Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

Oh man- I just looked out into the living room- looks like something was called for and couldn't come- man! where am I going to put all this stuff???????? So far, I have just sort of shoved all of the presents under the tree. EEEK. Oh well, I will pay for all this tomorrow. We went up to my brother-in-law's on Friday morning and got back yesterday. I realized halfway back that I had left my precious little camera at his place (yes, they are going to have it sent to me). I am just not quite used to having it yet.
I had a couple of questions about my jacket- it is suede, soft blue, with embroidery down the fronts (flowers and leaves). The style is pretty basic- a fitted shirt jacket, really. I actually wore it today with a turtleneck underneath it (it has gotten pretty mild around here). I will try to get a picture taken of me in it and let you guys decide for yourselves!
Until then- Happy New Year!

PS- I did happen to knit- I made two hats (from the kids' book by Mission Falls) except that I used the new Vanna White acrylic (by Lion?). These kids don't wear wool easily (they get rashy)-but I was pleasantly impressed by this acrylic- both in colour choice and price point. The stuff actually feels like a good wool, on top of all of that. We shall see how it wears.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We're back!

And had a fine Christmas, let me tell you!!! The weather, last week, was all snowy and had the potential to produce a Christmas like I remember-banks of white snow, a feeling of cocooning inside your house- the Christmas lights burning through the mask of white- but no, rain followed by wind yielded dirty snow banks and that decidedly spring-like look. Then, a surprise snowstorm changed it all- nice clean white snow again! We spent Christmas Eve wrapping presents -this year, Annie got in on the wrapping- and while I stayed in the bedroom and wrapped the ones she couldn't see, she was a real little trooper and wrapped and tagged and worked really hard. When it was all over, we put the presents under the tree and stuffed all the stockings. I noticed she was looking at the piles pretty intensely, so I asked what was up. She said that she had looked through them all, and that she didn't know if Santa was going to come. Hmmm, I thought. 9 years old and right on the cusp of "Should I believe or not?"I asked if she wanted to put out the cookies and milk for Santa, and she thought that she would. But with reluctance. But all was right in her world on Christmas morning!!!!! She ran out (at 5:15 a.m., by the way) and saw the gifts under the tree. She got a sad little look- said that "Santa hadn't left her anything, just you guys" when she backed right into her new piano! (well, clavinova, in reality) with a big tag on it saying "To Annie, love Santa, Thanks for the treats". Later, she said that she knew Santa wouldn't let her down- since she was aware a clavinova was very expensive, and that we couldn't afford one, but that Santa made her one of her very own. So, one more year of "still believin'~!

I was rather spoiled- my husband's big gift to me was a brand new
Nikon CoolPix!!!!! It takes loads of pictures, even movies! And it is tiny, easy to use, and he says it is for my blog. Cool, eh? And as soon as I figure out how to get the pictures out of it, well, you will be the first to know! (yeah, I am a bit slow on technology)
The biggest surprise was from my in laws- after I had unwrapped all the presents (they tend to give "family type" things- works for me), my mother in law said hold on, I have to get one more thing- and out comes an embroidered leather jacket for me! Holy cow! I was really surprised!
Suffice it to say, I had a great day. And also because I was very pleased with what I gave to others (you know how you sometimes feel like you didn't quite pick the right thing sometimes? Well, none of that this time)
We had roast beef with the in laws yesterday, turkey with mom and my sister on Christmas Day (Mom had come here for Christmas breakfast) and we are off to my brother-in-law's tomorrow-if the weather holds.
All the best-

Sunday, December 23, 2007

We wish you........

A very merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season, filled with knitting and stitching and finishing up that one last project while watching tear jerker movies and all those good things! I still have to finish one more hat-------so, until then- adieu!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Books for kids......

I had a couple of emails about book titles for kids.... here are a few- I will try to get more later-
The Grimm Sisters series (there are 5 of them) by Buckley- Daphne and Sabrina have a happy life, until their parents mysteriously disappear. So, in waltzes Granny Relda (they thought she was dead) and she takes them in- and then the crazies start. Seems the girls are descendants of the real Grimm brothers, and the fairy tales are not stories- they are true accounts of crimes committed by Everafters (did you know that Riding Hood was actually a homicidal maniac? Or the police force-Hamstead and company- the three little pigs-their construction company fell through!!) Excellent read! Ages 9-12
The Philip Pullman series- The Golden Compass is the most famous one- go and see the movie trailer- enough said! Reading is a bit tough-at least a 12 year old read (and older)
Mature readers (as in the 13-14 year old crowd who can read anything) in my school have taken a liking to Mary Higgins Clark (girls mostly)-no swearing, no sex- but good reads.
Ridley Pearson (who has written spy things for adults and mysteries) is now writing a bunch of fantasy books for kids (11-12-13- and 14- year olds) They take place in Disneyland-and use techno scientific stuff- boys LOVE these books (I will have titles later-as well as more ideas!)
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Putting your money where your mouth is......

Big believer in that- always have been. That is how I got into designing sweaters for bigger ladies-because the size is one thing, fit is quite another. So- every year, at school, I model good reading practice, I read aloud from interesting books, I make sure the classroom is rich with print, and I sermonize endlessly about reading- about how a good reader just DOES better at school, and a kid who doesn't read for pleasure just may be missing something (I know- I can hear the emails and comments now- how people who have never ever read for pleasure are doing just fine, thank you very much-I know, I know- just hold your comments until I'm done) As I was saying- kids who have never really read for pleasure need to try it before they throw out the whole idea. And I truly believe that there IS a book for every child. Back to the money where my mouth is. I try to get to know the interests of all of my students, and, by December, hope to have figured them out. And then I go out and buy a brand new book for every child and wrap it up and give it to him or her for Christmas. So today was the day- I had my 25 books all wrapped, and I pulled out the box and started to hand them out. Well, you could have heard a pin drop! The kids tore open their books while I explained how much thought went into each one-and then the kids did the magical thing. They asked if they could have a quiet reading period so that they could enjoy their books! And they sat and read. And read some more. And they asked why I chose such and such a particular book for this person, and what interested me about that book. And then, during the day, just about every last one of them came up to me and said ,"Thank you so much for my book. I want to read it tonight when I get home." These are Grade 6 and 7 students here. 11, 12 and 13 year olds! I checked in the desks after they had been dismissed- not one book was left behind! On top of all that, today was the day that we made our "Gingerbread" houses. This is a week and a half long project, in which they have to draw a sketch of what they want, then a map (orthographic), then they have to build a cardboard structure (they will attach things to that), and draw up a shopping list (keeping within a budget), and then, finally, today, they put it all together. They used graham crackers, or wafers, or crackers, or cereal, or whatever to cover the cardboard. (icing is the glue). Then they used the icing to attach the candies and such. Here are a couple of pictures of projects on the go!
CN Towers and Chinese Pagodas and Beach Huts...... Click for BIG!
(And how to these structures get home???? Easy- +10 marks if they go home today or tomorrow, and 20 marks taken off if I have to dispose of them!!!!!!!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Suggestions PUH-LEASE!!!!!

