Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Spring is coming!

It is the last day of the dreaded month of February! Finally! The weather is suppose to be warmer starting Thursday. And my seeds have arrived! I can just see the peas poking their little tender heads out of the soil! I can't wait! Last year, due to a large late flood, the garden was under water until mid May. I didn't get anything in until the first week of June. June 1 is our usual planting time here for the tender things like tomatoes and beans, but there are a few hardy souls that actually do better when they are planted when it is cool out. Peas being one of them. I like to put them in as soon as dad tills the garden. My father is a dairy farmer who lives just on the outskirts of Fredericton. He has plenty of room out there, and so has, for the past 12 years, tilled up a small plot for DH and myself. Last year it was about 700 square feet. The kids LOVE peas, as do I and so every year I plant about 40 to 60 feet of peas. At peak pea season, I can pick a 40 Liter bucket and we don't even sit down to eat them. It is like witnessing the vegetarian vultures descending. Usually only one pot of peas gets cooked. Hubbie likes them cooked, so he gets one pot on his birthday. Personally, I think that it is a waste of a raw pea to cook it. I can eat cooked peas anytime of year, but a fresh raw pea only comes in a short window. Yummy. I can hardly wait!

Monday, February 27, 2006

The things you notice....

Lying in bed last night, sniffing and snuffing, I came to the realization that you don't really take notice of breathing through your nose until you can't. Damn, I hate having a cold.

Speaking of cold, Wind chill was registered at -29 C this morning. Isn't it suppose to be getting warmer? I guess that we are paying for our mild January.

Sock progress... Cuff done, and heel done. I shall attend to the turning of said heel when a certain small someone has her nap. She is also sniffing today and so has spent most of the morning on my lap. It is hard to knit when you have a girl asking for hugs.

And here is one of my quilts, as per discussing them with Mia. This is not a baby quilt, but the construction was pretty much the same.

This weekend was a bit of a wash. First, it was cold, and we all know how I feel about the cold. Second, I didn't feel 100%. We did get to watch "The Return of the King" however. So there was a few positive notes. I know for some of you, that this was a the first time that I had seen it could only come as a shock. I tried to read the first book in my mid 20's and couldn't get through the first 3 chapters. Several times. I must note that I had the same problem with "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I finally got over that one and have read it several times. Maybe the same holds true for the "Lord of the Rings" Time will tell. I did see the Two Towers when I was visiting my sister this past spring, and I have only seen half of the Fellowship of the Rings. Small girl needed attention and I never got back to it. I will.

I also figured out something interesting and rather disturbing this weekend. Saturday night, actually Sunday morning, I woke up about 3 with a splitting headache. One of the kinds that I knew wouldn't go away on it's own, so I took acetaminophen. I never really did get back to sleep, but a couple of hours later, after feeling increasingly queasy, I ended up in the bathroom talking on the porcelain telephone. Back to bed feeling suprisingly better for a few more hours rest, but the headache wouldn't go away. Another acetaminophen and eventually another call on the phone. Lightbulb moment. I was wondering why, when I had had a particularly , shall we say, spirited night, I ended up being uncommonly sick so much later that would have been normal given the way spirits work. I wake up with a headache that won't go away, take a pill, get sick. Duhh. Never thought that it would have been the thing that was suppose to make me feel better that was making me feel worse. It never used to bother me. I must be getting old.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Yet another sock report

My hubby thinks that I talk about my sock too much here. It's either that or moan about the weather, which has turned cold again. But on a positive note, the dreaded month of February is almost over, march break is just around the corner, and it was actually light out yesterday when the alarm went off and I hauled my tired ass out of bed. Summer is coming! Well, maybe I should herald the arrival of spring first, but summer is what I really want.

In any case, Thursday night, I watched "Sweet Home Alabama" and almost finished my cuff. I have seen it enough times that I didn't have to pay complete attention to the screen, and I have the K2P1 down so that I didn't have to pay complete attention to the sock either. I started to knit the heel last night, but was convinced by a little girl that cuddle time was more important. We went to bed shortly there after and my sock sits waiting for me to come to it again. Which I will do later on today when someone is napping. In hope no one else needs attention.

