Saturday, March 31, 2007


but exciting nonetheless.

After six months of procrastination, bouts of depression, hang-overs and any other excuse I could come up with, I bring you this:

I love, love, love lilac. Smells good as a flower (not as paint, paint smell is yucky) and I look fantastic wearing the colour. Someone (I think it was A) told me that the bathroom colour should be flattering to you. I couldn't agree more. My face, even un-made up and pasty while painting looked much more rosy and even-toned when I caught a glance of myself in the mirror. And that was before I broke out the celebratory wine while doing the touch-ups.

I am so proud of myself. And man, do I love spring. I actually feel like doing stuff instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

I had such a good time today that I'm wandering around the house (it takes about three seconds to do a lap) wondering what to paint next.

These are my options:

  • The dining room (which is a good idea, I could finally assemble my new ginormous bookcase and unpack my books). And have a proper place to eat (and read the newspaper).

  • The kitchen. True, I do enjoy cooking more now than I used to, and therefore spend more time in the kitchen that I ever thought I would have. It's amazing what buying real estate does to a person's dining habits.

  • Finish the storeroom so I can move all those blasted Rubbermaid totes of precious junk in there and then...

  • Finish painting the concrete in the basement. The basement concrete, where intact, is covered in hospital-green paint. I kid you not.

  • I could finish stripping the wallpaper in the study and fix all the cracks. Then paint. I really should do something with this room. I spend most of my time here, and I do want to procure a daybed so I have a place for guests to sleep (or me to nap).

  • Arts 'n' crafts outdoorsy projects - I have lots of left-over paint, in fun colours and plant pots that would look lovely outside filled with flowers...

  • I could walk down to Canadian Tire and buy paint for my front and back doors (the little grey bungalow needs some pizazz. I'm a saucy girl, so my house shouldn't look boring. It should match me). What was I saying about spring? I waaant to be outside!

Oh my dog, the knitting startitis has taking over my home-improvement efforts. Is there no hope? Doesn't matter, I'm feeling alive right now, and that's all that counts.

This is fun! More pictures:

Before. Notice the tape? I did that in October. So long ago that the humidity from my showers had steamed a bunch off. Argh.

A clearer view of the tape.

Obligatory self-portrait. See the man-sized hands? Not pretty, I know, but those hands are strong, and I'm just fine with that. Well, more than fine. I have this weird thing about noticing things about me and figuring out where in my family tree those things came from. Those are my mom's hands, but sized up to match my dad's stature. Love 'em.

Also, can you believe I used to wear that sweatshirt in public? Granted, I was much less fashion-savvy and had NO MONEY, but still, that's a Glamour Don't if I've ever seen one. To be truthful, it was a gift to my ex-husband from his mother, but it was too small for him, so I got it. Perfect for painting, now that I'm done college (well, I've been done for several years) and have an income to buy nicer clothes, oops, I mean a house.

Conclusion: Chez Peepee* is a good place to be today.

Why? Well, in a bazillion years of renting, I never before have been able to dry and curl my hair in the same room as having a shower and applying my makeup. Owning a house lets you have things like this:

Not a big deal, maybe, but that's MY outlet in the bathroom, and no landlord is going to give me shit for painting it purple. Yup, life is good.

*One of my darling cats has had some plumbing problems over the past couple months. As a result, there's some, um, leakage. Needless to say, I've had to be much more diligent about my housework, and my dry cleaning bill has gone through the roof. I'm pretty sure he's worth it. Painting took about twice as long as it should have because the little bugger had to sit on my lap and purr whenever I sat down to let the paint dry. Yet another reason to have kept that scabby sweatshirt. Technically, this is HIS cat. Parker can pee on it all he likes. I think I got the better deal.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Being worthy of dreams

What I want to make:

The tools I've got to do it:

This is the hand-dyed yarn that I referred to an earlier post. I have been admiring it in its skein-ful glory since the postman dropped it in my mailbox.