I have two nephews (well, I have more nephews, but I am talking about these two right now) who basically have everything they have ever wanted and then some. Both teens- one is low teens, the other is high teens-and I have absolutely NO CLUE as to what to get them for Xmas!!!! I have sent them cheques to buy "x" (whatever the popular thing might be) and the cheques never get cashed. So, I thought gift certificates. But for WHAT?????? And if I wanted to send then a real thing, what would you suggest? Help me, out there- I need suggestions!!!! (Or else I might have to resort to some squirrelly weirdo knitted thing that will definitely make me lose status as "cool aunt" for ever!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Onto other things- Berroco has published the cutest set of wee sweaters to make and hang up as tree decorations-I just adore them!!!!! The patterns are free for all 12 of the sweaters- made out of a dk weight(maybe sport weight??? although it doesn't matter much) and the instructions for the wee coat hangers are also there.
Maybe when I am sitting in front of my tree on Christmas day(my mother is cooking the turkey at her house), I might start one or two to put away for next year. We'll see.
Speaking of tree- we haven't put up our Christmas Tree YET-we are terribly worried Mr. Bear will have some issues with it and take it down (or chew on some part of it) when we are out of the house. And you know, it is really hard to feel Christmassy when you don't have the tree up. So, it seems the tree won't go up until this Friday (when we can be at home to watch it. And Bear)
Annie has started to rally- good thing, too, since she has a speaking part in the "Seasonal Concert" on Tuesday. I have an issue or two with this concert. It seems the organizers have included Jewish songs and Arabic songs and a couple of other religions/cultures- but NO Christmas songs! One teacher was quoted as saying- "The Board doesn't allow us to do Christmas concerts." Well, the way I see it, if they are excluding the religious beliefs of 98% of our school population, in favour of the 2%-what's up with that????? But no, I kept my mouth shut, and painted the set (the principal and organizers always assume that I will paint the set (about14 feet high, by 32 feet across) for the "Seasonal Concert" with limited help from anyone-and no time during the school day to do it-and this year, they wanted the scene from Polar Express when the train comes down the kid's street-but no Christmas Trees, please.) So it is almost done- I need about an hour or so just to do the final touch ups.

Oh man- Bear just came in from outside with a dirty face. The damn dog has been eating poop again.

Can you feel the stress??????????????????????????????????????

Added later- I have found an outlet for my stress- Sober Santa- I'm not kidding! Try it!

Oops- I almost forgot to add the finished items to this post!

First- a before and after shot of a hat made from two colours of Manos wool-I LOVE the brown shade- it is brown and black with a hot shot of red-will go with both of my coats!!!!! Check out the size of the "before" hat- Holy Cow! It was a chair cover! (same chair in both shots, by the way)

And next-a "Shape it" scarf (Sally Melville) made out of Lion Brand's Moonlight Mohair. I really like this stuff- soft, glitzy, interesting colours- I used 2 skeins- I thought I would need three, but I didn't want to make the ends of the scarf too bulky- then you feel like the scarf is taking over. Anyhow, this is for Annie's teacher-she is a lovely, lovely woman- who is often "chilly", so I thought this would be a good idea. The shape of it gets the top of your back (like between your shoulder blades), while it also sits on your shoulders and doesn't slide around. So that much is done for Xmas!
(The hat, by the way, is for me- after the "garbage" fiasco of a few weeks ago)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Missie A.

Well, she is still no better. So we piled her into the car and took her down to the walk-in clinic that is affiliated with our family doctor. The doctor on call looked at her, said she didn't look so good, thought it might very well be a nasty virus, and then heard her cough. "Hmmm," said the doc, "I think I need to listen to her lungs. " Then she wrote out a request for a chest xray, saying that she couldn't be positive, since it was very noisy around the examination room, but she thinks Annie might have pneumonia. Poor kidlet. And no school until she has her energy back and has started to eat again. So I had taken off Monday. Sean took today and tomorrow. I will take Thursday off, and maybe my mother will do Friday (but only if Annie is more on the mend- my mother is nearing 80- and I really don't want her sick for Christmas.)

A funny little aside- my mother may be nearing 80, but she still looks like some of my 60 ish friends!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Knitters' magazine and Knitty

I used to be a staunch Knitters' magazine supporter. So much so, that I reasoned away the weird phase they went through as "just an occasional blip". You know the weird stuff-man- that was the time of sweaters that looked like the moths had held a convention in them, and hats that resembled head wraps gone bad. You know what I am talking about. So, I let my subscription lapse, in favour of Interweave Knits (which truly is a superior production-and I will always keep my subscription to that one). I have been monitoring the Knitters' magazine fairly closely- and well, I dunno. Is it worth it for the two or three good designs? Deborah Newton- always good. Kathy Zimmerman. Celeste Pinheiro, Jean Frost, Gitta Schrade, Norah Gaughan- can always be counted on for something interesting. But I have noticed that, in particular, the last issue, the sizing is getting narrowed again (as in XL for many is 48' chest) (what's up with that???) So I get the occasional Knitters', but am not yet ready to commit to a subscription. In fact, there are a couple of men's sweaters in the most recent issue that would suit a female better than a male!!!!!! (go and see- you will spot them right away!) So- no commitment there.

