Winter Wonderland

April 29, 2010

What a sight out the front door this morning, more snow!  At least the temperature was hovering just above zero, and nothing had frozen too badly.  As it was our bus was having trouble getting going after each stop.  What is worse I think is calling a person in Saskatchewan and finding out it was lovely and sunny over there still, and they are expecting this storm to just be rain by the time it gets to them.  While I am happy that I get to wear my new heavy sweater again, I was also enjoying wearing my pretty spring skirts and shoes for the first time.  Come back spring!

FO: Rick’s Socks

April 26, 2010

These lovely socks are Rick’s Socks from Cookie A’s delightful book Sock Innovation.  The first of a few pairs of socks that I’d like to make from this book.  The yarn is Fleece Artist Sea wool, in a rather rocking teal colour. 

The right sock was a bit tigher than my left sock (which worked itself out after I put them on wet and walked around a little bit) .  I’m wondering if the ssk is tighter than the k2tog?  Very interesting….

The foot pattern, which is a quick knit and fun, ends an inch too short on my foot.  I guess I could have figured out how to extend it but, ugh, no.  The toes will be in shoes most of the time right?

And what usually happens when I do photoshoots:

Piper is not fat, she is just floofy.

Wedding Attire

April 23, 2010

The next big question is what to wear on the big wedding day.  At much as I’m loathe to admit it, I think we already have “wedding colours”.  Mr. J’s favorite colour is burnt orange, and  mine is green, so there you go. 

**If Mr. J is around, or mentions anything to anyone, I’m wearing an incredibly huge pouffy dress, with a 10 foot train, and it will cost approximately $5000** (It might be tradition to surprise him on the wedding day, but its also kind of fun keeping this joke going with him)

The question of wedding attire is another uncomfortable one with me, as I cannot for the life of me picture myself in a wedding dress.  It’s just not “me”, and I think it is ridiculous to force myself into something I don’t want to do.  Again, I have never pictured myself getting married and wearing a white dress, I was busy studying calculus.  So I figure I should start with something I can get excited about: shoes.  I really want to wear the most fantastic pair of shoes that I can find, since my normal life does not really lend itself to wearing fabulous shoes, as I haven’t been to a ball, or met the Queen.  Since Mr. J is 6’7″ I can wear the biggest pair of heels I want to, in fact the bigger, more platform pair of shoes I can find the better.  I’m thinking stiletto, huge heels, shiny, sparkly, and green.  Something like this:

Martinez Valero Women's Caitlin Shoe

But perhaps a darker green.  I have a feeling I’ll find what I’m looking for when all the Xmas party shoes come out.  Okay, with this level of excitement about shoes, I can go onto dresses.  I have to have something to show off those lovely shoes don’t I?  How about this dress? 

I can picture myself in that one!!  And then I’ll need a beautiful lace stole to match the shoes perfectly!  A bit of a hair-do, some make-up and I might be able to pull this bride thing off. 

I’ve also found some killer white mountain bike gear for the mornings ride…  Trust me, I’m much more excited about that, but the green shoes could tip the balance.

How to Plan a Wedding

April 21, 2010

Seriously, does anyone know how to plan a wedding?  The fact that I’m actually going to get married is sometimes even harder to wrap my head around, it always seemed like something so far away, and beyond the realms of this world.  I never was the girl who dreamed of getting married, I was busy running around, jumping over things, building forts, and reading adventure books.  I have never once pictured what my wedding day would look like, my Barbies were too busy having fashions shows, they didn’t have time for such silliness. 

However here we are, and Mr. J and I are busy trying to figure out what we want to do.  We both agree we are going to feel very uncomfortable standing in front of a lot of people (staring at us!!! ahhhhh!!!) and saying vows, but its still what we want to do.  We want small, we want simple, we want nice, good.  I also wanted to get married somewhere that we both like, that is presentable enough to not need decorations, that could look after a quality dinner, and a place we could return on anniversaries.  I was amazing adamant on that last point, which negated getting married at home, since we will eventually move to a different house.  I also nixed a courthouse or eloping idea ( I think Mr. J nixed that one as well) since I’m pretty sure the parents would like a nice wedding to attend, and the whole walking down the aisle thingy. 

So we will begin with a problem statement:

(In bold) How to plan a Wedding

Then we will break the problem down into steps in order to make it more manageable.  Good engineers do this all the time, breaking complex problems down into tiny steps (Go to the Moon – measure distance to the moon etc.)

Step 1: Buy a notebook to write everything down.

