Tuesday, September 25, 2007

the gods of good knitting are smiling on me

I have finished (BF)G's scarf and it turned out well! Perhaps they were satisfied by the sacrificial clapotis afterall. Although, really - how could I mess up a basketweave stitch scarf? I started the scarf on Thursday and finished it last night. I knit it to (BF)G's specifications. Not too long, no fancy pattern (I insisted on the basketweave lest I poke my eyes out with my knitting needles out of sheer boredom doing endless rows of garter or stocking stitch), and it has to be soft, but washable. It took two balls of Bernat Cashmere Natural Blends and at $4.00/ball was a bargain! I am well pleased with how it turned out. Perhaps now I can safely venture back to knitting socks and sweaters and shawls.

I also was reminded yesterday that I should be casting on for some wee hats for the Hats for Alex project. For more information on this very worthwhile endeavor check out the blog dedicated to it (either by clicking on Hats for Alex or the button on my sidebar). I did four hats last year I think and hope to do as many this year. I encourage you all to knit at least one, afterall, baby hats can be made from those left over balls of yarn from previous projects and take no time at all.

Well - it's off to physio and then work for me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

And may I present a somewhat altered Samus

... that after almost a year is finally off the needles. I've been wanting to finish this sweater forever! Especially considering that for the last several months all it has been wanting is the attached i-cord trim. My problem in finishing it lay in the fact that I misjudged the size I needed to make. A simple matter of doing so many repeats of the pattern for the bottom, wrapping it around my hips and saying to myself, "Well, it fits nicely, I'd better not make it any wider or it will be too big." Of course, it would have been to big. For my hips. Unfortuately, what seemed quite logical would have been fine if my chest were indeed the same size as my hips. It is not. It is considerably larger. Ergo, I had a lovely Samus that wouldn't have met in the middle for love or money. So, it became obvious that a wee i-cord trim was not going to do the trick. I muddled over what to do for weeks. I kept hoping that somehow, maybe if I left it alone in the knitting basket the gods of ill-fitting knitted garments would smile favourably upon me and see fit to either make the sweater miraculously grow or my chest miraculously shrink. As you can imagine, neither has happened and so the other night, after being inspired by Kristina's ingenious fixing of a unco-operative UFO, I picked up the offending sweater and my needles and did a six stitch garter border along the whole thing. I now have a sweater that I can wear (even wore it to work the other day) and although not quite what I hoped for, it has at least been salvaged and I'm not completely displeased with the look of it. (please excuse the messy kitchen!)

So actually wearing my Samus in an attempt to thumb my nose at the gods of ill-fitting knitted garments for their lack of interest in fixing my predicament, I began to knit my Jelly Bean hat from Stitch n' Bitch Nation. I wanted a cute little hat that would be perfect for jaunting about town this fall. It would match my new fetching and was going to be great! Who knows what I was imagining really - it brings to mind the time I was going horseback riding after school in grade three, and all day I pictured myself riding across the prairies like a right proper cowgirl with my long braids flapping gloriously in the wind. What in fact happened was I was unceremoniously plunked on the horse's back, sans saddle, where I proceeded to hang on to the poor creature's neck for all I was worth as I was led around the driveway of my friend's farmyard. Anyways, I digress. Back to Jelly Bean. It's not so much suitable for dashing here and there in the height of fashion as it is to prove to the world that I, for one, have a freakishly large basketball-esque head. (and no - you don't get to see me modeling it, it's just too humiliating right now)

It occurs to me that in light of recent trials and tribulations in my world (my felted clapotis, the too-small Samus, the teeny beanie of a hat), perhaps I would be best to make some sort of sacrificial offer - but honestly, I would have thought that my felted clap would have been sacrifice enough.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Not So Lucky Day that Turned Lucky after all!

I had a rotten day. I will not go into details, suffice it to say though, it well and truly sucked. I was feeling sad and sorry for myself. But then I got home. Waiting for me on the kitchen table was a super duper surprise from my wonderful SP! Just take a look!!!

