Saturday, May 24, 2008

Actual knitting progress

I have knitted on nothing but leg warmers in the past few weeks. They have slowly approached their limit, and now need only one more 4-row repeat before I start on the upper cuffs. Onward leg warmers!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Okay, so no yarn acquisitions to report, but a really good haul at the thrift store. I actually showed up there to find a simple too-small black t-shirt for the #1son for him to use for 80s Rocker Day at school. I succeeded.

Inspired by this flickr group, I browsed through the sheets at the thrift store. While I didn't find any fabulous sheets, I did find a pillow case that will make a perfect skirt for my grrlee. Although she's making the case for a sundress, which would also be lovely. Aaaaand, I also bought a wee skirt. The skirt is size 4, which doesn't fit anyone around here. But I'm such a sucker for those lovely fabrics that I just needed to bring it home with me. I might tailor it a little to fit a dollie, or chop it up to make knitted babes clothes, or even just hang on to it so I can admire its delicious fabric whenever the mood strikes.

Lastly, I found a fabulous skirt. Interestingly, its label declared it to be a size that I know for a fact that I cannot fit. Holding it up, I could tell it was generously sized and certainly not the size it claimed to be. I bought it without trying it on, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it's even a little big. I wish this could be my claim that I've dropped two sizes, but really it's just poor sizing on the part of the manufacturer.

ETA--After writing the above about sizes, it occurred to me that it's quite possible the skirt was designed to be worn low over the hips, which would explain why it's so wide. I'm just of the wrong fashion generation to even consider such a possibility. So it's not an error of sizing on the part of the manufacturer, it's just my lame fashion sense.

Mother's Day Joy

Yes, I'm 2 weeks behind. Yes, I'm playing catchup today. I'm 3 weeks and 2 projects away from the end of graduate school and so my priorities continue to be time-wasters that do not involve knitting or blogging. However, I did want to note my nice little set of Mother's Day giftees.

I was quite bemused the Saturday evening before. The family was discussing a walk, and I suggested we walk to the bookstore. My #1Man and #1Son exchanged glances and said, "Naw, not the bookstore." Me, being obtuse, asked, "Why not?" #1Son said, "Because there's, uhm, a tornado over by the bookstore and we wouldn't want you to get hurt."

His gift to me was the pictured copy of Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not). When I got it, I immediately cracked open the book and sure enough, it was signed! He hadn't even noticed that. I missed the Yarn Harlot's visit, which was a bummer, but again directly related to the amount of schoolwork going down here. So to get a signed book was a nice little gift to make it all better. The book is perfect for an overworked graduate student, you can read short little chapters of knitting hilarity whenever you want to sandwich it in.

As you can see in the photo, I also scored a nicely framed photo, taken by my #1grrl, and a biography of Julie Andrews, Home. As I've long been a fan of Ms Andrews, (Victor/Victoria, anyone?) this was a really cool gift. I'll be reading this on our Monumental Road Trip this summer.

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Monday, May 12, 2008


Check it out! A brand new Laptop Lunch! Actually I bought three of them, although only one is pictured here.

This came from the fine folks at Red Apple School Supply, also home of the Green Apple Earth Friendly School Supplies. I'm sure I sound like an ad, but no affiliation, I'm just glad to support these guys.

I purchased these for myself and kidlets, in support of the new lunch excitement that pervades the household. You see, I browsed pictures of bento lunches with the kidlets, and they were both very inspired.

Now they're making exciting poser bentos, and two good things have come out of this. First of all, their lunches are now packed with colourful and nutritious variety. Secondly, the inspiration is such that they are making their lunches the night before, which makes for much easier mornings.

The pictures show our attempts at making rice balls. I first had rice balls 20 years ago, when us Canadian teens (college age) had cultural exchange parties with some Japanese teens who were attending an English school in our town. We fixed nachos, which was a common party food for us at the time, and involved sprinkling grated cheese on chips and broiling it in the oven. The Japanese girls fixed rice balls, which were far more labour intensive. As we watched them assembling this lovely feast, we were shamed by our lame little addition to the party. The rice balls were so delicious, too!

