Thu 6 Jan 2011

Reminds me a bit of a snow cone

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I finished this shawl months ago, but never quite got around to blocking it until a few days ago. The yarn was originally bought to make a crocheted scarf, but while my trial attempts had gone well (I hadn’t crocheted in probably close to 20 years, so I felt a refresher was in order), once it came time to put hook to yarn for the actual scarf I kept messing it up so I decided that perhaps the yarn was telling me that it just wanted to be something else (or perhaps it just wasn’t impressed with my crochet skills).

Pattern: snowflake, yarn: Briar Rose Sonoma, colour 12335


It actually knit up quite quickly (although it required a few extra repeats of the lace chart since the pattern called for different yarn) but once done it sat forlornly on my knitting table, never forgotten, just simply another victim of shortsightedness: while I had known that I would need blocking pins, I had not actually obtained any. And then once the pins were purchased and in hand, I needed to get blocking mats. And once those were in the house … well, then I didn’t have a shawl pin, so I couldn’t wear it even if it was blocked.

But with two shawl pins on my Christmas list, I was pretty sure that excuse wasn’t going to hold for much longer. And when this little guy showed up under the Christmas tree, I knew that the time of excuses had indeed run out.

Shawl pin from Twice Sheared Sheep on Etsy


Wed 23 Jun 2010


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Abby decided to try her hand at fibre arts.

Place both hands on yarn … then bring your left hand out like so … and then your right hand out like so! Did you get all that?

Too bad she tries to eat knitting needles.

Fri 2 Apr 2010

Life is a journey, not a destination

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When traveling, I often enjoy the journey almost as much as the destination. If the journey involves a car, I just need the right soundtrack and snack food and I’m more than happy to go along for the ride. If it involves a ship, once we get past the safety orientation I’m all aboard and even a day or two at sea can be enjoyed by attending the talks, stepping into the casino, or sitting in a lounge chair by a window with a beverage, watching the waves go by. And if it involves a plane? Oh, if it involves a plane my enjoyment reaches a new level! I love flying. I don’t mind the lineups to check in or for security, or the waiting to pick up my bag at the end. My enjoyment is sometimes tempered by cramped leg room or someone who spends the entire flight with their chair fully back, but these succeed only in bringing my enjoyment down a notch or two and are not enough to completely overshadow my glee. My favourite part is the take-off: there’s just something awe-inspiring about getting a plane into the air. Hopefully, one day we will try traveling by train as I feel that too will have its own perks.

But, lately when knitting, I’m all about the destination. Sure, the planning part is very fun – caressing all the beautiful yarns, deciding on the right yarn and colour, finding just the right pattern for the yarn (or designing a pattern, if it’s one I’m doing myself) – but once I get past that I’m beginning to find that I run out of drive. Sometimes, even with all the groundwork done, I delay a project because I just don’t want to cast on. And the actual knitting? Sometimes … well, sometimes it feels a bit like a chore. Sure, there are things like lace, cables, and pattern work to keep me on my toes, but sometimes I can’t seem to enjoy those as much as I probably should. Instead, I’m wishing that I was done, rather than enjoying what I am doing. Payoff over process. Sometimes I get so close to the end, only to be bogged down by the finishing steps like seaming and weaving in yarn ends, that my progress slows to a crawl, further dampening my interest.

It never used to be like that though – I used to enjoy the process of knitting more than I seem to now. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy knitting an awful lot, I guess I’m just finding that the particular aspects of what I enjoy are changing. I’m not sure if it is just the sheer amount of knitting I do, or perhaps the amount of knitting I do for people other than me that has changed my perspective on it. Whatever the case, I want to enjoy the journey again, as well as the destination.

We only go on a few trips a year, and even when I was traveling for work it was only every few months, so traveling never really gets old for me, but I usually knit three to four dog sweaters a month from November through to March, and then I have had large projects on the go over each of the summers for the last few years.

So, since this is our year of Zen, I’m going to work on enjoying the process of knitting again. ‘Cuz, really, one should be Zen when wielding a pair of large, pointy sticks.

Wed 17 Mar 2010

A pet Angora rabbit might come in handy, actually

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When I told Charles about the Mabel’s Labels contest I entered, he was, of course, curious about what the contest entailed. When I told him that I had to write about my passions, his response, without having read my entry, was “Well, I can name three right off the bat: Abby, knitting, and pugs!”

I guess I really am that transparent!

Unbeknownst to me, he had already used those three things to build a theme for my birthday presents, which I discovered when I opened them this morning:

Ball winder Knitting kit Knitting book

A yarn ball winder, a knitted toy kit, and a knitting book, which has patterns I can knit for the pugs and the cats! The book also has patterns for turtles, hamsters, rabbits, pond fish … and no, despite the picture on the cover, I’m not talking about patterns of these pets, I mean patterns for these pets! Not that we have any of these as pets right now … although I have had all, except the pond fish, as pets in the past.

I pretty much immediately had to try the ball winder. Isn’t that just a beautifully wound ball of yarn? Clearly Logan thought it was! I can’t wait to try it out with the yarn swift that my dad made for me for my birthday last year.

I decided to continue the theme this morning when I got dressed and I put on my sheep socks and my knitting shirt (which is conveniently also green to help celebrate the other important day today).

Sheep socks Knitting shirt

If only I could top it off by spending the whole day knitting.

Oh, and his response to my family when they asked if he had any ideas of things I wanted for my birthday: “Well, you never can go wrong with knitting things.”

Can you see why I love this man?

Sat 27 Feb 2010

One down, many to go

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Several years ago, my LYS (local yarn shop) decided to close its doors and had a massive clearance sale.

