Monday, December 31

December Goals Round-up

On the 17th, I set myself a few goals to complete by the end of the month. We all know about how "the best laid plans" can go awry, but here is my progress record:

My goals for the month of December:

  1. Photographs of all FOs listed in Ravelry.
    No photographs were taken at all... partly because I couldn't find a yarn needle to weave in ends.
  2. Blog sidebars completely up-to-date. Done.
  3. Decide on first three projects to focus on as of January 1st.
    I have made my decisions, and have made a place on my sidebar to track them. That's another goal completed.
  4. All a-long's and a-month's listed *somewhere*.
    This was done in a series of posts on the 26th. Some goals were listed, but not all. It's a good start IMO, and I count this goal as complete.
  5. Computer desk and bookcase in living room completely decluttered.
    Both areas got some decluttering, but there still is a long way to go. On the up side, I *did* get both dining room counters decluttered. I will add them to my January goals.

Overall, I think I did quite well considering the work schedule I've been keeping, and my resulting health problems from all the kooky shifts. I'm working at getting "day shift" at Wal-Mart so that I won't have the problems associated with my body trying to switch shifts so drastically every week.

Wednesday, December 26

Other CALs, KALs, and a-longs

Cloth of the Week: This is a Yahoo Group devoted to making a dishcloth a week.

Dishcloth Weekly KAL: Every week a new pattern... another one that I'll decide on as I go.

For Me?!: A KAL/CAL that emphasizes that it's okay to spend five minutes a day working on something just for you. The December-January project is lace, and I figured that my lace shawl fits into that category!

Monthly Dishcloths KAL: 2 cloth patterns a month, and also on Yahoo Groups. I'll decide on this one once I see what the requirements are for January's cloths. This is an excerpt from the description on the Rav group: 1st of the Month KAL: These KALs have a monthly theme and usually have a picture of something pertaining to the month/season. Usually a solid color is best for pictured dishcloths. 16th of the Month KAL: These KALs are usually a repeating pattern of some type. I try to incorporate a “new” stitch. Maybe something that you haven’t tried yet. Variegated yarns are usually good to use for these KALs.

Stash Knitdown 2008: The January challenge is to knit a mile... that's about 1600 m {give or take} out of stash yarn. It actually runs from January 5th to February 19th, so I think that it's a doable goal with all of the stuff I have to work on!

Sweater-a-month: A goal-oriented group to motivate me to make {and finish!} a sweater a month! I will set Alex's hoodie as my first goal here.

January sock-a-longs and goals...

2008 Sock-a-long: January is a ribbed pattern, so my goal for this group will be to finish the pair of work socks I have OTN for Derek.

6 Sox Knitalong: This is a KAL group that makes 6 pairs of socks a year, one sock per month.

Sockamania: I have just joined this group, which is available for everyone to join on the blog. Once I receive my first pattern, I will decide whether or not I will participate.

Socknitters Anonymous: Another challenge group to knit more socks! The January assignment is a Cookie A. pattern or intarsia. None of the Cookie patterns have really inspired me that much, and I'm not interested in trying intarsia at this time, so I'll sit out this month.

Socknitters SAM: Another Yahoo Group that makes one pair of socks every two months. The January-February pattern hasn't been announced yet as of this writing.

Thrifty Knitters Sock Club: The patterns chosen for January are Bellatrix and Cabletini, but neither really inspire me that much. I may do the Bellatrix at another time, however. In the meantime, I'll just sit out this month with this group.

Lace Knitting... *sigh*

Lace and shawls are my main draw these days. In 2007 it was socks, and in 2008 it will be lace!

So far I've been very good {I think!}. I have only started one shawl so far, and that's my version of Stephanie's Snowdrop Shawl. I'm currently waiting for a lace needle to try out on it so that I can decide if I want to invest in a few more for future projects. The next project I want to do is Mystic Waters. I was a part of the Yahoo and Ravelry groups for this shawl, and now that the KAL is done, the FO is stunning and a definite must-do. Seraphina's shawl is done out of worsted weight yarn, so I am going to fit that one in there once my afghan is completed.

These are the lace-related groups that I belong to on Ravelry:

2KLace: This is a group that I hope will motivate me to complete the lace project(s) I am currently working on, as well as the ones I am planning to do.

Juno-Regina Along: An a-long created to knit Juno-Regina from Knitty as a group.

Lace Knitters: Another group to help motivate me... more in the way of help understanding and figuring out what I'm doing.

Laceapalooza: A group similar to Lace Knitters.

Muir-along: An a-long created to knit Muir from Knitty as a group.

Secret of Bad Nauheim: A mystery KAL by the designer of Chrysopolis.

Secret of the Stole ii: The 2nd SOTS KAL.

Seraphina's Shawl: A group devoted to those who want to knit, are knitting, or have knit this pattern.

Spring Shawl Surprise: Another mystery shawl KAL.

Monday, December 17

WTH?? Where's Nicole???

It's been a tumultuous time for me lately. I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of the details, but suffice it to say that things have finally started to turn around for us. With all that turmoil over {or nearly so}, I've been able to get back to thinking about myself and what I'd like to accomplish. Part of this is also blogging again. I've joined a multitude of groups and "alongs" to try and get myself motivated, as well as follow a few of my interests. Now what I need to do is sit down and actually establish realistic goals for myself, that includes taking care of the house as well as my projects and stash. Of course, this will all need to fit into my typically harried lifestyle/ work schedule. I will post my goals for the month on the first day of the month, and I will start draft posts for the end of each month to upload on the last day to hold myself accountable for those goals.

My stash: This needs serious reduction in the worst way. Part of that will require actually inventorying it so that I know what's there, and can congratulate myself accordingly when milestones/ goals are met. I want to have an inventory listed in Ravelry of what's currently inside my craft room by the end of January. I think that's realistic considering just *how* much yarn there is in there. As an added bonus, it will help organize the room better. Once I know where I'm at, then I can start setting goals towards working through it.

My current projects: I have more projects on the go right now than I possibly know what to do with. I've been trying quite hard to focus on one project at a time more lately, but I have yet to make any *real* difference in my amount of WIPs/ UFOs. I am progressing faster on individual projects since I'm not switching back and forth constantly, but I am still finding the lack of FOs to be discouraging. I need to figure out what to do about this.

My wish list of projects: I have several shawls that I would like to make in the new year, as well as a few a-month groups that I've joined. I'll need to find a place to organize all that, as well as set goals so that I'm not overwhelmed with WIPs. In the case of shawls, I want to finish my Snowdrop shawl, and then start on my Mystic Waters shawl.

Photographic proof & accountability: I am seriously behind in taking FO and stash shots. I want to have all of my FOs photographed by the end of the year, and all stash photographed as it is logged into Ravelry. Part of this will also be making sure that my sidebars in here in Blogger are up-to-date.

My home: Between insane work schedules and a serious case of the I-don't-give-a-damn's, my home has been seriously neglected. I have decluttering, redecorating, and yard/ garden plans that I'd like to institute here. I intend to start this by decluttering the living room, dining room, and kitchen, as well as redecorating them. I have already made many of my redecorating decisions, it's just a matter of budgetting them to make them a reality.

In closing, I just want to {re}state my goals for the month of December.
  1. Photographs of all FOs listed in Ravelry.
  2. Blog sidebars completely up-to-date.
  3. Decide on first three projects to focus on as of January 1st.
  4. All a-long's and a-month's listed *somewhere*.
  5. Computer desk and bookcase in living room completely decluttered.

Sunday, November 25

It comes in threes...

All things, both good and bad seem to come in threes. This week I've been blessed with a triple serving of good news. It certainly has been a long time coming, but Derek and I have finally received our blessings that we've been suffering through hardship after hardship for. The last few months have been very difficult for us. For the two people {are there even that many?!?} on the planet that don't already know this, our house in Winnipeg sitting unsold and empty for over 4 months has been a terrible strain on the two of us. Not being able to get a new job, and getting a shift {and days off} that I hate, has been a huge struggle for me personally {and by association, on Derek as well}. Additionally, when you consider that my pay was the only thing being deposited in our Winnipeg account, that job was keeping things barely afloat there. Even though Derek and I have never done the *my money/ your money* thing, I still felt like I was working all those hours, and driving all that time for basically nothing.

Good News #1:
The first bit of good news arrived on Monday morning. I was a bit ticked off because the girls had already left on the bus for school when I arrived home from work, and Alex was still at home! Derek was off work this past week, so he took the drive into Oak Lake with me so that we could take Alex to school, and stop off at Co-op to pick up bread and anything else that fell into our basket. While we were there I had another one of my "ohmygawd it's horrible living in a small town where everyone knows you even if you don't know who they are" moments. The manager comes up to us and asks me, "are you Nicole?" I am puzzled at how he knows my name, but tell him that I am. He then asks, "from Griswold?" Now I'm getting nervous, and thinking "what the heck did one of my kids do *NOW*?" I manage to squeak out that I *am* Nicole from Griswold. This is when he tells me that he's been trying to get in touch with me, and when I get a dirty look from Derek because *noone* can get through to the house because I have the internet on nearly all the time. He offers me a job working 2-3 days a week!!! He also mentioned the possibility of the hours dropping off after New Year's {which I am used to in retail}, as well as the fact that it may become available for full-time in the late spring. I somehow didn't squeal when I accepted his offer, and made arrangements to come in later on in the week to get my schedule and paperwork.
This couldn't have come at a better time. Even though I was working on a promotion at work so that I could work days with every weekend off, the additional earnings are worth *sooooo* much more than my management goals with our current cash crunch. It also opens up my options for what to do job-wise when our house sells in Winnipeg. In the meantime, it means that my online time *and* my sleep time will be seriously restricted... but it's not like I haven't survived on little to no sleep before {and for disgustingly long periods of time too!}. Oak Lake is about a 10 minute drive away, so it's not going to take too much of a toll on my gas usage either.

