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January 2008

Posts from December 2007

Week Two: Not-so-ambitious

I figured I should pop by the old blog and say hi.  I've been busy doing a whole lot of not much.  Christmas came and went and I survived a lot of family gatherings.  It was good to see people I don't see very often, check out how much kids have grown, catch up on the dramas and just hang out and play a few games of cards with the gang (we were 26 at Christmas dinner).  Then I stayed with Mom at her place after everyone left; partly because Emma was sick again (poor thing) and partly to keep her company since this is her first Christmas without Dad.

Then Mom brought us back to Toronto and we hung out here for a few days.  I didn't get to the kitchen painting choosing instead to do another cull of stuff.  I spent a day in the basement throwing stuff away and plan a few days with the kids going through their things as we integrate the Christmas haul back into the house.  Nothing very exciting, but it is something that feels good to do. 

No yarn or knitting related things for Christmas, but that's okay, I really feel like I have everything I need right now in that department--I have lots of nice yarn, plenty of needles, lots of patterns and not enough time so I'm good for now.

I didn't knit much.  Grey Mist is progressing--I have about 6 rounds until I split the body and the sleeves.  This means I won't have 500ish sts on the needles and I can enter the realm of pretty mindless stockinette.  I haven't decided if I will do waist shaping yet since I'm pretty straight anyway and I don't notice it in my commercial knits (and right now I'm lazy so I'm not deciding).  No pictures either--remember, lazy.

The only bad part is I've noticed my hands are getting sore and I need to change to another project at a larger gauge for a bit.  Bird in the Hand mittens!

Tonight we party to welcome 2008 and after that I'll be back to organizing the house, plotting further home improvements (which means at least one trip to Ikea) and more lovely loafing.  I'm not going to want to go to work in a week.


Holiday Ambition

Ambition

I just wound 10 balls of yarn to knit during my holiday time.  Six bohus (at 9 sts to the inch, so imagine the yardage), Oak Grove and Sheldridge Farms sock yarn for Emma's socks and 2 skeins of O-Wool to make Bird in the Hand mittens. 

I also want to paint my entire kitchen--ceiling walls AND cupboards. 

Stop laughing...I'm still in the glow of the 2 weeks off (I spent the entire day in the pj's even).


Knitting by Scale

Thanks for all the get well messages.  I managed to drag my butt to work this week and actually do a few things and now I am on holiday for 2 weeks AND I'm feeling better, so things are good.

Well sorta, Alexander now has it.  But the Christmas shopping is done and the tree is up and I'm off for two weeks.

Christmas socks were also finished today.  It was close.  So close I needed to pull out the scale and see what I could do for the cuffs. 

Wray_on_scale

This is why toe-up socks are good, you can make these decisions and still come out with socks in the end.  I had 8 grams of yarn left at the cuff point.  I knit a little, weighed the ball, knit a bit more, you get the idea.  When I had 4 grams left and the cuff looked good, I casted off and did the other cuff.  I had a bit left (so I could have made them a bit longer, but this time of year, there's no messing around) and someone is getting a nice pair of socks for Christmas.

Wraysocks_done

Now I get back to the Bohus. Did I mention I have two weeks off?


Too Sick for Socks

Yup, I got Emma's germs and now feel like dirt.  I did manage to be sorta well on the weekend and went to the Lettuce Knit Christmas party and even trudged in the snow (we had a *big* storm on Sunday) but now I'm sick, sick, sick.  I stayed home from work today and slept all day.  I knew it was bad because I'm not knitting, not even the socks for Christmas deadline.  I'm not going to be ready for my planned, Turn the Heel Tuesday which is needed so that I'm not knitting these socks late into Christmas Eve. 

Worse still, because I think I may run out of yarn, I had to put almost completed sock 1 on some waste yarn to wait until I finish sock 2 and decide if I need contrast yarn for the cuff.  So I can't even give him one sock with a pithy note about sock 2 being on the way.  Yikes.

