Monday, December 31, 2012

The End

It's almost the End of the Year. It happened so fast that I have barely a memory of this time last year! I was probably doing this.  Unlike the Harlot, I have no Traditions in this house. There's no family to feed, no pets to trip over & nowhere to go tonight. There is laundry to do, dishes to wash, floors to sweep, junque to toss & bills to pay but I need at least another few days to get it all done on time, so I don't think I'll let it all worry me. I've managed to get by without Traditions this long .  .  .  

But, I think I'll put my new Cranberry flannel sheets on the bed, put the old feather pillows into their new Cranberry covers & spend the day planning something tasty for dinner. I intend to KNIT IN the New Year with Inspector Foyle.  I've added a little more than 6 inches to the body of my Poncho Pullover during the holidays & almost completed anther winter sock on the side. Neither project will get finished tonight but I'll work on finishing as much as possible.

It's snowing outside again. This is unusual for our part of the world!! Snow likes to show up in February & spoil everyone's Valentine's Day plans or cause a 2 hour commute to turn into 7 hours from Hell. Trust me, I've been there .  .  .  I intend to be cozy, warm, well fed & sipping a tall, fruity drink in my own home tonight while the Galactic Clock takes another tick forward in time. See you all next year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All Over but the Returns        

I know today is Official Sale Day. I know people have been waiting in line to spend more money on things they don't need but I will not be one of them. I'm psyching myself up to stand in line with returns. I ordered a bunch of warm shirts for the Ex this year because he never buys himself anything new. Of course I got the wrong size. Sigh. I think the thing I dread most besides going into Malls in December is the Returns in January.

I stayed home for Christmas - I intended to watch Inspector Foyle while I worked on the Poncho Pullover. I worked on the Pullover alright - it's just about time to try it on again!!! But I ended up on UTube watching an English series called Landscape Mysteries & listening to Detective Nan Vining murders instead. Apparently, I bought the Nan Vining series by Diane Emley ages ago as a package & forgot about them. Somehow I found them again on Christmas Day.

I'm also reading Monica Ferris' series of Needlework mysteries on my Kobo - I started with 'Crewel World' & am now reading 'Framed in Lace'! They're delightful, light without being silly. The stories revolve around a small, lakeshore community in Minnesota and a group of needlework lovers in a little shop called 'Crewel World'. The shop is run by the sister of the recently deceased owner, who came to visit & has been talked into staying.  I just wish I had them in Audio Book form so I could knit while I read!!
No Turkey here. I'm making Cowboy Chili in the crock pot for dinner tonite. If I get ambitious, I'll also make the Apple Pudding recipe for dessert. Just a totally non-traditional time at my house this year - maybe I'll make Turkey for the New Year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End Came & Went

Never, for a moment's notice, did I expect the world to come to an end about 3 this morning. It would've served all the Credit Card companies right, had it done so though. I'm sure a few people caught in the Ice Bombing on our new bridge thought it had come early. And the commuters caught in the massive traffic jam behind jack-knifed trucks & iced bridges the next morning were hoping it would end soon.
I kind of giggled at some of the End of the World parties that were mentioned on the late news though. One of the groups went to a Spa & then ordered IN to their spiffy hotel suite while they watched Pay-Per-View in their jammies. Sigh. Now why didn't I think of that?

I stayed home & knit. I'm trying to get my Poncho Pullover finished. This thing better fit when it's done too!! I actually hope it's a little big - I think it will be - so I can 'full' it slightly & still be able to be comfortable with a shirt under it. The body is getting quite long & I intend to end this before it gets too long. Since the front dips down quite a bit, I'm thinking of stopping when the sides are at hip length. That should place the front & rear points just below my butt. We'll see how it looks. Gawd make it look good!!!

Safeway got my last pennies tonite when I made the run for yams, raspberries, blueberries, a loaf of bread, raisins, dish soap & milk. Yeah - I got a few more goodies but not too many. I found a recipe for Crock Pot Bread Pudding & I intend to make it in the Crock as a special treat for myself. My Foyle's War DVDs also came in today so I'm really excited to spend my time Christmas day watching them while I eat my festive bread pud.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Decision Made

The Poncho Pullover won. I was a couple of inches past the sleeve openings & I had no choice! It's sort of like arguing over who's gonna clean out that closet full of junk & having it all fall on you the next time you open the door a crack to sneak in another thing. Decision made. 

I've been knitting like crazy because I need to wear this thing NOW. Yesterday snow flurries were in the Forecast & I was out in my Recycled pop-bottle Hoodie. Here on the Wet Coast, the weather doesn't really get cold enough to invest in a big coat unless you take Transit to work. And then usually a warm jacket & umbrella will do. Periodically, Northern Canada remembers us & sends a blast of deep freeze our way, but mostly we're wet. If you drive your own car, who needs a coat??? I have a big fleece jacket & a wool blanket in the emergency kit just in case but normally, a heavy sweater will do the trick. A heavy WOOL sweater that is. Recycled pop-bottles do not keep you warm when you're sitting or standing outside in the damp for very long. You need wool. Wool socks, wool mitts & a nice wool sweater. And I'm working on it. Hold the socks!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Afternoon

Boss socks are done!  Regia sock yarn in one of the Jet Set colorways. I used two US#1 or 2.25mm circs & cast-on 72 stitches. They were worked top down. Secretly, I thought they'd never end. I think it was that frogging of the second sock when I got to the heel shaping & discovered I'd cast-on 82 stitches instead of 72. But they eventually got finished.

It's been cool enough outside that I really, really have to get a thicker sweater finished for me sometime in the near future. I'm still dickering between the two top-down sweaters from Cabin Fever, the Poncho Pullover & the new Top-Down sweater, the Lace Frock. I suppose the best way to go is to pick the one the furthest along & just finish the damned thing. Makes sense doesn't it??? But my heart isn't in it.

