Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Penny Surveillance... oh, and books and knitting, too

Well, the big news from the weekend is that my wonderfully intelligent toddler (have I mentioned she can write her own name and can pick out letters and words?) swallowed a penny on Saturday night. She was in the living room playing and I was walking back and forth between the living room and bedrooms putting folded clothes away when I hear some coughing and a frantic wail. I run into the living room and she cries, "I swallowed the money!" Me: "What?!?! What money?" I call my FIL, and he says to give her a glass of water, then a piece of bread, then another glass of water to make the penny move to her stomach. At that point I didn't even know it was a penny - I had to ask her if it was a brown money or a white money and she told me it was a 'one brown money.' I did not see that happening. Later I asked her why she had the penny in her mouth in the first place and she said she was trying to clean it. First off - a billion levels of ICK! So, we are all in penny surveillance at the exit - now that was a wonderful thing to have to ask of her daycare teacher this morning.

A much happier subject - books. As with my knitting projects, I always have multiple books going as well. I will read just about anything from bodice rippers to alternative scifi to American history to geography books to really cool kids books. Tonight on the bodice ripper end I finished Susan Johnson's _Temptation_ - low on story, high on sex. I am also have way through Ann Bishop's _Dreams Made Flesh_, a book of novellas set in her Dark Jewels world. I liked the original trilogy better, but this book is doing a good job of fleshing out parts that were taken forgranted in the trilogy. At work I am listening to Erik Larson's _Devil in the White City_ on CD; it's about the Chicago 1893 World Fair and a serial killer who was operating at the same time. It's a little on the dry side - however, I do know the story from having read a fictional account of the murders a few years back in a different book. Next into my grubby book-hungry hands? Mary Janice Davidson's _Hello Gorgeous!_ - it looks to be a quick and funny read.

On the knitting front... the cables have been sitting in my knitting basket since before Teri was here. Instead, I frogged some beautiful laceweight merino in the 'Tidepool' colorway from Knitpicks and started working on a very easy lace scarf. I have only finished about 5" so there isn't much to make out yet - and add to that it won't make much sense until it is blocked. The pattern is only a four line repeat, but given the delicacy of the stitches (and how hard they are to see), I don't work on this project until Willow is asleep. And I bought the best needles for them! I believe they are made by Lion Brand, but they are kid's training needles - only 7" long and in bright colours (green wool on red needles at the moment). I have small hands, so this is great for me. Normally I would work in circulars so I wouldn't have the needles flailing around past my elbows, but these short needles are working wonderfully. I think I am going to start Willow's poncho as well - just so I can have something to work on while she is playing.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Willow of the Azaleas

Willow with the gorgeous azaleas Posted by Hello

Now, I can't really explain the expression on her face, but I wanted to show you my favourite of all my father-in-law's azalea bushes. At last count he has 180 azaleas and over 80 rhododendron bushes. For most of Spring, their yard looks like a fairy wonderland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

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Teri has flown back up north and we are all so sad. I wish that we lived closer to my family. I grew up in a time and an area where my furthest-away grandparents were only a twenty minute drive away. I could have never fathomed as a child that I would ever live 6+ hours away by AIRPLANE away from my family some day.

As for the sunshine bit, it's true - it has rained since Teri left.

To come soon - discussion on the books I am reading. I realized I mentioned books at the top of my blog page and I haven't discussed a single one yet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Teri and Willow blowing bubbles Posted by Hello

Sitcom Chic à la Teri Posted by Hello

Here it is - I guess Sitcom Chic was meant for Teri all along. I will knit a sweater for myself some day!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Auntie Teri showing Willow how to make a sandcastle. Posted by Hello

Looks can be deceiving

Jo and Willow at Rehoboth Beach Posted by Hello

Yes, I know I look happy... by chance we had parked our car right outside Rehoboth's LYS, Knitty Gritty. We were in a hurry to get to the beach, so I said I would stop in before we left... only to find out on our return back to the car that Knitty Gritty is closed on Sundays!!!!

Willow digging in the sand Posted by Hello

Teri and Willow at Rehoboth Beach Posted by Hello

Teri had never been to an east coast beach before, so we drove down to Rehoboth Beach for the day. It was a little grey and gloomy in the morning, but the sun came out just after lunch and it was very nice. I think Teri is taking back a few pounds of rocks back to Canada... and Willow loved the beach as well. The ocean temperature was quite chilly, but that didn't stop Willow from trying to run headlong into the water. I hope we can come back again when it is warmer - but the beaches here get extremely crowded in the summer.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Colonial State Scottish Games

Today Teri, Andrew, and I went to the Colonial State Scottish Games in Maryland... and yes, I saw yarn. I didn't buy any, despite the fact that there were deals to be had. They had homespun wool in some lovely muted colours for about $2 for 600 feet (yes, it was a bit odd that it was measured in feet). The reason I didn't buy any is that I am going to try and only buy wool for projects I have in mind. I am a great person for buying stuff I like and having no clue whatsoever what to make with it. We also watched the Sheep-to-Shawl competition for a while, and I was invited to come to two different knitting guild meetings so that this other woman wouldn't be the only young woman there.

