Monday, December 10, 2007

Gotta love big wool and big needles!

Yes indeed! There's nothing quite like big wool and big needles to help you get a new sweater in a hurry. May I present the Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop d Loop.

It was started on Friday Nov. 30th and finished yesterday - December 9th. I say I don't think you can get faster than that, but I know that would be a lie. If you want an even faster sweater, check out the Very Cropped Hoodie from Magknits. (It took me a day!) My sweater is toasty warm and I love the colour. I love the fit, but... You knew a "but" was coming didn't you. Well. Here's the problem. It bunches. The upper chest creeps upwards towards the neckline creating a weird kind of bulky, bulgy roll that completely hides the leaf motif and looks just downright weird in the process. I am not about to rip out the whole thing just to fix it. First of all because I wouldn't know how to fix it and secondly because the top half and bottom half are freaking well grafted together. It took me bloomin' forever to get it into one piece. I cannot, nay I refuse, to take it all apart. I think I can live with the sweater roll and all. Afterall, it's really warm and that wins over anything here in Winnipeg in the winter! (well in my books anyways!)

Sorry again 'bout the quality of the picture - it's the best G and I could come up with. Apparently I am, as always, woefully unphotogenic and in most of the shots she took I either look stoned or downright mean. This truly was the best one. I realize that it doesn't show the leaf motif, nor the wonderful green button detail on the neckline, but if you squint and peer very closely at your screen you'll see the roll at the neckline.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I've been knitting like a mad woman!

Something to do with stress. Details of said stress I will not go into, but it's amazing what one can accomplish when faced with a crisis, less than four hours of sleep in a period of over 48 hours, and a obsessive need to focus on something besides crisis at hand lest said mad woman go even further into the depths of madness.

Here are the fruits of my obsessive compulsiveness:

First up is (BF)G's sweater. Pardon the creepy midsection only shot, but it was the best light so there you have it! It is Jesse's Flames (sans Flames 'cause I'm not sure what flames on sleeves say about a 45 year old man...) from Stitch n Bitch Nation It was knit in Bernat's Cashmere Naturals assuming that because it's a sweater for work, I wanted inexpensive, but soft, warm and washable. Well I acheived all but the washable. Ooops! The darned thing is handwash only. D'uh. If it's got any amount of cashmere the reasonable brain would figure that it couldn't be thrown willy nilly in the washer. Ooops. Mine is not a reasonable brain. Clearly. (I have made (BF)G promise not to attempt to wash it on his own.)

Up next is a little sweater destined as a wee Christmas giftie for a certain teenaged girl. It is the Very Cropped Hoody from Magknits. Knit on 15 mm needles, top down construction using Lion Brand's Wool Ease thick and quick in black and Red Heart's multi supersaver in Haze it was a super speedy knit. One day. I kid you not! I started it yesterday morning, knit for a couple of hours, put it down for the afternoon and started up again early in the evening and voila! Done. Amazing! If you need a quick knit for your favourite teen girl - this is the pattern you want!
Last but not least - I started my Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop d Loop on one of my sleepless nights/days last week. I think it might have been Friday. I don't remember. It's a bit of a fog. Anyways, the results of one day's mad woman knitting is that the front is almost done and ready to be grafted together. Pattern wise it's done. My body wise it needs more length thank you very much. No one wants the risk of this old belly hanging out from under a too short sweater. Eeek! I will get back to work on it tomorrow.
Now, here's a picture I just have to show you. I wish I could claim credit for it, but I can't. Here is the wonderful, beautiful gift that my swap partner in the Around the World Christmas swap sent me all the way from Finland. It arrived today along with an entire boxfull of goodies (that picture really didn't turn out). Didn't she do an amazing job?!?!?!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Have you been eagerly wondering what sewing I was up to?

Well, wonder no more! Here's my weekend's projects! Remember these bits and bobs of fabric I showed you last time?

They have become these:

Yes! Needle rolls/holders! I'm well pleased with them! I've put mine to use already and the other one is destined as a present to go along with the shawl for my Christmas Around the World swap partner.

I really got into the sewing mode this weekend! The other thing I made (and wore) last night are my new jammies. Sorry the lighting was bad in the picture - makes it hard to see the cute gathered v-neck detail on the top, but I LOVE the snowflake flannel! (I also love that it was on sale for $4.75/metre!) Some of the snowflakes even have glitter! Wheee!

Doesn't take much to make me happy!

I've only managed to do seven rows on (BF)G's sleeves this weekend, but hopefully when I get home from the Grey Cup party tonight I can do some more! Speaking of Grey Cup - although, certainly not a CFL fan, or sports fan of any sort, I feel caught up in the excitement of the first ever Grey Cup match between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan! I might even spend some time watching the game tonight. (My general policy is that I attend Grey Cup parties simply for the food. Really nothing to do with the game what so ever) And to jump on the bandwagon - because I have to being from Winnipeg and all...

