Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

The holiday season has been busy which means that there hasn't been much time for knitting. I did get one sleeve finished on Jack (Rowan Tweed).

Mom and Dad left three days before Christmas for Myrtle Beach. Dad got to golf on Christmas day-we were very jealous. Beth and I tried to fly down on Saturday afternoon and come back on Monday but the flight times didn't work out. Mom does much better in the warm weather so we urged them to leave as soon as they could. She actually goes out of the house there-better than being inside every day here. She will call home and tell us that she is in the PT Cruiser with the top down-nice when it is snowing here.
We had Christmas dinner with our friends John and Jen and their families on Christmas eve. Christmas day I went to my parent's best friends for dinner-Beth was in bed with the flu.
The store was busy during the week. Lots of people visiting from out of town and many people are off work giving them time to come and browse. Many people finished their Christmas knitting and they wanted something new for the new year.
I started to feel crummy on Wednesday night and actually went to the doctors on Thursday afternoon. I don't do doctors so this tells you that I really was sick. I have bronchitis, an ear infection, sinus infection and possible a kidney stone. Beth worked for me on Thursday (this will cost alot because she hates working in the yarn store) and Cathy worked yesterday and today. I am only sleeping a couple of hours a night (coughing too much) so I don't have much energy but I did get the urge to knit this afternoon. I am starting a new sweater-you know that working on something old doesn't inspire you when you feel like crap. It is from Sirdar book 295 and I am using Jamieson's Shetland Heather in Pippin. Working on the sleeves-not too much thinking. I won't be going partying tonight but there is great tv. Canada vs US in World Junior hockey, the Leafs are on as well as an NFL game.

The good news is that there is just over 2 weeks until warm weather. We (Beth, Bev and I) are going to a yarn trade show in San Diego. Unfortunately you can't fly directly to San Diego from Toronto which means that we have to go through LA. Didn't want to do that so we are going through Vegas. We have 2 days before San Diego (staying at Treasure Island) and 2 days after (staying at Bellagio). Nothing like a few days in Vegas to make someone feel better. San Diego will be fun as well. Our friend, Oliver, from New Zealand will be there. We were in New Zealand in February for his wedding and we just found out that his wife is pregnant.

Have a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Minneapolis is bloody cold!!!

Just got home from our shopping trip. We had the most amazing time. I don't think I will be complaining about cold weather here anymore. You had to be bundled up any time you went outside. We would wait in the hotel for the shuttle, run out and get on, run into the mall and do the reverse going back to the hotel. You still had to have on a ski jacket-it is that cold.

We left Toronto at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, arrived in Minneapolis at 6:30 their time and we were at the Mall of America that night. Stopped at the hotel bar for a drink before retiring for the night. They charged us $8.50 for a Kahlua and milk. Unbelievable. We shopped on Saturday from 10am until 9pm. Luckily Nordstroms had a bag check. We were continually going back adding more bags. Beth and I had to buy a suitcase to get our purchases home. Bev bought us a bottle of Kahlua ($19) and a carton of milk so we had drinks in the room and played cards before bed. Sunday morning Beth and I decided to go to the football game (Pittsburgh vs Minnesota) The young girl working at the desk of our hotel suggested taking the train. It left from the mall and dropped us off right at the stadium. Didn't have tickets but there were lots of people scalping. The seats were okay-second deck but the game was awful. Left in the third quarter to beat the crowds to the train. Dinner was at The Cheesecake Factory. That was a bit disappointing-they took my favorite thing off the menu so I had to try something new. It was good but not what I had been dreaming about. More cards before bed. We were going to go to the casino but it was a $50 cab ride each way and then we would lose more money there. Back to the mall Monday morning-the stores opened at 8am. Because the mall is so big it never felt like there were crowds. So much better than shopping here.

The shoe shopping didn't turn out as good as I would have liked. Did get 2 pairs of UGG slippers/slip on shoes. You can wear them outdoors but I will be wearing them around the house-very warm (one pair is on my feet right now). This is DSW (Discount Shoe Warehouse). It is the size of a grocery store filled with rows and rows of shoes. It takes quite a while to walk the aisles and trying on shoes.

