Friday, November 30, 2007

Coming soon:

100 things about me.

When I first started this little blog, I immediately started thinking about the "100 things" posts I saw on other people's blogs. It was the first thing I read when I stumbled on a blog that I thought was worth checking out. And I thought that maybe it would be an interesting thing to have on my blog.

I'm famous for being late to the party. I realize that y'all did this years ago, but I don't care. I'm doing it now.

So, all spring, summer and fall, I started compiling a mental list. Every time I laughed, or did something I really enjoyed, or heard a song I loved, I would try to remember it so that when it came time for my 100th post, I would have the list mostly compiled.

Ha! The road to hell is paved with good intentions. (I don't know who said it, but I'm pretty sure that copyright has expired).

I even got so far as writing 15 of them down one night (when I was 9/10ths into a bottle of wine. I can't read what I wrote down that night).

Naturally, other than that ill-fated night, I don't remember a damn thing.

It was harder than I thought it would be. But easier, at the same time.

I can think of lots of things about booze, but I don't want it to be just about drinking. I can think of lots of things about knitting, but I don't think I could come up with 100.

I could be all gushy and pick out 100 things that I love, but too many smarmy fuzzy things is just plain yucky, and would plainly bore the hell out of me. And paint an incomplete picture of who I am.

And that's the hard part. I am, like everybody else, complex. I share lots of things in this little public diary, but there's a whole bunch more I keep private. Some stuff is so private I can barely even admit it to myself. Years of therapy would be needed to deal with it all, and frankly, I'm not that interested in going down that road.

So, this is what I'm doing. I'm going to save this as a draft and put it aside. Then, I'll open a new excel spreadsheet and send a row count down the page. I'll talk, and see what happens.

I love being at home when the mail comes

Home again sick today. Jeez, I'm getting tired of this.

I'm sure my employer is too, as this is the sixth sick day in three months. That's more than a bit embarrassing.

Anyway, since I was home, and not sleeping, I answered the door. There was a package for me! From The Sweet Sheep. And this was in it:

Mama E project bag, you know, for those dressier occasions where a Ziploc baggie just won't do.

Rabbitworks Fibre Studio (also found here) Toe Jam sock yarn, Fiesta colourway.

Handmaiden Sea Silk in Amethyst. (Hmm, do I see a Montego Bay scarf for me in my future?)

None of this was bought for any reason in particular, except that one day at work, I got a little click-happy. The package arrived rilly fast, so I guess buying from a Canadian supplier does make a difference.

Sitting here, browsing through Ravelry, allowed me to finish the front of Mini J's Christmas sweater:

Let me show you a closer picture of the flower:

Isn't it cute? I am still amazed, after all these years, that knits and purls can be combined to come up with an infinite number of things.

Now comes the tough part: picking up the stitches for the neck and then finishing the damn thing.

This is where I usually lose interest and wander off to do something else. I'm trying hard not to, though, because if I keep going, I could have this thing done tomorrow, including blocking. That would be a sweater in a week (granted, a kid's sweater) and that's an achievement.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sick day

I have a horrendous cold, and in the interest of not infecting the entire office, I'm knitting from home today.
Trust me, I'm doing everyone a favour.
I just cast off the second sleeve of my darling Mini J's sweater. I still have my doubts about what appears to be the insane width, but I'm told the ease for kid's clothing is built into the arms and shoulders.
Okey dokey. I'll continue to reserve judgement.
I am also somewhat reassured by the fact that I've knit the back and two sleeves since Saturday afternoon. If I have to re-jig things, there's plenty of time.
However, after nearly a week of lavender yarn (including the false-start), I'm itching to do something else, even though I know it's in my best interest to keep going with this thing.
Anyway, pictures!

Two sleeves

Sleeve detail (colour is wonky)

Sweater back

Bottom edging. It's quite pretty, and not difficult, if I remember to count. However, it's an eight row pattern, and I did not commit it to memory, somehow. My brain must be full.

And speaking of Mini J, I saw my dad for a few minutes last night. He tells me that she is quite helpful around the house. If the phone rings, she'll go get it and bring the phone to whoever is around to answer it. How cute! Can't wait to see her in a few weeks.

Monday, November 26, 2007

This isn't as quick as I thought it would be

So, I'm chugging along merrily on the back of Mini J's sweater. I'm thinking about dinner, and how badly I do NOT want to shovel, and whether the cat pee smell in this place is just in my head (I'm pretty sure it's not).

I'm on row 29 of 33, and I decide that it's time to turn the page, thinking that I have a few shoulder shaping rows, and then the back is done.

Apparently not.

The pattern says: Continue in reverse st. st., cast off 3 stitches at beg of next 2 rows.

Work 30 rows more in reverse st. st.

Shape back neck and shoulders....

Well, I'd better get to that shovelling now, or it's not going to happen tonight. Regrettably, my toes haven't thawed from standing at the bus stop.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh, my aching head

And everything else aches too.

