Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Swaps, Shopping, Life in General

So SP11 is coming to a close. I don't have my final package all sorted out and mailed out yet, but I am getting close. My upstream pal is in a similar situation, but she's been having a few interesting challenges in her life. I can't wait to find out who she is! She's definitely given me a few laughs and smiles. I did do "my usual" with my downstream pal... Yes, I unintentionally revealed myself! Sigh... Sometimes I'm just too blonde for my own good. I haven't told her everything about me, so I still have some things to tell her about that hopefully she will find both interesting and amusing.
I'm busily working away on my WWCS package for my downstream pal. This time my pal is quite a challenge for me! But I like a challenge, so it is all good. I haven't been too communicative with her since she is very clearly dealing with some personal issues that require more immediate attention, but there is lots of information on her blog that I can work with, so hopefully she'll like her package. My upstream pal sent me a very cool link to a video of my theme song! Thanks, pal!!!
I'm not quite sure what is going to happen with SITMT... My downstream pal dropped out, for perfectly understandable reasons, but I'm still not sure what is going to happen with me. I may just hang back ready to spring into action as an angel. I'm thankful that my downstream pal communicated that she wasn't able to participate rather than leaving anyone hanging. It's the right thing to do!!! And I remain sockless from SITM... Good thing I had such a great time with my downstream pal for that swap. I would like to give full credit to AJ, our lovely swap hostess, for all of her hard work with both of these swaps. She can't control everything but has been very helpful and communicative.
Living close(ish) to the border and the strong Canadian dollar was enough to entice myself and some friends to spend the weekend shopping in Bangor, Maine. We had a very good time. We spent lots of money. We saved more money than we spent! Now I'd probably do Black Friday shopping again, but I'm not sure that I'm too inclined to get up to be at a store at 5am again unless it is a big ticket item. I bought mainly clothes, toys, DVDs... They would have still been there at say, 8am. The border crossing times were very good. We only had to wait about 10 minutes to get back into Canada. We paid our taxes and went on our way... Easy peasy. The only thing that might have been better would have been if there had been enough time to visit a yarn store or two... Non-knitters outnumbered knitters.
I'm on training for the next couple of days in anticipation of starting a new job on Monday. After 10 years of doing the same type of work, I'm looking forward to doing something different, although it is right in line with my training. I'm feeling both anxious and excited. I'll be doing very different work and for the first time in many, many years, the majority of my co-workers will be women... I'm used to working in "a man's world". Let's hope that I can adapt!
Both boys have received their report cards recently and they did very well. I'm so proud of my guys!
Unlike many of you out there in blogland, we DO NOT have out Christmas tree up! We always put up a real tree, so that won't happen until right before Christmas, but we do have up some of the outdoor decorations like our gigantic 6 foot wreath that we hang on the outside of the house and the wreaths on the stone gateposts. (That sounds far more impressive than it really is.) The house is starting to look very nice!
On the volunteer front, the start of the Christmas season means things like the church supper and working on our local First Night Activities. While both are enjoyable, why are some older "church ladies" SO BOSSY??? I always feel like I should be saluting them, clicking my heels and barking out "Yes ma'am!". They are VERY SCARY...

WWCS Topic of the Week

What is the ideal setting for enjoying the perfect cup of coffee? Who would be there - or would you be alone? Inside or out? Morning or night? With food or just the steaming cup of joe?

Hmm.... The answer to this question probably depends upon the season. In the winter time, I love sitting and having a nice hot cup of coffee in the parlour on a weekend morning when we don't have to rush anywhere. It is especially nice if it is snowing outside and I'm nice and warm and cozy inside. In the spring of in the fall, it is nice to sit out on a nice warm day on the back deck in the sunshine just listening to the sounds of nature. Summer? It's probably on the front verandah watching the world go by on the river that is in front of my house, while swinging gently on the porch swing. Ideally, I'm probably alone so that I can enjoy the coffee uninterrupted, without food to corrupt it's flavour. And since I don't typically drink coffee in the evening, it is probably morning.

I used to like to drink my coffee in bed on the weekend mornings while reading a book, but having two kids, a cat and a husband very neatly put an end to that little luxury!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Competitive? Who? ME???

Okay all you contest hounds, Chan is having a contest here. She wants to know what your favourite charity is and why. If you read the other entries, you'll find sound very touching stories. That in and of itself is worth the visit even if you don't want to leave an entry.

