Knitting stuff and going on and on.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wrap it up.

January is ending and tomorrow will be the start of Project Spectrum. So today is the perfect time to show you my latest project. A pair of 'Allo Gov'nr mitts for me. I started them a while ago and since I lost the mitts my grandma made me the other day (I think I know where they are though), I need something else so it's time to finish them.

Yesterday's pictures were:
1. Pot half full (with Jefferson's theme song in background), 2. Seen on a table in a local coffee store.

3. Cold tree. Although since the scarf is in the mail on it's way to the Red Scarf Project, lost could still happen. 4. Both. The Mr. was supposed to put those in the shed for me since he has the only key, but they never made it and once that snow started, I thought they looked quite nice. After all, even ancient artifacts start out as someone's junk. 5. Both. I was standing on the front step, in the cold wearing a sweatshirt, with my arm twisted around in front of me holding the camera at odd angles trying to get a good picture of the falling snow. The neighbour pulled into his drive, got out of the truck watched me for a minute then shook his head and went into his house. He saw me take this picture too. I'm pretty sure he thinks Prince Valium and I are tight.

6. Found on my camera. Look around you. Sometimes you can get some pretty crazy pictures out of just changing the angle you see things from. The lumps are the part that the plow left on the bank in front of our car. I held the camera near the ground, pointed it up the bank and started taking pictures. Since I can't see the screen on the camera, I just change the angles slightly in between pictures and sometimes you get a gem from the ordinary around you.
Like this one of the snowbank at the end of the drive. Try it, you just may find something beautiful out of the stuff around you.

Time for a quick check on my things to do list I had posted at the end of December.

Ten Things to do in 2007

1. Carry my camera everywhere. Check. So far, so good.

2. Quit wearing men's sweat pants in public. Not even to the mailbox or the grocery store. Giant Sorel's don't disguise what they are. Check. So far so good.

3. Start a knitting/crafting group. I've started on the poster to put on bulletin boards around town.

4. Get outside more often. Unless it is really cold or really wet. Don't feel like it isn't an excuse since I never seem to feel like it. Utter failure. Too dang cold. Try again this month.

5. Keep up with the charity knitting. Check. So far, so good.

6. Try harder not to put things off until the last minute. This would ensure that I am on time more often. Utter failure. I've been late for nearly everything this month. Try again.

7. Quit glaring at things and waiting for them to do themselves. Sitting on the couch knitting and getting annoyed at the laundry and dishes for not doing themselves hasn't worked thus far, it probably won't work in the future either. Sort of check. I've done things more often before knitting. Now to do them more often before blog-surfing.

8. Try to bake a bit more often. Check. I've made a few muffins and cakes already this month and have some bananas sitting on the counter ready to go now.

9. Try to exercise once in a while. Utter failure. Try again. I've been surfing around looking for something quiet to do while the children nap. I think it's going to have to be yoga since that looks relatively quiet and I've done a tiny bit before. We've also been looking around for a good inexpensive treadmill.

10. Start knitting small gifts now so I have a backup stack of stuff for birthdays and Christmas. Utter failure. Try again. I've been too busy working on Swap stuff. I'm going to keep my swaps to one at a time and just small ones for a while. That ought to help a bit.

5 out of 10. Not bad. If I did everything all at once, I wouldn't have anything left to do for the rest of the year. ;)

I'm pretty proud of the quitting smoking thing too. I smoked for nearly 15 years before quitting. It took me four years to cut back from a 50 cigarettes a day habit to 2 or 3 on a day off and 5 or 6 on a work day. I tried quitting many times in the 15 years, but I always went back and rarely lasted for a full day since there was always an excuse.

It wasn't until I began to see how much I was being controlled by cigarettes that I really began to not like smoking. As soon as it stopped working for me, I was in a place where I could put them down. Then the Minister of the Northwestern Health Unit decided it was time for all Ontarians to be able to work in a safe and healthy environment and decreed that he was going to make sure that there would be no smoking inside anyone's workplace and that meant restaurants and bars too. I saw how crazy everyone was getting over this and wondered why my right to smoke should be taking precedence over someone's right to be healthy. Think about that this way, if someone walked into a restaurant with a pot full of hot tar, they would be told to go put the pot outside since no one would want to smell it and the fumes aren't very healthy for you.

Ontario had already kicked smoking out of government buildings, industrial work sites and offices. Why were these people worth more than the people in the service industry? Are they more expendable? I personally don't think so. I think every legitimate job is important. Pick any job and think about what life would be like without it.

