Sunday, 30 September 2007

Halloween Knitting

I felted my pumpkin last night. I have a front loading washing machine so thought I'd try felting by hand in a pail. Things weren't progressing as quickly as I'd hoped so after about 20 minutes of trying to agitate the pumpkin by hand, I threw it, the stem and vine in a lingerie bag and threw it in the dark load already in progress in the washing machine. I checked it after 5 minutes and that pretty much did the trick. I stuffed the pumpkin firmly with plastic bags and basted the top as closed as I could. I then wrapped acrylic yarn tightly around it along the seam lines. The pumpkin is still drying. It's going to look awesome when I'm done. I'll remove the red yarn once it's completely dry.

I also finished knitting the smaller pumpkin and will felt it next time we have a dark load.

I found this pattern for a really small felted pumpkin . I have to make another trip to my LYS to get more orange Ella Rae yarn.

Skip and Scooter golfed this morning so I went on a 50 minute walk. The weather has been gorgeous this fall. Now that I have fresh batteries for the camera, I'll get out and take those fall colour pictures.

Skip and I have decided on a resort to stay at in Cuba for our Holiday in November. I'll book that tomorrow.

I impulsively decided I wanted to go to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. All lodgings nearby are booked but I found a place in Albany that was the right price. I know it's completely frivolous but hey - doing stuff like this is exactly what I hoped to do in retirement. Skip will enjoy the sheep and the sheep dog trials.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

"Hello, my name is Geri and I'm a knitting addict"

I got up fairly early with Skip today. He left to go pick up Scooter and visit Grandma. Scooter had his first high school dance last night.

I've been puttering around. There are lots of things I could be doing and many things I should be doing. Instead, I'm goofing around on the computer. Ain't life grand!

I finished all the wedges for my first felted pumpkin last night and started the wedges for the smaller one. I need to stitch the wedges together and find the yarn for the stem. I also need to go and buy a set of 8mm dpns. That'll be the third time I've been at a yarn store this week. Pictures will be forthcoming.

"Hello, my name is Geri and I'm a knitting addict"

No one will ever go without food because of this and many cool things will be produced. However it really is somewhat of an addiction.

I downloaded a few knitting podcasts (of all things) including a couple of video ones so sometime today I will put them on my iPod and check them out.

The leaves are starting to turn and fall. I think this calls for some picture taking. Hmm, I'd better add camera batteries to my shopping list.

CBC Classical FM is on and housework and errands call....

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Season Openers

This morning I made it to the 9:30am Body Pump (weight-lifting) class. It was packed! 25 people with enough equipment for about 22 - too many people for the studio. I wish they'd offer another class and there's no Pump class at the other club on Thursday morning. It was a good workout although I didn't feel particularly strong. I did sweat a lot. Actually, I have been really sweating a lot during my workouts lately. I sure hope that means I'm burning off lots and lots of fat. I then did 30 min. on the treadmill.

I met Skip at his golf league's banquet at 1pm. It was a nice meal with very pleasant companions. Skip has really enjoyed it.

After supper, I went to the Sit 'n Knit. There were only 3 of us there this week (including Martina). She had made the felted pumpkins from and had them on display. I bought the orange yarn and will check out my stash for the brown yarn for the stem.

I've been continuing to work on the hemp market bag and have almost finished the first skein. I thought I should knit the two straps with the second skein first before continue with the bag as I want to make the bag as big as I can and don't want to run out of yarn. The straps call for 'linen stitch' which I had never seen or done before. It's kind of a weaving type of knitting with not a lot of 'give'. Some of the abbreviations were a bit perplexing at first, for instance, sl 1 pw wyib. Huh? I figured it meant, slip one stitch purlwise with the yarn in the back. And it worked!

I watched the season opener of 'Grey's Anatomy'. There are lots of opportunities for turns and twists the plots can take this season with the departure of Burke, the arrival of Alexis, the breakup of Meredith and McDreamy, Izzy's declaration of love for George and his reciprocating. I have the 'ER' season opener on tape and will watch it at a later time. I didn't watch it that faithfully last year. They've 'jumped the shark' a few times and characters are coming and going all the time.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Life's Simple Pleasures

Today was very pleasant. I had a nice morning puttering around the house and on the computer. Skip was golfing. After lunch I went to Costco to see if Linwood Barclay's book was there yet. It wasn't :-( However afterwards at Chapters I had a lovely time looking at the knitting books. I especially enjoyed the Koigu book, "Knits from a Painter's Palette: Modular Masterpieces in Handpainted Yarns". I enjoyed my Grande non-fat decaf latte as well.

