Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to live to be 100

Here's a picture of my Oma on her 100th birthday party a few weeks ago. She's the one with the corsage. She's with Colby and Tante Olga, her 95 year old sister who still lives on her own in an apartment.
Going to her birthday party got me thinking about why she's lasted so long and is still in fairly good shape and here's what I came up with.
1. Be curious (i.e. nosy) - people who are wrapped up in their own lives at some point lose interest, because there's only so much you can do yourself at 98 or 99. But there's always something interesting going on around you, so if you're aware and interested that'll keep you going.
2. Eat well -Oma was a great cook and in later years as she ate less she still paid attention to what she ate and had a very balanced diet - a little protein, a little fruit, a little vegetables and of course, a little desert.
3. Don't complain - Oma's never been one of those people who talks about her aches and pains, she always just seems to go with the flow, never makes a big deal of anything and even when she's been sick and in the hospital she's been more bewildered than bitter.
4. Move out of your house before you need to - Oma and Opa moved to the "old folks home" back when she was about 70. At the time they were able to get a small 1 bedroom apartment and she was able to stay there until a few years ago when she moved into the personal care home side. Making the adjustment at that age was so much easier than for some of her other relatives who had to move out of their homes in their 80's due to poor health.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recent FO's and current WIP

OK, I don't know what's going on with my little slideshow there, but what I'm trying to do is have it link to a set in my flickr account, but there's more than just two pictures in there. I don't know how it decided that those are the only two photos it wants to show.
Anyway, here's some pictures of my recent FO's:
This is a little baby outfit I made for Brittany's mom's baby shower. I really like how it turned out. I made it with Elann ESPRIT which is a nice stretchy cotton - perfect for Houston weather. I'm working on a pattern to post for sale - just need to perfect the little booties to go along with it.These are my "bonus socks" that I made in two different color combinations. I posted the pattern for free on ravelry - Bonus Socks.

And here's the fishtail scarf I made from Zauberball sockyarn . I love the color, but I should have made the center section longer. I can't wrap it around my neck more than once.

And finally, here's what I'm working on now - Ruth Sorensen's Kauni cardigan. I'm using the same colorway of Kauni as she did and I just love the way the colors work together. It makes you want to keep knitting to find out what the next color combination is going to be.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The highway in the backyard

The other day this little guy was scurrying along the top of the fences that connect all the backyards around here.

Actually, he wasn't so much scurrying as looking for a way down.

But it was a looooong way. Once the dogs noticed there was something out there they got into their usual frenzied barking, setting off the noise-activated New Orleans jazz statue music, and the possum sensibly decided to be on his way.

Monday, April 5, 2010

If only this yarn could talk!

I used to be able to look at some leftover yarn and remember exactly what I'd made with it, where I was, what stage in my life I was... It all brought back such good memories. Now I can look at something like this:

and wonder - where the heck did that come from? I don't remember knitting with it at all! but it does have my signature "wrap the end around the ball in the opposite direction for a while" move. If I'd never used it before the end would be just a little bit peeking out of the middle.

It took several minutes of intense investigation to discover that this was not Lorna's Laces as I initially suspected, but I think it's Shelridge Farms and I'm pretty sure I made these socks with it. The solid colour was a light green and this variegated yarn was used in the diamonds.

But I'll be darned if I can find these socks, and there's no index card for them in my usually reliable knitting project filing system.

Although I do make so many socks I stopped keeping track of them at some point, so just because there isn't a card doesn't mean I didn't make them.
I've given away a lot of socks, so maybe they are on someone's feet even as we speak!

I prefer to think of this as an indication of just how many socks I've knit over the past few years, not an indication of the increasing feebleness of my memory.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


It's done! Sewed on the buttons and sewed down the facings while watching the Canada-US hockey game, then washed it, and it's laying flat to dry as we speak. I'll post more pictures of the inside once it dries, but for now I want to move on to something new!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

much progress being made

Got lots done over the weekend - finished the body of the vest.

I'm using I tip I learned from Anne at Philosopher's Wool and picking up the stitches from the steeks before cutting them open. She's right, once you cut it open the whole thing becomes kind of floppy and it's much easier to pick up the stitches while it's still a solid piece of fabric. Here's the first side vent.

And then last night I picked up all the stitches for the neck edge. That's one heck of a lot of stitches so that might take a night or two.

This is the winter that will not die here in Houston - we're in another cold spell and might actually get snow again today!

Friday, February 19, 2010

relaxing on a Friday afternoon

This is what my couch normally looks like. The bearded one (Alex) works 30 hours a week at Home Depot and usually starts at 5 am. Then he goes to school. So when he's at home he usually looks like this. The little one (Harley) also works pretty hard. There's napping, playing frisbee, walking and, oh yeah more napping.

Clyde is in his preferred position on my chair under my shirt. That little piece of black is what I get to sit on.

The vest is rolling along, but I'd really like to get the body knit this weekend so I've got some time to do all the steeks and trim. There's a long neckband, both armholes and vents at the sides and I'll need to be careful in picking up stitches along the edges to get it to lay nice and flat.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

think I'm going to make it!

As usual, the guage swatch wasn't quite a realistic indication of what I'm ending up with on the actual garment. But that's good news. I'm going to need less rows - I think 4.5 repeats of pattern C will do it. I'm almost up to the armholes/neck decreases. Here's some time-lapse photography.

I got a lot done last night while watching the US bag all their medals. Canada doesn't seem to be owning the podium - at least not yet.

