Thursday, July 31, 2008

Long weekend preparations

I don't work Fridays.

Actually, I don't work outside the home on Fridays. I work AT home. I love never being at work on Fridays. Especially when it's a long weekend. It's like getting a supersized extra long weekend. Good times.

So I started this one with a beer on the patio (in my backyard) and my long-awaited copy of the Knitting Workshop. I put in a request for an interlibrary loan months ago, and the library called me today to tell me it was in.

In it, I found one of the coolest EZ patterns I've seen. Actually they are all amazing, but this one is gorgeous.

If you have a Rav account go here. If you go here there is another version, just not fully finished. Love it.

The black and white ultra mod construction is too nice. I need to make this sweater.

Along with my Ravelympics project, finish Stinky's Thing 1, knit some baby stuff and get started on Christmas things.

But how long do you think it would take to crank out a garter stitch cardigan?? Shouldn't take too long, right???


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In the Meantime and In Between Time

The Tour has wrapped up for another year. All the knitters did their best to finish their own challenges and at least two knitters were successful in their endeavors.

There is no rest for the wicked, however, and your intrepid hosts here at BaadMedicine will be undertaking another knitting challenge in 10 days time. Why, you may ask? To be honest, I'm not sure. These periods of intense knitting have certainly increased my output for this summer. I have pushed myself to finish projects for unrealistic deadlines and have impressed myself with the results. And so, we embark upon the Ravelympics where I will take part in the Designer's Discus and the Sockput in an effort to make up a sock pattern that the Dude will not only tolerate but possible wear. By choice. I have also entered the Baby Dressage event because one pair of Man sized socks is apparently not enough for me. I will also attempt to whip up an Umbilical Cord Hat for the little person on the end of this Umbical Cord. It's a little art imitating life knitting.

And so, while I rest up for my events and try to think of a way to deal with knitting in the intense smog of Beijing, I am staying loose. The pair of STR socks is half done so I'll knit away on those and envision Olympic glory. I may even whip up a bag while I wait for the Olympic flame to arrive.

Are you a Ravlete? What are you knitting for the Ravelympics?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Arrivee a Paris

I made it into Paris. Safely. I dragged my body around the country following the riders with my knitting needles, over the undulating foothills of the Pyrenees to the snow-capped peaks of les Alpes.

Now I can sip champagne and wear mon maillot jaune.

And I think my golden fleece is a little bit more stylish than Sastre's.

Somedays I needed a suitcase full of courage to keep at the gull lace stitch when I really wanted to knit some socks. But I did it. In less than 21 days. I have to say I'm pretty darned proud of myself.

I'll miss my friends Paul and Phil. A Bientot my boys.

So, just like a lot of the cyclists, I'm now heading for Beijing. This time as part of Team Edmonton in the Ravelympics in the event of the Scarf Stroke (why do I do this to myself?). I guess I'd better get off the bike and into the pool!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fait Accompli

The Tour de France will ride into the City of Light tomorrow morning. Some riders will be heartbroken, some will drink champagne. I will be sitting on my couch with a cafe au lait and my Juno Regina wrapped around my neck. I have earned my White Jersey and am well pleased with myself.

I was unsure of my yarn choice earlier on in the knitting process. It seemed too fine, too gauzy but now I love the delicate lace and the softness of the silk. And nothing beats the smell of the sea as you mist your seacell yarn into submission on the blocking board. It's just the right size to wrap around my shoulders for my sister's wedding and will make a lovely neck scarf in the fall. Perfectly Parisian!

Once I finished my big challenge for the Tour, I managed to finish up a pair of socks that had been lingering on the needles.

These Froot Loops are my second pair and are knit in Fleece Artist Seawool. Funny how the second sock seems a bit more green than the first. Charming, none the less.

And my July STR came on Tuesday after leaving the hive last Friday. Excellent work, postal services! I am not sure how I feel about the pastel colours. I love the minty green bits but salmon pink is not my thing. There were two patterns including in this month's mailout and I've decided to knit the Gumdrops.

My yarn seems to be pooling in funny ways, but I've decided to go with it. Last night, while I tossed and turned, I had visions of frogging this sock and starting again, but I have decided against it. I am going to knit the pair and let the yarn do what it wants. I am giving up control of the pooling because after all, these are just socks. Delightful socks in a yarn that is fast becoming my favorite, but they still will be worn on my feet under the cover of a pantleg and some cute shoes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Uncanny ability

Right now on a local radio station there's a DJ who guesses (and always correctly) what brand of cigarettes people smoke based solely on their smoker's laugh. Smokers call in, they banter back and forth for a few minutes, then the DJ comes up with his guess. Number 7 red plain? Yes. Players Extra light? Yes. An amazing ability if you ask me.