But Knitty! Holy Cow- the wee tiny on line magazine that started with some volunteer designers (myself included) has grown into a very slick and quite wonderful work! The most recent one has at least 4 things I would like to make- in particular- Abotanicity (**************), Matrix, Azure and Jeanie- and check out Dahlia- a HIGH SCHOOL student designed and knit that! Bloody amazing.
And it doesn't cost me the $7.95 Can. to buy a mediocre mag.

Now, these are all my own opinions- but what do you think?

Added later- My Annie is sick AGAIN. When she was about 4, she developed a very nasty virus- we ended up in CHEO- in Ottawa- for 3 weeks-and we were told that her immune system was going to be funky for awhile, but then she'd be fine. Okay- we went through that. But this kidlet has been sick every weekend (and during the week, as well) since September!!!!!! And this past weekend- she even missed one of her very best friend's dress up and birthday party!!! By Saturday noon, she was saying that she really did understand that she wasn't going to her friend's party- she knew how awful she felt. Poor kid.
Any ideas for remedies?? (and yes, she eats properly, gets enough sleep, takes vitamins, washes her hands regularly, plays outside when she is all bundled up). What's up with this?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I LOVE this sweater. It is in Animal Knits, by Zoe Mellor- I swear, the woman is so obviously in tune with what kids want to wear. She is very, very gifted. Her instructions are quite good, as well-nice, clear directions- nothing too "out there". Anyhow, a very dear friend, named Judy, asked if I would knit something for her grandson. Sure, I said- no problem. But what??? I slid over the "Animal knits" book, and in no time, she spied this little sweater. Apparently, the young man in question has a tiger that he MUST sleep with. So this is perfect! The yarn I am using is Naturally Buttons (the yarn in the book was Rowan DK cotton). The background is a bright teal green. The stripe and background of the tiger picture is yellow- and, of course, a bright orange and black tiger. I can hardly wait to finish the picture!!!! (And I will take a shot of the finished sweater).

And on to other news. School is roaring past at an alarming rate- I still haven't finished my Christmas shopping, or done any decorating- and I have to teach the kids at school more math! If you have any hints at how to get it all done- PLEASE! TELL ME!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trials and Tribulations

Well, I thought I was being very clever and smart-I went down to the basement and dug through the winter things (some of which are like "deep winter" so don't come upstairs all that often) and I brought up some of Annie's things and some of mine and a hat of Sean's so we won't be cold. And I tucked Annie's stuff away in the drawers of the bench (where her stuff usually goes) and I tucked Sean's hat in the pocket of his coat. Anyhow, I had brought a plastic grocery bag with me to carry all the stuff back up the stairs. And my felted hat (it was so fabulous- perfect colour and fit), matching mitts and my leather gloves were in the bottom of the bag. So I tucked the bag just under the bench, thinking that I needed to clear out the last drawer on the bench before adding these things to the drawer. So far, so good, right??? But, as luck would have it, everyone and their dog called that evening, and then I had my school work to mark, so I didn't get at it until the next evening. Except. No bag. Nowhere. And Sean says there wasn't any bag there at all-only the garbage bag which he took out and added to the rest of the garbage as the truck was roaring down the street.
So now, I have a small bag of garbage, lovingly preserved in the house, instead of a bag of winter things for me.
Sean says he never saw a bag of mitts and stuff-and that all he threw out was a bag of garbage. And he will try to stand by that story , even when I am showing him that bag of preserved garbage.
But he knows.
And I am going to remind him of this right up until I opening my extra lavish Christmas presents. (I am really stressing the need for extra lavish)

Oh- and before I forget- I went to that baby shower (the one that said...."and looking forward to something knitted!!!!" on the invite) (eek!) And I finished the sweater about 10 minutes before I was supposed to get dressed. So no pics- just a really quick steam with the iron and off I flew-but trust me- very cute.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Report cards.........

I teach Grade 6/7 in Kingston, Ontario, and am currently part of a pilot project (along with a number of teachers in a number of schools across the city).. Instead of a traditional report card, with marks and comments that you need to understand "edu-ese" in order to get through, these new reports are not about marks but about progress. Hunh? Well, imagine that. The teachers fill out a report form on each kid, that looks a heck of a lot like the kind of forms I send home around midterm time, and in it, I let the parents know if their child is showing limited progress, or progressing with difficulty, or progressing well, in each of the subjects (we're talking a sort of continuum line checklist) and how they are doing in areas of homework completion and conflict resolution and about 10 other areas (Excellent, Good or Needs Improvement). Then I interview every parent, and talk to them for (supposedly) 15 minutes, and that's it for the report cards. What do you think? I actually like this project. A few parents have said that they want the marks. Well, sometimes, it is difficult to do the mark thing at the first term (and we are actually not yet done the first term- it goes until Christmas)-because we have to do baseline in this, and authentic assessment in that, and diagnostic in this other- so what have we taught? The reports were faster to do than in other years- the check mark was nice, as was the notion that I didn't have to write comments for each subject (which, truthfully, is a gigantic pain in the nether regions). But I really liked the interviews. I could say things in these interviews that I would be hard pressed to write on a report. My body language, or comments leading up to the message- whatever- easier to say out in the open rather than couched in edu-terms that sometimes mean absolutely nothing to the parent. So what are your ideas?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Annie is bored.

Hmmm. I don't know where she gets it from. Must be my husband's side.

Friday, November 16, 2007

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth,,,

However, I think I did something very very bad to my knee. It hurts most of the time, but somewhere around a three level, so I can manage it. But now- it seems there is a tiny little troll that is hammering really hard inside the knee and making my whole leg swell up. (Just a side note-this is the knee with the replacement- it has never really been "right") I have really been pushing it- trying to do things I know I shouldn't do- but I just wanted to prove to those people at work that I could do it. Well, I did it and I honestly don't think anyone has even noticed (so much for that theory) Anyhow, I suspect it is time to go and see the surgeon again.

I got some yarn for a little sweater for the baby- I just have to finish it (I have the back done) It is from Naturally Yarns Buttons (LOVE that yarn) in orange and yellow and a bright aqua green- very cute. Here is the pattern-sweet or what??????

If I have time. I will knit the wee hat.