I attempted making rice balls with the kids a four or five years ago. I had googled some recipes and gave it a try. They were not very impressive, and the kidlets didn't like them. I asked some Japanese mothers at school, and a very nice mom had her husband pick me up some rice ball molds while he was in San Francisco. I'm afraid I was too intimidated to try it again. But now, with the kids so excited, we ventured into that cultural adventure again. We used the molds, which work great. And since they made them themselves, the kids liked the rice balls.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

a finished object!

I've been participating in the Sock-a-Month knit-along for over a year, now. I do like the regular discipline of ensuring that I finish at least a pair a month. My wavy socks, started in March, were slated to be my April pair. I didn't turn the heels until the final Sunday before April ended, but I still maintained high hopes of finishing them in time.

Unfortunately, as bedtime approached on April 30th and I was still knitting up the leg, it became increasingly obvious that I wasn't going to make the deadline. While examining my options, it became clear I had two choices: Miss the deadline, or cast off where I was, just so I could finish in April. The socks were at that moment as tall as crew socks, but I have noticed that the socks with a little extra height quickly become my favourites, so I really wanted to add a couple more inches to the socks. I finally admitted that finishing the socks too short was sheer foolishness and admitted defeat.

On May 1, I attended a band concert, and I had enough sitting time to finish the socks, and even did the bind off while enjoying high school jazz. I did a bindoff I believe was recommended by Bordhi, where you bindoff with two strands held together to give the cuff a braid-like appearance. It looked lovely but unfortunately was too tight.

The socks languished, finished but imperfect, since then. Today I was preparing to attend a knitting circle. I know it's a vanity, but I like to wear a pair of hand-knitted socks when I hang with knitting buddies. A peek in my drawer showed that all my hand-knitted socks were in the laundry! (Yes, I know what I'll be doing all weekend.) So I pulled out my finished but imperfect socks, ripped out the bindoff, and finished them with an EZ sewn bindoff. It took me 45 minutes, and I was able to wear the socks to the knitting circle. It's not really showing off, it's more like show-and-tell, or maybe like a group identification object, like the Red Hat Ladies and their red hats.

Pattern: wavy rib from More Sensational Knitted Socks
Architecture: Riverbed Architecture from New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Araucania sock yarn
Needle: Addi Turbo Size 2 circular
Notes: For the heel, I dropped down to a size 1 needle. This made a nice tight fabric for the heel. It also attempted to compensate for me knitting the foot a little long, but obviously didn't compensate enough, because when I look at the picture above, I can see the heel is a little baggy. These socks were my first try at a garter stitch toe, as shown in the picture below, and so far I'm pleased with the results.

Unfortunately, when worn, the wavy pattern disappears and it becomes rather blocky, instead.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Life happens, too

Since I'm mired in a slow-knitting quarter (though I do have a finished object to show when the batteries charge), I just thought I'd poke my head into blog land, say hi, and share a few tales from the real world.


Yesterday afternoon, my daughter asked if she could have a brownie. I replied "Yes, if you eat three baby carrots, first." We both wandered upstairs to munch on baby carrots. She liked them so much she decided she didn't even want a brownie anymore and took the bag of carrots outside to share with all her friends. Go figure.

Last week, my 13 year old son announced somewhere around 7:30pm that we needed to make cookies for the bake sale tomorrow. Oh really? I whipped out my classic Better Homes and Gardens cookbook to look at a few ideas, and he decided that macaroons looked simple. Now I know that blending eggs to a soft peak and stiff peak and all that is not simple, but I didn't bother to squash his enthusiasm. Especially since we had all the ingredients on hand. The first step is to separate the eggs. He was familiar with the process, so he must have witnessed it at a friend's house, because I assure you, I don't separate eggs on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. He wanted to try it, and the first egg went really well. I showed him how you separate them into a different bowl, so that if you goof up one egg, you don't contaminate the entire batch. The second egg... well he cracked that egg open and wouldn't you know? There was a yolk in both halves! I laughed so hard. What a time to get a double-yolked egg! Incredibly, although we had 2 yolk-escapage events, I was able to scoop them carefully out without incident, the egg whites were not contaminated, and we were able to acheive the proper peakage. There was an emergency call to my mother mid-process, but the line was busy! We had to proceed without advice and the macaroons turned out delicious.