Sunday, December 31, 2006

Chick Flicks 'n Knitting

Been knitting and watching movies during the recovery days between Christmas and New Years. Last night I knitted to The Runaway Bride (on TV) and then to Thelma and Louise (a gift DVD from my son). I love the way those two women kick ass.

I'm not making any New Year's resolutions, but I am in the mood to finish off a bunch of unfinished business. I have a line-up of projects that I want to get off the needles so that I can get on to other things. I'm back working on this side-to-side cardi that I started in the fall. It's from the Debbie Bliss pattern book for Alpaca/Silk, and I'm knitting it in Gedifra English Tweed.

What's Left to do: I have to get rid of some tails (wish I'd known about spit-splicing back then, sigh..), and sew up this arm/side seam.

I have to sew the two ends of neck ribbing together down the middle neck seam, and then attach those two bits along the back edge. Knitting-wise, I'm all set to head down the second sleeve to the cuff (then more sewing) then done!

I'm also socking away on this Fleece Artist merino sock. It's so pretty and fun. I'm done the instep and working on the foot now. I pick this up for a change between the cardi, or take it along in the car or wherever. We're going out to a fondue party tonight, so I'll bring it along for a good time.


Remember Barbie and all her friends? Well -- all sold to Anonymous the same evening I posted it! That was quick, and Hayley was thrilled (and so was I). I figured we would unload it locally, but now it's winging its way south to be enjoyed by other girlies. Thanks Anonymous! (you know who you are)

If you haven't had a chance to check out The Scottish Lamb's big yarn sale (see side bar), you'd better hurry up, cuz it's going fast. I got some yesterday. Yippee!!

Oh...(and also in the enabling department). Little Knits is having another smokin' good sale. I picked up whole bags of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk for 35. dollars a bag!!


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Catbookmom is in the Doghouse

Now I'm just making her squirm. Just came from Cate's Knit Fitt and saw that she had been likewise tagged for this meme. CBM is a friend, so I'm only teasing a little. I'm stating the rules as required, but not tagging anyone 'cuz I'm too rebellious to comply.

“THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

Six weird I only get SIX? Now the real question is: should I write six truly weird things (no problem), or six marginally weird things that are appropriate for public consumption? Hmmm...what a dilemma. I might have to take a few runs at this.

FIRST: Six Things That Other People Think Are Weird About Me (I don't necessarily agree)

1. I like to smell things. All kinds of things. I sometimes bump into people from my past who ask, "Do you still smell everything?"

2. I have what other people say is an amazing memory. I can remember books and movies and conversations in their entirety. I can quote from all three, often years later. I can remember what I ate and what I wore from many occasions.

3. I fold my underwear. I do not iron it, but I do fold it, and fold my laundry very neatly, and apparently stack everything very very neatly in drawers. When it's not all over my floor.

4. I never answer my phone. I rarely return phone calls. If you want to get my attention, then email.

5. I like eating my food plain. Butter on waffles, no syrup. Dry cereal in the bowl, no milk. Salads, no dressing. Hamburgers, no sauce. Well...I did finally develop a taste for sauce on hamburgers.

6. (This according to DD): I like talking about gross things. Her example: When she showed me her pencil-topper troll, I had to mention that you could shove a pencil up his ass. Or...on another occasion, we were riding a ferris wheel, and I saw a barf-pile on the ground below and had to come up with every possible name for it that I could think of.

SECOND: Six Things That I Think Are Weird About Me

1. I hate eating cheese by itself, but love cheese in everything else.

2. All sorts of noises make me jump, really jump, like a startle response. And apparently I look like a deer in the headlights when that happens.

3. People talk to me wherever I go. Even when I do everything I can Not to start these conversations.

4. I am a total fish out of water with what I call "female culture." I don't know anything (in the informed sense) about hair, make-up, current fashion, models, or anything remotely of that ilk. I think I'm probably a lot like Anne Hathaway's character at the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada.

5. I have a terrible sense of direction. I can get lost anywhere, even in a house.

6. My favorite lunch is Coke and Cheetoh's. Not that I have this for lunch every day, but if I could...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Evicting Barbie

Now that my daughter is ten, she has decided she no longer needs Barbie. Time for Barbie to go. Seems to me that Barbie entered our home much earlier than I would have thought necessary. Secretly I was hoping that Barbie would NEVER make an appearance here, not having been a fan of the leggy dis-proportional doll myself. Alas, Hayley was a girly-girl, far more girly than I ever was.

I remember one summer when Hayley was about four years old, my niece K had reached an age where she was weeding Barbie out of her life (I think she was nine or ten years old). She showed up here to spend a few nights with us, and she brought with her a huge cardboard box along with a large shopping bag. Both packed full of Barbie gear. My daughter was entranced. Reluctantly, I accepted K's generous gift to Hayley. What choice did I have? And to K's surprise, I gave her some spending money in exchange for what looked to me like a lot of undesirable junk.

