Saturday, March 31, 2012

The True Yarn Diet

I think I am becoming one of those people that irritate me:  the ones who complain about losing weight.

If you've been following my other blog, you know that I am trying to shed some pounds in order to control my blood pressure. While this is a good thing, and while I am glad I am looking and feeling better, it means one thing: clothes are going to be awkward for the next while.

Case in point:  My Moody in Paprika I finished not long ago is already feeling a bit too big. I love that sweater. I just don't know how much longer I am going to be able to wear it.


What about all this yarn I've got sitting around the house? All the tops and sweaters I had planned? I can't afford to knit a bunch of stuff I can't wear.

There's only one thing for it:  garment hiatus.

But! It's not all bad news. I means that I can spend this summer working through all those special single skeins. Yarnies, you know which ones I'm talking about:  the ones you can't leave behind in a yarn store, the ones you get one vacation, the ones that came cheap from someone else's stash, the ones you fell in love with online. You just buy one, enough to make... something.

So, I guess I'm going to be busy this summer:


And well, these kinda came from with me from my friend, Tara's house. They're from her etsy shop: Dragonfly Dye Works.


Ok, so I'm not really following the yarn diet, but gimme a break. I must indulge somehow...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Inspiration Mondays on a Tuesday: Ariel and Learning to Fly

Since the hubby is an amateur pilot, we watch a lot of flying shows: Ice Pilots NWT, Mayday, and Flying Wild Alaska.

I didn't think I'd enjoy watching Flying Wild Alaska (since Ice Pilots seems to be bleeped out almost half the time with all the profanity), but I really, really enjoy it. I especially enjoy watching Ariel Tweto and her quest to learn to fly.

Initially, I thought she was a bit of a goofball... in fact, she still is a goofball. What she's got on her side is that she is loveable as heck, adventurous, fun, and doesn't give up on what she wants. Those are qualities I don't have at 100%.

So, she's learning to fly. It looked like it was going to be a bust. Too floofy, too distracted. I felt sorry for her. I was sure she'd fail in front of everyone on TV.

But she's doing it.

That proves that the "pretty little goofy thing" has a lot more to her than you think. Well heck, if that's not inspiring, I don't know what is.

Good luck, Ariel. Keep up the great work.


Image from Discovery.com

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What I Didn't Do This Weekend

I visited Canmore again this weekend. I had a lovely time, as usual. There's lots of fun and relaxing things to do in Canmore.

I went for long walks with my the hubby and Rascal, and had a nice lunch out in the spring sunshine.


I visited Antique Junction and found a shoe-stretcher from 1910 and a beautiful pearl and silver necklace.




I bought a yoga mat and some new measuring cups (which I didn't bother to take a photos of... I mean, it's a piece of foam and some measuring cups, after all!).

I stopped into the Mut Hut and bought Rascal some dehydrated liver treats that made me very popular with the other customers.




I napped a lot.

I finished a cowl made from some Cotton Candy I bought in L.A. last year.


I started working on a Lacy Baktus neckscarf with some crazy variegated yarn by J.L. Salvia I got from someone's destash a couple of years ago..


I walked past Knit and Caboodle Yarn Shop.

I did not go in.

Man, it nearly killed me... but I have soooo much stash at home that the thought of going in filled me with so much guilt that I knew that if I went in, I wouldn't enjoy it.

So, that's willpower I guess. Yay me... except...

Next week, I'll be dyeing lots of yarn with my fellow yarnies. So, I'm not quite following the yarn diet... just... abstaining...

For now, at least.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: thecolorof.com

Recently on Google+, +Marsha Kwong shared a site called thecolorof.com which is a site that attempts to figure out, well... the colour of things. It does this thusly: You enter a word, any word, a thing, a place, a smell, an emotion... and it gathers up images on the web that have been labelled with that word. Then, it lays one on top of the other until you get a mixture of all the colours from those images. Since people have labelled these images with that word, the resulting mixture of colours will therefore help to describe that word.