Then came the cold. I was so tired of being cold. My workstation at the mill was ranging from -35*C to -43*C for two months. I was in that for 10 hour workdays and I just wanted to be warm on my breaks not wandering out to the smoke shack for 5 minutes before heading to the lunchroom. I didn't want to go outside on my days off either. It was time. I waited until I had five days off on the rotation schedule and hibernated. For three months I did nothing but go to work and go home. When I was at work I ate in the filing room to avoid as many people as possible and kept to my workstation.

In May, I found out I was pregnant and that was the end of it. You can't tell your children not to smoke if you are. They will think you are a hypocrite and begin to lose faith in you. I wanted my baby to think well of me and I definitely didn't want him/her to be stuck smoking.

Now it's time to wrap up this saga and get on with the laundry. Just remember, no matter the habit/addiction, if you make it stop working for you, you will lose interest in doing it. If my Dad can quit biting his nails at 46, and a friend's father can quit drinking at 68, then it must not be too late for anyone to change any habit.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Now class, today we are going to be talking about perspective.

I started thinking about how different the same things can be for everyone. Take for instance my in-laws. They think that a ten minute drive to a nearby town is a big deal. To make the hour drive into St. John's, well, you might as well get a hotel room. That's a trip. I on the other hand, cannot fathom that way of thinking. To me an hour's drive to the neighbouring town is normal. We do it every other week. It has to be more than a three hour drive for me to think that is a trip. To have spent my entire life on an island and never see anywhere else is incomprehensible, yet my Nan-in-law has done just that and wouldn't have it any other way.

To me quiting smoking four years ago today was not fun, but the best thing I could do for my health, my mental state and the environment (all those chemicals and the littering). To others, quitting is for quitters and they aren't quitters.

To my one of my friends, cooking is hard and cleaning is a breeze. To me, cooking is easy and fun, cleaning, hard and boring.

What's your perspective?

1. Pot half full or pot half empty?

2. Seen on a shelf in a flower shop or seen on a table in a coffee shop?

3. Lost scarf or cold tree?

4. Carelessly left on the front step or carefully placed decor?

5. Trying to get a good picture or proving the crazy or both?

6. Picture found on internet or picture found on camera?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Well, well, well, what have we here?

My KMKS package arrived on Friday. I didn't get to the post on time, so I couldn't pick it up until Saturday morning. It was well worth the wait. There was this beautiful tote bag inside. The pockets on both the inside and outside have a nice long strip of velcro in them so they are perfect for notions and snacks and the bag is just the right size for a good sized project which is going to really come in handy when I cast on for the square within a square within a square blanket.

The inside pocket. It's pockets and reinforcement. Very clever.

I also got a skein of worsted weight Peace Fleece. Very nice stuff. I like the colours and it will be very warm mittens. Some chocolates, they were very tasty, a tin of Burt's Bees hand salve which has already come in handy and a Chibi and two darning needle set. This has made me very happy since my needles are now so easy to find in my notions bag. Girly liked the pompom tie wrap and wore it in her hair for the rest of the day.

There were three patterns tucked into the box and they all look so nice and easy, it's been hard to decide which on to do. I'm leaning toward the Yankee Knitter's design though. I like the name.

I finally finished my Red Scarf. It's going in the mail this morning and hopefully will get there by the end of the week.

Tomorrow, perspectives. Like this one.
Hat for Kate or bowl for fruit?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday's Hidden Sky

It was a bleak day in the Great White North.

The wind howled through the snow and drove people to bury themselves indoors where the fires burned and the drinks were hot.

If ever there was a day to knit, this was it.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Knitting reappears.

It seems these last few days of knitting very little mean that very little got done. Who would have thought knitting would work that way. Apparently little elves only come along and help out spinners and cobblers.

The scarf is still nearly two feet from being done. Purolator is going to love me.

Of course when you are this close to finishing something and it is still reasonably inexpensive to send it, I cast on for something different and ensure I will have to pay a fortune to get the scarf there on time.

It seems that the wildlife inside isn't the only beasts around. Apollo has too much fur between the pads on his paws to make such clear prints. I keep his claws clipped too.

This is more than likely a mouse. The tracks don't go down far enough to be a cat and are too small for anything else that would be awake at this time of year. I hope the little bugger isn't under the trailer. They are hard on insulation and wiring.

Red Scarf, here I come.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wildlife Report.

I managed to get some great shots on my safari through the jungle that sprang up in my living room.
This elephant nearly trampled me, but fortunately I managed to get out of the way in time.

The Wildebeest turned out to be less than interested in my nosiness. Thank goodness, I didn't want to tangle with those horns.

This elephant was quite friendly although it turns out that elephant tongues are quite rough. I beat a retreat after one lick.

The Orangutans were the most dangerous of them all. I was held by the legs and arms quite often and their demands for food and fun were repeated often and rather loudly throughout the day.

Fortunately the sun went down and their clamour settled to a dull roar.

I was able to rest and contemplate aspects of the day.

