Friday, December 30, 2005

Let the 2006 fun begin!!

In the last 4 weeks of 2005 I finished up my first pair of mittens and a toque! All the dirty deets can be ready here. Suffice to say these mittens really are the best thing in minus 0 degree weather. Soft and beautiful.

A gaggle of Socks finished on Boxing Day and ready to hit the mail today. I'm pretty sure they won't fit now that Christmas is done but they'll make spectacular handpuppets one day....

By the time Christmas Day came along I was dying to be knitting something that didn't involve feet or fitting someone else. Keeping in line with with my new year goal of making a sweater with sleeves that fit I have finished the back and half of the front of my Klaralund sweater in Noro. Man that stuff is dreamy although the mysterious stripe of pink at the bottom of the picture has me puzzled.

And got halfway through one pattern of my first intarsia work. Dear lord I don't know if I could love any baby enough to do this again - it's like weightlifting for the fingers...we'll see if it gets done for March. I'm loving the newness of it all right now but I think we know that by the last pattern of the blanket the speed with which I knit and the speed that time passes will be completely out of whack. It's pretty fun right now though.


A couple of friends are coming over for board games and booze tonight. Between the knitting and the board game fascination have I completely lost my hard living edge?

Tune in New Years Eve to find out!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Top 5 Knitterly Moments of 2005

As a prelude to the photo essay entitled "What I got done in the last 3 weeks of 2005" to be posted tonight here are my top five knitting moments from this year brought to you by the letter Zed.

New technique(s): Magic Loop, Felting, knitting on dpns (is that a technique?), Thrumming, drop spindle spinning

Favorite finished object: Thrummed Mittens (Fleece Artist - picture tonight)

Favorite knit-along: I'm kind of doing the Stashbusters and the Keplar but got distracted by Xmas knitting

Favorite shop: Lettuce Knit - and here's why. The Ladies of the Yarn here are spectacularly friendly and helpful. Megan evan gave me my intro to spinning lesson and Meagan and Laura can help you with *anything* knitterly.

Favorite tool: I'm not so uptight about the needles. I dig on anything with a point although I've been really enjoying not having to warm up wooden needles like I have to do for the metal ones.

Resolutions for 2006 - I've been thinking on this for a few weeks now as I tend to take resolutions a little too seriously.

- Knit a sweater *with* sleeves. I started the Klaralund when we were in the Ottawa Valley over Christmas. I feel hopeful that it is not going to turn out to be a garment made for someone 10 months overdue. Thanks to the Silent K for the heads up on the pattern.

- Learn more colour work techniques. I'm well into an intarsia baby blanket for a kid coming out the pipes in March - this MAY be enough time to finish the blanket...I'm not sure though my hands hurt at the end of two hours of knitting (picture tonight)

- Increase the hand knit sock quotient in my house for both me and J

- Improve the spinning so that the homespun is less....uneven.

- Knit a lace shawl. Specifically this one that my most awesome Secret Pal Heather hooked me up with. I'm currently practicing the pattern in Red Heart as I'm pretty sure trying it on lace weight merino first will make me want to stab my own eyes out in frustration.

I think that's it for me. Doable resolutions that allow space for distraction. Very excited about the new year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

No matter what god/ess you dig on...if at all

I hope that you were surrounded by loved ones, food and wine throughout December. These are my siblings together and loving it. Doesn't happen so often nowadays so when it does 4:00am comes quickly. I love these guys.

Jason and I have been in the Ottawa Valley for the past few days enjoying his family and their beautiful cabin. Fresh air is spectacular and so was the tobagganing...here's a teaser picture. I also knit compulsively and his mother took me on a yarn crawl. More on knitterly adventures tomorrow.

In the meantime here's J with our friend the Inukshuk at his parent's cabin. We wanted to tell everyone that it was a good spot to stop for a glass of wine.

J and I celebrate the delicate art of Christmas here in the Hendriks/Gemmill loveshack. This year we were on a "budget" and he still blew me out of the water. I didn't even know that some of this awesomeness existed.


My head explodes a little just looking at this picture. Here you see Marvin and Arthur Dent from the best scene in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - you know the one where the improbability drive turns the galaxy to yarn. THERE ARE TOYS FROM THAT SCENE! Be still my nerdy heart.

Speaking of hearts - do you see that drop spindle? It's a hand made from Steve at Kundert Wheels. How awesome a gift is that?! The next knit related gift is a recipe book for hand knit toys from which J has requested Squarey. I cannot wait to start on it for him.