Tonight, I thought I'd play around with it. Here's the colour of cake... which looks like a strawberry spongecake to me:


And here's cotton candy. Sure looks like cotton candy to me, including the blue kind:


Then, I thought, "I wonder what the colour of sheep is?" And it looks like sheep off in a distance in a meadow:


Then, I wondered what the colour of "goat" was, and it's slightly muddier... more hoof and less fluff:


And "horse" was more... western to me. Kind of like the rolling hills just off the plains, like a ranch:


The colour of "jazz" was scintillating and exotic:


And the colour of "serenity" made me think of dusk on a summer's evening:


And what about "love?" Well... it looked like a mixture of cotton candy, cake, sheep, and a little touch of serenity. And well, why wouldn't it?


I think it's a great way for someone who works with colours to play around with how these colours invoke emotion and memories. I've searched for the colours of cities, towns, toys, childhood... and yeah, they're mostly spot on. Indie dyers of yarn, here's a good place to come up with some colourway names. Designers, here's a good place for a colour palette to match the mood you're after.

And for me? Well, for a dreamer like me, it's a good place just to come and add colour to my daydreams. Ah... daydreams... always in colour...


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Would Somebody Just Dress Me, Please?

I just took this shawl off the blocking boards today, and I'm really not sure about it. The yarn has been sitting in my stash for years, purchased on a whim because it looked fun... but it's not really the easiest combination of colours to knit with. I think this pattern works well with it. It's called Vixen, and it's an easy pattern to knit.


I thought that once I'd taken it off the needles, it would be ok, but the main problem now is that I just don't know how to wear this thing. It's basically a square with a slit along one corner, a different shape than I've ever worn before.



I think I'm gonna need some help with this one.


Probably part of the problem is that it's too small. I thought it would work out to be bigger, because I was using a thicker yarn and bigger needles, but it turns out I could have made it larger. I still have almost six more skeins of this leftover, but to be honest, I really couldn't face another week of knitting with this yarn. It's soft... but... I'm still not sure about it.

Oh well. Maybe I'll take it to work and have some of my friends try to figure out how I can wear this thing. The problem with that is that I might never be able to dress myself in it without help.

Maybe knitters need professional stylists to help them wear this stuff. How's that for job-creation?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Singing Online

I've been feeling a bit under the weather recently, and in order to get my mind off my wretchedness, I turned to my old friend YouTube to entertain me.

Whatever your opinions are of YouTube, you have to admit that, while it offers me hours of videos of cute animals, it also provides a vast wealth of information. Today, I learned how to alter a pair of jeans to make them fit better. Handy, no?

It also provides me with lots and lots of free music from lots and lots of regular ol' people just like me. I enjoy trawling through and finding little gems here and there. Here's a song that isn't in English, but I think you could probably appreciate for at least the first minute or so. It's a song that is usually over-sung by a lot of Filipinos in karaoke bars, but I really appreciated the understated style:


Anyway, I've got a little tiny ambition to record my own singing someday, but I'm not sure when that someday will be. I haven't recorded a song since I was eighteen years old... my own composition, played on piano and recorded in a makeshift studio in my high school. The difference, of course, is the whole video part. If I could make a cardboard cut out and put it in front of me, that would make it that much easier.

A bit of courage might help as well.

For now, I think I'll continue to enjoy the music of some of the great unknown artists out there, covers or not. If you think that watching them doesn't make a difference, I beg to differ. Seeing just one more "view" pop up on your video really can make someone's day.

Unless you're the cute animal in one of those videos. I'm pretty sure they don't worry about that stuff.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Welcome, Friends

Knitting news:  Not much. Working on a project with this yarn which has been in my stash for far too long. I bought it a few years ago thinking it looked fun. It was on sale... so I bought whatever was left on the shelf. Garish? Wild? Awesome? Not sure yet. We'll see what comes of it.


Other news: We have some new friends.

Welcome home, baby.


I've wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer for a while, but I had to fight my way through a couple of handmixers and a crappy breadmaker before I realized how badly I wanted one. After the breadmaker started to show signs of failing, hubby and I agreed that we could take the plunge... if one came on sale.

