Monday, December 12, 2011


I have tried for over a year to knit a pair of warm mittens for my daughter in her school colours. Last year I knit two pairs. The first were stranded and the second one used an inner and outer lining. Both times I just did a simple home made design. While she appreciated my effort on both I could tell by the look on her face that neither was something she was going to wear. Yes, sadly they would end up in the same box as the hat I made for her.

Crushed.....well not that bad. So this year I decided that I would follow a pattern. I chose the "Salt and Pepper" mittens from Robin Hanson's book, FAVORITE MITTENS. This has been my favorite mitten book. I have knit the checkerboard and the striped mittens, so this would be my third

It is a simple stranded project that alternates colors. This means you don't have to worry about long floats. I added a third color to match my daughter's school colors. I really liked the way they turned out and guess what. SHE DID TOO>..YAHOOOOOOOOO

I have told many people that this is a great book for mittens. The only thing is that some of the instructions are hard to get when you read them. What you have to do really is just follow what she says, word for word, stitch for stitch. When you do this it works out and then it all makes sense.

Of course, given my success I went out and got some more school colors, eager to start knitting the "Newsprint Cowl" using the new Two color Brioche technique I just wrote about.

And yes, you can guess, when I told her about she again rolled her eyes and said, "Dad, don't you think I have enough school color stuff". Yes, after spending another $60 I was again back at square one. She instead just wanted something in Off White.

Oh, well, I guess someone else will just be the recipient of the new cowl.

Kids, SHeeesh

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Brioche E-Video

I was lucky to be chosen as one of a few to review a new Video E-book on Brioche Knitting. This book was done on Ravelry by "Liatm".

I have done some basic Brioche before I had reviewed this book. Basically a flat scarf in one colour. Brioche stitch makes a fantastically plush and elastic fabric great for all sorts of things. It was with great interest that I began to review this e-book.

First off, Liatm takes each step and illustrates the instructions with a close up and clear video. She moves slowly and explains really clearly what she wants you to do. It starts off with a cast on, and then with a set up row. She then moves into a basic stitch knit flat, and then in the round.

The real fun begins when she introduces a second colour in the round. This makes a great looking fabric. There is also a few suggestions for patterns. Finally she ends off with knitting the stitch flat.

I have to give this high marks in the way that she moves through each area. Perhaps the best part of the whole book, in my mind, is that she takes the time to explain how to READ your stitches on the needle.

Many people who love Brioche, hate the fact that when they make a mistake it can be so difficult to fix it and get back on track. By showing her viewers how to READ the stitches, she solves this problem. Now you can see a mistake before it gets to the point of no return. And better yet you can fix it.

I am just checking my stash so that I can cast on a two colour brioche hat or cowl. Can't wait to see how it goes.

If you have ever wanted to try this great stitch then I highly recommend that you get this book. You can find it at KNITfreedom in the Brioche Videos area.

Good luck with it and thanks to Liatm for a great job.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Every Piece Has a Story

It's funny how every piece that I knit seems to have it's own story. Case in point. I decided to try my hand at knitting another sweater. I have only knit one so far in my short knitting life. It was a baby sweater. It wasn't for me, obviously, but I just wanted to learn how to knit one. It turned out pretty good but I haven't knit one since. One of the main reasons is that I don't really wear sweaters. The last one I wore was one that my mom knit for me.

Well, I finally got my SO to come with me to the LYS and pick out a pattern and some yarn. The pattern was pretty easy and I couldn't wait to get started. The first problem was that I was having a hard time getting gauge. The pattern was 6 st per inch, and suggested 4mm needles. Well I started my swatch and found that I had to go down a needle. Then another needle size and then another until I found myself knitting my swatch on 2.5 mm needles. Yes that would be fine if I was knitting a sock, but this was a sweater. How on earth could I knit a sweater on 2.5mm. Yes you guessed it, I can't. So I switched from my regular continental and tried out Portuguese knitting. This worked better although I was still on 3mm needles. So be it, if that is what it had to be then I was game.

The pattern was pretty much all "Moss Stitch" which mostly meant a ribbing type of deal. For continental this was easy but not as much fun with  PK. Oh well, if that is what the knitting gods wanted who was I but a mere knitting mortal to argue.

