Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reverse 'but'

For Joce... (thank you for sharing your cupcake, cupcake)

I feel whupped from the virus, *but* I didn't get the throwing up kind of flu on top of it so I'm really feeling relieved. I choose to believe that it's not hiding around the next corner.

The end of last week was rough because I felt so yucky, but I made it through, and besides forgetting to print some patterns for Michelle, I think everything was pretty well under control.

I didn't see my Nini all week, but I'm going to on Friday I think.

The financial news is scaring me (because I lived through the recession, and I don't want to do it again), but I don't have a big mortgage, and I don't have much debt so I should be ok.

No matter what negative thing I write here, it is totally eclipsed by: BUT.. Aunty Tink is back in town.


Oh.. and here's something purely wonderful to share. Today Blogless Correna did a most wonderful thing.. she gave me 1,200 yards of the most beautiful laceweight shetland/silk that she had spun. I am grateful and amazed.. and I have a shawl in mind (for me!), with.. some beads. The yarn looks like mica.. it's almost touching on metallic, and it is gorgeous. I don't think that anyone but a spinner could appreciate handspun the way it ought to be appreciated. I know all of the time and thought that went into it, and I feel so honoured to receive it. Thank you Correna! No buts about it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eclectic sole

I preordered mine from Janel, and I love the book to pieces. Almost invisible pieces it seems, because I cannot find my copy anywhere. Did I lend it to you? If so, could you please give me a V8 bonk on the head and remind me? I thank you in advance.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A quick post on Heartland

On Friday, Lesley (once of Heartland) came in to the store, and we talked for the first time since she disappeared. It's the most ridiculous and convoluted story, but I think I have a handle on it. I'll leave out my opinions on Heartland's overall human resources practices.

Lesley and Debbie disappeared. We were worried, and Sandra went over to the cafe to see if they were around. She was told that Lesley and Debbie had been fired. Sandra told Jeanette that had she (Jeanette) been fired as well, that we probably wouldn't eat there any longer. Next day .. Sandra went into Heartland to get coffee, and was told by the owner that due to her comments to Jeanette that they do not appreciate our business any longer.

Several days later, Sandra ran into Heartland's cook, who told her that the owner said that Sandra called her the B word, and that's why she was kicked out. Untrue. Never happened. Nor did the firing. Lesley told me that the owner was clearly going to fire her, and that once she commenced shouting she (Lesley) said bye... and so did Debbie (who had been summoned for her turn like this: [finger pointed] YOU, COME HERE).

Bottom line? I have not spent one thin dime at Heartland since that day, and I will never darken their doorstep again. I have never been so hungry that I would support a business like that. We have not asked a single person to discontinue being a Heartland customer, but once having heard how Sandra, Lesley and Debbie have been treated.. well.. you can imagine the result. I wish I knew how much this debacle has cost them so far, because considering what I spent, what Sandra spent on herself/customers, and what all the knitting-circle people spent.. I think the weekly $/total was significant.

Lesson: Don't rock the boat when you're IN the boat.

Like short rows? Here's a sock pattern for you that is short-row-alicious.

Sheep shearing time at our house

I meant dog. Two of 'em.


Here's Spike. He's our 'eldest', and having been professionally groomed before, he's not too upset about the whole process. Tonight we bathed him and sheared him, and we did alright until the dreaded FEET. He hates his feet done, and between now and probably mid October, he will not step on the floor unless there are towels or pillows. Good Lord... he's neurotic. He's on a pillow already, and there he will stay.

Next up? Roxy. This is her before picture. (She's having a nice ear scratch by Mug)


She was never professionally groomed before we got her nor afterwards. She was too abused and frightened for us to trust her in the care of others. It will probably take us the rest of the week to get her done, and I can't promise she will be ever be completely finished. Last time her back legs were never completed. We didn't have the heart to put her (or ourselves) through it.

I might break out the Absynthe. Honestly, this is not a job for the faint of heart.

The longest journey begins with a single step

I am happy to say that my Nini has finally decided that she shall walk, after all. I wasn't worried... her mother didn't (or couldn't.. she was premature and it took a while for her to catch up) walk until she was darned near 2 and nobody was worse for wear. Still, I'm happy and excited and proud and thrilled. I haven't seen her walk yet because I have a really awful cold; but I hope to soon.

Silk Garden Sock #2,427

Because of that nasty cold, I didn't knit any beautiful cashmere shawls, or spectacular Secret Garden sweaters. No. I cast on a silk garden sock. This time I used small needles, and more stitches, so it's not a quick sock.. I'm not even sure who's sock it is.

Silk Hankies

The stack of silk hankies under the silk threads I showed you earlier.

Here's a link to information on different kinds of silk and how to deal with it; not all of it seems correct, but overall it's pretty informative.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The first one is free...

