There has been some positive knitting energy happening chez Hetty Knits:

Lizard Ridge basket

It has been a long time since I have had this much fun with a knitting project. It is, of course, the fabulous Lizard Ridge by Laura Aylor. The free pattern is available on Knitty.

Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a few skeins of Noro’s Kureyon, the yarn required for this project, and my daughter convinced me that it is time to get started. Mind you, I didn’t take much convincing, so maybe it was more like aiding and abetting.

I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. one night to master the technique required. Couldn’t help myself. Now that I know how to do it, making the squares for this blanket (each square uses most of a ball of Kureyon) is so much fun it should be illegal. I’m not so sure I’ll feel the same way when the time comes to sew the squares together and create the border, but we shall see.

Lizard Ridge bumps 2

I get a kick out of the “bumps” formed by the short-row technique involved. They’ll flatten and smooth out when I block each square, and I know I’ll miss them.

In other news… the mammoth 2008 snowfall is melting!!

Here is Miette, out on our (finally) snow-free deck. In the background is our brook, with the water running nicely.

Miette on deck with brook apr 13 2008

Look… no ice!

Brook with water closeup Apr 13 2008

Miette finds this very amusing.

Miette observes on deck Apr 13 2008

Miette in sun 5 Jan 2008

This is my dog, Miette. She looks innocent, doesn’t she? Do not be deceived.

All I can say is that it’s a good thing I love her, it’s a good thing she’s cute, and it’s a good thing I have a sense of humour!

The other day I prepared for a trip to the post office, where I was to mail a package to my mother and a little envelope to my friend Lynn’s son and his wife. Inside the envelope there was a tiny pair of hand-knitted socks for their new baby, Nina.

IMG_7112

I put everything I needed into a bag and placed it near the stairs while I put on my jacket, then grabbed the bag and ran out the door, figuring I would seal the envelope once I got to the post office.

When I got there, I could only find one sock in the envelope. I looked under the car seat, emptied my bag several times, and even checked my pockets. No sock.

I returned to the house, looked in the driveway and walkway, opened the front door…and discovered this:

IMG_7120

Somehow my VERY BAD dog had stolen the sock in the few seconds my back had been turned. Miette is well known for her lust for yarn and her preference for wool, and I am always very diligent about keeping my knitted goods away from her. I honestly don’t know how she managed this sleight-of-paw move.

Sigh. I suppose remedial action is required, but it is complicated by the fact that I have very little spare yarn to work with in this case. Bad dog.

For my friends who are not on the East coast in this winter of all winters, I thought you might be interested in the view from my driveway a few days ago. Not to worry, things are improving…I can see my neighbour’s house!

IMG_7100

I’ll end with a warmer image: an asparagus Tosca I made for my daughter a couple of weeks ago when I was visiting her. Ahh, that’s better. I’m off to make a nice cup of tea.

Supper for Jess - still life with an Asparagus Tosca and Q!

Please forgive me, dear readers, for being away from my blog so much lately… but it was all for a good cause. I was in Ontario last week, visiting my daughter Jess, and cavorting with my adorable godson (and nephew), Elliott the Wonder-boy.

Cousins at the window

And there was knitting going on, some of which will only be revealed in the fullness of time. (I love saying that, and really, how often can I?)

The long-awaited Jaywalker socks have been completed. They were gifted to Jess, and she has already worn them. Look closely, because you are unlikely to see another pair of Jaywalkers springing from my needles!

Jaywalkers 1

Jaywalkers 2

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina, at MagKnits
Yarn: Regia Strato Color (colour 5747) by Schachenmayr
Needles: Harmony 2.25 mm dpns from Knit Picks

You know, sometimes — despite having the perfect yarn (it was), a great pattern (no doubt there), no difficulty with the execution (there wasn’t), and a lovely result (check) — a knitting experience just doesn’t excite me. I’m not sure why, but that was the case with these socks. My plan to execute them in the month of February was derailed by a serious case of disinterest (better than a serious case of dysentery… hee). Forgive me; having spent the week with a couple of medical students I was privy to some talk about moderately disgusting bodily functions!

Jaywalkers 5

Of course I couldn’t start another pair, because I have an in-my-head rule that I can only have three projects on the go at one time, one in each of the following categories:
– portable (usually socks)
– mindless (when I’m likely to be distracted – sadly, this is most of the time)
– Herculean (something that makes my heart sing, is challenging, and requires full concentration…which usually means this one is slow-going)

I must say, however, that the Harmony double-pointed needles were absolutely wonderful; and are now by far my favourite sock needles. They’re sleek, nimble, sharp, smooth, and even pretty. This is my version of sports car love.

Since it was Easter weekend, I thought you would appreciate some themed content. Observe young Elliot’s reaction to the Easter Bunny we spotted in the wild:

Elliott reacts to the nice bunny...!