And even better - I was carded at the wine store! In my mid-thirty-ish state, being asked for my ID is a wonderful thing to hear. Teri and I bought two bottles of Reisling and some dried apricot-studded Stilton and it is so yummy together. Back to the imbibing...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Fimo Butterfly Stitch Markers

Stitch Markers made from Fimo clay Posted by Hello

Teri and I made a whirlwind tour of the craft stores and LYS in the area... and yes, I bought yarn! Manos of Uruguay in a dark red/burgundy colorway for a secret project and some cheapy superwash sunny red/yellow colorway called 'Lollipops' (never heard of it before) to make a baby or toddler hat. Teri introduced me to memory wire and I made myself a pretty pink/coral bracelet. I had bought the above Fimo clay roll a few months ago to make stitch markers and Teri helped me with them. It was very easy, but the wire is not as sturdily stuck into the clay as I would have liked. I think if the beads fall out I will just crazy glue the posts back in. Teri made the middle bead stitch marker with the leftover beads from my bracelet.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sitcom Chic has found a new owner!

My sister, Teri, arrived last night and I am so happy she is here! I had her try on Sitcom Chic not long after she arrived, and that traitorous garment looks like she was made for my sister. Something new for me then. I have a cable sweater pattern that I bought long ago when I had no clue how to do cables... and now that I have an inkling, maybe I will try that as my official first sweater.

And as for stashes... I also showed Teri my yarn closet last night, and she told me she was scared! And that I wasn't allowed to buy any more yarn while we are out carousing around the different fiber establishments in the area. So, we had to go online so I could show her some other knitting blogs of people who have much more of a stash than I have. I have aspirations, you know...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What's next

I taught myself how to knit cables during my lunch break one day last week, so my next project is a scarf with three different cables on it - a sampler of sorts, you could say. I'm using a pale grey Wool Ease yarn and I cast it on this morning. I'll post an update once I have a few inches on it and it starts to make sense. I am using Barbara Walker's 2nd Knitting Stitches Treasury for the basis for the cables.

Just for good measure - Willow wearing the ribbon shawl... Posted by Hello

Yeah... I think I know who will be claiming the shawl once the wedding is over. She is two and already is borrowing my clothes!

Back of the Ribbon Shawl Posted by Hello

Two finished objects in one week!

Ribbon Shawl finished (okay, so I haven't woven in the seams yet!) Posted by Hello

As much as I disliked knitting this, it fits much nicer and is just what I had in mind. I used a Bernat Matrix leaflet that was free in Michael's as the basis for the pattern - but decided to not put a fringe on it. It's an immensely simple pattern - but ribbon is annoying to knit with this loosely. I will be wearing it on the 28th to Pete and Charlotte's wedding over a light blue dress from Lands' End.

Close Up of Sitcom Chic's colour - since Mom thought it was grey. Posted by Hello

Oh, the injustice of it all...

Jo in Sitcom Chic Posted by Hello

It doesn't fit me. I'm too ample in the frontal region, so the sweater doesn't close the way it is supposed to. I decided to not put the button on the front and used the clasp inside. I'm trying to decide who to give the sweater to now. Teri is the most likely candidate since she will be here in a few days and can try it on. Jaime is almost as bountiful out front as me, so as lovely as the colour would look on her, she's out as well. I don't see Mom wearing a green sweater like this. I think it would fit Auntie Daryth - but I don't know if she would wear green. If any female members of my family are interested, let me know.

The particulars of the sweater:
- I shortened the sleeves by 12 rows because I have short arms.
- The yarn is Plymouth Encore, 75% acrylic, 25% wool - it is completely machine washable and dryable

It's a very pretty sweater - but alas, not for me.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sitcom Chic Finished!

But no pictures today!

I finished Sitcom Chic last night at about 9pm, blocked it overnight, and now it is over at my mother-in-laws to get washed because I don't trust my husband to wash the sweaters I wear to work. Don't worry - he's well aware of this. I hope to have some pictures up on Saturday.

I got the new Knitpicks catalogue in the mail today... how on earth did they know I just finished a project?!?!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Why does finishing take so long!

I would say I am now 90% finished my Sitcom Chic sweater - one more placket to knit, the remaining part of the collar, and weave in the ends. Why does this last part take so interminably long?!? I am not sure if I will block the sweater or not. Encore is 75% acrylic and 25% wool and completely machine washable and dryable - so I am not sure blocking it will achieve anything.

My sister Teri is coming down from the Yukon to visit me next week and she has asked that I take her to all my favourite yarn stores... oh, Teri - you enabler, you! There was only one yarn store in Whitehorse and they closed down, so Teri is bringing with her a yarn shopping list from her friends up North. I told her she was probably better off ordering from www.knitpicks.com but I am sure she will want to fondle everything when she comes down.