Got this lovely stuff in the mail yesterday from Sunset Fibres. The owner paints her own fibres  & has produced many really nice combos. This one is called Blue Jeans. There's even a little bit of smokey grey & khaki in the mix. I'll be curious to see how it modifies the blues. There's enough for socks but this fibre felts so I have a couple of ideas for it once it's spun up - hopefully, over Christmas with the other two braids I couldn't resist.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Free at Last, Free at Last

Yesterday was my final day at the Motorcycle School, well, officially that is. I still have a few things to do but I can do them on MY TIME & bank the hours. Yesterday was an eventful day besides being the final day on the job. We graduated our very first December DaySchool class. All of them are now legally able to ride on Public Roads during daylight hours!! We'll see most of them in the late spring for their Road Tests & one fellow will take his back home in Northern BC. Normally we close by the end of November but the calls kept on coming in .  .  .

Just because I'm officially free from the School it doesn't mean I'm free free .  .  .  I already have two boxes, one giant envelope with two year ends & two plastic bins - oh shit, there's that damned briefcase sitting there too. So my days will not be filled with bacchanalia just yet. But, I'm looking forward to locking my doors, pulling down the blinds, turning off the phone, slipping the new flannel Penguin sheet set on the bed with the new Penguin quilt cover, opening that bottle of Blood Orange Merlot, lighting the Vanilla Cookie scented candle & spending a week with Detective Inspector Foyle between Christmas & New Years! I'll finally use that nice little portable DVD player that I got a couple of years ago to play my 'Walking with Leslie' CDs. It will be ensconced in the bedroom where I can snuggle under Penguins with the Inspector.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

I love Mail Call

I did manage to get myself out & about yesterday - I had two small packages to mail & my mailbox to clean out. I've been doing a lot of shopping on line lately at Amazon, the Kobo site & Public Television so I've got some goodies coming by mail. My Ex is getting a couple of seasons of his favorite TV show which he missed while on Satelite TV. While shopping for him, I got Cast On, Bind Off - 54 step by step methods for myself which came yesterday!!! I love the little book already.
I love the way it lays flat as you use it. And the techniques are nicely illustrated & demonstrated. I found them easy to follow & taught myself one already. After skimming the pages, I discovered a Picot Cast On which I thought would look wonderful on wrist warmers! Had to drop the socks & get out the needles for a small try. It turned out so well that I may even use it on a sweater neckline or sleeve edge since there's even a Picot Bind Off included elsewhere in the book. Judy's Magic Cast On is there as is her Extra Stretchy Bind Off! A terrific book as far as I'm concerned. Small, easy to read, lays flat & fits in any knitting bag.

My first attempt at the Picot Cast On from the book. Isn't it pretty??? I'm going to make some wrist warmers to wear under my fleece jackets. The sleeves are quite wide & the drafts go in when I run outside to scrape my car windows in the mornings. I'm not a glove person but wrist warmers seem to do a good enough job at keeping me warm.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Down to the Wire

Third day off in a row - this is almost an oddity since getting TWO off in a row only happens when there's a Monday holiday & no class scheduled. But, a third day off in a row & I've got nothing much done. Oh, I had plans to haul my sorry ass out early with the bags of recycling but it's been raining & blowing. Yeah, I know we're used to rain around here but my computer's flashing the RED STORM WARNING & the garbage & recycling bins are at the front of the house. I don't think I'm the only one around here that saves everything in the house until the last minute either, the bin's always empty until the day it goes out to the street!! But, at least I don't have to put them out!! That's why we have teen aged boys in this world, isn't it??

Have been knitting like crazy - good TV on the Knowledge Network on Weekends!! - and was going to turn the heel on sock #2 for the Motorcycle Boss only to discover a problem. Could NOT believe it but I actually cast 82 stitches on for the second sock! Now, these are plain-jane, pattern-in-my-head socks. They are carved so deeply into my little Grey Cells that I can knit them in my sleep. Or so I thought. And I cast on 82 stitches instead of 72. So, last night I had to frog a quarter of a sock & get that same quarter re-knit ASAP. They go to their new owner on Friday! Hopefully this is just a minor glitch in normal bodily operations & not a prediction of things to come .  .  .  .

Friday, November 30, 2012

Like the Wind

Tomorrow my latest project will be dropped into the mail to fly off to the Other Side of the Mountains, to it's new owner. I had to find something GREEN. No fool I, who doesn't like to shop - you wouldn't know it mind you, by all the books I picked up this week on Sale!! And Six seasons of Foyle's War too. But, this package will be away & off my damned desk. I'm a terrible one for not mailing things .  .  .  What did I find that was GREEN? Well, my old standby - socks.
When in doubt, send hand knit socks. They make the feet feel warm & pampered. So many people don't know how to make them - I love socks.
In 5 days, I will be unemployed until the end of January. YES!! Well, not that I don't have projects to do in my home office mind you BUT, I will no longer have to commute or get dressed in the morning if I don't want to. I can get up early or stay up late & work if I want & take an afternoon nap - if I want. The Boss at the Motorcycle School is pretty good to me so it's time HE got a pair of socks too.
First sock down & the second is already on the needles. The yarn is Regia - one of my favorites - in one of the Jet Set colorways. this rich blue with lighter blue dappling is perfect for the man who wants "manly" colors but is not a totally boring, totally flat, one dimensional color that takes forever to knit. I know he'll like it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bruised Saturday

I figure it's only fitting to comment on all the Seasonal Stupidity going on around me right now. Tis the Season to fall down the Debt Hole. Have you noticed that the price increases exponentially year by year?? I say, Stop the Madness NOW. Refuse to take an extra day off to sit in mile long line-ups at the Border. Refuse to spend your morning/afternoon circling the parking lots for an empty space! Refuse to pay Duty & Tax at the Border! Refuse to let your money support another country! If you must shop, do it at home. Buy Locally. Keep Business Alive on THIS side of the Border. That's our Education, Health & Employment dollars going south in your pockets, my friends.

