Sunday, December 31, 2006

I'm ready for the new year

I couldn't stay out of the yarn shops, though I did miss the day of the big sale. I heard from a man working in Romni that there was a lineup outside 45 minutes before they even opened. So if I had to pay full price for my yarn, at least I was spared the stress and fuss of shopping under extreme conditions.

I went with my friend Pat, who can always be counted on to buy more than me, despite initial protestations. At one point, I offered to remove her bodily from the shop, but she assured me that she could handle the situation. So, I got a ball of chenille for a small project and 4 balls of Rowan Felted Tweed, to go with my other 7 balls of Felted Tweed, and she got a sweater's worth of Malabrigo and another's worth of Manos. So, heck, I feel virtuous. I admired all sorts of stuff, but just couldn't commit to a sweater's worth of anything, and am actually fed up with buying enough of something for a scarf or hat, without having a person in mind to make it for. Heaven knows I do not need another scarf or hat! And you know what? All that yarn will still be there in nine months, when I am cleansed and pure and able to buy yarn again, and might actually have some idea what I want! I don't like having things I don't use, and I'm kind of keen to winnow down my moderate stash.

Crazy Aunt Purl has a list or two for 2007, and some of her things make great sense to me.

She says

Walk on the treadmill each day, even if it's just for 10 minutes!

Well, I don't have a treadmill, but I did learn that milk is 40 cents cheaper at the corner store, so I plan to make a trip there, instead of buying milk at the supermarket, so that's an extra walk every day or two. And perhaps I shall set aside that 40 cents for October when I'll need the cashola for the yarn shopping!

Spend 15 minutes each evening picking up and tidying the house.

This sounds easy... Perhaps... I won't commit to this one!

Take a multivitamin.

Yup, should do that!

Drink a lot of water.

Yup, should do that!


Yup, should do that, too!

Leave five minutes earlier.

Well, I am what we call the quarterback in this house, and I am the one in charge of shoving everyone else out the door. I would be happy if they would leave five minutes earlier, so then the kids could actually get to school on time. I shall work on this one!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What I've been doing on my Christmas holiday

Phew... We are slowly working our way around the clock. Usually, I'm up after the 7 am news on the radio, and everyone is out the door to school or work before 9. Today, I woke up after 9! That first week of school will be kinda tough, I'm thinking!

We had a friend over on the 25th for dinner, and that was very nice, and we ended up with a seemingly endless supply of leftovers. I knew we were having a pile of relatives on the 27th and 28th, but was rather taken by surprise by teenagers who can go through a box of cereal a day. Next time, I'll stock up, though I think no one actually went hungry this time. (Is eating broken gingerbread train bits in your cereal a sign of desperation or not?)

I gave my brother and uncle dishcloths, and my sister-in-law a scarf as soft as a kitten (though it turns out she was keen for a dishcloth -- I told her the boys should be the ones using it most!). This is Arthur and his... um... she's my cousin's daughter, so that makes her my first cousin once removed, I believe, and then she's Arthur's second cousin? In any case, she is a fine cousin, who will push swings for a while before swinging herself. She seemed a dainty eater, unlike her other second cousins... I have pictures of the lot of them stuffing popcorn into their mouths, but perhaps they're not for general viewing.

I put aside the knitting I'd been doing because there should have been measuring and thinking involved, so here we have the temporarily abandoned green sock. I now realise Arthur's feet are several centimeters longer than they were a year or more ago when I knit his other socks, and so really do want to get going on these...

Elaine's red dress is almost done, I'd say. I have to finish the back of the bodice and then do the front, and there is hardly any finishing -- though shouldn't one do a wee crochet edging or something around the neckline? We shall see. Sorry for the flashy indoor picture!

Those are the two things I want to finish first, then I start on the nine months of knitting from stash... I didn't make it to the Boxing Day sales at all, though I suppose I still have a day to stock up. Last time I took stuff in to Streetknit, they gave me four balls of this nice multicoloured wool, and I've been doing a boring mistake rib scarf to pass the time. This is a ball and a bit, so it'll be about 5 feet long in the end.

And if I don't manage to post tomorrow, here's wishes for a Happy New Year to one and all! Mwa.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Oh, I hope this works

I just had a whim to switch to the new Blogger, and I'm not sure if it's worked. We shall see, but they are letting me type this, so that must be a good sign.

Guess what I got for Christmas?

Knitting on the Cam! Stephen printed the whole year and a half and put it all in a big binder, so we have the record of our year away all nice on the bookshelf. I wrote a very long book! It's a bit funny to read, since it's back to front, and the pictures sometimes break in between pages, but it's nice to have!

And, tomorrow is Romni's big sale. Everything in stock is 25 % off. Hmm. Should I stock up?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday sky

I haven't posted a Saturday sky for a while, probably because they've looked a lot like this! Grey and dreary, but not cold enough to snow. If we don't get snow over the holidays, I don' t know what we'll do! Also, every dang picture of the sky taken around here has wires in it! Sheesh.

