Archive for April, 2007

My parents have filed a protest.  My mother claims that she did not sign any kind of release for her picture to appear in my banner, and my father does not remember saying I could use one of his photographs in my banner.  Can I help it that it’s a great picture of the expanse of the prairies? (Taken from the Cypress Hills in south western Saskatchewan)  Before she jumps on the bandwagon, the other figure in the picture is my sister Heather.  As soon as I get off my butt and take a picture of the Majestic Plains, I will remove the attractive-yet-offending picture from my blog.  I will send a cut of all my royalties to the injured parties, and we can all get together over a picnic on the long weekend in May and laugh about the whole misunderstanding.


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I think my biorythms have been low this week.  The prom must have taken more out of me than I thought.  (I keep thinking I can still stay up until midnight.  Well, I can, but I feel it for the next week, and not in a good way, either.)  When I feel blah, I can’t even concentrate on the simplest knitting project, so I have not accomplished great things this week.  I am only this far

cabled-hat.jpginto the cabled hat (I foolishly thought I’d have it done by now), although I must say since I switched to a circular instead of dpn’s it’s going much quicker.  This is why I will never be a member of that elite group who are knitting all kinds of wonderful footwear- every couple of years I knit a pair of socks of some description or other, just enough to reinforce in my mind why it is that I don’t knit them more often.  I love to browse the patterns, and marvel at Cookie’s designs, I just don’t feel like knitting them all the time.  I was feeling like Lene, but by the time I thought it through, I realized that one does not have to accomplish every single skill in the knitting universe to call oneself a Knitter with a Capital K.  (That is my excuse for avoiding the following:  Fair Isle (one or two handed, doesn’t matter), Intarsia, socks, steeking, fitted sweaters, zippers, chenille yarn, baby bonnets, entrelac on the diagonal, mittens, gloves, and the list goes on.   And will doubtless be added to as soon as I find another technique in which I have no interest.  ) (Beethoven did not compose any jazz, yet he is still acknowledged as a pretty good composer.)  This leaves me with lace and cables.  That’s okay.

Another thing that has been taking up time this week is the back yard.  I spent the morning emptying this


and tomorrow’s project will be to knock it down.  This is what I had to do while I was removing old paddles, patio furniture, gas cans, ski racks, etcetera:


Dog Soccer.  Wallace dribbles with his front paws, steers with his nose, and Attie lurks behind bushes and tackles him when he least expects it.  I am in charge of the kickoff.  These two definitely don’t pull their weight with yardwork.  And please, don’t point out that Wallace is playing with a basketball.  He doesn’t care, as long as it’s round.

Every spring we get about a foot of water in the back corner of the shed, and according to the city “plan”, it’s supposed to drain that direction.  Everyone else seems to have just built up their yards (sadly, there are no back alleys in this neighborhood) so our shed is the low spot.  Well, two can play that game.  We’re knocking it down and regrading the back yard.   Mike and I are great with the yellow pages and a phone, not so good with the business end of the shovel, if you know what I mean..  So, with all the planning and talking to landscapers and carpenters and buying a new shed at Costco (which we are going to attempt to put together ourselves- might need marriage counselling by the end; kind of like wallpapering together.  If you’ve never done it with your spouse (wallpapering, that is), don’t.) I have been knocked off my regular routine.  This week coming up should be better.  I have no committments and may have found a frog-worthy project for the grey laceweight.  All it takes is talking about it and I’m starting to get excited!  Let’s see where this goes.

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Post Prom Post

Well, the prom is over and we lived through it.  My son looked fabulous; the kids all looked way older than they usually do, there were hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of prom dresses (some more elaborate than wedding dresses), and, as Mike kept reminding me slightly smugly, we have boys.  There were no classes for the students Friday afternoon, but we made Andy go in the morning.  This was in spite of his protestations that “No one goes in the morning.  Anyway, I’ve got a tee time booked.”  I had to explain (gently, I thought) that if he was going for a massage and a hairdo and to get his nails and makeup done and it was going to take all day to get ready for the prom, then maybe we’d let him off the hook for the morning classes, but golfing is not related in any way to a banquet and dance.  I am such a hardass.  He had very favourable teacher-student ratios in all three of his classes (one to one in English) (I guess he was right- no-one does go in the morning), and still managed to get dressed in time.  I dropped him at a friend’s house where they had hired a limo to pick them up and drive around for an hour before the banquet and  I went home to try to decide what to wear.  I ended up in a little black dress (with a really grownup foundation garment- I am getting old) (and rounder) (or is that more ripply?), a white poncho-shawl thing