While driving to and from my shopping places I noticed the leaves have started to turn. Some of the maples are just breathtaking. It has been unseasonably warm (hot) this month. Today was another record-breaking high. I even had the air-conditioning in the car!

I dropped into Kniterary on my way home to pick up the 4mm 24" circular needle I need for the hemp market bag project - The Shop 'Til You Drop kit in the classic colourway. I also scoped out a couple of different yarns for the Cece lace sweater I want to knit. I also bought a ball of chunky yarn on sale for the water bottle caddy.

When I got home, I popped a roast in the oven and followed with onions, potatoes and carrots and sat down to watch Oprah and began knitting the market bag. Dinner was delicious.

All in all it was a very pleasant day. Not much money was spent and there was a lot of enjoyment living in the moment.

Monday, 24 September 2007

A Stash I Forgot I Had

I got myself out the door by 10am and over to the gym for my 1 hour Yoga class. Then I spent a half hour on the treadmill whilst watching 'The View'. I picked up some California rolls downstairs at Loblaws and headed home to eat lunch.

Skip and I had planned to go into Toronto today but he has come down with a cold and begged off for today. I need to get 4mm 24" circular needles but my LYS (Kniterary) is closed on Mondays and Ferguson's is only open Thursday - Saturday. So I decided to work on the Lady Eleanor scarf instead.

It's an entrelac pattern from "Scarf Style". The original pattern calls for 7 squares per row and is more of a shawl. I didn't want a very wide scarf so I'm doing 2 squares across and only will use 3 balls of yarn. I'm using SWTC Karaoke yarn - 50% soysilk, 50% wool.

I tried to locate the Philosopher's Wool sweater kit in the basement - to no avail. I did however find a bunch of yarn from another kit I purchased years ago (100% wool) and a bunch of worsted weight acrylic and some squared I had made from baby yarn. I also found a kit of Norwegian yarn in black and off white.

Tomorrow I have several errands to run. I want to go to Costco and see if Linwood Barclay's new book " No Time for Goodbye" is there. If not, I'm ordering it from

I also have to drop into Kniterary for the circular needle I need. I'll also look for some yarn for the CeCe lacy sweater - not that I need to start another project!

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Back to Reality

I'm going to try to catch up on the week's happenings.

Tuesday I did a mammoth laundry and got all the clothes out on the line. We are doing our bit for the environment by line drying our clothes from April to November. And we love the fresh smell of them. The rest of the day was pretty much a day of sloth. I don't even think I got out of my sleeping clothes until late afternoon. I went to the Pickering Band rehearsal where I was the 4th (!) oboe player. They certainly don't need 4 of us. I did offer my services to the conductor if he needs someone to sub in for him. It was good seeing several of my former band-mates. There are a couple of other community groups I'm considering joining.

Wednesday was a pretty lazy day as well. I did do some grocery shopping but generally just puttered around the house (from what I can remember).

Thursday I went to a doctor's appointment and picked up fresh veggies on the way home. I made a very nice 'shake and bake' type chicken dinner with green beans and corn on the cob. After supper I went to Kniterary to 'Sit 'n Knit'. I finished knitting the top edge of the stained glass purse. I just need to finish by attaching it inside and finishing the second i-cord strap. Then it'll be time for felting. Martina offered to help me felt it. She also had some new hemp yarn kits and I bought the market bag one. I may start it this evening.

Yesterday, I went to the club and did the one hour weight-lifting class and then 30 min. on the treadmill while watching "The View". It went pretty quickly. It was the first time I had worked out since before our trip. Not surprisingly I'm feeling achy muscles today. I went over to the school I used to teach at to visit some folks and make sure some people were going out for a drink. We call that 'going to the curriculum meeting'. Skip and Scooter arrived home shortly after I got home.

