Saturday, March 31, 2007

Yarn I Admire

I admit that there has been a knitting dry spell in this blog of late. I apologise for it and hope to remedy it today, not by showing more of my knitting progress—of which there is none to date—but by sharing some of my favourite yarns.

My current fav is by Scout at Scout's Swag. I think prepster looks good enough to eat, but I would definitely follow that with fraises des boise and needles on fire for dessert. Can you tell I like pink?

While I was searching for more yummy hand dyed yarn, I came across Hello Yarn. Colourways I love here include laughs, puzzled and syrup.

I will continue with more on this topic later, but really I am using this post to secure my Technorati profile. Hope I don't end up regretting it. I was really motivated to CLAIM MY BLOG.

Technorati Profile

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What a Difference a Year Makes!

I was looking through my iPhotos and feeling very nostalgic. I thought I would remind myself what it was like around here by this time last year. It really is amazing to me how much can change in just one year. Judging by the photo you may have had the same thoughts about me, I was about ready to burst by the time that photo was taken, but still had more than a month before daughter two came along.

This photo makes me feel that while I am not ready to be pregnant again right now I definitely want to be pregnant again. Also, I remember that I had spilled supper on my pants that night and the stain is really evident. Hard to work around a belly that size.

Makes me want to wake up the kids and give them big hugs and kisses before they change again tomorrow.

Anyway, because Kristin is about ready to pop I write this in her honour. We were pregnant together for our first borns, now I get to watch from this side of the fence. Can't wait to see what's in your belly!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Not really sure what I did, but somehow I took away the comment option to my post yesterday. All is right now, but it is a real bummer because I don't want to make it difficult for anyone to post. Especially while attempting my first blog tea party. Technology is great, but relying on me to operate it is bound to cause some glitches every now and then.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tea and Crumpits

I made some yummy treats today so I thought I would welcome you in with a snack.

These are chocolate surprise cookies made fresh today, from the Holiday Cookies issue of Martha, which is a favourite of mine. The surprise in the cookie is a marshmallow filling. They really are more like a brownie—VERY rich. Anyway, enjoy!

Surprise Cookies (Hope Martha doesn't mind my sharing) Makes about 2 dozen

1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 Cup cocoa powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 Cup milk
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
Chocolate Frosting for Surprise Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on until combined.

Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Makes 1 cup
2 Cups confectioners' sugar
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 Cup cocoa powder
1/4 Cup milk
1/4 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow until marshmallow is covered.

Friday, March 23, 2007

That's a Wrap

I am a sometimes environmental nut. Mainly this means that I am prone to bouts of major recycling and composting, and a strong urge to hug the trunk of the beautiful butternut/beechnut tree in our backyard (not sure which it is, but it is pretty). I also go back and forth on wrapping paper and the evils of using it.

I must be on an ecological downturn because in a moment of weakness last week-end I bought some beautiful wrap, by Papyrus, and a gift bag for an upcoming girls birthday party. The wrap was for a baby shower and it allowed me to work in my favourite colour, hot pink, quite nicely. The hot pink envelope held a card made by the same company that made the wrap. Lots of fun designs.

Today I was sewing shoulder seams on my bolero. Three needle bind off is my new best friend! Thank you Kristin. Still having trouble with the sleeves which involves sewing a salvage end (edge the has been BO) against a side piece so I am up for any suggestions (see picture below). I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the sewing yarn is visible as a twist on the RS of the bolero.

Hope you have a great week-end!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rainy Days and Thursdays

After an exciting evening drawing up an offer that, admittedly, was low but justifiably so, we did not become the proud owners of a new home. We are just the proud owners of a lot of guilt that our calculated decision to offer the price we did may have been a mistake.

What if we never find a house that nicely finished? What if I have to live with two young children through a renovation? What if I have to LIVE with my MOTHER-IN-LAW during a renovation?! What if we never find a house in this neighbourhood we like? It is supposed to be a good area for schools. Which has got me thinking, how important is a good school to my children? I mean really, I still made it through University and design school despite a mediocre early education.

Knitting helped work out my nerves over the whole thing, probably I should have napped instead, but look at how cute this is. This is the baby bolero, which I am trying to sew together, I may need a bit more practise before I master finishing techniques, but I am confident. It practically fits in my hand—which is, I think, a fairly normal size womanly hand. The little lace section, according to the book, is believed to bring luck and protection to the wearer. The camera wasn't handy, so I cleverly used my scanner, hence the rough looking backdrop.