Good News #2:
The second bit of good news I got at work Friday night. Our store is going 24 hours Mon-Sat from Dec 3rd until Christmas. I had already planned on asking for cash training so that I could work the tills, when my manager asked me if I was willing to change my usual schedule for the three weeks, so that I could work at the fabric table on nights Monday through Friday. This means that after tonight, I won't have any more weekend nights to work until after Christmas!!! Co-op is only open until 6 pm, 6 days a week, so no nights there to interfere with my weekend-free joy! This truly is wonderful news since in the 3½ years I've been with Wal-Mart, pretty much the ONLY weekends I have EVER gotten off have been when travelling to other stores for them. So for the first time in... well... close to forever... I get to actually spend the night on a weekend with my hubby! {Get your mind out of the gutter, this is a family-friendly post... it's just amazing how important cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie with the family becomes when you CAN'T do it!} As an added plus, since I'll be working in the craft and fabric area, that means I'll be able to spend quite a bit of time examining {translation: shopping!} the fabrics and such for our decorating plans here at the house.

Good News #3:
And now the best for last... as of about 9pm last night, our old house is SOLD!!! The offer was less than we would have liked, but it's enough to cover our outstanding mortgage out in Winnipeg. We're expecting a Dec. 9th closing on that house, so by the end of this year Derek and I will know exactly where we stand financially. There's still a lot of utilities and such that need to be paid off, as well as our bridge financing on this house {that we unfortunately won't be able to repay with our house proceeds}. But, we *will* know who, what and where we still owe to, and will be able to make the arrangements needed to take care of the when.

After all that, I get to decide whether to drop down to part-time with Wal-Mart, or quit there entirely and just work at the Co-op and on my website!!! I think I need to make a nice big order to Knit Picks first though! *giggles*

Thursday, November 15

I'm at 20!!! Holy Crap!!!

Well it's official... I've hit the 20 pair mark for this year! That makes my average a little under 2 pairs a month, which is nothing to be ashamed of, unless you include the fact that my sock yarn stash doesn't seem to be getting any smaller!!! That's another 420 metres added to my total, which is now at 6087 metres... I'VE BROKEN THE 6 KM MARK!!!

On Tuesday afternoon I did the final stitches on the "Boss Wife Socks". These are the socks that I knit for the wife of Derek's boss Henry... whose socks were the last sock FO featured here. They've really been wonderful in everything they've done for us since {and even before} we moved out here, and it's just a small token of how much I {we} appreciate it. Clicking on the picture will take you to the Flickr page for it, or you can visit my main Flickr page to see all of my photos. If you want more details on these socks, leave me a comment, or go visit the project page on Ravelry. Of course you can view all my projects on my main projects page on Rav too!

Sheri's Socks

Saturday, November 10

Presenting, our award winning artist!!!

Well I'm more than proud of little Lissa!!! Unbeknownst to me, she was entered in a Halloween colouring contest at the True Value in Virden. First I found out about it was just before I left for work last night when I saw her prize waiting for her on the counter!!! I think it's just so cool! This is her and Alex showing off her prize and the picture that won it! Click on the picture to go see it at my Flickr page... where I have other family and crafty type shots!
Lissa the Artist, Alex the Model

Thursday, November 8

Less than three days!

Well, it *was* 5 calendar days, but it was 95% done in less than 2, and the other 3 days *were* working days, so they don't really count! I would guesstimate it took me about 15-20 hours of crocheting time from start to finish on this project... with well over an hour spent on the last round alone!

Three Day Table Topper

What *did* I accomplish?

Other than teaching my kids a few new curse words that were directed at my craptastic ISP over the last few days, I did manage a few productive things as well!

I got the table topper blocked and photographed... the pictures will follow in a day or so.
I made a between-projects dishcloth... part of my 10 dishcloths challenge.
I got nearly 2 full 2-pattern repeats done on the snowdrop shawl... status pic to follow in a day or so.
I got the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset picked up on the Tofu socks.
I got the ribbing done on Sheri's sock so that it's now a mindless knitting project.
I got 3 repeats of my sock design pattern done.
I frogged a cardigan I'd started for Lissa, and got the yarn balled up.
I frogged a pullover for Alex and restarted it in the round.
I cleaned out the inside of my computer and partially set it up in my craft room.
I located more of the "Lissa stash", and 2 different camo yarns for projects to work on while I teach knitting to a co-worker.

I still haven't decided what I'll be working on as my 3 projects... I will probably have to make it either 4 or 5, since I'll have 2 different ones going at work. Stay tuned!

What is so damned difficult about dial-up? {Bright Idea #926}

***WARNING: This post is most definitely not rated G.***

Well I just had a 2 day internet famine that was entirely *not* my fault! The stupid asshats at my ISP have proven once again that they got their membership cards for the human race out of a Cracker Jack box!!! It has taken them since around 8 or 9 am on Tuesday, until now to get my computer back on the net!

It all started with getting my logon corrected. The numb-nutted idiot that originally created my account obviously cannot read, or at least cut-and-paste. Our ISP is also our phone company, so the internet account is linked to our phone account. Our last name is RODGERS... so why we would want dnrogers as our family logon is beyond me. In order to correct that, they have to cancel the old account and create a new one. At least they didn't try to charge me the fee they normally charge for changing your logon. There's no way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that I would pay a single penny for their stupidity in not being able to read the name of the freakin' account holder!!! For some inane reason the front end of their computer network couldn't talk to the back end of their computer network about my account change, and so I was left stuck somewhere in the middle... my old account had been completely deleted, and the new one was in suspended animation. It took no less than half a dozen phone calls a day, each of which took at least an hour because of the voice mail hell/ muzak on hold purgatory that my call got shuffled into. Between trying my old logon, new logon, password resets, and every other hoop in Manitoba that they had me jump through, they *still* couldn't get my access back. Needless to say that {using my best Queen Victoria voice}, "we were *not* amused."

The second major problem that I tried to get fixed with my dial-up is the craptastic speed that I connect at. I have yet to see anything faster than 28.8 kbps, and have even connected slower a couple of times. For those of you that don't understand what that speed means, just think "slow boat to China..." and there's probably a leak in that boat that the crew needs to spend all their time bailing water instead of rowing! The "helpful" dipshit that I spoke to about my problem is probably too dumb to even know what the hell he's talking about unless he has one of those "help desk" programs open on his computer! After going through the fact that I'm not using a dinosaur computer powered by a hamster wheel, my phone line isn't a piece of string attached to a tin can, and that my idea of turning on a computer *isn't* rubbing up next to it; he had the brain wave that I need a new phone jack installed within 4 feet of my computer, preferably on its own line. Well, it's bad enough that we're paying $30/mo for this shite... now you want me to fork out at LEAST $70 to have them come down and install a jack, at least $50 for the new phone line, plus any charges for being out-of-town service call , and THEN pay another $30/mo for a second phone line? And STILL no guarantees that my speed will improve??? Especially when their own DSL lines run about 100 yards to the south of my house??? To hell with THAT crap... we're better off going for the stupid satellite!

And the sum total of all of this is that thanks to my ISP-from-hell, I've been knocked out of the NaBloPoMo contests because I missed 2 days posting.

Monday, November 5

It's done, done, done!!!

Yes!!! The three-day table topper is officially finished! I did the last few stitches on it when I got home from work this morning, wove in the ends, and washed it. As soon as I'm done this post, I'll be blocking it out and then going to bed. I'll get pictures of it up tomorrow probably. I won't be making a matching one after all... we don't carry the DMC Traditions at this store... that makes *that* decision a little easier!!!

Derek went digging in the store yesterday and found all kinds of goodies for me! I now have the power cord to one of my sewing machines, so I can finally get started on a bit of that! He also found a bag with a few balls of sock yarn in it... why wasn't that in my sock yarn bin? In any case, that's giving me the motivation to finally post some more of my stash on Ravelry.

I've started the heel turn on my Tofu socks, but I don't know what I want to work on here at home now that the table topper is finished. I joined a group that has you pledge to work on only three projects at a time. Well the Tofu is one, and I can't decide on the other two since I've got about seven different projects in front of me here at the computer, all in differing stages of completion.

Here are the choices:
  • Lissa's cardigan - nearly done
  • Lace shawl - barely started
  • Blue shawl - about 25%
  • Sheri's socks - just started sock #2
  • New sock design - about 4" knit of sock #1
  • Derek's socks - just started sock #1
  • Ripple ghan - 25%-ish

What do you think my choices for #2, and #3 should be? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Sunday, November 4

Sunday is for... snow???