I balled my blue/green yarn yesterday, and it is all aquiver with anticipation to be transformed into socks. Who knew that socks would be so addictive?

Tomorrow is my parents 40th wedding anniversary. So Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! They will be coming over for supper. Last night, they went out for Chinese, my aunt is getting them a gift certificate for another restaurant, and they are coming here to eat. So I guess that in my family, 40th is all about food.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Little sock progress and more creative procrastination

I have been working on the sock. I swear. It sits in its little basket on the kitchen counter and I pick it up from time to time and do a few rows. I tried to knit in the dark while watching a movie the other night. I don't recommend it. There are a few more mistakes that shall grace my foot when finished.

As for creative procrastination, I dyed two skeins of Briggs and Little off white into blends of green and blue with a touch of yellow. I love the instantness of the dye process. In an hour you know if you have something beautiful, or something not.

The weather is warmer today, but still hasn't broken above freezing. I look forward to those hot summer days. I am tired of being cold, and tired of the power bill. It amazes me how much it costs to heat our place to something slightly more than frigid. Not like you could tell by looking at baby N. She is a striptease artiste. The longest that I can keep clothes on her is about 30 minutes, and that is only if she knows that we are going for a walk soon. Once we get back from the walk, off come the boots, then snowsuit, soon followed by socks and pants. Last to go is the shirt. All my kids were like that. Must be something genetic. On any given day the two of us are a study in opposites. Her, diaper clad. Me wool covered.

Summer, get here soon.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Soup and Baskets

I have to say that I made the best veggie soup the other day. It was one of those panic moments when Mother Hubbard looked in her substantially depleted cupboards and came up with veggie soup. I have 3 other veggie soup recipes in my hand written cookbook, but they are going to get tossed in favour of this one.

6-10 cloves of garlic sliced
2 onions coarsely chopped
3 sticks of celery 3/4 inch slices
2 med carrots quartered and 3/4 inch slices
1 yellow pepper coarsely chopped
1 green pepper coarsely chopped
2 small zucchini 1/4 inch slices
2 med potatoes 1 inch cubes
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tsp each oregano, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Heat oil over medium heat in large pot. Saute onions and garlic in oil about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and celery, cook 2 minutes. Add peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until things start to soften.Stir often. Add can of tomatoes and two cans of water, herbs, and vinegar. Cook until done, about 20 minutes.

note: I used the tomato can to measure the two cans of water. Seems obvious, but you never know when someone might go to the store looking for canned water. My daughter is a literalist. I have learned to be careful about what I say.

So maybe my cupboards weren't all that bare. But it was good. This recipe make a big pot of soup, but I cook for 6, so it works out fine for us.

As for basket making.... I don't know about those backpack baskets, and I really have no desire to make one ( my back is wroteoff) but if you all want to learn how to make a small basket then I am more than willing to lead all you wannabe basket making Frederictonians in a informal workshop. But the thing that we need is water and space. The reeds that we use can reach about 10 feet in length, sometimes longer. They tend to get tangled and to untangle them required a bit of shaking. For the course that I took, there were 6 of us, plus the instructor in a room that was about 20' by 12' and that was cramped. As I say to the kids, we all like our eyes. So I will suggest that we go ahead in the summer, when we can soak the reeds (and our feet) in a kiddie pool, ( I have one courtesy of Liz) sit in someone's back yard ( I volunteer mine), and swill beer. Sound good ladies?

