Monday, September 29, 2008

Fire Bad, Tree Pretty

To say it's been a brutal weekend would be a colossal understatement. It was the mother of all DORMA weekends, and I wasn't even any of the work! (But, between you and me? A weekend with 2 kids and my mother-in-law ain't exactly a picnic either) ;)

So, in lieu of words, a photo-essay.

The old carpet. Eeeeeeeeewwwwww

Rippin' it out! Buh-Bye, carpet!

Oy Vey

A few nails...

Phil's Dad, hard at work

Mmmmm, shiny....

The living room!

My new dining room

The hallway

As you can see, things aren't quite back to normal. But we're getting there! We're not 100% done, but still, it's close enough...

Oh, and I turned the heel on my Miscellaneous-Man socks ;)

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Garment Fantasies

As I mentioned last post, I'm having major garment fantasies, and in keeping with my tendency towards mental masturbation, I've given considerable thought to what I could cast on next (I'm down to a mere 2 "active" projects right now), as well as potential purchases during the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck).

One of the garments I mentioned last time was Jamesey. I really like this pattern, I like that it's got some gansey action going on, it's definitely speaking to me. Upon re-examining the stash last night, I realized that I've got some lovely Shelridge Farms Soft Touch W4 that I could work beautifully with this pattern.

Interesting... However, further consideration has led me to identify 2 potential problems with this project.
  1. The original pattern is knit in a cotton yarn, and is designed to be shrunk after washing. Can I substitute a superwash merino for cotton? Will it work?
  2. (this is a biggie): by taking on a potentially huge project like this one, and considering the limited amount of knitting time I have at my disposal, am I setting myself up for a total Christmas-Eve meltdown? Maybe I should just stick to socks and hats? (but seriously, where's the fun in that?)

I don't know... I'll keep mulling it over (don't worry!) and keep you posted.

I'm also putting a great deal of thought into what I want to purchase at Rhinebeck this year. I'm heading out with Kate-the-Enabler for a girls' weekend, and frankly just getting a weekend away will be it's own reward at this point, regardless of the fact that it's for a fiber festival. STILL, there WILL be yarn there... As you've probably guessed, I'm hoping to buy sweater quantities of yarn this year. Looking at the vendor list, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that the afore-mentioned Shelridge Farm, Knitting Notions, Morehouse Farm and Briar Rose booths will ALL be visited by yours truly in a mere 23 days. Squeeee!!!

I cast on my Miscellaneous-Man Socks earlier this week.

Basic no-brainer sock, knit with Twisted Fiber Art Playful in the Xavier colourway. I also got re-acquainted with the Celtic Tote last night. Oh Celtic Tote, how I missed thee! Progress will go quickly with this on I'm hoping (you know, because of the whole "cabling without a cable needle" thing).

In the "Fitness and Health" department, I signed up for a year-long membership to Curves earlier this week. No, it's not necessarily the workout of the century. Yes, it can become monotonous and repetitive, but honestly? The same can be said about EVERY workout program I've ever attempted. Bottom line? This works with my lifestyle, and it's better than what I was doing before, which was, um, nothing.

Kate-the-Enabler and I also started the hundred push-up challenge this week. Have you heard about this? Basically, it's a training program that claims you'll be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups in 6 weeks. I was reading about it on the Enchanting Juno's blog last week, and thought it would be a kick for the two of us to do together, sort of a way to stay motivated. I was depressed to find that I couldn't even manage ONE stinkin' "good-form" push-up, but after consulting with my sister-in-law (aka "She-of-the-great-ass-and-killer-arms"), I was able to manage about 3 with a wider stance, putting me in the lowest bracket (something about re-distributing my weight). Anyhoo! I started the Day 1 of Week 1 last night. Go go go!!!