Apparently , the new mommy doesn't much care for traditional pastels (good) and has no idea whether we have a girl baby or a boy baby coming. So this should be just fine, I hope.
Gotta go- gotta knit!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A request....

Annie and I are invited to a baby shower- when Annie was wee, she was a flower girl for this couple, and now they are expecting!!!!!!!! Anyhow- looking for a quick and dirty but really cute idea for a shower gift- could be knitted (but I have to work fast)- any ideas out there? Thanks!!!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Last Thursday, my Grade 7s, along with another class of 7s and their teacher, went to Fort Henry for an overnight "historical experience". Well, I swear- for a while, I thought we were in for a HYSTERICAL experience- the interpreters/guides were very good- but they ended their evening with ghost stories. And there are a couple, well, maybe more than a couple of kids who were afraid to admit just how terrified they were. But, luckily, we had no late night calls home to parents- all went well. It was a wee bit chilly, but they handled it all with great cheer. The parent supervisors were spectacular, as were the tour guides/interpreters. If you are looking for an excellent school trip, I would heartily recommend the Fort. The kids wear the old uniforms (replicas, actually) and tour the fort as "new recruits" to Her Majesty's British army (the tale is told that they all came in from the impoverished areas of London, England, by boat, to a better life). They spend time in drill, and in the school room, and they sleep in the barracks on cots.

This is one of the barracks rooms (there are two- a girls' and a boys', and can accommodate 40 people). One down side- The bathrooms are in the upper fort, so it is a bit of a hike to get there.

If you want to go, there are many websites, but this one seems to give the best info-

On the knitting front, about a year or so ago, I made a little lamb suit for a friend's new grandbaby. It had attached mittens and booties, and I guess the momma liked it so much , the baby wore it. A lot. Soooo- when the friend asked if I would mind taking the booties off, since the baby was getting a might long to fit into it, I said sure, no problem. But I gather the momma was embarrassed to let me have the suit back- because it looked "worn". Well, to tell you the truth, if it had looked perfect, I wouldn't have done the changes, because they obviously weren't wearing the thing on the baby. I actually consider it a compliment that the suit looked "worn" (not bad, just like it had been used regularly). So baby should be right back in his suit shortly.

This is the picture in the book of the suit- a Debbie Bliss pattern. Too sweet for words.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Guess what time of the year it is!!!!!!!!!!!!

Click for BIG
Yup- pumpkin carving with the wee one-here she is digging out the pumpkin guts. Pictures of finished product later.

The warehouse sale at the Ottawa Wool-Tyme!
Click for BIG
Annie went up to her cousins' in Ottawa for a Halloween party on Saturday, so I went shopping. And I got a wee haul. The scarf is Gedifra Soffice- I got enough for three scarves' worth ( the autumn colours, as well as pinks and bright blues) for my Christmas drawer (I usually have a few things in there for the times I am short a present). All of $15 per scarf. And the green sock yarn is On Line Supersocke 100 (Holiday Color) for $9.99 (wish I had bought more). The brown sock yarn in the front is actually Hacho (Mirasol project) that I got here at the local Wool Tyme for a scarf/wrap. The purple in the back is Apple Pie sock weight from Apple Laine (50% merino, 20% silk, 20% mohair, and 10% nylon) The company is coming out with a new mix that has less silk in it- and they are selling off all kinds of the old stock at a discount. I think they will become lacy socks.

And I didn't go to the Bead place just behind the Wool Tyme, since I spent so much time at Wool Tyme!!!!! I wish I had bought the 10 skeins of loopy mohair in that bright red for a wrap, though.

My mother in law wants our Christmas lists pronto. I want a new knitting book- any suggestions for really wonderful new ones anyone has seen?

Oh- Happy Halloween, if I don't get to blog again before Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Want a costume in a hurry?
Hallowe'en is coming- found some interesting masks to copy and cut out- I plan on wearing my witch hat and borrowing a white coat- so I can go as (hold on to your seats) a WITCH DOCTOR (get it????)
Okay, pretty sad, I know.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another FO

I finished another little hat- well, not so little- it was for a toddler--again for a co-worker's little one. In this case, the co-worker's grandmother wanted to knit something for her great grandbaby, but was unable to, due to advanced arthritis in her hands. So, when I was asked if I could "fill in" for the grandma-she chose the pattern and I went to town. I used Mission Falls cotton-with a bit of Araucania cotton to finish up the top green part. Easy knit- and very cute to boot! The pattern can be found in the Better Homes and Gardens "Knit It!" magazine from Spring, 2007 (LOVE those Knit It mags). I did use a couple of rows of thin elastic inside the crown to keep the hat from getting too stretched out. I used a needle that was a couple of sizes smaller around the "headband" as well.That would be Annie and a dolly a friend made for her doing the modelling-in front of my most favourite painting- a Heather Haynes floor cloth (that I hung on the wall). Cute hat, eh?? I love that "blossom end" And the little one it is going to is very girlie, with great big eyes-can't wait to see the pictures!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


(that is "unbelieveable" to those anglophones in the audience). My pattern for the Little Doggie Hat for wee babes (scroll down) ended up on the "Knitting Pattern Central" site. And the sitemeter registered more than 1000 hits on my blog this week!!!!!! Yeah-over ONE THOUSAND hits! Holy cow.

And one more thing- Monday, October 22nd, is a day set aside for people to be aware that children in the world are being neglected and abused. And that this is a terrible, terrible wrong. And that we need to right this terrible wrong. The Children's Aid Society is asking that you wear something purple-a ribbon, even, on Monday, telling the world that children are to be loved and protected.

It's a simple thing, but it means so much to a child.

Wear purple on Monday, October 22nd.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Christmas music

Ya know, there is something about Christmas music that makes me happy-not the fall down and roll over laughing kind of happy (there has to at least be sex involved for that one) but the smiley-life-is-good kind of happy. I listen to it all year round (by myself- puh-lease- I don't impose my odd interests on others). I especially like the classics (you know-Bing and co.) and the "new" versions (Santa Baby). And I like to knit when I am hearing this stuff-I find if I am knitting for others, it makes me knit a bit faster.

So there you have it. My quirk.

Any other quirks out there? care to dish?