GO BOMBERS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Facebook and other fun things in life

Well - here I was all puzzled by the facebook friend request that was sitting in my email inbox this morning. I puzzled until my puzzler was hurting, wondering who this mysterious person was, then wandered off to take a look at the Christmas Around the World Blog and there it hit me smack in the head. The request was from none other than one of the participants of the swap! What fun I've had reading her blog and then of course went back and sent a little hello to her on facebook.

Facebook is fun! For example - I can torture my daughter over it! She sends me requests for rides to dances, the mall etc. And I send her evil little messages back. I can stump my sisters with quizzes about me, which they fail miserably (yes, girls - I made it super hard on purpose. Just to drive you nuts! Isn't that what sisters are for?) Of course, my sister challenged me to an IQ test, in which I didn't do as well as her - only two points less, but I'm blaming outside distractions (I was at work) for my lower score! By the by, it turns out I'm above average smart, so I'm feeling smug lately! Other fun things is keeping track of what people are doing, snooping through friend's pictures (although it really can't be considered snooping if it's out there on the net for all to see). And now, having another way to communicate with someone from around the world from me! Yes, Facebook is fun. And provides a wonderful diversion from the day to day drugery of work. Not that my work is ever drugery nor would I ever seek a diversion from it of course.

For more fun and frivolity check out my latest FOs! (again - there's that smug feeling!)

First up is my "Little Arrowhead Shawl" made for my Christmas swap partner. I love this shawl. It took me twice as long as it should have to knit with my "knit three rows frog back two" pattern I seemed to develop along the way. Something with counting and keeping track of where I am managed to elude me continually. (But I am smart. Facebook told me so!) Anyways, it's finished blocked and I'm really proud of it. I hope my partner likes it!

Next up - another wee giftie for Christmas. Not sure which teenaged girl in my family it's destined for, but it's done and I'm thrilled with it too! It's the bluebell Perdita from Knitty. It took me about an hour to knit last Sunday morning, and then another half hour to sew buttons on and do the small bit of crocheting it required. Isn't it purdy?

Moving right along... (BF)G's sweater is on the home stretch! No pics yet - I promise they're coming soon! Maybe even by the end of the weekend. Depends how much I get done over the next while. I am so close to the finish I can taste it! Oh how I long for the end of the monotony of stocking stitch! I think (BF)G longs for a new cozy sweater to wear at work too - but that's really not as big a motivating factor as the "Holy cow, I'm bored!" factor.

Now. What do I have here? Hmmm... Interesting pile o' fabric. Cut in varying lengths and widths... What am I up to now? Well - stay tuned! I'll show you just as soon as I drag my sewing machine upstairs and manage to get all these random pieces sewn up!

Until then, I bid you all a fond adieu!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So much for the fancy lace ball idea

I finished the fancy lace ball, dilegently mixed equal parts water and white glue, stuck a balloon in it and blew it up then hung the supposed fancy ball from the cupboard door handle to dry. Filled with anticipation I got up the next morning and hurried downstairs to check out my sparkling sphere of fanciness. Apparently it did not occur to me that getting a nine inch balloon and only blowing it up to fit the six inch circumfrence of my lace wonder would not result in a perfect round ball. Oh no. It resulted in a somewhat askew ball. A ball that looks like the air was let out of it and quite frankly, the top of the ball appears to have an odd looking "nipple" where the holder string pulled it up.

To make matters more disappointing, the fact that I'm cheap and bought 22 balloons at the dollar store means that somehow some of the colour from the balloon bled into the once pristine sparkly white of my lace. To fix that problem I grabbed a can of glitter spray and sprayed the heck out of it. Imagining there in the early morning dawn, that I could find redemption for the ball and it would glitter and glint in the light, thereby distracting the viewer from it's odd shape and nipple appendage. It became abundantly clear to me after this endeavor that the only thing glinting and glittering in the light was my kitchen sink and counter. I don't believe any of the glitter spray actually landed on the yarn at all, but instead zoomed right through the lacey holes to land willy nilly about my kitchen.

Not one to be easily discouraged I thought that maybe I could cut the string at the top, glue some seasonal silk leaves and berries to it, add a festive ribbon and make it a "kissing ball" to be hung from the ceiling. I also have been toying with the idea of making another one in the spirit of "When at first you don't succeed... try try again." but we'll see. There's many other items on the list that need to be taken care of, so I'm not sure I want to go down that path yet.

In very the happy and positive results type knitting news, I finished the cabled Newsboy cap and am very pleased with it. It looks a little ridiculous on me, but then most hats do. It should look really cute on G though so I'm quite happy with myself!

