Monday, December 29, 2008

Rack 'Em Up

I finished my Christmas Knitting! At least, I thought I had. More on that later. For now, I just want to bask in the glow.

First up, I finished the Bobbled Tam #31 last night.

Knit with Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist (I used up about 250 yards out of my 549 yard jumbo hank). I loved working with this yarn, even if it tended to shed a bit. I hope my Mother-in-Law will like it! I wanted to give it to her today, but she's gone and caught a nasty cold, so she's in a self-imposed quarantine at the moment.

I also finished my grandmother's socks.

Knit with Dyed in the Wool Handmade fingering weight sock yarn, in the Butter Cream colourway, using 2.5 mm needles. I really love these socks, and it was a great pattern. Easily memorized, but still able to hold my interest. I'll definitely be knitting this pattern up again!

I've still got quite a bit of yarn left (about 80 yards' worth, if my math is correct), and I really hate to let Maggie's stuff go to waste. So I think I'll use the rest to knit one of these cute Sweaters for purse-size tissue packets. The question is whether I'll wait to have one knit up before mailing my grandmother her socks!

So I should be done, right? Well, that's what I thought, and then my Dad sent me this poem, from which I'll present a small excerpt (he was referring to my previous post):

Upon her pert head there rested a hat
(quite pretty she is and not just for that)
and Look where its HAWT
(can t be? It can not!)
Another great hat
Well what can be said?
Save where is the one
for my balding grey head?

Looks like I'll be knitting another hat before the year is out!  I've got some Manos squared away...
I'll leave you with this picture I took of Émilie and Maxime this morning, completely entranced by the recent additions to our family. I wonder how long these little guys are going to survive their constant tapping on the glass!
Happy Knitting Everyone! I'm going to watch Cinderella with my daughter.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Haste

How was everybody's Christmas/Holiday? Ours went swimmingly, and quite according to schedule.

Émilie and I made cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve (Paging Doctor Freud! My Christmas cookies look like little boobies!)

Then headed over to my Mom's for the toddler version of Réveillon. For those who don't know, Réveillon is sort of a bigger deal in Quebec than Christmas day itself. Traditionally, you would go to Midnight Mass, then come back to the house and have a huge meal and open presents at midnight. We weren't going to keep the kids up that long, so we opened the presents before dinner, then enjoyed a tasty feast.

Christmas morning, the kids were up bright and early, and whaddaya know? SANTA HAD BEEN TO OUR HOUSE! He had even forgotten to shut the fireplace door on his way back up the chimney, a sure sign of his presence (that Phil, he has such an eye for details!), and he also seemed to have enjoyed his boobies.

See how dark it is outside, and how even Émilie looks bleary-eyed? Yeah, it was THAT early.

I think we covered just about everything on Christmas morning. We went through the initial euphoria of the discovery of the presents, followed by the ripping through the presents to get to the "good stuff", zoomed right to the "I-can't-believe-you-bought-another-plastic-piece-of-crap" phase (which goes hand in hand with the "I'm-not-assembling-this-stupid-toy" phase), and finished up with the "If you two can't share the toy I'm throwing it in the garbage!!!!" finale. And all in record time! Brilliant!!!

That night it was off to Phil's parents for yet more food and gifts.

Maxime and Émilie, enjoying the bounty of the crudité platter

Then yesterday, we went to my brother-in-law's and his girlfriend's for, you guessed it, food and gifts (again).
My brother-in-law was the lucky recipient of the Turn a Square Hat. Ignore the dufus on the left, okay? Thanks.

Thank God Christmas is over. Except it's not, really, because I've still got 2 gifts on the needles. I'm about halfway up the instep of the second Yellow Sock (for my grandmother), and I cast on the #31 Bobbled Tam (from the Holiday 2008 issue of Vogue Knitting) for my Mother-in-Law on December 23rd.
I'm using Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist for this project, and I'm loving it. It's fuzzy and soft and delicious, and it's going to be a great hat. As a matter of fact, I think I might make one for myself, along with a scarf, I've certainly got enough yardage in that skein!

And because I'm such a sucker for all your "You look great in hats" comments, here's another shot of me wearing the hat. It's a bit out of focus, but I like it anyway.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I shall return...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Moving Along

I'm back! I'm so very sorry for that lapse in regular blogging. I was sort of busy...

I had 3 concerts in 2 days, and was pretty much beat when I got home. Plus there was the whole "wife and mother" gig that I'd been letting slide...