Today, we slept in a bit and had a generally lazy morning. I bought a lovely sweater pattern for the Cece lacy sweater online from Now I'll be in search of appropriate worsted weight yarn. I may try to find a nice cotton yarn. While goofing off on the computer today I discovered TWO (!) yarn stored I haven't yet been to in the Buffalo area. They'll definitely be on my list the next time we go there for a 'get away' weekend. Now that our dollar is almost par it could be relatively soon.

I have made a list of UFOs:
- triangular shawl
- baby surprise sweater
- Regia Canadiana socks in Scroll Lace pattern
- stained glass fan felted purse

I'm sure there are more but I can't think of them right now.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Home Again, Jiggety Jig

We arrived in Flint, MI yesterday at 5pm. Thankfully, I had secured our reservation for late arrival at the Sleep Inn with my credit card. Once settled, we headed to Don Pablo's for dinner. I was in the mood for an enchilada and a tamale. Of course there was the requisite Corona Lite with lime, as well. The amiable server, Kristen, recommended I try a Miller Chill which contains lime and salt. Unfortunately they don't serve it at Don Pablo's but I'll keep an eye out for it in the future. I think they sell it at Applebee's in the US. Skip had shrimp quesadillas.

After waddling back to the room, we headed for the hot tub. It felt great after the long drive and the rough road we experienced between Lansing and Flint. Ahhhhh!

Skip watched football and I continued to knit on the stained glass fan purse. I'm at round 9 of 10 on the sides and will soon be able to start the bottom.

This morning we set out for home by 9:00 and arrived at the border crossing at Port Huron, MI by about 10:30 after a 'comfort stop' and a fill-up of gas. We got home by 2:30pm and commenced unloading and unpacking.

Ollie was very glad to see us. The neighbours who fed him while we were away noted that he must have missed us as he paid more attention to them than to his food when they came to feed him.

Now there's a mountain of laundry which I'll do tomorrow morning and hang out on the line. I have also decided to attend a rehearsal of the Pickering Community Concert Band tomorrow evening. I have been asked to consider being the assistant conductor. At this point, I'm reluctant to commit my time but I DO want to start playing again on a regular basis.

I just remembered another favourite thing about the game on Saturday. Any time Indiana got a first down the band would play the opening of the trio of National Emblem march. Fans would pump their fists up and down to the music and at the end of the second phrase point in the direction the Hoosiers marching.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Hoosier Daddy!

We got up early today and drove the 40 miles to Bloomington, IN to see the Indiana University Hoosiers play the University of Akron Zips. It was very exciting for both of us. Before the game we went over to Assembly Hall where the Hoosiers play basketball. There was a ladies' volleyball game in progress. Skip got a little misty eyed being in such a revered place (for NCAA basketball fans).

Then we headed over to "The Rock" (Memorial Stadium) where we were to see the IU vs. Akron game.

Before the game, Skip caught me KIP (knitting in public). I'm almost finished the monkey socks.

It was band day so there were several bands in attendance sitting in the end zone with the famed Marching Hundred band. In fact, there are over 200 people in the band including 22 sousaphones, almost 50 trombones and almost two dozen cymbal players. It was my turn to have a big lump in my throat.

Some of my favourite things? I loved Zippy the Kangaroo - the mascot from the Akron Zips. She is one of only two female mascots in the NCAA. She had 'Fear the Roo' on her back. I loved the music - the pageantry.

It was a beautiful, crisp fall day. I sure love the fall. Oh yeah and IU won 41 to 24. "Indiana, we're all for you!"

Friday, 14 September 2007


Today we packed up and headed southward to Franklin, IN where we will be staying for 2 nights. We had lunch at 'Shake 'n Steak' - nothing outstanding but adequate fare nonetheless. We went to WalMart afterwards and picked up a couple of things including a cute (kawaii = Japanese for 'cute') Hallowe'en shirt:

Our motel is comfortable and has many amenities: wireless high speed Internet, indoor heated pool, fridge and microwave and is just steps from the interstate. We have spent considerable time trying to find a high school football game to attend this evening but all of the local teams are playing away games - and by away, I mean 60+ miles away!! So much for that idea.