Well I grabbed a large piece of cardboard on my way out of work today to block the table topper... it seems that Derek sent 90% of the cardboard *he* wanted to save from our move to the burn barrel!!! I didn't even have any to do my spray painting on yesterday! I think it will be staying in the car for the time being, since less than half an hour after getting home, it started to snow... and it's still coming down! I'm blaming it on Derek... he hung our Christmas lights up yesterday, which is the reason I got so little sleep... the incessant hammering made any kind of rest impossible!

Saturday, November 3

Saturdays are for sleeping!!!

Saturday mornings are one of the roughest of the week for me. My first night at work for the week is Friday, and I never seem to get a long enough nap before going in. No matter how carefully I plan, or what all I want to accomplish, Saturday tends to be a lost day in my life! Today when I came home from work I was planning on finishing the last round and a half of my table topper, blocking it out with the pins I bought, taking pictures of it, and finally blogging about it... my Three Day Table Topper!!! Even though I was getting quite dozy on the drive home, I still had every intention of completing that goal... but Blogger had other ideas. I spent the better part of 45 minutes just trying to log in because my computer decided that it needed to reboot overnight. That frustrated me to no end, to the point I'm just gonna say "sod it all!", and head off to bed. Hopefully tomorrow, or even later on today will be better, and I can continue on where I left off!

Friday, November 2

Friday... Waxing Philosophic

I've decided that Fridays are Philosophical here. For a large portion of the world, Friday represents the start of the weekend. For me, Friday night is the start of my work week, and probably explains why I feel so bass ackwards in comparison to nearly everyone I know. I'll use Fridays to write an essay about what I think about whatever I happen to be thinking about.

Today's Essay: Why Do I Knit?

One of the most common questions I hear as a knitter is, "why do you knit?" This also applies to crocheting, but I will use knit as a general term to cover all of the crafts that I enjoy. My standard answer to the question is, "to stay sane." With any possible combination of 7 kids, their assorted friends, and hubby around the house, my level of sanity is often open for debate. The truth of the matter is that there is a *lot* more to my knitting than *just* sanity.

"Is sanity overrated?"
There is nothing more soothing to a troubled soul than the rythmic repetition that simple stitching can provide. Feeling the fibre between your fingers as the fabric continues to flow from your needles. It is the knitter's version of watching a slow-flowing stream. It's peaceful, and brings serenity to your soul. As you unwind the ball of yarn to knit it, the everyday, and even the extra-ordinary, stresses of life can unwind along with it. You take those stresses and turn them into something beautiful, or at least useful in some way. The simple task of knitting a few dpns-worth of a sock is all it takes to de-stress a bit at work. A row or two of a shawl or an afghan at home is all it takes to regroup after one of life's many annoyances. It's a reminder that life *does* go on, and in the end you will make it to your own personal destination.

"Hey! Look what I just made!"
Knitting also provides me with a great sense of satisfaction. Be it a plain dish cloth, or a gossamer-thin, wedding ring shawl, it's something that I have created with my own two hands. Simple patterns provide satisfaction in the speed and the volume produced. The more complex patterns are satisfying in that they challenge me to work harder and think as I work. There are times where your mind is going a million miles a minute, and some plain stockinette or garter stitch forces it to slow right down. There are times where your mind is begging to be given a workout, and that's the time to pull out the laceweight and your most complex charts. No matter what the pattern or the project, it's all done one stitch at a time, the difficulty of those stitches is completely up to you.

"Because I like it, that's why!!!"
I don't think any other reason is truly necessary when asked why one knits. On any given day of the week, there could be any one of a dozen reasons why I've picked up my needles. It's possible that I need to have this sock finished up for a gift; a new design worked out; a dishcloth to replace the one the kids decided to use cleaning the patio. It could also be just as simple as "because I want to". The fact of the matter is that no matter which particular motivator is in play at that particular time, the only *true* reason that I knit, crochet, whatever is simply... because I like it.

Thursday, November 1

And we're off!!!

Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, and as you can see in my sidebar, I've joined this year. I'm looking forward to the challenge of posting on a daily basis since my Internet connection seems to be dicey at times. I have a couple of projects that I'm looking forward to showcasing this month, and hope that all of you reading will enjoy the frequent updates.

The main portion of my crafting efforts right this moment are going on to a doily that I had originally started when I was back in Calgary. It's called "Crocus Doily", and the pattern is available free on the Coats site here. I bought two balls of DMC Traditions in an ecru, and a suitably sized hook. Unfortunately, it was a Bates hook, and I really prefer to use a Boye. Fast forward to two days ago, and I have pulled this UFO out of its personal dungeon. I was on the 8th round of 25, and just wasn't happy with it. Since I had decided to change hooks to one that I was more comfortable with, I let Alex have a blast and frog the whole thing for me! I restarted it on a 1.9 mm Boye, and the resulting fabric seems so much nicer than my first attempt. I got all the frogged thread recrocheted that day, and have barely stopped since! I'm now on round 17, and I think that I just may have it done before I go back to work Friday night! The pattern says the finished size is 23", and if that's correct, this doily/ table topper may end up on one of our endtables in the living room. The only problem with that is that I would then want to make a matching one for the other table. This causes problems for me on several fronts. 1) I generally never make a pattern more than once; 2) This pattern isn't worded the best, and I need to translate nearly every round's instruction into something that makes sense to me; 3) The pattern calls for a ball and a half of the thread that I'm using, and I don't think I'll be able to get the same dyelot here, so that means I'd need to buy 2 more balls of it, leaving half a ball of leftovers of each lot.

I'll probably make the final decision on this after I've finished and blocked this one. In the meantime does anyone have any suggestions? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller???

Monday, October 29

And now as promised... PICTURES!!!

Yes! I've actually got the photographic proof that I've been accomplishing something around here. The only thing that didn't make it into this shoot was my new sock design. I'm going to keep that under wraps for the moment. I've uploaded blog-sized photos here, but if you are interested in seeing the larger versions, you can view them on my Flickr account. I also have some recent family shots added there as well.

Here's the finished photo of the socks I made for Derek's boss as a thank you for all the help and such they've given us. I hope he likes them! I even included a little card titled: "The Care and Feeding of your Hand-Knit Socks"!
Henry's Socks

Here's where I currently am with my first laceweight project, Steph's "Snowdrop Lace Shawl" done in Clea on 4 mm needles.
Snowdrop Lace Shawl

This is the current state of my blue shawl. It's around 16" and I've used up 2 balls of Patons Glittallic on it so far. Derek chose the yarn and the pattern, so I'm looking forward to finishing this one.
Blue Diamond Lace Shawl

2 balls down... ? to go???

I've been nursing my *illness* today mainly by knitting away on stuff. I've just finished the second ball of Patons Glittallic in my "Blue Stole". I have no idea how much of this stuff I still have lying around, but I'm guesstimating that there's at least 8 in total since the original pattern called for 6. It's going to be very nice once completed, and will actually be useful somewhat.

I've also done the first lace repeat of my new sock design, and did a repeat on my snowdrop shawl. I didn't get any pictures taken because I didn't feel up to going outside for a photo shoot, but I did get my template updated a bit to reflect my recent progress.

Nineteen and counting!!!

Well, it's official now... I've finished my nineteenth pair of socks this year. The "Boss" Work Socks are done. I'll be taking pictures the morning and posting them then, but I just had to brag now!!! I've cast on another pair of work socks of course! This pair is an oatmeal pair with green stripes for Derek. Until I get my initial order from Briggs & Little for the store, I only have one more pair's worth of Tuffy left in my stash. I *finally* started my paperwork for becoming a retailer, so hopefully that will all be getting off the ground very soon. I also cast on a pair using the yarn that Derek bought for me when he was in Winnipeg last month. This pair will be one of the new designs I'm hoping to feature at the store when I get it back online.

Sunday, October 28

Lace, lace, and more lace!!!

My snowdrop shawl is slowly progressing, and I've rescued another shawl from the UFO pile.

The rescued shawl is wide stole done in a diamond stitch with Patons Glittalic. I started it before I found Rams, so I'd guesstimate the yarn was bought around 2 years ago. I've gotten about two repeats done on it this weekend, and I'll keep working on it until I stop finding balls of the Glittalic lying around!!!

I'm working on my intital snowdrop lace repeat. It seems to be going okay, but I still think that the lace made out of laceweight thread looks like a bunch of barf! I'm just going to have to trust that it will block out nicely! I'll have new pictures of it up soon.

I stopped in at the LYS in Brandon yesterday. I was thrilled to find out that she's usually open long before her posted 9:30 am, which is good news to me. I picked up a set of Addi bamboos to try out and ordered an Addi lace needle to try on this shawl. I hope it doesn't take too long to come in, and I am really looking forward to seeing how they compare to the Turbos. We discussed my wants/needs for laceweight and came to the decision that we'll order in Fleece Artist for me when I have a pattern in front of me. She doesn't normally stock laceweight, and the one line that she can get in easily is extremely pricey for me... around $25 for under 400 yards. I would have gone for it if it was about 800 yards, but ordering $75 worth of laceweight for one project simply isn't doable right now.