I'm not sure I'm worthy. I mean, I can make beautiful things using some sticks and some string. But this yarn is beautiful just by itself. I don't want to muck it up, and end up with a horrible tangled mess of string. Career-girl pink is not string. It's hopes, dreams, pure potential. It's my image of myself as someone who is rather good at this knitting thing (I was going to say "master at my craft," but then I realized how pretentious that is and how very much about knitting I don't know. YET. I WILL LEARN, oh yes I will). This yarn was made especially for me, by someone who loves the craft as much as I do. Other's expectations are wrapped up in this too.

Wouldn't it be a shame if that all came crashing down in one night of not paying enough attention to my yarn-overs?

Well, it would be several nights. I wouldn't give up that easily. I'm OK with tinking, and ripping. Very big fan of the life-line. Got a big-ole ball of crochet cotton just for that purpose.

I guess what I am getting at is that I want to have stuff done RIGHT NOW. I want to be able to look at a project and say: wow, six inches in an evening. My inner cheerleader would be saying: "That's good going. You are a productive knitter. Go, Misstea!" Ya know, "instant gratification takes too long." (Thank you, Homer Simpson).

It's like comparing apples and oranges, or lace knitting to a sock. In a couple of hours, I can get quite of bit done. In an evening out, I can do nearly half an adult sock, if I moderate my drinking. When I knitted Swallowtail, I counted myself lucky if I did four rows in an evening. Sitting at home, not drinking wine. Wow. I did a lot of tinking in the beginning. It was my first lace project.

My point is, it's all about perspective and expectations. If I want to pump it out, I need to stick to things I know inside out. If I want to challenge myself and actually learn a thing or two, I need to SLOW DOWN. Speed isn't everything. And I should know, I tried it in the early '90's.

I realize I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said before, but this is my diary, of sorts. I can repeat myself, and others, as much as I want. Because if you say it enough, it becomes true, correct?

Therefore: I am worthy of Icarus, I am worthy of Icarus, I am worthy of Icarus....

P. S. There is NO WAY I am winding this by myself, after the mess I made of 360 meters of sock yarn. My ball winder and the 800 meters of yumminess will be accomanying me to a future knit night, where I know someone will help me in order to fondle this yarn.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Guilty as sin

I don't adhere to any established faith. I believe in being kind, helpful where I can be, assist others less fortunate, etc. The Golden Rule, basically (Do unto others as you would have done unto you). I fail sometimes, but I do try to not be rude. Rudeness should be the eighth deadly sin, but that's neither here nor there.

Therefore, I'm a little surprised at myself. I am guilty of coveting thy (former) neighbour's yarn shop.

Last fall, I moved from my beloved, spacious apartment in a very desirable neighbourhood to a tiny little house far, far away from my friends and favourite watering holes. I did this because the house is perfect for me, and to purchase a similar house in my former neighbourhood is far, far beyond my means.

In this desirable neighbourhood, there is a consignment clothing store, which changed hands about a month before I moved. The new owner is a knitter, and she converted part of the shop into a yarn shop. So, perhaps it's just as well that I no longer live just three blocks down the street. In fact, I know it is. The day before I moved, I marched in to see what this was all about, and got talking to this wonderful woman. And signed up for the mailing list.

Now, I go to knit night without fail, and it is the social highlight of my week. She has done a lovely job of making a little yarn heaven. Every time I go in, I want, want, want to own my own business, teach others to knit, and be surrounded by yarn all day long. So, I've done the next best thing.

I've horned in. I have loads of business skills, I can sell things, when I choose to, and I know knitting. So much so, that I'm teaching classes, beginning shortly. My lovely yarn-shop proprietress thinks I'm doing her a favour, but really, I'm doing it for completely selfish reasons. I want this business to succeed. I want a community of knitters around me. I don't want her to get burned out and pack it all in, because I can't afford to buy her out. I've been pretty aggressive about this, too. I give unsolicited business advice. I offer to teach. I interrupt conversations, giving unsolicited knitting advice. I volunteered to work Saturdays in exchange for yarn (that was really selfish!). Details to follow.

