Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

So, I realized I had yet to do a proper "All Of Me" shot, and seeing as it's the last week of February, here it is. Here I am, very tired and feeling very dry, since our furnace has slurped every last drop of moisture out of our house in the last couple weeks (yes, I will be complaining about the humidity come July -- it's what I do). Tired because I have what surely must be the most active 13 month old on the planet. Too tired to pluck my eyebrows or wear anything but the same pink sweater every day.

But, there's been enough self-reflection with this month's SPT, so I'll stop there. Though, you might notice that I felt the need to put my hand on my face. Not quite ready for a full-on All Of Me shot, but I'm getting there. After all, I have a young lady to raise, so I've got to figure out this confidence thing soon so I don't saddle her with a life of self-loathing.

Back to knitting tomorrow, I promise. March 1 marks a full month of pink!

Monday, February 27, 2006

What did you do on the weekend?

As inspired by Kath at Red Current:

1. Watched March Of The Penguins
2. Cleaned bathroom for a soon to be arriving house guest (from Finland!)
3. Met a newbord baby named Edie, who I held in my arms for what must have been a half hour. She slept the whole time. She was lovely. I gifted her the Spherey I made for her earlier in the month.
4. Watched Aaron do a ton of handyman work (including a new shelf for my cookbooks!)
5. Made a wager with my dad, in which we're going to predict the entire list of Oscar winners. In every category. If I win, I make him dinner. If he wins, he buys me dinner (trust me, it's better that way. For both of us).

Oh, and:

6. Made much progress on my Swing Thing. Pics to come soon.

Strangely, holding the new baby didn't make me want to have another one immediately. If anything, she made me happy that I'm just with Ruby for now. Weirdly though, the penguin movie totally made me want to have another little one. Those penguins go through a lot for their chicks -- it actually makes parenting a human seem pretty easy!

Friday, February 24, 2006

I may be crazy

What's wrong with me? So, I admit, I partially joined Project Spectrum because the first month's designated colour is pink (and/or red). I like pink. I have a lot of pink yarn. The above is a picture of the pink elements of my stash, not counting the 10 balls of vintage hot pink mohair that I bought on ebay a couple of years ago. So, you'd think I'd be able to do a little stash busting and Project Spectrum-ing at the same time, right?

But, I still felt the need to buy the three skeins of Lotus Pink Lamb's Pride worsted and a skein of sock yarn. Granted they're being put to good use. I cast on for Magknits Swing Thing with the LP (though, I can't find my U.S. 8 circ, so I'm foolishly trying to ram all the stitches onto straights) and I'm trying to do a pair of socks every month for PS, so I needed some sock yarn, since socks are still new to me and I don't have much sock yarn stashed. But still. Why so much yarn? Why? And what am I going to do with all that vintage mohair?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tiny Flashdancer

Borrowing an idea from my incredibly creative friend Sam Lamb, I whipped up a tiny pair of legwarmers for Ruby. Moms of toddlers know that tiny pants tend to rise above tiny socks, especially when the tiny owner of such garments is riding in a stroller. So, to keep the Roo warm on days that it's cold out, but not cold enough to wear a snowsuit, I devised these little leggy warmers. It's just K2 P2 ribbing done on a set of DPNs. I pulled out a yarn that's been in my stash from back in the early days when I was a knitting newbie and was fascinated with rather ugly variegated yarns. I think the colourway kind of looks like smushed together plasticine, but it's suitable for a little kid. And it's actually a pretty nice yarn: Emu Superwash Double Knit. Nice and soft and washable! I think I may make her up another pair to match her pink outfits.

And yes, that is the completed FEFI you see there. I seamed 'er up and wove all the ends in and she's just waiting to be blocked and buttoned, after which time I'll post some pictures with me actually wearing it. So, even though I didn't officially join the knitting Olympics, I completed my goal of FO-ing all my WIPs before the games' end. Of course, now I'm jonesing for some new stuff to knit, I'm thinking I'll try another pair of socks, and maybe the swing coat from the childrens' edition of Magknits that ran a few months back. Both in red/pink of course, to fulfill my commitment to Project Spectrum.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

Not really a self-portrait (thank you, Aaron) and, since it's totally staged, not really fitting with the All Of Me theme. But, there is a simple truth to be found here: as cute as they are, sometimes they drive you to the drink.

Monday, February 20, 2006

FO Alert! Jaywalkers!

Hooray! My first pair of socks! Here are the ever-so ubiquitous Jaywalkers, knit in Opal Handpainted Superwash, the same colour that Grumperina used for the original Magknits photo. It's weird, I rarely use the same yarn recommended by a pattern and I've never used the same colour. In fact, I bought this yarn before I even consulted the pattern. I guess Grumperina and I share the same impeccable taste.