I promise not too many rants about this house hunting thing. I am optomistic it will be over before we really get into the heat of summer, I hope.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No News Is Good News

Well, nothing new to report on the home front. We have not placed our bid on the house we saw, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. Also, no new knitting news either. I have been a bit obsessed with reading blogs on the internet. It is addictive. I have found some worth mentioning though.

Knit Cafe, they have a wicked soundtrack and an intersting Web site worth visiting.

January One has an example of a mitered blanket I will put off for a future knit adventure. Also a funny commentary on how addicted she is to these squares of colour. Makes a really stunning blanket, complicated to arrange, yet seems simple enough to knit.

Well, back to watching the Idol. Husband got me hooked! Go Chris and Lakisha!

Monday, March 19, 2007

A New Address

We are looking for a new address. It has become a little tight for us in our lovely just-perfect-when-we-were-two bungalow. I love this little drafty house, don't get me wrong, but our growing family is just needing a bit more space.

The problem with looking for a new address, aside from dragging the poor kids to each viewing, is having to look at a bunch of not-so-perfect houses to find home-sweet-home. Also, Kristin will not live just around the corner which is funny in a way, because mostly we talk to each other over the phone.

Today I am heading out with the girls to view a house on a street with a name I can barely pronounce, Aurora, say it over and over and it stops sounding like a word at all. I am also sure it is going to need to be spelled out every time someone asks for our address. So with spelling that and our last name umpteen times I am going to be tongue tied.

It has been updated quite nicely, and the master bedroom has room for a King size bed (see photo below). With all the kids in ours with us (in the mornings) it is like that song that goes "...four in the bed and the little one said, 'I'm crowded, roll over. So they all rolled over and one fell out..." Usually it is daughter 2 falling out, and daughter 1 saying "hey, get off my pillow."

Hopefully we find one soon, the anticipation is killing me. Of course, then we have to get down to the work of selling our house and deal with keeping it clean with two children and a dog living in it. Oh dear!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

I tried to search for an appropriate Irish knitting proverb but no such luck. Instead I found a cute rhyme someone's irish aunt used to teach her to knit.

In the little bunny hole, around the big tree, out the little bunny hole and off goes she.

Hope you all enjoy your green beer. Slainte.

I started the baby bolero last night and so far I think I like the Densie needles. They are very light, but my wrists and hands seemed a lot less fatigued as a result.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ain't it Sweet

Denise Interchangeables came today! Now I can start on the Baby Bolero, a more challenging project for a newbie like me. I am not sure I can keep up to the same pace as my fellow knitting bloggers. I will cast it on to get a feel for the needles and put it aside until the second baby hat is done.

I am really intrigued by this knitting jewellery I have seen lately. Might have to give it a whirl.

Today was a whirlwind. We went to a nearby heritage village and enjoyed pancakes and syrup. Between my sister-in-law and I we have six kids under nine. Our youngest ones are going to be the ages one, two, three, and four in the next few months so it is busy when we all get together, but quite fun. I am pausing for a moment to imagine if they were all mine — gulp.

All these kids make me think of one of my favourite books of last year, The Birth House by Amy McKay. It is a great book about friends, mothers, midwifery and the Occasional Knitters Society (everyone should be a member). And so, I leave you with this nugget of knitting knowledge to impress your friends with:

During World War I many women all across Canada joined together in the practice of knitting items for the soldiers. The Red Cross slogan, "Knit Your Bit" and songs such as "I Wonder Who's Knitting for Me" became part of the popular culture. Thrumming - a knitting technique used in Newfoundland and most of Atlantic Canada - is a process where pieces of roving are worked into mittens, hats, and socks. It makes them amazingly warm and almost waterproof. (Which is why soldiers were known to trade almost anything for a pair of socks knit by a Newfoundlander.) Borrowed from

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And I Will Always Love ...

Today was one of those days that shakes the dust off winter and puts you in a great mood. It makes me wonder how people feel who live in climates that don't really change seasons?

The girls and I suited up and headed for Costco. As a treat, the sun decided to come out for our trip. The walk there was (and I am just guessing here) about 5 kilometres, pushing a double stroller through some slushy, wet snow and over some small hills, while wearing on my back a relatively lighter version of what is ordinarily packed in my backpack-diaper bag. By the time we got to Costco I was feeling good, a bit tired from lack of real exercise but still it took the expected half an hour. The walk home, seemed more like 10 kilometres, uphill, sweating all the way, I feared that I may have to force daughter 1 to push daughter 2 and I the rest of the way. Not so unfair considering the seemingly boundless energy she possess most days.

In the afternoon I shopped for knitting needles. I decided on the Denise Interchangeable Needles set from Needle Emporium. I thought the Off Hand Designs bags she sells were very cute and seemed like something A Friend to Knit With could whip up on a week-end.

