Saturday, May 30, 2009

Noch auf sich warten

Recently an old friend from Library School turned me onto Google's translate tool, and ever since then I've been peppering my emails with German, Spanish, or whatever else tickles my fancy. I tend to make liberal use of CAPITALS (and parentheses too), but I've really been enjoying the foreign language thing. It's totally süchtig. :)

As predicted, I finished Colette this week. I actually wove in the ends in the metro on Thursday or Friday morning, which completely freaked the Muggles out. I swear, when I pulled out my Chibi and mini-scissors, people started nudging each other and staring, and you could just hear the "Oh My God, I think that woman's sewing!". I don't think I would have gotten more attention if I'd pulled a baton out of my arse and started twirling it while singing Hello my baby!

Now, I know what you're thinking. Where are the pictures, dude? Well, it turns out that blocking bamboo is a bit tricky. Tricky as in, it practically doubled in size. So I'm giving it another go as we speak, and if it doesn't work, I'll give it a few minutes in the dryer tomorrow. Fingers crossed, people.

To hold you over, take a gander at Hamsa, which I cast on last night.

I think this little scarf is going to be just what the Arzt ordered. Lovely yarn, lovely colours, and an easy yet satisfying pattern. Sweet!

Tonight Phil and I are heading to the city to see Total Crap 6 with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. And of course, we'll be stopping by our favourite Vietnamese Phô restaurant along the way! Mmmmmm, soup...

Happy Knitting Everyone! I'm off to knit for a bit while I wait for Phil to finish his latest oeuvre!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finish Line

I am very close to completing Colette. Very. Close. One more sleeve to go, plus all the ends to weave in, and then I'll be on the lookout for another project. I remember being miffed about this sweater, thinking I wouldn't be able to wear it much because it would be too hot (it IS 50% merino, after all). But apparently I needn't have worried, nothing but clouds, rain and balmy 21° highs for the next week. I am SO ready for Summer to get here! Ugh!

I'm pretty sure I'll have enough yarn left over from this project to knit the Sculptured Lace Scarf from the Spring 2009 IK (maybe not right this minute though!). We'll see if any of the men in my life can handle a little lace.

Speaking of lace, being so close to the finish line, I'm free to start thinking about my next project. I'm thinking lace, probably Anne Hanson's Hamsa. I won this package at the Ravelry party draw at Rhinebeck last year, and the colours are really speaking to me lately (see above reference to icky, grey and rainy weather). Plus it's part of her "Little Nothings" collection, so it should be a quick knit.

In non-knitting-related news, I signed up for the 10km running event of the Montreal Marathon in September! I've been thinking about it for a few weeks, and finally yesterday I just decided "Stop daydreaming about what you want and MAKE IT HAPPEN!". I'm super excited about this, I think it's going to be awesome. Of course, now I need to... you know... start running!

I haven't trained for anything even remotely like this since high school! But I figured with the Curves workouts and the weekly boxing lessons, I can't be THAT out of shape, right? A colleague of mine from work who runs the half-marathon every year is going to write up a training regimen for me, I'm really anxious to see what's involved!

Preparations for my choir's upcoming concerts are really starting in earnest. We've got 2 concerts in senior citizens' homes (on June 22nd and 26th), then 2 concerts as part of the Mondial Choral festival (on June 27th - my birthday! - and June 28th). I've got the only solo performance for those last 2 concert, and I'm a bit nervous, even though I did the same piece last year. It just seems like the pressure is that much higher when I'm the only one that's going to be singled out. Plus our director seems to think I'm this über-soprano or something (I'm really not), and he keeps giving me these pieces with really high, long notes. *Sigh* Well, what's the worst that can happen, right?

Happy Knitting Everyone! I hope to have pictures of a finished object next post!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wish you were here

Gosh, what a GLORIOUS weekend we had. The weather was perfect, the kids were in fine spirits... Good times, good people... Total "Wish you were here" kind of weekend. I didn't get everything done (I neglected little things like "food preparation" and "ironing"), but sometimes you just have to go with the flow, right?

For instance, on Sunday morning Phil and I met up with Kate-the-Enabler's husband Chris (aka Lemondrop) and biked to an overpass not far from our house with the kids. We haven't been able to drive on it for almost a year, but I went over it on my bike on Saturday, and they're giving it a complete make-over (I'm sure the guys wouldn't use that term, but it's my blog after all!). Anyway, we thought the kids would get a kick out of walking around, seeing all the machinery and looking at the cars speed by below us on the freeway.

