Sunday, April 30, 2006

Month end wrap up

Done beading

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I’ve been a very bad Blogger. Negligent even.

Things around the Knittery have been going great guns, other than I haven’t got off my can long enough to write about it. The first announcement, and this really ought to be proceeded by a drum roll and/or flashes of lightening…

The beading on The Shawl That Time Forgot is done.

As in


Let me translate that for the members of the audience still too hung over to fully comprehend…


The beading, that is. 175 little dangly bits later, what still awaits? I need to make the central medallion and install it and I need to sew the storage bag. I’m thinking it’s all do-able. Watch this space for the date and time of the launch party, which will be at the Lunar Rogue because that’s where they have the best selection of Scotch whiskey in town. We’ll drop a dram or two and seal the sucker into a big-assed box and then it’s all point, click and ship to Colorado and it officially becomes the property and problem of the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. Enjoy.

Would I do it again? Probably not for a couple of weeks, although I confess, I’ve got a couple of ideas kicking around in my head… I know. I really need to have a safe dropped on my head or something to knock some sense into me.

Big ol' pile o'socks

It’ll be a while before I tackle another charity project. Right now, I need to spend some time on ME. One of the things that needs to be done in the next two weeks is completing my application for the Fredericton Arts Alliance Artist in Residence program. I would like to do a one-week residency this summer down in the Soldiers’ Barracks region of the Garrison District in Fredericton. It’s part of the tourist thing and I think it would be a blast. Applications are due on May 15th which means I really need to get cracking.

I’m all into the felted socks these days. I think I’ll make Christmas socks for sale and do a series of them for the Residency program. They’re nice, an easy project that doesn’t involve 175 beading points and I can finish in less that 8 months. Right now, these attributes are terribly attractive to me. I wonder why?

I haven’t done any more on the Therapy sock, but it’s night shift tonight so I might get a bit done on it. It’s grass fire season so we’re rather hopping in that department.

In the meanwhile, the weather has been great, my asthma has been behaving and I’m spending a lot of time on Duchess. It’s so nice to go for a bike ride and have my legs hurt before my lungs.

Well, I need to get back to the knitting machine and see if I can’t finish the sock I started this morning. I’d like to have a load of socks to felt and decorate on my days off. It would also be great to get a little ride in before I need my nap.

Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Spring fever(s)

Duchess doesn't want us to knit

Diana the Dysfunktional Knitter has termed this as The Funk. It's that state of "I just can't be bothered. I'm bored and fretful and nothing's working for me on any level." It's the creative wasteland. It's more that sheer laziness and it's more than mere boredom. The Funk is a good term for it. Personally, I favour that Newfoundland gem "Dropsy Heart" as in "I've dropsed down on me arse and I haven't the heart to git up agin".

For me, it's biking fever. I'd rather be out having a ride on the bike and be more or less playing hookie from the knitting machine. The weather is warm and I was benched from Duchess most of last season due to my asthma. The old girl is getting twitchy for some further adventures. And she doesn't want to sit around this year, being a jungle gym for spiders. She too is bored and we really want to spend our time playing, not working.

Fortunately, socks don't take up a lot of room in the panniers. They're the ultimate portable summer knitting project and I see a few of these in my future. I've finished the first sock and am almost to the point of doing the heel flap of the second. I'm of mixed emotions on them. They knit up fast (that would be one of the good points) but they seem to be a bit loosey goosey for my tastes. I like a somewhat firmer sock fabric and I'm fretting that they'll wear out too quickly. Oh well, one way to find out -- finish BOTH of them and wear them. I actually love wearing hand knit socks and I need something jazzy for under the Birkenstocks... yeah, I'm one of THOSE freaks.

In any event, I'm off to figure out if the knitting machine still remembers my name. It's been a while. And it's Monday night, which means the murder and mayhem starts on BBC Canada at 10 pm. I'll bead The Shawl that Time Forgot for a while in front of the television.

Talk to you'se all laters, provided Blogger hasn't gone AWOL again; thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The OddBall Knittery is officially hatched

The sock (blockers) that Jack built.

Yesterday was a productive day, in spite of the fact I got very little knitting done. It was, among other things, errand day so I spent a lot of time running from hither and yon, picking up the this and a half dozen of that and a side order of something or other.

Things pretty much sailed smoothly which is always a disconcerting experience for me. The Staples delivery guy showed up at 8:30 and I was free to leave the house thereafter. That put me right straight into a spin.

