Last Friday was a “bit of an adventure” for those of us in Calgary trying to get home, and tonight looks like a repeat.  We had beautiful snow on Friday, which fell on the roads.  The cars driving over it melted the snow, which then refroze due to the cold temperature and formed slick sheets of ice.  Roads became skating rinks, uphills impassible.  Even slight inclines the buses couldn’t get up, but slid backwards, off roads, and across all lanes.  The LRT train got us to our regular stop, but the buses weren’t to be found.  Well, we found them later, at the bottom of a hill, unable to get out of our neighbourhood.  Cars were driving around them, up the grass to get up the hill.  Scratch that, only trucks with 4×4 could get up the grass area.  We ended up walking the hour home, and enjoyed the walk (which was better than continuing to stand around at the bustop).  Tonight may be more of the same as we look out the window at driving snow, with winds that are picking up and ripping the tarps off the construction site next to us.  We’re hoping the workers go home before they are blown off!  Unfortunately a family was killed recently in Calgary due to debris blown off of construction sites, and I’m crossing my fingers nothing bad happens tonight.  We’re more prepared today with good winter boots for walking, warm coats, hats, mitts, and scarves.  The temperature looks set to drop tomorrow, it may be time to get out the BIG purple parka again. 

This weekend was productive.  I finished up my charity hat and mittens project:

I couldn’t resist putting a little flower and pom-pom for interest.  I hope a little girl gets them and rubs the pom-poms on her cheeks.  That is what I would do all the time! 

My garter stitch yoke sweater is done and blocking at home.  The neckline is a bit loose, when it dries I’ll run a crochet line around it to hold it in.  I’ve started to look for buttons, but bright green ones aren’t to be had as of yet.  Only drab olive!  I’ll keep looking around I guess.  I tried to sew the zipper in my snowflake sweater, but got it off center, and have to rip it out and try again!  Oh well, c’est la vie!  I also bought all the yarn for Xmas projects, more on that later!


A Weekend for Finishing Up

November 27, 2009

As the end of November is upon us, I need to finish up.  My garter stitch yoke cardigan is almost there, first sleeve is at the cuff now, next sleeve should be in process tomorrow.  Easy peasy I think, especially since all I need to do after that is sew in ends, block and find some green buttons.  I think the button finding in the button-free land of Calgary will be the hardest part!

Of the other three items on my needles, I think two more may be finished this weekend.  I also plan to sew in the zipper on the snowflake cardigan.  Who knows, next week may be a parade of FO’s!  I’m getting everything wrapped up because December will be all about Christmas presents.  I’ve got nine projects of various sizes slated to get done, and I’m heading out on Saturday to find some materials for my masterpieces!  The hard part will be not buying yarn for projects for myself, I have some projects that I’m dying to buy yarn for!  Must resist!  Or resist, and let one project through as a reward for when I’m done all the Christmas presents!!

This weekend is a big one here in Calgary, and not only because it started to snow at noon and currently the world is blanketed in white outside.  The  Grey Cup weekend is upon is, and the party is in full swing outside.  For those of you who don’t know (that would be non-Canadians, because pretty much no one outside of Canada knows about the Canadian Football league, except for those savvy enough to know that The Rock (wrestler) used to play football up here) the Grey Cup is THE BIG GAME.  Its the equivalent to whatever ends the NFL season, the Superbowl I guess.  This year Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing the Montreal Allouettes.  The Calgary Stampeders got beat last weekend by the aforementioned Roughriders.  I’ve always liked the name “Roughriders” as it sounds a bit dirty to me, almost like what you would call a roomful of ladies of the night.  It makes me giggle.  Now their colour is a nice bright green, which makes you think of what?  Watermelons you say?  Well, as a matter of fact a diehard Roughrider fan does in fact hollow out a watermelon, and wear it on their heads.  You can find a tutorial about how to do this here!   (Just so you know I’m not making this up, and I thought wearing cheese on your head was strange).  Add that to another news story today about a critical shortage of watermelons in Calgary, and the fact that grocery stores are rushing over 3000 watermelons into the city this weekend. 

At lunch today I ventured out to party central, 8th avenue and Olympic Plaza, just go get a photo of someone wearing a watermelon on their head for my dear viewers.  Also so that they would believe me.  But alas, I could not find one.  Instead I took a photograph of two dudes wearing full length buffalo coats in the snow(they looked very warm)

And this photo of a peaceful protest against violence :

I saw numerous knitted objects, funky toques, tams, Mary Maxim sweaters, Cowichan sweaters, because once the temperature drops, and the snow falls, the wool comes out of the closet for Canadians.  I just need to get my nerve up to ask more people if I can take photos of them!

I hope you have a lovely weekend everyone, and please if you are going to put a watermelon on your head,  please use all the watermelon, don’t waste!