The hand-me-down Barbies became an entrenched part of our household, and over the next few years the collection grew to include a van, a car, a bicycle, horses, ball gowns, and Beauty and the Beast (able to transform from Beast to Prince in a quick clothing change). Some of my niece's bits have gone out in the trash, but quite a bit of her original collection remains in good condition. When I was sorting it out, I even found a hand-knit Barbie sweater that my mom had made.

Today, H decided she needed a fish. Her friend is buying her a fish for her birthday, and H needs to buy a small aquarium. She also wants games for her new Nintendo hand-held device. She got the pink one. (Grace, I had to laugh when I read your latest blog on that subject).

I said, "fine, but something's gotta go." She needs money. So...quick as that, she made the decision that we could sell off Barbie to pay for the fish tank, and hopefully a game or two. We sorted and tidied and made a lovely display of all the "healthy" Barbies, clothes, accessories and extras. Doug will list these things later today on Craig's List (an online Buy and Sell).

I can't say that I'll be sad to see Barbie go.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Yarny Christmas!

I've had a lovely yarny Christmas this year. It started with the wonderful HUGe box full of Christmas goodies. I have been enjoying several of those already and gifted a few items to special and deserving people, including a non-HUGe'ing elannite friend.

Then I had a lot of fun spending the money my in-laws sent me for Christmas. The results of that are detailed in a post called "Yarnage."

Then my dear online friend sent me a wonderful box full of goodies (CD, lavender, Chibi darning needles) and...this fantabulous yarn:

This is a soft luxurious blend of cashmere and merino (60/40!) in a fine weight for a pretty shawl. I love the mellow coral-orange colour. I've been carrying it around and petting it. My fingers are dying to knit it, but I have a few goals to accomplish first.

I went out for a lunch with a long-time friend I've been teaching how to knit. She gave me a gift certificate to Urban Yarns. They've opened a second store very close to her home in North Vancouver, so of course we had to drop in and look around. I haven't spent my gift money yet, but I had fun my friend to the beautiful and tempting Fleece Artist kits that they carry.

Surprise, suprise, I received a white elann box on Christmas Eve. A Sunday no less. I don't know how that happened. I had ordered the yarn two days before Christmas and just assumed I'd get it afterward. Inside is a bag of sock yarn that was seriously discounted. Guess I'll be knitting socks this year.

I finished a pair of socks I'd been working on through November on Christmas Eve while we watched Miracle on 34th Street. I wore them all day on Christmas. A little prezzie for my feet. These are in DK weight yarn, so they knit up pretty fast.

Doug gave me my current favorite movie (Little Miss Sunshine). AND he impressed the heck out of me with this knitting tote. He had ordered it from Cafe Press.

Isn't that cool?? And check out the back:

Finally, this is the sock I'm knitting today. Did I mention that I'm in a sock knitting mood? I started it on Christmas day on the drive up to my sister's house. I worked several more inches on it yesterday at my SIL's place. Today seems saner. Now that the kids are off totally absorbed in their new stuff, I can relax and knit in peace. Feels like heaven!

The yarn is Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn in a colourway called Pinata. This is the finest weight sock yarn I've worked with so far. I love the feel of the yarn and the eeny little stitches.

Happy Birthday Hayley!

Hayley: One day old

Hayley was born ten years ago today! Between my son Colin's birthday on Dec. 9, and Hayley's birthday today (with Christmas in between) a LOT of new stuff comes into our house from two sets of spoiling-grandparents, and...well, Doug and I.

Hayley: Six weeks old

Hayley: Ten years old!

I can't believe it has been ten years.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Pattern for Men's Ribbed Hat

CBM asked where to find the pattern for the men's ribbed hat.

It's a free Bernat pattern, and you can find it here:

Christmas Knitting is Done. Done. Done.

Yay! Now I can return to purely selfish knitting.

This is the hat I made for my dad in elann's Super Tweed (Cranberry Wine). It is the same Bernat freebie pattern that I used to knit Doug's hat last month.

I've made a second arm-pit bag using my contest pattern. This one is in fall colours and it's for my mom. The bag was fun to knit the second time around. All I had to do was follow the pattern this time. And this time, I spit-spliced all the ends. So much easier at the finishing stage.

Here it is all felted, blocked and drying:

Here it is pre-felting. I've taken several shots to show the hand-stitched detailing, and how the hardware goes on.

I knit the second bag exactly like the first one. You can find the FREE PATTERN (yippee!) at my December post "The Little Bag That Could."

