Friday, March 30, 2012

Ambling Home on a Friday

I love Fridays. Everyone is happier at work, and the day ends with so much potential ahead. Today I left work a bit earlier and as a reward I was able to get a seat on the subway - Score!

One of the big news stories of the day is that our government (in Canada for my international readers) has decided to do away with the penny. I have mixed feelings about this. The corporate side of me is concerned about the complications that retail businesses will need to work through to adjust their POS systems. The consumer side of me wonders about the whole rounding off thing, but largely doesn’t care. Lastly, the crafter side of me stumbled upon a news article that was considerate enough to add a segment of penny crafts to their article.

The article featured ombre penny art as seen on the My Covered Bridge blog. We need some art for our fresh new bathroom and I thought this would be a perfect project for that space. My husband thinks we can do better, so this idea is not moving forward at this time.

As I was making my way home today I decided to do some window shopping (since I was early.) Even though the penny art isn’t happening (for now), I thought I’d go check out Mary Maxim and see if they had any frames. I don’t know if they have frames because I became distracted by the yarn. In particular, I became distracted by the clearance corner. I don’t usually get sucked into this corner of the store, but there are great clearance items right now. They have a bunch of nice linen and some Noro Yuzen up for grabs.  

However, I was taken in by these two lonely balls of sock yarn.

My Leftover Blanket was intended as a means to use up my leftover yarn, but I find myself unable to stop looking around for new yarn to add to the blanket. As mentioned previously, I have some yarn making its way to me from California, I've also raided Meredith's stash and now these two balls of yarn will join the collection. I justify this by stating I need other yarn to bring more colour to my blanket. If many knitters were to use only their leftover yarns for their blanket, they would have a limited colour palette. Meredith’s blanket would be mostly greens, rusts and browns, where my blanket would be heavy on the beiges, pinks and purple tones.

I first reached for the blue ball of yarn thinking it would add a needed colour to my blanket, but I couldn’t leave the pink yarn. So, I put the blue yarn back and picked up the pink yarn, but I couldn’t leave the blue yarn. Then I decided at $2.97/ball I could have both. (That’ll be $3.00 a ball in the future!)

In other news… I found out a friend of mine has a new blog. She’s a far better writer than I am so I’m looking forward to reading about her thoughts and adventures. You can find her musings at Just Because.... Enjoy!

Finally, here is my blanket progress update. I've added a bigger, red square, just for fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Can't Stop Knitting Little Squares

I like working on my Leftover Blanket. I spend every evening knitting more little squares. Each time I finish one, I quickly find the next colour to knit up.

I don’t have a problem. I can stop knitting little squares any time I want. I just don’t want to stop. I’m not addicted to the Leftover Blanket. I can put it down any time I want. Really.

Here is the progress update…

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Confessions of a Disney Addict

There are three sides to my personality. There is work Janet who tries to be professional in the corporate world; at home Janet who enjoys staying at home, being with friends and making things; and there is Disney Janet – the part that is obsessed with going on Disney vacations. I try to keep Disney Janet separate from the rest of my life, but in this case I will make an exception and show my blog readers the Disney side of my personality.

Over the years I have been to Walt Disney World six times. I love going to Disney because they have the best customer service. They make going on vacation as easy as possible and I find it is a great place to escape to.

As I plan my Disney vacations the most valuable resource I have found is the DisBoards. This is an online community where you can find answers to any Disney question you could dream up.

The people on the DisBoards know everything and I know we have saved thousands of dollars by following their advice. We have learned the best places to stay, the best prices to pay, and the best tips and tricks to maximize our fun and enjoyment. As a way of saying thanks to the DisBoards, and pay some good forward, I will be writing a trip report to share my experiences, tips and tricks with others on the boards.

If you wish to read my trip report you can follow along at Fair warning, I will be writing the report using DisBoard speak. There will be acronyms and other inside jokes that will be amusing to those that frequent the DisBoards, but will make me seem like a lunatic to those of you who don’t.

Unfortunately, writing a trip report can take a lot of time so there may be fewer or shorter posts on this blog while my trip report continues, but I will try to manage both and continue to give you updates to keep your interest here in the meantime.

Here is a picture of my waiting for our 2010 Disney trip to begin.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quite Liking Making the Leftover Blanket

I’m thrilled that it is Friday. The work week is over, the daylight is still shining bright and we are about to head out to the pub for supper. All is right with the world.