A Sunday Afternoon Guild funny... in that I brought a stack of silk hankies for show and tell, and shared a few with a girl who had never seen them before. If they are like a drug.. then I must be the pusher.

(I'm not mentioning the name of any sweet aussie who might send optim and fine fleece blended with soy. Nobody I know would hook me on fiber so soft and slick that it made my beloved BFL feel like thorns to the touch.)

When there's sufficient light, I'll share pictures of a big stack of glorious, saturated silk hankies. In the meantime, here's a teaser.

That little stack on top? Delicate, glimmering silk threads. Consider the picture a freebie. ;) (hey.. do click on it this time.. it's a very cool picture when it's as big as a house)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have a big, giant, massive sore throat

I was teasing that I was going to be sick tomorrow... so the universe answered my call. How could it not?

I have to share.

The other day I received a Hannah Montana gift bag from blogless Correna. She was my designated knitter at the recent sock exchange. The reason for the HM bag is that my secret code name was Strawberry Shortcake... and that was the closest she could come to a match... I was thrilled! Inside is a piece of cashmere soap, some herbal (i typed gerbil.. oh dear.. the sore throat has attacked my brain) cuticle conditioner, a little leather purse key chain, and some lovely hand cream. There is also a small envelope inside which contains a picture of socks.

You must know me well enough to understand how the picture of socks just tickles me.. well, pink. It's almost better than getting socks.. a sock IOU. I'm totally thrilled that B-C got me for a partner, and I LOVE my gift bag. Thank you!

Today the Canadian and International YOL kits went into the mail. This evening I took mine home, and spent part of the evening winding 1/2 of the yarn into a ball. I cast on. I'm on row 10. *sigh*... it's everything you ever dreamed it would be, and more.

The photo? Mandie's Merino/Soy blend that she handpainted... spun by me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The blue period

Mtlaise is having a blue period (in that she is enjoying her new wheel, and spinning blue roving), and it got me thinking about my Nini. She knows lots of words, but she only likes one.


Dida called me today, and in the background I hear: blue? blue. bloooooooooooooo. BLUE. bl.ewwwwwwwww. BLUE. blue? Dida says: Can you say green? Nini: Gree (pause) blue?

By the end of the call I was falling over, I was laughing so hard, but I have to say that I am not a fan of repetition, so this would drive me insane. I'd need meds. Dida is very brave and patient, and it is good that God made mothers love their children more than life itself, or I believe my daughter would be insane very shortly.

Today I dyed, and I dyed, and I dyed, and I dyed. I worked on my process, and I'm rethinking my use of colour... while I spin Mandie's Merino/Soy blend.. lovely. Pink. Salmon. No blue to be seen.

(psst.. don't click on the picture. It's as big as a house)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home made laundry soap

I think this kicks butt, and I'm totally going to try it. I'm not against laundry at 3 cents per load either.

I've started the Secret Garden, but I don't think it's as nice as the swatch was. I might have to rethink.

I dyed silk the other day, and its so darned gorgeous that you might just pee your pants (see link above for your laundry needs).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dear Aunty Tink

Today Canada Post delivered 12 skeins of Helen's Lace. Ten of those 12 (yes, I said 10) are new colours.

Just sayin.

Love, Annie

In which I share my angst and some other stuff.

Ok.. some MORE of it.

I went for coffee yesterday morning, as always.. and all three of the Heartland girls were missing. I asked of Jeanette, and *they* (a new they.. where are my old theys?) said that she was taking an early lunch. So here I am at 4am, wondering if all three of the girls have been terribly whisked away somehow. I am plotting how I will respond to this in a few short hours.

I am also singing 'Always look on the bright side of life' to myself (even though it is 4 something in the morning). It's stuck in my head... If you'd like it stuck in yours as well, purchase a copy of the Spamalot soundtrack from iTunes. If you'd like to fall over laughing when you sing it, then you ought to see Spamalot too so that you have the complete visual.

I planned to wear a black armband while Aunty Tink was away.. but since I don't actually have one, I had to wear an entire black shirt yesterday. Perhaps today I'll wear a black outfit. I think everyone should. I am probably too sad for a tiara. I have new pink gum boots, but they seem a bit too festive for the ensemble.

Definitely, Gale, I'll take the recipe. I need to have my waffle skills up to par by Saturday morning when the BGAidan shows up.

I'm pondering Qiviut.. do I continue with singles and then spin/ply a thin, thin strand of burnished gold silk? I think yes. I'm leaning towards it. It's starting to take shape in my imagination... I'm starting to imagine the yarn, the shawl.. and now (somehow) beads.

The Lendrum. Its a heartbreaker to be honest. I am going to beg Bessthespinner to take it off my hands for a while and see what she thinks of it. What the heck am I doing wrong? What have I missed? Are the wheel and I simply a bad match? The sum is lesser than the two parts I (am beginning) to believe.

