Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ravelry


It's like a card trick I know; it never ceases to amaze.

Today a really sweet customer came in, and it turns out she hadn't heard of ... well, anything online, knitting related. I took her on a Ravelry tour and she was in complete and utter awe (and now, #7900 and something on the wait list). I hadn't realized how useful Ravelry had become to me, and how often I use it as a tool (as opposed to entertainment.. tho entertainment it sometimes is). It's also a quite wonderful messaging system. Anyway, I get a kick out of signing up newbies.

She left with a list of links to try, and a big smile. And some lace yarn, and some needles and a pattern. Now, that's a good day.

It was a really strange weather day today; this morning it snowed and snowed. Not the super-cold, crispy snow, but the big, fat, wet (black eye from a snowball) kind. That's the snow that compacts under car tires and turns into thick sheets of ice. When I was taking Mug to school I was behind a city bus that was very, very out of control. I would have been terrified if I was inside; sliding and skidding and bouncing off curbs. I've never seen a bus spin out before and I could live without seeing it again.

Later in the afternoon the snow had melted and the sky was perfectly blue. There's a rag of some sort that hangs on a telephone wire across the street from work. It was flapping at a speed that would indicate moderate winds.

I used a drop spindle for a while this afternoon; working with a scrap of rough fiber that I'd found in a basket. I really like the rustic feel of it, and the colour... It was a natural brown with specks of white fluff. Pieces of hay slid through my fingers. I think I'd like to spin more of that and make an earthy kind of jacket. Or a warm lap blanket for camping. Anyway, for now it's a little skein for the store.

Some BFL sheep, just for the fun of it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cure for a bad button band?


Cast on a shawl, of course.

We'll ignore the Fire-Cone (as it progresses, I think the yarn isn't right for the project), and Mystic Waters (it's still on a time out). I have a skein of Curious Creek Wasonga fingering weight in the 'Autumn in New England' colourway. I had been admiring the colourway in silk, so I jumped at it in Merino when it became available. Anyway, I've got 5 or 6 repeats done, so it's on it's way.

I've got a soldier on my mind. He is the son of an old friend, and he was scheduled to leave for Afghanistan in November.

He plays the bagpipes (beautifully), and that talent made him a very good fit into cadets. He was part of the organization for many years; eventually aging out and soon joining the army. I know that he was so happy when he found cadets; he found himself, actually; he had really excellent experiences and great training.

But, crap. He's in a war. For what, exactly? It's just too real.

I admire him and all soldiers, but I don't admire politics in the least.

Phew.

A sneak peak of 'Zed'.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Button bands SUCK

I'm so annoyed. Cast off Mr.G tonight and though that I'd be blocking it. No such luck. The button band is pulling up. I'm going to put it in the knitting bag and have a rest until I get my sense of humour back.

Speaking of humour.. did you know that you can search for projects tagged UGH on Ravelry? If you haven't done this, you simply must. There's a giant blue sweater that is going to have you snorting with laughter, and a hat that turned out to be a dishcloth. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed last night.

And... there's a very, very rude Jimmy Kimmel video out there. You can find it on Youtube. His girlfriend started it with a music video she did with Matt Damon. Jimmy counters with... well, I'll let you find out for yourself. I nearly peed my pants by the end.

Did I mention it's rude?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Conscious incompetence


That's where I am at work right now. Gosh, it's been a very long time since I wasn't completely competent, and it's nerve wracking sometimes. I'm looking forward to the day that everything makes sense.

Like dyeing, for example. Colour makes a certain kind of sense to me. Sometimes it crashes and burns, but not too often. My 'technique' is based on a workshop I took in ceramic painting; the artist said that he didn't hold back with colour, because nothing could compete with flowers (he primarily made flower pots). So, I stick with forms of nature as a general rule and keep in mind that no matter what I do, flowers will be wilder, flowers will be more subtle, flowers will be brighter, and they will always be more brave.