But lo! I bring you a finished object!

High Peaks hat (the mittens will have to wait for now), knit with Dream in color Classy in the Dusky Aurora colourway.

I didn't make gauge with the needles I had, so I made the large size and crossed my fingers. This isn't meant for a man, so I think it'll be OK. I love this colour...

Today is the first of 2 glorious days at home while hubby is at the office and the kids are in daycare. I'm so giddy I could just spit! I've been productive so far. After finishing the hat this morning, I finished up the laundry, did a few Christmas errands, and did the ironing. That's when Kate-the-Enabler told me to snap out of it and get my knit on already, I was making irresponsible knitters everywhere feel bad.

I won't argue with her :)Happy Knitting Everyone! I've got a pair of yellow socks to finish.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Feel the Burn

As predicted, I finished the Turn a Square Hat on Wednesday. Modeled by a snow globe, because Philippe is watching the hockey game at a friend's house tonight. As yet, I haven't decided who I'm going to give it too. No idea...

I'm very happy with it. I think it redeemed my faith in Noro, and I definitely plan to use it again for other projects in the not-too-distant future (stay tuned for yet another Noro Striped scarf!)

These are the 2 yarns I'm debating on using for my next hat project, DIC Classy in the Dusky Aurora colourway and Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist in this lovely oatmeal shade (the actual colourway is the oh-so-evocative #0284). The trouble is that I've been trolling through Ravelry over the past 2 days and I'm absolutely gob-smacked at the abundance of hat patterns out there. Seriously, I ran a search for free hat patterns using yarn in my stash and I came up with 131 matches. 131 MATCHES!!!

*Sigh* Still, I feel a pull to justify my recent pattern acquisitions by casting on one of those, but there are just so MANY awesome free patterns I want to make as well! I'm having a hard time commiting. So far I'm leading towards Gretel for the Baby Twist and High Peaks for the DIC. We'll see, I haven't swatched yet...

Have you finished your Christmas shopping and/or Christmas knitting? Obviously I haven't finished my knitting, but I'm coming along fairly well on the shopping front. I've sacrificed the workouts this week in favour of some lunch time errands, and I've been able to cross a few people off my list. In fact, while at Chapters today I just happened to walk by the craft magazine section, and picked up a few Holiday issues for myself. Technically I'm not supposed to buy myself ANYTHING after December 1st, but I figured the odds of Phil getting me knitting magazines was slim at best :)

I don't usually go for Vogue Knitting so much, but the Bobbled Tam #31 (nice name - NOT!) reaaaally caught my eye. Aaaack! Another hat pattern!!!

The next few days are going to be pretty busy. I've got my office Christmas party tomorrow night, then 2 concerts on Saturday (at the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, in Old Montreal), 1 on Sunday (at the Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste), then our choir Christmas party on Monday... Thank goodness I'm off for 2 weeks after tomorrow!

All right, I'm off to swatch. Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Deeply Smitten

Last night's progress on the Turn a Square Hat.

I've reached the crown shaping, and if all goes well, I hope to finish tonight. The colours are just beginning to change, it's very exciting (OK, maybe not that much...)

I'm enjoying this project so much, I thought I'd try it on, even though it's not for me.

What do you think? I think I look pretty cute in a beanie! Very cheeky.

I forgot to mention last post that when I saw Robyn on Saturday, she gave me these great scrabble letter T earrings that she made for me. Aren't they cute? Thanks, girl! You rock (or, as they say in the French version of Guitar Hero World Tour, Tu déchires!.

OK people, I'm off to finish a hat and wind a skein of DIC Classy for the next one. I'm on a roll...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Totelly Get It

First things first, I finished the Thrum Socks!

I now officially have a gift "pile" rather than just a "gift" (of hand knitted items, of course). All I need to do now is find a suitable box, wrap it, find a card, and mail it all off to the recipient. But they're done! I've got this Christmas thing totally under control, y'all.

High on knitterly success, I decided I could reward myself last night by casting on a new project with some of my new yarn. I went with Brooklyntweed's Turn a Square Hat (I know, all those hat patterns I bought, and I go with the free Ravelry download...), and all I can say is: I totally get it.I have to confess something: I haven't been much of a fan of Noro up until now. I knit an entrelac sweater out of Noro (from the Debbie Bliss Noro collection number 2) a few years ago, and the recipient never wore it (get this: she didn't like the colours), and I was frustrated with all the knots... Anyway, Noro has not been associated with happy, positive experiences for this knitter.

