Saturday, October 29, 2005

Friday Survey

Of the Drivers polled, 50% purchase "value" batteries or "whatever is on sale". When queried further, they stated that they believed that these batteries performed as well as national brands. Energizer came in 2nd with 31%.

When the pumpkins grow legs & cute smiles and start walking there can be no doubt that we are deep into Fall. (Taylor 1)

And while there have been rumours about the cast of the 3rd Spiderman movie, I have your exclusive 1st look at the young man who plays Spiderman Jr. (Daniel) He revealed his identity to me because of a deep trust that I am passing along to all of you. This information is just between you & me - don't make his daddy have to come & find you!

Then at Bear Creek S.S. I let Chad take a picture of me taking a picture of him for his media arts class. Or was I taking a
picture of him taking a picture of me? Hmmmm.

No new knitting projects have been started - I have blocked 8 more squares for the Noro Afghan, knitting away on the very long rows of the Wrap Jacket and plugging away at the Sunshine socks.
Yesterday turned into Errand Day and then last night I went to the going away party for John the Excellent Mechanic. I haven't know him for very long but I am going to miss him a lot. Conscientious, hard working and super nice only begin to give you an idea of what a great guy John is. Maybe if I just say Scottish it will sum it all up. Gonna miss you John!!
With an extra hour this weekend significant and documentable progress should be made.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

VK Holiday 2005

Pattern #15, Vladimir Teriokhin's Noro coat - which I love - has an error in the Pattern Stitch. The correction (a speedy response from VK) is as follows:

Rows 1-4 Beg with K row, work in St st.
Row 5(RS) Purl.
Row 6 Purl.
Row7 Knit.
Row 8(WS) Knit.
Row 9-12 Beg with K row, work in St st.
Row 13(RS) Purl.
Row 14 *K1, p1; rep from* to end.
Rows 15-22 Rep rows 13 and 14 four times.
Rows 23-25 Beg with P row, work in Rev St st.
Rows 26-28 Beg with P row, work in St st.
Rows 29-31 Beg with P row, work in Rev St st.
Rows 32-34 Beg with P row, work in St st.
Rows 35 & 36 Beg with P row, work in Rev St st.
Rows 37-39 Beg with K row, work in St st.
Rows 40, 42 & 44 *K1, p1; rep from * to end.
Rows 41 & 43 K the purl sts and p the knit sts (seed st).

Rep rows 1-44.

A real shout out to Lisa at VK for the speedy reply to my email - I was suitably impressed.

I love Mr. Teriokhin's work - edgy but not stoopid and functional with being boring. A real talented designer who makes me really look forward to each new VK.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My River Runneth Over

Finally finished! I used smaller needles (5mm) so I added a number of repeats to make it long enough for me to consider it a stole. I think it is 17 repeats in addition to the beginning and ending pattern. It took a bit more than 2 balls, but totally worth it! I also changed it to be St. st instead of garter and made the left-slanting decreases ssk (instead of k2tog). I am very pleased with this stole.

Here is a blurry picture of the Wrap Jacket - I am willing to blame the fuzziness of the picture on the angora
in the yarn and the light colour of the yarn. Perhaps tomorrow I will take a picture outside and Mother Nature will help us all out with better lighting. For now it will suffice.
OOPS alert! I have found a small error in the numbers. For the largest size, after increasing 29 sts at the lower edge I have 130 sts on the needle instead of the called-for 132. I did the math on paper just to be sure, but I did not increase wrong. They did work the numbers out so that after the neck shaping my stitches will match what is called for in the pattern.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Project updates & Friday Survey

I received the ball of Red Polar in the mail today - thanks Lisa!! - so I can finish off the L.B. Evans Pansy Swing Sak.

River has just the end pattern repeat and
then she is finished.

I blocked out the Noro Mitered Squares for an afghan that is in the works. I will have the pattern set to go soon and will let you all know as soon as it is up.

