Monday, November 27, 2006

Baby it's COLD outside!

OK I love Calgary and mostly I love winter but there are days when enough is enough. –23°C with a wind chill that makes it feel like –36° C is more than enough. At least I don't have to go anywhere. I drove the boy to school this morning. normally it's only a five minute drive but it took nearly 20 minutes. We still beat the school busses. I'll do the same this afternoon. It's so cold the dog doesn't want to go out to pee. I put her sweater on (not the wonderful sweater I plan to knit her but her old store bought) and she still won't go.

You know the one thing this weather is really good for? KNITTING!! Not going to the yarn store as is my usual Monday habit but piling under the blankets, putting on a little jazz and knitting. My favourite cuddled up at home music is my "Summer BBQ" playlist. A little Joss Stone, A little Jack Johnson, some James Blunt, some Holly Cole… you get the picture. At work we have these wonderful CD's made for us "The (insert store name here) Radio Network". Customers ask all the time if we sell our CD's or where they can buy the music. It's ecclectic: jazz, blues, some world beat, the odd show tune, pop but always this side of hip, upscale and classy. Now we have light n' jazzy Christmas music in the mix (think "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or Holly Cole's: "Baby It's Cold Outside"). My favourite Christmas song is the Joni Mitchell classic "River"…wish I had a river that I could skate away on… I love this song SO much I have it in my "Wonderful Christmas" play list by three different artists--Joni Mitchel of course, Holly Cole and Sarah McLachlan. I love Christmas music, can't get enough of it (although the other staff keep telling me I WILL get sick of it). It's just an added bonus that I love the music at work--beats the heck out of the last Ad agency I worked at--they would put Eminem on and turn it LOUD (no wonder I started having anxiety attacks). Anyway, you get the idea. There are things I love in life: Music (yes my life DOES have a sound track), Knitting, Reading, Art, Classic Romantic Comedies and I am the LAST person on earth to discover Podcasts? I'm Knitting and listening to "Cast On" it's like listening to CBC Radio, something akin to "The Vinyl Cafe" only about knitting. So, today, it's podcasts, a fresh pot of coffee, music and knitting all the way baby!!

Oh… and look… progress here…

and there…

and on this…

Boring I know but that's what I'm all about these days… finishing stuff. Freeing up the needles. Man it feels good.

This'll spice things up…
an update on my love (or lack there of) life… "The Hanger". He's behaving suspiciously like a boyfriend these days. It's freakin' me out man! He did just turn 40 may be it's a mid-life crisis. He wants me to decorate his townhouse when it's finished… and there's more… Now the defining feature of "the Hanger" what makes him a "Hanger" in essence is his total lack of interest in having or associating in any way with kids. I have one, he can't deal with them ergo he is a "Hanger". On several occasions lately, he has quietly and in passing brought up the subject of kids as in: "if I were going to have kids with anyone it would be you" then changed the subject. I have been choosing to pretend I didn't hear him. If he wants kids with me, time is of the essence. I am past the best before date on that score. Plus, we aren't "really" going out. He doesn't sit down to Sunday dinner with us… I've never met his parents… that would need to change. If he can't cope with the boy (who absolutely loves him by the way), he won't cope with a baby. Plus I am NOT the sort to get "knocked up", I want some sort of committment (he has a bad track record on the whole committment issue), possibly even a ring, a declaration of undying love would work too. I think we work fine just the way we are. I have my life with the boy… he has his life. He goes home. I go home. It works. I will come right out and admit that I do love the Hanger--even though he's shallow and flakey as hell--but I love my independance too… too much to mess with it. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Just WIPin' Along…

Feeling all better by the way.

I finished something! My Dad's scarf… but I forgot to take a picture. Oh well it looks like this only finished. The charcoal grey gift scarf is also nearly done and my wrap cardi is getting close too. I had to go up a needle size from 4.5 mm to 5 mm on the sleeves. my tension is different in the round than it is going back and forth. I am celebrating the progress on my WIP's by swatching for my son's Henley. Now that I have the Misti Alpaca I ordered here, it's hard not to want to start it--it and a dozen other things. My new rule is nothing new on the needles until something old goes off the needles. Technically, since a scarf went off the needles I am free to start the Henley…

Wrap Cardi in Progress…

I am having fun with my toe ups too. I've discovered the secret to completing socks. Do both at once. Sure it takes longer but you have two socks when you are done so the incentive to finish them is greater. I LOVE the Universal Toe Up pattern written by Amy. It's awesome and easy and fits SO well. No guess work. And because it's entirely dependant on what you actually swatch, you can work on any sock suitable size dpn and in any sock suitable yarn and it'll still work.

I need warm socks in this weather. -28° C and blowing snow. Brrrrr! Colder than Siberia! Speaking of which… I sent the boy to "The Gulag" aka: camp for the weekend which meant lots of knitting time, listening to some great music on my itunes, Joss Stone is still at the top of my play list, a bit of time spent hanging with "the hanger" and time to work on a little freelance graphic design project. The boy had a great time! Apparently the bitter cold was no deterrent to the fun. Picked him up today with all the appendages still intact. Almost ended up in the ditch getting to the camp. Icy roads. I had a nice break and got my project finished. I am off tomorrow as well so if it stays this cold I plan to spend the entire day piled under blankets knitting.