First order of business was off to Jack McWilliam’s carpentry shop. Jack is a bit of a character. I met him ages ago when he was an auxiliary with the police force. He’s since retired, although Jack never strays far from one’s life. I now work with his son-in-law and three-quarters of the police force has hired him in one form or the other to build furniture for them. Jack’s a master craftsman and if you can show him a picture of it, he can pretty much build it.

I’d spent ages the other day trying to block the felted Christmas stockings but by the time they’ve finished fulling up, they’re very thick. It was impossible to nail them, staple them or pin them to the blocking board. From some small, cobweb encrusted recess of my mind, I suddenly remembered that old fashioned sock blocker/stretcher device. Just the ticket, I thought, except I need it in bigger sizes. Enter Jack’s workshop.

Like I said, if you can describe it to Jack, he can build it and that made him the man for the job. By 11 am, I was standing in his workshop, ankle deep in sawdust, and we were tracing the two sizes of blockers I needed on a piece of scrap plywood. There was no gossiping during this visit. It was merely a mutual exchange of social intelligence. By 3 in the afternoon, I had a call back from Jack -- they were done and he was sending them over with his daughter, who lives right around the corner from me. You can’t beat that for service.

In the meanwhile, I managed to make it to the Canada/NB Business Service Centre on Queen St to get all the info I needed for to get my tax numbers and business name registration. I ran into Liz and we had coffee before she was off to write her American History exam.

Everyone I’ve dealt with has been so very helpful. The woman at the Business Service Centre told me to make sure I called around for the registration name searches because there’s quite a spread in what different companies charge and sure enough, there was. In any event, I didn’t bother calling everyone in the province. I just stuck with the three in Fredericton and sent them an email with the particulars.

Before the end of the day, I even managed to do some knitting. I got about 3 inches done on “the therapy sock”, did some beading on the Shawl that Time Forgot and I sewed up a machine knit sock for felting. Now, I just need to do another 11 of those puppies and I’ll have enough for a washing machine load.

The OddBall slept the sleep of the Just last night, I’ll tell you.

Today has also gone frightening well, which makes it two days in a row and now I’m starting to get edgy. I did a bit of fighting with the Revenue Canada site trying to procure my business number. (Yes, I know, it’s now the CCRA or whatever but it’ll be Revenue Canada to me until I die). I took three stabs at it and kept getting kicked off the site. Apparently, there was a coding error somewhere and it had decided I was a limousine driver who didn’t live in Canada…hell of a long cry from a good Maritime girl who knits socks.

In any event, I called them and after a modest 5 or 6 voice mail menus, I talked to Greg. Greg was brilliantly helpful and within 10 minutes, I had my business number in hand.

Before 10 am, I had the report back from the name search company, in an Adobe document format, which I could conveniently attach, along with my newly issued Revenue Canada Business Number, to my request for registration made to the Lord High Admiralty of Corporate Registrations for the Province of New Brunswick via the Service NB website. And that went just stupendously well.

So there you have it, less than 24 hours have elapsed and $158 later, and The OddBall Knittery has been born. I have not acquired any ulcers or even a hate on for humanity in the process. Corporate Services for the Province still needs to sign off but it’s highly unlikely the name will be rejected at this stage.

Of course, all this raging success and productivity can only mean one thing -- I need to do some more freaking work on the Shawl Time Forgot.

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Getting there...

I know the entire process has been slower than death, but I think I'm winning here. If God's willing and the wind's right, I ought to get this beading finished before I go back to work on Thursday.

Anyone taking bets?

Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Gee, how would I guess it was a Monday??!

I'm this side of madness, I tell you.

Ever had one of those projects that you just knew was going to be an eternal pain in your nether regions? I’m here to tell you that right about now, the shawl I’m doing for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation is rapidly approaching that exalted status. Where are we with the blessed thing? Well, we’re still in the beading stage. We all might be still beading when some Archangel or another sounds the trumpet to mark the onset of Armageddon for all I know.

Hmmmmmm, you know I’m stressed when I start referring to myself in the third person but I digress…

Back the truck up to the start of this ker-smozzle -- Fredericton, my hometown burg recently lost the only decent craft supply place in the region. I know Liz will cringe because the staff used to make her crazy and the owner was a bit of a doofus and and and and there was a million reasons NOT to shop there, all of which were true, but in spite of Liz’s misgivings, at the end of the day, you could be pretty much guaranteed you’d be able to find the basics.

Basics like beading needles.