Friday, October 26

The Year of the Shawl

2007 has certainly turned out to be the year of the sock for me! 18 pairs so far and still counting. I've joined a few shawl groups, and have decided that 2008 will be the year of the shawl for me. I'm kicking this off by casting on my Snowdrop Shawl today {picture below}. I've got it listed in my projects on Ravelry, and have a larger picture linked there from my Flickr. The thread is Clea 1000 that I bought at Ram Wools during their January sale, and I'm using 4.0 mm needles for it. Just from the cast on I can see the truism about knitted lace... it *does* look like shit!!! I know it will block out nice, and I have some hopes for this shawl that I'm knitting into it. I'm hoping to make this project one of my "storylines" for NaBloPoMo as well. Wish me luck!

Snowdrop Shawl casted on

Ready... Set... Go NaBloPoMo!!!

Well I've signed up for NaBloPoMo. What's that you ask? Well it's a challenge to post to your blog every day for the month of November. I'm gonna try for it even though my dial-up connection and Blogger don't get along very well. Wish me luck! I'm hoping that it will keep me moving fast on my various online and knitting goals, even if it drives everyone in the house nuts with not being able to use the phone!

Thursday, October 18

A shawl is born!!!

I'm waiting until there's good light to take a picture, but I had to announce that Princess Lissa has a completed shawl at long last! I finished it off this afternoon, and will be fighting to get a higher resolution photo of the completed shawl up in the next day or so. It ended up being about 32" from tip to tip across the neck, 22" from middle back to the point, and 42" from tip to point on either side. It *is* a bit big for her tiny body, but she should get a couple of years wear out of it before it's too small to be useful.

Wednesday, October 17

A little dab will do ya!

Well the last few days have been a little bit of this, and a little bit of that... the sum total of which is actual progress!!!

I've been knitting mostly on Lissa's shawl. I've finished off the first ball of yarn, and am now well into the second. It's now measuring around 34" across the top. I've decided to work on that rather than her sweater until it's done. At this rate, that should only be a few days. My goal is to have it done before my weekend ends.

My other accomplishment this "week" has been completing my Tofu sock #1, and starting the second sock. Since I have at-home projects that I'm focussing on, this will be mainly done as an at-work project. I'm looking forward to having another finished pair of socks soon!

Friday, October 12

You oughta be in pictures!!! Part Four

Now in the last installment, I bring you stash shots!!! This is the yarn that Derek bought for me when he was in Winnipeg for the weekend in mid-September.

This is one of the Super Soxx Surprise packages from Ram's... it was Derek's initial reason for going there to begin with. As he was making out his list of stuff to do and get in Winnipeg, he asked me if I'd like one... of course I said "YES!!!"

This is one of the two skeins of Tuffy that he bought as well. I mentioned to him that if he was going to Ram's anyway, it would be nice if he picked himself up some more sock wool... I only have enough for one other pair right now!

You oughta be in pictures!!! Part Three

In this installment I bring you Lissa's shawl!

This is the overall view of her shawl in progress. From middle back to the outer edge is about 11" at this point. I haven't decided on final length yet as I'm about halfway through the first ball of yarn for this project.

A closer view of the Cat's Paw pattern that I'm using for her shawl. I think it adds just the right touch for a little girl's shawl.

You oughta be in pictures!!! Part Two

Part two of today pictorial... this one has my scrap yarn projects, namely the Ripple Afghan and the Cotton Floor Mat.

This is an overhead shot of the afghan. It's currently around 20" in length. I haven't decided yet how long I will make it. It's hard to tell how wide it is due to the relatively short length of the circ I'm using.

A closer shot to highlight the pattern that I'm using for the afghan.

This is the current status of my cotton floor mat. It's about 10"x16" at this point. I haven't decided how large I'll be going, but at least twice this size for sure.

You oughta be in pictures!!!

I've been busy with another one of my weekend goals... PICTURES!!! The quality ain't the best, but that's about all I can do with the dial-up. I'm gonna separate this into a couple of posts so that I don't overwhelm my system! This post will be my current socks.

These are Henry's socks... nearly done! The gusset stitches for sock #2 have already been all picked up, so it's just a matter of knitting the foot and weaving in ends on this one.

This is the first sock for Henry's wife. It will be staying at this point until I find out what her shoe size is.

This is the first picture of my Tofu socks. The pooling is... well... interesting. The tiny needles and resulting tiny guage is driving me crazy!

This shows the other side of my first Tofu sock. The pooling between the two sides makes me think of a 60's flower power design!!!

Pause, regroup, continue.

I was sooo thrilled yesterday about Lissa's sweater that it was devastating when I had to stop cold after finishing up the sewing. Alas, I could only find 3 of my 6.5 mm dpns, and since I would need at least 4, I couldn't do the other sleeve cuff. Then I wanted to sew the buttons on so that I could decide if I wanted the fur trim on the button band, and only 2 kitten buttons were to be found! I *know* that I bought at *least* three different sets of at least 4 buttons for this sweater, but they are all obviously in a safe place. The sweater is now on the side of Derek's computer desk until I can buy another set of dpns and some buttons on Saturday morning at work.

After that disaster, I created another one by hunting for Lissa's shawl. I *knew* that I had been working on it in Calgary, so it wouldn't have been *too* badly buried, and should be in a box that I could at least identify as me having packed it. I tore through our bedroom, as the shawl was last in our bedroom in Winnipeg... no luck. Next stop of course is the craft room. After a bit of digging around, I had a brain wave... yes, that's scary I know, but I digress! I had a box that was still taped up that was labelled "shawls"... whoodathunkit??? Yup, the shawl, the pattern, *and* the other ball of yarn for it were all in a bag in the box. YAY!!! I'm knitting away on that now and have my fingers crossed that I'll have this done soon... that will mean *another* search and destroy mission when I go hunting for the yarn and pattern for the Snowdrop shawl I'm making next on these needles!!!

Thursday, October 11


Yes... I realize I'm using all caps... I'm YELLING!!! I can't yell it loud enough!!! It's gonna fit!!! Well actually, it's more of a "Thank God I made it a size 4 instead of 2" kind of moment, but I'll take what I can get. What in the world is she talking about are you wondering??? I'm talking about Lissa's long-forgotten Dot Stitch Cardigan. The original posts about it are on the May 2006 archives. I haven't done more than look inside the bag since coming back from Thompson in June 2006, so it's wonderful that Lissa will still be able to get some use out of this cute sweater.

I hauled it out of my room this afternoon after I got the gusset stitches picked up on the Boss Socks. Inside the bag were the parts of the sweater, the pattern, and a partial skien of Fun Fur. After trying it on Lissa, I looked over the pattern and what I had to see whether or not this was doable... and it is!!! I'm currently sewing the second sleeve in, and will work on ends before hunting down what I need. I'm probably going to undo the cast off on the other sleeve cuff as it's kind of snug. I will do that at the same time as I knit the cuff on this sleeve. The fun fur fabric really stretches, so I want to cast them off with a larger needle. I also need to decide if I am going to do the trim along the side of the front edge or not as well. After that it's simply a matter of finding the buttons and sewing them on.

One weekend knitting goal met!!!

I set myself quite a few goals to get done on my weekend, and the first of the knitting goals has been met... the heel turn has been done on the Boss Work Socks, and gusset stitches picked up. Now I need to go find the two Lissa UFOs and assess what needs to be done there. GO ME!!!

What's a woman to do???

I'm having trouble trying to decide what to do, and what to work on. Don't we all seem to have that problem from time to time? I have a couple of projects that have been hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles and I still can't seem to get moving on them.

Two of my most troubling ones {at this moment in time} are for Lissa. The first is a really cute cardigan with a "fur" collar that I started well over a year ago. I knit up 95% of it really quick, and the finishing of it has been stagnating ever since. I don't think I've even touched it since I was in Thompson... if you look back to my May or June archives in 2006, I'm pretty sure I have pics of it there since I was indecisive about which buttons to use for it. I think it would take me about 2-3 days devoted to it to finish it, but I would have to evaluate it first.

The second is a shawl that I *had* wanted to finish for Lissa over a little more than a week. It was to be for her to wear to the kid's Christmas party for Derek's work. {If you are on my MSN list, you can see what she *did* wear as my avatar} At that time, the goal seemed quite attainable, but as life tends to do, it got in the way. The reason story I'm sticking to is that right after starting it, I was sent to do the Portage la Prairie store set-up, and the 3 hours of driving time every day cut into my home-knitting time too much. Since putting it down right after the party, I've only picked it up a few times to work maybe a repeat or three of the pattern. If I'm not in one of the cat's paw rows, it's a mindless knit, and I really should get working on it. What gets me, is that I've promised myself that I won't buy another 4.5 mm Addi to start a shawl for me... I *have* to finish this, since putting the shawl on waste yarn to rescue the needle will doom this shawl to UFO status permanently.

Do any of you get like this? Do any of you have any suggestions for me? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, October 10

Random Wednesday

It may be Wednesday for you, but it's Friday for me!!! I'm *really* hating the stupid days off I've been given. I guess I'm just frustrated because I was *so* close to getting *real* weekends off back in Winnipeg, and I was counting on getting day shift out here. Anyhoo... off with the rant, and on to the randomness!!!

