Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Seeing red...

Okay. Technically, Project Spectrum doesn't begin until tomorrow, but I'm already seeing red and couldn't wait any longer!

Lolly (yes, the Socktoberfest Lolly) had a brilliant idea to challenge knitters...and it's all about colour babee! The idea is simple. Every month is assigned a colour (or colours) and the challenge is to be inspired by them. Inspired to knit of course, but also to create, craft, cook, garden, whatever. I've already been planning projects for every month and can't wait to get started.

Every month, I plan to knit, sew, craft, cook and bake the colour of the month. I've been wanting to expand my crafty repertoire for a while and Project Spectrum is just the creative push I needed and I will embrace it for all it's worth ;0)

I thought I'd start with a photo-essay. Above is the first pic. It is of all the red and pink books that grace my shelves (click the photo to get a better look at the titles). Who knew there were so many! Oh, did I mention the colours for March are pink and red? No? Okay, the colours this month are pink and red, eh!

I've got some sewing, cards, baking, and of course knitting planned. I started working on Bristow before the Olympics and will be finishing it this month. I'm also really eager to start knitting Odessa, a Grumperina original available for free from the February Magknits. The lovely Isela is hosting a knit along for Odessa where I've been drooling over everyone else's lovely beadwork for several weeks already. Can't wait to have something of my own to show.

So Odessa's going on the needles tonight...well as soon as I get all the beads on first. The pattern calls for 150 beads in size "EE". I've never beaded before so I'm really not sure about the difference between say, sizes "E" and "EE." I found the perfect glass beads for a song at Walmart, but they were size "E." I bought them anyway because they were the perfect subtle shade for my Phildar Frimas in colourway "Tamaris." Hope it works out alright.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Daddy's back!

Stephen returned safely from his business trip on Friday at around midnight, and boy were we happy to see him ;0)

Julian woke up at the sound of daddy's voice and was all babbles and smiles. It was such a nice moment with grins all around. We told daddy our stories and he told us his and then we caught some zzz's before opening our presents on Saturday morning!

I got two new snowglobes for my collection. I started collecting them a few years ago when my husband started to travel more frequently. He brought me one from evey airport he stopped through when shuttling back and forth from Montreal to Indiannapolis. It's amazing really how many different routes there are. This time he went to Boulder, Colorado and had lay-overs in Cincinnati, Ohio (which is apparently also the Northern Kentucky airport...how does that work?) and Chicago, Illinois. He couldn't find a Chicago snowglobe but I did get a really cute Kentucky one with horsies and a white fence and a Cinncinati one.

And Jujube got a whole bag of "vroom vroom vehicles" from the Discovery store. Naturally, he first fell in love with the packaging though we were able to get it out of his grip and trade it for the actual toys. The bag though was really engineered to get the attention of little ones: the handle had 3 rattling beads attached to it and the zipper pull was a large stuffed target. The funny (and annoying part) is that printed right there on the bag chock full of bells and whistles was the "this is not a toy warning"! To me that's the safety equivalent of a tickle me elmo lighter! Bags are dangerous. You need to print that on it to protect yourself from litigaton if a child is suffocated by said bag, yet you cover it with actual toys that will appeal to infants? That makes me nuts! But I digress because this post is already long enough ;0)

I spent the rest of Saturday madly knitting the last sleeve of my Olympic cardigan and seaming it all up. Then, I put it on and it was not flattering. It fit because it is stretchy, but really it did not look good. All that extra bulk in the already plump mid-section was enough to propel me right into my next challenge: finally drop the mommy weight. Afterall, it has been 8 months since I popped out the baby! So in 10 pounds, I'll probably feel a lot better about the cardigan and promise a modelled Olympic cardigan picture then ;0)

Congratulations again to all the Olympians! These were awesome games and I'm looking forward to 2010 (or is it 2008?).


Sunday, February 26, 2006


We're off to visit grandma and grandpa so I don't have much time to write, but I wanted to show you my Olympic cardigan! She's done. Ain't she purdy?

That's it for now. I'll write more later ;0)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Day 15: The homestretch...literally!

My Jujube is on the move! I read somewhere once that there are over 40 different documented ways that infants crawl or creep (the most common being alternating hands and knees). My little guy, has adopted the less efficient though much much funnier rocking technique ;0)

He sits there with a toy in each hand and a grin on his face and just rocks and rocks and rocks until he reaches his destination. The coffee table seems to be his destination of choice so far. I think this is probably transitionary because he has also started to get up on all fours and shimmy like Bambi on the frozen pond. Yup, he's growing alright! We are entering a complete new territory and, like all the milestones that came before, it is at once exciting and heartbreaking. He's not a teeny tiny helpless baby anymore. My baby is becoming a boy!

