Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stress relief

It's been quite the week chez Dear. Obviously, there's the whole "Holy Crap Christmas is in a week how the heck did that happen!?!" thing that sneaks up on me (and I suspect many other knitters) every year, but for added fun we've been dealing with Mystery Health Issues that Émilie's been having over the past few weeks as well.

Last Friday the school called me and asked if I'd noticed that something was wrong with Emilie's face. She'd gotten into a bit of a scuffle with a friend a few days earlier, and I honestly thought they were following up on that (she had a scratch beneath her left eye). I was in full "Responsible Mommy" mode, right up until they said "Well, we don't want to alarm you, but she appears to be paralyzed on one side of her face. You might want to come pick her up and get her checked out."

Think about that a minute. When the word "paralysis" is used in a conversation about your child, let me assure you that the adrenaline goes WAY up in a right hurry. Five minutes later, I was well on my way and Dad was on the phone with Dr. Grampa, who pulled a Mario Andretti and arrived at the house about 20 minutes later (a drive that would usually take 45 minutes easy). She receives a full exam, and the preliminary diagnosis is that she's got Bell's Palsy, which is treatable and reversible over time.

She's been on medication since Friday, and seems to be responding to the treatment. Facial control isn't entirely restored at this point, but we've been seeing some improvement, which is a good sign.

We were still concerned about WHAT brought on the palsy in the first place of course, so yesterday we took her to see the ENT. He suspects that she's actually got Infectious mononucleosis, and it's the mono that has caused her facial paralysis, which is rare but not unheard of in the literature.

What's NOT so good is that she also seems to have substantial hearing loss in her right ear, something that can't be explained by either the mono or the Bell's Palsy... Phone calls are made, and we somehow manage to jump ahead of a six-month waiting period and get her an appointment for a proper hearing test TODAY. See? Holiday Miracles really do happen!

So how do you think I've been dealing with all of this? Well, I've been knitting up a storm, of course. For instance, earlier in the week I knit Émilie a Holiday Candy Cane scarf for school.

See the Bell's Palsy? The right side of her face just doesn't quite work :(

OK, so it's not exactly a LONG scarf, but did I mention I knit it in one evening? Yeah... I cast on for it at 7:00 PM, and was weaving in ends and making fringe a bleary-eyed 4.5 hours later.

I also got a substantial amount of knitting done on the Non-Cookie-KAL Estonian Socks, mach 2.

MUCH happier with the colourwork of this version. I futzed around with the calf shaping, heel and gussets quite a bit (I'll get into the details in another post), but the important thing is that - as of 11:15 last night - I have a kick-ass Estonian Sock that fist me like a second skin.

Too bad I still have to knit another one...

Happy Knitting Everyone. If I don't get to post before the big day, we at Casa de Dear send wishes of Happiness, Peace, and most importantly Health to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

There may be pictures

I'm writing this up before heading out to meet my ex-boby-builder sister-in-law at the gym for a "fun workout" (her words, not mine). I have not had time to edit the pictures I took this weekend. Assuming I retain any kind of muscle control when I get back, I'll put them in this post. If not, you'll just have to wait another day.

One of the things that troubles me about blogging lately is the absence of pictures. Someone once told me that a good blog is all about the photography, and that's certainly true for certain blogs I lurk in read. Sure, a funny story is all well and good, but this is a knitting blog. If there isn't going to be any kind of visual reference point for all the stuff I'm knitting (you know, like with Castlegar? Insert sheepish grin here), it's hard to keep your readers interested.

The only problem is that it's December in the Northern hemisphere, and I work full-time. When I leave for work, the sun's barely up, and that sucker's long gone by the time I get home. Weekends? Try getting some quiet, quality photography time with 2 kids in the house. Not to mention DORMA duties.

Sometimes I manage to pull it off, of course. This weekend I took pictures of my Non-Cookie-KAL Estonian Socks, mach 1.

Yup, Mach 1. I didn't like the results of my colour selection at ALL. I was aiming for something Mustaavillaa-ish and came up with.... ass. Blue-teal ass. Naturally, they've been ripped out since then, and all the little coloured bits of ass-making yarn are waiting in Albert the hamster's "nest yarn" stash.

I've re-cast on with a much simpler combo, and I'm reasonably happy with the results so far. I'm a bit concerned about the heel shaping for these socks (hint: there is no gusset shaping. I LOVE gussets) and the fit is giving me a bit of a ponder as well. But for now, I'm happy.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Added later: The workout was... well. Hard. Tomorrow is going to be brutal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A while back Kate-the-Enabler and I combined forces to purchase the lovely Cookie A.'s Knit. Sock. Love. (Wow! What IS it about socks, anyway? Just looking up the link for the book made me want to buy sock yarn. *Sigh*) She'll get the autographed hardcopy version, since I already own a Cookie A. book (don't argue with me, Katherine!), and I'll get the PDF version.

Anyway, all that to say that we were stoked. Totally stoked. We talked about how we'd cast on simultaneously for our socks once we got the book. We planned, we canoodled, we discussed yarn options and whether there was something truly Cookie-worthy in our respective stashes. (What? Knitting socks is serious business, you know).

But see, here's the thing: even though we were are totally commited to embarking upon a glorious joint journey into Cookie-Land, we're still KNITters with a capital KNIT, you know? I mean.... it's not as though we went into suspended animation or anything while we were waiting for the book to arrive. We continued to frequent Ravelry, we were exposed to other patterns, and, well..... things happened.

