Thursday, March 31, 2011

A gift

I woke up at 5:40 AM this morning, when it's too early to get up but too late to fall back to sleep, and almost straight away I knew it was going to be one of those days.

I was, for lack of a better term, extremely grumpy. Although the weather seemed to be showing signs of warming up, the scenery is still depressingly muted, all greys and browns and cloudy skies. Plans for a summer family getaway are on hold because everything I we come up with is either Too Expensive or Too Far. Work's been, um... repetitive. All of which makes me feel like we're not doing anything, our lives aren't going anywhere, and there's no progress... ever.

Knitting usually helps me a great deal when I'm feeling this way, but seeing as I'm still knitting the f*&&?%ing green scarf, and will continue to do so for the remainder of my life, it's not really working for me lately.

So I was grumpy, and it was going to be one of those days. You know, the kind when you just don't wanna? When all you really want to do is burrow deep beneath the covers of your bed, drink tea, eat chocolate, and read your favourite novel for the umteenth time, but you can't because you're a Grownup with Responsibilities so you've just got to suck it up and muddle through and hope you feel better tomorrow because a few more days like this and you're going to just lose it completely? One of those days.

And so it began. I showered, got dressed, took Emilie to school, went to work. By lunchtime I was in a serious funk, and all I wanted to do was go to the local Asian place, order some Phô soup, and read my favourite novel for the umteenth time. Trouble was that I didn't have my novel with me. And besides, I really shouldn't be going to the restaurant anyway, I should be trying to save money so that the family getaways I'm we're trying to plan are merely Too Far and no longer Too Expensive.

I heaved a great big sigh (for nobody's benefit except my own, I'm pretty much alone in my office all day long) and decided I would just go home for lunch. I'd eat, read a bit of my favourite novel for the umteenth time, and be back at my desk by 1.

Works in theory, except that when it was time to head back to work, my f*&&*??%ing car wouldn't start (my anti-theft device was no longer acknowledging my "It's OK, I'm not a thief, make car go" commands). I did not panic, nor did I get angry, right away. Seeing as how the exact same thing actually happened to me on Monday, first I tried Phil's "Push the button in the fuse box" trick, which totally saved me last time, but it didn't work. Then I reverted to my own skill set for when the Car Won't Go, which consists largely of swearing at the car and banging the steering wheel. That didn't work either.

I persisted for 25 minutes, alternating between Phil's skill set and mine, until I remembered that the definition of insanity is repeating the exact same thing and expecting a different outcome, and then I just thought "Screw it". I decided that the Universe had heard my pleas and had given me a freebie.

I called the office, went for my first run outside of 2011, and spent a happy afternoon drinking tea, knitting and watching Buffy.

Happy Knitting, Everyone

ps: the car started for Phil on the first try when he got home. It was totally a gift from the Universe.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All my fault

I'd like to begin this post with an apology. Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that your demeanors have really gone downhill, and I've done my best to put those smiles upside down with funny posts and witty(ish) writing. I've smiled in sympathy when you've sighed in disgust. I want you to know that I hear you, loud and clear, and I feel your pain. Really. I'm right there with you.

Spring hasn't sprung, and it's my fault. I understand, and I'm sorry.

I never asked for this responsbility, you know. I'm just a regular Knitter, minding my business, churning out projects and trying to get through this thing we call Life. But it would seem that, by some unknown process, my knitting and the changing of seasons have become hopelessly linked. It's now clear to me that the axis of the earth will only really increase its tilt toward the sun when I finish my f***ing green scarf, equinox be damned.

I'm doing my best to show Persephone that I really do want it to be Spring. I finished the Java Java Socks (yeah yeah... pics to come), I ordered my seeds for the vegetable garden I'm planning on putting in this summer (ignoring the fact that it's probably doomed to failure, because HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL), I'm even thinking of starting a quilt (because our down comforter will be too warm after it's Spring).

I'm doing all this... and it's not working. The b**ch isn't interested in any of that. She wants the Winter knitwear OFF the needles NOW.

