Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Good things come to those who wait ...

Well, if you count pictures and posts as good things, of course. In my case? They definitely count as good things.

First of all, I simply don't remember where all the time has gone. How can it possibly be two weeks since I last posted? Well, not quite two weeks. But you get the idea. Must be the crazy holiday madness.

I have finished a couple of items. One for the store, and one for home. First, however, you will see the store item. This is a pair of mittens made from Luxury Alpaca Paint, distributed by Diamond Yarns. I love the variegated colours and just couldn't resist making a pair of mitts. This set will fit me, and I have average-sized adult hands. I had to use one and a half balls of yarn--50g. balls at that. I have decided that these mitts will be donated to the Dulaan Project come summer. The question at present is whether they will be felted before donation or not. Anyone have any opinions?

Remember when I said that my new nephew had been born in November? Two weeks early and all that? He is doing better and better. My sister says that he even wakes up all by himself when it's time to eat. Who knew that a preemie baby wouldn't know how to do that? I surely didn't.

In any event, I did knit him a cute little outfit. I know that you've seen photos of the Teddy Bear suit in process. Here it is complete:

I used Luxury Extra-fine Superwash Merino for the outfit, and am hoping (desperately I might add) that little Sammy doesn't have any wool issues. I heeded the Yarn Harlot's opinion that putting synthetic yarns on helpless infants (synthetic yarns could melt and stick to the poor, wee baby in event of a fire and cause dreadful burns) and went for the super-wash merino. It is deliciously soft in the ball, and knit up quite nicely.

I bet you wonder who the model is, since it obviously can't be Sammy. That, my dears, is my childhood baby doll. She's plastic and approximately the size of a three-month old baby. She was played with extensively during my childhood, and then pretty much ignored. The sons didn't exactly play with dolls much, and the daughter wasn't a doll kind of kid. I'm very glad that I held on to her, though. She makes a great model!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and was able to spend oodles of time with loved ones.

PS. I'm contemplating starting up a new web-ring for Ontario-based knitters since the current ring seems to have died a slow death. Anyone else interested?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Where did the week go?

I mean--it was just starting a minute ago, and already it's Saturday morning.

Oh yeah. Now I remember.

There's this on-line game that I sometimes play ... and it sucks the minutes and hours away from the days like a tornado ripping through a mobile home park. And I got a really high score this week--156,000! Do you know how much practice it takes to get that kind of score?

Don't say I didn't warn you. Here's the link: Bejeweled 2

But don't say I didn't warn you. It is truly demonic. If you have the sort of personality that just can't let go. Kind of like me.

Anyway, due to the unexpected tenacity of the game, I really haven't done much knitting this past week. The Elsebeth Lavold top is still in process, although I did manage to get the back finished and the front started. Now I'm working on the medallion and it's coming along.

And at home the DebbieBliss teddy-bear suit is also coming along. I've got the main pieces knit and assembled. Now on to the little ears.

So look for pictures next week.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another week in the life of ...

Another week has passed, with little to show for itself, although I have made great strides on my baby gift for the new nephew. I am making the Teddy-Bear All-in-One from Debbie Bliss' Nursery Knits. The body is completed, and most of one sleeve. The little footies and mitts are simply adorable. I am excited to get the rest of the outfit completed.

Since opening the store, I have decreed that "home" projects can only be worked on at home, or at Knitting Night. This resolve is sorely tested on this project. I really, really want to get it finished so I can see it in all its adorableness. (Is that a word? I don't think so!)

And having pointed out the distinction between "home" knitting and "store" knitting ... this little baby is the current store project. I'm using the suggested Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool to make the shell, and it is knitting up beautifully. The yarn is going to be so nice to wear.

Often I think of wool as being a tad scratchy. This doesn't feel that way at all. The silk gives it a nice slubby look and feel. Not at all hard on the hands.

And, this may come as no surprise, the shell is just my size, and just the right colour to go with several of my dress suits. Hmm. I wonder how that happened?

Today is my lovely hubby's 50th birthday. For three weeks, I get to tease him unmercifully about being a year older than I ... until my birthday arrives. How in the world did we get to be 50 already? It seems only yesterday that I graduated high school, welcomed my babies into the world ... Just how the heck does the time fly by so quickly?!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Finished Object!

Much of my knitting these days seems to revolve around the shop. Funnily enough, most of my finished objects get displayed at the store. Of course, having the shop means that I also get to play with lots of luxurious yarns that I normally wouldn't.

This scarf is made with Sublime, a wonderfully soft blend of merino, silk and cashmere. Yes, cashmere. Admittedly, only 5% cashmere, but cashmere nonetheless. And this yarn is soft. Wonderfully soft. Soft enough that you want to rip your clothes off and roll around naked in it.

But I didn't because that would be ... you know, tacky. Besides, the store has 10 feet of front window. I wouldn't want anyone to see me indulging in such wanton displays of self-indulgence.

Instead I made this scarf. It's called Little Zig-Zag and uses 3 balls of the Sublime cashmere. There is no border on the scarf, which means that the scarf tries to roll in at the edges. There also is no fringe, which I really like.

The blocking instructions suggested pinning the scarf out and laying damp towels across it until everything dries. Which I did. And it seems to have worked because the stitches did even out nicely.

Knitting for myself? Well, I did pick up 8 balls of extra-fine superwash merino to make a gift for my new nephew. Photos coming soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another week

Another week has passed by. I don't have any finished projects to show off. The sock you see here I finished last week. I just saved it for a rainy day.

Speaking of rainy days ... it has rained a lot over the past week. I don't know about any one else, but I am SO tired of rainy days. Can't we see a little sunshine, huh?

The sock was made with Noro Kureyon, color #128. I just love the way the colors blend into one another. They are just wonderful.

The sock didn't feel really soft, though. I was puzzled because I read about so many folks who really love their Noro socks. I brought the sock home and gave it a dip in warm water and mixed a very tiny, wee bit of hair conditioner in. Talk about a difference! WOW! Now it is nice to pet. I suspect a pair of them on one's feet would continue to soften and felt a wee bit. Talk about luxury!! And the better news--since I softened the sock, I've sold lots of Noro.

In other news ... my younger sister was expecting her second baby on November 24, more or less. Imagine her surprise when she went into labour on the 8th. The baby boy was delivered via c-section, and spent several days being known as Baby Boy. At last, a name was decided upon--Samuel. Mom and Sammy are now home and doing well. Thank goodness!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Accursed Sweater - Part Two

Last night was Knitting Night. My friend Irene had promised that I would get a stranding lesson so that I would no longer have to refer to the sweater as Accursed. True to her word, I got the stranding lesson from her sister, Cathy. Irene was quite willing to assist; however, there were 15 people crammed into my tiny, little store. Besides being one more person than available chairs, it was just way too crowded to move around much. Cathy was able to get out of her chair, between Terry's chair and the counter, over Louise and behind the cash register. I was able to stand up, go over Emily and reach over the counter/cash register for my lesson. It was fabulous. I had never seen the technique before--despite having knit for years and years. My mentor (my mother) preferred Aran knits, just like me. Hmm. There may be a reason why I prefer Arans now that I think about it.