All in all, if these four gifts where all I got for Xmas my head would still be exploded all over the wall but my brother got me all sorts of knit facilitating goodness as did my kniterific Mother in Law THANK YOU DEBBIE AND DAN.

Monday, December 19, 2005

War! On! Christmas!

It seems to me that there is a whole lot of anger at the way people are choosing to celebrate their personal holidays (the last before Easter - crap does that mean we'll have a War! on! Easter! too?).

Discourse involving threats of personal injury. Ridiculous. I thought religious freedom was one of the tag lines for why folks should immigrate to America and Canada...

When you get tired of the toxic debate come and join me in my santarchy - it's way more fun. I'm becoming a Santarchist so lock your door, hide your yarn and put away the Scotch - I'm giving the War! on! Christmas! the bird.

Updated: Apparently the media blew the Santarchy event all out of proportion - Check this out for some more meaningful reasons for debauchery...fun. Thanks for the website Joyce!

Friday, December 16, 2005

An open letter to the families

Dear Dad, Ma in Law, Siblings and friends ;

In a poorly worded entry two days ago I wrote about the definitive canadian boy making a date with another woman to go make out in the parking lot of an unspecified Tim Horton's.

This was not the man I married but the ex boyfriend of an unnamed friend of mine. There is no way the Man Boy we all know and love would do such a crazy thing for the following reasons:

a) He really digs me like an ol' soul record.
b) He prefers the hot chocolate from Second Cup with whipped cream
c) He hates the cold
d) He doesn't have access to a car.
e) I would rip his heart out of it's cavity and pull it out of his ass with my bare hand (sorry J but we both know I don't deal with rage well) and then I would let loose a stream of mockery so severe that he would develop a bad case of anorexia.

Now you should all realize that no hearts were broken in the revelation of this situation in fact I do believe that I and every woman I know have dated someone of this calibre and there is a time and a place for groping in the parking lot of Timmy Ho's. When you live at home in grade 10.

My girlfriend is a brilliant, classy, creative, ambitious woman who has since evolved to a maturity that often times is revolted by my...well, my turn of phrase and juvenile sense of humour. I love her for sharing this with me as it could possibly be the funniest thing I've ever heard.

No hearts nor animals were harmed in the making of this post.

Jen

Friday Random Ten

The Post Storm Calm Edition

1. Taj Mahal: She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride; Martin Scorese Presents...
2. Johnny Cash: Cocaine Blues; At Folsom Prison
3. Emmylou Harris: Michelangelo; Red Dirt Girl
4. Saint Etienne: Downey, CA; Sound of Water
5. Johnny Cash: Send A Picture of Mother; At Folsom Prison
6. The Bravery: Fearless; The Bravery
7. The Coctails: First Snowfall; A John Waters Christmas
8. Morcheeba: Coming Down Gently; Fragments of Freedom
9. Feist: Mushaboom; Let it Die
10. They Might Be Giants: Disappointing Show; They Got Lost

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I love blizzards

I realize that some of my love of snow storms is the anticipation of a snow day.

Yesterday my dear friend Marta arrived from Poland, and she thought we lived in a country with hot water ! HAH! Luckily she had the grace not lose her 10 hours travelled mind when I said that she couldn't have a shower until Thursday night. We love the zen of Marta.

When she walked through my front door she was greeted by the exact same scene as the last time we hung out. Bottles of wine, Miss Vickies, pizza and these characters:

Meet Carolyn (top), Melissa(bottom left) and Marta(bottom right) eleven years later and still just as debauched and insane. My manboy walked into the apartment after driving 3.5 hours from Ottawa and his head nearly exploded.

My darling Marta has a distinct lack of gristle on her bones so I wrapped her in my Alpaca shawl, put some hand knit socks on her feet and fed her chips. We headed out to the Phoenix to watch a spectacular all Canadian line up.

Actually we had all gone out to see Sarah Harmer 9 years ago when she was in the band Weeping Tile. I cracked out the album Cold Snap when we got home - it passed the test of time. About halfway through the Hip's set Marta's 10 hr journey and consequent jet lag smacked her in the ass so we headed out.

Not before I got a picture of my rocker posse in action. Seriously, these women have not aged a bit it's a bit frightening.

On our way out we bumped into Joe whose name took a vacation from my brain at the time. Hi Joe!

It was a great concert to go to with some great broads...man it's nice to have women like these in one's life. More shenanigans to come. Cross your fingers that work shuts down on Friday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You know he's a hoser when

you find his emails with another woman making dates TO GO GROPE IN THE TIM HORTON'S PARKING LOT.

