A momentary lapse

March 4, 2011

So, I’ve been on a yarn diet since October.  It’s actually a yarn fast since I haven’t actually bought ANY yarn but a calling it a yarn diet works.  It doens’t sound so severe and painful.  Actually it’s not been that painful.  I’ve avoided yarn shops and opening emails from Webs and other stores I used to frequent while I was online.  I bypassed the Spinnrite Winter Sale.  I haven’t missed buying yarn all that much either.  I’ve looked through my stash (several times) and my pattern books and I’ve got probably ten things I want to knit RIGHT THIS  MOMENT.  I also have the suggested yarn for those projects too, which is serendipitous.

During one of my stash shopping trips I found a lonely ball of Lion Brand Homespun (in Edwardian) and remembered that I had bought it with the express purpose of making this shrug.  The Hubs and I are going to a wedding this weekend and I figured it’d be easier to knit this than wrestle with a pashmina-type wrap all night.  Plus I get to add another ball of yarn to my 111 in 2011 project.  So I cast on Monday night.  Wednesday night I knew the yarn requirements were wrong.  Even if I didn’t add another five rows of garter stitch to the back I’d be hooped and have run out of yarn midway through the back.  I wasn’t about to frog the Homespun (ugh) and I didn’t want to toss it. 

So, a trip to Michaels.  For one ball of yarn.  One.  Ball. Of. Yarn.  That turned into seven.  That F’ing Michaels had Wool-Ease on sale for $2.49 a ball.  $2.49!  I had to restrain myself to six balls.  If I didn’t have to meet the Hubs at Staples in five minutes I would have done a lot more damage. 

But it’s just a momentary lapse.  A slight bump in the road.  For $15 I got my fix and I know it’s something that will get used very shortly.  Today, I’m back on the woolly wagon.  It’s just a bit sad that I fell off for Lion Brand.  Why couldn’t it have been Noro?


111 in 2011

January 28, 2011

I have a lot of yarn.  A lot.  I can’t fit it all in one room anymore.  Well, that’s not entirely true, it can all fit in one room, if I emptied it all out on the floor or just stacked up all the boxes and baskets and totes in that room and forgot about furniture. 

Mostly it’s stored in what I call my home office (which co-incidentally happens to be the smallest room in the house…outside of the 2nd floor bathroom) and what the Hubs calls the Hoarders Episode.  But I also have yarn in the spare room closet and a bit in our bedroom.  Oh, and our actual home office.  Crap I have a lot of yarn.  It’s frightening when I think of it.  I’m not at Hoarders level yet, but I could easily get there.

So enough is enough.  Also something I’ve had enough of is the Hubs bitching about it.  Oh sure I’d bitch about his stuff, except that he doesn’t really collect stuff.  Except for bottles of Diet Coke.  But he drinks those as fast as he buys them so no dice.

I don’t know where I came across this idea, probably on Ravelry since I’m not this imaginative, but it struck a cord.  Someone was going to go through 100 balls of yarn in 2011.  Neat idea, but for me 100 balls in 2011 didn’t have a nice ring.  So I’m going for 111 in 11.  It has a nicer ring to it.

And I don’t imagine it will be all that hard.  I’m not putting a distance requirement on this project, one ball is just as good as another.  Obviously laceweight is going to bite since it’s so thin and there’s so much of it but even still, it will be nice to get a few skeins of that out of the closet and made into a shawl.  Or three.  I have just over 11 months to go.  I’m pumped.

I just used up five balls of yarn (365m) as of last night.  That means I have 106 balls to go.  And I’m about to start the Hub’s Lopi sweater which will use up 22 more balls.  And there’s my self-imposed-sock-club (post to come on that one of these days) which will knock off at least 11 more skeins/balls and maybe more.  I have a few baby blankets to knit and several hats to make, Lizard Ridge  (21 more balls) and my mom wants a shawl as well.  I hope to reach my goal in the fall but that’s likely tempting the fates so I’ll keep my mouth shut. 

It will be interesting at the end of it all to see how many kilometres of yarn I’ve used.  I can’t wait to tell the Hubs how far we could have driven overall with the amount I will have knitted.  That will be supercool.  Well for a knitter it will be.

And I can’t wait to see how much free space I’ll have at the end of it.  I’m hoping to free up at least two 76L totes.  But who knows.  Maybe it will be more.  Maybe I’ll be able to finally fit another chair in the Hoarders Episode room my home office.  Maybe I’ll be able to fit a chair under my desk.  Oooh the possibilities.

