Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Humble Pie

I'm really starting to feel bad that my blog posts of late have little or no knitting content. Things have been a bit hectic around here, and it's a good day when I can get even a few minutes to knit at all! For instance, after working on our income taxes last night for about an hour and a half, I got to sit down with Phil, watch Heroes, and knit... wait for it.... 5 whole rows on Colette. Now doesn't that make for downright fascinating blog fodder???


I wish I could say things will be better in a few days, but Phil is going to be out of town this weekend for a pinball festival, then he's off to Paris again the week of May 9th. Which means that not only will he miss Mother's Day, but also Maxime's second birthday (May 14th). And if that weren't bad enough? We just realized we have tickets to see Roger Hodgson (of Supertramp fame) at the Place des Arts on May 9th.

Yeah, let's just say Phil isn't in a super mood lately, and I don't blame him, even if I am a bit jealous of his getting to experience Paris in the Spring.

Today I took Émilie to a fitting for her school uniform. I don't know if I can adequately describe how I felt, looking at her in her little pleated tartan skirt and vest! She seemed grown-up and small all at once, and it just hit me how quickly it's all going by, you know? I know that soon I'll come to appreciate the fact that she's in school and that she'll be more independent, but right now... I don't know if I'm quite there yet. It'll take some getting used to, and I can't help but feel a bit sad that she and Maxime won't be spending their days together anymore, come the Fall.

All those happy-feely musings went right out the door as soon as I was handed the bill, of course... 630$!!! I just about had a heart attack! I went over the list again and removed 2 items that weren't required but that I thought were cute (another skirt and a zippered cardigan), but it's still over 500$... And I'm only going to have to buy it all again next year, because they grow so fast!!!

Seriously? All I want for Mother's Day is to win the lottery. How about you?

OK, I needs to knit now, me thinks. I need to get into that soothing rhythm. Let's see... Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Aum.... Any other chants you can think of?

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


No post tonight poppets. I did my income taxes instead. Wheeeee!!!

See you tomorrow, I'm off to drown my sorrows in some super-fine merino.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How we did

Whew! Well, I told you this weekend was going to be busy, and I was right. As it is the laundry still isn't finished, I've only managed to cook 2 out of 4 meals for the week (Friday is spaghetti night, so no cooking required), the ironing has been ignored... *Sigh*

Saturday was Émilie's skating recital extravaganza, and she did fairly well. She fell about 30 seconds into the program, poor little thing, and as she didn't have her protective pads on under her costume, she was a bit upset. But she managed to suck it up and finish the show, and we were really proud of her!

It was a loooooong day though. She had to be there at 11 AM, even though the show was only at 1 in the afternoon. And despite her part being only about 2 minutes long, the kids had to stay for the entire show, which was over 3 hours long!!! Yeah, long day for Émilie, and long day for Maxime, too! I could have left with him after her part was over, but I really wanted to be there when she was finally able to come down and tell her how proud I was of her, so we stayed.

I don't know if she'll want to take skating lessons again in the Fall, she's a bit sick of the whole thing right now! We'll see, I guess.

After the show we dropped off both kids at my in-laws' house and came back home to get changed, before heading right back out the door again. We had tickets to see a Quebec singer/songwriter we really love, Daniel Boucher, and we wanted to have dinner at a local Vietnamese Phô soup restaurant (Phô Bang New York) before the show.

We love this place, and we don't get to go that often anymore (it's not really kid friendly!), so whenever we have the chance, we always eat there.

Phil always has the Extra Large bowl!

Across the street from the concert venue (Club Soda) was a strip joint, which has probably been there since the '50s. Strip clubs are fairly common in Montreal, especially in that part of town, but I've got to say, I've never seen a marquee quite like this one. Take a look! Doesn't the stripper look a little weird and out of proportion? Not so much with the allure, me thinks...

The show was wonderful (I took pictures, but they all came out blurry), and we had a great time. We came back home and got to sleep in this morning until 8:15!

Unfortunately, that was all the rest I got today, seeing as how yesterday was a complete bust in the DORMA department. I got no laundry done, didn't do any shopping (except to get Maxime his summer sandals), didn't make any food...

I got cracking today, and while I was busy cooking and Maxime was having his nap, Phil decided that it was the right time to get Émilie a hamster and took her to the pet store to pick one out.

