Tuesday, August 30, 2005


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Yup, so I should check my calendar, hey? Tomorrow is September Eve, and Thursday's the first day of September. It's going to be a long week I suppose, what with all the anticipating. Hello to Kathy nonetheless! I hope my scheming works and you read this, otherwise I'll be sending you a boring old email shortly.

September Eve

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Almost better than Christmas, tomorrow is the first day of September!  Best season of the year, just around the corner! My sweaters, scarves, and gloves are just about leaping out of storage, waiting to be worn.  I'll bet yours are too.  Wouldn't you like a nice calendar for you desktop to celebrate?   

Celebrate September!

Of course you would!  Click here and click on the image to get this, or other cute desktop designs from color-club.com.  Maybe someone who reads japanese can explain to me what this site actually is.  I haven't a clue.

And now, for a little scheming that hopefully some of you will help me with.  I would like to subtly reveal to Kathy at Evolved Yarn that I'm her Secret Pal.  Rather than sending her an email, I thought I'd link to her site, and maybe you can all help by clicking through to visit her.  With any luck, she checks her stats, and will wonder "What the heck is going on over there at this clickety click place?  Why are there so many incoming links??" 

If this works, a giant HELLO TO KATHY from Calgary, Alberta.  I had great fun reading your blog, and sleuthing out things to send to you.  I'm not a decision maker at the best of times, so it was a real feat for me to choose yarn and other items that I felt confident you'd like.  I hope I hit the nail on a few, and I hope you make more beautiful things for me to read about on your blog.  At first, I tried to pretend that I wasn't Canadian, to try and trip you up a bit, but I'm certain that you figured this one out after receiving a number of packages from Ottawa, Ontario.  So much for the mystery, hey?

Anyway, Kathy, I hope you had fun.  Cheers!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Impulse buy

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Cleaning up today, I found a lost relic from this past weekend that I'd completely forgotten about.  I went to a local music festival to check out the Weakerthans and Feist, and after a few drinks, left with an orange ukulele.

craziest impulse buy ever!

You read right, a ukulele. Bright orange. The mini size of this guitar, plus the ultra cute carrying bag closed the deal for me. This raises the impulse-buy bar to new heights. Sitting there on display, with so many colours to choose from, I couldn't resist.


And, if you've ever wondered, "is there anything out there that doesn't have a blog community?", you'd probably wouldn't be too far off if you answered no. No, there is likely nothing out there that doesn't have a blog community. Even ukulele-ers blog it up. You can even go to uke school online, then Rock That Uke! low-fi style on this must-see site.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


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I...I...I....I'm speechless! Scarf Swap pal Miri has full-on blown my mind with the arrival of her scarf yarn. A package so filled with treats--personalized--treats, no-less, words alone can't do it justice.  

Unwrapped package
Almost open.  Getting closer...
: gasp : Blue Sky ALPACA!

Underneath: more alpaca!
Tucked away in the corners: lemon and verbena products!

Miri, thanks a million for your thoughtfulness.  I was eyeing the hand lotion and the soap last month in Bath and Body Works, and I didn't buy it because I couldn't justify the purchase.  Such a treat to get some Bath and Body Works products, no BBW in Canada makes me long for their products.  You couldn't have picked these products any better! 

I love the yarn, and the pattern you've chosen.  I've been thinking of the Forbes Forest scarf a lot lately, and am more than a bit excited to knit this up for you.  Let the swap begin!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

No need for cubicle decor

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Much to my delight, my new workplace cubicle came fully decorated in a quiet office environment. A former dweller left a number of Marcel Dzamas illustrations, which decorate my new space quite nicely. Without knowing it, I'm Dzamas fan, and have come across his work many times. He illustrated the Bed Bed Bed book with They Might Be Giants (which I picked up earlier this year for a friend's daughter), the cover of the most recent Beck album, and a Weakerthans release. I sense the new job's going to be a-ok.

Marcel Dzamas takes the drab out of cubicle workspace

Little knitting progress this week, busy with new job. I'm eager for the wind-down of SP5 at the end of the week, and to reveal to someone out there that I'm their SP. It's been great fun getting to know someone new, hopefully I've hit the mark with more than a few packages and items throughout the past few months. Some good folks out there, spoiling complete strangers. For those of you so inclined to take a random chance at yarn swapping, SP6 is open for takers.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Scarf swap, eh?

Earlier this week I sent my yarn out to my scarf swap pal. I hope she doesn't go too crazy watching the mailbox in anticipation of receiving this. I was out of town when the swap partner info was distributed, and was only able to send this this week. Also, it's being sent to another country, so I imagine it will be another week or so before it's received. SNYO pal, when you finally arrive here and read this, my apologies for keeping you waiting.

