Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just show up

I was exhausted yesterday (and a teeny bit hungover - gee, I wonder why?).

I considered bailing on Knit Night (now that's tired!).

But, I thought I would just pop in to say hello, and if I still felt crappy, go home.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I had a wonderful time. We had a newbie, and I got to help her pick yarn for her first project, do the math for her swatch, and fake a legwarmer pattern.

I looked at my watch, thinking I'd been there all of fifteen minutes, and it was nearly time to pack up and go home!

The hardest part is getting somewhere. Once I show up, things fall into place and I usually am so glad. I need to remember that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I am so proud

I got my first #1 hit on a crazy search term.

If you google "burning barrel Minneapolis" the first search return will be me.

While that is not as profane as I could have hoped for, it is bizarre enough to be pleasing, just the same.

In other news...

I barely got out of my pyjamas, all weekend. Which is a shame, considering the list of chores to do around here, but it was good for my knitting. My French market bag needs another handle, some knitchener, kitcener, I mean grafting (yes, I am tipsy), and then it will be ready for felting.

Oh, and I received a lovely, totally unexpected gift this evening. A dear, dear friend of mine was in Vancouver for a writers conference, and she knows Diana Gabaldon. I have a personally autographed copy of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. Such a treat, from a woman I respect, written by a woman I respect. It doesn't get better than that.

This does make up for my failure to go to Minneapolis.

J, thanks so much. You have a pretty good idea how much this means to me. Socks are coming your way, as soon as I find the appropriate yarn and pattern. This calls for something special!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

No road trip, knitting instead.

I didn't go to Minneapolis. Earlier in the week, I was ill (to the point where I had to get off the bus before embarrassing myself royally. Also, if someone is throwing up in a parking lot across the street from a seedy bar, that does not necessarily mean that the sick person was a patron of said bar.)

Needless to say, I took a taxi the rest of the way home.

I am disappointed about it, but I know that my bank account will thank me later.

The other day, a colleague mentioned that there's only sixty-some-odd shopping days until Christmas. Well, I don't do much Christmas shopping, but I had better get cracking on some Christmas knitting.

My list is not extensive. Two little girl Christmas sweaters (different ones, this year, I've learned my lesson) and a pair of socks for the boy. Easily done in two months, but I want to finish a couple of things first.

So, naturally, I started two completely unrelated projects this week. I have the urge to do some felting, and N needs a new hat.

These are the projects:

French Market from Knitty. I've had this pattern printed and saved for over a year, and on Wednesday, when home sick, I dug some stash yarn out and cast on. It's a lovely, mindless knit. I'm using my new Knitpicks Harmony needles, which are turning out to be wonderful. The yarn is Lion Wool (colour: flower garden) and it is quite rough. There's no way I would wear it, so it's perfect for a felted bag. I've got four balls, and I'm going to use it all, so it's gone (I bought it while undergoing some retail therapy a year ago. I just needed to buy SOMETHING).

Tweed Beret from Interweave Knits (Winter 2006). Yarn is Paton's Decor in New Teal. This is the first acrylic blend I've used in years. I knit the same hat last spring, and even though the yarn has the same yardage as what I used, this is ridiculously pointy on top. Therefore, it will be frogged, promptly and begun again with bigger needles (4.5 mm instead of 4, likely). We'll see how that goes. I should have it done in the next week or so, so that N will have it when it gets cold.

Stepping outside to take these photos just now makes me wonder what I'm going to do all winter - my camera works best with natural light, and there's no way I'm going outside in the middle of January just to take picture of knitting.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Is it insane to drive eight hours to a book signing?

Crazy Aunt Purl, one of my heroes, is going to be in Minneapolis on Thursday.

I want to go.

  • How often does someone I admire get this close to Winnipeg? Not often.
  • I haven't done anything fun and spontaneous in forever.
  • The Canadian dollar is very strong right now.
  • I loves a road trip, and have never been to Minneapolis.
  • Gas is relatively cheap right now.
  • Ikea is in Minneapolis.
  • I want to go.

