Thursday, December 27, 2007

15 minutes

I suspect that's all the time I'll have to post today, since I've got both kids at home and Phil is working. Actually, it's not too bad. Whenever I'm about to lose it, I remember that in a few months I'll be back at work and complaining that I never get to spend any time with the kids. Still, it'd be nice to have a couple of minutes to myself. Grumble, grumble.

So, how was everyone's Christmas? Santa did indeed make a stop here at chez Dear, bringing toys and goodies for everyone. Phil finally managed to get his hands on a Wii 2 days before Christmas, so I packed up the kids and headed out to Best Buy for some frantic last minute gift buying (a second remote, a battery charger and Big Brain Academy). He also got loads of stuff from my folks. For myself, I got pajamas (I'd mentioned I needed some nicer sleeping duds), a lovely book on mythology, a beautiful Tahitian pearl necklace and, of course, a few yarn gift certificates, among other things. The kids were spoiled as usual, but I think that the big success here was one of those horses on broomsticks? My daughter is really into cowboys and horses lately, and she's been running up a frenzy ever since she got her "Mustang" on Christmas Eve. Good times. I'd post pictures, but unfortunately, I left my camera at my mother-in-law's house and haven't gotten around to picking it up yet. Whoopsee!

As far as the choir duties go, Sunday was our last concert of the season, and I really think we put on a great show. And we even made it on the news! CTV news closed its program on Sunday night with about 10 seconds of our singing, and wouldn't you know it? Not only do you get a glimpse of yours truly, you hear me specifically, as well! I'm on the far left, about 15 seconds into the video (wearing glasses). And the voice you hear right at the end? That'd be me. Tee-Hee!!!



I didn't manage to finish all my knitted gifts in time, unfortunately. Well, actually I did, but I've only just cast on the final gift (for a person with whom I'll be exchanging gifts in a few days), and won't be done in time. I'd give more details, but the intended recipient is a reader, so check out all new project info on Ravelry (I'm Dearknits).

All in all, I had a lovely Christmas, and am now living in fear of the giant bill that will surely be arriving any day now :) I'll be postponing any end-of-year yarn buying until I know exactly where I stand financially. It's not as though I was about to run out!!! Trouble is, I haven't run out of stuff I want to buy, either ;)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Still Here

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I am indeed still here, and that I haven't forgotten you. I'm sure you understand how crazy this time of year can be, with the kids and the gifts and the, you know, life. It seems as though I've been preparing for Christmas for a month, and I'm still barely going to make it by the skin of my teeth.

Merry Christmas to all. I'll post on Wednesday, and gods willing, will be back to my regular blogging shortly thereafter. In the meantime, take care of yourselves, drive safely, visit friends and family, eat, drink, knit and be merry. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

34 Rows

34 rows are all that separate me from finally completing Michel's boyfriend socks. That and about eleventy-billion errands I have to run today. I'm determined to finish all shopping today, since I'd rather insert red-hot pokers in my eyes than have to brave the mall on the last weekend before Christmas. After that, I'm casting on yet another Amanda Hat for my sister-in-law, then a gift for my cousin Jessica. Then probably something for my wonderful husband, Phil, who was quite saddened when I told him he wouldn't be getting any woolly love this year (exactly WHEN am I supposed to get any sneaky knitting done???).

Oh, and there's also the wrapping, the baking, the cleaning, the choir stuff and the family visits. Sign me up for a nice, refreshing coma in January, m'kay?

I had another concert last night, and I totally NAILED my solo! It was awesome, I actually burst out laughing at the end because I was so happy with my performance. I RULE!!! :) All jokes aside, I was really happy with my last performance. On to the big show on Sunday!

In celebration of my artistic genius, my cousin Jessica brought me an early Christmas gift on Tuesday. I had recently come across a master tape of a Downy commercial I did in March of 1982 (I was 5), but it was in some kind of mystery format. Enter Jessica, uber-techno-wiz extraordinaire (who's also in the film industry, you can check out her stuff here), who knew just what to do, and Presto! My commercial, which I haven't seen since about, oh, 1982?? Here it is (I'm the little girl at the beginning and the end - Tee Hee!!):



Pretty cool, eh? Talk about a blast from the past!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Putting the Pro in Procrastinator

I don't quite understand how it's possible to be so behind on my To-Do list a mere 7 days until Christmas when I've been so busy. Sure, there may have been lots of what probably seemed like sitting around to the casual observer, but I've been pretty busy nonetheless. Can I help it if I can't multi-task while working on the Christmas knitting?

For instance, yesterday I was thinking about all the stuff I wanted to get done during Maxime's nap, after blogging of course, and the list was so ridiculously long he would have had to sleep for about 7 hours for me to get it all done. Hence the lack of my regularly scheduled post.

Friday I finally kicked myself in the behind and braved the malls for a day of shopping. Despite my best intentions, I didn't in fact get everything on Santa's list, but I'm pretty happy with what I DID manage to accomplish. Saturday I did the groceries with my daughter, and can I just say right now that I'm never, EVER doing that again??? At least not on a Saturday mid-morning in December. I have never seen so many people in an IGA in my entire life, which was stressful in and of itself, but when you factor in that Émilie was driving her little "shopper in training" cart like freakin' Dale Earnhardt Jr., I was completely knackered when I got home. Oh, and I had a concert in St-Jerome that evening (which went well, thanks for asking :)). Understandably, Sunday I was bushed, beat, and bamboozled. Much of the day was spent indoors, especially since both Émilie and Maxime are battling colds at the moment.

You'd think that with all that's been going on, I wouldn't have had much knitting time, right? Well, you are correct, but that didn't stop me from getting the Amanda Hat on and off the needles in record-breaking time! I looooved this project so much, I can't even tell you. Quick, easy, pretty, wonderful. And it only takes up half a skein of Malabrigo! So I can make another one! How's that for thriftiness.

This afternoon I'm picking up my cousin Jessica, and we're heading out to do yet more Christmas shopping. Hopefully I'll get everything bought (if not wrapped) and I can check the "finish buying gifts" item off my list.

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone who's inquired about my Dad's condition. I'm glad to report that he's now home and resting somewhat comfortably. Although the doctors were never able to determine what actually caused his condition, the bleeding has stopped and now it's just a question of letting time do its work. Thanks to everyone who sent the good vibes his way, I really appreciate it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Loitering

I've had a really, really busy week and it's starting to take its toll. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings I was out with choir-related activities (practice, meeting with City over funding, concert), and I think both the kids and my loving husband, Phil, are starting to feel my absence. Last night when I left the house at 6, all three of them were cranky (to be fair, both Phil and Émilie are sick) but when I got home (late), everyone was asleep, tucked safely in their beds. This morning, when asked how it went, Phil looked at me and deadpanned "It was the worst night of my life". OK! Guess what, I've got another concert (this time in St-Jerome) on Saturday! No, no, I don't feel guilty, why do you ask?