So I'm sorry. I'm knitting as fast as I can (you know... when I can actually sit down to knit), but please bear with me. These are 2.0 mm needles.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? Mine looked like this:

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Knitter down

One of my goals for 2011 is to improve my yoga practice. Not only do I find it both soothing and challenging, but it really compliments the running well (Did I tell you? I signed up for a half-marathon in May.) Being double-jointed, I'm naturally flexible, but I really need to work on my core strength, and yoga is a great way to do that.

I've been trying to get to a class 3 times a week, but that's not always possible. The past 2 weeks have been high on the stress-factor, causing me to fall off the fitness wagon entirely and retreat to the safety and comfort of my couch, my knitting, and my TV (Phil and I have been watching old Three's Company episodes. Very soothing. Come and knock on our dooooor...).

I had a class on Wednesday, and I was feeling a bit off, but not overly so. Right up until we had to transition from a Side Plank Pose* (something I struggled with for a long time and now makes me feel like a total badass) to sort of a half Wheel Pose by moving our upper leg back and sort of flipping over (gracefully... well, the teacher did it gracefully, anyway). And my right shoulder protested. It didn't flat out refuse, it just grumbled a little bit. I finished the class, packed up my things, and went on with my day.

During the course of the afternoon, my shoulder complained a bit here and there. I didn't pay it much attention though (I mostly thought it was being a bit of a baby and it could just suck it up). That evening, while I was knitting (and watching Janet, Chrissy and Jack. Oh, those crazy kids.), it started to really make a fuss. The shoulder was bothered by the knitting.

CLEARLY, that was just a big slice of crazy pie. Knitting bothering me??? My shoulder obviously didn't get the memo. Knitting makes me feel better, not worse! Maybe I was tired. Maybe if I just went to bed, it would be all better in the morning, and we could just put this whole "Knitting = Ouch" crazy-talk behind us.

Thursday morning the shoulder was not only sore, it was downright painful. Lifting my arm was causing spasms and involuntary shrieks of surprise. What's worse, the pain was no longer confined to the shoulder area, it was now shooting down my entire right arm and making my fingers numb. By the time I got home, I was a whimpering mess, flinching at the slightest movement of my right arm.

When the kids were in bed (Hallelujah, I don't know if I could have survived any more of "Nurse Émilie's" attention, so help me wool), I skulked over to the couch and gazed forlornly at my knitting. There was just no way. Much as my mind rebelled against the idea, I was going to have to accept the idea that I was going to spend an evening without knitting.

How do non-knitters do it? How do they just... just... sit there? Sit there in front of the television and do nothing? I just don't get it! (I think I'm starting to understand why my husband isn't much of a TV person. Huh. Total epiphany right there.)

Happy Knitting, Everyone.

ps: The shoulder, while slightly improved today, is still really sore. Knitting might be out of the question tonight as well. Fingers crossed that sewing is still possible. If it isn't, you might want to steer clear of me until this is resolved. Knitting/Sewing/Creating is a big part of my Mental Health Plan, and I can't guarantee your safety.

* See how her arms seem to bend the wrong way? That chick is TOTALLY double-jointed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This time of year is all about fortitude and endurance. March 21st, that shining beacon of hope that I've held onto through the dark, cold winter, has come and gone, and while it may "officially" be Spring, what we're getting is really just Winter wearing a different outfit. A shitty one at that. The crisp, fluffy dresses of December are long gone, but Mother nature has yet to don her youthful green attire, opting instead for the sleezy grey of some middle-aged floozy.

Proper attention must be paid to finding suitable knitting projects during this special time when my morale and Vitamin D count are at their annual low. I know the Yarn Harlot refuses to knit anything grey in March, and that's a sound rule indeed. Grey in March would just be a one-way ticket to happy-pill town.

I'd up the ante on her rule though, and boldly state that knitting with any neutral, dark colours in March is flirting with disaster. What makes me think so? My current WIPs, that's what.

Brown Socks (the emergency skein arrived on Tuesday). Very pretty brown socks, but still... they're brown. I'm really, really looking forward to wrapping this project up. I'm dreaming of casting on a pair of wildly colourful variegated socks. Clown-vomit? Yes PLEASE.