Oh my Lord. Look what's going on now. Thanks for the link Maureen. You're a big help, you are.

I think I need to skip this one, but I'm definitely going to keep an eye on it. I also still suck at knitting from a pattern. I have a little something on the go right now and as soon as it gets up and running I won't have as much free time. You'll find out what it is soon enough.

Thank you for the compliments on my pictures. I have some plans in the future using some of them. Another thing that you will know about as soon as I can get my plans in motion.

I'm just a font of secrets today.

"Walk" with me Wednesday.

Yesterday morning this appeared in the sky.

It didn't seem to have a middle. Just two spikes of colour shooting up into the sky on either side of the rising sun.

Due to the cold all week, I haven't gotten out much for a walk. -25*C (-13*F) is too cold for me. That is the outside of my kitchen window.

There is a bit of snow today. A quick gust made it appear more than it really is in this picture.

So I am hanging out with the wildlife inside. The two children orangutans, two cats elephants, one dog wildebeest and this pretty bird.

This intrepid jungle explorer managed to sneak up on a sleeping elephant.

The Red Scarf knitting progresses. Slowly.

Another interesting project to think about doing. I've printed off the pattern and am planning on casting on after the scarf and the hats are done. If I get ten done in time, I'll send them along with my sign up sheet. If not, she isn't counting on me to come through and there isn't any pressure. I think I need the knitting to not be under pressure for a bit. Time to relax and have fun with it at my own pace.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Texture day.

Have you ever been procrastinating doing something and noticed how cool stuff looks up close?
Onion skin.

Pepper skin.

Pepper seeds.

Poinsettia leaves.

Even yarns. Some more for another hat.

As soon as this is finished, I have to finish the hats and mail them off. This is going to have to be stuffed in an envelope and mailed off super fast if I want to get it there on time. It looks way longer than it is from this angle.

Thank you all for the compliments on my KMKS bag. Saun, thank you for the tip. I just wish I had read it before I taped the heck out of the box. I am keeping that one for future reference though.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The bag, the almost final chapter.

I know, I was supposed to mail it on Friday, but I couldn't. I really wasn't happy with it. After all we were supposed to make a bag to go in our kits not a basket cover. I felted it one more time and that made me happier about the fabric itself, but the shape still wasn't what I had wanted. So I wandered on down to my LYS to show the owner and see what she thought. She thought pretty much the same thing I did about it. We loved the stitch pattern on it, but that shape. What to do, what to do. Suddenly the LYS owner had an epiphany. Why not sew the corners of the sides together to give it more of a purse shape? Brilliant! So that was the plan. Add straps and sew the corners of the sides together. Then I found the new VK and saw this bag. I knew we were on the right track.

Here it is. I love it! Now I will be happy to mail it to my pal. The front.

The back.

The side. If I had more time I would add a stiffener to the bottom, but I've already pushed my luck too far.

The back has a little crocheted flower on it. I have no idea how I managed to do this. I just fiddled and cursed until it had a flower type look.

Now that I am happy with my KMKS bag, I get to keep this bag. I really like this one and now that it has been felted, I can use it as a shopping bag. It only took a moment of panic to make me get off my behind and felt it.

For those who asked, I used the dryer felting method. I got it soaking wet, rubbed in a little baby shampoo, ran it under hot water then threw it in the dryer on the hot setting. I started checking the progress after about 20 minutes. If after 40 minutes it still wasn't doing anything, I took it out, ran it under cold water then under hot again and threw it back in. It took nearly an hour and a half of that to felt the blue bag to my satisfaction and two hours to felt the Basket of Keys bag.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Just the sky, ma'am.

Friday, January 19, 2007

More of the bag.

Some of the sky this morning,

some of the trees at night. This side of the road gets very little sun and the trees still have ice on the branches. Every time I drive by them, the lights from my car and the street light make them sparkle like little Christmas lights. You'll probably need to click on the picture to see them.

Last night I added a decorative edging to the bag.

I think it will be more of a basket cover than a bag though. It's big.

I need to work more on my seaming too. I really like the idea of this bag, but it is not what I had hoped it would be. I'll see how it looks once it has it's ties on and is tied.

It didn't shrink as much as I had hoped either. There is still quite a bit of stitch definition. I think I would have gotten more of a felting look if I had used a 6mm needle instead of the 7mm. I'm going to felt the brown and blue bag I made previously and see how that works out. It's made with the same yarn on 6mm needles so I'll see if I am right. If I like that one better, I may end up sending that one instead. It's more of a bag anyway.

I think I will start looking around for a book on knit purses so I can see how to make a square or rectangular bag with a zipper. I think this bag would have been much better if I knew how to set it up for one.

I seem to be thinking a lot in this post.