All kidding aside, last night's concert went fairly well, I think. We had some difficulty with our director's compositions, but all in all, for our first concert of the season, I'd say it went OK. As for my solo performance, there were some microphone issues at the beginning of the piece, which made for a wobbly start, but I managed to get through it without being booed off the stage or dodging rotting fruit, so I'm good. Was it my best performance? No. Can I do better? Most definitely. I'll keep working at it.

Needless to say, the Holiday knitting has been painfully slow. As has been pretty much everything Holiday related. I didn't get as much done during my Wednesday shopping excursion as I would have liked (in all fairness, the run was for my Mom, not myself). I DID pick up some Malabrigo (love that yarn) at Effiloché, however, which I'll be using to make the Amanda Hat for my daycare lady. I wanted to cast-on immediately (setting aside the boyfriend socks), because the deadline for this gift is actually next Friday (Aaaack!), but I didn't have the needles I needed to make gauge (I can just picture my husband right now, shaking his head in disbelief that I didn't have enough needles). Luckily, Robyn's got my back, and will be including a pair of 6.5 mm dpns with mine and Kate-the-Enabler's December sock kits (which I'll be picking up later today).

So yeah. I think it's safe to say that I'm totally NOT on top of things lately (groceries? Bwahahahaha!!!). The worst of it is that all I really need to get back on track is one afternoon of serious shopping, and I could be done. I just can't for the life of me scrounge up an ounce of motivation today. I'm totally, 100% beat. I just feel like loitering around the house today, much like the yarn (from recent splurges) that's been lying around the house lately. More on that next post. Never fear, I won't shirk my responsibilities entirely. I'll be doing laundry, as well. :)

I'll wrap up this post with a picture of my little Maxime, who's 7 months old today. I can't believe it! I was trying to get a shot of his "Pinball Wizard" shirt (custom made by a gamer friend of Phil's) yesterday, and he kept giggling every time I pulled on his shirt. It was adorable!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quickie

Just a quick post today, I'm afraid. I'm off to do some frantic Christmas shopping this afternoon, and tonight I've got a choir-related activity with the City, so I'm going to try to get a few rows done on my mom's husband's socks while Maxime sleeps this morning.

Yesterday Robyn, Jenn and Kate-the-Enabler (along with wee Liam) came over for our monthly Mommies Who Knit meeting, and although little or no knitting was actually done (hard to do with four boys under age 1 running around), fun was had by all (I hope). However, it IS hectic having all those babies around, so of course, no pictures were actually taken. Sorry! I know I promised to post a picture of Liam, but it totally slipped my mind with all the babies and toys and stuff yesterday.

In honour of my special guests, I made a Zucchini chocolate cake and Kate brought some homemade cranberry muffins. Of course, my cake was so rich that no one could even fathom of eating anything after that, so now I'm feeling vaguely guilty about having 8 muffins in my kitchen. Perhaps I should have packed them up and given them back to her? Trouble is, now there are only 7 (they go particularly well with the morning tea, so they do). :)

I'm off to L.L. Lozeau with my mom this afternoon. Michel (her husband) is a photography nut, so we always make an annual pilgrimage there around this time of year. And wouldn't you know it? Effiloché is right across the street! Before you get in a huff, sweetheart, I know I promised not to buy more yarn until the end of the year. But this is for Isabelle's (our babysitter) Christmas gift, and thus falls under the category of special circumstances. One skein only. I promise. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Refreshed

And ready to hit the ground running! There are only 15 days left 'till Christmas, and I've still got quite a bit of knitting to go. When one considers that the next two weeks will be busy with choir related activities, it's a good thing I'm rested up and ready to tackle anything!

Why am I so perky, you may be wondering? Well, Saturday Phil and I had our first ever romantic (aka "remember me?") weekend getaway since we've been parents, despite the fact that our priest made us promise to take at least two weekends per annum for ourselves on our wedding day. I guess it technically doesn't really count as a weekend per say, since we were only gone one night, but it did us a world of good nonetheless.

We didn't cheap out either! We booked a honeymoon package at the Château Vaudreuil, a beautiful hotel on the Lac des Deux Montagnes that my father and his wife Margot rave about (they actually gave us gift certificates to the hotel as a Christmas gift last year). Definitely, DEFINITELY need to do that more often. In fact, I'm seriously considering catching up on our missed weekend getaways in one fell swoop by booking a cruise in 2009, in honor of our fifteenth anniversary (yup, we've been together since I was seventeen). The kids stayed with my parents and had a great time. Naturally they slept later than they ever sleep at home (even Maxime woke up past 7). I think it's written in their DNA to be on their best behaviour when their parents aren't around.

Now, I don't have pictures of the room to show you (didn't think to take one until the bed was, um, disheveled ;)). But when we arrived, we were suitably impressed, with the king size bed as well as the king size jacuzzi. Phil promptly decided to run us a bath, and about an hour later, we were ready to hop in (no pressure, big tub), with sparkling wine for myself and Pellegrino for Phil in hand.

... (you can fill in the blanks yourself) ...

We then get all dolled up and ready to head downstairs for dinner (the hotel restaurant is actually fantastic). I'd been shopping earlier in the week, and was very excited to look and feel like a woman (as opposed to a mom). I started rooting around the bag for my heels when I realized they're nowhere to be found. I had asked Phil to pack them for me, and he totally forgot. Now, in all fairness, we were trying to pack everyone up at once, and if you don't have small children (and babies in particular), you really can't conceive of exactly how much stuff you need to pack for even just one night. Sure, there's the stuff you'd expect to find: food, bottles, jammies, backup jammies, clothes, toys, books, diapers. But remember, Maxime doesn't sit on his own yet (well, he does, but only for about 7 seconds), so you need to pack the chair, the portable high chair, the bath for Pete's sake! Oy Vey!

Anyway, he forgot. He DID remember to bring these though:

I'd asked him to pack some rubber shoes in case we wanted to use the swimming pool (we didn't). I remember thinking when I bought the outfit that I should wear it with a coloured shoe (navy blue, or possibly teal) to bring out the colour in the blouse. This wasn't quite what I had in mind. Oh yeah, baby, once, twice, three times a lady.

After stifling a few snickers, Phil managed to keep a straight face long enough to tell me that it'd be fine, no one would notice my shoes (did he not notice that these are bright, neon green Crocs????). Heck, I wasn't gonna put my big boots on, right? So, I pose for the pictures and we set off for downstairs. Naturally (naturally) upon arriving in the lobby we discover it to be filled with glitzy, fashionable people, all of whom are wearing shoes that go with their outfits. It's a Christmas party! Yay! Oh my humiliation as I walk through the masses to get to the restaurant, and stand patiently for all to see while the Maitre 'D explains the table d'hôte to us. (Come on, buddy! Get me to my table STAT!). Crazy, crazy, crazy.

