Friday, April 20, 2007

Sugar Rush

Just finished Erika's jacket for her first communion. At the beginning, I wasn't sure if I had enough white for the trim, so I perused the other colours in my stash. This lead to the great idea of using a contrasting colour for the trim. I just didn't realize it would look so much like icing on a cake. I spent last Sunday at my friend Claudia's house so that she could try and twist my fingers into something capable of crochet. It didn't catch on instantly and I obviously need to work on making my stitches even, but I'm still glad I pushed myself. I can't imagine this thing without the crochet edge. Maybe I could practice with a few granny squares this weekend.
Now.....just need to search out some buttons and pop this little darling in the mail to Florida.

I also received a lovely addition to my Knit Accessories Stash. Claudia found these clips to help with marking, clipping sides together for sewing up and just general project decoration. I never thought I'd be into something as cutsie as ladybugs, but they look soooo cool on the clips, don't they.

That's all the news there is my neck of the woods. Other than I got hired, quite suddenly, last week to teach Business English at a nearby University. The classes take place in a computer lab (very cool!) and my class-load went from 2 to 4 in about 3 seconds. I'm half jazzed, excited, thrilled and half terrified. I just hope I'm not standing at the front of the class, looking like a deer in headlights, ha ha.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rodents Beware!

There's a dead frog under my sofa. I'm sure of it. He was hopping around last night - well hopping as much as a one-legged frog can hop - dragging what was left of his other leg-guts behind him on my newly mopped floor.
The cat didn't know what to do - he loved that the toy moved on its own and was perfectly happy to swat at it every time it attempted escape, but couldn't figure out why he kept feeling hungry - so he'd run over to his bowl and crunch on his kibbles until Kermit stirred again. Last time I saw the pair of them together was in front of the sofa in the living room. That was about the time I decided there'd been enough TV for one night and it was time for bed.
It started with the dead mouse we found last Friday in the kids room. Jackson wouldn't let us clean it up, but rather took it in his teeth and ran out the front door to the neighbor's patch of garden - where he jump and played and rolled around with the dead thing. I had this picture of the original attack where Jackson pounced furiously on this poor mouse and thrashed it around until it finally perished in his Jaws of Terror. After last night, I figure the mouse finally got tired of playing Jerry to Jackson's Tom, ran upstairs to the kids room to hide and died of boredom......

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One Eventful Weekend

Turns out that the Drops Jacket can be knit in one piece - yippeee! I'm planning on finishing the right front tonight and kicking some left front ass before Sunday. My work colleague, Claudia promised to teach me how to crochet the edging. Not making any promises, but my niece might be wearing her new jacket sometime this year (a new personal best!!).

Even more exciting is how I spent my Easter Monday. Kimberly and I finally managed to meet up. She's come to visit her in-laws (who live about 75 minutes away from me) a couple of times now, but are schedules are usually all wonky. Thanks to the 4-day Easter weekend, we finally managed a day to meet up. For some reason, my camera refused to take any normal pictures - so here's an action sequence from our photo shoot attempt:

and a shot of the handsome chauffeur:

The rest of the weekend was spent cooking an Easter ham and turkey, eating said meats with veggies and sweet potatoes (not all dinner guests were impressed with that one, but me and the Venezuelan chowed down) with lots of chocolates and desserts. There was room painting, spring cleaning (please don't tell the kids how many old toys, crappy little Micky-D toys and parts of toys I threw away), picture re-arranging in the living room and general mayhem control. It's finally starting to look more like a home around here :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

3mm Needles and Cotton.....Eeeeek!

I give up - I don't want to knit an ecru tea towel with linen on 3.25 mm needles. It's Spring and I want color and instant gratification.
I figured a baby knit would be the perfect fix. I have the gorgeously soft blue from Italy and I lovingly patted it in my hands as I searched through every kid/baby book I have only to realize (duh!) that four balls is perfect for a small infant knit and I don't know anyone with boy infants. It just wouldn't mean as much to knit a sweater and not be able to immediately pawn it off on someone. And I'm still not in the "making babies" mode yet (long story and there's a light at the end of that tunnel, but I'm not knitting anything until I get doctor confirmation).
So, that leaves nieces and nephews. And my niece Erika is my most favorite niece to torture with my knitted wares. Wednesday night, I went up to the wool room and dragged down every last scrap of cotton I could find. From leftover Punto to stash-swap-acquired Knit Picks to a bag full of Rowan mixed that Mum found in a charity shop for 30p a ball (that's like $0.60 or €0.45 - PER BALL!) With all wares spread before me in the living room floor and sofas (did I mention that the Irishman's on the business trip?) I searched my pattern books again for something appropriate. The something I found was actually on the internet. Thanks to Deb, I found the Drop website again and the new kids catalog was where I should have started in the first place. I was dazzled by the first pattern I saw and cast on immediately with Cotton Glace.
quick aside: I've decided I don't really care how one is supposed to pronounce Glace (Glah-cey, Gloss, Glase, I think I'm going to say Glotch-ey just to annoy people).
So, to appease the Spring Goddess, I've gone from linen ecru on 3.25mm needles to white cotton on 3mm needles. Somehow this has fulfilled my wish and I am happy....who am I to question the Goddess?

Quick Pic from the Phone:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

National Knitting Centre

We visited Donegal for a couple of days and while perusing my handy hotel guide to nearby attractions, I was delighted to find the National Knitting Center was just down the road.

National! Knitting! Center!

It promised a light-hearted look at knitting through the ages, the story of wool from sheep to shawl and a shop full of Irish yarn. What we found was slightly different. First, there was a shop with lots of Irish knit sweaters and caps. I sifted through the wares and talked to the shop assistant about why they had to close the knitting center and move to a smaller location (lack of visitors and support). I asked if they had any yarn for sale and she took me back to, storage facility, largest stash I've seen in my life.

They had shelves built from floor to 30-thirty foot ceilings. All stuffed with raw wool, coloured wool, rough wool, soft wool, thin wool, but mostly aran-weight wool and not a label to be found for miles. Not categories, names, wool-types, dates of shearing. recommended needle-size, dye-lot. Nada....
Just me and wool. So I searched out as much as I could carry (literally) and when the nice lady went further back into the shop to weigh it, she invited me along.
The next room offered the needed scale for weighing, the owner of the shop, a floor covered with bagged and tagged Aran sweaters and two ladies sitting and knitting saidsweaters. Turns out they sell sweaters (not sure where or how). And the knitters were totally excited to have their picture taken :)
So maybe it wasn't what the hotel had advertised, but it was certainly the most knitting I've seen in Ireland to date. And I made off with 1.5 kilos of wool.

Cute story about the red lace-weight in the middle. I asked if anyone knew the content because it was sooooo soft and squishy. The owner jumped into her office for a little
Steiff bear wearing an Irish knit sweater made from a similar colour. But the bear wasn't wearing the same content of the squishy in my hand, he had a cashmere Irish knit sweater (or Aran Jumper, as the locals say). The shop had been consigned to knit cashmere sweaters for Steiff bears to be sold at Harrod's and she had their sample leftover. It's a good thing I had just dumped the contents of my wallet into their cash register, because I would have searched the car and Dave's pockets for enough money to tempt that bear away from her. I can't even imagine how much they retail for!
So, now to dream up project for my new yarn :)