Monday, July 30, 2007


For the first time in my life, I am on a do-nothing, lounge-by-the-water vacation.

Here are just a couple of pics so you can share in the loveliness that is a week at the cottage. More when I've charged my laptop battery better, and get back into town for the wifi.

Sunday Sunset behind island

Sunday John and Char in silhouette at sunset

Sunday Fire and dock

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Imprisoned by Canada Post

I feel as though I am trapped. It is now 5 pm, and the new Harry Potter book has yet to arrive. I've been up since 7 this morning, just because I was so excited to know it was the big day. And, I wanted to be all presentable and ready to answer the door at any moment.

That was a long time ago, now.

I can't leave the house. I worry when I go out on the balcony that I won't hear the door. I'm too scared of spoilers to turn on the television. This also limits use of the internet to some degree. I don't want to watch a movie, because I want to start reading the moment I have the book, and I wouldn't want to have to stop mid-movie for something I haven't seen before. So I've been watching some Firefly and sticking to catching up on old blogs. My friend Charlotte got the book at midnight and was finished by 7 am. It is killing her not having anyone with whom she can talk about the book. But she is also a very good friend, and would never spoil.

Thinking of other things...

I visited Windsor last weekend, and stumbled upon a nice (and dangerous) surprise, in the form of a store clearing out all its yarn. 40% off all yarn. I may have gone back a couple of times. I may be thinking of sending my mother back there to take a few more skeins off their hands. Maybe.

I didn't go completely nuts, but I did get some goodies - I'm especially happy about the lovely, tweedy alpacas. I'm thinking hats and mittens.

Not thinking about the book at all.

ETA: The book arrived at 6:50 pm. I now love Canada Post. I almost hugged the poor carrier in relief. I am now 59 pages in. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Elephant in the Room

I finished a little project a couple of weeks ago, and am glad that I can finally share it now that it's been gifted.

This is Eloise.

This is the first toy I've knitted, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the feeling of bringing a little creature into being. When I stitched the second eye into place, I felt like I was meeting a new little person. And her name was Eloise, for some reason. (Have I mentioned that I live above the garage? It may be I am affected by fumes.)


Eloise is knit in Knitpicks Shine Sport, in Cloud colour, and following the Lovable Toys pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Aside from errors, I didn't deviate from the pattern except in yarn substitution. I wanted something that would be a little more forgiving of baby substances than the alpaca that the pattern called for. The ears turned out much floppier than expected, but I love them. They're soft, and I'm sure will be good to chew on, when the time comes.

This is Chelsea.
I hadn't had a chance to meet Chelsea yet, to ask what kind of animal she'd like. So I went with the elephant, because I know Chelsea's mum, Chrystal, is a big fan. Chelsea seems okay with this.

They're pretty well-matched in size, so far.Eloise and Chelsea scale

Eloise is far from perfect, but I like to think that Chelsea likes her anyway.

Eloise and Chelsea faces

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Mission Accomplished

It's done! I was surprised at how quickly this went at the end. Which is kind of dumb, because I've done this three times before.

Here's what I've ended up with.

Mhairi's Clapotis on swift

While knitting it, I was worried that it was turning out a lot narrower than the ones I've done before, and I would end up with a scarf, rather than a wrap. Which, again - duh. If you use laceweight yarn and lace-sized needles to knit something that's normally done in worsted, it's generally going to turn out smaller.

I didn't think that blocking would do much for this, since it is cotton, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. It's so light that it dried in only a couple of hours, and it turned out just about perfect.

Mhairi's Clapotis Detail

So, because I forgot to say what yarn this is last time (thanks, kmkat!) here's another recap:

Clapotis, knit using Blue Heron Yarns Egyptian Mercerized Cotton in the Marshgrass colourway. And for anyone local who's interested, I picked this up at Village Yarns, on Dundas near Islington. Their website's been down all weekend, but hopefully they'll have things sorted soon. I also got my fancy new needles there - 3.75 mm Addi Lace Turbo circulars.

