Sunday, September 30, 2007

So long, farewell, Auf widersehen...

There's a happy sort of clanging

From the clock in the hall

And the bells in the steeple too,

And up in the nurs'ry an absurd little boy

Is popping out to say "coocoo".

Gladfully they tell us,

And firmly they compel us

To say goodbye to you.

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night,

I can't wait to go and leave this pretty sight.

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, adieu,

Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

I'm gone for a week. Mama needs a new pair of shoes...

Can you guess where I'm going???

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Plodding along...

Week 2 of No New Cast-ons....applause please...thank you, thank you

This is a great feat given that my first Hill Country Yarns shipment arrived. They are destined to be Christmas socks to boost up that tally (I'm not even trying to approach J's 8.5 -- I'll be happy with a solid 5). Pictures of those will follow when they get started...

As I work through my current projects, I notice that I have made some progress. Amazing what you can complete when you actually focus on a few things at a time (rather than ELEVEN things at a time...and yes that number is correct; 11 UFOs).

My Tomten....
This was originally meant to be for my new niece/nephew, then I thought my baby boy but now I'm thinking maybe my big boy. What do you think???

My Hanami....
It's looking good, and I'm keeping up.

This Christmas gift which can not be spoken of....

So I'm making progress and as Oliver Wendell Holmes said:

“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”

I'm moving forward baby, I am.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Please Come In.

I'm in !!! I'm in I'm in I'm in!!!


I got my invite on the weekend and got all signed up. This site is so cool!!! I'm not going to bore you with details becaus if you're in, then you'll know all about it. If you're not in, then you will want to get on the waitlist but not because you heard about it here. I'm sure you've read more interesting posts than this one extolling the virtues of Ravelry.

This invitation has got me feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside. I'd like to invite any Ravellers out there to be my friend. Come and find me! I'm the only Joline there. (Ok, now you know my dirty secret.) If you are Unravelled, then I hope you will sign up for this amazing resource and if you don't think you're interested, then leave me a comment. We can still be blog friends. I don't mind.

I have been plugging away on my Tomten. I finished the hood last night at SnB and started picking up the sleeve stitches. I love SnB. Where else can you talk about the pros and cons of the new Harmony needles from Knitpicks? And would I prefer the DPNs or the options? And should you subscribe to knitting magazines or just get them from the library? And I learned all about Magic Loop in 5 minutes or less!

Here's my Tomten. I plan on sitting on the couch and watching TV while soothing my sore throat with a hot toddy. And I'll be waiting to hear from my friends.

Monday, September 24, 2007

T.'s Top 5 Favorite Knitty Patterns

What Knitter doesn't love Knitty?? Amy Singer is a genius editor (not just of Knitty - her book No Sheep for You is fairly fabulous also), and she finds some seriously cute, fun, useful, different items. My dream is to have something published in Knitty...I'm working on it. I actually have 'lost' my project, but the idea is still hidden somewhere in the recesses of my mind.

Anyway, back to my original thought. Things I want to or have knit from Knitty:

1. Hip in Hemp - have not knit this yet, but I love it. There are not a lot of knit skirt patterns out there that are made for us women with curves (that's the nice way of saying hippy). I love the shape of this skirt, and would really like to try knitting with hemp. It's definitely in my queue.

2. Monkey socks - the pattern that is #1 in Ravelry. 'nuf said. FABULOUS.

3. Trellis - I knit this for my boy and it was my first real cable project. What little kid wouldn't look freakin' adorable in a cabled sweater with a rolled collar. Really.

4. Leftovers - Very smart use for yarn you have lying around. It actually took way more yarn than I thought! It was the first project I knit that fit me really well (that's to say that I usually 'overestimate' my size and end up with large projects - this one was nicely fitted so it worked out ok). The yarn is wonderfully soft and I love wearing this. The same can't be said for all the things I've knit.

5. 302 Calories - I have not knit this, but any knitting magazine that publishes a pattern of a thong knit out of licorice is high on my list of must see sites. The Summer 2004 issue is for all the knitters of our generation - fun, sexy, and tongue in cheek. I tell you, that Amy Singer is one smart lady.

There are many, many others (like this and this and this and this). If you haven't been to the Knitty site before - go, go quickly. You will be entralled, you will laugh and you will run out and buy yarn.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Guess What Country We Live In?

Now I just have to knit some nice warm wooly socks and these, and he's good to go.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I have been knitting. A little here, a little there and you know something? I'm actually seeing some progress.