So ... does anyone else need a primer in stranding? I could post pics and such, courtesy of my friends Irene and Cathy. Thanks ever so much, ladies. It is a much-appreciated lesson.

The second part of Knitting Night, and possibly of even more value than the stranding lesson, was the expression of the group opinion that The Accursed Sweater would be too small for the intended recipient. "No way," I insisted. "I've measured and taken guage swatches. It'll fit!" The group expressed sincere reservations and ... quite honestly, grave doubts.

When I arrived home, I promptly measured Doug. Then I measured the sweater. Then I measured Doug. Then I measured the sweater. Then I measured Doug again. Know what? No matter how many times I did it, the two measurements were just not going to cooperate.
The solution? A trip to the frog pond. Doug took pictures. Apparently I was making funny faces. Lots of funny faces.

By noon today, this is how The Accursed Sweater looked:
I have cast on for the larger size now, and completed one and a half rows of the ribbing. I now refer to it as Apres Ski, the name given by the designer.

I only hope the name doesn't change.

And as a special treat, Louise and Emily arrived from Windsor for a surprise visit! The local guild in Windsor brought Debbie Bliss in for a talk, and they had pictures.

Talk about a great evening!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A sweater is named

I don't name the sweaters that are underway. Generally. I know a lot of folks do. I read about them on the various blogs. I just never have. They typically are known by the name the designer or publisher chose.

Until today. Today, the sweater I am making for Doug was named. Yes, in a break from long-standing tradition, I named a sweater.

The sweater? This one -- It's a Paton's design, and so far the instructions are actually quite well written. The chart is actually readable, even with the bifocals and not the reading glasses. But the sweater was named. "What is the name?" you ask with bated breath.

The Accursed Sweater.

Yes, indeed. That is the name. "Why?" you wonder. Well, it's like this. I really don't much like doing fair isle. All that stranding, wrapping, untangling, only to start the process all over. Yes, the sweater is beautiful and wonderful when it's finished. It's just that I prefer cables, bobbles, yarn-overs, K2tog, ssp and the like. Aran style, in other words.

But just for my dear and wonderful hubby, I am making him a fair isle sweater. And so that I don't knit a lot of negative vibes into it, it is named The Accursed Sweater.

I know you still don't get it. Why such an awful name?

Because every time I say it, I smile and laugh. And just in case there are still some negative vibes, I'll get my friend Pastor Mary to say a blessing over it before Doug dons it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Finally taking time to update

Last night I had a wonderful evening. My daughter, hubby and good friends went down to Toronto to Hugh's Room for an evening of fine food and music. The food, as usual, was delicious. Daughter had a salmon dish (she's getting very adventurous these days!) and enjoyed it immensely. Then she had a chocolate dessert that appeared to be almost orgasmic. Me? I had a chicken linguine dish and pumpkin cheesecake. Probably not as delicious as my friend Irene makes, but since she hasn't shared with me yet I just can't say for certain.

The reason for the excursion? Tanglefoot was having a CD release concert. Our general rule of thumb is that if the band is playing at a venue within a three-hour drive from home, we attend. Whether there's a CD being released or not. The music is so much fun, the regular attendees also a lot of fun, and we just enjoy getting out to see the guys.

Last night was no exception. The band was amazing. The addition of the new violinist, Sandra, has added an entirely new level of energy and excitement. They played all 8 songs from the new CD, titled "Dance Like Fire," and the music is ... words fail me. I've loved every piece of music I've heard the band perform. Every piece. But the new songs? They take my breath away. The musical repertoire now includes a bluesy piece called "Hard Work," a thought-provoking piece called "For the Day," as well as some downright fun songs like "The Whiskey Trick" and Boot Soup." Of course, we purchased the CD and got autographs from everyone. (The keyboard player, Bryan Weirmier, also has released a CD which was purchased last night as well. Haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but I anticipate it will be enjoyed as thoroughly as Rob Ritchie's and Terry Young's CDs.)

Now that things have settled down nicely with the shop, I have imposed a schedule on myself. In the mornings, I must do the book-work, organize myself, and do the little things on my shop to-do list. Like tidying up the desk area, getting my filing system set up, make up the next order(s) to be submitted. Busy work.

Afternoons? They are mine -- all mine! I get to play with the various yarns and wools, sketch out design ideas, try new colour combinations. It is the best part of my day.

Whilst unpacking and setting up the shop, I enjoyed looking at the alpaca yarns I brought in. One of my favourite yarns is a line called Atacama Alpaca--a fingering weight, hand-painted alpaca yarn. I have some in my stash at home, and plenty at the store. At home I'm considering making a Clapotis shawl ... but at work? Well, I found some little sheep buttons. See?They seemed to want to play with the purple colourway. And then there was this nice pattern in a book ... and it all came together nicely.

Here you see the very first display item knitted for my shop:

As mentioned previously, the yarn is Atacama Alpaca. The sweater is from the book Araucanian Moments, by designer Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton. The design is called Turehelm. I used 3 skeins of wool and 4mm needles.

The design itself is actually kind of neat. The lower back and lower fronts are knit up separately. Then stitches are cast on for the sleeve and knitted up, basically identical to the fronts. But at the shoulder area, you switch to an extended garter stitch pattern and continue. The pieces are then stitched together at the centre back and attached to the fronts. Rather ingenius, actually. The button band gets added, and viola! A sweater. Cute as the dancing sheep buttons!

Since blogger insisted on messing up my photo order, you'll just have to wait until the next post to see the other lovelies I've been working on. Suffice to say that this past week has been prolific.

See you soon!

Monday, October 16, 2006


The felting craze is over a year old now. I have steadfastly resisted that slippery slope. After all, why would you want to shrink something that you've spent so much time knitting? Don't you want the even stitches, the exquisite needlework to speak for itself as to your skill? Huh? Don't you?

All right. Let me try a different approach. I am a knitting purist. The act of knitting is what turns my crank. The even row after row of stitches. The intricacies of a perfectly turned cable. The exquisite look of perfectly executed lace.

Still not buying it, are you? A tough audience.

So after a year of gentle sneering at the concept of felting, I've been forced to enter the fray. You see, I have a knitting class starting tonight. The project is a felted bag. I needed a sample. I needed a "before felting" sample. Because the samples previously used have moved away. After much deliberation, I selected six colours to make two bags. I cast on and knit. I finished the knitting and I assembled. And ... (deep breath here) ... I felted.

Doug laughed himself silly. You see, he has been privy to the musings over the past year of the attraction of felting. And knows that I just Dont. Felt.

Until Thursday, October 12.

The bag in the lower left corner is made with Paton's Bottle Green, Paprika and Sage. And felted. Twice through the washing machine. The bag on the right is the pre-felting sample. It is Paton's Navy, New Denim and Bottle Green. The upper left? Well ... here's where it gets really interesting. You see, I only NEED two bags. One pre-felting and one post-felting. That's it. That's all the felting I need to complete.

The upper left? You just won't let me forget, will you? That's destined to be a Christmas present for Brandi. It's also Paton's ... Royal Purple and the novelty yarn is On-Line Punta. Sigh. What's worse is that now I'm wandering around the house looking at mixing bowls, place mats, and coasters and wondering what colours I'd use to replicate them in felting.

If anyone is interested in having the pattern for the bags, e-mail me and I'll send it on.

