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the good, the bad and the ugly (long)

Sorry for the radio silence, but I went to Toronto for the weekend and don’t like to advertise on the blog that I’m going away. (Although I think I did mention that I was going away…I just didn’t want to confirm “I’m leaving NOW”).

Do you think it was overly optimistic to have packed this much yarn for one weekend?
Asked me if I used even one-eighth of it. Go on, ask me.

My mom, our cousin Mona, Jakob and I left on Friday morning. I sat in the back with Jakob and finished Eden’s Shrug. The photos I’d taken in the car came out awful, so here are some nicer ones that I took the next afternoon at my aunt’s place (where we stayed).
The shrug came out really cute! It was such a fast knit, and I love the fabric obtained by using the Cotton Look on slighty larger needles than normal. I was worried it looked HUGE for the 12 month size, but I tried it on Jakob and it was only a little loose, which is perfect. (No photos of my son in a pink bolero, sorry!)

Here’s the back view. You can almost tell how light and sheer this is if you look at where the back is lying on the fronts- you can just see through it. It is EXACTLY what I wanted to achieve and I’m really, really happy with how it turned out.
Having finished the shrug and still having about an hour to go in the drive (I didn’t knit the whole time- Jakob refused to sleep and I had to keep him distracted) I pulled out the yarn and pattern to knit the Velvet Oblivion (Ravelry link) from Knitty. This was the first project I had ever bought yarn for that became stash, and it has been sitting in my stash since the summer of 2004 when the pattern came out. I’m putting together a gift package for my cousin’s fiancé’s bridal shower in 2 weeks, and I wanted to include a luxurious face mask. It is a PAIN to knit because I didn’t realize my yarn was slightly thicker than the yarn called for in the patter, and the needle size is deliberately smaller to obtain a blackout fabric. Still, I was cruising along when IT happened:

See that missing spot on the upper right? I’d had to force the needle into one of the stitches and didn’t realize that I’d actually torn the core thread that holds the chenille yarn together. I didn’t realize it until 3 rows later when the ends worked their way free and I suddenly had a hole in the knitting. Had this been almost any other yarn I could have fixed it later, but trying to fix an aran-bulky weight yarn knit with 3.5mm needles in garter stitch with NO stitch definition was not my idea of something to do. I had no choice- I cut the yarn and started over.

At that point we arrived in Toronto. We had just enough time to wait for Mona to get picked up (she was visiting her daughter who recently moved to TO), change and leave for the out-of-towner’s dinner. We were supposed to be there for 6:30. We only arrived in Toronto at 7:00. Whoops! Luckily almost everyone was still there when we strolled in around 7:45, and there was still food for us.

Go figure Jakob didn’t nap all day, not a single time during the (took us) 7 hour drive. His usual bedtime is 7:15pm. Once we’d got him changed and back into the car to go to the dinner, it was 7:30. We hadn’t made it 3 blocks before he fell asleep. The 10 minutes it took us to get to the dinner was enough to recharge his batteries, though, as he fell asleep when I tried to transfer him to the stroller I’d brought, and he kissed, flirted and charmed his way through the rest of the night.

By the time we got back to my aunt’s house and were changing into pjs my dad and Yannick arrived. They’d come down together later in the evening so they could get a mostly-full day of work in. I put Jakob to bed then crashed myself.

Saturday we had to rush to get everyone up, dressed and fed so we could be at my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah (the reason we’d driven down). We left the house at Jakob’s usual morning-nap time, and he fell asleep en route. This time I had more luck and was able to transfer him to the stroller without waking him. He slept through the first hour of the services, and once he woke up Yannick took him into the lobby area to play for the next 2 hours. At that point we were all starving, and they opened up a lunch buffet.

By 1:30 we were on our way back to my aunt’s house and it was right in time for Jakob’s usual afternoon nap, so the plan was to put him down and I’d knit while my parents went to walk around Yonge street, and Yannick went for a drive to continue listening to the last Harry Potter book on CD. (Don’t say anything- I haven’t finished it yet!). The plan worked…for everyone but me. Jakob REFUSED to nap. I had decided a few months ago that even if he didn’t nap, if we were home or at work and were able to stick to his usual schedule, then 2-4pm he’d be in his crib. It didn’t matter if he cried or played, but he was staying in his crib until 4. He cried for about 20 minutes then started playing with his dolls and blanket, and I managed to get some knitting done on the Velvet Oblivion. I was worried that it looked too big, but it was hard to get it stretched out properly on the needles, so I decided to deal with it later. I was right about to join in the fun-fur yarn, when Jakob woke up.

This is the look I got for trying to get his attention away from the remote he was after. I’d rearranged my aunt’s couches and ottoman to make a safe play area, and we knit/played until it was time to get ready for the Bar Mitzvah party that evening. (The morning part was the services in synagogue, the night-time part was the big party with a 4-course meal, dj, casino setup, sweet table, etc).

While Yannick got himself ready I got Jakob dressed, then myself. Last-minute I decided that Jakob wasn’t fully dressed without a funky hairdo.

