Thursday, December 31, 2009

Drive-by New Years Eve post

I can't do photos, because I'm on Hubby's laptop, and mine isn't turned on (plus I'm too damn lazy to reset the comcast box)... but I can report that I'm about 24" into the scarf I'm knitting with the Fleece Artist yarn my Godmother sent (it's wool/angora/nylon, called "Peter Rabbit", in the colorway "Celtic Colors")... and it's fab.

We also just had an hour-long videocall with 2/3 of the family, and it was fun and melancholy at the same time. My little brother made faces behind my mother's head, which was hilarious, but my heart broke everytime N. tried to hand toys to his Grammie to play with, not realizing she couldn't take them through the screen. My three-month contract extension isn't long enough to plan a trip on, either, so I hope they can come down soon.

I won't likely be awake at midnight, but here's to 2009, it was a very good year... and here's to hoping 2010 is even better... more knitting, more pictures, more travel, more sleep... full of mores :-)

See y'all next year! xo

Friday, December 25, 2009

Drive-by Christmas post

Or is that a sleigh-fly-by post?

Although it's the least Christmas-like Christmas we've ever had, it's also been the least stressful so far. N. is playing with a new block set that his Uncle J. sent, we're watching crappy movies on TV, and no one is out of their PJs yet.

Not many gift surprises for us - I got Hubby the DVD of the full Fawlty Towers series from the BBC (family tradition), and my gift is to attend the drop spindle class at the LYS in January... full disclosure: I reserved my spot when I was in a week or so ago, and went home to tell him, at which point he threw a fit because he had been planning on going in to sign up for me. So he gets total credit.

One thing that actually made me a bit teary was a parcel from my Godmother. She's our closest family friend, and after all these years, we always have a Christmas visit, and she always gets me the best presents. She sent me my annual PJs (last years had sheep and yarn balls on them), and the second small gift was wrapped tightly... I opened it to find a skein of Fleece Artist Angora blend yarn in a colorway called "Celtic Colors". It's named after a fall music festival that takes place every year at home, and we're also famous for our fall foliage. The yarn is made locally, and it's such a nice piece of home. It was such a beautiful, thoughtful gift... and she's gone down to her country place for the holidays without internet (and I haven't got her phone number), so I can't call her to thank her yet....

I promise more photos and updates soon, but for now I think I have some more block towers to build, and dump trucks to push around the floor...

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Here's to NOT travelling

It's the first year in AGES that I'm not travelling for the holidays, and I don't quite know what to do with myself... I'm still busy (dammit) but it's much less stressful.

And, since it's the 21st and I'm still at work (gah!) I'm posting a photo then heading home... this is one of many shots from N.'s Christmas photoshoot at a place that I shall not indentify, that we did back in November. It's the photo that was in my wallet that I scanned earlier today; I'm hoping to scan the rest soon, because darn it I paid enough for them.

(actually, I got them for next to nothing by combining coupons and memberships and all that sort of thing... so I can't complain)

Look at that little punim... SO CUTE my kid! (of course, I'm biased)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've figured out my kind of cookie.

My kind of cookie isn't fussy. No dough-rolling, no cookie cutters. Preferably one bowl, and dispensable with a little ice-cream-type scoop. I'll flatten out if necessary, put sprinkles on if they'll stick, and even throw in chocolate or peanut butter chips on occasion, but that's the end of it.

I've made three kinds of cookies so far this holiday - gingerbread cookies (rolled, sliced, baked w/colored sugar), sugar cookies (ditto) and shortbreads (scooped, sprinkled, flattened). The shortbreads are by far the simplest and the tastiest, and I hope to get a pic before they all get eaten or bagged up for gifts. It's the classic flour/cornstarch/conf. sugar/butter recipe, and forgive me, but GODDAMN they're good.

Who knew four ingredients could be so frigging delicious?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Purple is not blue... or, the complete awesomeness that is my new LYS

I'm still alive, and none the worse for wear, fortunately. I had been meaning to post since ages, but between non-turkey day and another bout of illness and just general laziness, I never got around to it... chasing after a toddler who is desperate to pull down christmas lights is rather tiring ;-)

I wanted to post on Saturday, and I was going to have just one nice thing to talk about, but it's turned into four Nice Things, and they all involve knitting.

