Sunday, August 30, 2009


Today I:
  • Did 7 loads of laundry;
  • Ironed 4 shirts, 3 blouses, 1 dress, 1 pair of pants and 1 shirt;
  • Cooked 3 meals;
  • Watered the plants;
  • Gave the flower beds their monthly weeding;
  • Cleaned Albert the hampsters' cage;
  • Went out for a 50 minute run.
But I ALSO managed to find a moment to take some lovely pictures of some of the cool stuff I discovered when foraging in my mother's storage room last weekend. I don't think I'll show you everything at once, I'll save it for future blog fodder. But today I'll show you my treasure box.

Just a regular jewelry box, the kind pretty much every little girl must have at some point. I used to keep all sorts of stuff in here, jewelry (of course), but also stuff I knew was important, but didn't really know what to do with.

Like the necklace my babysitter made me.

This goes back to, oh... 1982? Think skin tight jeans, sneakers, leather jacket, and if you're still not there, throw in Tony Basil's Hey Mickey for the soundtrack. Are you with me now?

Or these babies: a bona fide Expo 86 Official Medallion, and an Air Canada UM badge (I had 2 of these in the box). I used to fly alone a lot as a kid, visiting my Dad, and it was a running joke that whatever question was asked of me when, when I was wearing this badge I was to answer "Uuummmmmmmmmm....".

Pretty neat, right? Then I noticed a bunch of... well... tissue paper in the bottom section of the box, along with a card.

I don't know if you can read that, but it says "List - Nursery Rhymes for Tara's children". The card was written my my grandmother, the very one whose picture you've probably noticed on the homepage of my blog, teaching me to knit when I was all but 5. And the tissue paper? In each bundle was a little Wade Red Rose Tea Figurine, each one representing a nursery rhyme.

Some of my favourites...

Clockwise from top left : Little Red Riding Hood, Little Miss Muffett, Little Bo Peep and Humpty Dumpty.

These guys I don't know, but I'll be sure to look them up and read their stories:

Clockwise from top left: Little Jack Horner, The Pied Piper, Wee Willie Winkie and Dr. Foster.

I can't tell you what it means to me to have found these. I'm sad to say I threw out a lot of stuff that I got from my grandmother when I was younger, too young I suppose to recognize the value of sentimental value. But I held onto these, and the fact that she wanted them to be for my children really makes them all the more special.

Especially when I read the bottom of the card:

It says "Given to Christopher (that'd be my Dad) Nov. 16th, 1986". She died less than a year later, in August of 1987, so I'm guessing she must have known that her time was almost up when she wrote this card.

After I was done taking my pictures, I wrapped each figurine in a new tissue paper and tucked them safely away in my treasure box. I promise I'll share them with my kids when they're a little older, Gramma, and can recognize just how important and wonderful they really are.

Happy Knitting Everyone.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Big day

We had a big day here today. It was Émilie's first day of kindergarten, something we've been preparing for and gearing ourselves up for for weeks now. Naturally I was the one being a worry-wort. Émilie and Phil were completely cool and collected this morning when we took her to the bus stop, and while I didn't cry, it felt very strange to just be putting my little girl onto a school bus and sending her off on a journey that I can't make with her (because, yes, I do realize I've already been to kindergarten). It felt... like a big, honkin' huge step, you know?

Of course, my camera's batteries were dead this morning. But as I was working from home today (I really wanted to be there to greet her when she stepped off the bus on her first day), I charged it all day and got a few shots of her stepping OFF the bus. We can stage proper "getting on the bus" pictures next week, heh.

The good news is that she had a blast, came back singing new songs (in English!) and talking about her "new best friend for her entire life" (aka the girl who sits next to her in class). So yup, I'd say we're definitely on our way.

In lieu of knitting content, I'll leave you with this picture of her school bag. When I saw it at the school supply store, I just had to buy it, right? I don't know why it didn't occur to me to blog about it until now!Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Believe it or not

I've got a kick arse knitting/crafty post all written up in my head. I went to my mother's house this weekend and *cough* borrowed her stash of vintage buttons, and I knew you'd get a kick out of that. While I was digging around in her storage room I also stumbled upon my old treasure box from when I was a kid, and tucked away in there was something pretty amazing.

I came home with my loot on Saturday, visualizing the great post I was going to write. This was going to be a record-breaker, it would get, like, 17 comments or something crazy like that. Phil was at a kite festival, and Emilie was spending the weekend with her grandparents on their boat (I'm on a boat! I'm on a boat!), so once Maxime was down for his nap, I decided to snap a few Brooklyn Tweed/CosmicPluto like pictures.

But Phil had taken the camera with him.