I started on the Wrap Jacket from the
December '05 Knit 'N Style for Julie. Then there is this picture of it - apparently the original one. The magazine photo is on the model upside down - notice the seam on the top of the sleeve? (OOPS) But we like this one better so ... sleeves in the round and wide at the bottom so that there is no seam or shaping required and no sleeve cap so also no armhole shaping in the body. This will make the jacket not only reversible (inside & out) but flippable (upside & down).
Note to self: Do not wear black pants while knitting this yarn. Angora is what we love about the yarn, but it shows.

Here is a picture of the Knotted Openwork Scarf in KidSilk Haze. It uses 1 ball and 5.5mm (#9) needles and measures approx 19cm x 172cm (7.5" x 67.5").

And a new feature will be the Friday Survey.
80% of School Bus Drivers polled cited Tim Horton's as their preferred coffee house.

This is all very abbreviated as we are having a family movie night as soon as Kerwyn gets home (any minute now ...). Tonight's feature is Batman Begins. Kerwyn and Kyle saw it in the theatre but they loved it so much that we bought the DVD. Whatever is playing, I will find a way to knit to it! lol

I will be having a contest for one of the kits that I won as Fastest Knitter. It is a bulky denim blue jacket from Mary Maxim. All of the other yarn prizes have found a niche in the stash or have been taken in by loving new owners (knit it Ada, just knit it) ... I just need to decide on a theme - stay tuned for details.

Monday, October 17, 2005

And the Title Goes to


Sorry for keeping you all in suspense, but I got in late last night and I don't think that I could have put together a coherent post.

It was a very good show (CSNF). I did my knitting time of
234 stitches in 3 minutes on Saturday morning, walked around the show and then hung out at the Knit Café hosted by the Downtown Knit Collective. There was a display of garments, accessories and art from DKC members and friends. There were tables and chairs for sitting, knitting and helping with knitting dilemmas and to share knitting knowledge. They also were providing free learn-to-knit lessons. Here is Jane (in the Noro) and Leslie aka The Knitting Therapist (with the Koigu shawl). These ladies are excellent Teachers and Knitting Ambassadors. They welcomed all comers and with encouragement and patience got them all off on the right needle. Everyone left with their free ball of yarn and confidence to go home and continue knitting on their own.
You ladies rocked!
SpongeBob had a blast and couldn't resist sneaking into a couple of the pics.

Joan (co-ordinator extraordinaire) and Jasmine (who is wearing a Rowan Birch shawl knit by Leslie). Joan is also a test/sample knitter so we talked some shop and exchanged experiences. I felt privileged to be welcomed by these skilled and enthusiastic knitters.

A special shout-out here to Joan for the pass on Sunday. Ada & I appreciated your generosity and the money sav
ed was appropriately invested in yarn futures (stash).