Tonight I overdyed 4 batches of merino lace weight, and cold poured 2 batches of the same. I'll steam the cold pour tomorrow, so I have a lot of hours to figure out if the plan panned out or went awry.

The funniest thing this morning... Nini was here, sitting on my knee. The girls were watching a dance crew competition, and every time the people on TV clapped, so did Nini. Clearly she is advanced. :)

Above, a preminary look at 'Mixed Berry Sorbet'. Makes you think that summer might come one day soon.

Here's me, not sleeping at 1:48 am

And wondering about the Michelle yarn over. Ever heard of it?

Turns out I've been yarn'overing *backwards* for my entire knitting career. I don't bring the yarn towards me, between the needles, but over the right needle and then between. Marilynn tells me that the only other person she knows of that does this is Michelle..

I'm wondering if it's an Atlantic Canadian method... because I believe that's Michelle's background, and it is mine too (my nan was from Newfoundland, and she taught my mom who taught me).

How about you? Do you do the Michelle yarn over; and if so, do you have an East coast connection?

Friday, February 22, 2008

There's only one vegetable sister blogging

And the Knittinggrammy's blog is so old that the Ravelry screen shot is ACCURATE. ;)

Holy smokes.

I did hardwood tonight, and I'll do hardwood tomorrow. And on Sunday, I Dye.

Seems about right.

HEY! I almost forgot. My most wonderful and marvelous Nini has learned how to clap upon request (for her mother only). She also tried to feed Dida a rice cracker.. Awww.. She was so adorable today with her big eyes and her curls. Dida is having to wear her in the handpainted sling because she needs to be glued to Mommy at all times.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Men. Coming and going.

It was Art's funeral today; time to bid him goodbye. I have become overwhelmingly emotional so funerals aren't a really good place for me. I worry about being the floor show. Nobody wants a floor show at a funeral. So.. I almost didn't go, even though I really love Art and his family, and it would have been a terrible thing not to have been there. Sandra kicked me out of the shop, and when I got to the funeral chapel God hooked me up with some really great, strong, funny people. It made it easier to hold it together, even when Art's granddaughter fell apart in my arms. I love her. Phew. I remember when she was a baby and she couldn't say grandpa, so she called him Pumpa. For years, actually. It makes me smile just to think of it.

When I got home my brother called. I didn't know it was him; didn't recognize the phone number, so I let it go. Later I'll press delete and he'll be gone from my day. He's probably so high by now that I'm gone from his.

Mr.Greenjeans has one completed sleeve, and now I'm getting excited. I have to work on Friday night for a bit and all day Saturday.. Think it's possible to get that sweater finished in the time I have left before Monday strikes again?

Dunno.. but it's worth a try. Either that or wear it with the one sleeve.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No bleeding, but we did get Dream in Colour


Ya Baby. We so did. Boxes of it. There was cheering.

Also, I put stickers on 5 baskets of Malabrigo; re-skeined some of it too.. gosh, it's so bright and beautiful in the store.

Bess is there this evening giving a spinning class. She brought her friend Tracy along with bags and bags of natural fleece. The entire store smells like sheep, and I have to say, I just LOVE that smell. So far I haven't ventured very far outside of commercial rovings. I've bought a few bags of cleaned mohair and alpaca from a local farm, but that's the extent of it. Part of me wants to scour and cuss at fleece.

Once I was happy to knit, and then I learned how to spin. I was satisfied to do that until I started to dye. I can feel the next step creeping up on me, I really can.

A picture of the moon tonight.. just in case it's cloudy at your house.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Blood, sweat and tears at the yarn store.

Ok, the tears were purely from laughter, the blood story is to follow, and I did break a small sweat when I washed the floors. So here we go with the story:

Let's say that you've been in hardwood for the past few years; believe me, the chance of seeing your own blood is fairly high.

I would start each day with a prayer that I would return home with all of my fingers, and that nobody would get hurt. Honestly. So, when I started working at Make One I began telling BF each morning that heck.. no blood will be let, so how great is that? You will NEVER guess what happened today...

