29 March 2006

I Am SuperWoman

Why the picture of a big pile of construction waste, you ask? Because that pile was carried from my basement into the yard by me, after I ripped about half of it out myself! We moved into this house last August and since then, there has been nothing but talk, talk, talk about what we are going to do in the basement. Meanwhile it has remained a pile of boxes and construction waste from when we fixed the plumbing. Also, the moldy walls and old shelving units, installed by the previous owners probably 30 years ago, were still there. So, I screwed up my resolve and decided to do something about it. I've spent two days ripping out a wall and a crappy built in cupboard. Hurray for power tools! Hurray for me! I am a handy woman! I can do anything! I've moved all the boxes and soon the room will be not beautiful, but usable, with an old couch and table, a rug and some curtains. The daughter will finally have the play area we've been promising her.

When I emerged from the dark basement for a break, what do I hear but the sound of the mail truck driving away? On my porch is the final package from my wonderful Secret Pal. She is Sherrill from Washington State and she has been a true Pal in every sense. I've been so lucky. In this package are two lovely balls of sock yarn, a set of circs 2mm and sock knitting instructions. Is she trying to tell me something?
Check out her blog. Baa Bonny Belle. I am very impressed with her craftiness and productivity. Particularly interesting are her entries on eating local as this has been a topic that's come up frequently in my circle as well. Not only does eating local support the local economy, but we need to think about the sustainability of importing all these modified foods from all over the world. Mass farming for North American consumption is so damaging to the environment. For example, did you know that large scale lettuce farming trashes the farmland eventually because of massive irrigation requirements and the huge amounts of pesticides. Something to think about.
Remember when Ontario peaches were an event? For 2-3 weeks every fall, we would gorge ourselves on sweet juicy peaches. People would can and bake the Christmas pie for freezing. Now, peaches are available all year round. They've been picked green, packed and shipped using how much paper and fuel? And they're hard and taste like potatoes, so what's the point?
I could go on but I won't. (This rant inspired by Sherrill, so thank her.)
Malcolm followed me about the yard as I photographed. He's awful nice!

26 March 2006

Fingers Crossed

I was surfing around for something to make with the beautiful Sensations Stellina wool blend from my SP and found myself, once again, gazing upon Lelah from Knitting For Boozehags. I've been admiring this lacy pattern for some time. However, I don't really want a tube top. (Not that the girls aren't up to it. I just want something I can wear to work.)

I started wondering if I could use a different pattern for the top half and, after much searching, found this: Empire Dream from the July 2005 Creative Knitting.

Now, these two patterns are completely different yarn weights, gauge, needle size, etc. So, after a fair bit of math and test knitting, I believe I have the correct number of stitches on the needle and pattern repeats figured out. I'll knit Lelah on the circs until the picot row then split it into front and back, switch to straights, and knit Empire Dream.

Tell me I'm not crazy! This will work, right?

21 March 2006

Finally, A Face

This is what I've been able to accomplish this March Break. The doll I started months ago finally has a face and hair. She's supposed to be a princess with a crown, but I'm calling it a day and declaring her done as is.

What a week! The daughter and I had many break plans, none of which happened. Work got busy, I was ill and then my father had emergency surgery. Things are settling down now, so she and I will just have to play hooky some sunny day and have our mother/daughter outing then. She's cool with that and she also likes the silly little doll.

I did cast on for a new, somewhat ambitious project, last night. I'm attempting to combine the elements of two patterns into a new sweater. It's still very much in the planning stage so more details to follow.

19 March 2006

Still Sick

Poop and double poop. Entering Day 9 of illness. This bites
I want to cast on something new but I'm exhausted and my concentration is shot.

13 March 2006

A Quick One

Sick, sick, as some dogs. Yuck. So, this is a quick post of a two day project before it goes off to a new owner.
A co-worker of mine has a 2 year old daughter and was bemoaning the fact that she can't find a "dickie" for her. Now first I must contest her use of that word. We all know that a dickie is
this. What she described actually wanting was a tubular scarf that can be pulled up like a hood - what I call a "cowl". What a fabulous opportunity to use up that Pixie novelty yarn I purchased long ago in a fit of insanity.
Not having a 2 year old handy, I'm using a Rupert Bear as a model. He is slightly smaller than the average 2 year old child.

She didn't say I couldn't make her kid look like an Easter egg...

