Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The perfect gift

My grandmother, the same one who taught me to jump on beds, blow bubbles in my gum, and most importantly of all, knit, was a wise woman who had very specific ideas about what constitutes a good gift. Ideas? Heck, they were RULES, and if you knew what was good for you, you followed them.

According to Gramma, a gift shouldn't be something practical, that was too boring. It should be something the recipient would want/like but would never buy for themselves. And it should never, ever, EVER be in the form of an appliance. I'm pretty sure that, as far as Gramma was concerned, there was a special circle reserved in Hell for men who gave their wives blenders for Christmas.

It was my birthday yesterday, and although Gramma never met my husband, I'm pretty sure she would have approved of his gift.

That's right, knitters. Dude bought me a DRUM SET. I'm going to be a DRUMMER. Mama's gonna rock it out on the DRUMS. (Apologies for the excessive use of capitals, but I just can't help it... there are DRUMS in my basement).

Not an appliance, not something I ever would have bought for myself, and definitely not practical. The perfect gift indeed :)

That's not to say that gifts one buys for oneself have to fall into any of those categories, of course...

After all, Gramma also said that rules were meant to be broken.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

WAY random

Right! I've got lots of bits and bobs to cover, and no way to get it all to fit into one coherent post, so we're having a random post today. With pictures. Lots of 'em.

1. Phil's kite!

A few of you mentioned you wanted to see Phil's latest kite, the 500 square foot monster that invaded every livable space in our home for more weeks than I care to remember. These ones are for you!

Not too shabby, eh?

2. Garden update

Stuff is growing! Stuff we can actually EAT! Really! On Friday, I turned this:

Into this:

Which later became this:

Kids hated it, of course, but Oh. My. God. My mouth is pulling a total Pavlov just LOOKING at that picture.

3. Sewing!

I started a new quilt! I joined the We Can Do It! Skill Building Sampler, and so far we've made 2 blocks. The QAL is going to take a year, with 3 blocks a month, each month focusing on a different technique. We've made 2 blocks so far, and I'm really enjoying it! It's a nice change from the blue and green of my "main" quilt WIP ;-)

4. Emilie !

School's out for summer, and Emilie will be moving on to second grade in the Fall. She's starting a horseback riding day camp on Monday. We bought her a pair of riding pants and boots today, and she Could. Not. Wait. to wear them. Excited? I think so!

There you have it. You're now officially in the loop about the goings-on chez Dear. We shall return to our regular semi-coherent posting après le weekend.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thanks, Teach

Last week I had one of my trademark "Duh!" moments when it suddenly dawned on me that the end of the school year was almost here, and maybe I'd like to have something prepared for Émilie's teacher.

Now... these "Duh!" moments are usually followed by a pretty hefty self-imposed guilt trip, because - AFTER ALL - "How could I possibly not be prepared for this? I've known the end of the school year was coming ALL YEAR LONG! Wouldn't a sensible mother who had her s**t together have this under control? Ffffffffffff!!!!!". Never mind the fact that I didn't think of it because of all the OTHER stuff we've got on our plates right now. I am Mother. I should have this stuff WIRED, y'all.

When I go on these guilt-trip benders, my usual M.O. is to way, WAY over-compensate by going way, WAY overboard. Forgot to buy a Holiday-themed scarf for school? Stay up until the wee hours and KNIT AN ENTIRE SCARF in one night. Forgot to buy In-Laws' a Christmas Gift? Try to make up for it by making eleventy-billion desserts for Christmas dinner. You get the idea.

Overwhelmed with self-imposed guilt about not having the Perfect Gift for Émilie's teacher, I decided to make Pink Penguin's Bento Bag (using this tutorial), which I would then fill with homemade jam, scones, and gourmet chocolates.

I know.

Luckily, I came to my senses this time. I kept the chocolates (because every woman needs good chocolate from time to time) but ultimately skipped the jam and scones, which I thought might be overkill. I don't want to be known as "That crazy Maker-Mother", heh.

However, I did make a second bag, this one for the school nurse, who Émilie visits every two hours, day in, day out, for ointment to keep her eye lubricated (her right eye still doesn't shut all the way).

Émilie (and Phil and I, of course) has had - to put it mildly - a rough year. Both these women have been supportive and caring and understanding, and have demonstrated genuine interest in Émilie's happiness, health and well-being. If that doesn't warrant a little handmade token of appreciation, I don't know what does.

Pattern: Pink Penguin's Bento Bag
Fabric: No freaking clue. Mostly fat quarters from my stash

Happy Sewing, Everyone! School's out for summer!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Carry on

When I got home from an appointment at 9:15 last night, Phil was at his sewing machine, busily stitching away at the tail for the 500 square foot kite he's hoping to take out for it's inaugural flight at a kite festival this weekend.

