Knitting in the North

A discussion of knitting, family, home and other stuff.

Making the Move

I'm pulling up my socks and making the move over to Typepad. Please, come visit me there!

On Deck

Because I am attempting to knit from my stash, it is only normal and natural that my next project (Stuart’s big giant neverending Aran sweater has been bumped) required the purchase, not only of yarn, but of a pattern as well. Since it was me doing the purchasing, you will please note that it was all on sale, because that makes me feel better about the whole thing. My mum’s birthday is in April, and she loves tank tops, and at least claims to love my knitting. Last year, I made her a lambswool knitted shell in a royal purple, a colour I always associate with my mother, even though I don’t think she wears it often. This time, the shell is silk, and a soft leafy green. There are cables running up the front, and it has a high, round neckline, which would drive me crazy, but she seems to really like. I purchased 9 balls of Estelle Silk yarn, and it’s tucked away waiting for me to finish my Sockret pal socks. (I’m hoping to have the heel finished tonight on sock #2). Do you ever watch yourself knitting? I was sitting on the couch in the sunshine this afternoon, watching my fingers as I knit around and around. I’m truly impressed with myself. I go on and on to people who ask me to explain knitting about how easy it is, how they could learn in no time, how simple of a process it really is. The fact of the matter is, as I sat and watched what I was doing, I felt pretty darn bright. Look how quickly my fingers move, what beautiful motions my hands go through, what my movements produce! Clever girl.


I'm halfway there on the Sockret Pal socks – one down, and one to go! Even though this colourway is not my favourite, the patterning and colour changes are certainly entertaining! I often find myself saying, “Just one more stripe,” or “When I get to the next red, then I'll stop.” For those of you who asked, this sock yarn is On Line, but I'm not sure of the exact number, as I've misplaced the ball band. Hopefully it will turn up before I mail these, so I can tell my pal what it is she's getting! I had a peek on the net, and didn't see this particular colourway, but there are many, many out there with similar striping/patterning. This whole process has got me wanting to cast on a pair for myself! This is not to be, as Brian has claimed the right to the next pair! He's trying to decide between the brown/black stuff Jo sent, and some blue/green stripey stuff in the stash. As well as working on my Clapotis (nothing new to show you, just lots more of the same to come), I decided to knit myself up a Calorimetry to keep warm the next time the temperatures take a dive. As much as I believe in the magical warmth of a woolen hat, my hair does not agree, and it is not a pretty picture by days end. I'm hoping this headband-ish accessory will be the answer. I have been reading what others think of the pattern, and since most people have mentioned how large it came out, I planned ahead. I bought yarn just a tad lighter than called for, and went down a needle size as well. Even these measures, unfortunately, were not enough. My Calorimetry is still large, and is in the washer right now, hopefully felting just a bit. Just a bit, mind you. (If it shrinks far too much, I suppose I can always give it to Katie!) I've been holding off posting so that I could show you, but look for it tomorrow. Whenever I start the phrase, “Look for it by...” I feel compelled to finish it with “moonlight”. Anyone else? Yikes, we could have a 100 weird things meme going around, if I'm not careful. Final note: So here's the deal - like many of you, Blogger has been driving me crazy. I decided to give Typepad a try, and so am doing a 30 day free trial. So far, it has pros and cons, and I am undecided. I had originally planned to ask nicely if any of you would like to check it out, give me some feedback, and let me try out the comments feature. Blogger is being ugly again, though, and not letting me post pictures. So, if you want to see the sock, just click here.

A Little Bit of Lace

I've promised pictures of some of the treasures that have come my way of late. Here, then, is installment #1. Several of you know the wonderful Jo, of Celtic Memory Yarns. Just before Christmas, a wonderful parcel arrived in the mail all the way from West Cork! I was holding off posting, since Jo was away for some fun in the sun, but if she's not back yet, she will be soon, I hope (I'm very much missing her posts).

This lovely laceweight wool is, I think, destined to become a wimple, perfect for warming my neck, and pulling up to cover my ears and head if the chills come suddenly. I've been taken with this pattern for a while now, and am looking forward to trying it out. And the colours! Thank you, Jo, for some of my favourites.

Just look at this! 600M of laceweight wonder, which I believe wants to be made into a shawl. A soft, light shawl. This will have to marinate in my stash for a while, as I don't know if I'm up to a shawl pattern yet of the ilk that this yarn is calling for. But one day, we will be ready together!

50g of sock weight cotton and wool, in nice “boyish” colours, immediately was claimed by Mr. Brian. He's becoming a handmade sock lover, and thinks this would be perfect for him. As you know, he's the most appreciative little person, so how can I refuse? Finally, my most favourite part of the whole thing! Readers of Jo's blog may recognize this – a special gift from Muffy, just for me. I tell you, what a thoughtful little dog! I feel so special when I realize that she was “helping” get things ready for me (and a thorough little thing she is, too!). One day, when I feel the need for some therapeutic untangling, I feel this very much wants to be a wispy lace scarf. One day.


I had a lovely, page long post all written up yesterday, but a helpful family member shut the computer down for me, and it was lost. Ah, well. The blog world has certainly been quiet lately. I suppose we're all recovering from the busyness of the season, and I know I will be glad to settle back into my routines. I do miss the kids, though. (I'm the only mum I know that was sorry to have them all back to school!) Nope, this is not the start of sock #2, sadly. Remember when, as a child, you asked for a “do-over” when playing a game? That's what I needed here! My Sockret Pal socks took an unpleasant turn over the weekend. I was following a pattern, and just didn't like the way the heel was looking. I tried ripping it back and using my own heel, but it didn't work for me. For all my blather about my “non-conformist hippy side”, I am most comfortable following a pattern. And I really want them to be nice for my pal. So, we're back to the start (I'm using the Harlot's vanilla sock pattern), and I've been taking it with me in the truck to get a few extra rounds in here and there. I mentioned earlier that Stuart gave me some yarn for Christmas. In order to provide positive reinforcement, and thus ensure many more gifts of yarn, I cast on right away (I think, even, Christmas Day) for a Clapotis. I've always wanted to try this pattern, and even though this is not the usual yarn for this kind of project, I'm happy with the way it's looking. I'm very pleased with the colour changes in the yarn, and the fact that the subtle striping will be opposite to the dropped stitches. I've dropped three stitches so far, and this will be a great wrap for curling up on the couch. (The fact that it's machine washable doesn't hurt!)

I took advantage of nap time yesterday and plied my first yarn! The more full bobbin is the first yarn I spun, and the other is the more recent spinning. I'm happy to see that I'm getting much more consistent in thickness. Since this is natural wool, I've told Brian that we can do some Kool-Aid dying, and he's very excited!

Do you see what I see in the pictures today? Sunshine! After days and days of grey (but very mild) weather, we're back to bright and bitterly cold. Our high temperature today looks to be about -19 C. But the sun, I am so grateful for the sun!

And Now, The Moment You've All Been Waiting For...

Let's clap really, really hard for the special sweater we see today! (Sorry, too much TV with the kids :0) Here it is, The Pirate Sweater in the flesh! I finally bit the bullet and helped Brian clean up his room, and found the sweater packed in his suitcase for his next big trip. On to the particulars! Pattern: Pirate Sweater, from Adorable Knits for Tiny Tots, by Zoe Mellor. Yarn: GGH Bali (a machine washable cotton/acrylic blend), 3 skeins of blue, 2 dark brown and 1 bone. Needle size: US size 4 straights Started: August 2006 Finished: December 2006. If I hadn't procrastinated so much on the intarsia, it would have been finished and tucked away well in advance, but you know. It was just so intimidating! Now I know better. I knit the largest size, for a 4-5 year old, and it just fits. I didn't even think to check the measurements on an existing sweater, something I plan to do in the future. Ah, well, it fits now, and is much loved - which is the important thing. I'm pretty proud of myself, I haven't knit a whole lot of "big" projects, and this was such a success.

Off to a Good Start

Less than a week into the new year, and a Finished Object already! Let's hope it's a trend! This is the String Bag #3 from Ruth's blog (look on the sidebar). I chose this one because she said it was streamlined and fast, and she was right! The pattern is well written, and this bag is a fast, simple knit – but still very functional. I made this one about 20 repeats long, and it's just the right size for a couple of skeins of yarn and a pattern. Since this bag is for my Knit Mitt Kit Swap partner, it's perfect. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the yarn I ordered for her to arrive, and I'm starting to get worried. These swap packages are all supposed to be mailed on January 16th, so I may have to make an emergency run to my LYS. I used the EcoFil yarn I bought at Wal-Mart for this, and it's perfect! This yarn is very inexpensive, and a cotton/acrylic blend. In further Very Responsible Knitting, I cast on for my Sockret Pal socks. She said she loves jewel tones, and I'm hoping she will enjoy these. I haven't had a lot of sit down and knit time lately, but I did get to curl up last night with the sock and an episode from Season 2 of The Pretender. I did a bit more spinning today, and am even more happy with the result than I was yesterday. My plan is to spin up all the easy-to-spin fibre my teacher gave me, and then, when I'm feeling totally full of myself, move on to the pretty stuff. Hopefully by then, I won't make a mess of it and knock myself down a few notches!

