Thursday, June 29, 2006

Buns in the oven

Life in the suburbs continues. Now, I don't want to offend any of you who have embraced suburban life -- I know blogland plays home to a lot of suburban mom types and I don't want to belittle anyone's lifestyle. It just isn't for me. My parents live in an area called "The Hamptons" (I'm not kidding) and it's the perfect picture of modern suburban life in North America: the houses are all made by the same company (to maintain the integrity of the neighbourhood, natch), there's nowhere to walk, there aren't any good parks because everyone has playground equipment in their own yards and there are oodles of huge box stores clustered in mega-strip mall complexes. I'm trying to go with it as much as possible: yesterday I paid a trip to Michael's crafts (something that wasn't in reach of my Toronto neighbourhood) and I also actually went through the Starbucks drive-through. That's right, Starbucks without even having to get out of the car. If I had been driving my parents' SUV, I think I would have barfed.

But all will be well soon. We get possession of our little three-bedroom bungalow next Friday. Our stuff might not arrive from the movers until the end of the month, but we're committed to moving in a.s.a.p. even if it means sleeping on an air mattress. Our new neighbourhood would have been considered suburban 10 years ago before Calgary started it's steroid-growth, but it's actually pretty close to downtown and is filled with big mature trees. And there's no Starbucks, which is pretty rare in a city with so much money. My guess is that one will move in pretty soon, but I swear I'll remain true to the local coffee place.

I have been enjoying some aspects of my suburban mom life: since there's no point in looking for work until I'm settled, I've been baking up a storm. Above is a nice loaf of cinnamon bread, which is actually more like coffee cake. I got the recipe from the Company's Coming Muffins and More book. I think Company's Coming is a Canadian phenomenon -- the books are very square and often use ingredients like cream of mushroom soup and hashbrowns in the recipes. My favourite part is the author's bizarre comments with each recipe -- usually things like "a dark and unusual loaf" or "Good! Good!." This one was captioned "rich enough for lunch." What, regular bread is too light for lunch? Who eats coffee cake for lunch anyway?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge: Pop Art Week 4

A riff on what I was going for last week. I wanted to create something that kind of looked like a logo.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Halfway to 2007?

I've been feeling a little down in the dumps, especially about my creating-of-things (it's hard to feel productive when you don't have a home). I've been trying to compensate via compulsive muffin making (Ruby's moved on from an all-pickle diet to a high-carb thing, so the muffin is a good way to slip some fruit in), but since we're reaching the half way point to 2007, I thought I'd take stock of my knitting thus far. Surprisingly, I've made some nice things since the ball dropped on January 1. Here's my self-indulgent little list:

Jaywalker socks
baby legwarmers
Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater
Mata Hari socks
Simply Lovely Lace Socks
Swing Thing
Retro Rib socks

So, what have you made so far this year? (Oh, and muffin recipes would be much appreciated -- I'm seriously obssessed)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Burning Down The House

I'm making good progress on the Pomatomus socks (and I have LOTS to say about them), but I'll spare you the WIP pics and the whining until they're actually finished. So, until then, I'll show you something that someone else knit. Here's a little sweater that Leena just finished up for Ruby, I believe knit from some Mission Falls cotton. Again, I could be wrong, but I think the pattern comes from a Mission Falls booklet.

Leena used this same yarn for Ruby's Question Mark Sweater and also an amazing baby blanket that she made for Ruby the Xmas before she was born. I think this one was done largely from the leftovers from the blanket. Great job, Leena! We love it!

p.s. Leena picked up some amazing yarn and a baby poncho pattern when we last stopped in at Make 1. I can hardly wait!

p.p.s. That's not my couch Ruby's sitting on. We're still at my parents. Just so you all know.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge

To be honest, I wasn't going to do a self-portrait today. Things continue to be stressful -- we bought a house on Friday (!!), but there are complications and Ruby isn't feeling quite herself today. So, there's not much creative will left in me. But, I found myself sitting at my iMac (it's arrived -- I don't have to fight with my dad for his PC) and thought I'd try my hand at a little pop PhotoShop.

Aaron used to use a little image of his face on his promotional material for his music and I always wanted to use that image (we call it "The Head") to make the Poster Boy bag from SNB Nation. Aaron begged me not to do it (he's shy) and I never really had the time, but I'm still kind of planning it in the back of my head. So, in honour of that photo, I did a similar stamped image of myself, taken shortly before we moved from Toronto. Hey, if you want to make my face into a tote bag, I don't mind at all!

On a completely unrelated note, everyone in Boothy land is suffering from tummy aches -- for some reason we've been eating cake constantly. I've never been to so many family celebrations in my life: since we've arrived I've gone to Aaron's dad's birthday party, my Grandma Ruby's birthday, a family dinner with Aaron's dad's cousins, Aaron's birthday, my cousin Samantha's wedding and a birthday party for my cousin's daughter (which was held at a petting farm -- Ruby loved it). This week I have a wedding shower to attend. So much cake! To make matters worse, Ruby's refusing to eat anything but dill pickles. Yeesh.

Friday, June 16, 2006

WIP Friday

Taking a cue from Fiona at the amazing Hop Skip Jump (I still haven't managed to teach myself how to sew, but I do love looking at the work of others), I'm presenting my WIPs to you all today. Above you see the much ballyhooed Pomatomus sock. Still on my first sock (yes, the blue month of June is more than half done and the socks are clearly not), I'm getting to the home stretch. The red bits did end up forming a nice spiral pattern down the body of the leg, but once I hit the heel all bets were off. Still, I'm happy with the colourway and I'm finally at a point where I can try the damn thing on. Because the sock is essentially a twisted rib tilted on the diagonal it takes up a lot of stitches, but isn't as stretchy as a straight rib would be. I was freaking out that all of my chart-following would be for nothing (or that I'd have to find a 10 year old to gift them to), but they do fit over my foot and lower calf. Now the question of finishing in time for my Project Spectrum deadline looms...