Things went well and I finally got to the part where I was going to do a 3 needle bind off on the shoulder seams. No problem and so I went ahead and did it. The problem was that I forgot to make sure the "right sides" were facing. Yes, now I had a big seam ridge on each shoulder. Of course that would not do so I pulled out the seams, turned the pieces around and then seamed it up again. There, now that was finished. Well of course is wasn't.  You see when I was shaping the shoulder I did not follow pattern on the last few short rows so here I had a moss stitch sweater with this ugly stockinette part near the seams. I thought about it. Who would notice. Would it really matter. Let's just keep going. And as I had these thoughts I could feel the knitting gods glaring down at me. It was like having a good angel in one ear and a bad in the other. I knew that I could not let this be. If I kept going this sweater would end up on the bottom of some drawer or closet with no friends and nowhere to go.

So, for the second time I ripped out the seams. Then I knit back on each of the short row pieces and of course that meant three pieces. And then knit it back up in pattern. And finally seamed it all back up. I could move on to the border ribbing.

Well I picked up 300 stitches around the neck line and began to rib. I could see the finish line clearly in sight. I couldn't wait as I ribbed the border with extra ferocity. I got about 1.5" of it done when I noticed there was a ridge where the border started. Hmmmn?  I turned the piece inside out and of course you know what I saw, or rather didn't see. A ridge. So back into my ear went the good and bad people. Keep it, RIP IT OUT, Keep it, RIP IT OUT. I knew what I had to do. So once again I ripped out hours of work. I then proceeded to pick up 300 stitches, but this time on the proper side of the work. And this time there were no ridges. I have really come to hate ridges.

So now I am almost finished the ribbing. Almost done. Yes, it seems every piece seems to have a story. Some story's are not as great. But in the end, when you look at the finished piece you know the trials and tribulations that you shared. And in someway I guess this brought us closer.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Couldn't Help Myself

Last time I talked about picking up a new foster dog. Well, now he is my adopted dog. I really couldn't help myself. Actually he had me from the time he sat with his rump on the back seat, his front paws on the ground with his head sticking through on the console. What a great dog. I take him everywhere and am really glad I kept him. Archie is his name. Don't remember if I said it last blog. Anyways, he really makes me happy, even if I do have to get up every morning early just to walk him Even in the winter.

I thought I would be near the end of my sampler blanket for my daughter, but looking at it I really think I should go just a bit more. You know how you get tired of the project and then want it to end. So you talk yourself into that the blanket is large enough. And then you end it. And you are so happy realize that it really was not big enough. Of course you know that before but you are so busy convincing yourself otherwise that you just pretend it's okay. Well this time I am not going to pretend. I am not going to end it yet. Nope...Bigger and bigger it goes until it really makes one great cover my daughter from head to toe and even more blanket. She is off to year 2 of University soon so I gotta get going.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A New Dog and Old Blanket

Well my first foster dog was adopted and his name was changed. The great thing here is that a dog went from being scheduled to be euthanized to finding a great home. Have to give credit to the lab-rescue team of ladies who do such a good job.  I was missing have a dog again, and so on Saturday I was at Chapters looking through books on dogs when I got a call. Seems there was another dog in London in need of rescue. Now this was about a 2 hour drive and I had already made some arrangements to go to Kempenfest in Barrie. I don't think my SO was to happy when I came home from chapters with a change of plans. Anyways it took about 6 hours but today I am hanging out with my new friend Archie. What a great guy and disposition.

I finished my Traffic Island socks and have blocked them. Now it is just the blanket I am still working on. I will probably start something else. I have a bunch of shawls in mind but we'll have to see which one and what yarn I have in my stash. There are no pictures today as Blogger or my computer seems to not want me to post any. It seems every time I try it will not bring up my files. Oh well. Sometimes I guess the sites have bad days just like we do. Congrats by the way to all who attended the sock summit. Looks like they had fun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Public Knitting

Timberline socks
 Today I took my father to one of his doctors appointments. While I was waiting for him I brought with some socks that I was working on. It's funny because most times I seem to be very shy about knitting in public. Is it really the stigma of a guy knitting that gets to me. I am embarrased to say that it is.

