Monday, June 29, 2009

Back to normal

Hi there! I'm back! Did you miss me?

Well, I am over-the-top ecstatic to report that, after 3 concerts in 3 days, choir craziness is officially behind me for two glorious months, and thank GOD and Sunny Jesus for that. Not a moment too soon, as what started out as a slight cough a few days ago has turned into full-blown laryngitis, and I sound like I should be living in a swamp and have green goo dripping from my skin.

I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose. Whenever I get sick, the voice is always the first thing to go. But when I started coughing on Saturday night, I didn't really pay it any mind. Then when I got up yesterday morning, my voice was just... gone. No, not gone. It had dropped a couple of octaves, and I was convinced I wouldn't be able to sing at all, never mind perform my solo. But after warming up, I was able to pull it off. I really gave it all I had left though, because today? I think all I could manage would be some Leonard Cohen, and even that would be pushing it, heh.

So there are a few things to get caught up on, not the least of which is that it was my birthday this weekend! Yup, I turned 33 this past Saturday, wheeeee!!! It was a lovely day, I got to go out for a run in the rain, did some shopping (for Maxime's big boy bedroom set), had yummy birthday cupcakes, spent time with family. All things that are of the good. And of course, I was spoiled by friends and family alike. Here are some of the highlights:

A lovely necklace and earring combo from Phil, Émilie and Maxime.

A beautiful necklace from Phil. Doesn't the pendant look like my tattoo? :)

A skein of Sea Silk from Kate-the-Enabler (Mmmmmmmmmmm, Seeeeaaaaa Siiiiiiilk)

I also got a gift certificate to Mouliné from my cousin Jessica, and the Whimsical Little Knits booklet from Robyn.

My grandmother also sent me some money, under the express condition that I spend it on myself. No spending it on the kids or household expenses (she knows me so well), something for me only. And honestly? I don't know what to do! Yarn? (Can you say Tanis???) Clothes? Shoes? Mani pedi? Spa day? Too many options...

Oh not to worry. I'm sure I'll think of something.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Yesterday was a national holiday here in Quebec, and I had a rare moment in the afternoon when a block of time stretched out before me and I had nothing that needed to be attended to. One child was sleeping and the other was out fishing with her dad, and it was just beautiful outside. It was the perfect time to grab a beer and cast on for something new!

I mentioned a few posts back that I joined the Ishbel KAL that my friend Robyn is hosting on Ravelry. I wasn't entirely sure which yarn to use, but when the opportunity presented itself to just sit back and knit yesterday afternoon, I didn't dawdle. I went through the stash and found 3 skeins of Knit Picks Shimmer in the Maple Leaf colorway that I bought... oh... a while ago. How long ago? Well, the first skein was wound by hand, so this has been marinating in the stash for at least 2 years.Normally I wouldn't go with a handpainted yarn for lace (I was such a newbie when I bought this!), but since Ishbel is actually pretty simple, with a fair whack of stockinette, I think this will actually work out quite well.

I've decided to knit the large version. As of tonight, I'm almost done with the stockinette section, and I hope to move onto the vine border within a few days. Oops, better make that next week. I've got concerts coming up on Friday, Saturday (my birthday!) and Sunday. There won't be much knitting 'round these here parts!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

5 minutes

As you've probably figured out by now, I've had a heck of a week. Not a bad week, just filled with many different, mostly happy things that have left little time (and to be honest, little inclination) to blog. I'd say I'll do better this week, but as I've got 4 concerts in the next 7 days, well.... I don't want to make any promises.

So this weekend marked the beginning of week 3 in my 14-week training regimen for the 10km race of the Montreal Marathon. I wasn't able to get out on Saturday, as Phil was away at a kite festival in the Saguenay region all weekend (oh, that and the fact that I'd had about 2.5 hours of sleep on Friday night didn't help either). But after getting the kids ready for bed, I was really anxious to get out there this evening.

When I stepped out onto my front porch tonight, it was just starting to rain. Not a heavy downpour, by any means, but drops were falling, there was no mistaking it. I didn't even hesitate though, I just started running.

