Thursday, May 31, 2007


I've just gotten in from a walk around my neighbourhood. It is just after nine, and the street lamps are on. They cast a pinkish-yellow light and are most beautiful when surrounded by the mysterious green shade of a large leafed maple tree.

I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by so much beauty where I live. On my walk I can enjoy the pleasures of a manicured garden fit to grace the pages of a magazine, or I can just as easily tramp through naturalized meadows and forest.

I know that we must have darkness to see the light. I know that there must be death so that new life can grow. But who I am right now, where I am in my journey, is a person who is reveling in the light, and beauty. To that end I try to make my home a warm and welcoming place. It's not terribly stylish, but I hope that the love and happiness of our busy family is apparent even through the cobwebs in the corners and the dirty finger prints on the door.

And I hope that you, dear reader, know that I greatly appreciate the warm and welcoming way you have greeted me and my blog on the internet. You've told me I'm beautiful and I love to hear it. I know that just like my home, I am less than perfect, and not terribly stylish, but apparently you have all been able to see me for who I am.

Thank you and blessings to every one of you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sweet Peas

Pattern: Sweet Peas, Knitters, Summer 2006
Yarn: I have no idea. I bought it on sale for 1.29 a ball. The labels had been removed and replaced with plain white paper.
Needles: 5.5mm

Alex took the pictures for me. He's ten.

This pattern has a classic shape, with a nice bit of detailing on the edges and throughout the fabric. The bottom edge crosses are mirrored in the twists that occur through the rest of the fabric. They even cross in the same direction.

I always feel a bit of a let down when I finish a project. I wish this one was a bit longer. But I'm happy to have a summer sweater I can wear to the office.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Taking my Time

I have a confession to make. I didn't get gauge on the Sweet Peas sweater. I didn't use the required yarn which knits up to a gauge of 4 sts to the inch. My yarn knit up to 5 sts to the inch. I decided to go ahead anyway, by using ratios on the pattern. It involved a lot of math, but of the simplest kind.

For example, when casting on, the pattern called for 80 sts. I divide that by 4 (the pattern's gauge) to get 20, which represents the number of inches required. I multiply the inches by my gauge to get the number I need to cast on: 20*5=100. And off I go!

The only iffy thing to this is the sleeve cap and the neck shaping. I played a little with the numbers there. For example, at the sleeve cap it says to cast off 2 sts 4 times. This means 4 sts at each edge get cast off. At my gauge I need to cast off 5, so I cast off 3 sts twice and 2 sts once.

Well, the proof is in the pudding:

Sleeve caps and neck: check! But I think you will understand that I took my time setting in those sleeves. It was not something I wanted to do in a hurry.

Next up, the side seams.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Pile of Pink

The finish approaches. Finishing approaches.

I'm curious to see if I can get it finished this weekend. This isn't my favourite type of knitting, yet I find myself driven to see this through. I want the product. I want this silly pink and glittery top.
I'm consumed by curiosity to answer the perennial garment-knitting questions: Will it fit? Will it look good? Will I like it? Will I like it on me? Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Jim and I got tickets to see Canada play against Finland in the World League Volleyball games being held this weekend at the John Labatt Centre. We had a great time! The game was fast and full of action. Sadly, Canada lost, but it was a close game. Yes, I was knitting in the stands, but sorry, no pictures.

After the game we wandered into a used book store and I made a different score:

That's Alice Starmore's Celtic Needlepoint in mint condition for $9. Score! I also got myself some other lovely little treats this weekend, such as the mortar and pestle you see in the upper left corner of the picture above. I've wanted that particular item for a while. The way the wood is stained in different colors really appeals to me.

This morning we made a special trip to get a green man:

I love the full lips and shifty eyes on this guy. Traditionally, he should have the leaves coming from his mouth, but this incarnation looks a little more benevolent.

Another score is that over night more flowers have popped into bloom. These irises decorate my front step:

I don't know what these are though. Can anyone tell me?

I have them in both white and red, which hasn't bloomed yet. They have a honeycomb look from the top view, and spiky bits coming out the bottom that give them a fiercely beautiful appearance.