Even in the waiting room I found a corner of the room where I could work on the socks while waiting for my dad. After a while one of the girls at the front desk asked what I was knitting. I brought up my sock and we then had a great conversation about projects I was working on and how I was a bit shy to knit in public. The one girl said that she believed a guy who was not shy to show his feminine side was really one that was confident about himself.

My Daughters first Sock
Given that in fact I was shy I am not really sure what that means for me. LOL

The first picture was a quick knit of Lucy Neatby's Timberline socks. It's the second picture (the one with the thumb) I am most proud of. The reason? Well it is the first sock that my daughter knit. I have urged her to try socks and for a while she was intimidated. That is why I was so excited that she made this one. Of course the second one is still yet to hit her needles but that is okay.

I guess being a male knitter is still a complicated matter to me even though it is something that I really love and enjoy doing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shawl Marathon finally done.

 It feels like it's been years since I finished a project. Normally I was used to doing 2 or three projects a month at a minimum, but that was before I caught the Shetland Shawl Marathon Bug.

It is a given that I love doing lacework. Funny thing I think for a guy to say but I find it so artistic that I love the finished projects. I have done quite a few works of Estonian Lace, so awhile back started checking in on Shetand lace.

It wasn't long before I purchased Sharon Millers Heirloom Knitting book. Wow, was it ever filled with great stitch patterns. Not so many finished patterns but I decided to try one of the easier shawls in the book.

What I didn't realize was how long this one would take me to finish. It was knit in the round, so the first thing is that you have no idea what it actually looks like while you are doing it. Scratch that, actually it looked like a big lump of knitted wool. It was only when I got to doing the edging that little by little was I able to get an idea of how it was coming along. This after over a month of knitting. The pattern was actually quite easy, and it was just the edging at first that I had to get used to. Normally I did a pick up all stitch edging, but this one worked it's way around 1 stitch at a time every other row of edging. I already spoke in a prior entry about how many stitches that took.

I originally had 2 skeins of Zephyr lace, but ended up going back twice more for another 2 skeins. Luckily this was available in the dye lot that I had to match.

The shawl marathon, or at least this one is now finally over. I don't know if I am as excited on this piece as I was on others or just relieved to be done. Either way it certainly is an interesting piece. It is done in the colorway of sage green, which is hard to tell by the picture. Here you can see the edging up close. It is just finishing blocking, and I will try and get a few more pictures soon of it wrapped on something the way it was meant.

Well, now that it is done I just have to finish my sampler blanket. In the meantime I have started a quick pair of socks for my kid. I am doing another of Lucy Neatby's socks called "Timberline Toes". A very easy quick knit. This sock has the garter short row heel. I just finished the first. I am still not convinced I like this type of heel better then the heel flap, however, it does work nice for variegated yarn.

I also will probably end up doing another Estonian project from Nancy Bush's book. I must say that book has more projects that I like than any other book I own.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Savings Lives

As most of you know my dog of over 13 years passed away last month. It was really weird not having a dog in the house given I have had one for over 20 years. I really wasn't ready for another big commitment, but on the other side I really missed having one around the house.

Yes, I admit, I am a big time dog lover. I did a bit of research on the internet I came across the idea of fostering dogs. This is the taking in of dogs that have no homes and have no one yet to adopt them. You take care of them until they are able to find forever homes. I thought this was a great way to help out animals that needed help, all while being able to have a dog back in the house.

I checked out a few groups that foster, and signed up to the LAB-RESCUE group. It took about a week after submitting an application that I was contacted and interviewed. Yes, they said, I was a good candidate to foster, but they were going to look for a dog that was easy for my first time.

Well, about a week later I got a call that they had a dog for me to foster. I was so excited and made arrangements to meet with them and pick up the dog a few days later. Little did I know what would be there to meet me.

Timbit, as he is called is a 130lb Yellow Lab. I don't think I have ever seen a dog that big. He was huge. His story was that someone found him collapsed on their lawn and called animal control. They picked him up and kept him in the shelter. Given his size, if the rescue didn't step in to help he probably would have been euthanised. I don't know how he got that way but he was just huge. It was difficult for him to walk but he was just so happy to have some attention. He had bed sores on his legs, and the muscles would shake when he stood and eventually he would have to sit again.