Only trouble is that I've got to get this sucker off the needles first:

That'd be the accompanying scarf for the Wild Apples Bohus Hat (did I mention I finished it? Yup. I totally did. I've just got, oh... about eleventy billion ends to weave in. Joy.) It's knit in broken rib (1x1 rib, alternating every 4 rows).

I'm knitting a khaki-green broken rib scarf. In March.

Did I mention it's knit on 2.0 mm needles?

Yeah. I'm knitting a scarf with 2.0 mm needles in a poopy-green broken rib. In March. Possibly forever.

Thank heavens for colourful fabric.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Upsides and drawbacks

Over the past few months, I've been a pretty monogamous knitter (mostly). Yes, I've had the occasional fling with a project or two, but the point is that I've been knitting on one project fairly consistently until its completion (mostly) before moving on to the next thing in the queue. That's how I define Project Monogamy (PM): when you only really have one active WIP at any given time. I find there are several upsides to my new strategy:

1. Things Get Done Faster

Don't let the tally of 2011 FOs on the side bar fool you. I've also knit 2 pairs of plain vanilla socks, two baby gifts, two shawls and a hat. I just haven't photographed them yet.

2. I'm less anxious about my projects when I'm only knitting one at a time

Yup, you read that correctly. When I've got too much on the go, it freaks me out. I get antsy, I feel like I'm knitting and knitting and knitting and never actually getting anywhere. Sort of like those dreams where you're running down a corridor/away from a monster/towards your kid in danger and you're just... not moving? Like that. And dudes, I don't know about you? Life is hectic enough. I don't need my hobbies giving me a wiggins, you know?

3. It gives me an illusory sense of control

I like structure (Really Tara? You? Structure?) . I don't deal with unforeseen changes of plan very well (I can't tell you how trying our family's recent ordeal has been for me on that front). I like things to be ordered and predictable and just so. Project monogamy soothes the anal obsessive-compulsive in me. Sure, there may be a few bumps along the road (no, the yarn for the brown socks still hasn't arrived), but as a rule, I know where I'm heading. It's just me and Project-X, banging it out, steadily heading toward the finish line.

4. Practice makes perfect

Not only have I learned new things with my recent projects, but by working on them exclusively, I hope think I've really been able to internalize the new techniques. For example, two-handed colourwork isn't exactly the Everest it once was after working on the Estonian socks and the Bohus hat (which I totally finished last weekend, by the way).

Nature seeks balance in all things though, even in my knitting. Project Monogamy, as I'm coming to understand after a few months, also has a few drawbacks:

1. Temptation

Only knitting one thing at a time means that other projects in your queue (Rav or otherwise) have to wait their turn. Yes, you can get totally psyched about a pattern and even buy the yarn for it right away if you like. However, true commitment to the PM lifestyle means that you can't cast on right away (mostly). You can keep the shiny new yarn close at hand, somewhere it can be alternately petted/admired/sniffed at your leisure, but you're going to stick to the project you're working on right now. That's not for the faint-of-heart.

2. Too many options make me nervous

I know. I just said that PM makes me less anxious. And it does. Except for the part where I think about what I'm going to knit next. That part sometimes freaks me out. Too much pressure.

In a perfect PM world, this is how it would work:

  1. Finish your project;
  2. Cast on glorious new pattern and with shiny new yarn,
  3. Move on.

End of story.

The trouble is that there are glorious new patterns every day, and all of them use shiny new yarn that you probably don't have in your stash (ever notice that? How the pattern you Must Knit Now just happens to be with something you don't already own? What's up with that?). And much as you'd like to, they can't all be next in the queue. (cue Keanu Reeves: What do you do? WHAT do you DOOO.)

3. Been there, done that

An important component to developing a healthy obsession with a pattern is anticipation. You spend a good long time thinking about knitting a particular yarn/pattern, you work on your current WIP and dream of being done so you and your new imaginary project can begin your wondrous journey together.

Only, if you're anything like me? By the time you reach that glorious casting on moment, you've spent so much time obsessing pondering about said project that you're... um... sort of... sick of it.