Of course, I forgot to take my camera with me. Bal blogger, BAD BLOGGER!

While Maxime had his nap that afternoon, Émilie and I worked out in the garden. We planted a tomato plant and some basil, as well as some cucumber and lettuce seeds. Phil had sown some a few weeks ago, but I think it must have been too cold for them because the seeds never sprouted. I've still got about a third of my (admittedly small) patch where nothing is planted as yet. I tried carrots last year, with no luck. I'd plant a zucchini again, but as Phil and I would be the only ones eating them, I'm sort of nonplussed by the idea. Green beans? Broccoli? Anyone? I really liked Robyn's idea of growing her own pumpkin last year, but I'm not sure I have the space. We'll see.
I also did a massive relocate in my ornamental flower bed. I didn't really know what the heck I was doing when I created this bed back in 2007 (while I was a full 36 weeks pregnant with Maxime, I might add), and the placement of the plants just wasn't well thought out, in terms of blooming season and basic stuff like height (Delphiniums in front of Lupins? Perhaps not). I really hope they weather the move well, they didn't look happy with me last night!

Once Maxime was up, as it was still quite lovely out, and windy to boot, we packed up a goûter picnic and headed out to a local park so Phil could fly a kite. The Enabler clan joined us about 30 minutes later, which was nice. As I said, good times, good people! It was a lovely afternoon.

Once the cherubs were in bed (Émilie was BEAT!) Phil and I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine (in a word? Meh...) and I worked on Colette. I bound off the stitches of the body, and I'm pretty happy with it! It's definitely form-fitting, that's for sure! I hope to have it finished this week, all I've got left to knit are the 2 sleeves (and the ends to weave in, do let's not forget about those!).

OK, off to bed I go! I've just come back from choir practice, and I'm beat!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What happened?

Goodness me, where did the last 3 days go? Work has been crazy, but I won't complain, since I spent the last 3 months complaining about not having anything interesting to do at work. The kids are in fine spirits, Phil's working steadily on his new kite (I'll post pictures when it's done, it's going to be a beaut!), and it looks as though Spring is finally deciding to make an appearance after all.

All in all, I'd say life is good, wouldn't you?

So let's just skip past the last 2 days of the week, and move right to today, shall we? Trust me, you're not missing much, but if you're dying to know, it goes something like this: get up, commute and knit, work, workout during lunch, work, commute and knit, dinner, bath, knit, bed.

Oh wait, I did finish the first of my Vintage Habs socks, though. That's something!

Pretty cool, huh? These will be for some as-yet undetermined Habs fan in my gift giving circle, and I'm hoping to have enough left over when I'm done to make Maxime some light mittens.

OK, moving on to today. As you know (do you know? have I mentioned it on the blog???), Phil and I have started a Muay Thai class with his brother and girlfriend. This week, with the weather being so fine, I got it in my head to bike to the gym (about a 25 minute ride) rather than drive. I mean, I never get out on my bike, and I was really pumped at the idea of getting 2 workouts in one.

It turns out my ride was a little longer than I'd anticipated (I went to an appointment, then to the local mall in Rosemere to have lunch and putz around for an hour, then to the gym, then home). But it felt great! I think I'm going to try doing that every Saturday, maybe even get Phil to come with me next time!

When we got home Phil was bushed, so I played outside with the kids for a bit. We checked on our strawberries:

They're coming along! I haven't had one yet, but Émilie says they're pretty good.

We played with Maxime's birthday loot. He sure loves his new basketball net!

I like it too, mostly because now I can brag about being able to palm a basketball. :)

The weather was so beautiful, we eventually met with the Enabler clan (Kate, her husband Chris (aka Lemondrop), Aidan and Liam) at the park behind their house for some play and summer refreshment (Beer in the park = Yum!)

And that was the day! We came home, had dinner, gave the kids a bath (they were FILTHY!) and put them to bed. Time to relax!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pictures or Prose

I'm looking at last night's post, and realizing that, while it's well-endowed in terms of pictures, the prose is a little on the light side. Sorry about that, I was anxious to just sit back and relax, I guess. I didn't even knit last night! I just set myself up on the couch with the laptop and tried to get caught up on the blogs I read while Phil worked on his newest kite. It was nice to have an evening without the TV on, just listening to music and letting time do it's thing.

You know, over the past few months I've had the urge to knit some mittens. Mittens requiring colourwork. Specifically, mittens from the Selbuvotter book, or maybe the Latvian mittens book. (Ooooh baby, scandinavian knitting. Skürdy hürdy gürdy).

