Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Spring Fling: Topic # 4

"Let's pretend for a minute we all live in the home of our dreams, have land, and don't have to work so time is unlimited! It's Spring planting season! What would you grow? A little veggie garden? A bed of bright spring blooms? Or is your thumb so far from green that the only thing you'd be planting is your tushy into a nice chair on the porch to get some knitting or crocheting done in the nice breeze?"

The home of my dreams has a lot of land! Definitely enough to run around in, perhaps enough to play a game of soccer on. That'll do for me. We would have a small forest at the edge of our land, to go exploring in. In the forest would be all sorts of ferns, bushes, mosses, and plenty of Trilliums (Ontario's flower). So many different shades of green to please the eyes. There would be lots of evergreens, and one giant one in the front that we could decorate every winter.

Somewhere in the back yard we would have a few apple trees; they would grow the most delicious fruit.

There would be wild tiger lilies growing just about anywhere; I remember the first time I discovered a tiger lily. It has been my favourite flower growing up. Some of our land would have gentle rolling hills, and there would be a meadow with tall grasses to run through. By the house there would be a few lilac trees, and the beautiful light scent would just reach the windows. Just in front of the house would be a flower bed spanning the whole width of the house. I would plant flowers that I don't yet have the names for, and would add new plants to it every year. I'd plant flowers to attract birds and butterflies, and sit outside on a warm sunny day with binoculars for bird-watching and I'd listen to the whispering breeze touching the tree tops.

I would also have a huge vegetable garden! It would have it's own little picket fence going all around it, or maybe even a miniature hedge. We would grow it like a walk-through maze, just for fun. In the middle would be a tee-pee grown from bean poles. The boys could have a secret hide-out in here.

Since I'm given the luxury of all the time in the world here, I would also make it a sheep farm, and get another sheltie for our dog Levi to play with. He would be so happy to do some sheep herding, and I would learn how to spin wool from the sheep. I'd take some spinning classes, and I'd even learn how to hand-dye my own yarn.

Did I mention the raspberry bushes? I would plant a whole bunch of those, and some strawberry patches without telling my children. Then I'd watch in delight as they discover them. Maybe I'd make them a secret treasure map for them to find, and lead them on an adventure. After we find our treasure (it would be a treasure chest filled with a picnic basket inside, ready to go) we would fill it up with a new treasure and decide where to bury it for someone else to find.

I would want to have a giant weeping willow tree, with a tire swing.

This is my dream house. Now, if this happens to be your house I would be most happy for you. I'd also be delighted if you'd like to invite me over for tea/coffee for an afternoon. I intend to find a place like this for my vacation, be it P.E.I. or Ireland, I'm sure I'll get there.

Frog with a silver lining

Firstly, I'm giving myself a pat on the back for learning something new - I figured out how to replace that boring title banner of mine with a real photo that I took myself. Those are the geese that live in the pond by my house.

Next: weekend update. We ended up going to London to our parents. The boys were so excited to see their Grandma, and she was saving something for them - Christmas presents! A whole load of them! My 4 year old had been asking me all week, "Is it Christmas yet?" And I said, "not for awhile", yet when we arrived at Grandma's house she had tons of gifts wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper! She got a good laugh out of that. We had such a nice visit, and relaxed. I got to finish my "heart in hearts' dishcloth, but gave it away to my dad before I took a photo. He said, "not bad, only one flaw" and pointed out the flaw I hadn't noticed. I I had slipped a stitch, picked it up, but ended up increasing in the middle of the row. Oh well.