On another side note -- does anyone know what has happened with the Ontario Knitter's Ring? I see twelve members, several of which are no longer active. 31 members waiting approval, and that number has been growing for a couple months. Do we still have a ring master?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My very first Knitting Night at the store!!

Tonight was the very first Knitting Night at my store. We've been meeting at the former store in Greenbank for the longest time, and have become friends. So when I opened, of course I planned to have Knitting Night as well. Tonight was the very first time. I was nervous. Did I have enough chairs? Did I have tea? Did I have a treat? Did I have utensils?

I did have enough chairs. Two extra, in fact, but I think they will be filled next week. I did not have tea. I did not have a treat. I did not have utensils. How to remedy these failings? Remember my wonderful husband -- he of the "I don't do wool" mutterings? He delivered dinner to me in the store (leftovers from Thanksgiving--turkey, dressing, mashed sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrot salad and cranberry sauce) and then went over to the local grocery store and bought me some paper plates, napkins, cups, forks and a treat. When he brought my dinner in, he also brought in the Brown Betty teapot and a kettle.

Here you see the Sunderland Sisters , Irene and Cathy. They are great fun to be around--wonderfully wicked sense of humour and great story tellers. Irene is working on some to-die-for Handmaiden cashmere. Lucky her! Here you see Barb, Megan and Cathy. Barb wandered into my store over the weekend with her mother and sister. She listened carefully as I gave her several strategies for sneaking yarn into the house without her husband knowing. Apparently, she wants to learn more methods of stash enhancement.
Megan and Cathy are new knitters. I met them at the Uxbridge Library this past year, in a knitting class. Megan is a silversmith by trade, and has taken to knitting like a duck takes to water. She has been making felted purses to sell in her silver shop. Cathy is working on a felted purse for her neice for Christmas.

Me? When I'm not taking pictures and being silly, I'm still working on Doug's sweater. I'm almost up the dividing row and will then get to do sleeves before commencing into the colour-work. For the store, I'm also making a felted purse (two, actually) for demonstration purposes at my learn-to-knit class on Monday evening. One purse is actually in the washing machine even as I type. Tomorrow (or Saturday) I'll get a picture and show you what I've done. I'm excited -- I've never felted anything before.

Well. Never on purpose.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Another week

Another week has passed us by. I finished up the pretty yellow baby set I was working on for the Durham Crisis Pregnancy Centre. Face it -- once you've seen one lacey baby set, you've seen 'em all. The only thing that changes is the colour of the wool.

But having finished up the baby set meant that I could start another project. I decided to start Doug's Nordic ski sweater. After all, he has been coerced volunteered his Aran sweater to be kept at the store for display purposes. It has been handy, in fact, as I can now demonstrate how nicely Paton's Merino knits up.

But, when I was making the transition from ribbing to sweater body, a disaster occurred! See?!
The silly needle broke!! This was part of the Boye Needlemaster set that I got when I was a newlywed (to my first husband). Who knew that they wouldn't last forever?! I suppose that after thirty years this long I should have expected something like this. But I didn't. And I had previously discarded ALL my other circulars. So last night I couldn't knit. Until I went to the store and picked up a pair of Clover Bamboo circulars. I guess that's theb est part of owning a yarn shop -- access to whatever size needle you need.

Speaking of the shop, the last photos anyone could see the place was still a work in process. So this is what it looks like today --
This is the alpaca and yummy yarn wall. There's lots of alpaca, of various types. All yummy. It's such a challenge not to spread it around on the floor and roll in it. There's also some Noro as well as Elspeth Lavold. Oooh-la-la! What wonderful stuff!
This is the Paton's wall. I am carrying Paton's Classic Merino, Canadiana and Shetland Chunky. The empty cubicles on the right end are where the baby yarns will land. I was lucky enough to score some of the Paton's SWS (soy and merino blend) too, as well as all the colours of the Classic. I'm missing a few colours in the Canadiana line, and will remedy that next week.

The shop has been a lot of fun. I've had lots and lots of folks stopping in to browse, visit and buy. Many folks are thrilled to have a local wool shop. Mostly they've been driving to Oshawa or Whitby, so being right there in Port Perry is a real treat. The Grand Opening will be happening in November, but I don't know for certain what days.

This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. We will have turkey, stuffing, yams, apple pie and pumpkin pie. I bought a pumpkin at the grocery store tonight so it will be authentic pumpkin pie. Can't wait!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Never Enough Wool

Tuesday is D-Day for me. I have announced to all and sundry that Tuesday would be the first day my new store is open. Whether I was really ready or not. Whether I had inventory or not. Tuesday was IT. I *WOULD* be open on Tuesday.

So my lovely husband and I have been working steadily and with great devotion to my store over the past two weeks. Last week's schedule was that days were spent installing siding at the job site. Evenings we were down at my store.

This week, push has come to shove. We've been down at the store working every day. Without fail. Getting lots accomplished, too, I might add.

Wednesday morning I arrived at my store and found this:

Cool, eh? A sign and everything. That must make it official that I am really, truly going to be opening a store!

The inside of the store has been a real challenge. There was a 30-year old carpet installed, along with a truly ugly counter. The walls were painting a purple-ish shade of white, with purple woodwork. Yes, I did say purple. It was hideous. And smelled worse. The former tenants were big fans of scented carpet cleaner, scented air-fresheners and perfume. I'm not terribly sensitive to smells, and even I was disturbed.

The carpet came up. The woodwork was removed. The walls were painted. The blinds were removed. The floor was washed. Then the floor was replaced with a laminate floating floor. Dead easy to install, very easy to maintain, and looks wonderful. See?
And finally -- the smell is gone! We had to clean the filter on the shop vacuum to get the last of the smell to disappear. But finally, it has.

Bell has come by and installed the telephone. We will be installing new woodwork this evening, painting it white, and then tomorrow -- store fixtures and inventory!

I will be open Tuesday!

I promise that this blog will not become devoted to my store. Granted, most of my knitting endeavours will revolve around models for the store. But I promise that I won't blather on about my next big sale, promotion idea, or push for visitors. I will talk about knitting, yarns and patterns.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Catching up on life.

It's been a long time since my last post. Partly my fault. Life has been busy. What with trying to finish up the siding job and get things moving on my store AND get the daughter started in school and getting her to and from her various jobs ... actual time spent sitting down at the computer to update the blog has been scarce.
Add to this the frustration that is Blogger. I read about many folks complaining about Blogger. Up til now, I haven't had the same frustrations. However, for the past three days I've had something to talk about, WITH pictures, and I couldn't get Blogger to accept the photos. Tried Hello. Tried through Blogger. Nothing. Finally I decided to try the upload by way of Microsoft (gasp! I am an avid Firefox user, not that I know much about it!!) and viola! Today we have pictures. Would this have worked with Firefox? I don't know. I went straight to Explorer.
So I have been working on a tee-shirt from the Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics. It is a variation on a basic tee, made by adding a role of eyelets at the hem, midway up and the collar.
Here you see it lying on the blocking board.