Now, I know many of you have this really romantic notion of what it's like to run in the rain, how it'll feel on your skin, mingling with your sweat, how the sound of the raindrops will combine with the sound of your footsteps hitting the pavement, how everything will smell so fresh and green and alive. Well let me tell you: it's all true. It felt great. The rain was cool on my skin, the air was more pristine, and fragrant with growth and life. It didn't last very long, and by the time I was about halfway done, I looked up and there was a rainbow in the sky.

I wish I'd had my camera with me. But then again, I would have had to stop running to get the shot, wouldn't I?

I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to go from "I think I can, I think I can" to "I know I can, I know I can" in 2 short weeks. Or how surprised I feel when I look at myself in the mirror when I'm getting ready to head out, wondering who this sporty chick in my bedroom is. How even adding 5 minutes to your running time (I went from 15 to 20 consecutive minutes of running tonight) feels like reaching the summit of Everest. It's addictive, I tell you. Positively addictive.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


As my regular readers know, I like to knit socks on the subway on my way to work. I find it both relaxing and extremely entertaining because it invariably gets attention and freaks out the Muggles to varying degrees.

I finished my Vintage Habs socks* while watching Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final on Friday, and as these were my current socks in progress, I started to think of what to cast on next.

I don't know how you go about choosing a sock project, but what usually happens for me is that I begin by going through the stash and pulling out the yarns that get my attention, and then I browse through my queue of patterns for something I think would work with the yarn I've selected. It may not be the most efficient system, but it usually works out, and let's face it: our love for this craft is rooted in a deep affection for yarn, right? Might as well start there.

This is what I came up with when I dove into the stash on Saturday night: some Twisted Fiber Art, some Fiesta Boomerang, 2 different skeins of Vesper self-striping, some Dyed in the Wool Handmade, Claudia Hand Painted...

All beautiful, all very tempting... But when I went through my queue, Tina Lorin's Mad Color Weave socks really spoke to me, and I think they'll look amazing with this yarn:

Zen String Harmony fingering yarn, in the Valentino colourway. Oh yeah baby.... this is going to be sweet!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

* yes I know, there are no pictures of the Habs socks. They're blocking now. Sorry!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

In Bloom

It felt like special things were happening everywhere I looked today.

Mother Nature is finally starting to get it together (but I won't jinx it by saying that Summer has arrived), and my ornamental beds are coming alive.

The peony buds have burst open into the most extravagant blooms you could possibly imagine. I don't recall the name of these peonies, other than that they're supposed to be reminiscent of roses. Boy, do they ever fit the bill, even their fragrance is wonderful! *Sigh* I planted these peonies 2 summers ago, and last year I think I only got one flower. This year though, there are about 7 or 8 buds.

My irises, which I sort of stuck in the ground a few years ago, having overdone it at the local pépinière and not wanting them to go to waste, have decided to flower this year. I think they were mad at me last year from transplanting them, but they seem to have forgiven me, because a few days ago, these lovely ladies were being all flirty with me when I got home.

I love these flowers, they're so delicate, almost like feathers made of silk.

My flower pots have also started to fill out a bit. I bought a few large flower pots this year, and planted a mix of Geramiums, Million Bells and these blue flowers I unfortunately don't remember the name of in them. Hmmm, looks like I need to do some deadheading tomorrow...

My knitting is also making progress. Hamsa is, well.... blooming?

Seriously, doesn't it sometimes feel like that with lace? You get started and knit and knit and knit, and feel like it isn't really going anywhere, and then suddenly, that last pattern repeat really lets you see the motif and you get a glimpse of the future finished object? I think this one is going to be lovely (Well duh... It's a Knitspot pattern!)

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Next Thing

I've been finding this whole "yarn diet" thing a bit frustrating lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with the projects I've got going on the needles now (all 2 of them!), but it's in my nature to always look ahead to the next thing. Not only am I thinking about future projects in terms of patterns, but I'm also looking at new yarn to go with it.

