Monday, May 29, 2006

Busy Fingers

Okay. So I have been knitting. Probably more than someone who is selling a house/buying a new one/moving across the country/raising a toddler should. There's a lot to get to in this post, since we're sending the computer off tomorrow, and I want to get some actual knitting content into my blog.

First things first: I finished my Project Spectrum socks on time! They've been done for a couple of days and it turned out to be a rather satisfying knit. They look like they're different lengths in the photo, but one of them is just slouching -- my photographer wasn't feeling particularly patient today.

The specs:
Pattern: Retro Rib Socks from the Winter 2004 issue of Interweave Knits
Yarn: Opal Handpainted in a green variegated colourway
Needles: US #1.5 DPNs
Mods: I made them about an inch shorter in the leg in fear that I'd run out of yarn.

Generally, I'm pretty happy with these socks. There are a few mis-steps in the rib pattern, due to a few space outs caused by the mindlessness of the pattern repeat. The stitch pattern and yarn colour aren't really my style, so they'll probably end up as a gift.

So, on to June and blue. I picked up some Wildfoote in the Bluegrass colourway for next month's socks. I actually shopped around this month, hitting all of T.O.'s yarn stores in search of some super luxe sock yarn, but while I did come across some Socks That Rock and Lorna's Lace, the colours didn't work out. At least I'm straying from Opal though -- I love the stuff, but it's time to move on.

And finally, to step outside the realm of the sock, I cast on for Jess Hutch's Squarey, which is a little pillow/stuffed guy. I've been meaning to make one for Ruby's room since Hutch-mania hit around the New Year, but haven't had time. I still don't (have time, that is), but a few days of mindless stockinette in needles that are larger than toothpicks should do me good. Since I'm planning to use the Wildfoote to attempt the now ubiquitous Pomatomus socks, I should have a project going that'll clear my head.

And to end this massive post, I just want to let you know that next time you hear from me, I'll be in Calgary. So, no SPC tomorrow, but I'm really looking forward to the June challenge: Pop Art!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

Okay, the hand holding a cup of coffee is a bit of a cop-out, but since my SPTs seem to be dominating the blog these days, I figured you all may not be ready for another introduction head shot. Plus, these days knowing that I'm a caffeine addict is key to knowing me -- I actually start crying if I don't have a coffee in my system by, say, 9 a.m. and I'll continue to accept coffee throughout the day, even if I'm already jittery from having two or three cups. So, this was a rare moment this morning, when Ruby was occupied and Aaron was in the shower. Me, enjoying my coffee. Sigh.

I'm hoping to reestablish this ol' blog as a knitting site by the end of the week -- I've been knitting up my second Retro Rib at a furious pace. Things have been busy on my end, it's true -- we're getting closer to our move date, Ruby's been teething like crazy (four molars at the same time, which seem to be taking two months to come in) and I took on a last minute writing gig that was too good to turn down. I agree with many of you bloggers who caution against deadline knitting -- it should be about the pleasure, not some kind of rush to the finish line. Still, I feel like if I'm not producing something like, say, a sock, that I'm floundering in the larger context of my life, hence the need to finish my Project Spectrum projects. So, I've been knitting away. I knitted through Marissa Cooper's cheesy death last week and I'll knit through the finale of American Idol this week. And damn it, if I'm not finished by the time I leave this town... Well, I'll be disappointed, that's what.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Shake It Up

I figured most of you are probably sick of looking at my goofy mug, so I figured it was about time that I post something. Continuing in my series of "Toronto, I do love me some food!" posts, here is a picture of my Dean Martin Mocha Mudslide milkshake on the front table of Daddy-O's Milk Bar. Vanilla milkshake, chocolate syrup and a skor bar. Yum!

So, that was my lunch and my dinner was a butter chicken roti from Ghandi's. Oh Toronto, I will miss you. But, before all of you readers feel too sorry for me, don't forget, Calgary is the home of not one, but two all hot dog restaurants.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

An introduction: you may not recognize me, as I've just returned from the beauty salon. You will never see my hair this curly by my own hand. Not because I don't like it, but because I never foresee myself sitting under a diffuser for 15 minutes in the chaos of my own home.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Green Green Grass Of Home

Yes! At last some May Project Spectrum knitting to show. When May started I thought that I'd be able to finish a pair of green socks in, say, a couple weeks, but with my life taking an interesting turn this month, I'm shocked that I managed to finish the first one by mid-month. Here is sock #1 of the Retro Ribs. I didn't take a modeling shot because these will probably end up as a gift and I don't want to advertise the fact that I've been trying them on a lot. Even though I, um, have.

