Monday, August 28, 2006

Thank you, OSSP

Just got the mail, and in it found my last package from my One Skein Secret Pal -

thanks so much, Barb! Such fun this has been:

The bag is just beautiful, and as I have just started thinking about knitting washcloths again, the yarn is perfect! Thanks so very much, for everything!

My pals for SP8 and I have also been detecting of late, and now we all know who each other is - are? Our identities have been revealed (makes me feel like a demasked superhero), and it's almost as much fun as being hidden...

The dogs are recuperating from a visit by Mrs. Paws, our local mobile dog groomer - they look so very much better - I had let Maggie go a little too long between trims, and she had actual rastas sprouting from the top of her head - very cool, but very impractical for a dog. And now, she can see! Charlie just gets a wash and a blow dry, and usually ends up with an Elvis thing going on:
Tomorrow - oh, joy, oh bliss - the boys go for the human version of Mrs. Paws - maybe I'll be able to see their eyes!!!!!

In closing, Ben has decided to start making hats again - he found a colour of Lion Brand Thick and Chunky he likes, and cast on a hat right away with his knitting hoop. This is how boys knit:

because you never know when you might have to defend yourself against those who would interfere with your knitting...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

inspired knitting

Last night I had one of my bi-annual flashes of inspiration, and felt that it must be documented. I made two felted bowls for my OSSP - two days' knitting for a large, one afternoon for the small - I learned that I am unable to open my washing machine mid-cycle to check on the felting process, as it locks and I can't seem to over-ride it, so I had to just hope like hell that they weren't ruined.

Once I could retrieve them, I needed suitable shapes to pull them over for drying. Found a small bowl for the black one, which I pulled on with my teeth - not recommended with wet wool, as I am still picking out wet black fibres from my mouth - ugh! I could not find anything that would work for the red, larger one, until my big AHA:
yes, that is a balloon inside the red bowl - I inflated it inside the bowl until it was snug, and will leave it till dry - genius, in my not-so humble opinion. And think of the fringe benefits - the dogs were completely freaked out while I blew the balloon up - they just don't like 'em - , the boys now know I do have a secret balloon stash, but they don't yet know where - HA! there's still some mystery to this old broad - and when it's dry I can just pop the sucker and voila! One bowl, shaped to order -

way cool...

Once the SP gifts were done last night, there was a bit of thumb-twiddling as I thought of what to do next. Funny, a couple of days of unseasonably cool weather and I am completely off any summer knitting - which includes, of course, the Lotus Blossom Tank, which may or may not be shelved. I decided to wind my brown silk and sea CELL, not cellulose, yarn by Handmaiden Yarns, NOT Fleece Artist - apologies all 'round - which I of course tangled miserably - and that's with a ball winder and swift - that takes a special sort of skill, one which I seem to have in spades...

but I will start the shawl - never made one, never worn one, not even sure how you wear them or with what - but the brown is absolutely to-die-for, so I'll figure it out. I am also giving serious consideration to Sally Melville's Einstein coat from The Knit Stitch, and have some stash yarn which might do the job, so later today, as it's dark and rainy and we have NOTHING TO DO (a fact which just thrills the three of us), I will dig it up and swatch (see, Mom? I'm going to swatch - I'm learning, no?)

and as if that's not exciting enough for you, last night I made my children watch 'Old Yeller' with me - I cried, they tried not to, and they admitted that it was really good, even without any special effects or laser guns. Lesson learned: the classics don't die, they don't even fade away; you just have to be able to get your hands on them.

Friday, August 25, 2006

what makes a knitter happy?

A day spent yarn-shop browsing with a friend, that's what -

yesterday my friend Kathy and I FINALLY got to her birthday gift from me (said birthday was in March), which was in part a day in Toronto yarn shopping and lunching- it was just a wonderful day -

started here at Lettuce Knit,

which thrilled me, because I get their newsletter but hadn't yet been there - it was lovely, cozy and utterly cute, and so much great stuff - I treated myself to this from the Fleece Artist: which I had actually planned on treating myself to, so it was a guilt-free kind of thing - the photo does not do justice to the many shades of brown, and the shininess, the glistening, of the yarn - I guess it's the combination of silk and sea cellulose - I cannot WAIT to start!

we strolled around Kensington Market, which I had not seen in many years, and Kathy hasn't seen ever, and fell in love with Fresh Baked Goods, which has the most delightful assortment of sweaters, bags, jewellery - no purchases but much drooling -

made our way over to Romni Wools, which was what I really wanted Kathy to see - my mom and I had been years before, and I remember us having to go across the street to have coffee and collect ourselves before venturing back to make actual purchases. Purchases were made this time, too, although I was very restrained - it did seem to be a Fleece Artist kind of day for me, though...
Thurmmed socks which will be a birthday gift for someone, and the other two sock yarns for me (I say that now, but I will probably end up making them for someone else).