Given the need to clean, unpack and clean this week, I’ve not made much but I have found time to work on the Leftover Blanket and I am loving it. Each time I change colours I can’t wait to see how the block will turn out.

Here is the progress made to date:

I’ve also given in to the temptation of letting someone else pick the yarn for me and so I have just ordered 16 bits of yarn from Catherine in California and I’m looking forward to seeing them added to my blanket as soon as they arrive in the mail.

Next up, we will be talking Disney!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Beauty of Renting

We live in a big city in a rented apartment. We do this by choice having spent years weighing the pros and cons of renting vs. owning a home. Not everyone understands our decision, but after calculating the costs of home ownership we figure we come out ahead in the long run and we like our apartment and we love our neighbourhood.

This week we experienced one of the great benefits of renting – a fully renovated bathroom without us having to talk to any contractors or spend any money. Before we went away on vacation we suggested it would be a good time to gut our bathroom and now we have a brand new bathroom as well as a fully painted hall and bedroom closet. Sure we had to live through a few days of disarray and drywall dust, but relatively speaking that isn’t much to put up with.



Only those who have lived at The Americana with a brown, yellow, turquoise, pink or even multi-coloured bathroom can appreciate the beauty of an all-white bathroom. We love our white tile, white sink, white bathtub and white toilet. Of course, they did leave us with the brown toilet paper holder as a reminder of the d├ęcor that once was.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back From Vacation

After letting my blog go dark for 10 days, I’m back. Sorry for the lack of posting but my family escaped to Disney last week and I was off enjoying some fun in the sun.

I did use some of my down time to work on my leftover blanket. Here is the progress make this past week. (Air Canada helped by offering me plenty of knitting time at the Orlando airport late into the evening on Saturday!)

Next step is to continue to make enough segments to get the width I want and then I will start joining the segments.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Introducing... My Leftover Blanket

So for those who have been wondering, and for those who haven’t too, the next big think that I have been speaking of is something that I’ve decided to call “My Leftover Blanket”.

Several years ago I was inspired by a woman named Shelly Kang – also known as the Heathen Housewife. One day Shelly decided to knit a blanket out of sock yarn scraps. She used the internet to solicit yarn (I am not doing that!), she wrote about this project on her blog, she started by knitting a couple of little squares and then things took off. Soon she had more yarn than she could possibly use and after 20 months of knitting little squares she had an amazingly beautiful blanket which was referred to as “The Heathen Housewife’s Blankie”. This blankie really is a gorgeous work of art and something that comes to my mind every time I finish a pair of socks.

I’m not the only one who has been inspired by the blankie. I recently discovered a group on Ravelry that is dedicated to fans of the blankie. The group is called “BlankieMania” and has more than 2.600 members. They are blankie fanatics who spend much time discussing the blankie. They also do some fun yarn swaps to get a greater variety of yarn for their blankies. Blankie knitter or not, those swaps are tempting.

This week as I’ve been contemplating my next project I’ve decided to knit a blankie of my own – but the word “blankie” really bugs me, so I’ll be calling my project “My Leftover Blanket.”

Here are the first few squares. More pictures to come in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Unfortunately the middle square didn’t photograph well, which is a shame since it is a beautiful heathered teal colour. I believe it is Rainforest Heather Palette, so here is a better picture of the yarn so you can imagine how nice it looks in real life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Frog Prince Socks

In spite of my crazy, hectic schedule lately, I managed to finish a pair of socks this week. They are made out of KnitPicks Imagination yarn in the Frog Prince colour.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh the Joy of a LYS

As mentioned yesterday, I’m about to start something big. This isn’t big in terms of excitement, cost or contribution to society, it is just big in terms of the many months (years) of knitting that lay ahead. I decided that this project deserves its own set of knitting needles - something bought special that will be used only for this project and never be distracted by anything else.

For those not immersed in the world of knitting, LYS stands for Local Yarn Store. A LYS is the mythical place that should have everything you need – as in when someone tells you about a great yarn they say “you should be able to get it at your LYS”, or if they talk of the newest in knitting accessories, they say “available at your LYS”. So yesterday I dragged the boys to my LYS in search of a new, special pair of needles. Since I had the boys patiently waiting outside I breezed quickly through the store and found some standard metal needles and some bamboo double-points, but nothing that said “here I am - the special needles that you seek”. So I assumed my LYS wasn’t up to the task and off we went.

