Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thank you

Originally uploaded by thechickswithsticks.

(click on the picture for notes in Flickr)

To Michelle of Bibliomaniac fame.
I won a contest on her blog and received a nice little prize package.

Some napkins, a card, a funny little eraser (it has a parasite in it), a little blow up ball, a sushi air freshener (Princess B is so excited and thinks it smells like sushi--thankfully , it doesn't) and some yarn from her store.

I am totally going to make socks for the little man with this yarn--so soft and the perfect colours for a little boy.

Thanks Michelle!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Angels in Paper Hats

'Member the movie "Pay it Forward"? Kinda cheesy, but the message I think got people stuck on the whole random acts of kindness stuff. A bit new age for me if you think that good karma spreads, but you gotta like the idea of being nice to someone for no reason what so ever.
I have been on the receiving end of this kindness a few times in the last few weeks and it has both surprised me and energized me.
My Angel in a Paper hat was a teen working at Arby's just off the thruway last week. I was driving home from my sister's, a 4.5 hour drive that turned out to be almost 5.5 with too many stops for gas, to pee, to eat, to retrieve lost toys blah blah. Just 20 or so minutes from home, Giraffe the 5 year old with the full bladder informs me that no he cannot hold it and no he cannot pee in the grass. So off the thruway we go, to the Arby's, the closest and hopefully cleanest restroom at that exit. After taking care of business I order a coffee from the cutest, most smiley girl I have seen in any fast-food restaurant, clearly not caring that I am crabby or that her polyester shirt is none too flattering. She not only pours me a cup just the way I like, but with a charming grin, hands Giraffe a cookie and waves off my money. No charge. Nothing. Not for the coffee or the cookie. Angel I tell you. I was so tired, loosing patience with little man, and she with just a cup of joe and a smile made my day. Maybe it wasn't' a big deal for her, but what a difference in my spirit as I left.
Today I met a lovely owner of a local yarn shop called Knit N' Purl. I chatted a bit with her who was delightful. Besides the fact that she had amazing stuff and wonderful sale prices, she was welcoming and engaging. She was my second angel. I had Giraffe with me and he was being well behaved but eager to leave. She commented on how polite and well behaved he was and told him so directly (I love that, he needs to hear it too not just me). She then told me I must be very patient as I was talking so calmly and nicely to him. Wow, me patient? Not a bit, but to have someone praise me for the nice way I talk to my boy, who knows every button to push and drives me to yank out my own hair- it energized me for the rest of our evening. Angel I tell you. I plan to return, oh yes.
So do I pay it forward? Do I give a little of myself to lift the spirits of those around me? Do I offer a smile, hold the door a little longer for the person behind me, whatever without expecting something back? Am I sharing the Joy of the Lord in the way I am with strangers just in passing, or do I save it for friends and family? What do leave with others? Can I dig a little deeper to be that light?

Hubbo is away for the weekend so Giraffe and I decided to live la vida loca and have some fun. How much fun can frumpy mommy and 5 year have? We hit that yarn shop that was new to me , went to Burger King for dinner (Big ol' BBQ burger with onion rings for me yee haw) Blockbuster for Juno and Season 2 of Lost, to Hallmark for a gift for the MIL and then to, wait for it, Big Lots for a toaster. Do I know how to party of what?
Giraffe spent some time playing a video game he rented (after being grounded from all things electronic for the week he was very excited)and I chatted with a friend who needed a little venting time tonight.
All in all, a good day, a good evening and good night. I am ending this night with Lost, Ice-Wine tea and my shawl for Jacquie which is going very well. I might have to fondle the wool I bought, maybe just a little.

Monday, April 21, 2008


A nice time of solitude.

I had a fun, lazy but yet somewhat productive day to myself.

The family left Saturday while I was gone to a ladies retreat. I came home to an empty and quiet house and slept through the night! (well, not really since there was a dog that sat on me, teenagers that went screaming past my window and various outside big truck noises that woke me all night--but still!)

After Church, I blog surfed (in my jammies), ate food--knit on my sock, watched trash TV (brain candy), knit on my sock, ate more food, had a nap, read outside, went for a walk, drank iced coffee and watched The Kite Runner (such a good book and a great movie--but read the book first).