 (Sally Melville strikes again.) and The Shoes.  I carried a little black clutch


of my own design (I have a white one too, for before Labour Day) (big enough for me, but small enough that Mike had to carry his own wallet and keys.).  (Where is it written that the woman is responsible for her partner’s luggage?  Could this be a tacit acknowledgement of men’s inability to look after their own stuff, or does it mean we’re seen as pack mules?)  My feet made it to midnight, I think it was the dancing “whot done them in”,  and I wore my runners all day yesterday.  I have no idea how people wear heels every day, especially in a job where’s they’re on their feet all day.  I’m such a wimp!

On the knitting front (and somedays it does feel like a battlefield) I have finished the cabled scarf:

dog-scarf.jpg  scarf-on-chair.jpg

and have cast on for a matching hat.  It was really fun to do all those cables, and I should have the hat done in time for some really hot weather.

I am in the process of joining the “Slogalong Blog“.  There really is comfort in group procrastination!  This is what I’m going to submit: 
I usually knit quickly, and the pattern is simple, but I don’t trust the wool not to break if I go my usual speed.  My eyes are not as good as they were when I started this (must be 10 years ago), so if I can manage one 4-row repeat every month or so, I give myself a hero cookie.  If it’s done when I reach my end, please don’t bury me in it.  (I have any number of finished articles that the world can do without seeing again.  In fact I would be doing the world a favour!) Frame it and put it on the wall or something.  I think I may be procrastinating because I am terrified by the prospect of blocking it.

I also have been procrastinating on this:


This is Marilyn van Keppel’s Faroese Shawl from here.  I started it and then realized that I had already knit it, and I hate to do another one the same.  I also hate to frog it unless I have some other inspirational project all lined up and ready to go.

Well, I have to toddle off and do some really noisy housework.  Andy is sleeping and I suspect that he was a little naughty last night and may have a headache when he wakes up, so it is my privelege, nay my duty as a mother to wake him up early.  My mother used to throw the dog’s ball into my bed when she wanted to get me up.  (That dog would dig through cement to get the ball so bedclothes were no challenge and it always woke me up.)  (“What?  Were you still sleeping?  Well, you might as well get up and come to church with us.”)

Later that same day:  Well, it is now 3 in the afternoon.  I got Andy up at 9:00am with some really loud Heart guitar music (and I sang along).   Then I thought I’d wash my floors, and it’s taken me until now to finish up here.  Off to make supper! Have a great week.

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Today I am so frustrated with my black debacle sweater that I am going to fly off on a tangent.  Please excuse me.

Andrew has his grade 12 prom on Friday.  My friend Linda (whose daughter is also graduating) and I thought we might wear our wedding dresses since we don’t get much opportunity to, and it is, after all, a dressup affair.  Then we thought, no.  The anticipated humiliation of the children would not outweigh the fact that our dresses are both substantially more “peekaboo” than they were 20- some years ago.  Okay, just a nice cocktail dress and we’ll leave the princess gowns to the grads (and more than a few cougar moms).  My dilemma with dressing up always seems to centre on my feet.  I have narrow feet, and because I usually have to spend a lot on my shoes, I tend to wear them for years, and consequently, I buy boring styles.  But today I thought, this is my youngest child graduating high school, I am going to buy fancy shoes.  Now, this


is my regular, everyday footwear.  Usually with socks.