Aside from that little, um, snag, it was a lovely evening and a lovely time. I knew I liked that guy! Not much knitting got done though (when I casually asked if I could bring my knitting, I got such a glare that I laughed it off and mumbled something about just kidding around). I'll report my progress next post.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Knitting and shameless self-promotion

I'm really starting to feel the pressure of the impending Christmas deadline. I still have 2 (or 3) projects to complete (and, you know, cast on - Ooopsee!), and while that may seem like small potatoes to most of you, it seems like a lot to me (I'm lucky if I can get six rows done during the day, despite the fact that I'm currently a stay-at-home mom). It's amazing to me how you can spend most of your waking (and sleeping, for that matter) hours thinking about something, yet get to actually DO it so little. I guess now I know how men must feel about sex. ;)

I've almost completed my first boyfriend sock (get the pattern free here). I usually display socks in progress on my nifty blockers, but this pattern really needs to be shown on the foot for it to be seen in all its glory. I started the 1x1 ribbing last night, but now I'm thinking I'm going to tink back (I only got 2 rows done) and go ahead and finish the pattern repeat (another 18 rows) before beginning the cuff. I've got more than enough yarn, and the pattern will just look more complete (at least, to my eyes). I think it's safe to say that completing the second sock by Sunday night would be a pipe dream at this point, but I'd really like to get one gift done a week, which does put the pressure on quite a bit.

And now, on to the shameless self-promotion. I've mentioned previously that I sing in a choir, the Ensemble Vocal Universalis. We've got a few concerts coming up, notably at the chapel of the Soeurs Missionnaires de L'Immaculée-Conception here next Thursday, December 13th, at 7:30 PM, and at the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours chapel here on Sunday, December 23rd, at 1:30 and 3:00 PM. Both concerts are free, and should be a lot of fun. Thursday's concert will feature a solo performance by yours truly (I'll be singing Schubert's Ave Maria), but on the downside, it'll be our first performance of the season. You may want to wait for the December 23rd concerts, by which point we should be like a well oiled machine (but no solo performance from this diva). So come on out and say Hey! It'd be neat to see a few knitters in the audience.

Finally, an update on my father's condition. First off, thanks so much for the kind wishes and prayers, especially from those of you who delurked to send them to me (Hi Draftnik!). It really meant a lot to me, and I know he'll benefit from all those good vibes. So thanks! His surgery didn't go very well, I'm afraid. They removed another 2 litres (!!!) of blood from his pleural cavity during the surgery (apparently, they knew there was still some blood there, but were surprised at how much there actually was), and despite their best efforts, the surgeons weren't able to determine where the bleeding was coming from. So as of yesterday afternoon, he's "under observation" while they figure out what to do next. Again, all your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated. Keep them coming!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lurkers

I mentioned a few posts ago that my Dad was in the hospital (thanks to everyone who sent me their well wishes, either through the comments or in person. I really appreciate it). It turns out he is suffering from a hemothorax, a condition where blood seeps into the pleural cavity and compresses the lungs. Anyway, he's doing much better now, but will still need to have surgery (he's scheduled for 12:30 today), because they still have to drain some fluid from around his lungs, and they don't yet know what actually caused the bleeding in the first place, so they want to check that out as well before giving him a clean bill of health. I tell ya, my Dad has had a rough time in the past couple of years.

What does this have to do with the title of today's post, you may be asking? Well, I'll tell you. It turns out that my dad's wife, Margot, had sent my blog to a bunch of her friends and relatives, and that her brother (Hi John!!!) actually found out about my dad being in the hospital from reading this blog. Who knew??? That just cracks me up, seriously. So a big Hidey-Ho to all you lurkers out there. I'm thrilled you're reading my blog, and I hope you enjoy it. It's a public service, and I'm happy to do it. :)

We've been buried in snow over the past two days, here at chez Dear. I've been nagging Phil to get a contract with a snow removal guy, and he's always dismissed this, arguing that we don't have lots of snow, and it's good exercise. Ha! Bet he's not so Gung-Ho now, eh? Actually, the only thing that really worries me is that there will be a giant snowfall like the one we just had, and he'll be out of town on business. Maybe I could put up a sign "Will Trade Handknits for Snow Removal"?.

I've made some good progress on my mom's husband's socks. I've turned the heel and am now in the home stretch of the cuff. Two issues are coming to mind as I think about these socks. First, how weird it feels to go from sweating through every stitch, wondering if I'll have enough yarn to finish (remember the gorfing?), to wondering if this cake will ever get any smaller. I swear, these are going to be hose, not socks. :) Secondly, even though Michel (that'd be the intended recipient) has size 10 feet, I decided to make a size medium, which is written as a 9 and a half inch circumference, as I like socks to have a little negative yield for a snug fit. However, the circumference is based on stockinette (76 stitches at 8 stitches to the inch = 9 and a half inches, you follow?). I DID do a gauge swatch, and my gauge is spot on, so I figured a medium would be perfect. Unfortunately, I neglected to realize that the pattern in based on a 2x2 rib. Aaack! I got Phil to try them on last night (if they fit him, they'll fit Michel), and even though I thought he had difficulty getting them past his heel, he swears they fit great. So I'm just going to keep at it and hope for the best. I'll definitely block these babies before I wrap them up, just in case!

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2007

White Squall

We're being hit with a major snowstorm here in the greater Montreal area, and that, combined with the fact that we put up our decorations yesterday (this is only a small sample), can only mean one thing: Christmas is indeed coming, and I'd better get a move on or else.

I've made good progress on the Boyfriend Socks I'm knitting for my Mom's husband. I love toe-up socks. This was my first time using the figure-eight cast-on, and I'm not crazy about it. I think if I were to do it again, I'd use the magic cast-on instead. I realize they're quite similar, but the magic cast-on doesn't leave such loose stitches in the middle of the toe that you then have to tighten up manually. I'm absolutely loving the Smooshy sock yarn (I'm making a note to myself to add some to my Christmas wish list), and the colourway (Dusky Aurora) is fabulous. All in all, I'm happy.

As you can see from this picture, I got my nails done this weekend. Back in June, my husband Phil got me a gift certificate to a local nail salon because he'd heard me musing (OK, it was more like grousing) about the fact that I missed having nice nails. I used to have them done regularly, but when we bought the house, I just couldn't rationalize the expense of having them redone every three weeks.

Anyway! I finally got my act together and made an appointment for Sunday morning. The place is incredible (I'm SO going for a pedicure before Christmas!), and despite some initial problems communicating what I actually wanted, I left happy. But here's the thing. When I sat down there was a man at the station to my right, getting a manicure. Now, I have no problem with this. In fact, I used to give Phil regular manicures (before it became an obligation to which I preferred jumping headfirst into a pool filled with my own vomit, but I digress). Granted, this wasn't the type of guy that you'd look at and automatically think: Metrosexual. He was this teeny, Rocky-wannabe man, with the bike chain necklace and bracelet and pinkie ring (OK, maybe that IS a metrosexual, and I'm out of the loop). Anyway, to each his own, right? Well, you know how these places always play the obligatory soft-rock/muzak to placate the customers? I wasn't really paying attention, when it dawns on me that the guy is humming along, quite contentedly, to every tune. Seriously, when he started mumbling the words to Enrique Iglesias' "Hero", I almost choked on my coffee. Too funny.

