Tuesday, October 24, 2006

must warn.....others

not.... much time....to let....people ....know
Socks of Doom.... late yesterday..... ahhhhhhhhhhh....
(followed by the dramatic, yet subtle, final twitch of the foot which everyone who has every watched a death scene in a movie knows is the international sign of fatality)...

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Am Back!

Several days without a computer has taught me several things...

1. I get antsy - nay, dare I say, grumpy? - when I cannot go online.

2. Not having a computer makes it necessary for me to find other means of occupying my time (not that it's a challenge to find other things, of course... it's just that I am selective about what I do with my time).

3. Some of these other things include playing with my new sock blockers:


SO professional looking - I can't believe I didn't treat myself to sock blockers years ago!

and working on my Sideways Socks, with Kelly : currently on Row 25, and I can finally see how this might one day grow up to be a sock... (note to self: use plain backgrounds to photograph busy yarns);

and taking my sons to Dyment's Farm yesterday in nearby Dundas in the rain and mud and yuck, so we could pick pumpkins and climb through a hay maze and swing off a rope into a huge stack of hay (that is not a royal we - I neither climbed nor swung) and eat caramel apples (I did, however, assist with this);

and playing yet another round of Star Wars Monopoly, and noticing very clearly this time the difference in organizational styles, which truly typifies my sons:

This is how Ben "organizes" his money and property -

This is Tanner's area - need I say more?

So, yes, there's a lot I can do when going online is not an option... but it's nice to be back...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Somebody Stop Me!

I seem to be on a roll - finishing, mending - sort of wish it would extend to other areas of my life like cleaning, but, take what you can get, I always says (to be pronounced Popeye-style)...
some months back I reported on a hole ( first one ever!) found in one of my favourite sweaters, made a couple of years ago from Morehouse Farms merino -

I found the offense after a brief, rare instance of intense cleaning up which resulted in my pitching the last bits of this yarn, which is hard to replicate. I wrote to Morehouse Farms a couple of weeks ago to explain my quandry, and they very nicely sent me enough yarn to repair several holes, at no charge. I was absolutely blown away by the customer service, which is really a sad commentary on how my expectations as a customer have dropped over time. Really - I should expect great service, but when it happens, I am inevitably surprised and almost too pleased by it.

And I really shouldn't clean, because look what happens. All part of life's valuable lessons...

Then, I finally managed to make Tanya's socks the desired length, although I could not for the life of me get rid of the damned line where I rejoined the yarn. And I tried. Many, many times. I am sorry, Tanya, I'd like them to be perfect, and they're not - I don't think you'll be able to feel the line when you wear them, and it's on the sole of the sock so you won't see it - but I KNOW IT'S THERE, and it drives me nuts...

so next on the list, in addition to the Wallabies, which are now both having sleeves knit simaltaneously, is Opal sock yarn I sent to Kelly, of which I have a matching skein, the idea being that we are going to knit Sideways Socks (I'll find the link later) together (well, virtually together - she's in Wisconsin, I'm in Ontario) - but I want to work on them with her and she's finishing a pair for her brother, so last night I cast on Moccasin Socks from EZ's Knitting Around for the boys. They picked their own colour schemes from Briggs and Little's 'Tuffy' yarn (both blue soles, Ben's red on top, Tanner's green), and I oh, so cleverly am making one for each of them at the same time - that way, no one feels left out or slighted... and as an aside, this yarn is a little hard on the hands to knit and should wear like iron - hopefully it will soften up in the wash, although I am assured that they are, in fact, very cozy on the feet... maybe my feet are more of the delicate flower variety? (If you saw them you would appreciate the humour in that - size 10's, not at all 'pretty' or delicate - in fact, I have two webbed toes on each foot - hmmm, there's the image I want to leave y'all with today)...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Secret Pal 9 / Sock Wars

I can't help it - I love the secret exchange thing - from SP8, which was my first, I have made two wonderful friends, and had so much fun putting together packages and such - yeah, I'm doing it again -

so, 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; not a fan of heavy, sweet scents.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?Do I have a sweet tooth? Do little boys like fart jokes?? 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 - I love bright things, particularly when it comes to socks - have almost no green to my name, but I don't dislike certain shades - also like white.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?I live with my two sons, ages 10 and 12, two big dogs, a rabbit, two rats, 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 like ponchos 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?I am halfway through two Wonderful Wallabies for my 14 year old nieces, and fixing a pair of socks. But I have big plans... the Rogue hooded pullover in wine wool from Black Water Abbey yarns, EZ's hooded Aran coat from Knitting Around, and then the Christmas knitting... dare to dream...
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? I use circular Addis almost exclusively, although I have recently become enamoured with KnitPicks interchangeable needles..., and occasionally bamboo double points and my new rosewood dpn's for socks or sleeves.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?I have both a winder and a swift. Whether or not I can make easy-to-pull centre balls with them is another story...
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 and books, mostly, although I also appreciate 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; more of the KnitPicks needles tips, and one day before I die I will get a fabulous knitting bag by Jordana Paige or Namaste or someone.... 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) April 22