She (who shall remain nameless) was at the store, doing a bit of organization and moved (get this) a piece of HARDWOOD (and not mine I might add); the darned thing fell back off the shelf and grazed her head. The subsequent bleeding was fairly significant, I have to say, though the injury was minimal. At one point, I had a cold, wet towel on the top of her head, and I was washing loads of blood from her forehead... The comment? 'You're washing off my makeup'.. You just have to laugh!!! (In all fairness, she had no clue that she was bleeding to that extent, and thought that I was overdoing it somewhat!).

All is well, overall... but I couldn't help but think that only I could encounter blood in a yarn store. I am shaking my head.. I really am!

Mr.G is giving me trouble. The yarn, actually. I mentioned a few days ago that it is pooling in the sleeve. I frogged about 1/2 a sleeve and joined a new ball. It did exactly the same thing. I then tried alternating between two balls, and it's doing a really lovely spiral, AND pooling. I'm not sure what to do now. Any suggestions?

Regarding vintage wool yarn: I posted a question on knitlist, and I also wrote to Custom Woolen Mills, and the responses were that vintage wool is usable if moths have not become an issue. Yeah! I'm glad.

Finally; someone I've known for a very long time left this earth a few days ago. I just found out tonight. I know that for him it was time, but I feel selfish and sad that he's gone. I'd just like to send one up for Art. I'll miss your smile.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Family Day at the zoo


And, man, it was one. Phew. There were so many people at the zoo today that it was a challenge to see much of anything. We did happen to be outside when the baby elephant came out, and we also saw the baby tiger (one of my colourways are named after Vitali). It was Nini's first zoo visit, and as you can see, it was just too exciting for words.

So.. talking about exciting; I didn't realize that mail is delivered on Family Day. When we got home there was a parcel here for me from Interweave. My order of back issues! There is one copy of Spin Off with a great dyeing article, and three IW Knits. The reason I ordered those specific magazines was to get a steeking article, the pattern for Swallowtail, and the Paisley Shawl pattern (both by Evelyn Clark). Last week I got Wrap Style (for the Shetland Triangle), and bought a copy of the Flower Basket shawl. I'm basically drunk with Evelyn Clark shawl patterns. All I have to do is knit them, right?

Spring 2008. Come ON!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It snowed

I so knew it would. My head feels better, so the way I figure it, it's not going to warm up or cool down tomorrow.

Today I was going to knit this: Cabled Rangoli Hat

but, instead I knit this: Jackyll and Hyde

Well, not all of it, but about the first 12 inches from the bottom up. BFML told me that Aidan needs one for snowboarding and that he wants one with eye holes.. so there you go. I had spun some BFL over Christmas, and made it a nice squishy 3 ply; didn't dye it.. so it turned out to be the perfect choice. My initial plan was go to Make One and pick up some Noro for the Rangoli. I don't really love Noro all that much (tho I get that I'm in the minority here), but I think it would be a good choice for that tam. And, by the way.. after I have knit it, I'm also going to knit Gretel. I think I'm on a hat kick.

It was one of those quiet days; the only thing I accomplished besides knitting was to do some laundry, clean up a bit upstairs, and make my version of pasta fagioli. Not the recipe I linked to, but you'll get the idea.

I have a question... Is vintage wool (20 plus years old) no good? Recently two customers have come in asking this very question and have said that their understanding is that old wool looses its elasticity. I happen to have a great deal of it myself, and now I'm wondering if I should just chuck it.

So, what do you think?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Where my head almost exploded, but didn't quite

Here in Alberta the weather changes at an alarming rate... one day you're bitching that it's 50 below (with wind chill), and then the next day snow is melting and you need to complain about something related to mud hitting your windshield.

Well, there are those of us who are sensitive to barometric pressure. This means that when there are wild weather swings (for example, a Chinook) we feel as though our heads might explode. Lucky us; we react when it gets cold, and when it gets warm. When the weather stabilizes, so does the pressure in our skulls.