I wish I could remember what day I cast on. I don't. But I do remember the day I finished it. September 20. I had to modify the pattern a bit because the yarn I chose did not get the same guage that the pattern specified. I used a yarn called Reflections, which was a 55/45 cotton/viscose blend. I really like the shine that the viscose brings to the fabric. Using an American size 4 needle, I worked at 6 stitches to the inch, while the pattern specified 5 stitches. A little math later, and I was good to go.
I hate seams. So much so that I oped to knit the design in the round rather than back and forth.
"I knit socks on (American) size 2 needles, so this should be a breeze," I thought. Well, with socks you see progress immediately and impressively. With this many stitches, you don't. I am heartily sick of stockinette stitch at the moment.

These pictures really don't do the tee justice. It is a beautiful royal blue, and the cotton and viscose make a gorgeous fabric. Beautiful drape, classic design. I rarely wear sleeveless tops since I don't like the look of my upper arms. This one was the exception.
I would show you a picture of me wearing the tee. Unfortunately, Blogger and I are still having words over photos and how they upload. So you'll have to make do with these crummy shots. Sorry.
There were also going to be some photos of Henry exploring the time-out box (cat carrier) but Blogger inexplicably decided to delete it. There was also a photo of my daughter displaying her wild side. It's not here. Same reason.
And if I ever figure out how to control the order in which photos appear ... I had five photos, selected in a specific order to match my anticipated prose. They appeared in the post out of order. And in trying to get the photos back to my planned order, I lost three of them.
Ah well.
In other news -- Things I learned this summer:
1. I CAN climb up to the third level of construction scaffolding and be comfortable, as long as the platform is not at the highest level of said scaffolding. (Imagine a photo here of myself sitting nonchalantly on the platform, my knitting and cup of coffee at my side.) The siding work progresses, despite setbacks. It turns out that pine siding covered with stain (not paint) requires double nails to keep it from bowing, etc. Doug is off installing the second set of nails and rebuilding scaffolding this morning. I will join him shortly.
2. I really miss bike riding. Since the advent of the siding work, I have been physically exhausted and not contemplating a bike ride at the end of the day. My feet hurt. My ankles hurt. My ankles hurt so much that I now have a ganglion on the inside of my left ankle. (Imagine a photo of my ankle with the lovely addition of the ganglion. Man, are my ankles bony!) Since I've had one on my wrist, I should've suspected that I could get them on my ankles as well. Oh well. Better arch support and shoes will help that problem -- as in keep it from getting worse and developing one on the right ankle. And the siding work will be done soon.
3. A 35-year-old trailer with 600-lb. springs can only be overloaded so many times. Yesterday was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. (Imagine here a photo of said trailer with a broken spring and a ruptured tire.) We had been to Toronto to visit my doctor and I suggested a quick trip to Ikea. I imagined picking up the long-sought foot-stools to my Ikea Poang chairs and more window shopping for stuff for my store. Instead, we bought a shelving unit, a cart of wood cast-offs, AND the foot-stools. (Imagine here a photo of the trailer and car loaded to the gills.) Of course, we had not planned for a shopping spree and had not brought the trailer with us. Doug left me at Ikea with my knitting to guard the purchases while he raced home to retrieve the trailer. Two hours later, he showed up in front of me only to hear "I can't move -- I'm knitting backwards! Like a good sport, he went and purchased a cinnamon role and daintily (NOT!) fed me bites while I finished tinking. On the way home, the trailer had its mishap with the spring. And with no spring, the trailer rested its fender on the wheel, resulting in the tire rupture. It was an interesting day.
4. You can use a second trailer to haul home the first broken-down trailer. I know. (Imagine a photo here.) We did it. The second trailer had no lighting system. So we raced back to the abandoned trailer before dark, loaded it up, plugged in the lighting system, and drove carefully home. I'm glad we weren't stopped by the local constabulary. It would have been interesting. The trailer with wheels on the ground did not have brake lights, but the passenger trailer did. And they worked. The trailer on the ground did not have a license plate. But the passenger trailer did. And, even better, it was the plate that officially belonged to the trailer on the ground. I think the policeman would've been too busy laughing at the day's adventure to write a ticket. But we'll never know since it didn't happen. (Thank goodness!)
Work on the store continues. We have painted the walls a beautiful blue. The ceiling will be primed tonight, as will the area around the front window. We have ordered the flooring and it will be here Monday. One set of display shelves is already there, courtesy of the broken-down trailer. I will retrieve the others, along with inventory, once the floor is installed. Then I can start stocking and setting up. I am SO excited! I will officially be open on Tuesday, October 3. I anticipate a grand opening celebration sometime in November.
Whew. I shouldn't go so long between posts -- or I should lead a calmer life!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Not much knitting around here ...

Because --

My husband and I have been working on siding. This involves chop saws, jig saws, hammers, nails, scaffolding and ladders. By the end of the day, I'm so exhausted that I can barely eat dinner, let alone sit down and knit. So the knitting projects have come to a pretty decisive slow down.

I have finished a hat and pair of mittens to be gifted at Christmas. Pictures? Well ... husband took the camera with him to fishing camp. (The daughter is snorting at the thought of calling this a camping experience. When one takes a 4-liter bag of milk with him, it canNOT be called camping!) Husband does not fish ... in fact, I believe he didn't even take the fishing pole with him. So basically it's a l-o-n-g weekend away with friends. He deserves it. No one should be obliged to live with me full-time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Not that I'm tough to get along with, mind.

In husband's absence, daughter and I went into town to my soon-t0-be wool store and set to work on the demolition phase. Ripped up the yucky carpet, took off the piece-of-crap molding holding the carpet down, cleaned the plate glass window and started work on destroying the left-behind counter. All in all, quite an enjoyable experience. Turns out the daughter is actually pretty good with a small pry-bar. One of her favorite experiences, in fact. Hmm.

Oh ... you wonder about the soon-to-be wool store comment. When my favorite local yarn store decided to go out of business, I debated a long time about opening a store myself. I've visited the stores near by. Not that they are bad, but none of them felt like home to me. OK to visit, but not somewhere that I could sit and knit and laugh myself silly.

I dutifully put my university education to work and drew up a business plan, complete with projected budget and marketing plan. Still unable to decide whether to press forward, I finally put it in God's hands. If this was something He would support, he would help me find a store location that would be both affordable and feasible as a yarn store.

Well ... not a week later, I found a location that fit the criteria.

Today I went back to my favorite shop and spent an enjoyable day sorting through the wool and chatting with my friend. We discussed wools that sell, wools that don't. Designers that are wonderful, and designers that aren't.

And I selected wool. Lots of wool for my soon-to-be-shop. Lots and lots and lots of wool.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

So what DO you do when it's too hot to knit?

I don't know about anyone else, but when it's too hot to knit I ...finish small projects that have been hanging around for far too long. Small items -- ones that don't take too much lap room. You know -- like this:

This is a baby set for my sister's new baby. Once we know if it's a girl or boy, the proper ribbons will be threaded through the eyelets and -- viola! Instant gift!

Accompanying the baby gift will be the sweater above -- just right for a big sister. I posted a picture of it sans buttons. But with buttons -- it's wonderful.

