Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Things I learned today

1. The cafeteria is no longer serving my limited edition Golden French Toast coffee :-(
2. I'm entirely too dependent on cafeteria coffee.
3. No matter how much money I spend on medicated moisturizing lip balms to keep things comfy and avoid coldsores in the winter (yuck), the cheapest option is always the best - lip smackers. Today I have cotton candy... nom nom.
4. STR lightweight + US2 or smaller needles = severe hand cramps, spasms, and finger paralysis.
5. STR lightweight + US3 or US 4 needles = entertaining lunchtime knitting.
6. Gauge walks a fine line in these parts.
7. Photobooth takes shitty pictures:

front...
... and, back.

I finished the drop stitch scarf, save the decision about fringe, and needed another portable project, so this will end up as Long Striped Hand Warmers from the Purl Bee. I wanted to use bright fun colors to counteract the SAD around here, and dammit I will knit from stash this year; this uses STR lightweight in The Incredible Shrinking Violet and Pride (one 2008 club color, and one from my general stash). I chose TISV as the "solid" to hopefully set off the Pride.

Pride is perfect rainbowy awesomeness, and I will be budgeting for more of it. TISV is a blend of purples, about 1/2-2/3 of which tend towards more bluey end of things. In the skein the brightest shades are almost phosphorescent, sort of like UV light shining out of a medium purple yarn, but when it sits amongst the Pride it appears much more blue. Not the effect I was expecting, but it's fun nonetheless.

It's my first foray into knitting stripes, and while I didn't bother with trying for a jogless jog (will use that as the "seam" opposite the thumb side) it's going relatively well. I'm going to *try* to get them to match up a bit, but we'll see if that works; STR does some funky spiraling sometimes. Right now the blue-green-yellow of the Pride is pooling on one side, while the orange-red-purple is on the other, but it started shifting already... I'm such a dork for variegated yarn. If they work out and I decide to make more, I think I'll choose a more semi-solid for at least one of the colors; the TISV (while a gorgeous color study) has enough hue differences in it to make it less subtle as the "solid" stripe option.

Gah, it's time to photograph my gel :-P

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photo-free FO

So, I finished Mom's Boteh the other day, but don't have any fresh pics to upload at the moment. It had a nice little Soak bath, and was gently blocked, and turned out very nicely.

In the end, it has 12 motifs, which actually turned out to take two full color repeats of the Noro Silk Garden Sock. The edging followed the repeat, too, which makes this probably the first ball of Noro in history with no knotted joins or color disruptions :-)

The yarn didn't really soften up all that much after its bath, which was rather disappointing. I couldn't imagine wearing it as socks, no matter how cold I was. The color, though, is really pretty, which you could see if I'd taken any damn photos....

I'm hoping to get it packed up and in the mail by the end of the week, so Mom can use it for a while this winter... it's positively spring-like here, so I've no need of new scarves.... and that's just fine with me.

Some stats:
- Noro Silk Garden Sock, one skein (minus a very small amount, photos to come soon)
- Hook Size F
- Modified to have only 12 motifs instead of 16, and slightly fewer border stitches on one side to make sure I had enough yarn (it was a squeaker)
- ~55" give-or-take, by my estimation

Super fun result, enough to possibly use Noro again to make another, but I'd probably just go with Kureyon Sock instead to get the extra yardage.

I *did* wear it today to see if I'd get a reaction ;-) N.'s teachers loved it, and also mentioned that they get compliments on their own Botehs every time they wear them. Which is nice to hear - I want them to be happy with their gifts and enjoy wearing them.

As an aside - we were walking up the main shopping stretch downtown on the weekend, and I was looking at some scarves in a window... and out of nowhere, Hubby said something like, "those are nice, but you can make stuff that's so much more beautiful than that." Total brownie points for him ;-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crafty things

I work part time... paid for 2.5 days a week. Most weeks I work more (including this week) but today I'm taking my unpaid day off and getting some things organized. But, since no one wants to see photos of my clean laundry or swept floors, I'll update my crafty endeavours instead :-)

First up - knitting:




The drop-stitch scarf is nearly finished, thanks to some quiet lunch breaks at work. I haven't done much on it at home; since it's so portable, I'm keeping it for when I'm out. The color in the wide shots is fairly accurate, although it's much warmer and glowy. The combination of close-up and flash makes the grey-greens look purply-blue-grey, but you can see the stitch pattern. I'm trying to decide between fringe and no fringe, so opinions on that are welcome ;-)

Next - crochet:




This is Mom's Boteh in Noro Silk Garden Sock... it's enjoyable from a color perspective, but the yarn is strangely too crunchy to be fun and move fast. I'll have to pick it up again, though; these colors are pretty close, and I'm keen to see how the yarn softens with a good soak and blocking.

