Friday, March 30, 2007

for me-me-me-me-meeeeee?

It's here! My awesome prize package from Sophia! I won a contest last week when I correctly guessed the composer (Rossini) of the opera she's currently performing (La Donna del Lago). Hence the operatic warm-up of the post title.

Well, the USPS parcel arrived bright and early, before I was actually up, so I'm afraid the delivery guy had a bit of a fright when I came to the door with flannel jammies, bed-head and the distinct markings of someone who had a pillow jammed against her face until moments before. They must see all kinds of things...

What a nice surprise! It is Fortissima DISCO sock yarn! I hadn't realized it from her blog, but there is actually some sparkle in this stuff! It's a great blue/white colour with just a little bling for fun. I will have to find the perfect pattern for them. Also some lovely gift-cards to include when giving knitted items (with spots for fibre type and care instructions), and some tip covers to protect my delicate sock dpns.

Thank you so much, Sophia!!!

And while I'm bragging about lovely acquisitions, I must show you this:

Last weekend I did some violin playing at a church service for the Lady of the Knit, and the silly, silly girl surprised me with this gorgeous stuff. She's determined to make me into a lace knitter with this gorgeous Fiddlesticks. It's a lace weight Zephyr Wool-Silk, 50% merino, 50% tussah silk, SO soft, and look at the unbelievable colour: it's called Agean Blue. (Tussah silk, I've just figured out, is organic silk, gathered wild, and is stronger and more resiliant than the cultivated white silk... cool.) To top it off, she got me a set of Addi Lace needles. This is really exciting... again, I've got to come up with a great pattern to do justice with this beautiful stuff. And Jen, truly unnecessary, but really appreciated. Thanks!

Really, I'm knitting, too. I will have an FO for y'all probably by the end of the weekend. Enjoy your weekends!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Knitters Treat Exchange Questionnaire

Wow, this is a great exchange. It's a one-time exchange where you send your spoilee a nice little treat package. Requirements are enough yarn for a one-skein type project, a magazine, a pampering treat and a tasty treat. Plus whatever else you want to put in... Seems like a manageable one for me! As much as I loved my Secret Pal exchange, I just don't have time/money/energy for that right now, but I still enjoy "meeting" new bloggers and thinking up fun ways to surprise someone.

Sign-ups for this one are explained here, and open til the end of the month.

Here's my questionnaire:

1. What's your favourite type of yarn?
Tough one... probably merino is a good answer. Cashmere makes me unbelievably happy, but I certainly don't expect anyone to send me that! I also enjoy alpaca quite a lot, and I have developed a fondness for silk. I like pretty hand-dyed and/or variegated yarns more than I can say.

2. What's your least favourite type of yarn?
Acrylic. *shudder* And Fun Fur is Muppet Murder.

3. What's the first thing you do when you visit a new yarn shop?
If it's a nice shop, I usually grin/giggle and bounce up and down twitching happily trying to figure out what to look at first. (can you say "over-stimulated"?) Then I wander the whole place fondling just about every yarn to get a sense of what they have, especially what I haven't seen before.

4. What other crafts do you do / would like to do?
I am mostly a knitting addict now, but I like all kinds of crafty stuff like making stitch markers, paper-craft, occasional sewing (when I have a purpose and a machine in front of me) and I'm really excited about the package of shrinky-dink film I just bought...

5. What magazines do you currently subscribe to?
I do a self-subscription to Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits (meaning I buy every issue as soon as it's on the stand!)

6. Put this type of magazine in order of preference:Knitting / Crochet / Other Craft / Food / Home / Fashion / Celebrity Gossip / Garden
1. Knitting
1.5. I'm gonna insert "world news" in here too. (I'm a junky for the New Yorker, the Economist, Time, Macleans, stuff like that for reading at the gym)
2. Food
3. Home
4. Fashion
5. Celebrity Gossip (guilty pleasure)
6. Other Craft
7. Crochet
8. Garden (I kill plants - what can I say, I have a BLACK thumb and no yard)

7. What items do you like to knit / crochet?
At present I'm addicted to socks, and I love making scarves for people. I have a new-found love of shawls. Kid's garments are a lot of fun, and I'll try to make just about anything that I really want to have!!!

8. Are you allergic to anything?
Strawberry, kiwi, raspberry, mango, guava, papaya, peaches, bee stings (please don't send me bee stings!).

