Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Few Things...

Good morning Knitsters!

Atticus would like to let you know that today we're going to answer a few questions, let you in on my apartment secret, and honour my knitting teacher. A mixed bag.

Oh, hey! What would that be on my lap, by the way? Why, Amphora! She was brought out on the weekend, and is up to the armhole steeks. I was on a roll...

Which leads to our first question:

Marina asked how the Hifa 2 yarn compared with other 2-ply yarns such as AS' Hebridean or Jamieson's? Well, it's slightly thicker, "bouncier" and coarser. The colours are vibrant, however - I don't think I'd wear this next to my skin. It's much coarser, and now that the heat is on, I'm noticing that it irritates the delicate girly skin on my hands! Something that I don't have a problem with when using other 2-plys. I wonder if it's the way the wool is treated? Or is it the breed of sheep? Whereas I'd wear a Jamieson's or Hebridean next to my skin with no irritation, I can see this driving me batty.

But - it does knit up a beautiful fabric, let me tell you. I'm almost done the stranded part of Dalarna, I'll post a picture next time around.

I also had a question sent to me with one of my contest entries - what are the origins of my last name? Well, my ancestors were Basque, they came to New France (what Canada was known as then) in the early 1730's. They settled in present day Quebec, and the name eventually morphed in to the spelling it is today. I was born in Montreal, and raised a French Canadian, although I do not often get the opportunity to speak french here in english Toronto. There are quite a few ex-Montrealers at work, and we do speak french together when we can. And occasionally with my sister.


If you scare easy...

Move on! Carrie K. told us a story on her blog last week about her encounter with the paranormal, and I thought I'd continue along that line - and tell you about my encounters. I say encounters, because I live right in it - my apartment is haunted, in my opinion.

I've been here for over 8 years now, and I noticed it on my very first night. Someone in my room, sitting on my bed. I didn't have any of the cats at the time. But, it's something I get regurlarly, the feeling that someone is sitting on the edge of my bed. I also have someone "tuck" me in occasionally as well - someone pushes the covers over my shoulders and neck. Not at all in a threatening or rough manner. It is as though someone were actually "tucking" me in. Oh, and the cats? They don't sleep on the bed, they never have. Not even Gandalf.

The cats also have an invisible friend who plays with them. Out of blue, they will "play" and grab at something in the air that isn't there. My stereo turns itself on on it's own, and I've had candles re-light themselves after they've been extinguished for awhile.

Once in a while, I'll hear what seems like distant voices. I remember the first time I heard it, I woke up thinking my neighbour's alarm clock had gone off. Only she had moved out the previous day, and there was no one in the apartment downstairs, or next door for that matter. I got up, and searched my entire apartment to see where it was coming from, and I could not find the source - not my TV, stereo, or alarm clock. There was nothing - and it was definitely coming from downstairs. Which was empty. I still hear it occasionally - it sounds like a distant conversation.

But, despite all of this - I'm not afraid. I don't feel threatened at all, or scared. And most of all - the cats aren't afraid. I think if they were bothered by it all, it would be a good sign to leave. This is an old house, in an old area of Toronto.

And last of all...

It's a bit of a sad time for me, Knitsters. My mother passed away 10 years ago, and although I remember her everytime I cast on a new stitch, I think of her most of all this time of year. She was my first knitting teacher - she taught me how to knit on a small pair of bright yellow 4mm needles, that I still have. I made a red garter stitch scarf! She was a very talented knitter, and I think of her when I work any new project.

I wish her life could have been longer, but things happen we have no control over. I know she can only be happier and at peace now, which comforts me.

I honour her with ever stitch I knit.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

And The Winner Is...!

Good morning Knitsters! I had hoped to post during the week, however that work thing... Again...

But, I received whole whack of great entries! I needed some help in choosing:

"Maybe if I stare into space long enough, I'll be able to make a decision... Do we only get to choose one Mom? They're pretty good, you know."

Mae's right. There are some pretty good ones. So, the Council of Three (aka. Atticus, Mae and Gandalf) have decided to award 2 runner up prizes as well.

Atticus: "Choices are tough. I myself just go for everything I can. Like food. And sleeping spots."