I've also been paying better attention to what I'm eating. I was inspired by Maggie's post about this Smokey Miso Tofu sandwich, and decided it would be fun to try out. I had a little trouble finding some of the ingredients at first (I actually called my mostly-vegetarian cousin Jessica from the Vegan-Health-Macrobiotic-Organic store and asked her "What the heck is nutritional yeast, anyway?"), but eventually I had everything I needed (including some Quinoa and Kamut flour bread - that's gotta score me double points, right?). I made it on Sunday, and although I think I ultimately ended up slicing my tofu a bit too thin, it was really good, and I've had it for lunch 3 times this week. Proud of me?

Don't worry, I'm not going all "health-nut" on you. I've been baking practically every night this week, trying to make good use of all the apples we picked last weekend. Here's what Émilie and I made tonight. Apple honey muffins. Mmmmm...

Finally, the mail carrier left a lovely package from the Needle Arts Book Shop in my mailbox today! Some Belated Birthday Books from my lovely cousin (and lucky knitwear recipient) Jessica. Thanks, Jessie!

I'm particularly excited to have received Selbuvotter. I sense mittens in my future!

Happy Knitting Everyone! If all goes as planned, I'll have many (many many!) pictures of my new hardwood floors to share with you next post!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So! Do you want to see pictures of my progress so far on Mystery Stole 4?

Yeah, I decided to rip it out. I was starting to feel pressured by the fact that I was so far behind on the clues (clue 4 should be released this coming Friday), setting myself nightly knitting objectives to get caught up, and it was beginning to feel like a chore. I've got enough chores, obligations and deadlines in my life, I don't need my knitting bossing me around as well.
Bottom line, it just wasn't "doing it" for me, and rather than have another UFO plant roots in my knitting basket, I made an executive decision and cut it loose. I didn't even bother tinking back to recuperate the beads. Asta la vista, baby!

I also finished the second Nutkin sock on the metro to work this morning. These are a belated birthday gift for my cousin Jessica.

I'm telling you, casting off and finishing a project in the metro is about as mystical to your fellow commuters as casting on. I could FEEL people staring at me, and it was all I could do to suppress a smile of smug satisfaction.

So I've polished off a couple of projects in the past week, either by finishing or frogging, and now of course, I'm fantasizing about what to do next. I want to cast on another pair of socks for my train knitting, and I think I'm going to use some of my Twisted Fiber Art for that. I've got a mean hankering for some self-striping action, and I want to get a few Christmas gifts knit up as well. Two birds, one stone? These will be good Miscellaneous Man-Socks.

I'm also looking forward to picking up my sadly neglected Celtic Tote. I'd really like to be able to take it to Rhinebeck, and up until this weekend I was under the impression that there was "plenty of time left". Well, no, there isn't really. It's T-minus 24 days and counting. Gotta get a move on.

So that's what's coming up in the immediate future. Also possibly a hat (Foliage? Odessa?), maybe Waves of Grain (think I can do THAT by Rhinebeck too?).

What I really want to knit is something delicious, something drapey, something lovely and comforting and... I don't know what. I'd really like to cast on a cardigan (I'm having garment knitting fantasies), maybe Véronik Avery's Dollar and a Half Cardigan, or this cute Phildar gilet(which I don't have the pattern for, so maybe not), or even a man-sweater, like Jamesey or the Urban Aran Cardigan. Plus there are about 7 projects from the Norah Gaughan Berroco book I just bought. Or, you know, anything with Sea Silk.

Trouble is, I don't really have anything appropriate in the stash. I'm sadly lacking in the DK/Worsted department, something I'll be sure to remedy in 24 days. :)

I had more I wanted to talk about today, but I'm about out of time for today. I'll end today's post by wishing a great big Happy Birthday to my husband, pinball wizard and über-kite-maker-extraordinaire, Philippe. He's 36 today, and still as handsome as he was the day I met him (more so, actually). Wish the same could be said about me...

Happy Birthday, sweetie! I love you.