I had had a long day... Phil had to leave early yesterday morning for work, leaving me to pull double drop-off/pick up duty with the kids. I was tired, grumpy, and desperately needed wanted needed to just sit and knit for an hour before collapsing into bed and starting the madness all over again tomorrow.

So I get home... and the dinner dishes aren't done. The pots and pans are just piled in the sink. Mocking me.

I won't lie: I was kinda pissed. Phil and I have this informal understanding that whoever makes the dinner doesn't do the dishes, and dudes... I made dinner. I made dinner, watered the plants, gave the kids their baths, put Maxime to bed... The dishes should TOTALLY have been done when I got home, y'all. Seriously. And there he was, sewing away, without a care in the world.

So I did that thing we wives do when we're pissed because our husbands didn't do something we expected them to: I didn't say a f***ing thing and did the dishes myself - really loudly - while sighing dramatically and sending bad juju in his general vicinity.

Must've worked, too, because after a minute he looked up, sort of mumbled an apology and tried to make light of his obvious transgression of The Rules by saying "At least I emptied the dishwasher though, right?".

"Hmmm..." I scowled and kept scrubbing.

"You get the urgency of this though" he said, pointing to the yards and yards of fabric beside him, "right?"

"Hmmm..." I said again. I may have huffed a little.

He paused for a moment, clearly trying to figure out a way to make me understand.

Then he says: "I'm rushing to finish my sweater for Rhinebeck, Dear."

Carry on, dude.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? Mine looked like this:

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Good Mail

Fellow Canadian CrafteristasTM, do not despair, for I bring you proof that , despite the Canada Post strike, it is indeed still possible to have one's spirits entirely lifted by a Really Good Mail Day.

Quince & Co. Tern, aka my Congrats-on-running-the-half-marathon! yarn.

Assorted fabric bundles, to be used in the We can do it! Skill Builder Sampler I'm starting next week.

I'm still waiting on a coupla goodies, but still, that was a pretty yum mail day. Am I right?

With no active projects on the needles (What's that about a green scarf? What??? You're breaking up, I can't hear you!!!), I was free to swatch and cast on with the Tern pretty much as soon as I opened the package. I'm (finally) going to be making the Akoya cardigan. Insert happy sigh :: here ::

When I'm not busy sewing, of course...

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


One of the authors that features most prominently on my bookshelf is Nancy Bush. In my opinion, as far as "Knitting Geniuses" go, she's right up there with Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmermann. She's written some pretty wonderful books, books that chronicle a rich knitting heritage that I find very inspiring.

And that's about as far as I get with her books. I read them, I'm fascinated by them and I feel this deep connection to the uncounted generations of women (and men) who knit before me, yadayadayada... but I don't knit the patterns. I had a bad sock experience early in my knitting revival, and poor Nancy has been paying the price for my mistakes ever since.

A few months ago I started thinking about how silly it was to have all these books and not to be knitting any of the patterns in them. Why did I buy them if I wasn't going to use them? I mean... these books aren't exactly a dime a dozen, right? That's yarn money right there!

So I gave Nancy another chance. I pulled out my pristine copy of Folk Socks and cast on for my Estonian Socks. Despite some iffy beginnings, they turned out awesome.

The healing process had begun, and my faith in Nancy never leading me astray has been completely restored with these, my latest FO:

Pattern: Gentleman's Sock in Railway Stitch, from Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Viola Merino Fingering (North Sea) and Dream in Color Smooshy (Strange Harvest)
Needles: 2.0 mm DPNs
Modifications: None.

What can I say about these socks that the pictures don't convey? They're just lovely. The stitch pattern was easy to memorise, the yarn was magnificent, practically luminescent and a pleasure to knit, and the stripes at the heel and toe give me a happy every time I look at them.

These socks make me feel like a Real, All-Growed-Up Knitter. Kinda like Nancy Bush.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Yesterday I was having one of those days, the kind when having a sign around my neck that says “Warning! You are about to come into contact with one seriously wigged out woman! For your own safety, avoid eye contact and step away SLOWLY!” would probably be really helpful.

Naturally, this translated in a pretty hefty need desire to indulge in all things knitterly. I looked up patterns on Ravelry, almost aggressively so. I clicked through my Wish List, ogling the yarn like a teenaged boy ogles porn (right down to the “Oh yeah baby… lookit THAT!”). I took some stuff OFF said Wish List, and put much more stuff ON it.

I felt such an urge to splurge, I can’t even tell you. Screw workhorse yarns, I wanted cashmere, alpaca, silk. I wanted to gather up all the beautiful yarn in the world and roll around naked in it. Hell, I practically wanted to eat the stuff. Savour it, like the most decadent of desserts. It was pretty intense.

Then I went home and spent 3 hours at the sewing machine, happily working on another 4 blocks for my quilt. Didn’t knit a stitch all evening.

What can I say? I’m a complex woman.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!