Sock Wars Update: I heard from my intended target yesterday, who says she received the socks - please bow your heads and offer up a moment of silence for Cpt. Anne Cash (aka Dina Jones) -

I have heard nothing from my assassin, and have had no socks in the mail, so I don't know if I've slipped through the cracks or am knitting on borrowed time...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, and Socktoberfest

*I'm not sure if my computer is just unhappy, but I have been trying for two days to load the pictures described in the post, and they just won't load - does anyone have a suggestion as to what the problem might be? The Blogger folks do not seem to reply to emails...*

Yes, Thanksgiving here this weekend - we did our big, wild family thing here Sunday, and I was so busy hostessing I didn't take a damn picture - not even of my littlest nephew, James, who is 9 months old and starting the "let me hold onto your hands and walk endlessly and no, I really don't care how sore your back gets" phase - his dad, my brother, is 6'4" or so, so you can only imagine the shape his back is in these days...

ah well, a good time was had by all, I think... we certainly had fun - I love having my family here... even though I would say my house is the smallest, I just find it very cozy and comfortable with my family, all 13 of us, here, and I really do enjoy lots of kids being around -

Thanksgiving Monday the boys and I booked off everything - FREE day!! So we talked about what we were thankful for...


(those are but a scant few of the infamous Star Wars minis)


and me? whaddayathink?...

Our menu was, well, eclectic, to say the least: turkey, cheeseburgers (which we were supposed to have a couple of weeks ago before a couple of us fell ill and had to cancel), french fries (and gravy!!!!), and pasta salad. And our centrepiece, designed by my own sons, incorporates the themes of a couple of fall events... care to make a guess what we're celebrating??

Kind of warms the cockles of your heart, don't it? (What exactly are cockles??)

Socktoberfest began on the first - having been in a profound funk the past week I missed the opening, but am getting my not-so-little butt in gear now, beginning with these questions:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I started 8, maybe 10 years ago, and was self taught, from a very basic pattern - most likely from the internet, but I honestly don't recall
What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

They were made from Big Socks or Big Print, fit fairly well - a little baggy, but not uncomfortably so - I still have one of them, but the other did that molecular alteration thing in the dryer (yes, I put socks in the dryer!), and I never saw it again - might have reconfigured itself into one of those white sweat socks which seem to multiply but have no mates...
What would you have done differently?

I would have used smaller needles for a snugger fit
What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I love Koigu and Shelridge Farms, and Socks that Rock, plus, well, honestly? I am a sock yarn slut - there, I've said it, so now you know... I have very little self-control when it comes to new sock yarns, and with all the hand-dyed, new fiber combinations I keep finding, there's no hope - I must succumb...
Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I love doing both socks at once on circulars, but am equally comfortable with wooden DPN's - haven't crocheted any YET, and have never tried the Magic Loop...
Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I like both, actually, and love finding different ways of doing heels and toes...
How many pairs have you made?

I have no idea - if I were to make an educated guess, I would have to figure maybe 30 or more? Probably more...

so there we are - a sunny, quiet Thanksgiving day that I got to spend with my two favourite people (four if you count the dogs as people - oh, and then there's the bunny and the rats) - well, I am just thankful to be here, with them, in our little house, surrounded by books and yarn and Lego and minis and light sabers and hockey sticks...

life is good...

Friday, October 06, 2006

FO, why donchya?

Of course, I am referring to Finished Objects - don't know what you thought I meant!

My Knitpicks yarn jacket is done but for the blocking and buttons, and it is the loveliest, cuddliest thing - light and lofty but very warm -

  • Project: Not Your Mother's Jacket, from Sally Melville's The Purl Stitch
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Suri Dream (colour:Cascades) and Wool of the Andes Bulky (Navy Blue) held together
  • Started: September 25, 2006
  • Finished: October 2, 2006
  • Needles: 9mm (hard to handle, but LOVE those quick results!)

I hope I can do justice to the thing by finding the right buttons... oh, I just realized you can see my toes at either corner of the pic - I had to stand on the couch to get the best vantage point - the socks were a gift from Kelly... Kelly, you need a blog so I can point people in your direction...

Also in the FO section this week: Kelly's socks (well, really my socks, made with the yarn Kelly sent me which I was supposed to work on at the same time as she did but because of my occasional need for immediate gratification I went ahead and made - sorry, Kel) - but aren't they cute?