I may be scoring some new threads soon since I've been knitting up a storm on the pink top and I hope to see it finished this weekend. Bear with me a bit, this blog will return to knitting content shortly.

I hope you are all having an excellent weekend. Go sniff a flower for me, okay?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Urban Jungle

One of the things I love about our home is how close to nature we are. Not only am I walking distance from forest paths, we have many trees in the neighbourhood that shelter all sorts of wildlife. It gets a little crazy actually.

Our neighbour, for example, has ducks in her pool. She hasn't opened it yet, so I guess they aren't actually in the pool. But they seem to enjoy the 2 feet of water in her pool cover. Sitting in my back yarn knitting, I'll hear Donald Duck quacking, followed shortly by heavy flapping as the duck flies over head. Thankfully, he hasn't bombed me as he files by.

The squirrels are a little nuts too. They've been digging up my plants. I put in a nice little greenhouse plant, and Mrs. Squirrel thinks that I've hidden some tasty tid-bit for her too. So she digs up my plant. The other day I found my basil resting neatly on a rock in the garden. A victim for sacrifice, or apologetic peace offering, I don't know.

Perhaps I'm a little too nice, because even with all the lovely trees, such as locusts, maple, pine and oak, the birds are using my house for nesting. Here's the wall next to my front door.

Every time I step in and out of my house I'm treated to the most darling little chirps and tweets. Can't see where it's coming from?

I almost felt bad gardening over the long weekend because we were keeping mama bird from her nest.

We had a little damage over the winter that we didn't get around to fixing yet. One of the light fixtures lost its lid. No worries though, our helpful wild life fixed the problem.

It was pretty hot in London Ontario today. I hope the little guys are doing okay. I took the risk of standing on a chair and angling my camera over the nest and found four fat robin squabs.

Needless to say we do NOT turn on that light.

Blooming Wonders

I came home from work last night to find that my bridal wreath bush had burst into bloom.

I love this old fashioned shrub for its quaint white blooms and the fact that it looks most beautiful when left to go a bit wild. Jim and I prefer our garden in a slightly wild state.

We inherited a lot of perennials when we moved, most of which I don't even know what they are or what they are called. I think this one is a white bleeding heart.

Here's one I don't know, but it's quite lovely.

This is the back garden we managed to put together this weekend, containing tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis, basil and some flowers, including marigolds because I understand they keep pests away.
My tulips are almost done, but these spectacular fellows are holding on.

I wouldn't want a whole bed of these, but as a show piece, they are very impressive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Issues with Stash

I'd like to see more insightful critiques, backed up by reasoned thinking and delivered in polite manner in the knitting blogosphere. The going philosophy seems to be "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I believe this short changes us all in the long run. To this end, I offer up my review of the podcast, Stash and Burn.

On the recommendations of a few good reviews, I added the Stash and Burn podcast to my iPod repertoire. I gave it a good try, listening to several episodes but the more I listened, the more it got on my nerves.

In an amongst some great interviews, helpful reviews, and interesting conversation, Nicole and Jenny complain about how much yarn they have and sigh over the difficulties of knitting it all up. They giggle and sigh a lot, but then they seem to have a lot of yarn. The sad thing is that I think they could do much better. They really are very smart women and have a lot to offer in their podcast.

The last episode I listened to, "Knitting the Natural Way", was the final straw for me. First, they started with a confessional of their knitting and stashing sins. Then they moved on to review two books. Finally, they finished with some stash busting tips. It was this last segment that bothered me the most.

The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon has turned into a destashing effort that has taken over knitters this year. The reasoning seems to be:
  • I bought too much yarn
  • I must knit up all the yarn I bought before I can buy new yarn
  • I like new yarn better than the yarn I have now
  • Therefore, I must knit up the yarn I have as fast as possible so that I can buy more yarn.
Stash and Burn offers listeners tips on how to "burn through the stash" faster. The tips include learning to knit faster, finding ways to knit longer, and adding embellishments such as bobbles, tassels and pompoms. No consideration is given to the quality of the knitting, the enjoyment of the process, or the beauty of the end product.