In other projects, I finished off a baby set for the Durham Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

Last but not least -- I finally finished up the surprise for my daughter-in-law. The cami was made in a lovely cotton from Sirdar. Just right for those hot summer days, don't you think?
So what do YOU do when it's too hot to knit?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Too hot to knit

The last few days have been beastly hot, with afternoon rain. Too hot to knit, in fact. And the outlook is for more of the same. What do you do when it is too hot to knit? Exercise, of course. And the preferred exercise in this household is mountain biking.

Sunday afternoon we ventured out for an afternoon ride. Sure, the sky was overcast and grey. But it had been that way for hours. We had plenty of time before the rain. We did the first half-loop. Great fun. Couldn't be better. Started for the secondf half.

Now, the way we ride this trail, there is a decision point. You can turn left and head immediately to the parking lot and be there in 5 minutes or less. Or you can turn right and continue your ride, arriving at the parking lot about 30 minutes later. We were feeling widely scattered sprinkles during our approach to this decision point. Very widely scattered sprinkles.

So we turned right.

Mother Nature was NOT amused. Not even a little bit. We hadn't gone 30 meters when the skies opened up. Torrential downpour. But -- hey -- we were hot and exercising so this was not a problem. We kept going.

Then Mother Nature upped the ante with lightning. Of course, we felt by this time that we had reached the point of no return and it would be a quicker route to the parking lot if we continued on. This meant, of course, that we could not stop at our usual resting points because they were on high ground, beside tall trees, and we were riding lightning rods -- I mean metal bicycles.

We persevered. We pedaled madly. We went through and around mud puddles. Lakes, more like it. And we ended up at the parking lot in a record 20 minutes. Of course, we had no clean clothes (there is no changing room). We did not have towels either, because the lake -- the reason for needing towels -- was at home.

We did what any self-respecting biker would do -- threw the bikes on the car, piled in, and headed for home. This is what Doug looked like.

You can't see it, but there was actually a very small dry triangle of material on the side of his legs. The shoes and socks had already come off. The socks were wrung out. He squeezed a good half-cup of water from them. Everything was completely drenched. I didn't look much better.

We jumped in the lake completely dressed. It seemed a good way to rinse some of the mud out of the clothes before laundering.

Did I mention that we had a dinner invitation that evening? We opted to take the dry car.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lace Knitting

I enjoy knitting complicated patterns. Cables, yarn-overs, lace. The more the merrier. Traditionally, I have knit these patterns in knitting worsted weight wool. You know--wool with some substance to it.

At the Knitter's Frolic in April, however, I saw some absolutely lovely, to-die-for lace-weight alpaca. I don't knit with such finicky wool. Never have. And what do you do with a lace-weight wool except make scarves or shawls? I don't wear 'em.

But that alpaca called to me. All day. Softly and insidiously. Until I could resist no longer. Then I went searching for a pattern. Fiddlesticks Knitting Whisper Scarf.

Next I tried to find the perfect rocking chair. To no avail. But if I sat still the platform rocker was comfortable, the space inviting. The knitting alluring.

I finished the scarf and blocked the scarf. In this heat. But you know what? It was definitely worth it. This is the end result:

Truly awesome. Light and airy. Light enough that a poof of wind will make it flutter nicely. Small enough that I can carry it with me and admire my work. And show it to unsuspecting friends and neighbours.

The Yarn Harlot was asked once what her last project would be if she were limited to only one more knitting project. She thought a bit, and decided that a wedding ring shawl would be chosen, for a multitude of reasons. She's right. Lace weight beauty, requisite skills, and then the thrill of blocking.

Fortunately, I have another project on the needles already!

My sister is having surgery tomorrow, to remove the upper-left lobe of her lungs and remove the cancer. Please think of her and her daughter.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Knitters are such nice people

I've been teaching a knitting class at the Uxbridge Library, arranged by the Friends of the Uxbridge Library. The class is offered free of charge to interested patrons. The room is donated by the Library. And it gets me out of the house one night a week.

Last night was the official last night of the class. One of the "students" is a silversmith and operates, with her husband, a studio. She made a thank you gift for me and presented it last night. Imagine -- my very own silver stitch markers!

The class also gave me a nice card to say "thanks." Apparently they have figured out that I really, really like cats.

The students are becoming enthralled with the process of knitting. So much so that they have requested me to ask if it would be possible for us to continue meeting at the library for the rest of the summer. The library has very graciously given us permission to meet for the next three Thursday evenings. We'll see if the group wants to continue meeting beyond that.

I hope so. Knitters are such nice people.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Families -- Part Two

Remember my sister? The one out in Missouri who was having surgery for breast cancer? The good news is that the lumpectomy removed the entire lump, with clean edges. Which means, as I understand it, that the cancer had not spread anywhere. This is good news.

The bad news? She had a spot on her lungs that she had been advised was the after-effect of the pleurisy in January. She was having a routine recheck for pleurisy and complications, when the spot on her lung was observed to still be there. This was NOT the plan. The plan was that when the pleurisy was cleared up, the spot would go away. After testing and a biopsy, it was determined that the spot was, in fact, lung cancer.

The good news? The MRI did not show any spread of cancer to the brain. Apparently, lung cancer's favorite place to metastasize is the brain. So at least we have good news. Also in the category of good news is that a surgery on the lung cancer is scheduled for July 20.

My sister has one child--a daughter named Melissa. She is in the category of being a full-grown child. But she is still terribly distraught with her mother's health crisis. As a sister of the patient, I am terribly distraught. I cannot imagine what Melissa feels.

Unfortunately, all this health crisis is happening in Missouri. That is a long, long ways from Ontario. And I can't be there for them. At least physically.

Being sent with today's Canada Post, is this: a prayer shawl for Melissa. It's not much, but it's what I can do right now. Down the road? We'll just have to see. And pray for a good outcome surgically.

The shawl came from Stephanie Pearl McPhee's book, Knitting Rules. I used three balls of Lion Brand Jiffy and some white yarn from my stash.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Houston, we (may) have a problem.

The stash:

The stash containment system:

Does anyone see a problem here?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Yarn Haul Without Comparison

My favorite yarn store is, regrettably, going out of business. I am broken-hearted at the thought of losing this priceless resource.

Of course, with the imminent demise of my favorite shop, it was imperative that I make some purchases to tide me over until I find another favorite yarn shop. Or open my own. But that's another story.

So today I went out to the shop and this is what I got:

In the upper left corner you see balls of red, gold and white Zara along with a ball of green wool acquired at the Knitter's Frolic. These are destined to be a sweater for Doug -- along with a lot of other balls of green.

Immediately below the Zara is a hank of yellow/cream baby alpaca. This will be mittens for the upcoming winter.

Lying next to the alpaca are two balls of alpaca in lovely jewel tones. These will become either mittens or a hat.

The mauve is an alpaca/silk blend, destined to become a sweater shown in the current Interweave Knits. For myself, if you can imagine.

There are two hanks of hand-dyed alpaca, crying to become a shawl.

Two balls of Regia silk, planned to be a pair of socks for Doug.

Three balls of cotton, which want to be a summer top.

Eleven hanks of a lovely cotton blend which also want to become a summer top.

There are some balls of Debbie Bliss cotton/angora blend which will become a summer top.

There are also ten hanks of Silky Wool which will become a wonderful top for me.

So much knitting, so many fibers. My mind went into overload and I couldn't give you a careful description of them.