I am not knitting one interesting thing at the moment. However, copies of Custom Knits came into the shop yesterday and I immediately canceled my Amazon.ca order and took one of those babies home with me. It was a good decision. It passed the '3 project' queue minimum (in order to justify a book purchase). I really like Ingenue... that's #1. Did I ever mention that I read instructional books and all magazines from back to front? There's a bit of this book that has me flumoxed, and I'm hoping that if I re-read the book from front to back that it will become clear.

My dog needed a drink of water, and he was keeping me awake due to incessant dry-mouth swallowing. The BF was.. ok.. he was snoring. There was a song stuck in my head. I have been worrying about 3 girls that I care about being MIA. All this is not terribly conducive of sleep, but I need to try. 2 hours from now the day starts.

* Photo? Storefront window (an inside view) of Cafe Vieux Montreal, in Victoria. Finest cafe on the planet, if you ask me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Waffles were made

.. Good Lord. Note to self: before you start to make Belgian waffles for the first time, read the recipe. Turns out its waffles for an army, and it involves yeast, a meringue, and waiting for hours between bouts of stirring (Or you could whip the whites until you saw a few bubbles, chuck that in, and start cooking. Seems effective). Maddie ate one and told me she was full. I spent the next hour cooking all the rest and freezing them for Bgaidan.

The GOOD NEWS is that I made it to Bessthespinner's house, along with a number of other fiber obsessed women. Many of the people there are members of the SCA, and I learned quite a lot throughout the day. It was FABULOUS, and I loved it. Show and tell was so great, because everyone was doing everything, and there was just a huge amount to look at. Bess showed off her stash, which is a thing of such magnitude that it requires housing in several (yes, I said several) deep freezes, plus a collection of sealed bags large enough to contain.. well, let's say a LOT of fiber and yarn). Bess sent me home with the wheel from an antique walking wheel, as well as an antique flax wheel for the shop. Tracy came armed with samples of home made hand balm. Jess brought the richest, most buttery brownies.

I'm going to camp at Bess' until the next fiber madness meeting. It was THAT good.

No pictures, because I got all engrossed and forgot to take out my camera.

Links to follow.. cuz I have to go shopping for dogfood before work.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I am rath

Rath is my tag for our trip to Rhinebeck. Lately I've been wondering if it isn't a really fine name for me, and had you seen me this morning at 7:50 in my pink housecoat, with my hair doing its Lyle Lovett impression, waving my arms and swearing at the top of my lungs.. well, you might have had to agree.

You see, we have round three of condo construction within a block of my house. The current construction site is right across the street, facing our bedroom. The sub-contractors who are working on the site don't give a damn about bylaws, and each and every weekend morning they are running power tools anywhere from 6am onwards. The sound bylaw is 7 on weekdays and Saturdays, and 9 on Sundays. This morning they were mixing concrete. We've reported them two weekends in a row, and they've been 'warned'. Apparently a warning doesn't mean a darned thing to them, because sure enough they were outside my bedroom window with the concrete mixer on at 7:45. It was the SAME GUY who stripped naked (aside from a baby blue g-string) on the street 3 weekends ago.

They were all: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, no more noise. And I'm all: (hmmm.. apparently what I said is not fit for print of any sort).

BF, being the wise one (and not as rathfull as me), picked up the phone and called the City again. He now has the Bylaw Officer's name and phone number. Probably that was the right thing to do. He then talked me out of padlocking the security fence on the jobsite next weekend. He says that would be in bad form, and possibly illegal.

Enough of that.

Last night I finished spinning the first 1/2 of the Qiviut that Dida bought me for mother's day. I had 2 - 10 gram bags, so I'll do two singles and ply them. I am spinning so thin that after plying I fully expect to end up with a cobweb weight. I estimate that I have 237 miles of single from 10 grams.

Well, perhaps not. But it is LOTS.

Today I'm going to Bessthespinner's house for a afternoon of fiber goodness. I'm so excited. Pray for me that things stay smooth enough that I might actually GET there. If all goes well, I'll have pictures later.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The sisterhood of mismatched shoes

This is a picture of my feet. I had just returned from a looooooong day of errands with BF and the kids. It happened right before Dida's wedding, and the choice of shoes directly and absolutely represents my state of mind at the time.

I have never been so shocked, nor laughed so hard, in my entire life.

I fiercely need this:

.. with the endless desperation that can only be matched by how I felt about this, last week:

I sometimes feel this way about impossibly slim addi turbo lace needles, in size 000; and in all honesty the chances of either of them being well used is about the same. 000.

Ok.. socks.

