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.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Weekend Adventures!

This past weekend has been an absolute blast. In spite of the ... um ... precarious start on Friday, the weekend developed into one of the best weekends in recent, and not-so-recent history.

For starters, my good friend Phyllis was coming to visit me. (She lives in Michigan, and works in the medical field by way of the University of Michigan Hospital.) This was the only weekend that she had available between March and the end of June. I was sad to think that my plans were going to cause us to cancel the weekend -- until I casually explained what I had planned.

The Knitter's Frolic, an event hosted by the Downtown Knit Collective.

Phyllis knits. Need I say more?

The plan was for Phyllis to arrive in Toronto on Friday evening by way of Via. I would arrive at Union Station at the designated time, we would travel to the proper hotel, and we would spend the weekend conversing, knitting, shopping, and relaxing.

Her train was scheduled to arrive at 21:15. We both interpreted it to be 11:15 pm. (Duh. No comments on our silliness, please. It only gets better!) She was en route when she realized that her arrival would be at 9:15 pm. Being the highly-intelligent person she is, she attempted to call us by way of her cell phone -- only to discover that she had no signal in the Via train. Darn!

She arrived at Union Station and attempted to call us. We had already left home, to deliver the daughters to their designated Friday evening entertainments. One was staying overnight with a friend; the other was to be met at Timmy's at 10:45 pm for the return home. There was a time frame to deal with.

In my excitement at going to the Frolic as well as meeting Phyllis, AND the excitement of the girls' in their evening adventures, we grabbed up our various belongings and rushed out the door. I grabbed my knitting bag and my duffle bag and we went merrily on our way.

At 9:00 pm, in Pickering, I discovered that I had ... um ... overlooked bringing my purse. Which contained Phyllis' cell phone number. To return home to retrieve my purse and then get me to Union Station by 11:15 while simultaneously meeting the daughter at the designated Timmy's at 10:45 was impossible. Did I mention that we don't have a cell phone? Nor does the daughter?

With cash in hand, I boarded the GO train at 10:00 pm, confident in at least meeting Phyllis. She'll have a credit card with which to check into the hotel. My wonderful and supportive hubby will deliver my purse to me (with credit cards intact I might add) in the morning, and all would be well.

Meanwhile, Phyllis has arrived at Union Station and attempted to call us at home. No one is there, because as mentioned above ... we are en route to the Pickering GO station by way of delivering daughters to their evening festivities. Phyllis, being the highly intelligent person she is (and I do say this sincerely), resolutely finds a spot and sits knitting calmly and waiting for me.

At 10:00 she decided to try to call the hotel where she HOPES I have made a reservation. I had mentioned that we were getting a really wonderful rate, but neglected to tell her which hotel. Ah, the vagaries of middle age. Anyway, she takes a gamble and calls a hotel. It is the proper hotel, they DO have a reservation for me, but I am, alas, not yet checked in. Cleverly, (I did mention she is intelligent, right?) Phyllis leaves a message for me.

Meanwhile, I have arrived at Union Station at 11:00 pm, after a 20-minute delay due to track maintenance. Frantic to be in the proper place when Phyllis' train arrives at -- with a sinking heart I realize that her train arrived at 9:15 pm. Where, oh where would she be? Would she be waiting patiently for me somehwere in Union Station? Would she have taken a cab to the -- oh darn, I didn't tell her which hotel.

I spend 20 minutes searching for her. Do not see her anywhere. Have the brilliant idea that perhaps she could be paged. GO personnel are wonderful, by the way. They listened to my tale of woe, and arranged for a page. Unfortunately, by the time a message goes out by way of the loudspeakers, it is unintelligible. Phyllis heard the page, but couldn't understand what it said.

She called my house again, and was able to speak to my dear husband. He advised her that I would be meeting her in the Great Hall of Union Station, that I should be there already, and he'd call her if he heard from me. Phyllis headed resolutely up to the Great Hall.

Meanwhile, I called the hotel. Yes, they had my reservation. No, no one had attempted to claim it. But they DID have a message for me from someone named Phyllis. Did I want to hear it?

Thinking clearly for possibly the first time since my arrival at Union Station, I left a message for Phyllis that I was heading for the Great Hall and would (hopefully) see her there soon.

Then I called home. Yes, they had spoken to Phyllis. She was still at the Station, and would be waiting for me in the Great Hall. I barely hung up the phone and raced off to the Great Hall.

Wouldn't you know that the ball game would end (and hordes of people would flock into The Great Hall) just as I climbed up the steps into the Hall? All you could hear was people yelling "GO TORONTO!" Not being a baseball fan and it being 11:30 pm by now, I was somewhat less than thrilled. All those people and noise would make it difficult for Phyllis to hear me when I stood in the middle of the hall, crying her name plaintively, and then sobbing pitifully into my tissues that I had misplaced my best friend.

