Wednesday, 30 January 2008

New Question: stitch markers?

Ok, so now I know what frogging is, and I'm sure I will smile every time I use the term. So what's new with me?
I have been searching other people's blogs to find out what knitters and crocheters like to spoil each other with. I keep seeing two things that people seem to love:
1. Crocheters love bamboo hooks. I don't know why; wouldn't you get slivers in your work? I would assume that fine pieces of the fibre would get caught on the bamboo. But I haven't actually seen any at my local yarn store to try. But they sure do look nice on the websites!

2. Knitters really seem to like these fancy stitch markers I keep seeing. The problem is, I can't figure out how they are supposed to be used! I have the standard Lion Brand stitch markers I purchased with my learn to crochet kit, and they all have a little space in them to slide the stitch on and off. Now please be patient, I'm new to knitting, but how on earth would you slide one of those fancy markers?

While I'm at it, I should go get permission for the photo I copied from the string and purls web site. I'll go do that now, before I get into trouble. After that, I will see if I can find a You Tube video of someone loading on their fancy stitch markers. They do look so pretty, don't they?

Frog it?

[frog.jpg]Ok, I have to ask.  I'm sure I read it before, but have forgotten.  Being so new to knitting, I am unfamiliar with many of the terms.  What does it mean again, when someone frogs their work?  I believe it's when they rip it out and start all over again, but not sure what the letters stand for in frog?

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Buttons & Links FYI

OK, so I'm copying this post here from the Scavenger Hunt Swap because I've already forgotten how to add buttons again and want to have the info handy for when I might need it again. I figure if I have it on my blog, I won't lose it again. So thanks to KRYSTAL at Yarnmafia for the info!
For anyone having problems with buttons, I'll tell you what I did for blogger. I don't know if this helps everyone, but I know a lot of people have blogger so... :)

1) Save the button (to your server) and then upload it to like, flickr or something like that.
2) Go to the picture, and right click on it and select "copy image location"
3) Go to "Customize" and click "add html or code."
4) Type this: (a href="") (img src="paste the image location here") (/a) BUT instead of these ( ) use these < >. In every space. Make sense?

Thanks to Razze for helping me out with the code for how to place links inside blogs.
Replace () with :
(a href="http...")name of link(/a)

Mission Impossible - The Secret Stash

I had been to my local yarn store, filled a large bag with yarn of all sorts.  I even got some for my secret pal that I thought would be nice.  My undoing came when I did not have the forethought of hiding all this wonderful yarn in a secret place to avoid capture by the little penguin that runs wild in my house (my 4 year old darling son).  Both my boys have a nack for making spider webs out of yarn.  Not small ones, either.  Once I left a ball of yarn out and it only took my preschooler a few minutes to turn it into a web that consumed both the dining area and the living room!  My husband came home and saw it;  he didn't think it was quite as funny as I did.  We gave him some preschool scissors to practise his cutting skills and he took the web down - this part took a considerable amount of time and he was happily occupied all afternoon!  
So, I had left out the large bag containing several skeins of yarn, to start a project the next morning with.  I went to bed thinking they would be fine there by my chair.   The next morning I was greeted by a chair woven in rainbow yarn!  This was the ball of yarn I was using to make my sister's scarf and she had picked out the rainbow yarn for herself.  I had only made a few rows, so I wasn't upset that he had completely unravelled it.  It was too funny to get upset over.    I guess the bright colors were too much for him to resist! I should have taken a picture!  I'm not sure when my little guy got out of bed to make this interesting yarn sculpture, because he was still asleep when I got up.  It reminds me of the elves who make shoes in the middle of the night.  Perhaps sometime I will wake up to a finished product? 

Writer's block

Do you ever get an idea to blog about, go to your computer, then totally forget what you were about to write?

I'm sure it will come back to me... then I will edit this post and no one will ever know.  Unless, of course, someone beets me to it and reads this before I think of something else to replace it with!  

