Haapsalu Sall

Yes. You are allowed to squee:


It took a month for it to be delivered and everyone at the office made fun of me (coz knitting is for grannies, right?), but I finally received my Haapsalu Sall. I ordered it directly from the publisher Apollo and with shipping, it cost about 465 EEKs (which is a hella fun to say).

I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to understand a damn thing in it, but surprise! the stitches had an English explanation! Yay!

However, that said, it's a pity that almost the entire first part of the book is in untranslated Estonian and if my imagination serves me correctly, there seems to be a lot of history being told about Haapsalu's shawl and how it became an integral part of this Estonian coastal town's heritage.

The second part of the book is all stitch library, all the time.

The book in itself is absolutely gorgeous. It's oversize, it's hardcover, it's pristine and it just makes you want to pour over it. To soak it all up. To try things out. To explore.

So that's what I'm going to do. Explore. Try things out. I have a shawl idea in mind, so I'm going to try and make it work.

(AND, I should also put up pics of the shawls I've done lately (I'm in a shawl wormhole at the moment, after having done Laminaria, Percy, Deep Forest and Taj Mahal - Though I'm rather annoyed at Taj Mahal to be honest. The last chart (the fifth) didn't mesh with the fourth for me (no idea what went wrong because all my stitches were perfect til then when using the charts rather than the knitted instructions) so I've had to improvise. I wouldn't be so annoyed but I paid for that pattern. So whatever. I had to improvise the end of Deep Forest too (another paid-for pattern) but at least I only had to improvise a few rows and those rows were topside so the rows were really short. Gah.)

ANYWAY! Will keep you posted.

I'm feeling really good about the designing a shawl thing.

Preparing for "Kiss"mas

Ok, ok. I know I've been remiss in updating this lil' blog. I assure you that I've been productive.

I've been knitting but not taking pictures. Just finishing, casting off and casting on again.

I've also been drawing a bit. The drawing bug has been haunting me. Calling me. But I'm having a hard time concentrating on it. Taking it seriously. Figuring out what to do: paint "seriously" and if so, what of, or make cutesy illustrations... ?

I dunno. And yes, I do realise that I'm over analysing. I just had a baby. I'm supposed to be a complete flake.

I did manage to wrestle myself to the ground and get this Xmas card done though:


If you are so inclined, you can order your own via zazzle. I get royalties! Go buy! Go NOW!

I kid.

Sorta.

My mom made the comment that when you say "Kiss"mas out loud it sort of sounds like "Kiss my a..."

Seriously, you need cards that make you LAUGH OUT LOUD like I did when she mentioned that.

Har.

Damson


FO: Damson (I think this is the pattern name. I know! Breaking the cardinal rule of knitblogging: knowing what the hell you're doing!)
Designer: Ysolda Teague (Whimsical Little Knits 2)
Yarn: Phildar Lambswool in Ardoise Colorway - 440 yards (ish)

OMG. I'll be the first to admit that the photo for this shawl is TERRIBLE! Cringe worthy! Dire! Not worth posting!

I know. BUT. I'm trying to build a record here of things I've done and I remembered at the last minute, after giving this shawl to a friend who has been AWESOME since baby Léna was born (lending me stuff but also taxiing my older daughter to synchro swimming and back), that I hadn't yet photographed it.

(and baby Léna was getting her scream on so I had to take a picture fast)

A lovely knit! The recipient swooned! It was quick to knit! Everybody wins!

Except you, dear reader. That pic is a hella bad. I'll do better next time.

Pinky swear.

FO: Nutkin socks


FO: Nutkin socks
Designer: dunno. Nutkin socks found on Knitzi.com
Yarn: Shibui yarn. 2 x 186 yards

Likes: Long walks on the beach, the cable look without actually doing cables.

Dislikes: People who use their cell phones as boomboxes in the streets, Short row heels.

OMG. I must have eaten a bowl of braindead the morning I started the heel. I just couldn't get my head around it. I looked all over the internet. Nothing made sense. So, my heels are... Odd.

When I got to the toe, I didn't even bother with a short row toe (cause I'm a chicken). No, I did a wedge toe.

Had a little trouble remembering how I did the first heel when I needed to do the second, but I think I hid my ignorance well.

I'm not sure if I'm keen on how the Shibui knit up. I really wasn't expecting spirally blocks of color.

Gotta go, my model is 'in a mood'.

FO: Hexagon Blanket

Hexagon blankie

FO: Hexagon Blankie
Yardage: Leftovers
Designer: Me, I guess. But not really. The granny square tradition goes back to the stone age, right? I just took the initial hexagon and kept going around and around and around
Baby: Definitely a co-creator...

A few years ago, my Grandma handed me a box of white yarn from a Mary Maxim catalogue and said 'This is your wedding afghan. You'll have to make it yourself.'

Um. Thanks. I'd been married over 6 years when I received the box. She told me that she had tried to find someone to knit it for her cause 'she don't see so good anymore' but had had no luck.

Most of the people she knew 'didn't see so good'.