I also have been motoring along on Interweave Knit's Little Arrowhead Shawl that I'm knitting for my Christmas swap partner. I hope she likes it. I had a bit of a slow start because I'm just not used to lace charts yet, but since I now understand how to read the chart it's going along really quickly! (I'm actually considerably farther along than the picture would lead you to believe!)

Unfortunately (BF)G's sweater has taken a backseat to the shawl. It had too. He can wait (although I'm not sure he'd agree), the shawl can't. I'm almost the front (only a few more rows to go) though, so it's not like it's still at the baby stages of creation.

Not too much else new in this Prairie Girl's world. J and G had their birthdays this week so Happy 17th birthday to J and Happy 15th birthday to G, and in case I neglected N at the end of September, Happy belated 13th birthday to N!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Not much knitting going on these days

Despite the fact I really, really need to get my list accomplished! This fall I've lost out on so much valuable knitting time by driving to work instead of taking the transit. I can hardly wait for my ankle to be strong enough to walk the two blocks to the bus stop again! Every week I keep hoping and every week it let's me down. But maybe next week it will really be ready! After all I've been able to flex my foot for almost a week now since being on the anti-inflammatories! YEY!!!!!!!!!! I am disappointed because I tried to go without my ankle brace (lovingly known as "FrankenAnkle") on Friday and I made it all of an hour and a half before I needed to put it back on. Slowly but surely it really is improving though and that's what I'll focus on!

But back to knitting... I've managed to do a couple more inches on (BF)G's sweater, but not much. I'm so close to being able to divide the front and back for the raglan shaping but can't seem to get those last few inches done to get there. I'm hoping tomorrow I'll get going on it. But then there's the matter of my Christmas knitting that I have to start / finish.

My fancy lace ball decoration has been knit - but I forgot yesterday to buy the balloons and glue I need for taking it to the finished state. Right now it looks more like a fancy lace amoeba than a ball. I will take a jaunt over to the dollar store at noon, so I can at least get it rolling (ha ha - lame attempt at a pun, I know!)

G's cabled newsboy cap only wants an insert into the brim and then it's done. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow too. Then I can check it off the list too.

Here's my list of knitting to be started and / or finished before Christmas

Cabled Newsboy cap - easy to finish
Matching armwarmers - need to start
(BF) G's sweater - need to finish
J's Joey Ramone doll - need to start
G's Very Cropped Hoody - need to start
Lace scarf or Arrowhead shawl - really, really must start and finish quickly! It's for my Christmas swap partner!
Lace Leaf Pullover - start and finish before the library refuses to allow me to renew the book any more!
Something for N! Must come up with idea, buy wool, start and finish

Of course I was at Fabricland the other day and suddenly took a wild notion into my head that I should make flannel jammies for all the little ones which would include, Divine, Alexandra, Logan, Ethan and Robbie. Hmmmm... not sure I'm so good at the follow through, but man, they had adorable flannel there! Besides, if I'm sewing anything, it really should be Robbie's Raggedy Andy that I made almost two years ago now for his birth and then never finished. Poor Andy sits in my closet naked and half bald. Hmmm. Maybe I should dig him out tomorrow too!

Sigh... and the phrase of the day once again?

So much to do... so little time to do it in.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Peasblossom is at the party!

And she's dressed! Which can only mean one thing and that is I managed to finish G's costume just in time! Of course my physio appointment went later than usual today, then I picked the kids up from their dad's, got stuck in the slowest line possible at Safeway, dashed home by 6pm, got 12 eyelets put into the bodice, measured the elastic for the skirt, gulped down some supper and had G downtown at the party by 6:45. What a whirlwind! But I did manage to snap a few quick pics before we ran out the door:

So here is G and my rendition of Peasblossom!

Now... back to getting the living room ready for painting, doing the laundry, washing the dishes and figuring out how to create a great zombie costume for N as well as convince J that a girlfriend who continually stands him up after he takes the transit bus all the way to the other side of town is not worthy of remaining his girlfriend, oh and pick Peasblossom up from her party at 1am. I think I have a bit of a busy night ahead of me and it's already 10:00pm! Oh well... all the house work should keep me from accidently falling asleep and not getting G on time, so maybe it's a good thing!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My "Hats for Alex" are done!

So, as I mentioned in a previous post I was going to make some baby hats for the Hats for Alex project. I've been keeping up to date with the progress of the "hat drive" and noticed today that 294 hats have been collected so far which is fabulous considering Trillian42's goal was 250! Well, we can add six more to that total as I'll be putting mine in the mail tomorrow.

So... here they are in all their glory! They're so tiny and quick to knit! Really, truly instant gratification with a purpose! Gotta love that!

I used various patterns from the internet and my own creation and used various washable yarns from my stash. I should mention that this is also a great stash busting project too! My very favourite is the red apple hat. I used the Apple a Day pattern by Sara Galley and I had it finished in less than an hour. I just think it is such a cute pattern.

