Friday, September 29, 2006

W.I.P. Friday

I'm actually feeling pretty productive this week despite the fact that Aaron has been traveling all over the continent on business (L.A. this week, NYC last week) and Miss Ruby has been extra busy with her classes and playing. But I've got some knitting and some sewing on the go, which feels good. To be honest, my commitment to only knitting small things has started to bore me (not much challenge in simple baby hats) partially because I don't like the look of small items with too many flourishes. A toque with a bunch of cables all over it? Lace gloves? No thanks. After my Xmas knitting is over (which may be sooner rather than later, I'm seriously thinking about just buying stuff this year) I think I'll tackle a fine knit sweater or a lace shawl just to have a long term challenge to get me out of my accessory ennui.

For now though, I'm knitting something for myself: Glampyre's City Shawl. It's that big black lump that you can see. Almost done, I'll give you all the deets once it's off the needles. And that piece of orange fabric is the sleeve to Ruby's clown costume, which'll hit the machine tonight if all goes well.

Oh, and since the W.I.P. photo isn't much to look at, I present you a lemon loaf that I just whipped up for tea with my neighbour later this afternoon. I love lemon loaf, but have never actually made it since Aaron has laid down the law with a strict "If it's not chocolate, it's a waste of dessert" decree. But, I've snuck a taste and despite the fact that I usually agree with him on the chocolate thing, the lemony deliciousness is perfect for a ladies/babies tea party.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spoiled Old Me

I've been bad. Yesterday Leena and I stopped by our favourite LYS, Make 1 to show off the poncho that she made for Ruby. Leena also wanted to pick up some felted bag patterns, as she's participating in this great charity handbag sale that's raising money for grandmothers in Africa who have been left to raise their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren. I wanted to buy a little something to get started on my Xmas knitting (I know, I announced the commencement of Xmas knitting a month ago, but I've gotten nowhere) and I was seduced by the Lorna's Laces.

I was immediately drawn to the Shepherd Worsted in the amazing "Hawaii" colourway. Look at it! This will probably end up as a gift -- I've been wanting to make a pair of Sweet Mary Jane slippers since I stumbled upon the pattern via Sam's blog months ago. The Shepherd Worsted is superwash, so I think it'll work out nicely. I also very greedily picked up some Shepherd Sock yarn in the Sassy Stripe colourway because, well, I couldn't resist. I rarely buy yarn simply to stash, but a good sock yarn is hard to come by and my fingers have been missing the pleasure of sock knitting. I think I'm a lifer.

I'm also buzzing because I'm home without Ruby today, as Wednesday has been designated "Ruby stays with Grandma or Nana while Mummy tries to get some work done" day. I spent a nice chunk of my morning on the phone doing an interview with a very high-profile British rock star. I won't name names (don't want search engines ending up here and poking in my personal business), but he's the guitarist/chief songwriter of a very prominent and long-standing British band that his brother is the lead singer of. Got it? I've spoken to this gentleman before and he always leaves me swooning. Receiving phone calls from rock stars always makes me feel like less of a suburban housewife. Hooray!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Merrily I Sew Along

As I mentioned last week, I've been bit by the sewing bug. Hard. My mother bought me a sewing machine for Xmas last year after I expressed a motherly desire to be able to eventually make Halloween costumes for Ruby. Because of my knitting habit (or, more specifically my 2006 sock obsession), vacation, the move and general busy-ness, I didn't even take the machine out of the box until very recently. Also, I was intimidated and too shy/busy/lazy to take a sewing class. Anyway, Aaron's been out of town a lot lately, giving me plenty of sewing time in the evening, so I decided to go for it. Once I figured out that I was using the wrong size bobbin, I fell in love with the machine.

With the machine my mom gave me a bunch of fixin's, a Simplicity apron pattern and some cheapo Walmart fabric to cut my teeth on. So, over the course of the last week, I whipped up this little apron. There are lots of mistakes (I totally botched the ties) and the finishing leaves much to be desired, but overall, I think it's pretty darn cute. I have a grand vision of making a few of these with Jenny Hart embroidery on the pockets and giving them as gifts. I don't know if I can swing it by Christmas (my sewing time is pretty limited, what with Ruby and all, so I may have to crank out smaller knit gifts and some Wee Wonderfuls), but maybe I can stock pile a couple aprons for birthdays. Either way, I'm excited and after a trip to a beautiful quilt store in my neighbourhood and little scared of the price of nice fabric. I'm already having trouble fitting my yarn habit into my budget -- how am I going to afford kitschy Japanese fabric?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Praise Of Other Women's Knitting

As I've mentioned before, Aaron's Mum, Leena is a fantastic knitter. She's far more patient than I am and has a remarkable gift for choosing tasteful patterns and beautiful yarns. Naturally, she is thrilled by the notion of getting to knit for her one and only grandchild and Ruby has been suitably spoiled with plenty of Nana's handknits.