It was a dangerous time to be a knitter, let me tell you. Lots of pretty, pretty yarns at low, low prices. It was also just about the time that I was really getting into knitting (again), and having moved past dog sweaters (well, moved past just dog sweaters), I was looking for yarns that I could craft into things for me. I think at one point I might have been making almost daily trips to the store, which actually made it slightly more palatable to my pocketbook since my purchases were broken into smaller, less scary totals.

The problem with clearance sales (besides the damage to the pocketbook) is that you get what you get. Which in my case meant one or two skeins of a yarn, which, in reality, is not quite enough to do much of anything with except make scarves. But, luckily, I discovered that scarves make really good accessories to keep you warm in the winter. Go figure.

The scarf below was finally finished last night, after being on needles for an extraordinary amount of time. And when I say extraordinary, I mean years. Really. It wasn’t that it was complicated (although it is done on tiny needles), it was that it was my “between projects” scarf. But with my dog sweater orders (yes, I did improve on my original sweater for Paco), my wedding shawl (which I sadly never wore on my wedding day), and Abby’s mobile, there wasn’t much “between” time and this scarf only got a few hours of love every year. It is the Show-Off Scarf, although I realized quite early on that with only one skein of yarn, it would never be a full-sized scarf. So I added a little button hole so that I could thread the end of the scarf through and avoid the need to wrap it around itself and waste valuable and precious length.

And no, I was not naked in that picture. I was wearing a tank top that got cropped out of the picture.

On the right, is the shelving unit in our family room which also houses my yarn stash. See the six wicker baskets? Five of those are full of yarn. Full. But that’s not the extent of it. See the large brown bag in the upper right? Several balls of yarn in there (and two other projects that are on the go – one new “between projects” scarf and a clapotis). The white plastic bag near the bottom? Holds about six more balls of yarn. There are three or so balls on the shelf next to the brown bag, a few more small balls in a basket on top of the shelves (out of the picture) and there are also a few balls of yarn in our dining room and in our spare bedroom (not sure how they ended up there). So while it is very satisfying to finally finish my show-off scarf after so many years … there’s always more where it came from. Such is life.

And just because I don’t think I’ve shown it here, and I love it, here is Abby’s mobile. The pug pattern is from Danger Crafts on Etsy and the bone pattern from Kris Knits.

Fri 29 Jan 2010

Measuring up

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How do you put a value on a person?

My value as a blogger? Probably not high given my frequency (which as we know is infrequent).

My value as a maid is definitely zilch. I’m pretty good at making messes, not so good at cleaning them up, particularly when baking – I’m a catastrophe then. Cooking is only marginally better. Luckily we have a housekeeper who comes in every two weeks to set our house in order.

Facebook tells me that I have 96 friends, so I guess 96 people value me as a friend, or at least want to use me to pad their friends list.

This site sets my Twitter value at $24. That’ll buy you about four Venti Chai Lattes and two lemon loafs, with a bit of change to spare. Or one very nice skein of yarn.

Some people might set my value by how much money I make, but right now I make no money. Actually now all I do is spend money (groceries, bills, baby), so does that assign me a negative value? On Judgement Day, will I be handed a bill showing my balance owing?

How about my value as a mother? As a wife? As a daughter, sister, sister-in-law? As a friend? There are so many ways you can compartmentalize your value and come up seemingly lacking by looking at only one segment.

There is a quote by Michel de Montaigne: “The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet very little.”

I like that way best.


Sat 16 May 2009

I don’t want to be an alpaca farmer

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Sure, sometimes I say that I want to be an alpaca farmer. Just like I say that I want to win the lottery. Oh, wait, I do want to win the lottery …

Anyway, as much as I think that alpacas are lovely, and it would be great to have all of that wool to knit up into lovely, lovely things, I’m sure that being an alpaca farmer (or any other farmer) is far more work that I actually think it is. And as much as I usually wouldn’t consider myself to be a slacker when it comes to getting things done, I’m pretty sure that raising alpacas is just a slight bit out of my area of expertise. This might have had something to do with my newfound reason. Although I do love the before and after pictures (poor, little nekid Mira).

Of course, there are other reasons as well – my current job, our current house (in the city), our current friends (also in the city). All of these I would have to give up on one level or another to become an alpaca farmer. Sure, our friends might visit if we had a farm close-ish by, but the rest of it cannot be picked up and transported to a suitable farming location. And then there is the aforementioned lack of necessary expertise in the subject.

So, what it comes down to is, I would like to live in an imagninary place that combines our house, on an alpaca farm, just outside the city, where I don’t have to do much of anything other than love on the alpacas and knit up the lovely wool that they give me.

Maybe when I win that lottery I can just hire someone to do all of the work and I could just reap the rewards?

Mon 4 Sep 2006

A for effort?

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The mornings have been getting a little chilly the last few days, so on Thursday I decided that Paco needed a sweater for his morning walks. And that I would knit it for him. Despite the fact that I haven’t knit anything in almost ten years.

While I normally say that I hope that he doesn’t get too big, this is one instance where I hope he does put on just a bit of weight.

Or we have to get a second (slightly larger) dog.

Fri 2 Jan 2004

seasonal duck

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This is Seasonal Duck, an admittedly tacky decoration that was purchased at a garage sale a while back for no more than a dollar or two at most. But although he is somewhat tacky (and shedding almost as much as my Christmas tree is these days) he remains a part of my apartment. As you may have guessed from the name, his outfit changes with the season. When I bought him, he came with a Christmas ribbon, pinecone and jingle bell, which he has again worn for this holiday season.

Until last night.

Last night, Seasonal Duck was gifted with a knitted hat, scarf and mittens.

I don’t know which is my favourite part of the outfit-the hat with its little ear flaps and tie down strings, or the mittens (even though Seasonal Duck has no hands, the outfit would not be complete without the mittens) with the dummy string used to keep kiddies from losing theirs.