The afternoon flew by in the company of new friends who cheered my success when it was announced that I had won the fastest knitter of the day.
Ada came down to the show with me on Sunday (I crashed at her place to save some driving time & distance). I have had no greater source of support ond consolation over the last couple of years than Ada and she was convinced that this was my year. I was more
cautiously hopeful, never underestimating Linda or the possibility of an unknown knitter coming in and blowing us both away.
We had no problem finding distraction though - I bought Sally's new Color book (shame on XRX for taking out the "u" in Colour - Sally's Canadian, eh!) and Mryna Stahman's Shawls & Scarves from The Needle Arts Book Shop, a couple of interesting focal beads from Beads of Colour, seed beads for a shawl from That Bead Lady and some Eucalan and blocking wires (because I still haven't found mine since the move). Ada did just fine too - but I won't tell on her. What happens at the CSNF stays at the CSNF.
We met Wendy Mortimer (no link, but a skilled designer and knitter) with Lily Chin who was doing a mini workshop on knitting with beads.
And Fiona Ellis. The sweater behind us is from her soon-to-be-released book. This sweater was knit by Joan. I have a sweater in the book too. I knit one of sweaters that is in Fiona's book. Joan and I were joking around that we were both hoping to have the one that we knit on the cover. The choice was out of Fionas' hands - next time take the bribes before you tell us that Fiona - and it turns out that the cover sweater is one that she knit herself. Next time Joan!
And yes, I was grinning like the village idiot. I really admire these people and was thrilled that they would take the time to indulge me.
The end of the day finally came and my knitting time from Saturday was sufficient to take the Fastest Knitter title. Linda was at the b
ooth when it was announced. and we tried to be adversarial. This picture says it all. We don't see each other much - I stop by her store if I'm in the area. We bring out the fastest in each other once a year, but I wouldn't look forward to it if we couldn't laugh like that when it's all said and done. We also compared knitting styles - we have never really seen each other knit. Linda's needle tips move more but my hand makes a larger wrapping motion. She said that if we could just morph our styles that it would be unbeatable.
Thanks to all of my supporters - you know who you are, I don't want to make a huge list and then find out that I left a name out.
And to Patons for starting this crazy train, the other prize sponsors (you can see them on the banner in the pic), and especially to Sarah and the other ladies who spent their days counting stitches.
Sarah encouraged everyone to have a go at the challenge and really emphasized having fun with it. The knitted strips are sewn together into blankets/throws for charity so everyone who participated in the competition helped out. Sarah is not short - Linda & I are freakishly tall.

I got quite a bit done on the Sunshine sock and on River. I opened Sandy's package with Ada and we love the yarn. The mints were a hit and that card was perfect - you couldn't even have known. It was worth saving and opening with a special friend.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wish Me Well

Well it's finally here. I will be knitting with the best in my quest for Fastest Knitter in the Land. I have been honing my skills every day with a special emphasis the last couple of weeks. I can be no more prepared than I am now, I can only hope to be able to perform my best when the clock is on. Best of luck to all who are competing (but especially me!) hee hee.
So if you see some crazed knitter sitting in the speed booth mumbling "faster ... just one more freaking stitch a minute!!" don't be scared off. I will appreciate the break - after the 3 minute timer counts down.

Amanda really does like her sweater, she is just concerned that having her picture taken (all of 1 minute ... less if she would stand still and smile) will make her late for school. Little keener!!

And River is coming along nicely - I am 2 repeats into it so 9 more to go!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I knit, I re-knit, I conquered

I will NOT be beaten by several skeins of pink yarn and a couple of needles!
Amanda does have arms; she just thought that it was funny to hide them because she could (I haven't sewn the arm seams yet). Just a bit of sewing up and a hood and the fat lady can close out this drama.
You noticed those cute braids, huh? 5 hours of my life that could have produced any number of knitted fabrics was instead spent braiding Amanda's hair. It is a nice look on her (not that I'm biased or anything) and it does significantly improve our departure time to anywhere as she does not even have to make a half-hearted attempt to comb her unruly locks.
I think that I will work a bit on River tonight. As I have shown Pink Hoodie who is boss around these here parts, I can put it aside without it even considering any self-destructive actions. Don't think that it wouldn't - Pink is not the innocent colour that you might imagine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Wishful Knitter