No problem! I'll just use our old Canon, I thought (I suspect it takes better pictures anyway, but that's a debate for another time).

But the batteries were dead (natch).

No problem, I'll just recharge them for 30 minutes or so, I thought.

And then the power went out (Dear Liza, Dear Liza...).

And then... well... the weekend just got away from me, and I've been debating whether to post at all. Someone once told me that pictures make or break a blog, and I really want to have a good blog, you know? But sometimes I just can't get quite get there. *Sigh*

But really, stay tuned for my Lost Treasures post. It's going to be awesome.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to business

It feels as though I've been playing catch-up ever since I've been on vacation. I'm 2 steps behind on everything, you know? I suspect there's something wonky going on with the space-time continuum, as I'm quite certain that time is going by WAY faster than it normally does. I mean seriously, we've passed the mid-way point of August? Émilie starts kindergarten next week? Less than a month to go before the Marathon? How did this happen?

Phil is back from his latest business trip, so that should make things a bit easier. I'll be able to get out there and run again, which should be especially nice now that we've finally gotten a break from all the heat and humidity. Maybe it'll help clear my head, as well. All this looming To-Do-ness has me feeling antsy.

I don't know how much longer I can keep this pace up, honestly. I think I need to have a sitdown with myself and establish my priorities. For instance: choir. I'm kind of tired of singing the same old repertoire every year, and I'm just not as motivated as I used to be. I looked into joining a new choir, but while it would definitely be more challenging (they perform with a full orchestra. Swoon!), it also means more of a commitment, and I'm not certain I can do that right now. So that leaves me with some questions to answer: do I stay with this choir and just step down from the board of directors? Do I quit altogether? Ponder ponder...

Hey, have you seen the new Twist Collective? OhMyGosh, they really did a fantabulous job with this one, didn't they? I'm deeply, deeply smitten with these: Peyton, Sottopassaggio, the Vine yoke cardigan, urbanite, Piper, Lorelei... *Sigh* So much to knit, so little time...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, August 17, 2009

She who shirks

Phil being away on business requires quite a bit of planning and preparation on my part for everything to run smoothly during the week. Beyond the usual groceries/laundry/errands schtick, meal planning becomes really important. I need to plan meals according to the limited time I have to actually prepare and serve them to the kids in the evening (we get home at about 5:50 PM, and the kids are used to having their dinner on the table by 6 PM. You do the math!). Little annoying details like "showering" also need to be thought through and scheduled appropriately. Running? Knitting? That's usually out the door.

I know what you're thinking. So what, right? You had a DORMA weekend, big deal.

Except that... um... I didn't. I knew I had lots to do this weekend, I knew there'd be Hell to pay if I didn't do it.... But I didn't care.

You've heard me complain all summer long about the weather we've been having in Montreal. It's been cold and rainy and dark and gloomy all summer long, right up to this past week, when Mother Nature finally got her sh*t together. The weekend was glorious, beautiful, and hot (finally!), and I just COULDN'T not get out there and enjoy it.

So I took the kids out for ice cream (on the bike!) for the first time of the summer on Saturday night, even though it was past their bedtime. I invited friends and family to come over and enjoy the pool Sunday afternoon, even though I should have been cooking.

We swam, we ate, we chatted, we drank beer. I did NOT cook, I did NOT fold laundry. And you know what? I do NOT regret it in the slightest, although I might later tonight when the kids are screaming like banshees and all I've got to give them to gnaw on is a bag of frozen peas, heh.

I'll have to play catch up tonight, of course. After I put the kids to bed I'll try to get a few meals cooked and put away, I'll fold the mountains of laundry, I'll shower. I doubt I'll have time to knit. And I'll think about the fun we had this weekend, and it'll be OK.

I'll leave you with this picture of Émilie, proudly wearing her new school uniform, which she wore all day yesterday as well. Before you comment about how hot she must have been, let me just say that Émilie is quite hard to deter when she has something on her mind. In my defense, I managed to talk her down from the blouse and vest combo to a polo shirt, but wasn't able to get her to budge an inch on the knee socks.

She starts kindergarten next week, and along with feeling nervous and excited and scared and a bit nauseous (does everyone feel that way?), I'm mostly just proud of this little person my husband and I created. She's taking the first of many important steps on her way to becoming a Bona Fide person in the world. Can't wait to see where her journey will take her.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Actual Knitting Content

I know, right?!? I can barely believe it myself! It's been a heck of a week here, let me tell you. Work has been, well, insane, and now I'm solo parenting it for a few days while Phil is in Toronto on business. I was supposed to be going out for a drink with a girlfriend tonight, but sadly my mother, who was going to be babysitting the kids, was feeling under the weather today. So here I am! In my pajamas, and ready to give you a long-awaited update on what I've had on the needles lately.