Today was warmer than plus 10. According to the pressure behind my eyeballs, I'd say that it won't be as warm tomorrow. Woohoo. Or not.

There was a knitting circle today at Make One (as there is every Friday afternoon), and it was well attended by a fun-loving bunch. I reduced our in-house lace guru (Marilynn) into near tears by having screwed up my Mystic Waters so badly that she couldn't actually repair the goof! She did, however, restore it to a knittable state, so I *think* that when my head stops actually throbbing that I might give it a whirl. I am severely grateful, BUT... this is MW's last run with me, and if 'it' doesn't start to cooperate, I'm going to frog it. I really am. I hope its listening.

Can lace weight and barometric pressure be linked? They both can give you pain behind the eyeballs.

I frogged (sense a trend?) a few inches of Mr.G's sleeve because it had developed a bad case of pooling. My fault entirely for making a comment about somebody else's sleeve pool. I'll knit from two balls and alternate rows.. that ought to get it back under control.

I couldn't get myself up the stairs (where my swift and ball winder are) to get a new ball of Miss Priss put together, so instead I spun one bobbin's worth of Suri Alpaca/Merino in black. It's kind of creepy as a raw material, but I'll reserve judgement until after it's plied.

Because you've been so patient though all the whining and complaining, may I present:

Les peaux de lièvres

Be patient. It's worth it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I was on my own today


And it went really well.

I opened up at 1pm, and shut down for a long lunch. Had a big 75% off sale, and followed that with nap. It was a good day.

Ok.. none of that is true except for the good day part. It was good; phew.. I was so busy. When I got home Dida was here with Ike and Nini, and we all babysat while they went out for a valentines dinner. Nini is teething, and she wasn't too very happy that her mommy took a hike. I put her in the click and bounced her to sleep and then things were quite civil. Once Dida and Ike came back, (complete with a white chocolate, heart shaped, brownie) Nini transformed into some kind of smiling girl who was quite enjoying herself.

Mothers are miraculous, that is a fact.

Jim and I have yet to enjoy valentines together... maybe the kids will go to bed and we'll find 10 minutes to eat that brownie before we fall over from exhaustion. It's possible, right?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Welcome to one of the best days of my life

Today was awards day at St. Alphonsus and I had received a note from the school that I should attend. I thought that Mug might get something for trying so hard, or for being so nice (she is learning disabled). Anyway, I was so darned excited, because it's important to me that she try. And she does.

Imagine my absolute shock when she received the award for Math. I cried so hard for so long that my eyes are about swollen shut. I have never been so proud of her in my life. I am about to burst.

And then, she got another... in Health, for her marks.

For all of you who might read this blog and who know what a struggle she has had, you can imagine how we feel around here today. Phew... it's overwhelming.

And today is one of the best days of Maddie's life too... but it's because Amy and Sandra gave her a cell phone. Well... that was her fondest dream. The knees went out from under her and she cried.



Man alive. Life is good. That's me at the end, bawling my head off. And, yes, Mug wears glasses and she dyed her hair black.

video

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cell phone pictures

I took Mr.G to Canada Olympic Park one day while Anna skated (and, yes, I did take pictures of Anna!).



A skien of laceweight that I recently dyed. It is very yummy indeed, though the picture doesn't represent the colour well at all.



This isn't my picture at all; I think I copied it to my hard drive to show my friend Nik, who is a major cat lover. I think it's just as funny as it is adorable. Typical, huh?



Here's one of my favorite pictures of Mug ever...



Tho this one is very close:



And this one is way, way up there:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm so far behind, I'm first

I've been knitting up a storm, but my blogging schedule is all off wack due to my new hours. I'll get it figured out! So.. Let's start here:

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Yesterday I knitted the Sunflower Tam (from Knitting Nature). It was a great little project and i LOVE my tam. I had to felt it because it was way too large, and even then the ribbing was too big, so I hand sewed every 4th rib together on the interior of the band. It looks great, and fits great.. I'd intentionally felt the next one I knit because I really like the result. I have a few extra balls of Lopi, so I think I will make another to go with my (still unsteeked) Hela.