The bag is knit in's Highland Wool (although any feltable worsted weight would do). I used the following colours:

Colour A: Oxblood (I got away with one ball exactly, but if you're worried, get two)
Colour B: Red Maple (one ball)
Colour C: Spiced Wine (half a ball)
Colour D: Allspice (half a ball)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Bit of Holiday Cheer

Go to this site to see something funny. That's our hamster Pepper as the elf.

If you have some time to waste this close to Christmas, then of course you'll want to elf yourself or someone close to you and send it to them.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Survey

The kids assembled and decorated their gingerbread houses yesterday. This is one of their favorite things to do. Some years I bake the pieces, and other years we buy kits. These are from kits that came with a ton of candy.

This Christmas survey has been doing the rounds, so I thought I'd give it a go.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Egg Nog the way my FIL makes it -- in a blender with rum and freshly grated nutmeg on top!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa presents unwrapped go into stockings (or under or near); presents from each other go wrapped under the tree.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? house: coloured. Tree: white only

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No way (I had a slobbery, kissy uncle when I was growing up. No damn way.)

5. When do you put your decorations up? Our cul-de-sac does tons of outside lights that need to be up by Dec. 1, but inside the house...somewhere around Dec. 15.

6.What is your favorite holiday dish? Christmas brunch: egg rouladen with bacon, onion, mushrooms and decadent sauce.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: seeing my dad kiss my mom

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My older sister told me when I was seven. Then she showed me all my gifts hidden in my parents' closet.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? The kids do (usually pajamas)

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? White lights, and an eclectic variety of ornaments, including one I've had since I was three.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love it if I don't have to go anywhere.

12. Can you ice skate? All prairie girls can!

13.Do you remember your favorite gift? A plush ride-on horse the year I was three

14.What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Keeping things simple so as not to lose sight of the original meaning.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Shortbread

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I like decorating the tree, and doing the stockings

17.What tops your tree? A star

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I like both, but I find giving easier.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Barenaked Ladies version)

20. Candy Canes? They look good on the tree.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's Be-Knitting to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We survived the storm and losing our power for thirty-two hours. Had to spend a few days catching up on things like doing the long-overdue laundry, throwing out spoiled food from the fridge, and restocking. Then we could return to previously scheduled Christmas.

We got our tree up and decorated. We could probably have found a free tree lying around on the ground this year, but we had already bought one before the storm.

I have my assorted elannite ornaments on the tree.

I'm finishing up some Christmas knitting. I had to make a second one of these orange hats out of the Katia Mexico because my intended recipient has a fat head. I mean a larger head than anticipated.

I'm making my dad a ribbed hat from a rusty-red colourway of elann's Super Tweed. This will match the rusty red scarf I made him last year. Note iPod full of Christmas tunes to put me into the holiday knitting mood.

We're busy making holiday goodies. This is an easy family favorite called Haystacks. It looks kind of plain here, but broken into chunks and put in colourful holiday bags with ribbons, they look grand. And taste better.

In a bowl, combine:
2 cups small pretzels (the crossed legs kind)
1 1/2 cups raisins (I like sunmaid)
1 cup chow mein noodles
1 cup salted blanched peanuts

Melt: 18 oz. white dipping chocolate over hot water, stir quickly over pieces until all coated, and quickly pour/spread on wax paper or parchment. When cooled/set, break up into pieces and store in airtight container. This one is perfect for people who like that sweet and salty combination.

Up until the storm and all the Christmas bustle, I was working on my Everything But The Kitchen Sink Sweater from Yarnplay. I hit a point where I realized I had made a dumb error and had to rip back all the way to the ribbing.

Yikes! Said Peppo, I can't bear to look...

But I've got the sweater back to where you divide for shaping the front/back armholes, and I'm working my way up the back.

Phew! That's much better.

A really cool thing happened on the way to making this sweater. The author of Yarnplay, Lisa Shobhana Mason, found my blog and sweater-in-progress and asked to post it on her Yarnplay blog.

Check out her blog at:

Friday, December 15, 2006

What a Storm!

Maybe you've already heard about the huge storm that hit Seattle Wa, and Vancouver, BC early this morning. We probably haven't heard as much as you have because our power is still out. Read about the storm here:

I can't fully describe the storm, and these pictures do not do justice to what we saw today. The storm hit at 3:00 am, and the power went out about ten minutes later. My daughter H showed up about 3:30 to cuddle with Doug and I for the next two and a half hours. Somehow C slept through, but the three of us could not. We listened to the wind howl and slam things around. We felt the house shake. We were sure that a tree was going to fall on our house, but it didn't happen.

We were lucky. This morning, Doug and I drove around our neighborhood and within an area of about ten miles around us. We saw multiple houses with large trees down on their roofs or crushing their cars. We saw power lines down with trees tangled in them, huge trees uprooted across roads and yards. Debris everywhere. Our area was one of the hardest hit, but they say that 250,000 houses are without power in the greater Vancouver area. They did not expect our power to be back until sometime late tonight or tomorrow. I am writing from Doug's folks' place in Chilliwack.