08 March 2006

SP Goodies

Yet another package has arrived from my most excellent Secret Pal. This one includes FIVE whole skeins of a gorgeous red wool blend. I could just eat it. I look amazing in red BTW. There is also a back issue of Interweave knits, some chocolate, 2 cute stitch markers, and a needle gauge. I'm delighted with the needle inventory index card and I particulary like the photo on the greeting card. Oh, there were potato chips as well...I wonder where they went?...
The reason the box took so long to arrive (Don't get upset SP. This is not your fault.) is due to our ever efficient Customs and Revenue Department. It was held up at customs for tax and duty even though the green sticker is CLEARLY marked gift. I had to go pick it up at the Post Office and pay ransom to get it. Now, here's the hilarious part. It states on the duty form: "See reverse for instructions on how to obtain tax refund." Well, there is no reverse because the form Is A LARGE STICKER stuck directly to my package!! Who are these people? Now there is an 800 number to call as well, which I will do as soon as I have a free afternoon to sit on hold. Rest assured I will be getting that refund because I'll be darned if those inefficient, overpaid, bleepity bleeps get my money.

06 March 2006

Yummy New Book

I recently went on yet another pattern buying spree - eBay, of course. The first arrival was this morning. Check this out! This is a hardcover, Ladies Home Journal collection published in 1977. Of course, there are are the expected hilarious designs but surprisingly, not too many. Half the book contains things I want to knit. The children's' hats pictured on the cover were the reason I purchased this one, but what delights inside! These pictures are just some of the lovely, timeless pieces. That pink sweater in a deep rose?, that white halter done in black?...Which to try first?

There are some 1963/4 British magazines en route as well. Now, I really must stop for a while. Almost one whole shelf of the large book case is filled with knitting books, flyers and magazines. I own enough patterns to keep me busy for years, maybe for life!

05 March 2006

Fashion Shoot

The sun of the afternoon pretty much demanded a photo shoot. So, I gathered the girls together dressed in their finery. These are all items I knit several years ago. The first of the tunic style dresses ever created was originally intended as a Barbie dress. The pattern is from a McCall's magazine. The gauge went terribly wrong and it ended up on a Groovy Girl. I just repeated the same error several times and the girls now have a large knit wardrobe. These are just a few that I was able to find easily.

Not only do I spend a fair amount of time dressing and photographing the daughter's dolls - I also know all their names: Sarita, Ioana, Eileen and Maxine. Should I be worried?

01 March 2006

For John

John died in July 2005.
Twenty years ago, he and I were briefly lovers. It's been eighteen years since I saw him last.

I received an email from an old acquaintance a few days ago about an unrelated matter. In it he mentioned John's passing. This person didn't know how close John and I once were. He also assumed I'd already heard the news, but I've been out of touch with most of the old university crowd and hadn't heard.

John was not my "boyfriend". We just spent time together for a while. We talked, we touched, we slept side by side. We never "broke up". We just stayed friends.
He was a quietly funny guy with a mystical cool quality. He was a musician and had very beautiful hands. He was the most observant, yet non-judgmental person, I've ever met. Wherever he was, he was in the moment. He was also the most attentive kisser a girl could hope to be kissed by.

Twice, after we were no longer romantically involved, when I was in major crisis, John was the person who helped me. He dropped what he was doing to take care of me. His voice was deeply soothing and he would prattle on about nothing in particular, dropping in occasional pearls, and I would feel better. Once, after not sleeping for three nights, I went to him hallucinating and hysterical. He took me for a drive and talked to me, smiling the whole time. I told him things that night, I have never told anybody and it was all ok. He even made me laugh at myself and at the world. He dropped me at my apartment, kissed me goodnight, and I went in and slept.

The last time I saw him, he gave me a going-away gift. A personal item of his that he remembered me admiring two years before. I was unbelievably touched.

My acquaintance tells me John was diagnosed with leukemia last January. Apparently he was responding well to treatment and improving by June, but took a downturn and died in July.
I've been stunned and tearful since hearing the news. I don't know what to do with this grief. Had I known of his illness, I would have gone to visit him. I would have gone to the funeral, and talked with old friends and said goodbye. As it is, I don't know how to mourn for someone whose body was once entwined with mine but who I hadn't seen in so many years. It's confusing to think that there were moments that were his and mine alone, and now I'm the only one who remembers them.
So, for lack of a better outlet, I'm putting it down here. My little tribute to a special and wonderful person.