And Happy Knitting to all of you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Things you May Not Know About Lace

OK, I cast finally cast on for Mystery Stole 4 on Friday night, and I've discovered a few key facts about lace that I thought I'd share with my readers. Let's begin.
  1. Knitting Lace is hard: it takes attention and focus to detail, and it's not something you can mindlessly do while watching television after spending an exhausting day working and/or running around with 2 kids under 5.
  2. Lace weight is tiny: My last 2 lace projects (Cluaranach and the Lace ribbon scarf) weren't knit with your traditional lace weight. Even though I've knit with lace weight before, I think I had forgotten how frickin' tiny it actually is, and what a pain in the arse it can be to work the stitches.
  3. Knitting with beads is really persnickety: Man! getting the stupid beads on the tiny crochet needle is a pain, getting them on the stitches is difficult... Seriously! The second row of Clue 1 has 1 bead on every alternate stitch (you cast on 113 stitches, I don't think that's giving too much away)? It must have taken me a bleepin' HOUR to get one row done!
So apologies to all if there are no progress pictures. I've only worked up to row 3 on clue 1, so progress is non-existent at this point. I wasn't able to work on it last night because we had Phil's brother and his girlfriend over for dinner, and when I came back downstairs from putting Maxime to bed (Émilie was spending the night with Phil's parents on their boat), they were all sprawled out with the lights out in the living room, watching season 1 of Heroes, and I felt bad asking them to turn on the lights. So I worked on a sock instead (that I can pretty much do blindfolded). On the upside, I think we've brought them over to the dark side of the force. It wouldn't surprise me if they had camped outside Best Buy all night to be able to buy the DVD as soon as they opened their doors this morning. :)

I do have some pictures of today's excursion to a local apple orchard to pick apples with, apparently, everyone else in Laval.

Even though apple picking is quite the traditional Fall activity in this neck of the woods, I hadn't been since I was a little girl, and this was the first time we went with the kids. It was a beautiful day, and we had loads of fun.

Of course, now I've got more apples than I know what to do with. Anyone got some good apple recipes to share? Apple pies, bread, muffins, cobbler? You name it, I've got the apples for it.

Lastly, Robyn nominated me for an I love your Blog award!

The rules are:
1- Post the award on your blog.

2- Add a link to the person who gave you the award.

3- Nominate at least 4 other bloggers and add their links:

Obviously, I love Robyn's blog, and I love my co-nominees as well, so I won't name them. I nominate Maggie, Alison, Sinéad, and for my "famous" blogger, I'll nominate Anne Hanson (I don't think I'll tell her though, I mean come on...).

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's Next

First things first, I finished the Baby Pinwheel Blanket last night while watching Bones! Good thing too, my girlfriend had her daughter Sunday night (technically Monday morning). I don't know when I'll be able to actually give it to her, but at least it's done.

OK, so clearly I went overboard with this thing. Seriously, as you can see, it would make a very suitable lap afghan. When I finished binding it off, I held it up and the sheer size of it sort of threw me. I don't think I realized what 600 stitches actually meant in terms of size.

Oh well, it's soft and the colours are fun and it's done. Time to move on!

I finally received my beads from the Bead Wrangler yesterday (it didn't take that long really, I'm just impatient), and I was somewhat disappointed with what I got. The colours I selected just don't seem to "go" with the lace I wanted to pair them with. What do you think? (the second photo is closer to the actual colour)

I really thought I had made the best selection based on what was on the computer screen, but apparently not. Now, for those of you about to comment that none of this would have happened had I bothered to go to an actual bead store, may I remind you that I DID start out by going to a bead store (Chaton Beads, their new Laval store), and while the colours of the beads I ended up choosing were perfect, they weren't the right size. Nor were the sales people particularly helpful. When I asked for size 8/0 or 5 mm beads, all I got were blank stares.