You know it's Christmas when

you have loved ones coming to visit from POLAND. Marta comes tonight. I'm so excited to see my university roommate I could just explode! Which is what my hot water heater did yesterday.

I finally had to go to the gym to have a shower this morning - alas the gym can't help with the dishes from Christmas baking and the showers for guests.

Enbridge is supposed to come this afternoon to "assess" the damage and they aim to replace the heater tomorrow morning. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

So my thrummed mittens should be done by the time the second class rolls around. I'm so excited to have a) a pair of mittens since clearly I lost them all last winter and b) a pair of mittens that I made to fit my freakishly small hands!!

Pictures soon - I'm sure I'll be able to make up the distraction time on the Christmas knitting on Thursday.

Monday, December 12, 2005

She's a thrummer alright...

This weekend I went to the first of two of my "learn to thrum" classes at Lettuce Knit. It is the coolest way to make the warmest mittens ever and I'M IN LOVE WITH FLEECE. A photo essay:

My most dramatic cousin Maggie actually sat down for TEN MINUTES to help me wind my ball of Fleece Artist aran wool so that I could get the cuff of the mitten done before class - what a hero!!
The first lesson in thrumming is how to strip the fleece into smaller bundles of fibre then to use these to make the thrums. Thrums are what Krispy Kreme try to imitate with donuts - light fluffy luxurious rounds - see them next to my coffee?
I love them.

Then when you start to knit the thrums into your mitten you have an awkward thrum sausage for the first while - once you get past the thumb gusset you end up with the most beautiful, soft thrum sausage EVER.

And yes it is as warm and delightfully soft as it looks! So dreamy.

Onto the other spectacular part of my day (I've been thrumming at work :c) When I got home there was a GINORMOUS package at the door. Being Christmas and all I'm fairly careful that I not get a sneak preview of xmas gifts from my Manboy but when I looked at the box I realized it came from my already perfect Secret Pal.

Check out her blog she's been doing some wicked ass stuff in Mexico and it's her birthday today!

Heather clearly reads minds because when I was in Lettuce Knit on Sunday I was looking for exactly the pattern that she sent me in this package. It's obscenely spoily. That's right - the Leaf Lace Shawl by Fibretrends and enough Merino Lace weight TO KNIT IT OVER CHRISTMAS.

You can also see a dragon fly embroidery pattern, a needle case and the most perfect "works in progress basket" I've ever seen. What you can't see is a case to put my beautiful jeweled stitchmarkers in and a copy of At Knit's End.

The basket is already filling with my wips. It was my first Secret Pal cycle and while I sent a beautiful package and a subscription, Heather really set the bar high AND SHE GOT DISSED by her secret pal...BOO TO SLACKERS.

You know you have a problem when:

My PIC was a bit concerned when I told him I was thrumming (more on this later) under my desk while watching my computer think at work. He rewrote an AA quiz for my benefit/information. I embrace it and I suspect at least 75% of the knitters I know embrace it too....

1 - Have you ever decided to stop knitting for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?

Once but I got so tense and angry I started a sock to save my marriage.

2 - Do you wish people would mind their own business about your knitting-- stop telling you what to do?

I don't see what's wrong with knitting a couple of rows on the TTC while waiting for a train or if I decide to fold in a poker hand...I could knit a whole pair of socks if I used all of these wasted minutes to knit...

3 - Have you ever switched from one project to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting bored?

What's your point? Two pairs of socks, a pair of thrummed mittens, flower basket shawl, sweater and a baby blanket keeps me from getting carpal tunnel syndrome

4 - Have you had to have an eye-opener upon a wild night of knitting during the past year?

If by eye opener you mean...I learned how to spin fleece...yes I did!

5 - Do you envy people who can knit without getting into trouble?

Are you kidding me?!?! If it wasn't for the 25 year commitment of offspring I'd be on permanent mat leave...or a kept woman to an impotent old man

6 - Have you had problems connected with knitting during the past year?

Once. But it's only because the kid silk haze wasn't ready to commit to lace yet. No one likes to be rushed and once we talked it through...our relationship was stronger than before the fight.

Edited to Add: I misread this question the first time to read "Have you had problems connecTING with knitting during the past year?" does that misunderstanding count?

7 - Has your knitting caused trouble at home?

ummm...no?

8 - Do you ever try to get "extra" projects at a knit gathering because you do not get enough?