For instance, still riding the high of my garment success with Colette, I'm really, really, really, really, really tempted to knit a cardigan for myself. Really. Tempted. Especially since it's been unseasonably cold here (UNDERstatement!), every time I reach into my closet for a sweater, I think "I should really knit myself a decent cardigan".

Patterns options abound: Pretty much anything by Laura Chau (I'm particularly smitten with Amelia and the Monday Morning Cardigan though. Oh! And the B-Side Cardigan, and... well, you get the idea), the Dollar and a Half Cardigan, this Phildar pattern (which I don't have the pattern for but have the perfect red yarn for in the stash!), Cardigan Come, Broderie (Holy Crap! I'd COMPLETELY forgotten about that one! Drooooooool. Oh Connie Chang Chinchio, how I love you). Oh, and did you see that the lovely and talented Anne Hanson has sweater designs now?!?! *Sigh*

But, and here's the part where I'm a crazy person, I don't have the right yarn in the stash for any of these patterns (minus the Phildar pattern, of course).

I'll give you a minute to stop laughing and wipe your eyes, and then we can continue our discussion.

See, I don't just want a cardigan in a solid yarn, I want a cardigan in an almost-solid yarn. Think Dream in Color, or Lorna's Laces Nearly Solid, or more specifically Tanis' fabulous, scrumptious, devilishly-tempting Jewel colourway yarn, oh-so-conveniently available in laceweight, fingering, DK and Aran weight yarns.


I'm also really, really, really, really into lace right now (which is probably why it's taking every fiber of my will not to download Broderie as I type this). I'm enjoying Hamsa immensely, but of course, it's barely 10 inches long and I'm already on the lookout for the next project. I've joined the Ishbel KAL that Robyn's hosting on Ravelry, but there are so many projects that I want to knit!

At least I don't have to buy yarn for lace (OK fine, technically I don't "have" to buy yarn for a cardigan either). I took a gander at my stash on Ravelry this morning, and I was surprised to find so much laceweight there! Does that ever happen to you? You look at your stash and go "OH! I TOTALLY forgot about this yarn!". And then you feel guilty? Admit it, I can't be the only one, right? RIGHT???

Yup, I definitely don't need to buy any laceweight. But some of the patterns I've got my eye on would be SO awesome knit in Sea Silk! Mmmmmmmmmm, Sea Silk...

OK, enough of that! I've got to get my run on. Last night's session was fairly light [4 x (2 minutes of running + 1 minute of walking) + 5 minutes of running + 4 x (2 minutes of running + 1 minute of walking) ], but tonight I've got to run for 15 consecutive minutes again. Wish me luck!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Turn down the suck

It's past my bedtime, but I still can't sleep. It's like this every Monday, I yawn my way through choir practice, then by the time I get home I'm totally wired. No point going to bed and tossing and turning, right? Plus this way, I get some quality alone time with the computer, something that doesn't happen very often when the kids (and Phil!) are around. Sweeeeeet.

Speaking of choir, our concert dates are looming, and there's still a fair amount of suck in at least half the program, so it was a difficult practice tonight, and it's looking as though there will have to be an extra practice next week. I love to sing, but I find it really difficult when concert season comes along, and I'm basically never home for about 10 days. Oh well, I'll get through it.

I ran again yesterday! I had Muay Thai class in the afternoon, so when I dropped the kids off at my mum's house just before lunch (Phil was flying kites for the Tour de l'île, I decided to go on my run in her neighborhood. It was nice, and yesterday's program wasn't too exerting (says the girl who can't feel her legs today), just 5 x (3 minutes running + 1 minute walking). Oh! And I scored a great digital watch that I can program for interval training at Zellers, 69$ + 25% off. Bar-Gain.