First and foremost, a genuine finished object!

Pattern: Mad Color Weave (Ravlink), by Tina Lorin.
Knit with Zen String Harmony Fingering Merino Tencel yarn, using 2.25 mm needles.

These were my commute knitting over the summer. According to Ravelry, I cast these on back in June! But hey, when you only knit about 8 rounds per day, and only on week days, that's the time it takes, right? They're really cute, I especially enjoyed the heel flap, it was cool.

I can't be without a sock on the needles, of course (even if I barely knit on them!). It didn't take me too long to decide what to cast on for next, however. Whenever I would venture a look at the sock yarn stash (always hazardous), my eye would always be drawn to a skein of Knitterly Things Vesper sock yarn I've had in there for over a year. I didn't want to do another vanilla stockinette sock though, so I decided to cast on for my own pair of Jaywalkers (Ravlink) instead.

I suppose I should have cast on something from my newly acquired Cookie A. book, but hey, thou shall not spit in the eye of the Knitting Fates, right? These colours, while not my usual cup of tea, just, well.... make me happy right now! :)

And in case you think that I've been neglecting Amelia, fear not. She's well on her way.

As you can see, I've knit the body up to the underarms, and have cast on the first sleeve. So far I've been knitting this cardigan exactly according to specs, except I've made the body about 2 inches longer. I can't wait to see this project finished!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bits and Bobs

As I was telling the owner of a LYS here in Montreal today, I really try to stick to a particular narrative flow when I write for the blog. I try not to let too much "routine" stuff creep in, even though it's not only a knitting blog, but also an outlet for the stuff that's going on in my life. I'm coming up on my 2-year blogaversary this week, and I'm just so thankful that I'm able to share this experience with you, my readers. I really enjoy it, and I hope you do too :)

Sadly, today's post doesn't have much in ways of narrative flow, I'm afraid (hah!). But there ARE a few things I wanted to catch you up on, things that are worthy of mention. The first of which is my proudly showing off my talented husband's latest finished kite:

Phil used a birthday card my cousin Jessica gave me this year as the template for the design, and I've got to say, it's one of his most spectacular kites yet. He tends to stick to large (I know, this IS large) flow-form designs (that'd be kites without spars [or sticks]) for you newbies...), but I really love it when he does this sort of detailed appliqué work. Apparently he was the talk of the kite festival last weekend with this beauty. Way to go Phil!

A number of you have been asking me how my training regimen for the marathon has been going. It's been going very well, I think. It's a bit difficult to stay motivated, despite my success and my weight loss and all that. It's just... really tempting to stay on the couch and knit, you know? Especially when it's really hot and muggy outside, like today!

before the run...

After the run :)

I'll end this post with some yarn pron. I visited a LYS today on my lunch break because I needed some dpns to work the sleeves for Amelia, and came out of there with some Rowan handknit cotton as well. What?!?! I HAD a Gift Card, Okaaaay???

I think it'll be good for a few baby and/or hat projects I've got in my Ravelry queue...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Family Fun

Not much knitting content today, I'm afraid, so if you're nonplussed by pictures of young-uns in various stages of cuteness, mosey along, come back some other time. Not that there's no knitting being done chez Dear. Nay nay, fear not, gentle reader. There is knitting a-plenty. It's just that - wouldn't you know it? - knitting a cardigan takes time, and progress is slow. At least that's what I think now. I'm pretty sure at one point I'll look down and I'll have passed that magical point where the work just flies off the needles.

Nope, what I've got for you today are some of the promised pictures of the last few days of my vacation and Emilie's birthday party. My little girl turned 5 on Monday.

FIVE years old. For those of you who think that's really young, let me tell you: five may be young, but it's also BIG, you know? Kindergarten looms (I'm not ready, I'm not ready, I'm not ready), and she's changing so fast. She's been speaking English every night this week (my kids' mother tongue is French), doing things she's never done before (like take a shower and wash her hair - By Herself!) all because, well DUH!, she's FIVE! Crazy unbelievable. How did this happen? Where was I?

As I mentioned on Sunday morning, right after the party, we drove to Quebec city and spent the night there, then got up bright and early the next day to visit the Aquarium du Québec. It was nice, and a good day, but it's a lot smaller than I thought it would be! I definitely enjoyed Quebec city though, I hadn't been in forever and I really want to go back, next time without the kids, wink wink....Sadly, Tuesday I had to go back to work, but Phil has had the week off with the kids, and they've had loads of fun. They went to the Granby Zoo yesterday (with Phil's brother and my sister-in-law) and got acquainted with a baby goat. Elephants? Giraffes? Pish posh. Give these kids some domesticated farm animals, and they're good to go.