Destined to be a backyard leaves scarf, a wee peek at the package sent:

When this yarn grows up, it will be a scarf

I hope the yarn goes over ok. I'd been having reservations about sending this, which in-the-know knitters will quickly determine is Knit Picks. I'd hoped to find something made in Canada to send, but came out empty-handed. After scouring the 3 yarn shops in town, I found nothing, not even a piece of local yarn. Hmf! Well done Ottawa, capital of Canada.

Yarn shops just haven't quite caught on here, the selection is mostly geared toward an older generation of knitters. It's rare I find yarn in colours I like, but there's no shortage of acrylic blends. There's one shop in town that sells some interesting yarn, including Rowan, Noro, and Debbie Bliss, but I just lose my brains at the prices. An average of $20 for a ball of wool is ludicrous, and I just won't have any part of it.

Anyway, before I go bananas on this topic, suffice it to say scarf swap pal, it wasn't my intention to send you Knit Picks yarn. It's Knit Picks Merino, if that's any consolation. With any luck, you've been wondering if the Knit Picks yarn is really all it's cracked up to be, and you'll be super pleased with this yarn. Whatever the case, pretend it's made in Canada and everything will be just fine.

Goodbye walls and door...

Hello cube-land! Today marks the end of a giant office for me, complete with walls, filing cabinets, 2 desks, comfy chairs for visitors, my own printer, and most importantly, a door.

Monday marks a new beginning in cube land for me. I’ve worked in cubicles in the past with no problem, and I have no issues with returning. The downgrade from office to cubicle is a welcome one for me—my new job offers new challenges, fun work, and most importantly, is located downtown. I’m eagerly anticipating walking to work; I’ve been doing hand stretches and flexes to ready my hands for coffee-holding walks each morning. I’ll gladly give up my office door for all of this.

I stumbled on this site the other day while reading this super cute blog, and can’t help but laugh a wee bit about the Everyday Superheroes they sell as cubicle accessories. Quite funny. Most of their stuff’s a bit too hard-line nerd for me, but my relocation to cubicle working has given me a newfound appreciation for their cube goodies offerings.

thinkgeek.com's Everyday Superhero collection

And now, I will likely spend the rest of the day opening and closing my office door, just to get it out of my system. Door open. Door closed. Door open. Door closed. It’s going to be a great day!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Summer wind-down

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Yup, I'm sure glad I took my vacation when I did--right in the heart of the best days of summer!  Safe for 2 days of rain, I had a good 12 days of solid sun.  Nice warm nights with only a few mosquitoes out to get me.  Seems like ages ago at this point.  It's starting to feel like Fall in these parts at night, hot summer nights may well be gone for another year. 

Last night I wore closed-toe shoes for the first time in ages, and the feeling of the need for warmth sent me running home to cast on the Koigu mittens. 

1 skein Koigu Kersti + 1 circular needle = 1 magic loop miracle mitten cuff

I decided to try my hand at knitting in the round with one circular needle.  After getting getting a quick lesson at Kaleidoscope Yarns in Vermont, plus some blog-reading encouragement from Diana at Streets and YOs, it took all of 1 minute to get things rolling. This is a seriously quick and efficient way to knit round things.  I'm knitting this on a 24' needle without even the slightest problem.   Magic Loop, you are a miracle.  I love the efficiency of needing only 1 needle where I previously used 4 that you've brought to my life. 

I love the colours in the Koigu, but I suspect I'll want some 2 skein action soon.  I've heard it's the thing to do?  My first experience with multi-colour yarn, and I'm not quite sure how to apply the technique.  I suspect some playing around will take place during the construction of these mittens.  I'm making these with no pattern, and I'm so happy to be knitting something with no instructions, no care for gauge, no care for much other than a pleasing result before, during, and after the process.  I believe notes will be an integral element to ensure a double performance.

CD Swap

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Swap update time. I didn't intend to cram all of the CDs I received from the swap into one post, but most of them came in while I was out of town, and I feel badly for taking so long to thank everyone.  Such great surprises were waiting for me when I got home, what a treat! 

Some truly amazing work of creativity was poured into these CDs.  Kira of Wax and Feathers sent this adorable mix.  Cute design, great music, so well done!  I was happy to find Elvis Costello and Bright Eyes on her mix, who I both saw at the Newport Folk Festival earlier this month.  I want to frame the liner notes, they're that adorable.

Salt & Pepper shakers: so, so cute!

Fellow Canadian Maureen took her creative skills full-tilt and sent her CD in a hand-made cloth case.  How's that for crafty?  In the same picture (left, below), Sandy of Burnt Orange's Disassociate mix matches her blog so perfectly that I knew exactly who it was from before even looking at the return address. 