You've been there and done that, and you want to knit something else. Probably something that you don't have the yarn for yet (see drawback the second). For instance, today I want (and by want, you should read that I am consumed with a passion that burns as brightly as a thousand suns) to knit Akoya out of Quince & Co. Tern, which I don't own ('natch). Ooh, baby. Kerrera who?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? Mine looked like this:

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Make room for the yarn

This afternoon I'm heading up to cottage country with two girlfriends for the weekend. As y'all know, it's been a truly hectic past few months chez Dear, and I'm so, soooo looking forward to some "slow" time.

Obviously, knitting (and eating, wine-drinking, laughing and relaxing) is going to be a major theme of the weekend, so I packed my suitcase accordingly. Behold, what this Knitter considers to be an appropriate amount of "travel projects" for a 2-day trip:

That's the Bohus hat, yarn for the accompanying scarf (yet to be cast on), November's Hat Trix Club kit (yeah, I kinda fell off the wagon with those), yarn for my third and last bout of baby knitting, a skein of Shelter for swatching Kerrera, and a cake of sock yarn that I put in at the last minute - I kid you not - in case I run out of projects to work on. Before noon on Sunday. *Snort*

What do non-knitters pack for trips away, anyway?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The properties of density

I think people have a finite amount of "active" memory, which is where we store the information that we need to function in our day to day lives (think RAM for computers). It's where we keep our passwords and PIN numbers, our kids' teachers' names, the stitch pattern for the project we're currently working on... stuff like that. As long as the information is in use, it's right there, easily available. But as soon as it's no longer needed? It's outta there.

Don't know what I mean? Well, think about the stuff you learned in highschool. At one time in my life, knowing who the first bishop of Québec was and when he was appointed was pretty darn important. But now? Not so much. Sure, I remember who was the first bishop (Laval - some lessons can't be unlearned), but when was he appointed? Not a clue.

This... precariousness of information, I have found, is especially true when it comes to "The Science" (chemistry, physics, etc.). Now, I used to be a bit of a nerd (I can hear a few peoples' voices dubiously asking "used to be???" in my head as I type that). I used to know stuff about "The Science". Take the concept of density, for example. I used to understand what it was, I knew the formula to represent it's properties and everything. But when I looked it up a few days ago, it made little sense to me. I had to break it down into it's little bitty parts to get it.

Density, dear readers, is the ratio of the mass to volume of a substance.

In knitterly parlance, that would be the amount of yarn (mass) in ratio to the length of the fabric (volume) produced. So, a fabric that's dense uses more yarn then a fabric that's "thin" (or drapey). Simple, right?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Gee that's swell Tara, why the heck are you talking about this?". Good question.

Remember when I told you that I was having issues with gauge on the Java Java socks? Remember when I said that the fabric was really thick? Like, foot-armour producing kind of thick? That's because the fabric I was producing was very dense.

I produced a dense fabric. And, as I have just demonstrated, dense fabrics use up more yarn than "regular" fabric. Any bells ringing yet?

There you go. I can feel you making the connection now. You've just realised what only dawned on me a few nights ago: by creating a dense fabric, I've used up more yarn than I normally would to knit a sock, and I'm totally going to run out of yarn before I finish the second sock.


Happy Knitting, Everyone.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kiss the cook

I often have fantasies about being "that" mom. You know, the one who sits on the PTA council; bakes cookies for class; comes up with fabulous, fun, MacGyver-esque crafts on a whim to do with her kids; and is always prepared with unique, hand-crafted gifts for the teacher, the bus-driver and the daycare lady. You know... that mom. The one we all secretly love to hate.

Despite my most sincere moderate efforts though, more often than not, I'm not that mom. I forget to check stuff (like, you know... the calendar?), I fall behind, and more often than I care to admit, Émilie and Maxime go off to school/daycare with gifts/cookies/accessories bought at the last minute (I'm talking "at the convenience store on the way to the bus" kind of late). Or worse, with no gifts/cookies/accessories AT ALL, and all because I couldn't manage to get my s%*t together on time (hate that).

Not this time, my friends. This time, I AM that mom. In fact, I'm SO that mom that "that" mom? She can just go home and make herself a nice cocktail. Move it along, babe. I've got it under control.