I cast on a pair of Estonian Socks, and Kate is still deciding between a few, non-Cookie options.

So there you have it! We're having a "We just bought the new Cookie A. book but we're knitting something completely different!"-KAL. Join us, won't you?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

ps: Pictures of Castlegar are coming. The weather here has been pretty crappy, and call me crazy, I didn't really fancy modeling in the snow/hail/rain we had this weekend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Chronicles of a Knitting Dumbass

Easing my way back into blogging today, my friends. I needed a wee rest after NaBloPoMo, but I've missed you terribly (I keep refreshing my email, wondering why I'm not getting any comments before I remember that I haven't posted in over a week), and I hope you've missed me as well.

I used to be a math wiz (whiz? probably not). Not only was I really an excellent student (my highschool teacher used to gush and fawn over my homework and test scores), I actually enjoyed doing maths. I loved that it was so predictable and orderly, and that if you just followed the steps, you would always arrive at the proper solution to the problem. Math suited my obsessive-compulsive control-freak issues me to a proverbial Tee.

Of course, that was 20 years ago (Aack! TWENTY years!!!!). After high school I shunned the ways of math and earned a coupla degrees in History, followed by another degree in library and information sciences, none of which use math all that much. Sure, I can add and subtract (sometimes I even do it in my head!), but those multiplication/division skills are, apparently, somewhat rusty. As evidenced by my sad, sad attempts to knit a button-hole row on the Castlegar cardigan earlier this week.

The pattern calls for 8 buttons (thusly, 8 button-holes), to be spaced evenly along the button band. Laura (I've knit 3 of her cardigans. I feel I'm allowed to call her by her given name) has you place stitch markers along the buttonband where you want your buttons to be, and then knit button-holes in the corresponding area into the opposing band. No counting, you just sort of wing it.

Now, Laura may be one of those free-spirit types of knitters who can just place buttons wherever they strike her fancy, but I, my friends, am not. I need structure, precision, and a little f*%$ing discipline. Place stitch markers on a whim? Was the woman high on wool fumes when she wrote this? No, this simply wouldn't do. Would. Not. I, fellow knitters, had a Plan. I would simply dig into my admittedly rusty math skills and figure out the perfect button-hole placement formula. Symmetry and beauty would be MINE.

Here's how that worked out:

  1. Each button-hole uses 4 stitches. I have 166 stitches on the needles. Decide I want a 4 stitch cushion between the edges of the band and the first/last button. Pull numbers out of my arse and decide that proper placement of 6 remaining buttons should occur every 21 stitches.
  2. Knit smugly, arrive at end of row with 2 button-holes yet to knit. Sit bemused for a moment, and reluctantly tink back.
  3. Decide to reduce the "cushion" zone to 3 stitches, and to reduce spacing between button-holes to 16 stitches. Feel certain that this should ABSOLUTELY work (because 16 + 4 = 20, and 20 x 8 - 160. Factor in the 3 "cushion" stitches on each edge, and voilà: 166 stitches).
  4. Knit smugly, arrive at end of row with not eight but NINE button-holes (whaaaa???). Curse. Tink back.
  5. Actually LOOK at the cardi and decide I don't really want a button at the top of the neckband anyway. Decide Laura might be onto something after all (why I ever doubted her at all is completely beyond me), and decide to just wing it.
  6. Retain the 16 stitch spacing as a guide (because you can lead an old knitter to water...), knit 16 stitches BEFORE placing the first button-hole, and knit nervously, praying to the knitting muses that they throw this poor, tired knitter a freakin' bone already.
  7. Arrive at the end of the row with a most fetching 6 stitch "cushion" zone. Feel profound sense of relief and victory.
  8. Said feeling of victory is promptly crushed when I realize that I've somehow managed to confuse the top and bottom of the cardigan, and that the longer "cushion" zone I had planned to be at the neck is, in fact, at the bottom of the button-hole band.
  9. Decide I'd rather set my hair on fire than tink back AGAIN, and that furthermore, only crazy people give a flying fart about button placement anyway.
  10. Finish button-band, graft underarm stitches and weave in ends. Do a small dance of joy that the cardigan is finally done, and immediately begin swatching for another project to take the edge off, thus thoroughly freaking out Muggle husband ("Honestly Dear, do you ever stop knitting???")

I'm hoping to get pictures of Castlegar this weekend. I'm actually wearing it today, and it looks fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. Here's the ironic part though: I haven't sewn in the buttons yet. Kinda makes me wonder why I even bothered with that stupid row anyway? Laura?

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Well, here we are at last, at the end of November. My own personal NaBloPoMo challenge is now at an end, and I've been thinking about what I want to say, how I feel about it being over. This whole month has been about honing my (limited) writing skills, so I really want to make sure I say this right, that I express my feelings with the right words, that everything is just so.


THANK EFFING GOD THAT'S OVER. (I think that sums it up, heh.)


Here's the thing: I've got a somewhat obsessive personality (really Tara? You? Obsessive?). I love setting myself up for a fall challenges for myself, I love trying new things (that aren't life-threatening), and when I get enthusiastic about something, I get really enthusiastic.