Hubby and the kids came home late as they hadn't slept well at Grandma's--and Little man actually slept in until 7am today--so that's good.

Hubby is on his way to work and I have a real mess to clean up in the kitchen (I decided not to do any housework while they were gone--save for the stuff that is needed)


Oh, I finished my socks:

and even made a little mitered square after being inspired by this blog and this post

Happy Monday to you!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Socks and solitude

Thanks for all your comments re: my socks.

I am not surprised about the Africa socks, as they were knit from some cheap undyed stuff I bought on etsy (no slam on etsy, but the stuff was really cheap and simple--which is what I wanted at the time)

The Fleece Artist socks surprised me. I know that they say superwash (ie: wash on cold, air dry) and I did that--maybe I should have been more sock scared and just handwashed only.

For those who don't knit socks and might, I want to tell you about some of my favourite yarns, so as not to scare you away.

Opal. I love the Opal.
I have made 2 pairs for myself, 1 pair for hubby and 1 pair for little man from Opal yarn.
The yarn is not the softest to the touch, but it wears like crazy.
I have washed (sometimes in *gasp* warmish water) and put them in the dryer many many times and have never had a problem--ever.
They do not fade, do not fuzz and my flamingo socks look exactly the same as when I knit them 2 years ago.
The price is right as well--for about $15 you can get a man sized pair of socks and kid socks.|
I right now have leftovers to be able to make about 3 pairs for each of my kids.
(I found my original Opal Rainforest sock yarn on ebay for about $15 for both balls which included shipping).

Regia: My Jaywalkers are the second pair I've knit from Regia. This stuff feels like OPal and i'm sure will wear the same.

Koigu: Love the Koigu. I was gifted one skein in my first Sockapalooza and made some footies out of them. I just found the footies the other day and the sole is eaten (i'm not thinking from wear, so I'm wondering if there is a phantom moth that eats my socks in my drawers, in the wash and/or in a knitting stash

My own Superwash: I've knit socks for Princess B out of some of my own dyed stuff. I've washed them in the machine and dryed them in the dryer--and have had no problems.

There is another Indie dyer that I bought sock yarn from and although the colours ran horrifically, the yarn itself has lasted. I still wear the socks because I spent a lot of $$ to try out this yarn and I'm not going to let them go to waste!!
I'm sure she uses the same wool/nylon blend that I do, which basically means I need to knit more from my own dyed yarn (duh)

Knitpicks bare: This is what I started learning to dye with and is the same yarn as their Memories yarn. This stuff will felt if you look at it funny. Seriously.
I have a pair of S'more Jaywalkers that I finally just threw out last week because I realized if they are that badly felted and it takes you 3 minutes per foot to put them on, they are too small.

Handspun: Domestic wool can be used, lots of people do. My handspun socks were the first project I ever knit from my handspun yarn. The twist was likely not tight enough to withstand the wearing. A 3-ply yarn would be better, but would reduce your yardage as well.

Superwash handspun wool: Most people think this is ideal--but think of the Merino factor.
Merino pills like (insert random name of a pill popping Hollywood actor or let's just go with the easy one: Courtney Love)

So, that is a rundown on some of the sock yarns that I have used.
I have knit about 28 pairs of socks, but I can't for the life of me think of any more brands other than what I have mentioned above (some local hand-dyed, and some stuff that you won't find--would be included on this list)

The solitude part of this post??
Hubby is gone for 2 days at a (local) retreat centre for work leaving me with the kids.
Both kids are going to a Church group tonight (yeah for A being 3!) and I will have almost 2 hours to myself. I'm thinking of taking myself out for coffee and knitting on the home stretch of my jaywalker (I am turning the heel now and will get a good chunk done tonight).

I am goign to a Ladies Retreat (capitalized because it IS that special) all day Saturday and hubby is taking the kids to Ottawa Saturday/Sunday/maybe Monday am-- to see his Mom and do some supportive Pastor/Youth Leader type stuff--which leaves me all day Sunday to myself!!

Other than being at Church (9am-12:30pm or so) I will have the day to do whatever I want.