I may have mentioned this before but as it is a repeating motif in my knitting life this won't be the last time that you hear it.
I am a wishful knitter.
I am not entirely naive or reckless - I give a great deal of thought to choosing the appropriate size, the most suitable yarn for the project and I always swatch. Then with the enthusiasm that only a new project can bring I go. I am mindful of the way that colour or aran patterns can, with 1 little stitch, give cause for a drop-stitch or even full-rip corrective measures so I am watchful. I also monitor the gauge just in case a butterfly has flapped its wings in Hawaii and has sent a causality ripple to Angus that will affect my tension. But this is a simple, chunky, stockinette stitch hoodie. In pink. Easy.
Did you feel that? A tingle in my temples, the beginning of a feeling that something is not quite right. It starts out as a whisper as soft as a gentle breeze through a pine forest - not so much as a leaf-rustling to really catch your attention. I stand up, get a refreshing beverage, give my shoulders a roll and my hands a relaxing shake. Good as new - on gauge, no split stitches (what else could go wrong on such a basic sweater?), and I keep knitting round the body and set it aside to do the sleeves.
Did you hear that? Faint leaf-rustling. "Don't be silly - of course it looks small! You just finished a sweater for yourself. She's a little girl with a 25" chest. You've calculated for 6" of ease - relax and enjoy the smallness of the project," says the wishful knitter in my head. Let's top up that drink and get on with these sleeves. Woo-hoo!
I did the sleeves on straights for speed and thought ahead and added 2 stitches for the seam. (Good work you! It's going to be perfect!) Whipped right through those puppies. What a pleasure to knit for a little girl. I hold the sleeves up to the sweater body. Satisfaction and the anticipation of a quick finish wash over me, not quite drowning out the sound of the wind blowing rubbish cans down the street. I blink hard a few times to make the twitching at the corner of my eye from the nagging bitching bad feeling go away. "You're used to looking at the whole front/back of a sweater. Knitting in the round you are only seeing the bottom half - of course it looks small. She's not an orangutan - the sleeves are fine, besides, there is the top part of the sleeves to knit with the top of the body. How can you try it on her now? There is no way to know where it will sit on her shoulders. Stop wasting knitting time with this fussing - it's fine!" insists the wishful knitter. She is just as willing to tink, rip, recalculate and reknit as I am, she is just so certain that it is a lovely as she wants it to be.
8" into the raglan/upper body shaping I cannot put off the fitting. Amanda comes down, eyes shining with joy at the sight of a nearly finished pink pullover hoodie. Just like she ordered. Seeing her in front of me with the sweater between us yet not blocking out very much of her has turned the bitching bad feeling into a red-alert klaxon.
Hurricane Pink Hoodie has hit.
The width wasn't too bad but didn't look like 6" of ease. Too short in the body. Too short in the arms. And not I-can-block-that-out short either ... inches short.
"Can you make it bigger?" she asks with a nervous yet hopeful giggle, not wanting to hear that her dream sweater is actually a living nightmare.
"Well yeah - if I start all over again."
The facial tic from my eye morphs into hand spasm that I quickly rein in with a long pull from the Mike's beside me.
"Or I could just finish this one for a smaller girl and then make another one for you."
"But that would take too long and this one is for me." The nervous giggle has lost the hopeful edge and slipped into a quivering lip.
"Yes it is - no worries! One bigger, longer but just as pink pullover hoodie coming right up!" I quickly say with a perky voice and imitation genuine smile to head off the train wreck so I can deal with the aftermath of the hurricane.
"Thanks Mom!" and off she skips, oblivious to the carnage she leaves behind.
Back to the computer, enter a bigger size and compare the numbers to ensure that there are extra inches where I want them. A double shot. Rip - a lot. Utter hair-curling curses in my head and make death threats to the wishful knitter cowering in the furthest corner of my head.
Knitting again, convincing myself that this is good - twice the knitting for the same money. Yeah, that is good. Stockinette practice for the competition this weekend - that's good too. And did I really want to finish and have to start a new project in the middle of the Earth 2 marathon? Not likely - I wanted to pay attention.
It's all good. Despite the backslide on the progress meter.
I have read Gavin de Beckers' The Gift of Fear and while he did not ever mention knitting in the book, the gift of fear that we all have (instinct, intuition, gut-feeling, etc.) does apply to me & my knitting and I will learn to listen. And act before bad things have to happen.
There are no pictures. The graphic nature of the aforementioned events were such that even the most hard core, deadline-toughened, whatever-it-takes-to-make-it-perfect knitter would be hard-pressed to maintain an even tension on any WIP for days after seeing such heart-wrenching carnage. (PTTD - Post Traumatic Tension Disorder) Enough people have suffered.

