Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lace cable photo mat

I cast on for the lace cable photo mat (another great project from Handknit Holidays...did I mention that I love that book?) on Saturday and just put the finishing touches on it this morning. For such a small project it sure did take a lot of time. I am thrilled with the results though. I knit it from Peruvian Silk in celadon (our wedding colour) and I think it adds a special touch to one of my favourite wedding photos. I hope I have enough yarn left to knit the willow leaf mat in a 5x7 size. I'd love to frame one of Julian's newborn pics in a similar but not too matchy-matchy way.

Speaking of the little guy, he has a tooth! It's not out all the way yet but you can certainly feel a sharp tooth there now. So one down, how many to go?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Counterpane Pouch

I found another project to distract me from those darn socks: The counterpane accessories pouch from Handknit Holidays. While I don't know if I have a use for such a bag, it sure looks impressive, doesn't it?

And it's all lies. Lies, I tell you. This little number took less than 5 hours and used up less than $3 of Bernat Satin Yarn (which is a great "costume jewelry" version of the recommended La Lana Bombyx Silk). The sheen of the Bernat Satin is great for this application and the gauge was right on. Plus it used up another odd ball (boy am I earning my new stash yarn or what?).

Now all I need is a zipper (oh and figure out how to actually install a zipper) and some cute fabric to line it with, and voila! Another day of Christmas sock procrastination complete! Yay!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Presenting Tweed-y Bear

So I attempted to duplicate stitch a "J" on Julian's raglan sweater while watching the election night results come in on Monday and it was a total disaster. I spent a few hours stitching it on and then another couple of hours ripping out each stitch. The yarn was too heavy and it really pulled on the sweater. Blah! But luckily the sweater now looks exactly as it did before I tried to embelish it. I think I'm going to keep it that way.

The silver lining though is that the "J" chart I was using was from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies which had been shelved for quite a while. In flipping through it again, the pattern for this adorable bear caught my eye. Can you say stashbusting, anyone? I had a small ball of Classic Elite tweed left over from the Irish Hiking Scarf which was exactly enough to make tweedy here. Knitting him up was quick and easy (just like I like 'em!) but seaming up took almost as long as knitting him up! Once all seamed up, I realised that I should have perhaps stuffed him more. He does look a bit on the floppy side. I would unseam him a little to stuff him some more, except that I did such a terrific job seaming it that I can't actually tell stitches from seaming stitches! So I'm not going to mess up with him and instead call him done. Actually, I think I'll call him Tweed-y bear!

I was glad to use up another odd ball in the stash for this project. Actually, that wasn't my motivation for knitting him (I'm still trying to avoid my sister's second sock) but it's always nice! I also was very excited earlier in the week to get a comment from a friend and colleague (I didn't think anyone I knew actually read this!) with a great tip for what to do with all those bits of yarn that are really, really, too small to knit anything with: give them to a weaver! Apparantly, they can make lovely patterns with little bits of yarn. Thanks for the tip Marie-Michele! I'll definately keep those seperately from now on and call around to find someone who can weave them up. It's the ultimate reduce (my personal stash), reuse (in another crafty way), and recycle (must replenish the stash)!

Thanks also for everyone that left teething tips. We have to go face cloth shopping this weekend because all of the baby face cloths we currently own are either in the freezer, in Julian's mouth, or in the laundry waiting to be frozen again. Frozen face cloths: they're a good thing! Much better than tweedy who is cute...but no match for teeth!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ding dong the mailman's here

It always makes my day when I hear my doorbell ring between 9:30 and 10:30 in the morning. Like a kid on Christmas morning I perk up, stumble down the stairs, and rush to the door to greet...my beloved mailman. Such a nice jolly man he is and he always bears gifts!

Today, he brought me Peruvian Highland Wool in Ruby which I am planning to use to knit Bristow, a ball of Peruvian Highland Silk in celadon (my wedding colour) to knit some lace photo mats for some wedding pics, and my Olympic calibre knitting equipment: 2 addi turbo circs!

Oh my! I'm getting a yarn headache. You know the kind when you just want to cast on everything at once? It's like brain freeze for knitters: you know exactly what's causing it but it's so yummy and pleasurable that you can't stop yourself.