Actually, as you can see from this photo, the beads I bought to go with Maggie's laceweight (the Sunset colourway) actually work well, and I think that's what I'll use when I cast on for Waves of Grain (you know, in August, 2013). And upon checking the pictures of other people's Mystery Stole, I'm going to try the garnet beads with my Classic Elite Silky Alpaca before I really decide. Even though my first instinct when knitting with beads is to go for something more subtle, many people are using vibrant (if not downright clashing) beads with their stoles, and it seems to work. So we'll see.

As for the blue beads, I have no idea what the heck I was thinking when I ordered these. They aren't even remotely in the same vicinity as the colour family of their intended lace (again, Maggie's lace weight, this time in the Havasy Falls colourway). No worries though, I've found the perfect pattern for that yarn. One of these days I'm even going to get around to buying it. These beads WOULD be perfect with some Dream in Color Baby Lace (perhaps the Lunar Zazzle colourway?), but sadly, I don't have any of that in the stash. Sigh. Someday!

All these projects will have to wait though. I've got something a bit more pressing on my mind lately.
Phil picked up our hardwood flooring yesterday, and we're either going to install it this weekend or next weekend. Woo-Hoo!!!!! I can't wait, our carpet is SOOOOOO friggin' gross. I'll be sure to post before and after pictures (as well as some in-progress pictures. Possibly a video montage.).

I'll end today's post by saying a big Happy Birthday to both my Mom and my Dad (yup! they're both born on September 18th! Exactly 4 years apart). I don't know if my mother reads this blog on a regular basis, but I know Dad's always out there.

Happy Birthday to both of you! I love you!

And Happy Knitting to the rest of you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

20 minutes

That's about all the time I've got to crank this post out today. I feel so frazzeld that I scarcely know where to begin, but it's been too long since my last post, so I figured this would be better than nothing.

OK, let's see. This weekend I took a break from painting in favour of buying Fall clothes for both kids (and a few pieces for myself), giving my credit card a vicious workout in the process. I am positively DREADING getting next month's credit card statement, but what are you going to do. The sudden change in weather took me by surprise last week, and poor Maxime was left with only hand-me-down pants that were WAY to big for him, and T-shirts with his borderline-too-small Trellis cardigan because I didn't have a single long-sleeved shirt that fit him. Plus I was squeezing him into these itty-bitty pajamas every night... It was high time I bought him some new clothes.

Émilie's situation wasn't quite so dire. I was actually surprised that she still fit into most of the pants she wore last year, and she still had quite a few long-sleeved tops, so I only had to buy her a few tops and some skirts and dresses (because she likes that kind of thing).

As for myself, even though I really couldn't afford any new clothes right now, I also realized that I didn't even have the bare minimum of 5 office-appropriate outfits, so I really had no choice. I think I was quite reasonable though. I bought a few pieces at L'Aubainerie (including some fabulous pants that were 26,98$. I couldn't believe it. 27$!!!), and a few tops at R&W, where they were having a one-day, 20% off everything in the store sale.

So all in all, not too shabby. And I look pretty good, if I do say so myself.

I'm just about finished 2 of my current projects. I'm about halfway down (up?) the leg on the not-a-surprise-anymore Nutkin socks I've been working on. They're for my cousin Jessica, who celebrated a birthday on September 11th. She came over yesterday and I showed her the first of the pair, and she seemed very happy with, um, it.

I've also got about 3 rows left to the border of the Baby Pinwheel Blanket, but at 600 stitches per row, I'm only getting about a row and a half done per evening.

No pictures of either project I'm afraid. I've got choir practice tonight, so I won't have time to take them. (I know, I know, busy bee. Hey, I wouldn't have it any other way. That's what makes life so interesting.) Stay tuned for FO sightings over the next few days!

(7 minutes left)

I've been a horrible knitting friend/pal lately. Everything's been so hectic, I haven't had the time to pack up my final package to my downstream pal, and I promised my upstream pal I'd make her a mix CD (in appreciation of the incredible CD she made me - so wonderful), but there just aren't enough hours in the day!!! Everything's ALMOST done, of course. I've got all the stuff for my pal, I just need to wrap it and get my arse to the post office, and I've selected all my songs for the mix CD (enough for 2 CDs actually), but I haven't actually BURNED it yet.