In other knitting news... (BF)G's sweater progresses slowly. I've got about 11 inches done on it, but it's slow going in what amounts to basically stocking stitch (read: major boredom inducing row after row of plain old knitting...)I refuse to count the purl stitch that happens every seventh stitch on alternate rows as an interesting pattern detail. God, I hope it fits and he appreciates it more than the monstrosity of a knitting disaster (reason I'm now doing guage swatches more faithfully) that I created for him last fall, in which he could fit if he gained about at least 25 lbs, and as long as he shrunk in height in the body and grew gorilla arms! In fairness he appreciated the effort - just not the result as much! I have faith in this one though. After all. I did a guage swatch and it turned out perfectly. I'm always suspicious when a guage swatch turns out right the first time - I can't help but wonder if I've done something wrong... But alas. I am bored with it. I long for lace, I long for cables, I long for a different colour than grey.

I am positively itching to get started on my Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop-de-Loop too! The wool (Brown Sheep bulky in Oregano) sits on the counter calling to me gently at first and getting louder and louder with each stitch I do on (BF)G's sweater. It tries to sway me with promises of more interesting knitting, but so far I resist the persistance of it. Well - truth be told, I did cast on and do the guage swatch this morning before I left for work, but that's all. Or so I'm telling myself!

I have other knitting to do as well and should really concentrate on those projects first. I really have to make a decision (and start) about what project to knit for my Around the World Christmas Swap. I'm thinking of a "Let it snow" theme so have a few ideas bouncing around in my head.

We'll see what transpires over the next week. I fear that I won't have much knitting time given the fact that we're to paint the living room and kitchen this weekend and I'm in the thick of dance competition registration until October 29th. I also should curtail the knitting and actually finish sewing G's "Peasblossom" costume that she needs for her party tomorrow night (which is a miracle I'm as far on it as I am considering I started sewing it last night). Oh - so many things to do. So little time... This seems to be a regular mantra of mine.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ramblings from the wide awake one...

Well, here it is Sunday morning - better known as "I could go back to bed for some more sleep" morning, and yet here I am at 7:40am, the puppies have been fed and had a couple hours play time, my dishes are all done, the laundry is in and I'm WIDE awake. Why is it that the one day of the week that I could sleep in I can't??

I read once that it's really not good for you to drastically change your sleep patterns through out the week. The article suggested that if you get up at a certain time everyday and limit your sleeping in on weekends you'll feel more rested and alert. Can't remember where I read that article, but clearly the author of it didn't get up at 4:30 every morning during the week! Oh well, c'est la vie!

I went to Ram Wools on Friday as a consolitory (is that even a word??) reward for not crying like a baby during my very brutal physio session. So much for consoling myself! All I bought was a button. Yes, a button. Not so much as one lonely little skein of yarn. And their prices are so awesome right now (well for us Canadians anyways!) Because of the exchange with the US dollar , they've dropped all their prices to reflect it. Some yarns are up to $2.00 off. Now $2.00 doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but it sure adds up and it's not like it's a sale - it's a permanant thing (well until the time our dollar goes back below the US dollar anyways) So here I was thinking that I could get a little treat to make myself feel better. And horror of horrors. I couldn't find anything I wanted. That's about the third time in a row that I've left Ram Wools with no yarn. What's wrong with me? Sure, my bank account is healthier and happier for it, but it's weird. It's not often that an addiction just turns off one day.

Maybe though it's the ever increasing amount of UFOs piling up that discouraged my need for yarn (highly unlikely, but you never know...)

But speaking of those UFOs I thought that perhaps if I posted about them I might be encouraged to work all that much faster to finish them. After all they would no longer be hiding in quiet in my knitting basket, they would be out in public for all to see their undone-ness, which would then give me that much more reason to get them done so that I will be able to proudly post FO pictures! (It's just a theory, but hopefully it will work!) So here they are:

I have about 50 rows done on the Clementine Shawlette, 4 inches or so done on (BF) G's sweater, which is a variation of Stitch N Bitch Nation's Jesse's Flames, one sock done from Knitting Vintage Socks' Fancy Silk Socks, and the cabled newsboy cap again from Stitch N Bitch Nation - all it needs is to have the insert cut out for the brim and then the brim sewn up.

So you see - lots of things already on the go and even more patterns I want to start; Loop-D-Loops' Lace Leaf Pullover, the Joey Ramone doll from SnB Nation, Back to School vest from Fitted Knits. some Christmas-y items for my Chrismas swap, and at least a couple of more hats for Hats for Alex.

I do have two hats done, but want to do at least a couple more before I send them. Here's what I've got so far!