I'm knitting again in bits and pieces. I can't handle very long at a stretch, but some knitting is better than no knitting. Crocheting is still off-limits for the time being. I've been playing on Ravelry, and adding groups and working on my notebook. I'm gonna be taking some pictures on my weekend of my WIPs and getting them up here and on Rav. Sheri's socks are still on hold until I find out her shoe size. Henry's second sock has been started, and I should be turning the heel during my weekend. I'm about 60 rounds down the foot of Tofutsies #1, but with the tiny guage, I can see my usual 60-65 round foot easily becoming 80 or more. *sigh* I've resisted the temptation to start another pair of socks, and have been knitting away on my afghan.

The yarn shop is still a WIP... having two mortgages is a *HUGE* drain on the finances, and I need that money to put in my initial yarn orders. Cross your fingers for me that the house sells soon!!!

The other thing I've been working on is *finally* getting around to working on my podcast. I have gotten majorly side-tracked on that project, and it's beyond time to get it going. I'm looking for topics, and have a few essay ideas to work on.

Thursday, October 4

And now for something completely different!!!

Yes... something completely different... a post where I don't spend 99% of it bitching about my crappy interweb!!!

First the bad news... I've developed a repetitive motion injury from using my boxcutter at work. That means I'm not supposed to allowed to knit. That only caused a temporary stop to my work, and I'm back knitting again, albeit carefully choosing projects, and limiting my time on them.

I finished another dishcloth at the flea market. I managed to sell a little bit, but not enough to pay for my first B&L order like I had originally hoped. No fear though, I am damned and determined to get that order in!!!

I've gotten the first work sock done for Derek's boss, and finally got through all the gusset decreases on my Tofu socks. I started a pair of plain stockinette for Sheri {boss' wife} out of some stash sock yarn; Dazzle Super Socks in a blue/teal/green jacquard colourway. I've just finished the gusset decreases on the first one of those.

I've gotten a few more colour repeats done on the ripple afghan for the living room. It measures about 14-16" now. Once my wrist can handle more knitting, I'll be able to get back to my goal of 2-4 repeats a week on it. The kitchen floor mat out of my cotton yarn leftovers is currently stalled. I use pencil hold for crocheting, and that's just *not* doable right now.

And now, the best for last... I'M ON RAVELRY!!!! Yes, I *am* yelling! There Lyz... you can SHUT UP NOW!!! I'm on there... I'm *still* not spinning though! *sticks tongue out at best friend*

Sunday, September 16

This dial-up crap is just that... CRAP!!!

I'm still connecting at 28.8, and getting even more disgusted with it! It takes me over half an hour to download the 60-Second Science podcast!!! I'm back working at Wal-mart, but still hoping for other options... particularly once our house back in Winnipeg sells.

One of the things I'm working on is selling yarn through my web site. I had to take it all down when we moved since we changed ISPs. Once *my* computer is up and running, I want to completely re-vamp it. Part of that will be offering yarn for sale. I've been contacting several Canadian yarn companies, and have gotten, or will be getting wholesale information from them. I'm not going to jinx it, but hopefully I will have my first items up in time for Christmas. I'm starting with Canadian products that I already use and love, so that I can whole-heartedly recommend them. I'm also working on some designs that utilize these wools... perhaps available in kit form.

Since my shifts were all screwy this week, I've gotten very little done knitting/ crocheting-wise. I *did* take a first-aid course yesterday, and I scored 100% on my exam! I'm now first-aid certified!!! I've gotten a bit further in my F&F afghan, and a bit further on my crocheted floor mat, and a bit further on both pairs of socks currently OTN... didn't make a single dishcloth this week though.

Hopefully I will be able to post again before my weekend, and that I'll have some good news to post... keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, September 9

Back online... well sorta!!!

Well we are now officially residents of Griswold... or as Alex puts it, "the middle of nowhere!" The kids have started school, Derek is used to the commute on the highway, and I'm back at work on Monday night. I'm quite upset about that, as I wanted days, and was trying to find something closer... but in the meantime it will pay the other mortgage.

The biggest problem in being out here is the lack of services... BIG TIME!!! Until finances allow for a riduclous monthly internet bill, I'm stuck with dial-up. What's super crappy about it, is that I can only connect at 28.8 kbps... I'm not going to get into how long it's taking to get ANY of my podcasts!

In better news, I've finished sock pair number 18. I will need to add that to the totals, but I'm not chancing it right now as I've had major issues even logging in to blogger. I've also been knitting up dishcloths like they are going out of style. There's a flea market here on the 29th, and I'm hoping to be able to clear out a bunch of stuff. I'm also trying to work out the details in expanding my online shop... Wish me luck in all of this!

Wednesday, August 15

Hey, hey, hey seventeen!!!

Yup, it's official now... seventeen freaking pairs of socks that I have finished this year!!! I grafted the toe on Derek's bluejean Tuffy pair last night while watching "Thirteen Days" for the third time. I actually made it through the ENTIRE movie this time without falling asleep! I'm quite proud of myself for both accomplishments *teehee* That adds another 392 m to my total. I'm nearly at 5 KILOMETRES of sock yarn!!! Can you believe it? I know I can't! I'll be casting on an oxford grey pair of work socks for Derek as soon as my hands behave this morning. I hope to have the stripes done before I go to work tonight.

The next two weeks are gonna be busy ones. I only have 7 more shifts at work. *YAY* I have Knit-out at the Forks on Sunday, and McNally's on Tuesday. Next Friday is my last night at work, and Saturday is the party my aunt is throwing for us. Sunday-Monday-Tuesday is moving. I'm very proud of the progress I'm making here. I've put up quite a bit on Freecycle to get rid of, the garbage bins behind our house are never empty, and the Salvation Army store is almost ready to make a permanent spot for my car at the donation door!!!

On the new house front, we now have a PO box, and a phone number. I have the kids' school supply lists... HOLY CRAP!!! I've been spoiled with only having to pay a fee for the kids for the last 10 years or so!!! Derek will be bringing home the transfer papers this weekend. We're moving on the 26th or 27th, and even though the phone is getting hooked up on the 27th, I'm not sure when I'll be setting up the Interweb. I'm hoping it won't be too long. It will only be dial-up, so I can see me doing a LOT of stuff offline, and then hopping on just long enough to get everything updated. I still need to take "The Purl in the Oyster" website down since the ISP change will mean that I will lose that web space.

All the packing in the front room this week has led me to the following conclusion: I HAVE TOO MUCH FREAKING ACRYLIC YARN!!!! I have absolutely no clue what I'm going to do with all of that stuff. I can only off-load so much to Rebecca. I know I'll be crocheting up quite a few lapghans and such. I'll definitely need an afghan to keep in my car. It may be only 20 minutes or so to either Virden or Brandon, but this still *is* Manitoba, and we still *do* have wicked winters. Better safe than sorry, right?

Monday, August 13

Work boot approved!!!

Well Derek's feet didn't fare too well during his first week back in steel toed boots. This silly guy was afraid to ruin the new socks I had made him by wearing them in his boots. After I told him that *that* is why I made them for him, he decided to try them out last week. He'd gotten several blisters his first week, despite double-socking. He proclaimed that when he wore his new socks, he couldn't feel the blisters at all. Only problem is that *this* weekend when he came home... he tossed them not only in the washer without the protection of the laundry bag, but he threw them in the DRYER as well. I couldn't look... I'll see them next weekend... I hope. I'm afraid -- *very* afraid. The only bright side of this possible disaster is that I somehow made the legs of that pair two different lengths... about half an inch of difference, so when I make the replacements {if necessary}, I can rectify that.

His second pair of work socks is nearly off of the needles. As of this writing, I only have about 20 more rows to the toe decreases of the second sock. That means he will have a fresh pair waiting for him when he comes home on Friday. As an added bonus, Derek has said that we can go to Rams on Saturday to stock up on my supply of Tuffy. It's not like I won't have something to knit in the meantime. I've started a pair for him in Durasport using a pattern given to me by a designer friend of mine. I've also got 2 more hanks of Tuffy in charcoal to get another pair of work socks started as soon as these ones are done.

On the home front, we move in 2 weeks!!! I have 7 more shifts left at my store, or 52.5 hours. Yes, I'm counting the hours already!!! I have plenty of work socks to knit, and plenty of packing to do during that time. I'll be on my two weeks vacation when we move, so that will require even more sock knitting, and even more unpacking! I can't wait... yes... really!

Tuesday, August 7

Another ball of sock yarn gone!!!

Yup, I finished the Mega Boots Stretch socks for Derek this weekend. That makes SIXTEEN pairs of socks, and another 400 m added to my total distance knitted this year! I started a pair in Durasport in green for him, and finished off the first sock in the second pair of Tuffy socks, this time in blue jean for him. I'm just trucking along here!

Thursday, August 2


Yup, I just updated my sidebar to realize that the 14th pair of socks to come off my needles this year was Derek's work socks that I finished up on Sunday before he left for Virden. That makes over 4 km knit this year in socks!!! I just turned the heel on the first sock of his next pair, so those will be finished soon too.

Wednesday, August 1

Our new house... well in a month anyway!