Recently at Make One a number of these little hardwood sock blocker key-chains arrived. Inside is a pattern for a sock to go on the blocker. Well, the whole thing just tickled me pink, so I bought one, and as soon as I got home I knitted a Fleece Artist Seawool version. Later I designed a lace version, knitted from Zephyr.. but it's going to be for a mini-sock exchange, so I'll keep the picture to myself. i LOVE it though! Super cute.

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Making some progress on the Fir-Cone shawl. It's going really well. When it's done, I've decided to dye it with Provence Tea from Steeps in Calgary. I test dyed a little swatch, and it looks really great.

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I dyed Merino to spin at the Make One Spin-In on saturday. I really like how it turned out (which is way greener than what the picture shows).. it'll make some nice camo'ish socks for Jim I think. Anyway, I didn't make the Spin-In; I had some errands to run first, and the girls to deal with while BF took Aidan to snowboard lessons.. needless to say, I drove for hours and spun not at all. Next time for sure; I just hate that I missed it.

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I've cast off the body of Mr. Greenjeans after increasing the length by 2.5". What Not to Wear has convinced me that I need the end of the sweater to bisect my butt.. you know.. to create length, as opposed to width. Got the sleeves started, and I expect to be wearing Mr.G next week (after a serious blocking... phew that cabling pulls things in!)



And, finally, Charity Knitting Night. It went so well! People started to arrive at 1pm, and I understand that by night's end there were about 30 knitters. I was not one of them... my original plan was to knit for stillborn babies and donate to the bereavement group at the Peter Lougheed. However, at the time I was hatching my plan, I hadn't started work at Make One yet. Turns out that I was at the till, and although Sandra offered to let me knit (about 200 times!), I thought it wasn't a good decision on my part.. so I stayed by the till, and worked on colourways. I have knitted one tiny hat, and have a sweater about 50% completed. I'll drop it off at the hospital soon.

The event went really well, and it was a fabulous cause. Thank you Michelle, Amy and Sandra for bringing everything to fruition.

So.. that's about it for me! I hope that I can soon get back into the swing of things once my new hours become 'normal'.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

We've been dyeing today

It's been fun and insane, and I think that we've got some good results. I took home 5 hanks of lace weight to overdye because it was WAY way WAY way too *exciting varigated sock yarn* coloured. There were some beautiful greens and blues in it which I was so sad to lose; but it had to be done. We'll see how it looks tomorrow.

Tomorrow's another day, right?

Speaking of Friday; that is Charity Knitting Night at Make One. I'm really excited about it. About my project, and about the projects of others. Already an entire bag of gorgeous winter hats have been donated by Lisa. How amazing is that? When you put that in real terms, it means that a dozen or more human beings will be warmer on account of the loving nature of another.

We could stop wars that way. We could feed the planet that way.

But warm ears is a pretty good start, don't you think?

PS: Franki's kitty is feeling better.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm kind of worried Franki

I hope you and your kitty are doing better.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super pancake tuesday

Here's my day... I had to get up early to take Mug to school, because it's Shrove Tuesday. As we arrived, she wondered if her friend was coming to school for breakfast too.. kind of sounded like if she wasn't, that Mug would like to go home until the regular start time. Hmmm. Not so much.

On the way back home I stopped for a pedestrian just long enough to be rear-ended by a woman in a truck on black ice. I have to say, she was scared half to death, and I've been thinking of her all day long.

Went to work, and man alive.. there is YARN at Make One. Phew. Yarn, Yarn, Yarn.. Smooshie sock yarn on a table for fondling. And people. Today was stitch and bitch, and it was also Trish's birthday. When I left, there was a superb birthday gathering.. well.. gathering strength. Carrena brought her babies, so the room was tumbling with puppies as well.

Got home to discover that one of the pets had barfed on the Nattuzi. We have one good piece of furniture, and the pets aren't allowed on it. We have always known that it was party central the very moment that we left the house... but until today the chair was no worse for wear. Oh well.. pets do stuff like occasionally barf.