Have a great day everyone, and if you're currently being buried under 2 feet of snow like we are, just take the hint: Mother Nature wants you to get some Holiday knitting done. :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

No Longer Friday

I really and truly meant to post yesterday, but I had an appointment that came in out of nowhere on Friday afternoon that I absolutely could not miss, and an already busy day turned into a crazy-ass, hectic one. Seriously, this is what I did yesterday:
  • Woke up at 6:15 AM. Fed Maxime and got Emilie ready for daycare. Got started on laundry.
  • Put Maxime down at 8:50 for his morning nap.
  • Dash into shower.
  • Make 3 chicken pot pies ('cause I wouldn't have time to make them that afternoon). I was counting on the little one to sleep until his usual 11 o'clock to get this one done. Naturally, he woke up at 10. Little Angel.
  • Alternate between tending to a screaming Maxime and finishing the freakin' pies. Get them in the oven and give Maxime his lunch at 11.
  • Have my lunch (read: scarf down bowl of pasta in record-breaking time).
  • Head to the mall to pick up something I forgot on my trip the day before.
  • Head to the hospital for Maxime's physiotherapy appointment (he has torticollis).
  • Rush home, try to put Maxime to bed while I get changed.
  • Wait for Phil to get home at 2:30 and run out for my appointment.
  • Get out of meeting at 4, swing by daycare and pick up Emilie.
  • Get home. Find out that my Dad's been hospitalized and is in the ICU (apparently he ruptured something in his chest a week ago and has been bleeding internally ever since. After removing 1.4 liters (why yes, that would be 25% of the body's supply of blood!) from around his lungs, it appears that he's going to be OK, although he may need surgery if the bleeding doesn't stop on its own.
  • Have dinner (chicken pot pie!), put the kids to bed.
  • Collapse in a heap of exhaustion.
Seriously, sorry about the bulleted list presentation, but that was the most efficient way to get through all that was going on yesterday. This morning has been equally busy (Zellers, groceries, finish up the laundry, 2 pumpkin pies with leftover pie crust), but I've now done everything I needed to get done today, so I'm good.

Oh! Kate-the-Enabler had her baby! Woo-Hoo! Apparently the threat of induction was enough to send her into labour on her own, because baby Liam was born at 2:21 AM on Thursday morning, a full 4 hours before she was to be induced. I haven't met him in person yet, but I've seen pictures, and he's adorable (seriously, with good-looking parents like that, of course he was going to be cute!). I'll post pictures when I get the OK from Mama Bear.

In knitting news, I've finished my secret Christmas project (you can check it out on Ravelry), and I've decided to move on to these socks for my Mom's husband (he's not a reader, so it's OK if I talk about it here). I'm going to use my one and only skein of Smooshy sock yarn, and I'm quite upset that I won't have any in my stash anymore after this. He'd better appreciate them! Grumble grumble. Seriously, I think the yarn and the colourway (Dusky Aurora) will fit great with this pattern. I've only knit my swatch so far, so no pictures (Monday!).

OK, I'm off to enjoy a few minutes with West Side Story and some knitting. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday

I really don't have much knitting content to report, since I'm still working on my secret project (check out Ravelry). I should be done within a day or two (maybe in time for Friday's post), and even though I'm going to move on to another Christmas project, this one will be for a non-reader, so I'll be able to post plenty of pictures.

Yesterday Kate-the-Enabler and I had what will probably be out last Stitch 'n Bitch for at least a few weeks. As of this morning, she's now 7 days overdue, and is scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning. If she agrees, I'll post a picture of the new cherub when he finally arrives. I have to say I'm finding this whole waiting game to be highly stressful, and it's really revealing how much of a stalker I actually am. I'm constantly checking out my window (Kate lives across the street), scoping out the action. Is the car there? Is there any movement? Sheesh... At least now there's an end in sight to my anxiety. :)

In other random news, yesterday I was at the computer (where else would I be?), looking to put on some music, when I stumbled upon a song that I absolutely love but haven't listened to in years. Notice how I haven't mentioned which song? That's because it belongs in my Hall of Shame: it's Barry Manilow's "Could it Be Magic". I swear, I've listened to it about 10 times this morning, I just can't get enough. The fact that I'm pretty much embarrassed to listen to this song in public made me wonder what other songs I'd put in my "Corny-Cheesy Songs I Love" list. Here's what I've come up with so far:
  • Barry White "Never Ever Gonna Give You Up" (the whole orgasmic sequence at the beginning of the song just cracks me up. Every. Single. Time.
  • Barbara Streisand "Woman in Love": from the appropriately titled "Guilty" album.
  • Anything by Michel Fugain (this is a bilingual list of shame): Check out this video if you don't understand why I'm cringing.
  • Air Supply "Lost in Love": Honestly. Enough Said.
  • Ginette Reno "Ça va mieux": I'm a sucker for that sweeping, swelling stuff.
I also stumbled on this site yesterday. It's a playlist of Ultimate Cheesy Ballads that really took me back (I LOVED Richard Marx!). OK, so now that I've secured my place as a total geek, I ask you: what would feature in your Hall of Shame?

And since I can't just sign off without redeeming myself in some way, here's a picture of Maxime, taken this morning. See his teeth? Say it with me: Aaaaaaaw!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Not so much

Friday's planned outing, which I was really looking forward to, turned into a total nightmare. On our way into the city, we hit a wall of traffic, and after our attempts to find alternate routes all failed miserably, Phil got in a huff and decided we weren't going. (Before you get upset at him, read the rest of this post). I then got in a huff myself (to put it mildly), because even though Maxime was with us, it had kind of felt like we were going out on a date, and now the whole thing was ruined. Phil then proposed we head to Ikea to check out some sofas (we want a pull out for our basement), to which I, again, threw a hissy fit (I don't WA-nnnaaaaa go to Ikea!!!).

OK, so now we're both completely pissed off (so much for THAT date!), and Phil decides to circle back and try to get to the Christmas store again (YOU WANNA GO??? FINE!!!). He's now fully enraged, and motoring along, and it's at that precise moment that he gets stopped for speeding and receives a 245$ ticket. HeeHee!!! That pretty much cured me of my childish behaviour, but understandably, Phil was still pissed. Then I got upset that he wasn't talking to me ('cause he was still fuming).... Anyway! Long story short? We went home and didn't talk to each other for about an hour.

No worries though! We made up that very afternoon, and headed out to the mall to try and salvage what was left of the afternoon before we had to pick up Émilie from daycare. And we DID manage to get to the Christmas store on Sunday morning, where I picked out this snow globe. Isn't it cute? Santa's on a little toboggan (maybe it's a snowboard?), and it moves when you crank up the music (it plays Jingle Bells). And isn't that a great picture? I took it using my brand-new photo tent. It's sort of a quick and dirty version, taken from this tutorial, but it works great, and Phil assures me that he's going to make me an even better one now that he understands what I want to do with it.