And my basket dried out so I gave it a test run last night. It worked out fine with no snagging. It may not work so well with a fine single ply silk like Kate is using, but does the trick for my wool.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cabin fever

ARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH! I hate this weather! It is cold out there. Nasty cold. We have been spoiled by mild weather. The other day it went up to +12C. Today we are at -11 C with a wind chill of -19. This morning the wind chill was -29. Nasty. I have been used to going out almost every day. The only time that I haven't gone out for at least the walk to get the kids at school has been when I had that flu. Either 24 hour or 24 ounce. I did walk to my weaving guild meeting yesterday. It was cold then too. I want the mild weather back. Winter , winter go away. Now! How confused must those poor birds that over winter up here be? I wonder how many chickadees dropped dead of shock two nights ago when the deep freeze struck.

That was my bitch session for today. Or at least as much as you are going to hear. Lucky you.

Over the past couple of days I have been making progress with sock 2 The cuff is about 4 inches. I picked up a sock book at the library the other day and I had to laugh when I started reading through it. One of the first things that it said was, if you were going to knit a sock, you had to believe the directions. I has that disbelief when I got to the heel of my sock. K2P1 is pretty basic. I had done this before and knew what to expect. But at the heel, I read the directions 3 or 4 times and still didn't understand how the heck it was going to work. And wouldn't it be lopsided. It just didn't make sense. But I bravely said WTF and plowed on. Son of a gun. It worked out just fine. I shall believe the pattern from now on and trust that they know what they are talking about.

And here is some crafty procrastination. Friday night, I decided that I was tired of holding my ball of yarn on my lap and I was also tired of it rolling around my none to pristine floor. So I decided to make a basket to hold my ball of yarn while knitting. I had taken a basketry course a few years ago and loved it, so had picked up some reeds so that I could continue on in basket land. I used the tub for soaking my reeds so I had to finish this particular project within 24 hours. 6 people, 1 bathtub. The math is easy.

No jokes about underwater basket weaving please. I heard enough of them at the time that I took the course.

So 24 hours later, I have a slightly damp basket that is about 7 inches wide and 5 inches deep. I may have to line it with fabric or varnish it to get the inside smooth enough so that my yarn won't snag. When it is completely dry, I will give it a test run and see if the yarn even does snag.

Speaking of snags, I found what I thing will be my shawl pattern. Apparently it is " suprisingly simple to knit". That is yet to be seen. It is a traditional fir cone pattern. I started a sample because this was yet another time when reading the pattern left me shaking my head. A sample is not another project and so I am within my one project per medium restraint. I have only done about 7 rows, but it is looking suprisingly like something that the cat ate and spit up. But not as slimy. I shall believe the pattern, press on, and see if it starts to resemble a fir cone.

I shall see if I can get my hands on a camera so that you can see my progress.

Thanks and goodnight.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

OK. I lied.

Or, read the pattern right stupid.

I looked at the pattern again last night because I hit the toe and needed to consult. And while I was there, I looked at the tension recommendation and it said "To be measured on 3mm needles in Stocking stitch 7sts. 10 rows = 1 inch or 2.5mm"
So I went back to my sock and did the measurements and lo and behold, the gauge was RIGHT! According to my pattern. Maybe I just have a skinny foot.

I still should have sampled and did my GD swatch. I will next time.

And guess what else happened last night?!?!?


And I tried it on over the sock that was on my foot. It was a little loose, but I can live with that. I can still also shrink it. And here comes my lie. After finishing sock #1 and determining that it wasn't really all that big, I started on sock #2 without doing my shrinkage swatch. I didn't want to fall into what is , around here referred to as, " a gumption trap" . I am sure that you are all familiar with them. Something comes up and you don't start or continue or finish a project and then after a while it seems like just too much bother, or there is always something else to do that is more important. I am learning to spot mine and I spotted one last night. As simple as casting on sock 2. It was almost bed time for me and I thought " I'll just start this and then won't have to start it later". I find starting on dp's a bit awkward. It would be a gumption trap for me. So now I have sock #2 started and about 4 rows of k2p1 done and it shall be easy to pick it up and continue on.