I finished a pair of socks. They are meant for little feet and are doing their bit to boost my Christmas sock count. (Eat your heart out, T.)

Here they are basking in the glow of my computer screen. Actually, they remind me of these. Great minds think alike. (Note: Not, in fact, the same pair of socks.)

I've been dabbling with this...

...and that. I'm finding this Hanami thing a bit tricky. On the one hand, I would love to just knit it up and finish it but I'm co-hosting a KAL for it, so I should set a good example and practise what I preach.

And finally, the much awaited Tomten. (Cue the Angel Choir.) This thing is going very quickly. I had to fudge the numbers a bit because my yarn is extra fat. As it is, I'm getting 3.5 stitches per inch on 6mm needles. I cast on 96 stitches and did 32 ridges until I divided for the armholes. I'm really liking my color selections. The browns and green are very 1970's retro. Good thing I'm vintage 1976. I hope things continue on the way they have. It's unseasonably cool here right now and I'd love to wrap my bundle of joy in this bundle of garter stitch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Head Down, Needles Up

I have not cast on anything new in the last 7 days. This is huge for me. Huge. I have been working primarily on my Hanami and my Tomten jacket.

In an effort this "fix" this problem, I have been evaluating my need to continually cast things on. This habit appears in many other facets of my life. I think the root of the problem is that I am easily bored. I got bored with my old job, so I went back to school. I was bored with my current job so I looked into other jobs (I stayed put, which is good, but spent a lot of time considering other options). I always say "I like a new challenge", but I'm not sure that is the reason why I roam. I think it is more related to my inability to follow through. It's the thrill of starting something new that gets me and then after the initial buzz wears off, I'm bored. I don't have staying power.

I realize the same thing is happening in my knitting. I get bored with a project, so to get a buzz, I start something new, then I get bored with that, move on, get bored again, and so on and so on. Hence, I never get anything done, and I get frustrated with my progress. How the hell am I ever supposed to finish anything if I can't focus on one project at a time???

In my defence, I have recently finished these:

And these:

So I am making some progress. I also recognize I have a problem (the first step on the 12 step program, right?). I'm working on my follow through. My staying power.

It's a good thing I haven't gotten bored with this:

or this:

I'm putting my head down, keeping my needles up and perservering. I am looking forward to the buzz of finishing projects, not just starting them (that happens, doesn't it J.??? Tell me it does so I keep on going....). Head down, needles up.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

You Don't Know Til You Try

I used to crochet. My Baba taught me when I was about 8 years old. I was never very good, but I could do it. My best friend at the time had a Grandma who knit. I thought I would never learn how to do that. It was so complicated and you had to use 2 (!) needles.

I crocheted a little at a time, never really comitting to this needle craft. When I was about 20, my Sister In Law bought me needles and a ball of crafters cotton for Christmas. I was going to knit. At first, I couldn't understand how to draw one loop through another. It took me about half an hour to knit 4 stitches very poorly.

Fortunately, I kept at it and learned to enjoy the simplicity of stocking stitch. All those little "v"s in a row were pleasing to my mathematical mind. I tackled cables on my own and found them very simple once I unlocked the mystery of the extra cable needle.

Lace, though, was always a little too girly for me. While I can be a girly girl, I've never been one for frills and such. It was therefore a big shock to me when I wanted to knit a shawl. And not just one shawl, but three. In one year. AND it turns out that I like them. I even managed to wear my two completed shawls to two different events yesterday. I don't think I would have imagined myself wearing a shawl until I made one that I was really proud of.

Just goes to show, doesn't it?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Getting Everything on the Table

Let's just say I haven't been entirely honest about a lot of things. Things like how many objects are actually on the needles. And definitely not about how much yarn is stashed in places throughout my house. So, I'm coming clean. I'm letting it all hang-out.

This is my pile of UFOs (minus the 2 UFOs I can't find....more on that later....)

This is my Rowena Cardigan. Back done, 2 front panels done. No sleeves.

These are my most recent cast-on item. Socks for my mom for Christmas. I'm not sure why I cast them on considering all the other socks I have on the needles. I think I just wanted to try out this new yarn (Crystal Palace Panda Cotton from the Loopy Ewe).

Next, this lovely, but VERY incomplete pair of socks for my big boy (one of 2 incomplete pairs of socks for him ... the other pair however is currently misplaced. Not sure where. But I'll find it).