It was a fabulous winter-in-a-drafty-house project but when I finished I found myself with two extra balls. A surprise pregnancy later, I'm pleased to say that they've finally found a home - along with a couple of purple balls I found in a local cheapo yarn shop to make the blankie bigger.

Right now, Léna couldn't give a toss about this blanket, but I'm hoping it'll be important to her later.

FO: Rick the Sock


FO: Rick the sock
Pattern Designer: Cookie A
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden's Broken Dreams (yardage: 400 yards)

Finally! I finished the second sock! And mirrored, I only restarted parts of the second sock a couple of times!

Win!

And happily, it appears that it was the pregnancy that made my feet feel like trussed sausages.

Double Win!

Testing

Does this app work?

How about that? A blog application for the iphone. I may actually start blogging again (or maybe hell has frozen over?).

Whatever.

Now that baby Léna is born (April 25th) I don't anticipate that I'll have more time on my hands but perhaps I'll be more prone to blog during feedings in the middle of the night. I'm the awesome when it comes to typing one handed on this little device.

I have actually done some knitting since my last post. I finished the 2nd Rick the Sock (there were no deaths in the making of the second sock), crocheted a hexagon blankie for Léna out of some extra balls of the wedding afghan that my Grandma got me (that I ended up knitting 7 years after she bought the kit) and a little cardie and booties for the wee one.

None of which have I had the wherewithal to take pictures of yet. Because I'm proactive like that...

I suppose that I should go. Daughter 1 is putting up a stink over imagined grievances... Apparently we all hate her. (Especially me. Woot!) Daughter 2 is zenning in my arms between feedings. Son is asking me what's for dinner.

Three kids. WTF was I thinking?

That said, all of them are blessings.

Though Daughter 1 sometimes makes me wonder. She just told me that I'm a lousy mom because I don't care that her brother injured her 'spinal column'.

Sigh. Unfortunately one isn't allowed to sell kids to the circus anymore.

Damn.

A Hankering

Lately, I've had this crazy idea of learning to dye yarn (also, doing it so wonderfully that I start a business, get famous, go touring and have groupies. I'm nothing if not realistic.).

Of course the first step is learning how to actually do it, and since I didn't want to contaminate my house with chemicals (at least right away), I decided to beg my mom for koolaid. I've never seen koolaid in France. After using it as a permanant dye, I wonder why.

I also begged the internet to cough up some reasonably priced undyed yarn. That ships to the European continent. This took ages.

Finally, all the chips were in place and my hankering to dye hanks of yarn could finally be put into practice.

I took a hank of Australian Merino and placed it in the pot of water. I wanted a mostly blue but varigated cherry colorway. This is not what I got. It started out ok. Sorta:

First batch to dye for

And then the Cherry started encroaching on the blue and I was all, argh! More blue! More koolaid in the pot!

Despite adding more, I was forced to watch as the Cherry spread. Mocking my efforts with surprising ease.

This is when my son came into the kitchen, "What's for dinner?" He looked in the pot and recoiled. His body totally said WTF is that?

I could hardly blame him. It looked as though Hannibal Lector had been experimenting with various odds and ends in my kitchen:

First batch
Sigh.

With my second batch, I tried to just do a varigation of reds by holding half the skein out of the pot until the last minute but it still required a lot more packages of koolaid than I was bargaining for. And my colours aren't particularily deep (though they smell quite yummy).

I hereby give you the results of my labours:

Brains colorway

Brains colorway

Hemophelia colorway

Hemophelia colorway

I think the names of the colorways give the experience a satisfying je ne sais quoi...

Don't you?

FO: Pink Bubblegum Scarf

The yarn for this scarf was bought to teach my daughter how to knit.

Her garter stitch (in French: point mousse) seemed to be going well. That is, until her nine year old survival instincts kicked in and she gave up.

Since my brain has been relentlessly turning over a bulky yarn cowl idea, I figured the yarn would lend itself well to the stitch I have in mind for it.

It did. Most satisfyingly.

Pink bubblegum scarf

FO: Pink Bubblegum Scarf
Yarn: Phildar Express 50/28/22 Nylon/Acrylic/Wool
Total yardage: 186 yards/171 meters (3 skeins)

I knitted this baby on 6mm needles though I should have apparently used 9mm needles. I guess I'm dyslexic.

My daughter is pleased as punch. I can hardly wait to find out how she'll accidentally destroy it.

I'm hoping she'll surprise me with her creativity.

Pink bubblegum scarf

Dear Rick the Sock

Dude.

I've got a bone to pick with you.

When I picked up Cookie A's "Sock Inspiration", I just knew that the "Broken Dreams" colorway from Zen Yarn Garden would be perfect for you.

Not only were the colors similar to those in the book... but the pattern. It was the pattern that drew me in. Lovingly complicated, just the way I like them.

Because I am a complication snob. I'm convinced that I CAN DO ANYTHING!

And yet. Despite the complicated nature of the pattern, you could sense the pattern. That it wouldn't be a difficult one to memorise.