A Spinning We Will Go

Welcome to 2007! I hope your New Years' was wonderful, and that the first few days of this year have treated you well. Our New Years' Eve was very nice, we had dinner with some friends, and were home by 8:30 to tuck the kiddies in bed. I think this may well be the first time I have ever made it to midnight! Generally I am sound asleep, but since I've been working evenings, I've become used to later hours, and was able to do it. Even better, the kids slept in the next day, so I did, too! Yesterday I had my first lesson in spinning. The wonderful Loralee, from Mud River Angoras came to my house, bringing her wheel and two tubs of amazing fibre, and got me all set up. It was exciting and frustrating at the same time, and since I'm not the most co-ordinated of people (things like dancing, or walking without falling down, have never really come naturally to me), it took me a bit to get the hang of different things all going on at once. After I started “pre-drafting” the fibre, it became a little easier. The wheel Stuart bought me not only came with lessons from Loralee, but also a $50 credit. She brought me, to start, some very basic, easy to spin natural wool, and left me one bit of Corriedale as well, to inspire me. Oh, the decisions! Do check out her website if you're into the fibre, as it's all so lovely! My first yarn was painfully imperfect – full of slubs and overspun bits. I will admit to being a touch disappointed. I had this fantasy of sitting at the wheel and bowling away my teacher by being such a natural! Sadly, this was not the case. Today, however, once the little ones were napping, I sat down again. It started out as before, but as I went it suddenly became magical. Everything was flowing, and I was making yarn! Here it is, my first yarn (at least, the first yarn I'll admit to!). Look for actual knitting content tomorrow – I finished the string bag, and started the Sockret pal socks. I also received some yarny goodness in the mail, so pictures will be forthcoming!

Year in Review

I was thinking about what I have accomplished this year, and wasn't very impressed with myself. Once I started going back through the blog, though, I realized I have knit more than I thought. Here is my 2006 Knitting Year in Review: I started off with Anouk for Gwenyth, and then moved to a lambswool purple shell for my mother. The pattern was from an old copy of Interweave Knits, I think summer 2004, and was supposed to be done in hemp, or something like that. I took it to her in May, but completely forgot to get a picture of the finished object. (I was new to blogging back then, and didn't know the cardinal rule: Take pictures of everything!) I've knit 4 hats, 2 pairs of baby socks, Brian socks, Katie socks, and Socks of Doom for myself. Six different scarves and a neck kerchief came off the needles. I also knit Gwenyth a sweater, using the ChildHood pattern from Knitty. I made Tank Girl, from Stitch 'n Bitch for myself, and the Short Snort Tank from Knit and Tonic, for Katie. I didn't forget about the hands, either. Flap-Top mittens, from Handknit Holidays, went off to my step-father. Four pairs of fingerless gloves snuck in there as well, including the always popular Fetching. Of course, we can not forget the most important knit of the year: The Pirate Sweater. I swear, I'll post a picture of Brian actually wearing the thing as soon as I unearth it from his bedroom. There was all kinds of drama yesterday when he went to wear it, and could not remember where he put it away. This is a very small house. It can't be far. All in all, I see lots of small projects, and I plan to focus on a few bigger, more complicated things this year. I've already told you about the Aran sweater, which I'm going to start as soon as I finish the string bag I'm working on. I also have my Sockret pal socks about to go on the needles. I want to try some socks for myself on two circular needles. I would like to do some lace knitting, including finishing Orangina, knitting up a wimple for myself (don't you love that word? Wimple. I just like to say it.), and doing the Rusted Root pattern. That's also for myself. Oh, and a cardigan. No pattern as yet, although I'm quite taken with the Arianns that I'm seeing everywhere. You guessed it, also for me, me, me! I see a whole lot of selfish knitting in the works! Along with many others, the drive to use my stash has grown recently. I am not willing to commit to exclusively stash knitting, since I know myself well enough to know that doing so will simply drive me straight to the LYS. I do, however, want to have more going out than coming in, if you know what I mean. I'm not sure exactly how to measure this – should it be space, weight, yards? I'm sure it will come, but that's my big goal, anyway. Use more than I buy. Even I should be able to manage that, eh? Note to Billie: I ended up ripping the EcoFil sweater, I was finding it too tough on my hands to knit that yarn at that gauge. I'm using it right now for the string bag I have on the needles, and I think it's great for that kind of purpose. I'm not sure if it's the best yarn choice for “Rockstar”, as I don't think you'd get the drape that you see in the front, where it ties. The yarn they used in that pattern is a wool/silk blend, and you may want to use something a bit softer for that pattern. I still maintain it's a good yarn, though, and I may even give it another try at a baby sweater, something like a little jacket-ey kind of thing. Happy New Year! I hope and pray this year is filled with peace and joy and new experiences for all of you!


The big day has come and gone, leaving satisfied children in its' wake. The holiday was very nice for us all. Christmas Eve I worked in the morning, and came home just after lunch. We visited for a while, then got ready for church. Brian surprised me by dressing himself, in little beige cords, a blue button down shirt with beige and black in it, and a little black tie! What a handsome boy I have. It showed up his dad, who then had to wear a tie as well (Tee Hee!) I love Stuart in a shirt and tie, but he doesn't put one on very often. What a proud mama I was, sitting there with my lovely family, enjoying the music and reflections on the scripture readings. After the service, we took a drive through “Candy Cane Lane”, a neighborhood here that really goes all out with the lights. They even string lights back and forth across the street, and it's a magical experience for everyone. Even little Gwenyth got in on the Oooohing and Ahhhhing. We came home to a simple supper, and then each child opened one gift (it's always pajamas). We watched The Polar Express, read for a bit, and sent everyone off to bed. It sounds very peaceful, and would have been, if not for Brian, who was so excited I'm surprised he didn't turn inside out! The poor guy was up at midnight and 3:30am, checking to see if it was time to get up yet, and then all three were on me in bed at 6:00am, ready to get started! It is so much fun watching them, and experiencing the thrill and anticipation through them. I'm generally not a big one for talking about gifts I receive. I do, of course, about swap packages and such, since that's part of the deal, but there is a part of me that cringes inside when someone asks, “So, what did you get?”. I always want to respond, “What did you give?”, but seldom do. I try to remember, and to teach my own little ones, that we give gifts to remember and celebrate The Greatest Gift ever given, and that when we are opening presents, what we hold in our hands is a symbol of the love that someone feels for us, not just some toy or book. It's hard to focus on this, especially with all the influence around us that is so about The Stuff, but we try. However, the children this year, did each have one particular gift that really seemed to capture their attention, and it was interesting to see what is was. Katie received an MP3 player, and spent the rest of the day walking around yelling at everyone, since she doesn't get that we can hear her just fine, even if she can't hear herself. Gwenyth was given a baby doll, complete with bottle, hair brush, and her own little teddy. It was so sweet to watch her feeding her dolly, and fixing her hair. My baby is really growing up! Mr. Brian, in true boy form, was fascinated with a dragon toy. It came in a plastic egg, and the parts were enclosed in a slimy kind of sac. Each piece was pulled out of the sac, and then put together. Very cool. I was pleased, though, to see the little ones so impressed with a relatively simple toy. They didn't need the big, fancy sets, or expensive gadgets (Katie, of course, being a Pre-Teen, was taken in by technology, but I was expecting that). I must share what Stuart gave me! I was touched by his thoughtfulness, his great desire to give me something meaningful and special, even though he doesn't always understand why I enjoy certain things so much. One gift was a basket, containing 3 skeins of Homespun yarn, along with two knitting fiction books. The other was an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel! I'm excited about it, and apprehensive at the same time, about delving so deep into another avenue of fibre. Where on earth am I going to put bags of fleece? I am going for a lesson on Tuesday next week, and am so excited about it! I've been reading up on the internet, but am afraid to touch the wheel until I've had some guidance, in case I wreck it or something. And it looks so pretty standing in my living room!

You Want It, You Got It!

