October 2005



Wooohboy that’s a lotta scarves.
Last week, as I was distibuting the team scarves, I got orders for more. So, I’d better get on that, I guess.I had planned to get started this week, but with Jordan sick, I haven’t been able to make the trip into Hamilton to get the fabric. But soon, soon.

I’ve done about half of the first sleeve of my Jesse sweater. The swelling in my elbow from working the acrylic yarn in such a tight gauge has moved up my arm and now I’m pretty sure my neck is broken. I’m afraid to put it down though, because it is a Christmas gift and I want to be sure it is done in time. hmm… maybe some wine would help. Oh, I know! Groundcherry liqueur. mmmm. I’ll have to test that out asap.

I’m also working on a scarf. I’ve done one version plain, but this time around, I’m using a beaded carry along yarn with the main cotton yarn. I’m interested to see how that works out. Mostly, I’m working on the sweater though.

Fall back tonight… theoretically that means a much needed extra hour of sleep. That never happens though. At some point, early in the morning, the dog will be choking on her ear (don’t laugh, it has happened before), or Jordan will be standing beside my bed yapping his head off, or the phone will ring… and I’ll end up actually losing another hour of sleep. And all the math I’ll be doing trying to figure out what time it really is and what time my body thinks it is will bring me fully awake and then I’m just plain doomed. So I might as well put the coffee on and get with it.
There must be some way to work it out so that three or four times a year we put the clocks back, like, maybe a WEEK. That’d be perfect.

This afternoon I began moving all my 101 in 1001 stuff over to this blog. All the main stuff is here now. Info is here. This is a great project. I’m not quite half way through, but I’m pretty sure I’ll do another one when this one is finished.

huh… who knew?…

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can’t imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

http://marniemaclean.com

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

okie… I think its time for that groundcherry liqueur experiment, a few more minutes watching the Leafs get creamed, and some more Jesse sleeve torture. Wild times.

When I had my the garden walls built a couple of years ago, I had big plans for my herb garden. I wanted food, medicine and dye to come out of there. And I wanted it to be beautiful and to smell like heaven and I wanted to want to smile when I looked at it.

So far, this is a project that is on track. I definitely smile when I look at my herb garden. I love it. From the walls and the stepping stones to the flowers and stalks and leaves and to the scents and the flavours and the colours.

I haven’t taken much from the garden in the way of medicine, as most plants have to establish themselves for a couple of years or so. But next year, I will probably be able to gather some good amounts. I have been practicing my drying techniques though on the little bits I have been gathering. I’ve had really good results with my dehydrator – fully dried herb with very little change in colour and scent. This winter I’ll have to study up on the plants I have and how I can use them.

I have a few plants that are suitable for dying natural fibres – calendula and curly dock (yellow dock) are the ones I will try first. Last week, I cut the last of my calendula blossoms and dug a couple of curly dock roots to give to Jordan’s art teacher for a project she was doing dying silk (in the photo). I have some dock root left though and want to use it to dye some natural Lopi wool I have. Apparently, I need alum for this. And apparently, alum is available at ‘most grocery stores’. hmmm… not according to the slack-jawed and bored teenager who works at my grocery store. I bet it is there, though. Hidden somewhere among the baking stuff or maybe in the cleaning supplies. And I will find it before the ground freezes and I can’t get my root dug up anymore. OhyesIwill!

My baby is sick. Two nights ago, he didn’t get to sleep until 11, then woke at 230. He told me he knew he couldn’t get back to sleep, so could he watch tv? uh, no. So he decided to just hang out on the couch. I was sure he would fall asleep right away, so I settled him in on the couch, and went to bed. At 430, Mark, who is still trying to right himself after the jet lag, was up for a drink. He discovered Jordan, still wide awake and sitting all alone in the familyroom. (I’m expecting my Bad Mommy Award to arrive in the mail any time now.) Since Mark couldn’t sleep either (for the first time, like, ever, I was the only one sleeping. Usually I am wishing I could sleep while everyone else slumbers peacefully), he sat with Jordan for over an hour. They looked through a magazine, talked about stuff and philosphy and the meaning of life and then cuddled until Jordan fell asleep again. Then, he was up at 7, complaining of a headache.

Then the fever and nausea and today, he has hardly moved from the couch and I’m taking his temperature every hour (even got a new thermometer, oooh!) and just in case, the barf bowl is close at hand. So yeah. Poor guy.

And he wants me to be right with him. Right there. In the room. All the time. So, my day has gone like this, knit 2 rows on the sleeve (went with the smaller needles), adjust Jordan’s pillow and blanket and coerce him into drinking a bit of water, knit two rows, run upstairs and sort a load of laundry, knit two rows, fuss over Jordan, knit two rows, read two chapters from Tales from the Arabian Nights aloud, knit two rows, fuss over Jordan some more, knit two rows, refill my coffee… you get the picture. I had big plans for today, but Jordan trumps all of them. Besides, I’m further along on the sleeve than I expected to be.

So yeah, I decided to go with the smaller needles and knit the sleeves directly from the pattern. Knitting with acrylic makes my hands really sore, but knitting at this tension is even worse. My left elbow is already swollen. Sheesh, I’m such a lightweight. But the good news is, while I have been pathetically bad at intarsia in the past, this project is coming out not too bad. So far. I am going to have to have an alternate project in wool though, to give my hands a break.

I have so many pictures to post. I’m so behind. So I think I’ll throw a wack of them into this post even though it’ll end up being kind of random. Jordan is sleeping in the family room, and while my dishes are heaped and piled all over the kitchen, I don’t want to wake him (such sacrifices I make for him!), so I”ll sit up here where I’m not bothering him and post photos. Yay.