  • Project: Popcorn Lace Socks
  • Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta (cotton/wool blend)
  • Started: July 27, 2006
  • Finished: October 3, 2006

I photographed the socks lying on the back of another sweater for which I made all the pieces last year, but for some reason failed to put together. Oh, wait, I know the reason - I HATE putting things together... but it's just gorgeous - a Manos jacket from the Fall 2005 issue of Knitters' - so this week the pieces shall become one, and I'll have another new jacket...

I am back to my nieces' Wonderful Wallabies, and have fused both pouches to the bodies so the fun stuff is over till the sleeves - something almost annoying about kids growing and wearing larger sizes, and liking sweaters with copious amounts of stocking stitch knit in the round...

I am also working on Tanya's socks, making them longer - for some reason I can't pick up the stitches without it being very obvious that I have done so - I have picked up and ripped back 3 or 4 times now, and it's bugging the heck out of me - but I refuse to be defeated by a pair of socks...

we did survive hockey practice on Monday morning, although by 10am I felt that I had put in a full day and was ready for bed - Ben just kept on ticking till 8:30 that night - I don't know how they do it, but I wish I could remember - I must have been like that at some point, too... just like I wish I could remember what it was like to sit in a stroller and be pushed around to shop, or how it felt to be forced to take a nap - when was the last time someone said, "You need a nap, take a couple of hours and sleep"? I would pay for the privilege these days! Although, that being said, I seem to be unable to sleep during the day even when I do get a chance - lapsed Catholic woman guilt or something...

and finally, there was a package in the mail earlier this week that looked distinctly like socks - felt like them, it was the right sized envelope - so I had Tanner open it because I couldn't bear to face my Sock Wars death - big WHEW when we found this instead:

such pretty colours, and Miss Scarlett's fault... so I am still alive, and have no idea whether I'll be getting socks to wear, or socks to finish - oh, the suspense is killing me!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

How thoughtless of me...

Thanks, Miss Scarlett, for pointing out the glaring omission in my last post - how thoughtless of me to forget poor Maggie - and here I was worrying about the boys getting equal photo time!
Her Highness, asleep on her couch - yes, she has her own couch - it's an old denim blue loveseat that no one else uses, and woe to those who try...

Tanner is 12!

Well, he was on Thursday - sigh... my baby

Let's see, what can I tell you about Tanner? He is very funny, has a great sense of the silly and ridiculous, and in the last couple of years has developed a killer wit. He is very verbal, good with words, artistic, has a definite flair for the dramatic. Tanner can be very focused (read: obsessed - hmm - where d'you suppose he gets that from?) when it comes to interests and hobbies (he collects Star Wars miniatures which number in the thousands, I think, and can rattle off each figure's statistics without blinking), and yet, can be so-o-o-o difficult to attract attention-wise when it's something else (like me speaking to him!).

Although as part of the twelve-year old mandate, he no longer offers a hug or kiss outside school (which is totally understandable), Tanner has a very sweet nature, as is evidenced by his great love of animals and family.

Nice kid, overall - next time I want to strangle him, I will read this and regain some perspective...

so Happy Birthday - hope this year is full of wonderful, happy surprises!

Hockey season starts this weekend around here, and both boys are playing this year. Tanner will have one game each weekend, no practice. Ben, on the other hand, will have one practice, and one game each week. It's the practice that'll kill us, I think - 5:50 AM MONDAY. Yes, that's right, that's A.M.. On a Monday. And that's when he's on the ice - we'll need getting up time, making coffee time, trying to find our way down stairs IN THE DARK time. I know kids around here do this all the time, but I just can't imagine how a 10 year old gets up at 5, skates for an hour, and does a full school day with homework without falling on his face at some point. I guess we'll find out...
Attached is a totally unrelated, gratuitous shot of Ben with Charlie, for the sake of equal time. If you have kids, or work with kids, or know any kids, you know what I mean...

In knitting news, I started the Not Your Mother's jacket last week - on the 25th - using two Knitpicks yarns - Suri Dream and Wool of the Andes Bulky held together - and I just love it! First, because it's super bulky, and I am using 9mm needles, it's knitting up ridiculously quickly - I have the back and fronts done, sleeves halfway there - I think I may actually wear this baby within the week! Second, I love the colour and texture of these wools together - I am already thinking about - gasp - making another one in browns and oranges!

Sock Wars: I am still alive, although every time the mail comes, if the kids are home, they grab it at the door without letting me see and make very sad sounds about my impending demise - just to watch my reaction! Cruel and unusual...

Thanksgiving this weekend, and my family is coming here - so this week will be some cleaning, menu planning, and as much prep as I can do - we tend to be non-traditional in our holiday menu selections, so who knows what we'll be feasting on come next Sunday!

Well, I will have to get done as much as I can today and get to bed early tonight - I am on practice detail tomorrow morning - and it's funny, I am usually up at 4 or 5, because sleep is not something I am doing well lately, but it's the thought of having to be somewhere not in my jammies at that hour - just thinking about it makes me want to go back to bed!