Émilie is starting a cooking class today in school and needed an apron. Did I buy her one? No. Put off buying one and just stuff her "house" apron in her bag? Nope. I made her one. Even though I don't "really" sew, and I've never worked with a proper sewing pattern in my whole, entire life, Émilie will be making her culinary debut this afternoon in a brand-new, one of a kind, made-specifically-for-her-by-her-Supah-Mothah-who-loves-her-to-itty-bitty-bits, apron. Behold, the stuff of kitchen greatness:

Pattern: Children's Apron (McCall's M6298)
Fabric: Riley Blake Designs Sweet Divitiny Sweet Flower (apron and ties) Kona Cotton Cactus (face and ruffle) and miscellaneous pink scraps (pocket and appliqué detail)

It's not perfect, and I know that making it doesn't qualify me for mother of the year or anything. But Émilie is really happy with it, and the fact that I made it for her feels as though I could be a contender for that award, you know? My kid needed something, and I delivered. I lived up to her expectations and - more importantly - my own. And that feels really, really good.

Happy Making, Everyone!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? Mine looked like this:

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

It IS easy being green

As depressing as snow in March tends to make us, rain is worse. March rain isn't happy, dew-like rain that heralds the imminent arrival of Spring. No, this is cold, ice-producing, generally sucking-your-will-to-live wetness. Yesterday's snow storm turned into a steady downpour of rain and sleet mid-morning, turning the roads (and the hearts and minds of every Montrealer) into a slushy, disgusting bog of doom and despair (OK, so I may be exaggerating a little).

Luckily for me, the postman had delivered this month's Solids Club shipment, and it was just the perfect thing to lift my spirits and put a smile on my face.

Green. Glorious, happy, vibrant, symbol-of-renewal-and-rebirth green. I was, to put it mildly, pleased as punch.

I've already earmarked one of the pieces (I got half-yards of each) for my next project: a cute apron for Émilie, as she's starting a cooking class next week at school. It's my first "real" sewing pattern, with those weird paper-thin cutouts that pissed me off to no end in my home economics class way back when, but I'm totally looking forward to it. That green, those flowers.... rain? Bring it on.

Have a great weekend, Everyone!

p.s. : I'm about 5 inches down the leg of the second brown sock. Ooooh. Aaaaaah.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dream a little dream

I fully intended to talk about my wish list today (you know, when you stumble on something that's truly magnificent while trolling through the Interwebs and you're suddenly filled with a great rush of desire and certainty that it should be yours to love and admire and whisper "My Preciousss"to in the middle of the night, but you check your bank account and the budget is a little tight so you bookmark it for future reference? Do you have one of those?), because a) I really want the "I have a hangover" post to mosey on down the page, and b) I'm not subjecting you to more brown sock pictures (hint: the second sock is cast on, I've knit about 3 inches down the leg. Exciting, innit?). I've got some pretty choice stuff on my wish list, and I figured it'd be fun to share, maybe get ideas about what's on your list.

And then it snowed last night/this morning.
A lot.

Now, those of you reading from the comfort of warmer climates might be thinking "So what? What's the big deal about a little snow, anyway?". And you'd be right. Totally right. It's not a big deal. It will go away (it WILL!). I (and every other Canadian on the Eastern sea board) know this.

Having said that, after months (and months... and months) of cold, snow, grey skies, slush, freezing rain, more snow, wind, ice, and yet more snow? Come March, when it snows, even though it looks like this:

It makes us feel like this:

What's on my wish list? SPRING, that's what.

Happy Knitting, Everyone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'll spare you the deets

No Wordless Weekend Wrap-Up post this week, I'm afraid. On Saturday night, Phil and I had dinner with friends whom we've known, oh... for EVER. The nice thing about knowing people since you were all teenagers is that you're just so incredibly comfortable and relaxed around each other, you know? The not so nice thing is that, sometimes, I you tend to forget I'm you're NOT actually teenagers anymore. Like, say, I you can't really imbime great massive quantities of wine AND THEN top it off with a coupla glasses of Bailey's Irish Creme and expect to end the evening with a "Thanks for the lovely evening, now give us a kiss on the cheek.".