I got Tim in the car, and the two of us made are way home. The first time I took him for a walk we were able to get about 20 paces and then he needed to lie down and rest. This is how it went with 4 rests to get to the end of my property line, which is about 70 ft. And then of course 4 more rests to get back. Although he was filled with a ton of love, Tim is in bad shape. Who would let him get like this and then toss him away.

In the first few days I saw that Tim loved to get into the garbage to see what he could find. Of course now it is under lock and key and I am teaching him to start to leave it alone. Not an easy job for a food minded dog.

The first week of fostering has now passed. I have learned so much about patience and understanding. I hope Tim can find a great home, but until then I will love and care for him. Together we will slowly try to get some of the weight off so again Tim can run and play like other dogs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moving Forward

The one thing about life is we have a choice whether to keep moving forward or to stop and just keep looking back. I have always been a big believer in the forward choice. I have been really busy these days but thought I should write a bit anyways.

I am still working diligently on my Shetland Shawl and Sock Sampler Blankets. I don't think I have ever had a period of knitting where I worked for so long without coming to the end. That being said I am getting there. I am over half way through the edging on the shawl. Finally I can start to see how it is going to look. It has certainly taken alot more yarn then I though but hope that this last skein will do it. I figure that the edge had 800 stitches and that it required me to knit about 1600 rows to complete. Since on average each row has about 20 stitches in it the edging involves about 32,000 stitches or more. I also figure it takes about 30 minutes to complete the 24 rows in each edging repeat meaining the edge should take in all about 30 hours. Who would have thought. I just have to keep going forward and at some point I am going to get there. God, I hope that I like it when I am finished given the time.

The sampler is coming along. My daughter laughs a bit at the colours but I am using up all my leftover sock yarn which is nice. Of course, it also means buying some more before it will be finished.

My kid finished her first sock and was thrilled. Me too. Of course now she has the dreaded second sock syndrome.

Finally, I have decided that I am going to become a dog foster parent. I really miss having a dog around the house and it's been about 20 years since I have been without. In the morning when I come out of my bedroom it is just so strange to not head down the stairs and a second later feel a dog, whooshing past me, racing to the bottom. And it really is weird to walk into the house and not have that friendly greeting. I think with fostering I can help out other dogs that need a home and yet not jump into a long commitment of owning a dog. I do think that will come but I think I need a bit of time. I am excited about this and am waiting for them to find me a foster dog. Feel like a kid I am so excited about that.

It's almost exam time for my son, so I am sure he is going to be stressed this week and then starts the summer officially. At least for a parent, summer really begins when school ends.

I'll keep you posted to what happens with my shawls and fostering. And of course whether my kid casts on her second sock. Yep, just keep moving forward and everything will be alright.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Good Friend - A Sad Day

Riley Chilling at the Cottage
 Today was a tough day, and this may be a tough blog to read. For the last 13 years I have shared my life with my dog Riley. I have to thank my friend Jane for this. She played on the football team I coached, and one game said that she had rescued this dog but because she lived in an apartment really couldn't keep him.

It seemed that this young dog had been a Christmas present to a child, but after a few months the child had got bored and no one paid any attention to this dog. She said they were keeping him in his cage almost all day long, and that they were going to just let it loose and not let it back in.

I already had an older German Sheppard at the time and really wasn't sure I wanted another dog. Jane was unrelenting and asked me to just see him and try him over the weekend. As you can guess, from the moment I met him, I fell in love and of course took him into my home and my life.
Princess Riley
 My Sheppard was a great dog also but was more my dog then the families dog. Riley, however was truly the families dog.

The first few years were pretty fun as Riley loved to escape and roam free and each day I would be out trying to find him and catch him. I had a fenced in yard but no matter, Riley, doing his best Houdini impression would find some way to escape and run around. He was not trying to get away, but really just loved to meet people and walk down the street with all.