I've never knit with Elann's highland wool before and really want to give it a go (especially since I just bought 16 balls of the stuff!), plus Bristow looks like a fun knit with lots of mindless stockinette and just enough fancy stitches here and there to keep it interesting. I've been curious about the lace photomats ever since I got the book and wonder if they're doable or too tricky to attempt with a teething baby in the midst. Then there's the Knitting Olympics...I've got the pattern, the yarn and now the needles worthy of an Olympic knitter but I think I should keep my training (swatching) for the day before just in case I'm loving the addis and astrakhan too much to put aside for another 2 weeks while waiting for the flame to be lit.

Of course there's the other matter of the Christmas socks I'm (still) knitting for my sister which I haven't even looked at since the tragic double-wide charcoal stripe incident. I really should get back to those...but I cast on for the log cabin socks instead this morning. I'm knitting them out of stash alpaca and am not sure how that will work out because (a) I don't know if pure alpaca is durable enough for socks even if they are housesocks and will likely never see the inside of a shoe, and (b) it might just be too soft and fuzzy to show the cabling which is, let's face it, the point of these socks.

Then again, I think Julian has other ideas...

Sure he is sleepng peacefully in my lap as I write this (with my left hand...it's real s-l-o-w going, but i'm a dedicated blogger ;0) but his bottom teeth are poised to make their appearance. We noticed a purple bump on his gums last night and he's been wailing lots since. We've tried Tempra which sort of works but only for about an hour and a half at a time leavng an excruciating 2 and a half hours before the next dose. We've tried homeopathic Camilia which doesn't seem to do anything. And of course cool jellies to bite on. No luck. I feel so helpless when he goes into that "painful" cry. He just stares at me with the warm tears gushing from those pretty little eyes in a look that says "MOMMY, why aren't you helping me" and I just feel so helpless. Hopefully they'll be out in the next day or so. If anyone has any tips on what else might soothe him, please share.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Knit the vote

Today is election day in Canada and if you haven't yet done so, don't forget to make yourself heard. Somebody smart (I'm thinking Plato?) once said that the cost of not participating in a democracy is accepting to be ruled by your inferiors. Enough said!

I finished Julian's raglan sweater last night. It was a really quick knit and used up the stash of that yarn to within a few yards which is great because I can never bring myself to throw out any oddments that can still be made into a ball, no matter how small. But what to do with all those tiny balls? Well I'm glad I don't even have a tiny ball of this one left so my January stashbusting mission is accomplished!

I'm also really pleased that all the math in the pattern worked out great. I knit the sweater a little bigger than the babe so he could grow into it and it actually turned out exactly the way I was hoping it would. Plus top-down is such a great way to knit: you get to see a sweater as you go as as opposed to a rectangle (this is incredibly motivating), you can then tailor the fit as you go by trying it on, and best of all when you're done you're done because there is no seaming whatsoever! Yay!

And the little guy loves it too. It's very cushy and cozy and he loves wearing it (especially now that there are no needles hanging out of it). I'm thinking of duplicate stitching his initial on the front. I have a chart for it, but am not sure if I have a nice contrasting yarn in the same weight.

I'll have to do some digging to find out...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Raglan joy!

I haven't been stashbusting in a while (I blame Christmas knitting) and yesterday the conscience got to me (right after I ordered more yarn from elann). Plus, I'm running out of room to keep all this yarn so I decided to look for a quick and easy way to clear out a couple of skeins to make room for the 16 balls of wool I should be receiving in 1-2 weeks!

I came across this gem of a pattern while looking for a simple roll-neck raglan pattern for an infant sweater. It does involve math (ugh) but it is so well explained and so simple that its worth whipping out the calculator for. The pattern is custom-fit for anyone in any size and with a wonderful seamless top-down construction. I came across it yesterday and am still feeling warm with excitement.

So I measured my little guy carefully, added some ease, confronted the stash and ta-da: my January stashbuster is on the needles. The yarn is really old stash. It's also unidentified which is totally okay 'cause the pattern is for any yarn and any needle size.

It's a real quick knit too. In fact, I'm already down to the arm-pit. This knit is flying off the needles. Bonus: I can try it on really easily as I knit to get the perfect width and length. As you can probably tell, I'm totally ga-ga over this pattern. And did I mention that it is free? Ah, the Internet!

I really feel like I've fallen in an alternate universe...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Purl and meme

My sister is coming over to spend the day tomorrow so I've been working on her Christmas socks. Yeah, I know. Christmas is long gone but the 2 circ thing is really not working for me. I loath working on these socks. If I had DPNs in the right size I'd be okay, but I don't so I'm at best unstable when it comes to these. Anyhow, I finally finished the first and started the second. I was careful to start at the same spot in the colour sequence, which was working well for the first 3 colour changes, and then there was a big band of charcoal gray, and I mean really disproportionately huge, and completely out of sequence. Completely. Now I don't usually swear at my socks but WTF? So back in the knitting basket it goes until I. Calm. Down.