And in other things green, Ruby's Nana and Poppa arrived in Toronto yesterday and gifted their precious little one a tea set. Most would thing that 15 months would be too young for a kid to understand and enjoy a beautiful tin tea set, but not our Roo. She totally understands what to do with it and pours everyone their tea and the greedily sips from her own cup. My daughter is addicted to fake tea.

And, also addicted to Indian food it seems. We celebrated Mother's Day at one of our favourite Indian spots last night and Ruby dug in. The waiter kept warning us that the food was going to be too spicy for her, but Ruby wolfed her butter chicken and chickpeas and saag paneer with gusto. And I'm pretty sure she drank the equivalent of an entire mango lasse. The waiter was so impressed he brought her some chocolate ice cream which she liked even better than the curry. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I suppose.

Friday, May 12, 2006


One thing that I'm really going to miss about Toronto (and this neighbourhood in particular) is the treats. Yummy, yummy treats. Aaron and I are both big food people and we've had a great time sampling all the various cultures that congregate in Toronto. The neighbourhood we live in has a great Portuguese chicken place, an amazing jerk chicken take-out joint, a gelato shop and not one, but two authentic French pastry shops.

The gelato is tops for us -- it's the only gelato I've had in Canada that comes close to what you get in Italy. Let's just say that we've been indulging a little more than usual since we found out about A's job. I've also been frequenting the pastry shops -- pictured here are some delicious macaroons that I've become obsessed with. I can't believe I hadn't tried them until just now. Next week I'm going to hit the Greek bakery that I've been meaning to step into for about two years now and tonight it's thin crust pizza at a local restaurant. I swear, I'm hellbent on being 10 pounds heavier when I get to Calgary.

Oh, and apologies to the amazing Jane at Yarnstorm for my pathetic macaroon photo. I couldn't even hope to reproduce the beautiful ones that she posted a few months ago. Though I do thank her for helping me remember the beauty of small indulgences like cookies and tulips.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

It's still introduction month in SPC land, so I'll tackle Kath's question: Why do you do Self-Portrait Challenge?

I'll start way back at the beginning: I started knitting about three and a half years ago as a means to fulfill a need to do something with my hands. As a magazine editor my creative side was being exercised regularly (I wrote every day), but I needed something a little more tangible. Hence knitting. I started this blog in November at the urging of my friend Sam Lamb. After having my daughter I was no longer writing and no longer knitting very much, hence no longer feeling very creative. Sam explained that her blog gave her a much-needed feeling of pressure to get her crafty projects done. So, to give myself a kick in the ass, Elizaboothy was born. Plus it got me writing again, which is nice, even though I don't really put the effort in here that I should.

So, why SPC? Like the blog, it's for me and about me. As the mother of a 15-month-old, life isn't really about good old Elizabeth anymore. So, to remind myself that I'm still here, an entity separate from Ruby, I document myself. This week I posted a picture that I took of myself in the bathroom. It's the only place I get to be alone these days. If I'm lucky, that is.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Chaos Ensues

Before I tell you what I've been doing this weekend, here's one of those reasons that I love where I live and am sad to leave: the gardens. People in Toronto really rock their gardens and this time of year is when the tulips sit at centre stage.

Okay, on to the chaos. Wednesday night we decided that we needed to reno our kitchen in order to sell our house, so our fridge and stove are now in our tiny living room while some friends/contractors have been working furiously to remove the gross carpet from the kitchen (yes, carpet. Made even grosser when we spilled an entire pitcher of margaritas on it a few months back) and get rid of the weird brick mac tack "wallpaper" that was up. This has not been easy for Ruby, since she doesn't really have anywhere to play and I can't cook her any of the things she likes to eat (babies aren't really conducive to take-out).