9. What do you like to* smell of?(*This is not a typo. The question is: What do you like to smell of)
Umm... usually nothing. I like sandalwood a lot, vanilla or citrus is nice, and (like Andrea - good one!) I love to smell like the beach! (if only Calvin Klein really sold Kramer's beach scent...)

10. What's your favourite way to relax?
Knit, of course! Or read. Kick back with a nice glass of wine or a latte (depending) and knit. Especially with friends.

11. You're stood in front of a Victorian style sweetshop, an Italian cafe, an old fashioned bakery and a dainty tea room. Where do you go first?
If I could only go to one place, I'd go to the cafe. Otherwise I'd hit the sweet shop to look for something vanilla-dark chocolatey (vanilla cremes are the BEST!), grab something (chocolate croissant?) at the bakery and then take it all to the cafe to enjoy with a good cuppa. (best for last)

12. What do you come out with?
What do you think it means if I spent more than a few seconds trying to figure out if this was a deep existential question. Then it dawned on me "What do you come out of the shop with?". Right. I guess I should have read through first.
I wouldn't come out of the cafe for a while, especially if they had comfy chairs and I had pointy sticks. Maybe I'd come out with a sexy Italian man and a smile on my face??? (heh heh heh)

13. Where do you go next?
Out to a fabulous dinner with Giuseppe. (you know, the one from the cafe).

14. Any other words of wisdom for your pal?
Umm, let's see... Some random comments based on the stuff on our lists: Face masks are fun, and I love interesting soaps. I don't tend to appreciate lotions or oily things too much, because I can't stand to feel greasy hands (I think it's a violin-playing thing). As for tea, I think I only drink herbal teas these days (the more flavourful the better!), going for coffee if I want caffeine. Other than that, I love surprises and I think this is an awesome exchange! For more details and a longer set of questions, you could check out my SP8 Questionnaire, if you're stumped.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I won!!!

I won a blog contest! Sometimes being a violinist is most helpful...

Sophia over at Yarn over Manhattan is also a violinist, and today she posted a picture of some music and had a little contest to guess the composer of the "arm-cramping opera excerpt" she is currently performing. I got it right... Rossini's La Donna del Lago!!! And do you know what I win??? SOCK YARN!!! And some pretty nice looking note cards, for getting the opera right too! Yahoooooo!

And earlier today I got my car back, all fixed. And just now on the street I found a quarter. Not just a penny... a QUARTER. That's got to be some good luck. And now I'm on my way out to knit with some friends. I have a feeling it's going to be a good weekend!

(maybe the force is strong with us this week, with all the knitters gathered in NYC!)

Thanks so much, Sophia!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

the spoils

Here comes the yarn porn... the crawl... the spoils...
I started out with a stop at Knit-O-Matic to pick up the Opal Tiger Stripe (I knew she had Opal and e-mailed for her to hold some!). After seeing Cari's family socks a few weeks ago I HAD to have some. I knew one wouldn't be enough. Later that day I went to knit night at Lettuce Knit (I love LK), and in an uncontrollable fit, I picked up this Sea Wool in a flavour I am considering Neapolitan (like the ice cream).

Leg 2 was a day with my mom. I arrived at her place greeted by these three little sheepy fellows. The yarn is the Koigu picked up last Tuesday at Rose Haven.

We left bright and early for the Needle Emporium.

My prime target: More Mountain Colours Bearfoot. Mission accomplished. I've said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again. GET YOURSELF SOME. So much happiness. A skein of Jitterbug accidentally fell into my basket too. (whoops)

THEN we went back to mom's place so she could learn to make socks. So far so good. She learned a good sock cast-on, and has the Harlot instructions to get started. She's going to do the cuff/leg on her own now, and we'll turn the heel over Easter. Way to go Mom!

Next... a day with Renee and her girlies. SUCH a fun day. She made me these CRAZY nice stitch markers (sorry Renee, I stole your picture -- better than mine!), which I am so excited about! Thank you SO much for these, Renee. Super cute, creative, and really thoughtful!
And, as she said on her blog it's such a treat to discover you like someone from blogland as much in person as you do online. Extra bonus fun to have a little kid time. I have to tell you, Renee's little girls are SO great. Happy, full of smiles, and amazingly well behaved, especially during such a long day enduring full-on adult knitting addiction. Two little sweeties. OBVIOUSLY Renee is an awesome mommy.

It was a great day, and of course I had to pick up a fibre souvenir from MSY (where we hung out after lunch), some Fable baby alpaca, a cute black sheep project bag, and a set of rosewood sock needles (feed the addiction).

