Monday, April 30, 2007

love my monkey

Have you ever had a project go amazingly well, and then reached the very last step and completely screwed it up? I have. Last night, I was nearing the end of the first Monkey sock and doing the Kitchener stitch--which I have done before--successfully--the finish line was in sight, I was sailing along, and for some reason, I just completely arsed it up. So there I sat, silently panicking, The Amazing Race was on the TV, and Cee was saying something to me, but all I could do was sit there ignoring everything, and look down at this ugly, mangled toe of a once pretty sock, and think "What the heck am I going to do now?!" For one insane moment I considered ripping the whole thing out and starting all over and then I thought "What, are you NUTS?! That's crazy talk!!" I decided to try just picking out the grafting stitches and carefully put the live stitches back onto the needles....have you ever done this? It was painful, extremely tedious, and totally nerve wracking, I felt like I was doing surgery--maybe that's a little bit much, I do have a flair for drama--but still...I think it took me about half an hour to get those 28 stitches back onto their needles. By the end I didn't even care, the air was blue around me from all the cursing, and I'm pretty sure Cee thought I'd gone completely around the bend (yet again), but thanks to some persistence and my size 7 steel crochet hook, I was able to save the patient:

And then I needed the Tylenol...All being said and done, I think the Monkey Bismol sock looks fab. The second time I did the grafting, I did it very slowly and tightened after each stitch, and it worked much better. Crisis (and panic attack) averted, I was even calm enough to cast on the stitches for the second sock.

I will admit I was a little intimidated by this pattern, anything with a lacy look tends to give me hives just thinking about knitting it, but I thoroughly enjoyed making it, and it really did go amazingly well until I screwed up the Kitchener stitch. Also, the four versus five DPN debacle was actually not as bad as I thought it would be. I was able to figure it out quite quickly, and with no brain hurt, which is always a plus.

Nigel the infamously famous sock monkey thinks it's smashing! (And I only had to pay him two bananas to say so!)

I know I said a few posts back that I'd be blogging less, and then I went and blogged a whole bunch, but this time I really mean it. I will be blogging less for the next little while. I will try to get back as often as I can to post, and will hopefully have pictures of countless finished whatnots and thingamajiggies, so be patient with me. Ta ta for now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

the power of flowers

I love it when people help people, and I love it even more when those people get other people to help even more people...that probably makes no sense, but it is very likely the most times you will see the word 'people' in one sentence. What I'm eventually getting around to saying is that there is this lady on the Crochetville forum named Krystal, and some time back, she was looking for a daisy square for afghans and other projects for the various charities she was involved in, but she couldn't seem to find one, so she cleverly made up her own. Then she went one better and decided to offer the pattern to anyone who emailed her for it, and all that she asked was that each one who gets the pattern make and send her a square for her charity blankets. Here is my contribution:

This square is 8", and as you can imagine, the possibilities for colour combinations and project ideas for it are endless. Plus I think it's pretty groovy. Krystal has already made one charity afghan with squares donated and is now working on her second. If you would like to read more about her efforts or get this pattern for your very own self, you can check out her blog: Krochet Krystal , and you can also email her directly at krochetkrystal (at) yahoo (dot) com for the pattern.

Last night I dragged out the DPNs of death and cast on to knit some Monkey socks for my niece.

Pink is her favourite colour, and I think it will showcase the lacy pattern pretty well, at least that's the story I'm telling myself, since this yarn colour faintly reminds me of Pepto Bismol.

I have a pet peeve about double pointed needles; if lots of people design patterns that use 5 DPNs, why can I never find sets of 5?! Why do I always find sets of 4 but never 5?? Am I looking in the wrong place? In all the sets I have, I have only one set of 5 double points, and the pattern I needed them for at the time only called for 4, which is pretty much par for the course in my life. Is it me?! Is there some conspiracy at the yarn stores that when they see me coming in to buy DPNs, they rush to take the sets of five off the shelves and replace them with the fours? Why can't the needle makers and the pattern makers get their stuff together? This is truly a crocheter's lament on knitting, because when you crochet, you buy A hook, and with this one hook, you can make anything, work in any direction, and at any length. Sure, hooks come in different (mm) sizes just like knitting needles, but they are all basically the same size in length and can all do a multitude of things. Not so with knitting needles...12" straights, 14" straights, circulars with at least 3 different cable lengths, double pointed (in sets of 4 and the ever-elusive 5!), very many needles to buy and use...why why why? Did I lose you?

Anyway, what bugs me about this 4 or 5 needle thing is now I have to work out how to fit the stitches on the needles, and now this may effect how I knit the pattern of the Monkey Bismol socks, and thinking like that makes my brain hurt, and I try to avoid the brain hurt whenever I can...unless I use one of my other DPNs of a different size, but that will surely make a difference...right? I suppose I could just shut my yap and buy two sets of DPNs, but then they would win, don't you see?! I know I know, shut up & knit.

P.S.--If you were wondering just what Monkey socks were, you can find the pattern here at Knitty.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

signs of life

It's been two weeks since I planted them, and already things are a poppin' in the seed department:

The Great 'Mater Experiment:
Week 3

I first noticed the sproutlets in the pot on the bottom right yesterday and by this morning there was activity in all four pots. Not all the seeds appear to have taken, but you can't win them all, and I'm holding out hope for all my little tomatoes to spring into life.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

you know it's spring when

Your "pet" ducks return for their annual visit. That's right, I think we can safely say this is no longer a coincidence. Jemima and Drake have come back for the fifth year in a row.