So, it's dead quiet in the house right now - the kids are still sleeping, the pups have curled up and gone back to sleep as well. I think I'll go make a big cup of Maple tea, turn the TV on for Coronation Street and pull out the needles. I think I'll cast on for another hat. Yes - I realize this flies in the face of my theory about getting my UFOs done, but in all reality I think the hats really are more important than the other projects. Trillian would like them in by the end of the month so that they are ready to give to the hospital on the anniversary of wee Alex's death. I really want to see her make and hopefully exceed this year's goal - she's already got 209 to date out of the 250 she's hoping for!

Aggghhh... I hear kids up and video games going on the TV!!!! Those boys (N and friend who slept over) were still up at 2am - uggghhh. N will be a joy and a pleasure today - he gets so miserable if he hasn't had enough sleep. And let me say there is nothing like the sound of digitized machine gun fire early in the morning. Grrr.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I'm so lucky!!!

I have had yet another fantastic parcel from my SP9 round partner. I know who she is now, so can thank her properly! SarahJanet has been incredible at picking out lovely goodies for me! Look at what the latest parcel contained!

Lorna's Laces sock yarn (I adore Lorna's Laces!!!!), Misti Alpaca laceweight (I have just the pattern for it!), orange hot chocolate, hallowe'en themed tissues (gotta love that!!!!) and yummy cinnamon scented candle!

I feel so lucky!!! Thank you again, Sarah Janet!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Socks and puppies and bagpipes... oh my!

First things first. I finished Breeze from the Summer 2007 issue of Knitty. I love these socks! They make me so happy! Especially after my recent run of bad luck in the knitting department. With the scarf done and now Breeze I'm feeling like I am definately getting back in the game.

So here's the first picture:

I had to make a few modifications to the pattern as I used Regia Cotton. Not a bad yarn only about $5.00 so actually really economical and it only took 1 ball only complaint is that it's a bit splitty. The only mods were just a matter of decreasing the amount of rows I did for the back of the heel and then decreasing the rows for the foot length too. With the minor adjustments they fit me perfectly! I did however decide that the cream colour was a little dull for such pretty socks, so I threw caution to the wind and mixed up some Black Cherry Kool-Aid and threw my finished socks in the microwave. I'd heard you shouldn't dye cotton with Kool-Aid, but I like the result!

The dye took nicely for the most part but there are little white-ish strands throughout (I guess this would be the cotton in the yarn) giving it a lovely marled effect. As I said... I love these socks!!!!

Now. Onto other matters. I haven't posted pictures of the pups in an awfully long time, so I thought the blog was due for some puppy cuteness! So I present to you the boys who turned five months old yesterday!


And for the final matter at hand. Bagpipes. N turned 13 yesterday and how fitting that on Saturday he was issued his pipes at cadets. He's extremely excited. The neighbours are not - but too bad, we put up with their all night drunken partying and other unsavoury behaviour. N started chanter lessons in May and then as some of you may recall, spent three weeks in Vernon, BC at the cadet camp furthering his training. He was tested on Saturday by the pipe major of the tri-service cadet band and deemed ready for his pipes. N is a natural though. He blew the pipes up and within a few tries was playing his scale. I tried, and couldn't get a sound! I am green with envy!! I've been on my chanter for two whole years and have not got even close to getting pipes yet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

the gods of good knitting are smiling on me

I have finished (BF)G's scarf and it turned out well! Perhaps they were satisfied by the sacrificial clapotis afterall. Although, really - how could I mess up a basketweave stitch scarf? I started the scarf on Thursday and finished it last night. I knit it to (BF)G's specifications. Not too long, no fancy pattern (I insisted on the basketweave lest I poke my eyes out with my knitting needles out of sheer boredom doing endless rows of garter or stocking stitch), and it has to be soft, but washable. It took two balls of Bernat Cashmere Natural Blends and at $4.00/ball was a bargain! I am well pleased with how it turned out. Perhaps now I can safely venture back to knitting socks and sweaters and shawls.

I also was reminded yesterday that I should be casting on for some wee hats for the Hats for Alex project. For more information on this very worthwhile endeavor check out the blog dedicated to it (either by clicking on Hats for Alex or the button on my sidebar). I did four hats last year I think and hope to do as many this year. I encourage you all to knit at least one, afterall, baby hats can be made from those left over balls of yarn from previous projects and take no time at all.