And daddy's coming home tonight! Yay! The week actually went by faster than I thought it would: cute baby, crazy knitting, and Olympics will really help pass the time! My sister came to spend the day yesterday and ended up sleeping over. Her 5 year old son is visiting his grand-parents in Algeria and she hasn't seen him in 2 months (she leaves next week to join him there). So she needed to pass some time too and really enjoyed playing with the baby which was a welcome break for me.

Plus, she wanted to me to tach her to knit! Yay! She really really wanted to make a washcloth. She came with her own needles and yarn and proclaimed when she arrived that she couldn't go back home without a washcloth. Well she did! It's a small washcloth, but a washcloth nonetheless.

So now it's back to Julian and I and I really need to get cracking on that last Olympic sleeve. It's about a quarter of the way done. I already seamed the other sleeve and attached it to the back and fronts which are also seamed. So really all that's left is to finish knitting the sleeve, seam it and attach the collar and then I can stand upon the podium and accept my medal (got to keep my eye on the prize, you know!) And I can't wait because even though I am incredibly proud of myself, I. Really. Don't. Want. To. Knit. Brown. Stockinette. Anymore!

Have a great weekend everyone and resume knitting panic!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Day 11: Resisting temptation

I finished the collar for my Olympic cardigan last night and started the first sleeve this morning. I am so impressed with how this project is progressing.

When I started knitting about two years ago, my mother in law asked me if I was planning on knitting a sweater for myself. At the time, the only projects that graced my needles were sized for itty bitty babies (and most were from this wonderful book for beginners) and I replied that I did not think I would ever have the patience to knit an adult garment. I guess I figured an adult sweater would take months to knit and would not be very rewarding along the way. Boy was I wrong! It's been 10 days and I'm nearly done. I can see the finish line approaching.

Bonus, right after I took the progress picture above, I lay one of my fitted t-shirts on top of it to check for size (I hadn't actually done this at all yet) and it was p-e-r-f-e-c-t!

The sleeve is moving quickly and even more quickly since the mailman's visit this morning. He brought me 4 balls of the wonderful (and discounted) Noro Silver Thaw from Jannette's Rare Yarns way over in the UK. I was worried about duty on this one. We have free trade with the US and I occasionally still end up having to pay duty on yarn (how does that work anyway...isn't free trade supposed to be free?) so I was kind of worried about the tax implications for importing yarn from across the pond. I was really pleased when I got the package because there was actually no duty imposed at all. The clever (and wonderful) folks at the yarn shop didn't include an invoice in the package, declared the value at $10 (for 4 balls of Noro?) and identified it as a gift! How thoughtful. That's it, Jannette's is now my number uno supplier of brand name yarn! I am sooo stoked.

Well now that I have these gorgeous balls of divine yarn staring back at me, I am extra motivated to finish my Olympic cardigan so that I can do more than just fondle my latest stashquisition. I'm thinking of using it to knit this or this (if I can figure out the pattern).

And now a little something for daddy who is probably going to take a peek today. This is what Julian did last night while mommy was knitting away and watching the men's hockey game (again!) Thankfully, Torino weather is better today and there are other events to watch. The round-robin is barely over and I am already so hockeyed out that I didn't even watch the women's gold-medal match today. They won anyway...wooohoo!

Knit on!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Day 10: Just the two of us

My husband just left for Colorado and it was so much harder to say good-bye now that there's 3 of us. It's his first business trip since Julian was born and I'm hoping it's the last (though I know it won't be).

He left his previous job because they had him travelling back and forth from Montreal to Indiannapoils every week for 6 months straight starting the week after we got married and moved in together. That really sucked! Anyway, I absolutely hate it when he travels. I know airplanes are safer than cars but it still makes me so nervous.

I'm sure our little Jujube has no clue that there will be no daddy all week, but he had a really rough night (he just about drove us bonkers crying for two hours solid with no apparant reason) and though he did get some sleep afterall (thank goodness) he cried all morning while daddy was getting ready to leave. Maybe he could feel our apprehension and nervousness and was reacting to that? He's finally asleep now and hopefully it'll be a nice long nap so mommy can get back to her Olympic knitting.