A New Program

November 24, 2009

After much back and forth, hemming and hawing, searching the city for classical music cd’s, and listening to much music, I finally settled on my skating program music:

Amazingly this morning we got almost the whole program laid out, once the main elements were decided.  Three spins, a huge spiral sequence up the entire length of the ice (inside edge, outside edge going forwards on right foot) turn a few steps, back left foot.  My coach says the music moves in waves, like water.  It is slow, and fast at the same time so that your moves can use each.  There will be a lot of swoopy edges, and turns, and changes in height up and down like waves.  I’ve always loved the music from the movie The Piano, which is important because over the next few months I’m going to hear it over and over again!  Maybe one of these days we can get Mr. J out to the rink to take a video, once I master all the moves for you Mum!

Alright, music check, program almost check.  Next up is the dress!  When my Mum was here in the fall she made me a simple black skating dress with a tank top.  I’m thinking the dress needs to flow like water, and be a bit wispy.  Blue and silver sequins should do nicely around the bodice and on the skirt, and some short sleeves made out of a floaty material.  Then something sparkly to put in my hair!  Maybe a bit wispy and floaty as well.  Boy oh boy, this is going to be a lot of fun!

This weekend seemed to scream by so fast , and we find ourselves back at work for Monday.  Once again I was up at 5:30 am on Saturday for some skating on the other side of Calgary.  This was a good session however, everything gets a little bit better every time I skate.  Even my spins have improved 100% this year!  In the afternoon I had some fellow knitters over for a “Cocktails and Christmas Knitting” party.  I believe if you are going to have a little party, you might as well have a theme as well, I do love a theme.  It was very nice to sit around and chat, to meet a new friend, and reconnect with some others from last years retreat.  I had a grand plan to make circle cookies (gingerbread and sugar, that part worked out okay) and then use icing to make them look like yarn balls.  Total failure, but the plain unadorned cookies tasted pretty good.  And very unexpectedly one lovely woman brought me this ray of light:

Real, live, in the flesh Wollmeise!  I’m feeling very special today as I show it off, and enjoy the bright orange colours.  Its so very cheerful.  Its going to live on my mantle until I figure out the most perfect sock pattern ever, as only the best will do.

Speaking of socks, store bought ones that is, I have a real weakness for skiing and cycling socks.  I found these over at MEC today:

That little lady is a Baaaad Sheep!  They are wool socks, perfect for winter sports.  This is also why I’m not allowed to look at socks in sports store, due to the afore-mentioned weakness for them! 

I’m so tired from the weekend, I need another one!

NaKniSweMo Thursday Update!

November 19, 2009

With twelve days left in the month (until DECEMBER if you can believe it) here is a check-in on my garter yoke cardigan.

Here I am laughing due to the fact that I didn’t notice the fancy reflection in the medicine cabinet until after I took the first photo!  I then proceeded to “work it”.  I finished the waist decreases, knit about 3 inches straight, and am two repeats into the hip increases.  I estimate I’m about 2-3 inches away from the garter stitch on the bottom now (about 4-5 inches away in this photo).  Mr. J (when I showed him my awesome progress) couldn’t get over the fact that there were no sleeves yet.  He stared transfixed at the hole where sleeves should go, and asked if it was supposed to look like that.  Of course the proper response I was looking for was “Wow, that looks awesome” instead of “you forgot to put sleeves on that”.  I had to explain that you put the sleeves on after you make the body, and that there will be full length sleeves, not short sleeves, this is Calgary after all.  As he is relatively new to WIP appreciation, we’ll forgive him this one, as long as he gets it right next time.

Death of Beauty

November 17, 2009

At little while ago my Dad finished a painting he titled “Death of Beauty”.  He and Mum made a video about it and posted it on You Tube. 

Please enjoy, and feel free to share any comments for Martin (aka Daddio).  Is anyone else getting scared when their parents post videos to You Tube?

With the closer farmers market closing down for the season, we’ve been trekking over to the main Calgary farmers market to do our shopping.  And eat some breakfast.  And get some coffee (we can’t decide if latin passion latte or chocolate fantasy latte is better, we keep trying them in order to make up our minds.  But as I keep telling Mr. J, we all need some latin passion every once in awhile).  But while we buy organic chicken, local farm bison, fresh apples (the current favorite is honey crisp), and vegetables, this will always be my favorite place in the whole entire market:

Oh the joys of the Belgian pastry stall.  How does one decide?  This weekend we chose the lemon custard raspberry danish.  Drool. 

I spent a lot of time this weekend sewing rather than knitting, but now the snowflake sweater is ready for its zipper.

