Sunday, January 31, 2010

January End

I can't believe January 2010 is almost over! Where did the time go?? But, I have to admit I'll be totally thrilled when February 2010 is also over! Why? Well, you have to live in the Lower Mainland, a little closer to the Olympics, to understand completely. I'm afraid I've become a NIMBY(not in my back yard) about the Olympics. I'm thrilled that I live 20 kms from most of the road closures, detours & chaos.

I can't believe how ugly I've heard it is for those who have to travel into the heart of downtown Vancouver
or drive a Truck to Whistler these days. One of my clients does small package delivery downtown. He picks up from across the Border before 6AM & then drops off all over downtown every day in a small truck & trailer. Every day another street is closed to him & the traffic is more congested. At some places, he can't even park to deliver his packages even though he's licensed & permitted to do so. He's reporting that he may be picking up cargo across the Border & delivering it after midnight because he won't be allowed into the downtown core during the day in February.
Some of us cannot stop working for even a day, never mind the three weeks the Olympic Committee
are suggesting. Most of us cannot telecommute. Some of us DRIVE for a living! And some of us do 'hands on' work that cannot be done any other way. We live in one of the most expensive places in the world - and Yes, we had several years to save & prepare - but few of us expected the terrible market conditions & the scramble for survival in the past couple of years. And market conditions or not, how do you tell most people they have to live without a paycheck for several weeks?? If you want us to stay home or take a break or volunteer to work for the Olympics, why can't you pay us?? The bills don't take time off. I'll be glad when it's over!

Having said all of the above, I hope it's really the Opportunity that everyone is hoping for. It seems a lot of practical things have not been addressed before inviting the World to party at Our Place. How do we get them there?? How do we get around when we get there? Oh yeah, we have SkyTrain but it covers a limited area. And it stops running before the clubs & bars close. And the transit system is only really good in the New Westminster to Vancouver areas. Coquitlam buses mostly run before & after school for kids. What if you're staying in Langley or Abbotsford?? So if you have to drive, where do you park?? And how do we get out of town when we want to leave? Apparently some of the transportation runs one way or only early morning & late evening. If you miss it, can't be there at that time, want to leave early, stay late or even stay over - well, there isn't any other transit, you have to hitch hike . . . Oh well, like I said, I'm glad I live outside the immediate area & don't have to go there any time soon!!!

So, January has flown by & I have little to show for it! I did finish another
Hoodie. I do love these navy & variegated blue Hoodies!! The next one is already on the needles. I did start a pink one but the pink yarn had a different feel to it & didn't really work well with the original yarn donated by Knitopia so I raveled it. I cast on a greenish yarn with will work nicely with the pink/green variegated yarn from the same manufacturer. I hope the kids in the Middle East don't have a sex color bias like they do in North America.

I can't report much progress on the spotted yarn socks.
The yarn is very hard to work with & I guess I'm just not looking forward to turning the heels. Both socks are knitted to the heel shaping & remain sitting in the work basket by my chair. I sigh whenever I see them. Maybe I'll finish them & maybe I won't!! I did really love that yarn in the ball - good thing they only cost me $2 a ball!

I have progress to report on the Ex socks though. It's really a pain knitting for large feet as some of you well know - whenever I feel frustrated with the Ex's size 13WWWW socks, I think about the poor women who have kids with size 15 feet who've talked about knitting socks on Canspin. I just can't ima
gine! I could whip off a pair of size 10s for the BT without a second's hesitation, even when he wanted boot length ones but the size 13s really depress me sometimes. Maybe it's the third ball I need to finish them. I suppose I could just invest in some neutral solids to finish off the feet instead but I never seem to have the 'right' solid. But, these ones seem to be moving along quite well considering they're the "car knitting" that stays in the car for those moments when you can work in another row or two!

Friday, January 15, 2010

And the Stash Grows Again

Funny how a couple of bags of discount yarn causes a feeding frenzy at a sock knitter's group! My Wednesday group has been deluged with $2 a ball yarn from the annual sale of a local shop which one of our members visits almost daily these days. This year for some strange reason, the shop has managed to snag some very nice yarns and a lot of sock yarn! We've seen bamboo, silk, alpaca & nice merino yarns in the sale. While I've picked up a few balls, my stash was already full to overflowing! I have no interest in silk, cotton or bamboo sock yarns because they have no "memory" & stretch out of shape. I hate shapeless socks!!

