Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yes, Still Knitting

It may not seem like it, but I am still knitting. I have been working hard--well, maybe not as hard as I'd like to. I have knit every day this week.

I started a pair of the classic striped slipper. Made with Phentex craft yarn, these slippers are durable and very comfortable. My MIL always makes these for the family and I finally decided to make my own pair. Previous attempts at slipper-making have ended in dismal failure (and general mockery at my expense I might add, but I'm not bitter), and I'm uncertain about whether I'm carrying the yarn across the work correctly. Still, it's coming along (did I mention how much I dislike garter stitch?) I started another pair of socks for my little boys. This pattern is from an old Patons pattern book with lots of sock and mitten patterns. Scored the book at a charity book sale (yay for me!). The needles are 2.75mm and they feel huge after using 2.25mm for so long. Hope the socks will fit nicely.
I have also been working on my lace scarf (remember it from Lace Scarf Post 2 and First Lace Post ), but sadly I am running out of yarn(see the second pic below). Need to order more, but I've been slow to do so.

Happy knitting all. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dreams Part II: Explanations and Interpretations

Ever thought about NOT working for "the man"? What if you could do what you most absolutely love and make a decent living at the same time? What if you could be totally green and reduce your carbon footprint? What if indeed! A crazy dream?

What if I could do all of the above by living the Dream? My dream includes life on a farm, homesteading, in a big old farm house with a lovely greenhouse, lots of veggie patches, fruit trees and livestock (must have sheep of course). We'd be totally off the grid with solar power and perhaps a few small wind turbines.

The country life has baited and taunted me for a long time. My childhood was spent amid cracked sidewalks and sticky asphalt playgrounds, with the constant din of traffic in the background (even at 2:00AM I could hear the city bus zooming by).
Then this past year, dear hubby and I came across The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers by John Seymour. We searched further online and found many others going green, organic and homesteading. My brother-in-law had been interested for a long time. We knew we couldn't do it by ourselves, but maybe together we could make a go of it.

We had always planned to make the big move in 5 years. Then it got pushed up to 3 years. But what if we could do this within a year or sooner? A beautiful opportunity is calling us. Right now we're just putting our financial ducks in the proverbial row and then hopefully we're gonna take the big plunge. Sure it would be a lot of work (a lot of hard work), but we'd be working for ourselves, working with our hands and in tandem with nature. If you could, wouldn't you take a chance?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Ah, how precarious these dreams be! Woven from the threads of our innermost wants and desires, sprinkled with hope . . . always waiting, but never coming true.

To be so near the possibility of bringing a dream to fruition--perhaps even just barely seeing it come true . . .so close, yet still not real. Almost. Maybe.

Still dreaming . . .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vampires, Knitting and Blogrolls--Oh My!

Why do I blog? What compels me to write? Hmmm . . .

Initially it was a way for me to write more in-depth about my knitting.
Ravelry is an awesome place which affords the knitter a place to document their experience (good or bad) with a particular pattern. But often there was more to the story than just simple modification. I needed another avenue to share my trials and tribulations. Needless to say, I sometimes ramble on about things other than knitting, but that's another story.

I've been online in some form or another since early 2000, mainly on forums and such (initially for new moms, then parenting, then scrapbooking . . .well, you get the picture). Some time during my forays into cyberspace, I discovered blogs. Then I discovered knitting blogs. For the past two years, I have been religiously following umpteen blogs which I check on a weekly basis (my blogroll , unfortunately, does not accurately reflect the depth of my obessession as I've only listed a few and have yet to add the rest--forgive my laziness). I am the classic lurker and generally leave no comments, although I've tried to reform my reticent ways of late.

I love reading about the adventures--and sometimes misadventures--of my fave blog authors. Each week I'd eagerly check in to see how much progress they'd made, to admire the lovely fibre acquisition they'd made or to drool over a new pattern. Most I had found through
Knitty whilst seeking out free patterns. Then I'd mine the blogroll of my fave designer. These days, I check out the blogs of fellow ravelers and bookmark the ones I enjoy the most.

Perhaps the most important reason for blogging is my desire to write. Okay, I'll fess up that about 2 years ago I tried my hand at writing a novel. I gave it my best shot, then the "pop and fizzle" faded. Writer's block? Perhaps. Maybe I just lost interest (okay, here's the vampire part: it was about blood drinkers, but more twisted and surreal then anything I've ever come across and not very romantic). Despite putting down the pen, I still yearned to write; I needed an outlet for creative energies. Hence a blog was born.

How long will I continue this pursuit? Will I some day abandon it and let it fade into the twinkling lights of cyberspace . . . perhaps not, at least not for a while. Certainly I never would have guessed that knitting, blogrolls and vampires would have led me, thus far, to this place. To where the road continues, I do not know, but I shall enjoy the journey. Hope you enjoy the journey too! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finished At Long Last!

Well I never thought I'd get to kitchenering those last 20 stitches on my son's ribbed socks. Finally finished the second sock! Yay for me! I darned in the last loose ends and passed them over to my son who promptly pulled them on.

Found the pattern in Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book. I think I might have to buy this book (originally I had borrowed it from the library to learn more about socks). It's supposed to be a vintage pattern. And I just love the fit of ribbed socks--no slouchiness.

This is my second pair. The original pair I made were knit as written--no mods. With this second pair, I needed to modify. My other son has skinny ankles and wide feet, especially at the heel. It's a 56-stitch sock, but I added 4 extra sitiches before starting heel flap; also, when decreasing the gusset, I only went down to 60 stitches so there'd be more room in the foot.

Of course both boys are growing, so I may need to make more mods. In fact, I'll have to peruse a couple of old Patons sock books. The Vogue sock book did have a generic sock pattern with required numbers/stitches required for size.