And now I'm absolutely delighted by these here little stripes. I got through a third of the hat last night, muttering "just one more stripe" and waiting with baited breath for the colours to change. I definitely see more projects with Silk Garden in my future (like the Multidirectional diagonal scarf, which has been in my Ravelry queue for ages).

Speaking of hats, I mentioned last post that I had purchased a bunch of patterns recently. Inspired by my good friend Rhonda, I bought the patterns for Cassidy's Cap, Gretel, as well as 3 Knitspot Hat and Mitts/Mittens combos (High Peaks, Lacunae and Hot Waffles). And I saw today that Gina House, designer of the Amanda Hat (which I've knit 3 of) has come out with a more masculine version, called the Armando Hat. I haven't got any Malabrigo in suitable man colours, but I know that Robyn's supposed to be getting some in stock any day now... :)

I'll end today's post with one of my favourite pictures on Flickr, taken by Chris_J. It's called Baubles *Merry Christmas*, and I think it's puuuurdy.

Happy Knitting Everyone! I've got some stripes to watch unfold...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who Doesn't Love A Parade?

Phil is back, thank goodness. He was able to drive back despite the snow we had on Friday, and we were all very happy to see him. Maxime wouldn't leave his lap all evening, and Émilie has insisted on playing exclusively with him all day. Hey, I won't complain, I needed the rest!

This afternoon I went over to Robyn's and raided her yarn closet. Christmas has gone and snucked up on me again, and I figured I would change my strategy this year and attempt to knit smaller (yet no less special or valuable!) projects for my loved ones, so I can get as many finished objects under my proverbial belt before December 25th. I decided to focus on hats this year, but my stash is sadly, um, understashed in the Worsted department. So off to Robyn's Nest I went.

This here's my loot.Dream in Color Classy (Man, I love this yarn!) in (clockwise from top): Deep Sea Flower (my favourite), Midnight Derby and Dusky Aurora. Nice, solid colours. I also fondled some Ruby River while there (soooooooo beautiful), but managed to pull myself away before I embarrassed myself (I hope).3 skeins of Noro Silk Garden, colour 8.

One of those skeins will be paired with this skein of Cascade 220 to make a Turn a Square Hat. The other 2 I bought to make a Noro Striped Scarf to go with it (but after Christmas, that totally goes without saying).One skein of Noro Silk Garden, colour 258. I wanted 2 skeins of this colourway, but this was all Robyn had left. I'm not worried, I found a cute hat pattern in One-Skein Wonders that knits up great in this colourway.

I also finally got my hands on some Biscotte Go Habs Go yarn this week! Score!!!!

My stepdad is a huge Habs fan, so I'm really hoping I can knit him up a pair of plain stockinette socks in this yarn by Chritsmas. He'd like that.

So there you have it! Lots of lovely new yarn that I can't wait to play with. I bought a bunch of patterns last night (more on that next time), and while stash diving for the Cascade 220, I stumbled on 2 more yarns I can use, which means I've got the yarn for 7 hats, I think.

Ah, the perils of stash diving. Does that ever happen to you? You'll be going into the stash, looking for that specific skein of sock yarn, and then you spend an hour looking through your bins, going "Oh!!!! I forgot about this yarn!!!". Sheesh...

Anyway, I really can't wait to get started. All I need to do now is, you guessed it, finished the dreaded trum sock of doom.

Happy Knitting Everyone! I've got a date with some roving.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One a Day

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but an hour of knitting a day does not make for exciting blog fodder, I'm afraid...

With Phil away, I've only been getting about an hour of knitting time a night, and that makes for slow progress, my friends. I think I managed about 18 rounds of the second thrum sock last night, while watching Les Filles de Caleb (a Quebec miniseries from 1990 based on the book of the same name by Arlette Cousture. Think 20-hour chick flick).

Despite my sincere desire to get this sock off the needles, I'm feeling the pull of other projects. Yarn in the stash is starting to call to me, yarn I've never even met, in yarn stores across the city, is pleading to be with me....

But I've got to stay strong! I will resist, I tell you! Well, at least until Saturday, when I go raid Robyn's yarn closet for some emergency Dream in Color Classy in what is sure to be a doomed attempt to knit hats for my loved ones, a mere 14 days before Christmas.... Cleopatra, that's my middle name!