Yes. That there skein of loveliness would be sea silk from a shop which is local to my partner. Along with the silkie goodness is some dye in which to hand paint it (and the instructions to go along with it). My partner also sent along a magnet with the cutest sea otters on it from the Vancouver Aquarium (I've seen the otters in person and they are really quite sweet swimming around holding each other's hand). I also received a wonderful case for my DPNs (with a great set of sock worthy needles inside it) It's actually a cigar case but is just perfect for DPNs... No more losing them! Wheee! And because it's a cigar case and says Cuba on it, my partner went on a bit of pirate theme and sent me a Pirates of the Carribean Lip Balm and a grow my own pirate. How much fun is that I ask you? So you can see why my day instantly perked up and I felt loads better! Oh and you can't really see it maybe, but the card is really cute too! Thank you my wonderful SP whoever you are... You are awesome!!! (My SP is very good at not giving me any clues, so I am completely in the dark about real identities here)

Don't mind the picture - I was trying to get creative with I-Photo and can't seem to get my original back. So here's my Fetching that I made on the flight from Toronto to Lima. I somehow forgot to do one pattern set so they're a wee bit short in the wrist but that's ok. I love them anyways and wear them every morning, now that it's gotten so cold here in the wee hours! They are knit from Aruacania Nature Wool. I must remember not to throw them in the washing machine like I accidently did to my Clapotis. Sniff, sniff. I am not quite over that one yet! Note to self. Next time I need a wool that felts in an instant, in cold water, choose Aruacania Nature Wool. Yes indeedy - it felts like a charm. Sigh.

Last but not least. Here is a picture of a hot air balloon that was flying over my house the other night. The sky was what I always think of as a Prairie Sky - crystal blue without a cloud in sight and the balloon was so low you could hear the whoosh sound that the flame makes when it goes up into the balloon. Ain't it purdy??

And by the way, check out Bezzie's blog "Random Meanderings". She's reminding every woman to get their annual pap test done! Such an important thing to do yet so many women fail to do so for whatever reason. Please remind your aunts, sisters, girlfriends, daughters, all the women in your life to get checked. It only takes a short time and could save your life. Thank you Bezzie for taking the time to remind us all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Peru 2007

A few more pictures from Peru...

The beach in Huanchaco

Huaca de la Luna

Taken from Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

A very friendly llama

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Christmas Around the World Swap Questionaire

1) Are you religious?

I think I am. I believe in God - just not organized religion at this point in my life

2) How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?

About 28 years on and off. I feel my skills are at the intermediate level

3) Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting?

Scrapbooking when I have the time

4) Favorite color(s)?

Rich colours like plums, purples and blues, but also bright (not neon) colours as well

5) Do you collect anything?

Thimbles - a collection that started when I lived overseas for a year. It was a small, manageable souvenir for myself that was easy to transport. I managed to get one from every place I visited that year! And snowmen - I have a wee obsession.

6) Are you allergic to any fibers or animals?

Nope! :)

7) Do you have any pets?

Two puppies, two cats and numerous fish

8) Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?

Yummm... all of the above!

9) Cookies or Sweets?

Hmmm. Can I use the "all of the above" answer again? I have an incredible sweet tooth!

10) Do you knit socks?

I love knitting socks!

11) If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits)

I'm also a big fan of knitting bags, and other small quick to finish items!

12) Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do?

Yes, Christmas tree goes up every year around the kids' last day of school before holidays

13) Favorite holiday treats?

Shortbread, mulled cider, chocolate

14) Favorite holiday smells?

Cinnamon, cloves... I guess spicy baking type smells

15) Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate.

Pretty tradional. (Christmas tree, baking, Santa, turkey dinner etc.)

16) What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Picking out and putting up the tree with the kids

17) Finish the sentence: "For me Christmas is all about...."
Spending time with my loved ones

18) If you were a Christmas ornament you would be…….? Oh... probably a snowman. I am a freak for snowmen!!!

19) What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given?

It wasn't actually a Christmas gift, but a random gift from my youngest son, Nicholas who was 11 at the time. I have an Italian charm bracelet and one day when we were shopping in the dollar store, I lost Nick for a few minutes. I found him standing at the front counter where they had a display of charms. He was so intent on looking at them and when I asked him to come with me, he stopped me and said, "Mom. You can pick out a charm. I'll buy it for you." I told him that was ok, he could save his money for something special for himself because he never had any money of his own. I couldn't afford to give him allowance and so the only money he ever got was from his birthday or Christmas. He'd got this particular bit ($5.00) of pocket money from helping a friend of mine do some chores. Nick insisted that I pick out a charm for myself and then changed his mind and insisted I pick out two. I was going to decline his offer until he said, "Mom, I really want to buy you them, because it will cheer you up and make you feel better." Nick's Dad and I had just separated a few months before and I guess I wasn't doing as good a job of hiding my sadness as I thought I was. I picked out two charms through teary eyes, and to this day they mean more to me than any other charm on that bracelet.

20) When do you start your Christmas?

I start digging out my snowmen decorations and Christmas CDs at the beginning of December the rest follows gradually!

21) Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them?

I try to send cards, but don't always manage. I usually buy them although always have great plans to make them...

22) What is your favorite Christmas dish?

Turkey and all the things that go with a turkey dinner. Can you tell I like food? Hmm. Wonder what that says about me?!?