It seems to me to be pure consumerism, and a misplaced sense of frugality, to try and knit through a stash as fast as possible in order to free one self to buy more yarn. It detracts from the enjoyment of knitting as a hobby, turning it into a chore instead of a pleasure. Focusing on using up yarn when knitting, instead of the aesthetics of the end product, could result in more ghastliness for the pages of You Knit What? And how is it frugal to quickly knit something that uses up a lot of yarn, but that nobody will wear or want?

Instead, I would like to offer these tips for dealing with a large stash.
  • Purge yarns you don't like by selling, donating, or giving them away. Keep only the yarns you love and really want to knit. Keep knitting as a pleasure.
  • Get yourself a budget. Know how much you can afford to spend and then buy within your means. There is no need to feel guilty about buying expensive yarn, or a lot of yarn, if you can afford it.
  • Learn to think in the long term. There is no self life for yarn. Store it well and it will last you for ages. One day, parts of your stash may appreciate.
I think I will keep listening to Stash and Burn, if only to see if Jenny and Nicole can keep their momentum through the Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon and to find out what they do with their podcast when it is over.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I'm feeling better today and the weather was just gorgeous! This morning I only had mental capacity for socks, but I spent the better part of the afternoon working on my Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl.

The last time I wrote about this shawl, I described how I was planning on using circulars as DPNs. I think it took me this long to pick it up again because I was anticipating that the result would be messy. I wasn't wrong, but the technique is simple enough.

I put a point protector on every end that isn't active. The shawl lives on three circulars. I knit each one in turn onto the fourth circular. When I get to the end of the needle, I take the point protector off the next needle and place it onto the newly full one.

It looks like cyborg knitting.

The best part of this technique is that as long as I can beg, borrow, or buy more 4mm needles I can knit this out for as long as the wool lasts. Of course, I'm not willing to knit a carpet for a football field either, Elizabeth.*

*A reference and a tip of the hat to Elizabeth Zimmerman who used this analogy in the Knitter's Almanac when describing that one could, in theory, use the Pi formula to knit a shawl of any dimension. Elizabeth also used the term unvention to describe a technique that she discovered because she was certain that some other knitter, at some other point in time, had likely come up with a similar technique. That is exactly how I feel about using circulars as DPNs. Surely someone, somewhere, has tried this harebrained scheme before!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

You gotta take the good with the bad...

Let us review the good and the bad, shall we?

The good: fun knitting with awesome yarns on a beautiful pattern.

The bad: gauge kicked my butt. I must confess, that instead of actually checking the size of my needles, I assumed I had the right size. I didn't and so my gauge was off by 1/2 a stitch. The result was snug even on Alex. This project is no more.

The good: stripes going across the sock. I love the way they look!

The bad: ladders going up and down the sock. (As always, click on the picture to see it bigger). These occur at the join between the needles. The common cure is to pull the first stitch snug. I believe that I am tugging too firmly. Hopefully it will come out in the wash.

The good: getting the garden planted.

The bad: sore muscles.

The worst: tummy troubles!

Thank goodness it's a long weekend, because I need another day to recuperate.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Long Weekend Knitting

While my husband is off to collect a rototiller for this weekend's gardening projects, I'm taking a quick moment to line up this weekend's knitting projects. Even with the gardening, you know a long weekend means long knitting!

First up, Sockapalooza socks are finished!

My youngest son graciously modeled them for us. (Ewh! Boy feet! I'm going to give them a good wash before packing them up. ) My pal loves Koigu and didn't want anything too bright, so I think these will fit the bill. I was in a bit of a hurry to finish them up because I got some really nice things in the mail.

I ordered Selbuvotter, Biography of a Knitting Tradition. I had chills reading this. I know that sounds dramatic, but I did! The designs really spoke to me, and Terri's writing is wonderful. She's a down to earth knitter. It's funny because one of the reviews I'd heard praised the book for offering techniques to perfectly meld the hand pattern into the thumb. The book does do this, but right in the prologue Terry describes how the mittens in the museum have many flaws that weren't always corrected. She speculates that modern knitters are obsessed with perfection because we are too used to seeing machine perfect knitting. I thought Yes! I've long held that perfection in knitting is overrated and I've written about knitting organically before.