Next - the kit from hell:


This is a small sampling of the 8 pages of instructions for this tree skirt (and they're 11"x17" pages, thankyouverymuch). Everything is coded, and there are literally hundreds of little pieces of felt. Which I need to cut out. Individually. I must be crazy ;-)

Finally - my embroidery transfers:

Flowers and butterflies, and snowmen and coffee cups. I don't know what I'll do with them, but I'll do something great. They deserve to become something beautiful.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

*sigh*

Maybe it's the weather, or the post-holiday blues, but I'm not feeling especially cheery, and after talking to my mom last night, it's gotten worse...

I don't think I've updated about my Grammie lately, but her Alzheimer's is progressing, and it's not good. It's gotten to the point that she can't stay by herself at night, since she's sundowning quite severely. Dad has essentially moved back in with her, which in and of itself has had some good consequences: He gets it now. She's not getting better, and she's quite in the thick of it.

She's still constantly looking for her parents, and it's to the point that when Dad tells her they're gone it doesn't upset her anymore. Her snarky response is, "Well, he says they're dead, but I just talked to them, so I don't know what his problem is."

Since Dad moved in with her, she's shifted her time period. It's the first time in over 20 years that there's consistently been someone in the house in the evenings, and that's bringing her to when my Papa was still alive. Problem is, once she starts sundowning, she thinks Dad is Papa. It's to the point now where she doesn't understand why "Papa" isn't behaving the way he used to, and she thinks her husband is having an affair on her because he's acting so strangely. She goes to bed every night heartbroken.

The other sad, yet hilarious, thing that's happening is that she's mixing me up with one of her nieces-by-marriage (Dad's cousin) who is very disliked in the family, and whose father and husband have caused huge rifts that have been going on for decades. She thinks I'm her. When Dad talks to her about what N. is doing, she says, "Why the hell would you bother doing things for D. and her kids? No one will give a shit." It hurts Dad so much that she would confuse me with this woman, and while I understand why that would hurt him, to me it's just one of those things that you have to find the humour in.

My brother, who's home and in the middle of the warzone, says Dad is coming around - realizing we have to think about getting her placed in long-term care because having him around 24-7 is making her worse and stressing her out even more. It involves increasing the geographical area we're willing to have her placed while she waits for a spot close to home, and while it would mean transitioning her twice, it's probably going to be less stressful in the end than having Dad stay with her indefinitely.

This whole thing is wearing on me, and I wish I was home... I also wish I could bury myself in work and the apartment and not think about it, and it makes me feel worse that I actually have that option (when everyone at home can't get away from it). And I think it's affecting my hobbies, too...

The kits and things I ordered for that online sale arrived, and I started the project for my mom first thing. It's embroidery, which like knitting I learned at a very early age, but I now feel a compulsion to do it... My mother does mostly everything (knitting, sewing, crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, cross-stitch, crewel work, etc), but my Grammie only ever did embroidery. She did the most beautiful tablecloth/napkin sets in gabardines of every color, but would get her sisters to crochet an edging, or Mom would sew some lace on. She made dozens and dozens of elegant bureau scarves and pillowslips, covered in roses and lilies and ribbons, and her satin stitch was flawless. For each of us grandkids, she made days-of-the-week teatowels, to be given to us at our weddings. Recently, Mom had been giving her little projects to keep her busy (napkins, teatowels, samplers), but she forgets how to choose colors, how to start and stop, and gets frustrated and upset.

When I was going through the parcel once it arrived, I looked carefully at everything as it came out of the box. One kit is for a tree skirt for me and the boys, and it has a significant amount of embroidery in a zillion colors. The project for Mom is mostly in blues, but has huge huge skeins of floss to complete all the embroidery.

And, without realizing it, I'd ordered half a dozen sets of iron-on embroidery transfers, that I sort of looked at in awe as I unpacked them. The invoice told me they were $1.50 each, so not a huge expense (and rather long-lasting, considering the transfer pencils you can buy these days). But why would I invest in iron-on transfers?

You see, I haven't done any embroidery in over 10 years.