Tonight I am spending some time reading through the other bloggers on the Scavenger Hunt Swap and on the Dishcloth Swap.  I am trying to see how long it will take me to get through all their blogs!  The cool thing is, at some point I will read the blog belonging to my secret pals and won't even know it!  Unless, that is, I discover their writing style and uncover some clues!  Ok, too much C.S.I. for me?  Maybe I'm going through withdrawal - you know they took it off the channel I usually watch it on for Monday nights.  It's been 2 weeks now without CSI Miami.  I miss it!  No one informed me of this change!  I really didn't see it coming.  So sad, too bad.  I'm hoping that the new show sucks enough (oh, can I say that?) that the people in charge will notice what a grave error in judgement they made, and switch it back soon.  

OH!  It happened again!  For a split second, I remembered what it was that I wanted to blog about, and then it was gone again!  The funny thing is, when I forget something I want to say, it will seem like it was something important and my mind will not rest until I remember.  Then when I do remember, it turns out that it wasn't anything important.  Usually just a side note kind of thought.  Sometimes amusing, but never really all that important.  Then I think, why was I bothering about that?  I was wondering all day for that little thought?  On the bright side, at least I remember the important things.  My Grandad tells a joke about this, "I have a great memory, it just doesn't always work" I love when he says that.

Another Contest!

Tami knits is celebrating her 100th blog with a contest! Check it out here

Topic # 2 for Defeat the Winter Doldrums swap

There are many people who ADORE receiving hand-knit or crochet items; but there are just as many who have no appreciation whatever of how much love, work, and time goes into a hand-made item. Share a story of a hand-made gift you gave to someone and how it worked out - good, bad, or ugly!

A few friends and co-workers threw me a surprise baby shower a few years ago.  One of the gifts we received was a white baby blanket.  It was the most beautiful baby blanket I've ever seen, and still is.  Of course, I was never told what the pattern was called, or where the yarn might be found.  The design was so delicate, with clusters here and there.  In the light, it glistened like white pearls, and felt just as smooth.  Our baby slept so dreamily when he snuggled up in that blanket.  It is now one of our most cherished keepsakes. I adored it so much that I wished I could one day make something that special for someone else. That is essentailly what inspired me to start crocheting again.  I still haven't found a baby blanket pattern like it, nor have I found the same type of yarn.  But that makes it all the more precious to me.

Oops!  I'm supposed to write about something I made and gave to someone else!  Well, I haven't made too many things yet, as I am still a beginner.  I test out my skills by making little projects to give away.  All the Christmas dishcloths I made last year seemed to be well received.  But the one that took the cake had to be the hat I made last winter.  Here's the scoop on that one:
I had just finished making my first hat and a matching scarf for myself.  It was my first time doing a pattern in rounds, and I was so pleased that it turned out ok. I couldn't wait to start on a new project to make for someone else.  A child I knew seemed to be hatless;  he kept showing up to play at our house without a hat.  He would get so cold outside in the snow, but for some reason never brought a hat.  So I thought, why not make one?  I didn't have a child's hat pattern (and hadn't learned how to adjust for size) and figured that since I had already made one hat, it should be easy to do. After working on this hat over the weekend (without a head to measure), I presented it to him and his mother. I thought they were pleased with it.  The next day I overheard the child telling my kids about their mother's disapproval, and her criticisms.  Apparently it didn't fit perfectly.  I thought it was warmer than nothing, but tried again to adjust it by adding a few rows and some ear flaps with string to tie them together.  The added rows ended up making it look like a fisherman's hat. I suppose I added too many increases to adjust for size. It did look rather ridiculous! Thank goodness I can laugh at it now! I have to admit, I wasn't making it to look pretty, it was to stay warm, which it did all winter. I think the mother must have been embarrassed to see her son in such an awful hat, for she soon started to send him in some very nice knitted hats which his grandmother made for him.  I've made some nicer hats now that I have found a couple of children's hat patterns. The comments made were a little discouraging, and I became a little more shy about giving away projects for awhile.  I've since gotten over it. I've found that my biggest fans are the children I take care of. When I make them something, I am much harder on myself than they are. They just adore getting something special made for them, and they don't care if there are flaws. That's what makes it worth while.