So I'm really thinking I'd like to start knitting a mitten this weekend. I've got some lovely black Apple Laine yarn and some off-white Koigu as well as some semi-solids.

The reviews didn't mention that the book is signed.

I started a summer top on the sly, using some ribbon yarn I got on sale (no label).

The pattern is Sweet Peas from Interweave Knits, Summer 2006. This knit almost didn't live, because after knitting for a while, I started calling it "the big pink thing" in my head (ala Yarn Harlot) and was getting ready to rip it. Too pink! Too varigated! But my real-time knitting buddies gave it a thumbs up and told me I was just too close to it. I've been working on it on and off, when ever my hands get tired of itty-bitty sock needles.

Yes, lots of tiny needles this week, because my true love still waits for me.

I still love this yarn (Schaefer Anne) and this color (Pirates Cove). But would you look at those ladders? Sheesh. I think I pull too tight, because I just can't seem to eradicate them.

Oh yes, and a long time ago, when I learned I would be going to the Toronto Knitter's Frolic, I ordered some Sea Silk from Red Bird Knits. It never arrived. Now Canada Post won't say they lost it, but they did send Robyn a cheque. Hrmph. Robyn took good care of me and I got a replacement of this Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester 2/8.

I'd heard rumours, but nothing prepared me for the ultimate lusciousness of this yarn. Even my husband was hugging it. I looked it up on line and some referred to it as "poor (wo)man's cashmere". Wow. It's gotta be lace, don't ya think? And then I had a design idea for a sweater where the body was knit in that purple, with lace bell sleeves and a huge swoopy lace color done in the red. Dramatic! So maybe I'll be swatching this weekend too.

Oh, and I haven't forgotten about my Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl. I should get that started up again too. Sounds like I should have something interesting to report at the end of this long weekend. I just hope I don't get mired down in project angst. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Whew! It's Wednesday

I'm really happy it's Wednesday. Work has been exceptionally busy, but today the worst of it is over. I'm a technical writer for a software development company and we are shipping a preliminary release soon, so the documents have to be in order.

I don't think I've ever really written about my work, and I've enjoyed branching this blog from strictly knitting topics, so I've decided to describe what I do. It's rather complicated, so I'm going to try to keep it simple for starters. If people enjoy reading about this stuff, maybe I'll write some more about it.

Our company has adopted an Agile software development methodology which I really like, in part because of the different opportunities it provides. In the first place, part of working in an agile environment is that the technical writers work with the team to deliver the end product. We write our documents as the the code is being developed. We get a lot more input this way and a greater understanding of what we are writing about. I'm the documentation specialist for three different teams.

Since our company has switched, I find that I have a lot more to offer besides my writing and organizing skills. I received training to be a certified Scrum Master and I am a Feature Lead for one of the teams I also do documentation for. This is part of the reason that I'm feeling a crunch. While I'm extremely grateful for these opportunities, it does mean that I get a double time squeeze.

Yesterday seemed extra long because after work I attended the monthly meeting of the Forest City Knit Club where I gave a tutorial on toe-up socks. It went quite well. Well enough that next month I'll be doing a tutorial on heels for toe-up socks. I enjoyed giving the presentation, but I do find that sort of thing draining because I need to focus my attention in a lot of places and think on my feet.

One of the jobs of a Feature Lead is to facilitate a retrospective meeting in which the team examines the last month's work in order to improve and adapt in the future. I've done well in this role, so I sometimes facilitate retrospectives for other teams. This experience came in handy last night.

But now Wednesday is over, the weekend is two short days away, and we Canadians get a long weekend! It's the May two-four. Better bloggers than I have elaborated on this holiday. Our family shall be following the gardening tradition by planting vegetables and flowers. When I first started gardening, my next-door neighbour, a seasoned gentleman with years of experience, told me to never plant annuals until the May two-four weekend. I have found this to be wise advice.

