Friday, December 31, 2004

The last day of the year

...and I am being cynical about it. I don't believe in "new year's resolutions" - if you don't make them you don't have to stop one day and think about if you kept up with what you were making up on December 31st of last year. What the new year brings is confusion when writing a date, it always takes me a while to remember that it is a different year now. For me this is kind of one day like all the others, mainly because there will be no fireworks. Fireworks ring in the new year in Germany and since living on the North-American continent I have been missing this tradition. I never bought fireworks myself, we just went outside and watched it. Last year it was actually past twelve when we realized, hey, the new year is here.

A good friend of mine died this year, he was someone who did not believe in regrets about ones actions or missed opportunities. Instead he would go and try to do better in the future. Not that he needed a lot of improvement, he was a great guy and I miss him a lot. I haven't come to the point of no regrets yet but I am working on it. I also know I could do a lot better in some areas of my life and that I have to change others. But I don't need January 1st to start doing this. I just have to remind myself everyday that it is neccessary to do ones best so that there will be no possibility of feeling regretful. I still have a long way to go.

What I want to say is: If you think you have to change things in your life that you're not happy about at the beginning of a new year, go ahead, use January 1st your best way possible. But don't hesitate to keep changing in the ongoing year either, don't waste your time waiting for appropriate dates to begin with changes, they are good and we need them.

When I started writing this post I didn't think it would turn out this way, especially since it feels now as if I am stating the obvious - at least to me.

Nonetheless and without any cynic intentions: I wish you the best and all the happiness you can get for the new year!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Just stole this...

...from Deawn

You Are From Venus

You love all forms of beauty. You love dressing up and anything luxurious.
A social butterfly, you're incredibly popular and a great host.
You're known for your fairness and affection. And as a friend to all.
Careful though! Your desire to please may make you too willing to conform.
Be yourself. Focus on what matters to you. You'll be all the more popular for it.

I think those quizzes are fun - though wouldn't rely on the outcome...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Some more details

Jo is right to ask questions. I haven't been too explicit about anything but the number of stitches....

It's the sock on the last picture I posted you have to guess the stitches from, the orange, green, purple, pink and blue striped one. No hint on the size, 'cause it would be too easy then!

The contest will end on Sunday January 2nd - that should leave enough time for everyone to leave their guess.

One stitch at a time

Ever wondered how many stitches one has to knit till the garment is finished? I "counted" mine of the recent sock (okay, so I used a calculator). I was amazed how many it turned out to be.

What do you think?

a) 11.538 sts
b) 12.022 sts
c) 12.884 sts

Leave a comment with your pick to win this:

A starter kit for socks in form of "Fortissima Colori Mexico", if you will. It's fun to knit with this yarn, the socks will grow in now time.

If there should be more than one correct answer I will draw the winner the oldfashioned way: names written on a piece of paper and hubby will pick with his eyes closed.

Good luck!

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments - Lee Ann, the sweet potatoes were a hit! Lauren, glad to have had you here, hope you'll be back.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Still in "sock-mode"

I knew it. Once I start knitting socks, I will go on. Because it's so easy and you're rewarded quickly with a FO. So here's another one of a pair:

And of course I know enough people who love to get them, even though Christmas is over.

Talking about Christmas: My knitted gifts were well received, at least the ones I gave away here in Montreal. My packages to Germany haven't arrived yet.

I love it when the recipient tries the knitting on at once - everyone did so. Do you remember the too-small Zara-Shedir? I gave it to two year old Fiona, she put it on and the hat wouldn't come off all evening though it must have been quite hot wearing it. I was thrilled and her Mom, too, cause Fiona won't wear anything at the moment that is NOT PINK - well, except for the hat. Yay! (I totally understand, who could resist the softness of Zara?? - I hope to post a picture in the near future, I forgot my camera again so I will have to rely on the kindness of anyone who took a pic of her.)