Most time he would find a place to crawl under the fence and each time I would go into the backyard and pound down another post trying to keep him in for his own safety. I remember the one time he got away, and I was amazed because I was sure I had closed off all escape routes. After I got him back I found that last spot that he escaped from and proceeded to pound down the fence to close it off. As I did so I let him know, while he stood behind watching me, that I finally had closed off all escape routes. After pounding down the last fence post I turned triumphantly to let him know I had won, only to see nothing. Yes, he had escaped again while I had my back turned. I could only laugh. And of course at the cottage, he loved to find his way to the road so he could visit the other cottagers. He had such a gentle and friendly disposition, and a strong need to make friends with everyone. My neighbors would laugh every day as they heard me yelling his name while I walked the cottage road looking for what neighbor my dog decided to hang with on that particular day.

Riley loved to hang at the cottage where he had to be on every boat ride, sitting at the front with the wind in his hair. We spent many years doing agility training. He was good at it but usually half way through each class he decided that he had enough exercise and would then lie down to watch the other dogs. I could coax him all day but he was done and just invited me to sit and watch .
Our Last Moments

A few weeks back, Riley became very lethargic and I knew something was wrong. He had already had problems with his legs as is normal with a lot of dogs his age, but this was different. He had no appetite and no energy. I took him to my vet and we saw that he had a virus. Thank god, I thought as the anti-bio tics worked after a few days and he perked up.

Unfortunately a few days later the lethargy returned. No longer was he at my back door a thousand times a night wanting to go outside. And no longer was he at my back door a few minutes later wanting to come back in. Nor was he sitting in front of me, panting, and asking for a cookie. No, now he would just lie quietly on the floor and gaze into nothing.

Instead of bounding and jumping while I prepared his dinner, instead he lay there and so I sat beside him feeding him by hand. He no longer had the energy to chomp through his milk bones, so instead I sat and broke them up and fed them to him little by little. We went back to the vet for tests, and his vitals had gotten worse and x-rays showed a mass in his stomach. This time no pills nor love would nurse him back to health. Riley my good friend over the last 14 years had come to his time.

Today at noon I took my beloved pet to the vet and held him while he was put down. I choked back the tears, even though I knew he had a good life and was loved all through it. I left and by the time I got home I sobbed uncontrollably. The house seemed so empty.

My dog Riley passed away and may he find a new place to romp. He was a great dog, and I loved him greatly. He will be missed.

I am writing this with a heavy heart. It is the cycle of life, and it was the best decision to save him from any future pain. But it is still hard. And I know it will be a while until the vision of him lying quietly on the table leaves my head.

I love you Riley and thank you for all the joy and happiness and laughs that you brought to my life.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where is May Going?

Wow, it's almost June. Seems like we are  skipping the month of May yet here we are at the May 2-4 weekend. Time is flying. I am working away at my scrap sock sampler blanket, while trying like crazy to finish the border of my First Shetland Shawl. I would post pictures but given it is done in the round it really does not look like much at present.

For those of you who have read my blog, last year I was forced to sell off my cottage due to a family dispute. This is the weekend that I would have been going up to open the cottage. My boat still sits in my garage, taunting me every time I go in. I will miss sitting on my rocker bench, knitting as I listen to the waves wash up onto the shore. Of smelling the nightly fire that my best friend and I would sit at late into most nights. When I think about it, I know I will miss a lot. Really I try  not to think about it.

To help with the "loss" I have pledged to try and put my lawn into the best shape possible. Usually it has been a losing battle, but maybe with me home weekends this year I can actually have my yard looking good. That would be great as I wouldn't have to worry about my neighbors, walking by, and shaking their heads. Now, I don't want you to think that I left it a mess, but it always feels as if there lawns were looking much better manicured.

I also don't think I can go up to visit my best friend, who's cottage was right beside mine. I just can't imagine standing at his cottage, looking over at someone else in my cottage.

On the other side, I kind of feel happy for the family that bought my place. I had 10 great summers, hanging out with my kids. We had no Cable TV and video games were not allowed. Instead we would do things like, walk an talk, swim and play games. Things like sitting around a fire laughing. The last few years my kids stopped coming up as they were teenagers, and hanging with dad wasn't the priority. Now I guess it's time for another family to have those times. To create those memories.

