Archive for June, 2011

One of those days…

I am having one of those days. Two days ago, in a blinding rainstorm, I decided to be a good neighbor and dig a trench through the gravel pile at the foot of my driveway. It was effectively damming the end of our cul-de-sac, and since the cement guys that were here on Monday cleaned out their wheelbarrows and shovels on the neighbors’ side of the pile, I was somewhat concerned about cement debris/dust and water being tracked onto the neighbors’ really nice driveway. They always have lots of traffic coming and going, and before the rain started I had already gone and hosed off their driveway three times. (at great personal peril, I might add, since there is an outdoor water ban in effect in Saskatoon right now. Ironic, given the over-abundance of water in the river, but apparently it has something to do with sand in the filters blah blah blah.) So there I was, in the rain (as I think I have already mentioned), in my rubber boots, rainpants, red raincoat, digging away. I did manage to drain the little lake, but yesterday morning I felt a little stiff in the lower back. By last night I was in full muscle spasm mode, and today it’s not a whole lot better. Robaxacet, ibuprofin, ice packs, bedrest, and hoping that it goes away without any trips to medical professionals. (Incidentally, did you know that Robaxacet is not available in the US? You have to have a prescription for anything even faintly resembling muscle relaxants. Pity. Now I have to import a bottle every time I go to Buckeye.)

So while I was starting to feel crappier yesterday, the working guys came and did some work in the back yard, part of which involved shoveling the pile of gravel into wheelbarrows and relocating it to behind the shed in the back yard.

And now I feel crappy again and I’m going back to bed.


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First a little housekeeping:

There has been an actual, full-sized cement mixer parked on the street in front of my house all morning.    There are guys with no shirts and tattoos working in my yard (don’t get excited; all shirtless tattooed guys were not created equal), and there is an actual patio on the south side of the house.  There is almost a whole actual patio on the west side, and rumour has it that by the end of tomorrow, there will be completed patios, no junk in the yard, a shed in its proper place, dirt installed and graded away from the house, and the gravel Mount Judy at the foot of our driveway will no longer be damming Lake-Next-Door-Neighbor at the foot of their driveway.  Yay.  All that will remain is fixing and priming the drywall in the basement, then I can (re)paint, we can deal with the new carpet (again), and the Playroom can take shape.  Mike commented the other day that he’s way more impatient to get the basement done than I am, but I didn’t like to point out that while I am anxious to get it done, I am likely more patient because I knit.  (I know, I know; I’m just as impatient about it as he is; maybe moreso; but am uncharacteristically not showing it.  Inside I am a seething mass of impatient.)

Knitting?  Did someone say knitting?  Okay, since you asked.

I have almost finished Echo Beach.  In a moment of weakness I agreed with the Wednesday Morning Ladies that I would ladder down the dropped stitches while they watched (what was I thinking?) so I won’t know until then whether I have goofed in the pattern or not.  Assuming no goof, I will then bring it home and wash it and block it.  Pre-laddering measurements:  42″long by 13″wide.  I’ll post post-laddering measurements post-ladder, and then final blocked measurements post-block.  I am curious how much it will grow.  It could end up as a scarf.

Pre-stitch-ladder, pre-block

Stitch markers where stitches will be laddered

I am halfway through knitting a pair of red socks.  I have wanted a pair for years, and finally got around to it.  I thought it would be a good chance to try out some of the techniques I learned at Saskatchewan Stitches from Lucy Neatby, but apparently my brain can only process so much at once.  F’rinstance, did you know that in an ideal world, the heel of the sock would be centered relative to whatever pattern you’ve chosen for the leg?  Also, were you aware that your caston point is generally found at the centre of the inside of the calf, or at the centre of the back of the calf?  Not at the centre of the front of the shin?  Sheesh.

Anyways, I have decided to continue on to the second sock, and not bother completely redoing the first one, as it’s going to be in a shoe anyways.  I have promised myself that the second sock will address all these issues.

Knitting done, finishing to follow

Toe chimney; possibly the niftiest Neatby trick ever

The yarn is Knitpicks Stroll Tonal, colour Gypsy.  Now that I’ve cast off Echo Beach, I think I’ll cast on sock #2 before the moment passes.

Last week I displayed an immense amount of self-discipline and finished off the Balkan Booties.  I used flat hook-and-eye closures (5 per leg), and trimmed with cute buttons that look like black Smarties.

Balkan Booties

I suppose I should wear them, although if I can find a pair of inexpensive mannequin feet, I may just display them in my Playroom; an example of how not to knit intarsia.

All-in-all,  it’s been a pleasant and productive week.  Mike’s birthday, Father’s Day, patios, sock, wrap, laundry, desserts, the season finale of Game of Thrones and on it goes.  Life continues.  It beats the alternative.

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There’s been action on the yard every single day this week.  I hope I’m not jinxing anything by writing about it, but just maybe we’ll be having cement poured by the end of next week, weather gods cooperating.

But that’s not why I’m here.