Oh! I found another lace club! Make one yarn studio is having another year of lace club for 2009, and I'm very tempted. It's reasonably priced (they're in Canada! Sweet!), 2008 had some really great designers and yarns, and it's 4 shipments rather than 8, which seems doable, right? What's not to like? Santa, baby...

So as you know, it snowed A LOT here this week (more predicted tomorrow, but that's another story). Anyway, as I trekked out today on my lunch break to run to do some Christmas shopping (I scratched 4 people off my list today! Nice!!!), swathed in hand knits and wearing my sensible (albeit unattractive) winter boots, and I came across this young 20-something fashionista. Dudes, she was wearing 4 inch stiletto boots and a cropped jacket, and was sort of Morticia-ing her way down the icy sidewalk. I couldn't believe it. And I thought I was in denial!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Bluebird Of Happiness

My Mother-in-Law (who'se French) has a favourite English expression she pulls out from time to time, when things start piling up and it seems like Life is handing her a beating. "The bluebird of happiness has been shitting on us". Well, that friggin' bluebird dropped a load on me today, let me tell you.

First off, I'd just like to say that I had a post all written up for today. Well, not written up, but very well outlined. It had yarn in it and everything! And then Mother Nature dumped this on me.

Lots and lots and lots of snow. All day long, snow, snow, SNOW!!!

(Kate-the-Enabler's house)

It took me an hour and a half to make the normal 20 minute drive from the metro station to the daycare. And that's 20 minutes in normal rush-hour traffic. I got off the metro at 5:09. I pulled up in the daycare's driveway at 6:40, not-so-silently cursing Phil's employers into the deepest bowels of Hell. Thankfully, Isabelle had already given Émilie and Maxime their dinner (man, now I feel reaaaaally bad I didn't knit her something this year!).

Thankfully, after my quick frantic calls last week, I had managed to book someone to do the snow removal for our driveway, because I finally convinced Phil that I just can't handle it on my own with 2 kids. It's just not happening. Unfortunately, the contract doesn't cover the stairs...

And now I'm beat. I just came in from shoveling the stairs, I'm drinking Corona in absence of wine or a digestif of any kind (because, let's face it, some alcohol is better than none at all), and I'm trying to ignore a stubborn craving for Ginger Snap cookies I've had all day.

Happy Knitting Everyone! (You know if, unlike me, you've still got the energy left to hold your needles...)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Here We Go Again

My stomach did not calm down. I'll spare you the deets, but suffice it to say that Saturday night was NOT spent with Phil and I worshiping each other, but rather with each of us taking turns bowing in front of the porcelain altar. Ugh.

Luckily (or not, depending on one's perspective), I was "less sick" than Phil. I only threw up once to his 5 times (What is with men? Why are they so competitive?), so I got to take care of everybody and everything on Sunday. To his credit (he really WAS sick) Phil did take care of Émilie during Maxime's nap time, so I was able to get a nice nap myself, and then later on that afternoon, he watched both kids watch a movie while I frantically tried to pull 5 meals out of my *cough* hat in under an hour.

Why so many meals? Why, because Phil's off on another business trip this week, of course! I tell you, it's like they KNOW when he's going to be away. Bing! Daddy's leaving, time to get sick! *Sigh* Oh well, no sense harping on it (it may be too late now).

Today I went to the office in the morning, then after going to the gym I left work early to head back to Laval, voted (we're having our Provincial general elections here today), and picked up the kids for Maxime's 18-month vaccinations. The whole way, I kept reassuring Émilie that No, she was not going to get a vaccination today. Then when I get there, the nurse offers to do both kids' flu-shots, right then and there. Um.... Sorry Émilie! Looks like Mommy's a big fat liar! Remember this forever!

OK, on to knitting. First and foremost, I finished the first yellow sock!

Very happy with it, it's looking great, my grandmother is going to love it. I cast on the second sock last night while watching Nature, but I've decided to suck it up and only work on the second Thrum Sock until it's finished, so I can officially have a gift "pile" rather than just "a gift". I figured out what my problem with the thrum socks is, by the way. It's the thrumming! I just want to knit, you know? Having to stop every 5 rows and work a thrum into every 4th stitch gets awfully tedious after a while.

Also, keeping with my promise to rub more yarn on this blog, here's a shot of the last Rockin' Sock Club shipment of 2008. I don't think I'm spoiling anybody at this point (I mean, the Harlot already knit her pair, for Pete's sake), but still. Avert your eyes if your postman is Christy Brown (oooooh, bad joke, sorry).