I had a wonderful time at the party. I danced my tail off, and it's been well over a year since I spent more time on the dance floor than sitting at a table. Therefore, parts of me hurt that haven't hurt in a while - like my big toes (stupid shoes).

I'm going to head to the couch, and sit there with my knitting. All day.

Right after I add some items to my Ravelry queue. I bought the Interweave Knits holiday issue yesterday, and there's two items I must make. But not until after Christmas. Even though I really, really, really want to cast on right now.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Once I start shopping, I can't stop.

I needed to get yarn for Mini B's sweater. The shades of brown, pink and cream stocked in my desired yarn didn't work together. So, instead, I bought this:

I have no idea what I'll do with it. I've got a whole month, right?

I also purchased this lavender yarn:

This is a lighter weight than what I'm using for Mini J's sweater. I'm going to try this and see if I can get a nicer drape, and maybe a sleeve that resembles an actual toddler's arm.

And since it was 10% off anything I bought, I also bought myself a little treat. Been wanting a shawl pin from Romi for ages, and since Icarus is accompanying me to the company Christmas party tonight, I thought I needed something to hold it on me.

The reason for a little bit of retail therapy? (Not that I ever need one.) I got stood up for lunch today. Quite frankly, I wasn't surprised, and now I'm very glad I decided to go to the party solo.

The hot and sour soup was lovely, anyway, so it wasn't a waste.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why yes, I am chatty today.

So, this is what almost a whole sleeve looks like:

I understand the concerns. It's freaking huge (and btw, even though I'm using different yarn, I did get gauge). This is also a whole ball of yarn, less the swatch.

Mini J's arm, at its biggest, is about four inches in circumference (which is about the inside circumference of my thumb and index finger. This sleeve, near the top, is about ten (my palm is three inches wide, for a sense of scale). That's a whole lotta ease. More than a toddler needs.

Cast-on edge, trying to look like a sleeve.

(and that is not a trashy magazine underneath my darling perfect niece's sleeve - it's the program for my show. Don't you wish you'd gone to see it?)

I'm going to throw this on waste yarn, cast on for the back and see what happens. If it's nasty, there is going to be some serious algebra and geometry going on.

That's OK, 'cuz I'm a math-type person.

But, I did nearly a whole sleeve in about three hours. That's encouraging, right?

Full steam ahead

I have settled on patterns for the baby sweaters.

Thank goodness, because I was getting really tired of thinking about it.

For Mini B, I am making the Little Star Sweater (shown on the cover) from this book. Imagine though, a "B" instead of the star, and using brown, pink and cream. I think it will work. I am not looking forward to the intarsia, but I love this kid, so I'll suck it up and do it (not my idea - her mother's request).

For Mini J, another pattern from the same book (I cannot find a photo) called "Lacy Sweater" (creative names, no?). It's a reverse stockinette tunic with some lacy details on the sleeves, neckline and hem, as well as a textured flower on the the front. I think the lavender yarn I purchased will suit well. Once I made up my mind, I was desperate to cast on, but perhaps it's just as well I left the yarn at home. There's little enough work going on in this place today (see? blogging? not real work).

Now, I did some digging around, and the reviews on this book are decidedly mixed (I only bought because I saw it on a bargain table for $4.99). There appears to be problems with the sizing, and there is no errata page to be found anywhere.

I figure since I'm substituting yarns anyway, I'll just have to be super-diligent.

Let the Christmas madness begin!

This is what lunch looks like:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quick post

For lack of a better title. It's bedtime. Making a meal and doing one (1!) load of laundry plays me out.

That's pretty sad.

I did manage to finally wash the swatches, but I'm too lazy to take a picture.

I neglected to take measurements, but there is definitely vertical shrinkage. Horizontal, a little, but not much.

All of the fabrics bloomed and are much softer to the touch. Even the lilac, which I thought was unbearably stiff, is now tolerable. The blue is lovely, and I will be using that yarn again. For sure.

Perhaps tomorrow at work, I will run some calcs and maybe even settle on a pattern.

I will do this at work because the huge time investment I made over the past six weeks has paid off. What took me three weeks in October just took me a day and a half.

I'm pretty chuffed about that. Made all the cursing under my breath worthwhile. Now I'm going to make it a little game - to see how fast I can get it done.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas knitting... let's not talk about it.

The boring rectangle scarf is done. I cast off when nearing the end of the first ball of yarn. The second will become... something else. It can stay in the stash until inspiration strikes.

Right now, the scarf measures 47" un-stretched, just under 60" slightly stretched. I am confident it will grow bigger under blocking, which shall commence tomorrow morning, before I leave for work

I'll take a photo for Ravelry, and that will be end of that.