I'm making myself a list of stuff to do (don't think it's weird, It's not a to-do list, but a "hey have fun and see if you can do all this stuff that YOU like to do)

  • Spend as much time in my pajamas as possible
  • Eat whatever I want, whenever I want--make the food choices as weird as possible (sushi with garlic bread--okay! Coffee AND Dr Pepper at the same time, sure. Chocolate for breakfast, yes please!)
  • Sleep as much as I want (no 4am wake up calls or little girls having bad dreams)
  • Spin as much as possible (CMF, and Spindle some Spunky Eclectic (which by the was was named after a suggestion I made on Ravelry)
  • Finish jaywalkers
  • Watch movies (anyone got a good suggestion for a recent movie, and please don't say Sweeney Todd or August Rush)
  • Finish sewing A's blanket (really all I have to do is sew it together and "stitch in the ditch" (and I thought knitters had weird phrases)
  • read outside with the sun shining on your face
  • or, don't do any of it and just couch it for a while.
Fun eh??

Tell what you would do if given 24 hours on your own??

4pm edited to add: okay, so the Opal isn't indestructible. I just got back from being at the park and trying to go letterboxing with the kids (Princess B just wants to make her own box and bury it in our yard, for her...sigh)--and had walked through some pretty muddy puddles.
I took my socks off for washing and found, you guessed it, a hole in the sole of the Ladybug socks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What you missed at craft night

So Tuesday nights we have been having craft nights for about 2 months or so.
Everyone was busy last night except for my friend Michelle (new knitter--Hi Michelle!!)
So she came over to knit and watch hockey (Go Habs Go) and eat food.

I took some pictures for those who missed it.

We didn't stay up as late as usual, but we did knit 'till we dropped:

We recruited some new MALE knitters:

(the dog is not amused)

Ate food:

and more food

and generally acted Bananas:

I got a lot of knitting done on my sock and Michelle figures by sometime in May/June, she may finish her short scarf/pot holder/Barbie blanket/dishcloth/Whatever.

oh and Janna, I was going to have these for you

but I ate them all....
ha ha

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yes, I am still here

It has indeed been forever since I was here, and my only excuse is that my life has been a bit manic these past few months. Work, while still wonderful, has taxed my little grey cells and I have little brain power left to do much more then get through. I do love the new job in spite of the brain-sucking power of learning a new language (education) after 10+ years in health care. I have wonderfully supportive colleagues, an amazing boss, and I love the student interaction.
On other fronts, church is busy in ebbs and flows. Our mid-week program for kids has wrapped up for the year, our Sunday School class with college-aged students is going well, my delegate work increases as I am being added to more committees, and hubbo will be taking on the men's and co-ed soft-ball teams.
Giraffe continues to excel in kindergarten. His recent report card was wonderful, and most importantly, he loves school! His teacher is very gifted and she been a wonderful encourager of our little learner. From being unable to (legibly) write his name in September, to writing sentences, and doing math and reading enrichment, this has been a year of huge growth.
Hubbo will be leaving VICE in just a few weeks. He will be completing a 3 year assignment under-cover and will go back to the road, a uniform and nights. I have loved having a normal schedule Monday-Friday 9-5 these past few years, I know it will be a struggle being alone nights and having only 1 weekend out of 6 with him, but I refuse to complain about it. The job is what it is, and he is ready to be back on the road. It will mean I can eat cookies in bed again!
As far as knitting, it has been a great time for the needles actually. I do believe the sticks and string have kept me sane these past few months. I have finished a number of objects, started a few and have even learned how to spin under the careful eye of my sis. So much harder then it looks, but spinning is fun and highly addictive!
So there is my Life in a Nut Shell I am not sure if I will be back, or will wander off on my own. Will be pondering that. (Sis just wants to keep all the blogger booty to herself, right?)
I will leave you with my fav, newly finished object, my Julia Shawl, which can be found on Ravelry if you are over there. I am off to enjoy Spring Break with Giraffe which today has included sleeping in, a leisurely breakfast and a bath.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby

3 years ago today you made me a Mommy for the last time.

You started life so quiet and easy...then you found your energy.

The last year has been spent chasing you and rescuing you from you own boundless energy and daredevil spirit.

You are constantly funny, always cute and loving.