It’s much better when they’re small enough to hold by the ear.

Elliott & his bunny

I’m sad to say that my recent knitting output has been reduced to this:

Jaywalkers & dishcloth March 2008

My February socks (Jaywalkers) are still not finished, and have become February/March socks.

The reason for my lack of productivity? I spent the past week in New York City, and despite my typical delusional knitting packing, I only managed to finish a few inches on the Jaywalkers, and to squeeze in an hour or two of dishcloth knitting in the dark while en route.

But New York was great fun. I was guiding some high school students and teachers and their family members, and they couldn’t have been a better group. We saw three Broadway shows (Wicked was my favourite), and had plenty of time to explore the Midtown area of Manhatten, where we were staying.

My husband was along as a helper, so that made the trip even better. He snapped this photo of me on Broadway…talking while walking, nothing unusual there!

On the streets of NYC March 2008

On our last day in the city we spent some time at the Museum of Modern Art. After being delighted by works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Pollock, and Warhol, I stumbled upon this:

Mike Kelley's Untitled 1990 (found blankets and dolls) at MOMA

It is Mike Kelley’s Untitled 1990, an installation piece comprising “found blankets and dolls.”

There was something so surprising about finding these worn and kitschy handknit and crocheted pieces laid out among the more typical works of art, even though there were also honeycomb sculptures and cardboard creatures like this one:

cardboard creature MOMA March 2008

It was a bit disturbing and yet somehow comforting to think that the artist rescued these yarn pieces out of bins at thrift shops and gave them an importance never intended by their creators.

How many times have we seen little guys like this one, and never thought that they should be in a museum with works of art by the greatest artists of the century?

Part of Mike Kelley's Untitled 1990, MOMA March 2008

Hey, little orange guy…it was great to see you at the MOMA.

I haven’t finished my Jaywalker socks (one done, one still a glint in its mother’s eye), and I have another secret project on the go that can’t be revealed until it is on its way to its new owner, so I thought I would share an “old” project:

Lantern Moons + Zara = DNA

Pattern: DNA Scarf by June Oshiro
Yarn: Zara by Filatura di Crosa
Needles: Lantern Moon 3.5 mm

This pattern was the perfect choice for a scarf for my daughter, who was studying and working in the field of genetics when I made it.

Unfortunately, my choice of yarns was not very good. Zara is a lovely yarn, but does not have enough body to hold up well in this type of scarf, so it curls when worn. But it is beautiful to look at.

DNA Scarf 2 2007

I’ve decided that I will make Jess another DNA scarf out of a sturdier yarn that will hold its shape. Now I have to get the old one back to recycle that beautiful Zara.

Wait… would it be bad Karma to destroy DNA? Even if I’m going to recreate it?

Hmmm….

Baby Elliott, of course!

Blankie 3

The infamous (because the yarn drove me crazy) baby blankie to match Elliott’s cute hooded sweater was finally completed and sent to Ontario to be cuddled by my adorable nephew.

Someone here wanted me to keep it.

Miette with Elliott's blankie

*

Before you read this next bit, I swear that I have never done a chain letter or forwarded one of those “delete this at your peril” emails, even if they would cure some ailing nun. Just sayin’.

Jennifer sent this to me:

http://loopyknitter.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/youmakemyday.jpg

Aw-w-w. That made me feel good. Especially because her blog makes my day!

She also tagged me for the for the 7 Random Things meme.

“Here are the rules, and they must be posted to your blog. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog and also so they can look at your blog and not tag the same people all over again!”

Here are my random things, in random order:

1. I once rode a horse on a beach on South Padre Island in Texas.
2. I know how to catch frogs. And keep them alive.
3. I climbed Mt. Katahdin in Maine, and crossed between the peaks on Knife’s Edge.
4. I won’t do that again.
5. I can remember the scientific names for plants and bones, but not the names of people I met five minutes ago.
6. Most of the time, my hair is wet underneath. Including on my wedding day.
7. Drumroll… I accidentally stabbed the Minister of Justice all the way through his hand with a knitting needle. True story. And he didn’t swear.

Now, I need to pass on the award and the meme, and since many people have already received these, I’m just going to choose a few people who have blogs that meant a great deal to me for some random reason, and have therefore made my day!

1. Skrilla Knits – because she works at WEBS , and mentions WEBS, and I love WEBS. So it makes me happy.
2. String or Nothing – because a long time ago, she mentioned that her family was playing Killer Bunnies , and it intrigued me enough that I bought the game. It rekindled a family love for board games, and we’ve had many happy hours of playing Killer Bunnies since, and have expanded to other games.
3. Angry Chicken – because she makes everything look so beautiful that I want to live in the Angry Chicken house.
4. Fat Free Vegan – because she has been a lifesaver for a family that includes a vegan, a non-dairy person, and a vegetarian. And I bet she knits.
5. Adam Knits! – just because I love his energy & awesome photos.