Well, I do like to bring a number of different projects to the Stitch and Bitches mostly as a boredom prevention. If a cashmere skein or two happen to get thrown in the mix then I graciously accept defeat.

9 - Do you tell yourself you can stop knitting any time you want to, even though you keep getting buying more wool when you don't mean to?

Why would I want to stop.

10 - Have you missed days of work or school because of knitting?

Um...no..

11 - Do you have "blackouts"?

Please see #6

12 - Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not knit?

I've never even considered it. I lived a life without knitting and it was ok but WITH the knitting my life has gotten more full, more rich (in comfort and warmth) and MORE creative.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yarn Ho's Unite

On Wednesday night the planets aligned and my board meeting was cancelled thus providing a window in time that I might go to this event. I was giddy to be in a room of knitters ever since my first DKC meeting I've become a stitch 'n bitch junkie.

Lady Marmalade met me after my weight watchers meeting (up 1.8 lbs by the way - Happy Holidays) and we trekked on over to the Textile Museum of Canada. It's a very sweet little museum and I recommend torontoites to go and check'er out. I found information on the Grenfell Mission work that my Newfoundland family had given my PIC and I this summer.

Stephanie read from her second book and spoke on the joy and pain of Christmas knitting which was comforting to know that I am not alone in my insanity. Afterwards we went out for a celebratory pint where the merits of knitting shahsah mirrors to gloves and mittens was discussed - leading to the obvious discussion of superhero costumes.

The nemesis: The Soul Grabber (imagine shah shah mirrors on the end of those fingers)

The Heroine: Sarcasto! (the shah shah mirrors deflect sarcasm and insults)


And of course because everyone there has deep rooted lust for cashmere - there was yarn worship:

Friday Random Ten

Friday Random Ten: The Memories of Snow Days Gone By Edition:

1. Leon Redbone: If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight), Whistling in the Wind
2. Rheostatics: Shaved Head, Whale Music
3. Kathleen Edwards: Somewhere Else, Back To Me
4. The Arcade Fire: In the Backseat, Funeral
5. Jane's Addiction: No One's Leaving, Ritual de lo Habitual
6. Fat Daddy: Fat Daddy, A John Water's Christmas
7. Great lake Swimmers: Long Into The Evening, Bodies and Minds
8. The Killers: All These Things That I've Done, Hot Fuss
9. The Magnetic Fields: Absolutely Cuckoo, 69 Love Songs Vol. 1
10. Les Nubians: Sourire, Princesses Nubiennes

WEEEEE HOOOOO!!!

Quick post on my way to work...

Is there anything better than waking up to this scene for the first time of the season?

Man, I just love the first snowfall of the season until this point winter is just a dry hump of a season. Wet and cold and there is no way to have fun in it until the snow comes. Also, I know that in 4 months my sense of joy and celebration will be replaced by the distinct realization THAT WINTER WILL NEVER END.

Celebrate now ye hearty Canadians!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Mistress of the Masters - Come take up your hats!

My youngest sister came to visit us on Tuesday night on her way to Montreal for a conjugal visit. Liz is doing her Masters degree in renewable natural resource management - yes she is a smarty pants and teasing her is one of my favourite things in the world

I'm amazed at what she does. She writes things like abstracts, proposals, thesis' and uses HUGE WORDS. Sometimes in the middle of an overdue abstract...she takes a nap BECAUSE HER HUGE BRAIN gets tired...

When Liz was 6 or 7 years old we moved to Northern Ontario. Living in the middle of the Canadian Shield in a small town may seem...well hellish to city folk but it affords educational luxuries that would never happen in Toronto. For instance, science in grades 1 through 8 usually involved regular ponding trips in the Spring. You can experience ponding virtually here. (you need to have Shockwave installed) While it's not nearly as fun as tromping around big puddles in rubber boots catching bugs but it gives you an idea.

Liz developed a deep and apparently lasting obsession with water, bugs and plant life and how in each pond there was an entire ecosystem. It was SO MUCH FUN TO TEASE HER. Anyway I was at the museum of Textiles last night and they have a spectacular bug exhibit on. I thought of her:

This is what the patterns and words are made of!

Cool, eh?! I'll tell y'all why I was nerding out at the Textile Museum later...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I reign semi-victorious

Hey-o! I finished three delightful love filled Christmas gifts yesterday. Yes I am breathing a little easier although I still have 4 more to go and I just realized that there's only 19 more days to go. I can't put the third pic up yet....