Update: Since these events occurred (Oct. 10) the lower body and 1 sleeve have since been re-knit. There have been no unheeded warning signs (and not for a lack of listening). I am fine, the tics and spasms have not come back. I show no signs of long term ill-effects from this incident and I swear - I have been scared careful!

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Winning Weekend

A couple of weeks ago when Amanda & I were at M&M Meat Shops, on Amanda's suggestion I bought some tickets for a turkey dinner. At 3 for a $1, and with a toonie in my pocket, I bought 6. Amanda was very excited, certain of victory with so many tickets in our name. The proceeds were going to the Crohn's and Colitis Fdn of Cda so I explained to Amanda something of odds based on entries and that we were helping a charity regardless. The little darling nodded and started in again about winning! lol On Saturday Amanda & I picked up the turkey dinner that we won. Cheryl was a bit shy, but seeing how excited Amanda was she quickly got into the spirit of things and smiled for the picture.
Despite this piece of good fortune, I have been having that "something's missing" feeling all weekend. Sure enough, when I ask Amanda if she checked the mail on Friday it turns out that she did not. In her excitement at having a sleepover, all thought of incoming communication from the outside world was forgotten. I double-timed it over to the mail box and sure enough - the weather picture yarn from Sandy was sitting in there. I have not opened it yet. I am seeing my friend Ada next weekend and not that I won't be excited every time I look at the yarn, but there is a special thrill in opening a gift for the first time and that thrill is multiplied exponentially by the presence of friends. (T x F)². (Adjust the exponent to reflect the number of friends)

And excellent progress has been made on Amanda's Hoodie (no picture as yet) and the Sunshine socks - see sidebar.

Friday, October 7, 2005

A few little extras

A picture of Fall in Angus, Ontario.

And 2 of the kindergarten girls with their apple & marshmallow turkeys.

The first day that they came on the bus I asked the first girl her name. "Taylor" she said. I did my welcome to the bus spiel, then asked the next girl her name. "I'm Taylor too". "Yes you are" I said. So when I speak to them, I call them Taylor 1 (on the right) and Taylor 2. They giggle every time. I love the little ones - they make up for the big ones. {Yeah, you know what I mean Jocelyn!}

And my sock collection for Jane. I am humbled by the skills of the sock knitters out there in the blog world! The single pair was left out of the family picture accidentally because they were on my feet! There is a definite fall chill in the air.

Gimme the Details girlfriend!

The Pansy Swing Sak is almost done. Amanda thought that she could sneak away with it - even though it's not quite done.
"Why not just finish the bottom Wannietta? A few more rounds and it's no longer a UFO - or is the unfinished, needles-sticking-out a new style that you are trying to make popular for knitters worldwide?"
Silly of me to think that you wouldn't notice when we all play the
game of OOPS (One Out of Place Stitch - find it!)with every knitting magazine and book we see.
I ran out of yarn. sigh So close to the end ... but isn't that always the way. As this was a kit it was out of my hands - it's not like I turned down that extra ball at the LYS counter "No, it's okay, I'm sure that I'll have enough". {I suffer from acute, crippling, turn-around-in-little-circles, obsessive/compulsive searching, curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-and-whimper Yarn Shortage Anxiety and can assure you that I always buy an extra ball.} So after a good stiff drink I pulled myself together sufficiently to email the manufacturer - L B Evans - and explain my situation. Lisa was terrific - apologetic and sympathetic - and offered to find and send me out more yarn. If not a whole ball then enough of a part ball to finish off the bottom. As the yarn used - Rowan Polar - is discontinued I appreciate her efforts even more.
I am not entirely without options here. I could throw mysel
f upon the kindness of my 1000 closest knitting friends and with the stealth of a ninja ... beg their aid and the indulgence of their stashes. In the unlikely event that the worldwide supply of Red Hot Polar has been depleted and knit into extinction, I could even finish the bottom with pink or green (shudder). Or cast it off as is and block it longer. But these are options of a last resort - Lisa will come through for me. Here is a close-up of the sewing-on. It took a few tries to get an edge neat enough.