Skip took a picture of me last night in the cemetery posting my blog:

Tomorrow is our big day at Indiana University. We're getting up early and heading there. We want to be parked by 9:30am because at 9:45am sharp, the team will enter the stadium. It's a big deal, evidently.

On the knitting front, I'm quite pleased with the progress I've made on the Stained Glass Fan Felted purse:

I am using Noro Kureyon yarn. Six different colourways were required in order to get a variety of colours for each fan. I also bought a couple of balls of Australian merino yarn with some other colours. I'm hoping they'll all felt the same way. We shall see. I have 7 1/2 rows out of 10 finished on the sides and then I'll begin the bottom. I guess I'm about half finished. There will be two i-cord straps (I have one finished) and i-cord around the top. I'm going to line it and include a zippered pocket and a zipper across the top as there is no flap to close the top off.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

You Got That Right!

Today we headed into Westfield, west of Chesterfield and north of Indianapolis and Carmel, so I could go to Stitches ‘n Scones - a lovely yarn store that boasted a ‘man chair’, for Skip to sit in while he waited for me. I saw some lovely Freedom yarn and a pattern book with patterns featuring this yarn. There was a tam, scarf and wrist warmers made up in the store. The yarn was SOOOO soft and yummy. But I held off. I did buy two balls of yarn on sale to make a water bottle caddy. Something that would keep the condensation from dripping off.

We then went to a Mexican food place for lunch. I only wanted a tamale and an enchilada but the only lunch special with those items also featured a burrito so I got it and we took the burrito with us. I’m having it for dinner.

After lunch we drove back to Golfsmith so Skip could buy his range finder. Then we went over to Knit Stop a big, lovely yarn store in Castleton. I didn’t find anything on sale I needed to have nor anything else ‘to die for’ so I just had a look around and we left.

We came back to Todd’s and Skip took the car to the driving range and I stayed and I did more knitting on my stained glass purse.

Last night I finally got some photos of Todd and Shingo modelling their socks.

Tomorrow we will be bidding farewell to our hosts, Todd and Shingo, and heading to Franklin, IN south of Indy where we will spend the next two nights - before and after the Indiana University football game against the University of Akron Zips. We are quite looking forward to that.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

A Lazy Day

Today Todd and Shingo had errands to do so Skip and I headed out on our own. We drove to Muncie and had lunch. I then dropped Skip off at a golf driving range and I went to Danner’s a yarn store in Muncie. Danner’s is also a book store and gift store but its most popular item is yarn. The store is laid out in an interesting way. Instead of brands or weights of yarn being displayed together, the yarn is displayed by colour. I saw some brands I had never seen before such as a couple of brands from South Africa and Malabrigo. I bought a variegated merino wool to use in my felted stained glass fan purse. I also found the Opal sock yarn in the Raupe colourway - simulating a monarch butterfly caterpillar.

After shopping, we went to Anderson, IN and visited a couple of stores: Hobby Lobby and Dunham’s. Skip bought an Indiana University hooded sweatshirt. We then picked up some groceries at a market and returned to Todd’s.

Tomorrow we may head back to Carmel to explore more stores. We may also explore Mounds State Park.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

"Indiana Wants Me..."

On Saturday, I attended the Knitters’ Fair at Bingemans in Kitchener - Waterloo. I found the people selling the Addi Turbos for $12 (as opposed to $18 and up) and bought Valerie the 32" 2.5mm circular needle she wanted. I also got myself a 5mm 32" circular and at another booth some 5mm Clover bamboo dpns. I also bought a 2.5mm 32" Hiya Hiya circular needle as I have read so much about them.

I was looking for Noro Kureyon yarn for the Stained Glass Fan Felted purse. It required 6 skeins from different colourways. I spent the whole time looking and finally just minutes before I had to meet Skip, I found someone who had a variety of the Kureyon yarn. I had not found anyone selling the Noro yarn so was thrilled to find it. Unfortunately they didn’t have any black worsted wool so I’ll have to pick it up on my travels. I also saw Stephanie (The Yarn Harlot) Pearl-McPhee with her entourage. They were beside me when I was buying the Philosopher's Wool DVD.