I've been thinking about why I've done this four times, now. Because, while I like the end product, it isn't so wildly fun that I just can't stop myself from casting on another and another. As a matter of fact, the middle section can get pretty tedious. It is good as a portable project, aside from juggling stitch markers. The pattern is very easy to memorize, but not completely boring, because you're breaking it up with knit-through-back-loops, and the dropping of the stitches can be pretty fun. And I have to admit, that done in a good yarn, you end up with a very good gift. It's like a scarf, but just that bit fancier. The last one I did was for my mum, and she wears it as a shawl on cool days, and a scarf on cold days. And she always get compliments, so that makes me happy.

Now I'm itching to get something new on the needles. I was so focused on getting this done on time that it was my only WIP. I was shocked when I realised that I had nothing else to knit yesterday afternoon. I've cast on for a little camera cozy to tide me over until I can get something more substantial ready to go.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's Happening Again

I somehow find myself with Clapotis #4 on the needles. And this time with a deadline.

My aunt and uncle will be making the long, long trek from New Zealand to visit with us here in sunny (?) Ontario. I've known about this visit for a while now. Months, in fact. Of course, it was only two weeks ago that I decided I should knit a gift for my aunt. This is like all my school assignments, ever.

I decided to knit another clapotis. For some reason. Well, one reason is that I've been hankering to do up one of these in a variegated yarn. My biggest problem, though, was my colour choices. I haven't seen this particular aunt in many, many years, and so have no idea of her colour preferences. So I wanted to do something in an inoffensive, bordering-on-neutral colourway.

I tend to pick... unconventional colours and combinations. This I've been informed, both subtly and blatantly, though usually with love. So I dragged my friend Jen to the LYS with me after work one day so that she could veto as appropriate. I picked up many skeins, showing them hopefully to Jen, asking, "Is this normal?", and being told, "Nope. Not so much."

Marshgrass wound2

We finally agreed on a colourway called Marshgrass, full of tawny greens and highlighted with pinks and purples. It's a mercerized cotton, and I'm really enjoying it.

It's going pretty well, overall, after a couple of false starts. I had completed the increase section and was well into the straight rows, when I noticed I'd missed some repeats, and frogged the whole thing to start over.

Clapotis July 1 on lap

Because I was using such a lightweight yarn, I had decided to use the smallest of the Denise set, which is a 3.75 mm. But I found that the yarn kept snagging on the join, so I decided that it was time for an upgrade. Maybe I was just looking for an excuse - I got my very first Addi Turbos. Lace, even. They're working great, but I think I have poor knitting technique, because the pointy ends are just tearing my fingertips to bits. I've finally developed enough of a callous that I stop breaking the skin, at least.

And now, I'm finally at a point where I think I can finish on time. A couple of day-long meetings and lots of tv and movie time have really helped.

Clapotis July 1

My poor fingers needed a break from the torture of the lace needles, and so I finished off another little project over the weekend. And it was a lot of fun. But that's some stealth knitting, that will have to wait a bit to be shared. But you can see it on Ravelry, if you're around.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


How I wish I could share with you my perfect Sunday afternoon.

When I was younger, I used to dream of a secret spot. In the woods near my home, I imagined a little "me-shaped" nook at the base of a tall tree, sheltered and shady, by the side of a cool, shining stream. A place where I would go to be on my own, by myself, with myself. I would have hiding places for favourite books and chipped teacups and old, worn cushions.

And then one time I went home to visit, and walked past the place where my secret spot would have been, waiting for me. And the mighty forest, with its tall, mysterious tree giants and hidden paths... was gone.

It had only ever been a small grove of trees - richer and deeper in imagination and daydreams.

Today I am thinking of that wonderful nook that existed only in my mind and heart.

Today I found a little, perfect space at the base of a shading willow, beside the river, surrounded by flowers and tall grasses.

There are swans and geese paddling by, looking hopefully at me and my bag and gliding by resignedly and quietly. The sunlight is filtering through the delicate leaves, patterning me with amorphous, restless lace, full of movement. There is a gentle breeze touching my skin and carrying the scents of water and flowers and green, growing things.

Right now, I can't imagine a more perfect Sunday afternoon.

Happy Canada Day. I wish you your own "you-shaped" nook - be it in your dreams or in your backyard.