Oh, you wanna know who my (upstream) Secret Pal is? It's the lovely and talented Cynthia! There's a funny story behind her reveal, actually, but it'll have to be for another time... I've only got 4 minutes left! :)

In other news, I'm a bit miffed that I haven't received the beads for my yet-to-be-cast-on Mystery Stole. Doubly so because I happened to order beads to coordinate for a few skeins of laceweight (I was paying for shipping ANYWAY, right?), and now I totally want to knit up Waves of Grain. (Have you seen the new Knitty? It's awesome.)

OK, that about does it! Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Light and Breezy

In an attempt to navigate away from the introspective funk I've been on over the past few days, today's post will feature an update on my Health and Fitness program and the impressions said program has inspired over the past 3 weeks.

I've been diligent about keeping up with my Curves workouts 3 times a week. I haven't been 100% successful in my quest to go vegetarian for lunch during the week, mainly because I'm too lazy to prepare a separate vegetarian lunch for myself when I can just grab some leftovers from the fridge. Still, I'd say I'm averaging about 50% in the vegetarian category.

I haven't lost a single pound, and the jeans still make me feel like I'm in a bad '80s movie. Yes, I know, it's only been 3 weeks... But that got me to thinking about the goals we set out for ourselves when we embark on these kinds of plans.

I think we all have a particular image of what we'd like to project to the world. It's called residual self image, and my first introduction to the concept was in The Matrix. Now, I'm guessing that, for most of us, our residual self image looks NOTHING like our actual image. Some people think they look worse than they do, and some people think they look way better.

My question is this: if the purpose of dieting and fitness programs is to attain our ideal residual self image, are we setting ourselves up to fail from the getgo? Is it actually possible to attain the goals we've set up for ourselves?

I know that in my case, I'm NEVER going to look the way I'd like to look, for one very simple reason. No matter how much I exercise and diet, I can't turn back the clock. Not only will I NEVER look like the 21 year-old fitness instructor, I didn't look like her when I WAS 21. Yes, I know, I'm only 32. Get over it, Tara!

Anyway, I've decided that at this point, exercise and diet can't be about improving one's self. It's all about damage control.

Speaking of working out, did you know it was possible to make a dance version of Blue Oyster Cult's The Reaper? I wouldn't have thought so, but apparently it's been done. Be that as it may, I for one will continue to associate that song with plague and death (Thank you Stephen King!).

Did any of you catch the premiere of Fringe this week? Even though I was initially turned off by the high ick-factor, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't want to give too much away in case you haven't seen it yet, but I'll just say that the beginning of the episode was somewhat predictable but picked up considerably by the end, so much so that I was able to a) stop calling Josh Jackson Pacey; b) stop calling John Noble Denethor and c) stop waiting for Olivia's freaky boss to return to the island. (OK, clearly I'm a geek who needs to seek help) My hope for this show is that it'll fill in the X-Files void.

In knitting news, I finished the first of the secret socks I've been working on last night. Without giving too much away here (remember, this is for the Christmas gift pile, and the intended recipient is a lurker), the pattern calls for a short-row toe with a three-needle bindoff rather than a kitchener-stitch graft. I've never used either technique for a toe, so I went ahead with it (even though I'm not happy with the short-row shaping on the toe - there's GOT to be a better way to conceal the wraps, but I digress). I did the ENTIRE bind-off with the right sides of the work facing outwards, and when I was done there was a great big honkin' seam sticking out the top of the foot.
Certain I had done something wrong (and if this had been a shoulder-seam, it WOULD have been wrong), I painstakingly tinked back to the beginning of the bindoff. Then I started to ponder exactly how I was going to work this bindoff, how I was going to have to turn the sock inside out to get a seamless graft, and wouldn't the designer have mentioned needing to turn do that in the pattern?