Leave it to Blue Moon to send a really great yarn with the final package, just when I'm debating whether or not to renew my membership for 2009! I really like the colours, it's in their mediumweight yarn, which I love, and the pattern is by the lovely and talented Ann Hanson, who I happen to know personally (HA! If she's reading, I hope she gets a kick out of that!).

Yeah, I don't know if I'm going to renew next year. First, I've only knit 2 of this year's 6 shipments. Second (and this might seem like a "duh" moment to most of you), it's kind of bugging me that every shipment is Socks that Rock yarn! I'd like to be in a club with different yarns and designers for each shipment (yes Robyn, I know that's exactly what you do in your club). Plus (and this is the clencher), as Sinéad pointed out to me this weekend after looking through my stash on Ravelry, I've got A LOT of sock yarn already, and reaaaaallly nice yarn to boot. Maybe I should give this whole "sock club" thing a rest?

I still like the idea of a club, though. Getting yarn in the mail out of the blue like that, even if you're the one who paid for it, I don't know... It feels like a present, like it's Christmas all year. I was thinking of joining a lace club, something like Woolgirl's Embrace the Lace club, but dudes! It's 455$. I'm sure it's totally worth it, they've got a great lineup of yarns and designers, but still... 455$!!!!!! Aaaaack! Too rich for my blood. Anybody have any other suggestions? My mom keeps bugging me to send her my wish list...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

There's a Good Reason

I know I said I'd do my best to put up a post this week, even though I would be busy. And I really meant too. But then Émilie was sick 3 times on Thursday night, and I wound up staying home with her on Friday (Maxime was fine, so I sent him to daycare). By the time both kids were in bed, I could neither find the will or the way to post.

I had a concert at the Oratoire St-Joseph this afternoon, and the plan was for Phil to drop the kids off at his parents, then come and hear me sing, then we'd go out. A date night. I even wore pretty underwear and those sexy Dim garter hose and everything!

So why am I posting tonight? What am I even doing at the computer at all? Well, Phil's in the upstairs bathroom, puking his guts out, and I'm pretending I can't hear him and hoping my tummy will settle down.

Yup, we're both sick. So much for "date night".

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rub Some Yarn on It

A while back I was listening to an interview with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee on a knitting Podcast (this was back before my morning transit was spent with me holding The Book in a death-grip, barely pausing to blink). She was talking about how she wasn't really writing about knitting, but about life. All she was doing was rubbing some yarn on it, and we were none the wiser.

I realized today that most of my posts of late have been about my life, my family, and all the trivial stuff that fills up most of our days. Since this is supposed to be a knitting blog, I figured it was high time I rubbed some yarn on it!

My grandmother's socks. I'm enjoying this knit, it's simple yet elegant. And I hadn't realized how much I missed gussets! The last few pairs Iève knit have all been with short-row heels. So clever, so fun. Sleek and stylish. Let's give it another gander, shall we?


The thrum socks are still on a time-out. I really need to devise some kind of incentive program to get that second sock done. As it is, I keep thinking "I'll work on that tomorrow".

As for the Pacific Islands stole? I'm still enjoying it, the only trouble is that it's slooooooooow. I've got a theory about this project's frustrating lack of progress. Bear with me, this is still a theory, but I think that it might (maybe!) have something to do with the fact that I'm not actually devoting any knitting time to it.

Yeah, I've been pretty much ignoring it of late. And with Christmas breathing down my neck (this is sort of supposed to be a gift for my mother-in-law), I find myself wanting to knit other projects, like the yellow socks. You know, something I've got a chance in Hell of finishing on time.

Sheesh, I'm really dropping the ball on the whole "handknits as gifts" thing this year. It's like I've got knitting ADD coupled with an overwhelming sense of apathy.

Naturally, I began to wonder if the solution to this problem would be to cast on yet another project (I know! Crazy, right?). Something quick, something doable. Hats! Hats are awesome, they only take a few hours, maybe 3 evenings' worth of knitting and you've got a finished object!

I really like Gretel, and my MIL (who apparently won't be getting a lace stole this year) would look great in it. But which yarn to use? Contrary to popular belief, I have very little worsted/aran weight in the stash. I briefly considered using this yarn, Briar Rose Wistful I bought at Rhinebeck this year)

But it's no good, see. Firstly, these aren't her colours. And second? They're MINE. If anyone's getting a hat out of that yarn, it's going to be ME!

Hmmm, maybe I'll pop over to see Alison at Effiloché this weekend...

Happy Knitting Everyone!