Since it’s been a long while since I have devoted any space to the hounds of heck, here you go:

Since we switched Attie’s dog food to salmon instead of chicken, her fur is nicer, she’s quit scratching the heck out of her face, she’s not limping as much, and she has resumed layin’ the smackdown on Wallace.  She has rediscovered her squeaky toys, and in general is not acting her age (11).

False Advertising

He looks so cute and harmless.

The Face of Wisdom

Almost wise.  Almost like there’s something going on between his ears other than “If you throw it I will retrieve it”, or “Wanna know what I found in the garbage can?”

With no gates on the backyard, and Wallace being the sneak that he is, I have had to retrieve him from the park (a block and a half away and across a fairly busy street) a few times.  He used to just walk up to the corner and look; now he’s running to the corner, and running across the street, and running through the schoolyard all the way to the soccer pitch on the far side, because, you know, there might be someone there with a soccer ball that would like to play with him.  He has selective hearing (he’s such a teenager) and doesn’t come when he’s called; he’s even taken to pretending that his name isn’t Wallace.  Talk about your blank stare.

Two years ago, my older son got married the day before Mother’s Day.  The kids gave the bride’s mother and me each a nice ceramic mug with flowers in it.

Since then, I have cleared several extraneous mugs out of the cupboard, but this one remains.  I have other mugs I like to use, but this one has been used a lot lately.  I think of my son and daughter-in-law every time I drink from it (and I drink way too many cups of coffee a day), and I remember the challenges Mike and I faced as newlyweds.  By the time we’d been married 2 years, we had a son, and job worries, and money worries, and concerns about my cooking (well, that hasn’t really changed), and I hope that whatever challenges my kids face over the years, that they’ll be able to rely on each other and their families to get through.  The journey is the whole point, and I’m so happy they’ve got each other, and that we’ve got them.

Today’s to-do list:

1)  Watch the guys patch the last foundation crack, and not let them up out of the hole until it’s done.

2)  Go to the flooring store and see what our options are for replacing the new/damaged carpet in the basement.

3)  Try to find a bat house locally, and if that can’t be done, order one online.  Then try to arrange non- Canada Post delivery of same.  Mail strike- pure silliness.

4)  Buy hook-and-eye closures and finish the dratted Balkan Booties.

5)   Reflect on my busy busy life.  Have another cup of coffee.  And maybe a nap.

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Stitches is over for another year.  I learned so much, and luckily the class notes were really good so I can refer back to them.  More enticingly, I think I want, nay, must have, all 16 of Lucy Neatby’s instructional DVDs.  I am so excited I don’t know what project to start first.  I may have to decompress for a few days before I leap ahead.

In a fit of adolescent hero worship, Lucy kindly signed both of her books for me, and consented to pose with me for posterity.

Hoping some talent will ooze from shorter to taller

Now that I’m home, Mike expects me to make supper.  Sometimes reality just plain sucks.


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Here I am, one day down at the Saskatchewan Stitches conference, and two days to go.  On today’s agenda:  Hallelujah Grafting and Ship Shape shoulders.  Tomorrow:  Cool Socks.  But enough about tomorrow.

Lucy Neatby could not have a better name.  She is so cool.  Everything I’ve ever read or heard about her does not begin to scratch the surface of her coolness.   I’m like all,  Ooh, look at me, I put a different lace edging on the shawl than the pattern called for, aren’t I creative, and then I look at the cuff of one of Lucy’s socks, and I think Ooh, there sure are a lot of levels of creativity, nay, genius in the world and I am in its presence.  (I think I may have figured out why Lucy only puts one sock of each pair on display, although I gotta tell you, if I was the shoplifting type, I would so wear a pair of mismatched Neatby socks.  Just sayin’.)

We had Meet the Teacher/Show and Tell tonight.  There was amazing quilting, custom-fit bustiers, incredibly fabulous tailored clothing, traditional rug hooking, fibre art, and some great Saskatchewan Roughriders panties and a bra, which will look great on the jumbo tron when worn with the ubiquitous watermelon helmet (it’s a Saskatchewan thing).  I  have no pictures to share because I only have two hands, and had my fingers in my ears to keep my brain shooting out.  If tomorrow is at all like today, I’m going to have to figure out how to plug my nose at the same time.  Nice visual, eh?  Sorry.

And now it’s off to bed with me.  Those monks make a mean breakfast and I don’t want to sleep in and miss it.

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Weakness:  because I couldn’t wait to start this project.  Frugality:  Using unassigned fibre that was in my stash, even though it’s always more fun to buy new stuff.

Sunglasses required

This is Echo Beach by Kieran Foley.  A little bright, but I browbeat Charlene into bringing in this yarn so I could embroider my Fireworks Socks and I felt a little guilty so I bought 3 balls.  I’m almost halfway done, and have a feeling that this may be the first Foley project I actually finish.

Off to the Saskatchewan Stitches conference tomorrow morning way before breakfast.  I’m taking all 5 classes offered by Lucy Neatby.  Should be fun!


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