The mall is phenominal. It is a huge square with a major department store on each corner. There are 3 levels of stores. My map was quite beat up by the time I got home. The centre of the mall is an amusement park. Lots of rides for kids and adults. Great place for the family-mom can shop while dad takes the kids on the rides.

I didn't have time to knit. Did pull out my sleeve and do one row but there were so many better things to do.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I hate snow!!

It is almost 4am and I have been up for an hour. We are supposed to be flying to Minneapolis this morning but Air Canada called at 3 to tell us that our flight was cancelled. They have booked us on the only other flight today at 4:30 this afternoon. One small problem-I have to get in touch with Bev and Lisa. Do I want to call them at 3am? I decided to let them have as much sleep as possible so I am waiting until around 5 when we would have been getting ready to go to the airport. Pain in the ass.

I like to have knitting with me when I travel. It usually doesn't come out of my suitcase but I want to have it there just in case. Now my decision-what do I take? My Sally Melville jacket is almost done. If I take the last front then I have to take the other one to make sure that they match. This takes up too much room so strike that one. I can take a scarf but I vowed that I wouldn't knit another one so strike that. I could start a new project but if I don't do much kntting then I have yet another started sweater in a bag. Jack was the final answer. I am going to take the sleeves. Got one cast on last night, the ribbing done and started into the pattern. Of course, the chart is wrong so I had to sit down and figure it out from the picture. There is a left and right sleeve-sewn into the sweater opposite of the charts. Wanted to make sure that I get the cables going in the right direction. One sleeve goes front and the other back but they are both going back in the pattern. I haven't shown a picture of the finished sweater so here it is.

I do have the camera packed and hopefully will have some pictures next week from the mall. Might even get my Christmas shopping done while there.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Finally finished!

The store was a mess today but I put on blinders and sat down to finally finish my Swing Coat. In the pattern there is one button at the top of the jacket to hold it closed. I decided to leave this off and close the jacket with a Knit Stick from Trendsetter. This way I can change it as my mood changes-also the stick can be placed further down should I choose.

Beth, Bev, Bev's daughter in-law Lisa and I are leaving for Minneapolis, MN on Friday morning. Look out Mall of America. I have an empty suitcase ready to fill. The weather forecast is for cold and snow. The highs are from -6C to -10C and the lows from -11C to -16C. Unfortunately I no longer have a ski jacket (my father wore it when he and Mom went on their Alaskan cruise and it is covered in paint-a really long story) so I had to go out today and buy a new one. $200 before I even get on the plane. Not much planned other than shopping. Maybe a visit to the nearby casino. Beth and I hope to get to the Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness for a dome.

Speaking of football, our Fantasy Football is now in playoffs. We won our first match and play again this weekend. If we can pull out a win we are in the finals. Not too bad for a couple of girls.

Tonight was my last knitting lesson for the year. Not much knitting was done-Susan and Cathy both brought baking so we had a small party. A little different from my Thursday night class. Sparkling apple cider was served.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Late night rambling

Sometimes I really hate my computer. I work with Netscape because Internet Explorer won't work on my computer. Goes back to a virus and now nothing makes it work. Today Netscape decided to delete all my bookmarked pages. Pain in the ass!! I have spent the last hour rebookmarking important pages (banking, etc).

I did spent a bit of time (about 10 rows) knitting today. It was one of those days when my needles weren't calling my name.

The big event for this evening was watching the Survivor finale. I have been rooting for Dani for the past couple of weeks so I was glad to see that she won.

It was a busy weekend - Christmas is coming. Beth and I never know what to buy my parents so we took them out to dinner on Friday night with 15 of their friends. They had a great time. Worked out to an expensive gift-their friends can really drink!! Saturday night was dinner at Jane's. Jane has worked for me for almost 10 years now and she is referred to as Mom #3. From there it was off to another Christmas party.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Guild, Swing Coat and New Yarn

From my kitchen window it looks beautiful outside-3" of fresh snow. I haven't been outside yet so I can make this comment. Once I get out there and have to clean off my car I won't be so generous in my observations.