Gandalf: "...oh look, something is moving. Must investigate... I wonder if jumping Mae will result in a beat down? I can't remember what happened last time, so I'll just have to go and see what'll happen. Seems like deja vu, for some reason... oh well."

So, allow me to introduce - DALARNA!

The winning entry was submitted by Wendy. As she explains it - the red and white reminded her of the Dalarna horses. And it does, the horses are beautiful, and fit in nicely with the whole theme of the photograph as well.

Thanks Wendy!

But, as I mentioned, there are also prizes for the 2 runner ups as well -

Trek wins with her "Charlie Brown" entry. Yup, the stripes do remind me of his shirt! Makes me laugh when I think of it. Thanks Trek!

And Emily wins with "The Surly Norwegian" - after about 15 rounds of red and white...well, that about describes it!

You know what was so great about having this contest? All the new knitting bloggers I've discovered. Thanks everyone!

A special mention also goes to my sister, who really came up with a cool one - "Alice". But not for the reason you guys would think now... Heh. Actually, Red and White was the name of a grocery store chain in Ontario/Eastern Quebec. Our paternal grandmother used to shop there, and we both have vivid memories of her telling us in Quebec french how she was going to the "Red and White". And she'd buy us these suckers, and leave them on top of her old fridge (remember that?). So... her name was Alice. Eener, you get your prize at Christmas! She'd also like me to pass along a big "Thank You" to everyone who wished her a happy birthday last week. She's pretty amazed at the kindness of the knitting friends I have - and I second that!

I'll be sending e-mails out to the winners this morning.

I've also posted a progress picture of Dalarna. It doesn't look like much - I've been spending much of the week (when not swearing at my support Blackberry) working on some charity knitting for the Annex Cat Rescue, the organization Gandalf was adopted from.

She does move along quickly, but the yarn? Springy. Much more than Shetland 2-ply. My usual floating method - spreading out the stitches on the right hand needle before changing colours - doesn't work as well with this yarn. As a result of the bounciness, I have a few longer floats than I'd like in some spots! I think I've figured out the right length to strand. It looks puckery in spots, but I'm pretty confident that blocking will even all that out!

Hey, like the tartan blanket Dalarna is resting on? That was a gift from my brother (he's another wacky marathon runner...). He serves in the Canadian military, and a few years ago, he was in Scotland and picked it up for me.

Thanks again Knitsters! It was great meeting you all, visiting your sites, and reading your entries.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Contest! Name me!

It's been a slow knitting week Knitsters... Bummer. Work has been keeping me busy (the nerve) - doing after-hours support is a funny thing sometimes. I can go weeks with nothing, then in the space of a week... *sigh*

But - I did manage to work on my "Red and White Cardigan on Page 164 With No Name":

Don't mind the crap picture, you get the idea. I'm curious as to why this yarn requires Norwegian steeks as opposed to the other method of steeking (cut 'n' go). The yarn is a 2-ply yarn, Hifa 2 Yarn by Hillesvåg, which is a slightly heavier 2-ply than Shetland, but just as sticky. Trust me on that one. Winding those suckers into balls was not. fun. Anyone have any experience working with this yarn?

So - here's the contest info!

She needs a name! Poetry in Stitches, while a beautiful book, does not place names on ANY of their designs, which is a shame as they are all so lovely... *sigh* So, if you can come up with a spiffy name for my poor "Red and White Cardigan on Page 164 With No Name", you'll get a hoard of red and white goodies (of course, there will be yarn).

Contest open to anyone, anywhere, and will close at 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, October 20th. Be original, and I'll pick the one I like best. You can send your entries to

Thanks everyone!

And, as promised -

Once again I enlisted the help of my lovely co-worker Monica to snap a picture of Ophelia and I. She was quite a hit! And warm too - I got caught in a snow squall on the way home, and she kept me nice and toasty - and dry.

*sigh* I love wool...

She's BACK!!!

Our wonderful Hammy is back with her new blog - Sheriff of Knittingham! Drop by her blog, and welcome her back.

...One More Thing!