My plans for last night abruptly changed. Up until 4:58pm I thought I was going to Aunty Tink's with Michellie for the sock exchange. Turns out there was a bad truck/trailer accident on the Deerfoot, and Dida couldn't get Mug back to the shop in time (its convoluted, I know). Plan B: I go back to the house, and when Dida gets there, I'll go to Aunty Tink's.... or.. I'll stay here for an hour and wait for Ike to get off off work, and then go.

Well, things went from bad to worse, involving a cat, a mouse, two dogs and a teenager. There was screaming. There was jumping on furniture. There were two dogs trying to get one cat who was trying to hang on to one mouse, desperately attempting to remain alive. There finally came a point that I just thought.... you know... now might be an excellent time to lay down.

The good news is that Amy got the socks I knit. If you have read comments, you will know that she really wanted them... and that makes me happier than words can say. I hope she will take a picture, because I forgot to. I don't know yet which socks I got, but I'm guessing they are pink (wrong! green!).

I'm going to spin today... Qiviut.

If you've made it this far, here's a Super-Algebraic Sock Pattern for you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A bump, a sliver

I hear that a sliver is pronounced sly-ver. So just in case you're like me, and you've been saying it wrong, let's get that sorted out right now (before the pros figure out we're noobs).

But.. what the heck IS one? And while we're at it, what's a bump? I've heard a few different descriptions of what constitutes a bump; and on the heels of that I saw somebody on Etsy describing 4oz as a bump. Hmmmm.

I call that a hunk. Or.. 'some'.

It's a mystery.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ribbons and grins; not to mention toonies and quarters

Heritage Park #1
Originally uploaded by knittinggrammy84

Gosh it was fun!

This afternoon a group of us went to the Heritage Park Fall Fair to see how our entries fared... And, it turns out, not so bad at all! We four all won ribbons; 8 between us because Marilynnie earned best of the category AND best of show with her Tina shawl. Michellie won ribbons on fair isle mittens and cabled socks (clearly she kicks some butt when it comes to socks!). Kathleen got a ribbon on her Mr. Greenjeans sweater and best of show on a framed photo that she took. How amazing and wonderful!

Me? I did great. I came home with a 1st for the Hemlock Ring blanket (thank you Jared!), and a second on my Magi-Cardi (thank you Amy!).

We went to the 'bank' at Heritage Park to collect our winnings... between us? $14.50, not including additional prize money that Marilynn will have won.

Afterwards, we laughed and sang, and laughed and sang some more. It was a really excellent day, spent with really excellent people. I'm still grinning.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Natalie Dee

I like her.

Its good if wheels don't fly

Originally uploaded by spinknit

Because even if you sweated blood to get it, occasionally something good comes out of it. Believe me, blood was sweated. The roving was felted, the wheel didn't cooperate in any way; but still I have a pretty nice hank. It was what I imagined it would be when I bought the Fleece Artist roving in Whippletree Junction.

Today I de-Clampetted the front yard. Its a little tiny thing, but I pulled enough weeds, and pruned enough Wild Rose to fill three orange garbage bags. I'm happy and relieved. Some progress was made.

Spinners. Go here. The.best.videos.ever. You'll thank me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm having a mental health moment

Because if I don't, my spinning wheel is going to learn how to fly.

I have never loved the thing, not for 2 seconds, although I really, really, really want to. Everybody else does; if you look at pictures of any spin-in or class, I'll guarantee that 50% of the people there are spinning with one. They rave about them.

I have a fast flier, I have a bulky flier, I have extra bobbins, I have a custom made, bullet proof case. It ought to do everything I want in the world, but you know.. it does not. Instead it shudders and wiggles and squeals and creaks, and I just dislike it to no end. I've been struggling with it for almost a year. Right now we are fighting with a tensioning device. It doesn't want one, and I say it has to have one or it won't spin. I've tried a number of things, and each one sucks in a different way than the last.

What I want is a Ladybug, but the orifice is too small for what I want to do. What I HAVE is a Lendrum. With all the bells and whistles.

At this moment, I'm half way through Navajo plying some Fleece Artist Wool/Silk. I'm not exactly at a spot where I'd like the wheel to determine that it's not going to ply one more inch. Yet I'm there.

What I ought to do is get my bad Karma wheel back and pretend this Lendrum thing never happened.


Who said that spinning is peaceful?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I have to be quiet; can't let the sock hear me.. but all seems to be well. In fact, I was knitting away on it tonight and realized that I was past where I had started to frog. So, only 2 more repeats to go, and the toe, then the very bad sock will be complete.. After the socks go to their rightful owner, I'll post a picture or two, because they are some niiiiiiice socks (STR - Jade, Lightweight, fyi).

It's 2am, and here I am, awake. I'm so darned tired that I can't sleep. Ever been there? Mug starts school again tomorrow, so the alarm is back on after an entire summer off.

It's officially knitting season, if you ask me. Shouldn't someone ring a bell or something?