But then I over-indulge, I overload, and more often than not I kinda fiz out. Not that I'm going to be fizzing out on the blog. If anything, this experience has reminded me of how much I love this medium of communication. But it's also reaffirmed that I have high standards for myself. It's not enough to just put *something* out into this world. I want it to be a *good* something. Something I can read later and be proud of. Something that makes *me* laugh. Something that I'm psyched about sharing with all of you.

Happy Knitting Everyone. I can promise you I definitely WON'T be blogging tomorrow :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hear that?

Hear that sound? That soft, seductive whisper? That's the sound of my bed, beckoning me into sweet, warm oblivion.

Long day, cranky kids (but not mum, that would never happen) and no knitting whatsoever makes Dear an exhausted mamacita indeed.

Happy Knitting Everyone.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Much better

Today I was fortunate enough to attend a day-long sweater fitness workshop with Anne Hanson. As I mentioned yesterday, I felt a little flummoxed after Saturday's fast paced lace workshop, and I was determined to get today's class RIGHT.

First things first, I had my Enabler with me :) That makes things better, no matter WHERE I am.
I also made sure to pack appropriately this time...

Sure, the class description said to bring 50-100 yards of yarn and the pattern for ONE sweater we wanted to knit, but hey... better safe that sorry, right?

I brought my current WIP as well, and got lots of knitting done while waiting for Anne to see us all individually. Sadly, Kate finished her sock fairly early on, so I put her to work winding a large skein of Briar Rose Grandma's Blessing (earmarked for Bel Air, in case you were wondering) I've had marinating in the stash for 3 years...

We even managed to get a wee photo-session in as well!

We photographed Kate's magnificent Gale...

As well as staged a mock-Twilight tribute with the giant Ball o' Yarn Kate wound for me ('cause yes, apparently I AM that big of a dork, heh).

All in all, a most wonderful day. Thanks so much to Anne for making the trip up here, and I look forward to more lovely days spent with my knitting peeps in the very near future.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Curtosy over Dignity

This morning I attended the first of 2 workshops given by Anne Hanson over the weekend. As usual, I procrastinated took my time getting the materials I'd need for the class. All evening yesterday, I kept thinking I should really put together my bag for the next day, but couldn't quite manage to get off the couch (the lure of the yellow cardi might have had something to do with that, of course). I figured I'd have plenty of time this morning before I needed to head out (you know... at 8:20).

When Emilie woke me I woke up at 6:45, I wasn't worried. I had plenty of time to have breakfast, pack my bag, and get ready. As a matter of fact, I was SO not worried that, after breakfast, I decided to fold a few loads of laundry. Sure, it was 7:35, but I had PLENTY of time, right?

It was only as I looked at the list of materials we'd need for class and started to get my things together that I began to feel the first pangs of worry. Maxime and Phil still hadn't come down for breakfast, I was running around in my jammies, DPNs and Circulars in tow, and it was 7:50. How was I going to be ready in time?

At 8 o'clock (15 minutes before I wanted to leave), I decided Phil had had enough of a sleep-in and went upstairs to wake him so I could shower (to be fair, he was in the process of getting up when I got there). I jumped in and out of the shower, furiously pulled on whatever outfit I could find, and bolted out the door. Did I dry my hair? No. Did I apply make-up? Nope. I was in such a rush at this point, that - and I can't stress this enough - I didn't even moisturize.

Out of curtosy for my fellow knitters, I got clean. But when it came down to the wire, and I was faced with the possibility that I might miss the beginning of Anne's class? I decided my dignity could suck it.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

ps: Three guesses on whether or not my bag is ready for tomorrow's all-day sweater fitness workshop :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Better late....

Well, as predicted, my Magic Friday didn't go exactly as planned. We had freezing rain overnight, and Émilie's school declared it an emergency snow day (you know, even though there was no snow?). So the kids spent the morning at home, then went to daycare in the afternoon.

I didn't attend to personal grooming, didn't get a jump on the Christmas shopping, didn't do much of anything besides a few loads of laundry and a few rows of knitting here and there. The business of the day was mostly about getting through the day, and now it's time to sit back, relax, and exhale.

Happy Knitting, Everyone.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'll never learn...

Another cool thing about my fancy pants Professional Librarian job is that I get every second Friday off. I call them Magic Fridays. For 2 weeks I dream about the coming Magic Friday, how I'll spend the entire day in my jammies, drinking tea, watching movies and making fabulous progress on my current slog of a WIP. Somehow it never quite works out that way though. I wind up making various appointments, catching up with friends, running errands I've been putting off, and before I know it, the kids are back from school and daycare, Phil's home from work, and another Magic Friday has passed me by.

How does that happen, anyway? Is it a working mother thing or just a Tara thing? Why can't I just relax and spend the day being lazy doing what I want to do? It's as though I'm SO psyched at how incredibly productive I could be without the kids (and Phil) needing my attention that I invariably wind up scheduling a massive amount of things into what's really only a short 6 hours.

Take tomorrow: I'm planning to run, go for some long overdue personal grooming, meet my mother for a tea and a catch-up and kick off my Holiday shopping. Exactly WHEN am I supposed to get my knit on, anyway???

This weekend is when. I'm attending Anne Hanson's workshops with the Montreal Knitting Guild with Kate-the-Enabler and Robyn and a bunch of other local fabulous knitters, and I am so psyched, I can't even tell you.