Although I had brought the Earl Grey socks (mid-way through the second pattern repeat), I couldn't resist, tonight, and cast on 64 stitches with one of my new balls of Opal sock yarn. I knit nearly an inch-and-a-half of ribbing at knit night, and then ripped it all out on the bus home. I had cast on 65 stitches, and had 2 knit stitches side-by-side. My k2tog did not make a pretty fix, and I didn't like it. So, now I have half a row to show for over two hours.

The question is, what pattern shall I use? I was thinking of my usual broken rib, but the subtle (yet NEON) colour changes begs for something more challenging.

A knit night buddy suggested Monkey Socks, or Pomatomus. I thought maybe Jaywalkers would be the way to go. Pomatomus requires 72 stitches, my pattern tells me, so that's out. Ditto for Jaywalkers. I'm not ripping again. Monkey socks would be OK, but I am not excited about that idea. So, broken rib it is, I think. This is an attractive idea, if only because I don't have a pair of broken rib socks - I've given away both pairs I made.

Well, I have about two inches of ribbing to do before I make up my mind. That said, Lombard Street calls for 64 stitches, and I do adore the pattern, having made it twice before. It might be nice without the picot cuff. Or, perhaps a chevron pattern? We shall see. I can search Ravelry tomorrow.

This was one of those nights where I had to force myself to leave the house.

Normally, when I have something going on in the evening, I just work late, and then head wherever I am going. This removes the temptation to bail on whatever commitment I've made.

Tonight, though, I had to get a few groceries (it's amazing how many more groceries one needs when making a lunch every day. Who knew?) and I wanted to do that before knit night. Otherwise, I knew it wouldn't happen. I gulped down my dinner, threw the previously forgotten hat on my head (and I needed it today - it was cold!) and forced myself out the door.

Telling myself to "just show up" and "suck it up" the whole time.

It worked. Knit night was amazing as usual. I can't believe that I'm such a party pooper sometimes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rectangles are boring

Especially rectangles that are only one colour.

I am a far better knitter than I was a year ago. I attribute this to knitting far more than I used to. Also, I am challenging myself by trying to make complicated things, occasionally.

Therefore, the red scarf is boring me to tears. It's currently 27.5 inches, and I figured I would cast off between 55 and 60 inches. Blocking would bring it to the 72 inches that is the ideal scarf length, in my opinion.

Thank goodness this thing has a deadline, otherwise it would be thrown in the basket and ignored.

Don't get me wrong - I love the colour and the yarn (Patons Classic Merino is comfort yarn to me, always reliable, always the same), and I certainly adore the recipient. I'm just really, really glad now that I'm not doing it in oatmeal. That truly would be a crime.

There is no photo, because it looks the same as yesterday's photo, only longer.

As per my usual routine, I had a few glasses of wine last night. Perhaps a few too many, as I stayed up too late and had a wee bit of a headache today.

I finished reading the book, and it was delightful. I was sorry when it was over, because I wasn't ready for it to be done. There were a couple of phrases that I mean to go back and underline for myself when I need a little pick-me-up. It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon and evening, too much wine or no.

I did a load of laundry, but did not wash the swatches. Grr. I'm sure, if I try really hard, I could find enough dirty laundry in this house to do another load. Perhaps even tonight.

I did not do very much work today. Instead, I spent a whole lot of time looking at the Do's and Don'ts on People are very mean, that's all I have to say. Whatever happened to "if you can't say anything nice..." I am also amazed at the number of people who fail to look in the mirror before they leave the house. Now, I am no better, I am sure, but all MY skirts end just above the knee. And well, the ones that don't are never worn to the office.

Beats working when one can't concentrate, however.

The bossman did poke his head into my office today, however, to tell me that he hopes, no matter where my career path may lead me, that I do not lose the attention to detail he is becoming accustomed to and likes very much.

That was very comforting to hear, because I've been concerned that my performance has not been up my (impossibly high) standards, as a result of other demands on my time and the afore-mentioned little too much wine occasionally. Plus, it's just nice to know that one's efforts are appreciated.

I did have to tell him that I am incapable of working without that attention to detail. I've built an excellent professional reputation on it (something of which I am very proud) and it fills a psychological need. I simply can't process an single entry without having a supporting calculation (I have also learned to not rely on memory. Mine is sketchy, at best. I blame the wine).

I have big plans for how I'm going to spend the next two weeks, since I've learned so much over the past six weeks - how transactions are generated, what our parent company expects, and what I can do to make the process better, stronger, more timely. I can hardly believe I've been there three months all ready.

I love my job. I couldn't sleep last night, because I was excited about going to work. That's a nice change from not being able to sleep because I didn't want to go to work.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Leaving the house is a good thing

The days are growing shorter and colder in Winter-peg, and I want to hunker down in the house, sit on the couch, knit and drink wine. Not so different from summer, where I sit outside and drink wine. The difference is, in summer I have energy to do things like... clean the litter box.

So, today I had to meet my brother, sister-in-law and their adorable child at an ungodly early hour (10 AM), in order to return their vehicle to them so they could go home.