Then there's this. I've purposely not posted about this because it's for a Christmas gift. I won't tell you what it is or who it's for. But, there it is, out on the table.

Oh ya, there's this too. A Tomten jacket for someone. Possibly for the new baby in the family, or my baby, depending on the size. This project was cast-on because of my new-found obsession with EZ. The lady was a genius. I'm in awe and wonder with what she came up with and I just want to figure it out.

There is the Mystery Stole - it's still quite a mystery to me.

And the beast of all UFOs. This was completed 2 years ago. It's a baby alpaca yarn (of course I've lost the ball-band so not sure where it came from) in a worsted weight. I think the colors are fabulous.

There are a few problems with it, however:

- 1 arm is longer than the other - I think I sort of fixed it when sewing it up, but it's still a little off, and no amount of blocking will fix that.

- I don't love the neck. The shape is good, but it needs something - maybe a couple rows of garter or moss stitch. Not sure. I just don't like it the way it is.

- It's not long enough. I have started picking up stitches from the bottom in an attempt to lengthen it. However, I'm almost out of yarn and not sure how many extra rows I'll get. And not sure if I should do the extra rows in stocking stitch or garter or moss. I just can't decide.

The Hanami of course. This is moving along well and I'm quite happy with it.

My Chevron scarf - also very happy with it. This is my "in the car" knitting project, so I can only work on it when I'm a passenger in the car - this doesn't happen too often, given I'm the head of Mom's Taxi.

So there they are. The UFOs. Not including the 2 missing things (a pair of Monkey socks and a pair of socks for my boy).

Whew. That took a lot out of me.

Next time, we'll tackle the stash.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh No, You Didn't!

Oh yes, I did!

Amazing what a little blocking and new black boots can do for a skirt!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ladies Who Lunch

Today, my wee girlie turns 17 months old. She doesn't look like a baby any more. In fact, it is hard to remember what that was like.

To celebrate, we went out for brunch. We bought a memento. Now she's having a much earned nap and I'm going to finish this skirt, if it kills me.

Also on the needles, I'm whipping up some little kid socks...

... and the Spiral Boot Socks continue their very slow and not so steady growth.

I have too many things on the needles. I should really simplify. But then I want to cast on a Tomten jacket and a sweater for my neice and more socks....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Things you don't know about T.

So J. and I have been at this blogging thing for a few months. I figure all you really know about us is that (a) we're obsessed with yarn, knitting and knitting related people (like her and her and her) and (b) we spend far too much time (and money) on knitting.

I thought I'd like to deepen the pot. Make myself seem less self-indulgent and more 3-dimensional. I thought I'd let you in on a few, more meaningful, parts of my life.

1. I was somewhat athletic, at some point in my life. I was actually recruited by 3 colleges/universities to play basketball for them (I didn't play for any in the end).

2. This post makes me laugh. I'll be bookmarking this.

3. I have very eclectic music taste. On my iPod, I have the following: Hall&Oates, Jack Johnson, Coldplay, Back Street Boys, Neil Diamond, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, Chilliwack, Def Leppard, Everclear, Fergie, Gin Blossoms, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Joni Mitchell, the Killers, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nellie Furtado, Regina Spektor, U2 and my ultimate favorite, Rick Springfield. There are many others, a lot of which I won't admit to in public.

4. In my job I've been referred to as "highly-organized" and "driven"; more recently, I was referred to as a "key researcher". I relate to none of these labels...not even a little bit.

5. I love taking the boys to the park; I hate engaging in small talk with other park moms. It relates to my abhorrence of small talk in general.

As you can see, I'm much more than just a knitter (maybe not as deep as I had originally hoped). Far more than that. Anyone else want to share some nugget about themselves? Something few other people know about?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

To Tomten or Not-You Be the Judge

I have a cold. Meet Patient X. She is the source of the viral contagen that has chosen me as an acceptable host.

While this isn't the worst cold ever, I am finding myself feeling tired. I'm not really getting a lot of knitting done as a result. This skirt that I have undertaken is really kicking my caboose. It's pretty much straight stocking stitch for a long time with a little fancy hemwork at the end. I am finally nearing the home stretch in this project that I was hoping would only take about 2 weeks to finish.

All this plain knitting made me think I would like to start something new. Of course I have a lot of things to knit before Christmas. In fact, I have a little sweater that needs knitting before I go to Vancouver in October. (Hey, D! How are my socks coming along?) So I really don't need to add to my workload but don't you think a Tomten jacket would look really cute on this?