Hmmm... maybe I'll consider taking them to another fiber festival. You know. Someday.

Happy Knitting Everyone! I'm off to make sweet romance with a lovely lady named Amelia.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This is why I don't design

I can't reveal too much about my latest FO. I really shouldn't even be mentioning it at all, except that the making of it was such an endeavour, such a journey of mind and spirit and such, that I really would be remiss if I didn't discuss it here with you.

So I had some yarn left over from the.... garment.... I knit for Little Miss Enabler. Not wanting any of the luscious Tanis to go to waste, I weighed my options and decided to knit up a quick hat to go with it. No pattern per se, I'd just whip something up using the same stitch pattern as the.... garment. Piece of cake, right? I mean, a hat is basically a tube that closes at one end, right? And this one was for a BABY. Walk in the park, perfect for car knitting.

The following entails a brief summary of this, my first "design".

Step 1: Look over Itty Bitty Hats and other "reference material" in order to approximate size of hat (same age group as the.... garment). Cross reference with stitch pattern and figure out stitch count. Congratulate self on using same stitch pattern as ... garment, thus eliminating the necessity of a gauge swatch. Mutter something to the effect that this will be "like taking candy from a baby".

Step 2: Upon further reflection, decide to investigate possibility of a picot cast on for hat, to up the cuteness factor. Investigate this technique, decide it'll be easy enough, and cast on. First attempt looks a little wonky, but hey, that's what the pattern SAID to do, right? Keep knitting.

Step 3: Cast on still looking funky, but keep knitting nonetheless. Get to beginning of pattern, and realize that stitch count is off. Debate whether to just make a stitch and keep knitting, but quickly become overwhelmed by guilt as this is a "gift knit" after all. Frog hat.

Step 4: Cast on picot edge again. Still looks funny, but at least now the stitch count is right. But oh look, it's curling a bit. Decide it's ugly, and frog. Stuff needles and yarn in knitting bag and knit on sock to soothe nerves.

Step 5: Cast on picot edge. Again. Begin cursing the sadistic bastard who ever invented this effing cast on method in the first place, and hope he's burning in Hell, right along with the moron who invented the cable cast-on, while you're at it. Enjoy a laugh at that one until the light comes on and figure out why the blasted picot edge is looking funny. Frog, but with confidence this time. NEXT TIME IT'LL BE PERFECT, you think. Hah!

Step 6: Cast on new picot edge. It looks great. This is IT, people. The edge looks fabulous, the pattern is great, and begin starting to think about the crown decreases when you realize that the stitches were twisted when you joined to knit in the round. Gasp is shock and utter incomprehension that it took you TWO HOURS OF KNITTING to realize you were making a mobius headband. Frog, but not as furiously as you'd like (because, you know, the stitches are twisted!!!). Curse self (and the Knitting Fates) profusely.

Step 7: Cast on fracking picot edge. Swear if you ever see a picot edge again, you're going to stab yourself repeatedly in the flabby underarm flesh with your Chibi. Ignore husband asking you if "you're sure everything's OK this time?". Knit through edging, stitch pattern and crown decreases. Decide on a last minute embellishment for the top of the hat (it's actually pretty cute) because you can always frog this bleeping hat again, right? Stifle mad cackling laughter that that particular thought has inspired. Weave in ends.

Step 8: Wonder if the hat is too big, or if you gave it enough length before beginning the crown decreases. Decide that, if push comes to shove.... you can always buy the kid a hat. :)

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Hi there!

I'm writing this up very quickly (and quietly!). The kids and Phil are still in bed (pause for a moment and marvel at the fact that it is 6:50 AM and my kids are still asleep), and we've got a big day ahead of us. Émilie's 5th birthday party is today, and afterward we're packing everyone up and heading up to Quebec City to visit the Aquarium tomorrow for Émilie's actual birthday. We come back to Montreal early Monday evening, just in time for me to go back to work on Tuesday. Boooooo!!!

The Cherry Amelia is progressing merrily along. I've reached the waistband shaping, and am quite content. I don't think I'll bring it with me to Quebec though, it's a bit cumbersome for car knitting. I'll most likely bring my ever-lingering socks (I am so SICK of these socks, lovely as they are), or the thing I cast on to go with the thing I knit for Little Miss Enabler (you follow?).

OK, it's now 7:03 and they're still sleeping. I've still got quite a few preparations to make in order to get ready for the party (like baking a birthday cake, for starters!), so I'd better get cracking. Stay tuned for many, many pictures!

Happy Knitting Everyone!