I had a master plan, in order to get out of the house. Without a master plan, I am useless.

I was going to buy them breakfast, in my old neighbourhood, and then I would not allow them to drive me home. I would go shopping, buy myself a coffee, and do some knitting in a coffee shop.

It worked! We had a lovely breakfast in a delightful greasy spoon (the food was every bit as good as it was when I ate there every Sunday). Adorable niece was good as gold, charming everyone. I presented two pairs of "welcome to 30" socks.

One for each sister-in-law. Have I mentioned how amazing my sisters-in-law are? I have never been close to my brothers. I left home when they were just kids, so I don't really know them as men. We are totally different. I am flaky, artistic, emotional (so they would say. There's more to me than that). They are rednecks. We love each other, and are extremely loyal, but it's the women they married that have brought us together as a family. Oh - and both my sisters-in-law are accountants. What does that say? Especially since my mom's a book-keeper. Freud would have a field day with us. That is so not the point, however.

Later, I indulged in some retail therapy. I used to do this a lot, but for the most part, I've stopped. However, even newly-thrifty people deserve a treat, now and then.
My purchases were the following:

I have wanted a pair of Blundstones for years. However, such boots never really fit into my nice-skirt-and-ironed-shirt professional wardrobe. Now that I work in construction, can wear jeans to the office and occasionally climb honking big piles of sand, I can justify the $180. I wore them out of the shop, and I am thrilled. My feet will be very happy.

And, even though I do not need more sock yarn, and Christmas is coming, I felt the need to buy bright-coloured sock yarn. For me, unless the socks tell me otherwise. Since I just spent $180 on shoes, and I refuse to go to the mall until February, I need more wool socks to wear inside my new boots. I think, also that knitting grey socks right now has also pushed me towards colour. Lordy, I love me bright colours.

And, this had arrived, so I picked it up (note that the all-ready bent cover is being held down by a box o' wine):I had been drunk, divorced and covered in cat hair long before Crazy Aunt Purl came along. In fact, I have found my path, and love it, thanks very much. However, I still struggle with other things (like getting out of the house and cleaning the litter box, see above), and I wanted to read her book for whatever motivational jewels it may contain. I will never forget this sentence from one of her blog posts "My brand of happy is not sold in a store." How true, and rather ironic, considering the topic of this post.

Anyway, I sat in the coffee shop, knitted for a birthday on Friday and read. I'm halfway throughout the book. I think I'll make the knitting deadline, since this was only about an hour-and-a-half's work;

On second thought, blocking may be a problem. Let's see how my TV watching goes tonight, before I make any promises I can't keep.
The pattern is based on the Queen Bee Hat from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. J requested a scarf to match the oatmeal hat and mitts I made for her last year, but I just can't bring myself to it. A red scarf in the same pattern will have to suffice.
I firmly believe, when it comes to fashion, that one does not want to be too "matchy."
And that says a lot about how I go out the door every morning. But that's a topic for another day. Back to that book now...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sock-y Saturday

I am excited today, because one of my darling nieces is coming for a visit. I don't get to see enough of the little toads. Sometimes, (well, rarely) I wish I lived closer, so I could see them more often.

But then again, two hours down the road is not that far away. I just need to get off my duff and go home more often.

Last night at the pub, I managed to finished the first pattern repeat on the Earl Grey Socks. Towards the end of my third pint, I put it away - the lights had been dimmed, and it seemed that the potential for error was greater - having to count to 8 and 24 seemed to be extremely difficult. I whipped out the recovered bar-and-bus socks, did a few rounds, and then went home.

I was home by 8:10, after having stopped for beer and groceries. I just don't have the staying power I used to. The short days really drag me down at this time of year, and it takes supreme effort to do anything.

However, photos!

I am loving the nice firm fabric being created by the Patons Kry 4-ply. The circumerence, at about 8.5 inches, appears to be right for me. I may make the foot shorter, and then the socks won't be a gift. They would slide right into my sock drawer instead.

These are the current bar-and-bus socks. The top sock needs some grafting, but the needles got yanked out in my purse - I'm going to tink back a row and re-do it, so that everything is nice and tidy. The foot on the second is about half-done. I will probably finish it up over the next couple days, so I can concentrate on the Earl Grey socks.The yarn is Patons Kroy 4-ply, 2.5 mm needles, 60 stitches. 1x1 twisted rib for two inches... basic sock pattern from there.

These bar-and-bus socks have been done for a few weeks now. It's my usual 3x1 broken rib. My sister-in-law really admired them when I was home for Thanksgiving, and I'm going to see her later on today. Hmmm.

ON-line sock yarn, 2.5 mm needles, 64 stitches. I forget the rest of the details.

Before that little duffer comes over this afternoon, there has to be some serious tidying up. This place is absolutely not toddler safe right now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nearly on time

I was only 20 minutes late for work this morning, as opposed to the usual 45. I attribute this change to going to bed half an hour earlier.