Sigh. I'm in heaven.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Learning about myself

Apparently, not only can I be bought (see previous post on June 15), I am also not trustworthy when visiting yarn stores.

You see, Stephanie hosted her birthday party at Lettuce Knit in Toronto. Using the excuse that I wanted her autograph, I hied down to Toronto and perused said yarn store.

Honestly, these skeins just followed me home. Er ... they jumped into my arms, begging to be welcomed into a happy home. (Never mind that Stephanie and I dumped the basket holding the alpaca yarn onto the floor with our fondling. Nor the flailing elbows that prevailed around the basket holding the other.)

So what you see here is the result of my trek to town:
On the left you see two skeins of Misti Alpaca, 100% baby alpaca. The colour is actually more of a buttery yellow, and the texture is to die for. I now own 800 meters of this delight, and am contemplating a shawl.

On the right you see one skein of Seasilk, from Handmaiden. This fiber is 70% silk and 30% Seacell. The fiber purportedly exudes vitamin E while you are working with it and while wearing the finished product. We'll see. All I know is that it reminds me of my trip to the Caribbean last year with my daughter.

Honestly, they followed me home!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday already?

So where in the world does time go? I can't believe it's been so long since my last post.

What's been happening in the meantime? Well, I've been helping out a friend at her yarn shop. Yes, it is now official. I CAN be bought. I've also started teaching a knitting class at the Uxbridge Library, jointly sponsored by the Friends of the Uxbridge Library and Yonder Yarns. That does take up some time.

My younger sister announced that she is expecting a baby this fall. This means that not only do I get to knit for a baby, but I also get to make things for the neice as well. After all, one mustn't forget the new big sister, right?

Here you see Emery's sweater. The pattern is from Sirdar, #3061. It is a reasonably easy pattern, both to read and to knit. Be aware, however, that the pattern details have been omitted from the sleeve directions. The mistake was quite easy to spot, so I didn't have to spend much time making corrections.

The yarn itself is Magic Garden Classic, a super-wash wool. The colour is just scrumptious. The yarn was purchased at the Knitters Frolic last April. The sweater is seen here pre-blocking. I also need to find the perfect buttons. Any ideas? The neice is 4 years old ...

I also discovered that my guage was strange with this pattern. I've been doing pretty well, getting guage. With this pattern, needle and wool ... I basically ended up using the stitch numbers for the size 1-2 year size, and using the length directions for the 3-4 year size. I really haven't experienced this before. But it worked, so I guess I can't complain. Well, I CAN. I'm just not planning on it.

In other news ... the Yarn Harlot's birthday was Wednesday. She celebated by having a party at Lettuce Knit in Toronto. Just because I'm a wild and crazy kind of person, I decided to go. I took the GO train from the Oshawa station to the Danforth Station, walked up to the Main Station of the TTC and rode the subway over to the Spadina Station. In a perfect world, I would've then gotten on the Spadina streetcar and had a pleasant ride to the proper cross-street.

Instead, I missed the transfer to the streetcar and started walking. Now, it is legend and well-known amongst my family and friends that I am totally directionless. So of course I turned the wrong direction out of the subway station and started walking. After two blocks I realized that the sun was setting on my left ... which meant that I was walking north. This knowledge really pleased me since I am so directionless. Unfortunately, the store is located in Kensington Market which is south of the Spadina station. I turned around and started walking south. Along the way, I saw a beautiful double rainbow. It was getting close to 9:00 pm, and I was afraid that I would miss the festivities, but at least I saw the rainbow. It was worth it.

I arrived at Lettuce Knit and discovered that the festivities were just warming up. Stephanie handed me a beer and welcomed me. I perched next to a couple of new friends -- also knitting baby projects. Melanie, who was gracious enough to see that I boarded the proper streetcar at the end of the evening, had a baby bootie in her bag. It was knitted but not seamed, as she was not sure that it really was a bootie. I showed her that it was, loaned her a needle and scissors, and made a new friend. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get an e-mail address. If anyone knows who she is and how she can be contacted, it would be great if you could share with me.

Finally, after consuming the beer donated by Stephanie and having some munchies, I asked her to sign her book for me and pose for a photo. She did. I am so lucky. And Stephanie is truly a wonderful person.

Stephanie says "Same time, next year." I am *SO* going to be there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

In search of the perfect rocking chair

I don't know about anyone else, but I know that I love rocking chairs. In my humble opinion, the world would be a lot better place if we all sat down and spent some time in a rocking chair, sipping tea, and even knitting a row or two. The problem with this (and it pains me greatly to admit that there is a problem) is that a good rocking chair is difficult to find. Difficult? Try nearly impossible.

In my house, there are currently three rocking chairs. All purchased with me in mind, and purchased by me. Tested beforehand, I might add. These chairs are sly and sneaky. They test out perfectly fine in the store or at the yard sale. Once convinced they have a safe home, they morph into evil beings.

For instance, take this chair. This is an Ikea chair. My son and daughter-in-law have two of them at their apartment. I sat in them and rocked. They were wonderful. Quiet and comfortable. I even knit at their apartment. The chairs there cooperated wonderfully.

So we purchased a pair of chairs, exactly like my son's, for our home. Unfortunately for us, this year the chairs seem to be the most popular chair Ikea carries. We managed to score the chairs and chair pads we wanted. After several trips to our local Ikea, we have even managed to procure the pads for the footstools. The footstool itself? Not to be found. Scarce is an understatement. We have been looking since last August. To no avail. The chair would be just fine with a footstool. Without? Well, I'm not the tallest person in the world. My feet don't quite hit the floor, and the chair cuts into the back of my knees. Besides, and this is not the fault of the chair, this chair is in the middle of my living room. The daughter does her homework on the floor right in front of this chair. The television is 8 feet away. The stereo is likewise 8 feet away. One or both of them seem to be constantly in use. For lace knitting, this arrangement leaves a lot to be desired.

To obtain the necessary peace and quiet for lace knitting, I often retreat to the bedroom. This is a parental oasis of calm and quiet. No children are permitted, except by special dispensation. Only one cat is allowed in, and she is the quiet one. One would think that the atmosphere would be conducive to lace knitting. Wouldn't you?

One would think. However, the bentwood rocker has other ideas. It squeaks on the backward motion, and it squeals on the forward motion. I still haven't figured out how, since there are no moving parts. But squeak and squeal it does. I suppose if I rocked in a constant, even motion no one would mind. But I seem to rock furiously -- probably when I am on the return row which has no yarn-overs or knit two togethers. Then I rock and pause, rock and pause. Followed by furious rocking.

This drives my husband crazy. It doesn't do my mental state any good either. Squeak. Squeal. Squeak. Squeal. Kind of defeats the relaxing purpose of knitting.

So I went searching for a rocking chair that would not squeak. I wandered yard sales, hoping for that elusive perfect rocking chair. This chair followed me home one Saturday.

At its previous home, it rocked quietly. Smoothly backward, smoothly forwards. And silently. The owner claimed to have rocked her babies in this chair. Quietly backward, quietly forward. I tested it. Really. Tested it thoroughly, I might add. And it was quiet. So I plunked my hard-earned cash down and brought it home.