My amazing talent is to diagnose people with a personality disorder within 30 seconds of seeing them. I don't even have to meet them, I just have to see them interact with others. And bang-o. Personality disorder diagnosed.

A man ordering coffee in my office building - immediately determined to be histrionic.

The lady I used to work with - figured her as borderline in minutes.

Don't even get me started on the moms from playschool.

But my question is, what will I be diagnosed with when I show up for my kid's picture session in matching Thing 1 and Thing 2 sweaters?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mostly Monogomy, with Socks on the Side

I used to be a monogomist knitter. I only knit on one thing at a time, being loyal until that project was completed and then moving on. Often I would work sweaters with smaller projects like socks or dishcloths in between for a little break.

One day, I got brave and took my knitting to work with me. At the time, I was working in a hospital pharmacy with a lot of type A personalities. They would make fun of me and ask what I was knitting now. The answer was always socks, usually plain vanilla socks in self striping yarns. Over time, this quirk of mine became the norm and my co-workers would watch my hands to see what colour would appear next in my rapidly progressing socks.

I think this was how sock knitting became second nature to me. I could chat along with co-workers while I turned a heel. I could sit quietly in a group, pretending to be engrossed in my knitting, if I didn't feel like taking part in the conversation. And since this time, I've almost always had a sock on the go. It seems like second nature to me. They can be as complex or straight forward as I would like them to be. Most people I know will wear handknit socks, if nothing else. Even my husband (who doesn't wear the lovely sweaters I have made him thus far because he's "too hot" but he'll wear sweaters from Old Navy) will wear socks that I make him. If he remembers. And I nag. My Baba has a pair of socks that I made her. She keeps them safely in a drawer because they are too nice to wear but I know that she appreciates them. My uncle is diabetic and loves the wool socks that I knit because they keep his feet nice and warm.

And when your daughter asks you for blue socks, you knit them up right away. There's nothing like seeing your Princess light up when you present her with two socks that Mommy made her.

My DPNs are free. Now if that next STR shipment would show up, I could start another pair...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

In Flux

As a knitter, you always have your list of ongoing and upcoming projects. With the world of Ravelry, we often now refer to it as the queue. The dynamic, ever-changing lists of projects. Ones you will complete, ones you dream of completing and ones that just peak your interest.

My Ravelry queue is ridiculously large, and there's truly no way I'll ever complete what's in it. Or for that matter, I'll never want to complete it all. When I see a pattern I like, I add. It's like a bookmark and reminder. It doesn't mean I have the yarn to make it, or even really anticipate making it, but I'll queue it. I think of my Ravelry queue as my dream list.

Then there's the real queue. The one that I run through my mind. What am I working on now, what has to be next, what do I want to be next. It's the one that I really try and keep to.

Currently, I'm working on my Lady Sweater. It's got a defined end date of Sunday with the end of the TdF. It's looking promising.

So. What's next?

This is always the question.

I really want to make Stinky's Thing 1 sweater to match Punky's. Punky keeps asking me about it, and they're only little for such a short time. Currently, that's what I'll do next.

Then, well, there's a baby coming. I didn't realize it was coming so quickly. I am aware that all babies incubate for +/- 9 months. But it always seems to go quicker (when it's not incubating in your own womb). So I gotta get some baby stuff going.

Then there's Rockin' Sock Club. I never did the May sock club and that's weighing on me.

The yarn is definitely not my favorite color, but it is beautiful yarn and will make a good present. I don't like to see it lingering.

Then there's the other sock for my Love's father's day present.

He deserves to have these finished. He's the best dad, and he really appreciates the hand-made socks. They need to get done.

Then there's the thing I just want to do for the heck of it. Matching Cobblestone's for my boys for Christmas. Yes, Christmas is a long ways away, but with Stinky always asking me "my sh-weater??" how can I not make him one.

Yes, he's hugging the yarn. He really wants a "ba-lue sh-weater".

The list is In-Flux. Constantly re-arranging it. Changing it. But I'm enjoying the planning, the thinking and, as always, the knitting.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Knitters Without Borders

I'm not really sure how Emily and I got to be friends. I think it may have started with a long list of common projects on Ravelry and a mutual appreciation for each other's work. We email, we leave comments, we stay in touch through a move across big oceans and a pregnancy.

Not too long ago, we decided to swap some yarn. Now, there's nothing that knitters love more than new yarn. Especially yarn that they've never seen before or can't acquire in their LYS. We love new fibres and different colours. We get excited over a new brand name of wool or a new hand dyed skein. So when I opened my mailbox on Monday, I was excited to say the least.

Behold my treasures! Chocolate! (Who doesn't love chocolate?)

Some sock yarn in Australian Merino. Soft, let me tell you. The colour is called Bloody Mary. I love a Bloody Mary, although in Canada we tend to make a similiar drink called the Caesar. I miss Caesars.