I was worried it would be too small, but sigh of relief even though it is snug, it fits me!  A nice close fit, plus all those cables mean that this is a warm sweater, which was the intention.  That’s a bit of a crappy photo, its still wet from its last bath to get the collar and zipper bands to lie flat.  I would like a nice big beefy zipper with big metal teeth instead of one with thin plastic teeth, but we’ll see what I can find.

And as always chez Knittingwater I decorate with a black cat:

Jack chasing snowflakes

Here is the scary black cat monster Jack chasing snowflakes through the glass window.  I tell ya, anything that moves get chased in my house.  Each morning one of them goes after the water drops flowing down the shower door and is surprised once again they don’t catch anything.  As a side note, I was surprised to read somewhere that black cats do not get adopted as often as other cats.  I think I’m surprised as my family has had a long line of really excellent black cats from Brandy, Bourbon, Bart (guess which cat the kids named!!) and now little Jackie.  (Black Jack Shelac is his formal name).  All of these cats have been wonderful pets, even though I don’t remember Brandy very much. 

Today has been a day of planning and implementation for me, and I’m feeling rather accomplished.  I’ve got my Christmas knitting list made, and patterns together for most people.  I’m organized for when I need to buy the materials for some of the presents, I have a Plan with a capital P.  (Mr. J has taken to calling me PLAnne which seems rather appropriate as I love planning things).  I was sitting on the fence about a few things like having a Christmas party (what if no one comes!!) and whether or not I should get a table at my neighbourhood craft sale (what if no one buys anything).  But after giving myself a good talking to that involves wisdom such as “you won’t know unless you try” , “if no one comes you can drink a cocktail and have a cookie by yourself and that will be fun”, and “you at least can sit at the sale and knit and meet your neighbours”, I’ve gone ahead with both plans.  I think this also means I’m feeling much better and am over my cold/flu and ready to take on the world again (rawr). 

I hope you have a good weekend, and be careful not to get any bad luck today!  I recommend cuddling a black kitty (and a tabby one if you have that as well) to compensate.

NaKniSweMo* Prog.

November 12, 2009

*National Knit a Sweater Month.  (I had to look that up, and write it down in my notebook to remember it)

Progress Report!  This week’s progress report is brought to you by the couple of sick days I’ve taken, and the fact that we had yesterday off work for Remembrance Day:

GYC starting waist decreases

Vroom!  I’m down to the waist decreases already.  The sweater really starts to zoom off once you separate out the sleeves.  I tried it on last evening, and I was so pleased that it fit perfectly.  The garter stitch on the shoulders stretches out nicely I think to accomodate slightly wider than average shoulder build.  I really like the green stripes, it worked out better than I had hoped. 

I feel like I’m doing so well on this, plus my other sweater is in the final “knit the zipper bands, two rows each side of the front” and almost there as well.  It is making me want to start a whole bunch of new projects, none of which I have the yarn for right now.  Its going to be challenging to work through my planned projects, and not run out to buy something new to make.  As a result I’m staying far, far, away from yarn stores until I’m ready to buy what I need to make planned presents at the end of the month.  Its only two weeks away, I’m sure I can make it until then!

The Stash

November 9, 2009

I have been having a blast lately organizing my stash.  There is a lot of nice stuff in there!  I’ve located the “new” yarn, or that which is not leftover of other projects, and it is all not in my Ikea bins where it is nice and accessible for patting, staring at etc. 

Knitting Room stash

That is indeed the view from the couch, where I can comfortably sit for quite awhile and listen to podcasts, happily knitting away.  I have two bins for tools, one bin of (a big one!) of sock yarn, one of lace, one of sweater, one of “next on the list” one of chunky, and one of “stuff”.  The bins are stuffed to the brim at the moment, but the goal is to only have what can fit in the bins, and gradually bring them down a bit.  The wicker basket is full of the “leftover” yarn from other projects that I can dive into to make one skein projects.  All my knitting books and magazines now fit onto one set of shelves, for easy accessibility as well. 

Over the last week I entered (most) of my stash onto Ravelvry for one reason: in order to export it to the Excel spreadsheet.  Once I did that I could add up how many yards of yarn I have, and now I can also create quarterly reports and see how things are doing.  Can you see the possibilities?  Charting out how much yarn is used each month, how much goes in, how much goes out.  Pie charts, bar graphs, its going to be so much fun.  The next step is to calculate how much yarn I knit up this year, how much I still have, and then calculate the life of my stash.  As in: if this is my retirement stash, how long is this going to last?  ‘Cause I intend to retire early, and live a long time! 

I have so many nice things in my stash, so many projects I can’t wait to get to.  Other than buying some things I need to make some specific Christmas gifts next month, I really don’t need to buy any more yarn.  Plus with going to Stitches, I think I’ll avoid the Boxing Day sales this year, and wait until then to buy a few things.  Then I hope to have a bit of room in the bins for some lovely new stash!