I’m also on a yarn diet too.  In conjunction with using up these 111 balls.  The diet ends in April (when I take a brief visit to the US and all their glorious and well stocked craft stores) but I’ll be back on it in May. 

Wish me luck.  And send suggestions on yarn eating projects.  I’ll post sporadically about how many balls I’ve knit up and how many kilometres I’ve knitted.  I’m guessing that by the end of it I will be able to get from my house to Toronto.  That’s 70 kms.  About a marathon and a half.  I can knit it.  Now if only I could run it!


November 4, 2010

is it that even though I start my Christmas knitting in May I’m still way behind with 50 days to go?

is it that I keep doing Christmas knitting for a group of people, many of whom I don’t particularly care for?

is it that I am dead tired at 6:30 pm but get my second wind at 10:30 pm and stay up way too late and thus perpetuate the cycle of exhaustion?

is it that deer WILL NOT stay off the highway?

is it that everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in the world irritates me right now?  Oh, wait, that may be due to that whole exhaustion thing.  Maybe.  Or maybe I’m just super crusty right now.  Both are perfectly logical answers.

is it that I keep re-living something over and over and over that I can’t change?  It’s my own personal Groundhog Day.  Or version of insanity. 

is it that I can’t remember anything anymore?

is it that I keep having these ugly red freckly spots come up all over me and they refuse to go away? 

is it that I hate all my shoes?

is it that I have so much freaking yarn but not enough of any of any one kind to actually knit a garment?

is it that after 2 years of living in the Money Pit we STILL haven’t unpacked or hung up pictures?

is it that we ALWAYS have to spend Christmas Day with the outlaws?

is it that every year I dread Christmas more and more and wish that I could skip it entirely?

is it that I look like a wizened old crone on 4 hours of sleep yet the Hubs looks fresh as a daisy on the same number of hours?

is it that Canada Post has mysteriously lost my Sock Club shipment and the yarn store is not all that interested in tracking it down yet they want payment for the next installment?

is it that both of my sock clubs this year have sucked rocks?

Honestly.  It’s been that kind of week.  I want a do-over.  Or maybe go to bed tonight and wake up on December 26th.  Both options work for me.

Oh the things I will make!

October 28, 2009

A few years ago I made the mistake of making things for DH’s family for Christmas.  I compounded that mistake by doing it again the next year and the next.  For the most part they are pretty enthusiastic about what they get and I always try to make something that they will find useful.  Plus, since there are so many of them, I also have to pick things that are small and fast.

However, because there are so many of them, they also have to have the same thing or else noses will be out of joint.  I pick the colours to suit the recipient but the girls get the same thing and the boys, if I have time, get the same thing too.

I think though, this year will be the last year of handmade Christmas.  I find I am getting resentful of having to spend my time knitting for them, despite the fact that most of them really do like (and wear) what I give them.  Plus, I have a bunch of things I want to make for me.  Which is unusual since I rarely knit or sew for myself.

Anyway.  It’s two months and three days until Christmas.  I have a lot of knitting to do.

Golden Fingers

October 23, 2009

When we were little, my grandmother made us beautiful smocked dresses.  Without a pattern.  And they always fit.  Granted the hems were waaaaaay too long, but she came from the “old country” and clothes were meant to last and last and last.  My poor sister often wore the same style dress for years as she got mine and my cousin’s hand-me-downs.

My grandmother could also knit and crochet.  We all have several “wave” afgans in various colours kicking around our respective houses and while they aren’t always pretty, they are always warm.  If the DH and I go through on our cottage purchase, you can bet a few of those afgans will be making the trip up there to keep us toasty during the winter months.

My aunt is a trained seamstress and also makes beautiful clothes.  She knits, crochets and quilts.  I have been the lucky recipient of a black cat lap quilt for a milestone birthday and a Steps to the Altar quilt as a wedding shower gift.  (Note: this isn’t my quilt which is blue, but another beautiful example of someone else’s talent.)

My mom also sews.  She made me and my sister countless outfits while we were growing up and even after we were grown up.  She’s made  toys, doll clothes, curtains and all manner of Hallowe’en costumes and formal dresses too.   I taught her to knit a few years back, but I don’t think it really “stuck” with her. 