The pattern! Right! I checked the pictures of the sock on the pattern, and sure enough, there was the great big honkin' seam at the top of the foot. I hadn't messed anything up, it was a design feature.

I cast on for the second sock in the metro this morning, something which had my fellow travelers positively entranced. I highly recommend you try it. The way a few of them were staring at me, I felt like David Copperfield.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Silencing the Inner Monologue

I've always written. As a teenager, when hormones and confusion and the incredible Splendor-in-the-Grass-ness of it all really got to me, I'd let it all out on paper rather than talk to anyone about it. I guess I was too embarrassed to share my feelings with someone else, even though in retrospect I know that had I chosen to share my feelings with someone, they would probably have been going through the exact same thing. Anyway, I'd just write in a frenzy. I used to call them "Paper Trips", and they made me feel better when I couldn't take it anymore. I think I've still got some stashed away somewhere.

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking, and most of that thinking has taken the form of writing in my mind. It's kind of hard to put into words (which is sort of ironic), but it's as though I'm constantly telling myself stories, exploring possibilities in a literary format.

One of the things I was musing upon today was how, in many ways, knitting really is like life something the Harlot has pointed out much more eloquently than I ever could). It takes practice and patience, but with persistence, you eventually build up a set of skills that lead to satisfaction with a specific task.

Another way it can be similar, I've found, is that no matter how much you love what you're knitting, you'll eventually hit a boring stretch of stockinette that will make you want to impale yourself on your own needles.

And that's when it occurred to me that, in some ways, it's a good thing that life is most definitely NOT like knitting. Because when that happens with knitting, you can just look at your stash and cast on for something new. That doesn't cause the first project you were working on to self-destruct (as would presumably occur were you to take that same approach in life). You don't rip back the project you were working on first, you're just giving it a timeout. Taking a break, going with the flow, owning your own knitting, whatever you want to call it.

Whenever I hear from certain friends, people I used to be really close with who are now out in the world living completely different lives, I always get to thinking about MY life, examining the choices I've made, wondering what it might have been had I chosen another path (this usually occurs when I'm in a particularly boring week at work).

Don't get me wrong. I love my life, my husband, my children. I'm exactly where I wanted to be, and I don't regret anything. But don't you ever just wonder what might have been?

And that's part of what makes knitting so appealing to me, I guess. Because I don't HAVE to wonder. I can follow every passion, every whim. I can pursue every floozy who strikes my fancy. I'm not letting anyone down, I don't owe anybody a thing when it comes to my knitting. It's mine.

So go ahead, knitters. Cast on. You know you wanna....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Mouths of Babes

In typical Quebec fashion, the weather has changed drastically over the past few days, and we've gone from blistering, suffocating temperatures to cooler Fall weather. A change in wardrobe is now in order, and this morning as I dipped into my Autumn office attire for the first time in 2 years (I was on maternity leave last year), I thought most if not all was dated (AND it had shrunk - WHAT?) and wouldn't it be nice to go shopping.

I selected something appropriate and relatively classic (a charcoal grey pant suit with fuchsia pinstripe, FYI), and proceeded with the morning (breakfast, get kids dressed and teeth brushed, yadayadayada). I did all this with just the pants and blouse on, and everything was fine. Then when I put on the blazer, Émilie took one look at me and declared that my outfit was much too dark, and that I couldn't wear that to work because all my friends would make fun of me.

Did I mention she's 4???

Much as I'd like to take her opinion as a sign to give in and run to the mall, credit card at the ready, my budget is limited this month (*snort* yeah, I'd say 0$ is a pretty substantial limit), and if faced between clothing myself or my kids, I'm going to have to put them first.

Man, being a responsible adult really bites the big one sometimes.