You like? ;] We had been joking with the Bar Mitzvah boy’s mom (my cousin) about how the invitations said “casually elegant”, as a code for “no jeans”. We decided that Jakob’s faux-hawk would be just the right touch to throw the “casual” into his look.

The night was a big success. Jakob fell asleep on the way to the party but woke up immediately when the car stopped and spent the rest of the night staring after the laser light displays. He was clearly exhausted but didn’t make a single fuss, and charmed the waitresses by blowing them kisses all night. He was an absolute angel and we left as soon as we could to bring him home and put him to bed.

On Sunday one of my other cousins was throwing a brunch for our close family, so while everyone else was getting ready, I set up the couch area for Jakob again and finished the Velvet Oblivion face mask.

I’m not considering it a “finished object” yet, though.

Once it was off the needles, it had some serious flaws. Forgetting the fact that it is larger than normal, following the directions for the fun-fur part led to the entire outer edge being pulled in too tight (too few stitches to go around). The result is this- a face mask that looks a lot more like a funky bra. I was going to completely start over, but I think I’ll first start by undoing the Boa yarn and redoing it with enough stitches to avoid the cupping. If it looks good, albeit large, I’ll keep it as is. If it still ends up crappy then I’ll remake it and fudge the numbers to end up with a smaller result.

We went to the brunch where Jakob had a blast with his little cousins, then the three of us went to meet Eden. She was absolutely adorable and it was great to see her parents again. I really don’t see them enough since they live so far away.

When we left them it was time to hop on the 401 East and head home. The drive took about 7 hours again, but just as on the drive down, we stopped twice (it’s usually about a 5 hour drive). Jakob did sleep for about an hour, but was up and crying the entire last 2 hour stretch of the drive. (Which was actually a good thing, because he was so exhausted that a diaper change and bottle was enough to knock him out once we got home).

In the car I started and finished more of my cousin’s bridal shower gift: a ballband dishcloth. (Ravelry link). Yes, the pattern has been published in the Mason/Dixon book, but I used the actual pattern from the Peaches ‘n Cream website.

The yarn is Bernat Handicrafter Cotton.
I plan on making a bunch of these in different colors as another part of the gift basket I’m putting together.
Here’s the back, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

Today Jakob had his first dentist appointment (all good!) then playgroup, then while he took his afternoon nap I did some much-needed cleaning around the house. Two of my siblings came over to play with him for a bit, then once he was down for the night I parked myself on the couch with Yannick and worked on the next dishcloth.

This is where I stopped for the night. The Sage Green cotton was left over from the dishcloths I’d crocheted for Esther last year(?) and I just finished the ball. I have another ball in my stash with a different dye lot, but I’m really not concerned about a dishcloth being all matchy-matchy.

So that’s it. A fun weekend away, although nothing beats coming home and being back in your house, with your schedule and routines. Some knitting was done, some turned out very well and some…let’s not speak of it again until we see if it is fixable. And a son who was so perfectly behaved during the entire trip that we are really worried we’re in for hell during his teenage years. No kid can be THIS perfect his whole life!


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a week of pink knitting

I finished the Mary Maxim contest thingie on Sunday afternoon, right in between brunch with Yannick’s family and dinner with my family. They should have recieved it already (must go check that online!) and the judging takes place next week, so once I hear back from them I’ll post some photos of that project.

Once we’d got home and put Jakob to bed I swatched for Eden’s shrug. I swatched the Cottonlook first because I really wanted to use it, and luckily I got gauge easily with the required needles. It’s such a completely different fabric than I would have obtained with the Decor- the CL can actually be used on smaller needles so working on a 5mm results in a slightly open fabric that has a lot of drape, but the yarn (which is probably an acrylic/cotton blend) behaves as if it were a cotton/linen blend. In fact, it feels/looks remarkably similar to the Sirroco yarn I’d used for my Shapely Tank a few years ago. In any case, it will be a nice, light garment that will be perfect to wear over a short sleeved or tank topped dress.
So the swatch was done on Sunday, and then I ripped it out and began the shrug itself. The above photo shows my progress when I went to bed Sunday night.
I tried to get a closeup of the knitting but it doesn’t do the drape of the fabric justice.
This is where I was as of Monday night. It’s a fast knit!

There is no Tuesday night progress photo because I had no Tuesday night. I don’t know what came over me, but I was yawning during my whole drive home from work, and once Yannick came home and was able to take over playing with Jakob, I just crashed. I was actually asleep BEFORE 8pm for the first time in…I can’t even remember how long.
Here’s last night’s progress. All that remains to do is to pick up around the neck/back and do a few rows of ribbing, then the same thing on each cuff. I’m hoping to finish it tonight so it will be ready and wrapped before we meet Eden for the first time.


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Happy Father’s Day!

A big “Happy Father’s Day” to all the fathers, grandfathers, foster parents, step-fathers, and any man who makes a positive difference in a child’s life. You rock!

In honor of Daddy’s Day, I’ll share with you some photos of Yannick and Jakob at the park on Saturday evening.