I'm not going to bother apologizing for being such a bad blogger lately... but I *will* apologize for this image-heavy post. I'm very proud of our {nearly ours} new house, and I'm posting this for those of you that are interested in seeing it. If you're not interested, you might as well stop the page loading now 'cause it's gonna take a while!!! *ROFL*

Griswold, Manitoba

We are moving to the village of Griswold. It's located approximately half-way between Brandon and Virden on Hwy. #1. You can see the other half of our property here. Scroll down the page to the general store, and that's on the right side of the house. According to the website, there's about 30 people living there. With the two that are moving out, and the seven of us moving in, that's a population explosion of 17%!!!


This is the view of our house as taken from the road looking down the driveway. The store section of the property is just to the right of where this photo was taken.

This is the front of the property line, and shows about half of the frontage we have. Where the hedges end, is where our property ends.
Front hedge

This is the front of the house. The bay window on the right is the dining room and the living room is on the left. Somewhere in here I need to find room for Mom's peonies... they *are* coming with us.
Front of house

This is the left {north} side of the house. The living room is in the front and one of the larger bedrooms is in the back. This is likely where we will have our garden until we tear down the other building. The septic tank is in the back, so can't garden there!!!
North side of house

Inside - Main Floor: Kitchen, Dining Room & Living Room

This is the first thing we saw when we got in the house to view, and it sold both of us immediately! An oak kitchen is what Derek has dreamed about for years, and in about a month, that dream will come true for both of us!

This is what made me fall over... a wall of built-in glass cabinets. Mom's crystal, china, and silver is going to look stunning in that!
Glass cabinets

This is the kitchen and dining area as seen from the living room. Even though the oak is fairly dark, I still think that the stainless steel appliances that Derek and I want will look very nice in there.
Kitchen - Long view

This is the living room. I'm so happy to be having a 'picture' window again. I can't remember the last time I had a nice big living room window like that... probably when I was still living with Mom 18 years ago! We'll need to get something for in front of it so that Aladdin can sit there and look out the window. These sills are *way* too narrow for his fat butt! The half wall is actually a built-in bookcase, and is currently set up as a reading corner... I think renaming it a knitting corner is a good idea, don't you?
Living room window

Another view of the living room. It shows off the size of it a lot better. I'd guess that it's around the same size or a bit bigger than what we have now, but seems huge in comparision as it's physically separated from the dining room. Derek doesn't want any computers in there, but we may do that at if we can't get a computer set up in the kitchen under the glass cupboards... I'm hoping to get a portable dishwasher to fill that space anyway! *teehee*
Living room - long view

Inside - Main Floor: Bedrooms, Craft Room, & Bathroom

This is the bedroom on the northeast corner of the house, and the one that I'm leaning towards for our room. The house currently doesn't have A/C, and the north side will be more protected from the sun, and therefore the heat in the summer.
Bedroom #1

This is the southeast bedroom, and the one I'm leaning towards for Alex & Melissa to share. It will easily fit two twin beds, and we need them upstairs. I don't trust them downstairs at night! *LOL*
Bedroom #2

Even though this is the third bedroom on the main floor, it's too small to be a decent bedroom. I'm not even sure if a twin bed would fit in there, just a futon. Derek has allowed me to claim this as my craft room. The cabinets should be staying, so between that and the closet, I should have a lot of storage room. One of the computers will also be set up in here. Hopefully I won't need to completely take over the rest of the house with it... just some of it!
Bedroom #3/ Craft room

This is the main bathroom. It's not out-dated, so Derek and I won't need or want to do any renovations in there right away. The downstairs has a half bath with a shower drain already installed. Getting a shower stall and fixtures installed down there for the girls to use will be fairly high on our priority list.
Main bath


When you get to the bottom of the stairs, this is what you see... a totally 70's rec room! It's absolutely huge, and Derek desperately wants to get a pool table for it! Until I relent, it's going to be the main living area for the kids.
Rec room

This is the wet bar. I see it as being the kids' kitchen. You can fit a full-sized refrigerator behind there, so I think that would be a good idea. They can take care of their own dishes and such right there in the sink!
Wet bar

I only included this picture because we've been joking about having an indoor pool. Behind the blue wall is actually the cistern for our water. Our top priority for the house is changing the furnace over from oil to wood/electric, and getting this water storage outside. Derek is thinking about making this area his workout room once we do that. I'll be glad just to have the humidity level in the house drop!

This is the one of the bedrooms in the basement. It's fairly small, but a twin bed and such will easily fit in there.
Bedroom #4

This is the last bedroom in the house. It's a mirror image of the other one in the basement. We will need to set up bunkbeds in one of these rooms eventually so that they can be shared.
Bedroom #5

Wednesday, July 4

A-socking we will go!

While in Calgary, I didn't seem to get as much knitted up as I had expected. I suspect it was because I spent quite a bit of time out of my hotel room for sanity purposes, as well as the fact that I worked for about 9 hours a day and didn't take any days off. I did get some stuff done though, and I'll put up pics soon of them. I also got a few things started, and I need to update my ticker as well as my sidebars.

On my weekend home I finished up my STR socks, and started on a generic pair out of Mega Boots stretch for Derek. When I returned to Calgary, I cast on another pair of Hockey Socks for him as well. The FO adds another 300 m to my distance travelled. I still need to add up what all I bought in Calgary, as well as my pre-flight purchases at Rams to add them to my total available distance.

Currently I have 3 pairs of socks on heavy rotation. I have to cast on the second sock of Derek's Hockey Socks, have just started the second sock of the Mega Boots, and have cast on a pair out of Tofutsies for myself. Once completed, these will add 392, 400, and 425 m to my total respectively.

She's baaaaaaaack!!!

Well I'm finally back home from Calgary! This time for good {temporarily maybe!}. It's been a very long 6 weeks, and I have quite a few pictures and some yarn to show for it! We're busy preparing the house for the move, and I need to get things set up to move many of the Purl in the Oyster sales pages as we will be changing internet providers.

A lot has happened in the last month and a half, and I hope to be able to bring you all up to date. I guess the first thing I should explain about is our move. While I was in Calgary, Derek was offered {and accepted} a promotion with his company. He will soon be the new assistant manager in Virden. This requires us to move 3 hours west of Winnipeg, selling our house, and buying a new one. This is where most of my time, energy, and money will be going for the next while. I also need to find out about getting a transfer to the Brandon Wal-Mart, as well as hopefully being able to get placed at the Airdrie, AB renovation which runs until October.

Sunday, June 10

Forgotten FO report...

I forgot to report my first FO of June. I didn't quite make it to finish it in May, but June 1st is okay too! I got my "Pretty Work Socks" done. That adds another 234 m to my marathon total. I've kept careful notes on how I made them, so once I get home I can type it all up and get them listed on my website.

I haven't finished anything else yet. I am actually quite disappointed with my poor knitting progress out here. I have, however, been working with my STR. I had gotten the leg of my first sock done in a pretty lace pattern when I discovered that the leg was *way* too big. I frogged it all back, and decided to go ahead with a generic sock. I'm now on the gusset decreases of the first sock in that pair.

My lacy design in Regia 4 fadig hasn't been touched in over a week. I broke one of the dpns, and havent' gotten around to fixing it all up to be knit on 3 working needles. I am still on the gusset decreases of my FA socks. Somewhere I screwed up the decreases and have a different number of stitches on my two foot needles. Once I figure out where I screwed up, I'll get working on those again. I also have to get Lissa's bumble bee socks done... *sigh* so many socks, so little time!!!!

Saturday, June 9

Till we meet again Wendy...

I am in a large ballroom of a fancy hotel. There are preparations going on around me for an immense party. Is it a wedding reception or just a huge gala? I am unsure, but I know that whatever it is, it's *very* important, and for someone important. Everyone is rushing around making sure that everything is perfect. Every single detail is being studied and re-checked to make sure that nothing is forgotten, not a thing overlooked. I am confused, but doing everything I can to make sure that I am doing my part and helping with the fancy decorations. I am rushing around just like everyone else and working hard to get everything done in time. There is a feeling of urgency, but not to the point that you are being pushed into rushing too much, and making a tragic mistake. Everything must be "just so", and you take just the needed amount of time to do it, and get it done right. Next thing I know, the phone is ringing... I awaken from my deep slumber to answer the phone. On the other end is the saddened, distant voice of my husband, trying to explain to me in my semi-conscious state that our precious Wendy has passed on. I am upset by the news even though it wasn't completely unexpected. I am confused and bewildered by my strange dream and how I was woken up. I don't often dream, and even more rarely do I remember them, but this dream moved my soul in a way that I can't describe.

That night at work I was a zombie. My eyes were open but my mind was a million miles away. It was the same reaction I had when my Mom passed away. I was in mourning, but I didn't know what else to do but go to work. I suppose this is how I deal with grief... pushing it away and only dealing with tiny little bits at a time. How else can you explain someone serving coffee at a coffeeshop not even 12 hours after her mom died??? I found meticulous tasks to do to keep myself busy. Many of my co-workers hate doing things like that, so it is easy to find tons of the tiny, time-consuming products to put out.