Now, I'm not totally averse to spending a buck or two across the Border if I can't get what I really want in Canada. But, I'm trying my best to Green up my life. I look Locally first, Provincially second, Canadian next & only then, do I look across the Border. Many of those same products in the Big Box malls just a little south are also here, in our area already. No line-ups, no gas wasted, no time wasted & our folks keep their jobs. Do you really NEED to go South or are you just caught up in the Black Friday Hysteria??? This is an Advertising Event folks - you're being manipulated by the same people who give you those 35 minutes of commercials in every 60 minutes of TV!!

Now that I've had my Rant, it's time to get back to Knitting!  I have three projects started for myself that always seem to get pushed onto the back burner.

I dug out the Poncho Pullover & resumed knitting. The more I work on it, the less I like it. My color choices are off. I started with a nice solid blue & decided to use the variegated blue for the main body. Originally, I bought a whole bunch of 'marked down' skeins of Briggs & Little in a store! I thought I'd knit myself an Adult Surprise sweater. I bought light blue, dark blue, teal, navy, sky & ONE skein of Red, just for fun. I did have a bunch of the Anniversary skeins from another project too.
Lost my heart to the Poncho Pullover from Cabin Fever & thought the same skeins would make a nice colorful poncho instead. I started the collar & yoke with a navy blue, threw in a red stripe & then hated it when I added a lighter blue stripe. Friends said I should start with the light blue & work my way down. So I did.  I have light blue at the top, red stripe & variegated below. BAD.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad with stripes of solid blue instead. I sure hate to frog it again but maybe I have to. Maybe it was the original colors that turned me on!!! Maybe I could rescue it with a navy bottom??? Sigh. I ended up knitting on the Cabin Fever Lace Frock that I started before I had to knit hats. Maybe I just have too many projects on the go & that's why I can't get anything finished??? Maybe I should just stick to socks!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In Search of Something GREEN

Shopping is not one of my favorite things to do. I'd rather clean, do dishes or even haul stinky garbage to the curb than go shopping. At this time of year, when the malls fill up with people who have nothing better to do than spend money they haven't yet earned, I won't even park within a block of a mall. And, Gawd help me, I've got to shop for someone who loves GREEN.

I know Safeway & Sears sends red & green plants by wire. I could send smoked Salmon & Marmalade too but they're not green. The Drug Store will have something in Green but would it be something my Someone would want? Do I send something fibery?? Does my Someone spin?? Crochet? Knit? I dunno. A book? Do I know what my Someone reads?? nope All I know is GREEN. And it has to go in the mail - SOON. There's nothing else to do I guess - I had this lovely ball of mostly GREEN.

Just an end or two to tuck in & it's into the box to be mailed. I understand I still have enough time to get it anywhere in the world before Christmas. Which is a good thing.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bitchy Bitchy Bitchy

My friend Gail says I sound bitchy in my blog lately. Yeah, well, maybe that's true. This damned sciatica or femorica - Karen says its the femoral nerve not the sciatic nerve that's giving me trouble - is painful, confining & physically limiting. I just don't like it a bit. It IS getting better with drugs & rest but it's still painful & I still can't get my shoes & socks on easily!! I know it sounds awful, but sometimes, I leave those socks on for a couple of days because I just can't face the struggle of putting new ones on every morning. But, it's getting better. I can get in & out of the car more often in a day now. Lifting my right leg to get in is the killer. Stairs are easier too. But, I've been pretty immobile for several months. Add the rain & running the Ex back & forth .  .  .  .

All that being said, I decided I needed something fun & pretty in my life. We Canadians don't get half the goodies that Americans take for granted. The marketplace is bigger Down There but a lot of things just don't make it north of the old 49. I saw something I wanted & took the chance. It cost a fortune but, not as much as a useless diamond or a plain old car. I just had to have it!!  Ta Da 
A traveling Denise!! I really love my Denise needles. I love how I can just snap on another cable to expand when I'm knitting top down!! I love the warm, smooth needles. I wish they made sock needles. Oh, I love my little US 0, 1 & 2 Harmony circs but the cables are fixed. I use my Denise's for everything else!!

Six of the most popular needles, a crochet hook, three of the most popular cables, two buttons & one connector. All in a nice little case so it will tuck into a knitting bag without taking up any room!!  I love the colored needles & cables. Now all I want is a kit with 8 end buttons & 6 connectors I think I use them the most out of any other part of the kit but the needles.

Apparently my little kit is going to be a staple, available year round at Jimmy Beans. Other kits will be limited editions for Back to School, Hallowe'en, etc. Most kits have the plain needles with colored cords like the Cancer RED kit but the fabric case always changes like the spooky one for Hallowe'en. I liked the pretty needles & cords so I went with the Rose Kit. Yes, Gail, I am a sucker for Pretty sometimes .  .  .

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Starter not a Finisher

I was sitting outside at Starbucks last night freezing my ass off. Why?? I live in a world of wool & wool blends. My livingroom is full of bins, bags, wooly skeins & projects on-the-go but I was outside at 9:00PM without gloves, hat or warm sweater. I did have wool sox but was otherwise dressed in polyester yoga pants, a summer Tee & a light fleece jacket - with tea in a china cup. Not that it was even below Zero but it was 3C out there with a heavy mist. Dwalli was being celebrated by a good portion of the Asian community so it was like a noisy Hallowe'en with the dark & the mist & the fireworks going off. We were sitting outside freezing in the first place because Students had taken over our favorite spot - it's the WIFI. But the whole point here is that I have no winter gear. I've been so busy knitting touques for Christmas baskets that I've knit nothing for myself. I'm not blaming the touque project because I have at least 4 sweaters started & nothing completed yet.