You surprise me with your knowledge of new things that just pops up when we least expect it, and your all-of-a-sudden climbing up on my knee for hugs and cuddles.

You have taught me that Motherhood is an always active, 24 hour a day, eyes in the back of your head job.

You have taught me to survive on little or no sleep (I love you dearly, but the being awake from 12-3am, or up at 4am really has to stop now, okay??)

I wish I had your energy

I wish I had your way of finding the funny in everything

I love that we are spending more time together just the two of us while your sister is at school
(Don't tell her about all the cookies that we eat)

Love you buddy

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bad time for socks

So I went to put little man's handknit socks on him and look what I found.

Sad Baby Jaywalkers.
I've already mended them about 3 times and this time with the 2 holes and the yarn being totally frayed, there was no salvaging them.

Good bye.

So, then I went to put on some socks for me and grabbed my I dream of Africa socks.
Guess what?

Grabbed my handspun socks (That I've already mended)

Grabbed my Fleece Artist Elfines'

Couldn't even put on my slippers, because, guess what??

My slippers are about 4 years old and have been mended and had Plasti-Dip put on them, but I'm thinking leather soles is the way to go.
The Fleece Artist socks I have washed in the machine on COLD--and they shredded.
The others--I don't understand since they have been handwash only.

I'm thinking the next pair of socks I knit for myself might need to have nylon in them. (The Jaywalkers (Ravelry link) I"m doing right now is Regia and does have nylon content)

(Oh, for those that don't know-- Magknits is no longer. You can find some patterns on Ravelry

So, I see some mending in my future. The Africa socks might need to be retired, as I'm not sure I have any of that yarn left.

What to do, what to do.

Anyways, I finished the pink test knitting (can't blog anymore about it) and have sent off info and pictures to the designer. Totally cute though--totally cute.

and with that--I am off to knit on socks and mend socks, and dream of socks!!!
and the designers may offer their patterns on their own blogs).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Green green everywhere

I am so happy with the results of my dye morning.
This is not all of it, just the greens in a pile:

I am especially happy with this green:

I am actually going to name this "That Green".
The picture above is on a new Merino/SeaCell that I'm excited about. I haven't figured out pricing yet, but when I do, I can see a lot of this in my future.

I did some Merino/Nylon, Merino/Bamboo, Merino/SeaCell and some BFL fibre.
I did some Pink/Purple as to come (needed re-skeining and the light wasn't good today for pictures)

This one is called "I've Got the Greens" and is in my shop

as is this BFL in the same colourway:

I decided today I should carry a notebook with me wherever I go. I was out and about with a friend and her daughter and daughter's friend--we hit some stores and everywhere I went I saw colourways.
Some I can remember and some I have already forgotten.

I have a big dye project coming up--so I need to get crackin' on some colour ideas and making sure I have enough yarn (details will be blogged as soon as I am allowed)

Test knitting is going well--can't show you pictures, but I think the pattern is going to be so cute.

I have been trying to find some good TV or movies to watch as I need to get some hours in to finish this project and I remembered that a friend lent me Serenity and Firefly to watch.
I started Firefly Thursday night and am lov-ing it!

So, off to do more knitting.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

I've got the greens

I finally found my dye mojo.

I haven't been dyeing in a long time because every time I started at my yarn or fibre I just didn't feel anything. Couldn't find colours I wanted, couldn't think of anything new, didn't want to do anything "old".

Today, hubby had an early meeting and had to leave by 7:30. I had about 45 minutes to get 2 kids up dressed, washed, fed, lunch made, bags packed and out the door to walk to school.
We did it.

I was home again by 8:30am, little man was happily playing, (he was actually playing with his cars on the back of the couch and paused for a short movie break)

the sun was shining, I was caffeinated and I broke out the dye pots.

I have been dreaming of this green for a while. A bright Spring green that was not acid green/Kelly green, or dark--just the perfect bright happy green.
I found it today.

Almost everything I dyed this morning is green.
I broke out some new yarns as well (Merino/Seacell and Merino/Bamboo)
ooooh so excited

I have some samples that I'm looking at and gave them a bit of a soak to see what they feel like softened up....

I did dye some Pinks and purples and I am trying a new thing that might lead to some self striping--we shall see.
Wish me luck!