As for the rest of my life, Today was a beautiful day and wee N and I walked up the hill to go to the Blue Cross office to turn in some receipts and get some cheques. I have decided that , although it was not as painful as I anticipated,(pushing the stroller) I definitely need some more exercise and will get out for longer walks if the weather is fine. I read an article in a mag in the dentist office yesterday about why it is hard for some people to loose weight and I learned that when you hit perimenopause ( which is where I am) your body produces more estrogen which makes you retain more fat. I like my beer, I like my chocolate, I like my food, BUT I don't want to get fat so that means less intake than I had before, or more calorie burning exercise. I have a hard time saying no so I guess that I will start to say yes and just walk more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What were those things called again?

You know, those little knitting things that you make before you start a new project?

Swatches, right.

And why do you make them?

So that things will fit. Right.

Can you all guess what I didn't do?

Right. I didn't make a swatch.

My bad.

Last night, I tried on my sock. Now don't get ahead of me. The sock isn't finished yet. I am about 7/8 of the way down the foot. The needles looked long enough so that if I shoved my foot into my sock, just to check the fit, nothing would pop off. And I was right. Nothing did pop off. But the sock was just a bit loose. Hmmmm, think I. Let's check what the pattern says. Gauge 10 st per inch on size 3mm needles. I had 3 mm needles, but upon approaching the plain knitting part of my sock with a ruler, what to my wondering eyes did appear? 7 stitches per inch. I guess that the yarn I chose was a llleeeetle bit larger than the recommended yarn,although not by much, and I guess that I am a loose knitter. I also guess that I have learned my lesson. After all, what is a first sock without a few lessons. I will, however, NOT rip it out and knit it smaller. I'll leave that for the rest of you mad knitters. DH pointed out that his feet were larger than mine and he would kindly sacrifice his feet if the sock was going to be too big for me. I thanked him, but I'm not done yet. Wool has this wonderful property of shrinkage. So when sock # 1 is finished, I shall knit my swatch and see what the shrinkage is. Then go on to sock # 2. I have used the shrinkage thing before. My 2 year mittens are a case in point. I knit then out of fat glossy wool that I picked up at a yard sale and then dyed. I purposely used a man's pattern so that they would be large, but they turned out HUGE! About 12 inches from cuff to fingertip. They shrunk really well though, and now I have super warm and wind proof mittens. A definite plus when you walk about in winter as much as I do. So if the shrinkage thing works, I will still have my socks, if not, DH will inherit a pair of socks that were knit with equal parts love and cursing. And there are enough mistakes in them that I thing that they are safe from the gods' wrath.

Next up... purchase some smaller needles and SAMPLE, SAMPLE ,SAMPLE. I guess that you keep getting lessons that you need to learn. And I hope that some day I will learn to sample BEFORE I start a new project with a new material in a new technique. Sigh.

Happy Wednesday all. Gee, that sounds like a reason to celebrate.

Monday, February 13, 2006

My sock runneth over

I am so jazzed! Thanks to the wonderful woman of knowledge, Kate, I am well on my way to completing 'the sock'. The k2p1 of the cuff is done. The heel, complete with turning, is done. The instep with all of its cryptic codes, is done. I am just working my way down the foot. Then I hit the toe. And then I'm DONE. Well, done the first sock. This sort of reminds me of when I gave birth to twins. During the pushing out stage of the birth, I screamed "I can't believe that I have to do this AGAIN". But I suppose if I want a "pair" of socks, that I shall. Now I just have to figure out how to wear them without touching the ground.

To all of you that were hit with the blizzard yesterday... here in Fred'sville we got about 4 inches. And it was light and fluffy. A dream to shovel. Now that I said that, the next storm will probably dump 3 feet of heavy wet snow and then top it off with some freezing rain.

I also took some time to scroll through all of "you knit what?"s archives. By far the funniest thing I have seen in ages. And this poor dog takes the cake. I almost peed myself, spit my tea and fell off the chair laughing. Doberman's should not wear bonnets.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Another question....

OK. I am crusing along on my sock. I'm counting, and picking up stitches alongside the heel.l I'm feeling pretty cocky. Then I come to the instruction .....