Ugh. I'll spare you the details and just say "I was sick". Trust me, NO ONE wants to see pictures of THAT.

I don't even have anything new to show you today. I neglected casting on the second brown sock Friday evening in favour of some lingering baby knitting (which I can't show you yet, 'natch). I didn't take pictures of Damask (mostly because I didn't really fancy posting shots of me looking like the Un-Dead, albeit wearing a really kickass lace shawl). I don't have any stash enhancement to share yet...

Nope, this weekend was all about prepping for the drinking dinner on Saturday, and recuperating from the drinking dinner on Sunday. *Sigh*

And now it's snowing. Again. Like, a lot. Anyone else not feeling the love for Mondays today?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Friday, March 4, 2011

I didn't wanna do it

Last night I was musing on how I may have committed the equivalent of blog suicide by committing to the New Rule. Think about it: I have publicly pledged to devote myself exclusively to completing an entire pair of socks between each and every project, no matter how small. And right now I'm knitting brown socks. You DO realize that you're all in for about a week and a half of "Here are the same brown socks, only slightly longer than last time I showed them to you" posts, riiiiight?

Speaking of which: hey look! I finished the first one!

Now, when I first cast on for these babies, it was very clear to me that these would be MAN socks. Definitely not for me. It's not that I don't like them or anything. I just like a little more pizzazz in my footwear.

Anyway, there I was, really zipping along, kind of desparate to finish the first one so as to minimize the amount of time I will be boring you to tears with brown sock posts, and I started to think about how I was going to make it up to you. How was I going to keep the blog interesting while I finished these endless socks of brown boringness that were definitely not for me? Well, there's Damask to feature, of course, and *cough*possible fabric stash enhancement*cough*, and a secret swap project I've had finished for a while but haven't blogged because the recipient might be a reader... That would hold you over, right? And then, to make it up to you, I'd cast on a new pair of socks. Something really pretty, something with fantastic colours and a fun pattern, something so fabulously awesome that you'd want to use it as your screen savers. And those socks would be for me. Not these ones. These ones were totally not for me.

When I finished the sock I had Phil try it on, but not before making sure he knew that just because these were clearly MAN socks (and thus, obviously, not for me), they were not necessarily his, either. Other men in my life have expressed sock yearning to me (see Dad? Your comments are not lost on THIS knitter. No sir.), so he wasn't to get too excited.

He tries them on. They're... um... a bit snug, and... er... a bit short. By a lot.

But, wouldn't you know it? They fit me perfectly.

I could have sworn I'd knit those longer. 'Cause, you know.... they totally weren't for me. Ahem.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Even though I think most of us tend to shy away from learning/trying new things, I enjoy the process immensely (that's not to say that I don't have my own "But I don't wanna!" moments. Just ask Phil how long he's been trying to get me to try kite skiing). If it's something I'm genuinely interested in, I'm totally there. There's just something about those "A-HAH!" moments that gets me, you know? When the lights come on and the previously rambly bits and bobs suddenly come together and you just get it?? I love that. Can't get enough of it. Bring it on.

Last night I finished my second EVER sewing project, the Patchwork Fabric Basket. Now that I'm over the requisite "Squealing with delight while forcing encouraging each and every person I come into contact with to look at it and offer appropriate accolades for it's absolute cuteness" phase, I think I can take a step back and focus on the lessons I learned while completing this friggin' adorable little basket that I can't believe I made all by myself. Whoops. Ahem. Sorry about that. Yes, lessons learned! Here we go:

1. It gets easier with practice

When I first started working on this project, I spent an unbelievable amount of time cutting up the 24 little 2x2 inch squares for the patchwork bands. I would look at the fabric, measure, straighten, measure again, cut, and - let's be honest - I mostly managed my own interpretations of squares rather than, you know, actual squares. This despite having the use of a mat, a quilter's transparent ruler thingie, and a roller cutter doohicky (yeah, clearly I need to learn the lingo). And yet last night, I was zipping along, no worries, and my pieces were mostly actually cut straight and to the proper measurements. So there you have it. If you practice, the skillz will come.