Monday, 28 January 2008

I found a local yarn store!

This weekend I went with a friend to check out a local yarn store that we'd found out about.  We got there not too long before closing time, so we didn't get to browse everything.  I was looking for some yarn that my secret pal would like, but couldn't find it.  It seems to be popular with many bloggers here on both swap sites I've been to, but I have not come across it at any of the stores I have been to yet.  I will have to check online and see who carries it.  I did pick out a few balls of cotton yarn to make a special dishcloth for my secret pal.  Then the store clerk came and told us they were closing, so we had to quickly decide what to get.  I saw a free pattern for a crocheted two-tone vest that I would love to make, so the wonderful lady there helped me pick out the yarn to go with it.  I haven't found this yarn at the other stores I've been to, so I was very happy to add this to my stash!  It was two balls each of Moda Dea's "Tweedle Dee" Thunder and Blackberry.  I forgot to get the buttons;  That's the one thing I am always forgetting!  So I am going to go back again this week and hopefully find some more things I can get for the scavenger hunt, and the dishcloth swap.  I'm also going to read through other people's blogs and see if there are links to online stores that might have more unique things to spoil someone with.  My "something local" category item should be easy since I've found out that two yarn brands have their yarn made nearby.  

Anyways, I had a great time exploring the local yarn store, even though it was a short trip.  

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Defeat the Winter Doldrums weekly topic

Weekly Topic: Dishrag. Dishcloth. Face cloth. I've seen folks get all fired up in forums when someone refers to their knit or crochet creation as a dishrag, as that's somehow offensive to them! When you're working on yours, what do you call them? Also, is there a difference between a dishrag and a dishcloth? How bout a facecloth? Are they all really the same thing?

My mother once explained to me that when nice flannel sheets were no longer of good use, they would be cut up into smaller pieces to be used as rags for cleaning. This saved a lot of money for people during hard times. Not too different from those who lived in remote places who would use up scraps of fabric woven together to make rugs.

Facecloths I assumed were always made more delicately, with softer fabrics.

Dishcloths; I have been amazed by all the different kinds of dishcloths I have discovered on various blogs. I have just begun to knit, and was not aware of how many many patterns there are out there. After seeing just how intricate these dishcloths can get, I can see how someone might take offense to another person calling their work of art a 'rag'. It certainly isn't a term of endearment, and doesn't reflect at all on the hours of work one might put into their efforts to design and create a beautiful cloth. When rags are leftover pieces used to clean bathrooms and scrub floors, its hard to imagine a delicate cloth being put in the same category.

But I think the main thing would be the care put into the piece being made. When a friend gives me a dishcloth, I think how nice it was that a friend hand made something special for me. And I lovingly call it a dishcloth.

It's My Birthday!

I used to be so shy of telling people it was my birthday.  I've since grown out of that.  Last night two of my best friends brought me out to dinner.  We found that the special was appetizers at half price;  so instead of dinner, we loaded up on appetizers.  It was great!  I tried a few appetizers that I hadn't tried before.  There was some sort of spinach and asparagus dip that came with toasted nan (pita bread).  OH, it was so good!  I was also treated to a specailty drink that was like a hot chocolate with Bailey's Irish Cream in it.  Of course, I like anything hot chocolatey!  It was great to catch up with friends and share stories - we had so many laughs.