I overheard a conversation the other day at work, between a girl and her friend. Working where I do, you can imagine I am almost completely surrounded by teenagers and young adults, and the dramas of young love, and how engrossing it all is. There are constantly people liking each other, dating each other, “hooking up”, breaking up, falling in love, falling out of love. It's entertaining in many ways, when it's not so irritating. However, in this conversation I heard, the Girl was sharing some weird thing that her new “Guy” did, and it creeped her out. I heard her say, “I mean, like, who does that?” This got me to wondering – I think I'm a pretty normal person, but then, we all do, right? It's not until we really get to know someone, “live in their skin”, that you see all the little eccentricities that make us, us. Someone told me the other day that they heard about someone they called “quirky”, and thought of me. What does that mean? Am I quirky? Is quirky the same as weird? Is there something wrong with being quirky? You may have guessed (and I've mentioned before), that while I live a very conventional life, underneath it all, there's this non-conformist, rebellious, hippy-like person. This person works very hard, I think, to keep me quirky, to keep shaking things up a bit. At the same time, I've been reading these memes, and thinking to myself, I couldn't possibly think of SIX weird things about me! Now I've been tagged THREE times, so I'll share Six Weird Things About Charity. 1) I spent part of my growing up years living in a school bus that was converted to a camper. My family traveled down to the southern States in it, and I believe that this was where my deep love for the ocean took root. I have a picture of myself as a very small child, building a sandcastle on the beach, and that picture has always been a sort of talisman for me. 2) If I can avoid it in any way possible, I will not drink out of plastic. (Yes, Shelley, even the hard plastic communion cups – give me a common cup any day, as long as it's not also made of plastic. Do you know how weird it looks to see someone throwing back their communion drink like a shot of tequila?) I have very strong memories of drinking weak Kool-Aid out of plastic cups at my grandmother's house, and the drink smelled like funny Winnipeg water. I just can't make myself do it, unless it would be blatantly rude not to. 3) I have a tattoo. Admittedly, this is not so weird, and I wouldn't even include it if it weren't for the strong reaction I get from every single person who discovers this about me. I guess I just don't seem like the tattoo type. Stuart & I went together on one of our anniversaries, and got the same tattoo (an Asian character symbolizing prosperity – he picked it, not me) in the same place (on the spine, just under the collar). 4) I chew everything I eat equally on both sides of my mouth, and have since I was a small child. I heard on the television when I was about 6 years old, that if you chew always on the same side of your mouth you will wear those teeth down, and the mental image that I had was so awful! I mentioned before that I sort my Smarties, but I also only eat them in pairs, one on each side of my mouth (and in the same order as the colours of the rainbow). This past summer, I had a root canal and crown put on one of my back teeth, and the worst part of the whole experience was not being able to (and forgetting and trying and then it hurt to) chew on that side of my mouth. 5) I am schooling to become an accountant, and numbers are very important to me. Dates, however, are completely unimportant to me, and when someone asks me what my kids' birthdays are, or when my wedding anniversary is, I almost always have to look it up. I have forgotten how old I am a time or two as well, and had to do the math to figure it out. One whole year I went around telling people I was a year older than I really was. Stuart & I tend to celebrate our anniversaries at different times, now, because I picked the September long weekend as our anniversary, when we really got married in November. So I give him a gift in September, and he gives me a gift in November. The bonus is that we get to go out for dinner twice. 6) Even though dates and ages are relatively unimportant to me, and I have spent my life telling people that age is just a number and forgetting how old I am, I can not forget this year. I'm turning 30, and it bothers me more than I can say. (I suppose Conventional Charity is coming out for air). Now, are you thinking to yourself, “I mean, like, who does that?” Quirky is as quirky does, I guess!

Ooooh, Ahhhh

Along with all the regular packages and parcels winging their way around at this time of year, have been some wonderful treasures on their way to me. I feel very fortunate and blessed to have people in my life that spoil me and do things to make me feel special. In fact, I was so inundated with lovely gifts, I told Stuart he didn't even have to give me my Before-Christmas present this year. (Yes, this is a real thing. He usually gives me a little present, about a week before Christmas. I'm such a little kid, I can't possibly keep waiting for presents, and this helps with some of the agony. Last year, it was a lovely set of blue and white floral china mugs, which I drink my tea out of every day.) The first parcel to arrive was from my Comfort Swap pal. She is a lovely sounding lady, originally from Canada, but now in Arizona, named Christine (sadly, blogless). I was gifted with some wonderful white hot chocolate, some apricot spread (which is not in the picture because I've been eating away at it, mmmm), some truly luscious truffles, and best of all, yarn! The alpaca sent is so soft and warm, and it's hanging out displayed on my fireplace mantle along with the nativity and candles, while I poke around for the exact right project for it. Thank you, Christine, it was great. Tuesday night, I came home from a long, long night at work, and was cheered to find this. A package from my Sockret pal. Moss, as I have come to call her, has really been the most wonderful swap pal to have, and has been an inspiration to me in my own dealings with swaps and sendees. She has kept in regular contact with me, and has really gone out of her way to treat me well. It is great having someone around who is regularly concerned about you, and “up” on what's going on in my world (even though it's occasionally unnerving to realize I am talking to a complete stranger). Moss sent a few sock-ey goodies, like a Sock Blocker keychain set, and this great little notebook, Knit Notes for Socks. Perhaps it will get even me organized! Moss also included some yarn, and it is so lovely I can't say. I have no idea yet what it is, but the colours are beautiful! When I first opened it up, I saw the turquoise, and was happy, of course. But upon further examination, I was charmed by the deeper colours – greens, purples, some blue and brown. It's wonderful, and I'm having a hard time focusing on the darn ends of The Pirate Sweater, when I just want to wind this up and cast on! The final thing to arrive was a Sample package, also courtesy of Moss. I'm going to save it for another day, though, because it was extra special for me, and I want to tell you all about it. Needless to say, even more Christmassy fun!

The Sweater, It Is Finished

But are the ends woven in yet? No. The ends, oh the ends. Groan. We're doing good, though, the seaming is finished, it's only Wednesday, and it's my last knitting group night before the holidays, so I will have 2 uninterrupted, Brian free hours to work on them. So it's okay. My Knitpicks order, with the extra yarn for Stuart's sweater, arrived today, which is very nice timing. I'm getting antsy to get started on it, and now I can! In the meantime, I've begun one of Ruth's string bags, which is knitting up nicely. (And the pattern is great, Ruth, very easy to understand.) I also have the yarn and pattern for my Sockret Pal socks, and those are the next socks to go on the needles. A new year to come, new projects galore! How thrilling.

Here I Am!

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth! I've been felled by a nasty stomach flu, and have spent the past week hobbling around, trying to keep food down and not pass out. I seem to be on the mend, though, and actually ate dinner last night. I don't recommend the illness, but it is a great just-before-Christmas diet plan. All through the knitting community I've been seeing different fingerless gloves, and they seem to have become really popular. I've jumped on the bandwagon, too, for the sheer practicality of them. They're great – my fingers are free to buckle carseats, find change, fiddle with keys, but my palms are warm, even when holding a cold steering wheel, or an icy shifter. Since I enjoy them so much, naturally I must make them for others! Here is my work so far: Fingerless Mitts, from Weekend Knitting. I used Elann's Alpaca/Wool aran weight, in a heathered dark blue. As I mentioned before, these are intended for one of Brian's teachers. These are modeled by Katie, and just look what she's holding! This was a gift from the very first swap I was a part of, a stitch marker exchange. I think he's soooo cute.

The Famous Fetching, in Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool, light blue. I went down to a 3.5mm needle for these, and used the modifications found here. I've cast on for this same pattern again, for Katie, using the DK superwash she picked out. I'm hoping the change in weight will make them just the right size for her. Have no fear, though, The Pirate Sweater has not been abandoned! I've finished, finished, finished the intarsia, and the whole front, too. Now I just have to knit the neckband, and weave in all the ends. Just, I say. Ha, ha, ha. You know how many ends there are, right? I'd better get busy – we've only got 9 days left! (You can throw something at me if you like, but I'm too far away to hit!)

Deck the Halls... Check

Following Alisha's lead, and joining in her contest, here are our Christmas decorations. We do a Christmas village, as well, but that will have to wait until later this week, as will the baking, stocking hanging, and other fun stuff.
When Stuart & I first got together, we started a collection of Christmas ornaments. Neither of us really had anything to speak of, and so we chose beautiful blue and gold themed decorations, for a beautiful tree. Ah, foolish young couple! The last few years (read, since Busy Boy Brian arrived), we have begun the "Natural Tree", using handmade or natural element ornaments, plus any special memory ornaments. Each year, I do a different ornament craft with the kids, and in this way we build our collection. All the beautiful (and very breakable) stuff is safely tucked away for use at a later date - when I know no small child will attempt to eat a shiny ball, or blown glass snowman. This tree has it's own special beauty to me, though, and I begin to wonder if I'll ever want to go back to the old tree. What memories we are making!
Here is a photo of my fireplace mantle. I purchased this nativity the year Katie was born, and love it dearly. You may have seen tree ornaments that look similar to this - it's a gold wire frame, with a shell insert. One of my favourite parts of decorating is setting up the nativity, and telling the Christmas Story to my children while we do so. The love of God, and His truly amazing gift to us, never really struck home for me until I had my own family, and saw how much I love my children. I have so much to be thankful for.