And then if you go here, you'll find Jane's contest. She wants you to share some of your own personal weirdness with her, and obviously those of us who read the other entries and entered ourselves... While Chan's contest touched me, Jane's made me snort with laughter!

And yes, I did enter with a personal piece of weirdness that I have not previously shared with the world at large...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Tale of Two Skeins

Once upon a time in a stash of yarn lived a skein of Knitpicks Gossamer in the Caribbean colourway. When the skein had first arrived, he thought that he wanted to knit up to be a scarf. He watched his friend in the Blue Jean colourway grow up to be a scarf and live happily ever after. And then his friend Iris Heather Alpaca Cloud became a lovely lacy scarf. His mind was made up. He was meant to be a scarf! But then something happened. His friends, the Jewels Heather Shadow twins became this. Suddenly, the skein wanted be a shawl... Or a wrap... Or a stole... He wanted to be bigger than a scarf! But at 440 yards, he wasn't big enough on his own. A funk set in. Then one day something came in the mail.It appeared to be from Babs, the knitting chicken from Chicken Run! Was it? No - it was a prize from The Knitting Coop. But what was inside? The skein felt something in each and every fibre. The anticipation was electrifying! When it was opened, this is what he saw:Now the skein wasn't too excited about either the yummy looking chocolate, nor the yummy smelling Vanilla Caramel Yankee Candle votive candle, but the yarn gave him palpitations! Could it be??? Was he about to be able to fulfill his wildest dreams and his destiny??? The two skeins compared tags and this is what they found:TWINS!!! They are now two very happy skeins, and are considering their options.
Even though the skein wasn't too excited about the chocolate or the candle, I must say that I am! The candle smells good enough that I'd eat it if I could... And this notecard is not to be missed - isn't it cute?!

Monday, November 19, 2007

WWCS Weekly Topic (Warning - Shallow Post)

The Thursday upcoming is Thanksgiving in the U.S., so let's all - American and not alike! - just share a post with what it is we're thankful for. A wonderful thing to do any time of year, I thought it'd be a nice thing to share for this week with the group!
Okay so it's Monday... And I'm feeling kind of shallow, so this post is going to be kind of "all about me". I've warned you. I'm apologizing in advance.
Things that I am thankful for:
The new job opportunity that I have been given. 2 weeks from today I start a new job. Same office, but very different work. I'm really looking forward to a change before I completely loose it. I cried in front of my Director recently... My Director is a very attractive man. I wasn't even crying about what we were discussing. He was really good about it, but I was embarassed. I needed a new challenge more than I could have possibly imagined.
Today I am grateful for Canada Post. They brought me my prize from The Knitting Coop!!! I'll post pics soon, but thanks Robin! It's a prize more perfect than you could have realized... I love it when things come together. (Yes - I think that I'm thankful for coincidences, good kharma, whatever you want to call it.)
And just to add a third thing, I'm thankful this year for US Thanksgiving, or more importantly, living close to the border and Black Friday shopping in Bangor, Maine. 5am - Old Navy. I intend to be there!
For some of the more serious things that I am thankful for, you can have a look at my Canadian Thanksgiving post, or my entry into KM's recent contest here. (You'll have to read the comments.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