So did you like hearing about my work? Do you want to hear more? I'm thinking that Wednesdays I'll do some tech-talk on whatever strikes my fancy (such as TS, or technical writing, or anything I like!) and save the knitting posts for the weekend. I do care what you think and what you're interested in reading about, so let me know.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Stuck on Socks

Help me! I've started knitting socks and I can't seem to stop! I finished my long time traveling pair this week:
The stripes in this yarn disappointed me. I was expecting charming variation in the width of the stripes, and instead I got mechanical regularity. So I mixed them up. I used an entire 50g ball for each sock to see how high up the leg I could go, which was not as high as I hoped, but that has to do with the width of my foot and leg. These will be my hiking socks next winter.

I joined Sockapalooza 4 and I hate deadlines, thus we have this:

The pattern is Go With the Flow socks from Interweave Knits Summer 2005, the yarn is Koigu, cause my sock pal loves it! I must say, it was quite a treat to work with after the stripey yarn. So soft and cushy! Such pretty colors! Too bad it wears out so fast on my big, bad feet.

Here's a tip. This sock needed a blocker because the pattern is really stretchy. So I used a bent wire hanger. Cheap and adjustable and super fast for drying! I also use coat hangers for drying Fair Isle mittens.

Check out the innovative way Alison has coped with the horde of sock knitters. It's a knit Pligg! I just wish I had more time to browse through it. Go check it out for me.

And then, as I was knitting with pastels, I kept eying my Schaefer Anne in the Pirate's Cove color way and so this happened:
I'm in love with this. The colors in the sun just glow. For Mother's day, my boys took me for a beautiful walk in the park, followed by a picnic lunch and I enjoyed working on this simple sock with the wonderful colors.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Marred Mothers

I am sometimes struck with awe, when I look upon a large crowd of people, to think that every single one of them was born of a woman. Every single person began as a mystery inside a woman's body. A woman who became a mother when that tiny human emerged from her body.

The Hallmark portrait of motherhood that we celebrate in May is only one path women take on the motherhood journey. It portrays mothers as always there for their children, nurturing, and supporting them. Not all mothers can do this. Some women haven't had sufficient mothering of their own. I was born to such a woman. My mother was was born to such a woman. My grandmother lost her mother at the tender age of five. She and her siblings were adopted out to local farms. The impact of that loss has echoed down through the generations.

My mother doesn't fit the stereotype mold of motherhood. As a child I was always cared for and watched over, but I don't feel that I was nurtured, or cherished, or even seen for who I really am. My mother did encourage me to be independant, she taught me many useful skills, including knitting, and I know in my heart that she did her utmost best for me. I love her and I admire her for going back to school at the age of 40 and for finally pursuing the art that she put aside when she had children.

I just feel that it needs to be acknowledged that not everyone had the best mother ever. That not everyone's mother is an inspiration of the highest order. And that's okay. I feel like I'm beginning to learn who my mother really is. To accept what it is that she can give me, instead of longing for what she can't. To accept her and see her as she really is.

I'm working hard on the best Mother's day gift I can think to give her. I'm trying to learn to unhook emotionally from my mother so that the things she says or does can't hurt me the way they have in the past. If I learn to do this, I hope I can have a better relationship with her. One that is based on acceptance.

Happy Mother's day to the Hallmark mothers, and the marred mothers. What a wonderful gift they have given us.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Leaky Brakes 101 - Part 6

Tonight was our last session at the Leaky Brakes workshop. It consisted of a short presentation, reviewing what we had covered in previous weeks, and a panel of experts made of of previous presenters, members of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Ontario, and two young people with their parents. I brought a question, one that had been nagging at me on and off during the entire series of workshops, but that hadn't been addressed.

Here's my question:
We are very fortunate in that Luke's tics aren't a problem for us. I manage them using several techniques. One, we never bother Luke about his tics, we just ignore them for the most part. Two, using the analogy that a tic is like an itch that must be scratched, I usually wait for Luke to tic a bit and then say "That's enough" in a calm voice. My reasoning is that if you keep scratching an itch, it sometimes builds on itself to become even worse. Luke will often stop if I ask him at the right time. Three, if he doesn't stop, I can ask him to please do it in another room since I'm getting annoyed. Usually, he'll stop rather than leave. Fourth, I sometimes play with Luke and his tics because often his tics are fun and silly. Is it dumb luck to come across this method of dealing with tics, and would it possibly help other families?
I received answers from several people on the panel and I'll try to summarize them.