Meantime, I'll be knitting the never-ending cardigan...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There's a kind of hush

I consider myself pretty lucky in that my employer offers fitness classes to its employees twice weekly during the day. Monday yoga class is something I really look forward to, but I confess I've got to dig deep in my bag o' motivation to go to Pilates on Wednesdays. While Yoga is demanding physically, it's also quite relaxing and restorative. Pilates, on the other hand, is just plain demanding (I don't know about you, but squatting and/or lunging for 50 minutes straight isn't my idea of a good time). I try to keep myself motivated, but more often than not the class makes me feel like a pathetic weakling. Which is sort of the point, I guess. I keep reminding myself that if I just keep at it, someday I won't feel like a weakling anymore...

Tomorrow I'll be sore all over, and I'll have to kick myself in the arse to get on the treadmill (which, in case you were wondering, I've managed to fall off of again). But right now the house is quiet, and I'm content. Phil's out with a friend for dinner in the city (hey, it can't always be me, right?), the kids are tucked away in their beds, and I've got an evening of uninterrupted knitting (and unchallenged control over the remote!) ahead of me.

Happy Knitting, Everyone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not a dumbass

When I knit the Mittens-that-shall-not-be-named (what mittens?), I created a new tag for the blog entitled, fittingly, Chronicles of a Knitting Dumbass. I'm tempted to put this last FO, Pattern A from the 2010 Woolly Wormhead Mystery KAL, in that category, but I don't know if I can. I mean, the hat itself is BEAUTIFUL. The yarn (Madelinetosh Pashmina) is luscious, it really suits the pattern, and my knitting is perfectly executed, each stitch a true testament to my art and skill.

The only problem is the SIZE of the damn thing. My gauge swatch lied like the miserable asinine time-sucks that they are proved to be erroneous, and even though I selected the size that SHOULD have fit my head (with 2 inches of negative ease, no less), it's a bit... large. I mean, I like slouch as much as the next knitter, but this is a bit TOO slouchy, you know?

Seriously... when Dumb Donald might be tempted to cut a couple of eye holes in the hat you've just knit, there's an issue with size, right? Or is that just me?

Still, it's a damn fine piece of knitting. I dare you to tell me differently.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I don't like Mondays

Today I:
  • Woke up with a zit on my lip;
  • Realized that I had failed to put soap in the dishwasher overnight;
  • Popped a run in my stockings (again);
  • Forgot my Yoga-wear at home and was thus unable to attend my weekly class;
  • Attempted to drink water and succeeding in pouring it down the front of my blouse instead of in my mouth;
  • Didn't knit a stitch.
I'm going to bed now. Goodnight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I mentioned a few posts back that my version of Woolly Wormhead's Mystery Kal Pattern A turned out the size of a football cozy. Sadly, it turns out that Pattern B, which is designed to be a slightly slouchy beret, wasn't exactly to my taste either in terms of size. But it this case, my issue is with berets in general, and not with this hat in particular.

Here's the thing: here in Canada, knitwear actually serves a purpose. It gets pretty gosh darn cold here in Winter, and we need our woollies to keep us warm. It's all well and good for a hat (or a scarf, or a pair of mittens) to be pretty and for it's maker to have had a hoot and a half while knitting it up, but if the item in question isn't serving its purpose - ie: keeping the intended recipient warm - then what the heck's the point?

And that's sort of my beef with berets. They don't really serve a purpose, other than to just look slick on top of your head while you're wearing them. Your ears - and most of your head, for that matter - are completely exposed to the elements. Sure, you might look cute, but I ask you: how cute are you going to look with frostbitten earlobes?

All beret beefs aside, this was a really enjoyable knit. The yarn was luminous and lovely to work with, and the best part is that I've got more than enough left over to knit a scarf or cowl to go with it. Maybe I'll knit up some earmuffs while I'm at it...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Thousand Words

I'm in a wee bit of a rush today, but as promised, I give you pictures of the first of 3 recent FOs : The Shawl Collared Cowl.

I knit this with Berroco Cuzco I scored via a Ravelry destash a few months ago. Very quick knit, mindless and comforting. But if I were to knit it again - which I might, as I've got another skein of that yarn, and it's a great gift knit item (I hear you knocking, Christmas!) - I'd knit it a smidge shorter, as it doesn't sit quite close enough to the neck for my taste.

I'm off to have dinner with a friend tonight, and possibly to see Harry Potter as well.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Plan

At the beginning of the week I had 4 active WIPs on the needles: the 2 Woolly Wormhead Mystery hats (pictures to come this weekend, I swear!), the second Aestlight shawl, and Castlegar. Over the last 2 evenings I've finished both hats, and I've decided that, close as I am to the finish line on the shawl, I'm going to concentrate my efforts on the cardi (for now, anyway). Why?

Well, mostly 'cause it's cold. Really, really cold. I wore a long sleeved top and a shawl all day today, and I still couldn't manage to get warm. And if that weren't enough? Today was the first day I wished I had boots on when I was walking outside. And it had nothing to do with there being snow on the ground (yet - there's no snow on the ground YET. It's only a matter of time). No, it was because my feet were cold. I was standing outside in my stylish Fall coat, shivering my arse off and wishing I was wearing boots instead of my cute red pumps, and it hit me: Winter is here. Then I might have used language un-becoming a lady librarian.