There are several reasons why I haven't thus far.

1 - It's Spring, ergo the weather will be getting warmer and there will be no need for mittens.

This argument is flawed because while it may technically be Spring, it's still incredibly cold. Stereotypically cold in fact. As in, this is what the rest of the world thinks Canada Springs are like, if we even get one at all : wet and cold and grey and yucky.

The argument is also flawed, because while glorious summer may be just around the corner (we DO have a glorious summer, and it WILL come, damnit!), it doesn't in fact last all that long, and Old Man Winter will be rearing his frosty nose soon enough. Might as well be prepared.

2 - I have no suitable yarn for knitting mittens.

This may be hard to believe, but I don't have the right yarn for the kind of mittens I want to knit. No REALLY (You in the back! Stop that laughing!). I have practically nothing in the way of fingering weight (or worsted, for that matter) solids. I've convinced myself that what I really need are the KnitPicks Palette samplers, and as they're currently unavailable to order, I'm out of luck. Besides, the whole issue is moot anyway, as I'm currently on a yarn diet. Ahem!

3 - Even if I didn't want to knit colourwork, I still don't have a generic "mitten pattern" in my library.

There's no getting around this one: I need to get Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. Hmmm, perhaps with the afore-mentioned Palette samplers? Except I won't be ordering those. Right. I forgot.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Men

Hot on the heels of Mother's Day, a post about the men in my life.

First up, my Maxime, my little man, turned 2 last week. We had a very laid back BBQ-party for him on Sunday, and it was lots of fun, despite it being freezing cold! I swear, I almost felt bad sending the kids to play outside! Almost :)

I think he did very well in the gift department, as well. We tried to get him mostly toys he can play with outside, like a Little Tikes basketball net and one of those lawnmowers that blow bubbles (that one was a big hit!)

But this is a knitting blog! And guess what? I have a Bona Fide Finished object to share with you! The third in the Miscellaneous Man Sock series, Fratello. Feast your eyes, dear readers...

A lovely pattern, knit with luscious yarn. Who could ask for anything more, right?

OK, I'm off to knit on the couch. Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Domestic bliss?

It seems to me that other people's blogs have lovely pictures of gardens in bloom, children laughing and playing, mouth-watering food, and yarn. Do let us not forget yarn. Most knit blogs have actual knitting content. Well, if that's what you were hoping for with today's post: Git along, little doggy.

I haven't got any pictures of the garden. The weather has been awful, and even if it weren't, my garden is still in such awful shape that I'd never dream of subjecting it to a photo shoot.

I have children, and they do on occasion laugh and play, sometimes even with each other, but I never seem to have my wits about me to take a picture...

Oh wait, I've got this one, taken a few days ago, on Maxime's birthday. Émilie is becoming quite the little poser, isn't she?
Mouth-watering food? Ummmm.... how about a shot of the giant pot-o-spaghetti sauce I made today. Does that count?

Or wait, a preview of mouth-watering food to come. I picked up my new 7-quart Slow Cooker today.

For those of you used to the metric system, 7 quarts translates to "Holy Crap, that's a big damn slow cooker!!!!".

I'm late to get on the slow cooker band wagon, but I've gotten a few recipes from friends (I'm going to try your meatballs this week, Kerry!), and I figured it was time. Besides, I was able to get this baby with my HBC Rewards points. Sweeeeet...

As for yarn... well you're fresh out of luck. No new yarn in the house, not much knitting progress to report either. I'm working on it.

Phil got home from Paris last night, and we're all happy to have him home. We're having Maxime's official birthday BBQ-bash tomorrow, so let's hope the weather cooperates! I don't mind if it's on the cooler side, but please, no rain!!!

OK, Phil's waiting for me so we can watch the finale of Lost. I'm not spoiled, but from what I've read, it was quite the episode! Hmmm, perhaps I won't work on anything too complex tonight.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


There will be no knitting tonight, dear readers. I am just drop. dead. tired. There will be limited blogging (some people *cough-Dad-cough* have commented that it's been too long), there will be limited present wrapping (it's Maxime's 2nd birthday tomorrow!), there will be showering, and there will be sleep. Blissful, hopefully uninterrupted sleep.

I finished the second Fratello sock last weekend, but in the absence of a man (preferably one with with man feet) to model them, you'll have to wait for saucy sock pictures. But Woot! Who's already got one Christmas gift ready to wrap, y'all? Booyah!