So, if that isn't chaotic enough, yesterday was our garage sale, which turned out to be an unexpected success. It was also the day that Aaron had to sod both our back garden (in which nothing was growing) and our front yard (which was covered in concrete tiles). A lot of work, no? Just to keep things interesting, Aaron decided to invite all of our friends over for a barbeque. Which he didn't tell me about. Yep, no kitchen, no living room, tonnes of work, and a dinner party. Yikes.

The up side, of course, is I got to see a lot of people that I probably won't see in a long time. The socializing continued today with a super fun breakfast and beer date and then our little friend Alice's first birthday this afternoon. A fun day indeed only slightly marred by our waking up this morning and discovering that teenagers (we're assuming) had torn the sod off our front lawn and chucked it in the street. Chaos, I tell you.

Oh, and for those of you who come strictly for the craft, I'm making surprising progress on my Retro Rib Socks. Pics to come later in the week.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Oranges Aren't The Only Fruit

Here are those pesky socks that took me a whole month to complete! Without knitting anything else. Lolly herself mentioned that many people had trouble finishing the March Project Spectrum projects and she speculated that it might be because people don't like orange. The thing is, I love orange! It just seems that tropical vacations and impending cross-country moves aren't conducive to knitting.

Here's the specs:
Pattern: Simply Lovely Lace Socks from Interweave Knits Spring 2006
Yarn: Opal Superwash in oh, let's say orange.
Needle: US #1 DPNs

Despite the month it took me to knit up these babies, they were actually a pretty quick knit -- I imagine the sport-weight version would take no time at all. It took me a bit to get the hang of the lace pattern (tonnes of ktbs, which are kind of a pain) but it took about one second to memorize. The only snag came when I tried on the first sock mid-knit and I either ripped a stitch (the lace ain't very stretchy) or tore a stitch that had been split and somehow formed a big hole in one of the lace repeats. I managed to (kind of) repair it, but even though you have to look closely to find the botch I don't think I could give these away as a gift. Oh well, more socks for me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

This month's Self Portrait Challenge is the theme of introduction, since SPT is officially making the shift to SPC as of yesterday. Of course, I couldn't present an introduction to myself without including the Roo. So, if you're new to Elizaboothy, welcome. My name is Elizabeth and I live in Toronto (for the time being). I spent about 10 years making my living interviewing and writing about rock stars, a career that came to a somewhat screeching halt 15 months ago when I had my daughter, Ruby. Now I try to make time to write a wee bit from home, but usually spend my free time knitting. By "free time" I mean the hour or so a day I'm not chasing my very busy toddler.

And yes keen reader, I did say "for the time being" in reference to my Toronto home. Last week Aaron was offered an amazing job in Calgary, so at the end of the month we're packing up and heading across country. I have mixed feelings about this: I'm so proud of Aaron and I'm looking forward to being closer to our families (and, I must admit, free babysitters that I can really trust), but I truly truly love Toronto, especially the neighbourhood that we live in. So, I'll try to spend some time celebrating where I live on this blog over the past month.

In knitting news, I did manage to finish my Simply Lovely Lace Socks (orange for Project Spectrum March) yesterday, making me only a day late. No pictures yet, but I'll get 'em up soon. In moments I'll be in front of the TV watching American Idol and casting on the retro rib socks from Interweave's Winter 2004 issue. In green, natch.

Oh and finally, if you check out yesterday's comments, my secret pal did reveal herself. Hee-hee, no worries Zona!

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day

So, at long last, here is one of my Project Spectrum items from March. I've wisely scaled back to just a pair of socks per PS month instead of socks and a something else. Here's the specs:

Pattern: Swing Thing from MagKnits in size 1-2 yrs
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Lotus Pink (3 skeins)
Needle: U.S. 8 straight and DPNs

So, I thought it was going to be too small for Ruby, but it's just about right, so I think my gauge was right (I was a little worried about midway through). I love this pattern -- it was really easy and fairly quick to knit. I'm not wild about the way the decreases were written in the pattern, but I do kind of like the way they look now that the sweater is finished. I have no photo of Ruby actually modeling the coat because she's been really cranky and hard to pin down. Things have also been crazy around here -- I'll explain more about that in the days to come.

And yes, it is indeed May and I'm still not finished my April orange socks. I'm about an inch away from the toe. By the end of the week, I swear!