One friend commented, "It's too bad you have to work on your birthday." I have to say, I always have more eventful birthdays when I work.  Not that I don't enjoy a day off, but I will expand:  My job is to look after 5 precious darlings that make my life an adventure.  I love doing home child care.  These children really know how to celebrate life!  Most adults who know it's your birthday give you a warm gesture, which is always welcomed.  But you really can't beat the enthusiasm a child brings when they wish you "Happy Birthday!!!" as if you are the most celebrated person in the world for that moment.  Wow!  And the great part is, when I work on my birthday, I get this special treatment ALL DAY!  The children are forever taking tissue paper, fabric, blankets, and whatever they can find to wrap up toys from the toy box and give me a surprise gift.  One child wrapped up my salt shaker to give me.  They love to see the surprised look on my face when I open their gift, which I am, as I never know what to expect (I try not to peek when they are wrapping something).  Who knew you could unwrap tons of gifts, have so much fun with it, and have it not cost anyone a cent?  They even painted me some birthday art!  Today we are going to make birthday cupcakes to share with everyone.  I just know it's going to be a great day! 

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

I checked out Ravelry - Wow!

As I'd gotten a few comments that Ravelry is a great source for crochet and knitting, I checked it out.  They were right!  This site looks great! I signed up for an invitation to join, so now I am on the waiting list.  Apparently there are 7517 people ahead of me in line, but they let in betwen 500 and 800 people a day.  I was quite amazed at how vast this site really is.  I took the video tour, and couldn't believe all the different features and tools there were for people to access.  I can see why people like it so much - I have never seen anything like it!

I tried out about 4 other stitches today for a dishcloth pattern, and kept unraveling them.  They looked great, but each new stitch I tried seemed like it would be better on a sweater or a poncho than on a dischloth.  I assume that a dishcloth being used to wash things wouldn't do well with all sorts of fancy holes in it.  I was happy with how well my Soloman's knot turned out, but didn't think it would fair well in a sink of dishes so it all came out again.  I am trying another crochet stitch called fences that are tightly woven together, so I think this one will work out well.

I am also looking for a good beginner pattern for Tunisian Crochet.  I like that it looks almost like knitting, but has the familiar feel of crochet, although slightly altered.

Shells Dishcloth

This is the new stitch I tried out yesterday, called Shells in the Background. I think it might have shown up better if I had used a single color yarn, but it was nice seeing the pattern come together.

Can anyone else actually see the background with the multicolor yarn? Is this piece good enough to give away, or should I frog it? (I keep forgetting what frog means, but I think it's to pull the whole thing apart).

This week's progress

Here's a photo of what I have done so far on the child's pullover that I am crocheting.

Boy's camo pullover

I finally posted a picture! Whoo hoo! I'll get the hang of this yet!
So this photo is the yarn I am using for my current project, which is to make camoflage pullover hoodies for some of the children that I take care of. Once they saw me working on a vest for my son (which he refused to wear), they got all excited and asked, "Can you make me one, too?" and of course, I couldn't say no. So whenever they the yarn out, they ask if it's done. I try to show them the progress, as they were under the impression it would have been finished for the next day. So now when the children arrive, I show them how it's coming along, and they are happy to see progress. I think it makes it more special to them. They keep thinking of things that they would like for me to make them. I have had to learn to not commit to too many things, as much as I would love to spoil them with all sorts of warm and cozy knit & crochet items. But I wouldn't want to have a waiting list a mile long for items that will take me ages to get to. So all I am committing to is who gets to be next. The children are ok with that, and it gives them some time to decide on what sort of thing they really want me to make for them. I finished the back part of the sweater last night. I noticed that the bottom part was way looser than the top of it. I usually make the bottom to tight, so this time I made a consious effort to loosen the stitches on the chain row. Then halfway through the week when I was experiencing all that anxiety, I was working on the middle part of the back side. That's where I notice all the stitches started to get tighter. Wow! I can actually see how stress effects my crocheting! So now the bottom has a little bit of waviness to it as it is a bit more stretchy compared to the rest. I wonder if this will make it look horrible? Or if it will work out? Maybe this is why people do 'blocking'. I haven't actually done blocking, so I don't know. I'll try and post a photo on my next post and see if I can get some opinions on this.

