Archive for August, 2007

Back to School…

but not in this house!

School is back in, and it is a very strange feeling to have no-one there.  For the first time in 18 years I had no school supplies to buy, no shoes to buy, no lunches to make.  I spent the morning assembling  bags of my children’s leftover crayons, pencils, pencil crayons, markers and pens to donate to one of our inner city schools. 


There is a real dichotomy between areas in this city (in any community, for that matter) when it comes to school supplies.  In our stash there were at least four years’ worth of crayons that hadn’t been opened (I kept re-purchasing because each year the supply list called for a bigger set), and pencil crayons that have never been sharpened.  It saddens me to think that there are children who don’t even have breakfast before they go to school, let alone get new supplies every year.  My children are very privileged, and we have tried to tell them that, but there was always someone else in the class who has more/better/pricier/fancier stuff that my children coveted.  I hope the real world isn’t too much of a shock for them.  So far Andy is pleased as punch to be a working man (although I don’t want to burst his bubble and tell him that the novelty wears off at some point.).   He’s scheduled to work some day shifts so I can have the house back to myself all day. 

 There has been knitting! 

I finished this scarf:


and this scarf:


neck-model.jpg(both Silk Garden)(and doesn’t Andy make a cute neck model?)

and have a really good start on this sweater:


from this book:




Actually, I have had a couple of good starts on the sweater, because I over-read the instructions and even – gasp – swatched.  I thought Stefanie specified a backwards yarn over.  I’m thinking too hard.  A regular yarn over works just fine- ie  wrapping the yarn the same direction as I do in a knit stitch.  (makes the purl row a lot easier, too.)  I emailed Stefanie about it, and was pleasantly surprised when she answered.  I don’t know why it should please me when an author answers her own email, but she did, just like a real person!  Then, I had the bottom border all done and decided it wasn’t symmetrical top to bottom:  frogging followed and re-knitting is about to take place.  Not a big deal, because the yarn is so thick.   This is a Fun Knit, although I don’t think the style is me.  There is nothing about me that screams “mini”.  

The dogs are off to the spa for the day so I really am all alone.  I see out my living room window that several of the neighbors are having a garage sale.  I would partake, except that I’m still using all my junk.   I might take my knitting out a little later and keep my friend Linda company.  I’d rather be outside, as it’s a beautiful day and we likely have a limited number of those left.  Also, if I’m outside knitting on someone else’s driveway, I don’t have to do any yardwork.  Some hornets have built a big nest under the deck, so I’m afraid to go out in the back yard anyways.   I’d rather avoid ’em than  deal with ’em.  (That’s actually the way I live my life in general.)

 Gotta go babysit the bread; Mum and Dad are coming home tonight from vacation (Baltic Sea cruise and visiting friends in England) and I want to have some groceries laid in for them so they don’t have to go shopping first thing tomorrow morning.   I hope to be as healthy and enthusiastic when I’m in my eighties!  (or seventies, or sixties…) 


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I really wasn’t looking for sympathy with that last post.  Good thing; there wasn’t much forthcoming. 

Onwards.  I have no knitting pix, but I am well under way with a multi-directional scarf (using up some Silk Garden)(first came to my attention when Terri knit one.), finished the K1P1 scarf (pattern from Jared at Brooklyn Tweed), and am psyching up for a more involved next project.  Sweater?  Shawl? I am also looking to find a pattern for some knitted lingerie of some sort for some cashmere-silk Glenda has coming in, project to remain secret because of, well, someone might be reading this.   

Geoff is heading to New York tonight (redeye flight- 2 am- yuck.).  I am torn.  I don’t know whether to take him out to the airport at 9, because we don’t usually stay up late, or at 1 a.m.  I know they recommend that you be at the airport two hours before your flight, but honestly, you could crawl from one end of the airport to the other in about 3 minutes.  We may not be big, but we’re small.   We won’t see him until the end of April.  (I am not leaving the Christmas tree up for him this year.)  It’s strange when your kid leaves home.  I always thought that when he left, he could take some stuff with him, but living on a ship


he doesn’t have the room or the need for all the stuff I want to get rid of.  He moved out, and I ended up with more stuff than before.  That’s just not right.   Should he decide at some point to become land-based again, I can clear my basement and spare room out.  

To prove that my camera actually is working, and to illustrate what can happen when you throw the frisbee for the dog while you mow the lawn:




Kind of makes me want to put on a leprauchan hat and drink a green beer, or maybe buy some natural wool and some koolaid.  Can’t say why.