I'm really making an effort to control my spending this month, and it's starting to take its toll. For instance, I nearly fell off the wagon with the yarn fast last week. OK, truth be told, not only did I fall off the wagon, but the wagon actually ran me over. I discovered NoTwoSnowflakes Etsy shop, and was absolutely dumbstruck by her yarn. Struck DUMB, I tell you. Before I knew what I was doing, despite having a page detailing my budget and what I've spent so far on my credit card this month RIGHT NEXT TO MY DESK in an effort to curtail precisely this kind of impulse purchase, I had put 2 skeins in my cart and checked out. Then as I was about to hit the Pay Now button in PayPal, I came to and realized what I had done. I contacted the lovely Nicole and she graciously offered to cancel my purchases.

THAT, my friends, was a close one.

Now I'm wondering what to do to stave off this urge to buy yarn. Cast on multiple projects? Download a bunch of podcasts? Get a life? :)

At which point do fantasies become obsessions?

OK, on to current knitting projects. Sinéad mentioned in the comments that she couldn't get enough Pinwheel Blanket progress pictures, so here you go:

Kind of looks like a giant rasta hat doesn't it? Yeah, Phil thought so too.

I'm not quite certain when I should begin the edging on this thing. I originally wanted to do a lacy motif for the edging, but when I realized that wouldn't really work with a multi-coloured yarn, I decided on something a little plainer, maybe even a seed stitch border (but probably not, seed stitch is a pain in the arse). The trouble is that I like my blankets to be big... But I've got almost 600 stitches on the needles already, so maybe that's big enough? My friend is due to give birth any day now, so that'll probably end up being the ultimate deciding factor.

OK, enough for today! Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Who Wants a Worm?

You know, it really is true what they say. The early bird really does get the worm. But when you translate that statement over to humans, in lieu of a worm, you get an incredibly productive, crazy day.

For instance: by 9:30 this morning, when I wouldn't even have been AWAKE five years ago, I had done 2 loads of laundry and had put the second coat of paint on the upstairs bathroom. It's absolutely crazy how much you can cram into a weekend.

The unfortunate side effect of that amazing efficiency is a very noticeable shortening of the proverbial fuse. I have HAD it with this whole "wife and mother" deal. All I want for Christmas is for me to give me oodles of cash to sit on my keester, watch Buffy DVDs and knit. Seriously, is that too much to ask for?

Speaking of knitting, things didn't go quite as planned on Friday night. I mentioned last post that I wasn't convinced I had enough yarn for the Mystery Stole. The instructions state that you need 1100 yards of laceweight yarn, and the skein I wanted to use (Dyed in the Wool Handmade - Mmmmmmmm) has 980 yards.

I decided to ignore the little voice of reason telling me to use something else, and succeeded into the beginning of my second row, when I realized that the beads I had purchased to match the yarn were way too small, and there was no way I was going to get even one on my stitches. I took is as a sign from the Knitting Goddess to choose another yarn, and I ordered some beads in the appropriate size online (I don't have time to go traipsing across the city in search of the perfect beads. Those of you who do, more power to you.) I'll cast on when I get them (probably next week). I'm a bit miffed about starting the project a week behind in the clues, but hey, I'll live.

Since it's been a while since I've posted any pictures (Look! A slightly larger Pinwheel Blanket! Oooh, Aaaaaah), I'll leave you with this blurry shot of my daughter Émilie, taking her very first skating lesson on Saturday. Hmmmm.... I wonder where the XXIVth Winter Games will be held...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2008


I've had a pretty stressful week. Phil and I have been debating whether or not to purchase a house that's up for sale in a rather pricey neighborhood we both really like, and it's been exhausting. I may be a champion planner and mental-masturbator, but even I have my limits.

Thankfully, the issue has been resolved (we're staying put for now), and it's time to lay back, relax, and smoke 'em if you got 'em.

In lieu of a postcoitus cigarette, I've opted to indulge in some knitting. Pure pleasure, straight up "shirk your responsibilities" knitting. I'm talking, of course, about Mystery Stole 4.