Because the giftee's often frequent this interweb location I will only leave teaser pics here. This was my favourite to knit - Regia 4 ply, Canadian Colours. Why Canadian colours? I have know idea although I think it's because these colors would get any winter worn Canuck through the interminable February/March desert of sun and colour.


It makes me happy just to see the colours. Are all y'all curious? Well you'll have to wait until January to see.

And here:

Don't the colours just reak of BANTAM HOCKEY? Just looking at them make me think of getting my foot caught in those damned bleacher seats in poorly heated arena's watching Tim Bits Hockey players running amok on the ice while getting coked up on Timmy Ho's Double Double...mmm good.

I'm off to this tonight and am giddy with anticipation to be in a room full of chronic, stressed out and scattered knitters. If you're not any one of these things right now then you have drugs/knitting slaves that you need to share. 'tis the season!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Holy Shit. I forgot what today was....

Any time anyone has ever mocked or criticized the gun control laws in Canada I think of December 6th, 1989.

"The assailant used a semi-automatic military weapon, which he owned legally despite a history of antisocial behaviour. After committing suicide, he was identified only after police conducted a store-by-store search in the Montreal area to see who had recently sold the rifle, because guns were not registered except at the point of sale."

My sister is an engineer and almost all of my female role models growing up in Northern Canada were engineers, foresters or geologists. They all worked in male dominated fields. This shit freaks me out.

The women killed in Montreal were targeted by an angry angry man on the sole merit of their uteruses (uteri?) and their ambition. Now that shit is fucked up.

Take a minute today and thank god, goddess, wool whatever higher being you need to that we have gun control.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Quintessentially Canadian

Is there anything more Canadian than listening to CBC's theme song in the dark at 7:00am in the winter?

It makes me think of our kitchens in Northern BC, Northern Ontario and New Brunswick - my mom with a pot of coffee brewing and one of her girlfriends over (how early did these women wake up?!?!) as we cram breakfast in our winter exhausted faces. People talk about regionalism being the achilles heel of Canadian culture are missing out.

More music, smell induced memories to come along with (I'm sure) Christmas finished objects pictures.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Power of the Fat

I was out for brunch last weekend with two of my oldest girlfriends. I lived with both of them for over two years each at different times in my life and they had gone to high school together. These two women have seen me date *a lot of men* . Good men, bad toxic men, a couple of women - I took comparison shopping very seriously.

My grandmother (wife of 63 years) told me that the secret to finding the right PIC (Partner In Crime) was to kiss as many as possible. Who was I to argue?

After moving to Toronto in my twenties I met the second in a series of I think SIX MEN NAMED CHRIS. It just happened that way. The last was a buddhist in Halifax (where I moved to escape Chris #2) and the first was a programmer I dated in the office.

The subject of weight came up over a caesar after a gym date and how I've finally lost the 10 lbs that I've been gunning towards for close to 10 months now.

One of my girlfriends, a fiery urban copywriter, said something along the lines of...well you look better with the 30 lbs than you did while you were dating Chris #2 in the late nineties. We call those years, the years of scrawn. The ironic thing is that Chris #2's only life goal at that time was to party all the time and to become the first obese vegetarian. Man, that dude could put back the tofukey. It was gross.

We came up with the theory of the Power of the Fat. This was when Ally McSqueal and the Practise was on tv. The theory stood simply with the logic that people need a bit of chub in order to kick ass. Ass at the time being, bad tv court cases, bad press and bad boyfriends. Scrawny chicks just wouldn't cut the mustard when things got tough. This is why Ally McSqueal was always whining and Lara Flynn Boyle (the prosecutor on the Practice) couldn't win a case.

All this to say, that I never saw myself as skinny at the time but I was so busy getting jerked around by this guy I didn't know where up was. Apparently, this is a fairly normal reaction to bad relationships and as such my girls were prepping for an intervention.

Sure I'm 20 lbs heavier but I've never been happier - my breasts are spectacular, I've discovered the joys of knitting and the community that surrounds it, I've met my Partner In Crime (PIC), I've rediscovered writing and have never been more happy or comfortable with my body and self image.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Best morning voice to date

Leon Redbone. Milky goodness.

When you combine Leon with Zooey "Hotness" Deschanel singing Baby It's Cold Outside. You have a great first song of a winter day. Yeah, I know. It's from the Elf soundtrack but MAN it makes waking up and forcing yourself to go to work on a cold day...just a little easier.

I'm still riding the warm fuzziness.