In other news- I saw this pattern (La Lana wools) I love it- but I can't afford the pattern ($25) or the yarns ($200++) But I have a bag and a half of Colinette Prism-10 in Kingfisher (a blend of blues, purples) and 6 in an almost solid indigo. I thought I might try my hand at it. But then I saw this pattern- in the new Vogue Knitting-oops I can't show you now, as I can't seem to find a pi]c on line- but it is designed by Norah Gaughan- and it is made in her lovely tiled pattern- hexagons and triangles-and I really don't know which one to pick. The Gaughan one has to be resized (the jacket is done in one size only- a finished 44")(too small). But the other- I will have to recreate completely. I also have 3 skeins of Colinette Cadenza (a dk weight wool) to do some kind of trim- either a lacy edging, or maybe a row of the fine here and there.

Any opinions?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pen pals

Hello! I am knitting along furiously, trying really hard NOT to start just one more thing (I really really want to, which makes it tough)-anyway- I have a question- a request, as it were- here goes-
I have a class of 25 students in a split Grade 6/7 class (mostly grade 7's) I would very much like to match them with another class, in another part of the country, or in another country entirely, so that they have penpals. I am in south-eastern Ontario, by the way. Anybody know somebody who knows somebody who might be interested? Leave me a message at debDOTseanATsympaticoDOTca (just take out the words, and do the right thing with them, okay?)
These are a really nice group of kidlets, by the way-

Friday, October 12, 2007

The pattern

Since I had a message and a couple of emails- here is the pattern-
With dk weight and size 3.5 short circular (or dps- your choice) cast on 90 stitches. Knit 2, purl 2 all the way around for 4 rows. Then knit for the rest-until piece measures 4 1/2 to 5 inches. Change to brown yarn, knit 4 rows. Kitchener the top closed (or, cast off and then sew the top closed). Poke the two top corners in towards the middle-sew them together, on the inside. (in other words, you are going to invert the corners, so they stick in toward the centre instead of out. You have to sew the two corners together inside the hat) With the 3.5 needle, pick up 4 stitches along the little fold at the top of the hat. Knit (garter st) for 10 rows, then increase one st on each side (6 sts), knit another 6 rows, increase one st on each end (8 sts) Knit 4 more rows, then decrease 1 st on each side (6 st) knit 4 rows. Decrease 1 st on each end (4 sts) knit 1 more row. Cast off all sts. Repeat on the other side of the head. Then embroider on the details of the face with a double strand of brown-chain stitch for the lines, French Knot for the eyes, and satin stitch for the nose.
Voila! Un chapeau!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I finished a little baby hat today-it is meant to go with the doggie slippers I made for a coworker (Annie's teacher from last year). I used the same yarn-Lana Gatto VIP- a mix of wool and cashmere- LOVE that yarn. Very soft. I have one of Annie's Webkinz as a model- it is pretty roomy on him. But if anyone wants a generic pattern -let me know. I will write it out.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Yup, They Did.

And here they are...............................

My crazy family. And the neighbours. On October 8th, 2007, Thanksgiving Day.

We have an unheated pool, by the way.

Mary (Jim's wife), Bear and I stayed where it was warm.
Otherwise, I had two turkey dinners, with all the trimmings, and I didn't have to cook either one. What a great weekend!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Nope- won't be losing this kid in the snow. I down-sized it a bit- by using smaller knitting needles (denser knit=warmer hat, and one less likely to get wet through). She likes it pulled down right over her ears. Good thing.

But it sure is a cool hat to knit. If you plan on making it, make sure you look at the diagram to see how to sew it. As well, I did blanket stitch around 5 sides of each hexagon, then whip stitched them together.

I am headed up to my in laws for turkey tomorrow, and then to my mother's for turkey on Monday (I am the kind of girl who could eat a turkey dinner everyday of the week). So this means I need a mindless knit for the drive (since I am at the leaf part of the Kauni, and there is no way on earth I could do that one without looking down). So- I snagged a copy of the new Knitters, and I came up with this-I love the lines of this sweater. It is called "Jade"-but I have 20 skeins of Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals (yeah, 70% mohair, 30% wool) in HP65 Peacock, and it has been sitting in my stash for a couple-three years, not knowing what it wanted to be (and with 20 skeins of the stuff, one has to be sure to use it all up, not use some up in one project, and a little over there.....) This is sumptuous stuff. And a perfect mindless knit in the car. (Um- I should explain here- my husband is driving, I am knitting)
I also got a look at a Deborah Newton design-I love the lines of this one- maybe in a tweed? Any suggestions for a yarn?
Have a marvellous Canadian Thanksgiving!
PS- Sean figures he and the neighbours will be taking a Thanksgiving dip in the (unheated) pool. Hmmmm. Pictures to come, if they dip.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The gods are laughing their guts out

Here I was, happy as a clam, proud of my rainbow sweater-the Kauni one- and I had started the leaf pattern-and then I found it- I had made all the leaves facing the same way!!!! Could I live with it? No, I could not- so out it all came-right back to the ribbing. Do you know what it is like to rip back 2 and a bit inches of hard earned fairisle in skinny yarn- knit in the round for a large person's body??????? The gods are laughing at my fate.

So- I decided I needed a break- and Annie needed a hat for the eventual winter. I pulled out some gorgeous pale blue Rowan Polar- to make this-from last winter's Knitty- isn't it sweet???I had some variegated blue for the edgings. But nooooooooo. This child went rooting around in my bag of chunky/bulky weights-pulled out some bright orange (all wool, and very bright) that I got somewhere, and some lime green bulky Lopi- and so, I am making a hat that can be seen in the next county. I swear there is a bit of gypsy in that child's soul.
I might make a blue one anyway, since it is an easy, and self satisfying knit.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I am still here!!!!

I truly am- it's just that work is very demanding lately-more so that I had expected. In fact, Tuesday night (when I finally got home at 5:30), I threw supper on the table, decided to take a quick bath (my knees hurt more lately), then have a 20 minute snooze before I started my marking. Well, the 20 minute snooze my ass. I woke up at 6:30-in the morning. My husband said he thought that if I was sleeping so soundly, it would be best to let me sleep. So, of course, the kids had finished a math test on Tuesday-and the first question on Wednesday morning-"Are we getting our math test back this morning?" (I have an evil voice in my head that says things like- "yeah, kid, Bathing, eating. sleeping, family life- everything is on hold for you, because you are so much more important that everything, and I wouldn't want you to wait any longer than 2 seconds for every little thing you ask for.") Instead- "Nope- since I have 25 to do to your one, I figure you guys can let me take a little longer to turn around a test."Okay, a little snarky. But God help us all if the evil voice ever gets out.

