Thursday, May 31, 2007

What I did last month

About two months worth of knitting and crafting did not get blogged, because I did not want to spoil the surprise. Two sisters recently left me to head to their new home, where they had a warm welcome.Now I can introduce phanC and Jayne. I will post more photos of them as time permits.

The one that got away

I have just returned from Spain, a trip so rich I can't fathom how to start blogging it. So I have decided to report the knitting news first.

I took with me Knitting on the Road with the intention of making my first pattern from that book from start to finish. I've made hybrids before but never followed a pattern completely. I started on the long flight to Spain, with my comfort-zone needles, which I use to get my needles past airport security. I continued on the bus journeys slowly north, putting the two socks together to knit simultaneously on one circular needle. I used my Lorna's Laces yarn and knit the pattern Conwy. It was lovely to sit in Spanish cafes, enjoying gazpacho, sangria, and bread with olive oil, while knitting on my socks.

When I got to the heels, I separated the pair again and knit the heel on my Comfort Zone double points. I was still on the first sock, well past the heel but enjoying the progress I was making. When it was time to return, with 13 hours of airplane knitting ahead of me, the sock still on the circular needle went into my suitcase, and the sock on comfort zone double points went into my backpack.

At security in Madrid, I was required to unpack my entire backpack into one of those security tubs. Then they put my backpack, empty, through the x-ray, and then they put the tub filled helter-sketer full of my stuff through the x-ray. I watched him carrying off that tub, with my knitting bag perched precariously on top. He returned with the tub, said "Ok, thanks" and I stuffed everything back into my pack and continued. It wasn't until I was on the plane, reaching for my knitting, that I realized he hadn't returned my knitting to me. MY SOCK IS GONE.

I don't know if it was confiscated or it it just tumbled off my tub of stuff. You'd think if he confiscated it, he would have said something to me? I know he didn't speak English but my husband was there translating for me. So now my pretty yellow-and-blue bag is gone, my comfort zone size 2 needles are gone, one skein of Lorna's Laces is gone, and a nearly-finished sock is gone. gone! Gone! GONE!

Also, I did not purchase any yarn in Spain. Understand I was not there on a vacation in which I had any control. I was a chaperone, one of three, to 19 teenagers on a tour. I went where they went. I had free time and shopping time, but always in high-end swanky districts or touristy districts. I never saw anywhere to purchase yarn. I did have one free afternoon in Madrid, but it was on Sunday, and all stores except the giant chains and the touristy-mall were closed. At least in the places I was. I didn't really have the opportunity to strike out very far.

Lest this post sound too negative, I had a fabulous time in Spain, yarn-disasters notwithstanding. I have swum in the Mediterranean sea,walked the narrow streets,
and seen some truly memorable sights.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stupid Needles

I'm afraid it's true. Knit Picks circular needles hypnotize me into stupidity. I've spent more time correcting errors than I have knitting since transferring those socks onto the new KP needle. Stupid errors, careless errors, and weird errors that make no sense, like a the 1st stitch of the ssk showing up 3 stitches later, also, as an extra purl. Huh?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just Arrived!

With the demise of my only good size one needles, it was time at last to submit that Knit Picks order that's been slowly building. In fact, it's been building for so long that I no longer recall why I ordered those colours of Essential. But no worries, I'll figure it out! The key purchase here, above all that yummy yarn, was my first Knit Picks circular needles. I've heard all about them, now it was my turn to try them out.

I immediately transferred my Regia Color Surf socks onto the new needles and started to knit. The ease of the transition, the slide of these needle tips, the flexibility of the cable, all conspired to hypnotize me into stupidity. Instead of knitting in pattern, I plain knit the entire row, even the purl stitches! Once I got my head straight and redid the row properly, I could see what everybody loves about these needles. These are the first size one needles I've had that slide so smoothly from cable to needle. Yeehaw! I'm back in the sock-knitting business.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

train wreck

Okay, there is positively no knitting these days. Work is a train wreck. Several other factors are all piling up on the train wreck. Like, another paper due in that same class that causes me great pain.