All that to say that I feel like a cardigan makes more sense in terms of knitwear production at this time. Yes, that's right. A cardigan for MYSELF makes the most sense 36 days before Christmas. You got a problem with that?

I'll leave you with this picture of my little Maxou, taken last weekend. I think I've mentioned on the blog that he's a bit of a camera hound. He loves having his picture taken, always wants me to snap a few pictures of him whenever I've got my camera out. Not only is it kinda cute, but I found out that it's also pretty useful when you're dealing with an inconsolable Maxime (this particular day, he had shattered a snowglobe he'd gotten when he was baptized, and he was pretty frickin' upset). Turns out that, even if he's crying his eyes out, he'll do his best to smile for the camera, heh.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Conspiracy Theory

I just finished knitting the most insanely intricate and complex (but in a good way) hat I've ever knit (Mystery KAL 2010 - Pattern A). It's beautiful, a real tribute to my knitting expertise. The yarn was really well paired with the pattern, and my stitches are impeccable, if I do say so myself. Yup, it's a proud, proud moment chez Dear.

Or rather, it would be if it weren't for one slight, small snag: it's so big I could use it as a football helmet cozy.

Before you throw the "Did you knit a swatch?" argument in my face, let me assure you that I DID, in fact, knit a swatch, and found an appropriate needle size to get gauge.

Oh, and to all you "Did you measure your head circumference?" smart alecks out there? Yeah, I did. Twenty-two inches. I've got the largest size head, and this thing STILL droops down to my nose.

Gauge lies. Measuring tapes lie. It's a conspiracy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Get ready

The third and final installment of the Woolly Wormhead Mystery KAL came out today. As I was printing them off, I realized that - once I'm done with these rows - I'll have completed another 2 hats. Twenty rows were all that separated me from two more FO's. Come to think of it, even though I haven't been putting any knitting time in the second Aestlight shawl lately (mostly 'cause I've been knitting 2 hats simultaneously), it's nearly complete as well. There's a good possibility that I'll have polished off most of my WIPs by the end of the weekend, which will leave me free to work on Castlegar.

The upside to all of this is that there's going to be a veritable parade of lovely finished objects to share with you within the next few posts (just as soon as I can take some decent pictures, of course).

The downside is that - once those FO posts are done - you're going to be stuck in a never-ending, soul-sucking, mind-numbing loop of endless "slightly longer than last time" posts about the yellow cardi I'm still not convinced I'll be able to pull off with my skin tone.

So get ready: you're going to need it.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

ps: the blue plastic buttons have won by a landslide. I'll be sewing them on tomorrow. Probably.

pps: I was sorely tempted to throw down a (completely worthless) wager regarding whether I could finish the cardi by the end of NaBloPoMo. Then I realized I have a job, a cat and a family, my interactions with whom run much more smoothly if I don't turn into a frantic, overly-caffeinated knitter with a crazy-ass deadline. Still... I do love a challenge.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Back in October I knit a Shawl Collared Cowl out of Berroco Cuzco. It was a really quick, enjoyable knit, I was quite happy with it and looking forward to getting a decent photo shoot of it with the Fall foliage. All I needed were some buttons, and I would be all set.

Fast forward a month and a bit, and the cowl was still buttonless and dejected. Completely oblivious to it's charms, I had unceremoniously relegated it to the dirty handknits pile that's always sitting next to my sink in the laundry room.

Now, like any other person who has made knitting a lifestyle choice, I've got a few lingering, yet-to-be finished WIPs. They're projects I was once deeply smitten with but that got tossed aside lost in the fray when something new and sexy interesting came along. But there was no reason for this cowl to be in such a sorry state. I had done all the knitting, woven in all the ends, and even blocked it! The only thing standing between me and a finished cowl were 3 dinky buttons.

Off I went to the local fabric buffet, and in no time I had settled on 2 possibilities for the cowl: a plastic steel blue grey button (seen on top), and a metallic, vaguely Celtic reminiscent button (although that might just be me).

Obviously, since I waited for such a long time before even considering purchasing buttons for this cowl, I'm leaving it up to you, dear, sweet readers, to select the appropriate buttons.

What say you? Blue or Metallic? I know, it's a big decision, but we'll get through it together.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ants in my Pants

This morning, as I was making my usual knitty rounds (Ravelry, blogs, Etsy shops I'm stalking casually interested in), I realized that I'm starting to feel frustrated with my knitting. Again. I'm getting anxious with my WIPs, and I needed a pick me up. Something to take the edge off, something to make my knitting feel shiny and new. I needed a hit, a rush of knitterly adrenaline, so to speak.

There are many ways to achieve that high, I suppose. Casting on for a completely new project is a gimme, but it's a short-term fix at best, as "impulse" cast-ons often end up in exactly the same place as impulse purchases - at the bottom of the closet.

Stash therapy enhancement is another wonderful way to bask in the glow, to get psyched about knitting even when you can't actually knit Right. Now. Even if you don't actually KNIT the yarn you purchase right away, it's still going BE there when you need it.

So there I was, anxiously looking at SOCK yarn of all things (I'm looking at YOU, Dawn and your never-ending supply of Hazel Knits!!!), and I had an epiphany: I'm not bored with me WIPs at all. I don't need a new project or new yarn to get jazzed about my knitting. What I really need is TIME. Time to relax and indulge in the fabulous projects I've got on the needles right now.

Which leaves me with 2 questions: can I buy that on Etsy? And do they take PayPal?