2nd needle K1, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K to end of needle.

I got the K's I got the Sl's, I can P with the best of them. According to the abbreviation guide PSSO means, Pass Slip Stitch Over. I know. I know. Not rocket science, some of you are thinking. Others are thinking, And she wants to knit LACE??? Is it so painfully simple as to mean that you slip a stitch that you slipped from the row before? Or is it deeper than that. Hidden knitters code. Like the DaVinci Code. The Knitters Code, unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe to save Mankind. Or at least keep their feet warm.

A pitiful plea at best from a humble wannabe sock knitter.

On a good note, I put my proverbial foot down and told M that she had to finish her scarf this weekend. It has been on the loom now around a month and I have some experimentation to do in all of my spare time. She just finished off!! Now the cut off and fringing. This is monumental! WOW! I'm excited for her!

In any case HELP please so I can get on with my sock.

Thanks in advance

Sock Update

The heel is turned!!!!!

You are right, Zann. I am not even done and I feel competent. I am going to feel like I am on top of the World when I am done.

For the record

What a lot of knitting vibes flying through the air yesterday. I think that some flew through me and so I actually worked on my sock. I only got about an inch and a half done on my heel due to a certain small person who believes that the best place to be is mama's lap. Makes for awkward knitting.

So here it is. I am unofficially joining the knitting Olympics and will do my darnedest to finish sock 1 by the end. There. I said it. It is unofficial. Or official. Or maybe officially unofficial. Forgive me. I'm tired. I've been up since 4:30. Someone let the cat out last night after I went to bed and forgot to let her back in. So some kind person rang the door bell at 4:30 to let us know that we had a cat that wanted in. Good for the cat. Bad for me. I couldn't get back to sleep. So at 5:45, gave up and got up. Made my coffee, did my surfing, had breakfast, and now I find myself rambling. STOP! The funny thing about the cat being outside in the cold was when she came in, she didn't feel cold. Her fur was warm and so were her ears. I wish that I could do that. I've often wondered where she goes when she goes out. Someone once suggested investment meetings. But her portfolio doesn't seem to be in that great of shape, so I don't think so.

On the head front, my cold seems to be worse at night when I lay down. It was better yesterday when I did my running around. Maybe it was all that fresh air. Fresh COLD air. -11 with a wind chill factor of -20. I hate February.

One of the things that wee N and I did was go to the library and exchange Pooh videos. And I also picked out a bodice ripper. It is the lead up to Valentine's Day, right? So thankfully there was a display of romance novels. I chose one with an inoffensive cover and after getting home sat down to start it. I only read about 6 pages and felt better. Nothing to heavy in this one. Just what my sick little head needed. No snickering Liz. That's when I put down the book and picked up the sock.

Full circle! Speaking of circles, I would like to see someone knitting on two circular needles. It sounds......interesting.

Happy knitting all, and thanks for listening.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Head cold and the February Blahs

I have succumbed to my first head cold of the season. Or maybe it's my second. I just know that I feel like one of those teddy bears that you see in those 'create your own bear' shop who hasn't been stuffed. Actually, maybe it's more like a dishrag. Floppy and drippy. We are also in the almost middle of that month I have never liked, February. The calendar says that it is the shortest month, but I know different. And we have had enough mild weather to melt what little snow we had this year so now, in the middle of a cold snap, it doesn't even look pretty outside.

I don't even feel like knitting on my sock.

Part of my problem may be that I just finished reading The Lovely Bones. Wonderful book. Heartbreaking. But wonderfully written. It speaks to one of my most profound fear. To have one of my children murdered and never having a body to grieve over or to give a sense of closure. To never know. It may sound strange, but even when she was talking about her rape and murder, I was dryeyed, but the second that she started talking about her family's reaction and emotional turmoil, I became a faucet.

I think that I need to go find me a light, funny, cheesy romance novel to help me pull myself up. If I feel like I can brave the elements, I just may go to the library and see what they have. But I'm going to go lay down first.