I will admit I just had t
o have this yarn! I thought the fuzzy bumps in the yarn were a hoot! But it isn't easy to knit. The bumps are a pain - they get knit into the stitches, they get pulled off & they just get in the way. I am sooooo glad I only picked up two balls of it to make one pair of socks. And, of course, the balls are 50 gms - which includes the weight of the bumps! There's only 133 m in a ball instead of the 210 in other balls of Regia. They'll end up as short summer socks, I guess.

I did get some lovely merino/alpaca in Plum & Hot Pink from the sale for another sweater for myself. I thought it might work for a Kimono from the Knitted Kimono book I bought last spring. This blue one with a lace yoke & plain body I thought might work with two colors. I would've made it in one color but I couldn't get enough of it so . . . I'm hoping it may work.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

The orange & pink socks are finished!
I haven't had them on my feet yet but they're going to be mine! Sometimes you cast-on for socks that you think you like because you liked the ball of yarn. And then, like that, poof - the sock turns out to be something tot
ally unrelated to the ball of yarn. I'm usually sure by the time I hit the heel shaping but sometimes, I have to finish the pair of socks before I know for sure. Sometimes I have to wash them & then feel them to make sure they're really for me. I've had socks that I even wore a time or two that never really were right. Sometimes it's the color but mostly it's the feel of them. I have a pair of lovely pink & green socks that I made for myself years ago that have only been on my feet once. I hate the feel of them. They remind me of Phentex yarn - you remember the stuff?? Tough, never wears out, feels like crunchy plastic?? When our descendants do an archaeological dig on OUR dumpsites 5ooo years in the future, they will find plastic waste, disposable diapers & Phentex! After occupying a place in my sock basket for eons, those socks have been removed to the BUM basket!!

I've been doing a lit
tle more knitting on Wallabies for kids in Afghanistan. I have enough navy to knit another wallaby like the one on the left. The body is knit almost to the armholes & will get the same variegated blue yoke & hood. I found about 6 8oz balls of dusty pink which will get variegated pink & green yokes & hoods. The pink & green color is a little strange - actually, ALL the variegated yarns are a little OFF in color - maybe this is why they've wound up in the donation bin!! But, with solid bottoms, the Wallabies don't look too bad & certainly will keep a kid warm! The Wonderful Wallaby by Cottage Creations is really a fun sweater to knit for kids. I think I've knit close to a dozen for the Boomer Project already & have enjoyed knitting them once I learned to put the underarm stitches on STRINGS so I have a little more room to join the arms & body to knit the yoke!!

a Steam Tek for Christmas!!! It's sort of like the Swiffer WetJet only it uses steam to clean the floor instead of liquid chemicals. It only uses plain water! I've wanted one for ages but didn't want another gadget that might not work!! One of my friends bought one & didn't really like it while another raves about hers, so I was hesitant. I was never really happy with the WetJet, it leaves my floors sticky & pushes the dirt into the corners!!! And it only uses expensive bottles of cleaners which I don't like . . .

I tried it out on the bathroom floor first because it's where the kitty litter pan sat on the newspaper that stuck to the bathroom floor when I had the last flood . . . . And the thing worked like a hot damn!! That triangle head really gets into corners. And boy, does it steam!! It really blasts that steam out the bottom. It got out the newsprint stains on the old tile. It blasted the mold out of the corner between the toilet & tub where mushrooms grow in summer. And it got the ground in dirt on the tiles in front of the sink . . . It worked so well that I took it out to the kitchen where I dropped a jar of marmalade the other day - there's nothing like dropping a glass jar full of stickiness on a cement floor! Well, after scraping up the worst of it, the Swiffer couldn't handle the sticky spot even after three tries & fresh pads. The Steam Tek not only killed the sticky spot but it got out the ground in dirt in the high traffic areas that normally had to be attacked with sudsy ammonia!! I'll probably still have to take a knife to the corners where the Swiffer pushed the dirt, but I'll be able to loosen it first with the Steam Tek & I'll bet I don't get it in future. I have to admit when I filled the reservoir, I thought it was a shame it was so small . . . . well, I did the bathroom floor, the kitchen floor, part of the hall & still had some water in there to be emptied!! I'm hoping it will really help with my allergies to hair, dander, dust & perfumes.
Apparently I can surface steam my carpets with this thing too. I am not opening the Little Green Machine I bought to do the small stains in my carpet until I've tried out the Steamer. If it works on carpet like it did on the floors, I'll be returning that Little Green Machine!! I guess you can tell, I love my Steam Tek!!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I took some pictures

I spent the first day of the New Year knitting socks. Not a bad occupation when you really think about it! When you consider the alternative was a corporate tax return, well, the sock was my preferred choice. I got this weird orange/pink yarn, Confetti, I think, sometime in the last year. I'm not even sure when but when the days were really dreary & grey, it kind of called to me. Orange is not my usual color but socks should be wild & fun - especially in the winter!!