Yesterday I picked up my regular medium share from the organic veggie co-op

and it had a bunch of cilantro that was so fragrant I just had to make some thing with it, even though I don't really like cilantro. I tried this recipe Bowties w/basil, cilantro and spinach. But instead of bowties I used penne and instead of basil I used oregano and I didn't have much goat cheese so I added some cream cheese and it was awfully thick so I added some buttermilk and I'm not sure if what I used was actually spinach or some sort of chard or kale or something. Anyway it tasted ok, but kind of looked like puke.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

getting there

well I made some progress over the weekend - I love president's day!

I'm now finished the first 2 charts and have about 6 sets of chart C to do, which is 20 rows. I might just make it!

On the Saturday we went out for Valentine's day to Brasserie Max & Julie and had great foie gras, steak tartare and profiteroles. Bob had the beef bourguignon and that was excellent too. I know it's not the Texas way, but I would have enjoyed it more if the portions were a little smaller. You can have too much of a good thing (see my blog title).

Then we walked to The Black Labrador for a beer. It's got a good selection of beer on tap, supposedly better than the Flying Saucer, but I don't know about that.

After that we walked to Anvil Bar & Refuge. I'd had a drink there a few weeks ago that I kept thinking about, it was so good. I can't remember the name of it, but it's got blackstrap rum, ginger beer and habanero sauce in it. It's very dark and peppery and you need to sip it, which is just my style.

On the way to Anvil we ran into a couple of young guys with backpacks and asked them where they were going. They're actually riding freight trains across the country (I thought that was a depression-era thing) and had gotten off a train in Houston in the 5th ward and were trying to find a place to sleep for the night. They'd frozen the previous night because it's been so cold here and they weren't impressed with Houston so far. They're heading towards LA, then maybe up the coast to Canada and then back across Canada to the east coast. They were so friendly and enthusiastic we really liked them and hope they do OK. We gave them $20 and hope they found a warm place to sleep and a place to hop a train to El Paso or where ever their next stop is. They really had such a great attitude for 2 people who must be having a hard time - one of them had only one leg - and they also had a dog with them. One guy's backpack only had a sleeping bag and dog food in it. Anyway, I really hope they have a great adventure and people are kind to them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Guess I'll wait a few more days for my glasses

On Friday, I was passing by the optometrist where I'd ordered eye glasses a couple of weeks earlier, so I thought I'd stop be to see if they were in yet.
me - "I'd like to see if my glasses have come in yet"
her - "It takes 7 - 10 business days, but I'll check"
she goes to the back for a few minutes and comes back - "No they're not here"
she checks on her computer - "the order was sent in on February 1, today is February 12, so they should be in next week"
me - "oh, ok, I was just passing by and thought I'd check"
I went home and half an hour later the phone rings - "Hi, this is ___Vision, your glasses are in"
It was then that I remembered when I was in the store leaning on the counter, my elbow was touching a small brown box just about the size to hold a pair of glasses.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Already behind

I figure there's about 180 rows to this vest, so to leave myself a few days to do the steeks and finishing I need to do about 20 rows per day. Well that's blown already. Here's what I've got so far - done while watching the opening ceremonies.I'm a little concerned that the bottom is curling up a bit - but I'm optimistic that I can work some blocking magic once it's done - or maybe I just don't feel like starting over with a different cast on.Got some catching up to do already, so this afternoon will be all about the knitting. We're going out tonight for Valentine's day so I won't get in my usual evening knitting. I've already decided that maybe I won't get to work 10 rows on my daughter's cabled cardigan every day in addition to this vest.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

here goes!

OK, I'm going to give this blogging thing a try!

I live a pretty dull life and, although I travel quite a bit and like to get out to restaurants, sports events and plays, I work from home most of the time and the highlight of my day often involves something one of the pets did. Like right now:

That's Hermie having a drink from my husband's water glass. This is one of those highlights I won't share with the family - I'll just silently chuckle next time he takes a sip of his water.

The point is I've wanted to start a blog for a while, but there are so many clever and witty ones out there, I felt like what I had to say wasn't very interesting. But I do knit a lot, I mean A LOT, so now that yarnharlot's got the knitting olympics going again for 2010 and the olympics is in Canada and I'm Canadian and I have a perfect project picked out. I'm going to try out this blogging thing. It will definitely mostly be about the knitting.

Here's what I'm knitting for the olympics:

It's from Alice Starmore's Pacific Coast Highway book. I bought the book and yarn at Ram Wools when we still lived in Winnipeg, so that's at least 10 years ago. I've got the original Scottish Campion yarn, in the right colors, except for the main color bracken, I'm substituting brass, and for the brass I'm substituting ginger. The net effect should be that for my vest, the light stripes at the top of the vest will be darker and the dark stripes lighter. I've already wound and labelled all my balls of yarn

photocopied my pattern so I can market it up, and even made a swatch of chart C

which is pretty close to the pattern stitch-wise, but a little less rows than the pattern row-wise. I knit an Alice Starmore cardigan once without paying too much attention to guage and sizing ahead of time and I wear it, but it's pretty big. This time I'd like it to fit a little better. The smallest size for this pattern is 43 inches so I'm going to reduce the front and back by 16 sts each (32 stitches in all, or about 4 inches). This should still be roomy, but not huge and has the added benefit that it makes each front 72 sts and the back 128 sts which are even multiples of the number of stitches in the charts (16 and 32).

So I'll park myself on the couch for the opening of the olympics tomorrow, cast on and cheer for the canadians as the fairisle magically grows in my hands.