The Eyes Have It

Just so you know that I'm not all talk and no action (just some talk and a bit of action), here is a progress shot of The Pirate Sweater. It's been so tricky getting time to sit down and work on it when Brian's not around, especially since I've been working a lot, and am gone most evenings. Last night, though, I had a night off, and sat for an hour or two, determined to get past the eyes. I'm sure I would have made even more progress if I hadn't felt the need to stop every row or two, to show Stuart (who was infuriatingly polite about it, but not nearly enthusiastic enough), and feel clever. I definitely don't think intarsia is for me. I love the finished look, but the fiddly-ness of the whole thing drives me bananas! As much as I know Brian will love this, I'll be glad to see the back of it. But, I'm almost there! I've also been knitting up a pair of Fetching, for when I have a chance to knit, but Brian's around to see. They're a final Christmas gift, and I'm almost to the thumb on the second one. My mind and heart have started to turn to what's next on my list, a ruddy giant Heirloom Aran Pullover, for my wonderful Stuart. He's always longed for one, and since his mum knits, he once asked her for one. She bought him one instead, and he was so disappointed. How I wish his heart's desire was a nice pair of socks, or a beautiful scarf! But no, a giant aran sweater it is, and he's picked out the pattern and the yarn. I sit here with 19 balls of natural coloured wool in front of me, and I'm excited to get started. You know how swiftly this excitement will wane, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. And he really does deserve it!

The Hazards of Living "Up North"

Monthly truck payment: Too much to think about right now. Fuel: An obscene amount. Winter tires: Groan. Not getting stuck fast like the 6 cars with all-season tires that I saw at the kids' school: Priceless. Hear me now – I will never (well, I'll try really hard not to) complain about the crazy costs of owning and operating our 4-wheel-drive vehicle again! Today, it was all worthwhile. See, look for yourself: It's even worse than this, actually. I took this photo the other day, before the 17cm of snow we've had since yesterday. To make matters worse, it's now +3 C, and raining. Yikes. I think I'm going to stay home and knit. Another pair of socks, perhaps? By the way, thanks to all who asked about the kiddies' health – they're all back to normal, and dying to get out into this wet snow to build snow men, snow forts, and I'm pretty sure I heard a snow throne mentioned, too. Stuart has been felled with the nasty bug, now, but seems to be coping much better than the little ones did. Let's hope I manage to avoid the whole thing!

Another Sock Convert

I have heard much, over the last year, of the comfort of hand knitted socks. How, once you wear them, you will never ever want to go back to wearing boring old stretchy cotton socks from Wal-Mart. Being a somewhat skeptical type, I imagined this was a tad of an exaggeration. I was wrong. Oh, how wrong I was! These socks are so comfortable, so soft, so warm, that I now understand why I have to pry Brian's socks off his little feet to wash them. What am I going to do now? I only have one pair!

Pattern: International Sock of Doom Yarn: Lorna's Laces Swirl DK, 2 skeins (with a fair bit left over), Douglas Fir colourway Needles: 3.5mm bamboo DPNs Thoughts: I made no alterations to this pattern, but followed it to the letter. Since I had a fair bit of yarn leftover, I am a bit sad that I didn't make them longer in the leg. This, I suppose, is the beauty of the toe up sock, which I plan to try in the near future. It was a fun, easy to understand pattern, and making socks of DK yarn goes super fast. I typically do not like to knit the same thing over, unless I'm doing a matchy thing, but I may try this pattern again.

Finally, thank you to all who joined in my little blog contest. It was fun for me. I used the online Random Number Generator to choose the winner... and the winner is Jennifer! Jennifer, please email me your snail mail, so I can get an exciting prize off to you!


With all the craziness going on here the last few weeks, my 100th blog post came and went without being marked. This, then, is my own celebration – 111 posts today! And even more fitting, it is December 1st, how nice is that. In honour of my Eleventyfirst, I am having a contest. The prize will be some yarny goodness from my stash, selected for the lucky winner, once I know who the lucky winner is. I've spent the last few days thinking about what kind of contest I could have; I tend to be a slavish pattern follower, and not so full of the exciting ideas myself. This morning, though, the lightbulb flashed on. My name is Charity. My parents had very meaningful reasons for calling me this (I'll save the story for another time), but the fact is that going through life with a name like Charity inevitably opens you up to a certain... reaction to my name. Working with the public, very seldom do I have a day when I don't hear at least one bad joke about my name, and on days when I'm feeling particularly punchy, I've been know to pull out a few myself. You know, “Oh, how funny, I'm giving my money to Charity!”. “Ha, ha,” I reply, “I've never heard that before!” So this is my contest. Leave me a comment on this post, with your best My Name is Charity Joke. The contest will be open until Monday, December 5th, 6:00pm MST, and the winner will be chosen at random. Come on, guys, do your worst! We have an awful lot of clever, fascinating bloggers out there - I dare you to come up with something original! While you have your thinking cap on, think of me with warm thoughts. I have a houseful of sick babies, and it is so hard to do anything when a little one is following you around saying, “Up, please!”.

Eating my Words

You knew, of course, when you read, “I'm going to try not to buy yarn” that you would be seeing a picture like this shortly! Although, in my defense, I'm pretty sure I placed this order just before I made the foolish, asking-for-it statement. Let's just get it over with: There. Are you happy now? I couldn't resist, though, you know how it is when there's a sale, and this wool/cotton Salishan was just calling to me! I'm hoping to make the Rusted Root pattern, since the purple cotton from Wal-Mart was just too much for my hands. (Not bad yarn, I still maintain, but tough and sturdy.) Since I was ordering anyway, I got an extra ball of Wool of the Andes for Stuart's giant Aran sweater (which I have committed to starting as soon as Brian's sweater is finished), just to be safe. After it arrived I took another measurement of Stuart, and the poor old guy has “grown”, which means I'm going to need even more yarn! Sigh. Why don't I do these things ahead of time? The answer is that I subconsciously want to make another order, of course! I picked up enough of the Dancing for two pairs of socks. I really like the way the samples in the Knit Picks catalogue look, and I like the idea of cotton/elastic blend sock yarn, especially for the summer. I'm thinking I could get ankle socks for both Katie and myself if I plan it just right. There is also two hanks of Gloss, since I was taken in by the wool/silk blend, it looked so soft and pretty. This is the first ever solid colour sock yarn I've ever bought, and I would like to try something different for these ones. That is, if I use it for socks. You just never know. You also see two pairs of small circular needles. I've been wanting to try knitting socks on two circulars, and Jen was kind enough to snail mail me directions, so I can give it a try. Got to love a new challenge! I must say, it's a good thing I've finally buckled down and got to work on Brian's sweater – I'm having a heck of a time with the secretive knitting thing. That kid is always around, and he's sharp, too. Some people, you can knit right in front of and they have no clue whatsoever. Not this boy! Between his awake hours, and my work schedule, it's going to be a Christmas Miracle to have that under the tree!

Winter Rainbows and Other Miraculous Events

I was driving home after dropping off the kids at school this morning, feeling miserable because it is -32 degrees C outside (that's -25 degrees F) and wishing I didn't have to leave the house. I looked up, and saw a rainbow in the sky! Rainbows have always been very significant and special to me, and I was pleased and touched to see this one. I have never seen a rainbow in the winter before, and while there is probably some scientific explanation for what I saw, I am choosing to enjoy the miraculous moment in my day. It brought to mind a song we used to sing when I was a child; it went, “When I see a rainbow, I know that God is Love”, and was set to the music from the Friendly Giant. (Does anyone out there remember that show?) Definitely a reminder I needed to focus my attention on today. Another miraculous event occurred in my home this weekend. I started The Skull on The Pirate Sweater! I was basically shamed into it by all the wonderful work fellow knitters have been doing. If you can manage this beautiful stuff, I'm sure I can knit a darned skull, right? If you look closely, you will see the bottom cross bones on either side, with the chin and the very start of the smile in the middle. It is very fiddly and slow going, though I think it will be worth it once it's all done. And since Brian seems to be the most appreciative member of my family when it comes to my knitting, I feel good about knitting him something that will make him so happy.


Snow is still falling, temperatures are dropping alarmingly, and there is just no good reason to leave the house that I can see. Other than my obligatory treks back and forth to the kids' school (and I seriously considered keeping Brian home today, so I wouldn't have to drive back over there at lunchtime to pick him up), I'm not going anywhere, which means I hope to get lots done here. I wandered over to Tammy's this morning, and took the “What Season are You?” quiz. Apparently, I'm a Winter, which is very fitting, especially on a day like this. I've always loved a good snowfall; in recent years we have had far less snow than what was considered usual, so I'm glad to see this. I remember as a child, growing up on the Prairies, being completely snowed in, and watching my dad crawl through the upstairs window, to get out and start shovelling out our front door. When I moved up here, someone showed me a cut mark way up in a tree, it must have been at least 8 feet off the ground. I was told that this was the snow line from last winter. No matter how much you love snow, that is simply too much of the stuff, so let's hope we're not getting a throwback year, here. The Weather Network is calling for another 10cm today, which is a lot of snow, no matter how you look at it. The only really bad part, as far as I'm concerned, is the accompanying temperatures. We're headed well below -20 C tonight, and it looks like it's going to hang around, at least through the weekend. Yuck. I made it to my knitting group last night, and finished up the neck kerchief for Brian's teacher. I can not believe how stretchy the sewn cast off is! Quite remarkable – do keep it in mind if you ever need a super stretchy finished edge. I also did a little more on the fingerless gloves, and hope to have them done tomorrow, so I can block them both and tuck them away. The kerchief is a basic pattern from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, knit from one 50g skein of Elann's Pure Alpaca in Garnet. I love how drapey and soft and warm the finished fabric is – I can so see this yarn for a shawl or wrap of some sort.