The celtic cap plus scarf were also a big hit with Judy. And the socks - I am always happy when they fit, Peter was, too.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

"One ring to bind them all"

Call me Sauron. Or Gollum. I might be not as evil but I am just as desperately looking for my ring. It might have been the marathon viewing of "Lord of the Rings" - the extended versions, or it might have been my own stupidity that made me lose it. My ring, that is. It looks exactly like this one:

I don't know when, where or how I lost it. And that's where I stand and pull my hair. If I had done something like dropping it in the elevator shaft, you know, in between the two doors of an elevator (have done so with a key and a glove) I at least wouldn't have to go around and ask myself those useless questions: when did I see it last? where could I have put it? etc. etc. Drives you nuts. Really.

I don't have a clue where it is gone. It may have developed its own agenda after seeing the movies and thinking about its possibilities in life. I am sad, upset and angry, angry that I am so attached to a mere thing, a thing that makes me desperately look in every nook and cranny in our apartment and be disappointed when I - of course - find nothing. Should you cross its path please say 'hello' and ask if it considers coming back to me - my precious!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas everyone!

The socks are finished, the hat and scarf are wrapped - I have been trying to post all day but blogger wasn't cooperating.

I am contributing to dinner with "Lee Ann's sweet potatoes" (Lee Ann's potatoes because she told me how to make them, thanks again!), they are in the oven right now. I am a bit on the last minute thing, but then I always am, so no panic here.

I hope y'all have a great time, jingle all the way...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

One last Christmas gift - I think

Socks from variegated yarn. Easy as pie. And fast. They should be done till Saturday.

This year we are actually invited to a Christmas Day dinner - I am really looking forward to it because the last three years we had very quiet holidays, just my hubby and me. He doesn't mind but I am used to have family around on Christmas, and in two days I will have "relatives on loan". And a huge turkey dinner, too. YAY!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Finished Celtic cap and matching scarf

And all in variegated yarn. Who would've thought.

The yarn is 100% Merino "Muskoka" from Berella - I had it in my stash, I think it is discontinued, the colourway is "jewel tones".

Monday, December 20, 2004

Canadian winters, eh?

Minus 25°C at 8 a.m. this morning, with windchill -39°. And more snow on Wednesday, but warmer Temperatures. Thank goodness.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Courage what you need when you bragged that you will model your hat and then while taking photos you get to the "crap, what was I thinking"...

Yup, definitely: WHAT WAS I THINKING???

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Once again...

...I don't heed what I said, once again I have thrown a principle over board and once again I haven't paid enough attention to what I do:

I, who was of the opinion that cables are "wasted" on variegated yarn, am knitting the Celtic Cap with yarn I had in my stash and which is variegated. Actually, it doesn't look half bad and one can see the cables pretty well.

I find that cabling instructions and my interpretion of said instructions don't mix. I frequently do it in the wrong direction, i.e. cabling in front instead of back and vice versa. Now, I have discovered that "oops, I did it again" and I am not up to frogging. It's not that I did one cable wrong, I did it all of them wrong. So one could argue: hey, it was supposed to go this way....whatever. I won't frog, that's it.

Apart from that you might have thought that there is not much knitting going on - wrong. I made another Celtic Cap for myself and I even decided to model it myself on the photo because it turned out to be a hat I don't mind wearing (well, don't mind too much). I wear it differently than intended 'cause that's what I do. I tweak things to make them mine. I had a picot edge in mind and when I was finished I tried the cap on before fixing the rim. I like it rolled and it gives it the little bit of extra room I prefer. I still like the picot edge - just not on me. The cap is big, my gauge check was sloppy, but it turns out that's a good thing. Will post picture as soon as I've made it.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Cookie exchange, Christmas Party and TV - part 2

As I promised yesterday here now comes the story of how cookies, knitting and TV go together at a Christmas party.

First of all let me thank Svetlana, the nice lady who owns Mouliné Yarns and prepared a buffet to die for (well, almost). So here's a big Thank you!