The Ribbons sweater rides in the car as car knitting. It doesn't get worked on all that often now that its down past the armhole bind-off so I guess I should put a small project into the car that's easier to pull out when I'm waiting.

The Poncho Pullover sits in a bag by my chair where I abandoned it for the Cabin Fever KAL - I really, really wanted to be in that one from the beginning for the techniques & problems as they occurred. It only seemed logical at the time. I can't remember how far the Poncho has been knit but I know it's past the armholes. The new KAL is only to the top of the shoulder when I left it to knit the touques which are time sensitive. Oh yeah, and there's my Purple Kyler's Kardigan which even has an arm attached - also sitting in a bag!!  I wonder why???

So, here I sit, broken hearted. Need a sweater, got four, barely started. Kyler's too light, KAL's barely begun, Ribbons is so snuggly but Poncho's the warmest one. Guess I better get tuit!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Just too Nasty to Go Out

This may be the last week I have  TV - everything is going digital & I just don't think it's worth investing any more money to get all that garbage TV. If I had to take the Basic & just add the channels I want above Basic, I might think about it.  But North America only seems to be heavily invested in Reality & Competition TV. Is it because it's cheap to produce & you have to fill the hours with something??Anything?? Is this the equivalent of salt,fat & sugar fillers when the food has no nutrients????  I don't mind some Reality but setting people up in a house full of cameras so we can peep at their private moments?Oh, I forgot, there are no private moments in a mixed house! Parading little girls in skimpy costumes & makeup with suggestive dance routines?? Can you say Pedophile? The stupid Housewives who battle over bling & status each week?? And all the dysfunctional families celebrated on TV. I don't care about Duck Dynasty & Swamp People! Is there a Psychiatrist in the house??? Where are all the Dramas & Adventures??
Funny thing - I watched an old Mission Impossible rerun the other day - the one with Martin & Barbara & Greg etc in black & white fer gosh sake!! It was terrific. It was exciting & realistic. And it wasn't taken over by commercials.

I think I will miss only three channels, Home & Garden, History & Food Channel - I love Diners, Drive Ins & Dives!! And the Kitchen Cousins who have so much fun creating new kitchens & Leave it to Bryan who takes a lot of abuse on HGTV. But, you know, more & more I end up watching Knowledge Network & PBS. Great shows from dramas to mysteries to documentaries & music. And NO commercials. And, I support both of them every month to make sure they stay!!!  I do watch CBC Newsworld too because I love the Documentaries but rarely do I watch anything from Arts & Entertainment - it turned into Reality TV. TLC - what happened to The Learning Channel??? & Discovery Channel, which still has some interesting content but is being slowly sucked into the Reality dimension. History is still pretty good but Reality is seeping in, even though I do love the Pawn Stars! SciFi channel has been taken over by Vampires, I'm tired of old movies on Turner Classics but it is restful without commercials. So, I'm down to News & a weather channel, HGTV, 2 Public TV stations, History, Discovery sometimes, Food channel - that's 8 scattered across 56 that I actually watch & only 5 that I watch regularly.

I know too much TV is bad for you but I think the commercials are  worse. I've turned off many a good show because I just couldn't stand another commercial. And I've taken such a dislike to some commercials that I never buy their products! So, I started watching shows on UTube. I like TV in the winter when you can't do things outside. I like to curl up with my knitting & watch what's going on in the world. But I like to learn something if I can. I know we North Americans spend too much time in front of the tube but when it's wet, cold or snowy outside, what're you going to do?? When I come home from work I just want to haul out my knitting, climb into my jammies, get a hot drink & find out what's happened in the world. But maybe it isn't worth knowing about.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ta Da

One sock down & one to go. Just have to knit the toe which will get finished today as I wait again in the car, on the street, in the sun, outside the Heart Specialist's office, across from the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster where there is no street parking! Why don't I park in the hospital's underground lot??? And miss the sunshine?? Are you kidding??? And the lot's usually full at noon anyway .  .  .  I can move when the bus shows up or the meterman comes around the corner - I'll be mid block & can skedaddle out of there just like that!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Stocking up for the Winter

I have a practical friend who has very practical parents. They always buy practical presents for their kids. Over the years, my friend has  received a lot of items of practicality, including a portable smoker. Now, since we were buying salmon for $10 a fish right off the boat last year, he fired up the smoker to experiment a little. And I was able to buy smoked sockeye in sealed vacuum packs really cheap - I'm a bud - when he was done!! Oh yeah!!!
His fish was a little softer than I like & came in full fillets but sockeye is hard to ruin unless you overcook it!! And I enjoyed it's full flavor. We had a group discussion one day at our local Starbucks about how to improve the product. We even elicited comments from most of the coffee-soaked habituees in attendance that day as well. He went away mumbling to himself & I didn't hear another thing for ages.

Last night he arrived on my doorstep with the latest offering. Vacuum sealed, cut in strips & smoked hard as a rock in Apple & Maple smoke. Coated in some of our suggestions - sweet mustard, maple syrup, brown sugar & vanilla honey. It tasted so wonderful that I bought 12 pounds of it. I ate some with cole slaw for dinner & intend to eat a lot more of it before I'm done!! I'm trying to talk him into coating Dog Salmon with marmalade or plum jam before smoking. I think they'd both work out well on a fish that doesn't have a lot of it's own flavor!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

I can't believe .  .  .  