I didn't get a shot of what Kathy came out with, but it's the most gorgeous light to dark green to aqua hand-dyed yarn (Fleece Artist again) with a pattern for a wrap - just stunning!

Well, needless to say, we were almost faint with longing and, oh, yes, hunger, by this point, so we spied a very cool Caribbean restaurant across the street, Irie, with very funky menus and totally delicious food - my first-ever jerk chicken, and I think I'm hooked -

and look at the view from our table, which was right by the sidewalk in an open windowcould have just zipped back across the street, but no, we fought the urge - somehow, it was enough just knowing that it was right there and we could have if we'd wanted to - and besides, it was 4:15 by the time we were done, and rush hour was in full swing, and we both had dogs to get home to-

so a wonderful, adventurous day - didn't get to the Knit Cafe as I'd hoped, but we'll just have to go again, right?

In knitting news, my SP gift is DONE, blocking, and will be in the mail Monday, I hope - working on a little something for my One Skein SP and am hoping that that might be ready for Monday too - what would the world be without my rose-coloured glasses?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Drumroll, please...

This is my kitchen faucet. Nice faucet, you say, but who the hell cares, and why did I just waste a few precious seconds of my life looking at it? Well, it's my new kitchen faucet - the old one broke in my hand yesterday, sending rushing water non-stop into the sink.

I turned off the water to the house, dragged my surprisingly cooperative sons to Home Depot (I think they have learned to recognize panic, and wisely react accordingly), and installed it myself - wait, read that again - installed it myself! Sure, it took me four hours instead of the one promised on the box, and I banged my head enough to qualify me for a phrenology study, and I dropped the wrench on my face a couple of times - but I did it and it works. Okay, so you have to twist the tap a little farther back than I would like to get cold water - but again, it works, and I did it.

I am woman, hear me roar (I've used that line before here, but it's so appropos).

in other news, I had a hugely dyslexic moment with my socks yesterday - I am knitting two socks on two circs, cuff down, and got to the heel with no problem - having done this same thing toe-up, I knew that doing the two heels can be tricky, but hey, been there, done that -

I could not for the life of me see how these ones would work - I passed half of each sock onto the same circ, only to find they were backwards, moved them back and tried the other way - this kept me entertained for an hour or so - finally, I pulled off both socks, put them on seperate needles, and then placed them where I wanted them on the two circs - really not for the perceptually or time challenged -

but we are on track, heels are done, and I have 10 days to get the feet done and socks in the mail to my Secret Pal - thank God she has little feet! - I just hope I get these babies done before she figures out who I am...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back in my own bed

after three days of camping with my sons at Bon Echo Provincial Park, which is truly stunning - the main feature is a 300-foot sheer rock face inscribed with native pictographs which have been there, in some cases, for 1,000 years - 'tis a humbling experience indeed to float past these symbolic drawings in the face of this cliff...

the kids take quite naturally to the whole camping experience - no showers, no clean clothes, pee wherever the mood strikes - and in all honesty, I thoroughly enjoy it myself, although I am a little more cautious about where I relieve myself - we told spooky stories in our tent, ate s'mores till we thought we'd puke, cooked hot dogs over the fire, played board games by fire- and flashlight, and spent much of our daytime at one of the three beaches in the park - perfect weather - hot days, cool nights, no rain - I don't think it could have been any more perfect...

on the first night, it was almost 11pm when we curled up into our sleeping bags and turned off our flashlights. The boys fell asleep instantly, and I lay awake for a bit, listening to the myriad of crackles and snaps in the woods. Suddenly, there was a large sniff at the front of the tent - sounded like Charlie, our dog, who is 110 pounds - I am almost sure it was a bear - I froze, heart pounding, and reached over my head for a can of bear repellent which I reluctantly brought along, thinking how silly it was - like the original Batman movie with Adam West, where he suddenly pulls out a can of shark repellent? -