Tea Time

It started to snow yesterday, and I was so pleased to see it. We were told to expect 1-3cm, which would be lovely, just enough to cover all the grey and brown out there, and make it seem a bit more Christmassey. There is now at least 10cm out there, and it's still coming down. Talk about a winter wonderland! I'm using this snowy time to stay home, and knit whenever I have the chance. I finished the first of Brian's teacher's fingerless mitts, and am almost halfway through the second. I meet my group of knitting ladies tonight, and plan to take the kerchief with the too tight bind off along with, so I can re-do that. Progress, progress! I was over visiting Cornflower this morning, and she had a lovely photo of all her tea. I am following her along, taking this opportunity for a few good things: a nice cup of tea in my nice china mug, a clean tea cupboard, and a picture to share with you.

On an average day, I drink two kinds of tea. I start the day with Tetley Chai tea, which is caffeinated, at least one cup. On the days that I have to work late, I usually have a second cup in the early afternoon, just to keep me going. The rest of the time I drink boring old Tetley Decaf. When we're out and about, doing errands and such, we'll often stop for a cup of coffee for Stuart. I almost never buy anything for myself, since I'd rather just come home and have a nice cup of boring old decaf tea. The rest of the stuff here I save for evenings (the Celestial Seasonings and Decaf Chai teas), or to share with friends (all my favourites, Vanilla Chai, Sour Japanese Cherry, a Decaf House blend from a tea room in Winnipeg).

The cyclamen (if that's what it is – my gardening expertise is far surpassed by my enthusiasm) is in the picture to remind me to share a Cute Brian story. Brian and his dad were doing some grocery shopping the other day, and when Brian saw the flowers on display there he said to his dad, “We should get Mum some flowers. Are those roses? I'm going to call those roses. Let's buy those for Mum.” And so there, on my dining table, are my lovely pink “roses”, from my lovely, thoughtful son.

Now, for you tea drinkers out there, go make yourself a nice cuppa. And if you're not a tea drinker, why not? ~Smile~

Restless Knitting

I have been extremely remiss in reporting on my mother-in-law, Mary's, condition. This is especially bad, since I've told you all she's in intensive care, and then left you hanging. So sorry! The good news is, Mary made a great turn around this weekend, and has just returned home. Hooray! Thank you again for your prayers and support, they are still so appreciated. During my reads through the blogosphere, I've noticed many others commenting on the restless feeling they have, keeping them from settling into a good project. That restlessness is still here, too, resulting in several Works In Progress. Here is the Hat and Scarf for my step-father. It is all done, all that remains is some weaving in of ends, which I really need to sit down and finish tonight. My goal is to have all the out-of-town packages ready to mail by the end of November, to avoid the rush at the post office, and to bring joy to my family by not making them stand in line for ages.

Next up is a little neck kerchief, pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I knit this up this weekend, when I realized that Brian has two teachers who will also need a token of appreciation. Brian and I dug around together through my pattern books and stash, and he chose this for one of his teachers, knit from Elann Alpaca in a heathered red. It's finished, but I'm not happy with the bind off row. It's much less stretchy and soft than the rest of the scarf, so I want to rip it back, and try the EZ sewn cast off, which I've heard is very elastic.

Brian decided his other teacher would love some fingerless mitts, pattern from Weekend Knitting. He chose some dark blue yarn, also from Elann. It's the wool/alpaca blend they have, and I just started them last night while watching TV.

The Socks of Doom have been temporarily abandoned – I'm still loving them, but have been hard pressed to sit down and finish them. I'm on sock #2, and have turned the heel and finished the gusset, so all I need to do is the foot. (Blogger is completely exhausted by these photos, so you'll just have to imagine the socks in progress.)

I have abandoned Katie's hat completely, so no picture for you today. The one I was working on will be entirely too small, and needs to be frogged and re-knit. I've put it aside until all these other little things have been finished up. Just think of the wonderful Finished Objects I'll have to show off soon!

Sweet Slumber

I have just survived the most interesting, and possibly harrowing experience I've had in a long time – the Dreaded Slumber Party. Katie turned 9 last week, and for her birthday she asked for a sleepover. I was (not) sorry to hear that 2 of her little friends were not able to make it – our numbers were a modest 5 girls to 1 mum. Oh, my! It was wonderful to watch Katie surrounded by her friends – you get a totally different view of your child when you watch them like that. I was pleased to see her behave kindly, and shepherd everyone around within the rules of our home. I will admit that a roomful of girls is not my favourite place to be (in fact, a roomful of any people is not my best place, I much prefer smaller numbers). Nine is such a tricky age, they are so mature in some ways, and still such little ones in others. We watched movies, ate pizza and junk food, and in lieu of a cake, had an Ice Cream Buffet. This included several kinds of ice cream, syrups, whipped cream, sliced fruit, tiny marshmallows, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and every kind of sprinkle I had in the house. They had a blast, and it was nice to do something instead of the same old birthday cake. The last child has just left, and we're all feeling a little wonky on about 5 hours of sleep. The bonus in all that time is that I did a fair bit of knitting, and good thing! A few times, I felt the need to bite my tongue and just keep knitting! The peace would descend, the moment would pass, and all was right in the world again. Now that my home has returned to it's usual calm state, I'm off to have a nap!

The Order of the Stash

Being a natural organizer, putting my stash into some order, and keeping it that way, should be a piece of cake. Sadly, this is not the case. The other day, while I was a work, Stuart got sick of my piles of yarn all over the living room, and “helped me”. He ran up to Home Depot, bought a couple of totes, and packed the whole mess up. (Feel free to shudder now. It was pretty awful.) Now I'm sitting facing all that I love thrown unceremoniously into boxes, and whenever I need something, like my Denise needles, I have to rummage around until I find it, or am willing to do without. Obviously, something needs to be done. This past summer, I got very organized, and inventoried my yarn, listing it in weight categories. I haven't kept up with it, though, and am not sure if it could be salvaged, now. A clean slate is always best, anyway, in my world. So, what to do? Stop buying yarn, for one thing! I know saying this out loud is tempting fate, so I'm not going to make it an absolute statement, but I really am going to try not to buy any more yarn for the next while. I have a fair bit of stash as it is, and so many projects waiting in the wings it's ridiculous. Next, hide all the boxes and totes for the meantime. We're STILL working on the common area in our house (kitchen/dining room/living room), and until that's all done and the carpets have been cleaned, there's no point dragging out another mess, is there? Here's my plan: sort all the stash (ALL of it, every last skein and ball) by weight, make some kind of listing of it all, and then store in an easily accessible place. This place must not be in the basement, but must be out of Stuart's way, to avoid any further “help”, like storing my stash in the shed, or dropping it all off at the local swap shed. What do you all do? This is not a new question, by far, Kristy asked it herself not long ago. Can you see any big holes in my plan? Am I deluding myself? Is it an excellent idea, and you think I'm so very clever you can't believe it? MIL Note: Mary seems to be stable now. They've moved her out of intensive care, and last night, she recognized her daughter, which all sounds wonderful. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, I so appreciate it. Please continue as you feel able.

Become the Change

My family is a Canadian Military Family. My mum, one of 12, grew up on the Shiloh, Manitoba base, where she met my dad, a young soldier in the artillery. Although Dad “got out” around the time I was born, my life was filled with sayings like, “Shoulders back, Chest out, Stomach in!” when I was slouching. At my grandparents' home, if you slammed the door, you were subjected to “Door Drill”, opening and closing the door quietly until Grandpa was sufficiently convinced we had learned our lesson. My grandparents were a happy young couple before the war. I've seen photographs of them at that time, younger than I am now, and know they were in love and full of joy. Many, many Canadian soldiers did not return after the war, but my grandfather did. He was not the joyful boy, however, who went away. Even during my childhood, War was a subject not to be mentioned. If we had questions, we were free to find our answers somewhere else, but we kept quiet about it. Grandpa came home an angry, closed off person, who buried himself in a bottle whenever possible, and took it out on everyone around him when it wasn't. It was only in his final years, as he was dying, that some of the old Floyd Turner returned, the laughing, happy boy from so long ago. In retrospect, it must have been difficult for my own mother to see. The man who would take a strap, belt, or any other available object to her for walking in front of the TV, became the man who taught his grandchildren funny songs, spent hours painting, and laughed often. As an innocent child, this was the only Grandpa I knew, and it was much later before I could see how much damage this horrible thing had done. Not just to him; yes, war stole the man my grandfather was to become, but it also stole the father my own mum deserved, and the husband my long suffering and loyal grandmother was meant to spend her life with. The devastating effects of the wars previous to now are still being felt by families everywhere, and yet we do not learn our lesson. Again, soldiers are not coming home, war brides are arriving on the East Coast, families are being built and ripped apart. We take one day a year to remember the sacrifice of all those before us, who have fought and died to provide us with the incredible life we now have. Why can we not remember them every day, and use that knowledge to change? I heard a quote this morning, “You must become the change you want to see in the world. (Ghandi)” What can we do to change ourselves, both to change the world we live in now, and honour the changes so fiercely purchased before us?

