5 And A Beagle

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." John Lennon

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Heartfelt Thank You 

A very big, heartfelt thank you to all of you who have expressed your condolences in these recent weeks. Whether a close friend or neighbour, or someone only met and known because of this blog, it has touched my heart to receive your words and gestures of kindness.

Two weeks ago this beautifully bright platter was filled with equally bright (and delicious) frosted lemon cupcakes - made with love by a special young lady.

My Dad taught me many things over the years - to name but a few -
- love, forgiveness, generosity, respect and the importance of family and dear friends.

Each of our children have been blessed with wonderful friendships that have grown, as they have, through the years and I pray these friendships will continue to grow and strengthen through their many years ahead. I've seen how my Mom has been supported by friends that she and Dad have known for 60+ years and I hope this sweetheart and our #4 will still be laughing and crying together 60 years from now

Once again, thank you to all of you for your kindness!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Message to Dad 

What can you say to someone who has always been one of the most essential parts of your world, someone who took you by the hand when you were little and helped to show the way...

What do you say to someone who stood by to help you grow, providing love, strength and support so you could become the person you are today?

What can you say to let him know that he's the best there is, and that you hope you've inherited some of his wisdom and his strength?

What words would you say if you had the chance?

Maybe you'd just say...."I love you Dad..."

and hope he understands.

I wish I could turn back the clock 24 hours and say those words one more time.

My dad passed away suddenly this morning. I guess ours is not to question why, but I just keep screaming that question in my head.

I love you Dad

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Lure of Simplicity 

Every once in a while you just need to simplify things in your life, right?

And in knitting, what could be simpler than round after round of straight knitting?

These Harry Potter socks are for a young co-worker who's just crazy for all things HP. Self-striping yarn from BrightDyes.

Also on the needles, the Mermaid sock from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet. The yarn, Tofutsies, seemed an appropriate choice for someone who leans towards Tofu instead of meat, someone who frolics in the tidal pool with the crustaceans (tofutsies contains Chitin - fibre from shrimp and crab shells). But after seeing this photo,

I'm thinking she doesn't have the affinity for the sea that a Mermaid should.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


File this one under What the * * * * was I thinking?!?

Dear Sockapalooza Pal,

I was so excited when your information came up and you mentioned that you had a preference for cables over lace. I'm not overly fond of knitting lace socks, and I had in mind the perfect sock pattern that incorporated some interesting cabling. I ordered up the pattern and when it finally arrived, I dug right into my stash for the indigo dyed yarn that I'd made up last summer. I was a little concerned that it might not be enough for the pair, but because I was sooooo anxious to start, I reasoned that if I was shortening the length of the socks by at least 1.5 inches per sock, the 440 yards that I had should be enough. After all, the pattern called for between 3 and 5 skeins of 185 yard yarn. And as I've tried to convince my kids, I can do math. Let's see 3 times 185 - okay 5 carry the 1, 5 carry the 2 - - 555 yards. No problem, I'd shorten the pair and 110 (or so) less yarn would do.

Of course I didn't calculate just how much yarn I would save with 3 less inches overall. That would have taken time and I obviously wasn't wanting to invest the time or I would have shopped for yarn in the precise amount the pattern called for. Nor did I really think about the fact that your measurements would put me in the middle of that 3 to 5 skein estimate. (4 times 185 is a lot farther away from 440 yards). The little voice inside my head kept saying "just start the sock already."

There were hiccups along the way, signs that perhaps I should have made the time to hit a few yarn shops and scout out the perfect yarn with more than enough yardage, but no, I frogged and started over a least three times.

Finally the patterning, decreasing, shaping, it all made sense and a sock was taking shape. Every once in a while I'd look at the slowly shrinking cake of yarn and tell myself, "sure, you can squeeze that second sock out of what's left."

About 4/5's of the way into sock #1, I put it on the postal scale at work. Then I put the remaining yarn on the scale. The feeling was akin to when I step on a scale. YIKES!

Almost one month into the knitting and one month away from having to mail the completed pair to you, I went to a local yarn shop and picked up what I thought was a pretty close match. I figured if I did the second sock in alternating rounds of old yarn/new yarn, I'd be away to the races. I sat out in the lovely sunshine and knit away. Not bad, I thought to myself, this turned out pretty good! The colours are so close. Then one day, I took it to work with me and when I slipped it out of the knitting bag, I couldn't believe my eyes. The two yarns were no where near as close in colour/shading as I'd thought.

Optimistically dilusional as alway, I kept knitting, not able to bear the thought that I really should rip back both socks and do alternating rounds on both. A possiblilty that MIGHT have been easy for me to accept if these had been ankle socks, but they're knee high! And 122 cast on stitches!

Overdying was my only option. The "intellegent" voice in my head (the one that is like a poor neglected child for all the times I ignore it) said, they're already two different socks without any overdying, what makes you think they'll react to the colouring in an identical manner? The same voice that told me 440 yards would be enough was saying, "Sure they will, why wouldn't they? Both yarns are 100% merino, both are indigo blue, what could go wrong?"

First I tried Koolaid- Blueberry Blast. Good grief! Shades of an okay blue on some sections and blueberry NEON on others!

Then I figured, get away from blue, go raspberry. Good grief again!

Forget the Koolaid!! Next step, Michaels for some Wiltons BLACK.

Eight, count them, eight trips to the dye pot and an entire jar of Wiltons gone, this is what I've ended up with. What should have been the beautiful, subtle colour changes of indigo has had to become .......Black! Well not quite black, but brown/burgundy/black

I even picked up some yarn when I picked up the dye because I figured my only solution would be to knit another pair. I felt like weeping last night, when after 3 hours of knitting, I had only 4 inches.

I'm hopeful that you'll open the package up in the bright Ottawa sunshine, and you won't see the subtle (I don't think so) differences between your right and left socks and if you do notice them (as you are likely to), I hope you'll like them just the same. Keep in mind they'll keep your feet warm in the cold Ottawa winters!


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