  • I would have to rent a car and get a hotel room. Money is, um, not as tight as it was, but is tight nonetheless.
  • It's an eight hour drive, one-way.
  • I shouldn't really ask for time off work. I've only been there two months.
  • I have a huge deadline at work.
  • Crossing the border is a huge PITA.
  • I don't have a passport.
  • Who would look after my cats?
  • I have never met this person. She may think I am stalking her.

So, should I stay or should I go?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why didn't I get a hands-free phone?

So, I'm doing a bunch of work for an organization I belong to that requires making phone calls. Lots and lots of phone calls (I'm selling tickets to a show).

I can't talk on the phone and knit! Progress on EVERYTHING has stalled, and it's driving me nuts. If I don't take an hour to knit tonight, I'm going to be very, very cranky, and no one will want to buy anything from me.

In other news, I made a $250,000 mistake at work. And not in a good way. Oops. That's why year-end adjusting journal entries should be posted at year-end, not four months later (and by a new person who wasn't with the company at year-end).

Just sayin'.

Thankfully, this is an entry that is removed before it goes to our parent company, and for tax purposes, I've got plenty of time to fix it. Still, I'm not looking forward to explaining this tomorrow (and, it will be fixed tomorrow).
I still feel like a moron.

But, here's a picture of one of the products we sell:

That's a honking big pile of sand. And, it's bigger now. Exciting, eh?

I use this machine (while climbing the pile) to take co-ordinates of where the aggregate (technical term) sits on Earth in relation to a bunch of satellites. I take those coordinates, calculate an average distance from sea-level and volume using a funky software program. Then I use plain ol' Excel to convert the volume into mass (how the stuff is delivered, invoiced and sold). Boom! Ending inventory.

This is how I look after doing this on a stinking hot day:

Bad hair and no make-up aside, I think I look pretty damn good. I worked hard (actually, it took me three days to recover). Also, note the Ziploc baggie of knitting sticking out of my purse. Not that I had time to knit, but I did have it with me, just in case. Those were the Monkey socks.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A knitting report, finally.

It's amazing how the hands can be trained to do something one way, and then when it's time to switch it up, the hands can't change.

I've spent most of the day knitting. I should have been doing a thousand other things, but I wanted to knit. I did a pattern repeat on my Storm Water Scarf (for me, it will be a shawl), and that's coming along nicely, despite my inability to count to eight (and I'm an accountant. I manage millions of dollars of assets every day. Be afraid, very, very afraid).

I started the Winding Cable Knee Socks. These will not be bar-and-bus socks, I promise you that. Just the cuff has been messing with my head, and I'm only 11 rows in. Don't get me started on the charts. When I get there, I will have to be sober, that's for sure. (A note about the pattern size - it's geared to be a woman's shoe size six or seven. That's about the size of my big toe. And the leg circumference - 11.5 inches, stretched. Mine is 14.5 inches, and I have skinny legs, for my size. Yikes. Needless to say, I'm not pleased about this, because I adore the socks. Can't add stitches without messing up the entire aesthetic, so I've gone up a needle size (2.75 mm from 2.5mm). I hope that will be enough. If not, someone smaller that me is getting a fan-fricking-tastic pair of pink socks. That said, I have two sisters-in-law with birthdays this month.

I've also done a bit on the bar-and-bus socks. I'm reading a new book, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, and perusing blogs (and this little website called Ravelry) and well, I need simple knitting while I read. Normally bar-and-bus socks don't even come out of my purse at home, unless I'm grafting a toe, picking up gusset stitches or casting on (you know, critical points).

My bar-and-bus socks are just a variation on the Harlot's basic sock recipe. Instead of plain stockingette , I'm k2, k1tbl, p1. It looks really sharp and isn't quite as boring as plain knitting. Perfect for reading, since I only look at it every few stitches.