I'm going to try going to bed earlier again tonight, but I have to wash my hair (for me, it's a legitimate excuse) thus tonight's post will be short.

No laundry got done, and I still haven't settled on sweater patterns, so tonight I cast on a pair of socks I MAY wish to give away for Christmas. I'm using Patons Kroy 4-ply (which I believe is discontinued, but I may be wrong).

I'm using the Harlot's Earl Grey sock pattern. I've wished to try a simple cabled sock for quite some time, and since she's done the work for me, I figured I should use her pattern instead of faking my own.

The modifications (as usual):
  • 2.5 mm needles (as opposed to 2.25)

  • 68 stitches (as opposed to 72)

  • ktbl on the ribbing instead of a regular knit stitch. I think it makes a much snappier ribbing.
Either of the possible recipents wears a size 12 shoe, which is the intended size of the pattern. It will be a grand experiment.

The colour is a deep charcoal grey, not the "poop" colour it appears to be.

If you look closely, you can see the first nine pattern rounds - there's a subtle twist introducing the cable. Cabled socks without actually cabling. I like it!

My one reservation is that yarn this dark may not be suitable for knitting in a bar. I'll let you know tomorrow, after my usual night out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Swatchy, swatchy

Once again, my efforts to avoid housework amaze even myself. I present to you... three swatches, which represents this evening's work (one per hour of TV I watched).

First is ONline Tessa, in some shade of lavender or lilac. The stockingette portion is 20 stitches, beginning at the bottom with 4.0 mm, then proceeding to 4.5 mm and 5.0 mm needles. The yarn rather reminds me of acrylic, except that it doesn't squeak when I knit it.

The fabric made from the 5.0 mm needle appears to have the best drape. The 4.0 mm is definitely too dense. Overall, the fabric is stiff.

Second is Luxury Fine Merino in blue. Same needle sequence. Stockingette portion is 24 stitches. Fabric is much softer, and the 4.0 mm section is lovely. Much prefer this to the ONline.

Third is Lanett in brown, or chocolate, I suppose. 24 stockingette stitches, 3.5 mm needles (my smallest Option size).

Fabric is nice, not as airy as I thought it would be. This might actually work. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it knit up. I daren't go to a larger needle size. The fabric would be too "airy." Somehow, I know this without even trying it.

Next: measurements, before and after throwing these in with the next load of laundry.

Exciting times at Chez Peepee. Can you tell I'm in my post-show funk?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yarn for my babies

And some, for the road.

Maybe, I don't know. It's a song in my head.

Mini B picked this out in September:
It's exactly the colours her mother wants, but suggested needle size is 2.5mm. That's sock yarn, basically. I don't think it's going to happen before Christmas.

At knit night, tonight, I picked out this: It's a superwash merino, and soft enough that I want to replace my pillows and use it, instead. Loving the colours, but not really what I had in mind for Mini J.

This colour is what I had in mind for Mini J (it's more lilac than pink). Also a superwash, but not nearly as soft.

Suggestions? Comments?

Two toddlers, two sweaters, 41 days. I can do it, right? (After all, I did it last year).

Monday, November 12, 2007

I knit more than pink

I've been excavating the stash today. It's an exercise in procrastination, and fills a desire to spend as much time playing in Ravelry as possible.

In the process of going through the house, I found lots of stuff that I knit before I had a blog, or before I had a digital camera.

I have always been well aware that much of what I knit is pink. Pink is my favourite colour (if you haven't figured that out from the template colour of the blog). However, I noticed that much of what I knit is also green.

Green was my favourite colour, and the trendy colour, when I got married in 1993. I thought I had overdosed on green. Apparently not. Look at this (and please note that this is the most flattering photo I have taken of myself in a very, very long time):

Damn, I'm cute, even with un-styled hair and no make-up (and just a tiny bit narcissistic).
The hat is Tweed Beret, from Interweave, and the scarf is the famous Clapotis from Knitty. Both were very happy knits.

I also finally took a photo of the scarf I completed while at home for Thanksgiving. This photo is not so flattering:

The hat was made some time last year from Stitch 'n Bitch, out of something that I can't be bothered to find the label of. I love this hat. I wear it all the time, because it only smooshes my hair a little (I purposefully made it very, very large).
I also bring your attention to this shawl.

Made in January, 2007, this was my first foray into shawl knitting. I sat down with Eunny's tutorial in Interweave Knits, made the swatches, and then cast on for my beloved shawl. Others have said it far more eloquently than I, but bang-for-your-buck, lace knitting is the way to go. Swallowtail cost me $15.95 plus tax. It took me a month of all-shawl-knitting, all-the-time. And I'm a pretty fast knitter. That's pretty cheap entertainment.

In the interest of honesty, Swallowtail was also the first project I had ever blocked.

Yup, after eighteen (18!) years of knitting I blocked for the very first time. I am converted. Now I block everything except socks (and that's only because I'm lazy). Blocking is the wonderful thing that everyone says it is. I promise.