Well - it's off to physio and then work for me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

And may I present a somewhat altered Samus

... that after almost a year is finally off the needles. I've been wanting to finish this sweater forever! Especially considering that for the last several months all it has been wanting is the attached i-cord trim. My problem in finishing it lay in the fact that I misjudged the size I needed to make. A simple matter of doing so many repeats of the pattern for the bottom, wrapping it around my hips and saying to myself, "Well, it fits nicely, I'd better not make it any wider or it will be too big." Of course, it would have been to big. For my hips. Unfortuately, what seemed quite logical would have been fine if my chest were indeed the same size as my hips. It is not. It is considerably larger. Ergo, I had a lovely Samus that wouldn't have met in the middle for love or money. So, it became obvious that a wee i-cord trim was not going to do the trick. I muddled over what to do for weeks. I kept hoping that somehow, maybe if I left it alone in the knitting basket the gods of ill-fitting knitted garments would smile favourably upon me and see fit to either make the sweater miraculously grow or my chest miraculously shrink. As you can imagine, neither has happened and so the other night, after being inspired by Kristina's ingenious fixing of a unco-operative UFO, I picked up the offending sweater and my needles and did a six stitch garter border along the whole thing. I now have a sweater that I can wear (even wore it to work the other day) and although not quite what I hoped for, it has at least been salvaged and I'm not completely displeased with the look of it. (please excuse the messy kitchen!)

So actually wearing my Samus in an attempt to thumb my nose at the gods of ill-fitting knitted garments for their lack of interest in fixing my predicament, I began to knit my Jelly Bean hat from Stitch n' Bitch Nation. I wanted a cute little hat that would be perfect for jaunting about town this fall. It would match my new fetching and was going to be great! Who knows what I was imagining really - it brings to mind the time I was going horseback riding after school in grade three, and all day I pictured myself riding across the prairies like a right proper cowgirl with my long braids flapping gloriously in the wind. What in fact happened was I was unceremoniously plunked on the horse's back, sans saddle, where I proceeded to hang on to the poor creature's neck for all I was worth as I was led around the driveway of my friend's farmyard. Anyways, I digress. Back to Jelly Bean. It's not so much suitable for dashing here and there in the height of fashion as it is to prove to the world that I, for one, have a freakishly large basketball-esque head. (and no - you don't get to see me modeling it, it's just too humiliating right now)

It occurs to me that in light of recent trials and tribulations in my world (my felted clapotis, the too-small Samus, the teeny beanie of a hat), perhaps I would be best to make some sort of sacrificial offer - but honestly, I would have thought that my felted clap would have been sacrifice enough.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Not So Lucky Day that Turned Lucky after all!

I had a rotten day. I will not go into details, suffice it to say though, it well and truly sucked. I was feeling sad and sorry for myself. But then I got home. Waiting for me on the kitchen table was a super duper surprise from my wonderful SP! Just take a look!!!

Yes. That there skein of loveliness would be sea silk from a shop which is local to my partner. Along with the silkie goodness is some dye in which to hand paint it (and the instructions to go along with it). My partner also sent along a magnet with the cutest sea otters on it from the Vancouver Aquarium (I've seen the otters in person and they are really quite sweet swimming around holding each other's hand). I also received a wonderful case for my DPNs (with a great set of sock worthy needles inside it) It's actually a cigar case but is just perfect for DPNs... No more losing them! Wheee! And because it's a cigar case and says Cuba on it, my partner went on a bit of pirate theme and sent me a Pirates of the Carribean Lip Balm and a grow my own pirate. How much fun is that I ask you? So you can see why my day instantly perked up and I felt loads better! Oh and you can't really see it maybe, but the card is really cute too! Thank you my wonderful SP whoever you are... You are awesome!!! (My SP is very good at not giving me any clues, so I am completely in the dark about real identities here)

Don't mind the picture - I was trying to get creative with I-Photo and can't seem to get my original back. So here's my Fetching that I made on the flight from Toronto to Lima. I somehow forgot to do one pattern set so they're a wee bit short in the wrist but that's ok. I love them anyways and wear them every morning, now that it's gotten so cold here in the wee hours! They are knit from Aruacania Nature Wool. I must remember not to throw them in the washing machine like I accidently did to my Clapotis. Sniff, sniff. I am not quite over that one yet! Note to self. Next time I need a wool that felts in an instant, in cold water, choose Aruacania Nature Wool. Yes indeedy - it felts like a charm. Sigh.

Last but not least. Here is a picture of a hot air balloon that was flying over my house the other night. The sky was what I always think of as a Prairie Sky - crystal blue without a cloud in sight and the balloon was so low you could hear the whoosh sound that the flame makes when it goes up into the balloon. Ain't it purdy??

And by the way, check out Bezzie's blog "Random Meanderings". She's reminding every woman to get their annual pap test done! Such an important thing to do yet so many women fail to do so for whatever reason. Please remind your aunts, sisters, girlfriends, daughters, all the women in your life to get checked. It only takes a short time and could save your life. Thank you Bezzie for taking the time to remind us all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Peru 2007

A few more pictures from Peru...

The beach in Huanchaco

Huaca de la Luna

Taken from Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

A very friendly llama

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Christmas Around the World Swap Questionaire

1) Are you religious?

I think I am. I believe in God - just not organized religion at this point in my life

2) How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?

About 28 years on and off. I feel my skills are at the intermediate level

3) Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting?

Scrapbooking when I have the time

4) Favorite color(s)?