On to the title of the blog for today: Frog with a silver lining...
I've been working on a Mug for my partner in the Spring Fling Coffee Swap. I thought I would try it with cotton yarn in spring colors, although the pattern calls for wool like Cascade. I figured it would be ok to use cotton. This was also my first time knitting in the round; I got to use double pointed needles as well as a 'magic loop' for knitting in the round. The sides are worked flat with circular needles. I thought I was doing fairly well until I noticed that it looks like it's getting wider as I go. I have to admit; I didn't do a swatch. And my circ needles are one size larger than my dpns, which explains why the side stitches are larger than the ones on the bottom that were done in the round. That completely sucks. So I may have to frog the whole thing. A friend of mine says I should just get a larger mug for it. I'm thinking I may finish it just to get some more practise on this smocking technique, but I will make a new one for my swap pal with Cascade yarn. So that's the 'frog' part; to frog or not to frog? The silver lining part is that I got to learn something new on my knitting: I noticed one ribbing looked very stretchy, as if there was something missing. Then I turned it around and almost screamed! I dropped a stitch! I was about 3 or 4 rows back! Eeeek! What to do, what to do! This was my first time dropping a stitch like this, although I hoped I would be the one it never happened to, but now I can join the club. It was a purl stitch on the ribbing and I couldn't help but notice it looked like a crochet loop hanging there... so I grabbed the smallest crochet hook in my bag and found I could gently pull it through the other stitches loop by loop until it was all caught up. I am so pleased with myself for having solved this one all on my own! What an accomplishment. Are you laughing at me? I had to share this with you all. I picked up a stitch! Yay!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

A Weekend Getaway!

My family and I have the whole weekend, including Friday, off work.  We've been talking all week about ideas for what we might do... go to Niagara Falls?  Montreal?  Visit relatives?  We've been checking out Expedia.ca to see if there are any last minute deals.  I think we just want to go somewhere to relax, but we also would like to bring our dog with us.  So we haven't figured it out yet.  We don't have a passport, so I'm pretty sure that leaves out U.S. (unless it's by car, so just the northern area we could do).

Any ideas?

Any pet-friendly Bed & Breakfasts you've been to that you'd like to recommend?

I told my husband that I will be bringing my needles with me, and he laughed.  Does he think I'm joking?  I have to say, he's really come around to accepting this new hobby of mine;  he asks me what I'm knitting, and doesn't ever ask me to put the needles away.  I've learned to use my beautiful bamboo needles when he is watching a movie.  They are so much quieter than my metal ones.  Thanks, again Brenda!  I love bamboo!

So for knitting progress this week:
I finished most of my boggle purse/bag while in the waiting room of the local hospital.  I'm on to; the last handle, and then just sewing up the seams.  I brought a friend there who wasn't feeling well, and while I waited for the doctor to have her seen, I was knitting away!  She laughed and said she couldn't believe how much enjoyment one person can get in a hospital waiting room.  I actually struck up a conversation with the person sitting next to me.  She looked a little bored, so I said to her, "I have some extra needles if you're interested."  Then realized that was probably the wrong thing to say in a hospital.  Needles?  Oh, boy.  That got the triage nurse looking at me quite funny.  Thankfully, the lady I said it to was a knitter and smiled, but declined my generous offer.  I even had extra yarn!  But we did get to talking about my next project, which will be a (can't say yet) for my Spring Fling Coffee Swap pal.  I'm not sure if this item really counts as a "spring" project, but it's coffee related so I hope that will do.  I'm actually torn between 2 projects, and one is crocheted so I may have time to do both and that should guarantee a happy acceptance, eh? 

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Boggle Bag

Almost done!!!

I have 2 lines to go till I get to put in the gorgeous Clover Bamboo needles for the top edges of my bag!  On one hand, these size 15b bamboo needles that I just bought are so nice it would be a shame to have to glue them into place... never to be used for another project.  But they do tell the world, "Look at me!  I knit!" According the the Yarn Harlot in the book Knitting Rules, I do not yet qualify to be in the 'addicted to knitting' category.  Or was it 'obsessed'?  I'm just starting my stash, see, so I have a long way to go before it's bursting at the seams.  There's still time.