Beautiful laceweight in the Rainforest colourway. I had to pry it out of T's hands at SnB. (Some people have no self control.) It's incredibly soft and has a bit of a sheen to it. I think I'll be making a little shawl with a leaf motif. Any ideas?

And lastly, Emily was kind enough to remember the Princess. She sent a book about a little Koala who has a Mommy who loves her very much. The Princess is just as delighted with the postcard that was addressed to her, specifically.

So thanks, Emily. Let's do it again some time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I want to introduce you to my lady sweater.

I'm currently in love with her. Deeply and madly in love.

Unfortunately I've been too busy to spend much time with her lately.

I've had this to deal with.

Poor me, right?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Knitting Lace, Dreaming of Sweaters

It's July, which in our neck of the woods can mean hot, sunny days and rainy, stormy evenings. I have made some good progress on my Juno Regina which leads me to believe that lace might be ideal for summer knitting. It is light and airy. It is knit in silk, which is fine to knit when the temperatures go up and the idea of wool makes your skin crawl.

I have had to focus on this project for the last few days as I realized that my pace would not get me to the finish line by July 27, when the Tour will enter Paris. Ah, Paris. Let us take a moment to close our eyes and imagine ourselves wearing a scarf and sipping cafe next to the market where we will buy baguettes, brie and wine for our dinner. Sigh.

So I am knitting lace but I've been thinking sweaters. I think it was brought on by a local yarn sale last weekend and it has persisted. I'd like to knit my Dude the Cobblestone sweater (I might be the only person on Ravelry who hasn't made one yet). I picked up this Cascade 220 just for him.

I have been toying with the idea of Bountiful Bohus from More Big Girl Knits. It involves both colourwork and steeking (insert screeching sound from Psycho) and it scares me a little. The recommended yarn is Cascade, which I decided to use since it's my first steek and I really want it to work out.

Several Stitch and Bitchers confirmed my colour choices.(Chocolate Brown with lime green and sky blue) I think I'm going to love this sweater if I ever get the nerve to start.

And finally, I think I'd like to make a Drive Thru for the Princess. The pullover edition does not involve steeking, so that is the one I'll make. I have 2 skeins of Cotton Fleece in pink that I picked up in Toronto but this, of course, is not enough. Fortunately for me, I found someone on Ravelry (hi, Tansy!) who has some to trade and I happen to have more sock yarn than is probably good for me. I think I'll be swapping more often. It's cost effective and guilt free.

So I guess the question is which sweater to knit first? Or will something else distract me from sweaters in the near future?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

For the Love of France

As part of the TdF KAL they have a few contests along the way (this is a highly organized KAL).

In order to enter this intermediate sprint contest, I need to either discuss how my project is related to the Tour, how I relate to cycling OR how much I love France.

I'll go with the loving of France. Because I do. Love. It.

Our best picture of the trip

In 2002, I visited this hallowed place. We stayed with a friend just outside of Versailles and got to spend about 5 days in and around Paris.

I have to say if there is one place in the world I would drop everything to go to, it would be France. It has such a magnificent feeling about it. The wine, the food, the scarf-wearing ladies, the architecture, the museums, the language, the Left bank, the shopping. My love and I got sick and tired of continually saying "wow" and "amazing". You quickly lose your ability to provide adequate adjectives to such a place.

One of my favorite memories was packing up a lunch, of baguettes and cheese of course, and eating it at Versailles near Marie Antoinette's village. She had a little village made for her on the grounds of Versailles, because she wanted to feel like a commoner, in the privacy of her own home. She was quite the lady that Marie.

The Queen's Hamlet

The Orangerie

We got to experience a bomb scare at the Louvre. I think you really can't have an authentic visit to Paris without a bomb scare.

I bought stockings in an amazing department store in Paris. I still have them. I think all women should own a pair of French stockings.

When my mom and dad went to France they brought me home Toile. I actually made a knitting bag for J. out of some of it. I have a fascination with all things toile and dream of wall-papering one room in my house in it. I think maybe because I see it as "girly" and there is not much girly about me, or anything else in the house.

Our last night in Paris

My husband promises to take me back one day. Maybe to go see Le Tour, or maybe just to stroll down the Rive Gauche and eat some croissants and drink a cafe au lait.

Either way, I can't wait.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tour de France

The Tour kicked off Saturday morning. The riders have spent years preparing themselves physically and emotionally for the gruelling race. I have prepared for weeks to be able to knit along with them. I collected my yarn, the pattern, I even swatched to select the needles which would give me just the right effect.

And then I headed off to a family reunion. Sometimes, you have to pick your priorities. I spent the afternoon with people that I share a history with, descended from two brothers who crossed an ocean to settle in a lonely open prairie in hopes of something better.