Rich colours like plums, purples and blues, but also bright (not neon) colours as well

5) Do you collect anything?

Thimbles - a collection that started when I lived overseas for a year. It was a small, manageable souvenir for myself that was easy to transport. I managed to get one from every place I visited that year! And snowmen - I have a wee obsession.

6) Are you allergic to any fibers or animals?

Nope! :)

7) Do you have any pets?

Two puppies, two cats and numerous fish

8) Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?

Yummm... all of the above!

9) Cookies or Sweets?

Hmmm. Can I use the "all of the above" answer again? I have an incredible sweet tooth!

10) Do you knit socks?

I love knitting socks!

11) If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits)

I'm also a big fan of knitting bags, and other small quick to finish items!

12) Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do?

Yes, Christmas tree goes up every year around the kids' last day of school before holidays

13) Favorite holiday treats?

Shortbread, mulled cider, chocolate

14) Favorite holiday smells?

Cinnamon, cloves... I guess spicy baking type smells

15) Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate.

Pretty tradional. (Christmas tree, baking, Santa, turkey dinner etc.)

16) What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Picking out and putting up the tree with the kids

17) Finish the sentence: "For me Christmas is all about...."
Spending time with my loved ones

18) If you were a Christmas ornament you would be…….? Oh... probably a snowman. I am a freak for snowmen!!!

19) What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given?

It wasn't actually a Christmas gift, but a random gift from my youngest son, Nicholas who was 11 at the time. I have an Italian charm bracelet and one day when we were shopping in the dollar store, I lost Nick for a few minutes. I found him standing at the front counter where they had a display of charms. He was so intent on looking at them and when I asked him to come with me, he stopped me and said, "Mom. You can pick out a charm. I'll buy it for you." I told him that was ok, he could save his money for something special for himself because he never had any money of his own. I couldn't afford to give him allowance and so the only money he ever got was from his birthday or Christmas. He'd got this particular bit ($5.00) of pocket money from helping a friend of mine do some chores. Nick insisted that I pick out a charm for myself and then changed his mind and insisted I pick out two. I was going to decline his offer until he said, "Mom, I really want to buy you them, because it will cheer you up and make you feel better." Nick's Dad and I had just separated a few months before and I guess I wasn't doing as good a job of hiding my sadness as I thought I was. I picked out two charms through teary eyes, and to this day they mean more to me than any other charm on that bracelet.

20) When do you start your Christmas?

I start digging out my snowmen decorations and Christmas CDs at the beginning of December the rest follows gradually!

21) Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them?

I try to send cards, but don't always manage. I usually buy them although always have great plans to make them...

22) What is your favorite Christmas dish?

Turkey and all the things that go with a turkey dinner. Can you tell I like food? Hmm. Wonder what that says about me?!?

23) Carolers are at your door. What do you do?

I live in a pretty rough neighbourhood - so carolers haven't come to my door.

24) When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning?

The kids are allowed to open a present on Christmas Eve (a long standing tradition from when I was little and the waiting was too much to bear!) but the rest are opened Christmas morning.

25) Do you celebrate with family or friends or both?

Both, friends on Christmas Eve and family on Christmas Day

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Oh... Peru"

Arriving in Peru... about 2am (small delay getting the swords through customs, and a very slight scare of the guard not believing I was G's mom (love him and flattered that he thought I was too young, but a little worried about trying to prove she was mine - all's well that ends well though and a simple mutter... "I was young when I had her" sufficed and he let me go). Little did we know we were about to board an 11 hour bus trip from hell on a bus that smelled like the inside of an outhouse...

Wow! What a time we've had! I can't believe we've been and come home already from Peru. Words just don't do the trip justice! Nor do pictures!

The dance festival was surreal to say the least! Beatlemania had nothing on the crowd's response to "Escocia"! I ask you, no, I challenge you, to think of a time when you didn't hear the bagpipes when they were being played! Or here's another one... Have you ever seen a need to mic the pipes? Well, in Trujillo we did just that!! We had such an incredible response of cheering and screaming everytime we took to the stage (well, I say we, but I mean them of course - I was merely in the wings waiting to help with quick costume changes) that the pipes were completely drowned out! What a trill for the dancers!

And where to start on the universally known "chicken dance". We couldn't believe our ears (and eyes) when everyone from Venezuela, Honduras, Philippines and us (Scotland) were all doing the chicken dance to pass the time during opening ceremonies, and everyone knew it! Ok, understandably we and the Philippines (group also from Winnipeg) knew it - but really Venezuela and Honduras was a complete surprise! I think perhaps we should take the "Chicken Dance" to the UN - maybe it is a means to world peace! After all - language barriers are all but forgotten, and who can stay upset with their neighbour when doing something as funny and silly as the "chicken dance"? The surprisingly widely known "chicken dance"

Oh... Peru!