Incidently, I actually started to knit when he travelled to Indiannapolis. Knitting is so relaxing to me and requires just enough concentration to keep my mind off my nerves and it is such a lovely (and productive way) to pass the time. So if Julian cooperates this week, I'm pretty confident that I can finish my Olympic knitting in time.

Speaking of which, I finished the second front yesterday and cheated on my project a bit to finish the back of bristow (I needed the needle ;0) As planned, I started the collar next and I think it's going to be a long, long time before it's done. It's 242 stitches wide for the love of yarn! The good thing is that it's a different yarn so it actually feels like a new project. It is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and I love it. It is so soft! I'd love to make a whole sweater out of this stuff sometime, it's the best yarn I've had the chance to knit with (so far)!

Knit on!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Day 8: Oh, my!

What a weird day today. I woke up to strange, unnerving sounds. It sounded like something fell in the house. I first though that the medicine cabinet in the bathroom fell off and all of their contents clinked and shattered into the sinks or floor tiles. Alarmed, I ran out of bed but (thankfully) everything seemed in order in the bathroom. I checked the linen closet, the other bedrooms, made my way downstairs and checked the living room and kitchen, the laundry room, garage and even the basement. Nothing seemed out of place.

Oh, there it goes again! I'm not crazy I thought to myself, it sounds like something is falling. Just then I turned around and looked out the patio door and saw the trees and powerlines swinging violently and shaking free all the icicles formed by the night's freezing rain. All those icicles (not big ones, but still a good 3 inches long) were thrown against the house and windows causing the mysterious clinking sounds. Not long after, the power went out (so no tv, music, olympics or surfing all day...I don't think I would fare so well in the 1800s!).

Back upstairs, I peaked out the front windows and noticed all the little broken branches strewn about our front yard and then I noticed that one of our trees snapped like a twig and fell into our driveway (see picture). Isn't that nuts? I mean it's not a hurricane or anything but we live in the north far away from hurricane territory and it's winter for crying out loud!

News reports noted 110km/h winds. A highway in the city was closed because windows on buildings shattered onto the road. Another highway was closed due to a car accident involving 6 vehicules. Worse still, one of the highways east of us was closed due to a 60 (yes you read that right) car pile up! WTF?

Everything seems mostly back to normal here now: the power is back, the wind has died down and it's time to focus on the knitting cause the timer is now definately yellow (and it's starting to freak me out). I am an inch away from the armhole shaping on the sweater's second front and I think I can reasonably expect to finish it tonight. Before moving on to the sleeves, I think I'll knit the 242 stitch ribbed collar. It's the wild card in my project. It could take a few hours or a few days. Guess I'll find out this weekend! Here's the progress so far (notice how it's timer color coded - what a geek!)
Happy knitting (and stay safe)!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Day 6: Cautiously optimistic

I made good progress on my Olympic cardigan today, finishing the right front. So that leaves the left side, two sleeves and the collar to complete within the next 10 days. I'm feeling pretty good about it.

My problem right now is that I can't find a suede ribbon to tie it with. According to the pattern, I will need 1 yard of 1 1/4 inch brown suede ribbon for the closure. I already checked a few local fabric stores and Wal-Mart without success.

Any leads on where I could get this online? And get it delivered before the end of the games? To Canada? My plan B is to use a grosgrain or satin ribbon. Plan C is a button and loop.

The picture above is not that great today so you might not have noticed my Valentine day cupcake (or worse that the picture shows off both the completed back and the completed right front).

But back to the cupcake, it was a treat from my honey. He also got me chips, cherry blossoms, a strawberry-rhubarb pie, and a pizza and cesar salad dinner. What's that they say? Never grocery shop when you're hungry? Plus, I think he feels bad about his trip ;0) Pie makes up for everything, doesn't it?

With all this junk, I sure hope the sweater fits when it's done! We've been ordering out since the Olympics began... Thankfully, it's just 2 weeks every other year. Cooking will resume when (a) the sweater is complete or (b) the games are over. Whichever comes first.

Knit on!

Olympic countdown timer...

My husband is pleased as punch with the response from his little weekend project: the official knitting olympics countdown timer. An endorsement from her highness Yarn Harlot is a very special honour indeed. We love her. Yeah, that's right, I said we. She makes me laugh so hard at times I can't help myself from reading her aloud to him (which I know he secretly enjoys, a wife knows these things ;0)

Click here to get the script/code for your blog.