23) Carolers are at your door. What do you do?

I live in a pretty rough neighbourhood - so carolers haven't come to my door.

24) When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning?

The kids are allowed to open a present on Christmas Eve (a long standing tradition from when I was little and the waiting was too much to bear!) but the rest are opened Christmas morning.

25) Do you celebrate with family or friends or both?

Both, friends on Christmas Eve and family on Christmas Day

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Oh... Peru"

Arriving in Peru... about 2am (small delay getting the swords through customs, and a very slight scare of the guard not believing I was G's mom (love him and flattered that he thought I was too young, but a little worried about trying to prove she was mine - all's well that ends well though and a simple mutter... "I was young when I had her" sufficed and he let me go). Little did we know we were about to board an 11 hour bus trip from hell on a bus that smelled like the inside of an outhouse...

Wow! What a time we've had! I can't believe we've been and come home already from Peru. Words just don't do the trip justice! Nor do pictures!

The dance festival was surreal to say the least! Beatlemania had nothing on the crowd's response to "Escocia"! I ask you, no, I challenge you, to think of a time when you didn't hear the bagpipes when they were being played! Or here's another one... Have you ever seen a need to mic the pipes? Well, in Trujillo we did just that!! We had such an incredible response of cheering and screaming everytime we took to the stage (well, I say we, but I mean them of course - I was merely in the wings waiting to help with quick costume changes) that the pipes were completely drowned out! What a trill for the dancers!

And where to start on the universally known "chicken dance". We couldn't believe our ears (and eyes) when everyone from Venezuela, Honduras, Philippines and us (Scotland) were all doing the chicken dance to pass the time during opening ceremonies, and everyone knew it! Ok, understandably we and the Philippines (group also from Winnipeg) knew it - but really Venezuela and Honduras was a complete surprise! I think perhaps we should take the "Chicken Dance" to the UN - maybe it is a means to world peace! After all - language barriers are all but forgotten, and who can stay upset with their neighbour when doing something as funny and silly as the "chicken dance"? The surprisingly widely known "chicken dance"

Oh... Peru!

I don't even know where to begin! The sights were incredible to! Chan Chan, the Moon Temple, and Machu Picchu are clearly highlights of sightseeing. Unfortunately we only had one day really in Cuzco, but all wish we'd had several more! It was a city like I've never seen before. Walking through it was like taking a step back in time in so many ways, yet in other ways it is so modern with internet cafes on every corner. It is quite a juxtaposition between the old and the new. Cobbled streets and people dressed in tradional garb mixed with the latest in modern technology!

The only down side to the trip was my little mishap in Huanchaco last Saturday morning. Really my own fault and I shouldn't be blaming the good people of Huanchaco for putting rather large boulders in the middle of sidewalks, where unsuspecting tourists who aren't paying attention to where they are walking can trip over them. I was so busy talking and admiring an interesting building that I managed to not only stub my toe on aforementioned boulder, but set in motion a chain of events which led to me trying to break my foot. Thank you Tam, for catching me before I could split my head open! Turns out, according to the doctor I saw two days ago, that it is just a very bad sprain and no broken bones as far as he could tell from the xrays, but ultimately incredibly painful and really I am not sure what got me through the remaining five days of my trip which included the trip to Machu Picchu and at least two hours of walking on a tour of Lima, not to mention numerous miles walked in airports between there and here, and a couple nights of limping around the festival, attending a fiesta (no - I couldn't dance, which actually worked out in my favour... thanks Kathy for taking on the creepy little man who didn't know the meaning of "No, I've got a broken foot, I cannot dance with you.") and a few trips to markets! Of course G, who dilegently got ice packs, advil and tylenol, wrapped my ankle each morning with a tensor bandage and generally performed the role of the human crutch wins the award for best daughter ever!!!! To hear her tell it one would think that she actually flung me over her shoulder and carried me around Peru for five days. Don't believe it! Really I just leaned on her arm (alot - especially on the stairs. My God! There's alot of stairs at Machu Picchu!)

But, sore foot and all - we had truly the trip of a life time!

G on the beach in Huanchaco - they still use the old style of reed boat in the ocean town

The Opening Ceremonies parade...note the traffic - apparently stopping traffic for a parade is not high priority in Trujillo! This may be the most dangerous dancing the girls have ever done... "Blue Bonnets" in traffic!

Music truly crosses all language barriers as we traded songs back and forth with the Honduras on the busride from Trujillo to Huanchaco

Chan Chan

Machu Picchu in the mist

PS: Oh... and on a brief FO note... I started and finished a pair of fetching for myself on the flight from Toronto to Lima! :)