This skinny tree is suspended between two sets of lines about half a block from our house. It is a pretty low priority at this point. Crews were working on two much larger power hazards within a mile of our house.

One of our neighbours has these two uprooted trees leaning against their house.

A lot of us have blown-out fences.

This is my daughter's schoolyard where they have more than seven huge trees down, completely uprooted. Crews have already begun to clear them away. Most of the schools in our district were closed today with power out and hazardous debris around.

This tree came down right in front of the apartment building where H's best friend lives. It is blocking the path H and I walk to go to her school every day.

My kids are standing in front of the root system of the tree from the above picture to show you the scale of the thing.

We lost a lot of large sections of our fence. The gates on both sides were ripped right off. Our fence has been in need of replacing for a few years, guess we can't put it off any longer!

We were very lucky. We lost some sleep, some fence, and our power. We saw some very sad sights in our neighborhood that we did not photograph out of respect for the people who were hard at work at clearing up the damage. If you happen to know any out-of-work roofers, send them our way. They'll have all the work they could want.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Rhymes with Carnage...

I've been good about buying yarn since about September. Really. I've been good. Very restrained. For me.

My in-laws sent me some Christmas $$, bless their hearts, and I've been on a bit of a rampage. If this looks like a lot of yarn, blame their generosity. Thanks A & A!!!

My white box came today, full of Rowan (super)Soft Tweed. It's a pinky/red mix with a few other flecks. I've been waiting for something soft in this weight/gauge so that I could make this sweater from Knit It! Fall/06.

And then there was a white box full of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan (and a pattern book). I blame Joan from Vamanta Knits for this. First she bought some and raved about it on her blog, and then when it came up at elann for a second time, she told me it was "horrible" to help me avoid getting sucked in. Didn't work. I have my eye on making a cute and cuddly cardi.

Then there was a white box full of Mr Joe Blanket. Somehow I limited myself to two colours. It's sportweight, but doubled makes aran weight. I have at least ten patterns I could use this for, but I'm leaning towards this for the Fern green colour (Creative Knitting Jan/07):

And this for the Chestnut brown colour (Interweave Winter/06-07):

I don't know how this happened. I'm weak, okay. I was at Urban Yarns buying just two little balls of something for a hat, and this did a little end-run around me. You'd think I didn't own any yarn or something.

A billion thanks to my favorite parents!

You should see what my kids are getting.

This is the current status of the kitchen sink sweater.

"No, hands, you can't play with that new Soft Tweed yet, we've already had this discussion"

I am just about to divide the front and the back for shaping the armholes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Boredom Buster

It's been the Bermuda Triangle for knitting projects around here lately. I have all kinds of things on the needles that go into my WIP bins and...well, stay there for a while. I like everything I'm knitting these days, and things do get finished, but I am so easily distracted that I keep starting new things.

Then I received some Christmas Cash from my ever-loving DMIL and DFIL. Now yarn is starting to flow back into this house. Naturally, as soon as something wonderful arrives, I have to drop everything and cast on THAT. But wait! What about all these other (previously) wonderful things? Am I really as unfaithful as that?? I wandered around in a yarn-drunk stupor all day on Saturday, arguing with myself, making foolish promises about finishing items before casting on new yarn. Resisting. Caving. Resisting. Then I found a middle ground. I was looking through my Yarnplay book and remembered this funky and highly tempting sweater. She calls it the Everything But The Kitchen Sink Sweater. And it can be made without purchasing a single new ball of yarn.

As long as you have a stash.


This is the "mini" stash I built for the purpose of building my Kitchen Sink Sweater.

And this is my sweater so far. That's Trish's darling little stitch marker travelling 'round and 'round (and hey, it matches the project!)

Obviously this project has captured all my attention. I have already knit 11" of the front and back (it's knit in the round), and I only started on Saturday evening. I'm having a blast with this one. The trick is to use a lot of different yarn shades and textures, but all in a basic weight (I'm working with worsted/aran). In the book, she recommends using a minimun of eighteen different yarns, but says her model project uses 38. I have used 22 so far, with more to come.

This is a fantastic way to play with all those one-of balls of yarn and leftovers from other projects. I've been sneaking in ten or twenty yards off of other projects that I know are safe. I tend to buy one ball of this and that when I'm seeing if I like a yarn, so I have all kinds of things to add to the fray. Can anyone guess what I've used so far??

And if you're wondering about all those tails (ack! gag!). I'm doing spit-splices. Just say NO to tails.

Oh yeah...remember all that snow?

All gone. Temperatures nicely above freezing again. And there was much rejoicing.

PS. Lisa W, I Love You! (Saskatoon Jam is my Fave!!)