Monday, September 24, 2007

That Kauni is mesmerizing!

I went up to the in laws on the weekend, to see them, and also to see a good friend from England (Hi Jean!). Annie went apple picking with her cousins and her Aunt Larissa (and they had a grand time, judging by the fact she fell asleep on the drive home!) Anyhow, I got to knit on Kauni- about three hours' worth(!!!!!!)- oh- I do love this sweater. I hope when I start the patterning on the top that I will still love it. Anyhow, I have close to 16 cm. of the ribbing finished-about ready to start the top part. So-let me knit a bit and I will take another picture then.
Otherwise-have a good start to the work week! (yes, you have to put down your knitting and go to work now)
Added later-
This is how much I have knit so far- I am about 15 cm. in. If you want to know what I did to make it bigger- go and join the Autumn KAL-I have told all over there!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Kauni

I am unbelievably entertained by this Kauni project. I decided that I wanted to make the Autumn Flowers sweater, and that I wanted my two "colours" to be red-orange-yellow and green-blue-purple. So I have been chopping and spit-splicing (EEEEEEEEEUUUUWWWWWW according to my husband- who, by the way, lets the dog eat from his fork)(spit-splicing is the least of his worries). And this is how far I have gotten-

isn't it cool? I can't wait to see the next couple of rows and how the colours pair up together. It is just so addictive!!!! The way this one goes is this-you knit a 3 x 3 ribbing for a bit, then a 3 x 2, and finally a 3 x 1 in the corrugated ribbing. It has a lovely feel and drape to it-firm, without being stiff. And, I am going up to my in laws and back tomorrow to visit, so that means at least 3 hours of non stop knitting in the car!!! (provided I don't have to look down to often, then I get woozy) (I know- way too much information) Off to go and entertain myself with this knitting-have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Blimey- I will have to hang the job, mateys, fer I totally forgot that today, my hearties, is
International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
I totally forgot!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm in!!!!!

I finally got my invite to Ravelry!!!!!!! Come and find me- I am (of course) notprettytowatch!!!!!!!!
Gotta go and play!

Friday, September 14, 2007


I swear Berroco is losing it- did ya get a load of their new featured free pattern? Normally, I wait impatiently for their Knitbits- just to see what they have come up with.
I can hear my husband's eyes rolling from here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


The new Knitty is up ( and let me be the first to say.............


Excellent work, as usual.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Well, Arisaig is sitting in the marination chamber for a bit. I tried to use some vertical bust darts to add a little extra room for the girls, but I didn't like the way the lace looked. (If anything, it looked "clotted" along the dart) Not pretty, let me tell you. So now I am thinking that I will add extra rows from the high waist to the armpit, and then gather the side seams along that point- so extra boobage room will happen. Right now, I need to sit and think about it for a bit- just to see if there are other options. I actually considered a couple of different things- that I rip out all the ribbing on the main part of the body, do it over in lace, and use stocking stitch on the bodice. Then I thought, if I left the ribbing alone, and then knit part of the bodice in stocking stitch (the parts that go over the girls, like what a bra would cover, so I could work in the short rows) and then pick up stitches around it and make a wide lace border. Hmmm. Still must figure out the best way to go (for me). I don't want something that screams-hey-check out these hooters. But I want a good fit.
So, enter the Kauni yarn. It has been taunting me like crazy. But I need to make the sweater larger. It has a flare around the bottom, and you have to account for that. As well, you make an icord, and pick up stitches all along it (very tailored, very clever). So when I get the numbers sorted out, I will publish them. I am aiming for a finished 52 inch chest. However, my hips are smaller than that.
Stay tuned.
School is progressing-if I stay in my classroom, not going to the staffroom, I am much happier. I just don't know what is going on.
Oh well.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Kauni and Arisaog

Ruth Sorenson has done it again- another beautiful sweater for the Kauni yarn. And Shelley, from Fun Knits is carrying it!!! Just go to her blog-see my sidebar- and she will send you to the right place to buy the pattern!!!And Arisaig (from is coming along. I am using The Sheep Shop Wensleydale Longwool-DK-and I have played around a bit with the numbers. I added a mosaic knitted band to separate the ribbed bottom from the lacy top. And I have been playing with the numbers to make a better fitting "cup" in the top of the sweater (the girls need their space, you understand). Stay tuned-if it works, I will give you the numbers. If not, it will be a lesson in what NOT to do, and then it will dance itself into the Tinking Pond!!!!
Had a horrible start to the school year. I won't go into it, but suffice it to say, pretty bleak. Let's see how week two goes. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cute teapots and cute faces

I was wasting a fw minutes, while supper cooked, looking up Wensleydale Longwool sheep-they have the sweetest faces. AND I came across these teapots-they are too dear for words- right here - and they say they are the home of the eccentric teapot!!!Aren't they totally cool? It is worth it to go and see what they have-brings new meaning to a spot of tea!!!!!!!!See what I mean by cute little faces??

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wasn't that a party!

Last night we had our annual "End of the Block/End of the Summer" Backyard BBQ. It is great fun- we invite the neighbours who live at the end of our block, and it is one of those pot luck affairs. We had great fun. In the picture, that's Annie with the big grin, and her friend (who has dyed her hair blue for the start of Grade 8), and, as Sean says, the rest is the "load test" on the new deck (it all held, thank you very much). You can see what Bear was up to-wanting to know what he could schmooze from someone (mostly me!) The kids- and some of the adults- all got into the pool. Then we barbecued (well, Sean did) and ate and drank, and for dessert, I had a "brain flash". I bought these mini frozen cream puffs (filled with some sort of cream). I set them out, with chocolate sauce, and sprinkles, and butterscotch sauce and whipped cream (the real thing) and just let everyone make their own dream dessert. I would highly recommend it!!!!
And this is what happens when a wee Bear parties just a little bit too much. (He slept in until almost 10:00 this morning!)
Have a good Labour Day, whatever you do- and to all returning to school- good luck!
Added later................................
Shout out to JULIA and to JANET and to any of my other teacher or EA friends out there-have a good Tuesday!!!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Annie and Bear

This is me, Bear. Me writing the blog for today. My monkey has been very very bad. So he has to be dealt with. So I tackles him and makes him be a good little monkey. He ususally likes to be tackled. I have never heard him complain, and I have very good hearing.
And this is my big sister Annie. She thinks she is all that because she got to go to Bob and Sandy's and drive their golf cart. Me could do that too. Couldn't you see dear little me doing the driving? Poor Mr. Bear.
My skin Mommy says she is going to go back to work next week and that me has to be the house watchdog again.
Me no like it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This is it!