Knit on (and don't panic, there's still plenty of time left)!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Day 5: Getting past 'Crash Monday'

The CBC's Ron Maclean called it "Crash Monday" in reference to all the horrific crashes yesterday: 6 luge crashes, 4 downhill crashes, 2 speed skating crashes, and the Chinese pair figure skating crash. Years of dreaming, training and sacrifice ... It's so devastating.

But how about those Chinese skaters? That was a hard fall. It was painful to watch the first time and even worse with every slow-mo replay thereafter. For most, that would be the end. I couldn't believe it when she skated it off and went on to have a great silver-medal deserving skate less than 2 minutes later. Even without the great performance, just the fact that she found the courage, strength and determination to not let that fall define her Olympic experience, and to shake it off and continue was truly an inspiring Olympic moment. That's what it is all about.

So, inspired, I picked up my needles again, ripped back to the error and finished the back. I started the right front and fell into a wonderful rhythm... Yeah, I can totally do this. I can finish it. Whatever it takes...

Little did I know that crash Monday was not over. My husband came home with the news that he needs to fly to Colorado on business next week! He flies out on Sunday afternoon and returns next Friday night leaving me alone with a teething baby on the verge of crawling for 120 straight hours right in the Olympic home stretch! Don't panic. Keep focus. Focus. I can totally do this. Right? Julian will coach me through it... Go mommy go!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Day 4: Wait...what?

Well, it's day 4 already and I'm not quite where I thought I would be. I've been hoping to finish the back for two days in a row and yet...it's still on the needles! Those last 8 inches are taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r. It seems that everytime I stop to measure it, there are 4 inches to go. When I finally made some measurable progress, I noticed a purl row on the right side about an inch and a half back. See it there in the photo? Cue horror flick soundtrack...

I considered living with it but it is actually kinda glaring. I'm going to have to frog it back. Ugh. I'm taking a break from it now because ripping this yarn with all the little ringlets is going to be a nightmare. Someone asked in the comments the other day, what yarn this was. It's the new Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan. It is 60% merino wool, 30% microfibre and 10% cashmere. It is wonderfully soft and coushy and I'm sure will be one of the coziest sweaters I own. But it is kind of a pain to knit with (especially on extra slippery addis). The colour I am using is eloquently named "brown".

And the timer keeps counting down (leave your e-mail address in the comments or e-mail me at annypurls(at)hotmail(dot)com if you would like the script for your blog). Only 12 days left, that's 20% of the time elapsed. Yikes! I really need to hit my groove soon if I'm going to make it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Going for glory: Day 1

So I didn't get quite the start I was hoping for. I fell asleep nursing my son last night and woke up at 7:30 this morning! So all I got done yesterday is about 2 inches of the back of my shawl-collared cardigan. I've caught up a bit this morning but then was distracted by my DH who got up with Julian and spent the morning programming an Olympic Countdown Timer for me. See it there in my sidebar? It's so awesome. It will actually slowly change colour from green to yellow and finally to red towards the end of the games, instilling the appropriate level of panic! Thanks babe ;0)

We've been tweaking it all afternoon and then we had to take a Tim Horton's break for lunch so I didn't get back to the actual knitting until ... well I haven't yet. Yikes. I'm losing focus here. Gotto get back to it.

Oh, if you would like a copy of the timer script for your blog, leave your email in the comments (or email me at annypurls (at) hotmail (dot) com) and I'll send it your way.

And what's that shiny spot in my ball of yarn? Why it's my lucky toonie! A Canadian ice maker set a Canadian loonie (1 dollar coin) in centre ice in the last winter games in 2002. Canada went on the win the gold in both mens and womens hockey. Gretzky later credited it with the win and said it was destined for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Read more about it here.

To commemorate this, the Royal Canadian Mint is issuing a special lucky loonie. I haven't found one in my change yet so I improvised with a lucky toonie (Canadian 2 dollar coin). It should be twice as lucky, right?

Happy knitting!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Are you ready...

...for the big day tomorrow? Remember (as if you would forget) that cast-on is at 2pm local wherever you are. I can hardly wait. I've been training. I've been knitting my Project Linus squares for the Team Canada blanket (taught myself intarsia and a couple of simple lace patterns in the process!). Julian and I have our swag (though until I get my Team Canada Knitting Olympic jersey, I'll be wearing my Canada sweatshirt from the Athens games - I didn't really like the HBC offerings this time around). All that's left to do is prepare snacks and drinks, tidy up and do the laundry cause I ain't doing any housework in the next 16 days! Underwear can be worn inside-out on days 10 through 16 if required...we can always go commando on those last couple of days if really really desperate, heehee!