Tonight I knit on Mr.G until I ran out of wound yarn; then switched to the fir-cone shawl. Me and BF have been watching the news and wondering what will happen in the US. A woman? A black man? An X-prisoner of war?

Some days are like living in a pinball game.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Nothing exploded, and I still have 10 fingers.

Today I started my new job; and though I haven't said much about it, I have been seriously excited for a number of reasons. The first 20 I won't even mention, because if you're reading this blog you'd probably make the very same list yourself.

I have a full-time, monday through friday job at Make One Yarn Studio.

No kidding! I really do.

In honour of my first day, I wore a tiara.

I put a lot of sales through, and the till didn't explode, melt down, or suddenly flash a big note about the newbie messing up. I answered the phone and didn't call the shop something incorrect, like: Wood Floors. I put tags on things, and it certainly appears that all the tags were in the right places. A LARGE shipment of Cookie A. sock patterns came in, and I drooled on hardly any of them. I did not spend more money than I made today. Can you imagine what self control that took? I'm talking BOXES of sock yarn at my very fingertips, and I didn't buy any. I *might* have allowed myself a tiny little Evelyn Clarkism; but honestly, it was a tiny slip. Someone came in and modeled their very first pair of handmade socks.

There were two classes running this evening, and the place was hopping when I left at 7.

Not one, single, solitary time today did I have to worry about amputating a body part. Man... That's worth something.

I hope your day was even 1/2 as good!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gotta love a contest

Well, Vicki, of '336 Triangular Shawls' fame has a contest running. She's looking for knitting patterns that require 285 yards of yarn, or less. There's prizes!

I've been bashing hardwood all day long, so this will be short (due to the inability of any serious and pain-free joint movement). I have a bowl of pralines and cream though, and I have a new job to start tomorrow morning. It's all good.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I put on a fearless knitter button


Because I'm going to cut a steek and put a zipper into a sweater that I love more than life itself. I figure I've earned it.

And, get this... my X husband has been in town all week. That in itself has turned me into a more pious woman because I've been on my knees, thanking God, that we're divorced. Phew.

Tomorrow I'm going to Dida's to install hardwood in her kitchen, entryway, hallway and bathroom. I got the wood for free from work, so we have a limited amount to play with, but those areas HAD to be replaced so that Dida and SIL can sell their condo (they're building a new house in Airdrie). Dida came over this afternoon and said that John (the X) is currently wearing SIL's underwear and t-shirt (2 sizes too small) that he took out of the dryer (without asking); and that she caught him with a box cutter just about to cut their living room carpet because HE decided that the living room needs a wood floor too. Can you even fathom the NERVE of the guy? She said he's been smoking in her car. It goes on and on.

Thank you Jesus. That's all I have to say.

Tonight I cast on a micro-premie jacket; I'm going to need that fearless button to knit it. Because I know.

Friday, February 1, 2008

If Paula Deen told you this was good, would you believe her?

Salt/pepper pork ribs (quantity not noted)and brown them in a large dutch oven (using a reasonable quantity of oil)
Remove ribs, and brown one sliced onion.
Quarter approximately 4 potatoes, and lay on top of onions
Place browned ribs over potatoes
Cover with a layer of (good quality) sauerkraut
Bake, covered, for 2.5 to 3 hours at 325 degrees

The reason I'm asking is that you will not have noticed 2lbs of butter, 1 litre of chocolate syrup, and there is NO cream at all. Cheese is not melted on this dish prior to serving. As far as I can tell, the fat content is pretty darned low, and the sugar content is next to nil. (I admit I haven't read the label on the kraut, so I could be wrong about the sugar)

It's in the oven, and it smells good, but I have my doubts. I really do.

Update to follow.

Pfft. Avoid this like the plague. It's gray. In every way. Honestly, I should have taken a picture of this, but you might not have slept. Bad rib nightmares are the worst.