a cup of tea, grabs some chocolate and heads downstairs to sort the whole sordid story out.

We had A LOT of snow before and up to Christmas....
and then came the thaw. The forecast calls for more snow; so the skiers around here remain hopeful. Saturday we were blessed with a balmy +12C (no, I don't know what that is the other way) and I enjoyed a little freedom from Christmas holiday home-bodies for an hour or so when I went for a drive. Alone. Just wearing a sweater, well and pants and all the other necessities. No, it wasn't a hand knit sweater, but I got it for Christmas from my brother and I really like it.

Maybe I'm a bad mother, wife, whatever, but I really enjoy my time to myself in my house; even if it's doing laundry, which I'm still doing, and so with every Christmas break comes the promise that everyone will go back to where they belong when the holidays are over. Generally, I try to keep a small happy place inside with that knowledge, but today when I woke up and came out to the kitchen to see that once again, the things that I had asked to be done, were not. Once again, the rule that I had made, was being ignored. Once again, I'm going to have to be the 'bad guy' to try and get some, oh, I don't know, RESPECT!?!
I ask them to do something, I even left a list, because that has worked well in the past and I left a list because I was out buying food for them to eat! They say, "Yea. O.K." and silly me thinks that means, "Yea. O.K.", but apparently it means, "---lalalalala---, and then I'll do what I want." I don't like being the yelling, cranky, mom lady. I am not one of those mom's who's very existence is measured and enhanced by picking up after and catering to everyone around her. IT'S MY LIFE AND THEY'RE THINGS I WANT TO DO!!!
I think of the food, I buy the food, I may even prepare the food, but I will not chew it for you and there's no reason that you cannot open the fridge and get the food if you are hungry! AND THEN CLEAN UP WHEN YOU'RE DONE!!
I don't really don't mind doing the laundry, but again, there is no reason that you cannot bring down the dirty laundry ie. YOU pick it up off your own floor and there is no reason that you cannot take it up to your room and PUT IT AWAY!!
And while you're doing that I could be knitting. And all would be right with the world.

So after I was cranky and miserable to a dear friend of mine who called to see how my Christmas was...I didn't go with 'Bah Humbug'...I thought I better get out of here; no matter how many other things I should and/or want to be doing. The sun was shining and I really needed to breath real air.
I walked to the back of our property to where a Hawk has been perched for the past few days just to see if I could see anything that would catch a Hawk's eye.

I'm thinking he keeps waiting to see if whoever made these trails comes back. It's like there's a whole other world under the snow. There were a few patches like this, but I was only able to get this picture...more about that later.

After I secured our property, I ventured onto our street. We live on a dead end that has a Golf Course at the "end" and so it's usually pretty quiet here in the winter. In the summer? Sometimes it's not worth your life to try to walk with those "Crazy Golfers" zooming past.
I headed north for no particular reason other than to see what was happening that way and once I had taken a few deep breaths and started to look around to try and see some of the beauty in nature and because I'm usually looking down...unless I'm in a city; then I'm usually looking up (very touristy; here come mug me!)...I noticed how the water in the ditch had frozen again after the thaw in a very strikingly, beautiful pattern.

While I was first walking, I was thinking how I maybe should get a bigger, better camera. I've been disappointed with lots of pictures, of my kids especially and mostly because I can't get close enough to "capture the moment". Then I remembered what wonderful pictures my mom and another lady I used to know were able to take with just your basic everyday kind of camera; so I think I'll wait a bit. I was also coming to grips with the fact, on this walk on a crisp winter day, that I'm not a gardener. I would like to be. I enjoy the end results of other people's gardens, but I just don't have it. Not at this point in my life anyway; no matter how good it would be for me. I do enjoy taking pictures of flowers and such though. See the sequoia there?

Here's another close up of winter taking hold of a moving life force. It's like one moment the water is flowing as it wants and takes hold and everything stops just as it is, a mixture of air, water and movement.
FYI: when you're about to take your camera out for a walk; in fact you went for your walk, saw some neat stuff to take pictures of and came back to get your camera and think, "I should take some spare batteries, just in case." Take the &*^%^ batteries! Taking the ones out that are obviously dying and tapping and rubbing them against each other, while pleading with the battery gods to please, please, please, just this one more (and then this perfect one) only takes away from the peace and harmony that you are trying to embrace.
As I mentioned during the winter a walk can be a pretty peaceful trek around here. Only a few cars drive by and the odd jet may fly overhead and neither of these sounds caused me any concern, but you know what's scary when you're walking alone on a country road on a quiet, sunny day? The sounds of nature.
Was that somebody in the woods? Did I startle something and is there an animal crashing through the forest? Is it coming towards me or is it running away from me? Is there something about to come down upon me? about...

Ice cracking away from the earth and trees? You really have to be out in the quiet to hear all the noise that nature makes. And once your heart stops racing and you quick looking around and jumping back so that "nobody gits you"; it's really cool.

Speaking of cool...

I'm not especially a fan of fish mail boxes, but this new one of my neighbours brings a little colour to our otherwise monotone street.

Funny story to close with.
My husband just came home to get some lunch (see above note about going into the fridge to get food if you're hungry); my husband is not an especially small fellow and is pretty strong as far as I'm concerned. So I'm in the laundry room folding laundry (see above note about taking your laundry upstairs and putting it away) when I hear some sounds of distress from the kitchen. The first time I just put it to something not going the way he liked it on t.v., but when another more exacerbated sound came, I was a little worried and went up to see what was the matter. I asked if he was alright; if there was a problem?
He said, "Yes." and with a glint in his eye, he said, "I can't get the pickle jar open."
I put down my armful of laundry (always the laundry) and asked if I could help?
"Sure!" He did not hide the smirk.
I walked up to the counter, picked up the pickle jar, turned it over, smacked it on the counter, causing him to jump as he had moved on to watch some sports thing, turned it right side up and easily opened the pickle jar for my hungry husband.
And we laughed....

Saturday, January 1, 2011



I think a vase full of Koigu says it best.

From this may bloom...Charlotte's Web Shawl, two Linen Stitch Scarves and a pair of socks.

I love Boxing Day or two days after boxing day...with a knitting friend...a decaf cappuccino...even if it was too hot in the store (I mean SERIOUSLY HOT) and there was a grumpy old man in the coffee shop...mmmmm Koigu mmmmm....

I also love Boxing Day sales where I sneak off on my own, pick up some roving and such, and come home to an empty house to knit and to dream of more knitting...

Back to normal on Monday; everybody back to work and school...YAY!!!

FYI...all is right with the world! HEHE!!