I arrived a bit earlier than 7 p.m. but I had needs to attend to: a new 4 mm circ and I wanted some yarn - you know how it is, and because I thought I could help Svetlana a bit (best intentions, got distracted during everything I started, was not good help) I got my needles but never came to the yarn part because there was a journalist with a TV camera (I cannot remember his name, so sorry!) strolling around the shop, interviewing people...see, the CBC show "Culture shock" called our LYSO and asked if they could do a feature about the "new popularity of knitting" (or similar to that), she agreed and the date was set. I understand that there are a lot more people who knit than even five years ago, what I don't really understand is why. And that's what I got asked later by him, amongst other things. How confusing, especially when he holds a camera and you don't know if it's turned on or not.

Back to his question. It seems that the other interviewees in another large Canadian city insisted that a certain book started this new interest in knitting. I won't say which one, but I couldn't disagree more. One book cannot start a hype about knitting, it may augment it, that's it. You may have figured that I don't especially like this book, but I am entitled to my own taste and to say so. (Oh, BTW, anything you will read is MY opinion, so if yours differs please don't get upset but inform me of yours in the comment section.)

I remember reading somewhere something about how knitting was picked up more and more after 9/11 because people had to cope with what happened and one effect seemed to be that they were "going back to basics". Knitting has been around for a long time, I can see how one would describe it at a basic thing. And, the repetition of the movement can be calming and your mind can wander while creating something new. This is one reason I kind of understand.

Yesterday I said that another reason for the popularity of knitting might also be that a lot of celebrities claim to knit, or even "get caught" knitting. Ah, well, I never was one of the people who needed/wanted to do something because somebody famous was doing it, but then there are the easily impressed masses who want to do what their favourite actor/actress seemingly does, too. I have been knitting since I was five - knitting for me is more like the need to eat and sleep, and when it's overdone it can have similar bad effects. I only can try to understand what knitting is for people who take it on because it's hip to do so. Compliment to those who find a true pleasure in the craft, stay with it and go on to projects like sweaters, hats or socks after their initial garter-stitch-scarf-in-a-novelty-yarn - of course with written instructions.

The friendly journalist was asking me about blogs, too. If blogs contributed to the popularity of knitting. At this I stumbled a bit because I don't think that people who accidentally discover a knitting blog will start knitting, I rather think they will start blogging because it's such an easy medium to let one self and what one does be known. There are about 600 knitting bloggers in North America (V. whispered that fact to me) - I repeated this loudly and almost instantly felt a bit bad because knitting isn't only popular in North America, but in Europe, Australia even Asia, too. And a pretty number of the blogs listed in rings created by American bloggers are from other continents - so it makes me wonder if a blog can be attributed to a country, I mean, it's the internet and they are "out there". These 600 mentioned blogs might be the ones written in English, but there a lots more in other languages. This had to be said because before I started blogging I considered doing it in either English or German, I went for English because I figured more people would be able to understand it and threrefor: read it.

Let it be known that I don't mind the popularity of knitting. I mind the hype about it. I can't go on and on about the scarf someone wore in one or the other movie, I won't write to anyone to find out what yarn was used and I won't go gaga about any actress who knits in a film, I note it and find it amusing. It makes me happy that knitting is (once again) considered worth doing, and that one can do it in public without being considered hopelessly old-fashioned.

For now I don't know when the feature about knitting will be broadcasted, I figure some time early next year. I am keen on seeing what they have done with bits and pieces of the interviews and once I find out the airing date I will let you know.

On to things that are lighter to digest: cookies!
We also had our cookie-exchange, my first one but I hope to repeat it.

Here goes the loot:

Black and white cookies (chocolate and almond) from Véronik
Gingerbread men from Svetlana
Snickerdoodles (love the name! and they came in a pretty tin box, too) from Deawn
Pecan Macaroons (I think) from Margaret
Orange Nut Biscotti from Lee Ann

Once I have tried them all I will let you know that they tasted as deliciously as they look...

I mentioned the buffet Svetlana put up, didn't I? Buffets are great, you go and pick what you want - repeatedly so. The bad thing about buffets and me is: I can't seem to grasp the amount of food I am really eating because you get to eat tiny sandwiches and filled things and then you feel really full and say to yourself: but I only tried this and this and this and you realize that it was indeed a lot.