Behold, the Canadian Tire flyer. 40% off for the Kitchen Aid Pro 5 mixer? Yay!


I used it today to knead some dough for some bread... the awesomest bread ever. Honey Oat Wholemeal Bread. Yummer.


But wait! That's not all...

I've been hassling gently prodding the hubby about getting a new barbecue. The one we had was given to us by the previous tenants of a house we rented a few years ago, and yeah, it worked pretty well, but... well, it needed some attention, some good cleaning, things I really didn't want to have to do, especially after it burned my dinner a few times last summer.

Welcome home, Grill Master. You are welcome here, especially because I got you at 15% off with a coupon from the supermarket.


Seriously, it's called a Grill Master. I'm not actually worshipping this thing... not yet.

So yeah, not much knitting, but hey, who has time when there are things to mix and food to grill?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Nevermind Them, Just Knit

I'll be thirty-five years old this year. It's nowhere near my birthday, but that thought has been on my mind for the past few days. Three-and-a-half decades old. So... what now?

Sometimes, I find myself doubting if I should or shouldn't do something, wondering what others would think, wondering if I would be seen as a show-off or a know-it-all. I want to fit it, feel secure, be liked... all that stuff.

But you know what? For eff's sake, I'm nearly thirty-five.

I have decided that I'm not going to let other people's insecurities get in my way anymore. So what if I'm  5' 9"and I want to wear high heels? I look fricking good in them. If I think I can help with my knowledge, I'm going to speak up and share it. If I want to dress nicely in a room full of people wearing jeans and hoodies, durn it, I'm going to. If I want to reach out to an outcast, try and stop me.

And, if I want to knit, spin or crochet in public, I'm doing it. After all, I'm the one with the pointy sticks. Anyone who might be uncomfortable with it is free to leave the room.

Don't let anyone intimidate you out of anything, least of all your sticks and string. Wield your power, let others deal with it.

And, if all else fails, remember:  You're the one with the pointy sticks...


Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Call Him Evil Louie

There he is, sitting there, looking all smug and satisfied with himself. He knows he got the better of me today, and I swear he's relishing it, all the way down to those springy ears.

Evil Louie is my lens cap from my camera. It's a Lumix GF3 that I got for Christmas from my generous hubby who got it for me when he heard me pining for a camera like a DSLR, but that wouldn't be as big as Mount Everest. It's a fantastic camera... takes great photos in all sorts of light, has lots of features, and makes taking photos fun and simple.

Except, it came with Louie the Lens Cap.

This is the point where most people who use their phones as their cameras get that smug look. They never have to worry about a stupid lens cap, after all...

Anyway, this morning, I woke up wondering where one of my handknitted cowls were (a normal situation for me). I got up, did a workout, took a shower, then took my bowl of cereal and settled down to re-organize a basket that holds some of my finished shawls, scarves and other accessories. I thought I'd snap a picture of it... I was formulating a blogpost in my mind about the basket and its contents...

Then, I got up and took a shot of a project I finished yesterday that was blocking on the dining table, The Textured Shawl Recipe by Orlane, knitted with some Araucania Nature Multi I got on a trip to San Francisco a couple of years ago.

Then, I was about to put my camera away, when I realized I didn't know where Louie the Lens Cap was. Hmm. I looked around the couch where I was sitting when I was re-organizing my basket. I took the seat cushions off and checked down the sides, where most of my knitting items disappear into. Nothing.

I gingerly crawled onto all fours (I was still sore from my workout) and looked under the couch. Nope.

I checked the dining table, where the camera was sitting this morning before I started taking photos. Not there, either.

I finished my cereal, then summoned the hubby to come help me. He took off the rest of the cushions, looked behind the couch, checked the dining table again. He said, "Are you sure you didn't have it anywhere else?"

"No," I whined. "I ALWAYS make sure the lens cap is on when I finish, and I ALWAYS take it off right before I take photos."

"Are you sure?" he said.