On our first sojurn to Make 1 Studio a couple months ago, Leena was seduced by a hank of very colourful and very soft yarn that screamed Ruby. The nice lady at the store helped her flip through the pattern binders to find an appropriate sweater pattern but we were both much more taken by this little pattern. The original was knit up in a kind of little red riding hood motif, but I like Ruby's acid pink/yellow combo even better. It's soft, it's warm and the girl looks adorable. Thanks Nana!

On a side note, I think I've got myself in trouble. I finally figured out how to use my sewing machine and all I can think about is sewing. And knitting. And sewing and knitting. And I'm under strict instructions by Aaron to find more freelance work -- but who can think about writing when there are so many Wee Wonderful patterns to knit up?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge: With Aaron

Last time around I posted a photo of me with the most important person in my world: my sassy little girl Ruby. Her father follows at a very close second -- not because I love him any less, but simply because I spend less time with the guy. Since it's unlikely that Aaron would ever consent to his photo appearing on my blog and it's hard to pin the guy down (his job has been keeping him really busy and he also has his career as a handsome singer-songwriter to contend with) I'm posting a photo of a drawing that our friend Carl gave us for our wedding five years ago. I love it and I think it captures the Aaron/Elizabeth pretty damn well. I also really like the frame.

I'm not going to gush about how much Aaron means to me and all that -- he's a private person and would be mortified if I let my mushyness go that unchecked in a public forum. So, to add some beef to this post, I'll indulge in a meme that Mamaloo posted over at Momcast. Usually I hate these "porn star name" kind of things (partially because the street I grew up on was called Bunny Hollow Road. I'm not kidding), but I thought this one was king of fun and it's a rainy day in these parts. Let me know in the comments if you decide to participate.

YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your moms side, your favorite candy): Ruby Lindor
YOUR "FLY Guy/Girl" NAME: (first initial of last name, first three letters of your middle name): B. Joy
YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Pink Kitten
YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born): Joy Tripoli
YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom's maiden name and first 3 letters of the town you grew up in.): Booelrocal
SUPERHERO NAME: ("The", your favorite color, favorite drink): The Pink Shiraz
NASCAR NAME: (the first name of both your grandfathers): Ed George
FUTURISTIC NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name of your favorite shoes): Lovely Rocketdog
WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother/father's middle name ) Ann Glenn

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Miss Pink

Okay, I know that I said that I was going to send the failed Children's Cotton Hat (intended for Ruby but waaay too small) to my cousin's newborn. But I just couldn't bring myself to part with the Suss cotton that had been sent from Vancouver by my OS Secret Pal. So, I reassessed the situation, decided I had enough yarn to go up to the "child" size hat, ripped out the old one and knitted away. I knit 'er up really fast, since it's really cold here and I can't seem to find much of our winter gear in our state of still-unpacking. I doubt that any of Ruby's stuff would fit her anyway, what with her seemingly giant head and all. Since this is now a full-fledged FO, here are the specs:

Children's Cotton Hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Suss Cotton
Needle: US 8 DPNs
Mods: Well, I obviously substituted the yarn and I also went up a needle size. I also knit the body of the had a half inch longer than the largest size suggested. I still haven't officially measured for gauge, but others have told me that even with the suggested Mission Falls yarn, these hats have come up small. I knit for the biggest size (child), even though at 19 1/2 months, Ruby is barely even considered a toddler in some circles. As it is, I didn't even include the lace-through i-cord because any cinching would have made the hat too snug. So, the eyelets are purely decorative and Miss Ruby has already received many compliments on her very soft and very sweet little cotton hat.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

From The Hats Of Babes

Babies. Now, I consider myself a pretty observant mother, but I seem to have a huge mental block concerning the size of a baby's head. In addition to my own babe (who is now by all measurements a full-fledged todler) there suddenly seems to be babies coming at me from all directions. And for a knitter a new baby means one thing: whipping up gifts of baby hats (or, for the more industrious, blankets).

