Monday, March 21, 2011

Look! It's a post of photos of not-snow!

I'm not posting these because they are particularly beautiful.  Rather, I'm posting them because I have only 5 pitiful rows knitted on my husband's vest.  Not very photogenic.

Dudes, there are 322 stitches per round.


This project is epic.  I'll be working on it when I'm 75.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

...and knit moves on

I've been busy.

This past week was a milestone.  I officially had three works-in-progress going on my needles.  That has never happened before.  I am one of those ADHD-afflicted knitters.  If I let myself get seduced by something new, I will completely forget my name in my quest for adventure.  It's pathetic.

So, I usually keep my nose to the grind and crack the whip when I start to feel the wanderlust creep up on me.

But this past week, I threw all my rules out the window.

First, there were Kenny's (never-ending) socks.  Fingering weight yarn, I hate you.

Then this is this improvised tunic I'm knitting out of my stash of Lamb's Pride Worsted.  I was intending to make something entirely different with it, but the wool is really scratchy, so I had to change tactics and knit something I could wear over a base layer.  It is heavily influenced by Cecily's Idlewood, but as I didn't have the right weight of yarn for her pattern, I decided to wing it instead.  I'll keep you apprised of my progress.

And then, there was mystery birthday knitting.  T, don't look:

It was delicious.  Now, it's in the mail.  And my fingers are itching to start something new.

NO!  Evil thoughts BAD!  Must finish endless sock knitting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


...if you sit still long enough in my house, I will paint you.

So, who's next?

Monday, March 14, 2011

My husband, the nerd

photo taken in 2006, while we were on vacation

So, picture this: it's 1996.  I'm in grade 11.  I've just moved to a new high school in mid-term where I know approximately 1-1/2 people (the half-person is because I'm related to a girl in grade 10, but I don't really know her... at least not well enough to talk to her in the hallway in front of all her friends).  First day at my new school.  First class of the day.  Biology.  I walk in.

The only seat left is riiiiight in front of the teacher's desk.  The Seat of Honour.  The one where you go to sit if you're either a Badass (and you're in trouble) or a total Suckup.  I'm aiming for Badass, as I sit down (pretending like I intended to sit there all along).

The teacher starts talking and my eyes glaze over (not because I hate science - I'm a total geek - but because the teacher who had been teaching at my old school was awesome and I'd already learned all of this material, studied it and aced the test a month before).

At the end of class, this guy walks past my desk and says hi.  To me.  The new kid sitting in the dunce chair.  Hmmm.  Something must be wrong with him, I decide.  Doesn't he know the Code?

He's built like a football player, he's got shaggy hair and awful wire-rimmed glasses.  He's wearing a light blue button-down oxford shirt and pleated khakis.  With an ironed crease down the front, for crying out loud.

And lo and behold, he's wearing the most ginormous pair of white cross-trainers I've ever seen.  I didn't even know they made shoes in that size.

Nerd.  I take a quick peek to see if he's wearing a pocket protector.   

I roll my eyes at him and walk away, praying that he doesn't follow me.


Fast forward 15 years.  I am perusing a borrowed copy of Men's Knits at home.  At first glance, the patterns in the book didn't really grab me, but I was really taken with the photography, so I had signed it out of the library anyway.  I was looking them over more thoroughly at home and showed the hubby a few of the items, asking if he thought they were nice.  Indeed, he snatched the book out of my hand and started picking out his favourites.  Many of them were sweaters, which confused me, because he is a walking furnace and doesn't need sweaters.  We bought a few for him at the beginning of the winter and all I heard from him all winter was how hot it was at work and how he'd been tempted to strip down to his undershirt a time or two in order to cool down.

So, why would I knit you a sweater (that was in fact the point of this whole exercise: find a suitable knitty type of garment to make for my beloved... one that he would actually wear, that is), I asked.  You'll just take it off the minute you get to work and then you'll leave it lying around (do I know him or what?).  Plus, I added, you're not fond of wool and there's no way I'm knitting a size XL sweater in cotton.  I'll kill you out of frustration before I get to the second sleeve.