It's really fat yarn from my stash(?!?) on big-ish needles. So what do you think? Could I knock out a Tomten jacket in a week to 10 days? I can surely spare that much time. I'll only do it as a reward for finishing this skirt and only if you think I can do it. Anyone out there? Have you knit one? Was it real quick?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Back to School Blues

I love the fall. Love it. It's my favorite season by far. I got married in the fall, I had a baby in the fall. And, fall means back to school. This has, at most points in my life, been a highlight of my year. New books, new stationary (I love new stationary), and all the things that go along with the beginning of the school year (clothes!!).

As I get older, however, back to school means much different things to me. Getting the kids ready for back to school (can you say "Mom's taxi??), getting ready for my classes (teaching this time round...yikes...when will they find out I really don't know what I'm talking about) and dealing with back to school traffic. An hour in Mom's taxi this am was enough to drive me to drink (it was 8am, a little early for drinking, even in mybooks).

So just as J. did the other day - I'm trying to find my silver lining.

This helps....

(Classic Elite Bam Boo in Flamingo)

As does this....

(Colinette Jitterbug in Copperbeech)

Oh, can't forget about these....

(new stitch markers from here)

And of course, this....

(Mama E's C*eye*ber Fiber in Sea)

And, as always, the back to school pic for mom....

(all yarns acquired on Yarn Crawl '07 with my friend Elsie - we had fun!!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I've Been Better

Hmph. I'm having a rough day. Yesterday, I discovered that I lost my library card among other things and I just feel off. You know what I mean? Things could just be better.
I've been knitting. This is the beginning of a spiral boot sock. I had much more done on it before I made some unfixable error and frogged it. It's ok.

Here is my skirt. I think I'll like it when I'm done but the endless stocking stitch is starting to wear on me.

On a brighter note, I found this Kitchenaid Coffee Maker on sale today. That's good right?

And I've got all these tomatos to make salsa with. That's kinda fun, isn't it?

Unfortunately, when I got home, this happened.

Just when I thought I was getting ahead.

And yet, in the pits of despair, the sun always manages to shine through.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Power of Reply All

My family and I went to Calgary for an extended long weekend. We haven't taken any summer holidays so we decided to make a mini-holiday.

The main reason we went is one of the 'girls' was going to be in Calgary. 'The Girls' are my posse of friends from pharmacy school. They are, to me, some of the dearest people in the world. So going to Calgary was a good reason to see them all (all 5 of them!) and their families.

The Girls do a special trip every year - we refer to it as Spa Weekend. For the last 5 years we have done this as an annual event - no husbands, no kids. Just us, some wine, some food and some spa-ing. It is our time to reconnect and refocus our friendship.

The key is that we don't really have to spend too much time catching up as we stay in close contact through regular email updates. My friend Stace referred to it once as the Power of Reply All, and I think that is so true. With a few minutes of time, and a quick punch of the Reply All - we can all stay connected. We know if someone has had a difficult day at work (this happens often), we know if someone has had a difficult day with the kids (this happens REALLY often) and we know where to go for non-judgmental advice. We have grown significantly over the spa weekends. Opened up about difficulties in our past and present. We've gone through, as a group, divorce, miscarriages, colicky babies, and many (many, many) family issues. We know everyone will provide their insight and then stand back and offer words of encouragement prn (that's pharmacy girl talk for - as needed).

This trip was important because we not only got to spend time with each other, but with everyone's families. We hear so much about them, but rarely see them. The kids got along as only kids can, and the adults sat back, watched, laughed and enjoyed every minute.

The weekend was busy, exhausting, refreshing and everything in between. Those ladies are amazing women and it was worth every minute.

And now, I'm trying to convert them all to my ways.

One down... 4 to go....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

J.'s Top Five Free Sock Patterns

Or Doing a Quick Post

5. Baudelaire- My first toe-ups.
4. Jaywalkers- I just love the Grumperina. She's great! And everyone who knits should make these socks.
3. Earl Grey- Ok, I haven't knit these yet but I totally intend to and it's really hard to find nice patterns for men's socks.
2. Fawkes- Loved these socks! Quick to knit and cute and timely!
1. Monkey- Ok, if you haven't knit these socks, where have you been? I've made only one pair but believe me, there will be more. Someone out there even did baby monkeys! How can you not love a baby monkey?

Ok. There are other sock pattern out there that are free and amazing. What are your favorites?

(And did you check out my sock count? Go tell T. to get her DPNs in gear.)