After checking at one of two stores in town who have narrow dress shoes, I almost abandoned my quest.  I mean, three little black straps with fake crystals on them for $320.00?  (Canadian, mind you, so that converts to ….still too darned much in any currency.)  I trudged to the other store and came up with


Nice, eh?  They are so out of character (and were less than a quarter of the price of the shoes at the other place) for me, but the ironic part of this is I don’t know what else I’m wearing Friday night.  I don’t own a nice little cocktail dress; I have business clothes left over from when I worked at the bank, I have jeans, and I have stuff fancy enough for New Year’s Eve.  I have an assortment of hand-knit shawls, suitable to wear over- you guessed it- cocktail dresses, but I just never got to the part where I actually acquire a dress.  I have cute little evening bags (but nothing this cute!).   I still have 48 hours, so with all the money I saved by not buying the expensive shoes, maybe I can find a dress?  Nothing like shopping under pressure.

May the force be with me.

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Roots and Wings

Andy got home from his trip last night.  In chatting with the other parents at the airport before the flight got in, I discovered that we’re a little more willing to loosen off the old apron strings than some other parents.  Many of the parents were horrified that Andy didn’t call home at least once, whereas Mike and I were unconcerned.  As I told Andy before he left, “If it’s important, the chaperones/RCMP/Interpol will call.”.   We wanted him to call last year on his Italian Oddyssy, but he didn’t, so this year we thought we wouldn’t put that kind of pressure on him.  In place of the Louis Diamond (still in repose on the bottom of the Aegean), they were on another cruise ship that was registered in Cyprus.  Now, my grasp on European politics is, well, slippery at best, but apparently Turkey is pissed at Cyprus for some reason or another, so the boat couldn’t go to Kusidasi  (in Turkey).  Andy wasn’t too upset as the substitute port was an island (the name of which escapes him) where there was quite a wine industry.  Being 18, Andy felt justified in trying some wine.  And then some more.  I am not sure what the cultural advantage was with all the wine-drinking.  I will likely have to remain in the dark on that one.

Pictures:  Andy outdid himself.  Lots of pictures of tired ragamuffins in the various airports, but LOTS of great pictures of Greek ruins.  I present a few:   


We are really very small.  Speaking for myself, I am kind of weak as well.


This is a floor mosaic- it made me think of Ruth’s pixellations!


This is just like any Saturday night at our house.

Well, I think we’ve done a good job of giving our son wings- he is becoming a seasoned traveller (at least when he’s got a chaperone), and he’s seeing the world.  It’s also allowing me to live vicariously through his experiences, although we may have our own trip to Greece next year for our 25th anniversary.

In the meantime, I knit.   



Very cool reversible cabled scarf (yes, it was up to 18 degrees today.)  Attie is malleable, moreso because of the pain killers she’s on after her dental “procedure” on Friday.  It’s amazing what I  will knit to avoid finishing, oh, say, the pink bamboo cowl neck. 


I guess my arms aren’t as long as I thought they were.  I was aimiing for a little cardigan and ended up with a jacket.  This yarn also relaxed and softened a bit when I washed it (by hand, dried flat).  It’s Marks and Kattens Dream, the pattern is my own and will go with me to the grave.  You’re welcome.   I’ll take a  poll at Prairie Lily on Wednesday, and see if anyone can think of an easy way to shorten the sleeves.  Four inches.  I am so lazy…


The Random Purl sweater- the purls don’t show up well in the picture, and I am not the world’s best photographer, but I’ve worn this several times and I like the way it fits.  The weather is cooperating- not too warm, not too cool, so I don’t have to sacrifice comfort for vanity. 

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Friday Potpourri

I feel so naked without my camera.  (I think it’s having to come up with that extra thousand words.)  I am avoiding casting on Mike’s sweater (I don’t know why) and have cast on a scarf using Lynn’s as a guide.  It’s a reversible cable number, with four repeats of 6-stitch cable on each side.  I haven’t cabled for years (Alice Starmore wears me out- picture next week some time) but this is lots of fun.  I’m using Paton’s Decor, mostly because I had some.  It’s not really soft, but if I zap it with steam when it’s done, it should relax and be a little less schproing-ee.  (That is now a word.  Trust me.)

