Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The good, the bad, and the ugly

First, the good. Y'all know I'm in the Favourite Colour Swap II, right? I have been SO BLESSED in this swap! I've been corresponding with my upstream for a while now, and she is just the neatest person. We seem to share many of the same interests, and she even turned me on to this blog, which is fast becoming one of my favorites. Sadly, Alice (my upstream) is currently blogless, but I'm hoping to pester her into changing that soon. Alice is also lucky enough to live in London, so when a box arrived stamped "Royal Mail", I knew just who it was from. (Does it really show my dweeby side to say that the Royal Mail stamp was really really cool? I'm easily entertained, I guess...) I'm telling y'all...words cannot even begin to describe the coolness of this package. First off, everything was wrapped beautifully, in pink tissue paper & tied with satin ribbons in a beautiful dove grey. If I'd had a brain, I would have photographed the wrapping, because it really was lovely! Where to even begin? Well, there was some fabulous chocolates ("was" being the operative term here--they're long gone already), white chocolate with lovely Spring-coloured pastilles on them & some fabulous orange flavoured white chocolate wafers. The orange ones are squirreled away, so that they'll last longer...they are SO good! There's some cute-as-heck little sheepy soaps from Get Knitted, and a kickass gift set from Lush (I've never tried anything from Lush before, and now I see what all the fuss is about!! LOVE the body cream! Mmmm...), and a really yummy smelling tin of lip balm, which is going straight into my knitting bag so it can be with me all the time. There's one of those neato WPI tools, and yeah, I admit to going around & measuring every skein of yarn I can find, just because I can. Heh. (Note certain edible items missing from photos...some family members "helped" me with the disposal of same. They're lucky they're all so cute.)

This is where it starts getting REALLY cool, y'all...we'd discussed my love of antiques & books & all things early-20th-century, and dang, but she must have really been taking notes! There's a Christie's catalogue of first edition books, which is SO cool!! Firstly, because I'd never even seen a Christie's catalogue in person (Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels hardly counts), and secondly, because it's just so bloody neat to look through. It contains many books from the personal collection of Lady Ottoline Morrell, as well as a brief account of her life, and it's truly just fascinating. That's not all, though...there's three MORE books to read, too!! One is a really cool looking mystery (I'm so weak for mysteries!) set on the Welsh border, one is a really sweet copy of a book that Alice herself enjoyed tremendously as a child, and the third is a copy of Kitchen Essays, by Agnes Jekyll, originally printed in 1928. Talk about interesting!! I've already started reading this one. It's really fascinating, as the author includes recipes as well as her thoughts about all things domestic, which is really one of my main areas of interest in history. I seriously squee'd out loud at that one. OH, and let's not forget the yarn!! It's freaking cashmere, people!!! Not just one, but TWO skeins of Posh Yarn, in the most gorgeous shades of tweedy green & autumnal reds & greens! I'm soooo in love with this yarn! I'm looking forward to sorting out a proper pattern worthy of such a luxurious fiber. I'm telling you, this was a fabulous package! Just what I needed this week, too. (WAY prettier in person--my camera is somewhat less than one would hope for for yarn p0rn purposes.)

There was also a lovely long letter, and even a Union Jack for my boys, too! (My five year old especially gets a huge kick out of hanging the Irish flag in his room, since his Da is Irish, so now he can hang the English flag as well, for the other half of his heritage. Yes, I have slightly weird kids.) Alice, I truly cannot thank you enough. You really went above & beyond, and I am just overwhelmed with how perfect everything is. Even the print on the card was perfect (1930s travel poster!!)! And it came at such a perfect time...

Also in good news this week, I've finished Boy the Younger's green sweater. It's cute as the dickens on him, though I did have to rip out the collar bindoff & redo it to accomodate his ginormous noggin.

Again, this is a really washed out & somewhat crappy photo. Something about the light levels that day washed out the blanket that the sweater was on, making it look like the Amazing Floating Sweater, and really hosing up the colour. Believe me when I tell you that it's cute. Green suits Boy the Younger very well, too, though next time I'll go with a more tweedy shade, rather than one quite this kelly green. Not that one could tell by the picture, of course. Argh.

Also finished--the Caoimhe socks! They're all purty, iffn you ask me. The feets aren't really as long & narrow as they appear here...they just didn't wanna sit right for the photo. I've *really* got to get a set of sock blockers, so I can take pretty sockie pics like all the other cool kids do. Caoimhe was done in Interlacements Tiny Toes, Irish Heather colourway, using the Laburnum stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. Gourds, but I love that book.

Currently on the needles, we have the BPT cardi for me in KP Swish Superwash, Truffle colourway. I'm loving the fabric this yarn makes! Super soft & squirshy, and really quite nice to work with. I'm not too far into it, which is why there's no picture, but that's okay...I'm in no hurry. Also OTN, my March Socktopia socks.

I chose the What's On TV? theme this month, and because what's most often on *my* tv is History Channel-type stuff, I picked a pattern that was originally printed in the year 1900. This is the Fancy Silk Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush, in Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sock. I believe the colourway is Glenwood, and while it's really not colours I'd usually pick out for myself, it is nice & springtimey, and that makes me happy. I hope to finish them tonight or tomorrow, if all goes well. And yeah, this pair got a name too...this is Louisa, in case anyone's wondering. Yup, weirdness abounds at the Front. Also still on the needles, though rapidly veering into UFO territory, is the huge cabled guy sweater for Wonder Husband & the Elizabeth I scarf. They *will* get finished one day, but lord only knows just when that day will be.