I thought LAST weekend was the time to turn clocks back. Has there been a change & I just didn't notice??? It just feels wrong in my bones  .  .  .  and I still haven't changed the clocks. Oh, the old cell phone, the computer & the VCR all changed themselves apparently but not the ones with batteries & teeny, tiny holes to stick a paper clip into. And I have to go through all that hassle to change the time in the car!! Why the heck to we NEED Daylight Savings anyway??? I know you needed it in the old days to see at milking time. But, it doesn't matter what you do to the clocks in late Fall - we'll be getting up in the dark & coming home in the dark for the next four months anyway. The world has become electrified & we can find the cows by turning on the lights. Just another silly Tradition that needs to go.

Even though I don't celebrate Christmas - I see it's now Politically Correct again to use the term Christmas - I do participate in a couple of Seasonal Swaps. I wish the Swap info was given out several months in advance since color choice can alter things considerably. I have socks in the gift basket in a couple of colors but my Swappee likes Brown or Greens & I sure don't have those in the basket!!! And I don't want to send a lovely braid to someone who weaves but doesn't spin. So I start all over again. Does she knit lace?? dunno. I truly hate sending yet another mug & mystery package.

Meanwhile, back in the land of Purple, my socks are progressing nicely between touques. I've almost knit the second sock to the middle of the foot so I can put both socks on the same circs to the toes. I'm getting a little faster with the circs on one sock but it'll probably be a circus with two on there. Remains to be seen!!

Friday, November 02, 2012

It was a dark & stormy night . .

I spent Hallowe'en watching updates from the east coast of the US while the wind whistled & the rain fell on this one. It was dark enough & wet enough that driving home dodging kids & slow moving cars was a pain in the ass. Today though, I'm so glad I live on the Wet Coast, even though I often complain about it. At least everything I own is still here, not floating off shore, buried in mud or blowing across Montana. I was  shocked by how fast it can all change - Oh yeah, I watched Katrina swamp New Orleans but NEW YORK?? Those people have it ALL. Technology, Money, Fashion, Broadway, Central Park, $10,000,000 apartments, Longevity. They're not like us!  I'm so grateful I live on the Wet coast. I'm grateful for my warm, dry bed, clean clothes, the refrigerator keeping my milk fresh & the car outside with gas in it. I'm not sure how I would survive if I had to watch everything get torn away in a storm.

Went out this morning after all the gloom & found this. This clematis normally blooms in the early spring before the leaves come out on most plants. It was so wet & dark this past spring that it burst into bloom at least a month late. I guess it's become confused with the long, wet winter & spring & then the long, long dry period at the end of summer. I guess it thinks it's spring again on Nov 1rst. Just another sign that it's a crazy mixed up world out there!!

Churned out another touque in rust for the Donation Bag. And then went back to my purple Fabel socks. The first one is finished up to mid foot so I decided to cast on the second. It's just about ready to turn the heel. When I get it to the same place as the other, I'm going to learn to do TWO socks on two circs. I just about lost one of my favorite DPs at Starbucks in the big chair the other day so I want to stop taking socks-in-progress out in the knitting bag on DPs. I know how to knit one sock at a time on circs - I do it when I'm making a large manly sock because there's too many stitches for my DPs when I'm doing the heel & two gussets. I also use circs if I'm doing a lace project because it's easier to divide the lace pattern in half on the leg & keep it separate on the top of the foot. But, I haven't yet tried TWO socks on two circs. I remember my friend Gail muttering & cussing in a ladylike way when she was teaching herself to do it. A couple of times she knit the wrong sock from the wrong ball or used the same circ all the way around one sock .  .  .  I anticipate the same problems. I may even have to call Gail in desperation after I've kicked the whole thing across the room!! But, if I can get it right, it'll make carrying that little sock-in-progress around a whole lot easier.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I LOVE Purple

I guess you can tell .  .  .  .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Off .  .  .

I finished the last manly touque & decided I just had to do something else for a change. Louisa's suggestion that I alternate projects is a valid one but most of my projects are large ones - three sweaters for ME on the go. But, since it's cool out there - I brought in the Christmas cacti from the patio only today - I thought I should get one of my sweaters finished so I can wear it! And I want a pair of felted boots to wear in my basement this winter since the floor's so damned cold!!

But first - Diane's socks! I had started these ones for me but decided I would gift them to her since I probably won't see her until February. The Motorcycle School will be shutting down for the season soon & we'll both be on holiday until the New Year - so weird to say that in October. So, I presented her with a wild pair of Confetti socks. I bought several balls of this color a couple of years ago in the SALE bin at Knitopia. I've always been a fan of DGS - Confetti because there's plenty of yardage in each 50gm ball. While it feels thin & a little harsh when it's knitted, it softens, thickens & blooms marvelously when it hits water! This means I can knit it up on my favorite 2mm needles & get a nice dense fabric when the spinning oils wash out. The colors don't fade, the sock will shrink slightly in the dryer the first time & I have yet to make a hole in any of my socks.

The only reason I cheat on Confetti is COLOR. I'm a sucker for color. Fabel is my second favorite sock yarn. Fabel has magnificent colors. It also has almost as much yardage in a 50gm ball as does Confetti - I can make a Man's size 13 sock out of either ball easily too. But why waste those great colors on a man???

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's All About Manly Hats

All I do these days is churn out manly hats. Hats in blue and green and brown and black  .  .  .  I'm telling you, those JUMBO balls of Superwash Acrylic in Scarlet & Turquoise in that sheer bin are screaming at me!! Choose ME, choose ME!!!