I am alone with my thoughts and I am drawn to meaning behind this strange dream that I remember. All of a sudden it all hits me... I was dreaming of the preparations in heaven for Wendy. She was loved by all that knew her, and will be greatly missed by all those that she left behind. Who else, but someone so beloved would be worthy of this kind of reception? She isn't gone... not at all. She is simply somewhere else right now, awaiting the rest of us to join her in paradise, with a spirit that is no longer ravaged by that evil cancer. She is reaping the rewards of her earthly life now as those of us left behind mourn our loss and wait for the day that we will all be reunited.

It's not "goodbye"Auntie Wendy... it's "till we meet again".

Friday, June 8

Success at last!!!

Well today the sock and I got to take our first train trip ever!!! I hopped on the train at the Southland station, and went 2 stops north to Chinook. I was with 3 of my co-workers and we had a lunch/dinner at Ricky's, which was absolutely *fab*.

After our dinner it was time for the main purpose of the train trip, and that was YARN of course!!! A hop, skip, and a jump away was this wonderful shop called "Gina Brown's". I was smart this time and phoned first to make sure that they *were* actually open, and would still be open by the time Catherine and I walked over there! As we walked through the parking lot to the shop, I stopped to take a picture of the sock and its first Calgary yarn store... unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera cord with me, so all pictures of all of the Calgary and Banff adventures will need to wait until I get back home.

I have to say that I was in awe the moment I stepped into the shop. It was a beautiful, airy place with yarn as far as the eye can see. So many of the various yarns had sample projects knitted up so that you could really see what you were looking at. I was encouraged to touch and feel at leisure, and even though they were closing in about 30 minutes or so, I wasn't rushed at all. The owner showed me where the sock yarn was when I asked, and I was immediately in love. I was very impressed with the selections and brands available in many different price ranges. Even the prices were reasonable. I *am* used to paying a little less for the yarns I already had in my stash, but I have found that prices here in Calgary *are* a little higher... like a dollar or two more per $10-20, so it wasn't anywhere near enough to discourage my purchases. I am a cheap Winnipeg bargain shopper by nature, but I *know* my prices when it comes to certain yarns. I * also know* that if I'm here till the end of the month, I *will* return there, and I won't leave the shop empty handed!!!

There was Fleece Artist/ Handmaiden prodcuts all over and nearly each and every one of them was begging to follow me home. I completely resisted the temptation by reminding myself very loudly that I have the Sweaterkits projects that I *need* to complete. Gina Brown's *does* offer mail order, so I *can* order them later if I like... especially since Ram's doesn't have a lot of the stuff I saw today, and I *did* get to see and feel it up. There was a lot more in various brands, but it was mainly the FA that would not leave me alone!!!

Now... for what *did* manage to follow me home!!! I was extremely restrained, keeping in mind that I *am* supposed to be on a yarn diet!!! I mostly got stuff that I can't back home. I am now the proud owner of my first balls of Trekking XXL and Mega Boots Stretch! I also bought two hanks of a local wool... Mule Spinner Yarns/ Custom Woolen Mills, which is from just north of here. It's a beautiful 100% wool worsted, and I'm thinking a nice small felted bag {or two... with one flying off to Cambridge!} is in order. I also picked up a 6" set of bamboos... They didn't have any 2.5 mm left, so I bought a 2.25 mm set, which if nothing else will be *very* handy when knitting the kids some socks. I also got myself a new crochet hook so that damned Bates hook can be used for the only thing its good for IMO... picking up dropped stitches!!!

I just have to say that if you live in the Calgary area, or are going to be visiting it, do your best to make the time to come visit the shop. It's a mom and daughter duo that run/ own it, and they are both very friendly as well as knowledgeable about the products they carry. They have a blog too, but the paper I have the address written on is upstairs in the room. I'll link it back when I can get my pics on here.

Sunday, June 3

I'm wondering...

... about so many different things right now that it's hard to think straight!

Firstly, I've only had one day off since I got here, and that was an enjoyable but very exhausting day at Banff! I cannot be held responsible for any typos or any rambling that I may or may not be responsible for!

That being said, I found a few operational brain cells and decided to use google maps to find out where all the bottle return depots are here in Calgary, and decide which is the easiest and/or closest to here. Well I'm very happy to announce that I've found one that's just over a kilometre away {less than a mile}, and *very* easy to find as well. I still need to call them to get their hours, but at least I now know that it's only about a 15 minute walk each way to go get rid of the growing heap of water and other bottles in my hotel room! That's not an adventure for today, however, as I have no choice but to trek over to the laundromat today... I *have* to or else my co-workers will definitely protest!!!

Wednesday, May 30

The kindness of strangers...

Or, "The Yarn Crawl that Wasn't"...

Yesterday was a very strange collection of events. I was in the mood for Chinese food, and wanted to go to that "walking distance" LYS I had looked up. Catherine {my roommate and recipient of the super-secret project} and I trekked off in search of this LYS and then pick up the food on our way back. Silly me, I didn't write down EXACT directions on how to get there... and obviously the day that I was perusing the phone book map of the city, I wasn't paying as close of attention as I should. Fast forward about an HOUR, and you find two ladies drowning in Lake Erie {there was like 15 different Lake Erie streets and such!}.

Then we tried to walk back to the main street that we knew. For those of you that know Calgary, we're staying at the Delta Calgary south which is bordered by Macleod, Bonaventure and {I think it's} Southland. Anyway, Macleod and Bonaventure are parallel here, and we went down Bonaventure. Well somewhere along the way, one or the other moved.... REALLY FAR!!! I *think* we were walking south, and somehow the 1 block west to go from Bonaventure to Macleod turned into a mile or more. Finally, on some strange street, we asked a lady for directions on how to get to Avenida Place, which is the mall where the LYS is. She tried to explain where it was from where we were, but it was quite difficult. For all of Calgary's street planning, this particular neighbourhood is full of winding and curved roads. When I showed her my sheet with the listing of the LYS, she then offered to DRIVE the two of us there. I couldn't believe my luck! This particular lady was very grandmotherly, and the two of us were {well me at least!} in no shape to continue walking into oblivion. I'm guessing that the fact that we were looking for a yarn shop took care of any concerns she may have had about two strange ladies coming up to her and asking for directions! As she drives towards the mall, we discovered just *how* much further from Macleod we were than we though {that street REALLY moved far!!!}, and how far we were from our hotel! I'd say that we were at LEAST a mile *past* the mall, which was well over a mile from our hotel {I'd estimated about half that!}. She pulls into the mall and takes us to the shop.... WHICH WAS CLOSED!!! gone, kaput, no longer of this earth. I was beyond devastated. I *had* checked the phone book to double check my listing, which is how I found out that Avenida Place was a mall, and not just a street address. Unfortunately, due to major hotel issues {will blog that later}, we have *no* local phone service available in our room... I can only call other rooms in the hotel, so I neglected to phone this particular place and confirm their hours and such.

Anyhoo, this kind soul {I never got her name :( } then offers to drive us back to the hotel. I pause slightly and say, "Well, actually, we were going to stop for lunch... if it's no trouble, could you drop us off at Willow Park so that we can go to the restaurant?" Willow Park is a small strip mall that was about half-way between where we now were and our hotel. She agrees to take us there, and when we arrive, she refuses to take any money that I had offered her for gas. At around $1.20/L right now, gas ain't cheap!!! I thanked her profusely and into the restaurant we went, extremely grateful for her absolute kindness. If this is the worst thing that happens to me during my stay here in Calgary, it will be a great trip indeed!!!

Our adventures *still* weren't over though! We placed our orders, and had them to go, as all I could think about by this point was getting back to the hotel and resting! Good thing I didn't go to the exercise room beforehand!! It ended up that the hotel was a *lot* further from the restaurant than I had remembered from the walk the other way. I can't get over just *how* out of shape I am!!! We *finally* get back to the hotel to discover that this particular Chinese restaurant has customer service out the ying-yang!!! I had ordered separate dishes, which were packed very well... cardboard separating the layers so that nothing got damaged, HUGE portions, and even after the 15 minute or so walk back to the hotel, was *still* too hot to eat!

Sooooo... in the light of all this, I don't care what I have to do to phone first, I'll figure out *something* before attempting any more yarn crawls, and I'm forever indebted to the kindness of some generous grandmother in South Calgary!

Tuesday, May 29

The Eagle has landed!!!

Well... not necessarily, but I *have* found interweb here in Calgary. Stupid me, I didn't find out about it until yesterday though. Oh well. That now means that I can now annoy you all with stupid tidbits about working in a city that seems to have no one working in it!!! Every freakin' place you go, there's a "help wanted" sign *somewhere*. You can't get away from it... except at the little Vietnamese laundry where I went to wash my clothes on the weekend... that place is run by a family and didn't need anyone else!

BTW: A little birdie told me that there's a yarn shop a not-too-long walk away that's by a Chinese food place to try out, and another one a very short C-train ride away... I get to take a train!!! YAY!!!

Tuesday, May 22

See ya in a few!!!

Weeks that is! I'm off to the airport in a couple of hours. I'm heading to Calgary for a few weeks {months?} to help out at a store there. I'm *supposed* to be getting a trip home every 3 weeks, so if you post a comment while I'm gone, it might take a while for it to show up! I'll miss you all, and hope to come back with lots of pictures. If the O/T pans out like I'm hoping, I should even have some yarn pr0n too!