This picture was taken last April 18th, about two feet away from our front door. Who knows why they like our yard or street so much, (could it be our delicious bread crumbs?) but right around this time of year we see them, sometimes every day for weeks. Yesterday Cee remarked that the drake duck, whom I called "Drake" (I know, how original) was back, so I knew our Jemima was close by. I named her Jemima after Beatrix Potter's "Jemima Puddle Duck".

As nice as it is to see them, we always feel concern about the sometimes over-zealous kids around here, who have no compunction about approaching them--or respecting our lawn or gardens or other items, for that matter. Our next door neighbour told me the other night that we should have a "keep off the grass" sign...I kind of snorted and said that probably the only beings that would read it and heed it are our ducks.

Friday, April 20, 2007

on a thread

I was recently lucky enough to test a new doily (table hat!) pattern for a seriously gifted designer over at the Crochetville forum. Kathy or "KatchKan", as she is known on the 'ville, has got some awe-inspiring talent. This is my humble attempt at her latest, called the Willow-wisp Doily:

I think it turned out well, and I really enjoyed making it. The size is approximately 15 inches in diameter. If you would like to see more of Kathy's amazing designs, and see some of her brilliant beaded purses, check out her site: Crochet N Beads

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

wayback least a little. A crappy picture, to be sure, but here it is nonetheless:

The woman in red sweater is progressing, this is a partial view of the far it will get remains yet to be seen...this pattern, while pleasing to knit, is causing me all kinds of practical concerns, such as the chance that all the little twisted cable stitches may get pulled out very easily, and the bottom chevron points--which are inconveniently mostly not shown in this picture--are having a very annoying tendency to curl up...I'm hoping this is because it's all crowded on the circular needle, but some nagging feeling is telling me that just isn't so...I just wish the camera would pick up the delicious cherry red of this yarn.


That was all I could think of to say when, while flipping through an old photo album--you remember those, don't you? The ones with the sticky pages that you put your polaroids in... long before the days of these new-fangled contraptions called the digital camera and web album?--anyway I was looking through one of those and came upon this photograph and all of a sudden, was transported back to a much simpler time, when my biggest problem was worrying whether or not to smile for this picture, because I had just days earlier lost my two front teeth, thanks to my best friend who gave me the elbow and knocked me down, not on purpose, but did I clean up with the toothfairy!! I giggled and couldn't help but wonder just what possessed my mother to dress me like this:

Little K, circa 1974

Calm your worries, dear readers, the flood I was evidently so well-prepared for never came...what's better than orange bell-bottomed pants that are just a skosh too short, I ask you? How about a homemade tunic shirt made Von Trapp-style out of my aunt's kitchen curtains? (I'm not kidding, by the way)....I love my blue fake keds--that's right, they weren't even the real thing--they just completed the heck out of that ensemble.

Oh, little 6-year old K....there's just so much I need to warn you about, and sadly, I cannot...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

sowing the seeds

It may still be cold outside, but my thoughts are turning to warmer Spring climes and hopeful new beginnings. So with that in mind, I am starting a little project I like to call "The Great 'Mater Experiment"....experiment you see, because I don't have the first clue about gardening...oh sure, I like planting things ("things" being flowers you buy in the store, already grown and in their neat little individual cell packs)...and I love watering and fertilizing things...I'm just not so much in love with weeding things (I like to think of myself as more of an equal opportunity gardener...because most of the time I can't tell the difference between a weed and a plant). I've had reasonable success the past few years, and my ever-present need to nurture always pushes me forward to keep trying...

I missed having the cherry tomatoes last year, so this year Cee got me some seeds and starter pots, and so the experiment has begun. I tried this a few years ago, but started the seeds a little too late and the plants never got outside because it was too cold by the time they were big enough to re-pot....hopefully this year I timed it right.

The Great 'Mater Experiment:
Week 1

grow little 'maters, grow.

Like any good mom, I have given the little seeds a nice warm and cozy place to live, lots of fertilizer to grow big and tall, and all the sunshine they could ever want, both in the literal and the figurative--in the form of my effervescent self....did I just hear someone snort?

I started a new "woman in red" sweater--this time for me--yesterday, (if) when I finish it, it will be the first adult sweater I have knitted...let's just see if my fibercraft ADD will allow me to see it through to the end before the lapse of this decade...

Monday, April 09, 2007

april (snow) showers

So yeah. we've got snow on the ground...boy, we sure could have used that white stuff right around, oh, I don't know...Christmas time!! Wacky doesn't come close to describing the climate we've been having lately. When the wind chill is a factor at Easter, you know the summer is just going to be spectacular. Don't you just love this global warming thing?!

say hey...
So I may be blogging very intermittently for the next little while, due to a bunch of stuff we have going on here, so if you come visiting and there's nothing new don't be alarmed, I will try to pop in and update when I can. that some crochet and/or knit content?!

It most certainly is...this is a baby afghan I just finished, crocheted from one of my favourite patterns...this is the fourth time I've made this pattern. I had extra yarn left so I knitted a little hat and booties to match. I can't share the pattern for the afghan, because it's from a booklet I have, but I found the pattern for the booties here and the hat pattern here, just in case you feel the need to search out new patterns.