I don't even know where to begin! The sights were incredible to! Chan Chan, the Moon Temple, and Machu Picchu are clearly highlights of sightseeing. Unfortunately we only had one day really in Cuzco, but all wish we'd had several more! It was a city like I've never seen before. Walking through it was like taking a step back in time in so many ways, yet in other ways it is so modern with internet cafes on every corner. It is quite a juxtaposition between the old and the new. Cobbled streets and people dressed in tradional garb mixed with the latest in modern technology!

The only down side to the trip was my little mishap in Huanchaco last Saturday morning. Really my own fault and I shouldn't be blaming the good people of Huanchaco for putting rather large boulders in the middle of sidewalks, where unsuspecting tourists who aren't paying attention to where they are walking can trip over them. I was so busy talking and admiring an interesting building that I managed to not only stub my toe on aforementioned boulder, but set in motion a chain of events which led to me trying to break my foot. Thank you Tam, for catching me before I could split my head open! Turns out, according to the doctor I saw two days ago, that it is just a very bad sprain and no broken bones as far as he could tell from the xrays, but ultimately incredibly painful and really I am not sure what got me through the remaining five days of my trip which included the trip to Machu Picchu and at least two hours of walking on a tour of Lima, not to mention numerous miles walked in airports between there and here, and a couple nights of limping around the festival, attending a fiesta (no - I couldn't dance, which actually worked out in my favour... thanks Kathy for taking on the creepy little man who didn't know the meaning of "No, I've got a broken foot, I cannot dance with you.") and a few trips to markets! Of course G, who dilegently got ice packs, advil and tylenol, wrapped my ankle each morning with a tensor bandage and generally performed the role of the human crutch wins the award for best daughter ever!!!! To hear her tell it one would think that she actually flung me over her shoulder and carried me around Peru for five days. Don't believe it! Really I just leaned on her arm (alot - especially on the stairs. My God! There's alot of stairs at Machu Picchu!)

But, sore foot and all - we had truly the trip of a life time!

G on the beach in Huanchaco - they still use the old style of reed boat in the ocean town

The Opening Ceremonies parade...note the traffic - apparently stopping traffic for a parade is not high priority in Trujillo! This may be the most dangerous dancing the girls have ever done... "Blue Bonnets" in traffic!

Music truly crosses all language barriers as we traded songs back and forth with the Honduras on the busride from Trujillo to Huanchaco

Chan Chan

Machu Picchu in the mist

PS: Oh... and on a brief FO note... I started and finished a pair of fetching for myself on the flight from Toronto to Lima! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Two new FOs!

Well, actually, I finished Clapotis last week and just haven't had a chance to get someone to take a picture of it for me! I love my Clap - yes, I do realize that sounds bad, but all you knitties know what I'm talking about! Tee hee! It's been great in the mornings while I'm outside with the pups. I can't believe how cool the nights are getting. Last Saturday was the turn around in the weather. It was super hot and sticky during the day, and by about six thirty the wind came up and their was a crispness to the air. I guess summer is drawing to a close.

My other FO is Monica which I started about two weeks ago in the blistering prairie heat for (BF)G's great niece Alexandra. Maybe she can wear a little t-shirt under it so that she can actually use it this summer. Really - this cooler weather came as a surprise!

In other news, the Peru trip is fast approaching! After a big scare on Wednesday night with the earthquake devestating some of the southern parts of the country I wasn't sure the wisdom of continuing on with our plans, but we've been reassured by festival organizers in Trujillo that all is ok and that the festival is a go-ahead. I guess given that Trujillo is about 800kms from the epicenter of the quake makes a big difference. Three of our dancers are already in Peru and were visiting Machu Picchu when the quake struck - through the wonder of Face Book, G talked to one of them after the quake on Wednesday night and the girls were doing fine. They'd heard about the quake, but hadn't felt or noticed anything where they were.

So, my money has been exchanged, I'm starting to think about what to pack, and generally I am starting to get enthusiastic again. Admittedly my enthusiam was dwindling slightly given the fact that I've been so bad with my asthma lately, plus there was a whole disaster of the stained kilt debacle, which is yet to be sorted (damned careless people who drink blue liquor backstage - Don't even get me started on that rant), and then of course the earthquake. But, it's a trip of a life time and G and I are going to have a wonderful time no matter what!

As a bonus, there's only a few more hours till my N comes home from camp! (his flight is to land at 3:55am) Little turkey who apparently has completely forgotten that he has a family he should phone at least once in a while! I haven't heard from him since three days after he got there. Oh well - I guess that means he's had fun and wasn't homesick, and afterall, that really is what I wanted for him! I just miss the little (ok not so little anymore) guy!

And just for some puppy cuteness, check out the latest pics of Lucky and Guinness! They're almost four months old now - time flies!