I really think it is going to be different without the cottage.  But of course different does not have to be worse. As we go through life, we continually encounter places where the road jogs in a most unexpected way. All we can do is to follow it and enjoy whatever journey it takes us to. So here's a toast to a summer of new Journeys!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Paying for Others

I was thinking how at times we find ourselves in a position where we are paying a bill that is not ours. Although it may be normal it certainly is not fair. Let me explain.

Here you are in a relationship. The problem is that in the past your better half got screwed royally in their last relationship. They were hurt and deceived. Now, you are not the one who did this dirty deed. You were not any where around. And from the time you did come into the picture you have done nothing but been trustworthy and honest. The problem is that because of the past you now find yourself facing a wall of protection. Your partner, while believing that you are honest in your feelings, still cannot get over the fact that they too trusted their last relationship. And if they were wrong then, then they could be wrong now. And so, a wall surrounds the person. Sometimes the wall is opaque and clearly seen. Other times it is clear like glass but still impassable. For no matter what you do, or what you say, there will always be the possibility that this relationship won't work. That your partner will again be hurt or worse deceived again. Nothing can stop that nagging doubt.

Can any relationship thrive while paying the bills of others. I don't think so. I think that everyone suffers hurt and deceit in their lifetimes. And while we can all learn and should learn from our experiences, we have to be careful  not to let it to change us. We cannot just build a wall and live behind it. Each person peeking out but never truly allowing themselves to be free.

I think that is what makes love and trust the hardest thing. We have to take everything we know about pain and hurt and somehow lock it away. We can't let it dance around us  with wagging fingers. We have to take the chance that although we may be hurt again,  we will NEVER truly feel  love making others pay bills that aren't theirs.

Without opening ourselves up to potential hurt and betrayal we will never feel loved fully. Instead their will always be doubt. Doubt that we will be hurt again. And therein lies the toughest part about love.

Unless we leave ourselves open to pain and hurt we can never truly feel loved.

Unless we leave ourselves open we will always remain closed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Work in Progress

I am not one of those knitters who can start a large multiple of projects, leaving some for months waiting to be finished. Instead I am the type that really has to finish projects as quick as possible. It's almost like an obsession. Each project interests me but part way in I start thinking about my next project. Then I get so excited about it that I go nuts trying to finish what is on my needles so I can get to the next thing. Yes, this does allow me to finish many projects but some days it really takes over.

I am currently knitting to larger projects. Each was something that I have wanted try for a while. The first is a Shetland Shall from Sharon Millers book "Heirloom knitting". For a long time I have wanted to try and shetland shawl. And this book had many great charts of phenomal lace. But the one I chose is instead a terribly boring knit. It's just one row of lace and three of garter  over and over. The second problem is that I am knitting it in the round. Because of that I can't really check out my progress. Just sits on my needles like a big blob.

My second project, and yes that is my maximum WIPs, is a sampler blanket from the 4th Treasury of knitting. I am doing it in mosaic garter. I decided to try this to try and use up all my bits and pieces of leftover sock yarn. At the beginning I again was very excited.

This first piece looked great. The problem is that in using up the yarn the colors that I have to continue with really are a jumble. I don't have a picture yet but will post soon.

So now I have these two projects that are both fairly long time wise, and I am bored with both of them. My stubborness however will not let me do anything but keep going. So I just go back and forth between the two.

This inability to put a piece away I think over the long run will drive me crazy. I will be found one day, with bloody fingers, worked to the bone, with yarn covering my body and a just finished piece covering me. Of course you see it would have to be finished.

Well I guess now I am rambling, so it must be time to close. And the longer I sit here and type the less time I have to try and finish.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Someone is out there

It's been awhile since I have last blogged. Sounds like the start of a confessional. Well, rest easy it is not that. Stopped by my local LYS today to pick up a few Harmony Needle kits for some fellow workers when someone out of the blue said to me "I love reading your blog". Wow, I thought, someone actually reads my blog. The smile that came across my face must have been big because it hurt all the way to my ears.