Happy holidays to you all from us all here! I'll loose a lot of my hits after Christmas, since, I hope, no-one will be searching "how long till Christmas"! Easy come, easy go....

Friday, December 22, 2006

Eyes and Candies

Today is a special day for Miss Elaine; it's the first day she gets to wear glasses to school! We picked them up yesterday, and she is delighted that everything is crystal clear. A couple of weeks ago, she misspelled something, putting in an extra letter. When I pointed it out to her, she mentioned that sometimes she sees two things instead of just one! So, off to the optometrist for you, young lady! At first she was a tad upset that she needed them, but we had a bundle of fun choosing frames, and I think the benefit of being able to see everything makes it all worthwhile!

I will get you all a picture of my favourite decorated house, but for now you have to put up with our decorated gingerbread steam train. Can you even tell it's a train, under all that green icing??

I'm looking forward to next year, when Lolly will be starting up a new round of Project Spectrum, I'll be using all that nice yarn in my stash, and all will be well with the world. Okay, maybe that's a bit much, but knitting-wise, it'll be fun. I just have to make it through perhaps one more gift-shopping venture, some dinner-making, a few relatives for lunch and that's that. Oh, and what to do on New Year's Eve?

And to use an old family saying, "Health, wealth, mealth and bealth" to you all!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Knitting from stash

It's time to think of New Year's resolutions, time to promise to do things better next time. So, knitters and stashers tend to think of reducing their stashes, finishing more projects and all that.

I have been meaning to knit up stash, and so I'll make some personal rules for Knit From Your Stash 2007.

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

2.a. If I decide to knit a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, I may buy yarn to knit that gift. And not a gift for me!

2.b. I get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- I am allowed to fall off the wagon one time.

3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. I will finish things! All sorts of things, especially things that have been hanging around for months.

5. I will knit hats and scarves for charities during this time, so as not to be caught short when winter comes around again.

And that is my plan. I think nine months will make a substantial reduction in the stash! I hope Romni's winter sale starts before Jan 1, that's all!

Monday, December 18, 2006

On track with two projects

I am switching between Elaine's red dress and Arthur's green sock, and I feel like I am making progress. I also have secret bedtime knitting, which will thrill and amaze you, after Christmas!
The pattern for the dress (in a Vogue Knitting Kids' issue from a few years back) tells me to knit the skirt 14.5 inches long, but that would be too short and she would grow out of it in no time, so I'm just using another of her dresses as a guide. I think, for once, I have tons of yarn for this project.

The sock is on 2 mm needles and involves yarn-overs and p2togs, and my poor aged eyes really don't like it! I love the idea of textured-patterned socks, but prefer to knit just round and round plain! The first sock of this pair was finished in June! I'd really like it to be done in 2006, so I must get cracking!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Eye Candy Education

Elaine has to write a sentence in this book 3 days a week. It's kind of boring, and often hard to come up with an interesting sentence. But Tuesday's was so cool, I had to take a picture of it! My big girl!

Arthur had to make a sentence with the word "force" last night, and ended up with "My mom is trying to force me to do my homework."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The new machine

Guess what we have?
A gigantico supremo mondo Mac, with a camera that can make Pop Art pictures of the user in their dressing gown!
Now, this is not for fooling around, and it's not for blog reading and knitting pictures and all that frivolity -- this is Daddy's Work Computer. And it's not for watching kid videos on the enormous screen or anything. Nor Marble Blast...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WIP Wednesday -- Willpower!

Last night I realised that I have knit 19 squares for the school blanket. This is certainly enough for now! The thing won't get sewn together until May! So I should stop for a bit, work on other things, like the dress I want finished for Elaine, the second socks to match the ones I made long ago, and many other bits and bobs, including a blanket of squares of my own!

The squares are so tantalising, though! They take very little time (unless one makes 19 of them) and they are so fun, specially since I have new yarn -- try this colour with that one, figure out some schmancy stitch pattern, use up this last bit of some colour... But, I must resist...

I'd show you a picture of the red dress -- because, despite the lure of the squares, I do take the dress out and work on it -- but until I reach the bodice (a few more inches to go) it looks much the same. So, stay tuned, but don't hold your breath!

And an update about the blind woman who wanted to knit the spiral defect chaos sweater: I suggested to her that she get someone, like her clever husband, to write a code to change the black squares to B and the white squares to W, and then it would be machine-readable, and she thought that might just work. Her previous idea had been to have someone read it to her, and she would Braille it out, which would take forever! (The other might also be a lot of work, but since I don't really understand about "writing code," but I do understand that it's a large chart to read out, I think one is worse than the other!) I hope she will actually make it!

Let's see now, I must sort out the kitchen, but perhaps I'll just start a red square.... NOoooooo!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Keeping track, and WOW!