I tell ya: I don't know what this poor bastard did in a past life to deserve this fate, but the poor thing just can't get a moment's peace! Émilie is deeply, deeply smitten with this rodent, even suggesting that we can give our dog, J-B, back to Phil's brother, as now she's got another pet she likes better.
We finished up the weekend by having Kate-the-Enabler and family over for dinner and cake, sort of a spur-of-the-moment "It's a Girl!" celebration. Émilie and Maxime were a bit whipped though, and not on their best behaviour, but I think everybody had a good time... Plus the chocolate cake (recipe curtosy of Anne Hanson!) was awesome.

And now here we are! Since the kids have been in bed, I've folded 4 loads of laundry, gotten our Federal income tax returns ready to mail out, and have written this blog post. I'm a dynamo of productivity, people! I'd roar, but honestly, I just don't have the strength left in me.

Happy Knitting Everyone! As you can see, I haven't knit a stitch since Friday. It'll be good to get back to work tomorrow, at least I'll get to knit on the subway on the way in!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another one bites the dust

Good evening, my lovelies! Here we are, another Friday, and thank God and sunny Jesus for that. Can I get an Amen?

Oh right, except that my weekends tend to get a little, you know, insane, and this one promises to be no different. Émilie has her end of the year skating extravaganza tomorrow, and then we're going to a concert with some friends. Sunday we have our Muay Thai class.... Plus the shopping, the laundry, the cooking... *Sigh*

Last night Phil and I saw another concert (I KNOW! - busy week, huh?). We saw Francis Cabrel at the Théâtre Saint-Denis, and it was a wonderful show. Great music, great atmosphere.... It was the third time we've seen him in concert since we've been together, and he never disappoints.

So what of knitting? Well, I'm plugging along on my second Fratello sock, and I even put a few inches on my Vintage Go Habs Go (play golf, you SUCK!) socks. I'm so deeply smitten with Fratello that I'm now convinced that only Edward Cullen, Jesus, or possibly Gandhi would be worthy of them.

Colette is also moving along, though not as quickly. I'm still interested to see how making a sweater from the top down is going to work. Every now and again I look at my knitting and think "Where will the armholes go?", "What about the neck shaping?" and then I realize "Oooh, that's right..."

I'll try to take pictures as soon as it's not quite so blobby and I can maybe try it on, which I'm anxious to do anyway, since knitting the small size, despite my confidence in my measurements, is really making me nervous.

I'm also beginning to give some very serious thought to baby knitting. Naturally, there's Kate-the-Enabler's baby girl to be to consider. But Phil and I also have some friends whose son was born prematurely about a month ago, at 27 and a half weeks gestation. They've started a blog which I've been reading daily, and their struggles are just so unbelievable to me, that I feel like I need to do something you know? I can't believe it's taken me this long to think "Hey, I should knit something!". Sometimes my brain just ain't all there, you know? Speaking of which, I think I'll hit the couch, get some knitting done.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Odds and Ends

I had planned on getting a post out sooner this evening, but Phil and I watched a movie instead (Slumdog Millionaire - it was really good!) and now I'm a bit tired...

But there are a few things I've been meaning to share with you all, and this is as good a time as any, right?

First off, I want to pimp my cousin's radio documentary, which appeared on CBC One's Outfront on April 14th. It's a wonderful piece, really funny and insightful and well written, in my humble opinion, and well worth a listen. But if you need extra incentive, I make a brief appearance in it as well! So if you've been reading my blog and been dying to know what I sound like in real life (with a bit of a cold), do give it a listen.

I've also been meaning to post this video a friend of mine sent me a few days ago. It's nothing to do with knitting, but it DOES have quite a lot of sheep, and what knitter doesn't like sheep, right? Seriously, check it out. It's pretty awesome.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who sent Girl vibes out to Kate-the-Enabler since she came out with her pregnancy on this blog.

IT WORKED!!!! Kate's having a gilr!!!! WOOT!!! Way to go, Chris and Kate. We're happy for the entire family, and looking forward to getting some pink and frilly knits on the needles in the very near future.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring is sprung

Well well... another weekend drawing to a close. I'm hoping that this weekend marked the official turning point from Winter to Spring here in southern Quebec. The weather was, for the most part, nice and sunny, and there were a few key indicators that the seasons are ready to change "for real this time". For instance:

I put out sheets to dry on the clothes line for the first time this year.

My beloved peonies finally started showing signs of life.

And a few new projects have made their way onto the needles.

I finally cast on Colette on Friday night. I apologize for the blobiness of the picture, but I've really only got about 15 rows done so far, so there isn't much to report, other than that the yarn (Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo) is very soft and sproingy, and that I'm tickled pink by the notion of knitting a sweater top down (I believe this weill be a first for me).

