Three's a Charm?

I started July with three pairs of Afterthought socks in three colours thinking they'd be done in a week or so but with the help of the baby gift cardigan and spending more time than anticipated in the city it has stretched into three.

Full time parenting (and in the summer it is literally all the time!) means I generally follow the kids' lead - last week it was tending to the toes for three days - this week more inclement weather in the forecast for the cottage had Number One Son and I sticking around the city an extra day to do a few of our planned "be a tourist in your own town" activities. When I'm around here I'm also treating Darling Daughter to a bit of support since she is generally caring for house and home when I'm at the cottage. Again, not good for the knitting output. We did take in a Jay's game which yielded two afterthought toes leaving two heels left to knit before I can put three cozy pairs of Baby Cashmerino bed socks in the drawer - a mere three years and three patterns after casting on for my first attempts with this yarn.

The mindlessness of these has me more than ready to get back to working on Tangled Yoke. (Looking at my Ravelry project page is another motivator - I'm heartily sick of looking at it with that little WIP box on it!)

My Beloved is on holidays next week so we may not come down for Soccer. I'm looking forward to staying put and having another adult around. (He's been away this week) Between the cold dark and often rainy weather and the mad last minute scheduling* that typify teen activities I feel like I've spent the last three weeks racing around waiting for summer to start.

I always say it takes the kids three weeks to get back to being themselves after the craziness of the school year. I'm eager to relax and knit and get into that magical cottage mode that last July yielded three finished sweaters!

Thanks for dropping by!

*teen translation - "hey I just got a text that so and so and a bunch of other people are doing such and such - can you drive me over to the (insert location) right now?"


Odds and Ends

The most adorable of our weekend guests...

His name is Gus - he's a "puggle" (pug/beagle cross) Gus is on a diet. Poor Gus - he couldn't decide whether to hang out at the BBQ or the kitchen in the hopes of catching a scrap of something other than kibble. (In the end neither location yielded a thing to help a poor "starving" dog! ;( )

The looks of the sky 80% of the time since the end of June.

Water skiing and wake boarding "lessons" (where we cajole guests into "just trying!") went ahead as planned despite frigid winds and sunless skies ( Contrary to what these pictures might imply all participants were ultimately successful too!)

Afterthought sock knitting is progressing more slowly than anticipated. (Yes that is a wee peek of sun in the lower left corner!) I have now got toes on both white and blue versions.

This is the framework for a "cork" board made of wine corks for which I've been planning and saving corks over the past three years.
Wine drinking is going to have to accelerate significantly if we're to fill it anytime this decade. Perhaps I should have thought this through a little more carefully. We might just have to re think our guest list to include more wine lovers!

Thanks for dropping by!


Where Does the Knitting Time Go?

First thing last Friday morning after watering the gardens and planters and packing up My Beloved's car which I was taking up north I closed up the house filled up with gas and headed out.

Half way to the cottage on a stop to run a few errands en route Number One Son and I managed to lock both keys and cell phone (and yes even knitting) in the car. We had to use a pay phone (for the first time in a hundred years or so - you can use a credit card to pay for a call!) to call Darling Daughter/My Beloved - to find out how to get On Star to do whatever it does to unlock the doors.

While they sourced contact, ID and pin numbers for me I went in to Micheals to pat wool to keep from panicking that our weekend guests would beat me to the marina while Number One Son looked around for floral wire sturdy enough to help us unlock it ourselves - he was fascinated with the idea of doing the "old school" way!

Once back in the phone booth, to make the second call to get the information, I realized I didn't have a pen in my purse. I sent the boy back into Michael's with a five dollar bill to get a pen. It took forever but he finally arrives without a pen or a marker or even a crayon but instead with a box of white chalk! I'm in a glass and metal phone booth on a tile floor with a million white receipts in my purse on which I was planning to write and he's got a whole box of white chalk!
"Where can I write with that?!!?" I screech
"On my shorts." he calmly replies (as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.)
Now my daughter at the other end of the phone, listening to my struggles with her brother is laughing in my ear as she recites the numbers. 'Having "caught" the giggles from her I am trying to repeat them so my long lanky son can record them along the hem of his black shorts. The numbers have many digits - he has to go right around into the inseam and beyond. Passersby are staring, children being dragged past holding their parent's hands are fascinated. We are all three of us laughing now - tears are rolling down my cheeks.

With the information "recorded", I hung up, pulled myself together and called OnStar - at least that's who I thought I was calling. 'Turns out a couple of numbers got transposed as he read them back from his "notepad". Let's just say the woman's voice on the recording that answered was indeed keen to provide a "service" of sorts over the phone (there was a fee per minute of "service" if you know what I mean and I doubt her "services" included remotely unlocking a car...I quickly hung up, redialed - same result. Back to calling DD who howls with laughter at the news of my most recent difficulty - as do her coworkers around her listening to the saga unfold - ditto the 6' tall human memo pad standing outside the booth. My guffaws - now adrenelin fueled by the amount of time we're wasting is now making breathing difficult never mind talking!!!!