My lovely husband carried it upstairs. I lovingly washed the cushion covers so that they would not smell. I started my Fiddlesticks Knitting Whisper Scarf out of lace-weight alpaca from Silver Cloud Alpacas. And the blasted chair squeaks. Horribly. Even if I'm not moving! How does it do that?! Oh, I've figured out that if I sit in exactly the right spot, with my left foot in the perfect place on the floor, my right foot in its precisely proper position, with my tongue pushed firmly behind my top front teeth, the chair does not complain. But have you tried to knit lace under those conditions? Impossible, I say.

There will be a yard sale Saturday in Port Perry. There is a better-than-average chance that you will find at least one rocking chair there!

Monday, May 29, 2006


You know, there is nothing like a family. Sometimes they drive you nuts. Sometimes you just love them to pieces. You don't get to choose your family. It just is. From the minute of your birth, until the end of your days. Friends -- yeah, you can choose them. And you can unchoose them if you want. But family is forever.

And there is something else about families, well, my family anyway. We just don't seem to stay in touch very well. I have a sister out west who met my daughter for the first time at my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. The daughter was 12. We don't snail mail very well. We don't even e-mail very well. To make it worse, we don't even telephone each other very well.

Until illness strikes. When my mother was ill, we were talking several times every day. Until we all met at the hospital and spent the last days together there. Then everyone went home and we vowed that we would stay in touch. And we did, for a short time.

And then we slipped into our old patterns of non-communication. Sure, there was the occasional e-mail and the even more rare telephone call. But really? We just didn't communicate.

My sister has had a rough 2006. She spent some time in January in the hospital, culminating in open-chest surgery to relieve the pleurisy. Followed by plenty of follow-up. And she quit smoking!

As part of the follow-up, she went for her (first) annual physical in five years. And they found breast cancer. Fortunately, it appears to be easily resolved with a lumpectomy and radiation. But there is still a spot on her lung as well. Scarey stuff. And she is way out west, a two-day drive from family. I can't be there for her, as much as I want to. So I made this:

The Clapotis that everyone else has made, except that mine is filled with prayers for healing, good health, and love. Lots of love. Lots and lots of love.

The yarn is Sirdar Supersoft Toddler Aran, acrylic and washable. It seems my sister is allergic to wool. Wouldn't it have been awful to have made the shawl in wool, only to have her break out in hives on top of everything else? I wouldn't do that to my sister, even on a bad day. The garden belongs to my neighbour, and it is as beautiful as it appears in the photo. Thanks, neighbour, for the loan.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I will thrum no more, forever

This is a paraphrase of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. Here you see my abortive attempt at thrums. This is the ribbing and eight rows of a thrummed mitten. All done perfectly and well. At least I think so, but I've never done this before so what do I know.

In any event, after this terrific endeavour at thrums, it was bedtime. So I slept.

I awoke the next day with pain in my shoulders. Aching, dull pain that wasn't serious enough to take medicines, but enough to make me cranky and irritable. (Children, be quiet! I'm not normally cranky and irritable! Really!!)

At first, I thought it was because I slept on my side at night ... I couldn't figure out why I would suddenly be sore. Did the futon lose all comfort overnight? And here I thought it would be a gradual process. Anyway, I thought about picking up the thrummed mitten again ... and with the first attempt to tear the roving into thrum-sized pieces, my shoulders REALLY hurt. I stopped.

The next day, my shoulders were feeling ... um ... better. After I had spent another night sleeping on my sides. And not thrumming. The second day was even better.

My conclusion? Thrumming is not gonna become my passion. Sorry to all my relatives who were hoping for warm winter woolen, thrummed mitts. Just can't do it. At least I can still knit.

(Was that sound a bunch of heart-felt sighs of relief?)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Last words of a lace knitter

For those of you who have wondered, after extreme research I have finally determined the last spoken words a lace knitter will utter. "Life line? I don't need a life line. " Inevitably, after speaking these words in a voice bursting with confidence, the knitter will realize that something strange has taken possession of her knitting. Instead of 37 stitches between the markers, there will inexplicably be 36. Instead of 9 stitches at the ends of the lace panels, there will be 7 AND 8. In other words, there will be a mess.

Further research has further shown that no matter how painstakingly the knitter tinks back stitch after tiny stitch, it is absolutely impossible to take only one row back. Because the mess that has become the knitting will inexorably slide down the knitting. Especially if the lace-weight wool is fluffy.

So ... one MIGHT ask how this painstaking research was accomplished. If one were truly crazy.
Because, you see, this research smacks plainly of the bitter voice of experience. (I did say bitter, didn't I?)

After days and days of tinking, counting, cursing, drinking, tinking, counting -- well, I am sure you get the picture. I finally have resolved the problems and been able to stop knitting backwards. What you see below is 101 rows of my beautiful, alpaca lace scarf.
Yes, after all this, I still love the project, the yarn and lace.

Have I mentioned that my family swear that I am stark, raving mad?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Baby Overload

I've been knitting diligently on baby sets for the Durham Crisis Pregnancy Centre. I enjoy making baby things because they go so quickly -- even with the teeny, tiny needles and light-weight wool. I also like the feeling that I'm doing something good for the world, by showing the clients of the Centre that someone really does care about them. Will it help? I certainly hope so, but I have no way of knowing.

This week I finished up this little set. I found the leaf-pattern on the sacque yoke and hat to be adorable. Easy to knit too, which was a bonus. The lace pattern in the body of the sacque? Well, let's not talk about it. Easy to do, and yet not. Every row was different, every row required counting, every row threw me a curve. Glad to be done, that's for sure.

The pattern came from Paton's Book No. 111 titled Nursery Styles for 3-12 Months by Beehive. A classic publication, which I believe dates from the 60s. Possibly a bit later, but I'm not certain. All I know is that the little sets are mostly adorable and I'm itching to try another one.

Last week I finished up this little blue set from the McCall's baby book that I use frequently. The picture doesn't do the colour justice as the colour really is a soft baby blue. I've made this set previously (in pink) and originally found the lace pattern frustrating. Actually, it is easier than the pattern shown above. Ten rows, six of which are knit straight across. How much nicer can that be?

Again, this set will be going to the Durham Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

In other news? My sister has announced the impending arrival of Baby #2. I'm so excited! This means that I simply *must* make something for the new baby, as well as big sister Emery. Of course, this also gives me a reason to browse through my (extensive) pattern collection and plan my next projects.

And finally the big news -- in less than 30 days my son will be home from Mexico! Only an eight-hour drive away, instead of multiple days. He has had a grand adventure and enjoyed himself. He lived through home-sickness, language problems, and Montezuma's Revenge.

And thrived. Doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Trillium time in Ontario

Springtime is a lovely time of year. The lake thaws, the geese and ducks come back. We see the occasional loon floating by. We even have a heron that lives near and we see it flying back and forth in its search for food. A couple nights ago Doug saw an otter fishing in the weed bed out beyond our dock. The grass is turning green and we are even getting some new grass in areas seeded last fall. The trees are turning a luscious shade of electric green as the leaves start to form. The cats are going crazy -- they can't wait to get outside in the morning to see what adventures await them.

And what do we people do to celebrate spring? We go mountain biking. Sometimes we even manage to not fall off the bikes. Today was one such day. We did the eastern loop of the conservation area park near us. There are some amazing up-hill climbs, followed by some truly exciting downhill rides. And then there is yet another reason to ride here:

Ooops. Not that! That's me recovering from the killer up-hill.