I will definitely knit a hat every week or so next year so I'm not in this position again!  I know it's all about someone else in tough circumstances. But, churning out manly hats in bulk is very boring. It's sort of like knitting black or brown socks - it takes longer than knitting in bright colors! You can do it in your sleep while the old mind is concentrating on something else more exciting like stalking the perfect skein of Woolmeise .  .  .  or taking you to a secret warehouse of exquisite rare yarns at a buck a ball .  .  .  And then you wake up to the boring manly knitting  -  NNnnnooooooo!!! 

I'm only 7 hats in & I hate it already. Thank gawd the Girls at Wednesday Nite Nitting are helping out. I need to be working on my Top Down Lace Frock in Briggs & Little mulberry wool. Or my Ribbons Top Down handspun pink striped grey sweater that lives in the car in a bag. I need color! I need warmth. I need more people willing to knit a couple of hats - just a touque people - a manly acrylic touque that will pull down over the ears & help keep a man on the street WARM. Loving Spoonful needs you!

Then I can get back to my sweaters which are much more interesting than manly hats. Or whip out another pair of wild socks in eye watering colors. And yes, that IS my favorite cup on it's warming pad. Hot tea with Bailey's keeps me sane.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just a Simple Pile of Hats

And you thought I was 'doggin' it, didn't ya?? The HAT project has begun. One of the Girls brought in two bags full of superwash wool for our knitting enjoyment & everyone took home at least three balls to knit a 'manly' hat for A Loving Spoonful. Meanwhile, Carol kindly knit a whole bag of hats on her handy knitting loom, Gail brought in three large, snuggly ones, Karen gave me one & a scarf last week & I've knit up 4 so far on my own. The Hat project is always fun to do & it's nice to know that each of these small offerings will help keep a man, who's lost almost everything, warm this winter. I keep wanting to knit socks to go with the hats but I've been told that HATS are the #1 requested thing at Christmas time. Hand made hats are a fought over luxury on the street. And I can knit 4 hats in the time it would take to make one pair of socks .  .  .  so, I guess HATS will take preference this year. Any socks I knit will be for ME.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Like a Fly into the Web

I worked my ASS off this week trying to lure all & sundry into Motorcycle Training! It's almost the end of the season & people run hot & cold this time of year. They really want to learn to ride & they know the best way to learn is inside a protected lot with Professionals but they whine about being in the cold & wet. I remind them they LIVE on the Wet Coast where it rains all year round - except for this year - and they could experience all four seasons on one ride to Whistler!! I keep hearing whispers of  - It could be nicer in February when the prices are lower! Yeah, right. In the snow. Or hail. Definitely Rain. But I got TWO - yeah, count em - TWO classes going next week. Just in time for Rain, Wind & Cold. Wooo hooo

Speaking of cold & rain, I can already feel winter in my basement - I'm wearing wool socks & a matching sweater in purples both manufactured by me!! The lovely damp fog we've been experiencing since Tuesday has me seized up like an old iron gate, especially in the mornings. Yeah, apparently, I make the same noises too. Today, in Safeway, I dropped my Bank Card & wasn't sure I could bend over that far & pick it up. I was horrified when the Bagger & the Checker both ran to pick it up for me. I had no idea the rusty noises were audible!

I think I'm beginning to understand retirement a little better. It's not that people want to stop working & spend their "Golden Years" in the rocker, but they either go to bed fully dressed so they don't have to bend over in the morning or spend most of it getting the old bones warmed up & moving. Since Estrogen left the building, I've not only stiffened up, developed pain, lost hair & teeth & dried out but my internal furnace set-point has been lowered as well. Wool has now become my best friend because I'm cold most of the time.

Still plugging away at my Top Down Ample V-neck cardigan From Cabin Fever. I'm really looking forward to wearing it this year. The color - Mulberry/Eggplant - goes with everything I own & I'm considering buying some red boots as well. Seems black/red/sable are THE colors. Almost all the boots in the Sears catalogue come in red & black this year with some brown or forest green boots as well. I think I'll take the red. I'd really prefer purple but I'll take what I can get.

17 hats in the bag!!! Got two bags of Superwash wool donated on Wednesday & most of it went home with fellow knitters who've promised more hats!!! Photos later.

Sunday, October 07, 2012


Another family holiday for us Singles to survive. Like Easter, I'm not really complaining about this one very much since most of the world carries on like this one really isn't here. I know it's a Stat Holiday in Canada but most of us non-union people just carry on at our jobs like usual unless we're in the long long line-up going South to spend money across the Border. Cross Border shopping has become a new national pass time in all the Border towns. I, unlike the majority of my friends, prefer to spend my money at home. I have better things to do than spend half a day idling my expensive gas away in a line-up. Today, I'm cooking. And knitting.

I tossed a smoked pork hock in the big soup pot this morning & am enjoying the wonderful smell as it simmers all day. I intend to add some barley, half a head of cabbage & a sushi carrot when the meat & skin falls off the bone. A couple of big pinches of coarsely ground pepper & a pinch of cinnamon will complete it just in time for dinner. I may even drop in a dollop of sour creme before serving. Tomorrow, I'm cooking up curried chicken & broccoli just to shake it up a little. I'm not having turkey this weekend although I love turkey. I figure it will be on at clearance prices on Monday evening & I'll load up then .  .  .  

And while the glorious odor of dinner perfumes my basement apartment, I'm doing up my last tax return before returning to my knitting. I'm in touque mode for the next two months. I plan to knit as many as I can while still working on my Top-Down V-neck Cardigan from Cabin Fever & the Frankensocks for Diane. Just a couple of past Frankensocks I found in the files.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Reward

It's almost the end of the Motorcycle Training Season - I'm ready for a month or two off! I'm even contemplating EI for the first time in 25 odd years! But, maybe not if I get a couple of contracts to work from my home office. But, here we are, glorious weather, almost the end of the season & the phones started ringing off the hook yesterday. Yup, they've been busier than they've been for weeks. At this rate, we may be teaching waaaaaay into November. And I might be able to cope if it gets busier.