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Thanks to everyone who wished me a good trip.  It was crappy.

I went with the highest of expectations, not afraid to camp alone (with a dog who is untested in the “protect the master at all costs” department), and was gooned by two basic issues.  Issue the first:  In a fit of, well, I don’t know, stupidity?  instead of taking an air mattress, I opted for the lighter, smaller, self-inflating foam mattress.  Totally inflated, it is about three quarters of an inch thick.  Felt fine on the living room floor, may as well have been a piece of newspaper for all the comfort it provided.  I woke up several times Monday night, and when I finally got up at 6am on Tuesday, every joint in my body hurt and I could not turn my head in either direction.  (Thank god I don’t shoulder check when I drive.)  Thing the second that didn’t add to my total enjoyment of the trip:  Monday afternoon/night it rained, and while my little tent


 is waterproof, it is not humidity-proof, and both sleeping bags and my pillow and all my clothes got so damp I could almost wring them out.  Instead of my four-day getaway to Paradise, I was home miserable on Wednesdy evening, a full two days early. 

Gory details:  (warning: No knitting content)

Attie and I stopped in Christopher Lake on our way to Waskesiu to visit my niece and her new baby.  Emilie is just a week old, and pretty cute.  The pleasure of the visit was tempered by Attie barfing on the living room rug (a nice beige berber which now has a strategically-placed ottoman on it).  So, we pretty much had to eat and run before we caused any more damage.  (Sorry, T.K.  Get it cleaned- really- I’ll pay you back!)  We headed up the highway and decided we would spoil ourselves and stay at Beaver Glen campground, which actually has warm running water and showers in the bathrooms (which is all very nice unless you abandon all efforts at personal hygiene) (not that I did).  We set up camp, took the souvenir picture,


and lit the fire.  I barely managed to get supper cooked before the rain started.  Attie was reluctant to come in out of the rain, since she was on Squirrelwatch Duty. 



I almost managed to blow up the coleman lantern in my face, and we were in bed by 9:00.

We did a couple of short hikes on Tuesday morning to try and limber up,  including the Waskesiu River loop,


but by far the best part was meeting Terri and Sabrina. 



This is one tall dog.  Check out Terri’s blog- she’s done a nifty coat for Sabrina (who will need it in the winter, as well as the rumoured legwarmers.  I still think that Terri should knit herself a pair to match the dog’s.  Sort of a “mother and daughter” theme variation.) I was mean to Terri, and handed her Attie’s leash to organize the dogs and herself for a quick photo.  It was like pushing wet spaghetti, but she did get the job done! 





After coffee (and cookies, that Sabrina could reach off the table without bending over too much) Attie and I drove 70 km into Prince Albert to buy a decent air mattress, but it was too late.  The damage was done.  I slept a little better in spite of the driving rain and howling wind, (and I must say Attie just hunkered down into her bed and didn’t try to join me in the sleeping bag even once) but I still felt ucky the next day.  We took a couple more little hikes, had a nice picnic at Trippes Beach and decided to go home.   The whitetailed deer I saw were camera-shy, but the elk at the south end of the town were much more accommodating. 



The black bears were appreciated in and by their absence.  (I don’t think I could outrun Attie, and while you don’t have to be the fastest in the group to outrun the bears, you shouldn’t be the slowest.)

I did exactly no knitting and have done very little since I got home.  I did see my favourite chiropractor yesterday and feel much better.  I made the mistake of drinking two cups of coffee with supper and had no trouble staying up until 2 this morning.  I watched Brokeback Mountain (an amazing movie that I said I would never need to see again, but it was just as powerful the second time around.) and did make some progress on the Silk Garden scarf.  Then because of a misguided ball-winding idea I spent two hours untangling a horrendously huge morass of tangled wool.  I think I shall stop making predictions and likely-to-finish prognostications about my knitting, because life seems to get in the way of my goals and then I have to write about failed camping expeditions instead of showing my projects in all their glory.  

I anticipate a better week.

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Pink and Blue

I mentioned yesterday that I have to knit Something Pink, so I thought I would give the baby sweater from Knitter’s Almanac a go.  I have never knit a Zimmermann anything, but Jared Flood’s version turned out so cute that I thought what the heck?  (I think I may be getting a knitting crush on this guy.  Wow.)  So, I glanced through the pattern, cast on, and away I went.  Cute little yoke, no?