Happy Knitting Everyone! (Yah, I know, this post is a bit on the short side. I had an impromptu visit from my Enabler)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My cup runneth over

So last night, Phil and I were discussing our New Year's resolutions. A third of the year has already gone by, and we were reviewing our progress, as it were. Did we achieve our goals? What could we do to help them along?

One of my own resolutions was to be more of a giver, to invest in the right people, and to try to be a better person.

Now, over the past few weeks... I guess you could say I've been going through a bit of a crisis of faith. Faith in myself, maybe. Faith in others, faith in my relationships with others and my place in their lives...

But you know, I think I must have been doing something right, because I have been hit with the most extraordinary kindness from people in my life, in ways I truly didn't expect or see coming. I've been the victim of drive-by lovin'.

First, this week I received this beautiful kimono peg bag that Sinéad made herself (I believe it's her second sewing project EVER) and sent me, just for being her blog friend, all the way from Ireland.

It is fully awesome, my friends. I love, love, love it, and I love, love, love you, Sinéad. Thanks so much for this, and for thinking of me, and for sharing the blog experience with me. You're the best.

OK. Before I get to the second drive-by, lemme back up a bit.

As you all know, Phil left for Paris last night on business, and he'll be gone all week. Now, while I wasn't exactly expecting diamonds and pearls for Mother's Day (it was after Mother's Day last year that I coined the term DORMA, after all...), I was still a bit bummed about him not being there, about having to do everything by myself this week, yadayadayada.

Last night the kids stayed overnight at their grandparents' house, so this morning I had the house to myself. I woke up, had my breakfast, drank my coffee and read the newspaper at a leisurely pace... then got to work making the food for the week. At about 8:30, I was up to my elbows in meatloaf when the doorbell rang.

As I got to the door, I looked outside and saw Kate-the-Enabler's husband Chris, still in his jammies, running up the steps to his house. Then I looked down to see this on my doorstep.

The man made me breakfast. He and the kids were making breakfast in bed for Kate, and they made me a plate too. Orange juice, French Toast (with powdered sugar sprinkled on top), ham, watermelon, pineapple, cherries, and warmed maple syrup on the side.

Wait... it gets better. Look at the presentation. There's a friggin' Orchid on the plate!

If you're wondering why the picture is blurry, that'd be because I went from laughing to bawling my eyes out within about a minute of taking the cover off the plate (yes, really), and I didn't think to check the quality of the picture until the entire second breakfast was consumed.

Thank you so much, Chris. That was one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. Ever. Just writing about it now... Wow.

So yeah... I feel blessed today. I truly am a better person for having these wonderful people in my life.

What does that mean, as far as my resolutions go? I just need to keep doing what I'm doing, I guess, and look to the future, not the past.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Process of product?

I usually think of myself as a process knitter. I enjoy knitting for the sake of knitting, and I'm generally happy as the proverbial clam as long as I'm knitting something. But lately I've come to realize that at some point in the lifespan of any given project, the whole "I am one with the knitting" thing sort of takes a backseat, and no matter what I'm working on, I feel the pressure to just... finish it already.

I'm no longer just knitting for pleasure, knitting to reconnect with a long line of crafters... Nope, at that point I'm mostly just knitting (and furiously at that) to get the effin' thing DONE and off the needles already.

Like now. I'm on the ribbing of the second Fratello sock and, much as I adore this pattern, I cannot WAIT for them to be finished! I am, like, SO done with these socks!

So this has got me thinking: what makes for the perfect knitting project? The one that you're enthralled with from start to finish, that you're almost sad to cast off. I don't think it's limited to just one thing, of course, but here's what I've come up with so far.
  1. If the yarn is fabulous: anyone who thinks yarn quality has nothing to do with project enjoyment is welcome to all the acrylic in the world. I'll stick with my 22 micron merino.
  2. If the project is a "quickie": Like hats or... hats. Hats are awesome, you can use a variety of stitch patterns, colourwork, what have you... And before you know it, you're done. Brilliant.
  3. The recipient: This is a tricky one. But sometimes thinking about the person you're making the item for, and how they'll react to the item, makes the project worthwhile. Like Émilie's Good Stripe Dress.
Whatever makes the perfect project, there's one variable that's all important, and that's TIME. You have to have time to knit, enough time so that you don't feel as though you're knitting in a vacuum. Like you're in the knitterly equivalent of the nightmare where you're walking down a long corridor with no doors, or you're trying to run but you're stuck where you stand...