CD Swap 2 brings me home to a mailbox full of CDs

Above right, Lindsey sent items that caused great oooo-ing and ahhh-ing.  Cute cute cute glow-in-the-dark stickers, and adorable candy.  The labels say they're "Made in Corea".  Hm...  The accompanying postcard lists the tracks.  I haven't listened to this mix yet, but I'm anxious to get to it--great stuff, some Pixies, Xiu Xiu, Broken Social Scene.  Nice!  Amy, to you I owe an apology.  Your CD's in my car, not near me at all at the moment, so you'll have to forgive my not posting a picture just yet.  I love the hand-made envelope you made for the mix.  The first Blonde Redhead track has started the day for me every day this week as I drive to work.  

Loads and loads of thanks to each of you--it's been great fun swapping mixes.  Thanks also to Jen at Piddleloop who took on the monolith task of matching everyone up, and getting us all moving to make and send out mixes in just under a month.  I'm going to miss the little monkey on my blog.  Anyone interested in taking part in a more intense CD swap should check into the Dual Disc Debacle

Again, thanks everyone for the great swap!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Home again, home again!

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Whew! Where to begin? 2 weeks of vacation: gone like a drop in the bucket. 2 days back at work: hitting me like a bucket of bricks.  

There's much to cover.  The holidays were spent in three parts: A week at a cottage in Quebec with boyfriend and friends, followed by just shy of a week with fellow knitter Alison on a road trip to Newport, Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Festival.  Then, some time visiting friends and family in Northern Ontario.  Between the vacation adventures, shopping (yarn shopping included), knitting accomplishments, mail that's come in while I was away, and general fun updates, there's far too much for just one post.

First up, some stash enhancement and knitting updates.  On the first day of our Newport-bound road trip, Alison and I drove from Quebec through to Burlington, Vermont, and hit Kaleidoscope Yarns in Essex Junction, Vermont.  I'd spent a concern-worthy amount of time stalking their website before leaving on the trip, and was happily surprised by how great this store is.  It's a small store, but has great selection, and the staff are so helpful.  One of the staff taught me how to knit in the round with 2 circs, and how to do the magic loop, right there in the store.  I loved lots of the samples they have knit-up in the store, and I wanted to buy the yarn and patterns for most of what they had on display.  Great pattern and colour choices everywhere you look.  No frumpy sweaters here!

Surprisingly, my yarn expenses were moderate, nothing too overboard:

Vermont's Kaleidescope sells me on the Koigu and Cherry Tree Hill 

After admiring so much sock-knitting success, I took the plunge and bought some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in Life's A Beach--appropriate for vacation yarn, n'est-ce-pas?  And, some Koigu Kersti merino that I couldn't resist for mittens.  Such soft yarn, and the colours are all superb...can't wait for winter.  Kind of ridiculous that I had to travel to the States to buy Canadian yarn though.  What gives Ottawa?  What's the deal on not selling Ontario-made yarn? 

I also enriched my yarn collection with some Lorna's Laces.  I've coveted this stuff for ages online, and having never seen any of it in person, it was a big moment.  After mauling every skein in the store, I left with 2 skeins of Lion and Lamb in a very Clickety Click colourway.  On the needles it went:

 Never thought I'd see the day--sock on the needles! 
Sock on the needles in Lorna's Laces, no less!

The sweaters needn't worry too too much about being abandoned by a potential new-found sock obsession.  I put in some road trip hours on the front panels of the long-lost cotton ribby cardi, and am happy to report needing only to complete the sleeves.  Boredom has hit an all-time high though Ribby, it's going to take some work. 

Unpacking the knitting bag: the Ribby Cardi returns 2 panels the merrier

And, the piece that started it all, another pair of baby shower-destined boots, made at the cottage.  A quick knit, a much manlier pair than the last pair, I'd say.  Much more appropriate for a young gentlemen's toes.  I've made a few pairs of these, even a pair with the fair-isle pattern, and love the shape these boots come out.  I think grocery bags will do just fine for blocking.


Pattern: Debbie Bliss Beaded Fair-Isle Shoes from The Baby Knits Book
Materials: Rowan Wool Cotton and Knitpicks Shine for the handsome stripe
Changes: Pretty obviously no fair-isle or beads.  Added a green stripe
and made the straps in stockinette, rather than in garter stitch.

Lots for one post, hey?  CD swappers, I'll get to you tomorrow!  I was pretty happy to come home to some packages, thanks for all the great CD mixes.  I'll thank you all properly once I get better settled and unpacked.  I've been enjoying the mixes! 

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