Updates All Round

The knitting night went well, although no pictures were taken. (Patricia is a shy lady.) She caught on really quickly, and cast on, as well as knit and purled. She's making a basic slipper pattern, and I'm a little concerned that they will be too small for her, but I didn't want to shake her confidence by saying anything. I made sure we got to a point where the pattern called for 6 inches of 2x2 ribbing, so she could work away on it until we can get together again. It is a lot of fun to teach something a new skill, especially one so interesting and meaningful to me! My Spinning Roving Swap package arrived yesterday – what fun! It included a top-whorl wooden spindle, some silk hankies, some very beautiful roving (from Lisa Souza, no less), plus lovely stitch markers, and delicious chocolate! Thanks so much, Julie this was a fun swap, and I love what you sent me! I'm feeling all over the place with my knitting, restless, and unable to settle down on any one project. I feel peace when I'm actually knitting, but getting to that place is taking work. I finished my first Sock of Doom and started the second (with a beautiful cake of yarn fresh off the ball winder!), did a little more work on Katie's hat, knit a few rows on a Christmas scarf, but nothing substantial. No update, really, on Mary. She's still in intensive care, but stable as far as I know. I'm relying on 3rd hand information, but from what I understand, they're not giving her antibiotics at this point. I don't totally understand the reason, but maybe someone can enlighten me. We've put together a little care package for her, you know, magazines, Yardley stuff, photographs, artwork by the kids, etc. I hope by the time it arrives, she will be out of the ICU, and able to enjoy it.


First of all, let me thank all of you for your prayers, good thoughts, comments and emails. I am so thankful for your support. It's always frightening when someone you love is ill, and it's so much worse when they are far away. My mother-in-law, Mary, had knee replacement surgery about a month ago, and seemed to go downhill quickly after that. She has lost over 30lbs, and when speaking to her, you can just tell she's not herself. It was thought that there was something going on with her thyroid, and admitted her to the tiny hospital on St. Joseph Island (where they live) on Sunday, for observation and to get some nourishment into her. She was transferred to Sault Ste. Marie hospital, and placed in intensive care there Monday morning. After further testing, it looks like she has some type of staph infection, and they are treating her. Last night, we were told she seems a bit perkier, but I haven't had an update today. We're hopeful that all will be well. Please, if you have been praying, continue to do so. Yesterday was also my wedding anniversary, and Stuart gave me the most lovely gift – a ball winder and wooden swift! It's wonderful, and I'm having all kinds of fun getting the kids to help me wind up my skeins and skeins of wool. It's a great tool to have anyway, but right now it's serving as a wonderful distraction as well, and that's so helpful. Yay, Stuart! I had to work last night, but we're planning a special date night in a few weeks. Our local symphony is performing Handel's Messiah, and we've got tickets. I'm very excited – my Mum, years ago, sang in the Hallelujah Chorus, and I can't wait to be able to sit, uninterrupted, and enjoy the whole shebang. Tonight, I have the extreme honour of teaching a co-worker to knit (or at least attempting to do so). We met during orientation a few months ago, and she's been fascinated by my knitting. She is determined to knit slippers, so I've printed off a couple of basic patterns, and we're going to meet tonight to have a go at this. If she's not too camera shy, I'll see if I can snap some pictures. Wish me luck!


Sorry, KMKS pal, to be so long in posting my questionnaire. For all of you who know me, please think good thoughts for my Mother-in-law, she's in intensive care in Sault Ste. Marie right now. We don't have a lot of information, and are pretty worried.
The Questionnaire:
Are you allergic to any fibers? Nope What are your favorite colors? Turquoise, teal, blue, green, any oceany colours. Are you a new mitt knitter? How long have you been knitting mittens? I've only recently made my first mittens – I've made a flap-top pair, plus a couple pairs of fingerless gloves. Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? I like mulitcoloured and heathered yarns. What fibers do you prefer in mitten yarn? For up here, it should be something warm, and natural. Where do you usually knit mittens? Most of my knitting is done at home, but a bit is done on the road, while at work, or waiting to pick up or drop off kids. How do you usually carry/store small projects? I often just grab and go, without anything to carry a project in. I have a clear plastic tote that I use to carry my wallet and a small project. I would love a bigger bag, that would hold my wallet, project and lunch bag, too. What are your favorite mitten patterns? I am partial to the fingerless glove patterns, especially Fetching. What are your favorite mitten knitting techniques? I'm new to cabling, and quite like the effect, and love lace stitch patterns. What new techniques would you like to try? I'm longing to try thrummed mittens, that's my next technique on the list. What are your favorite needles for knitting mittens? I usually use DPN's What are some of your favorite yarns? I love soft, natural fibres. I just bought a ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for Fetching, and it's soooo soft. What yarn do you totally covet? Any of the “fancy” handpainted yarns, I can't really get up here. Socks that Rock, Cherry Tree Hill, all that good stuff. Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? I would make myself a beautiful sweater, maybe out of cashmere, or a quiviut blend, or something exotic like that. Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I've recently bought a few pairs of bamboo needles, and really like they way they feel in my hands. I would love to try some of the nice wooden needles out there. If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Hmmm, something much-loved, practical, but still attractive.... What would that be? Mission Falls Wool? Cascade 220 Superwash? I would definitely be superwash. Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Chocolate. Yep. What’s your favorite animal? I like animals, but don't know if I have a favourite. Would you prefer super warm mittens or something more like fingerless mitts? I like them both, for different times of the year. Fingerless mitts are practical, so I can buckle car seats and such. The thrummed mittens look so warm, which is great up here, especially come January-March. If you were a color what color would you be? Something peaceful. What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? The ocean. Or a wheat field. Do you have a wishlist? I have a Chapters wishlist, under my email address.


Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (NIV) Aha! Just what I needed – Biblical justification for working on my Socks of Doom rather than Christmas gifts or Katie's hat! Ha, ha, ha! (I'm not saying I needed this justification, but it does make me happy to see it!) Relief from guilt is setting in now, and I can just enjoy the knitting. I started the Socks of Doom on the 1st, and am so enjoying the feel of the yarn, and the texture of the fabric that is knitting up. I started following the pattern using the called for 3.75mm needles, realized that they would be a tad big, and then ripped back to knit on 3.5mm needles, instead. I bought myself some lovely bamboo DPN's and am feeling so luxurious using my fancy needles with my fancy yarn. If you haven't seen this pattern, it's a very simple ribbed sock. I'm loving the flow of the stitch pattern – I don't need to have my pattern in front of me, so it's great to carry around with me. I know I'm a little new to the sock knitting thing, but it hadn't really occurred to me to knit socks with DK yarn. It's sure great for some instant gratification, though! My camera disappeared the other day, and was found in Brian's room. A future blogger in the works! On the memory card were no less than 75 pictures that he took – here's my favourite. A Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:

I'm a Calendar Girl, Too!

So I was doing my regular blog crawl, and visited here to learn about this. Being such a joiner these days, I dropped everything to take a couple of photos of my calendars here. Part of what pleased me so much about this "contest" is that as a child, the first thing my mum, sister & I would do when we received a calendar, date book, daily devotional, whatever, was look up our birthdays to see what it had for us. Hearing about this brought me such a happy memory, I thought I would play along. Plus, I am constantly fascinated by the way things spread around in this online world, and thought I'd better do my part. So there you are, two calendars, and you can see the theme in my house. We're big ocean people around here, and since we can't see it, hear it, or smell it where we live, we surround ourselves with all kinds of paraphernalia whenever we have the chance. OKC: I'm making progress on the Socks of Doom, and have found a lovely pattern for Katie's fingerless gloves. I'm going to use a pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, since there's a spiral rib pattern in there, and the hat I'm making also has a spiral rib. How cute is that? I went through some drama, imagining that the hat will be too small, but put it on a string and sat it on Kate's head, and am now hoping for the best. I suppose it's not a great investment of time anyway, if I do need to rip it back. Still, time spent is time spent, and I do hate waste. And what's that you say? Pirate Sweater? What Pirate Sweater? I have no idea what you're talking about.

Chibi Happy

Look what came in the mail today! I must say, being part of the Sockret Pal exchange is a lot of fun, and while there are many knitters out there who are sure they have the best pal, I am so pleased and grateful for mine. She has been wonderful about keeping in touch, thoughtful about the socks she is making me (Moss, I haven't forgotten about the measurements, they are coming, really, they are), and now this wonderful parcel has arrived! She sent the most lovely, soft yarn, some delicious truffles (which I'm hiding in my room for emergency purposes), and some great little novelties. Terribly cute sock-shaped needle point protectors (how cute is that?), and some lighthouse buttons (they're already being competed for by my family). Some luscious smelling Goat's Milk soap, all packed into a snazzy little bag, just perfect for carrying around with me, so I stop trailing yarn when I run back and forth to the truck. I hate carrying a purse, and this bag is just right for both my knitting in progress, and my wallet. But yes, you see it don't you, the most exciting part of the whole thing? I admit it, I really am this geeky, and it really is this easy to please me, but look! Look! Look! A little green Chibi! To make the Chibi-goodness even more lovely, I recently moved my knitting gadgets into the orange zippered bag Craftylilly sent me, and I had nothing to put my needles in. Moss, your timing couldn't have been more perfect. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. And, I still don't know your secret identity – I had Katie open up the package for me, and then very quickly take the box to the bin, before my self-control gave out. Otherwise, you know I would have looked. Note: Alisha is having a fun contest, which closes on Saturday, November 5th. If you like guessing games, check it out!