Now a week ago, I noticed I was on my last package of beading needles. I don’t buy these things in single packages. I buy beading needles by the fistful and with this shawl, I was breaking the eyes on the needles at a rapid pace. Not surprising, really, pearls are notorious for being drilled with very small holes. Usually about every third or forth dangly bit I do on the shawl edge requires a brief tug on the needle with a set of needle-nosed pliers. It’s a testament to the strength of beading thread that it’s the metal needle that gives before the thread.

In any event, I was clever enough to recognize that I was going to need replacements in short order. So the last time I was up at the last surviving craft supply place in Fredericton, Wal-Mart I bought beading needles.

Yes, Wal-Mart. You all know where this story is going -- right down the drain. I bought beading needles at Wally-World. That’s what the package says. It’s very clearly marked “Beading needles” and “Aiguilles Pour Perles” for those of you who missed it in the English format. I had every reason to believe they were needles. For beading.

Did I ask about sizes? Of course, I asked about sizes. And of course, the clerk looked at me like I was from outer space and told me with a perfectly straight face that they only had the 6 packs available. They didn’t have any other sizes. I quit while I was ahead on that matter.

So last night, I took on the task which has no end -- beading the edge of the Tyler Hamilton Foundation shawl. Actually, I’m about 75% done but it’s feeling much, much less. I was motoring along at a reasonably productive clip when, wouldn’t you know it, I broke the eye on the last of the beading needles. Have no fear, I have replacements on hand because I’m smarter than letting myself run out of a crucial supply like that, aren’t I?

I have no idea what ‘beads’ they had in mind when they manufactured these puppies. They’re long enough for beading needles but they’re shaped like a spike. They won’t go through regular glass beads, let alone a pearl, so the beading project has ground to a temporary halt.

I’m off to check Fabricville as soon as they open this morning. Failing that, there’s always eBay…because Texas right now is easier to get at than Michael’s in Saint John which is an hour drive from here.

Speaking of eBay, I spent the better part of the weekend trying to write the eBay thing, both for products and just the OddBall bit in general. Apparently, much to my disgust, being the Boss Babe around this joint means I’m the PR flack and advertising rep as well.

If you all don’t mind, and you’re more or less bored, would you check this “About Me” section and let me know which obviously glaring error I’ve overlooked and/or which incredibly important piece of information I’ve forgotten. Random bits of advice can be hurled in my direction as well.

On the bright note, the sock is coming on well and it’s doing its bit to calm this savage beast.

Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Friday, April 14, 2006

OddBall therapy

Tell me socks aren't the perfect summer knitting project. This is the time of year when I travel by bike and they're small enough to fit in the panniers.

They also double as therapy. I've spent the past couple of days trying to dot the i's and cross the t's and sort out bloody shipping requirements to start selling stuff on eBay. Confusion reigns supreme at the OddBall Crib.

I'll get this all sorted out in short order, I'm sure. Right now, it's a case of trying to figure out shipping costs. It will come together. Of this, I am supremely confident.

In any event, I now have a new hand knitting project to drag to work. Oh, and much to Liz's surprise, they're actually for me just because I knit for myself so often.

The shawl? Still beading it. I'm looking forward to finishing it (how many times have you all heard THAT) on my days off.

Happy Easter for those of you so inclined to that religious persuasion.

Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 10, 2006

No real knitting content here.

Tippa-tappa slide

Tap dance: an art form involving the rhythmic tapping of the feet in time with music, or alternatively, me trying to write a knitting column with no knitting content. Either way, there’s a lot of shuffling, twisting and turning going on.

Okay, where are we at in the Never Ending Silk Shawl dept? Still beading. I’m got a little over 70 of the 175 beading points done. Okay, when I look at it like that, it’s just depressing. It felt much more productive when I said to myself that I was on the third of five rounds of beading.

I’m fantasizing in the ‘What’s Next?” dept. Most Maritimers will be familiar with the ubiquitous “Honeycomb Mitt” also known as the Newfie mitt. They’re very warm and they can be found at every locale in the region that sells hand knit mitts. Sadly, they’re usually executed in the worst, God-awful acrylic horror show going, which is a shame because it’s not a bad pattern, all in all. It’s just usually really poorly executed.

Now, really, I’m not a fibre snob. Uummmmmmmmmmm, all right, I AM a fibre snob but some acrylics make the grade with me. I’m an equal opportunity, all embracing kind of fibre snot. I think the petro-yarns, even Fun Furs, have their place but is it necessary to use the lowest grade, most pilling variety in the exact shade of “if repulsive had a colour, this would be it”? I think not. It takes as long to knit something out of quality yarn as it does to knit it out of schlock. Go for the quality.