Often families find their own way of dealing with tics that is individual to each family. Its a case of whatever works for you. The techniques I described above likely reduce Luke's anxiety and we know that reducing anxiety will reduce tics. The only time you have to treat tics is when they become annoying or when the interfere with normal functioning.

Luke's principal also attended the Leaky Brakes workshops (for which I am very grateful) and he told me afterwards that he thought my question was quite good. He has noticed that Jim and I always use humor when dealing with Luke and that this means a lot to Luke. Well, it means a lot to me that the principal has noticed.

The biggest thing I have learned through this six-week experience is that our situation is really not that bad. I wish I could have had this information about 8 years ago, but we've figured out a lot all on our own. I know we still have some challenges in front of us (high school!) but I'm also confident that we have the skills we need to guide Luke through the upcoming transitions.

The thing that has touched my heart the most through all of this is the response that I have received from readers who have TS and TS+ kids. I'm glad that my reports have been helpful to others. I feel for everyone who is struggling to help a child thrive and grow through a childhood riddled with complications.

I have a series of handouts, written by Dr. Dunc that are freely distributable. E-mail me at laurie_corriveauAThotmailDOTcom and I will send you what ever you are interested in. For further reading, I've copied the bibliography compiled for this lecture series below:

Barkley, Russell A. & Benton, Christine M. (1998), Your Defiant Child: Eight Steps To Better Behaviour, New York: Guilford Press.

Chansky, Tamar E. (2000), Freeing Your Child From OCD, New York: Three Rivers Press.

Chowdhury, Uttom & Heyman, Isobel (2004), Tics & Tourette Syndrome: A Handbook For Parents & Professionals, London: Jessica Kingsley.

Chowdhury, Uttom & Robertson, Mary (2006), Why Do You Do That? A Book About Tourette Syndrome For Children & Young People, London: Jessica Kingsley.

DeFilippo, Michael G (Ed.)(2003), Getting Personal: Stories Of Life with Tourette Syndrome (foreward by Duncan McKinlay), Lebanon Tennessee: Second Chance.

Fitzgibbons, Lee & Pedrick, Cherry (2003), Helping Your Child With OCD, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Gooding, Nadyne, "Nine Faces Of The TS Parent", in The Green Leaflet, TSFC (available online).

Greene, Ross W. (2005), The Explosive Child, 3rd Edition, NY: Harper Collins.

Greene, Ross W. & Ablon, Stuart J. (2005), Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach, New York: Guilford Press.

Haerle, Tracey (1992), Children with Tourette Syndrome: A Parent's Guide, Winston-Salem NC: Woodbine House.

Handler, Lowell (1998), Twitch & Shout: A Touretter's Tale, New York: Dutton.

Klass, Perri & Costello, Eileen (2003), Quirky Kids: Understanding & Helping Your Child Who Doesn't Fit In, New York: Ballantine.

Seligman, Adam Ward & Hilkevich (Eds.) (1992), Don't Think About Monkeys: Extraodinary Stories By People With Tourette Syndrome, Duarte CA: Hope Press.

TSFC (2006), Understanding Tourette Syndrome, Toronto: TSFC.

Wagner, Aureen Pinto (2002), What To Do When Your Child Has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Lighthouse Press.

Waltz, Mini (2001), Tourette Syndrome: Finding Answers & Getting Help, Patient Center Guides, Sebastopol CA: O'Reilly & Associates.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wheee! That was fun!

Quick and fun weekend projects: gotta love'em! I know, I just posted this morning, but I love me a finished object. It isn't a purse, but rather a little bag for carrying a ball of yarn. I predict that it will come in handy this summer. When you knit outside in the summer, don't you hate to put your yarn down onto a grubby picnic table? And if you put it on your lap, it rolls off! Well, this little bag is going to solve my outdoor knitting problems.

Pattern: from Spin Off, Summer 2006 (I bought the magazine from Interweave because of the cute sheep puppets).
Yarn: Orlec
Hook: 2.25mm Yes, I crochet, but it's been so long, it looks like quite the mess. I'll bet a good blocking would cure it.