I have to wish my sister a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, which is on Saturday, October 14th. She turns that magical age between 39 and 41... So, Happy Birthday Eener!!!! (inside joke folks...).

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Hey! *giggling* hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee *giggling*!

Guess what this is!??

Ophelia is DONE!!!!

Here are the details: "Ophelia", by Lorraine Condotta (hi!) - kit purchased from She Ewe Knits. Knit on 3.25mm using Jamieson's 2-ply Shetland Spindrift 2-ply wool.

And Ewenice shows you the lovely neckline, and a detail of the motifs and perees.

OK. So, I'll be honest. I really, really don't have much to complain about with this FO. Sure, Lorraine is my friend - but if I did have something that irked me about the pattern, I would definitely write about it. But, I really don't. I was peeved about running out of Mulberry, but was lucky that Lorraine had some leftover to help me out. I think a certain black kitten had something to do with that... Fair Isle is always a joy to knit, as long as you know what you're getting yourself into. Lorraine once told me that a Fair Isle knitter really only needs the dimensions, colour key and chart, and the rest will come together on it's own. So very true. I really only followed the chart, and was able to let it all flow into the lovely piece you see above. Such is the beauty of Fair Isle. I am immensely proud of her.

Thanks Lorraine for such a beautiful design that I am so proud to have knit! And hey, go check out Lorraine's other designs at She Ewe Knits! Anne will take very good care of you.

OK. I'm getting schmarmy.

So what's next? Well, Arangenser is getting alot of attention, and duh, of course I'm starting something new even though Elizabeth I, Amphora and Western Seas still occupy a spot on my rocking chair.

But - Sillyewe said it best: you can justify it if it's a different technique. Aha! Of course. That makes perfect sense to me! And Carrie, not one to mince words, said to just go for it.

Meet "Red and White Sweater on page 164 with No-Name" from the incredible Poetry in Stitches. I don't have a picture to post of her yet, I've only done about 5 rounds.

Phew - this one should be interesting! Norwegian steeks! And I don't have a sewing machine! Wheeeeee! But I do have Anna Zilborg's book "Knitting for Anarchists", which gives information on how to crochet/hand sew the steek edges before cutting. It should be fun - just two colours.

So, that's it. Let me know what you think!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

10 Knitterly Things...

To distract you while Ophelia receives her final touches...

Here are 10 Knitterly Things About Brigitte:

1. My mother taught me how to knit when I was 10 years old. My first project was a red garter stitch scarf.

2. My first "real" project was an off-white bulky sweater, which fit just fine, however I twisted ALL of the knit stitches.

3. 100% Cotton - bad. 100% Silk - ew. Actually, both make my hands swell. Not sure why...

4. If you can't take the time to write a clear, decent pattern, I will never take the time to work your designs again, no matter how nice or challenging they may be.

5. I'm self-taught when it comes to Fair Isle and cables.

6. I hardly ever swatch. It's hardly ever been an issue. The only times I wish I had is when I discover how much I dislike what I'm working on. One out of four projects will end up in the frog pond...

7. I fell for traditional knitting - traditional Arans - when I first set eyes on Alice Starmore's "Aran Knitting" in 1999. Instant Fair Isle love came with "The Celtic Collection" a bit later. I haven't looked back since.

8. I'm no "follower" when it comes to knitting "trends". I prefer the tried and true, as I'm a believer that knitting is an art form.

9. Although I'm not a happy shopper, I will go slightly mental and zone out when shopping for yarn. Lorraine and Anne can attest to that.

10. I can't remember the last time I sat on my antique rocking chair. Too crowded with WIP's...

Gandalf: "OK. I'm not gonna to say I'm completely guiltless in the Mulberry Affair, however, I'm so cute, even if caught red-handed I'd so cute you out, you'd forget what I did."

Atticus: "Man, that kid gets away with everything. Back when I was a kid, I used to get away with squat! Until Mae came to live with us, then I'd try to blame everything on her. But she was mighty cute too. As was I, come to think of it. I was smaller then, and svelter too. A little hellion really... *sigh* I do like my kibble... Oh, am I rambling...? Right. Where were we?"

Next post: Ophelia!