I was gripping this baby hard enough to hear my knuckles crack, practicing lifting the cap and pulling the trigger, (but only if I got within 6m of the bear, which was really no comfort at all) and then I heard licking and smacking sounds - DAMN! The kids had dropped those marshmallows deemed to be too burnt into the fire, and I had not retrieved them, so someone was having a great time out there. I sucked up some nerve, pulled myself to the front of the tent, and snapped on my flashlight. No bear, but a fisher (looks like a slightly larger otter) zipped past me -

took a couple of hours for me to settle back down, and I slept well until about 4am, when I heard coyotes yipping and howling - in the distance, but loud enough to give me goosebumps - this was followed by the hooting of an owl, and then it was quiet... lovely... until someone ACROSS THE CAMPSITE started snoring - for God's sake, I could have stayed married and had that experience - I just could not believe it -

fortunately, things calmed down for the next two nights, and decent sleeps were had by all...

but nice to be home, and sorting out laundry that smells like campfires, and thinking about - GASP - back to school with all its excitement and associated paraphernalia -

knitting-wise, I did much less than I had expected - I had hoped to plow through my SP8 final gift, but had too much fun swimming with the kids, or spent a lot of time just doing things like cooking, cleaning up after cooking, and so forth. So I have 11 days to get this stuff done and in the mail - no pressure, though...

in other news, I may have figured out who my secret pal is, but I have to investigate a little further - or would you prefer that I hold off and be completely surprised, Shugahface?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Lucky me!

Such fun, doing secret pal exchanges - I just love putting together little packages and knowing that my pals don't know where things are coming from, and I get such a kick out of getting stuff, too, once I get past the guilt (yes, I have guilt) -

like this, from my One Skein secret pal:
I see a baby blanket and a washcloth in my future... actually, I wanted to make a washcloth using the 'Chinese Waves' pattern - don't have the link handy - so this was very timely - thank you so, so much!

And this, through the Sock of the Whenever list

the yarn and pattern are just beautiful, LOVE the colours, and a fridge magnet, too - this one's a little trickier, because I don't know who sent it - no note or card - and quite frankly, the suspense is KILLING me - so please, speak up, oh wonderful benefactor, that I may thank you properly -

what a great group knitters are...

in other words, my sons and I made our way through all 4 Batman movies over the past couple of nights - and no, I don't think it's strange - at my suggestion, we spent one whole day over Christmas Break watching all 6 Star Wars movies back to back - I was born to be a couch potato, I think, certainly have the right build...

but I digress...

my youngest son and I feel that the first Batman was the best, and Michael Keaton was the best Batman - hard to admit because of my deep feelings for George Clooney - my elder son likes the third Batman because Jim Carrey, his favourite actor, is in it.

and yes, I knit through it all... as if you had to ask

so, any other opinions on Batman? Personally, I think the original TV series and movie were the ABSOLUTE best (I mean, really, can you do better than Adam West?), but from the recent flicks, what do you think?

I am off now to spend this sunny, beautiful afternoon in an Imax theatre with my sons watching the new Superman, about which I have grave doubts, in spite of Kevin Spacey's involvement... I'll get back to y'all...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lessons learned...

In my travels over the past week - two separate trips up north - I have learned several items of note:

1. One can never be grumpy while jumping on a trampoline.
2. Trampolines are for the young of body, unless one is equipped with Depends.
3. 45 is no longer to be considered young of body, and should qualify one for the aforementioned Depends, particularly while bouncing on a trampoline.
4. Fish tastes better straight out of the lake and into the pan.
5. There will always be a bigger fish, and it will always get away.
6. It is very hard to top the sense of contentment one finds sitting beside a quiet lake, knitting, while knowing that a mere three hours away others are suffering through what was described as a record-breaking heat, and I don't mean that to sound smug but rather, appreciative.

So now my children and I are all back from our assorted travels - for now - and are very happy to be home with pets and friends and laundry.

While I was gone I decided to make a pair of socks for my Secret Pal (SP8) in a multi-green Blauband yarn - another lacy pattern, this one from Knitty - my SP likes green, and I know she's made herself some lovely socks, so I hope these go over well...
I am also working on my own lacy socks, which I think are just the cutest thing - yes, I seem to be in a lacy phase right now, not sure why...
and I am continuing to work on the Lotus Blossom tank, although now I am listening to "The Thin Man", having finished "The Maltese Falcon" a few days ago - it works equally well...

so we are settled until next week, when I take my kids camping for three days at Bon Echo Park in eastern Ontario - more as it happens...