2. There's still lots I don't know about sewing (but at least I know that)

A few times in this project, the designer would casually refer to something that apparently everyone who sews already knows and I would scratch my head, say "Whaaaaaa?" and promptly Google it. Thank God for my mad Google-fu.

3. Sewing is just like knitting, only quicker

OK, before the non-sewers out there rise up and lynch me with their DPNs, let me just clarify that a bit. Obviously, knitting and sewing are two COMPLETELY different crafts. What I mean is that, just like in knitting, sewing has those "Ooh! Pretty!" moments and, yes, those "Crap, I goofed" moments as well. I find that sewing is more about the product so far, while knitting is chiefly about the process for me. I'm betting that's due to the fact that I'm mostly making small-ish projects for now. Which leads me to lesson the fourth!

4. Perspective is everything

Once my patchwork sections were assembled a few weeks ago, I remember thinking "That's IT? I've been working for 2.5 hours for two dinky strips? This basket is going to be miniscule!". Last night too, when I had the body assembled, Phil and I looked at it and couldn't help but giggle at how tiny it was.

Turns out that size is all a matter of perspective. Sure, I may think it's small, but this guy? He thinks it's the mother of all baskets.

Photo idea totally pilfered from Carol Browne's fabulous advent calendars)

5. Phil has bad juju

OK, I don't really mean that. He showed me how to work the sewing machine, showed me how to thread it and wind the bobbin and so on, and was there in a snap when I ran into trouble (and really, how many women can say that about their husbands?). HOWEVER. Both times he actually picked up the basket while I was making it (presumably to deliver the accolades he knew I'd be peskering him about later), he found mistakes. They were MY mistakes of course, and I totally know that it had nothing to do with him, but I just couldn't help asking him (after he pointed out something that had gone wrong with the project) "Honestly, dear. DO YOU HAVE TO KEEP DOING THAT????"

6. Linen frays

After I had sewn the lining into the bag a third time (don't ask), Phil took a look at it and pointed out that the fabric had frayed at the bottom corner of one side. Apparently I cut the ends too close to the seam, and it frayed. Which leads me to lesson the seventh:

7. I suck at handstitching

'Nuff said.

8. The phrase "Curious Cat" is, it would seem, based on actual fact.

9. I think I like this sewing thing =)

Happy Sewing, Everyone!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Rule

There's something about forming a plan, isn't there? I don't know about you, but I find them very empowering. If I'm feeling overwhelmed or directionless, I'll take a good hard look at what I've got going on, reassess, and come up with a game plan. To be quite honest though, whether or not I actually stick to said plan is sort of moot. The plan has served it's purpose, in that devising it into existence made me feel better and prevented me from turning into a raving lunatic who dresses up her cats for fun.

So! In keeping with the "Who Da (Wo)Man?" spirit of my knitting these days, I've come up with a new rule. Each time I finish a project, I have to cast on (and complete!) a pair of socks. This is necessary because: a) I have lots of sock yarn and b) I have no intention of curbing my sock yarn purchasing lifestyle in any way. Knitting socks will prevent the children from being buried in a sock yarn avalanche should they open the yarn closet. Plus? Handknit socks = Good. Duh. Total no brainer.

Having finished the Damask shawl over the weekend (Yes, it's blocked and no, I don't have pictures yet. I still have 2 ends to weave, and besides, I don't have the right wardrobe for a proper photo shoot. I think it'll look best worn with a black blouse/shirt. Do I have a black blouse/shirt? No. No, I do not.), I dutifully grabbed the current pair of socks that have been lingering woefully in my knitting/sewing basket (yeah, the basket is pulling double duty lately).

These would be a pair of Java socks, from the Winter 2011 Knitty. I'm knitting them out of String Theory Caper Sock (I may have developed a "thing" for their yarn), in the aptly named Java colourway, so I'm calling them my Java Java socks (apparently, I'm easily amused).

The pattern is cute, but I've got to admit that the fact that there are no charts is KILLING me. Just killing me. Also, the gauge is, um, tight. Like... wicked, foot armor producing tight.

(the colour is truer to life in this last picture)

I'm sticking to it though. After all, I have a plan.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!