Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Again

It has been a challenging week, and I haven't felt very chatty.  First, our cat, Mookie (he's the one in front), spent three days at the vet's last weekend because of a urinary blockage, and he isn't quite back to normal yet.  Then, it's been rather exhausting at work this past week, and our car broke down yesterday to further complicate things.  Hopefully that will be it for now!

On a brighter note, I saw daffodil buds getting ready to open yesterday, and I've been enjoying the new socks that Dave made for me.  They're even brighter and "cheerfuller" in person!  They're perfect identical twins, which is always fun with self-striping yarn.

I haven't been doing much knitting this week, but I am working slowly on the second Monkey sock, and I've decided to get back to my Hempton pullover so that I can wear it soon, with spring on its way.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pulling Together

Knitters through the Yarn Harlot's Knitters Without Borders have donated a few hundred thousand dollars to MSF in the last week!  Students at my elementary school, that has a population of about 300 students, have raised over $2500 for the Canadian Red Cross this week!  It's helpful to feel that there is at least something we can do to help, however little it seems given amount of need.

I haven't been doing a whole lot of knitting this week - I've been pretty busy with work and school.  As well as working at a school, I am currently taking a university course on the assessment and remediation of reading, which I am finding incredibly useful, but it's a fair bit of homework!  I am working on the gusset of the first of the Monkey sock pair.  This weekend I may see their future wearer, so I'll be able to check on the size of her foot and knit accordingly.

Between the longer daylight and incredibly mild temperatures I was able to do some pruning and cleaning up in my patio containers after school today with only a hoodie for an outer layer.  Not something I'd ever have been able to do in the Okanagan - there are definite compensations for all the rain sometimes.  I saw my first snowdrops of the year by the library on the weekend, and I just saw that the roses are getting set to grow again just outside of our place.  Amazing!

I'm excited about the knitting retreat I'll be teaching at again in May (details here).  This year I'm doing an introduction to lace knitting.  The retreat is held in Sorrento (here), and I absolutely love that part of the interior in the spring - it smells wonderful!  Last year a huge mock orange was blossoming, and the lilac is usually out, which I love.  Coastal lilac gets a bit hard done by with all the rain sometimes, although it might be nice and early this year!

Well, knitting group meets tonight - the South Surrey Knitters (SSK).  I'll make a bit of progress on my sock once again, and for now I'll need to go and make some dinner happen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Knitters Reaching Out

If you're looking for a way to help people in Haiti and haven't run into the Yarn Harlot's Knitters Without Borders you can check it out here, and here.  Over $50,000 has been donated by knitters already in the last few days!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rainfall Warning

If I'd known how often we were going to get Environment Canada rainfall warnings in Greater Vancouver this fall/winter I would have kept count - we're under yet another one.  Now I do realize that I live in a temperate rainforest, and that it is supposed to rain, a lot.  I'm okay with that, as a general principle, although I personally prefer snow (I usually don't broadcast that fact, but my readership isn't very wide yet, so maybe I'll get away with it!).  The trouble isn't so much that it's raining, but how much it has been raining at one time.  We've had single day rainfalls recently that rival a year's rainfall in places like California.  My main complaint is that during the heavy rainfalls of November my classroom developed a leak.  There's an exterior door in my room that lets in rainwater under the right conditions.  The water comes right in under the door and soaks into my carpet... my very aged carpet that smells rather unpleasant when it get soaked and then lies around for a while.  Every effort is being made to get this situation remedied, but in the meantime I wish it wouldn't rain quite so much!

In knitterly news - I did finally manage to cast on the first Monkey sock.  I ended up being pleased with the Channel Islands cast-on, which is stretchy yet decorative.  If you haven't tried it there are good instructions here, and there are many video demonstrations to be found on-line.  I got a bit of knitting done today during my lunchtime knitting club - the students are getting more proficient, so I now get to finish my lunch most days, and even knit a bit!  It's a lot of fun - the students really get into the knitting, and it's so great to see them wearing their own hand-knits at school.

Here are the last top-down socks I finished, and my first completed project of 2010:
This was the 34th pair of socks I've knit.  I like keeping track of such things - it's just the way my mind works!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Good Reads

I just finished the best book I've read in a long time.  I think I'm a bit late to jump on the bandwagon, but do check out The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  It's an absolutely lovely book, and the characters are written so well that they come to life as you read.  The book is impossible to put down, so be warned!

I recently finished a nonfiction book as well, that is a very different, but informative and entertaining read.  Dry Storeroom No. 1, by Richard Fortey, is a collection of behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the Natural History Museum in London.  A good read for anyone with a biological bent, or who enjoys museums.

I've linked to the books' publishers' websites, rather than to an online bookseller, deliberately.  I've read both of them as library books, but I do think I will want to own and reread the first one.  If you do go out and buy the books, please support your local independent book store!

Not much to report in knitting news.  I cast on a new pair of Monkey socks three times last night, but haven't yet gotten the result I want.  I think I'll end up using the Channel Islands cast-on, both because I want a stretchy product, and in tribute to the book I just so enjoyed.  I really like this sock pattern, and have made it three times already.  According to its popularity on ravelry I'm not the only knitter who is a fan of this pattern!  By the way, my user name on ravelry is Myknits, in case you want to check out my knitting progress.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Starting Out

A new year, a new decade (depending on how you think about it, but it does look like a new decade, what with being into the teens now), and it seems like the right time to have a place to share my thoughts.

Those are nouns in my title, the way I see it, so I plan to blog about things I'm knitting, books I'm reading, and the notes part leaves it wide open for notes on whatever else I feel like commenting on!

I just finished my first pair of toe-up socks yesterday, and I am pleased with the finished product. 
They're for a friend, and I think she will enjoy them (she picked out the yarn, so I know she'll like them, at the very least).  Overall I liked working from the toe up enough to do it again, but not enough to replace my tried-and-true top-down.  The same goes for working with two circular needles rather than four dpn's.

I used Wendy Johnson's first toe-up sock book for the basic sock mechanics, and I'm pleased both with her instructions and with the number of options that she gives for things like casting on and off.

I hope you'll join me now and then, and I'll try to be somewhat entertaining!