THIS is the reason to ride at Long Sault Conservation Area. This field of trilliums is hiding way back in the trail system. To access it, one must navigate some truly challenging hills. Both up and down. But once you get here, it is all worth it. Trilliums as far as the eye can see.

The other reason to ride this part of the trails? It's filled with poison ivy later in the year. Doug and I both seem to react amazingly well to it ... so there is only a brief window of opportunity to explore this side of the park.

Today the trilliums were worth every panting effort.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A bicycle possessed

Carrie has decided that she likes mountain biking. This is way cool, because it means that we can all go mountain biking as a family activity.

Normally, this would be a really good thing. But for Carrie, mountain biking is becoming fraught with peril. Do you remember Calvin & Hobbes? Calvin's bicycle was possessed, and pursued him through various comic strips? And then the father went mountain biking and came home rather battered and bruised?

It seems that Carrie's bicycle is closely related to Calvin's. It is possessed. We went biking at Long Sault Conservation Area yesterday. It was a beautiful day -- sunny and warm. Perfect biking weather. We pedaled through the first half of the ride. Things were going well. Carrie had even pedaled up the first (killer) hill without stopping. Life was good.

The next stretch of the trail is referred to as "Joanna's Run" at our house because it is our friend and neighbour Joanna who introduced us to it. There's a challenging but do-able uphill, followed by a long and winding downhill. Twisty and turny. And fast.

Carrie is not a total adrenaline junky. She uses her brakes on the downhills. She tries to be careful. After all, she has gone over the handlebars before. She did not like it.

Yesterday she started down the hill, using her brakes. Going down hill, even with brakes, one tends to generate speed. And with increased speed comes more difficulty making turns. And on one turn, Carrie actually went a little wide. In the process of getting back on the trail ... well, no one really knows what really happened except the bike -- and it's not talking.

When Brandi caught up with her, Carrie was lying on the trail. The bike was doing a victory dance on Carrie's head. Carrie was face down, with her head pointing up the hill. The bicycle had her left foot pinned between the handlebars and the crossbar, and the back wheel (as mentioned previously) was bouncing on her head and shoulders. This part can be proven as there is a definite tire tread on the back shoulder of her shirt.

The good news? (I'm not sure that it really is good news I might add.) The bicycle was not damaged. The bad news? Carrie has a sprained left knee.

But you know what is truly way cool? Carrie wants to go biking again.

And for the record -- we are planning to get some holy water to sprinkle over the bicycle. It can't hurt, right?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Snuggles and Shawls

You know, I just don't get this picture up-loading thing. I tell the silly program to load one picture, followed by another. And I double check to see that the sequence is correct. But after it loads and I get to actually look at what I got ... the pictures are NOT in the order I wanted. I suspect that somewhere there is information on how to correct this. In the meantime, I'll just have to muddle along and try not to pull out my hair over it. Well, the brown ones anyway.

Henry and Meme are the best of friends. They do everything together. Even share the small kitty bed. I do note, however, that they are not sharing the bed and the sun-beam. Methinks it would be too warm for that this time of year!

I finished the baby set I was working on for the Durham Crisis Pregnancy Centre. This means that I get to start something for myself -- well, myself or my loved ones.

That alpaca yarn from the Knitter's Frolic called to me. Incessantly and without ceasing. In my dreams, I dreamt of alpaca yarn. Which can only mean one thing -- I must knit it.

This is 25 rows of my Whisper Scarf. Isn't this exciting? I wound the hank of yarn into a centre-pull ball. By hand and without a swift. (The yarn-winder is in a box in storage. I don't have a swift. I hope one of my children or my hubby is reading this so they will know what to get me for Mother's Day!) Playing with the yarn was heavenly. So soft ... Unfortunately, by the time the yarn was wound my play time was over.

So today I sat down with my pattern and my needles. 25 rows! I am so excited!

We will be visiting friends tonight and sitting around a bonfire. Alas. This is not the project to take to a bonfire. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shopping at the Knitter's Frolic

My dear husband delivered my purse to me at the Knitter's Frolic. With credit cards intact, I might add. What a good guy. And do you know what he said as he handed it off? "Have fun!" I think I've gotta keep him.

So with that admonition in mind, Phyllis and I began our serious shopping. Up til now, we'd just been browsing. Mind you, at a show like this it is best to browse first and then shop. It wasn't as though not having my credit card was a hardship until this point.

The yarn haul all came from Good Buy Yarns. At substantial discounts, I might add. In the upper left you see Magic Garden super-wash wool in a lovely aqua colour. It begged me to become a sweet sweater for my neice Emery. She is expecting a baby brister (brother or sister, we don't know which) this fall and I want to be sure that she knows that she is still loved. Heck -- I want to be sure that she remembers me. So the wool came home.

Followed by enough Zara (upper right) to become a sweater for myself. At Christmas I made some fingerless gloves for my daughter and really loved the wool. At 45% off, who could resist?

The lower left wool is three balls of Rowan Kid Classic. I *THINK* it will become a scarf, but ... it was too delightful to leave behind.

The green wool is called Smart super-wash. There are actually 17 balls of it, destined to become a sweater for my wonderful hubby. After all, a guy who drives 1.5 hours (with gas at $1.06 a litre) to deliver a purse with credit cards and says "have fun" deserves something nice. Green is his favorite colour, and he has pronounced this green will do. (Whew!)

But wait! That's not all! I also scored the Yarn Harlot's newest book, "Knitting Rules." It is hysterically funny. Phyllis and I browsed through it a bit and laughed. Loudly and long. Well worth the cash. I also picked up the Great American Afghan pattern. I've been reading about it on-line ... and the squares are too delightful to pass up. In fact, one or more of them will become the basis of sweaters.

I had also promised myself another pair of Addi Turbos in a size 2, which I did manage to find at last year's price. Nice touch, that. I was also looking for an visual/audio instructional aid for learning to use my drop spindle -- imagine that, the same booth from which I acquired my spindle had an instructional DVD.

The video from Philosopher's Wool? A door prize. Which I won. Can you imagine that?!? I was flabbergasted. (We won't mention that Phyllis won 2 door prizes, OK?) I have not yet watched the video, but am anticipating it greatly. Delayed gratification -- of which I seem to be a master -- makes the winning that much sweeter.

But wait! That's not all! The biggest coup of the day -- and also the biggest surprise -- is
I don't wear shawls. Really. I don't wear shawls. But when I fondled this Silver Cloud Alpaca lace-weight wool ... I wavered. I continued browsing. I went back and fondled. I wavered some more. And then I went looking for a pattern. I figure that even if I don't actually knit up the scarf, the purchase will have been worth it. The teen daughters are hoping to fondle my alpaca when I'm not around. Perhaps this will inspire my daughter to take up knitting? In any event, I have begun the slow descent into shawls. We'll have to see how far I go.

Quite a haul. Managed to fit all my purchases into the large plastic bags provided by Good Buy Yarns. I did sacrifice my knitting bag so that Phyllis could get her goodies home on the VIA train. Next year? We'll bring larger suitcases and more bags.