Up early this morning (fantastic thunderstorm-not much rain, but an amazing light show-at 4:30 am), and I got to thinking-this is it. Summer is over for me. I had planned to do a bunch of things- as usual, but....... It's been a bit of a strange summer-at the beginning of July, I was so wiped, I could hardly stay upright and making intelligible conversation at the same time (this past school year was the first time, since the early 90's, that I worked full time. Combine that with chronic pain, and well, you get the definition of tired). We put in the pool, the fence, the decks-July was a blur! Sean worked really hard all month-so we kind of held each other up!!! Annie was in that pool just about everyday-so it was kind of nice to just sit and watch. But not very productive for other things I had planned to do! And August was not much better. But you know, it was a good summer. But now it is back to books and kids and regular schedules. I am going to go in to school today to try to get the last of the classroom work done and ready for Tuesday. I have a straight Grade 7 this time-and I am so looking forward to it! Straight grades are pretty much a rarity these days. The reasons for so many split grades are varied, but I think part of the issue has to do with capping the early primary grades. (That means limiting the number of bodies in Grades 1 and 2) So, here's how it works. Only 20 kids in Grade 1 -so an extras go into a Grade 1/2 class. Only 20 kids in Grade 2-so the extra kids (at this point, less than 20 Grade 2 kids in that class, because of the overflow of Grade 1's)go into a Grade 2/3. And on it goes. Combine that with a general belief in school boards that every child should have at least 2 potential spots in a school-to avoid clashes with a particular teacher, or potential "bad mixes" with kids. In order to do that, the splits end up happening. So how did I get a straight grade this year? A matter of numbers. We are not a large school, by any means (a total of under 275 kids in K-8). But the way the numbers turned out, there happened to be a Grade 5/6, a Grade 6, a Grade 7, a Grade 7/8 and a Grade 8. Will it happen again? Not very likely. At any rate, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
So now-off to finishup my coffee, run through the shower and get my classroom all finished-before it gets too hot.
So-what are your fall plans???

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rant coming-be warned

Ahhh-summer is certainly coming to an end around these parts. The air is a bit cooler in the morning, and those "fall winds" are certainly in evidence. Now, that said, the word is that tomorrow will be humid and hot. (I can handle a "dry heat"). But the other indicator that summer is almost over...those damn ads for school supplies ("It's the most wonderful time of the year..........") Gag me. I love my job-I really do. And this year, I will be teaching a straight grade 7 (no splits this time!) But those ads-c'mon now! They have been running them since July (along with the Halloween displays in the stores-Costco even had their Christmas decorations and wrapping paper out in the first week of August). I went in to Staples last week-and Holy Cow! It was like Christmas shopping! The parents and kids were so hyped up about getting the "right" supplies and backpacks. It's craziness! And if you have multiple kids-I don't know how some families do it. But Annie is all set up. And I have a list of things that I need(like a day book-those run about $25)(and we are required to keep an accurate day book-outlining the day's lessons, as well as long term and short term plans, and all marks/evaluation). Teachers also have to have a decent computer-the report cards are on line-only. If you have a slow, dial-up connection, then reports are going to be even more of an onerous task. At one point, earlier in my career, teachers had everything they needed in the stock room. Not so anymore. So the start of a school year can be quite expensive.
Now for the real rant. Like I said, I love my job. I really really do. I have been teaching in this county since 1981. And I have seen many changes over those 26 years. But the one thing that doesn't change, it appears, is the general belief that "teachers have it easy". I had a discussion recently with an acquaintance who informed me that teachers (every last one of them) have 1 hour of planning time (or, as he called it "free time")PER DAY, and that every teacher makes a minimum of $80,000, and that teachers have too many holidays. Hmmm, truth be told-sounds like a dream job. But it isn't so. Yes, we do get prep times-a total of 110 minutes per week (to prepare materials, to photocopy, to make phone calls, etc., etc., etc.) If you are at the top of the salary grid, and are in administration, your income would be in that $80 000 category. But somebody like me-nope. No 80 grand for me. The holidays? Yes, we get a lot of them. And that is a perk of the job. But we work 5 days a week at school. And we drag work home-to mark, to plan, and to totally screw up weekends. Yes, it's a great job, but it is in no way a "free ride" or "easy street". This guy went on with other bits of totally stupid "facts" that he knew about teachers (that just made me mad).
But like the bumper sticker says,"If you can read this, hug a teacher."
Rant over. We will return to the regular programming shortly.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Storm and long haired sheep

As I said earlier, Annie has been at Guide Camp ( a day camp) all this week. Last night was the big celebration-a barbeque, an evening at Queen's Observatory-talking about the stars, and then an overnight camping trip. Rain or shine. So, around 2:00 this morning, I woke up to the loud crash and bang of a thunderstorm at full boil. Holy Cow- what the heck is going on down at the camp??? There is a large house on the campsite, as well, with enough bunk beds to house 24 people. Anyhow, that old reliable "Mommy Brain" took over at 2:30....."Is Annie okay? Is she getting wet? Is she scared? Did the Guide leaders put the kids in the house?" yada yada yada............. Now, I know that they are going to take care of her. But do you think I was ever able to get back to sleep???? Uh no. And do I have a vivid imagination? Oh yeah. Anyhow, we are to go and pick her up at 4:00 this afternoon. I imagine we will have a slightly damp. sort of tired little puppy. We'll see.

onto other things.........................