Step 2: Make a guest list – this should help us with the venue, as I assume it will be the venue-person’s first question. 

So there you go, we’ve completed Step 1, and are working on Step 2.  Now that is progress!! 

We also have a mission statement – Keep it simple.  We’re repeated this one many, many times already

FO: Wheel Mittens

April 20, 2010

Not only did I finish these on the weekend, but I threw them in the washing machine for a full cycle of felting.  Felting is always nerve racking, especially as the water turned pink immediately.  However none of the Brazilwood dye transferred to the cream yarn, and most surprisingly, the colour went from salmony pink to hot pink!  I’ve included the original yarn in the photo for reference.  The mittens are soft and thick, and in a test run this morning almost wind proof.  They are  still a little bit big, so another cycle is in order.  I’m calling them wheel mittens as the pattern looks like knubby mountain bike tires to me, but in Estonian Folk Knitting the graceful Ms. Bush calls them “Kristi’s Mittens”.  The checkerboard pattern on the band is extremely simple, and impressive.  The yarn was purchased in Moab at Desert Threads, the cream was a gift for my 35th birthday.  Next year: More brazilwood!

I saw my first robin yesterday morning, and then another.  Spring is definitely here!

Transitioning Jobs

April 19, 2010

Back in early December I learned I was on a short list to be laid off, which was not good news just before Christmas!  From that point on, various other events occurred at my work that found most of our management being forced out, whether they wanted to or not!  It hasn’t been very fun working through all that stress, and once things really fell apart the end of January I began sending out resumes.  I think we all need stability, especially those of us with mortgages and two furry kitties to feed!  I also have a policy of eliminating stress in my life where I can, since it plays havoc on my system.  My poor guts! 

Long story short, and after more than a few venting sessions at Knit Club, last Friday I got an offer, which I promptly signed and sent back, then immediately thereafter resigned my current job.  Where I’m off to shall remain a mystery for now, as you never know how your old employer will react to you ditching them for a new employer.  I’ll remain in Calgary, which officially makes this the first time I’ve gotten a new job and not moved across/to a country.  I must be getting settled in my old age! 

One sad thing is that I’ll have to drive to the new job, as it is not accessible from the train.  Back to the industrial areas for me.  I’m going to miss working in downtown Calgary, the nice bike ride, or the public transport commute.  One thing I have figured out, which I now need to test is parking at a “Park and Ride” lot and biking from there.  I think with doing this I can keep the bike ride to an hour each way, which is manageable.  It’s so nice to bike home after work, and immediately sit on the couch and have dinner, rather than hauling myself out for some exercise.  And since I’ve been discovering just how much of my spring/summer wardrobe is fitting tightly so far this year…..yikes! 

Therefore two more weeks here, two weeks of blissful time off which I plan on hanging around the house, crafting, working on the basement, and biking.  Then a new job, squeaky and clean, with no mean people in it yet, and assurance of a paycheck.  The kitties should feel so secure now.

Lately I’ve been really focused in on making the bike mittens (so called by me because the motif seems like a wheel of a knobby mountain bike tire) to the point of only working on them in Colorado last weekend.  For the first mitten I followed along with the pattern and did three repeats of the motif before putting in the waste yarn for the thumb.  This made them huge, but I figured the whole mitten would be huge and I’d have to felt it anyways.  Once I finished up I realized that it was only just the length of the cuff that was too long, the rest of the mitten would fit fairly well, they are just wide.  I made the second mitten shorter by one repeat in the cuff:

The second mitten fits nicely, although I may still felt it down a little bit for extra warm.  I’m worried that the naturally dyed Brazilwood colouring will run into the cream if I do that. 

I’ve since ripped the large mitten out and restarted the hand.  I’m getting a bit tired of the pattern, but the end is in sight.  I hope to be done this weekend in order to concentrate on other things. 

I have a goal to calculate my yardage totals every quarter, and end of April will be the first one!  Therefore I’d like to get some things finished up so that they can be counted as done, and out of stash.  I’m pretty sure my yardage has gone up since January 1, but I’m hoping by not too much.  I’m hoping to complete my Lacy Baktus, Rick socks, and Tempest sweater in the next three weeks.  Can I do it?  I guess we’ll find out…

The pattern for these mittens is from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush.  I’m getting very excited to attend her classes in Montana the end of May, I’ve booked my campsite now!

FO: Tweed Jacket

April 13, 2010

As we learn living in Calgary, it doesn’t matter if you don’t finish your bulky tweed jacket until the end of March; there will still be a few more cold snaps and snow storms to wear it in.