The sin part: I am completely unrepentant. I am thrilled that the proprietress has accepted my large knitting personality, and I don't care that I'm being bossy. I will envy her shop, but root for her success as much as I can. In fact, that's where I'm going to spend all my yarn money. I might as well pay her to work there.

So, if the stars are aligned, and you are a knitter in Winnipeg, or want to knit in Winnipeg, please drop by: Wolseley Wardrobe, 889 Westminster Avenue. Once I start working, I promise I will leave the hot rollers at home.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Socks, continued.

Yesterday was indeed a lovely day. I went for that walk, and I was so warm when I got back that I stood outside, in my shirtsleeves and had a beer. It was lovely, and a very pleasant treat considering it's only the end of March.

My yard needs tons of work, and I am now regretting not doing any yard work last fall. Where the snow has melted, my lawn looks terrible. I will take some pictures today or tomorrow. I have big dreams for the yard, and the cost keeps going up. But, there's no price tag on dreams, so I can dream all I want. Reality will tell.

Now for the knitting.

I did get more done on MW's socks, but not enough to warrant a picture. Instead, I will talk about another sock.

I have this to show for my efforts over the past week or so as well:

This is Posh Yarn's Lucia (the second photo on their site), purchased last November in Toronto at Lettuce Knit. It is amazing yarn, and I adore the colours. I can't tell you how good it feels in my hands, how sproingy and soft it is. I have been admiring it all winter, and, to be honest, I didn't really want to knit it. If I knit it, it would be over, and then I couldn't dream about it any more (I know how nice it is to knit because I had another skein in a different colourway, and I knit that over Christmas). It's difficult to get more - notice that everything on their website is sold out? But, I was feeling springy a month or so ago, and I started winding it up. This is what I got:

Yup, a dog's breakfast. I didn't even take pictures of the worst of it. I cut it twice, and it took me two days, sitting on the couch untangling this mess. I was rather disgusted with myself, but I also realized that prolonged the fondling of the yarn. Perhaps I'm not stupid after all. Don't answer that.

So, I have made a delightful sock, for me this time. I used the basic sock recipe, but ribbed all the way down the leg and on the top of the foot. Not as annoying as I thought it would be. I had originally started in stockingette, but the pooling was horrible and completely detracted from the yumminess, so, frog it was. It was only about an hour's work so, that wasn't too bad.

I will cast on the second sock tonight, and that will be my at-work sock, and I will keep MW's sock's for the bus. I don't want her to see her socks at all.

You will see in the first picture that I had already cast on for the second. That has been ripped. I was practising my long-tail cast on method, which I taught myself this weekend using this tutorial. Naturally, my tail wasn't long enough (that will take some practise), so it had to go. I will use my regular method of casting on (cable cast on over two needles) for the second sock, and then practise some more. Now that I know what is happening, a long-tail cast on is quite smart looking. Before, whenever I tried to cast on one-handed using some technique that came out of my head, it looked floppy and loose. Not at all tidy, and I treasure tidiness above all things.

Which means it's time to attack my chores for tonight - bathroom! I don't know who sheds more, me or the cats.

Coming soon: other things. I do knit more than socks.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday morning

I'm still perturbed with that bonehead from Friday night. I know that it's meaningless, and I should not dwell on it, but more I think about it, I realize he was incredibly rude. I did nothing to encourage him, did not allow him to buy me a drink (I buy my own drinks, always). In fact, I did not even flirt. He interrupted (repeatedly) a conversation I was having, and it took three times for him to get the message. Then, I was having another conversation, with a male friend, he leaned in and said something strange about owning a nicer suit jacket. Needless to say, I left earlier than I normally would have. I was plainly annoyed.