I think I'm done with "hats for the homeless" knitting for a bit. Here are two hats which will go off to a Salvation Army shelter today with other things donated at our school, and a divine (?) hat and scarf set for Street Knit.

This last is made with various yarns given to me at Knitomatic, last time I took some hats in. The hat is pale green acrylic/mohair fuzz, which still had a price tag on the label: $2.99. Mixed in with that is a strand of Kermit green something -- probably acrylic, from the sheen on it. It's quite eye-popping in real life! The scarf has a similar pale green, mixed with a purchasing error of mine -- I thought it would be jungly, and it turned out to look like a bad old couch. Anyways, it looks fine here. The middle of the scarf is a ribbing in a tasteful melange of any old yarn... Coming soon to a street corner near you....

Now for the Wow!
Once upon a time, I saw that someone had found my blog by googling "Mary Mary quite contrary knitting" or some such thing, which I thought was very silly, so I googled it, too, and ended up at...Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, duh. And I saw this post.

And so I brazenly introduced myself and said that I was knitting squares for the school blanket, and, holy smokes, she sent me a whack of yarn! It'll be great!

Ahem, it's much nicer than some of the yarn I've been using!

I shall give some of it a try very soon! Thank you so much, Mary Mary!

And speaking of how people find my blog, I am astonished that many folks still want to know how long it is till Christmas, and they come here to find out. Surely now, the 11th of December, one can just look at a calendar! But no, we like to see it in words, or a nice chart, laid out in black and white: It's coming!!! Only 14 days to goooooooo!!

I had to mail a number of presents, so I've got that out of the way, and just have to deal with the people I actually live with!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Eye Candy on the street

I saw these freakazoid shadows of the straight railings on the woven mat as I was walking along the street. I like all the straight lines, with the wibbly shingles and the wild shadows.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Back to post boxes

If anyone is hunting pillar boxes, I just found this page, pictures of post boxes in Cumbria. There just this one from Edward VIII, number 34. And there's a gaudily decorated Penfold, which has a plaque on it, but what does it say? Must get a grant from some postal funding agency to go investigate!

And, for the true aficionado, the Post Box or Cheese quiz. (Don't click at work; it has cheesy music!)

Knitting-wise, I'm having fun with the bag o' yarn I got from Knitomatic last time I took in some Street Knit hats. I'll show you what I've accomplished with the sea-foam acrylic/mohair ASAP. I'm not sure it'll be warm, but it'll be attention-getting... And Elaine's dress... might be done by Christmas, New Year's... Valentine's Day???

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A sad attempt at non-knitting craft

Once upon a time, like the last day of November, the kids and I remembered an advent calendar we had once seen in an art book. I think there was papier mache involved, and much time and effort, but I am so clever, I can do this without the instructions, or the papier mache, or even much time or effort!

Step 1. Assemble lots of toilet paper rolls and cut them in half.

Step 2. Find an old cereal box, fold (because finding decent scissors is too much work) and paint red. Jeez, when the kids were littler, we had much bigger paint brushes around the house. This step took much longer than it should have.

Step 3. Glue the toilet rolls into a tree shape! Aren't I clever, indeed? Note the heavy objects holding the cereal box flat while the glue dries.

Step 4. Figure out how to hide treats in each hole, then cover each hole in such a way that a) the treat is hidden until the right day and b) the covering can be removed without wrecking the whole thing. I think that if I'd had the instructions, they would have said something like "Before you glue down the rolls, fill each one with a treat and attach a tissue paper circle carefully around the opening."

Step 5. Struggle to attach a cover on a roll in the middle of the tree, realise it's not going to work, have a chocolate and go to the store for "real" advent calendars. File important lessons learned away for next year.

Important lessons learned:
At least have the instructions somewhere nearby, in case of need.

Don't start your advent calendar on November 30.

Perhaps papier mache is your friend.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Knitting Marys

I have been reading one Mary's blog for quite a while now, but have recently discovered a bunch of other knitting Marys, and have added a list of them in the sidebar. I know there are lots more, so leave me a link if you know one!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Floral eye candy

I was trying, for a few moments this week, to find a non-natural thing to celebrate here on Eye Candy Friday. But, once again, you get a plant. This one is in my living room, where it is patiently waiting the return of its true owner, Kentish KT. It's just blooming like mad, occasionally dropping those odd, upside-down flowers on the table with an explosion of pollen. I hope I can keep it going for another couple of months, no, only 6 weeks!

Hey, PS. This is my Member of Parliament, showing off her energy efficiency at home. My MP on You Tube?! What is that she's wearing? Did she knit it, or get it at the Gap?

There has been a lot of talking around about putting solar panels on your house in Toronto to generate electricity. Some are concerned about how much electricity it takes to make the dang panels in the first place -- are you using a bucket of power to get a thimbleful?

But I wish we could see her sweater better....