Oh, one thing I have to mention that was not buffetstyle but homemade by Reina (I hope I spell the name correctly): FLAN. It was heavenly. You know, I like (ahem, love) food, but I rarely attribute adjectives like this to any prepared dish, I have to do so with Reina's FLAN. FLAN because it deserves to be shouted, it was soo delicious...ok, will stop now.

I say everyone who was there had a great time - the journalist could be spotted even among the camera shy people (right, Jo?) after he was done with his work and I say there's hardly anything better than a X-mas party in a yarn store with friends, good food and yarn to fondle, buy, knit...

To all the people who were there and feel that I omitted something important, go on, tell me and I will make sure to mention it on my next post.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Cookie exchange, Christmas Party and TV - part 1

Just got home from an excellent Christmas party. Never had anything like it before, 'cause it involved: knitting, a TV-Camera, a cookie exchange and of course lots of food!

I bet you want to know how all of the above goes together? Well, I am really tired and I guess you'll have to wait till tomorrow...

One thing though: I want to knit something with "Silky Wool" from Elsebeth Lavold - I saw and touched a sweater Margaret knitted tonight and it's just b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l, soft and the fabric is just right, not too thick and not too thin...comes to mind: "I wants it, my precious!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Got hip?

You figure something is seriously amiss when you walk to the bus-stop, your left hip is hurting like hell and you wish you could exchange it for a new one. WTF?? I am 34 years old, the hip I have should do just fine, thank you very much! So for now I am going to blame it on the cold weather and keep with Seneca: "Scorn pain. Either it goes away or you do."

Monday, December 13, 2004

FO alert - Henry-socks!

I just finished and modeled them:

Oy, cookies!

Don't know where the "oy" came from, but here are some of the cookies for the cookie-swap I'm in:

I have only about 20 done but I thought I'd share. Please don't ask about finishing socks etc. - knitting isn't much of an option when you have three batches of these to make. By the way, here's the tongue-twister of a name (at least for native English-speakers): Hildabrötchen. They are my absolute favourite Christmas-cookies - hope my fellow swappers will like them, too.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

No sock, but Shedir

So much for lightly thrown out remarks about sock finishing...we got invited last night and so I didn't finish the Henry-sock. In lieu of a finished sock here the picture of the Zara Shedir.

That's my big head modeling the hat. I sincerely dislike being photographed and even more so when the picture is supposed to go on my blog - that's why I took a picture of Rolf wearing Shedir and quickly decided against posting it, but now just for the fun of it here it is anyhow:

I am sorry to say that I married Egg-head, indeed. No matter what angle I tried I couldn't make it look evenly rounded. Should I feel bad about exposing him like that to the world? Nah, he knows I love him anyways...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

We've been letting it snow for a whole night....look:

And it still does, BTW (I'd say we are at 20 cm by now - they keep clearing so it's hard to say). I put up our sorry excuse for a Christmas-tree yesterday (plastic, yuck!) and I must say once it's dressed it's just half as ghastly. Nothing better than a real tree, but I truly wouldn't know where to put it.

There's no picture but am happy to report that the second Henry-sock is progressed past the heel, the possibility of getting a FO today is very high.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Of ice-rain, story telling and a ride home

We had a nice come-together last night...I am glad I braved the icy rain and took the bus to the café where we were meeting. When I arrived there was story telling going on and the proprietors made us move from next to the event to the front of the café. Apparently our excitement about having another knitter's meeting was expressed in too loud voices thus disturbing the story listeners. I bet we would have shut up if the story had been about any knitting related topic but from the bits and pieces I heard it was not involving yarn and pointy sticks.

Jo worked on the scarf with the hearts of the knitty surprise issue, cleverly combining purple Highland Wool with a variegated wool (it looked great and made me think that I would have never picked that combination and then: why not?) Deawn stabbed her yarn with incredibly big wooden needles (I couldn't supress images of Buffy and her vampire killing "Mr. Pointy" - no offense Deawn, my dear!) into a scarf (I was much too intrigued by her tools to pay attention to the outcome but looking at the pictures of her blog I am sure it will be pretty), Véronik was working on one of her designs (when you know her work you know it can't be other than beautiful), Alison is still on that gorgeously soft blue sweater and Molly-Ann brought her "Kool-aid-fair-isle" (she dyed yellow wool with different colours, not only are they lovely but also go so well together). No, I wasn't working on the second sock but tried to figure out the armhole decreases on my cardi.