I am looking forward to testing my new needles out. Here is what the Knitty review said about them, but feel free to advise if i have made a terrible mistake, they can be returned.

Days like today make me think of music. I read in Real Simple magazine about the positive impact a theme song can have on bolstering your confidence. To make it work it has to be a song that you happen to associate with a great moment in your past. Like song playing before a winning basketball game. Then, before you enter a tough meeting or whatever it is, you have to belt out the song. This is meant to make you feel confident and nail it.

I have many songs that could fit in this category, but the most fitting is, of all songs, Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. I would love to hear your equally embarrassing, and or better songs.

Monday, March 12, 2007

These feet were made for walking

Big news happened over the week-end. My 10-month-old started walking! A very cautious, wide stance version of walking that has been progressing since Saturday. It is amazing watching this very internal struggle — her mind forcing her legs to respond — each "step" of the way. Of course, once walking is mastered, I am sure she will be running to catch up with her big sister, who would not slow down for the photo of her new favourite shoes.

A fairy day was had by all today — even daddy joined in too! I am sooo glad to be home for these moments. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who does the "dirty" work so I don't have to. Isn't he something?

My baby hat is finished. This represents my second completed work from a pattern. It is very satisfying seeing it completed. I am going to "whip" up a bigger version for daughter number two.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Beret Today...

It is a very beautiful day today. The sun is shining, the snow is melting yet it is still cold enough the dog hasn't started bringing in the mud, my daughter has a new pair of pink rubber boots, and I have a new beret, that now fits, and a very small baby hat almost complete. Oh I also have a very beautiful copy of Greetings from the Knit Cafe which I am sharing with my friend Kristin. Custody arrangements are in negotiation.

Enjoy the first days of pre-spring sunshine! (And the new pics).

Also, pardon the photo of myself. I rarely get a chance to have my hair look so smashingly, and it was taken in the hair salon not because I am so vain I have photos taken of myself at the salon, but because it was my daughter's first official hair cut.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Scalloping Complete

Very glad this is a baby hat (Interweave Press, One Skein) because at least I don't have to redo a lot of work (like with my beret which is also now complete and fits much better after a bit of on purpose shrinking). Sorry, no photo, although it is now done, properly, and looks just like the photo in the book, thankfully. I think I would have poked my eyes out if I had to rip it out AGAIN. It is very hard to get knitting done, photos taken, uploaded from camera to computer to blog, and write a note all in one day.

I am very tired from many nights up past midnight to get these projects done. This hobby is kicking my butt!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Simply Sublime!

originally uploaded by swa2.
Starting baby hat next. Casting on is kicking my butt. Can't figure out how much I need to get the desired number of stiches and keep having to rip it out.

This fabric is sooo beautiful, I wish I could wrap myself in it. Alas, only enough for two baby hats. From Interweave Press One Skein.

Blogging takes too much time away from knitting.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Awww, Nuts!

Three great obstacles for my new hobby, knitting, are as I have come to learn — Huge!

Obstacle A: Kids. Kids are great don't get me wrong. Everyone should have at least one or two or a litter, if you are so inclined but, let's face it, they require a lot of care and attention. Unlike the dog who pretty much has to fend for herself these days (all you Peta people need not worry, that last one was a joke (mostly)). I suppose the most obvious reason is kids and knitting needles don't go together very well. So, each night I wait until they are put to bed before I knit. This does not leave a lot of time to knit making even the smallest project, my new beret, seem like a never ending story.

Obstacle B: Time. As I said before, obstacle A decreases the amount of time I have to devote to knitting. Which also influences time in another way, the time of day that I knit is usually quite late — 9 p.m. is late for me and those of us with obstacle A in our lives!. Obstacle B leads naturally into my next obstacle...

Obstacle C: Fatigue. Knitting late into the night is a problem for two reasons. The first being fatigue the next day. Cannot look after my two lovely little Obstacle A(s) very well on little sleep. The second problem is that Obstacle B — late night knitting — leads to horrible mistakes that are usually not discovered until a few nights (and a little more sleep) later.

So, I have just had to do the gut wrenching job of ripping out, or frogging — a term that must have been coined by some other late-night knitter, my beautiful hat back before my huge mistake was made.

And, while I am quite sure my hat will be knit before long in spite of all my obstacles, my fear is that winter will be long gone. So I vow, snow or no snow, when it is complete I will wear the heck out of my Pink Beret! So, if one day you happen to pass by a tired looking mother with kids walking around in the sweltering heat of a canadian summer wearing of all things, a woolen pink beret, you will understand why!