So in the meantime, let me introduce you to my new blog pet, Purl. There she is in my sidebar. Ain't she a cutie? I adopted her from bunny hero labs yesterday and seriously can't stop playing with her! She loves to "follow the cursor" and if you click on her, she hops onto her wheel. Hours of fun plus you never have to feed or change her...now that's a pet I can handle!

Speaking of fun, Samantha tagged me for this meme though I had to change around some of the categories since my life is too boring and I'd rather not have a written record of such. Heehee! For instance, one of the original categories was "4 places you've lived" and I haven't lived in 4 places. Or worse "4 places you've been on vacation" and 3 of them are within a 3 hour drive and the other is the Quebec part of Florida! So I kinda stirred in some of the "7 things meme" to make up for the nixed categories. So here's my 4-things-meets-7-things meme:

Seven Things To Do Before I Die

  • Get another degree in something fun like architecure or environmental studies or teaching.
  • Hike up Mount Washington (the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard).
  • Teach my children to love God, live productively and serve humanity.
  • Take a train across Canada from shining sea to shining sea.
  • Have 6 children (apparently it's my destiny).
  • Learn to quilt.
  • Accept myself. Truely. Completely.

Four Movies you could watch over and over

Seven songs I Play Over and Over Again

Four TV Shows you love to watch

Seven Things I Say Most Often

  • He's so cute!
  • I love you
  • We're out of Coca-Cola
  • I have to pee
  • What's it like outside?
  • We need to go to Home Depot
  • Did you call the photographer?

Four of your favourite foods

  • Mexican
  • Anything grilled
  • Potatoes any way
  • Hearty soups

Tag, you're it!!! I've got to go find a screetch substitute (since I'm still nursing and can't drink my sock sorrows away) and figure out what to do with those socks. I can't wait to move on to another project...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Presenting the Great Shoedini

One (of my many) quirks is that I have to have one foot out to the world at all times. When I'm all tucked in nice and warm under my duvet at night...there is always a foot sticking out in the cold night. I hardly ever wear socks or shoes in the house. At the office, I usually take my shoes off under my desk and always wear loafers or other slip-on shoes so I can discreetly take them off and put them back on during a meeting (or at the movies, or in the car...). I don't know why I do this. I just do. Sometimes, this releives nausea. Sometimes it cools me down. Sometimes it's just nice to feel the air between my toes.

When Julian was born, the resemblance with his dad was just striking. We were often stopped by strangers everywhere first because he was a baby and everyone wants a look-see, but then they were all struck at the resemblance and spent minutes looking back at forth and Julian and my husband listing all the features that were exactly alike. Now I love his dad and consider him the most beautiful man in the world, but it bothered me that our son seemingly had not taken any of my features or traits. Nothing. It was like my genes lost every fight. I was hoping to impart some Anny-ness through nurture 'cause it didn't seem like nature contributed much in that sense. That is, until the day he did this...

He likes to stick his foot out too! And he hasn't yet found a sock or shoe he can't work off. So tonight, we dubbed him the Great Shoedini! A suitable name I think ;0)

In knitting news, you'll remember that I started a Panta. In fact I even joined the panta-along. It looked cool. The yarn was nice. Heck it was even fun to knit. But my was it unflattering on my head once completed. Really unflattering. I could hardly look at myself in the mirror while wearing it. Then I mustered the courage to show my husband. He giggled like a schoolgirl. Apparantly it's not just in my mind, it is that bad! And I thought I had a pretty normal head. Guess I was wrong on that one. It is an FO though. Here's a pic of shoedini wearing it. It does look very cute on him, but then again everything does...

Well, it's back to sock knitting for me I guess! Oh, and check out Yarn Harlot's blog for details on the 2006 knitting olympics. I'm definately in. More on my event later this week. Go Canada Go!

Happy knitting!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hringur's on a hanger

I completed my Lopi Hringur sweater over the holidays but then kept putting off the weaving in of the ends. Then I kept putting off the wet block. Then it took days and days to dry. But today it is finally finished, done, complete, folded up and in the closet.