Trini reminded me that I still haven't revealed from where I gleaned the name of my blog. It is the title of a volume of poetry by Irving Layton, a Canadian poet. He is a very earthy, salty man and he ranks up there with Leonard Cohen as my poetry gods. To read one of his poems, go here: http://www.mcclelland.com/pdfs/excerpt_layton_4948X.pdf (I'm sorry - I will learn how to imbed a link!) My favourite poem of his is "Look, the Lambs Are All Around Us!". It starts off with the line, "Your figure, love,/curves itself/into a man's memory" and goes from there.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Rebel without a cause. Willow on the steps of the fountain in Josephine Gardens. Posted by Hello

Willow on the slide. This kid loves anything that goes fast. Posted by Hello

Elton Willow and Andrew at Josephine Gardens in Wilmington, DE. Posted by Hello

Happy Mother's Day!

I love my Mom. Plain and simple. You can't really say my Mom taught me to knit - I'm sure she tried many times, but it didn't stick. She did teach me to crochet, however and I did that all through my teens until just before I got pregnant at 28. But, since having learned to knit, my Mom has been an invaluable resource on what the ^(%(^&% I'm trying to do... even if she doesn't have the pattern in front of her and is only going on my frantic mumbling, she can usually set me straight. I tried looking through my photo albums to find something my Mom had knit for me as a child and I came up with this:

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My sisters and I (me in yellow, Teri in blue, and Jaime in pink) used to get sort of matching outfits every year for Easter. I think I must have been about 8 years old in this picture.

And here is my favourite picture of my Mom:

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My Mom came out a few days before Willow was born and stayed for a month, and for that I will be eternally grateful. Willow is my parents' only grandchild and I know it is so hard for everyone that we live a continent away. I'm still hoping someone will invent some sort of Star Trek-ish transport technology so we can pop back and forth whenever we want.

As for my mother's day present... I got my digital food scale! Completely unsentimental, but exactly what I wanted. We're off to the Brandywine Zoo today to see a segment on animal mothers, and then we are off to my in-laws house for dinner. Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

And, my newest purchase, a poncho pattern for Willow. At this rate, I may have it finished in time for when the cool weather starts in the fall. I bought this stuff at my LYS, Garden of Yarn in Chadds Ford. Posted by Hello

Here's a close-up of the ribbon yarn. It is 'Dazzle' (couldn't see the company name) in colour 94 - shades of blue, turquoise, and purple. Posted by Hello

This is my ribbon shawl I am knitting for Pete and Charlotte's wedding at the end of this month. I'm not loving ribbon knitting... Posted by Hello

I think I may frog this and turn it into a different scarf. This is Knitpicks laceweight wool in 'Tidepool.' Posted by Hello

It's blurry, but I am really happy with the raglan shaping of this sweater. Posted by Hello

Sitcom Chic 75% finished Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Forgot to give a hint

Okay, this is sort of a roundabout hint. I wanted to name the blog "Tea and Roses" from the poem 'Suzanne' by Leonard Cohen, but the 'a' at the end of tea and its twin at the beginning of and irked me. So, I chose different line from a different poem by a different Canadian poet. Any takers?

Wilmington Flower Market

Andrew, Willow and I went to the Wilmington Flower Market this afternoon. Truth be told, it is more of a midway than a flower market but it was fun nonetheless. Willow went on rides for the first time, and true to form the ride she liked best was the fastest one. Not even the treat of riding on a real live pony for the first time compared with the balloon helicopter ride. This child is two years old and is already a speed freak... just wait until she is tall enough to go on a rollercoaster.

I wanted to take pictures of all my works-in-progress (um, yes - there are multiple ones), but soon found the batteries in my camera were dead - so let me charge them overnight and I'll have the pictures tomorrow along with some gratuitous Willow pics. Here is a run down of the works in progress:

1. Sitcom Chic cardigan for me
2. Laceweight scarf for me
3. T-shirt sweater for Willow
4. Baby blanket for unidentified baby since the originally intended recipient is now 2
5. Ribbon shawl for me (need to finish for a wedding at the end of May)
6. Mittens for Willow
7. Long forgotten socks somewhere in stash closet

I have the yarn already for another half-dozen projects. My sole New Year's resolution this year was to teach myself how to knit cables. I have some nice pale grey wool to try this with - so as soon as one of these abovementioned projects is finished, a long cable swatch (aka scarf) is going on next.

Andrew was a bit perturbed I hadn't mentioned I was married in this blog. I have (check out my complete profile) but for some reason, the word 'married' doesn't make it all the way to the front page. Consequently, my mini-bio looks ungrammatical as well. Odd. In any case, here is a pic of my husband, Andrew:

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Here are two pics of recently finished objects. The first is a sweater I knit for a friend's baby (and modeled on Willow's doll), and the second is of Willow's Easter sweater.

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