Monday, 21 January 2008

No blahs for me!

Boy it was cold out today! Brrr! We were out only a few minutes before I could feel my fingers getting frostbite underneath a double pair of mittens!    The only one who didn't seem to mind was Levi, our Sheltie.  He kept wanting to go out in the back yard and play in the snow. He's made a little game out of it. Every time he would come to the patio door and bark to be let in.  As soon as I started to slide open the door he darts away quickly!  When I start walking away from the door, he will sneak back up and act as if he wants to come in.  Then I open the door slowly... he looks at me.  I ask, "Do you want to come in?"  and off he goes again!   I can't help but laugh.  I obedience training we are told to only tell a dog once, and if he doesn't listen you have to make them obey, so they know who is boss.  Okay, well he  knows that I am not about to run out there in my socks and chase him around the snow to get him to come in.  Yeah right.  And I am too busy laughing at how silly he is.  We have quite a bit of fun with this game.  He knows when I am serious about him coming in, though, as I use a different tone and gestures.  If he comes right away he gets a treat.

Today was definately a day for Hot Chocolate!  I also did two new crochet stitches from my perpetual crochet calendar.  I tried Shells in the Background and Lover's Knot, which is sort of like Soloman's knot only with some lines of doubl crochet in between rows.  I think it's not bad for my first attempt.  I really hope that my spoilee from the dishcloth swap likes the dishcloths I am making for her.  She seems to be a seasoned pro, so I am a little nervous about them turning out good enough.  Then again, why sweat it out?  They are only going to be used for doing dishes, right?  I have to say, I should probably revise my New Year's Resolutions list.  It's very unlikely that I will be able to crochet 365 stitches this year.  I have skipped a few so far.  Some don't look all that intriguing, while others I can't wait to try.

I got my first secret pal email on the weekend.  I was so excited!  Just like when I was little, whenever I got a letter from my pen pal.  I knew it would be fun, but I didn't expect to be as thrilled as I was.  It was like when kids make a top secret club house and you have to know the password.  Only we don't know all the other kids!  I also wrote a note to the person whom I am a secret pal to - it was fun trying to be so mysterious!  I can't wait to go to the local yarn store this week and check it out!  A friend told me about it, so we are going to go together and try to stay within a reasonable budget - if that's possible.  I thought all we had here in Kitchener was Wal-Mart and Michaels, which both have such a small selection.  I only have 2 sets of knitting needles and barely anything that would resemble a kit!  It will be fun to see what is there.  I am going to check out some of the yarns that my secret pal spoilee has listed on her Questionnaire.  It will be nice to see and feel some of these interesting yarns that others are talking about.  

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The week is done!

Well, it has been a busy week. Looking back, I had more on my mind then I had let on...
-meeting with mortgage broker to renew mortgage
-appraisal of house for mortgage broker (I was nervous about a stranger walking through my house)
-yearly home inspection for renewal of my contract with home child care agency ( a requirement for those who want to stay licensed through the government)
-renewal of driver's license
-renewal of Ontario Health Card for myself and a child
-physio therapy consult for a child that I care for
Add to this all the forms I needed to get ready for each, and the time spent getting confused over the phone with the lawyer.

So at the end of the week, I decided to get a new haircut to go with the photos they would be taking for my driver's license.
The hairdresser's makes me feel nice, so it was a treat to end the week!

Tonight I have a home school support group meeting to attend, and I'm looking forward to it. The guest speaker will be talking about Idea Mapping. I wonder if I will offend anyone if I bring along something to crochet? Is that considered acceptable to be knitting or crocheting while attending a seminar or workshop? I have no idea! But as I like to fidget, I think it would be productive.

I feel such a burden lifted off my shoulders now that the week is done. Whew!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


"Does anyone in your family suffer from depression or anxiety?" the doctor asked me.