And what has an extended Motorcycle Season got to do with Knitting or Spinning you ask?? Well, yesterday, our Theory Instructor Diane, passed her Testing Certification!! She can now test students for the MSA or Parking lot test.

Since Diane is now a Certified Tester, I'll have to knit some TEST socks. Both Bryan & Diane have Instructor socks. I knit them with REGIA's Flag series yarn in turquoise, orange, red & yellow - dunno who's flag has all those colors but they make wild socks!!! When Bryan passed his MSA Certificate, he got a pair of  WILD socks in yellow, black & red. The pressure is now on to find something wild & crazy for Diane.

I save all my leftovers & roughly sort them into yarns with BLUE, yarns with RED & yarns with PINK/PURPLE in them. It just makes it easier to find a co-ordinating solid for toes and/or bands between colors if I go that way. I hate messing with multiple colors all at the same time like the Socklady does - no patience for it at all! So, the best I can do is wild bands of color between solid stripes or join the yarns where the colors meet. Sometimes joining at the reds or blues produces the wildest socks you ever saw & people ask where the heck you bought yarn like THAT?! And while you'd think - after a comment like that - that they'd run away in horror, well, often they fight over the gaudiest pair! I've found Frankensocks to be very popular, especially with the tween, teen & twenty somethings. But Diane loves wild & crazy stuff. The first thing she does when she's teaching in the classroom is to kick off her shoes & wander around in her wild socks!! That's why I have to find something REALLY, REALLY crazy for her!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Rushed home from work yesterday with an aching, burning hip - I can always tell when the barometer is making a big change!! Yeah, the radio was announcing said change this morning as I trundled off to work but the old hip hadn't started to burn yet. The Hip is the thanx I get for the active & rambunctious childhood I had when TV was something we watched for a hour or two on certain evenings AFTER dinner!! Around 2:00, I took the first Ibuprofen. The sun was out with hardly a cloud in the sky in Langley. But the Hip knew better. The sciatica has improved with the addition of the 4" thick foam pillow so I'll be hauling that thing around with me for the rest of the week to make sure the damned sciatica goes away!! So, home with an aching/burning hip, sore ass & painful leg from the sciatica. Nothing left to do but get out the Triscuits - olive oil & cracked pepper - & the 40 spice hummus for dinner. And knit. Thank Gawd for the Antiques Roadshow. My yoke is about 50% finished in TWO days! I'm really liking this Worsted yarn from Briggs & Little!! And the color is much darker than the picture which was taken directly under the Daylight bulb . . . .

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday at home

I hadn't planned on going anywhere today - the sink is full of dishes & the kitchen floor needs scraping fer gosh sake! I've been suffering with another attack of sciatica this last couple of weeks & it's all I can do to get dressed & drive the car to work. My right leg decided it didn't want to bend at the knee & move up & down. Getting it from the gas to the brake has been a painful test of endurance. I may have come up with a solution though - after chatting with Karen - I've filled all my office chairs with a thick foam pillow. It made a difference after one day. I guess I'm suffering from Low Chair Syndrome! I still have pain - the weather hip - but not the terrible pain I had in my leg! It's so good to have a retired Physio in the old knitting group!!!! Now that I can move around a little better, it might be time to clean up the kitchen. If I can tear myself away from my latest project, that is  .  .  .

I'll be working on my Lace Frock from Deb's 'Need an Plus Size Cardigan?' book. I know, I know, I have a couple sweaters & a pair of socks on the go already but this one's a quick knit in heavy worsted wool & I'm using STASH. The Ribbons cardigan in handspun is car knitting, Kyler's cardigan is just about done & I should finish the last sleeve so I can wear it but the KAL for Deb's sweater has started & I want to do it for the fitting advice. I don't foresee any real problems but I wanted to be in the KAL just in case. And then I can finish Kyler's since I only have a sleeve & the front band to do - and it looks like I may have 8 balls of yarn left over too . . . Somebody may be getting a purple hat for Christmas!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The Great God of the Internet has changed my damned blog. You know, I liked it the way it was. Yeah, I erased it all by myself a coupla times. I sent things to 'draft' instead of posting them too. And I've lost my fair share of photos & entire blogs but I don't like it when someone else screws about with my stuff & I don't have any say.

I made mention of my last shopping trip - a major trip considering the price of gas, the condition of my driving leg & the amount of sock yarn I already possess!! And I have some really nice stuff, all in all - none of that 20 buck a skein stuff with the fawncy names - but some great colors, lots of self striping yarn & lots of MANLY colors. And there lies the problem. I got all geared up to knit socks & they tell me they want hats! Not that I'm really complaining because hats are so simple to make but I LIKE socks dammit. And I'm sure I have enough sock yarn to knit socks for the next 10 years without buying anything but the occasional solid for contrast!!

Contrasting toes or heels would be nice on the next couple of pairs. Just for fun. I used to put colored toes on all my 'manly' socks so that each pair could be identified in the wash. The recipient of the socks was in love with two colorways so I had to distinguish the pairs.  I had blue toes on one pair & red on the next while a third had blue toes with a narrow red stripe. Or two narrow red stripes with a grey toe. I had as much fun designing toes as he had finding them. Too bad DGS/Confetti doesn't make that mottled black or blue color any more!