However, when I started the Winding Cable socks, I could not, for the life of me, p2 k2 for the 16 repeats required. I would p1 and then knit - 'cuz that's what I've been doing for the past week. Argh! Hence the first sentence of this post.

Other knitting stuff: when I was home last weekend, I took the babies' measurements. Christmas is coming, after all. Last year, I made identical sweaters, and it was so damn cute I wanted to barf. But, finishing the second sweater was agony. As the Harlot says, second sweater syndrome is way worse than second sock syndrome. I've had a request for a particular type of sweater (requiring intarsia) for one. I'll probably be designing it myself, since I haven't seen anything approximating the requested idea anywhere. The other? I have no idea. I'm enamoured of this sweater, but everything I've read about the sizing says that it turns out huge. This is a very, very dainty little girl we're talking about. Huge would not be good. But I'm intrigued by the construction...

Gotta get back to that book. Who knew that a straight woman could write about a gay man so well?

Friday, October 12, 2007

The romance is gone

It's Friday night, and I've worked like a demon all week (and loved it, by the way, I'm starting to own this job). My sweetie and I have hardly seen each other. I was ill, he was ill, I was out of town, blah, blah, blah.

So, he's bringing take-out and we are going to watch DVR'd episodes of Farscape. On a Friday night. This is only marginally superior to the grocery-shopping Saturday night of a few weeks ago.

Yup, the romance is gone. How long do you think it is until I stop tidying up before he comes over?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A conversation of note

Dinners at my family home are loud. And usually obnoxious.

It's fun.

So, my dad and brothers totally missed dinner because of an auction sale, and us girls (Mom, two sisters-in-law, the babies, one cousin and me) had been done for ages. We talked while they were eating.

I was talking about my plans for later that evening - my cousin (the one at dinner) and I were going to have drinks in town. Since there is only one place, THE PLACE, to go, my youngest brother pipes up and and says: "Oh, Misstea, you'll be the prettiest cougar there!"

I laughed until I cried. That is the nicest compliment I have ever gotten from him.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The hardest part is getting started

So, I was at Mom and Dad's, where I'm usually not allowed to lift so much as a finger. Mom's funny that way. Strange, I know.

This time, I was given a job, though. Mom is getting ready to move houses. She and Dad are going to move into the little house, two miles south, and my brother and his family are going to move into the big house on the active farmyard. This process will likely take several years.

There is 25 years of accumulated junk in a really big house - so much clutter that in some of the rooms, there is only a path through all the stuff. My job was to go through my old bedroom closet. So, yesterday morning, after breakfast, I told Mom to start the burning barrel, and I started hauling stuff out of the closet.

This stuff was old - I moved away from home two months after I graduated from high school, 17 years ago. The list of things I insisted be destroyed includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Various plaques for awards received at my high school commencement.
  • The Indiana Jones hat I received for Christmas one year.
  • 4-H project books and award ribbons.
  • Streamers kept from my wedding in 1993 (we separated in 2001, divorced in 2004).
  • The blue and white peasant skirt I bought in Vancouver in 1987. I wore it to death, with grey and red wool socks and black shoes. I didn't shave my legs, either. Quite the hippie.
  • An Anglican church song sheet from approximately 1956, with my aunt's name written in the upper right hand corner.
  • Sundry binders and notes from high school, the most notable one being the purple English / history binder with "Give Peace a Chance" marked on it in white-out.

My mother and brother were shocked, and tried to save much of this stuff. I grabbed the poker from my mom's hand and made sure stuff was burning, so no one could pull it out. In fact, my brother and I were having a tug of war over a t-shirt - he wanted to turn it into a shop rag. Since I was pulling with all my might, and he was standing there holding onto it with one hand and laughing at me, I guess he won (have I mentioned that at nearly six-feet tall, I'm the little one in my family? Babies and sisters-in-law not included).