I did Mystery Stole last year. It was my first lace project, my first time working with beads, but I didn't care. Over 6000 people had signed up for this thing, and I wasn't about to miss out on all that fun.

This year I was a bit reticent, since the designer isn't Melanie Gibbons of Pink Lemon Twist, but rather her mother, Georgina Bow (who, in all fairness, has designed some lovely patterns of her own). Still, it just wasn't the same...

Then when it was time to sign up, I thought "Eh, I'll sign up, just to have the option available to me to do it or not", still with no real intention of actually doing it. OK, fine, I rooted through the stash, found some appropriate laceweight, and bought some coordinating beads, but I for sure wasn't going to do it. (I WASN'T.) I didn't even swatch (and we all know I'm a diligent swatcher - STOP THAT LAUGHING!)

Fast forward a few months, and the mentally exhausting weeks we've been through chez Dear Knits? The first clue was released today. I haven't swatched, I'm not even sure if I've got the appropriate yardage for the project (last year I used JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk and I had way too much, even though the pattern said we needed 1000 yards)... And yet I'm helpless. I'm SO casting on for this project tonight. Just you wait and see. It'll be great.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Who Knew?

I bet you didn't know this, but I recently discovered that the Pony Express is alive and well and still making deliveries. How did I come about this realization?

I'm sure you all read the Yarn Harlot (seriously, the thought that you'd be reading my blog but wouldn't know about the lovely and talented Ms Pearl-McPhee is baffling). Anyway, one of Stephanie's recent posts was about a beautiful cardigan she had just finished knitting, from Berroco's Norah Gaughan Volume 1 booklet. It's called Manon, and as soon as I saw it, I was smitten (you're reeling from the shock of that statement, I know).

Now, keeping in mind that I'm NOT BUYING YARN at the moment, and that I don't have any suitable worsted weight (or is it an Aran - and while we're on the subject, can someone tell me what the heck the difference between Aran and Worsted is ANYWAY???) in my stash, I did some poking about (but I'm totally, definitely NOT BUYING YARN).

Hmmm.... I could knit this thing in KnitPicks Andean Silk yarn for a mere 55$ (but I'm SO not buying yarn!), or I could check out Elann... click, click, click (did I mention this was during office hours?).

Finally I snap out of it, and realize that all this clicking is for naught, because I don't have the pattern booklet! It was available through Elann, but with shipping I felt it was pricey. Then I remembered a gift certificate for the Yarn Market I had gotten from my parents for my birthday (or was it Christmas?). Perfect! I had been holding off using this certificate, because I remembered that that provider's shipping charges to Canada were quite stiff, and I wanted to get something that would really make the shipping worth it.

That seemed to scratch the itch, and I quickly forgot all about Manon (remember, once I've thought a project through, I don't need to be burdoned by actually DOING it). Then this weekend when Phil and I went on our mad reorganization binge, I found the gift certificate and sat down to order the booklet and possibly a skein or two of yarn (I'm allowed to purchase yarn with gift money).

I found the booklet and put it in my cart. And that's when I saw the shipping charges: 14,80$ for the booklet + (are you ready?) 32.00$ for shipping. Putting my order at 46,80$. I still can't believe it.

And that's how I know the Pony Express is still out there making deliveries. Well, how else can you explain such a ridiculous amount for shipping a stinkin' pattern book??? It's got to be going towards feed and room and board and, I don't know, smallpox vaccinations or something, right?

Crazy unbelievable. I should get myself a T-shirt that says "A 50$ gift certificate and all I got was this little booklet" (look out, Café Press!). Bottom line: if you're in Canada, never order from Yarn Market. Ever.

OK, that's it for today. No pictures, I'm afraid. I usually post them in the evenings, but tonight I'll be too busy staring at David Boreanaz's feet while watching the premiere of Bones, hoping to catch a glimpse of the socks the Bones fans group on Ravelry sent him this summer.

Happy Knitting Everyone!