I bought this
yarn for my mother. I like Invicta. My first two pairs of socks for myself were knit from Invicta about 9 years ago & I've only JUST put a hole in one of them!! Mom isn't as adventurous as I am when it comes to color but will wear socks with a fair amount of it. She's an avid gardener, likes to shop, knits for the greatgrandchildren & was once quite a rockhound. Since my stepfather died last year, I'm hoping she takes up the rockhounding again & gets out with a bunch of new people. So with adventure in mind, I intend to knit this yarn up for her! She mentioned cold feet last time I called . . .

I got a little extra surprise for Christmas for myself. I was slipped a bag in the dark
in the parking lot outside the Pool Parlor where my group knits on Wednesday nites & told this was for ME! No drugs folks but I'm assuming this is sock yarn & will proceed accordingly! A lot of pink & orange is entering my life lately - is someone trying to tell me something?????

And here's the Marble sweater so far. It's knit from the top down in comfy garter stitch & I'm at the armhole stage right now. I've
put all the body stitches on one cable & both of the sleeves are on their own cables. Surprisingly, I've used almost two balls of Marble to this point I think I bought 10 balls all together so if there's a ball left, I'll add a hood!! The Kyler's Kardigan pattern does have a triangular pocket knit into each of the fronts just below waist level - I haven't decided if I want them or not. While it's nice to have pockets, you just end up stretching the whole front when you use them. Something else to think about when I get there.

I've been hanging out at the same Starbucks location a lot in the last few years
so I've gotten to know the people behind the counter somewhat. This year, I found several balls of wild acrylic yarn in my odds & ends basket so I've been knitting fun fur scarves again. I knit them for all of the Girls & have a couple more to go. They sure are fun to make AND wear!! I made them about 5 feet long & 3 inches wide . . . to be worn as a scarf or a fake feather boa!

Friday, January 01, 2010

It's all over

I'm glad it's all over for another year! The craziness gets to me. I had errands to run on New Year's Eve day - payroll books & a box of paper to buy, I realized suddenly that the next biweekly pay period overlaps two years so I must get new books for three companies before payday on Jan 07!! So I had to go into the strip mall where Office Depot is located. Unfortunately, the liquor store relocated into the very same mall, about a 100 feet away from both the entrance, exit & Office Depot! Had no problems getting IN but getting back OUT was an ordeal. I had the same problem on the way home from work on Christmas Eve, I wanted to hit Safeway but the Liquor Store seekers had the entrance blocked for about TWO blocks in all directions!!!

I have TWO Resolutions for the New Year. I Resolve to get that damned leak in the furnace room fixed for good THIS time around - it sprung a leak last nite again . . .
And I Resolve to lose those 30 pounds that I was supposed to lose LAST year with one change - I'm aiming for ONE little pound a week. Just ONE. If I fix the 30 in my mind, it all turns to crap. I found a Walking with Leslie freebie - It's the 5 minute walk - it's designed for a coffee break to get you out of your office chair! It adds 500 steps to a day each time you do it. I've reset my pedometer for 5000 steps in my on-line program instead of the 10,000 it usually comes with. I've found that 10,000 is unreachable & discourages me. Yeah, I'd rather sit & knit or spin but creaking joints & an aching hip are killing me. Back to Curves on Monday. I have to make sure I can still move to TREADLE that spinning wheel!!!

I haven't done much knitting other than my Marble sweater & two pairs of socks over the holidays. My old socks still fit & they still look good but I've been wearing most of them for more than NINE, yeah that's 9 years!!! I'm getting a little tired of the oldies. Why do they last so long?? Well, last time I counted, I had 19 pairs in the basket . . . . so I've tossed some into the BUM bin & will knit the next few pairs for the EX or the BUM BIN instead of me - no, I am NOT giving away sock yarn, I will let it age until I feel like a new pair.
And then there's all those hoodies to knit!
When will I get time to spin??? Dunno - guess I'll have to go to a Retreat! LOL

So, I had sushi for Christmas dinner & Curried chicken Chow Mein for New Year's! And watched the Home & Garden Channel marathons instead of Scrooged, A Christmas Carol, A Wonderful Life & the Grinch this year. And had Feeneys in my tea. There's nothing so fine as a non-traditional Festive time!