"Yes!" I snapped.

We checked all over the living room and in the kitchen, just in case I put it in the fridge or something. I dumped out my newly-organized basket and shook out each and every garment. I even rooted Rascal out of his bed to see if it was under there. Not there.

I sighed and pouted. I hate losing stuff like that, especially when it is from something that is relatively new. Hubby said we could probably get another one no problem, but I was still super annoyed.

We decided it was time to take Rascal out for his morning constitutional and to get a few groceries. I went over to my handbag to get my vitamins out to take before we left... then I paused, looked blankly ahead of me, then started emptying out my bag...

ALWAYS is a dangerous word, in case you didn't already know.

There he was. Louie the Lens Cap was in my handbag. I had taken my camera into work the other day, and Louie must have popped off when I took the camera out of my bag yesterday. Turns out I don't ALWAYS take the cap off right before I take photos after all.

I probably don't ALWAYS do anything.

Luckily, we've been married long enough for the hubby to know that he should never say, "I told you so," but I've also been alive long enough to admit when I've been an idiot. Darn you, Louie.

So, with Louie back in place, we went out and did our errands. Rascal was understandably exhausted after the morning's activities:

Good thing the camera can take these photos in low light without any shake. 

So, Louie and I are kind of having a truce right now. I'm considering drilling a hole through him and stringing some cord onto him to tie to the camera. That would be easier than spending half the morning hunting for him. I swear, though... Louie has a bit of a sinister look to him, like he's plotting his next escape...


You got me this time, Louie. I won't let you get away so easily next time...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And It Turned Into a Shop

I am by no means a tidy person. I'm quite convinced that the trail of things I leave behind during a day will save me one day if I am buried in an avalanche. You just need to follow the earrings, socks, books, yarn, hairpins, and bam! There I'll be. You won't even need a Saint Bernard...

... except I really like Saint Bernards, so use one anyway, ok?

Anyway, I was feeling kind of guilty that my messy habit was slowly turning my dining room into a big pile of junk. The hubby has been quite forgiving about it, but it was just getting a tad ridiculous. I had balls of yarn piled everywhere, and bags of roving stashed beside the couch. Hm. I wasn't really doing so well with sharing space with other human beings.

So, I got some shelves.

Ok wait, would you call this a shelf, or shelves, or a book case or what? Because I've discovered that this is not what everyone thinks of when they think of the word "shelves."


Anyway, I snagged these shelves from an acquaintance of mine who owns a beauty salon and who was getting rid of it. She used it to display products, but didn't have any use for it anymore. When I went to pick it up, she said, "Are you using it for storage or display?"

Well, the answer is: both. I think it looks really nice, don't you?

Of course, after gathering up all my stuff and putting it all in one place, I've discovered that I've got a LOT of yarn. I mean, I'm not entirely shocked by that fact, but it's made me a little sheepish (heh, get it?) about getting a single gram more of yarn. It's good to know what I actually have. The good thing is that I know what most of this yarn is going to be.

This shelf is going to be mostly shawls - lace, fair isle, and slipped stitch shawls:


There are two tops, one bolero, a few more shawls and a colourwork experiment on this shelf:


A skirt, two more tops, a shoulder bag, a cardigan, and a ruana is sitting here.


And this... well, I'll make it into yarn and decide later:


The top shelf has books, pamphlets and a box of pens and other writing implements.


And yes, I'm well aware that it looks like I could open a shop with all this yarn. dkzack came over yesterday and was quite keen to go shopping in there. I told her that hey, if she wanted to pay, she could.

Of course, what I was really thinking was something along the lines of, "over my dead body." Somewhat fitting, since we watched Criminal Minds together last night...

Anyway, tidying up turned out to be a great thing. This is the first thing I get to see when I come down the stairs in the morning. I intend to work down some of this stash so that I can eventually use some of those shelves to store some of my art supplies that are currently sitting in boxes in the basement. It may take a while, but gosh darn it, I've set a goal... and what a goal it is.

My goal is to knit more. Ha!