It seems that despite making at least half a dozen baby hats over the last couple of years, I've lost my ability to gauge the size of a child's head, newborn or otherwise. Last week I needed to make gifts for two August babies: Ashley (my cousin's new daughter) and Anita (my friend Barb's two-week old girl). I ended up giving them both SNB Umbilical Cord hats knit up in Brown Sheep Worsted. I went up a needle size, so for the first one (which was given to Anita at her shower last week) I decreased by a few stitches. While it seemed tiny, Barb assured me it would fit. For Ashley's I knit to pattern and I have no idea if it's going to be way too big. Ruby's baby (who is named, simply, "Baby") is modeling Anita's hat. Luckily, Anita lives in Calgary, so she'll be needing the hat pretty much right away, while it still fits.

I also made a couple attempts at Last Minute Knitted Gifts' Children's Cotton Hat with disastrous results. First off, intended for Ashley, I tried to modify the pattern using some bulky purple yarn. No dice. As you can see, though, the hat fits Blythe perfectly, so it's clearly too small for any baby. And too un-fetching, I may add. Still, it's '70s quality suits Blythe, so on her head it'll stay.

So, I tried to knit another one, in toddler size to spec using my skein of Suss cotton, which should have subbed well for the Mission Falls. Nope. Granted, I didn't test for gauge, but it seemed to be a decent size until I tried it on Ruby's head. Not even close. Does Ruby have a giant head? Sort of, but I think the hat is also smaller than it should have been. I would have ripped it out and reknit it in the "Child" size, but I didn't have enough yarn left over. So, this one's going off to Ashley too with the hope it'll fit her in the spring. Now I'm off to dig through my stash to see if there's something I can use to make Ruby an adult size hat, since that seems to be the only sure-fire way of keeping her head covered this fall.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Circus Of The Socks

For six months, I knit socks. Through a trip to Hawaii, the sale of a house, a move across the country, the purchase of another house and an intense period of readjustment, I knit socks. All in the name of the now finished Project Spectrum. When PS began I had just completed my first pair of socks (Jaywalkers, natch) and I was so enchanted with the process of turning that charming heel that I decided to sock it up right through the summer.

So here they all are. A pair each of Mata Haris, Simply Lovely Lace, Retro Ribs, Pomatomus, Madder Rib and Yarrow Rib. Each a completed pair. That's right -- no second sock syndrome here, buddy.

I must say, while I regret nothing, it may be a while before I do another pair of socks (I briefly contemplated joining Sock Wars, then concluded that my insanity must be stopped). First up, I have more than enough hand-knit socks in my wardrobe now (since I'm still a relative beginner, only one of these pairs is suitable enough to be gifted) and also, I yearn to use a needle bigger than U.S. 1. Bring on the worsted yarn -- I'm ready for a quick knit!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge: With Ruby

This month's SPC is "with someone" and I'm betting my bottom dollar that at least half of the bloggers out there are going to be putting up pictures of their little ones. But who would I include in this first week if it weren't for my constant companion, my fair Ruby?

I couldn't narrow this down to just one mother daughter shot, so I'm choosing two. Above is one of my favourite Ruby/Mummy photos (I do have another that my friend Kim took on film last fall, but it's packed away, as is my scanner). This was taken in Vancouver during Ruby Tour 2005 when we took the then four month old bambino West to meet her family. We're in Aaron's sister's old apartment and I'm playing with Roo as she suffers through her first cold.

And secondly, a more recent shot for you Ruby fans, taken last month on our trip to the West Coast. She loves to kiss -- through glass or otherwise. I love to kiss her back.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Oh, Me Of Little Faith

I said I couldn't do it. But why, oh why did I not believe in myself and my quick little fingers? After a month of very little knitting and a week of extreme fatigue, I managed to finish my last pair of Project Spectrum socks last night. On time. Oh yeah, I rock.

Yarrow Ribbed Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Opal Superwash in a black/white stripe
Needle: U.S. #1 bamboo
Mods: I did a 7" leg instead of 8 1/2"

Not much else to say. Another simple ribbed sock, no big deal -- though I quite admire the German heel. More Opal, 'cos that's what I could find in a neutral colourway. I'll do a nice photo shoot with all of my PS socks over the weekend at sometime so I can bask in my own glory. Until then, I'm doing a bunch of baby hats because infant children seem to be appearing everywhere in my life these days.