I sew and knit too amongst other “crafty” hobbies like needlepoint, cross stitch and scrapbooking.  Knitting is my passion though and it takes up most of my free time and my stash takes up most of my available square footage in the Money Pit.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert knitter (or seamstress) but I get by.  My output isn’t all that great either and would probably increase considerably if I stuck with one project until it was done, but I suffer greatly from start-itis and have several knitting, sewing and other crafty projects of varying degrees of difficulty and in varying degrees of completion scattered around my house.

My aunt (the seamstress) says we have “golden fingers” but my grandmother says we can’t sit still.  I’m inclined to believe it’s a little of both.  I certainly can sit and do nothing while I watch tv or a movie, but I feel I’ve been more productive if I’ve worked on a blanket or a sweater or something while I’ve watched that trashy tv show or [not-so-great] movie.  I knit in movie theatres and while knitting has certainly increased it’s profile over the last few years, I still get a lot of odd looks and stage whisper comments that yes, I am knitting in public.

This morning I came across this article in the Globe and Mail and it really hit home, especially the last few paragraphs.  I don’t recall hiding my homemade clothes from my friends (I never really fit in at my swish private school anyway and it’s doubtful the right clothes would have helped).  But I do remember being very proud of wearing things my mom made.  Especially formal dresses.  I never had to worry about anyone else wearing the same outfit as me since mine were all custom.

I don’t sew that much anymore but a trip on Saturday to the Greenwood Quiltery  in Guelph led me to rethink that.  I bought a few metres of fabric that caught my eye and am now thinking maybe I would like to learn how to quilt.  There is also a room at the back of the store that is stocked with some delicious yarn and I managed to score a sale price ball of Kidsilk Haze in colour 642 Ghost (very appropriate for the season!) and a few other things that I didn’t really need but really wanted.

I don’t ever forsee knitting taking a backseat to the other crafts that I do but maybe, just maybe it will be moving into the passenger seat for the next while so I can give my golden fingers a break and use up some of that fabric stash I have accumulated.  While DH isn’t super-thrilled at the thought of another “crack” hobby I will take up, he can’t help but be pleased with that news that the piles of fabric in my “office” will get smaller, one quilt at a time.

And so it begins

October 23, 2009

Yes, I cast on the first few rows of the Itchy and Scratchy sweater.  I’m sick with a crappy cold (let’s face it, is there any other kind of cold though?) and figured hey, why not suffer a little more since I’m already feeling icky.  While I more than likely will be back at work tomorrow and despite the fact that there are a million other projects I’d prefer to be working on, Christmas is coming.  

Dear readers I present to you….Itchy and Scratchy.  Patons Back to Basics Crew Neck Pattern and mystery black acrylic.  Oh life is good.  And it will be even better on Christmas Day.  This is one project I will finish for sure.

They came, they saw, they ate 7lbs of pork roast

October 23, 2009

So we had a gathering of DH’s clan on Saturday.  His parents, his maternal uncle and his wife and his other maternal uncle who is visiting from Europe.  The first thing you have to realize is that we are not house proud.  The second thing you have to realize is that we moved in July.  And while it is November, we are also very lazy and thus not fully unpacked.  However, the most important thing you have to realize is that I would have rather had my eyes poked out with spoons than “prepare for inspection”.  But needs must as the saying goes. 

So, the DH spent the bulk of the day cleaning.  He did a great job.  I also cleaned but spent the bulk of the day cooking…pork roast, potatoes, roasted vegetables, bread and chocolate butter cake (with chocolate buttercream icing) from my new favourite cake book Cakelove.  I did a great job.  My MIL, who must not under any circumstances be shown up in the kitchen (she’s a legendary cook in her own mind) was complimentary.  I was exhausted.  Seven people, a dozen eggs, a pound of butter, a container of cream, 17 potatoes, a head of garlic, a whole celery, five apples, four onions, two quarts of raspberries, a loaf of homemade bread, 1.5 L of wine, a 900g bag of carrots and 7 lbs of pork loin.  It was a good meal. 

The company left after three hours.  DH fell asleep and I finished a blanket that has been hanging over my head for months while waiting for the cat to come home and as Murphy’s Law will have it was hiding out in the linen cupboard (smart cat) which meant I stayed up late for no particular reason.  Anyway the queue has now been cleared many other things.

This week’s project…oh you know it….Itchy and Scratchy.  Payback is a bitch.

The tide seems to be turning

October 23, 2009

So I did an inventory of my knitting projects on the weekend and pretty much everything in the pipeline (aside from Christmas presents) is for me.  Yep you heard right.  The Gift Knitter is not making stuff for other people but seems to have jumped on the selfish train!  Well, ok I have three things to make.  But I have six (count’em SIX!!) projects for me.  Another blanket, a pillow cover, two sweaters, wrist warmers and some placemats (which are probably eight separate projects but who’s counting). 