In any event, time for me to get down off the soap box and back to the mittens. I’m thinking about taking the Newfie mitt for a walk, like make a hat out of it. Or an purse. Or the cuff for a pair of socks. I’m thinking a plain solid background, like black, with a multicoloured “honeycomb”. Wonder what if it would felt worth a damn?

There has to be something cool that can be done with this otherwise pretty decent stitch pattern than make it go around and around and around in circles in the same tired mitten pattern.

And to the three people I just offended with my “I’m tired of the tried and the true” rant, I’m sure your mitts are very lovely. It’s the other ones I hate. Honest. Would I lie to you? Of course, not.

But that’s my mood today. I’m am sick to the gills of this damn shawl. It’s dragged on about a month longer than my patience. It’s beautiful but I’m so not there, mentally or emotionally, right now. I think I’m starting to resent it; however, I don’t dare put it away or give it a rest or you all know what will happen. It will get sucked into the land of undone projects and there’s too much in it now to abandon ship now.

I want a new project. Jackie’s doing new things. Liz is doing new things. Every one at work is doing new things. And I’m getting all pouty because I wasn’t invited to the party.

Okay, it’s time to suck up the ‘woe is me’ tale and shake a leg. I’ve got that annual fun-fest at my physician’s office where he tells me, once again, that I’m fat and on the wrong side of 40. Speaking of which, ladies, when’s the last time you all had your feet up in the stirrups, trying vainly to pretend you don’t have half of bloody Home Hardware shoved inside you? More than a year? Get off your duff and make the call for your annual Pap. General rule of thumb: if you can't remember when your last Pap test was, you're overdue. No bloody excuses.

Yes, I’m talking to YOU. Nobody likes it -- get over it. It might save your life.

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Where we to?

Now the really freaking tedious bit, beading 175 beading points. I divided it into 35 sections of 5 points. This picture shows two of them, the long dangly ones and the lilac/silver cathedral beads, paired up with fresh water pearls.

Okay, 'nuff of this for a while. I'm going for a bike ride. I need to work tomorrow so I'm taking clothes to work now so that's done for the morning. And maybe I'll drag the Liz off for a coffee, if I can get her nose out of the history books.

I just realized how strange that sounded...NO, I don't bike to work nekkid. With my 43 year old, done gived birth body, that would be the ultimate moving violation. I store my work clothes in my locker and then the commute in is just the coffee mug and my lunch.

Talk to you'se all laters, the bike is calling; thanks for reading.

PS to the OddBall IT and Technical Support Division and Willie's Momma: the purloined Christmas prezzie fits into the water bottle cage PERFECTLY. It's so not being returned.

PPS: to any readers in the Halifax Metro region: if you see a gold/bronze coloured Yukon Giant , 13.5" frame, red bars at the end of the handlebars and black saddlebags, Steph "lost" hers from her shed.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Where's the beading fairy when you need her?

Shiny shiny, pretty things

Liz is waiting for the kitchen demolition fairies to arrive at her place. I sit in hope of the beading fairy’s imminent arrival. I’ve been waiting a week now and still, alas, I think she has me on ignore. That or the kitch on the front door has scared hell out of her and she’s not stepping foot in this joint for fear it will completely trash her reputation as having any taste whatsoever.

So, if the silk shawl for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation is ever going to get beaded, I’d best be picking up the needle and thread and having at it. I’ve been collecting the beads, mostly freshwater pearls, for a year now and I have loads of them. Of course, there had to be a snafu in it somewhere. I bought a whack of lilac and silver cathedral beads -- whack being defined as 150 -- and when they arrived, I knew they were perfect for this project. Unfortunately, I have 175 beading points around the circumference and my bead dealer has no more of them in stock. In retrospect, just as well as they are pretty heavy.

I started a bit tonight and my intention is to work most of tomorrow on it. I’m not working as I switched shifts with a co-worker. Besides, it’s going to bloody snow and I’m not biking in that crap voluntarily. It’s bad enough doing it because I have to get to work.

Only thing on the agenda is Ditto’s orthodontic appointment in the afternoon. There’s some possibility I might actually accomplish something over the next couple of days. Everyone, cross your fingers but please, don’t hold your breath. I’d hate to have the guilt of THAT on my conscience.

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Just in time for Hallowe'en

Imagine finishing a project while it's still topical. Voila, the Easter/spring wreath. It's kitch. And it was mostly brainless. Perfect for me this week.

Well, I'm beat and heading to bed early tonight. It's been an emotional week.

Just to keep thing interesting, I think Ditto is down with the flu.

I'll talk to you'se all laters; thanks for reading. Posted by Picasa