I've been diligently working on my secret project (check it out on Ravelry). It should be done by the end of the week, so I'll be able to post pictures of my knitting once again by next week. In the interest of efficiency, I'm trying to be as monogamous as possible.

Friday, November 23, 2007

One down!

Yesterday was a rather snowy day here, which gave me the perfect excuse to cozy up to my knitting and finish my Summer of Love Lace Socks. I believe I've mentioned before how smitten I am with these socks, and while I haven't changed my mind that they'll be heading to a new home come Christmas, I just had to try them on at least once before they go. Don't worry, I've since washed and blocked them, and they're ready to go :)

I also cast on for a new project last night, one that I unfortunately can't share with you on this blog, since its intended recipient is a reader :). However, if you're on Ravelry, you can check out my project page, I'll be uploading it today, as soon as I have a spare minute. I think it'll be a fairly easy and quick knit, though it's something I've never attempted before (how's that for suspense?).

No knitting this afternoon, though. Phil has the day off, and as soon as Maxime has had his lunch, we'll be heading into town for two of my mostest favourite things ever. First, a trip to Pho Bang New York, on St-Laurent, for some lovely Pho Bang soup. Then it'll be off to Noël Éternel to buy my annual water globe (I've been collecting them forever, and no, it has nothing to do with this movie) and a Christmas stocking for Maxime. I love shopping for Christmas decorations! I can't wait to start decorating the house.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kickin' it into gear

There are now less than 5 weeks to go until Christmas, and as of this morning, I still have 3 gifts to knit up. Actually, I would really have to knit something like 10 more gifts if I were to give everyone on my list some woolly love this year, but since that's not going to happen (unless I, you know, forgo sleep entirely), I'm aiming for my parents and in-laws this year. That makes for 6 people (my parents are both remarried), which I think is doable.

I'm currently working on a gift for one of the ladies in that set (gotta be careful here, because the intended recipient is a sometime reader), the Love Lace socks. I've turned the heel on the second sock, and while I haven't yet finished the decreases along the gusset, provided Maxime gives me some knitting time, I should be finished by tomorrow night (pipe dream?).

I've also ordered some yarn from Maggie, and I think I'll be using the Evergreen colourway for a lovely pair of man's socks. Who will they be for? I don't know yet. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this yarn, though. New yarn (even when you really don't need new yarn) is just the thing to cure one of the knitting doldrums (I don't respond to pressure-knitting well).

Unfortunately, I won't be able to do much in the way of knitting today. Our "good" car is in the shop, so I'll be chauffeuring Philippe and Emilie in the "crap" car all day. Grrrrrr.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm ba-aaaaack!

It turns out I was a little premature in titling my last post, and I actually took a turn for the worst on Thursday (I was battling a stomach flu). Factor in that we thought Emilie might be getting it as well (and therefore stayed home from daycare on Friday) and that Maxime had us all up at 4:30 AM (yes, you read that right) Friday morning, and my darling husband was forced to take the day off to take care of us all. Take care of us he did, so well in fact that by Friday night I felt much better, and all was well on Saturday. Thanks so much to all of you who left comments wishing me a speedy recovery. It was really very thoughtful of you.

Needless to say, not much knitting has gotten done lately. Not only did this bug strip me of my will to live, but it also completely siphoned my will to knit as well (scary, I know). That all changed when I got my invite to Ravelry on Saturday (my username is DearKnits (of course)). Now, instead of knitting, I've been raveling about knitting. Not much more progress to show off, but I've been having fun. I started off adding books to my library (I am a librarian after all), and am now in the process of updating my projects page. Eventually I'll get around to taking an inventory of my stash, though I'm not sure I'm up to taking pictures of everything. Actually, I've asked Phil to make me a photo tent (as seen on this free tutorial - thanks Maggie!), so maybe that'll make me want to take plenty of yarn prOn pictures. Who knows?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Feeling better (sort of)

As knitters, I know we're all interested in patterns, so I thought I'd share with you what my days have been like of late:
  • Wake up, pick up Maxime, *put down Maxime, run to bathroom, pick up Maxime, repeat from * to end of day, go to bed.
Fascinating, n'est-ce-pas? Actually, I am feeling better today (as long as I, you know, don't stray too far from the foetal position). Good enough to proudly display my latest finished objects!

I finally finished the gorfing on these babies and now have another completed pair of socks for the Christmas stash. Good thing too, because Christmas is now less than 6 weeks away. Aaack.

Anyhoo, here are the specs: Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Knit with Fleece Artist Merino using 2.5 mm dpns. I'm happy with them, they're lovely, and best of all, they're DONE. Woo-Hoo!!!

Other than the gorfing, there's been zero knitting done at chez Dear, simply because I've been feeling so, pardon the pun, crappy. Once everything is back to normal, I'm sure I'll get my knitting mojo back.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

C-R-A-P

That's how I feel today, and I imagine it's how I look as well :( Apologies to my readers, I promise I'll have a proper post tomorrow.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Frog Pond

Sadly, my attempt at designing was not meant to be this time. As you'll recall from the last post, I was trying to knit a ribbed hat with earflaps without resorting to seaming and without picking up stitches either. I decided to use short rows to make the earflaps (easy enough), but also wanted to have a ribbed edge to the hat for extra warmth, without picking up stitches (not so easy). "I know! I'll use a provisional cast-on", I thought. Easy!

So that's what I did. I cast on 88 stitches (Maxime's got a really big head) using a provisional cast on, then knit about 4.5 cm (or 1.75 inches) of K5, P3 ribbing. I then unzipped the cast-on, picked up the stitches, and began knitting the earflaps using short rows. Worked in theory, not so much in real life. Still, I'm quite proud of myself for even attempting anything at all. I really feel I'm growing as a knitter. :)


So, as per Maggie's suggestion, I decided to knit the hat then pick up stitches on either side for the earflaps. I cast on a second hat, this time using a K4, P4 rib (I didn't like the look of the K5, P3), and knit, knit, knit. I even got Maxime to submit to a fitting! (Please ignore the double-chinned lady in the background of this picture. *Sigh*)

And here we have the finished item! Here are the specs: knit with *cough!* Red Heart Soft Touch 100% acrylic using 4.0 mm needles at 5 stitches to the inch. Earflaps (and i-cord ties! How's that for originality!) picked up at folded edge of the hat. I used Susan B. Anderson's Itty-Bitty Hats as a guide for the sizing and decrease sequence.

I've decided to take the Gentleman's socks with Lozenge Pattern (aka the brown socks from Hell) out of detention and gorf like a mad woman today. After all, Christmas is only 6 weeks away (Aaaaack!)

Friday, November 9, 2007

It starts with a swatch

Yesterday I was at Zellers to pick up some whosits and whatsits, when I stumbled upon a "knitting yarn" sale. Now, as my readers know, I'm a bit of a fiber snob, and I don't usually go for the acrylic all that much. I figure "I'm safe" and move on. I head to the baby department, and as I'm putting a winter hat for Maxime in my cart, it occurs to me that no self-respecting Canadian knitter (let alone one who professes to love knitting so much that she actually has a blog devoted to the subject) would EVER buy a pre-made hat. It's just wrong. So I circle back to the sale bin and find a ball of Red Heart Soft Touch to make a hat.

