Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The long weekend that was...

This weekend I took my guys out to the garden centre, as is our tradition, this being the May 24th long weekend (even though the 24th isn't always on that weekend, we call it that for some reason), the weekend where we Canadians start our planting season, the assumption being that fear of frost has passed and our babies will be safe outside.

We left the centre in a wind so strong that plants and seed packets blew out of our cart, my sons wildly chasing after them through the parking lot. And then, there was hail. Big, pinging-off-the-windshield, stinging-on-your-skin-hail. So we were glad to make our way home, cuddle up inside and re-examine our treasures. So much potential in a packet of seeds...

This summer, Tanner is going to try to grow sunflowers - two varieties - and watermelon. Ben is planning to grow pumpkins and peanuts. I am excited for them because these are all things I tried to grow when I was young and had an indulgent mother, and they chose them with no prompting from me. This week's task will be to actually find a sunny spot where all this growing can take place. Oh, and space. Lots of space. Lots of sunny, dog-protected space. The challenge is on...

They also planted their pots - yes, in the cold and wind (the hail stopped by the time we got home), and I love the differences in style and colour. Every year it's a crapshoot, and they always turn out wonderfully.

So, each boy selected a flat of various annuals, selected mostly for colour, and then planted according to whatever whim runs their imagination...

Tanner's planters range from minimalist to wildly packed:

and Ben's have a common colour theme:

orange and yellow, with some ringers thrown in -

And yes, I bought some stuff for my planters, too, but somehow I find the choices of my children far more interesting - they are spontaneous and impulsive, and always, within a month or so, are the most gorgeous assortment of flowers going..

Knitting-wise, I am putting the sleeves in my violet t-shirt today, and will then WIND THE SILK - am I excited? I chipped away at the t-shirt throughout the weekend, and now find that, in spite of counting and measuring and laying the front on top of the back repeatedly, there seems to be a slight difference in size. Not major, but enough that I had to fudge a little on the side seams to align them. I am hopeful that I can block it senseless and it will hang properly, but a little niggle in my brain isn't so sure -

the other little niggle in my brain doesn't care, because I am already knitting up the multidirectional tank in my mind - I read the pattern in bed last night, slept with a skein on my night table - obsessive? Moi?!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I KNOW I can...

I have decided that this weekend I will finish my t-shirt - particularly since it's a long weekend for us, and today looks to be the only decent day for playing in the dirt -

in the words of Yul Brynner (Ten Commandments) -

"So let it be written, so let it be done" (the quote may not be 100% accurate, but you know what I mean..)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I think I can...

This is what I'm working on:

(conch shell courtesy of my sons, who spent last week in Mexico with their father while I prepped for, and then thoroughly enjoyed, a gastroscopy/colonoscopy - well, I got a shell, didn't I??)

This is what I'd like to be working on (lazing about in my stash since 2000 - I think it's aged just right):

Or this (it's hemp - how cool!):

Or especially this (soft-as-air silk, and the colours make me drool):

Don't misunderstand, I love the colour of my t-shirt, like the fittings worked into the pattern, which is by White Lies Designs, like the cotton/linen fabric, and think it will be lovely - but it makes for slow knitting once the front is done and all its intricacies have been revealed -

however, I am excited about my Secret Pal - hi there, and thanks for your note - you just made my day! Sounds like we have a lot in common, right down to the obsessive dogs! Can't wait to find out more about you - such fun!

So the lesson here, I guess, is all things in good time, finish what you start, um, I'm stretching here - I'll get to it when I get to it... and I will get to it...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Secret Pal 8

I have never done a secret pal exchange before, and the prospect of sending little gifts to people is terribly exciting to me - like Christmas all summer long!

So, onto the questionnaire...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love unusual, exotic fibres (quiviut, silk, bamboo, hemp, linen) in addition to wool, and am tending towards natural fibre most of the time - I am not a fan of 100% acrylic, although I am okay with wool/acrylic blends.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I use a wonderful bag that my mother made for me, without a pattern save the vision in her mind, from fabric woven by one my favourite uncles, which has a myriad of storage pouches and holders - I will post a pic of it in a future entry.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I have been knitting for about 37 of my 45 years, and would put myself at the advanced level, I think.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, but what a cool idea!

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like clean, fresh laundry, soapy smells - also lily of the valley and light florals along those lines.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I wonder if anyone will answer 'no' to this one? Favourite sweet is/are chocolate covered almonds, but my real weakness is salt, especially chips and french fries.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I crochet, have done weaving and pottery, love crafts with my kids, am always do-it-myselfing around the house. I do not spin well, but I love it and am determined to get it.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I will listen to almost anything but loud, harsh, discordant sounds or rap- love old blues, old jazz, 50's rock 'n roll, classical, and then stuff like Green Day, the Ramones - I'm all over the place. And yes, MP3's are my friend.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Fave is Orange - also like blue, yellow, red - have almost no green to my name, but I don't dislike it - also like white.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my two sons, ages 10 and 11, two big dogs, a rabbit, a rat, and several dust dinosaurs that rear their ugly heads from time to time.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Like scarves and mittens, want to wear a poncho very much but haven't been able to picture myself in one yet...

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I ALWAYS have socks on the go, and like to make sweaters - my favourite type of knitting is anything cabled and complicated.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Right now I am working on a t-shirt for me in periwinkle blue cotton/linen, and a pair of socks. I am not allowing myself to start the other luscious projects staring me in the face until at least one of these is done.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Absolutely my favourite type of gift...

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
All I use these days are circular Addis, and occasionally tiny bamboo double points for socks. Interestingly, I was internet searching for rosewood circulars just today, to use with slippery yarns.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I have both a winder and a swift.

17. How did you learn to knit?
My grandmother taught me during one summer visit to her home in Quebec - she had seemingly endess supplies of the ugliest burnt orange acrylic yarn, and wouldn't teach me to cast off, so by summer's end I had a long strip of orange that wound all through the house.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
I found a couple recently that are maybe 3 - 4 years old? Misplaced during a move, you know how it is...

19. What is your favorite holiday?
If summer vacation counts, that's the one...

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn, mostly, although I have recently started appreciating some of the outrageous labels on bottles of hot sauce - I may start gathering some of the more memorable ones.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Any hand-dyed yarns; Mason-Dixon Knitting; rosewood circ's or small (5") dpns. I subscribe to Knitters' and Interweave Knits.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I would love to perfect, or at least be half-decent at, spinning, and am always looking for new ways to do anything knitting.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Oh, yeah, baby, hardcore sock knitter. I wear a size 10 shoe, and make my socks about 9" long from base of heel to start of toe, like them a little longer on the calf.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
Just tried to avoid it - April 22

Friday, May 05, 2006

need focus

I am so-o-o-o scattered, starting projects I don't really want to make, not sure what I want to make - it's the time of year, I think - I hate all my clothes, nothing fits properly, I can't find anything good to read -


this is the kind of focus I need:

our second dog, Maggie, after 12 minutes of unbroken staring at a squirrel, who was equally focused in staring her down (and yes, I timed them).

If I could get a little of that - well, I would finish the socks I'm working on, I would plow through the Shapely T-Shirt by White Lies Designs that I like, but can't seem to throw myself into - I need wild abandon, that's it -

next post, when my digital camera is operational? I'll show you what I'm dithering through -

and maybe then, like my camera, like my dog, I'll get some focus.