That's when he got to the page with the argyle vest.  His breath caught.  He got stars in his eyes.  He practically swooned.

I saw the naked lust on his face and my mind harked back to that fateful day in October of 1996.  Apparently, once a nerd, always a nerd.

I've been training him on how to dress like a normal person for 15 years.  He's found and fallen in love with a knitted garment that I can knit him that isn't going to take me a decade to finish.  I think I can work with this.  So, this is what it's going to look like:

...and this is the yarn:

Now all that's left is for me to knit it.  And buy him a matching button-down shirt.  And pray that he doesn't find those stupid cross-trainers.  Or a pocket protector.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More on that yarn delivery later, but first...

... I have to share something with you that I recently discovered and am completely enamoured with:

I know I'm a little late to the Iron and Wine party, but I've been listening to my good friend CBC Radio 2 and they've been playing his new song "Tree by the River" and I'm totally in love (don't tell my husband).

Does this video not make you want to take up flamenco dancing?  These women are positively stunning.

Also.  Get a load of this:

That's Jay Malinowski of Bedouin Soundclash and Beatrice Martin (Coeur de pirate). Swwooooon.

And I've also totally fallen in love with The Decemberists.  I'm starting to sound like a hussy, so I'll stop now.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My stash just doubled

Seriously.  I'm at work (this is a surreptitious blog post).  I just got my Knit Picks order.  I want to jump around and squeeeeee like a little girl but no-one here gets it, so I think I'll refrain.

So, wherever you are, squee for me, ok?

{T: Your birthday knitting was dependent on this stash's arrival, so I'm here to tell you that it may will be late.  Again.  Sigh.}

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Before and After

Before (Sept. 2010):

After (Feb. 2011):

In the end, I didn't bother stripping the existing paint off.   I just scraped the worst of the flakes off (and didn't even do a very good job, at that) and rolled on 4 (!) coats of the most luscious semi-gloss paint I've ever used.  I could have gotten away with 3 coats, but it was kind of addictive and looked so much better every time I coated it, that I went the extra mile.

{Trade Secret Time: designer paints are over-rated.  Yup, you heard it first here.  I've used just about every brand of paint I could get my hands on.  The most disappointing results were with our dear friends over at BM and Pratt & Lambert.  I thought it was just me, but I've made it a point to grill the painters I come in contact with (and trust me, that's a fair number) because I always get asked if they can simply colour-match the BM colours I've specified and it mystifies me - you know, because BM is supposed to be the crème-de-la-crème of paint, so why would they want to use a different brand?  (And no, it's not to save money, because the result has to pass my inspection and if the quality sucks, I'll make them do it over, so skimping would be pointless).  The overwhelming response has been that they ask if I'll accept a colour match because they hate working with those brands and that the best paints are...(you ready for this?)...Behr and Beauti-Tone.  Behr is available at Home Depot and Beauti-Tone is available at Home Hardware (Canada only?).  The theory one painter gave me is that because these hardware stores don't rely on their paint sales to make profits, they can offer better quality paint for the same price as the other guys.  In other words, they don't have to make a much money on every gallon because they make their money elsewhere.  Hence, they don't stretch their profits by thinning out the paint.  It's a theory, and it's not mine, but it got me thinking.  And I've tested both of those brands and would choose them hands-down over any of the designer brands any day.  Except that their colour selection can bite, so I get them colour matched from swatches I find elsewhere.  End rant.  Just thought you might like to know.}

And these photos are for Miranda, who mentioned that she covets our second-storey floors.  Oh dear, what a frightening prospect.

I give you Exhibit A (aka: The Widowmaker):

Exhibit B (aka: Poo in a Blender): 

And I nudged the bed out of the way in order to capture Exhibits C and D (aka: The Hole of Doom and The Gaping Canyon of Death, respectively):

Walking around at our house is somewhat of a health hazard.  Until this summer, when we get our act in gear and start showing these floors who's boss.  Like I did with that dresser.