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May 2010

Posts from April 2010

Don't speak for me Mr PM

Dear Stephen Harper:

This Canadian does want abortion services as part of any foreign aid initiative for global maternal and child health. I want women all over the world to have the same health care that I can get in Canada. This includes not only abortion and contraception but the economic prosperity which helps protect health and enables choices.

Autonomy for women cannot be achieved without control over reproduction.

That's the rub eh? I'm guessing you're not all that keen on Autonomy for Women...

Spring Cleaning for my Knitting

I know there's been a bit too much blog silence lately, I'm hoping to get back into the habit since I enjoy writing regularly and I enjoy reading blogs too.  I still really like Twitter but I'm trying not to use all my blog mojo there.

If you do follow my Tweets, you'll notice I haven't been feeling all that great.  Just Spring stuff--colds and fatigue, but I think most of it is behind me now.  The good thing about being under the weather, but not too sick is that I have been doing a fair bit of knitting.  

The first priority project is an extra secret project.  I'm the first designer for Kim's Indigodragonfly Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination 1 skein club.  The pattern and yarn will be sent to club members in June so this sneak peak is all I can show you.



I'm having a great time designing and I stretched myself with this one in the fancy construction department. That part was fun.  Ripping out 150 rows of garter stitch when I got my geometry wrong wasn't as fun!

The pattern is mine to release some time this summer; I'll keep you posted.

Next up are Xander's socks.  I have one done and on the heel for the second one.  His feet really are growing while I look, so I need to get these off the needles.  So it's the couch, Firefly and socks for the next few nights.



I also have some abandoned projects on deck that I want to finish because I have a LOT of things I would like to start.  I consider this spring cleaning for my knitting.  I'm on the last piece of my Nantucket Red Cardi--mine is Calmer Blue.  So that's an easy finished object.  

I also have not so much done on the Hanami stole.  I really love the idea of this shawl, but can't get my head around the basketweave pattern.  I'm hoping I can get my head down and just knit those last repeats (or even cheat and skip one) and then get to the cherry blossom part which I'm sure I can get my head around.  I'm using kidsilk haze which is rather unrippable so I'm going to give it a good solid try.

What's up after that?  Some baby clothes for my knitpal Keri who is due in July, perhaps a summer top for me and then, I'm not sure...only because I have tons of beautiful stash yarn and I want to knit it all.

Toe-Up Socks for Every Body

I'm a vanilla sock knitter.  I love love love plain stockinette and socks are perfect for that kind of knitting.  I can take them anywhere and I don't have to do a whole lot of thinking about my knitting.  In my sock knitting career the most adventurous I've been is to knit a pair of Jaywalkers, a pair of Monkeys and a bit of skull fair isle.  

This might not make me the best person to review Wendy D. Johnson's new book Toe-Up Socks for Every Body because there isn't a plain old stockinette sock in sight. 


This book is lovely.  First off, it's a nice sized paper back printed on heavy glossy paper.  The photography is clear showing off the details and the art direction is very nice--whimsical, just like knitted socks themselves which are really a luxury for the feet.

The text is clear and the instructions are easy to follow.  Johnson has included everything needed to get someone started on toe-up socks and there's a nice section on designing your own socks which is great for a vanilla sock knitter like me.

But after that, you're right into a whole lotta fancy socks; lace, colourwork, cables, thigh-highs--a whole ice cream shop of patterns and textures.  There isn't a single pattern in this book that I don't like.  And I love the variety and the fact that there are kiddie and manly socks included.  This really is a book for everybody.  

The patterns use single coloured yarns for the most part, but nothing multicoloured so the yarn doesn't compete with the pattern.  And most of the big names in sock yarn are included: Dream in Colour, Socks That Rock, Louet Gems, Cherry Tree Hill, Lorna's Laces, Fleece Artist, Shibui, etc.  

I group my favourites into 2 categories: those I want to try (ie moving me away from the plain ol' stockinette) and those that are aspirational; maybe some day I'll knit them.

I already have some Dream in Colour Starry earmarked for the Victory socks and I'm almost ready to jump right in and make the Wrought Iron Knee Socks.



Some day I will try the Sanquar socks (and maybe that'll get me knitting the gloves!) and I absolutely adore the Norwegian Rose socks--they are stunning.


I also like that Johnson uses a few different heels which shows off the recent innovations in toe-up designs. The whole book is a delight that I'm very happy to review and add to my shelf.  

The Bathroom is (finally) done...

We've been using it for weeks, but there have been a few things keeping me from the big reveal.  A few are still unresolved, but I can't wait any longer to show it off (besides it's clean).


 First, the tap drain was broken and leaky and we waited on replacement parts for a while.


 But the underhung sink is fabulous and I love my taps.  


 We're waiting on the backsplash piece (long story), but I finally have a place to put my blowdryer (that's not on my bedroom floor).  Unfortunately the room isn't wide enough for me to get the whole thing in the photo.


Then there was that whole thing with the vanity, that never did get resolved, but is still gorgeous.  Especially with the beautiful pulls from Restoration Hardware.  It was a splurge, but I love the vintage look and they feel heavy and cold instead of like chrome plated plastic.


 The floor is great too eh?  2" unglazed hexes with charcoal coloured grout.  I did that part myself.


 Then there was the mirror.  We still don't like it (we reframed the old one) but will find the right one eventually.  Too bad really, Craig did a great job on the framing.



The best part, of which I have no complaints, is the shower and tub.  I love it.  We used the same tiles as the basement, but used more mosaic tiles--3 rows.  I love it!


The deep tub is fantastic too. We used a "hotel" towelbar which curves out giving the tub a bigger feel.  And it works really well--I hate touching the wet shower curtain.


 The best part?  It's done!  And, we don't have any more bathrooms to do!




How To Knit a Love Song

I confess that I'm not much of a reader.  I surf the net, watch the tweets, read the blogs, but I don't tend to pick up a work of fiction very often and have a good read.  I blame the PhD a little bit and the nature of my current work which also involves reading all day; it just doesn't feel like a leisure activity to me.

As a pal of Rachael Herron's I have been anticipating the release of her debut novel How to Knit a Love Song.  I'm so happy she's now a published author, doing what she loves.  I bought the book in digital form to read on my Iphone's Kindle app. 


And I ate it up.

I was reading on the subway, sneaking a read in on the couch while the kids were doing homework, staying up too late to see what would happen next. 

I really enjoyed it.

Not only am I not much of a reader, I'm definitely not a romance reader.  So that surprised me.   I like being surprised.

What hooked me was the solid pacing of the story and the utter charm of the main character Abigail.  Also, instead of being whisked into some fantasy that involves me shopping on Rodeo Drive, I got to fantasize within my own realm.  What knitter doesn't dream of an inheritance that involves fibre and knitting?  Oh, and maybe a hot cowboy who can, ahem, really skein your cashmere (if you know what I mean). 

The book also had Abigail in some very Anne of Green Gables moments. Some little scrapes that made me giggle.  I liked that.  A good story, fun characters, some romance and discussions of handknit socks.  My kind of book.

Congratulations Rachael, a fine first novel and you helped get me out of my reading slump.