…watching the planes go by. Jakob HAS to stop, stare and usually point EVERY time a plane goes by. He loves them!
…watching a squirrel run up a tree.

…and exploring the “jungle” pathway near our house.

We had a really fun time at the park, and I was so happy to watch them together that I didn’t mind pushing the empty stroller around. Honest. 😉

We hit a little milestone last week- Jakob is no longer in his bucket! He’s officially tall enough to be out of it, AND is past the weight maximum, so I brought him over to the police station and had a nice officer install his new car seat for me. It’s also his first time being forward-facing in the car, and it took him a day or so to get the confused look off of his face.

I knew the Mary Maxim submission would be coming to an end soon (I have to mail it on Monday), so I started pulling out my supplies for the next project. These are my two yarn choices for Eden’s shrug:

The first is some pink Cindy Cotton Look that I inherited from my grandmother. I have 2 huge cakes of this stuff, and no ideas for a good project. I thought it would be really sweet for the shrug, and if the gauge works out, this is my first choice.
As a second option, I have more of my seemingly-never-ending supply of dusty rose Patons Decor. I swear this stuff seems to multiply in my stash. I’m sure the gauge will work for this, but it would make a much different garmet, much heavier and “wintery”, and I hope I don’t have to use it.

I’m sure I have a ton of other options in my stash too, should neither of these work. But I’ll be swatching tonight and will have a better idea of what will work later.


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Happy Father’s Day!

A big “Happy Father’s Day” to all the fathers, grandfathers, foster parents, step-fathers, and any man who makes a positive difference in a child’s life. You rock!

In honor of Daddy’s Day, I’ll share with you some photos of Yannick and Jakob at the park on Saturday evening.

…watching the planes go by. Jakob HAS to stop, stare and usually point EVERY time a plane goes by. He loves them!
…watching a squirrel run up a tree.

…and exploring the “jungle” pathway near our house.

We had a really fun time at the park, and I was so happy to watch them together that I didn’t mind pushing the empty stroller around. Honest. 😉

We hit a little milestone last week- Jakob is no longer in his bucket! He’s officially tall enough to be out of it, AND is past the weight maximum, so I brought him over to the police station and had a nice officer install his new car seat for me. It’s also his first time being forward-facing in the car, and it took him a day or so to get the confused look off of his face.

I knew the Mary Maxim submission would be coming to an end soon (I have to mail it on Monday), so I started pulling out my supplies for the next project. These are my two yarn choices for Eden’s shrug:

The first is some pink Cindy Cotton Look that I inherited from my grandmother. I have 2 huge cakes of this stuff, and no ideas for a good project. I thought it would be really sweet for the shrug, and if the gauge works out, this is my first choice.
As a second option, I have more of my seemingly-never-ending supply of dusty rose Patons Decor. I swear this stuff seems to multiply in my stash. I’m sure the gauge will work for this, but it would make a much different garmet, much heavier and “wintery”, and I hope I don’t have to use it.

I’m sure I have a ton of other options in my stash too, should neither of these work. But I’ll be swatching tonight and will have a better idea of what will work later.


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no kay eye pee for me

While much of the knitting community celebrates WWKIP day (World Wide Knit In Public Day), I didn’t really get a chance to participate. I would have loved to have been with my fellow guilders at the annual end-of-the-year garden party, and I would also have loved to be with the West Island Knitters over at the food court at Fairview (and not only for the vast array of food- yum!).

But, alas, I had to work today. My only bit of knitting solidarity was to work a few rows at lunch time, while I re-read a Cory Doctorow short story and ate last night’s leftover risotto. (Yay for the auto-scroll feature in eReader!). I wasn’t about to ask for the day off when I’m going to get a very nice deal over the next two months- the week of the St-Jean Baptiste holiday my store switches from Tues-Sat to Mon-Fri. I have Jakob’s playgroup on Monday afternoons. I was heartbroken at the thought of not being able to go for 2 months (I mean Jakob was, yeah, that’s it) so we arranged a deal: I will go in from 9-12, give Jakob lunch, then leave for playgroup. My mom, who will have retired by then, will go in from 12-as long as she can stand it and replace me. I can’t believe they’re letting me do this, so I’m not going to try and pull any “favors” for a while!

Knitting news- I’ve almost finished the Mary Maxim submission. I have decided against doing a second design- mostly because everything I come up with I like too much to give away. So the one design it is. I’ll be losing the $5 entry fee, but saving my sanity. A fair trade! (Nice to know my sanity is only worth $5, but hey).

So I’m already thinking about my next project, which is for baby Eden and needs to be done by next weekend. I went through some of my pattern books and Ravelry, and decided to do the Debbie Bliss Baby Shrug. (Ravelry link here, non Ravelry link here). It’s a free pattern, it’s really cute and is perfect for layering. I’ve already added it to my Ravelry notebook here for those who like to follow along.

No matter what I need to finish the Mary Maxim thing by Monday because that is my deadline for mailing it to Ontario on time, so as soon as I finish it I will be swatching for the shrug.

Next time- a post with photos!