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

C is for Cookie

Whenever I take Maxime with me to do the groceries, I always wind up buying way, WAY more than I had planned to. Cupcakes, 3 different kinds of breakfast cereal, crackers, juice boxes... You name it, it makes its way into the cart. So when he stopped in front of the cake and cookie decoration section this morning, I was prepared for his enthusiastic "On achète ça, Maman !" and trying to figure out how I was going to put the stuff back on the shelf without him noticing.

But then I thought "Well, why not? I The kids love baking, and letting them both decorate their own cookies could be a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon". In the cart it all went, and after lunch I dusted off the gingerbread man cookie cutter my friend Robyn gave me last year.

The actual making of the cookies took a little longer than expected (note to self: before psyching children up about a fun cookie decorating project, read through the recipe, paying particular attention to things like "Let the dough chill for 2 hours"), but the kids loved decorating their little gingerbread dudes.

2 of Émilie's 3 cookies.

The third cookie didn't live very long, heh.

Maxime's little masterpieces.

Phil and I both decorated our gingerbread dudes with knitwear.

I also attempted to make a Super Gingerbread Man, but had a bit of trouble with the S, so now he's just Super 6 Gingerbread Man.

It was good fun. I'd never made gingerbread men cookies before, I don't think I've even ever eaten any before today! Definitely something we'll do again.

Alright, I'm off to knit for... oh.... 15 minutes. It's been a tiring weekend, and I need my rest. After all...

... we've got to go back to climbing the corporate ladder tomorrow, heh.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


That would be the sound of the day whizzing by. We had a surprise (and welcome) visit from a friend in the morning, went bowling with the kids in the afternoon, and spent the evening with friends who we hadn't seen in about 6 years. There was no knitting ('natch), and now that the time has come to sit on the couch and pick up the needles, all I really want to do is go to sleep.

I know I promised that today's post would be a a veritable cornucopia of knitterly goodness, but what can I say? Sometimes things don't work out like you'd planned...

Happy Knitting Everyone! Ima pass out now, OK?

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Enabler Gave Me Permission

When I told Kate-the-Enabler that I had signed up for NaBloPoMo, she was - as ever - supportive and enthusiastic, and even pledged to comment on each post (and not just with "Yeah, totally!"-like comments, either). She also told me that posts consisting of "I don't feel like blogging today, be back tomorrow" would be perfectly acceptable.

Luckily, I'm actually enjoying blogging daily, even though I wonder if my readers will go into Dear overload before the month is out. But sometimes there aren't enough minutes in the day, and I'm forced to put out a sub-par post just for the sake of it, something I don't really enjoy doing.

I've had a pretty busy morning at work (taking 2 days off to care for a sick child will do that), and I'm off to a friend's birthday soirée tonight. I doubt I'll get any knitting done today, much less have time to put out a "proper" post.

So there. My Enabler gave me permission to cop out on blogging from time to time. I'm here, and I'll catch you on the flip side with a fabulous, smörgåsbord-of-knit post tomorrow.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some days

Every once in a blue moon, the stars and planets align and you get a perfect evening with your family. Everyone's happy and well dressed, and genuinely interested in what each other is doing and saying. It's a rare thing, but when it all comes together, those are the moments you wait for, the moments you savour.

This was not one of those evenings.

Tonight was a fast, dizzying descent into Hades itself. It was as though someone had swapped my children for little heinous imps during the night. They were confrontational, overly sensitive, and whiny, all things that - truth be told - we've grown quite accustomed to. But what really clenched it was that, for some reason, tonight the kids decided that they no longer enjoyed things they've loved for their entire lives. Eggs? They "don't taste the same" as my usual eggs. Milk? It was making her throat hurt. Homemade, fresh-from-the-oven bread? The bread-snarfers suddenly "weren't sure they'd like it".

Meanwhile, Dad's on the phone with a long-distance friend he can't give up on, both kids are sniveling talking at once, and Mum's about to LOSE. IT.

But never fear! That's why God invented early bedtimes, heh. And whatever that can't fix (not much), looking at pretty yarn knit up in a lovely pattern can.

Woolly Wormhead's 2010 Mystery KAL, Pattern A
Knit with Madelinetosh Pashmina in the Calligraphy colourway.

Happy Knitting Everyone! I'm going to take my own advice and head to bed early. Knackered!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I stayed home with Émilie today. Her stomach seems to be on the mend, but she ran a fever all day, so we spent the day in our jammies, watching Harry Potter movies.

In other words, I had a lot of time to knit today.

The second installment for the Woolly Wormhead mystery hats came out yesterday, and managed to finish knit the brim and body of Pattern B.

I just love how it's knitting up, the yarn is so luminous, I kept thinking of Sting's Fields of Gold while I was working the stitches this morning. The only thing that concerns me at this point is what I'm going to do with the rest of the skein when this hat is done, because Lord knows I don't want any of this scrumptious yarn going to waste, you know? LOVING. IT.

Pattern A, on the other hand, had been giving me a hard time since I cast on. I had selected a lovely Jade green yarn (Madelinetosh Pashmina. I know. Take a moment, I'll wait.), but was concerned when the pattern involved cabling. The cables just weren't coming out in the pattern, and I felt like the yarn wasn't being used to its full potential.