A quick update to tell you that I have indeed been knitting, albeit in stolen moments here and there. As a result, I am coming along nicely with my February socks: the ubiquitous Jaywalker socks by Grumperina.

Jaywalker 1

When Jess and I were at WEBS in Northampton last year, we stopped dead upon entering their warehouse and seeing a bin of Regia yarn on sale for a ridiculously low price. We knew that the short stripe pattern would be perfect for Jaywalkers, and we snapped up a few balls.

Jaywalker 3

Today we had yet another snowstorm. I must confess that I love the snow, and so does the dog. Here she is, perched on the back of the couch and staring out the window (trust me, that blob of fur really is our dog):

IMG_6522

And here is what she is looking at so intently:

IMG_6546

Hungry birds, and our winter wonderland.

IMG_6530

February 7 is a big day in our family. See this young couple?

Ben Ida Marie and Heather - 1961

This is my Mom and Dad, Ida and Ben. They are pictured here in 1961 with my sister Marie (right) and me. Marie was born on their second wedding anniversary, on February 7.

Today, Mom and Dad are in Portugal celebrating their anniversary, as they have done for the past several years, and Marie is in Ottawa marking her birthday.

Marie and I were partners in crime in our early childhood, and managed to share many escapades even after the arrival of our two younger sisters. Catching frogs at the cottage, shivering as we walked through the forest path to our early morning swimming lessons (carrying flashlights to shine in the bears’ eyes…such protection!), divvying up the comic books given to us every weekend by our elderly neighbours, preening in our Easter hats and white gloves and trying to stay clean for church, trudging off to piano lessons, playing “scrub” with the neighbourhood kids…all of my early memories have Marie in them, right by my side.

And always, always, our Mom and Dad were there… with hand-knit Barbie doll clothes (including socks!), frog boxes embellished with chicken wire and tire tubes, pans of steaming cinnamon buns, Sunday drives, root beer at Percy’s on the way to the lake, and admonitions to line up the seedlings in straight rows and to do something right if you were going to bother to do it at all.

We were lucky then, and we’re lucky now.

Happy Birthday, Marie.  Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. 

Dream in Color Cloud Jungle 1
Dream in Color Smooshy, in colourway Cloud Jungle

First, let me assure my eagle-eyed readers that the beautiful new yarn pictured in this post does not constitute a breach in my aforementioned resolve to knit only from my existing yarn stash in 2008. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

This week I received a shipment of gorgeous hand-dyed yarn from The Loopy Ewe, purveyors extraordinaire of the best in sock yarns. I ordered it for my daughter (a prolific sock knitter), who doesn’t have a ball winder and swift with her at university, so of course I had it shipped to me so that I could wind it for her. What else could I do? It wasn’t because I wanted to pet it. Really.

So, I spent an enjoyable half hour caressing …er, winding the yarn into tidy balls. Which are not round, I know, but we knitters don’t care about such semantics. These “balls” stack nicely, and most importantly, the yarn pulls from the centre, so the whole thing doesn’t end up in a knotted mass.

Many years ago, our friend Niels made a lovely pine bench for us, and it just might be the most well-used piece of furniture in our house. I think he should market it to knitters, because just look at how perfectly the swift and ball winder clamp on its ends:

Swift & ball winder Feb 2008

Swift Dream in Color November MuseBall winder Dream in Color November Muse

And there you go: perfect centre-pull balls. You may have noted that they are not the same size, despite my best efforts to weigh the yarn while winding and make them equal. Apparently I am appallingly bad at this.

Dream in Color November Muse
Dream in Color Smooshy, in colourway November Muse

But still, aren’t they beautiful, all snuggled up together ready to be shipped to Jess? Lucky, lucky Jess.

Dream In Color Smooshy Nov. Muse & Cloud Jungle

Umm, and in the interest of full disclosure, there may have been a couple more skeins that accidentally made it into my shipment, but we won’t speak of that now. I need time to figure out an excuse explanation.

I know that this isn’t terribly significant, but it feels good nonetheless: I’ve successfully completed step #1 of my first resolution for 2008. I decided to try to knit a pair of socks every month, which will not only result in a dozen pairs of happy feet, but will also bring me closer to completing Resolution #2: to reduce (significantly) my stash of yarn.

These January socks are being mailed to my sister Deanna, as a belated birthday gift.

Retro Ribs Socks stand
Pattern: Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn A. Clark
Source: Favorite Socks (Interweave Press)
Yarn: Regia Stretch
Needles: 2.50mm Pony Pearls

The yarn is interesting… very stretchy, which was strange at first, but it did result in a custom-fit feel.

Retro Ribs socks toes

And here is what happened when I sat on the floor to try to take close-up photos:

Miette camera Jan 27 2008

Sigh.

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