Either way, I love this pattern and it was a great first sock experience. True, the chevron pattern doesn't have a whole lot of give and these babies are a little tough to pull on (I think one blogger called them calf corsets), but once they're on, they feel great. I don't know if I'd try them with a less stretchy yarn though. I'm fully addicted to socks now -- I joined Lolly's Project Spectrum because it's less pressure than the Olympics and I think I may try to do a sock in the designated colour every month. So, if any of you have suggestions for great patterns or sock books, please let me know. I'd like something beyond plain ribbing or stockinette, but I'm not that into cables on socks and although I'm open to some lace, I don't want my socks looking like doillies. Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

Finally, props out to Canada's women's hockey team. You girls rock! (And yes, I can't believe that I watched hockey today. Have I mentioned that I hate televised sports? Except for the Olympics, of course).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oh, the shame

Yes, that's my Fairly Easy Fair Isle Sweater. Stuffed in the corner where we tend to stuff things that we don't want Ruby to get into, just waiting for its sleeves to be seamed. The knitting is done and the seaming will take an hour, tops. But will I do it? One day, but not today.

It's weird, although I'm perfectly capable of making a lovely sweater to wear, I'm so seduced by the small items that I can't seam these stupid sleeves so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labour (not to mention the $80 worth of yarn it took to knit this sweater). I know I'll still be able to use this sweater in the spring when we sit out on our patio in the evening, but wouldn't it be nice to cozy up with while it's still winter? Yes, yes it would. But that still doesn't mean I'm going to finish it any time soon. Luckily, the whole point of having a knit blog is the feeling that you have an audience silently guilting you into getting your projects done, so I pledge to seam this sweater before the end of the Olympics. I promise.

Speaking of the Olympics, I've been avoiding getting any of my work done by keeping my eyes glued on the CBC all day, although I was plenty p.o.'d that they only ran the last group of skaters in the men's free skate so that they could show a non-medal hockey game in its entirety. Either way, my beloved Sandhu choked, as did my American love Johnny Weir. Sigh. But, our boy Jeff Buttle came in a very respectable third. Canada won three other medals, two in speed skating and one in skeleton. The skeleton also featured the amazing Lindsay Alcock, who is the younger sister of a good friend of mine from high school. Lindsay didn't win, but she's a former world cup champ and she still kicked ass. Woo!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thank You SP!

I was beginning to worry a bit about my Secret Pal package -- not because I doubted my pal, who has been very good about staying in contact, but because our mail carrier was on vacation last week and the guy who took over her shift seemed to have mixed our address up with one on a perpendicular street. But, our mail woman is back on and she happily delivered me a bright orange envelope this morning full of SP goodness.

This is my first involvement in a blogger trade and while some people dog SP, I'm liking it, if only because it's a chance to give and receive fun things that you'd never buy for yourself. Now, I don't know if I'm such a great blogger that my personality becomes transparent through this thing or if my Pal is just especially perceptive, but she nailed my tastes perfectly. She sent a cute little tote bag, a little pen shaped like a lipstick, a card, the super awesome Bazaar Bizarre book and a hank of Noro Blossom in the Sunrise colourway. Oh, and a bar of Choxie chocolate! I have know idea if you know this or not, SP, but shortly before the holidays, Mariko at Super Eggplant was posting about Choxie and I was consumed with envy over the fact that there is no Target in Canada and I couldn't get my hands on the Choxie delights. And what have I been eating all day this Valentines Day? That's right, thanks to my Secret Pal, Choxie. So, whoever you are, you are very thoughtful and I thank you.

Ruby and I are both sick so we spent the day watching the Olympics, where Canada won a silver in cross country skiing. I think I'm in love with Canadian figure skater Emanuel Sandhu. I like our Jeff Buttle too, but whereas Jeff is cute in a "he looks like he's 12!" kind of way, Emanuel is a stone fox. I think he's actually a fashion model when he's not skating. Now, not to reinforce stereotypes, but I have a feeling that neither of these guys really have much interest in loving a girl like me back, but I can still admire them. And I like the fact that neither of them wore totally hideous costumes. They both fell in the short program today, but I'm confident that they'll redeem themselves in the free skate. Go Canada!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

I'm a hypochondriac. Everytime I feel a twinge below my tummy, I'm convinced I have some kind of feminine cancer. Any strain in my chest is a heart condition. Blood clots. Aneurysm. For the longest time I was afraid I had an undiagnosed tooth infection that would spread to my heart. It's one of the things about myself which I'm the least proud of.