Last two stops on the crawl were Romni and LK again. I bought only gift yarn this time, though, so I can't show you. (I have intentionally left out the gift yarn. There are a few for my yarn karma winner Teresa (sadly blogless), plus a few souvenirs for friends. I may blog Teresa's package once it's been sent and received.)

So that was my week off. SO. MUCH. FUN. I wish I had lots of money and had EVERY week off to explore yarn shops. Until I win the lottery, though, I think I'd better stay OUT of the yarn shops for a while!!! (back to the embargo) But it was good while it lasted...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pimp my Ride

Remember how I wanted to be like Oprah? Remember "Everybody gets a car!"?

Well... while my car is being fixed (finally... parts took weeks to arrive) my insurance is paying for my rental car... and it's a Pontiac G6, just like the ones Oprah gave away. I thought there was a little humour there... maybe it's just me.

I promise I'll post some good yarn porn from my crawl, probably tomorrow. This week is kicking my @$$.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

drum roll please

I wish I could be like Oprah. Well, in some ways... basically I wish I had the money to jump up and down and yell "EVERYBODY GETS SOME YARN!" while everyone went nuts. It would be so much fun, it would feel so good... if I could only win the lottery.

Thanks to everyone who sent me "Good Karma" e-mails. Wow, it's an awfully nice feeling to see that in a subject line! People sending you "good karma". I hadn't thought that through at the time, but I like it.

So anyway, without further ado, a random generator (that would be my hand in a hat full of little papers) has selected...

(blogless) Teresa!

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I have e-mailed you for some info, and then I hope I can find you something fantastic today or tomorrow in the city.

For the rest of you, I think I can safely yell "EVERYBODY GETS SOME STITCH MARKERS!" I will e-mail you for snail mail addresses and send some of my home-mades out in the next couple of weeks. All that generosity, all those great stories... I want everyone to get something tangible back. Maybe they'll even remind us to be generous with the world as often as we can.

(speaking of stitch markers, did anyone see the WICKED stitch markers that Renee made for me??? I LOVE THEM! I will blog properly about this week once I get back to my apartment... )

Thanks to everyone for "playing". I bet I'll do it again so much time, I enjoyed the e-mails so much!

Stay tuned for the full crawl report early next week...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

knitters, good.

You guys are the best. In response to my blogiversary/anniversary/yarn give-away karma party, I have been getting some of the most fantastic e-mails from people with personal stories and reasons for generosity. Thanks to all of you, and to those of you who have sent other nice notes and comments this way. It's really, really great.

Anyone still interested in entering the draw should check out the details HERE. Enter by midnight this Friday to be entered in the draw for yummy yarn.

In other news, the yarn crawl continues. I went by Knit-O-Matic today to pick up some Opal Tiger Stripe sock yarn I had on hold. Also picked up a little gift yarn there...

Then down to my favourite, favourite shop of all: Lettuce Knit for knit night. I can't tell you how much I love this place. It's the happiest place in the world. Beautiful yarn, beautiful atmosphere. Always some new things to pet, some old standards to love, and a really good vibe, all the time. That's really important to me in a yarn store. Knitting is something I love to love, and when you walk in a store with a negative electricity in the air, it sucks all the fun out of it.
This has NEVER ever, not once happened to me at LK. There are lovely, lovely people who staff the store, helpful but not pushy, knowledgeable, friendly, understanding of one's yarn-binging tendencies. Megan does such a good job of making it a welcoming place everyone wants to be, wherever you're at with your knitting life. If you live within visiting distance and you've never been there, make sure you find time to stop by sometime. If not, well, you'll just have to trust me. (they do mail order, too)

I picked up a few things on Jen's behalf, and also accidentally bought another skein of Sea Wool sock yarn. I predict another trip to LK on Saturday once I have a yarn-karma winner or two. Plus I have to pace myself a little, because tomorrow Mom and I hit Needle Emporium, and Friday I will visit the new Main Street Yarns location with Renee, and there's bound to be a stop at Romni before I'm through!

Pics to come, when I'm blogging from my own computer again...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

start your engines (and a FO)

It's my March Break and I'm going on a yarn crawl. I started today, heading for Rose Haven with my lovely knitty girls, (blogless) Emma and (tentative blogger) Jen (go and encourage her).

I felt I had to pace myself, because I am going on a YARN CRAWL, so I bought only 2 skeins of Koigu KPPPM in a chocolatey mix, but I will save photos of that for when there is decent light to be found. I believe Emma "won" in the most-purchases competition, but it was a fun day.