The very best thing of the evening though was the ride home Carl and Jo gave me - I was and am really thankful that I didn't have to go out into and onto that dangerous element called rain turned ice again.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Half a pair

The first "Henry"-sock is done. I started with a tubular cast-on and continued in a wide rib-pattern. Ribs provide a snug fit and the only thing I don't like about them is that the finished sock looks distorted because the purl stitches "vanish".

Off now to start the second, remember: I still have to send them to B.C. and Canada Post is veeery busy at the moment.

Monday, December 06, 2004


That's what the 6th of December is called in Germany. And one gets little presents and chocolate and Lebkuchen. Ah, how I miss that.

The sock is coming along nicely - I am almost at the toe. Tonight our apartment seems a bit chilly and I don't knit well with cold hands. The reason why I haven't posted a picture of the Zara (mini)Shedir yet is that I haven't woven in the ends...

Kitty of that 70s show was wearing a sweater tonight that reminded me a lot of the "Klaralund"-sweater one sees quite frequently at the moment. Not only was it constructed the same way, it was also striped. What a coincidence...

The new knitty is out and I must say I disagree with the "cute womb". If "because we can" cuts it for you, go ahead, knit one. I am partial to Belle Epoque and am happy for everyone who finds something he (he? that's a bit of German grammar sneaking in) likes amongst all the other patterns.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Socks for Henry

Yesterday I remembered that I promised to knit socks for my uncle in Kamloops. For Christmas, of course. OOOOps. Have to get going on this one, so I cast on and will be knitting quite boring ribbed socks. Am saying: the socks will be nice, knitting rib is boring!

My second Shedir is finished. I cut one pattern repeat because the last one was too big - guess what? This one is the perfect child-size. Brilliant. It was meant to be for an adult. Even if I find the time to knit another one, I really can't imagine myself knitting a Shedir again. I need change and am sure I will find another pretty hat pattern soon. Yeah, yeah, I know there are lots out there, but I am picky when it comes to hats! Come to think of this: I draw my hat for Jo who is determined to knit 12 hats till X-mas (or maybe new years eve). You go girl!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Friday, again?!

And I am feeling a bit less cranky. Though I seem to get nothing done. I wish I could snap my fingers like Mary Poppins, I wouldn't sing though, 'cause I am not really good at it.

Christmas is only three weeks away and I couldn't care less. When I was younger I couldn't wait to get up every day - starting with december 1st. My Mom used to make us advent-calendars stuffed with really cool things. Barbie clothes she knitted, the matching shoes, chocolate of course, too. I've been getting advent-calendars from my Mom as long as I can think - this year, too. Maybe looking at it and opening one little door after another each day will finally get me in the right mood.

Cute, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


That's what I am having. A knitting slump. After my last enthusiastic post I fell into a hole. I worked on the back of my cardi and I am almost at the armhole shaping, but somehow it doesn't appeal to me to go on. At least at the moment. I have to finish the Zara Shedir too, and am not up to it.

Maybe I can blame it on the weather. We Montrealers woke up to this this morning:

Nice, wet, slushy snow that wouldn't stay because it is not cold enough and instead inundated the streets, which gave me wet feet. Luckily I live in Westmount and they seem to spend an awful lot of money on maintenance so the nuisance is getting removed at this moment.

And if you're thinking "man, she's in a crappy mood today!" you're absolutely right.

"Thou shalt not blog when you are having a bad day!" - will try to think of this next time!

3 p.m.: I cut my hair. That's what happens when I go stir-crazy and don't know what else to do. It was all about the same length and I didn't like it. So I cut it. Now I do like it. Here's a really bad picture and when you haven't seen me before you won't know what I am talking about. The others might.

Please ignore the fact that I look like I am possessed...taking pictures of one self is not as easy as it sounds.