Here's a picture of my honey wearing his first ever knitted gift from moi. It's a shame isn't it? 9 years together and this is his first Anny knit. Poor Gooney Goo Goo! Well at least it was a big undertaking. The biggest ever: it's my first adult garment, my first fair isle project, my first Lopi, my first kit, my first wet block...you get the idea ;0)

This was definately a stretch zone project for me and I am thrilled with how it turned out in the end. THRILLED! My husband loves it too...especially the "love in every stitch" as he calls it. Well not exactly. Actually that's a total lie: the intention was full of love, but the execution was another story...like I said it was a very long knit! The whole thing is knit in the round so that progress seemed so s-l-o-w. And then when I finally got to the yoke (finally!), I meticulously twisted the yarns at every colour change which was every few stitches, 292 stitches around because I didn't know that you only need to do that for intarsia colourwork. Once I figured out what I was doing was fair isle and that fair isle doesn't require so much ball gymnastics (with like 10 rows of colourwork left) this actually became enjoyable to knit again. There may have been love in every stitch in those last 10 rows. LOL!

It certainly was a rewarding project though...makes me want to start another grown-up sweater. I've been wanting to knit the Debbie Bliss Astrakhan cardigan from the fall Vogue ever since I turned the page and saw it. I have the yarn waiting for it and everything. Though I feel I need to get in a couple quick knits first to bust some stash. Plus, it's been a while since I made a sweater for Jujube and as he is getting bigger, so are the baby projects so I better get as many of them in as possible while he's still small. Hee hee!


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Panta is on the needles!

I finally started my Panta for the Panta-along. I had a hard time choosing yarn for it. I have so much stash yarn that fits the bill but it was hard picking one to coordinate with my other winter accessories. I finally settled on the Phildar Partner in aviateur. It is a really nice cushy yarn that is 50% polyamide, 25% wool, and 25% acrylic for washability. I have one ball leftover from a sweater and hat I knit for Julian in the fall. The catch is that the pattern uses about 75 yards and this ball has 71 yards. So I'm hoping that it'll work out. So far so good. I spent about half an hour knitting this morning and am already well into the third section.

There's nothing like the thrill of a quick knit, is there?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Back to normal

My husband was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off after Christmas and it's been really nice to have him home. We got to see a movie on the big screen (our first since baby), watched our Christmas DVDs, played Nintendo, and spent loads of time playing and cuddling with the baby. Not to be outdone, Julian learned to sit up on his own...just like that! My husband was holding him up and then let go to see what would happen and to our amazement, Julian just kept sitting on his own for several minutes. He's surprisingly stable and loves his new vantage point. So now, we really need to crawler-proof our house... We already purchased most of the contraptions but (though it was on our to do list these past 2 weeks) we haven't gotten around to installing any of them yet.

But today, it's just Julian and me around the house and everything seems just a little weird without daddy around. He's back at work this morning and we're a little sad to see him go (though it's also kinda nice to have everything back to normal). We've been getting up late and getting to bed at the wee hours of the morning every day for the last two weeks, we've been eating like college frat boys (including our classic Coke and Doritos breakfast), and we've been putting everything off like the master procrastinators that we are. So today, it's kinda nice to have thinks return to normal. It is also the day my new year's resolutions kick in (cause it's hard to resolve when you're on one of your two yearly 'vacations').

In the hope that writing them down will make them somehow mmore concrete, here are my new year's resolutions:

  1. Knit for the pleasure of it...not just to "finish it."
  2. Be more frugal.
  3. Play more.
  4. Learn to drive: that's right, I don't know how!
  5. Sow grass: this summer will be our third one in our newly built house and since construction is now complete on our street and I am not pregnant anymore, we ran out of excuses.
  6. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  7. Drink more water: take it easy on the Caffeine Free Diet Coca-Cola (a.k.a. vitamine C and D).
  8. Plan family meals and add 1 new recipe to my repertoire every month.
  9. Sell stuff we don't use on eBay or Amazon in an effort to de-clutter while earning some yarn and pizza money.
  10. Stop being a slave to the TV: if there's nothing on, turn it off!

So far, I'm doing good on numbers 2, 7 and 10. Good thing there's a whole year ahead in which to work on these...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Heart Warmer shawl

I picked up a copy of Melanie Falick's Handknit Holidays right before Christmas and if you don't have it already (I know I'm kinda late jumping onto this bandwagon...there's even a KALwhich I would like to join when the yarn gets here), you should get to a bookstore (or your library if you are lucky) and take a look at it. Or if you can't get to either this instant, check out savannahchik's blog for photos and yarn requirements for every project in the book. I've got lots of knitting books and this one has got by far the highest percentage of things I'd actually knit than any other. Most of the projects are a little challenging for me so knitting them will be an exercise in determination and follow-through which happen to be my knitting goals for 2006.