Yesterday was my 6-year wedding anniversary. Phil and I have been together 15 years, and we never really "did" the anniversary thing. But since he was away on business for Mothers' Day and he was gone all weekend flying kites, I guess he figured he had some stuff to me up for? Because when I got home from Muay Thai, he gave me this:

Oooooooooh, shiny! Yup, nothing says "I love you" like jewelry. Wasn't it Ron White who said "Diamonds, that'll shut her up!". GRIN. I think it works for cubic zirconium too :)

I've been neglecting my garden of late. This happens every year, I get really excited in the early Spring, then I completely and utterly lose my gardening mojo. Mother Nature isn't helping me along though, the crazy beotch just can't quite seem to get it together this year! We need some Summer, lady!!!

Émilie, on the other hand, has been watching our strawberry patch like a hawk, and as soon as one is ripe, she is All. Over. that action.

Good thing she's cute! I wonder if I'll ever get to taste one?

Well, I'd better wrap it up. I had a day off running today (I still went to Curves though), but tomorrow will be the first day I have to go out after the kids are in bed, when the lure of the couch and the knitting is at it's strongest. Wish me luck!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

16 minutes

That's how long I ran today. I started my training regimen for the 10k run of the marathon, and today's session had me doing:
  • 5 x (1 minute of running + 1 minute of walking)
  • 15 minutes of running
  • 5 x (1 minute of running + 1 minute of walking)
So yeah, I ran for 16 consecutive minutes. But I did it without stopping and, more importantly, without vomiting.

That may not seem like much to people who run on a regular basis, but when you're just getting started, when you've never really been an "athletic" kind of girl? (at least, not until recently) It's pretty awesome. I am WOMAN, people! Roooooooooooooaaaarrrr!!!!

I bought some fancy new running shoes on Friday (apparently my circa 1999 Nike Air's just aren't the thing anymore), and this afternoon my sister-in-law and I went out on my first run. She's very, very fit, and she's been encouraging me in my fitness goals. When I told her I had signed up for the run, she was ecstatic, confident, and very enthusiastic. Running with her today, I sort of felt like I was running with my own personal trainer. Sweet!

Kate-the-Enabler is also being very supportive. The kids and I had lunch at The Enabler household today (Phil was out flying kites), and she was just super excited for me to get out there on my first run! I tell ya, there's NOTHING like having an enabler as a friend. They're very rare, but if you have the chance, I highly recommend you pick one up.

OK, as pumped as I am to have gotten through today's run, I've got more running to do tomorrow (tomorrow's program is 5 x (3 minutes of running + 1 minute or walking), as well as our weekly Muay Thai class. I think I'm going to sit back with some knitting and just relax until I pass out. I figure it'll take about 18 minutes.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I'm the first to admit that I'm not much of a garment knitter. At least, not for myself anyway. They're usually fairly time consuming, and as far as fit goes... Well, I've been hurt and disappointed in the past.

But when I saw Colette in the Spring 2009 Twist collective, she just spoke to me. Knit in the round, simple, elegant.... And when I saw that I had the recommended yarn IN THE STASH ALREADY? Well, I knew it was fate. I could pull this off, right?

I was concerned about fit. From the bust measurements, I needed to knit the "Small" size, and I am... unaccustomed to wearing a small anything. But the tape measure doesn't lie, so I trusted in the wisdom of the Fiber Fiend, and took a leap of faith.

It went smoothly at first. Every stitch was a pleasure, the lace panel was charming, the waist shaping appealed to my coquetry... but blocking was a tense moment. Colette did not respond well to being soaked, and she lost all sense of her own boundaries. She expanded dramatically. I was braced for another garment disaster.

But I wasn't ready to give up, not this time, not with her. So I soaked her again, taking extra care not to stretch her beyond her limits when I lifted her out of the water or when I set her out to dry. But still... she was fragile.

There was nothing for it but some tough love. Colette needed to know that I was the boss of her. There can only be ONE Master of the Knit in this house. She got a little ride in the dryer, just as she was almost dry.

I guess it shook her up a bit, because she's behaved beautifully since then.

Specs: Colette, from the Spring 2009 Twist Collective
Knit with Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo using 4.5 mm needles.
Modifications: I made the waist shaping a smidge more pronounced, and added some length.

Happy Knitting Everyone!