I also cast on a pair of stockinette Go Habs Go (from the very talented Biscotte) socks to knit during the playoffs. As you can see, these are vintage Habs colours (otherwise known as the "ugly sweater" colours), but I'm not complaning... about the sock, that is. The Habs, and their dismal performance during the first 2 games of the series with the Boston Bruins, is another matter entirely.

The rest of the weekend was busy as usual. I'm a bit (OK, a LOT) sore from my workout with my sister-in-law (the ex body-builder) this morning, and I'm looking forward to sitting and knitting a while.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The things we do for love...

Yesterday I went to pick up the kids from daycare, and the lady who runs the daycare, Isabelle, asks me if I've got another hat for Émilie. I'm afraid I dropped the ball with the whole "providing my family with warm woolly winter accessories" obligation every knitter in Canada seems to take upon him/herself, so I can't say I'm surprised when she points out that the hat Émilie's currently wearing is no longer appropriate.

"Why, is this one too small?" I ask innocently. I know perfectly well it's too small. Both my kids have big noggins, and I bought this hat for her LAST year. I'm surprised it doesn't shoot off her head with a loud "Pop!" sound every time I put it on her.

"No" she says, surprising me. "It's too hot"

And she has a point. Not only is it too small, it's also lined with polar fleece. Clearly, it's too hot for Spring.

"Oh. Sure, I can make her a little cotton hat, no problem".

She looks at me dubiously. "Yeah... I mean for, like, tomorrow".

We stare at each other in silence for a few seconds. It's a tense moment... Tumbleweeds blow past us in silence as we size each other up, she with a look of incredulity, I with calm certainty in my abilities as a devotee of the needle arts AND a mother.

"I can make her a cotton hat. No. Problem". I repeat calmly. And with that, we depart.

On the way home, my mind was already going through the stash, trying to see what I could use, what I would do. I quickly decided that I would crochet rather than knit a hat, as crochet is so much quicker. Desperate times, people. Desperate. Times.

Fresh from my bag success using the Katia Jamaica cotton, I remembered that I had a leftover ball from the Baby Pinwheel Blanket I made a few months ago, and how Émilie had commented that she really liked the colour.

It was settled then. I'd make her a little rasta beanie using the Katia Jamaica cotton. This was going to be so a cakewalk. Mwahahahahaha!!!

I cast on (hooked on?) at Kate-the-Enabler's house, where we were having one of our all too infrequent local knit nights. I chatted, I laughed... I enjoyed a lovely glass of red French wine. It was looking a little... holey, but I assumed it was because I was using a thinner yarn than the last time I had crocheted a hat. I had a piece of chocolate and chatted and hooked. At one point, Kate commented that it was looking sort of pointy at the top, and it was.... But I just shrugged it off and kept right on crocheting. It was 9:30, and I was practically done!

I pulled out Émilie's frog beanie, which I had planned to use as a reference for the length of the cotton beanie...

And that's when it hit me, the truth I had failed to see all evening.

The pattern called for a double crochet stitch. I know what a double crochet stitch is. I've done double crochet. And yet, for reasons that are unfathomable to me, I was doing a triple crochet stitch.

That's why it was looking so holey. And that's why there was a point at the top, because I was beginning each round with a 3 stitch chain (as one would do for a double crochet stitch), and the rounds were pulling.

What could I do? You guessed it. I frogged.

I was down but not out. I cast (hooked?) right back on again, and crocheted faster than I ever had before. My reputation was at stake, people! My little girl was counting on me! (OK, she had no idea I was making her anything. But Isabelle did, and that was enough for me.)

I finished it at 12:04 AM, but I FINISHED it. I was Mother. I was Crafter. Roooooooaaaaaaarrr!!!!

And the best part? Émilie loves her hat. She put it on as soon as she found it at the breakfast table this morning, and wore it to daycare with pride.

As for Isabelle... Apparently her jaw dropped to the floor when she saw the new hat. THAT'll teach her to doubt the awesome power of the knitter/crocheter!

Happy Knitting Everyone! I've got a hockey game to watch.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Brief Affair

So how was everyone's Easter? Didja eat lots of chocolate? Celebrate with friends and family?

Not only was there was chocolate aplenty at casa de Dear, but we were also fortunate enough to score invites for waffles at Kate-the-Enabler's house on Saturday, dinner at the in-laws' on Sunday, and lunch at my cousin Jessica's house today. Needless to say, I'm positively dreading stepping on the scale at the gym this week. *Shudder*

I know I promised pictures of my blocked Clapotis last post. While it IS blocked (and looking pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself), I'm ashamed to admit that I couldn't bring myself to ask Phil or anyone else to take any pictures of me wearing it this weekend. Probably because I was too busy pilfering the kids chocolate to bother...