I wondered why he would ask something like that. I hadn't mentioned stress. I had went to see the doctor because I was experiencing chest and neck pain, and had heard about women having heart conditions that were often misdiagnosed by doctors. When I checked it out on a website about cardiac conditions in women, showing early sign of cardiac disease, I decided it would be better to see the doctor and figure out what was going on. My throat felt like I was about to have a mild asthma attack, only I could hear myself breathing fine. So strange. My neck felt like I had been hit by freezing cold high pressure winds. And I was having a perfectly normal day, nothing out of the ordinary. The more I thought about what could be wrong with me, the more worried I became. I wrote down the list for the doctor to read, and explained that I was feeling a little distracted.

After talking for a while, the doctor tells me that he will run a blood test to rule out other possibilities, but says it's most likely that I have anxiety. I said, "but I'm not under stress. I like my job." and explained there was nothing stressful going on. I lied to myself, I suppose. Just the day before we had met with our mortgage broker to refinance our house, but everything went fine so it didn't count - right? Looking back at my track record, I don't often realize that I'm stressed or burnt out until someone else tells me.

So that was a bit of a surprise to me, that stress would manifest itself in breaking me down. I've handled stress before, why would this be any different? The doctor ORDERED me to go home and relax, take something to help me sleep (I've been not getting enough sleep for several nights), and try to wind down better.

After speaking with a few friends about this, the main surprise to me was they weren't surprised by this diagnosis of me!
Not that they were labeling me as "stressed", but that I have a high energy level all day at my job, which is fine, but I don't seem to wind down after work. My children are full of beans, as well. They play all day and all evening, right till bedtime. So I guess even though I don't consider my work to be 'stressful', I have to admit that I don't sign-off at the end of my work day and slow down.

So I have to moderate my life now to include mandatory relaxing, pampering, and calming activities. Not a bad remedy. The cool thing is, knitting and crocheting are considered to be a therapeutic activity to reduce stress. My husband hasn't been that crazy about my playing with yarn, but now that I have a medical reason for it, I don't have to put aside my needles anymore! Woo hoo!

So today I've been observing my activities and habits, making note of what things I can do to modify my anxiety. My boys have decided to help with a few more tasks in the evening, and then by 7:00pm it will now be our wind down time. The boys may play, but in a more quiet tone. They were so sweet, they read a book together and played so nice and quiet.

Curious what other people do for their anxiety?

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Scavenger hunt questionnaire

So here are my answers to the questions for the scavenger hunt swap that's on Blogger.

1) Do you knit, crochet or both? How long have you been doing it?

Both. I my sister taught me to do a chain stitch at age 5. We would crochet bracelets with our fingers. Years later, a dear friend of my grandmother's taught me the double crochet stitch. That's the only one I knew, and made blankets with it. I forgot about it for awhile until a friend gave me the most beautiful baby blanket I had ever seen for our baby shower. It's now a treasured keepsake. I was inspired to take up the hook again, and I have made a few simple projects last year. Now I am also learning to knit from a good friend. I knitted my first dishcloth last week, and was told it turned out nicely.

2) What is on your needles/hook right now?
Hook: camoflage sweater for a child.
Needles: sample swatch to practice my stitches on. I only have 2 pairs of needles to start with, so gauge doesn't matter that much at the moment.

3) What is the most frequently used tool in your knitting bag?
My Lion Brand Split Ring Markers

4) What are your 3 favorite yarns (fiber type or brand)? What are your 3 least favorite?
I've only worked with a few yarns so far, but I like those cotton dishcloth yarns, the Bernat soft yarns, and baby blanket yarns. Least favorite would be a yarn that's difficult to work with, like the ones with knots or bunches in them.

5) What is your favorite color?
All shades of blue and purple.

6) If you had a 5 minute shopping spree in your LYS, how would you plan your attack?
LYS - Local Yarn Store? I'd try to grab 4-5 skeins each of yarn I've never tried before, or go for the specialty yarns.