I found this yellow Opal sock that I had started at my sons grade 8 graduation. I have decided to call it Sunshine.
(Okay, I know it's like calling your white cat Snowball, but it works!) I wasn't going to start another plain sock before I did something fancier with the Lorna's Laces that Sandy is sending, but they were already started. I have had a stern conversation with myself and I was quite clear that these need to be finished before I start with a more exciting new and interesting yarn & pattern. I am almost done the 1st one, so it shouldn't be an unbearable burden.

I would like to introduce you to River. I found her through the KAL button on some of the blogs that I read and was caught hook, line and sinker. She is knit in Kidsilk Spray, Regal colourway. I thought that I had cast on loosely enough but River is threatening to crack the dam. I may just rip it out and do a provisional cast on then cast off with a *k1, yo, cast off* to give it some extra give. I also changed the k2togs that are supposed to be left-slanting to ssks. Using the wisdom of those who went before me I started on 5mm needles (instead of the called for 7mm) and I do like the fabric - which I also adjusted to be stockinette instead of garter. Maybe I should re-name the pattern Tributary? lol

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Game On!!

The CSNF is coming in a couple of weeks so I am back in training!! Bev and Nancy (in the green) are fellow drivers who arrive early in our mission to be at the front of the line and are coaching, timing and encouraging me in my quest for @1fastest knitter.
No, they're not laughing at me, they're laughing with me!!
More tomorrow about various progresses made - gotta go watch Survivor!

Monday, October 3, 2005

Let's catch up

After a hellish crazy-busy, non-stop errands and work weekend, I have some wonderful FO's to share with you. The biggest:

Kerwyn actually had neighbours stopping by on their way past to compliment him on the colour and how nice it looks now. One woman even asked if he would mind telling him the name of the colour & could she use it too. We are very pleased. Sunday morning I asked Kerwyn to paint the screws - it was driving me crazy to see the silver screw heads - and my sweetie did it with a smile.

Then there is the Yarn Room:

Everything that was in the living room fit in just great! There needs to be some finessing of the arrangements on the yarn shelf so that it's more intuitive and organized. While I did do some sorting, I was more concerned with getting the yarn out of the boxes and into the room. Mission accomplished!! I do have to get one more shelf for my x-stitching and beading things and put the sewing machine in the cabinet, but the basics have been handled. We can now start enjoying the house and what we've done with it.
The lovely Flamingo socks were completed and are seen here sunning in the foliage on the deck. And again (as with the Green Opals) they have knitted up remarkably identical with no deliberate effort. Please don't hate me for this - I'm sure that if I wanted identical socks that I would not be able to do so for love or money.

Here is my new WIP. Not that I had forgotten about it, but 'out of sight, out of mind'. I was so happy to see it during the unpacking that I started it as soon as we had cleared away the dishes & leftovers from our company.
Aside - what a great day it was yesterday for lunch & drinks (knitting goes without saying) on the deck!! I am doing it on straights because I don't know how to do intarsia in the round and the pattern makes no special notes to address this. This is also going to be a rare knap-sack/purse as it uses Rowan Polar - now discontinued.

And my friend Ada told us the story of her brush intimate encounter with fame. At the recent Toronto International Film Festival, she and a friend were waiting to go in. Pierce Brosnan was coming by - head down, signing autographs quickly and efficiently like celebrities do - and he was heading towards them. When he gets to them, he looks up and takes Ada's friends' hand and holds it while he looks her in the eyes. Long moments pass and Ada fights the urge to push the friend away. Then Pierce turns to Ada, takes her hand, holds it with both of his and looks her in the eyes. Now Ada is not a celebrity stalker or prone to swooning, but these were the longest moments of her life! I do not tire of hearing this story and have nearly convinced myself that it was me standing there, being held by Pierce and if I repeat the story to myself one more time I'm sure that there will have been whispered endearments.
Deep calming breath
Thanks for sitting with me - I'm glad we've gotten together finally. Let's not let it be so long next time!