'Seems the last two numbers - located on the lower thigh at the back of the shorts got transposed somehow... another call to OnStar and in moments we were in. (How easy was that??!!!) For the remainder of our errands at that location I carried the keys in my teeth so as not to loose track of them again and asked Number One Son to kindly act his age and stage and start carrying his phone with him everywhere he goes!

By the time we were back on the road, having laughed so hard and so long I felt like I'd just had a full aerobic workout. There was more excitement ahead to get my heart pumping again though. We arrived at the cottage to find this...

Its a bear's muddy paw prints. Its about the size of an adult hand so it probably belongs to young curious bear. Its on the screened door leading into the porch (at least it was screened before the bear punched through it - the screen's been repaired again in this shot) There was a matching set that had also taken out the screen on the back door and a can of paint My Beloved had left outside with the lid less than securehad been dented and set upside down allowing its contents to pool onto the back porch steps. At that point I had at least 2 hours of unpacking and guest room prepping to do and any minute I was expecting a call from the marina that it was time to go pick up the people coming up for a nice relaxing weekend away from it all (at a bear ravaged cottage?)

I raced upstairs to the guest room to prep it first - there is a spectacular array of bird doo across the window - back downstairs for glass cleaner and paper towel - upstairs again, I crank open the window to allow me to clean it and what do I see on the roof right below the window? A bird carcass - unfortunate result of a bird strike no doubt - that can't stay - back downstairs to muster the boy to get a shovel and retrieve and dispose of the poor thing.

And so on went the late afternoon and evening - by the time I crawled into bed having prepped the guest room and cottage (including planting a few more annuals in the pots around the deck), retrieved by boat, two groups from the marina, taken Number One Son water skiing, fed everyone a grilled garlic shrimp dinner I didn't have it in me knit a stitch.


Knitting Heroes '09

Last summer I periodically posted about the knitters I was finding inspiring... Stephanie Pearl McPhee, Eunny Jang and Jared Flood.

Over the past year I've been interested to follow their endeavours in the knitting industry but I found I had to go looking for plain old basic needles and yarn knitting inspiration elsewhere. Of course I found it in the magical world of knitblogland so I thought I'd once again share the details - kind of like my own little blog awards without asking anyone to pass anything along.

The knitting hero I'm posting about today is designer Anne Hanson of Knitspot designs.

I've posted about her patterns, which are lovely but what I find inspiring is she seems to be a knitter who is really doing it all. She's got a knit design business with great collaborative industry relationships. She's also got a garden from which delicious meals are created and blogged. Somehow she develops new patterns without ever citing "secret" or "unbloggable" projects. She writes of knitting at lunch, in the car, on planes, in the evening, with friends and also spinning both on her own and with her spinning group.

Her blog posts are frequent and crammed with WIP shots, FO's, stash enhancements and tales of knitting time alone and with friends. She seems to have a wonderful community of knitters around her both physically and on line. She even works out!

I learned last year that if I just dedicate spare moments consistently to my current projects, its amazing how fast they get finished. Reading of Anne's daily accomplishments really encourages me to keep at it. To squeeze every possible knitting moment out of the day without setting the other aspects of my life aside in the process. When I do that I go to sleep at night a happy and satisfied knitter with my knitting energizing me rather than being obligatory or burdensome.

So that's why Anne Hanson is one of my new knitting heroes!

Thanks for dropping by!


Re: Toes

For regular readers on the edge of your seats wondering how the toe situation looks for the weekend - its looking very good indeed!

By lingering around the city secretly watching for signs of infection I've probably prevented any such thing from happening. Well lingering combined with numerous salt water soaks and peroxide dousings, light breathable dressings under socks for sleeping and of course waiting on him so he can stay off them. (Alright the almost super human ability of the healthy adolescent male body to heal itself may have also had something to do the terrific gains we can report in the Great Dual Toe Injury Episode of July '09.

All my hovering and attention has Number One Son frequently, telling me to stop being "so extra"! (I have no idea what that really means but I've decided to take it as a compliment - ignorance can be bliss if you set your mind to it.)

The weekend weather forecast is also looking up - good thing too because we're having company - the kind that will likely enjoy trying every toy and water related gadget and boat we've got. The prospect of sitting in our wee living room with them all weekend was pretty bleak. Just in case that ends up happening I am ready. Among other tricks up my sleeve for a rainy day at the cottage I've got new magazines to stack on the coffee table - everything from golf to crafts, the New Yorker, Atlantic and Vanity Fair for a bit of trashy celebrity-related reading and I'm all ready to break out the yeast and make hamburger buns from scratch. (This is actually very well received when its rainy and cool - its dead easy, makes the cottage smell great, everyone can help with kneading and shaping the buns and it makes the usual cottage burger meal something everyone actually looks forward to!)

For me, I'm planning 6 afterthought heels, five afterthought toes and a scratchy, bulky pair of super fast (44 stitch) cottage socks in Briggs and Little Tuffy "Red Mix". Can you tell this cool, cloudy "summer" we've been having has had me focused on my own permanently cold toes for the past couple of weeks up there?