This is the coat from the first Debbie Bliss magazine, utilizing Donegal Tweed Chunky Debbie Bliss yarn purchased at the Boxing Day Sale (used before 1 year passed, woohoo). 

I love the yarn, I love the colour, I love the tweed.  The jury is still out on the collar, its very, very large.  I followed the advice of those who had gone before me on Ravelry and made a much smaller size than I normally would have, and so the body (which may or may not be apparent from these photos, I’m still working on Mr. J, my art director in these photoshoots) actually has a contoured look even though there is no shaping.  It is tight over the bust, and then comes in at the waist, which pleases me.  I need to fix the position of the third button still, which is why the gaping is occurring. 

It sure is warm however, except around the exposed neck area.  However when the office gets drafty I can just roll the super huge collar up and snuggle in.  Since its still snowing on and off, foggy, grey, and generally miserable outside, this coat is getting worn!

As I was ready to leave the prairies and return to Calgary on Thursday, I knew a storm was coming my way, not only because of the weather reports, but the strong wind whipping around already.  I am however glad I followed the operators directions, and stopped at the Threshing Machine Graveyard.  After all, how often does one get to see a collection of over 50 threshing machines from all over.  Or, how often does one discover what a threshing machine actually is!  (It’s for threshing wheat!  I think.)

Not only was there plenty of antiquey farm equipment to look at, but also, an entire barn full of baseball caps.  When someone mentions “barn” to someone from Ontario (that’s me!) we tend to picture a relatively large structure meant to house all the cows, horses, pigs, chickens etc. with space for hay up above.  In Saskatchewan the barns run smaller, but they can still hold many hats.  The last people to sign the guest book were from South Africa, back in the 1990’s. 

And for those of you who know me, you could probably guess something like the next photo would show up pretty soon:

Farmer Anne, driving her tractor off into the sunset!  It wasn’t really cold enough for a toque, but it kept my hair from blowing around like crazy.  Just after this I took off east, and had a good drive (except for the strong, strong winds) until I hit Drumheller.  I then hit almost complete whiteouts, and thought for awhile that I was going to have to find somewhere to pull over until morning.  Once I made it through I hit thick ice around Calgary – over 1 inch of it over all the roads.  The highway was closed due to propane truck rollerover, and further north a 50 car pile up.  I stuck to the back roads, and slowly, slowly, inched my way home.  It was white knuckle all the way.  During the white-out portion I was probably driving on ice, but I couldn’t see far enough to tell.  Many thanks to all the nice drivers who let me crawl along without trying to zoom around me dangerously.  I saw many cars way down in the ditch, most of the roads here are elevated, with extremely steep drops on either side.  Scary!  Spring, where are you?

Hitting the Road

April 6, 2010

As much as I don’t want to, I’m getting up early tomorrow, and heading to Luseland Saskatchewan.  Aren’t ya’ll glad you are learning about small town Saskatchewan geography with me?  Think of the next time there is a question on Jeopardy about it, we will all know and you’ll be so thankful.  “Which town was named for Sam Luse”?  “What is Luseland Saskatchewan for $1.4 million!”.  I looked the town up, as small town websites are always informative.  I don’t need a map to find the water plant in these places, I generally just drive around a bit and I find it if I don’t see it right off the highway. 

Let’s say I have some time to kill (which never happens as I’m usually heading to a hotel to find internet as someone always wants an answer about something) there are a number of attractions in Luseland I can check out.  I think the Threshing Machine Graveyard is worth a visit, because honestly, who collects over 50 threshing machines, and sticks them in a field for you to drive around?  I am in all seriousness interested in the Prairie Park Reserve, as I think that preserving the prairie as it used to be with its native species is a worthwhile endeavour.  But the threshing machines may make a better blog post…

Once I return from Saskatchewan, I’m off to Boulder Colorado for a wedding of a dear friend I had met in Boston.  I’m desperately trying to ignore the fact that Boulder probably has amazing yarn stores, as I’m not supposed to be buying more yarn until at least June.  (Olds Fibre Fair anyone?)  My plans there involve visiting the shopping area of downtown Boulder, and going for a nice long walk at least once or twice.  I love walking, meandering around a good path, looking at houses, heading into the hills.  You can also take a tour of the Celestial Seasoning Tea factory, which always makes an engineer’s heart happy.  Food factories are usually fascinating!  I can also tell you tour guides hate engineers, we ask too many questions. 

These may be my plans, but who knows what else could happen?  I love traveling with open ended “maybe I could do this plans” and then seeing what I feel like doing.  Life is so much more adventurous that way!