Knit on!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Quilting? What?

I begged my husband for a sewing machine for years, and last year Santa brought me one for Christmas. Except for sewing curtain hems though, I hadn't really had the chance to to use it. So this weekend, while the boys were watching the Super Bowl, I asked my MIL over to teach me how to sew.

We started working on a play quilt for Jujube (though somehow I got talked into making a lap quilt instead of a crib quilt), but cutting took so much longer than I thought that by the end of the night, we had just barely started to sew. I am happy to report that I caught up and finished assembling the quilt top all by myself. Sure some of the corners don't line up perfectly, but I am still stoked. So far, it was much simpler than I expected and I really like how it's coming together. Except that I don't know what to do next so I better make a date with my MIL soon!

I also got another visit from my mailman this morning. My Olympic disaster has been averted! I got two new new addis in smaller sizes from Elann. Talk about speedy service: I ordered them on Friday! One thing about Elann: they never let you down. Plus, the service is impecable. Plus, I love how they wrap everything (books are placed in a plastic bag and wrapped carefully in craft paper, the addis were wrapped in bubble wrap and as usual, the yarn is snuggled in a clear bag). Ahh, how I love that place ;0)

And, because as you know, it is impossible to place an order at a yarn shop and come out of it with just two needles, I also ordered some of the new Uros Aran (wool/llama) to make the Menorah pillow from Handknit Holidays for a family friend. The pattern called for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and I am hoping this will be a good (and much less costly) substitute. We'll have to wait and see cause I probably won't get started on that one for a while seeing as it's only due in December '07. I picked up a couple of Sock it to me sock yarn too. I really love this yarn. It's inexpensive and in my opinion far superior to Confetti. And finally, I got Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. It is such a wonderful book. There are 25 shawl patterns from around the world. They are made from heavier yarns (no lace weight yarns here, folks) so they knit up faster and keep you nice and warm. I want to knit half of these!

Alas, I don't know when I'll get to cast on for these either since I am booked solid knitwise for the next couple months. Did I mention that I joined the Odessa KAL? And Lolly's Project Spectrum? Of course, both will have to wait until the Olympics are through...

So much to knit, so little time ;0)

Friday, February 03, 2006

No sick days for mommies!

So it's 4:45 pm the other day and all of a sudden I get this really bad headache. Then I suddenly get really really nauseous. And then I get really, really sleepy. Like I-can't-keep-my-eyes-open sleepy. Just then Julian wakes up from his nap and starts smiling and cooing at me. Bad timing. I can't call my husband because he's already on the train on his way home from work and it's not like he can make it go any faster. So I manage to pick Julian up and bring him upstairs in bed with me and he was such a good boy. It's like he could sense I wasn't feeling well and he just lay there in the crook of my arm playing with his new sheep, Babaji (pictured here with the beginnings of bristow), until my husband came home at around 6 pm. And then just as suddenly as it came over me, I felt all better again. Weird, eh? Oh, and by the way, I'm not pregnant so that's not it. For the first time since I've been home taking care of the little guy, it occured to me that there are no sick days for mommies. No matter how crappy you feel, you have to somehow get it together so you can care for the little ones. That thought just freaked me out. Now I'm all paranoid about getting sick! Thankfully, I'm not sick very often so it's not really a pressing concern, but still...

Alright, long boring story over...now let's get to the knittin'! I finished knitting the willow leaf mat from handknit holidays, but couldn't find a suitable frame in the house to put it in. So here it is without the frame (you'll have to imagine it ;0) I don't think I'll be knitting this one again. Unlike the cable leaf mat, this one is a pain in the neck to knit. The corners are 'afterthought' corners and, come to think of it, just might have caused the mystery illness!

I also cast on for bristow (the lovely red knit posing with Babaji in the top photo). I used my Olympic knitting addi's and they really do seem to turbo up the knitting. I've got half the back done in one day. That's really speedy for me! Oh, and why am I using my Olympic needles for another project so close to cast-on day you ask? Well I decided to train (aka swatch) the other night and the needles are too big for my Olympic cardigan. I don't have smaller addis. I panicked. I logged on to elann and ordered a couple more addis (to be safe) and now I wait... I really hope I get them in time. Please, mailman, please!!!