Now, to make up for the fact that I'm basically using crap to knit a garment for my infant son (cue violins here), I decide to make up my own design for this hat. Yes, that's right, I'm actually going to try to design something.

Here's the prototype. It's an earflap hat with a brim. Not too difficult to make, right? There must be a gazillion patterns out there to make just such a hat, you think. And you're right, dear reader. There are indeed a gazillion patterns out there. I've found patterns for baby hats with a brim (a no-brainer, really), and for earflap baby hats. But I haven't found one that does both without seaming ( I detest seaming, and would like to knit this piece as one straight garment).

Here's my swatch. Purdy, ain't it? I figure I'll use the leftovers to knit a scarf for the Red Scarf project or something. Anyway, I've been thinking about design stuff since yesterday. It turns out that designing knitwear is hard (who'd have guessed?). I keep wondering if I'm just a knitting dumbass or if this is what everyone goes through.

Finally, it seems that I've been racking up the WIPs lately, and I needed some basic notions, like row counters. I decided to stop at my local "arts-and-crafts-crap-that-also-happens-to-sell-yarn" store (seriously, it's the place yarn goes to die), because they can at least be counted on to carry the basic necessities. I found three row counters and headed out to the counter to pay for my purchases. The owner looks at me like I'm from Mars or something and says "Why do you need three? Do you have more than one sweater going at the same time?". !!!!!! I SO need to open up my own LYS.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Invasion

There's good news and bad news here at Casa De Dear. The good news is that the multiple cast-on strategy seems to have worked, and the binge-itis (aka urge to splurge) is under control. The bad news is that many WIPs makes for slow progress on each project, and thus a lack of interesting blog fodder.

I've noticed that, almost imperceptibly, The Knitting has begun to invade my house. Now, this invasion is nowhere near that which has befallen some households, but nevertheless, there's lots of knitting paraphernalia lying around. Take my nightstand, for example.

On the nightstand, you'll notice my swift, scale and winder, four skeins of Sock Hop yarn (I'm not done fondling it yet), some leftover STR from the first completed Love Lace Sock. But what about the floor, you say? That'd be the Estelle Mystik DK I ordered from Ram Wools last week, the Lanas Puras Melosa from my Cluaranach kit, and my copy of Knitting New Scarves. So yeah, we're dealing with a slow and steady invasion. Phil actually had to push the yarn out of the way to get into bed the other day. Tee-Hee!

Yesterday Kate-the-Enabler and I headed out to the West Island to meet up with Robyn and Jennifer at Robyn's new house. It's quite lovely, and I'm totally jealous that she gets to have an entire room just for her yarn (she does have a yarn shop though...). I wouldn't say much knitting got done, since we were all busy with our boys (except for Kate, who's son has yet to exit her womb :)), but it was fun to meet up and gab. We also put Maxime and Jakob together on a playmat (Maxime is a whopping 3 days older than Jakob), and it was absolutely adorable how they sort of stared at each other in mild surprise. Doncha wish I'd taken a picture??? Me too!!! (bad blogger, BAD BLOGGER!!!).

Finally, per Phil's request (aka frequent commenter Mrhide), here's a picture of us duking it out on our friends' Wii this past Saturday. It's not the most flattering picture, but it may help you understand why my muscles are only now starting to relax.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday Morning Report

Over the past week, I've heard several variants of the following phrase: "Your blog is great! But you don't post often enough!!!". While I take it as a sign that my readers enjoy what I write, and am accordingly totally flattered (every time someone new leaves a comment, I'm super excited!), I'd like to remind everyone that 2 kids (one baby) + husband + life = not enough hours in a day, and does not give me as much time to blog as I'd like :)

Nor does it leave much time for knitting, apparently ;). This weekend was busy, busy, busy and I didn't get much done (in the way of knitting). Saturday's nap time was spent putting my various flowerbeds to, well, bed for the winter, and we went for dinner at some friends' house that evening (their son is about 2 and a half months older than Maxime), so no knitting on Saturday (but I did get to play a Wii for the first time, and of course now I want one). I did manage to finish the first of my Love Lace Socks last night, while watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Quite cute, if I do say so myself. I'll definitely be making myself a pair when I have some spare time (you know, in August, 2015).

I also cast-on for Cluaranach on Friday, and OhMyGod, so in love with this yarn, I can't even tell you. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed when I opened my package on Friday (I'd been building this up as my perfect "Fall Comfort Knit" for a while). I don't usually go for single-ply yarn, so I was kind of bummed when I saw it (guess I should have read the fine print when I ordered the kit, huh?). Then I knit a swatch. DUDES!!!! This is the softest, bounciest, snuggliest yarn ever. The wrap is going to be a kick-ass project.

Tomorrow Kate-the-Enabler and I are going to meet up with Robyn and Jennifer for a little Mommies-who-Knit action. (Which reminds me, I've got to whip up some nibblies, I promised to bring something). I'm really looking forward to it, and hoping that Maxime will let me get some actual knitting done this time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wazzup!

Does anyone remember those Budweiser commercials? My brain is kind of mush today (Fire Bad. Tree Pretty.), so that's the best I could come up with for a post title.

As you may have gathered from my last post, I've been itching to work with the lovely, luscious Malabrigo I picked up from Mouliné on Tuesday. I wanted something simple yet pretty, to go with the Snowball Hat I'm also planning to knit with the same yarn. After two hours of knitting and frogging on Wednesday (plus a few hours of surfing, trying to find a suitable pattern), I finally settled on a scarf pattern. I wanted to cast on something from Knitting New Scarves, but there were no cable scarf patterns. I'm really looking forward to getting my invite from Ravelry (as of this morning, 8708 people are ahead of me on the list, so I won't hold my breath). I think it'll make the pattern search a heck of a lot easier.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the pattern. It's simple (good TV knitting), classic, and the yarn is just, well, yummy. The only thing I might have changed would have been to add a twist on either side of the cable, so it would fit in with the hat. But I SO don't want to frog again, so it'll just have to stay as it is.

I've also made excellent progress on my first Love Lace Sock (the August kit from the Rockin Sock Club). I'm totally in love with these socks now, and am quite resentful of the fact that I'm giving them away. But Christmas waits for no knitter, and I've only got 2 gifts made so far (the brown-socks-that-are-still-on-a-time-out don't count yet), so I've got to get cracking. I can always make another pair for myself, right?

I'm also going to start cruising for a hat pattern for Émilie. There was a great review of a hat pattern book on Knitter's Review this week, but I'm hesitant to go ahead and buy it. It feels like I'm being too impulsive (and you know that if I'm thinking it's impulsive, it's gotta be a sign, right?).

Happy knitting everyone!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Boo-tiful Yarn!

OK, that was a lame pun, but I wanted something that tied in with Halloween, and that's as good as I could come up with. Happy Halloween!