My problem with most sock books are the lack of "manly" socks; there seem to be an overabundance of girlie patterns. However, I don't make socks for myself--only the boys. Given that ribbed socks have worked really well for me thus far, I could try various combinations of ribbing stitches--need stitch dictionary for that. Perhaps that should be my next knitting book purchase.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pretty in Pink?

Pretty in pink? Maybe more purple than pink, but still quite pretty.

Like my father before me (and somewhere in my peasantry ancestry), I've become fond of gardening (must be my ancestral background--most of them farmers up until a generartion ago). I putter, plant and prune, but I lack space--as in I lack land that belongs to me which I can dig up at a whim (perhaps that may change some day?). So I thumb through the gardening flyers, check out my gardneing books and dream of green and flora stuff.

Then I spied an unused "space". Along the driveway, there is a lack of of greenery and flowery goodness. Putting in a flowerbed didn't seem feesible. Perhaps potted urns were the way to go. A few times I considered asking my FIL to build me a planter. He loves woodwork and carpentry, but currently lacks any space for his hobby. So I didn't make any requests.

Imagine my surprise and delight when he presented me with a lovely planter box! There was more: not only did he buy the bags of dirt to fill the planter, he also offered to buy the flowers! What generosity!

So today we visited the Pleasant Valley Nurseries and it was fabulous. My mind was a whirl because the nursery had everything. It was so well organized with so many varieties of trees, shrubs flowers . . . suffice to say, they had everything. And it all looked so pretty--and healthy.

Despite looking through my gardening books, I really wasn't sure what to plant. My front flower bed is quite shady, so my options had always been rather limited. But now, I could use sun-loving vegetation. Suddenly I had many options. And with greater choice comes a sense of being over-whelmed. What do I get?

In the end, went for splashes of colour--in which case, annuals would be the way to go: some pretty pink varieties of dinathius (which, although annuals, will come back for a few years) and some purple-pink osteospermum. I've never had the latter, so I'm interested in how well they thrive. Perhaps I need to consult my handy-dandy gardening book? I'm off to do some reading-.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Little Knitting Corner

In our home, I have a little space where I knit. Tucked along a wall of the living room is my knitting corner. Its right next to the computer room (aka the messy room, the place where all things become clutter and junk until I get the urge to purge). At my corner all my tools, needles, current projects and favorite CDs wait for me until I'm able to scrounge some time to knit blissfully and to tune out all the mayhem and troubles of the day.

No matter who might be sitting upon that corner of the couch, when I'm ready to knit that spot is quickly given over to yours truly. It commands a decent view of our main living space, as well as window watching or TV viewing. Most of all, it has decent light; there's a floor lamp right behind the end table (although there's a comfy chair in the room that I've taken a shine to, with even better light. Alas, any "move" to relocate my knit space would require too much work on my part, given all the knitting paraphernalia I leave lying about).

I haven't taken any pictures of the mess behind the end table. There are oodles of bags spilling out of a large basket, many filled with odds and ends from finished--and some unfinished projects-- waiting to be called upon for some future use. Its rather messy with no discernible organization. The rest of my "stash" can be found in even larger bags tucked behind some golf clubs in the computer room (perhaps I'll tackle that mess some day . . . right now I just need to give some semblance of order to my public image, however untrue that image might be).

And then I noticed something: the wonderful colours peaking out from my knitting bag. They looked so pretty! I moved my bag to the kitchen window to capture the image in natural light. Atop my bag lay my Orange Smoothie (from More Big Girl Knits), patiently awaiting the finishing touches: ends to be darned, a button or two to be attached and ribbon to be threaded through pretty lace. Next to it lay my lovely green reversible scarf, still waiting to be worked on (I promise to get back to it real soon).

I think the festive colours caught my eye. Its just so darn purtty. And everything matches just so . . .
Just lovely . . . .


Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Little Things

Sometimes its the little things that make life so wonderful, if we'd only stop to notice them. The tiny blooms on the dogwoods, the creeping Aurea covering the rock wall or the pretty pink blossoms of the Silver Beacons.

The Coral Bells , Foamy Bells and Hosta, awake up from their winter sleep, slowly stretch up towards the sun--whatever little sun can get through the shade of the dogwoods.
But my favorite of all are the Lilies of the Valley. Fragrant tiny white blooms. I remember the elderly couple who lived next door to us. With almost half their garden covered in lilies of the valley, it always smelled so sweetly--proof that even small urban gardens could become an oasis from the gritty grime of urban chaos.
And despite the clouds and cooler temps, I finally enjoyed a few hours of knitting time. Ahhh . . . life is good.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Knitter's Lament: Not Enough Time

I'm a little disappointed in myself. The knitting has been sparse of late. I've managed to turn a heel and shape the gusset of my son's second ribbed sock. And my Blue Sprout has a little over 3" left to go before separating the sleeves from the body. As for the lace scarf . . . well, I haven't touched that since I started.

I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on myself. The last 2 weekends have been busy (birthday party and then a work-related workshop); so my free time has dwindled. The weekdays too have been a challenge now that soccer has started up. Both boys have practise twice a week--and not necessarily on the same nights.
At least I've caught up in my sewing--such as it is. Let's just say I can sew a straight line--sort of--and leave it at that. My skills are minimal at best. I've manged to make simple curtains, adjust pant hems and patch up worn-out jeans. The latter took up an afternoon last Sunday.
Usually I sew a little hem around the cotton patch and then I sew the patch over the hole. Since my hand-sewing is sloppy, I try to use the machine. Simple? Not if the aforementioned hole is in an awkward spot, thus rendering machine use rather challenging. But I persevered. The holey jeans are holey no more. My dear hubby and son can now wear their old jeans. And who doesn't love a comfy pair of jeans?
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