Thanks for dropping by - have a great weekend - whatever you and your toes are up to!


Pleasant Surprises

Number One Son and I came down from up north yesterday afternoon so he could attend his house league soccer game and I could get the week's laundry done before heading back today.

On the way down we stopped for something to eat - adolescent boys are very similar to newborns - awake during the night, sleepy during the day and they need to eat every two hours or they loose their minds - anyway while my boy, who insisted he wasn't very hungry, organized a 12 inch sub sandwich I went in to Micheals Craft Store and was very pleasantly surprised to discover they are carrying some very interesting new yarns!

For example Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in huge 425m balls at some ridiculously low Micheal's price is worsted weight virgin wool with lanolin still intact in 5 natural colours. (Brooklyn Tweed or his muse EZ's patterns come to mind anyone?)

They also had two or three brands of organic cotton in the biggest range of colours and weights I've seen in any one place.

I was unprepared for these discoveries so didn't buy anything but it filled my head with ideas between there and home and helped me endure the second hour of adolescent music blaring through the car's audion system too.

Last evening during the soccer game, the boy somehow managed to slash the bottoms of both his big toes on the cleats that screw into the bottoms of the soccer shoes. At half time he took his shoes and socks off to see what the problem was and knew that was the end of his game. I won't go into detail about the wounds beyond telling you that thankfully they won't require stitches but they will keep us from heading back up north to the land of bare feet and rocks and water skiis, wake boards and sail boats etc. for a day or two to make sure infection doesn't set in. In the meantime he's pretty much incapacitated - no running, no skateboarding, no heading out on his own to see his friends.

So here we are but I must say I'm pleasantly surprised at the state of the city where, three weeks into the garbage strike I'm not seeing (or smelling) any evidence of it. In fact streets and parks seem to have almost no litter at all. Nor are there piles of garbage anywhere in sight. Beyond that, the lawns in parks and on boulevards have a froth of white clover blooming across them since the lawns haven't been cut by city workers and the clover actually smells quite sweet. I've driven around our neighbourhood in the north end as well as all the way downtown and over to the far west side of the downtown core. It all looks great as the local merchants are seeing that their areas stay nice and neat and in the public spaces there's clover blooming everywhere!

The cool weather that really hinders things up north (where its even cooler) makes working and travelling down here a lot more comfortable too!

I've also had some unexpected time to be on line a bit so I worked on my Ravelry notebook and in so doing saw Knitteroo's (blog link) version of the BSJ (Ravelry link) that is pleasantly surprising to say the very least! This version is single alternating rows of navy and white. I've seen it striped in less contrasting colours but this version is uber clean and graphic! I think the crispness of the colours are so well suited to the pattern's angular design, that for me, it takes the knit to a whole new level.

The final surprise for me today is that while I didn't bring enough knitting down for an extended stay, and all my needles are up north I think I can hobble together something to cast on tonight using the rag tag collection of dpn's that always seem to collect in the bottom of my knitting notions case!

Thanks for dropping by!

...oh and I've passed on the kind acknowledgments of how well you thought my menfolk did avoiding varying dye lots at Romni - I guess they've actually been listening at least occasionally when I drone on! They went quite happily though as a) I wasn't with them so they knew they could get in and out quickly and b)they were already in the neighbourhood and it allowed me to get their laundry done back here at home so we could all head back to the cottage ASAP - very motivational for them to say the least!


FO Ribbon Edged Cardigan (Sans ribbon!)

Colour: 005
Needles: 3.5 & 4mm straights
Start: July 1 Finish July 9, 2009
Modifications: Omitted pleated ribbon edging

This little lovely is made of the yarn my menfolk were sent to Romni to select. I would never have picked this colour in a million years but I couldn't be happier that they did! They were sent in search of the soft pink called for in the pattern (how original am I?) but wisely shied away from the three balls from three dye lots that were available.

Knitting this yarn on the larger 4mm needles than is usually called for yielded fabric with a very nice drape that I think will be very comfortable on the baby. The pattern creates this little nubby lines of purl bumps that are kind of sunken into the stitch. Its not overpowering - just the right scale in the little lines that travel up and down the body and sleeves.

I am totally in love with the buttons - found in town at the "Sewing Centre". They add a playful girlie quality I like very much - especially with the chocolate brown thread!

Obviously this is a super quick easy little knit but I tried to be mindful while working on it of some of the things I learned in the Modesitt class at the end of June. To start with I knit the back using Combination Knitting. The rowing out was pretty bad although I did get much quicker as I practiced more. In the end I decided to knit the fronts and sleeves in my usual manner. Here's a pic of the reverse side of the back done in Combination Knitting - see the pairs of rows "rowing out"?...

Here's a shot of a section from the reverse side of one of the frontsdone in Western Knitting where my tension is much more even...

I also often found myself thinking of how much I would like a sweater in this design and yarn (a slightly bigger size though!)

With the cold weather we've been having the tiny recipient should be able to wear it right away!

Thanks for dropping by!