One Sock, Two Sock

Here are Gwen's little socks: they are made from some leftover Regia colour #5048, using this pattern. It was fast and easy, and the stripes are like a rainbow, which pleases me immensely. (I still sort my Smarties and eat them in order of the colours of the rainbow.) A while back, a friend brought a neighbor lady and the neighbor lady's mother (maybe in-law, I can't remember) to our knitting group. The Mother(In-Law?) was a big sock knitter, and very happy to see me knitting away on those other baby socks I made for Gwen. She was here only for a family visit, but before she returned home, she gave me this: It was very exciting for me, and I have all kinds of plans for these bits of sock yarn. Each colour is enough to make a pair of regular socks for Gwenyth, or short socks for Brian, or something else, like an amulet bag or an Ipod cozy. Very cool, and amazing to me what we can do with "scraps". I love economy and frugality, and it makes me very happy to put to use something someone else had no use for. At the complete other end of the scale, now that I'm finished these babies, I'm legal to start my Socks of Doom socks with the Lorna's Laces Swirl. I'm making these, even though it is almost Christmas and I still have Christmas knitting to do, and for myself, even though I should be doing something for someone else at this time of year, and feel a bit guilty. I'm going to push past the guilty feelings, though, because the yarn is just so darn nice, and the socks are going to be squishy.

Happy Samhain!*

I missed out on the great pumpkin carving this year, since I was at work. Stuart got the kids on it yesterday after school, although I'm pretty sure he did the cutting. I came home to this friendly fellow glowing on my table, and roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on. It's quite cold today, and I'm thinking we'll skip the door to door trick or treating (except for perhaps a few neighbors), and just attend an event held at a local church. Warmer and safer. You know me so well, you must know what's coming next, right? A new swap! I was pleased to find this one, since it's set up to send your packages in January, and I had told myself no more swaps this year. So, I'm still legal, right? If you've heard of the KSKS, this is similar: The Knit Mitt Kit Swap! I'm a bit intimidate by the idea of making a bag for my pal, but it sounds like a fun challenge, and I'm loving these swaps! I have a really hard time making things for myself, and this deals with that nicely! I can focus on someone else, and get to feel extra special that someone is focusing on me. If it sounds fun to you, signups are open until Friday. *Note: Thanks to Jo, I am referring to Halloween as Samhain, if I've used the term incorrectly, I'm sorry! :0)

More Black

Progress is being made on the Black Hat, although I've switched over to Gwen's little socks in the last day or so. I've become overwhelmed by the urge to knit myself a pair of Socks of Doom out of the Lorna's Laces Swirl I purchased a while ago, and can not allow myself more than one pair on the needles at a time. So socks it's been, and socks it will remain. More on the hat: I have nothing against black as a colour (or non-colour, or all-colours, I've never really had that clarified to my liking). I actually wear it myself quite a bit (which makes it seem strange to me that Katie would deign to put the same thing on her body), it's just knitting it that I don't care for. It's very dark, and hard to see at times, and if I'm going to be staring at soft, lovely yarn, I would much rather it be something pretty. I really am a girly kind of girl. Katie is a tough cookie, so you're probably right, the black will make her feel and look like she should not be messed with (which she shouldn't – I saw her at Hapkido this week, she took this kid down and did a “controlled” pin and elbow smash to the face, Yikes! I would seriously not want to get on her bad side). And, you're also right, black is universal, and she'll likely wear it until she outgrows it. So it's all good. But still. I can't get away from the feeling that my “baby girl” should be in a nice blue, or perhaps a cherry red. But the yarn is soft, and feels nice in my hands, and is just super good. So I'll get past it. One more thing – the pattern she chose is for a beret and mittens, but now she tells me that she would prefer fingerless gloves. Any suggestions on modifying the existing pattern? A band of ribbing, or a rolled stocking stitch knit with a smaller needle? What do you think?


Having completed Brian's scarf, the Law of Fairness set in, and Katie started thinking it might be nice to have something knitted for her, too. The tricky bit about this is that over the summer Kate has morphed into The Preteen. This is completely ridiculous in my view, since she's turning 9 years old in a matter of days, but Preteen-ness has definitely set in, regardless of my opinion. Not only did her taste in clothing, music, colours and activities change, but I apparently got slightly stupid and useless as well. Those of you who have survived this will recognize the symptoms: Music (any music not encouraged by the parental unit) blaring. The dreaded Eye Roll. The complete and utter self-centered absentmindedness. The sloppy clothing. Refusal to put on appropriate outerwear. Blowing allowance on “essential items” (AKA, junk, usually electronic). Correcting me when I say something (I think this bothers me more than anything, which is, I'm sure, why it happens). These phenomena are why I can justify not knitting the planned Christmas gift. This is nice for me, since it's always a joy to cross something off the list without actually investing hours of my time into it. Let me clarify, though. We have not sunk to the Teenaged Levels as of yet. Katie is still generally respectful, helpful with her siblings, and does her chores without the need for a major family discussion. We are still at the place, and I hope (Mothers of teenagers, please feel free to laugh out loud, but don't tell me about it) that we will stay here, where we can discuss whatever is going on in her world. And I am reminded, when I watch the behaviour of her school mates, of how fortunate we really are. And in one sense, I truly enjoy watching her spread out her wings, and learn who she is. Take a step towards independence, and all that. I am trying very hard to allow her to try anything I don't think will be harmful to her, and pray like crazy through it all. But, seriously! It can get a little frustrating. All of this to say, I was a bit apprehensive when Katie wanted me to knit her something. I explained, as rationally as I could, that while I do love to knit, and while I do love Katie, I was not prepared to invest my time and money on something that would sit in a basket and never be worn. She could pick the pattern and the yarn, but had better make darn sure this thing lasts, at the very least this season. She took a look through my knitting magazines, and chose a beret and mitten set in the new Interweave Knits Holiday Issue. Okay, fine. I was surprised, but if she likes it, it's all good. Then we took a little trip to the LYS yesterday after school, and found a very nice superwash merino wool. What colour does she choose? BLACK! Yikes. You would be proud of me, though, I kept the smile pasted to my face. At least she has good yarn taste. The wool is sitting here, and I started the hat last night. The pattern starts with a couple of inches of I-cord, and then you increase from there. I finished the basic increases, and am on to the pattern. I just hope she wears the darn thing!

My Postman Loves Me

I was hovering around my house yesterday, knowing that there are parcels on their way to me, and hoping against hope one would show it's face. The post came, I ran out immediately, no parcel. We went out on some errands, came home, no parcel tucked up against my front door. We sat down to dinner, and I said to Stuart, “How sad, I was sure I was going to get a package today.” No sooner had I spoken, than the dog started barking. My postman must love me, he made an extra swing by on his way home, and had his son run my International Scarf Exchange package up to the door! He knows how impatient I am – what a very thoughtful guy! I'm going to have to bake them some cookies. And look at the goodies that arrived! Isn't this scarf so lovely, so fitting, so perfect? It is made from Noro Silk Garden (soooo luxurious, it feels lovely around my neck), and the colourway is beautiful! It goes really well with both my coats (one green, one camel), but also great with jeans and a sweater, which is how I'm wearing it today. In fact, I think I'm now going to start wearing scarves around the house all winter, because I've felt much warmer and cozier since I put it on this morning. I may have to make myself a collection of house scarves! My wonderful pal, Craftylilly used a stitch pattern called Wheat Field, which is so fitting for a girl born and raised on the Prairies! When I look at the scarf, and think about the pattern, I also think of home. Also included was a lovely ball of handspun wool, in my most favourite colours, and some fun little goodies: a zipper bag, a notebook and pen, some fun magnets (Truth or Dare, very cute, and it will be a miracle if Katie doesn't scarper off with them). Thanks so much Jennifer, your thoughtfulness is so appreciated! To keep the fun going, Ms. Knitingale is having a sort of Comfort Swap, meant to help survive the holiday season. Here are the questions she asked us to post: 1. What is your favorite color? Turquoise, Aqua, Teal, Blues, Greens, you get the drift. Although I also like red, too. Especially that deep, dark, red. 2. Is there a color you dislike? I'm not a fan of the bright, neonish colours. For me, anyway. 3. Do you have any pets? What kind? I have a dog, named Judah. He got his name because I wanted to name our future son Judah, and my husband was so against it, that he gave the name to our dog so that I wouldn’t do it. Now I have a lovely son, Brian, and a lovely dog, Judah. 4. Is there any knitting-related item you’re longing to have? I have looked here, and not found, that clear highlighter tape you can use when knitting with a chart. Also, I don't have a Chibi, and think they're kind of cool. (A Chibi, for those of you who asked, is a funky little needle holder with needles in it. And, STR is Socks That Rock sock yarn.) 5. Are you a sock knitter? Yes-ish. I enjoy knitting socks, although all I've done is kids socks. But I have big people socks coming up! 6. Do you have any online wish lists? I have a Chapters wish list. 7. Do you collect anything that isn’t terribly expensive? Yarn! 8. What would make you smile or giggle with delight to find it in your gift box? Just to find a gift box will make me smile with delight! Everything else is gravy. 9. Is there anything that would make you cringe if you found it in your gift box? A big, scary bug? I don't know... 10. Do you have a favorite edible treat? Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Seriously. 11. Do you drink coffee, tea, cocoa, or….? I drink tea like water (in fact, more than water, which I really need to address.) I also like a nice cup of cocoa at times, but I'm not a big coffee drinker. I love the smell of fresh coffee grounds, but don't really love the taste. 12. Are there any dietary restrictions your pal should know about? Nope. 13. Do you celebrate a winter holiday of any kind and, if so, would you like to receive anything holiday themed? I'm a big Christmas girl, all the way. I have noticed the last few years that my Christmas spirit has waned, but I'm trying to keep it revved up for the kids. I think part of it is exhaustion, which I am trying to rectify this year, by doing as much ahead as I can. For example (please, don't hate me when you read this: Hubby & I went over our gift list today – we have 3 gifts to go, and we're done. Including about ¾ of the stocking stuffers. Yay, me! I love to give gifts. I hate to shop.)