But, there are good things happening. Snow is melting, rapidly (I guess I will find out if my basement is dry) and the sun shines, sometimes. Today is the day I will do some of my chores, and hopefully go on a long walk, to procure a few groceries. Nothing exciting, but that's exactly what I love about Sundays. The long stretch of hours to do nothing but putter. My head is clear, I'm rested, and I plan on making myself a decent dinner and enjoying some wine while I watch Desperate Housewives or whatever drama is on TV tonight.

My happiness mostly derives from this:

The first of MW's socks is coming along nicely. The more I contemplate it, the more I love the pattern. The picot edge is much more elegant than ribbing, the pattern repeat is fun, the heel flap construction is clever. And pretty. Here's a photo:

My picture taking skills aren't so hot, but I think this shows the lovely diagonal pattern. I think it's called a pheasant heel, but I'm not sure.

Here is my attempt to get a close-up of the pattern:

I adore cables. I know people find them intimidating, but I love the "braid-y" look. Always have, always will. And, not scary at all. I remember knitting a pair of mitts, way back when, and my hands were shaking as I slid the four stitches onto the cable-needles, double-checking the pattern to confirm if I was to hold the needle in front or behind the work, knitting the next four stitches and then swinging the cable needle around to knit those four stitches. My tension was awful, there was a gaping hole, and it looked like garbage. But, I persevered and a few rows on, I looked down, and there it was! A cable!

That's the best thing about knitting, that with two sticks and a piece of string, you can make something three-dimensional. I will never get tired of that feeling of amazement, the mysterious language of the instructions. How one row does not stand in isolation but when put together with all the other seemingly incomprehensible rows, becomes something useful and beautiful.

Hmm, it seems I'm waxing poetic this morning. That must mean it's time to switch the laundry, have some breakfast, and get going before I break into Haiku. That would be unforgivable.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Why is it that men automatically think one is a lesbian when you tell them that you aren't dating anyone? Are they that convinced of their own appeal?

P. S. This fellow was NOT attractive. If that was the alternative, I would become a lesbian.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Two of my favourite things, put together

If there is enough interest, I will be teaching a group of men at a local radio station how to knit. I am unreasonably excited about this.

There's the obvious - sharing my knowledge of something I love to people who hopefully want to learn.

Then there's the second thing. One of those men may be cute, single and interested in me. AND I WON'T BE DRUNK! It's a lunch hour class. Being hammered would be totally inappropriate. I am looking forward to seeing how well I can flirt while sober.

To frog or not to frog

that is the question;

a tale of two socks;

sock it to me...

I could go on and on.

My lovely boss, MW, is having a birthday on April 13. She's a very special person, and we've been having a hard time in our department. So, I want to celebrate the day she joined humanity. I would have been kicking stones down the street about three months ago if it weren't for her.

Plus, she's a big fan of my knitting.

I started the sock on the right, first. I wanted a new-to-me pattern, and I wanted it to be tough, lacy and cably, to express in knitting how very dear she is to me. I don't like it. I know that lace looks like barf until you block it, but this, even stretched and pinned, looks terrible because of the reverse stockingette beside the regular stockingette. It's supposed to look like the Bells and Whistles socks by Mona Schmidt in the holiday 2006 issue of Interweave knits. Can't find a picture.

So, with the other ball of yarn, I cast on this. A pattern I've made before, and quite enjoyed. It has all the elements except that it's not as difficult. Only an eight row pattern, not 20. Looks much nicer too. With yarn-overs and cables with simple stockingette, I think it is a much more elegant sock. However, this sock is not very stretchy, and my boss is quite a heavy lady. I've never seen her in a skirt, so I don't know if she's got chubby ankles or not. I will be totally guessing on the size.

Who am I kidding? My mind is made up. I'm frogging the one on the right. Just talking about it has made me realize what I really want to do. If the socks don't fit, I'll make her another pair.