I just wanted to share how excited I am that I'm almost done my first bag project, and I can't wait to see how it looks with these beautiful needles in them!  I would have bought dollar store needles in that size if I found any, as it's just for looks.  But oh well...  I can still admire them in my purse.  I messed up with a few stitches about 2 rows ago, but I don't think it looks too noticeable, and I will use that side as the back of the purse.  I think I somehow dropped a stitch, and when I picked it up the best I could it ended up backwards or something, because about 3 boggles ended up being offside.  The rest of the row turn out fine, somehow.  Maybe I'll post a photo of it later and see if anyone knows what I did wrong? 

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Spring Fling Coffee Swap Topic #3

Tell us how you started drinking coffee. Were you in high school or college and making it through all nighters? Did you get it from a family member? What drives your love of the bean?

It was always a special trip when my mom would bring us to Timmy's with a friend for coffee. We didn't get to drink any, but we'd get a muffin and it was a treat. She'd tell us that when we turned 12, we'd be allowed to try some. I don't actually remember what my first sip tasted like, just how I was making sure I sipped it slowly. I remember being taught to stir my cup so that the spoon wouldn't clank on the sides and upset the people at the next table. Truth be told, I like the little clanking sound when I stir the sugar in my coffee. My high school friends would put so much sugar in their coffee... no wait. That was me. I still love the smell of Timmy's coffee. I can tell a Timmy's coffee blindfolded, without tasting it. I wish they would put their scent in a candle. My husband admits that while he doesn't care at all for the taste of coffee, he does like the smell of Tim Horton's coffee.

Spring Fling Coffee Swap Topic # 2

Since some of us are beginning to see glimpses of Spring, while others are still getting snow have you changed what projects you are working on? Have you put away the hats, scarfs and mittens, and brought out the cute tank top sweater projects and lacy wraps? Have you changed yarn to something more lighter and cooler, not so heavy and bulky?

The very last little bit of snow that I can see in my entire neighbourhood is just about melted in my own back yard. It was from that snow pile I shoveled snow onto in order to make my dog and children some cool trenches (or snow maze) to play in. The remaining snow hill is now only a few inches high. Good-bye Winter, hello Spring! I still have a few sweaters promised to children, that I must finish. I am trying to convince them they want short sleeved sweaters, so they can still wear them or I fear they will be too warm. And I don't plan to make any more hats for awhile. But as I am wanting to do some cabling, I have an irish scarf on my queue list from the book I received from my Scavenger Hunt partner. I love that book! One skien projects; what a brilliant idea for someone to make into a book! I also intend on making some fingerless gloves. Then it will be on to felting and socks. Were you wondering if I'd gotten round to that yet? Well, I am still just a beginner knitter, so I am likely slower than you are. Also, in my defense, I do not have one of those fancy little "Round Tuit"s that people send one another. I wonder if they really work? :)

My bobble purse is 3/4 done now, I'm so thrilled! A few more rows, then I just have to sew it up, make handles, and put in a lining. Oh, and I keep forgetting to get that pair of size 15 wooden needles to use for the purse edges. This is my first bag/purse project and I'm quite happy so far with it. I won't tell you how many times I've had to frog it when I forgot what row I was on and completely messed up the pattern... but I've done so much better now that I'm using the abacus bracelet I got on Etsy. (sorry for not using links in this post, I'm trying to finish up before hubby gets home from work or he will think I'm hogging the computer)

Coffee Swap Topic # 1

First off, I'd like to apologize to my fellow coffee swappers and my secret pal, whoever you are, for having been so far behind in my blogging. Better late than never! I've put on "Alvin and the Chipmunks" for my boys to watch, and am taking some time aside to catch up on my blog and then I can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to!  So on to topic #1...

Browse around some of the other blogs of participants, and find one person who enjoys a similar roast coffee to you - share something interesting about them that you find on THEIR blog, and tell us what you've been working on knitting or crochet-wise this week!

This was an interesting blog from one of the participants. What a great knitter!
I really like the color changes she uses in her knitting.