The worst part is, I'm totally aware of why I do it. My episodes tend to flare up whenever I'm at an idle point in my life and am forced to either make a decision or come up with a new goal. It's like it's easier for me to convince myself that I'm going to die than to take responsibility for the fact that I have to steer my life in the right direction. Pathetic, no?

Thankfully, since giving birth to my daughter (I'm not even going to touch on the hypochondria-palooza that was my pregnancy) I've given up on most of my self-loathing tendencies and my hypochondria has at least temporarily evaporated. But, I will always have a spot on my elbow as a symbol of my silliness. See that spot? I used to have a big brown mole there that appeared when I was a small child and started to weirdly spread when I was about 16. Every few year I'd ask whoever my doctor at the time was if it was skin cancer and they'd always tell me I was being a worry wart. Finally, my new doctor, who's pretty cautious, sent me to a dermatologist, who loped it off last year. So, now I have a red blotch on my arm. I think I liked the mole better.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Random Acts Of Randomness

I love working with variegated yarn. The thing is, I don't really like wearing items made out of variegated yarn -- a variegated sweater or even a hat or scarf just isn't my style. But for socks, I think variegated is just fine, which is part of the reason that I'm enjoying my Jaywalkers so much.

I just love the randomness of the way the colours pool -- I find it exciting and calming to watch where they fall as I knit away. The first sock (yes, finished and near perfect, I may add) features pretty even colour distribution, but the second one is pooling in all sorts of crazy ways. And I love it. I love the randomness of it. I love that I can't control it.

Speaking of randomness, I've become completely obsessed with the Zip.ca DVD rental service. I'm not sure if the concept is totally the same as the one in the States, but you give them a list of about 10 or so movies that you want and they send them to you... get this... totally randomly. In the last few weeks we've watched Bad Timing (starring a very uncomfortable looking Art Garfunkel), 10, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Coal Miner's Daughter, An Affair To Remember and last night I watched Ordinary People. I love finding a surprise in the mail when the DVDs come around. I love the randomness.

Finally, I've totally succumbed to Olympic Fever. No, not the Knitting Olympics, which I've chosen to participate in vicariously (I figure I have too many WIPs right now that need to transform themselves into FOs), but the real Olympics, during which I get pretty emotional. Let's just say, a tear or two has already been shed (yes, I was watching the womens' moguls yesterday).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tutu For You

As promised, here's a photo of Ruby enjoying her Kate doll on her birthday. She seems to like Katie, though she'd rather hold her up to her nose, sniff her and then throw her across the room (lovingly, of course) than hug her or cuddle her. That's just Ruby's way, okay?

And yes, Ruby is indeed wearing a tutu in this photo. Since Ruby was born, her Nana (Leena) and I have fantasized about the day that our little Rubester would don a tutu. See, when Aaron's sister was a little girl, she knew from the get-go that she wasn't the kind of lady who would ever wear a tutu and she shunned he mother's attempts to play Barbie with her. I, on the other hand, was tutu-obsessed, but my own mother frowned upon gratuitous tutu wearing. I did have a little red tutu that was part of my costume for my ballet recitals, but I was only allowed to wear it to the performances. I was not to practice dancing in the tutu and I was certainly not allowed to wear it over my clothes and frolic around the house. The tutu hung in the guest room closet with my Dad's wool winter coat and I would open the door and stare longingly at it, sneaking a feel of its itchy mesh netting. I promised Leena that she could gift Ruby with her first tutu and shortly before her birthday, this little homemade pink tutu arrived in the mail. Ruby's let me put it on her a few times and she doesn't seem to have an opinion on it either way.

And no, I'm not posting pictures of other people's handiwork to avoid addressing the fact that I've barely been making anything these last few days. I have been busy with work stuff (I have a big interview with a certain female Portuguese-Canadian singer-songwriter/hip-hop diva coming up and it's required a bunch of annoying prep work) but last night I did diligently do the button bands on FEFI. And yes, I did cave and cast on my second Jaywalker. But that's not really starting a new project, right?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sacred Heart

When I first met Aaron he drove a beat-up yellow Volvo station wagon named Yolanda that his parents bought new in 1980. At the time, Aaron was working delivering food and in our early dating life I used to ride around with him in Yolanda as he drove from restaurants to people's homes, carrying warm and delicious meals. When Aaron's sister Daniella was in an accident and lost her car (Phyllis) a few years back, Aaron's dad dutifully drove Yolanda out to Vancouver where she took Daniella to and from work every day. The last time I saw Yolanda was last summer and she wasn't doing too well -- none of her doors, save for the driver's, opened and she was running rockily at best. Just before Christmas we received a message from Daniella saying that Yolanda had guzzled her last gallon of gas and was lovingly being put to rest.