First up: the heart warmer shawl (pictured). I just ordered Jamieson Shetland Spindrift lace weight wool for it and since it's going to be a long project for me (the whole thing is knit with laceweight on US 1 needles!) I also splurged on my first pair of Addi turbo circs. I can't wait to get started on it, but since some of the colours I need are backordered I'll have to be a little more patient (also on the 2006 resolution list). The shopkeeper thinks she'll be able to get them to me in 2-3 weeks which gives me just enough time to finish up all those "Christmas projects" that are still hanging around here. I'm really, REALLY almost done my husband's Hringur sweater. I just need to weave in ends and block it. More details on that FO to come. And my sister's socks? I'm still not finished the first one. Turns out I hate knitting on two circs! It's so slow going for me...guess that's why the sock's been untouched on my nightstand since the week before Christmas.

Courage ma chere...

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Happy New Year everyone! May the joy of the season stay with you throughout the new year. Good health, love and happiness to all ;0)

I'm going to look back fondly on 2005. It's only been a few hours since it set and yet just the thought of it brings forth a smile I can't suppress.
I was 3 months pregnant this time last year, and all of the first trimester symptoms were beginning to fade. My belly was beginning to show and I got to listen to my baby's heartbeat for the first time. My husband began to settle into a new job, a better job where his talents were not being over-looked. In the evenings, he dutifully made me pastrami sandwiches on toast with a scrape of mustard and watched poker on the telly with me, stroking my hair until I fell asleep.

I got to wear flattering clothes with elastic waists and lots of tummy room. I didn't need to worry about my weight (a great perk of pregnancy). I day-dreamed a lot about motherhood and baby names and nursery colours and which playpen is the best suited to our family room! Work was an absolute joy...there is something about knowing you'll be getting a year off that makes you really enjoy your time at the office leading up to it. My colleagues were so amazing and supportive. Even my boss had loads of advice. He told me my new boss (the little bundle of joy) would be much more demanding and not quite as understanding and while he was right, my new boss is also pretty cool ;0)

I was so worried in my last few days at the office that I would be lonely at home and that I would feel less accomplished somehow. I think I cried about it every night. I knew I would miss my colleagues, who happen to be my best friends, terribly. I feared that if I wasn't an Associate Director of Corporate Research, I wouldn't know who I was anymore. I was going to miss taking the train home with my husband every night. I was going to miss the chickpea salad and the salmon pie at that place downstairs in my building. I really loved my life and was so defined by what I did that I thought I would lose myself if I didn't do all those things everyday.

Then, on June 25th, our son was born and our lives changed forever. Everything they say about it is true. I used to joke around when I was pregnant that my husband and I had a love so great that we needed to create another person to contain it! The irony is that when our little Jujube was born my love for everything in this world grew exponentially. Suddenly life was sweeter, my capacity for joy was greater, my ability to relate to others was deepened, the universe started to make sense and my faith was renewed. Not a day has gone by since that I haven't been awed at the wonder of this little being whom we were blessed to bring into the world and thankful that somehow, in some way, this great joy came into our lives.

Of course, there are days when I miss my old life. Being a stay-at-home mom sure has it's countless rewards, but it can also be mind-numbing. Wearing jammies and sweats all day everyday is a treat, but every once in a while I miss getting ready for work. I miss wearing nice clean pressed clothing. I miss wearing a watch and having my day broken down in a predictable way everyday. I miss coffee breaks and catching up with everyone. I miss weekend dates with my honey (we haven't been out together since our son was born!). I look back fondly at life before baby, but I know there is truly nowhere I'd rather be than right here, right now ;0)

2005 was also the year that I picked up knitting again...and though it seems like such a little thing, it also has changed my life in many ways. In the early days of motherhood it was something to pass the time when baby was asleep but it has become self-actualising for me. It is meditative, it brings me a daily opportunity to learn, to day-dream (usually about great wool!), to realise my potential, and to share in a concrete way with those I love and knit for, but also with those I knit with (that's probably you ;0)

Well, it is nearly 6 in the morning on January 1. 2006 and as I write this, the two great loves of my life are snoring next to me in bed. The adrenaline of the evening is wearing thin and I am eager to curl up and join them. So far, 2006 looks very promising.

I hope they let me sleep in really late...