As an aside, why do I sometimes get a double-space between paragraphs and sometimes not? It's driving me nuts. I do prefer things to be neat and orderly. I know my writing's not the best, but it should at least be easy to see on the screen. Yet one more thing to figure out. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trying it with pictures

I finished some stuff. Yay for me!

Socks for Lisa, one of my favourite bartenders. Details: yarn - On-line Supersocke 100, 100 grams. Pattern: Yarn Harlot's basic sock recipe from her book, Knitting Rules, scaled down to 60 stitches. Probably works out to about a size 8 foot.

The wee felted bag is from a scrap of Paton's Classic Merino. Pattern made up out of my own head to fit my camera. Sometimes making it up works.

Also using the Harlot's recipe (it's also now my basic sock recipe, I think) sized down to 56 stitches. Probably about a size 9 foot. I used two balls of Regia Crazy Stripe and what's left is included in the photo. I couldn't have done that better if I tried. No swatching, but I did rip nearly 2/3 of a 64 stitch sock when I realized that I wouldn't have enough yarn and it was going to be freaking huge (like Jolly Green Giant sized). These do not have a recipient, yet. If you get them, act surprised, OK?

Yarn - also On-line Supersocke, 100 g. The yardage on this stuff is amazing. These are socks for a man, about a size 11 (I hope) and there is yarn left over. I scaled up the pattern to 72 stitches, but created sort of a garter-stitch rib pattern. I have it written down on a sticky-note somewhere. The variegation is lovely, and it pooled just right. This is my first time knitting man-sized socks, and I'm quite pleased with the results. I hope my buddy appreciates them. In January, I went to a bar when I should have gone directly home, and he looked after me when I needed looking after, and expected nothing in return. This man deserves socks. He wants a date, but socks will have to do. I am not so good at dating people I like. I have to stop liking them when I start dating them, and then there's the problem of what happens when the dating stops. I'm not good at that part either. I am trying to not blur the line between friends and lovers. It never ends well, for me.

More importantly, I have two more balls of this yarn, one in a burgundy/black colour-way, and another in plum/black, which is just yummy. Right now, I'm drawn to very bright, spring colours, but I know I will run through that phase and get back to this!

The washcloth is out of some cotton. Don't know what, doesn't really matter. 36 stitches on 6 mm needles, feather and fan pattern remembered from a million years ago. I stop knitting when it's as long as my hand (I have huge hands). That way, I figure it's just right to fold in half while damp and wipe the counter. I keep one of these on the go by my computer, for keeping my hands busy. Takes a long time to get one done this way (solid knitting, about an hour), and you may receive it as a wine cozy. Act surprised.
The socks are kiddie-sized. 44 stitches of the basic sock pattern. 50 g ball of Knit Picks basic sock yarn, whatever it is. Enough left over to make another pair. I bought this to see what Knit Picks is all about, and it's OK. Actual size is way-too-big-for-my-one-year-old-niece. I made another pair at 40 stitches which fit, I'm told, but are not so good at staying on her feet. Next time, I want to try ribbing the entire leg. If I'm smart enough, I should also thread in some elastic at the top. Those babies, they don't really like the socks, and who can blame them? Baby feets are so cute, and I know I like to show off my best features. Why shouldn't they?
Bad Auntie was late, as usual, and was working on the birthday socks at the birthday party (I think Mini-B will be a knitter, she was fascinated!). However, Mini-B got mail addressed to Herself later in the week. I addressed it as "Mlle" and everything!
I have lots more photos, and exciting news about knitting opportunities. More will follow, I did not want to tell all in one post! Plus, this whole photo thing was a test. If it's sucky, please say so. Believe me, I will be checking my own blog at work tomorrow to see if it's pretty.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Things are much better. I got all the tears out of my system (which is something that happens periodically for me) and now I'm back to my usual routine of doing what I have to do, and remembering that "more money, no overtime" is what made me join the company in the first place. Sometimes, no matter how strong and well-adjusted one is, nothing fixes things better than a good cry and and a long sleep. I was about six months overdue.