Last night I worked on it while watching TV, and spent the whole time thinking, this is so nice and relaxing, and I could see how the patterns were transferred, and how nice it'll be once I finish it. I could see the usefulness in the piece as I was working on it, and then I saw the tablecloths that were used for years and years, under vinyl tablecloth covers, in our house and Grammie's.

I have to do it. I have to, because she can't.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Insert witty title here...

I'm still without pics, because the camera battery keeps farting out on me, and I'm thinking we have to bite the bullet and get a new camera... but that won't fit in the budget with our (soon-to-be-needed) laptop, and a new summer wardrobe for the growing boy, no matter how good the sales are... I'll see how it goes...

Nothing to report, except that we're now de-Santafied at the apartment, and it's bland, but nice. Uncluttered, even. N. didn't complain too much - there were only two mornings where he ran into the kitchen exclaiming, "ON! ON!" for me to turn the lights on, when they weren't there anymore, but he's more interested in his new puzzles (Thanks, Grammie!) and his re-purposed table and chair that we inherited from the previous tenants and kept in storage until now. We seem to be going through a bit of a knowledge jump, he's gaining new words and identifying more things (like the alphabet animals on his 'new' table).

This also means we're now squarely in the "watch your language, Momma" phase. The other day he was getting into trouble every three seconds, and I found myself repeating, "Oh, honey, be careful!". A few minutes later, I was hearing, "Oh, 'oneey! 'Oneey!" (the 'h' gets dropped a lot in this francophone household). I even think I heard "Oh, s'it!" once, but I'll assume not, and watch myself.

Craftiwise, I'm still plugging away on the scarf, and unfortunately for me I started another secret project... there was a huge sale at an online craft store, and I bought a couple of kits to make things for next Christmas... one for myself, and one for my mother. Hers is embroidery (yay!), and it'll take forever, but I think she'll really like it. Mine is a huge mess of felt, beads, sequins, floss, and craziness, and I can't wait to tackle it... six months from now.

*sigh*... my buffers are defrosted, so I should get this experiment going... last week was tough in terms of motivation, but this week is just sleepier. I need to drink more coffee, or cut it out completely. This drowsy cycling suuuuuuuucks.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My poor little bloglines...

I don't know if Bloglines just sucks, or if everyone made a resolution to spend less time blogging and more time living ;-) but my feed updates are very sparse these days... and I can't say I can contribute much of value at this point, either.

I've been steadily working on the Peter Rabbit drop-stitch scarf, as it's super easy lunchtime knitting, and I find the color very calming during the day. Once it's done, my size 7s can go back to working on the baby blanket.

Other than that, life is pretty boring... no cookies left from Christmas, no turkey leftovers, and I have to get the decorations down this weekend... and we begin the long slog into (and through) February. Blech.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

will I ever plug my own computer in?

Well, I'm still a mac person, but I'll tell you, I'll stay pc as long as this is the faster laptop in the house... it's so nice not to worry about freezing firefox because I want to watch TV online ;-)

I still haven't taken any pics of my little fleece artist scarf, but I'm going to see if I can't filch a photo of the yarn skein...


my preciousssesssss

Ha! Grabbed them from my Flickr. So, yes, that's the lovely yarn... it's smooshy and soft and pettable and gorgeous. The skein covers every single autumn leaf color that I've ever seen at home, and also includes those grey branches after the leaves have fallen, and the moss that covers the tree trunks. Some of the reds are that gorgeous bright not-red-not-pink of maples, and there are a couple of greens to set them off. There's a small splash every so often of the bright golden-yellow-pink of a healthy birch, and it's like a little victory whenever I end up knitting it in a drop-stitch motif, because it expands the space the color occupies in the finished piece.

I brought it to the LYS the other day to show it off, and I'm sure they think I'm nuts ;-) Either that, or they think I'm trying to strong-arm them into stocking fleece artist... which, while it would be nice, is a HUGE committment in terms of initial orders that I wouldn't foust on anyone... In reality, I keep going by because it's like when you have kids - only moms appreciate you showing off your little ankle biters, and often only knitters appreciate how soft the angora is and how vibrant the hand-dyed yarn can be ;-)

I also managed to rig up this laptop to play TV episodes whilst propped up on the floor in front of me so I can knit and look down at both my knitting and the show at the same time! Necessity, invention, you get it.

So, now, I'm off to knit and watch a little TV, because the dishes are done (yay!).