But really this post is just so I can whine. 


At least there are socks

Emma and I stayed home again today.  She's at that not-good-enough-for-school-not-sick-enough-for-home stage which means she'll be fine enough tomorrow.  Now that I'm not a free-wheeling post-doc, working from home is a nice luxury.  The laundry is done, I'm wearing jeans and a handknit noro sweater and I'm comfortable working on my laptop at the dining room table.  Except that the vpn connection I need to use my work computer isn't working, so I didn't get the work done I wanted to do.  I set a goal for myself to finish before the Christmas break and I'm either going to end up working over the holidays or I need to work a few evenings next week.  I'm not too hot on either option.

But at least there are socks.  I finished Alexander's socks on Tuesday.  They look so tiny.  I hope they fit.  I also lost the yarn band, so I can't tell you what I used.  I won it on one of Cara's contests.

Xanders_socks_small

He knows I'm making them, but didn't notice I finished them so they're going under the tree.

I was planning on going back to my knitting (bohus is waiting) but the perpetual, what do we buy the man (my father-in-law) who has everything and has a birthday on December 24 question came up.  I realized he was the only member of my immediate family who has never received hand knit socks.  So I started a pair.

When I started, it seemed like a silly idea.  Time before Christmas is tight and I try to avoid knitting deadlines because they stress me out.  But being home with a sick kid and no connection to my work computer makes a knitter pretty productive.

Wrays_socks_small

It's a standard toe-up sock in Trekking XXL colour 101.  It's my first sock with trekking and I like the yarn.  I also did my first sherman heel.  It took a bit to figure out those encroachment stitches, but after reading this fantastic explanation I did a rather nice heel.  I think I still like garter stitch short row heels better, but they aren't good for people with high insteps so this is a good alternative and looks better than my traditional short rows.

Hopefully I won't be knitting these Christmas Eve.


Festive Frolicking

My fun, festive weekend was bookmarked by sick kids.  Alexander recovered in time for us to pack up and visit my in-laws outside of Tweed.  We spent Saturday frolicking in the snow in the wilderness.

There was sliding:

Sliding

Sliding_3

Sliding2

Tree cutting:

Haul_the_tree_small

Angel Making:

Steph_snow_angel_small

Steph_angel_2small 

Snow_angel_small

And beer (it's good in the winter, it stays cold):

Winter_steph

The kids had so much fun and fresh air they were falling asleep over dinner.  Sunday was spent hot tubbing, more sliding, watching Ratatouille and relaxing. 

Then the other shoe dropped--Emma wasn't looking too good; but not with the same thing as her brother.  We sent her to school Monday, mostly because there was a Brownie party she wanted to attend; but she didn't make it.  And we've been home with tea and honey and lots of tv.  The tree is still outside waiting to be trimmed and I just started my Christmas shopping with a big Land's End order and I have a lot of work to do at work. 

On the bright side, the kids are getting pesky viruses out of the way before we're off for two weeks.  And I'm getting some unexpected knitting time.


Maybe Today...

I'll finish the last 4 rounds of colourwork on Grey Mist.  At 408 sts to a round, this is no mean feat, especially when you throw in a barfy kid (poor Xander) and a backlog of work due to poor sick kid.

I met with Molly yesterday (for a yummy Hero burger) to admire her Forest Darkness (which she knit in 22 days) and to get some advice on how to proceed with the body of the sweater.  The design has you knit the colour in the round and then all the rest flat--I don't see the point.  However, doing it all in the round (including some short rows in the front to bring the neckline down a bit) takes a bit of thinking and I needed someone smart to talk me through it.

Now I'm debating two possible courses:

a) Just do it all in the round and use my big brain to just figure it out one step at a time.  This take a lot more prep time and in the end may be harder to knit than plan b, but seeing Molly's the result is very pleasing.

b) knit flat until all the tough stuff is done and then join in the round after the sleeves and sew some seams.  I don't mind seaming and I could proceed with less planning.  Stephanie used this method and she also has a gorgeous bohus (which I haven't yet seen in person) so it's tempting.