I’m shocked really.  And amazed.  But also a little bit happy.  And proud.   Oh the times, they are a-changing!

But my horoscope said I’d have a great day

October 23, 2009

Ever have one of those days?  You know the kind….your hair looks like crap, your fat pants don’t fit, you can only find one shoe, you hate the lunch you bring to work, work degenerates into one big clusterf*ck.  Yep, it was one of those days.  Even the mail sucked today.  My Webs Skein of the Month package arrived today.  Since I read the Spoiler thread on Ravelry, I already knew it was going to be Classic Elite’s Inca Alpaca, I wasn’t surprised.  What surprised me is the icky colour.  Now I love love LOVE this club and normally  it’s been great with the yarns and colours (which are chosen at random and I’ve had good luck to get pretty colours) so I guess this was my random month to receive Peridot green (colour #1111).  Which will make me look bilious.  It’s soft but eh.  And it’s only 100 metres which isn’t enough to make much.  Maybe some mitts for one of my nieces?  Or maybe it will be regifted.  Or relgated to the bottom of my ever burgeoning stash. I’d be happy to send it to a home where it will be loved.

I think I need to go and play with the swift that I bought at Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair on Saturday.  I’m too lazy to take pictures of all the yarn I bought (but it was a lot let me tell you).  It’s in the yarn cave/craft room/studio which a problem child of a different sort right now.  And seeing as how the combination of all the unpleasantness listed above has made me so not interested in anything (including making dinner which will be a problem as DH is set to arrive home in about 15 minutes) I think an hour or two in my happy place playing with my new toys might just be enough to restore me into someone who is fit for human interaction.  And we can always go out for dinner.  I’m thinking I might feel like sushi.

Am I evil? Wait, don’t answer that…it’s a rhetorical question.

October 23, 2009

A few weeks ago, the DH and I were at the outlaws place for dinner.  Because these things never run according to any set schedule I almost always bring something to knit.  On this particular day I brought the strap to a market bag I was working on….a long strip of moss stitch made out of green cotton yarn.

So the FIL, who rarely takes an interest in much of anything I do, asked me what I was making.  I explained it was a strap for a market bag for a swap.  He told me he thought I was perhaps making him a sweater.  I replied no, 100% cotton isn’t generally considered great material for knitting a sweater and this would be some kind of weird sweater as it was about a foot long and maybe two inches wide.

Not satisified with my answer the FIL tells me that he wants a sweater, but not made of nylon (????) as he only wears natural materials.  Oh sure I think, as I have NEVER seen him wear the 100% merino wool scarf I made him, I’ll get right on that.  And further to my grouchy thoughts, why would I want to spend 60 or so hours of my life and at least $100 (and quite possibly more) of my hard earned cash making him a sweater?  He’s not exactly my favourite person.

When I got back to the yarn cave/craft studio/happy place later that night and was mindlessly rummaging throught the stash, I came across several balls of black acrylic yarn.  Enough to make a medium sized men’s pullover.  Hmmmmmm.  The evilness began to bubble up.

I have no use for several balls of black acrylic yarn.  I’m not making a black afgan or black baby blanket.  Plus it’s taking up valuable room in my stash.  And it’s definitely scratchy.  However, I also don’t want to devote a chunk of my life to a man I don’t like.  But, it would win me some big brownie points.  And get rid of the acrylic (which was made into balls many years ago and the ball bands are long gone).  I really think this black acrylic wants to be made into a sweater for my FIL.  Really.  I can’t get it out of my mind.

To further ensure I am going straight to Hell, on my yarn crawl in Ottawa I bought a bag of superwash wool that is enough to make the exact same sweater for MIL’s brother (we see the whole clan at Christmas and everyone needs the same gift.  Or at least comparable gifts so noses aren’t out of joint.  Plus I like MIL’s brother.  A lot.).

So itchy scratchy black acrylic pullover for FIL and lovely black wool pullover for uncle-in-law (UIL?) for Christmas this year.  It’s an easy pattern I’ve made twice before and the yarn is chunky.  And I get some satisfaction in that as much as FIL irritates me the sweater I’ll make for him will be equally irritating.

Yes, I am seven years old and vindictive.  And made strangely happy by my “plan”.  May as well have fun on the way since I clearly will be going to Hell.  Where I’m sure I’ll see many of you.