Mental Indigestion

Overwhelmed by a plethora of choices, I frittered away most of Saturday morning trying to design a sock. It didn't happen. Bleh.

Look at what did happen:

PS. Noricum, Ford's neck hole is large enough to fit over my big head. Thanks for asking!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Do What you Want Weekend!

Yippee! It's Saturday and we're having a Do What you Want Weekend. The previous two weekends were filled with obligations and chores, so this weekend, you guessed it, we're doing what we want.

So far, I'm just having too much fun saying "do what you want!"

This is the type of weather we're having:

Pretty eh? I think I want to take a walk, and knit outside, and maybe do some gardening. Or maybe I'll just goof off and do stupid stuff. Whatever I WANT!

I finished up the body of Ford:

I'm pleased with the curve on the neck. The Lopi wool is pretty scratchy so rather than knit the neck band double and sew it down on the inside, I knit it to the length I want and did a sewn tubular bind-off. I'm satisfied with it. It looks ripply in the picture, but I'm confident that it will smooth out in the wash and wear.

Just look at the hairiness of the Lopi. I won't be working on this sweater too much longer. Even though a sleeve doesn't fill your lap the way a sweater does, the yarn will feel unbearable between my fingers in warm weather.

Warm weather! Wee! Do what you want! Awesome! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Hooray for the W words!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Leaky Brakes 101 - Part 5

Tonight's presentation at the Leaky Brakes workshop got down to the nuts and bolts of parenting children with TS+ (that is some combination of TS, ADHD, and OCD). We listened to two speakers: Jackie White and Peter Black who discussed the technical side of parenting and the emotional side of parenting respectively.

Ms. White gave a brief overview of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) as outlined in the book The Explosive Child, by Dr. Ross Green. The main idea is that parents need to work with the child during calm moments to find solutions to problems they both share. Being proactive about a problem should result in less stress for both parent and child. Being collaborative about a problem should help both the parent and the child get their needs met. To learn CPS takes time and self awareness, but ultimately, CPS is a valuable skill for both parent and child to learn.

Just this week, Luke and I worked together to solve a problem collaboratively. It wasn't by the book, but it worked for us. Here's how it happened. It was just after dinner and Luke was on the computer, but he hadn't done the dishes yet. When I told him to do the dishes, he began to melt down because his game had just gotten started. I said "Hold on. How long will it take you finish up?" He told me half an hour and I asked him "If I set the timer, will you do your dishes then?" he said yes. And he did. Without being reminded. I was pretty proud of us both.

Mr. Black discussed the emotional side of parenting TS+ kids and how our emotions affect our ability to effectively parent our children. He pointed out that there are two emotional extremes that cause difficulty, intense frustration and excessive sympathy. The frustration leads to authoritarian parenting and that can cause resentment in the child. Excessive sympathy results in passive parenting and a child who thinks they are omnipotent. The ideal to strive for is a balance between sympathy and firmness in order to raise a self-reliant child.

It was acknowledged that parenting a child with a disability causes a strong sense of loss, and that parenting an intense child is exhausting work. As a result, parents must first take care of themselves before they can be capable of caring for their children. An audience member recommended group support. For my part, therapy helped me a lot.

Mr. Black described the need for emotional awareness using Dr. Dunc's favorite metaphor: a car. Parenting a normal child is like cruising down the open highway on a sunny day. You can almost do it automatically. Parenting a child with TS+ is like driving down a treacherous mountain road in the dark. You really need to pay attention! Having an awareness of your own emotions is like turning on the headlights and it helps you see to steer the car.

Next week will be our last session. There will be a panel of experts that we can ask questions of. If anyone has a question that they would like me to bring to the next session, please leave a comment or write me an e-mail. If I get a chance, I will try to ask.

Also, for those of you reading this in Southern Ontario, the CPRI will do presentations in other communities. You just need to organize a big enough group and get your regional organizations to request it. Finally, several people have commented that they wish they had Dr. Dunc where they lived. Well, he does occasionally do international presentations.