Regardless of what course I choose I do have some things to do.  I want this sweater to fit like a dream (because it's already dreamy) and I need to not just plough ahead and hope for the best like I often do.  I need to think about the finished result and my body measurements more closely.  I need to swatch again because it's been a few months and either adjust to match my gauge or get the gauge right.  I don't really want to do these things, but I'm a grown up knitter and I'll be responsible.

I already took the time to block the colourwork to see if I liked it and it's perfect and beautiful:

Bohus_round


First remember, then work for change.

Today is December 6.  Today marks the day that 14 women were gunned down at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.  I find it hard to believe it's been 18 years since it happened.  What bothers me more is how little has changed for women. 

Women are still beaten, raped and killed at alarming rates.  Police, lawmakers, and regular people still see violence against women and particularly intimate partner violence as a private matter or something rare.  We still don't put this violence into a political context which shows the inequal power relations between men and women.  Or examine how this is especially true for women who are economically disadvantaged, sex workers, women in countries where they have low/no social status, or are very young. 

And this isn't a problem that just happens in countries where women's rights are non-existent.  The problem happens here.  Brian Vallee, in his book The War on Women states that between 2000 and 2006 there were more women murdered by their intimate partners in Canada and the United States than there were soldiers who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  We rarely hear about these cases, or the women who do not die, but live with violence every day.

People don't really get mad about that.  It makes me sad.

That's probably why I'm ambivalent about December 6th memorials.  There is a lot of remembering, but no enough anger or work for change.   

Funny thing is, I think I write the same blog entry every year.  Time to put it into a letter to my MP and a note to a local shelter with a donation.  It's not much, but it's a start. 


Tag (not that horrible body spray)

I wasn't tagged with this the last time it made the rounds (sniff, sniff) but like all meme's no one escapes. GrumpyABDAdjunct got me.  If you're a grad student you should read her (or if you're considering grad studies); she's living the life!  Her blog voice really resonates with me and my former life as an ABD mom (ABD=all but dissertation, if you're wondering). 

THE RULES:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I'm a feminist who abhorrs violence in real life but I have a facination with cinema with black violent overtones--not slasher flicks--but film noir, mob movies, shoot'em'ups and what my father calls films with "mindless violence and gratuitous sex".  It's probably because I started seeing these films with my Dad as a young girl because my mother didn't want to go.  Favourites include Miller's Crossing, La Femme Nikita, Full Metal Jacket, A History of Violence and The Godfather.

2. I love my yarn stash, but all that yarn in the house sometimes makes me uncomfortable.  Will I knit it all?  Should I keep buying more?  Is it too decadent?  I'm not completely comfortable with my own (relative) wealth.

3. I don't read much.  I used to read all the time; books for school, newspapers, novels, non-fiction.  Now I might read 3 books a year and never read the newspaper.  I do read a lot of things at work, but have very little desire to read outside of that. 

4. I have 7 pairs of Mary Janes.  I hated Mary Janes when I was a kid.  They're my shoe of choice now.

5. I would eat fruits and vegetables all the time if they appeared on party trays with dip in the middle.  If not, I have to force myself to prepare and eat them.

6.  I know a lot of people but don't have a lot of close friends.  I'm not sure why that is. (You've caught me on an introspective day).

7. I am plotting world domination and am keeping all my bodily "bits" in jars to avoid any DNA traces of me. 

Just kidding! 

I can hold random bits of pop culture in my head--that one above came because something reminded me of an episode of the Simpsons where Burns turns into a Howard Hughes character. 

I'm going to tag Seanna Lee (my most prodigious commentor), Jacquie, Suzanne, Knittrips, Rosemary, Michelle, and Sandi (who I found out has fantastic news--go look!).