I guess I’ll start with one of my favourite subjects: food.
That, right there, is the best bread in the whole wide world. The WHOLE world. It is pumpkin seed bread from a bakery in Toronto. My in-laws graciously brought us that loaf (which is now half gone).
When I was opening up the bag the day after they brought it, I noticed the way the twist-tie was done on the bag: wrapped, twisted, wrapped again, twisted. That is the in-law way. Always the double wrap-n-twist. As I undid the twist-tie I smiled. I have known them for sixteen years now. SIX.TEEN. And some of the ways they do things have become my way to do things, or have become familiar in that family-culture way. And the twist-tie is one of those things. I make salad their way, or should I say, their way of making salad has become my way. Its like Christmas cookies, there is a traditional repertoire specific to each household, and my repertoire reflects my family and Mark’s. So much has blended that it isn’t always clear what the origin of a single habit is. But once in a while, one jumps out at you, and that’s a pretty nice feeling.
Ok, this bread is so good, it deserves a close-up:

I took some pictures of my diary pages for the Thirteen Traveling Journals Project. I’m pretty happy with them. I just hope they don’t fall apart. Mark told me I wrote too much – way more than the previous diarists. oops. Let’s just call it the gift of the gab, k?

I made this pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Have to post a picture every year. It’s tradition.

Geez, Jordan is still sleeping. Guess I should check on him and then rustle up something for dinner.

That is the top right corner of the cover of my Lee Valley catalogue. Well, it would be the top right corner, if it wasn’t missing. Also missing, as my Dad has just pointed out to me, is the plastic wrapper it was in originally. Now, I seriously doubt that the company sent it out that way. So that means, somewhere between it landing in the mail and it arriving in my locked mailbox, someone very neatly and deliberately, removed the plastic, then tore the logo off the cover. Since, during that entire time, mail is in the custody of Canada Post, I’m going to make a big jump and say, Gee, must’ve been a Canada Post employee that did that. I’m pretty sure that screwing with mail, even in this way is a federal crime.

Since we’ve moved here, weird things have happened with our mail. For example, two different cards for Jordan, a year apart, from different grandparents, both with cash in them, didn’t arrive. That has never happened to us before. I know, I know, don’t send cash in the mail. BUT, while good advice, it isn’t illegal, you just don’t have any recourse if it goes missing because it isnt traceable. Besides, children must get money in cards from grandparents. It is some kind of grandparenting law or something.

Maybe I’m naive (or just Canadian), but where is the honour in being a postal worker? People used to risk (and sometimes lose) their lives to get the mail through. There is a history there, a tradition. No one expects the mailman (err, letter carrier) to take such risks anymore, but I always imagined any postal worker to be following in a tradition of honour and respect – to take seriously their job to protect their precious cargo. I did not imagine them to be slime-assed thugs stealing little kids’ birthday cards for the five bucks inside.

Guess I was wrong.

Also, for most positions in the postal service, I don’t suppose too much specialized education is necessary. Pretty much, if you know the alphabet, you are half way there. But, again, I had this naive (Canadian?) notion that the work really lies in doing the job well. The mail must be protected from damage and loss and it must move in a timely fashion in the right direction. Not as easy as it seems at a glance.

BUT.. why is my neighbours’ mail – properly and clearly addressed- in my box almost once a week? Why have I TWICE had to call the post office and ask them to send whoever it was that jammed a package so tightly into my little mail box that it wouldn’t budge, to please kindly remove it and put it in the bigger box where it should have been in the first place? Why, on perfectly dry days, have I received sopping wet mail, including ruined cards and magazines? Why is my National Geographic magazine routinely wadded up and shoved in the box so hard that the cover is torn?

What’s going on? Nobody is that stupid. Seriously, if you can learn the alphabet you have more brains that that. Is it lack of training? I don’t know, do you have to specially train people so that they learn it isn’t ok to ruin other people’s things? Does Canada Post only hire people with serious attitude problem and anger issues? Doubt it? So.. what?

I’m knitting a sweater. Can the sleeves be a different gauge than the body?
The body is 15.5 st per 10cm (or 4 inches if you are so inclined). The sleeves would be about 18st per.

  1. The sweater has raglan sleeves – will the different gauges make sewing it up a problem?
  2. Will the sweater feel weird with the sleeves a tighter fabric than the body? Like, will the wearer have to buy some undershirts just to wear with this sweater so that it all balances out?
  3. Would it look funny?
  4. Is there any way I could pass this off as a personal touch – a design element?

You see, I had to substitute yarn. And the substitute had to be acrylic. My hands are not very happy with this arrangement, but it has to be. The acrylic I’m using gave me the 15.5 st gauge on 5mm needles while the pattern called for a gauge of 18st. Rather than knit on smaller needles (because, like, ow ow ow, no way I’d ever finish the sweater on smaller needles, not in the acrylic), I performed great feats of mathematics and altered the pattern to work with my gauge. It has worked rather well to this point.

BUT… the sleeve has some intarsia colourwork on it and now I am faced with one of:

  • a) working with smaller needles to get the right gauge for the sleeves, even though the sleeves would have a different gauge than the rest of the sweater … or
  • b) alter the sleeve and the colour work to fit my gauge. Admittedly, this was my first thought. But I have a feeling the results would not be great. The intarsia would end up kind of deformed. … or
  • c) alter the sleeve to fit my gauge, but leave the colour work alone. The sleeve would be the right size, but the colour design would be stretched by the gauge.
  • At this point, I’m leaning toward a bottle of Advil and the smaller needles. That way I get the right gauge and the sleeve is the right size without messing up the pretty intarsia pictures.

    So.. uhh.. what say you? Help?

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