The Spanish Phrase of the Day is gone. It's been replaced by this. Isn't it cute? I got this, my very first mp3 player, for waaaaaaaaaay cheap from$50. I've been watching their sales, waiting. It's a SanDisk Sansa m250. It's got an oh-so-generous 2 gig! I've downloaded the Pimsleur Spanish Course from my library's NetLibrary, and I have Spanish lessons while walking home or on my afternoon walks. In fact, I justified its purchase as exercise equipment. Like good athletic shoes. I really didn't want/need many features in my mp3 player, but I've discovered this one lacks an important feature. I can't bookmark my audio files. This means that I can't save my spot in the middle of this 7-hour Spanish class. They only way I can preserve that spot is to turn off the player while playing the file, and to only play the language course. If I ever play something else, I lose my spot. Even worse, it takes forever to fastforward. The other day, I had to rush home during my work day to grab something I'd forgotten. I brought along my spanish class, only discover I'd lost my place. I started fastforwarding, and I continued through the entire walk home. When I got home, I was at 1 hour 45 min into the file, and I had to continue fastforwarding through half the walk back to work! I haven't lost my place since, but I can't ever switch off and listen to music. What a pain! Beyond that, I'm fairly happy with the lil thang. I was very confused when I got it because the documentation talked about the rechargable battery but not about how to recharge it. I googled until I found forums discussing this player, and naturally other people asked the same question. Turns out it recharges through its proprietary USB cable!! Better not lose that!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Danger. Spoilers.

I've decided to post a few photos from Gooney's story, a story-within-the-story, or metafiction, if you will. If you've never read Gooney Bird Greene, you may feel like these are spoilers.
On the road!

Oh no!

Where am I?

Curious onlookers

The reporter with big hair interviews Gooney.

Crying at the gas station

A happy reunion!

Emergency Surgery, and a photo shoot

I was downstairs in the sewing room, taking a brief, very brief break from homework. My daughter came and got some fabric scraps and stole my scissors to create some outfits for her dolly while her daddy read her a story. Then I heard it... Deeply sorrowful sobbing coming down the stairs. My mama divination kicked in, and I knew immediately that there had been some tragic accident with the sewing scissors and a dollie. Indeed, an arm had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and had been cut off. She was traumatized! Amazingly, I knew where to find the very yarn, and we rushed her into emergency surgery. So much for my short break and my studying. She is now good as new, though I told my daughter to have Joy get plenty of rest, and to keep that arm immobilized for a few days. Everyone needs healing time after major surgery. This picture shows her with her arm in a sling, and also modeling the flip-flops created just for today's photo shoot.

One of the major efforts today was to create a story. I retold a chapter from Gooney Bird Greene. My son helped me, and with the camera, several toys, and the better part of the day we created an illustrated chapter. The knitted grrls played a big part in the chapter, with the new dollie Anne featured as Gooney Bird.

A visitor on the set.

Anne as Gooney, telling a story.

Roxxie playing a curious second grader, her eyebrow piercing carefully concealed.

Joy as another curious second grader, her arm shown before the injury.

Kitty, modeling as catman sleeping in the car.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

cut down in its prime

It was a rainy but lively evening, downtown in the city. To escape the downpour, my 12 year old and I hopped on the right train going the wrong way. "This is the end of the line. There is no more." While waiting for the north bound train to become a south bound train, I pulled out my knitting, and my son asked, "Do you have any knitting in that bag that /isn't/ socks?" Sadly, I did not, so I knit, while he did chin-ups on the train overhead bars. I was working on my Regia Surf Color socks, a pair that has been proceeding very slowly, given the amount of Other Obligations I have this month.

I'm doing a nice chevron pattern, but was mid-row when suddenly tragedy struck! My size one bamboo needle snapped off in my hand! Faithful readers may recall a similar tragedy with this very same needle, but I resolved it after only a few days of sorrow. I'm afraid no such resolution is available to me now. It's truly snapped, and as best as I can determine, unrepairable. I have such bad luck with size one needles. My son was very sympathetic, eulogizing the needle dramatically, and then threaded the needle through my hat so I could honour it during the rest of our journey home.