SITM Twice - Contest #1 The Questions

How long have you been knitting?
I've been knitting for about 30 years.
Do you consider yourself beginner, intermediate, advanced?
Well, I'm not a beginner, but I'm not convinced that I'm advanced. I guess that makes me intermediate! Good thing that is probably a pretty big area....
How long have you been knitting socks?
Seriously knitting socks - about 4 years, but I first knit socks about 25 years ago. Out of a totally inappropriate yarn. They were STIFF. I could have used them to scrub the floors!
What are your favorite fibers to work with?
I prefer natural fibres and for socks, I prefer something that is machine washable. I've had a few felting incidents...
What is your favorite color?
I like pinks, purples, blues and greens.
What are your current WIPs (works in progress)?
Socks for Uncle Roger for Christmas, socks for SIL for Christmas, sweater for Mr. Me, Rogue for me, probably at least a dozen other things that i have forgotten... The 4 that I have named can be seen from where I am sitting at the computer. And I can't see anything under the Rogue in the basket, but I know that there is stuff under it.
Name your favorite yarns, (brand, fibers, colors, etc.).
I'm not a brand snob, but I do like wool, silk, alpaca, to name a few. My fave colours are listed above and I really like a yarn with colour variations, but I'm feeling like I overdid the whole self striping thing so I stay away from those.
What are some yarns/fibers that you stay away from.
100% acrylic and 100% nylon... Think back to those horrid handknit slippers many of us wore. They squeaked!
What is your family situation? (Married, kids, pets?)
1 husband (who would want more?), 2 sons (11 - 12 in January and 7), 1 cat and 2 gerbils. Yup - they're all male. It's just me and the guys!
Name some of your hobbies.
Other than knitting - sewing, reading, cooking... I like to play with beads, too, but I'm not accomplished enough to say that I make jewellery.
Name some of your favorite movies?
An Officer and a Gentleman
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Muriel's Wedding
Jerry Maguire
Do you like to read?
Yes. I'm reading Knitting Rules right now, having just finished Startled by His Furry Shorts.
Do you collect anything?
Yarn, beads, buttons...
Do you own an iPod or mp3 player?
Yes. My kids gave me a Sony Walkman for my birthday. Love it!
What are your favorite type of knitting needles?
Whatever is the right size and doesn't have a project on them! I find that it really depends on what I'm making and the yarn. Although I'm starting to replace all of my older Aero plastic needles with wooden ones. I just like the organic feel of them better.
What knitting notion could you not live without?
My retractable tape measures.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
I really like Cookie A., Eunny Jang and Sivia Harding.
Do you subscribe to any magazines? (Knitting or otherwise.)
Interweave Knits, More and Clin d'Oeil.
When is your birthday?
July 4th.
Do you have a "wishlist", (on Ravelry, Froogle, or Amazon)?
Not yet... I'm still getting familiar with Ravelry.
Do you have a Ravelry ID?
If you had a sheep, what would you name it?
Bouffant (I'm assuming it's a girl sheep...)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Encounter with Henry

Last month I had the extreme pleasure of attending Knitting Out Loud two Tuesdays in a row. I felt like a very lucky knitter indeed. Now the Halifax knitters are loads of fun, but I also got to spend a little time with the one-and-only-practically-world-famous Henry! He really is a charming little fellow and is very appreciative of good quality fibres. If you're in Halifax on a Tuesday evening, I would definitely recommend stopping by the Wired Monk for some great coffee and even better company.
As my fellow knitter, CanKNITian knows, I have been feeling rather cranky about my job of late. I'm surprised that Mr. Me didn't get a speeding ticket this morning trying to get me into the city and more importantly, out of the car, as fast as was possible! I just needed to vent... I've applied for a number of interesting opportunities, but I'm hoping that none of them will come to fruitition until after my next planned Halifax meeting at the beginning of December. I want to go knitting again!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

"A Day In The Life of 5, 3 and 1" Turned One!

On the tenth, A Day In The Life of 5, 3 and 1 turned one year old - happy 1st blogiversary! In celebration of this achievement, KM is having a contest here. It's a pretty easy contest, just leave her a comment telling her what you are thankful for in your life.
KM lost her Dad recently. I can't even imagine how difficult that must be. My own father had a bit of a scare the day before KM's Dad went into hospital with a heart attack, but for my own father, there was thankfully nothing wrong.
So - wander over and enter the contest, or just say "Hi"... And since it has been previously established that I tend to be competitive, tell her I sent you to increase my contest odds, okay?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

Photo from here.
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

WWCS Topic #2

As the cold of winter approaches, do you change the projects you work on? Do you work on gifts for others or do you continue working on projects for yourself?

Hmmm.... I'm not really sure. How's that for decisive? There are some things that I knit all year long - like socks, but rather than changing projects, I probably change yarns as we get into the colder weather. I don't do a lot of knitting with heavier yarns during the warm months. As the weather gets cooler, I think that I tend to want the warmth and the weight of nice warm "wooly" yarns. Right now I am working more on gifts than on things for myself, but that will probably switch once the holiday knitting is done. I've finished a pair of socks for my MIL, and have also been working on small things like baby socks for a variety of fundraising bazaars... They use up my leftover sock yarns. They're quick. They sell well. That's pretty close to perfect as far as I can tell!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Few Details