I have been reflecting on Ruth’s colour series, and was prompted to check out my own library.  Jonathan Poore has written an excellent reference for “architects, interior designers and homeowners”, and fibre artists: Interior Color by Design .  My edition is from 1994, but I noticed on Amazon that there is a new softcover edition from 2006.  It is an excellent reference book, even if it doesn’t have the nice flower shots that Ruth includes.  It does have lots of sample combinations that could be of some use in choosing fibre colours.

Andy comes home from his adventure on Sunday.  I’m interested to know what ship they were on for the cruise part, since the Louis Diamond is still resting on the bottom of the Aegean Sea by Santorini.  I also hope we get better pictures than last year’s trip to Italy.

I spent yesterday afternoon on the phone getting my e-mail and virus protection set up on the new computer.  It’s a good thing I’m patient: the one thing I hate hearing from the tech support guy is “Wow.  I’ve never had it do that before.  Let me talk to my supervisor.”  The only thing I haven’t been able to do so far is import my email contact list from the old computer.  That will have to wait for another day, since I’m off to pick up the dog at the university.  She came through her surgery swimmingly, and now all I have to do is brush her teeth twice a day for the rest of her life.  No problem.  I do, however, refuse to floss.

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I have just returned from the veterinary college at the University, where I have found that Attie the retriever has a mild case of trench mouth.  This puts my standing as Dog’s Mother of the Year in jeopardy, and the upshot is that my yarn budget is being redirected towards a “procedure” for Attie’s teeth.  I hate it when that happens, but she’s more important.  Now all I have to do is break the news to Mike…

I did finish the edgings on the black cardigan, and just have to run the ends in.  I hope I never have the poor judgement to knit an all-black garment again.  I think I like the sweater, at least I hope I still like it, but really, isn’t that the problem with UFO’s that hang around for months?  The thrill is gone…

Later:  I just got off the phone with my dear husband, who, much to my surprise, did not freak out about the veterinary investment.  We are somewhat attached to the dog, although I think if the estimate had been, say, $10,000.00, the reaction might have been different.  So, it’s off to the dog hospital tomorrow to get Attie’s roots planed.  (Yes, it’s as gross as it sounds.)

At S&B yesterday morning, we welcomed Lynn back from Vancouver Island, where she spent a few months hanging around various wool shops taking classes and inspiring the rest of us.  She had a Cat Bordi bag that makes me want to investigate moebius knitting, and a reversible cabled scarf from Misti Alpaca worsted that is just too neat for words.  (Too bad I didn’t take a picture; hopefully there will be some good shots of Greece and the Aegean Sea on my camera when it comes back on Sunday!)  She also took a course in needle felting, and we’re trying to convince her that she needs to teach us all.  There just isn’t enough time in the day to do all the stuff I want to do (to say nothing of the housework that gets ignored).

Now that I’ve shown some discipline in finishing the black, I should try to do the same with the bamboo tank.  I bought some wool to knit Mike a big sweater, but I think I’ll finish up one more loose end (no pun intended) before I start it.  If I procrasinate long enough, I may not have to do it until next fall.  (Although it is starting to feel like we will never have spring here, let alone summer.  He may need that sweater in July.)

I’m off to a “Renovate your Yard” seminar tonight here, and I am making Mike come with me.  He’s not that interested in the yard or gardening, but I thought that a nice girl would let her man know where she’s intending to spend his money.   (Just protecting the investment, dear.)  Wallace the Sheltie (or “Ball-less Wallace”, as he’s known since the surgery) has worn a racetrack around the yard from”Wallace-ing”, so we have to be careful where we plant shrubs and so forth.  If we try to block him, he just snaps and eats the branches and leaves as he races past.  For a little guy, he can inflict some major damage.  (French doors, stairway caps, window sills, and for some reason, the front of the couch; we hope he’s done in the house.)  On some level, I almost resent spring and summer because the yard distracts me from the knitting, and I hate to be distracted. 

Ruth at Knitting on Impulse continues to amaze me with her scholarly take on colour theory.  If you haven’t checked it out, you should.  Even if you don’t do your own charting and designing, it is fun to be able to recognize why and how some colours just don’t work together as well as others.  (Such info is also handy when helping your mate to get dressed so as not to frighten the people he sees during the course of the day.)


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