7) What is your favorite FO and why? (post a pic if you have it!)
Sorry, I have no idea what FO is.

8) What are your favorite things to knit/crochet?
I've made dishcloths, a scarf, some hats, and 2 vests. Any project that turns out ok seems to be a favorite for me.
Right now, it's making sweaters for the children I do childcare for. They get so excited when they hear I'm making something for them.

9) Do you collect anything?
slow cooker recipes, new or used patterns to try for either crochet or knitting, short stories, and interesting pens from different places.

10) What are your five favorite things (not necessarily knitting related)?
A beautiful day, a sincere smile, a heartwarming hug, a sweet sound, and the smell of something wonderful cooking for dinner!

11) Are you on Ravelry? What is your ID?
Never heard of it. Should I be?

12) Do you drink tea/coffee/cocoa?

13) Favorite Sweets?

14) Any allergies?

15) Do you have pets? kids?
Pet: one dog, a Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog) named Levi. He looks just like Lassie, only a bit smaller.

Scavenger Hunt Swap

I just learned about bloggers having swaps between each other. They send themed gift packages together, but as a secret pal to be revealed. The host is in charge of assigning secret pals to each other, sort of like Kris Kringle or Secret Santa during the holidays. I loved doing this with my family as a child. I was surprised at how many of these are going on at once! So I signed on for a second one. This one comes with a questionaire to be completed, to help your secret pal get to know you.

Here is the theme for the knitter's scavenger swap

1) Something local
2) Something round
3) Something green
4) Something related to the letter 'T'
5) Something funny
6) Something hard
7) Spoilers choice (make up a category for your item!)

I submitted my email request for the swap, so I will be checking my email to see if I made it in before the cut off time. There is a limit to how many people can do this swap, so I'll have to wait and see.

It would be fun, I think, to host a swap of some kind. I'm curios as to how much work the host or hostess must put into a project like this to make it run so smoothly.

Questionnaire for Dishcloth Swap

Here are the questions from the crochet swap blog I joined. After registering for a secret email address, we are asked to post the following questions with our answers. I have never joined an online swap group before, so I am pretty thrilled to be part of this. If any of you are wanting to check it out, I have the link listed on my blog. Here is where you can learn about this project, if you are so inclined:

I believe we have until January 18th to register for the swap.

So here are the questions, and my answers:

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both?
I crochet, although I am still just a novice. I knit a little, as a friend is teaching me how. I am also trying my hand in tunisian and double crochet. I love to learn new techniques.

2. What types of needles do you enjoy using for making dishcloths?
I like the shiny metal crochet hooks that come in different colours and different sizes. I find size I /5.5 to be easy to use. I purchased these as part of a starter kit, so I can't say that I've tried other kinds for comparison.

3. What types of cotton do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? Is there any that you've been wanting to try?
I love using the mulicolor ones for dishcloths, as it gives an interesting look. They work great for some patterns, not so good for others. I have a small amount of single color cotton in my stash, and I like how single color cotton shows the detail of the pattern so nicely. I find the plain color cotton is harder to come by, as it always seems to be sold out when I shop. I love the blue shades, and pastels in any color look lovely.

4. What color(s) are your kitchen and bath decorated in (if any)?
Our cabinets are a natural oak, and the walls are painted 'Maple Sugar'.

5. What are your favorite colors for yarns? Least favorite?
Favorite colors for yarn would be all shades of blue, purple, cranberry, grey, hunter green and almost any shade of green except lime green. Lime green doesn't agree with me. I'm not too fond of orange, unless it's like an autumn orange.

6. Do you like Winter, or do you count the days until it ends?
There are many things I like about winter. I find it to be a very beautiful season, especially when the snowflakes are falling.
When winter starts to drag on and linger, then I start looking forward to spring.

7. What's your favorite way to brighten your day when you're down in the dumps?
Get hugs from my family. Read something funny or watch a romantic comedy.