I've been meaning to mention it for awhile, but just haven't gotten around to it - I got in to Ravelry mid-October! I promptly got very busy and didn't manage to do much with it... I still haven't done too much, but I'm exploring and starting to add things. I decided to start with my bookshelf, since it was easy. I'm "MissMe1964". Look me up if you think of it... I'm gradually finding people, but it is taking a while...
On the swap front, I have contacted my downstream pal for the Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap and have heard from my upstream pal. This should be fun! I think that I'm going to have to stretch my thinking a bit on this one... But that is a good thing.
I received my second SP11 package at the end of last week. I haven't had a chance to take pics yet, but I will get that done so they can be posted. It has a Hallowe'en theme, including some delish yarn in a colour called "Pumpkin".
And I finally contacted the Sock It To Me hostess regarding my upstream pal... I know that things haven't gone smoothly, but I was really beginning to wonder what was up. Upstream pal, if you're reading this, I understand that "life happens" and I'm not trying to put any pressure on you. Okay? Yeah - I have guilt issues...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

333 Posts?!

Okay - I am impressed! Cass is having a contest in celebration of her 333rd post. It feels like her 222nd post was just yesterday... (It was really August 9th, 2007.) Drop on over, and if you didn't know about it before hand, tell her I sent you, okay?
I wish that I could figure out how to use some of the blog management tools available because the blogs that I like to read is getting a little out of control! Robin assures me that Google Reader is easy so I'm gathering my courage to try it. I feel like I need remedial help...

Sometimes I Finish What I Start

Yes, sometimes I *do* finish what I've started... I don't know if any of these ever truly reached UFO status, since they never went more than a month without me doing at least a few row on them, but...
Let's start with my Camelot Socks - started June 2004, finished October 2007.
The detailed photos are "truer" to colour. The full socks are a little bit dark. While I am pleased with the socks, there is an error in them. The photo on the right shows the heel and start of the sole. The one on the left shows the top of the foot and the sole. I was supposed to have the soles in the same 1 by 1 colour pattern as the heel turn, but instead I somehow managed to interpret the pattern in such a way that I continued the patterning from the gusset onto the sole. While they aren't *as designed", I am pleased with them.

Next up - my Lizard Ridge afghan. Yum! I love it! Started September 2006, finished October 2007. Despite being a Certified General Accountant in good standing, I cannot multiply 4 by 6... Rather than knit 24 blocks for my afghan, I knit 26. I now need to figure out what to do with my two extra blocks. Do I turn them into something else? Or do I knit another 22 blocks for a second afghan? I'm sure that the answer to that question will sort itself out in the fullness of time.

Next - my Adamas shawl, designed by Miriam Felton. Started May 2007, finished October 2007.
The River Rapids socks didn't take any time at all - I both started them and finished them in October 2007.

And finally, these last two finished objects are happy in their new home with June in Virginia! I made the bag and socks for the Fall Felted Bag Exchange. Can you imagine a knitter that had never had handknit socks? Well - I've solved that problem! The bag is Lagoon from Pursenality Plus and the socks are the Tidal Wave pattern. The embellishment that I put on the bag made me think of beach glass and it just seemed to "work" with Lagoon....

Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap - Topic #1

When did you first start drinking coffee? What age were you? Was it about the caffeine, or do you love the taste and smell? Tell us how your passion began!

I've always liked coffee. The attraction probably started with the smell, but as a child, I used to love it if I could sneak a sip of my Mom's coffee if "the ladies" were having a coffee morning. My parents didn't often have coffee at home because my Mom had ulcers and it made her sick for a number of years. Before my love of coffee came my love of coffee shops and lunch counters... I grew up in Oakville, Ontario and I don't remember a time before Tim Horton's. In those days it was stools (that swivelled!) at a counter and counter service while you were seated, as well as the take out service. And then there was the fun of going to the lunch counter at Kresge's (pre K-Mart) in downtown Hamilton with my Grandmother...
I was probably about 14 when I started to drink coffee on a regular basis. It was partly the caffiene, but the taste and the smell have always sucked me in... However, even more important than any of those aspects of "going for a cup of coffee" was the social aspect. Even teenagers who relied solely upon babysitting money for their income could afford to go for a cup of coffee and sit and chat with their friends. I loved it! In those days, you could smoke in coffee shops. While I've never smoked (directly that it), I'm sure that I might just as well have for a few years in highschool!
When I started drinking coffee, I drank it "regular". In Canada that means one cream, one sugar. Now I drink it with milk - not cream, and definitely no sugar. And I have to be pretty darned desperate to drink decaf - what is the point?!