See what I mean? The cables just don't "pop", and this stuff is just too good to be knitted up in a way that was going to leave me thinking "Meh! it's alright, I guess".

Meh? This is Pashmina we're talking about here! There will be no meh associated with Pashmina! Naturally, I ripped it. The only question was what yarn was going to be taking its place?

Luckily, I just happened to have another skein of Pashmina, this time in the Calligraphy colourway (a lovely silver grey with a hint of rose). It's knitting up beautifully. If I'd been able to wrench myself away from it long enough to take a picture, you'd see.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Rough day at Casa de Dear, poppins. Multiple wakings by Émilie didn't exactly start us off on the right foot, and the poor wee sausage spent the day throwing up (but Phil stayed home with her, so it looks as though I managed to dodge the bullet on that one for now).

Anyway, I'm beat. I almost fell asleep on the couch (OK scratch that, I DID fall asleep on the couch), but luckily Phil had the presence of mind to wake me so I wouldn't forget to blog and completely blow NaBloPoMo.

Aaaaanyhoo. Running low on interesting blog fodder, so today I give you an entry inspired by the Yarn Harlot's recent Haiku Knitting Post (I LOVE that we collectively caused her server to go kaplooey!):

Progress is slow when
knitting with size two needles.
At least it's cashmere.

Kinda crappy, I know. But I can barely keep my eyes open, and I'm a few bottles short of a full bar right now, if you catch my meaning.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Houston, we had a problem

Last week we finally (FINALLY!) got our bedroom furniture. Wanna see?

While it's beautiful and glorious and sleeping in a real bed makes me feel like a bona fide grown-up (as opposed to a college student sleeping on a cot), after it was delivered I was horrified to discover that I could no longer fit my bins o' stash under the bed.

Sure, I could fit a few bins on the top shelf of the closet (plenty of room on Phil's side, heh), but the bulk of the stash was now exposed, and I was in a jam to find a solution, STAT. Why?
  1. It's important to try to minimize your non-knitting partner's exposure to the stash. For some reason I can't adequately explain, turns out they don't get all weak in the knees like normal people knitters do when faced with that much yarn. Quite the contrary, in fact. They think - get this, you'll crack up - they think we have too much.
  2. Knitter exposure to the stash should also be controlled, if only because we DO get all weak in the knees when we see all that yarn. We remember when we fell in love with such and such a skein, what projects we had in mind for them. When exposed to the bulk of the stash, it's very difficult for a knitter to snap out of it and remember the other stuff they have to do - like go to work.
  3. Further to item 1 - and this is where it gets really weird - after repeated and prolonged exposure to the non-knitters' crazy talk concerns, the knitter might also start to question whether he/she really DOES have too much yarn. This is a falsehood which must be avoided at all costs. That way lies madness, failed yarn diets, and - if it isn't caught in time - exponential stash enhancement.
All that to say that the stash must be held under tight control. The KNITTER is in control of the stash, not the other way around. Something had to be done, and FAST.

Now, it turns out most of our clothes fit into one chest, which left a second chest pretty much up for grabs empty. And wouldn't you know it? One drawer holds a surprising amount of sock yarn.

Trouble is I've got 3 drawers full. I don't know about you, but I've got this crazy urge to cast on for a pair of socks...

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I've said it before, but it bears repeating: time - or rather our perception of its passage - is a funny thing. Some days it's all you can do to get a handle on it, and other times it just drones on and on, days stretch out seemingly endlessly before you, and - especially if you've got small children in the house - you find yourself at 3 in the afternoon asking that most basic question "What's going on? Isn't it friggin' bedtime YET???"

Luckily, we knitters can usually look to our WIPs to verify that time is indeed passing at it's usual rate. For instance, the first Castlegar sleeve barely had a cuff, and now it's well on it's way.

Last Sunday I hadn't even gotten the first clue of either of my Mystery Hats, and now Pattern B's all brimmified, and pattern A is going to be cast on tonight.

And if you happen to live in casa de Dear, another sign of time's relentless march forward is the annual purchase of an item so powerful that it's significance can no longer be ignored...

There are 48 days left until Christmas. Let the annual knitterly freak-out begin.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I lied

Regular knitting content won't be back today as promised. We were delighted by a surprise visit with my Dad and stepmum Margot today, and spending time with them took precedence over anything else, as I'm certain you'll understand.

I can't tell you how nice it is to have them close-by enough to be able to have this type of visit. The kids were thrilled to see Nanny & Bumpy, and the day was spent playing games (Émilie creamed us at Monopoly while Maxime and Nanny played their own version of cribbage), showing off action figures and plain old soaking up the love.

Show and tell of my WIPs tomorrow.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm going to a for-real-honest-to-goodness Professional Librarian conference in the city today, and I'm pretty stoked. I'll also be meeting up with friends afterwards for the ever-elusive "drinks and dinner in the city", so I don't know if I'll have a chance to blog tonight. Hence the quickie post now.

I've given it a lot of thought, and I'm going to be taking the metro in, mostly because the thought of driving in rush-hour traffic for over an hour only to have to circle the Palais des Congrès for 30 minutes to park is giving me hives. I've got my knitting (Castlegar sleeve), Harry Potter 7 on audio book, and I'm wearing sensible shoes (FUCK fashion. I want to be comfortable.)