Back to knitting (finally!)

Here are photos of the felted mitts and bag.

French market is really cute, but I still have no love for this yarn. I'm glad there's only the better part of one ball left. The wide open top also presents a risk for me, because I've been known to inadvertently tip my bag over when out and about. The last thing I need is to lose my wallet, or something equally important (again!). This is a good bag to hang on a hook in the kitchen to throw hats and mitts into when I come home (there is no coat closet in this house).

I'm really disappointed in my thumb knitting ability. Those thumbs are huge. I managed to judge the length of the entire mitt just right, so I'm pleased about that, but those thumbs are meant for someone else, not my long skinny digits. However, these will make good mitts for shovelling snow. They are warm.

Since I only used a little of the second ball of yarn I bought, I'm going to try again, using smaller needles and four or eight fewer stitches. If I can find it - it's with the AWOL socks-in-progress.

In the interest of posting something good about knitting, however, here is my purse. I made it about a year ago - it took me a week, started on a Saturday when I was far too hungover to do anything but sit on the couch and watch TV. I get lots of knitting done that way. It's the Booga Bag. Made out of SWS, colourway is Natural Plum. 6 balls of yarn and a 6.5 mm needle, if I recall correctly. I made it about two times bigger than the pattern indicated.

I love this bag with every fibre of my being. I carry it everywhere - it holds two knitting projects, my calendar, wallet, little container of emergency supplies, camera, water-bottle, coffee cup, lunch and a binder, if necessary. I adore how the handles going through the bag itself draw the top up tight. In fact, I love it so much that I didn't put it away in the spring, like I thought I would. I carried a heavy wool bag around all summer. And didn't mind a bit. This is a perfect project for learning how to felt, and how to rejig a pattern to get the size you want. Plus, this bag is absolutely one-of-a-kind. Perfect for me, who likes to have things that no one else has.

Since I spent most of the weekend on the couch recovering from the show, I knit quite a bit on my Storm Water stole. I'm well into the second skein, and I still adore it. However, I am starting to feel really guilty about knitting for me, with the babies' second Christmas looming on the horizon. At knit night, tomorrow, I will pick up yarn for one sweater. I know what yarn I want to use. The question is, what shall the pattern be?

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I feel a little bit like Stephen Spielberg reportedly did after finishing filming Jaws. Apparently he and Richard Dreyfuss got really drunk and ran through Martha's Vineyard screaming "It's done! The son of a bitch is finally done!"

The sleepless nights, constant stress on my wallet, stomach issues and headaches are totally worthwhile.

It was an amazing night. We pulled it off with only a few hiccups. We had a few scene-stealers, a couple of hecklers and tons of encores. The cast really broke loose and performed above expectations. We just let it fly, we were so happy to finally be doing this thing.

Some of the songs gave me goosebumps, the performances were so good. And, I will never think of Captain Jack Sparrow in quite the same way again. Forever, it will be Captain Jack Swallow. More like a gay Captain Morgan instead of Johnny Depp.

I stretched my own personal boundaries by emceeing the show, and I must admit, I did a damn good job, and looked fabulous to boot. I didn't know that I had such a clear speaking voice. I would do that again. I loved being up there, holding the audience in the palm of my hand.

The absolute best part, every year, is the after-party. A few of us die-hards gathered together in a bar, to dance, laugh, and just be together. There was one funny moment. We were all dancing in a circle, and there was one really drunk woman trying to break into our group. While I understand why she would have wanted to join us - we were obviously having a good time and just oozing fun. But, we just wanted to be with each other. She kind of lassoed one of the guys, and I had to march over, put my arms around him and tell crazy lady to back off - that he was mine and she couldn't have him. Apparently there was a risk of fisticuffs, but I didn't notice. He was so grateful. I saw the situation as a rescue - I would do the same for anyone I knew.

The trick is, now, to not lose all this good energy and enthusiasm. We (meaning I) have to get the financial stuff pulled together and get a business plan and assorted other stuff together for next year. Several people spoke to me, saying that they wanted to help. And, help in ways that we need: marketing, sales, pursuing grants and sponsorship.

I cannot forget to get in touch with these people, after a couple weeks of catching up on the rest of my life.

And perhaps get started on some gift-knitting.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sooo tired

Dress rehearsal was last night. The theory is, if things go wrong in dress rehearsal, the show will be good.

Just enough things were messed up to assure success of the show. Good stuff.

I am exhausted. And hungover. But, one more sleep, and it will all be done.

I am so stressed out and scattered that I lost my knitting. Let's hope it's in my desk drawer at work. If it's not there, it's in a taxi, and probably gone forever. I needed new sock needles anyway, right?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm home!

It's weird to be home before 10 pm. And sober (but not for long, golly!)

This is just a short visit - I desperately needed some groceries and to do a load of laundry - and then it's back to rehearsal.