I found that Sarah and I have something in common: we both love Mocha flavoured coffee! She also likes tulips, as do I. It's so sad that they don't last long enough.

I discovered that Penny likes Tim Horton's coffee, like me. I'm still not sure if Tim Horton's coffee is considered a 'bold roast' or what? I guess they must be 'regular', but I think they use fine grind.

I'm going to take my secret pal's advice this week and try buying a little bit of coffee beans to grind in my blender. It has a button labeled "grind" so I'm going to see if it works for coffee beans.

What's new for knitting? This week I finished 2 dishcloths for my partner in a Swap-bot dishcloth exchange. I thought I would try signing up and see what it was like. I have to say, I enjoyed making 2 dishcloths to send away for someone, but it's not as fun as participating in a blog swap! The requirements was to just do 2 dishcloths and send them away. That's it. No special notes to your pal, no extra goodies inside, no extra requirements to ponder about, no extra shopping to do. It's still more fun to get a surprise dishcloth from someone else as opposed to making your own, so I'm not knocking it at all. Just that now I've tried both, I know that I really enjoy the full-out blogging swaps better. Hope I'm not offending anyone. I haven't received my 2 dishcloths in the mail yet, and am really looking forward to it. Guess what I made for my partner? For my first one, I was looking through Ravelry for a pattern and I spotted an Optimus Prime transformer truck. My kids were so excited about it! I just had to make one! Of course, when they found out I was mailing away the coolest dishcloth ever, you can imagine their disappointment. I'll have to knit a new one for them. For the second dishcloth, I decided to crochet a crosses & losses pattern. I really like the texture change in it, and after my pal Alaina liked hers I thought I would try it again. This time I tried it with a variegated cream color and light brown. I thought it came out pretty funky, almost like it was a cream color cloth that someone has spilt coffee blotches on. Hopefully the recipient will like it, too. Sorry, I completely forgot to take photos of the cloths! Oops!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Spring Distractions

I've barely touched my computer this week! I have to catch up on all my online friends' blogs and see what everyone has been up to. I've been spending a lot of time outdoors this week. It's the first time we've had a whole week of sunshine, whoo hoo! The snow has been melting away, and I could actually see the dirt in my garden. All 6x2 feet of it! The kids have been helping me check for signs of spring on our walks to the pond. We've been taking pictures of the Canada Geese that are flying home. There's more and more of them every day, taking over the sidewalks. The children are amazed at how close the geese will let us get to them when we walk by ever so slowly; we are careful not to invade their personal space. Yesterday we bought some soil and seeds, and today the children and I are starting the seeds off using empty containers we have been saving, like apple sauce jars and small yogurt cups.

I noticed that a few of my tiger lillies are starting to pop out of the ground, as well as my tulips and irises. Just enough to break ground, but it makes me smile every time I look at them. The children like to 'pet' the scottish moss in the garden whenever we come home from our walks.

On to knitting content: On Thursday night I decided to take my knitting with me to the community meeting. I've never taken knitting to a meeting before (I took a dishcloth once, but didn't take it the needles out of the bag). I was determined to knit during a meeting. Just another right of passage into the knitting world, eh? So I packed up my giant ball of Red Heart yarn into a huge canvas bag, along with the second half of my boggle purse that I'm knitting. I also brought my abbacus bracelet that I got on Etsy, to keep track of what row I'm on. So picture me at this meeting, listening to the speaker as I'm contently knitting away, and as I get to the end of the row I realized I had one too many stitches left! What the ???!
My face all scrunched up as I realized I must have forgotten to k2 at the start of the row, before continuing with the pattern (*kpk in same stitch, p3tog,* repeat). Of course, I knew I couldn't frog the row and start over, while actaully paying attention to the speaker, so I huffed as I put the needles back in my bag and commenced to give the speaker my undivided attention. As I was sitting in the front row, she was most pleased to see me put the knitting away. She must be a non-knitter.