Time to get to it, I think.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Getting embarrassing

I'd say I meant to post last night, but that would be a bold-faced lie. Phil got home from the Pinball Wizards convention at a little past 6 last night (pictures can be found here, if you're interested in about a zillion shots of pinball playfields, backglasses, and assorted gizmos and doohickies). The kids and I were at Kate-the-Enabler's house by then (they took pity on us, God bless and keep them for ever and ever). We had a very impromptu dinner with them (thanks again guys!), and by the time we got home and the kids were in bed I was so tired that I could barely focus on my knitting. I eventually gave up, invited our dog J-B to come up on the couch with me for a snuggle, and promptly fell asleep on the couch.

So how was everyone's weekend? Didja knit? Garden? Read? I was full of good intentions in the gardening department, but time just got away from me, you know? I did manage to clear out the vegetable patch yesterday afternoon, put in some compost and more earth, so that'll be ready for seeds next weekend. Working in the garden with the kids is actually pretty easy if, you know, messy. They just sit right there with me, preferably next to the dirt as opposed to right IN it, and dig away, happy as clams. I enjoy it, despite the messy.
We also planted some alpine strawberries in a flower box, and I'm very excited to see how they turn out. I've still got 6 plants left, so I'll either get another box, or I'll plant them in the front yard. There's an area next to the steps that I think would be great for strawberries, it's contained and gets good sun exposure. But 2 things have got me worried, the first being a chipmunk that has set up shop right in that spot, underneath the steps. Will he eat all the berries? Dig them up? I'm also worried about the bands of pre-adolescents that roam our streets during lunchtime in our neighbourhood (there's a junior highschool not far from my house). They can be pretty rambunctious, and I don't think they'd feel any qualms about stripping my precious strawberry plants of all their fruit.

*Sigh* Every year I hatch all these grandiose plans for my small vegetable garden and flower beds, and never quite manage to follow them through to the end. Small bites, right? That's what I need to do, focus on little, manageable, attainable goals.

I'll leave you with this picture of my little man, Maxime, taken by his grandfather this weekend (he's an awesome photoggrapher, you can check out some of his other work here).

Émilie likes to play with balloons, and she'd rather blow them up herself then get them already inflated. And of course Maxime, the little monkey that he is, has to do everything the way she does it, right? (I don't let him play with them unsupervised, don't worry!).
Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Randon Friday

Phil left for the Pinball Wizards convention this morning. The kids are finally in bed, and I'm completely exhausted. I had coffee with an old friend last night, and while it was wonderful to see her again, it was most definitely NOT a good idea to have a Grande Latte at past 8 in the evening. I didn't fall asleep until past midnight, and now I'm just... what was I saying?

No exciting knitting content, I'm afraid. The sock is longer, Colette is longer, blah-di-blah-blah... I'm feeling a mad urge to crochet a Babette blanket (thank GOD the KnitPicks Palette samplers appear to be unavailable right now!), and to knit lace, preferable with HandMaiden SeaSilk... But I'm being good. Knit knit knit.

In lieu of fascinating blog fodder, let's have a Random Friday post, shall we? 5 off the top, here we go (it was originally 10, but I stalled out after number 6):

  1. I can't keep living a lie, so I'm just going to come out and say it: I don't like Boréal Blanche beer. I like the Rousse and the Blonde, but not the Blanche. It tastes like medicine.
  2. Émilie named her hampster Albert. The poor thing has been dropped, squeezed, kissed and loved, and has seen his life flash before his eyes on countless occasions this past week. If this is karma at work, I gotta say: Payback is a beotch.
  3. In an attempt to cut my spending, I'm considering dyeing my hair myself this weekend. From dye bought at the pharmacy. Out of a box. By Myself. This may not be a big deal to most, but since I've always had a colorist do it at the salon, this is HUGE.
  4. I am 8 episodes behind on Bones. This can't be allowed to continue.
  5. I've been re-reading favourite books lately. I read Twilight and New Moon again, but as I'm waiting on someone (*cough* Kate *cough*) to finish Eclipse, I started another old favourite, As it is in Heaven, by Niall Williams. Every sentence deserves to be savoured, like candy.
OK, I've got a date with David Boreanaz, people, so I'm going to call it a night. I'll end this post with a random picture taken from Flickr. I typed in the word "Friday", and this was my favourite of the results on the first page.

Day 160: FUTAB Blue Friday, by jeneyepher.

Happy Knitting Everyone!