Tonight is movie night--we are watching "Love Actually" one of my favourite movies. Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and Liam Neeson… what's not to Love?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mama never told me there'd be days like this…

I know beyond a doubt that I am a lucky person. I am blessed with wonderful friends and a large extended family out in BC. I have finally found a job I love and am really good at. My son is a great joy to me. But I've been having a bad week.

I don't get sick that often but right now-- killer sinus infection--YUCK!! When I do get sick, it gets into my lungs quickly and triggers severe asthma. I have friends here in Calgary but no family. Normally it doesn't bother me but the last few days it has, if I had family here, there would be someone to count on, someone there to help. Sometimes being a single Mom is wonderful, sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's downright scary--there is no one else, the look on my 12-year-old's face on Saturday night when he asked if may be he should call me an ambulance pretty much summed it up.

And yet when I feel like this, there are constant reminders that I am not alone. Friday I staggered up to my door, cold and sick as a dog and there was a package. I am ashamed to admit that the first thought that came in to my head was that it must've been mis-delivered and just how far was I going to have to walk to get it to the right address. No it was for me, for no reason, just because. Yarn, sock yarn to be exact, Koigu Painter's Pallette P700 and Sock-Hop in "Hard Day's Night" (I've never seen either of these yarns "in the flesh" so to speak until now) and an adorable sock bag.

Of course I took pictures. What an amazing and unexpected gift. Thanks again Cindy!!

Saturday, I was at work, pretending to be useful and who do comes banging on the window but Sandra from Make One, up to her armpits in Crave Cupcakes. She was getting ready for the Knitting retreat. She is hilarious and always lifts my spirits.

Yesterday, I had a chat with my X -sister -in-law. It reminded me that I do have a family of sorts here. My X's family. They are a good bunch and even though I try hard to manage without them they were my family too for nearly 15 years and they would be there in a flash if ever I needed help.

Before I got sick, I did two things

Finish the body of my sweater YEAH! It's matched to the best fitting sweater I own and you can see it IS going to fit. Now for the neckline trim and the sleeves.

And I went on a major stash enhancing expedition. Yarn for the boys sweater: Misti Alpaca Worsted; Yarn for a pair of Fetchings: Rowan Cashsoft Aran in Thunder and yarn to make the dog a new winter coat Cascade 220 Super Wash 802--enough projects to keep this girl happy all winter long! Not to mention enough sock yarn to keep me busy for several months.

Being laid up for a few days did give me a good chance to work on my toe-up socks. I ripped and re-did the toes one more time (more for re-enforcing how to do them right than out of need. Now they are just zipping along. I'd like to be ready to do both heels by next Monday.

I'll leave you with a picture of Ginger… Longing for her new sweater

and…coveting mine.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Who Knew…

Evidently…in addition to being left handed, I am a combination knitter. This came up at my first Toe Up class. Amy was looking at my sock and commented that while none of my stitches were twisted, there was something "different" about them, they slant ever so slightly. Acckk! Different, not good!! She directed me to Annie Modesitt to learn about combination knitting. Apparently it's less stressful on the wrists--may be that's why after that first awful bout with De Quervaine's Syndrome when I started knitting (a wrist wrap, tylenol 3's and phisio 3 times a week for 2 months) it never came back. I found a less wrist straining way to knit. It does give very even tension and it looks great, if you weren't a serious knitter, you'd never notice the difference. If you are having problems with your wrists or other knitter's ailments check it out.

Today my plan is to do both the toes for my toe ups. I can put one set on a stitch holder when I need all 5 needles. The class is great! Amy is an amazing instructor and --look here's the proof! There are a couple of high maintenance ladies that want Teacher at their side the whole time--always a little frustrating--hey we ALL paid the same amount of money for the class, if you want private lessons, pay for them. On the other hand, having taught Adult Ed for 7 years, I know there are always a few students like that and there is nothing you can do except be as diplomatic as possible. May be I was just cranky because my math was wrong and I had to start over. Then I got home and started over anyway. I was working on 2.25 mm dpn's in class and getting 9 stitches/inch. LL recommends 7-8 so I got some 2.5 mm dpn's and started over. I'm still getting 8 stitches/inch and It means knitting 64 stitches around as opposed to 76. Plus, I might need bi-focals. I had to buy new yarn for the course because it's a bit dim at night in Make One and on the 2.25's with the dark blue/purple/plum Trekking XXL, I couldn't see a thing!! I bought some gorgeous Lorna's Laces in Lakeview, it's very pretty and MUCH easier to see. The bigger needles are helping too.

I am seriously torn between working on my wrap sweater and working on my Toe Up socks. I am SO excited about the Wrap Cardi--I just can't say enough good things about the Knitting Pure 'n Simple Pattern or Malibrigo yarn. The ladies at Make One were saying they've had a run on Malibrigo and It was probably me who caused it because I won't stop gushing about it. Next time I'll keep my big mouth shut because the colour ways I liked are mostly gone (or there is only 1 or 2 skeins left). After reading about "Yarn Karma" I am a bit panicky that I may not have enough to finish my sweater--I have 30 yards more than what the pattern calls for but I also need to make the sweater about an inch longer. My gauge is bang on so I am really hoping that the pattern was generous in stating the yarn requirements. As soon as the Wrap Cardi came out of it's bag today--Ginger was in like a dirty shirt cuddling up to it.