As for the shop, there was a decent collection of Koigu, though not nearly as impressive as Needles and Pins in London. A nice collection of the new Louisa Harding (most of which I had not seen yet, so it was nice to fondle), and lots of nice local alpaca. I will say that as someone who considers herself an independent shopper, I was not given a lot of space to do so, which never impresses me.

I almost forgot... this happy little fellow was hanging on the building across from the yarn store. After a good long shop, we were a little peckish and went in search of nourishment. Upon closer inspection, we realized this logo (hot dog on buddha belly) was for a restaurant called "Buddha Dog". Ahem. We opted for the cafe next door. But you've gotta love the logo.

As for the FO... may I present my THIRD pair of socks. Third time's a charm. I put them on my feet, and I think I may have purred. I didn't know it could be like this...

They are the Rib and Cable Socks from Interweave Fall 2005. (I'm overly proud of myself for going into the archives and finding a pattern.) Made with Mountain Colours Bearfoot, in Obsidian. As I have said many times these last two weeks, if you've never had this yarn, GET SOME. It's absolutely lovely, 25% mohair, 60% wool, 15% nylon, 100% happy. The hand-dying is gorgeous, every stitch made me happy, and the wound ball was a lovely surprise, much brighter than the dark-looking skein.

Pattern modifications (oh yes, I'm already modifying my socks!): I knit an extra cable repeat in the leg, because I like a taller sock. Also a few less heel flap rows because it was starting to seem too big (good choice). And, when I knit for too long on the foot before decreasing the toe I decided to can a few straight knit rows in the toe part so it wouldn't be too long. They fit my feet perfectly.

I'm sorry I can't get better pictures... I tried for detail, but there's only so far away I can get from my own feet, and the light in this apartment is abysmal at the best of times. Anyway, I love them, and they are my fastest socks yet. (13 days for the pair, less a DST hour, but who's counting?)

More YARN CRAWL updates as they are available... I'm Toronto-bound tomorrow! Have a great week (I know I will!!!)

Also, not too late to enter my FREE YARN GIVEAWAY... until midnight Friday!

Friday, March 09, 2007

twenty years

Today is a major anniversary in my life. Not one of those joyous anniversaries of weddings, births, or blogiversaries, but one of those anniversaries which causes you to pause, to reflect.

Twenty years ago today my father died of cancer. Here’s a picture of us, mid-80s some time. Note the fathers day tie-card, carefully coloured in neon crayolas. Add to that note that he wore it out the door to work that day, and in when he came home. (the idea that perhaps he had not worn it throughout the day did not occur to my little girl brain and matters little).

He passed a lengthy illness, complete with wheelchair and pills. Lots of activity books coloured in hospital waiting areas. Together, we learned how to draw cartoons, made trays of Shrinky-dinks and “stained glass” Christmas ornaments, and laughed ourselves silly watching squirrels try to eat bagels from strings tied to trees. There are lots of things that wheelchair-bound dads can’t do with their nine-year old little girls, but lots of other things that we managed to enjoy, despite the crappy circumstances.

Before all that, Dad proudly endured endless dance recitals and music recitals, and took me on “dates” from time to time. (These dates usually included a trip to the candy store on the way to a Muppet movie, or similar, followed by ice cream.)

One time, when I duped him at a family garage sale, my businessman father just smiled and shook his head. (It’s a long story: We all priced our own items at garage sales, and I had priced my precious rocking horse “Lanny” excessively to fend off the possibility of purchase. When Dad asked me to reconsider my asking price, I went to my room, checked my wallet, came back out with a fifty cents sticker, handed my Dad two quarters and dragged my Lanny back into the house.)

Obviously losing a parent at a young age changes a person. I learned pretty early on that things seldom work out the way you think they will, even more rarely the way you hope they will, and almost never the way you expect them to. And despite what life hands you, you must keep on, hoping for better things ahead. Or at least, hoping for nothing worse. I also learned how to read people, quickly. I learned that I am not like others, and much later, I learned that THAT is actually a source of strength.

I learned that you have to live for today. I learned to do what I love, try not to put things off, and to be fiercely pro-active about the things I want to achieve. I don’t put up with a lot of crap, and I don’t suffer fools. Period. I also know there’s nothing I can’t handle alone if I have to.

I learned that the only person who owns the definition of me is me. I learned to let my own conscience be my higher authority, and to try to behave in ways I can live with. I learned that no one can really understand someone else’s particular set of circumstances without living through them, and I try not to be too judgmental for that reason.