After lunch we drove to Petrolia and visited with my sister, Valerie. She prepared a lovely roast beast beef dinner with steamed veggies and new potatoes. We stayed in the guest suite - ‘Sleepy Hollow’ - in her building; very comfortable accommodations.

Sunday morning we got up bright and early and headed for the border. Even at 8:30am there was a lineup for Customs on the US side. After getting through, we drove to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We then headed west on I-69 and at 3:30pm (with a stop for lunch en route) arrived at our host’s home in Chesterfield, IN. Todd and Shingo were there to meet us as well as Todd’s mom, JoAnn and her husband, Jack.

I knit most of the leg of the second monkey sock during the drive today and have turned the heel and am now working on the gusset - decreasing to do the foot.

Todd and Shingo were presented with their custom knitted socks. I know they can make good use of them on those chilly nights in Japan. They don’t have central heating and normally do not wear shoes in the house so nice, warm, woolly socks will keep their feet quite toasty.

Yesterday we had a leisurely morning. Then we headed to Muncie so Skip could go to a sports discount store - Dunham’s and I could go to Danner’s - a yarn shop. Danner’s was closed so I went to Hobby Lobby and found the worsted black yarn I needed. I then went to JoAnn’s Fabrics to look at their knitting inventory. There was nothing that appealed to me. We got back in time to see the season opener of the Oprah show featuring David Letterman. Todd and Shingo prepared a lovely steak dinner with baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

After dinner I watched the “Philosopher’s Wool” DVD that I had purchased at the Knitters’ Fair. It clearly explained the two-handed Fair Isle technique.

Today we headed to Carmel, IN a northern suburb of Indianapolis. First, we ate at Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Then we went to Borders (a Chapters-type bookstore). I bought Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Knitting Without Tears” . Then we went to Golf Galaxy and Golfsmith and dropped Skip off . Todd, Shingo and I went to Half-Price Books where I bought a used copy of “Knitting Lessons - tales from the knitting path” by Lela Nargi and Iris Schreier’s “Modular Knits”.

After that, we went to CompUSA where I bought a gel case for my iPod with an armband and the iSongBook Tivoli Audio system. It has an AM/FM radio and docking station for my iPod, clock radio and alarm.

Whilst at CompUSA in the iPod department, Shingo and I checked our e-mail. Sent a few replies. Then Skip showed up and checked his. After that, we went to a SuperTarget store near Fishers, IN off I-69 at exit 5.

When we were first getting off the interstate we noticed that the flags were at half-mast. Later we noticed people with flags and wreaths on some of the overpasses. Of course! It is September 11 - the 6th anniversary of the terrorist attack in the United States.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

K2, Sip 1

I went into Toronto today to do some shopping. I enjoyed knitting on the GO train and listening to a book on my iPod. I finished the second fingerless glove. I went to the food court at The Lanes and had a $5 lunch (incl. tax!) - an entree, 2 sides and a pop. I ended up at The World's Biggest Bookstore to check out their knitting books. I spent about an hour there and saw a couple that looked interesting but I didn't buy anything. I walked all the way down Bay (my daily walk - tee hee) and knit some more in the GO concourse and on the train home. I worked on the second monkey sock with the Regia stretch yarn.

After supper I went to the wine and cheese at Kniterary. We chatted and knitted. I worked on the Lady Eleanor entrelac scarf. I'm not thrilled with the yarn because it doesn't change colour fast enough. I'm sure it will look fine but I just wish there was more colour variation. I won a door prize - light-tipped 4.25mm knitting needles!

Tomorrow I'm meeting fellow retiree, Anne Marie, for coffee at Chapters. Then I'm going to CAA to get maps for our trip. Our neighbours are looking after Ollie and the house in our absence.

Today I ordered us two tickets for the Indiana University vs. Akron University football game in Bloomington, IN on Sept. 15. Skip is an NCAA football and basketball nut (we have the NCAA ticket with ExpressVu thus availing us of 800 games from now until the end of May). This will be Skip's first regular NCAA football game and my second. I went to a Univ. of Michigan/Univ. of Missouri game in Ann Arbor, MI circa 1974. There were 106,000 in attendance. The stadium in Bloomington only seats 52,000 so it won't be quite the spectacle. We attended the International Bowl (Western Michigan vs. Cincinatti) at the Rogers Centre last January. We LOVED it! We loved the bands, the cheerleaders, the pomp, the pageantry, oh yeah, and the football.