But I DID finish my crocheted bag! Look!

I really like the way this project turned out. OK, assembling all the little squares was a bit of a pain, but not as much of a pain as assembling pieces of garment for some reason.... And the best part? I only wound up using about 2 balls and a bit of the Katia Jamaica cotton, which means I've got almost 3 left for Emilie's Very Berry T-shirt. I hope it'll be enough!

OK, Heroes is on, people! Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back to my roots

So what did I knit during my vacation?

Well, for starters I finished the first Fratello sock on the plane on the way down there.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again (besides, it's my blog, I can do what I want): I love Yarnissima's sock patterns. They're complex and can be a bit intimidating, but they're also just so engrossing, you know? And her gussetts? Dudes, she is all OVER the gussett.

Oh yeah baby, flaunt that sexy arch!

This pattern also has a lovely twisted stitch section at the top of the foot and the front of the leg. It's only about 24 rows long, but it's enough to spice things up on what would otherwise be a fairly simple twisted rib pattern.

And besides, working those little cables without a cable needle makes me feel like a badass.

Yup, the only thing wrong with this pattern is that, genius that she is, Yarnissima hasn't found a way to get a completed PAIR of socks after knitting ONE.

Seriously, forget all these crazy new sock architectures, just figure out a way to get a pair of socks out of one sock, and you'll go down in knitting history! Fame, riches, the sky's the limit.

Since designers are still zooming past the obvious, I was forced to cast on the second sock. But I haven't gotten very far yet. I've been re-reading Twilight, and wouldn't you know it, it's just as engrossing the second time around? Insert sheepish grin here.

For a new project, I decided to cast on for Inga's Haekelbeutel bag using the Katia Jamaica cotton. I know... crochet! The night before we left for Florida, I realized that this project meant packing one crochet (and the yarn, of course), whereas the Very Berry T-Shirt I had also been considering for this yarn would require me bringing a variety of circular and double pointed needles with me, since I hadn't swatched yet... Sue me, I chose door A, Bob.

You know what? I'm enjoying it. It's quick, as in "Hey! I can't believe I already finished a square!"-quick, the colours are wonderful, and I think it'll make a cute bag for books and groceries and such.

As of last night, I've got 14 out of 16 squares done. I'm hoping to finish the last 2 squares tonight, and possibly start assembling them. Maybe I'll have a FO by Easter Monday?

Actually I will! My Clapotis is blocking as we speak. Pics next post!

Happy Knitting (and crocheting!) Everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Next Thing

I'm sorry to say there will be no knitting content in today's post, because I'm heading out to the North Shore Knitters' meeting tonight so I'm blogging from work (hence, no pictures). So if you came for a fiber-fix, move along, and be sure to visit us again soon.

If, however, you're interested in some incoherent ramblings, sit yourself down with a cuppa, you've definitely come to the right place.

I don't know what it is, maybe it's the apalling weather we've had since coming home from Florida (it snowed here yesterday - we shan't speak of it further), maybe it's the fact that both kids are sick and our nights have been interrupted (cough, cough-cough, little bit of throwup, cough), maybe it's just Spring (or the complete lack thereof)... but I'm feeling restless.

I've noticed I'm at my happiest when I'm engrossed and utterly comsumed by something, be it a TV show (Buffy!), a book (Twilight!), a hobby (like, you know, knitting?), a relationship... Whatever it is, when it's really got it's hooks in me, that "thing" is all I want to do, all I think about, and the only time my brain shuts up and I'm at peace.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I've got loads and loads of free time I don't know how to fill. I'm busy enough with my regular routine of work, choir practice, knitting, the kids, the hubby... But I don't have that "thing" and it's really bugging me. I've lost my mojo.

Never thee mind the fact that these obsessions of mine, when they take hold, can lead me to trouble. After all, it was whilst deep in the thrall of my newfound obsession with knitting that I accumulated about 10 years' worth of yarn in just under a year.

I know all that, but I still miss the rush and the thrill of anticipation. It just hurts so good, you know?

I'll get over it, of course, and I'll be onto the next "thing" in no time. In the meantime I've got my eyes peeled, and my credit card locked away. Just in case ;)

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Hey y'all! Phil and I are back from Florida. We had a wonderful time at the festival yesterday, and we've got the sunburns to prove it! It really was another great day for kite flying , and even though I didn't get to spend as much time lounging around as I had planned (they put me to work yesterday), it was a blast.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, Saturday morning began with a hearty breakfast of cheesy eggs, raisin toast and GRITS at the Waffle House!