Here is my belated Saturday Sky, which I actually took on Saturday, but didn't have a chance to post. It involved lying on my back under the pear tree in my front garden, to the great mystification of my neighbors, who were all doing productive things, like raking. With Christmas only a matter of weeks away, I am reviewing my Gift List to see where I am at, and where I need to focus. In the finished department, we have: 1) The Birthday Poncho. Received, worn, and I hope, loved. 2) Flap Top Mittens. Also received, worn, and they fit, too! 3) Cable and Lace Scarf. This is tucked away for the in-law's Christmas parcel. 4) One of the two Hat/Scarf sets. My Mum's is completed, and also tucked away ready to go. On the needles: 1) The Pirate Sweater. You all know the story here. I am still waiting to start the intarsia. I'll do it. Really I will. 2) The other of the Hat/Scarf sets. Actually, just the hat, but still. It's in progress. Waiting in the wings: 1) Katie's plush, sleeveless, hooded pullover. (Would she appreciate it anyway? She's in a major tom-boy groove right now, and I seem completely incapable of choosing anything for her, even underwear and pajamas, that will meet with her approval. Do I want to spend hours and hours knitting something for her she may not even like?) 2) Gwen's knitted dolly. (Does she even want another dolly? What possible joy could she get from a knitted dolly that she doesn't already feel?) 3) The possible bear for my step-mother. (A nice idea, but really. I saw a perfectly nice Swarovski crystal bear at Wal-Mart the other night. And she really likes Coronation St. Isn't there a Coronation St. book out there?) Obviously, rationalization is setting in. Will the intrepid knitter press on? Will she move on to greener and much more exciting pastures? Stay tuned.


You know what I heard today, right? "Mom, will you make me some gloves, too?" Sigh. Bring it on. I finished the Snake, I can whip up some gloves, too! Actually, it's even easier than it sounds, since Brian wants fingerless gloves, not actual gloves or mittens. He's very specific in regards to this matter, and I have learned that these are the times to let him be the decision maker. But look at that funky blue snake wound around my baby's neck. That little face is worth all the sweaty hands in the world. Jo asked the other day to share how blogging has changed us. I was all ready to rip off a pat answer, but was interrupted. This is, I think, a good thing, since I've been ruminating on that question ever since. I've been blogging for about six months; how drastically things can change! 1)I have learned a whole new vocabulary. Blogging, webrings, KALs, swaps, fibre festivals, STR, Chibi and more. All things I had no knowledge of until I entered this world. I take it for granted, now, until I talk to a friend who is new to it all. Then I see what a rapid change has taken place. 2)My thought processes have shifted. I have always been a rather deep thinker, but tend to keep those thoughts to myself. Thus, I have not felt the need to clearly define them. In the past, I would float along, a feeling here, an abstract idea there. Now, I find myself composing in my head as I see new things, or have new experiences. I feel the need to flesh out an idea, to put it into terms that someone else will grasp.“How will I share this,” I think to myself, instead of “How do I feel about this?” A subtle difference, perhaps, but a significant one. 3)This feeling of community has deeply rooted in me, and I am content in this place. How satisfying it is to turn a heel in a new way, or knit my first cable, and know that someone out there will understand my excitement, will “feel my high”. How compelling it is to read of another's triumphs, of another's disasters. How touching to see the charitable hearts of those in our clan, when I am so disheartened by the lack of care I see in my day to day life. 4)I have become educated in the world of fibre. Not to tout myself as an expert, by any means. Still, I had no idea of the beauty of natural fibres, had never heard of a “yarn snob”, didn't really know the difference between wool and acrylic. (I mean, I knew the difference, but I didn't comprehend the intrinsic value of the fibre itself.) 5)I have learned about and am willing to attempt new projects. No matter what it is that I want to know, someone out there has the answer, and is willing to share it with me. I have become braver, and more creative because of this. 6)I carry my camera with me everywhere. I will admit that I am generally lax in the photo department. I have always had great respect for the people I see with well documented everythings. Children's events, holidays, special moments galore reside in their photo albums, scrapbooks and computers. I can travel halfway across the country to visit family, and on the very last day I will say, “Quick, let's take some pictures!” My Mum visited a few Christmas' ago. I don't have a single picture of her here. Now, the batteries are charged, the camera is packed, and I whip it out at every possible photographic opportunity. All thanks to blogging.

Dorothy Yarn!

I've been wanting to post for the last few days, but have been completely annihilated by the nastiest cold I've experienced in a long time! I'm tired, cold, achy, dizzy, stuffy, runny, feverish, you name it! (Insert more whine, whine, whine, here.) Anyway, I've been in survival mode, and wasn't able to stir myself to write until today. But LOOK what the postman brought this morning! Dorothy yarn! Now, if you've never paid a visit to Dorothy, you simply must pop over. She has an amazing eye for colour; I love the way she dyes yarn. I've admired what she does for a while, so you can imagine my extreme delight when I won this in a contest she held on her blog. Now, I don't know if she planned this or not, but the yarn above is called Glacier, and could anything be more fitting for this northern girl? I must say, it is so much like the icefields, it's amazing. The hardy wool just matches the sturdy texture of the mountains, the grey of the ice and rock, the exquisite turquoise of the glacier pools tucked here and there. It's truly lovely, Dorothy, you made this sick girl's day! Thank you. In further knitting news, I have managed to put off The Skull once again. (Can any of you see me frantically finishing this thing up on Christmas Eve?) I am working on a very sweet pair of Feather and Fan socks for Gwenyth, and Brian sidled up to me the other day with this (I must say it, slightly horrid) yarn he bought himself at a garage sale this summer. He found 3 balls of this blue acrylic stuff, and paid the princely sum of 25 cents for the whole kit and caboodle. He turned his lovely hazel eyes on me and begged for a scarf. I foolishly allowed him to surf the net with me to find a pattern, and now I'm knitting up a garter stitch (ugh) acrylic (groan) Snake Scarf. It's whipping along - I might be motivated to finish quickly by the feel of my sweaty hands. Of course, it could be the every half hour check in, too. "Is my scarf done yet? Can I wear it to school tomorrow?" Ah, well. How can you say no to a tiny face that looks just like his daddy?

In A Fog

This is what mornings have been like up here the last few days, and it's how I've been feeling, too. Not in a bad way, I've always found fog beautiful and mysterious. There's something magical (although, yes, dangerous) about not being able to see what's up ahead. I was driving the kids to school yesterday, and got to thinking that this was somewhat like life. We can only see a bit of the way in front of us, and sometimes, what we think is one thing materializes as something else as we move closer. We have to focus on what's here and now, but still give a little thought to what's up ahead. I've always been the super-planner-of-the-world, so it's hard for me, at times, to really focus on the present. And as much as I hate it at the time, I've learned to be thankful for the fog. Here she is, My So Called Scarf, along with the plain old fingerless gloves I knit up. For the gloves, I just knit a rectangle until I felt it was the right size, and seamed it up, leaving a hole for my thumb. I made these first, and had I known how much I would love this stitch pattern (it is so easy, and I impressed my whole little knitting group with it!), I would have waited, and tried to make them to match. You never know, I may even frog them and re-knit. I do so like to match. Scarf Particulars: Yarn: Grignasco Jazz Print, 100% Merino Wool, 3 and a bit balls Needles: US size 15 Dimensions: I worked this over 24 stitches, and the scarf came out at 5" wide, and about 70" long. Started and Finished: I can't remember exactly how long it took, but I'm thinking it was about a week.