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Well, goodness. This summer thing really does wreak havoc with my blogging time. What with working hard to have time to get away on vacation, then actually going on vacation (camping…more on that later) and then returning with family members in tow and heading right back to work…sheesh, time has flown!

So, a bit of catching up is in order.

I made a few more Lizard Ridge squares, and have now finished 15 of the 30 I’ll need. How pretty is this??

IMG_8031

I may just keep producing the squares and stacking them around the house. They’re that satisfying.

I also finished the 3 x 1 ribbed socks and gave them to my sister Marie as a very belated birthday gift:

Marie's socks June 2008

Pattern: personal pattern
Yarn: Meilenweit 100 Cotton Fondo by Lana Grossa, in colour 6508
Needles: Harmony 3.0 and 2.5 mm dpns from Knit Picks

Marie prefers a sock with lots of give, so I experimented with larger needles. She swears that these socks fit well and don’t fall down even after she rides her exercise bike or runs up and down the stairs, so I’ll call them a success.

And yes, those are pews in the background of the photo. It’s like this: I needed a foot model before sending the socks in the mail. My knitting friend Shakti visited my office and was willing to save the day. The lighting in the chapel down the hall was perfect. So there.

* * * * *

Earlier this month, my parents (visiting from Newfoundland) and three sisters (two from Ottawa, one from Newfoundland) and their families joined us in northern New Brunswick at Sugarloaf Provincial Park. We frolicked with cousins from Florida as well as our many relatives living in the area. These people were born for fun, let me tell you!

The intrepid among us pitched tents in carefully chosen adjacent sites and created our humble version of the Kennedy compound.

Campsite - Campbellton July 2008

And look, we found Tiger (in the) Woods!

tiger roaring July 2008

He was exercising his knee by climbing up and down a stump.
Keep up the good work, Tiger.

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This makes me ridiculously happy:

laundry snow sunshine April 26 2008

For the second weekend in a row, I have been able to hang clothes on the line and watch them flutter in the breeze. Even the fact that there is still snow in the background doesn’t dampen my delight, because there is less than there was last week!

Of course, the melting comes with a price in this region, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all of our neighbours dealing with flooding and water damage.

On the knitting front, I am squeezing in a bit of time with my love, Lizard Ridge, but my quest to knit a pair of socks every month (or two) in 2008 continues. On the needles at the moment:

Cotton Fondo sock and bag 3

I’m designing a 3 x 1 rib sock, and experimenting with needle size to see if I can create a go-to pattern for times when I want more stretch.

Don’t you love how once you have something on your radar, it keeps cropping up? When I was in Ontario last month, I had a discussion about saints with my daughter’s friend, Chris. This prompted some thinking about patron saints, and in particular St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of students. But I didn’t think for a moment about a patron saint of knitting (where was my mind?), so I was intrigued to see this blog entry pop up on my blog host home page:

Who knew?

* * *
I hope that it is as nice where you are as it is here. The fresh air wafting in is punctuated by the sound of the brook running, birds tweeting, and every now and then a shriek from the kids next door as they howl “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” (now that brings back memories!). It doesn’t get much better than this.

It almost makes me forget that I am off to the basement to work on our weekend project: emptying the computer room, painting it, and putting a lot less back in! So far… three bags for reycling, one bag to give to a good cause, and a half-bag of garbage. Not too bad. More room for my yarn.

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.

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):

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And here is what she is looking at so intently:

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Hungry birds, and our winter wonderland.

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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.

My friend Debbie had a moment of knitterly Christmas inspiration at the last possible minute. She decided to knit pairs of wee tiny socks out of self-striping yarn remnants, and to turn them into Christmas ornaments to give to family members. Now, despite the fact that Christmas was VERY near, she knew she could do it. She’s like that.

So when the family vehicle was due to be in the garage one morning, Debbie turned down the opportunity to be driven home, and opted instead to wait in the garage waiting room. It was the perfect excuse to work on the teeny socks. And she did just that, minding her own business, and concentrating on the task at hand. Hours later, she overheard the mechanic at the front desk talking to a co-worker in the garage bay:

“Nope, she’s still here. Yeah, she’s been waiting the whole time. Well, we offered her a drive, but she’s working on some… cat booties or something.”

Cat Booties?

That cracked me up. The guy was serious! Obviously he has never had a cat.

The photo above includes a regular, human-sized sock to help illustrate how tiny the cat booties were. Heh.

Debbie also produced three pairs of lo-o-ong manly socks for her husband and two sons. She calculated that, at minimum wage per hour, the socks were a gift worth about $600.00. Not bad at all. Note how the socks encouraged male bonding and ritualistic behaviours:

Debbie's dudes Dec 2007
Debbie's dudes' socks2 Dec 2007

Debbie says, “The socks were knit from ” Opal Silk ” ( ‘seide’ German) in three
different, yet similar colours. One ball makes a pair, with a little left for at least one pair of cat booties :)”

Red Beret Emily Dec 2007

I decided to make another beret for my younger daughter, Emily, since the one I made last year was an unprecedented success. Let’s just say that Emily is… well, suspicious about knitted gifts, at least until she is sure that she’ll love them.

A two-day trip to Maine to visit my in-laws after Christmas was the perfect opportunity to whip up a jaunty red beret. Done like dinner, and mighty cute on her, if I don’t say so myself.

Red Beret 2 Emily Dec 2007

Okay, I know she doesn’t look excited in this photo, but she was, I swear. She was just all about being nonchalant and je ne sais quois.

Tres chic, non?

The pattern is Kristen TenDyke’s “Tweed Beret” from the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. I used Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds (washable and low-maintenance… perfect for a university student), on 5mm needles. I made the smaller size, but it is loose-fitting, nonetheless.

And done just in time. We have had SO much snow, it’s crazy. But I confess that I love it. The snowbanks are higher than they have been in years. Lots of businesses were closed down today, as the city was blanketed in the latest of several winter storms. I say, “Bring it on!” Then again, I’m not the one clearing the snow…

Well. Here it is. My own little corner of the blogging world.

Herein will reside my best efforts to share the wonders of my regular and knitting worlds with family and friends. While there are some (you know who you are) who think the knitting thing is negligible–this despite its decades-long presence in my life– I consider it my mission to gain your respect for the not-so-humble needles and yarn. I figure that I’ll cleverly entwine enough family news into the knitting theme that you’ll convert to my way of thinking without even noticing. Heh.

Evil, perhaps, but for the greater good.

To that end, here is a gratuitous shot of my precocious (and perpetually astonished) nephew Elliott wearing the cardigan I made for him last year. Despite the overwhelming cute factor of this sweater, I cursed every moment that I had to handle the yarn (King Cole’s Sprinkles), as it caught on every rough patch of skin or fingernail and made me long for my usual natural fibres. But I love Elliott so much that I’m making a blanket for him out of the remaining yarn. Will need a stiff glass of Bailey’s on hand to make it bearable, I’m afraid.

Elliott, astonished.

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