I was all ready to start with the pattern stitch, when I noticed that almost as an aside, EZ casually mentions that buttonholes should be put in every 8 ridges or so.  Now, this was not mentioned at the beginning of the pattern, only after the yoke is done and the pattern stitch starts.  The diminutive pictures does show 2 buttons in the yoke, but no sign of buttonhole insertion in the instructions.  I know, I know;  EZ was an intuitive knitter, and encouraged everyone else to be the same, but I think it’s a little unfair to put in an important construction detail halfway through.  To my way of thinking, the instruction should come in at the beginning or not at all.  (It’s sort of like getting to the lower hem and saying “and you will have worked the whole piece in moss stitch.”)  Jared apparently was smart enough to pick up on this little detail, but I was not.  Frogging ensued.  I am now going to knit the Baby Albert  jacket from Sally Melville instead.   I am using pink acrylic, because I do agree with Elizabeth that anyone younger than I cannot be trusted to wash wool properly.  I am going to see the new bambino tomorrow on my way to go camping, but the sweater will likely not be completed until I’m on my way home from camping on Thursday or Friday.  New screen house=don’t need as much insect repellant=lots of knitting time with no housework and no insect juice on my hands.

I got a nice gift from a friend (who shall remain nameless as per her request) this week:



1250 metres of mercerized cotton; oohh, shawl coming up.  But first, into the Tickle Trunk to age properly. 

So, now that I’ve whined about Elizabeth Zimmermann’s failure to give me absolutely every detail I think I need in a pattern, I’m going to go and make sure I have enough tent pegs and guy lines, and pack the car.  I think a dose of outside in the woods will restore my humility.  Then perhaps I will be able to see more clearly whether Elizabeth has failed me, or, as I suspect may be the case, I have failed Elizabeth.

I will be away from internet access, electrical power, running water, cleanliness, etcetera for the next few days, but I will have my camera to document the whole dirty mess.  I’ll be back later this week!  Have a good one.

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Back again

Thar be knitting!  Yes, I finished the little mesh scarf,  (except for attaching beads on the ends:  a project which may never see the light of day.) and have moved onwards to a, well, another scarf. 


This one I found over at Jared’s at Brooklyn Tweed.  He calls it generic, and it is quite a simple pattern, but with great effect!  If I ever run out of relatives and friends with cold necks I don’t know what I’ll knit, but for now, my Silk Garden is happy to find a home. 


The stripes were quite evident at the beginning (two different colourways) but then they both turned purple at the same time.  The stripes are quite evident in the picture, but in real life it just looks like I stopped striping and went plain purple.  There’s not a lot of differentiation in the blues either, but I pulled a whole lot out of the balls, and I think the rest of the scarf will be nice and stripey.  A truly obsessive person would have frogged it and staggered the start, but, well, I’m lazy.  It is truly mindless television knitting, with the only problem being what’s on TV.  Watching the tube with Mike can be a little annoying at times, as he won’t watch the commercials on the channel we’re on, but has to flip through all the channels to watch commercials somewhere else.  It’s the old joke about the difference between men and women:  Women want to know what’s on TV, and men want to know what else is on TV.  I would rather have nothing on watch nothing than rapid discordant images.  (Or sports, which I consider discordant images as well, but that’s another issue…)

Instead of spending all my time knitting I have been on the computer trying to make plans for our little trip to the American midwest in September.  We’re going to a trade show in Moline (home of world headquarters of John Deere, although that’s incidental to our purpose and it is is very unlikely that I’ll be taking a tour) and then driving east to Chicago for the weekend.  Between our CAA agent, google,  Conde Nast Traveler magazine and google earth we are getting some ideas for what to do and where to stay.  I hate booking hotels sight unseen.  What a crap shoot…I do expect to drag Mike to the Art Institute to see, among other things, the Thorne Miniature Rooms.  I have been fascinated with miniatures since I was small, and it has been one of my life goals to see some of Narcissa’s rooms in person.  I may attempt to use my Macy’s credit card (obtained in New York last fall, but only so I could get an extra 20% off the purse.  It was a really good deal.), and I wouldn’t mind if a few balls of yarn found their way into my suitcase.  The latter may be problematic:  Chicago is a big city, and we’ve only got three days.  Does anyone out there know of any good knitting stores near downtown? 