Monday was Kate-the-Enabler's birthday, so we decided to treat ourselves to a visit to Mouliné, our not-so-local yarn shop. Despite some early difficulties (I gave Kate the wrong cell-phone number - Hee Hee!!!), we met up at around 1 o'clock and proceeded to scour the store in search of yarn for our respective projects. We were Moms with a Mission! Kate wanted yarn to get started on Eunny Jang's lovely Endpaper Mitts (enabled by the talented Caroline). I wanted to pick up some yarn to make a hat for my lovely daughter Émilie, and possibly a scarf for myself.

After some lengthy discussion/debating with Scott, Kate settled on some lovely Zara yarn (it's technically a DK weight, but it's really on the finer side, so I think it'll be fine). I also enabled her into a skein of Fleece Artist merino sock yarn ('cause every sock knitter needs at least one skein of FA). For myself, I picked up some beautiful Malabrigo for my scarf. Mmmm. I just want to roll around in this yarn. I already have some in my stash, which I had planned to use for the Snowball Hat from the Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. I think I'll try to fiddle the cable pattern from the hat into a scarf pattern.

I also grabbed a skein of Colinette Cadenza. This is their DK-weight merino, and it's quite soft and squishy. I was a little surprised, actually, since I'm not a huge fan of their Jitterbug sock yarn (that probably makes me some kind of heathen). I think it's something to do with the way it's spun, maybe? (Like I really know what I'm talking about!) I don't know, it's seems sort of stringy to me. In all fairness, I've yet to actually knit it up. Maybe once I do, I'll change my mind.

In other yarny-goodness, I FINALLY received my order of Sock Hop yarn from Crow Mountain Farms. I think I ordered these skeins back in July or something, but they apparently had problems getting the orders from their spinners, so it took a while. It was worth it, though! Luscious handspun. Note to self: must learn to spin ASAP!


I'll leave you with this picture of Émilie, taken this morning as she was leaving for daycare. Come on, say it with me: Aawwwwww!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Reverse Frog

I've been working on the Gentleman's sock with Lozenge pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Along the way, I bumped into a few problems. I kept at it, though, confident it would all work out in the end. Then this happened:

I ran out of yarn at the toe. Again. *Sigh* The only problem is that this is the second sock. There is no backup yarn. After seriously considering just setting the damn thing on fire, I had an epiphany. "I know! I'll just frog back some of the cuff and use the yarn to complete the toe. No worries!!!".

Yeah, the only problem is that, as I soon discovered, you can only reverse frog straight stockinette stitch. Something about the change in direction from purl to knit stitches turns the process into a big knot and, really, a total nightmare. But rather than re-knit the socks (and that was so not going to happen!), I patiently reverse-frogged (Gorfed?) 10 rows of cuff. After about five hours (yes, you read that right - FIVE HOURS), I wound up with a dinky little ball of frayed yarn, which was (thank goodness!) just enough to finish the toe.

I used a sewn bind off on the cuff, and I'm pretty happy with the results. There's only a slight problem.






Now the cuff on both socks don't match, and I have to reverse frog the first sock. Aaaaack!!!!!






I just couldn't face it last night, so I cast on another pair of socks instead. I'm a bit behind on my Rockin Sock Club kits, and I had originally planned to work on the October kit next. However, after working on a pair of brown socks for what seems like forever (!), the colours on the August kit just called out to me. The design is cute (I think these will make a lovely Christmas gift for somebody), and I'm enjoying the different look. The design calls for a lace cuff that is then joined together and folds over the leg. I'll be knitting them on DPNs, but since the cuff is knit straight (and wet blocked before joining to work in the round), I used a circular needle to start out.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

But it was on sale!

A couple of weeks ago, I was randomly following links and I ended up on Sweet Georgia's blog (she of Sweet Georgia yarn). Specifically, on this page, where she shows off her beautiful Sizzle sleeveless shell top. Yeah, it's another Wendy Bernard pattern. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Anyway, Georgia used Estelle Mystik yarn for her Sizzle, and the results (at least in my humble opinion) are lovely. Since I was on a yarn fast (and, you know, winter is fast approaching), I let it go.

Skip ahead to last night. I get an email from Ram Wools (I have got to get off those "Update" mailing lists, they're just evil) telling me that Estelle Mystik is now on sale! 50% off! "Sizzle!!!!" I think. So I bought 10 balls in the Scarlet colourway. Whaaaat? It was on sale!!!!!

As to the other projects I'm drooling over, I'm planning on casting on an obscene amount of projects in the next few days, in the hopes that this will counter the urge to splurge. If that doesn't work, November is a whole new month. :P

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is there a cure for this?

I have a wicked case of cast-on-itis. Unfortunately, I don't actually own the yarn for any of the things I'm currently drooling over. *Sigh* And since I'm a bit of a fiber-snob (no acrylic, please), it would cost me quite a bundle if I were to order everything I want. Yes folks, incredible though it may sound, it seems that Rhinebeck did nothing to cure me from my urge to splurge.

What are some of the things you want, you may be asking? Here's a list (in no particular order):
I also have a yearning for this yarn, just because it's pretty:
Even though my yarn fast is technically over, the Rhinebeck bills have yet to arrive, so I'm going to try to keep it together until they do. I'll keep you posted.

By the way, I've turned the heel on my second Gentleman's sock with lozenge pattern. I'm hoping it'll be finished by the end of the week, since I got my Rockin Sock Club kit in the mail yesterday (no pictures yet - I don't want to spoil the fun!). Suffice it to say that I love the colour (very Halloweeny), and the design is equally fun (from none other than the Harlot herself). I think these will be keepers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

If you build it, they will come

Breaking news! I think there just might be a future in this hobby we call knitting. Un-be-lie-vable. Un-real. Un-imaginable.

I'll just begin by saying that I had no idea that Rhinebeck would be such a humongous freakin' affair. I mean, DUDES! If you've never been, it's absolutely crazy! Everything and anything that has to do with sheep or yarn is represented, from sheep (and angora rabbits, and llamas, and alpacas) to yarn to sheep dogs. And the knitters (and spinners, and farmers)!!!! They came in droves.

We arrived at the fairgrounds at about 9:25 in the morning, and were already freaked out by the number of parked cars. As soon as I had paid for our tickets, I made a beeline for the Briar Rose Fibers booth, and began rooting about for some Abundance (to make Ann Hanson's Totally Autumn throw). I didn't find any (rats!), but I did get my hands on this lovely 1200 yard skein of Grandma's blessing (I'm thinking of making either this or this with it, I haven't decided yet). When I casually asked about the Abundance, I was told that their supplier had run out, but that I could substitute for some Sonoma (same gauge, different fiber), which they had in stock. Since Phil was dealing with an impatient Emilie and a screaming Maxime, I thought "I'll be back later". BIG MISTAKE!!! When I returned, there was no more Sonoma to be had. Oh well, at least I scored a 10% discount on my next purchase! (Insert evil laugh here).