8. What is your favorite treat to indulge in and when your down in the dumps?
Hot chocolate or french vanilla coffee

9. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Cocoa?
Tea - I enjoy trying new kinds of tea. I find that I like a wide variety of tea.
I only drink coffee as a treat when going out to meet friends for coffee - I used to drink it too much, so that's my way of limiting myself. Hot chocolate is one of my favorite parts of winter!

10. If you could take a vacation starting tomorrow and go anywhere for one week and money were no object, where would you go and what would you do?
I would go to Prince Edward Island and see all the beautiful sites that inspired 'Anne of Green Gables'. I would also see if there were a local spa there to go to for an afternoon. I would so much enjoy a slower pace of life for one week. How wonderful!

11. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should be aware of?
None that I am aware of so far.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

New Year's Resolutions

I usually don't make a big deal of resolutions. I have never written them down, and usually forget them shortly after.
People who write down their goals have a much greater tendancy to succeed in them over those that don't commit them to paper. So here I go, writing them down. I like the idea that I can look back later to reflect on my progress, and perhaps surprise myself.

Aside from the list, my life goal is to grow more and more in my understanding of the Lord, and learn to walk in His ways.

1. Take a vacation this year to somewhere I have never been before.

2. Go on real dates with my husband, just the two of us.

3. Enjoy my weekends to the fullest.

4. I am going to follow Fly Lady's advice and keep her motto from last year, "Progress, not perfection".
My goal is to check in with my fly friends once a week and keep up to date with our zones, events, etc.

For those of you not familiar with fly lady, you can check her out at
She helps those who are battling against CHAOS in their homes ( CHAOS - Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) due
to the clutter building up all around. Through baby steps, she helps us (her fly babies) get our homes back in control.

5. Complete 365 crochet stitches. I was given a perpetual calandar with a different stitch to try for every day of the year.
These stitches can be adapted to make several patterns. I am going to start simple, but I'm excited about the idea of making my own patterns. I have made a few vests, hats, scarves, dishcloths, baby blankets, and one child's sweater last year. This year it is my goal to complete a sweater for me to wear, and take on some new projects. This year I plan on learning more about Tunisian crochet, and see where that leads me.

6. Learn to knit. I want to make some mittens for one of the local programs: knitters make mittens for children who often go without them in the winter. I will also make mittens for myself, my kids, and their friends.

7. Clean out that basement! Out with the old! We have been in our house for three wonderful years now, and I know there are things down there in boxes that we haven't used. So why not bless someone else who could make better use with the things I have? I am going to keep a give-away box going, so when Canadian Diabetes calls for their clothing/household goods pick-up program, I will always have something ready to donate. See how fast we can get that basement ready to renovate! I want to start finishing the basement this year; at least get the drywalling done to start with.

8. Read books for myself, just for fun. Not books relating to school, home, work, etc. Just read a good book, and another, and another...

9. Invest more. Put some savings aside each month.

10. Eat healthier, exercise more. I am going to go on regular walks with a buddy. I will be using the book "Body Clutter" by Marla Cilley as well as her Body Clutter Investigator to help me keep on track with this.

11. Scrapbooking: complete baby album that has been collecting dust for over 3 years.

12. Paint a picture on canvas.

13. Be greener. In 2007, our home was able to cut our electricity bill by a substantial amount. Most of our home is using energy efficient appliances and devices. We switched our computer to an energy star MacBook with energy smart features. We got dryer balls to cut down on drying time, and tried hang-drying our clothes in the summer. We have given away our printer and purchased an energy star printer (we use recyled paper). We had also upgraded our microwave last year to an energy star microwave oven. All these things have amounted to a decent savings on our hydro bill. We have joined the treehugger mailing list, to keep up to date on new ways we can help the environment. So for 2008 my goal is to make a smaller carbon imprint on the earth, and learn more about being part of the solution.

14. Seriously consider getting involved in a project like Habitat for Humanity. It would be great to help out in something like this, as a family.

15. Have a great year!