And this was true.

AND YET.

This sock was so DIABOLICAL that by the time I finished ONE SOCK, a whole MONTH HAD PASSED.

I'm gonna go with pregnancy brain. It's the only way to justify it taking me ONE WHOLE MONTH to knit ONE SOCK.

Do you have any idea how many times I frogged? I DON'T EVEN WANT TO GO THERE! It took me ages to figure out where to place the heel (and I have to hand it to the ZEN (HA HA HA HA) Garden Yarn. It didn't fuzz out). To make things worse, it wasn't even the fault of the pattern! The pattern was written perfectly. GRUMBLE GRUMBLE!

IT WAS ME!

It is solely for this that reason prevailed because buddy?.... YOU CAME SO CLOSE TO BEING NAILED TO A TREE WITH ALL 5 OF THOSE DOUBLE POINTED NEEDLES!

But the worst. The absolute worse was was when I finally, VICTORIOUSLY, finished that one sock.

Rick the Sock

I immediately tried you...it... WHATEVER... on.

DISASTER!

My leg looked like a trussed sausage. I'm not even kidding. That wonderful pattern? I felt like my leg had been tied up and was sitting in a dark room.

Awaiting torture.

Involving probe lights, water and electricity.

To wit: My leg felt like a dish of string-bound tripes. Are you familiar with tripes? Is that even a word in English? Let me check....

... WHY YES IT IS!

I unknowingly ordered tripes in a French restaurant a couple of years ago. Let me tell you, you don't make the mistake of ordering edible stomach offal of various farm animals EVER AGAIN.

Also? I LEARNED TO NEVER ASK MY HUSBAND WHAT A THING IS BEFORE ORDERING IT IN A RESTAURANT EVER AGAIN. HIS RESPONSE? TRY IT AND SEE!

Now I'm afraid to knit the other sock. I am undecided. Because not only is the pattern the same, it is mirrored. I fear for my already fragile health.

And you risk certain death.

That said, I tried the sock on again for the posterity of photos and I didn't have the same feeling of being ligoted. I can only imagine that though my pregnancy is further advanced, there had been swelling that I hadn't noticed when I tried you on the first time because I was still working.

Rick the Sock

For your sake, you better hope that that's the case. That this pregnancy is the cause.

Otherwise, your days are numbered, Sock Boy.

That's a promise.

New Year, New Beginnings

Here I am, opening a new blog. What in the devil's name am I going to write about?

I suppose I could do a quick intro:

I've been blogging since November 2005. I stopped that blog recently when I found that it was no longer doing it for me. I'm not sure if it wasn't too family-oriented.

Too personal.

Too angsty and puke on the page.

Too many relatives reading it.

There was pathos! There was waxing on and on about frustrated ambitions! There were many posts about my first world problems! (the day job! public transportation woes! children who refuse to wear clothes that don't have holes in them!)

Quite frankly, it was getting on my nerves.

I'd been considering starting a new blog for some time. Something more in tune with my interests rather than my life (because holy god, EVERYBODY struggles so why should my belly button be more interesting?).

I decided that I wanted (and needed!) to document what I was getting accomplished, rather than what I felt like I wasn't getting done because of whatever reason (see first world problems here above).

So. What are my interests?

I'M GLAD YOU ASKED!

Oh so many. So many that sometimes my brain gets confused. In fact, there are times when I'm like, "Hey girl! Pick ONE and run with it! You'll be a superstar!" And then something shiny will grab my attention (hence the Hopping Blackbird; always flitting from one thing to the next).

For example (ie, as of today):

I draw and paint. I've even been published! (Though I must confess to fears that it was a complete and utter fluke of nature) I have a portfolio online here if you're interested in perusing.

I knit and crochet. I'm also working on patterns.

I'm learning to dye yarn.

I'd like to learn to spin.

I'm learning to sew (so far my crowning accomplishment is a bizarre bunny).

Sculpting (clay) and mosaics hold a faint siren's call to me.

I read.

I write (slowly. Very very slowly. Seriously, so slowly, I shouldn't talk about it though it does take up room in my little skull).


Other things that you may find of interest:

Originally from Canada, I live in France. But despite how cool that may sound, I'm not really an expat blogger because the language and cultural differences? I'm so not there anymore.

Now? North America confuses me.

I'm married and have 2.5 kids. (Kid 3 is due in early May 2010).

I'm not a saint (vulgarity can be a friend!), I watch way too much telly (I'm a knitter!), have a penchant for potato chips (though I wish I could find spicy ones here in France) and have grudgingly decided that I may as well start to appreciate French variety shows (because you never know when a goat circus trainer is going to pop up. True story.).

Hello!

About

I'm a 30-something Canadian living in France.

I'm an Alberta College of Art & Design graduate. I studied Jewellery & Textiles.

I'm a dabbler.

By turns I'm Artsy.

But mostly, I'm Craftsy.

Considering that these two are frequently at odds in art school establishments, you might say that I'm Bipolar.

I hop around a lot. Welcome.

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