I'm trying to give an accurate account of the day, but honestly? It all boils down to sheep gazing (for Emilie, the animals were really the high point of the day) and yarn fondling. The yarn fondling was actually kind of intimidating. As I mentioned here, I really don't know that much about yarn (no, really!). Sure, there was lots (and lots, and LOTS) of beautiful yarn out there, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to be able to look at a skein of yarn and visualize what it wants to be, you know? I can't say "That would make a great sweater, give me 1500 yards". I even bought the Ann Budd pamphlet that Jennifer was kind enough to mention, but I was still a little flabbergasted. So for a while, I was limiting myself to one skein projects, like socks or scarves.



From left to right: Three skeins of Soft Touch Heather sock yarn in the fury colourway, from Shelridge Farm; Three skeins of sock yarn from Pennsylvania-based Maple Creek Farm (in my opinion, the jewel of the show): Superwash merino in the Jade colourway, Superwash Merino/Tencel in the Hot Cocoa colourway (my favourite), Superwash Merino/Nylon in the Pond Rocks colourway (this one's for Phil)).

Below, on the left: one skein (about 500 yards) of Boucle yarn (mohair/wool/nylon blend) from also Pennsylvania-based Persimmon Tree Farm. Last but not least, this yarn. I don't know what it is or how much of it there is, nor do I remember where it comes from (Way to go!). It's just funky, and every time I would walk by it it would catch my eye, so I bought it. I think it'll make a great scarf.


So there I was, confused, disoriented. Even Phil was telling me to get out there and get shopping (I know!!!). Enter the kit. Now, I've been meaning to blog about how my feelings toward the kit have changed over the years. See, I used to look down on them. "Kits are for amateurs" I'd say. And that may very well be. But there's just something about getting everything you need in one convenient package, you know? It's like a Happy Meal for knitters. Sure, you can get the individual components separately, but it's just not the same, right? It's not a Happy Meal. Plus, at least when it comes to knit kits (and possibly Happy Meals), buying the kit is usually cheaper than buying the yarn and patters separately. So there.

First up: The Tree Frog scarf kit from Morehouse Farm. I had actually meant to purchase enough yarn to make a sweater from Moremouse, but when I got there all I could find were these cute scarf kits. So I bought one. Then, a couple of hours later, I realize that there were actually two Morehouse booths, and that all the Morehouse Merino was in the other one. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the place was crawling with savvy knitters who had cleaned them out of most of the colourways I fancied.

Second: the Wanderer sweater kit from the afore-mentioned Shelridge Farm. I bought the L/XL kit, mainly because that's all they had left at this point. I'm thinking I'll either make it for the big sweater-wearer I know (who's L/XL), or I'll make the medium sized-one for Phil and then try to make a matching, smaller version for Maxime with the leftover yarn. Tempting as that may be, there is one caveat. In all the years I've known Phil, he's never voluntarily worn a wool sweater. He's just not a sweater lover. I'm not sure I want to put myself through the aggravation of making him something he'll probably never wear.

There you have it! I had a blast, and barring any disasters, I'm definitely going next year (but maybe without the kids? I'm just saying is all) :)

By the way, you can check out all the pictures we took (a big thanks to Phil for having the presence of mind to take pictures while I walked around in a yarn-induced trance) here. Enjoy!

P.S.: A big Hidey-Ho to Michelle, from the Sweet Sheep. I can't believe that I actually bumped into her among the thousands of knitters and spinners ambling about on Saturday! It was great to meet her in person :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Off on our merry way

We're off to Rhinebeck in a bit (actually, I'm off to the shower...), but I wanted to post this picture of Emilie in her brand-new sweater. We managed to get her to put it on for about 5 minutes last night. Woo-Hoo! I'm actually quite happy with the fit.







I'm also quite happy to present these, Kate-the-Enabler's first ever socks, a pair of Monkeys no less. I think they're awesome, and Kate deserves a great big hand of applause. Way to go Kate! :)

Lastly, I finished the first of the Gentlemen's sock with lozenge pattern, from Knitting Vintage Socks. Sadly, they won't be for my brother-in-law after all, since I ran out of yarn. I'll have to find a man with little feet, because I just couldn't face ripping them out again.

Major Yarn PrOn next post! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Woo-Hoo (I guess)

The Wildflower sweater is finally done. I thought I would be done by Tuesday at the latest, but not only did I underestimate the amount of time it would take me to do the embroidery, I also failed to remember how much I hate seaming. No worries though, the important thing is that it is now ready for Rhinebeck.
It was my intention to post a picture of the sweater actually being worn by its intended owner, my three year old daughter Emilie. However, after taking one look at the sweater her puffy-eyed mother was proudly presenting her this morning, the little angel said "I don't like it" and flat out refused to try it on. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Insert appropriate expletives here). Anyway, I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that I handled it badly, so badly in fact that I can pretty much guarantee that there is now no chance in hell of her wearing it. EVER. Anyone want a sweater? I'd be willing to part with it for, oh, 700$? :) Gotta love kids.

The worst of it is that she flipped through my pattern book (I was trying to show her that I'd made her THAT one. "See? It's the same, isn't that cool????") and promptly requested I now make her a knitted mouse. Um, I'm going with NO at this point. No more knitting for the ungrateful child, thank you very much. I'm going to retreat to a corner and nurse my wounds for a bit before I venture into THAT neck of the woods again, if you don't mind. Possibly with, *GASP*, something for myself that isn't a pair of socks. I'll keep you posted until after Rhinebeck.

In other news, Kate-the-Enabler, my mom and myself saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age yesterday. I quite enjoyed it, but something bothered the crap out of me. One of the actors was maddeningly familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on who he was (he played the Jesuit) or where I'd seen him before. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm somewhat of a freak when it comes to anything movies. I know actors, directors, composers. Put it this way: I play a mean "Six degrees of Kevin Bacon". Anywho, it bothered me off and on all evening, and this morning in the shower it just hit me: he played Spike in Notting Hill. I checked IMDB and sure enough, I was right. I rule!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I should really be knitting

Well, Phil won the bet. I really thought I had him, since he ran into a little snag on Monday night, but I totally, TOTALLY underestimated the amount of time it would take to do the embroidery on the flowers. Seriously, it's taking forever (note the present tense). Yup, after 3 hours, I'm still not finished. Oh well! :) The worst of it is that last night, Phil took one look at my completed panel and said "I think I prefer it without the embroidery". Aaaack! What do you think, dear readers? Better with or without the embroidery?

I went to the bank yesterday and picked up some American money for our trip to Rhinebeck this weekend. After taking out what most muggles would consider to be an insane amount of money to be spending on yarn, my wonderful husband, without missing a beat, said "That's pretty reasonable". Of course, we're talking about the guy who once spent 1200$ on pinball parts at a convention in under five minutes... He's even set aside some spending money for himself (read: money for yarn that will be used exclusively on projects for him).

I will DEFINITELY be finishing the sweater by tonight, so I should have lovely pictures for tomorrow's post. Until then, I leave you with this shot of Maxime, who's just begun eating vegetables. I think he likes it! :)