Despite the shouting and the conflict, it was loads of fun. I didn't keep anything that wasn't beautiful, useful or loved. I will admit, much of it only fell into the loved category. Such as:
  • My wedding dress, veil and shoes. The marriage may be over, but I felt like a fairy princess that day. It was gorgeous. There are two little girls who may want to play dress-up some day.
  • The cards received with my shower and wedding gifts. I am very sentimental (don't tell anybody, though).
  • My prom dress. I made it myself (naturally).
  • Various letters, postcards and photos from the year I spent abroad.
  • My very first sewing project (a purple tote bag).
  • My very first sweater project (blue mohair intarsia. Yikes!).
  • The dolly my Grandma gave me. Again, two little girls may play with it.
  • All my books - Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Judy Blume, and probably much, much more.

After I left, to have coffee with a long absent and dearly loved high-school girlfriend (talk about walking down memory lane this weekend!), Mom kept going and burned three bags of stuff from the garage unopened. I am so proud.

When I finish this post, I'm putting on some grubby clothes and heading down to the basement. It's too bad I can't have a burning barrel in the city. The question is, what do I do with all the acrylic I bought when I didn't have much money, and didn't know any better?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What I did when I wasn't knitting

I have this friend, A. She is beautiful, kind, intelligent, and all the very best things a friend should be. She also has exquisite taste, and damn good ideas.

When I visited her home in September, I noticed that she had pulled up her cream-coloured carpet. Like me, she has dark-haired pets, and the cream was not so cream any more. She painted the plywood and threw down a couple rugs. Looks fan-fricking-tastic! I was inspired.

So, I got busy last weekend, and this is what is underneath some (by no means all) of my cream-coloured carpet.

Not sure what to do about the "vintage" linoleum, but even if that remains, removing the carpet and the associated dirt was very satisfying. Can't wait for Monday, when hopefully I will have time to have a crack at the rest of it. And then it's wash the walls, paint, paint, and paint some more. And unpack some books!
But that wasn't all. The stuff that was in this space:

got moved here:and is now resting comfortably at the landfill.

That was a wonderful feeling - standing on the back of the truck in grubby clothes at sunset on a beautiful fall evening - with every heave of junk into the pile I was getting rid of stuff that wasn't of any use to me (came with the house) and had been bothering me for a year. Now, if I could only do that with some of the stuff I brought into the house, I'd be laughing. Later, after I go to the farm, play with some babies and eat lots of food that I didn't cook.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I'm on Ravelry, and I've been shopping!

Got my invitation to Ravelry today. I'm Misstea, and quite pleased about that. I thought Misstea would be taken, seeing as I'm well over the 20,000th person to be invited. Yay for me!

So much for my plan to clean house, and do some work for an organization I belong to. And, thank goodness Boy bailed on dinner (poor sweetie is sick). Instead, I'm going to open a Flickr account and see if my photos can talk to it.

There's knitters in Winnipeg that I didn't know. Woohoo!

In the meantime:

Knitpicks Options

Harmony needles. I've heard lots of raving about Options, but since metal needles don't appeal to me, I didn't even bother checking them out. Then, I saw the birch needles. I was intrigued, and it was my birthday, or close enough to it. They arrived tonight. I've switched to them in my two active WIP, and I am smitten! I also got some blocking wires. I will show them off when I am actually blocking something.

Wolseley Wardrobe now carries Noro! I had to buy the pink. It's the Harlot's one-row scarf, and it's gorgeous. Can't wait to block it and then wear it with my new velour blazer. I'll be stylin'.

Three skeins of Araucania Pomaire. At 168 m each, I could make something. I just bought it because it's pink. 100% cotton, so a sort of t-shirt, perhaps? It depends on the pooling. Right now, it's just to have.

Lorna's Laces. Enough to make these. For me. When? Soon, I hope.

Finished Monkey socks! Just in time, too. I'm meeting up with a friend on Sunday, and I haven't seen her in over a year. Seems like the socks have spoken. Her feet are bigger than mine, and these socks are too big for me.