Oh, hey!  Did anyone catch the fall issue of Vogue Knitting, on page 26?  Apparently we have some good designers in Canada?  (Who knew?)  The picture at the top is by Ruth Stewart, a frequent commenter on this humble blog.  If you haven’t checked out her website, go there now.  I’ll wait, if you promise to come back.  Ruth, you are fabulous.  No other word describes this woman- she has a very deep well of talent, knits, creates wonderful jewelry, is a rip-snorting good photographer, looks like a pretty good cook (should I ever make it out to Whistler I will let you know if that’s true), and to top it off, her husband looks darn good in a kilt.  I was also mildly surprised that the Made in Canada column itelf is written by none other that Lee Ann Balazuc, who has been residing in my “other Knitting blogs you must visit” list as “fuzzylogicknits.com” ever since I first accidentally found her blog.  It’s funny how you can think you know someone a little bit from the writing they do in a blog, but then it turns out that we all have a bigger life than this, where we do other (sometimes surprising) stuff.  I guess it’s a subtle reminder that I don’t have to write every little detail of every little thing I do.  (“Where there is no mystery, there is no romance. “- L.M. Montgomery)  Anything else you want to know about me?

Now that I’ve got a scarf well under way, it turns out that I have to knit something pink.  My niece has just welcomed a daughter Emilie into the family, Emilie of the two older brothers, Emilie who needs something that isn’t blue.  She weighed in at a healthy 8 lb 15 oz, so whatever I decide to knit will be of the larger variety.  (She can grow into it if I go totally overboard.)  I hope to see her on Monday or Tuesday on my way to go commune with nature up north (yes Terry, I’m actually getting organized…) but will not have finished anything yet.  I haven’t held a new baby for a long time; we’ll see if it makes me crave grandchildren.  I doubt it.

This has been longer than I thought it would be, so I should toss in some pictures and go buy wool.  Later! 

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Importance of Being Titled

Turns out I am way more important than was previously thought.  You may now refer to me as Lady Judith the Indecisive of Melbury Bubblewick.  If you would like to find out whether or not you are descended from the British Aristocracy, check out this site, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t sound as important as me, or my son, who is hitherto to be known as Count-Palatine Geoffrey the Sublunary of Menzies on the Minges.  Oh yes, we are made from the good stuff.

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So today I was over at the Harlot’s blog, and was mightily amused to read about her Kinnearing episode.   While I don’t carry a camera all the time and would likely never have the nerve to Kinnear anyone, I do sympathize with her inability to just approach the man and ask for a picture with the Sock.  Last November my sister and I were in the Calgary airport waiting to fly to New York for a Fabulous Weekend, and I noticed a man walking back and forth in the departure lounge waiting for the same flight as us.  I caught his eye more than once, and knew I knew him from somewhere, but couldn’t quite place him.  I finally realized that I took a psych class with him about 25 years ago at University, and spent the next several minutes trying to remember his name.  Couldn’t do it.  Fast forward an hour or so (flight delayed), and we were boarding the plane.  My old classmate was in first class (musta done well) so we all had to troop past hime to get to the cheap seats.  We had just crossed the barrier (okay, pushed through the curtain) into the back end of the plane, and the lady in front of me turned and said in an embarrassingly loud whisper “He’s famous!”  Great, I thought, my old classmate is a success.  How did I miss that?  Then she whispered again “That’s Aidan Quinn!”  My first reaction was, no, if I’d had a class with Aidan Quinn I most certainly would have remembered.  Then I realized that she was right, I was wrong, and I had come close (not really close, but I had considered it) to treating Aidan Quinn to one of the lamest opening lines he would ever have heard.  “Hi.  I can’t remember your name, but didn’t we take a class together at University?”  How bad would that have been?  So, since he is one of my favourite actors of all time (Those eyes!  Those eyes!) my sister and I spent the rest of the flight being starstruck and craning our necks to see if he had left his seat, gotten a pillow, or asked the flight attendant to send those two ravishing creatures in Coach up to see him.  Nada.  We did stand next to him at the luggage carousel thinking that could be an opening line (“Oops!  Missed my bag.  Could you grab it for me?”)  (We were kind of pathetic.).  I thought that he might have People to retrieve his bags, but there he was, just like an ordinary person, getting his own suitcase.  Neat.

I have always thought I was immune to going gaga over someone who works in the public eye, but evidence to the contrary.  Too bad, because it turns out that we’re all just doing what we do, and no-one is better or worse because of it.  I’d likely still try to get a closer look at a famous person who happened into my sphere, but I don’t think I’d stand in line for an autograph or a picture.  I must preserve whatever miniscule amount of decorum I have left.

Gotta run.  Entertainment Tonight is on.

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