I started writing a blog just to talk about being a male knitter in a female dominated field. But like everyone I guess it's nice to know that some one actually enjoys reading what you write. Each day I would post a blog I would check back to see the comments. And of course each day I was lucky if even one comment appeared. Usually none. I must be pretty boring I would think, after all when I read a blog like the YARN HARLOT, there are hundreds of comments.

Although again I think I like writing this just to get thoughts out, I guess I also like that someone reads it. Well, today my day was made. The funny thing is that even though I rate my readability by my comments, which as I said were pretty paltry, I myself rarely post a comment on the blogs that I read. So I guess it is possible that someone is reading my blog and that they really just don't comment.

I think this has renewed my blog and just want to thank that person, and you know who you are (if you read this) for that lovely comment today. It really was great.

The second thing that happened today really made me laugh. I was talking to someone else in the store about various knitting styles and things and they said to me "could you be any gayer for a straight guy". Now that is funny and just for anyone who might find that offensive, it was actually said with love. Of course I'm sure someone might take offense but really I hope not. My daughter laughs all the time as she sits and knits with me and says that I am the only dad who coaches her football team and teaches her friends to knit. She even told me today that a friend who saw the socks that I made from her thought it was cool that her dad did that.

Well, as you can tell a real good day for me, a male knitter. One hundred percent hooked.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Settling In

Last month I moved my folks into an independent Retirement home. The place is fantastic and it really is a better place for them to be. My mom, is just delighted with the place, but my dad is still getting used to it. They each have there own set of problems, and for me at least I know that they are in a much safer place.

It's funny how life cycles in such a circle, and the older you get the closer you move back to the start. This month I myself am turning 50 and that means I have reached well past the half of my circle.

It's funny to hear my dad tell me that the new place is filled with such old people, when in fact they are pretty much the same age. I guess if you are 78 then 85 is old. Remember when we were young and a few years was huge. As a 10 year old  those 12 year olds seemed really big. As we aged though the differences were not as acute. But I guess as we get much older, they seem so great again.

I am happy that my folks are now in a place where they can receive proper meals, physio, and other people to talk to. I know my dad will adjust over time. I hope that they can stay they for a while because the next step would probably be a nursing home.

Good luck mom and dad and I hope this new move provides you with a better quality of life.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch... Changes

Smokey Checkerboard Mittens
Kind of like the Bowie song , things are changing. Yes, I know that they are always changing but some times you hit milestones in your life.

I feel like this is one of those times. Tomorrow I am moving my parents into an independent retirement home. They are 78 and it is time. They both face different sort of challenges but it became obvious that they were starting to struggle living on their own. For the past 3-4 months I have taken them around to different places, talked with administration, and to many relatives. We finally have reached the day now where it is time to move.

Mom is ready for this but Dad unfortunately is not. Myself I know that this is what is needed for them to be safe and to have help in their daily lives beyond what we can provide on a makeshift basis. I worry that the change might be too much for my dad and make things worse, but hope that instead it will make things better. Only time will really tell.

It's funny how life goes from your parents looking after you to you looking after your parents. Life is really the cycle they say it is.

For me, I am turning 50 in a few weeks and I guess they say that is a big milestone. Myself I am just happy to make it. I am not sure how I feel about turning that age. Actually I don't think I really feel anything. We'll see.

I am in between any big knitting projects lately. I finished my Lehe Shawl and have a few other shawls in mind. Although I am not sure how much people can use them I really love the beauty of them so I am in a bit of a shawl rut. Above are my Smokey Checkerboard mittens. I love this pattern which I got from Robin Hansons book "Favorite Mittens". I adapted the size but really just love this simple design and the warmth that comes from them slightly ribbing together.

I am working on a quick pair of socks while I figure out what comes next. I really want to do a sampler Blanket from Treasury of Knitting 4 but still have not bought the wool. I am also teaching a few classes this month. I enjoy that.

Well, just figured it was time to blog again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The day that didn't work

Ever notice that some days are better then others? . I have been re-doing my main floor washroom this past week. I changed to a low flush toilet to save water. I also bought a vanity and faucet set. Well someone came by and hooked up the vanity. The next morning there was water on the bottom shelf of the wood vanity. Worse, the wood had swelled and cracked. Great, not even a day with something new and it looked terrible. So, I called my friend to come back and look at the leak. As he did we saw that the faucet was leaking. It seems that just a small little plastic piece had broken and now the vanity was ruined. The faucet upon closer inspection also had quite a few cheap plastic parts and it too would have to be replaced.