I learned that when you love someone, you shouldn’t hesitate to tell them, and I don’t like to leave unresolved situations unresolved. I figure you have to actively love the people you love for who they are while they’re in front of you, because you never know which day will be your last. Or theirs.

So why am I telling all of you this? I guess it ties into my blogiversary celebration idea. Every year I try to make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society as a memorial, and I’d like some of you guys to do something generous too. Make a donation to an organization that needs it. If you’re lacking a cause, please feel free to use mine, but your donation can be to anything charitable. Something that is meaningful to YOU. I promise, it’ll make you feel good.

Now here’s the blogiversary give-away part: YARN. Make a donation, be entered in a draw. If there are loads of you, I’ll do more than one draw.

If you donate, send me an e-mail to miss DOT ewe AT gmail DOT com and tell me what you did (don’t just leave it in the comments please). You don’t have to tell me how much, you don’t have to prove it. I’m pretty sure the karma-lords would unleash a serious shit-storm over your life if you lied about something like this, so I’ll let them police it. Tell me why your donation is meaningful to you if you like, but only if you want to. Maybe put “good karma” in the subject line, so no one gets lost in my inbox.

I don’t know exactly what the give-away will be yet, probably some sexy sock yarn (did you notice that I’m obsessed with socks right now?), but I swear it’ll be good stuff, and I’ll even try to tailor it to the winner. I’ll leave it open for a week. E-me by next Friday, March 16, and that way I can do a draw and get the winner some nice stuff while I’m in Toronto next week. You must be willing to provide me with a snail address if you win.

So go… live now, give now, feel good about it, and have a chance for some free yarn. Nobody doesn’t like free yarn.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

you must believe in spring...

Spring Knitty. Spring Knitty. SPRING KNITTY!!!

It MUST be spring!

Must make Clessidra. Might make Palette (with Sea Silk - but am accepting better suggestions for one skein). Like Isabella an awful lot. And absolutely love everything about bmp, though I know I'll never make them.

Which ones do you like?

Monday, March 05, 2007

blogiversary present

Hi, I'm Kate. I've long suffered from the Noro virus, and I've recently caught the Sock Bug. These are the blogiversary presents I got for myself. (and thank you for all the good wishes, by the way).

Why yes, that IS the new Interweave Sock book. And a bit more Sweet Georgia, in a colour called Black Orchid. And Fleece Artist, a many purpled merino, and another skein of Sea Wool in a set of colours I can't even begin to explain. Blues, purples, russet, greyish. Too pretty to put down. As you can see, I had a bit of a purple day. And best of all: It was all free because the power was out at Lettuce Knit. FREE YARN!!!
Are you all flipping out? Free yarn from Lettuce Knit??? Oh... I must have forgotten to mention that once the power comes back on, they will charge my credit card... But so far, it's still free!
I will post sock progress soon...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to me!!!


Yep, a year ago I joined the illustrious ranks of all you knit bloggers.

I celebrated with another trip to Lettuce Knit. Oh yes. And anyway, everyone knows sock yarn doesn't count.
Also, I am knitting another sock with Mountain Colours Bearfoot. It's pretty freaking awesome. If you are not familiar with this stuff, find some. It makes me happy about every 4 seconds.

I am currently away on a gig, and with patchy internet connectivity, so I'll have to save pictures for later. I'm also thinking of a little anniversary celebration kind of thing, so I'll dream that through and post about it next week...

Happy Blogiversary to me!!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

so that's how it's going to be...

Sigh. In the midst of the other 97 things I had to accomplish today, I thought I'd make cupcakes. Birthday cupcakes, for two dear friends, both celebrating birthdays this weekend. I got Superman cupcake wrappers and everything.

I peeked into the oven to make sure things were going along fine, and met with these little aliens...

Now, not to brag or anything, but anyone who is familiar with my cooking and baking will be as stymied by this as I am. This isn't even a tough one... this is CUPCAKES. (In grade 6, I baked hundreds of them and sold them at recess, but that is beside the point.)

I guess I'm just not meant to be nice this weekend. D'oh. I think my lower element is possibly broken -- after pre-heating, the light kept coming back on and I think the top element was attempting to regulate the temperature. I'll try to figure this out later... may require a call to the landlord.

At the moment I'm trying to cook what's left of them into some edible form so at least it's not a total waste, even if they can't be given away.

ETA: Still tasty. My mom asked in her e-mail: "would icing help?" Yes, indeed.