As I suspected, I do not want to leave. Previous to tonight, my routine was to work late, and then head straight to the venue. This was to avoid the temptation to just stay at home and take care of my home and personal life. Both of which are a disaster right now.

Three more sleeps and it will all be over. Thank dog, because I'm tired of lurching from crisis to crisis.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Brass rail rule

I wish I could talk more about my show. The reason I don't, other than wanting to maintain some semblance of anonymity is because of something called the "brass rail rule." Which basically is a version of "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

However, in rehearsal tonight, I forgot to knit, I was laughing so hard. I stayed until nearly the bitter end, because it was so funny, and I didn't even have to be there. The funniest bit was not even in the script, but it was delivered so well, that I hope the mistake happens again on show night.

One of our most-beloved cast members has been in the show for more than 25 years. At one point, his character comes on stage, and is supposed to say "Mr. Harper?" As if to address the current prime minister. Apparently, every rehearsal, he has entered and said... "Mr. Turner?"

This is funny for three reasons:
  • John Turner was prime minister for four months in 1984, because he won the leadership, not an election. I am far too tired to give a lecture on the Canadian electoral process, for any foreign readers. Wikipedia is your friend (if taken with a healthy glass of skepticism).
  • The line is delivered with such conviction. That particular actor is convinced that it's the right line, and Turner is indeed prime minister.
  • The actor's response to this (ad-libbing, naturally) is "It's Harper, you asshole!" Given how Mr. Harper is portrayed in this sketch, that is hilarious.
Guess you have to be there.

If you happen to be in Winnipeg, and have a burning desire to attend the funniest, but most un-known show in town, it's this Friday, 8 pm. Tickets are $35, and it will be money well spent, I promise. Email is: knitdrinktink at mts dot net.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Suck it up

I mentioned yesterday that I am considering giving up a volunteer gig.

Today, I'm not so sure.

I am part of a political satire sketch show, and it's an amazing, diverse group of people that come together once a year to do an incredibly special thing.

This has been a hard year for us. Our parent organization disappeared, without communicating the severity of the situation to us until it was too late.

So, we have been scrambling to pull the show out of the fire and put it back into the frying pan, where it belongs.

This has been a disaster in more ways than I care to to think about. Instead, I want to think about getting through the next week, and then putting forward a sensible plan for next year.

So, really, I can't give up now. There are tons of talented, wonderful people that I am privileged to know, and I wouldn't have met them if it weren't for this.

I don't want to let them down. But, I don't want to lose any more sleep or continue to make myself ill over this.

And, there really is no point to this post, except that showing up for this thing is one of the most important things in my life. But, it's hurting me right now, and I don't know what to do about that. I don't want to have to suck it up.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Talky talk talk

So, other than a conversation with the boy yesterday, one other phone call and "that will be debit" with various store clerks, I have not spoken to a soul since I left the pub on Friday night.

So, I've got lots of thoughts stored up. I realize that none of these thoughts are terribly profound, but somehow, I need to share them.

They are, in no particular order, as follows:

  • John Cusack is cute. Will you come to my house and be my love-slave?
  • I hate stupid, slow-moving people in shopping malls. If you are going to stop and chat, please move to the side. This is why I will not go to a mall until February, despite my burning need for new winter boots.
  • I'm scared of what appears to be small bunches of gang-like kids. Who are standing in the middle of the aisle. I wish I were brave enough to shout at them to get out of my way.
  • Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair is not stocked by my favourite book store. I have ordered a copy. I can't wait.
  • Crazy Aunt Purl's latest post really spoke to me (as usual). I am involved in a volunteer organization, which I really believe in, but I am in way over my head. I've been busting my ass, to the point where I am making myself ill, because of the fear of disappointing someone. I need to let that go.
  • I am considering removing myself from said organization, in order to protect my sanity.
  • Ravelry has over 2,000 cardigan patterns in its database. The one I like best is a crochet pattern. I hate crochet. I am not sure what this means.
  • I have a problem - my hair is so long that it is felting itself with the hand-knitted straps of my handbag, and therefore I am ripping out a handful of knotted hair out of my head every time I arrive home. I am loving having long hair after fifteen years, and I adore my handbag. I am not sure what to do about this problem.
  • If that is my biggest problem, I am doing OK.
  • If I am worried about something, I cannot sleep. To avoid this, I usually mentally knit until I fade away (that is, think calming, soothing happy thoughts). Lately, I have been putting myself to sleep by thinking of account reconciliations at work. Doing something well, and making a long over-looked item correct is apparently soothing to me. I don't know what that says about my character.
  • Having "soothing happy thoughts" about WORK is a very, very good thing.
  • I ran into my junior team member from my last job the other day. I miss her dearly. She tells me the situation has not improved, and that she's been called to task for her absenteeism and poor attitude. None of my suggestions have been implemented. Once again, I am so grateful that I am no longer there.
  • At work the other day, an employee marched up and introduced himself (I do payroll for that sub-company, and I had called him with some questions). I was standing on the honking big pile of sand (whcih is TINY now, compared to the really big honking pile of 20 mm stone (note to self, take a picture)), making small talk, and all I could think was "will you be at the Christmas party, where I will look like a girl, instead of an androgynous construction worker?" This young man works for me, and I have a boyfriend! Apparently, I have a healthy appreciation for the male form.
  • I want my mommy to make me chicken soup. We use the same recipe, but somehow, hers tastes better.
  • You can tell I'm whiny, because I used the phrase "my mommy" My mother has never, ever been a "mommy." If "mommy" showed up, I wouldn't know what to do.