This past Saturday, we bundled N. into his stroller, complete with rain tent, and took off for downtown to avoid going nuts in the house. We'd just come off a few days of toddler fever (although no coughing, yay!) and wanted to a change of scenery, so off we went to our fave Greek diner for some pastichio and the best Greek salad outside of my home province.

(a side note: My kid likes grown up food. Given the choice between fries and pastichio, he picked the pasta, ignored the fries, and asked for seconds. He's also been known to eat my zucchini and steal all the goat cheese and balsamic glaze from his daddy's plate when we make those things at home.)

So. Yes. Saturday. After eating, we decided to run into the new LYS, because of Nice Thing #1 - one of my friends is pregnant again, which necessitates a new blanket. Her other kids all have quilts or knitted blankets from me, and her at-the-moment-youngest is my Goddaughter, who will receive her secret prezzie as soon as I finish the blanket for her sibling ;-)

CIN.: STOP READING HERE, PLEASE!!! YOU'LL SEE THE FINISHED PRODUCT SOON ENOUGH!!

I'd been planning on doing the Frances nursing shawl from Vintage Baby Knits, but needed a sub for the Socks that Rock, because I'm not spending $140 on something to get spit up on and be hand washed... plus it's a lot of tiny little stitches to get done on a deadline. So, we went into the store with N. in tow, and he toddled around, wanting to play with the spinning wheel, but being generally good while I started looking for inspiration. I had on my Clapotis, and was pleasantly accosted by a woman who turned out to be one of the partners, L. :-). Then, one of the other partners, J.1 (who I'd met the first time I went in), came over and introduced us, as she'd remembered my name from my previous visit... It was so welcoming and friendly, and Hubby was amazed and quite entertained by it all. We chatted and the store was very busy, but none of us felt rushed or neglected. It was really nice to chat with multiple knitters at once, and have them understand me, whether it was about yarn or techniques or patterns or whatever. And people were coming in and out to just hang around and sit and knit. Very cool. So, that visit on Saturday became Nice Thing #2.

As we were thinking about heading out, after smooshing lots of yarn but finding none that was suitable for the Frances shawl, I saw a piece by the third business partner, a log cabin blanket, draped in the corner. It was baby-sized, but not rainbow-pastel, and was fun and colorful but sophisticated at the same time. Hubby came over to me as I was holding it and said, "That. You have to do that. Seriously." He's not a decision maker, nor is he super pushy with his opinions, so I knew he must've really liked it.

I thought about it over the weekend, and come Monday morning (my supposed day off), the laundry was done, and while I had to work a half day to deal with some cultures and DNA extractions, I had time to myself in the morning. Off I went, back to the store, and met the third partner, J.2, in person and spent some serious time picking out colors for this new baby blanket. After figuring it all out, I swatched while she wound one of the colors for me on their swift, and I managed to get three or four of the initial blocks done before leaving to meet up with Hubby for lunch. It was such a treat to sit and knit and chat a little with two of the owners (L. also came in while I was there). So, Monday morning was Nice Thing #3.

Today, though, I ran into a snag. My color scheme involves one variegated yarn, and six others that highlight its colors. The problem is, one of my choices was the wrong shade. Too much plum, not enough navy. So, I decided to email the store to see what my options were - I know that yarn comes in a better shade, but they didn't have any when I was there and I thought the plum would be good enough (and, yes, I should know better; purple will not become blue no matter how many times I stare at it or how much I cross my eyes).

Huzzah, we come to Nice Thing #4. L. is putting an order in and has included my color request!

I'm desperately hoping to get into a routine of heading down to do some knitting with them on Saturday afternoons when N. naps, or perhaps on my theoretical days off, assuming I can get a handle on the laundry and cleaning.

Bottom line - they've been open for a month, but these ladies know what they're doing. I hate to play favourites (particularly with knitting stores, since we're all such a community), and I know there's room for everyone, but I also believe in getting my money's worth, and I believe customer service is a lost art. While I do love some of the staff at the old place, I (like most people) have limited funds and limited time, and I have to make the most of both.

So, thank you, Knit, for being the little store that could. I can't say enough good things about you! :-)