They gave me the chance to grow up in a great country where we can pretty much say and do as we like without fear. Women can be anything they like and my daughter has every opportunity she could hope for.

Even if all she really wants is a popsicle and her Baba.

My project for the Tour is the Juno Regina wrap which I hope to wear to my sister's wedding in August. It is progressing well even though my yarn is incredibly fine. I think it's close to a cobweb yarn in silk and seacell that I bought in Vancouver last year.

I did an extra repeat of the diamond pattern to add some width and hope to make it about 65 inches long which is my approximate wingspan.

The burgandy diamonds do photograph well. Lace is hard to predict. You never really know how it will end until you block it. It is like a bike race where you never really know who will cross the finish line first until you see the photo finish.

Wish me luck! I have several feet of stocking stitch ahead of me but I hope to end with a flourish.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

T. Casts On

My love and I wait all year for the start of it. We plan our weekend activities around when it's on. We read up months in advance to see who's in and who's out. I dream of being the flag waver to warn riders of the traffic circles. When Punky was 1 he knew what the word 'peloton' meant.

Le Tour.

The one and only.

With it I've decided to cast-on the February Lady Sweater.

The Argosy was the true winner of the vote, but I went with CathyAnn's suggestion that the FLS was likely more of a challenge to finish in the 3 week timeframe. I actually was surprised by the votes for Argosy. I just kind of threw it in at the last minute, but it's obviously a well-loved pattern.

So, 3 weeks of gorgeous French countrysides, mountain views, sunflowers, crazy people running after bikes, and don't forget the bike-riding.

I love July.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Tortoise and the Hare

Some projects seem to fly off the needles. The February Sweater is one of those projects. It took me 2 weeks to knit. That's pretty quick considering I'm not a very fast knitter. I think it helps that I've made the baby version of this lovely garment a couple of times so I have the basics down. This is a fantastic pattern that was quite simple in execution and I think it would make a great beginner's projects. Ok, advanced beginner cause you have to know how to increase and purl. You could always cut out the lace if you wanted to really simplify it.

Being an avid watcher of What Not to Wear, I have come to understand the need for busty ladies to lock and load the girls so I did 5 buttons instead of 3.

I'm not sure you get the full effect with the baby bump sticking out. We'll have to wait til the winter to know if that was a good choice or not. As it stands, I'm quite enamoured with this little number. Too bad it's way too hot to be modelling it.

My second pair of Froot Loops are in the category of knits that seem to take forever.

I usually knit socks at work but I had a busy couple of weeks so no knitting. I'm trying to finish these up before the Tour de France starts so I can focus on lace knitting. I also have an idea for a men's sock pattern that I'd like to try out but I'll have to have some time to concentrate on that.

And in other news, look what Jill made me!

Isn't it GORGEOUS! It's totally me and I love it. Go over to her blog and tell her how much you love it, too! (I'm trying to get her to open up an Etsy shop so that knitters everywhere can enjoy her gorgeous yarns.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Sometimes I can't make a decision to...well, come to a conclusion. I waffle back and forth and back and to the side and still can't decide. On some things, I'm entirely decisive. Politics, certain parenting decisions (those regarding sleep at least), and food.

Not with knitting however. Is it that there is too many choices? Or is it that I just get bored easily (yep, probably that one)?

So, in order to decide what to make I need some of your help. Hopefully you can be more decisive than me.

Option #1: February Lady Sweater
I guess I want to be like everyone else in the entire world, and make this. I have a yellow-ish yarn to go with it, so it will fit the theme of Maillot Jaune (the Yellow Jersey).

Option #2: The Tilted Duster
This was my original plan. It really doesn't fit the theme at all. It will also be near impossible to finish, but the point is to pick something challenging.

Option #3: Argosy
This is the newest member in the fleet of choices. I think a scarf is very French so it fits the theme. And I want to make it with this yarn that J. picked up for me from Toronto. I am currently in love with this yarn and want to eat it. It's 100% silk and hand-dyed by the amazing dyers of Handmaiden.

And this is actually something I can wear this summer.

Option #4: An Abridged Lace Ribbon Scarf
I'd use the same yarn as above, but make a skinnier version of the scarf, because I only have about 250m. Again, this is something I can wear right now. And I'm ALL 'bout instant gratification.

Option #5: The Aleita Shell
I bought yarn to make this shell this summer, and it keeps getting pushed back. The yarn is yellow (again fitting with the theme). It's pretty. It's summery. It's not overly exciting, but, I don't hold that against it.

I think those are the main options. I am open to other suggestions, because I'm sure that won't muddy the water at all. You have till Friday July 4th to comment. We cast-on July 5th.

(Oh, and I already know what J. will suggest....I've written it down and will let you know what my guess is after she comments.....)