Regular knitting content to return tomorrow.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


People keep telling me I'm a fast knitter. I can't tell you how many times I've heard/read comments about my crazy, über-fast skillz. Friends/colleagues/readers look at my crazy DORMA life and - more often than not - marvel at how much knitting I can get done.

I guess it must be true (after all, 18 people can't all be wrong, right?). But the truth is that I don't really consider myself to be fast and/or particularly productive. Mostly it's just incredibly frustrating. When you consider the time I actually get to spend knitting as opposed to the time I spend thinking about it? Really, I barely get to knit at all.

Take this past week for instance. I've been thinking about knitting pretty much non-stop, queuing patterns, dreaming about stash enhancement, planning my wardrobe in accordance with the cardis and woolly accessories which shall soon be in my closet (once I've knit them, anyway), and yet what have I knit? I got about 2 inches done on the first sleeve of Castlegar and maybe 4 cm of brim on the first of the Mystery Hats. Aestlight? Didn't touch it. Christmas knitting? Surely you jest. Mitten surgery? Oh no you di'int.

Tonight isn't going to be terribly productive either, I'm afraid. I've had a heckuva week, and am positively knackered. I'm so tired I actually tried to blog while lying in a fetal position on the couch with the laptop (yes really), and only got up when I couldn't figure out the arm placement thing.

Happy Knitting Everyone! I'll just be lying on the couch, petting my cat and dreaming about knitting.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Recipe for a successful Knit Night...

...DearKnits (and The Enabler) style.

Worried about hosting the perfect Knit Night? Feeling anxious about what constitutes a successful Stitch 'n Bitch session? While there can be many components to a Knit Night, it has been my experience that, if you have these 3 basic elements, your Knit Night will be a resounding success:

1: Fruit and cheese tray

Your selection of cheeses and fruit may vary. If you're having Dear over, you'll want to have plenty of Gouda on hand (just sayin').

2: Wine.

Wine (any drinkable wine will do) is essential if you're hosting a Knit Night in your home, especially if non-knitting spouses are to be present while the stitching and bitching actually takes place. Plus it makes your guests feel more like "grown-ups" when they're snarfing down your crackers and Gouda.

3: Yarn.

Artfully displaying yarn for your guests to squeeze ogle admire is a GREAT way to break the Knit Night ice.

Once you've got these main components down, all you need to do is sprinkle in a little pleasant conversation among good friends, and you're all set.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Wow, this daily blogging thing is going to be harder than I thought! I've been trying to come up with an angle, a story, a tale of knitterly humour to keep you entertained, but I'm coming up with diddly squat (of course, that may have something to do with the fact that while I'm trying to write this, Phil's watching that most intellectual and multi-leveled of films, Piranha 3D... Aaaargh! It's sucking my will to live!!!).

Thank the Knitting Fates a picture is worth a thousand words, eh? (that's a little Canadian-speak for you).

Yes friends, the mail carrier has been good to me lately, and I've got some really lovely yarn waiting to be cast on.

A beautiful skein of No Two Snowflakes Sport Weight yarn in a merino, silk and cashmere blend, colourway Honeycomb Perfection (I've got a thing for yellow lately). I've been carrying this skein around with me for about 3 weeks now, taking it out of my knitting bag and smelling petting admiring it every now and again. I think I'm going to use this for one of my Mystery Hats (the first clues came out yesterday!).

And this is the September installment of the Year of Lace Club (a little late, but oh well). The colour is really spectacular, very fitting for autumn (or would have been had it arrived in September!), and I quite like the pattern as well. If it weren't for the whole "Christmas approacheth" thing, I'd be very tempted to cast on ASAP.

And what does the stash have to say about these latest additions to my growing yarn-family?

"Get in Line, Newbies!"

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, November 1, 2010


That's right, gentle readers. I signed up for NaBloPoMo this month. I figure if I can think about knitting every day, I should be able to write about it every day for a month, right? So sit back, relax, but don't let your eyes glaze over just yet, heh. Even though I've only got 2 projects on the needles right now, there's always plenty waiting in the wings, right?

Speaking of my WIPs, let's have a look, shall we?

Of course, we have Castlegar :)

I'm knitting this with String Theory Caper Sock, and while it's taking a bit of time to knit up (I managed 8 rows before passing out last night), it's quite a nice knit.

Also on the needles, another Aestlight shawl. Apparently I still haven't gotten over giving the first incarnation to my cousin Jessica (even though she's the best knitwear recipient EVER), so I cast on for another last week using The Knittery's 4Ply Merino Sock (discontinued). It won't be as luscious as a shawl knit up with Malabrigo of course, but this pattern does really well with variegated yarns, so I'm hopeful it'll turn out halfway decent, heh.

That's what's on the needles right now, but there's plenty in the immediate queue. I've signed up for Woolly Wormhead's Mystery KAL, which'll have me knitting up not one but TWO hats over the next few weeks. Rest assured, I won't be giving up the Hat Trix club! I've already drawn this month's kit, and I'll be knitting the Jenny Cloche, out of Malabrigo Chunky.

And who knows what other crazy knitting shenanigans I'll get into in the next month? Laura Chau just came out with yet another stunning pattern I want to knit (honestly, I should just change the title of this blog to Cosmic Pluto's Groupie, heh), and wouldn't you know it, Tanis herself is going to be at the Montreal Knitting Guild in November... Now, some of you might call that a happy coincidence. Me? I call it Fate.

Happy Knitting Everyone!