Oh yeah, and to top it all off, the cat has fleas. Poor old beast.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


It all seemed so simple when I was starting "the sock". Instructions seemed to make sense. I know knit and purl. But I just want to clarify before I start THE HEEL.

The instructions are as follows.( after adjusting the number of stitches on the needles)

Row 1. K across row. Turn

I can do this!

Row 2. P1,Sl1 across row ending in an Sl1. Turn

My big question is... Does "Sl1" simply mean slip one stitch from one needle to the next. Followed by a purl of course. And then ending in another Sl.

I know that those of you that are seasoned sock knitters may think that this is a trivial question, but I want to get it right! The first time. I hate the idea if pulling out rows of knitting.

Which actually leads me to question number 2. How did pulling out knitting stitches ever come to be known as "frogging" ???I saw a reference on somebody's blog once and have been baffled ever since?

Please help me finish my sock so that I can get to work on sock #2 and then proceed to ,gasp, a lace sample. I made myself promise me that I would finish one knitting project before starting the next one. Lofty goal, I know.

Thanks in advance.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Just what I needed!!!

There I was, innocently reading Valeries blog and I saw a link to the princess shawl ! All I have to say is Holy Horse Feathers! And thanks a lot! Just what I needed! The desire to do something else insane. I now want to make one of these shawls. ME! Knit a two million hour lace shawl out of super fine fiber. I think that I need my head looked at. I am having commitment issues with my sock. Now don't get me wrong. I will finish it. The big question is just WHEN? It only took me two years to get my mittens done. Mittens! So I figure that if I get my socks done before 2007, I am way ahead of schedule. But I find that I MUST KNIT LACE! Maybe a book mark or cell phone cover would do me or one of these tree ornament skirts that Kate was making. I just need to get it out of my system. I can hear the cursing now!

Wow. What a lot of exclamation marks. I guess that I am really worked up about lace. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Right now my focus is on needle felting. Hand #1 is at a standstill. I think that it is finished. I am just waiting to make sure. In the mean time, I am working on hand #2. My left. A small bit of advice to any aspiring needle felters. Needle felting is a bit like cooking. It is easier to add than to take away. I have a bit too much fleece in one of my fingers and I am desperately trying to compact it so that it will look like a finger and not a sausage. I recall that I had the same problem last time. But you keep getting the same lessons presented until you learn them. OK! I got it this time. The trick will be to remember the next time I start on a project.

I don't know about where you live, but here in New Brunswick, yesterday was one fine day. Sunshine. Above freezing temperatures. Liz and I sat on her back step while the kids played in the yard and the baby slept. The only drawback was that yesterday was "Groundhog Day" and according to the story, if he saw his shadow yesterday, it means 6 more weeks of winter. I always thought that it was a bit of a lost hope any way. I mean really. I live in Canada. Maybe Victoria will see daffodils blooming soon. But in my neck of the woods, Spring doesn't usually get here until after mid April. Only 10 weeks to go!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Whose bright idea was it to make garbage cans white? I mean really? Come on. What do you do with a garbage can? You stick a pretty white bag in it and then start shoving garbage in it. And if your house is like my house and NO ONE ELSE ever changes the garbage of their own free will, the game becomes" let's see how full we can get it before Mom changes it." All subconscious of course. All I have to say about the lid is "EEEWWWWW!" Even DH, If I ask him to put out the garbage in a rare free moment, he will. But then doesn't finish the job by putting in a new pristine white bag. So instead of training him for the rare occasion that I ask, I have trained myself to add "...and put in a new bag". Isn't garbage putting out a "man job" any way?

So after all of this, you may ask "why did you buy a white garbage can in the first place?" The answer. I didn't. It was a gift. And we here don't look gift horses in the mouths until those horses are on their last legs. Which the can is. I shall soon be retiring my last white garbage can and replacing it with a stainless steel one. I figure that if I can get ten years out of a white plastic one, a stainless steel one will see me out.

Thanks for letting me vent.