Some background on my LYS is that it is located in the local mall. This is a mall that should be fantastic but is unexplainably mediocre. I live in what may be the most populated neighbourhood in the country; this neighbourhood is also home to some highly affluent people. That combination should be a natural fit for an amazing mall but sadly our mall is merely mediocre. For years this mall contained a Lewiscraft which was a great store to pop in and buy some odd or end for a crafting project. A store I shopped at often, Lewiscraft was always a mess and carried only the cheapest of knitting accessories, and then one day it was gone. While I was excited about what may lay ahead I was also sad to see a craft store go away. Then came the wonderful day when a new store sign emerged and it was clear we were getting a Mary Maxim in its place. For those not familiar with Mary Maxim it is a long-standing Canadian company that has been selling yarns and craft supplies for more than 50 years. While Mary Maxim does sell many a treasure they also sell more than their fair share of acrylic yarn and cheesy craft kits.  It is difficult to look into Mary Maxim and not think of Lewiscraft. Even now, years after they have replaced Lewiscraft I still expect Mary Maxim to be a haven of only acrylic and cheapness, and then I remember this just isn’t so.

Mary Maxim has done an amazing job of stocking the finest of knitting yarns and the most beautiful of knitting accessories and beading supplies. While on the surface the store may look like a basic craft store, the reality is that Mary Maxim is an amazing LYS and would be at the top of my list for best store at the mall. As I day-dreamed at work today I decided to head to my LYS, on my way home, and see if they were up to the task of showing me the perfect needles that I did not find on my own on the weekend.

Being the end of the day I was not very articulate (as evidence by this run on post). So I put on my most pathetic “please help a fellow knitter” face and entered the store. The face worked and a lovely LYS lady took pity on me. Our conversation went as follows:

Lovely LYS Lady:  Can I help you?

Me:  Yes please

LLYSL:  What are you looking for?

Me:  I have a fussy request

LLYSL:  You have a fuzzy request?

Me:  No “fussy” - I want a pair of needles (pause) I want them to be short (pause) I don’t want metal (pause)

LLYSL:  Nods patiently

Me:  I want something nice to knit up sock yarn scraps

LLYSL:  Come over here

Next I watched her rummage through a box and then voila, she says “you want these”.

And she was right – I did want the needles she produced. They are a wonderful pair of soft flexible Bryspun knitting needles.  According to the Bryspun website they are made of a special plastic that is warm and soothing to the hands. I can’t wait to use them.

Next the LLYSL said “But what you really want are these”, and she produced this amazingly beautiful set of Knitter’s Pride Symphonie Dreamz wooden needles in a gorgeous array of colours.

She was so right – I want those needles, but at $92 for the set, those needles will have to wait.

In other news…

I came home tonight and found this at our door.

I’ll be sure to post more about it in a couple of weeks, but for now I will just say that I’m incredibly excited!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Start of Something Big

I’ve been going non-stop today. I’ve done laundry, walked to the drug store, walked to the grocery store, dabbled with some vacuuming, almost completed our taxes and then some. Now after a few moments of self-indulgence I’m getting back at it and starting to work on supper, but first a brief blog post.

I’ve decided to face the reality that today’s schedule is pretty indicative of the next couple of weeks. For many reasons I will be going non-stop which is going to leave little time for making things, and even less time for blogging. So, please forgive me if the blog is quieter than usual this month.

During my brief break from chores, I did find some time to decide on what will be the next project. I’ll post more about it in a couple of weeks, but for now let’s just say that this big pile of yarn scraps is about to be the start of something big.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

IF ... I had more time

It has been a busy week. There isn’t much to post. I could show you a picture of my socks that are on the needles, or the beads that are being strung, but that’s not interesting – you’ve already seen the raw materials, so I’d like to wait until I have a finished product to show off.

I have had time this week to day dream and think about what I would do if I had more time. Here are some of the things that come to mind.

·         Knit a new pair of mittens every week

·         Make another quilt

·         Take a Running Room class (well, no not really, but I would go for a super long walk every day)

·         Read more books

·         Learn to cook

·         Learn to take a good picture

·         Become a Lady who Lunches (even  if I learned to cook, I would still want others to cook for me)

The title of this post was inspired by a vintage clothing store I used to live near in Winnipeg (waayyy back in the day). The store was called “IF… you have to get dressed in the morning”. I loved that name and also loved that they called it “IF” for short.