Wednesday, February 22, 2006

And Representing the Canadian Sock Knitting Team

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

Probably inappropriate to quote American President Theodore Roosevelt whilst claiming a small victory for the Canadian Sock Knitting team, but the sentiment seems so fitting.

Success, like failure is rarely complete. This pair of socks compromised my neck tendons, blinded my 40 year old eyes and gave me the invaluable gift of humility (thanks to what is quite possibly the ugliest Kitchener Stitch toe I have ever witnessed).

So, I offer up this pair of socks at the altar of Olympic Knitting competition. They aren't perfect, not by a longshot, but they are FINISHED...and...

Oddly enough, they are sort of symmetrical!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Knitting through the pain...

I spent the morning at my chiropractor's office. Not an unusual event. Thanks to a youthful indiscretion of hanging curtains while standing on a swivel-based desk chair and a twin pregnancy that caused my weight to rival that of a college linebacker (hey, the babies were more than seven pounds each...) my back occasionally requires realignment.

As I was lying face down on the table of torture, Dr. Mary innocently asked "Have you been knitting more than usual, your right side is awfully knotted up. Maybe you should take a little break?"

Good thing I was immobilized in the head vice, or I might have done something rash.

Take a little break...really...

Did Cindy Klassen "take a little break" from skating when she was 100 metres short of the finish line ...

I thought not. She skated through the pain and that's what I'm doing...metaphorically speaking.

No sock pictures today, I'm hoping for a completed item tomorrow!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Non-knitting News!

Look what Gilly lost today!

Ignore the messy little face, Gilly, Ellery and I were working on Ellery's "book in a box" project today, creating a Harry Potter Cereal Box with an obscene amount of glitter glue, magic markers and chocolate Smarties (for sustenance) followed by a celebratory pizza dinner.


Look what the little minx did in the bathtub tonight! Guess she figured out the loose tooth thing!

It's sort of cute...Gilly is in her jammies, sitting on the couch with a hand mirror, looking at her missing front teeth and giggling.

In other, Olympic news...

I'm working on the heel flap for the final Olympic sock today, but I will admit that I spent some time working on Clare's handbag this afternoon while I was waiting for the pups during swimming lessons. I needed something that didn't require counting or even attention to work on in the semi-darkness of the observation room.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Past the Half-way point...

For the Olympic Challenge that is.

Ignore the DPNS holding the toe together (don't look too close at the gams either), Last night, I spent an hour and a half driving a mini-van full of cranky, whiny kids around over sheets of ice and after a well-deserved glass of wine (medicinal purposes only) I was in no condition to re-learn the Kitchener stitch at 11 pm. The sock is "substantially" complete.

I'm almost done the ribbing for the second sock. Barring injury (announcing this seems to tempt fate) I should have this medal in the bag!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Before I return to my scheduled Olympic knitting...

I'm thinking about Arans...

Not for me, my DH (dear husband this week) has requested that I knit him an Aran sweater. My husband requests many things from me; a more frugal approach to household finances, the occasional bit of lamb for supper, clean socks and underwear in his drawers (not necessarily at the same time), and that I not use my minivan as a waste recepticle. Until now, I have never felt compelled to accomodate any of these requests.

But the Aran sweater is different.

For starters, it is a knitted object and as DH has pointed out, with only a bit of whinging, I do knit for everyone else in the family except him. (insert violin music and puppy-eyes) In fairness, he is a rather good sport about turning a blind eye to credit card charges from "fluffy-sounding" shops and rarely points out that the volume of space occupied by my current stash is more than 50% the size of my first Toronto apartment.

And, unlike most garments that I might knit for DH, an Aran sweater is something he would actually wear. He currently wears a blue hand-me-down Aran previously owned by his father, that is getting a little worn and never did fit quite perfectly.

I picked up a white Aran cardigan at the thrift store ($4 - it was part of DH's Halloween costume...don't ask) and DH has since decided that a white Aran is just what his wardrobe needs.

I've never knit an Aran before, but I'm up for a challenge! Just a few questions for anyone who might read this blog...

Do you have a favorite sweater design or designer?

Anything (style or designer-wise)I should avoid?

Any great yarn recommendations?

Other tips or trick?

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Olympic Progress...

Ok, Team Canada, here is my contribution to the Olympic effort...

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this magic loop thing, and I figured out how to turn the heel, but...