Later on I went to look at a camera I had received as a bonus for buying a printer. I put the batteries in and pressed the "On" button. Nothing happened. I took out the batteries and put them back in, given that I had obviously done it wrong the first time, and again nothing. I figured that perhaps the batteries were old so I replaced them with new ones. Nope still nothing. So, I went back to the first set of batteries, of course thinking that the prior two times were just my mistake. Nothing. Finally it sunk in that the brand new camera did not work.

Then I went to change a dimmer switch that turned on the kitchen lights. A few days ago it stopped working. Then a day ago it started again. Today it didn't work so I bought a new one and put it in. I checked all the wires in the box and it looked great. I then turned on the light. Nothing. I turned off the light and tried again. Nothing. Okay so maybe it was not the dimmer switch that was the problem. My thoughts turned to the light fixture so I set out to take it down. Just as I started I noticed that the dimmer was glowing. So I walked over and turned it on and this time the lights came on. That's great, but now I figure that there is a short problem in the fixture. When I went to take it down I must have moved something and the light connected again. This was good in that I now had a light again. It was bad because I now had to take down the fixture.

So now I have to take back the new faulty vanity and faucet. Then take back the camera and try and get a new one. And then take back the dimmer because the old one wasn't broken. .

I think I should just go to sleep now and wake up tomorrow. Perhaps things will be working again then.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Almost Finished

Just  400 stitches left to cast off and I will have finished my Lehe Shawl. Over the last month we have really become good friends. While we were friends it was funny because I couldn't wait till the time when we would part ways. Every day I worked so hard to get to that spot. But now that I am almost at that point in time, the end,  I don't feel happy but instead sad.

Sure, in just a few days I can proudly show off my friend to everyone.  Some will marvel at it, and others will not. From this point forward my friend will belong to the world. But one thing it will never be again is just my friend

Yes as I come to the end I know that the intimacy is about to end. No longer will my friend be there to soothe my aching mind by giving so freely of its stitches. It would no longer calm me with the rhythmical motion of our friendship. No. very soon I will have lost this friend to the world.

My mind races forward to what sorts of new friends I might find. There are many I know of waiting to meet. It's kind of like it own dating service, while that really does sound a bit "sic". And just like that I find myself losing the sadness and instead begin gaining hope. Hope of a new friend and new experience.

Who knew that knitting would prove to be so emotional.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My How Time Flies

It's almost mid way through January and it's been quite a while since I have blogged. December was a mitten and shawl and scarf month, making small projects for my kids and relatives. I also finished the Miralda Shawl from Nancy Bush that you see on the left.

Over the last few months I have been dealing with a few parental issues. Mainly this is that my parents have reached the time in their lives when it's time to get help. This means time to move out of their apartment and into a retirement place where things could be a bit easier.

It's funny how I just reached a point in my life where my kids have grown and are pretty independent but now my parents have replaced them in the "need help" part of life. My mom has some physical problems but generally is there mentally. If she would eat better and exercise more it would help a great deal.

My father on the other hand seems to be having some cognitive problems. Over the past few months they really seemed to have gotten worse. Sometimes it's quite sad to talk on the phone to him, which I have done everyday over the years, as it is like talking to a child. I don't know whether he is aware of what is going on. I still think this is the early stages of something but sometimes it's really hard to see it. I am pushing his doctor to get some tests done and for him to go to a memory clinic. We are just waiting for the referrals to go through.

Overall I am okay handling this stuff as it is what happens in life. It's time's like these that my knitting really helps to keep me calm and focused.

On the other side my daughter is doing great in her first year of University and I am so happy for her. It's still hard some days that she is not home and with me, but overall I am really proud of her. My Son also has been doing great in school and is about to get his drivers license (gulp).

As for me I have a few knitting classes to teach this month, and so many projects in my head that I want to get on my needles. I also have become the resident knitting teacher at work as a few of the girls have become knitters.

Happy New Year to all and I will try and not leave it so long before I write again.