OK, it's just about time for Desperate Housewives, and to finish that damned thumb. Oh, and maybe have some inferior chicken soup.

Sittin' and knittin'

It's been a cozy, domestic weekend, here at Chez Peepee. While there was the usual stunning lack of housework, there was, wait for it... baking!

I kind of OD'd on baking when I was newly married. I made pies, cakes, muffins, you name it. That petered out after a couple of years, and since then, there was only the occasional Christmas baking session (the last one being about five years ago). But, lately, strangely, I've been craving banana bread. So, I bought four bananas, let them ripen, and with the one lowly egg in my fridge, I made banana bread yesterday morning. There is a whole lot less now. It was yummy. I'm rather glad I didn't throw out the loaf pan (I did consider it, when I was packing to move last year).

Lots of knitting, while perusing Ravelry and watching TV. I worked on the mitts, running out of yarn with one thumb to go (grrr!).

Why would one measly pair of mitts require more than 100 grams of yarn, you may wonder. Well, these mitts are going to be felted. This is how big they are (and I have huge hands):

That necessitated a trip to the evil chain craft store (I am struck by the irony and the amazing inconvenience that they sell sock yarn, but no sock needles) to get this:

And since my beloved Paton's Classic Wool was on sale for a marvelous price, I also got this:

The red is for J's birthday present. She requested a scarf to go with the oatmeal hat and mitts I made for her last year, but I just couldn't do it, face 400 meters of oatmeal, and turn it into a rectangle. She may be disappointed but getting a red scarf instead will prevent me from knitting horrible, nasty thoughts into her gift.

I'm thinking a felted hat with the grey, for me. Something a little bit classier than the ribbed toque or rolled brim hat I usually mash on my head. I have not rationalized to myself how 400 meters of grey is different from 400 meters of oatmeal. It's my money, my time, and my knitting. I don't need to rationalize it.

Then I left the store before I spent $75 on outdoor greenery and lights when I don't even have an exterior socket on my house.

One can tell Christmas is coming - decorations are up, and the mall was a gong show. I won't be going back until February. I'll just double up the wool socks inside my sneakers, and then I won't need new winter boots.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bar and bus knitting

This is what I can do, on a Friday night, along with eating a steak sandwich and doing a little flirting (completely innocent - I'll be seeing the boy tomorrow).

I am ready to put the thumb stitches on a holder, and would have cheerfully continued making my new mitts all night, except I left my little box o' treats (folding scissors, stitch markers, etc,) at home. So, I worked on the sock.

To be fair, the sock was an inch or so past the cuff, so I motored along, knitting about five inches on the leg, knit the heel flap, turned the heel, completed the gusset and started motoring along the foot before I decided I'd had enough and that it was time to go home.

As much as I heartily enjoy going to the watering hole on a Friday night, I am sick to death of all the boys asking for peter-heaters. I swear, one night, I am going to walk in with about a dozen, and pass them out.

The items in question will all be very small, and made out of the scratchiest yarn I can find. The buggers deserve it, after all the grief they've given me.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ready for felting

I grafted the straps on my French market bag tonight. Grafting is remarkably easier when I know it doesn't matter - I didn't futz around to make sure that every "stitch" was nice and even. I'm just going to throw it in the washing machine, so it doesn't matter.

My plan was to use all four balls of yarn. However, I was heartily sick of it, about 100 stitches short of finishing the straps as the pattern required. Therefore, I had to crack the fourth ball, and used a few meters, just to make it worthwhile. The remainder will become a potholder, or something.

And since my TV watching wasn't done for the night, I cast on a pair of mitts.

I hate knitting mitts. Well, that's not true. I hate knitting thumbs. Thumbs are so fiddly. Therefore, I am going to avoid the fiddliness by making the mitts about twice the usual size and then felting them.
This is my master plan, and also is a crucial step in my unofficial "Let's pretend it's not Christmas" campaign.

My favourite joke

Why did the accountant cross the road?

Because that's what was in last year's file.

Hee! That cracks me up (I never said I had a sophisticated sense of humour).

Actually, the boss man stopped in my office to say hello today, just to see what I was up to. I showed him my marked up trial balance, and the stack of paper that supported all the numbers.

The man just about peed himself with joy.

I love my job.