But you know what? Sometimes, wonderful things happen. I looked down the length of the Hall and there she was, sitting patiently and knitting. Not looking lost and lonely. Looking quite content and confident that her friend would meet her.

We look at each other and laugh at the silliness of ourselves in seeing 21:15 as 11:15. We laugh at how two intelligent women can be so silly over times. We laugh at how ridiculous it is for me to have forgotten my purse. We laugh with the sheer joy of being able to visit with each other. We take a taxi to the hotel.

We walk in and walk up to the front desk to check in. The young lady looks up at us -- and says "You must be the train ladies." Yes. Yes, we are the train ladies.

The Knitter's Frolic is on Saturday. Just to let you know -- we did make it to the venue. We came, we saw, my husband did deliver my purse and credit cards, and we shopped. There is photographic evidence.

Why am I not smiling? Actually, the photo snapped in the brief moment between smile and mouth open to explain that one must hold the button down until the flash happens. A split second before, and a split second beyond, I was smiling from ear to ear. And giggling.

It was a good day.

Tomorrow I'll tell you what I got. And for the record -- that pile of purchases belongs partly to Phyllis. Also, we each brought a bag of knitting with us for those few moments when we sat down.

Ah ... what a day it was. We're already planning for next year.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Where does the time go?

I can't believe that it's been 11 days since I posted last. Where DOES the time go?

In part, it went to a relapse of the creeping crud. One must remember not to over-do the recovery activity. Two days of cleaning house and being chipper and on the move resulted in three days of heavy sleep requirements. The good news is that I'm (once again) on the road to recovery.

Also, a distant cousin of mine departed this earth last week. The services were Monday morning in Windsor. Funerals are sad and happy occasions. It gives the family the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with each other; to remember the good times; and to assist the grieving in their loss. This particular event was especially poignant for me. The last time I saw these folks was something like 17 years ago -- it was a family get-together (not a reunion because they last for days, and not a picnic because they last for a weekend) when both my sons had the honour of being the only two kids that fell into the swimming pool. Separately. Of all the kids there -- and there were a lot -- mine were the only two who fell in. Nice. Oh, yes. We also learned that weekend that I don't walk on water. I tried. And failed. Same time the younger one splashed into the shallow end. I was on the other side of the pool and took off to rescue my baby.

Monday evening the family gathered at the Kildare House, owned by another cousin. I had heard tales of this pub, but not had the opportunity to visit until Monday. It was great. They have Guinness beer. They also have a multitude of family photos on the wall. Said photos include my grandfather on his way to WWI, returning with his war bride, with my father as a youngster, my great-grandmother and many cousins. All in all, it was a nice trip to Windsor.

Since my return Monday evening, I haven't done much of anything. Slept. A little bit of knitting and putzing around the house. But nothing spectacular. I have learned one thing, however, and it is an interestng tidbit.

When I am knitting a project for myself or family (i.e., NOT for a charity donation), I knit more slowly. It takes longer to really get into mood of the project and to finish it. I do wonder what this says about myself. Any ideas?

Monday, April 03, 2006

This may not look like much ...

But it represents a very real and dramatic milestone for my house.

You see the kitchen. Doesn't it look nice and tidy? The dishes are washed. The stovetop reflects light. (Well, it WOULD reflect light if I were standing right over it with the flash!) The crockpot holds tonight's dinner, simmering away nicely. What you don't see is that the floor has been vacuumed and scrubbed. The dishwasher has been run. You also don't see the laundry hanging outside on the clothesline, nor the honking huge basket of towels that was put away.

What does all this tidiness mean? Quite simply, it means that I am feeling better. LOTS better. After a week of wearing my nightgown and housecoat, sleeping endlessly, blowing my nose constantly, consuming copious amounts of generic cough medicine, sneezing, moaning about not feeling well, staring bleary-eyed at the world, and in general being a miserable patient,


OK. I'm not yet at 100%. But certainly better. Well enough that I did housework for the first time in a week. Well enough that I actually went for a walk outside -- a brisk walk at that! Well enough that preparing food for the other residents of my home didn't seem like an unreasonable risk! Yes! I'm better!

And even better than feeling better is having completed yet another Dulaan project.

This little sweater (no, it is NOT the same sweater from two weeks ago) was giving me fits. Not because it was difficult. Not because I was bored with the endless stockinette stitch pattern.
It was giving me fits because I was not entirely sure that I would have enough yarn to finish the last sleeve. And since the yarn was ... um ... old and from stash, I figured the chances of being able to even remotely match the dye lot would be impossible.

Fortunately for me (and some little toddler in Mongolia or Pakistan), I had just enough yarn to finish the sleeve. And I must say that I actually do like the stockinette in this sweater. The colour striping in the yarn was just enough to be interesting without the danger of making a mistake in my drug-induced haze of the last week.

And even better -- now that I've completed two projects for charity, I get to make something for me and mine. I feel another Christmas project coming my way. I am *SO* going to be ready this year.