I have googled and printed maps our for all the yarn stores within a 30 mi. radius of Chesterfield, IN. Skip also has designs on a couple of sporting goods stores for golf equipment. We will also take our hosts Todd and Shingo to Romano's Macaroni Grill in Carmel, IN. The first leg of our odyssey will be the Knitter's Fair in Kitchener/Waterloo on Saturday.

What Do I Do All Day?

I highly recommend retirement. It becomes me. :-)

This week I've been out for lunch, have golfed with Skip, went to the public library to get more CDs to put on my iPod, am going into Toronto tomorrow to shop, am going to a wine and cheese at my LYS, Kniterary tomorrow evening and am meeting a fellow retiree for coffee on Friday.

I wouldn't have time for these things if I was working so I'm glad I'm not. :-)

I didn't knit much today (except at the library and whilst waiting for my PC to boot this evening) but did get more done on the second fingerless glove. I'll finish it on the GO train tomorrow on the way into the city. I'm also going to start the second monkey sock.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Back to School? Not for me!!!

Today is Labour Day and the last long weekend of the summer. All those in educational fields are gearing up to go back to work tomorrow and I'm thrilled that I'm not one of them. Instead, I'm going to visit one of my colleagues who is on maternity leave and her 5 month-old baby. It'll be strange for both of us not to be going to work on the Tuesday after Labour Day so I thought we should enjoy it together.

Today was a lazy day for me. I slept in and had a leisurely breakfast, watched TV and knit. I'm working on the fingerless gloves. I designed them myself. I made a K2, P2 ribbed cuff and continued it on the palm. The back of the glove has two cables that twist towards each other.

The yarn is actually much more purple than the picture shows.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

It's a Girl!

Yesterday Skip and I went to the Ukrainian Festival at Harbourfront. We watched Ukrainian dancing, ate south Asian food and Mexican churros. I bought a folder that had 1472 photos of Ukrainian Easter eggs- pysanky. It is in Ukrainian so I'll have to get some translations for some of the things but the different regions of Ukraine are represented by their typical egg patterns (i.e. Hutsul region eggs have a lot of black on them). This is a pysanka from the Hutsul region:

I started the fingerless gloves with the Drops alpaca yarn and stayed up WAY too late knitting but I just couldn't put it down. It feels so nice. I designed a pattern with a K2,P2 ribbed cuff and two cables on the back of the hand and stockinette on the front. I'll improvise the thumb when the time comes. I started it on dpns (Clover bamboo 2.75mm Clover) but switched to Addi Turbos 2.5mm and they seem to be the same diameter - go figure.

Today we went to the Hispanic Fiesta at Mel Lastman Square in North York. We arrived in time to see folkloric shows from Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Bolivia. I ate Cuban tamales, an empanada (similar to a Jamaican patty with a doughy crust), a churro (deep-fried star-shaped extruded dough rolled in sugar) and a soursop popsicle. Skip ate the same stuff minus the churro and his popsicle was mango-flavoured. This is what churros look like:

We stopped in at Fred's mother's nursing home to drop off a couple of magazines. She was eating dinner so we didn't stay. She seemed disappointed but we didn't want to wait. We'll go visit her next week sometime.

When we got home, we were surprised to find that Chewy was out of the chrysalis and had its wings completely unfurled.

I had noticed this morning that the chrysalis had turned dark so I knew it was just a matter of hours before it would metamorphose into a butterfly.

We took Chewy outside - still attached to the lid of the 'Bug Bottle' and just watched to see what it would do. It flew a couple of feet to one of the pepper plants, landing near the bottom. It then climbed up to the top of the plant.

After a few minutes, it flew to the other side of the yard landing on a sea holly where it stayed for about 20 minutes. Then it flew off.

When I came back in the house, I checked information on the Internet to see whether it was a male or a female. Males have a characteristic black dot on each wing.
Females do not have the dots and the black veins between orange patches are wider.

Chewy was definitely female - ergo the title of today's post.