In the Stash Enhancement department, we have the results of a trip to Wheaton, IL...

Top skeins are Koigu KPPPM, unknown colour (who actually pays attention to those weird alphanumerics, anyway?). It's a GORGEOUS colour in person, though...reminds me of violets under the apple trees in the spring. Bottom is Great Adirondacks Soxie, in Paprika, I believe. Pretty colours, but I've not heard anybody talk about knitting this yarn up before, so we'll see how it goes. This was a really big purchase for me, as there's been NO extra money for yarn for quite some time. This was paid for out of the Stitches fund, actually.

Speaking of being broke, Wonder Husband has officially finished his first trimester at school. He had several great performances in the last couple weeks that I got to see, and he really seems to be enjoying himself. His teachers like him, and he even won a performance scholarship last week (though we're unsure as to the amount yet). I'm SO FREAKING PROUD OF HIM!!! Ahem. Anyway, it's only going to get tighter around here, as he's hoping to go full time next fall. Yipes.

On to the bad part...well, aside from the whole impending poverty of doom thing. March has been a helluva month around here thus far. Eldest Boy turned 8, which was wonderful, in a scary my-baby's-growing-up sorta way. After his birthday, though, things sort of went downhill. My last remaining grandparent, my mom's dad, seems to have developed cancer, among other ailments. He's not your average old guy, so this is very weird to me. He's only sort of retired (he owns a large company, and they can't seem to kick him out of the office for love nor money), and he's never been even remotely frail or sickly. He's a big brick wall of a man, very much in control of his business & the world around him, and is still as active & everything as he's ever been. Unfortunately, he's also not got the best relationship with my mom, and while he & my mother are trying to rectify that situation, his new wife seems to feel threatened in some bizarre way by it, so she's sort of making things difficult. At any rate, he was admitted to the hospital last week for surgery to remove a kidney, and only barely made it through. His heart is not so great, so it was pretty iffy that he'd live through the surgery, and even though he did come through successfully, he's still in the hospital, and not looking very good. My mom was able to go visit him, though I couldn't, due to irritating financial issues. There's just generally been a huge amount of heartache & worry over this whole thing, and the surrounding weirdness with his new wife, and other assorted family members, and it's really worn me down.

On top of all that, my mother's beloved mare, who she's had for 15 years, colicked and died this week. Mozette was a wonderful quarter horse, and very much a part of the family. It really came as quite a sudden shock to us. Basically, in a nutshell, March has sort of sucked lately. Add to that the general depression I've been dealing with, and it's just not a pretty picture (hence, the ugly). BUT, the weather has been turning for the better, and I'm trying really hard to maintain a positive outlook. Things will get better, dagnabbit! At the very least, I've got some kickass yarn & books to carry me through. :-)


Brandie said...

((((((((Dear Heather)))))))

Sorry to learn of the extra dose of saddness that has descended upon you for March. I'm absoultuely shocked about Mozette! How heartbreaking :(

I will keep your grandfather and family in my prayers. It hard enough coping when a serious illness afflicts our loved one. I'm sorry you have to deal with the 2nd wifes insecurities on top of everything else.

I'm glad you have some pleasant distractions and escape through your knitting. Now that spring is springing, I have total confidence that you will emerge from this gray season with a renewed spirit. Please know you can call me ANYTIME if you simply need to talk or vent about anything. If you need some further distraction you are ALWAYS welcome to drive up here. We can send the kids out on there way, and we can catch up on everything whilst drinking some grapefruit tea I got with your gift certificate ;)

Kerrie said...

Hey Heather!

It is just amazing to see you so INTO this knitting thing, I always laugh as I'm reading these paragraphs about your yarn and swaps and knitting. It's cool to have something that you're passionate about (and darn good at too!).
I cannot believe that Mozette is gone - please pass along my condolences to your mom. :'-(
I hope things keep going great for Ken and that things start looking up for the rest of your clan soon too!

Anna said...


I'm so sorry to hear about the terrible things going on within your family, Heather!!! As your Knitty SP8, I have something special planned for you, that I hope will put a smile on your face. I haven't forgotten about you, here's to better things going on personally and even greater things knit-wise! :-D

Which said...

Hi Heather!
Somehow I missed this post completely - my feedreader is falling down on the job!

First, I hope that your family are well, and I'm sorry to hear about Mozette.

The best part of swapping is hearing what the recipient thinks, and you have more than delivered on that score! I'm very glad that you liked my parcel.

I have set up a blog here. Not much there at the moment - it probably won't be much more than many photos of socks I have known, but we'll see.

Hang in there, spring is coming!


PS I use store wrappers when I can. I hide my face in shame.

PPS My name in the FCSII participant list is "Alina", in case you were wondering - why use the same name twice?!

Elspeth said...

Thank you so much for the gorgeous stitch markers - I love them! I won't be blogging much lately, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed them!