We had our guild meeting on Tuesday night. Everyone was ready to procede with their bags. They learned how to do the tuck and then started into the entrelac. The comment I continued to hear was 'this is so cool'. Here is a picture of some of the ladies working away. The meeting was very quiet-everyone was concentrating.

I didn't get my Swing Coat finished yet. Here is a picture so far. Just have to sew up under one arm and add the collar. Maybe tonight.

Got a parcel from New Zealand yesterday with some yarn (called Vero) that is going to be available in April. (Remember that their seasons are opposite of ours.) UPS has had the parcel for over a month but claimed that they couldn't find it. They wan't us to describe what it looked like. Beth's response was 'It is a box. What more can I tell you?' Then UPS wanted to know what was in the box and how we would know that it was ours. Beth's response 'It is yarn. If you find any box with yarn then it is ours. I am sure you don't have many of those hanging around.'
This is 100% wool made in Italy that will stripe. The colours are great. I have swatched one colour and the yarn is very soft-nice to work with. Am going to do another swatch to felt and see how that goes.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Where did the day go?

Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel like you accomplished nothing but you never sat down during the day? That was my day today. Friends were in Toronto from New York City so Beth and I met them for lunch. Of course it wasn't a quick lunch-2 hours later we got out of there. We were close to Romni so Beth wanted to stop in and talk with Marilyn the owner. I spent time tidying shelves and picking yarn up off the floor. If you have visited there you will know what I am talking about. Then the long drive home from downtown. If you aren't on the road by 2:30 you are into traffic-blew that one. I am now on my way to teach knitting. One more week and then a little time off.

My dad is arriving home from Honduras tonight. Mom talked with him this morning from the airport and he begged us to bring him a winter coat. It is cold out but when you have been in a tropical climate it is really (you know the word) cold here.

Also getting ready for tomorrow's guild meeting. The bottom of everyone's bag should be done and we will be starting the entrelac. This should be interesting because most of the guild didn't know what it was let alone know how to do it. I am including the picture again for those who haven't seen it. This is a bag that I designed and Fiber Trends will be publishing the pattern in 2006.

I have the shoulder seams sown on my Swing Coat (Nashua) and one sleeve almost done. The sleeves are knit from the shoulders down. This means almost no sewing when done-makes any knitter very happy. I hope to finish the sleeve during football tonight and if the store is slow tomorrow I can get the other one done. Hopefully pictures tomorrow night.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I learned a neat knitting trick

My dad called from Honduras last night. He is doing well but says that the weather is very hot. Their construction is completed so now they can go to a resort to rest for a couple of days (showers, toilets and laundry facilities). Sunday was a bit of a scary day for them. Elections for president were being held and they were told not to leave their compound-there could be unrest. Luckily all went well.

While knitting the Swing Coat from Nashua (no more progress made) I learned the neatest trick for knitting the shoulders. I am not big on knitting short rows-no real reason but just can't be bothered. Mari Lynn Patrick wrote the pattern and in the stitch glossary it describes doing the sloped bind-off method. To avoid the 'stair-step' effect of binding off, work as follows: on the row preceding the bind-off, slip the last stitch on the needle with yarn in front; turn. On the next row (the bind off row) slip the first stitch over the second stitch (first bind off stitch) then continue to bind off as usual. This gets rid of that big gap that normally occurs when doing shoulder shaping.

Tonight was the last of my Thursday night class until the new year. We had wine, cookies and carrot cake-what a mix. Not much knitting got done. Lots of talking though. I really, really tried to get them all to quit but no go-they have all signed up to come back. (They want to start next week but I decided on January.) There is a list a mile long of people who want to take class but can't fit them it with the full load that I already have.

I hope to get back to my knitting tomorrow night. The newsletters are all done and in the mail. 750. What a job!!!