Knitting is coming along. Some work days have lots of free time, and I can knit half a sock. Other days, I'm doing well if I can sneak away long enough to go to the ladies' room. If only the markets would calm down... I have a few things to say to the United States sub-prime lenders. And the Asian markets. It's really messing up my personal life. Do you think they would listen to what I have to say?

Oh, and note to J., my one devoted reader. The new favourite wine-in-a-box is "Trivento," indeed a Shiraz from Argentina. I just noted that as I filled up my glass. As we discussed yesterday, it's lovely to only have the wine in my shopping bag, not a whole bunch of weighty glass. I don't care what the wine snobs say, I'm bigger, louder, and most of the time, much prettier. Never mind having common sense and not wanting to strain my ever-growing-older back by carrying more than I should (we will not discuss how much pain I am going to be in tomorrow, after hauling $85 worth of groceries home, most of which was hanging off my left shoulder). Do as I say, not as I do, people! That applies to knitting, and everything else.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Colour me crazy

I had a complete and total meltdown at work today. This was a long time coming. I've been pretty unhappy for about three months now. The trigger? One poorly crafted sentence in an email.

How sad is that?

I love email. Really, I do. But, there's this woman, see, who fired off a message that 16 hours later, when I read it, made me cry for - get this - six and a half hours! Yup, I sobbed quietly, at my desk, for most of the day.

The message said basically: "You screwed up, we need to talk about how incompetent you are."

What she meant: "There was an error tonight, and obviously something is being missed. How can we correct this process?"

What I interpreted: "My cover is blown. I have no idea what I'm doing, and my faking it isn't doing the trick."

And, hello! Haven't I said loudly and clearly that just following the steps isn't enough!!!!"

Need I discuss how embarrassed I am? I think not.

I really try to keep the crazy out of the office, but today it totally snuck up on me.

My poor boss (she did not send this message) was totally flummoxed, and did her best to ignore me all day. I don't blame her. Tomorrow morning, we are going to have a huge talk. I will probably cry again.

Sh*t, I'm crying now just thinking about it. I'm too upset to even knit, which is a sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Blog? What blog?

Wow, I didn't get back to this as soon as I thought. Mostly because I prefer to actually knit, rather than talk about it. And, I am trying to not neglect the rest of my life. More on that in the future, but suffice to say the last six months have been pretty interesting, for me. However, I am going to try and fit this blog thing into my new and improved routine, which is coming soon, I hope.

I do have a digital camera, bought it in December. Bought the memory card, or stick, or whatever, in February. Have taken photos, but have not sat down and figured out how to make the camera talk to the computer. That will follow shortly, because I am desperate to show some things off.

However, a quick list of works in progress:

  • socks for Lisa, one of my favourite bartenders
  • 2 pairs of socks, unknown recipients (my fondest wish is to have a box of goodies I can dive into when I need a birthday present, or to thank someone for looking after my cats, or whatever. We'll see. I think I'm about two years behind).
  • wristwarmers, for me (I think)raglan cardigan, for me. This is one-piece top-down construction, and I'm loving it so far. Details and photos to follow.

Upcoming projects:

  • More socks (always socks. Perfect for bar and bus knitting).
  • Beret for N. She doesn't wear wool, and I love her so much that I'm going to knit in acrylic.
  • Socks for MW, my boss. I adore her, because she makes having a crappy job almost worthwhile.
  • Yoga mat bag, for A. In lime green, of course.
  • Icarus. For me. I must post a photo of this yarn. Custom dyed for my by Black Bunny Fibres and it's lovely. It's called Career Girl Pink, naturally. I am so excited about this project. I knit my first shawl in January, and I loved the experience. I adore tiny yarn and having to pay attention. Needless to say, this will be a home-only project.

So that's it, for now. Wednesday's are for vacuuming and plant-watering. Knitting too, naturally.