I haven't spent much time putting contrasting toes or heels on my own socks because almost every pair is in a different wild color. Socks are a wonderful way to be different!! I really should get some slide-on shoes to show them off in a better way. Especially when I knit Frankensocks. And what are Frankensocks you ask?? My friend Gail coined the name - they're what you make out of sock yarn leftovers when you can't get your head around the TEN STITCH BLANKET. I divide all the leftovers into three main categories, yarns with RED in them, yarns with BLUE & yarns with PINK/PURPLE. Some yarns may even fit into all three groups but I divide them this way because most shops stock solids in those colors as well as black & grey. And you can't have all toes in black & grey! Kids also love Frankensocks! And nothing's worse than wasting good sock yarn.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall Knitting

Is it me or does everyone feel exhausted around this time every year?? It's dreary at the Motorcycle School as we wind down towards the close of the season - only one more month to go I think. The phones are barely ringing. Last year we ran a couple of classes in November but the weather was just terrible & the students were cold & wet the whole time. I suspect our last class will be in October this year & we may be in a different spot next year too.

I was really looking forward to this Sunday off. I had great plans to get all the dishes done, the kitchen floor steam-cleaned, laundry finished and get my Cabin Fever sweater on the needles. None of that happened. My right leg has been giving me hell - Sciatica again, only affecting the inside of my thigh this time. It makes lifting my right leg to get dressed in the morning very difficult & moving from the gas to the brake so painful I don't want to go too far! Every once in a while, my knee gives out to add insult to injury! I just wish I knew how I did this so I could stop. Makes me feel old & crabby .  .  . 

But leg didn't stop me from galloping down to Knitopia on Thursday for a last look before they close with a bag of toonies in my pocket. I save all my toonies($2 coin) in a tin & use them for luxury purchases when a Fibre Show comes to town or I go on a Retreat!! Since it's not coming out of the bank account, it's like FREE MONEY. I had 65 toonies in the tin & took 63 with me. I was interested in sweater yarn but I couldn't afford enough Alpaca & all the sale yarns I loved were in amounts too small to cover my backside. So I settled for some Cascade Paint in a luscious dark purple  to make a winter hooded cowl & a few balls of sock yarn. Now I need sock yarn like a hole in the head but I found a couple of new colors & several balls of solids to use for toes. And I spent every cent of the toonies in the bag & a couple of extra bucks too. It was fun. But I realized I'll have to spin the yarn if I want a sweater's worth  .  .  .  .

Got my first tuque on the needles for charity. Karen kindly donated her first & a scarf as well!! Come on Gail, pull the rag out!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Whole lotta Fall going on

I love this time of year!! All the sunny benefits during the day but cool at night so you can sleep! Cherries sit side by side with Nectarines & fresh field Tomatoes . . . I've had all of these for Dinner three nights in a row. And I made Italian Soup with Swiss Chard in it - fresh, local Chard!! Oh yeah. The Tomatoes taste like real tomatoes!! And just so you don't think that all I do is EAT - I have a sink full of baby cukes soaking so I can make up some Dill Pickles & Bread & Butter Pickles later on today. The Ex asked for Beet Pickles so I might even churn out a few jars of them too. I mean, they're all so simple. A few spices, a little vinegar, sugar & salt . . . Garlic I got, Dill I got, Fennel I got out in the garden growing wild!! Like I said, I love this time of year!

I do more than eat this time of year too - I've been churning out short
socks for myself. I found a few balls of good old Confetti which has been a favorite yarn over the years! It's cheap compared to most yarns but carries a lot of yardage in one of those balls, second only to Regia. It feels a little thin when you're working with it but fluffs up nicely when rinsed the first time. And I have not worn out one single pair of socks made with Confetti yarn yet.

I've also been investigating
the Charitable knitting wishlist for this year. I went straight to the Horse's Mouth so to speak & asked what they need. I've been churning stuff out blindly but it's been bothering me that maybe it isn't what's NEEDED. So I asked. Hand knit hats are the most requested item. Scarves are second. The People served by this Charity tend to live in crappy places with few amenities so they're out a lot. They walk between the Drop In centres, medical appointments & cafeterias. A hand knit hat is considered a luxury! Really??? Hats??? Okay, hats it will be!! I have a lot of White Buffalo wool - each package is in a different dyelot! Great for hats. Knit on large needles - good for both sexes, repels water, keeps you warm even when wet & soooooo easy to make! I even have an original pattern for a touque. WooooooHooooooo

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Sun is Shining & the Grass is Riz

My circadian clock says I should be up, eating an Egg Mcmuffin & answering the phones at work! In the middle of a dream this morning, I threw back the covers, hit the floor & was halfway to the bathroom before I opened my eyes. Stopped dead in my tracks & thought, 'Wait a minute . . .' went back, checked the clock, sat back down, thought for a moment & gave my head a shake. Had a serious talk with myself about where I was & what I was doing today. Tried my best to lay back down but I was UP. The sun was shining out there too. I need to vacuum & do the laundry but I don't want to. Has it really co
me to this?? Would I rather go to work than clean house??? Oh Yeah!!
Maybe I'll just get a Mcmuffin, read the paper & pretend for an hour or two.

And just so you don't think I don't DO anything but work anymore - I finally finished the toes on my latest creations. Now that I'm having problems putting socks on in the morning, I've finished the latest PURPLE short summer socks! These are in the 'On Your Toes' yarn I found in my 'personal' s
tash. Apparently the yarn comes with Aloe to soothe the aching tootsies. Dunno 'bout that but the yarn is soft, easy to work with, knits up like any other sock yarn on my 2.25mm or size 1 DPs - I cheated in the end & threw them on two circs since they became 'car knitting' & I didn't want the needles to fall out. Dark stitches are HELL to pick up when you get old!!! This is why they took so long. I haven't had much time to knit in the car - I've either been driving or it's been waiting.

And I guess I'll have to start another pair immediately
- I lost part of a tooth eating TOAST yesterday so it looks like I'll be hanging around the Dentist's office this next week . . .