So far, I'm following the instructions in the book (Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet) as closely as possible while translating them for the one circular needle technique. Consequently, I'm learning enough new stuff at the same time that I'm not completely happy with a few of the stitches at the "seam" part of the sock. (the equivalent of where the dpns would join)

Anyway, I'm continuing with this first sock, but more than half expecting that I will knit its mate, then re-knit the first sock. Otherwise, those handful of loose stitches and less than perfect stitch pick up at the heel flap with make me crazy whenever I look at the sock!

Knitting class is continuing brilliantly! Our numbers aren't what they were in the first few weeks, but that is not a bad thing. I have 3 teachers/mommies helping me and with a class of 12 to 15 students we can spend a bit of time with each one. We almost have "Casting On" perfected!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My Bad....

I feel like I scarfed down a Hot Fudge Brownie Delight after a whole week of careful dieting...
But it's Angela's fault, not mine.

Angela, of our local SNB, worked at a local yarn store before it shut its doors about a year and half ago. She remains in contact with the owner and offered out of the goodness of her own heart to help liquidate those pesky last tidbits of stock. Yarn stock..needle get the idea. So, Angela rented a stall at the local flea market, sent out an email by way of an invite and voila, an end to the yarn diet.

Apologies to Angela for unleashing the world's chattiest, touch-everything-in-the-stall girls on her this morning!

Spring must be in the air, cuz I went a bit cotton crazy. Lovely mercerized cotton, perfect for summer tanks for the girls (and maybe me)

Ellery decide that this was Macaw colour. It's hers now.

Sophisticated shades of taupe, cream, brown and blue...this must be for moi!

And citrus...definitely Miss Clarebear

I haven't figured out what to do with either of these merinos, but they are soft like kittens and luscious blue-based shades...

Oh, and can't forget a few needles...these are pretty small, but I'm fixated on socks right now.

So, it really doesn't count as an indulgence if it is liquidation-priced, right?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Unfair Competition!

On the same day that my Knitting Group was going to select colours and cast on for their felted projects, the school principal announced that after more than one and one half years...the new playground equipment was ready for use! Some chance my bits of string and sticks had competing against this sort of thing:

So, even though the weather was just short of icky, my class dwindled down to the die-hards. We did have fun though, rummaging through all those coloured balls of yarn. The girls certainly have their own ideas about what colours work together!

I'll have to catch up the rest of the group next week!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ready for Week 4!

Ever wonder what 72 balls of feltable yarn look like?

I'm all set for week 4 of the knitting class!

Friday, February 03, 2006

UFO Roundup!

I haven't posted any pictures of UFO's lately and there are a few of them.

Here is the freeform vest that I attempted. The yarn is much coarser than I realized when I purchased it, and soaking it in Eucalan didn't soften it as much as I had hoped. Oh well, I knitted it to wear around the house over long sleeved shirts, so hopefully the scratchiness will be tolerable. I knitted a small test square of the Classic Elite Mackenzie yarn and strangely enough, it doesn't NOT felt at all.

Because the last Finished Object I made was for Ellery, Clare has demanded that I knit something for her. She selected this purse from Debbie Bliss' Junior Knits. It's pretty much a moss stitch rectangle with a slit for a handle and 3 knitted flower embellishments, so I'm not following the pattern that closely...LOL. I figure that I'll knit a stockingette stitch lining for it and sandwich some plastic canvas in between for some sturdiness!

And this is the beginnings of a sleeveless hoodie for Gillian. I've had the mango coloured Pinguoin wool/acrylic blend around FOREVER. I attempted to double strand it for a second "top-down" sweater like Clare's last year and wasn't happy with the results. I'm hoping that it will hold up to the laundering that Gillian's garments demand.

It's a bit of a cheat too. I haven't used teeny needles in a long time and while these are 3.0mm (not the 2.5mm I will use for the socks) I can sneak in a bit of practice before attempting the Olympic socks!

No photos, cuz it's just not that photogenic, but I am just starting to wind the 100gr balls of feltable yarn into 25gr balls. (In the hopes of more fairly allocating the "really cool colours" during Monday's knitting class)

In non-knitting news, Ellery was home sick from school for a couple days this week and Gilly is acting "testy" tonight (usually a sign of impending illness), so it could be a close to home weekend. Not a bad thing IMHO!