School is starting-I'm sure you've noticed all those ads ("It's the most wonderful time of the year..........POOF!") And, I swear, I am like one of the kids- I like to have a new school outfit. So off I went, in search of that perfect piece that will make me feel as confident as I look, right? And I found it-the perfect skirt. Glen check plaid-grey and black with a tiny thread of light blue. Looks like a simple, tailored knee length skirt from the front. BUT-the interest is all in the back-sewn down pleats from the waist to just above the knee, with the hem a series of flouncy kick pleats. Way, way cute. And, when I got home, I realized I had the perfect project (yes, another one) to go with the skirt. A while ago (last year? year before?) I stumbled upon a feast-there was a stash of "Sheep Shop Wensleydale Longwool" on ebay for a very low asking bid. So, of course, I jumped on it. And I scored big time-each skein has a whopping 257 yards per 100 gm-and the stash included 8 charcoal grey, 5 light blue (I used some of that for a baby gift), 2 orange, and 1 each of cream, butter yellow, purple and rose. I thought, at the time, of a fair isle tunic sweater or something. This stuff is like pure gold- the sheep are a rare breed-known for their lustrous wool-see the picture? Aren't they sweet?????Hey-don't just take my word for this beautiful yarn- Bonne Marie from Chicknits ( had an entry yesterday about her love song about the Wensleydale Longwool. Anyhow, I have over 2000 yards in the grey (and I have it in the dk weight). I have had a love affair with Arisaig (at design by a very talented Ysolda S. Teague), wondering what I could wear it with, if I made it. Now- just look at the way it goes with skirt (that big white fluff in the corner of the shot is not a sheep- it is a Bear) It would be lovely! With a little playing with the gauge, it could happen. As well, I might do a little short rowing (yes, in lace) in the boobage area. But obviously, the sweater won't get done for the start of school- but it is just one more thing to put on my "To Do" list- and hope to get it done before the skirt wears out!!!!!
Today is my lazy day- Annie will be back at supper time, and I have to start going in to school next week-so I think it is time for a little "Crossing Jordan" reruns and some knitting therapy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another day of wandering.....

So, Annie was to go to a friend's for supper (to be picked up from the day camp) so I had my day open until 7:00pm! What's a girl to do? Well, it was a toss up between shopping and knitting. Shopping won out-mom and I went to Westport, Ontario -a great place to shop, or hang out, or whatever- go and see the shopping here- It is about, say an hour or so drive up Division Street/Perth Road from Kingston (here). We also took in Kilborn's, in Newboro ( )-another totally amazing place. We wanted to check out yarn stores, but didn't see any. Does anyone know of one in the Westport area? For next time?
Anyhow, it was lots of fun with Mom- we don't get out together as often as I'd like.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Felted Bag

One of my coworkers hosts a golf day/silent auction/fundraising day once a year to support her husband's trust. He died ( 20? 25? years ago) after an accident while on holiday in Mexico. He was also, at the time, at the top of his game in the economics department at Queen's University. So this trust is a way of the family giving back to the community, with scholarships and awards and such like for economics students. So, every year, she asks if I would donate a little something for the silent auction. This year, I decided to design and knit a felted bag- and here it is......

The body of it is knit from Cascade 220 (felts very very well), and the flap- about a ball and a third of Noro Kureyon. I did a little needle felting detail-I won a set of the needles and the foam and a pile of dyed thrum a while back-so I put them to good use. I also had my mom line it (she is good at that).

And if you look closely, you will see that I stiffened up the edges by using attached icord all around the edges (as well as sewing pieces of plastic canvas along the bottom and up the sides-but you can't see that part).
So that will go into the Silent Auction on the weekend.
And Annie is at day camp everyday. And Sean is in Ottawa. And me? Time to knit my hands off. Ba bye!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knitting...isn't that what this blog is about???

Okay-so, school is starting in a couple of (ever shortening) weeks. Husband needs to go out of town for a few days. Little one is off to a day camp for the week. So, what's a girl to do? Well, get heavily involved into work avoidance and KNIT! Of course!
So, first of all, I needed to finish up the felted bag-and coerce my mom into lining it (My sewing skills are, at best,at about a 7 year old level !) When it is back into my hot little hands, I will take a picture of it. And what else? Oh yes- my trip to Pennsylvania yielded a bit of stash enhancement. I had so many choices-from that great store, Kindred Spirits, in Franklin- I ended up getting, among other things, enough teal coloured Donegal Tweed (Takhi, Colour #809) to make a vest. This one was designed by one of the owners. And it is simple, and sophisticated, and an easy knit. See???? So I could get it done by the start of the school year, right? So why, oh why, did I go looking for trouble? I flipped open "Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests" and saw that Bookworm vest pattern. So, now, let me tell you, the two patterns saw each other and decided to merge on the spot!!!! So here is what I did-I am knitting the vest in parts (not all in one to the armpits- I like a seam up the sides to stabilize the knitting). I left out the up and down lines-I might put them in later-don't know. And, since I am bigger on top than on the bottom, I started the vest in the smaller size. Then I added stitches at about the band of my bra. I marked the middle stitch, and then increased like this:

Row 1- RS- K to the marker. YO, slip marker, K1, YO, to the end.
Row 2 and all wrong side rows-Purl
Row 3- K to one stitch before marker, YO, K1, slip marker, K2, YO, K to end.
Row 5- K to 2 sts before marker, YO, K2, slip marker, K1, YO, K to end.
Keep increasing in this manner (keeping an odd number of stitches between YOs in this sequence-1, 3, 5, 7, 9.....) until the right number of stitches have been reached (in this case, the number of sts for the next size) So, this way, you get a nice looking detail (which I will pick up somewhere on the front-maybe on a pocket), and the extra you need to avoid the dreaded "GAP-OSIS" on the front button band.
Click for BIG to get a better idea.
The other yarns in the picture are : 1 skein of Cherry Tree Hill Super Sock (in the greens) and a really spectacular skein of Mountain Colors (60% merino, 25% mohair and 15% nylon) I thought I might make a short lacy scarf with that one!!!
And here's one for the dog days of summer- what a funny moose that dog of mine is! (Yes, he's laughing his head off in that one)