And just for the heck of it, here is my modest progress on Squarey. I haven't picked this guy up since I cast on for the Pomatomi, but he's still a WIP that will be tended to once the socks are safely on my feet.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Do You Want To Know A Secret?

My One Skein Secret Pal has struck! Actually she struck a few days ago, but with the madness that is my life I haven't got to post about it yet. As you can see from the picture above she (I'm assuming it's a she) sent me the required card and skein of yarn and threw in a really cute little needle cozy! Thanks SP!

So, the yarn is Blue Sky Worsted, which is an alpaca/merino blend. It is unbelievably soft. My pal decided to honour my penchant for pink (I really can't get enough of the pink yarn, it's true), but to add some variance to my wardrobe she went for a very pale pink that almost drifts into beige territory. Very nice. I'm thinking that this skein will probably turn into some kind of neckwarmer -- maybe a little cowl kind of thing. Now that I'm in Calgary I'm going to need something warm and portable -- you never know when it's going to go from 15 above to 15 below.

So, thank you again Secret Pal! I can hardly wait to see what comes next!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge

One of my favourite Warhol muses (and female icons for that matter) is Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Rather than trying to recreate Warhol's Jackie portraits (I used to sport a perfected flip hair-do in my early 20s, but with Ruby around there's no way I have time to fix it up) I went for one of the classic shots in which Jackie O. is being chased by the paparazzi. Not as pop art as some of the photo-shopped stuff that's cropping up on the site, but I like that this one also has a bit of an Italian cinema feel to it as well.

Oh, and as a plug, I've started a monthly column on the SPC site -- the second Wednesday of the month I'll be presenting my picks for that particular week. Read it tomorrow here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

LYS Bliss

Life in Calgary is becoming a little more bearable. Aaron returns home tomorrow, my car should arrive next week and we've finally sold the house (which means we can start looking for a new one -- a chore I loathe, but it'll be worth it once we have our own place again). Most importantly though, I've found my new LYS.

Make 1 Studios is only two months old and I feel like they sensed I was coming back. Now, Calgary has some other nice stores (I have to check out the other new one -- Pudding Knits), but Make 1 has Elizaboothy written all over it. I believe it's co-owned by the famed Indigirl, but you can correct me if I'm wrong. Either way, the had a selection of Lorna's Laces like you wouldn't believe, gorgeous cashmere that I could never afford and a lot of beautiful yarns that I haven't seen anywhere else. The women who own the place have fantastic taste -- the colours are all very tasteful. Best of all, they're really trying to get a social scene going there with lots of events and tons of knitting space. They even had a table for Ruby to sit down and colour at while Leena and I shopped. They invited us to come back and knit any time, with Ruby in tow. Child friendly, well-stocked with Lorna's Laces and in Calgary? Pinch me!

Of course, I had to buy something. Pictured above are two wound hanks of Lorna's Lace's Sheppard Sock in Fresh Stripe for next month's Project Spectrum (which will be a very very simple rib sock, I'm tellin' you). Also, I picked up a ball of Kid Merino for the Last Minute Knitted Gifts Airy Scarf, to be sent to my One Skein Secret Pal in August. I was going to go for the Rowan Kid Silk Haze (which they had plenty of in stock), but I liked this colour better. So, once I finish those damn Pomatomus socks, I'm good to go!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fish Bites

So, the Pomatomus socks haven't yet been the death of me, but they're a slow go. What you see here is half of the leg (well, if you don't include the cuff). Yep, half of the repeats of the first chart -- that's all I got after eight days. For a minute I seriously considered making these anklets, especially since I have to do it twice. But I am finding the challenge satisfying and the pattern is really cool.

I do like the Wildfoote yarn alot, though what you see here is the only place that the red bits have been pooling. All the red has fallen on needle #2, but as you see, it is migrating west (story of my life lately, hey?), and I think a diagonal stripe of the red would look pretty cool. Let's see if it cooperates with me. Tune in next week for the turning of the heel. Yeesh.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge

For the non-SPC obsessed, June has been declared Pop Art month. I'm a big Pop Art fan myself -- when I was about 14 I became a full-on Edie Sedgewick obsessive (yes, it was inspired by that song by The Cult). I read everything I could about Andy Warhol and the factory and became enthralled with the Edie: An American Biography book. That and Pamela Des Barres' I'm With The Band were my two favourite books when I was about 14 -- I don't know why but I was fascinated with the slightly bad girls, even though I was a painfully good girl myself.

Now, I know this picture of me doesn't do Edie justice, but I was inspired by her Warhol screen test as well as the photo that appears on the cover of my edition of American Biography (it was also used in Ciao Manhattan). So here's me, as Pop Art muse.

I still don't have my own camera here in Calgary, but my parents have loaned me theirs. I'll try to put up some knitting related content tomorrow. Back on track, baby, back on track.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Stayin' Alive

Hey all. No pictures today, just a note to let you all know that I'm safe and sound in Calgary. The drama in my world is continuing on -- I won't bore you with the details, but the whole house sale/moving into my parents' basement/raising a child while the husband is in Europe for two weeks thing has been very trying. I went to my beautiful cousin's wedding today and violently threw up after dinner. For no reason. Gross, yes, but also an example of where I am right now.

As for knitting, I think those damn Pomatomous socks might be the death of me. I know I'm capable of knitting them, but my attention span isn't really fit for irregular charts. Stay tuned for my progress. Or lack thereof.