Tuesday, May 15

Cheesecake for dummies

AKA my idiot-proof pineapple cheescake recipe.
Can you remember ½ cup of sugar? Can you operate a hand blender? Then you are capable of making your own pineapple cheesecake! BTW: I haven't tried it myself, but I've heard of others using other canned fruit with yummy results.

  1. Take one brick of cream cheese and place into a largish bowl to warm to room temperature.
  2. Take one can of crushed pineapple {or fruit of your choice} and drain well.
  3. Make one graham wafer crust following the recipe on the box of graham crumbs.
  4. Make one envelope of Dream Whip according to the recipe on the packet {a tub of Cool Whip also works well}.
  5. Take the ½ cup of sugar and cream it into the cream cheese.
  6. Add pineapple and Dream Whip to the cream cheese mixture and mix well.
  7. Spread mixture over crust.

Now comes the hardest part of all: Put in fridge for 8 hours/ overnight to set... don't touch it!!! {Trust me... after you've tasted the mixture, it *is* the hardest part of all!

Wednesday, May 9

Fifteen days...

... from start to finish for the benefactors. I'd say that blasts the 4 weeks for Derek's tigers out of the water!!! *teehee*

And the knit goes on...

Sometime today the benefactor socks will be done. I'm just about to start the toe decreases on benefactor #2. This will add 380 m to my marathon total.

I cast on a new pair of WW socks in a simple design for me. I'm expecting the pair to take 3 balls of the Mission Falls 1824 {100% superwash wool in Aster} yarn I have, so that will be 234 m more when done. I hope to get this pattern written up and offered for sale once I complete them.

There's 3 pair on the backburner for the moment... I'll see how inspired I am to work on them. I'd like to keep up my pace of 4 pairs a month since it's been very encouraging to me to see so many pairs of socks completed.

Wednesday, May 2

Decisions, decisions...

Well today's dilemma is what to put on our desks. I spent most of yesterday moving mine and Derek's desks here in the dining room, and now comes the daunting task of deciding what's going back on them. I deliberately put nothing but the peripherals back after the move, and left them like that overnight. It's *very* refreshing to see the desktops for a change. Unfortunately, it's making it hard to put stuff back... oh well.

Tomorrow I will post the pic of benefactor #2. I cast it on last night while I was working on my computer. It's horridly slow, and I was doing all kinds of things to it to try and speed it up. I did manage to get a really good start on the sock at least.

Monday, April 30

Challenge met...

Well I'm sitting here wearing my DK generic socks, and just finished sewing in the toe end of benefactor sock #1. I'm not sewing up the cuff end yet as I will be using it to help me match up tomorrow morning's cast on for benefactor #2. Once that's cast on, I'll be fixing my design sock and working on that... I haven't decided if I'm going to have a second generic sock going here at the computer, or just make do with the one...

I'm now just under 2.8 km knit for the marathon, which is absolutely amazing for me. And in other news, I *might* be able to treat myself to a trip to Ram's in 2 weeks... wish me luck!


Well it's the last day of the month, and I've challenged myself to get both socks I'm currently working on done today. I'm more than half-way through the foot of both my benefactor sock #1, and my DK #2. I *know* that I can get them both done on my weekend, but I think it would be really nice to finish them today... wish me luck.

I'll post tomorrow for a belated birthday wish for Jackie... we'll be having her birthday cake tonight after dinner.

Friday, April 27


Well my benefactor sock is flying off of my needles! I was at about the 4 inch mark when I got home from work Thursday morning... pretty amazing for a sock that I had just cast on Tuesday morning as my travelling/ work sock!

The wonders will never cease with this project. I got about an inch and a half knitted at home yesterday because another blob of yarn decided to eject itself from the ball. I was within 10 rows of the heel when I left for work Thursday night. The powers that be decided that I was to be on babysitting duty at the loss prevention office and I got well over 3 hours total of knitting time in at work. The benefactor sock #1 now has a heel flap, the heel turned, and about 1½ inches of gusset decreases done. I would have had the sock done if the police would have taken all night to show up like myself and the loss prevention officer were expecting.

I have visions of casting on benefactor #2 on my weekend... I'm really gonna blast away how long it took me to do the tiger socks with these ones... I just don't want another hospital stretch with these ones like I did with the tigers!!!

Thursday, April 26

No pics, but a bit of knitting...

Well a goodly chunk of yesterday was spent fixing my design-in-progress. I had frogged back one needle about 10 rows. Once I got all that knitted up, I realized that I had followed the wrong chart for that needle. *cries* On the sortof plus side, the opposite side of the sock also had an error at the start of the chart, so I need to get up the courage to frog back *that* needle and correct the errors. Since I was so discouraged, I ended up not taking any sock pics even though I was outside enjoying our nice weather. I did a little bit of knitting at the dentist's office, but as usual, the epinephrine in the freezing affected me to the point where I could barely hold my needles.

Status reports: My benefactor sock is trucking along. I'll be starting the heel of that tonight at work. My generic DK sock is now on the heel flap. My Lacy Scallops are still on hold while I wait for my dpn finger callous to heal up.

I'm working on cleaning up the area around my desk so that I can get some pattern writing work done. The programs I use for writing and publishing my patterns are all on my computer, not on Derek's, which I normally use. I want to get my various generic patterns up as freebies. I have one paid sock pattern that's ready for sale as soon as I write and publish it. I also have three other socks in progress. I'll be looking for pattern testers soon. Since I have a ton of designs in mind, I'm looking into writing up a web page to solicit test knitters and crocheters so that I can get my web site seriouslyupdated... stay tuned for this.

Tuesday, April 24

HOLY CRAP!!! 10 already?!?!

I nearly fell over this morning when I went to update my sidebars and realized that Derek's tiger socks were my TENTH... you read it correctly, yes TEN!!! pair of socks finished THIS YEAR!!!! I'm *still* stunned. Now that you've all fallen over from the shock, and you're still on the floor I can tell you this... it's been over TWO MONTHS since I've bought yarn {not including the single small ball of dishcloth cotton for St. Patty's}. It was mid-February the last time I was at Ram's, and let me tell you, the withdrawal is hitting really hard.

I haven't taken pics yet, but I will before I go to the dentist work tomorrow. I kept myself otherwise busy today. My benefactor yarn was cast on, and this particular ball of yarn decided to disembowel itself a *lot* more than usual. That required the entire morning and a good chunk of the afternoon spent knitting it up so that it can be my "work" sock. I am now the proud owner of three inches of *very* cushy cotton blend sock! Thanks again benefactor!! *hugs* You'll see it tomorrow, 'kay? BTW, this stuff feels soooo wonderful it's making my yarn diet nearly impossible!

After I knitted up the cotton yarn barf, I frogged and reknitted the ribbing on the Regia, since I had screwed it up the first time... damned 1x1 ribbing! I'm at 1½ inches right now, and that uses up all of the frogged yarn *and* leftover yarn barf out of that ball. I'm gonna go a full 2 inches of ribbing on this one since I'm using only a 1x1 rib. It's going to become my newest design, but I won't be showcasing it here until I decide if I'm going to submit it for publication, or sell it myself. Since it's a patterned sock, it will be my pooter sock for whenever my finger hole isn't healed enough to work on Lacy Scallops with those deadly Inox dpns!

Thanks to Sarkasmo, I found a neat looking dishcloth pattern that I want to try. I haven't done any entrelac {I think, unless what I'm doing with my afghan/shawl is actually entrelac!} so this should be interesting! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 23

Out with the old, and in with the new...

Well at some point in time tonight I will be grafting Derek's Tiger #2... That will mean an additional 420 m added to my marathon total. *YAY!!!* I checked my blog archive and I cast them on March 29th... that makes it 4 weeks tomorrow. Not too bad for a pair of socks that were mostly knit at work on breaks {conveniently *trying* to forget the 4½ hours of knitting time in the ER!}. I'm guesstimating them at about 12 hours each sock.

Right after those are grafted and ends woven in, I'll be casting on my cotton sock surprise yarn from my benefactor. I'll be using my generic stockinette pattern again or else a mild ribbed pattern to account for the lack of memory in the cotton. I want then to go FAST, so I'm *really* leaning towards plain stockinette! That will be another 380 m to my total. I'm hoping to be able to beat the 4 weeks that it took for Derek's... we shall soon see!

Sunday, April 22

Another day, another sock!

Well I've decided to continue on profiling some of my recent sock FOs even though most of the pictures aren't up to par, and I haven't taken "in use" pics yet either. Today I'm going to show you Derek's Columbine socks. I knit them using wine Regia Silk, and the pattern is from Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles.

Finished sock
This is the completed pair of socks. I didn't need to adjust the pattern to fit other than foot length, and used 2.5 mm dpns. I also changed the heel to an eye of partridge heel as I feel this is a better wearing heel than the typical slip stitch heel flap. I had already tried the 2 circs method on my "Pippi" socks, and decided that it wasn't for me, which is why I used the dpns. The silk is absolutely dreamy to knit with, and I can't wait for my next opportunity to use this yarn.

Close-up of leg pattern
Here is a close-up of the leg pattern. You can see that it gives a bit of interest to the leg without being overly lacy or "girly".