Daniella's amazing girlfriend Erin saved the vinyl from Yolanda's interior and made something special for those who loved her best. The item pictured above arrived in the mail earlier this week with the following note:

To Ruby:

Enclosed is a little piece of history. So the story goes...

Much before you were born out, your father sped around town in a bright yellow Volvo wagon named Yolanda. Ohh, she was a dream with her brown interior and reliable heater. He caught your mother's eye and I guess you could say Yolanda was a bit of a matchmaker. Yolanda is no Longer with us. But she proudly gives you her heart and wishes you a very, very happy birthday. Love, your Aunties Daniella and Erin.

Man, I married into a creative family.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

Since I'm starting to work a bit again and need to exercise my creative muscles, I decided to join Self-Portrait Tuesday. This month's theme is All Of Me, and the intent is to showcase the parts of ourselves that we'd usually rather not have others see. I've been trying to organize my photos of Ruby and have managed to lose all the prints from the first three months of her life, so I've been going through the digital files of her birth. Now, I originally thought I'd put up one of the shots that Aaron took immediately following her birth, because those certainly fit the unflattering aspect of the All Of Me theme. But then I decided to post this one.

Here I am, in Toronto's Mt. Sinai Hospital, after learning that I'd have to go through an induced labour after my water broke and my stubborn little kid refused to start clawing her way out. I'm on the phone with my parents, telling them that they're about to become grandparents. I'm scared and excited at the same time and I think that sense of emotion in caught in my face. So there you go, me baring my exhilaration and trepidation about becoming a mother one year ago.

Right now I'm listening to Leonard Cohen being interviewed on the CBC. For an hour. Lovely.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Spheres And Socks

So, I finally got my act together and stitched Spherey's limbs onto his round little body. This is a gift for a yet-to-be-born baby who's expected to arrive in about three weeks. It's weird -- from the photos in Jess's booklet I always thought Spherey was a little octopus with only four legs, but he actually has two short arms and two long legs. I suppose I could have knitted four legs and gone octo style, but I'm a stickler for sticking to patterns. Either way, I'm sure the baby will love him, once she's old enough to see straight.

And here's the obligatory half finished sock on foot picture. I understand why people find sock knitting so addictive -- the construction is like magic. I'm also understanding why so many of you out there are obsessed with the Jaywalkers -- it's an easy but pretty and satisfying stitch pattern. I know I'm not going to be able to put this sock down until it's finished, but I promise I'll finish my FEFI before casting on sock #2. Of course, I'll probably fall prey to the curse of only-finishing-one-sock syndrome, but we'll see how it goes.

Other than knitting, I've been completely obsessed with Townes Van Zandt this weekend. Last night the Documentary network aired a newish doc called Be There To Love Me about him, and we're watching it for a second time tonight (bless specialty cable networks and their tendency to re-run shows into the ground). Like most people, I pretty much only knew Townes for writing the Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard duet "Poncho And Lefty" and for being an unsung (and very troubled) songwriting genius. After watching the doc for the first time, Aaron and I have been listening to his music all day and I've wept more than a few times. Sigh.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Finishing School Flunkout

Why are so many knitters so reluctant to finish a project? I wish I knew, because I've got a FEFI in need of sleeve seaming and a Spherey in need of limb attaching sitting longingly in my craft corner. But, did I take the time to finish them over the last few days? No, I cast on a pair of Jaywalkers.

Maybe it's the fact that it's too warm to wear a FEFI these days, or that the baby that Spherey will be gifted to isn't due for a few weeks. Or maybe I'm just too addicted to the simplicity of making knitted stitches. Either way, I succumbed to the blogger herd mentality and decided to make my first pair of socks the ubiquitous Jaywalker. I'm using the Opal Handpainted yarn, I think in the exact same colour that Grumperina used for the original pattern in Magknits. I'm loving the zigzag pattern but though I haven't moved on to the challenge that will be the foot shaping, I am having a few problems with the particular beast that is sock knitting. I made a wee mistake the other night (I've been watching the O.C. Season One DVDs whilst knitting) and because I'm essentially knitting with toothpicks, I found it really difficult to unwind and pick up my stitches properly . So there's a weird little hole at the back of the sock, but I managed to stabilize it and I'm hoping it won't drive me crazy every time I wear the socks.

Oh, and thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes to Ruby. We celebrated last night with some yummy Butternut Squash Mac 'n' Cheese (yes, it's unfortunately a Rachel Ray recipe) and Ruby delighted over her gifts. I'll post a picture of her with her new Kate in the days to come.