We had seen these restaurants all over the place (no really, there was one on both sides of a 500 metre long bridge, I couldn't believe it), and given the secrets of Southern cuisine it promised to demystify, we just HAD to go. Unfortunately we didn't have the greatest waitress, but the food (once we got it), was pretty good. I wouldn't say I'm heartbroken that grits haven't made it as a breakfast staple food in Canada though.

After that, it was off to the kite field to put up some big ass kites!

The Manta Ray. See how small Phil looks?

The one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater!

Betty-Octo-Boop. See her garter?

As you can see, at one point there were many kites in the sky. This wasn't the biggest festival I've been to, but seeing all those kites in the air, right on the beach, was really something. It's an experience Phil and I will cherish, and we're so grateful to our wonderful friends Barry and Karen for inviting us down there.

As fun as it was, it was a loooong, hard day. Putting on a show like that is a lot of work! And those kites may be fun to fly, but they're a pain the arse to put away! But hey, we were there to work, right?

It didn't stop me from taking a break to take a dip in the ocean though! Most of the group thought I was nuts (it was a lottle cold), but one flyer, Matt, came with me. We were on the frickin' gulf of frickin' Mexico, dudes, and by Golly, I was going to swim!

That night we were just plain beat, so we decided to just stay in the condo (some of us - PHIL! - even stayed in our jammies). I talked Star Trek with a cool young lady (Hi Savannah!) and everyone just had a swell time.

It's back to reality today, of course. We were glad to see the kids, and we'll be glad to sleep in our own bed tonight (though perhaps not to go to work tomorrow!). Thanks again Barry and Karen! And thanks to my Dad and Margot for coming and babysitting the kids. We're so very fortunate that you are able to come here so we can take these trips together.

We'll return to our regular blog fodder next post! Until then, Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Now THAT'S more like it

Apparently this is all quite normal for Spring in Florida. In the space of 24 hours, the weather went from this:
To this:Yesterday could NOT have been a more perfect day for kite flying. Or for just lazing around and looking fabulous on the beach. There was enough wind for the kites to go up and STAY up, which allowed Phil to sit and enjoy and relax instead of run around, trying to get the silly things up in the air again.

Yesterday was only for fun, since the festival really only starts today. They're going to be putting the REALLY big kites up today. Should be a hoot. :)

Have a good day everyone! I'm off to have grits and cheesy eggs at The Waffle House. I've been told it's an absolute must when in the South.

Friday, April 3, 2009

What Sun?

Hello! My goodness, it's nice to have the condo to myself for a few minutes! I can finally sit down to blog! Yay!

Not that there's much to tell, I'm afraid. The weather has been bloody awful the past 2 days, complete with storms and friggin' TORNADOES touching down all around us last night. But the Spring breakers, God bless their silly little heart, were still outside in their bikinis. They were in Florida, darn it, and they were going to effin' FROLIC!

We arrived safe and sound on Wednesday afternoon and, after some initial false starts, finally found our way to the condo our friends have rented in Fort Walton Beach. It's right on the beach, really quite lovely. Or rather it WOULD have been, if it weren't so cold and rainy. I thought Florida was supposed to be sunny???

Of course, as soon as our bags were in the room, Phil wasted no time in getting to the beach and trying to get a kite up in the air.

He wasn't very successful, I'm afraid. The wind, which had been fairly steady when we arrived, naturally died the second the kite was out of the bag.

That night we went out to dinner with our friends at a local seafood joint, AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar. Mmmmmm, seafood.

As I mentioned, yesterday's weather was just plain miserable. So the boys went to a kite store in Pensacola, and Karen and I went to have manicures and pedicures at a local spa. Well WHAT? We had to do something, right???

We met up with the boys for lunch at a local BBQ place, and then Phil and I did some shopping. We went to Target to pick up a few necessities, and then to a huge antiques store to look around.

Then last night Barry and Karen took us all to a very nice steak house (they're from Texas, y'all understand the allure of the steak, right?), and we stuffed ourselves to the gills.

And today it's finally sunny! So off I go to don my brand new bikini and soak up the sun. Although, all the eating I've been doing lately, I'm starting to rethink the whole "bikini" thing. Oh well!

Oh! Before I forget, I'm happy to report the the stole was a big hit with Karen. She wore it that very night, and it looked beautiful on her. I'm so glad!!!

Happy Knitting Everyone!