Friday, December 29, 2006


"Oh. Hi. Uh, well, I'm Finnegan, and I'm the Little Dudes' cousin. I live with my Moms in lovely St. Catharines, Ontario. See, every once in awhile, and not nearly as often as I'd like, my Auntie Brigitte comes over to stay with us. This time, it was for Christmas! And I got pressies! Lots of pressies! Not only from my Grammy and Grumpy, but from my Moms and Auntie Brigitte too! It is SO COOL having a cute face, you just get loaded with stuff. *sigh* I hear my cousins are in bit miffed 'cause their Mom came home smelling, well, of me. Now personally? Nothing wrong with that. But I guess they're all "ew, you smell like dog, ew, you have long white hairs on you, ew, you...hey, are those pressies for us?". See, they secretly do like me, even if I'm not a cat. My Moms are silly. See? They make me dress up in funny costumes just so THEY can laugh."

"Oh, har-de-har-har Mommy Susie, har-de-har-har. Laugh at Finnegan's expense. Heh, they don't know I've been corresponding with my cousins, and they've taught me a few tricks, uh-huh. Like how to leave gifties. Or barf on the rug. Who'll be laughing then?! Well, anyway. I had such a great time with my Auntie Brigitte! And she got A LOT of loot too! She got a new DVD player, and a flannel blanket set (which I hear is quite cosy), a Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner (she's weird with the cleaning things, so I hear), a Kitten calendar, a knitting book called "Aran Knitting Design" she went all goofy about, and a ton more stuff too! And stocking stuff! Mommy Renee baked all kinds of gluten-free goodies for Auntie Brigitte. I tried, but I wasn't allowed to sample any of them... Oh well.

Phew! This blogging stuff is HARD work! I'm just gonna lie here. Look cute.

Life's so hard.

Thanks for tuning in! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, full of family and fun! And, if you had a fraction of the fun Auntie Brigitte has when she comes over, than you had a great time. *sigh* Being a good host is tough work..."


Who knew dogs and cats led such a secret life?!

Well, the Christmas knitting went over very well! I'll have to post some pictures when I get them. I had a great time in St. Catharines! Even though it rained and the weather was pretty gloomy most of the time, it was still a fabulous time. We hung out, I knitted and we watched some pretty good movies too - "The Devil Wears Prada" (annoying!), "Best In Show" (hilarious!) and a pretty sobering "An Inconvenient Truth", a movie by Al Gore about global warming. It was a great time.

I'm pretty sure most of you have heard all about Wendy's idea for 2007 - Knit From Your Stash 2007. Well, I've decided to take that one on as well, and I'm going to do exactly that - knit exclusively from my stash. Only, I'm going to set an initial goal of 9 months - no yarn purchases until my birthday in September. Here are my rules:

1. Sock yarn doesn't count,

2. Allowed is the Dale of Norway kit purchase at some point,

3. And one other purchase.

That's it. Sad thing is - I'll still not have made too big of a dent in my yarn stash... I have enough for Fair Isle alone to last me well past September 2007!

Now that the Christmas knitting is behind me, I'm going to work on finishing up some of my WIP's. First in line is Dalarna, as I have only one sleeve left. Then, I'll pick and choose from there. Still SO much to choose from...

I'm not a "New Year's resolution" type of girl, but there are a few things I'd like to concentrate on. First, reign in the diabetes, and get "healthy" - the Dale of Norway KAL will have to wait, as I need to shell out a considerable amount of money for the Dietitian (not covered by my supplemental insurance...). I'm also going to reign in my finances, and get better organized. Not purchasing yarn for most of the year should help that along quite well! On the knitting front - finish what I start. And try try try to have no more than 2 WIP's going at once. It just takes a little discipline on my part...

And that's it! This certainly has been an interesting year for me. I'm hoping 2007 will be just as full of new experiences and wonders, with some surprises sprinkled in along the way.

I'm sending all the best wishes to all my friends for a wonderful, happy 2007 full of FO's!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


"OK. This business of "being good" for Santa Claws? Look, I've been trying my best. But, what can you expect? I'm only a kid, and I'm so freakin' excited I make myself all dizzy and stuff. And that whole "issue" with the missing DPN's? Yeah, not me. I know it complicates the whole Christmas knitting thing for Mom, but it WASN'T me! See, my big brother Atticus likes to blame me for stuff, but this time - Santa, he's to blame for the missing DPN's! One more sleep! Wheeeee! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone from my brother Atticus (sleeping), my sister Mae (also sleeping) and me, Cutie McKittenpants - Gandalf!"


This year has zipped by! Or is it that the older you get, the faster time seems to go by? Well, regardless. I have a lot to be happy and proud about this year:




...and others more pre-blog. I made socks for the first time in over 25 years of knitting!

And I have a lot to be thankful for as well - my family (hi!), my friends, the Little Dudes, and the good fortune to live in a country that allows me all the freedoms and opportunities I enjoy. I have a good job, and even though it drives me to distraction at times, I'm thankful that I can work, and earn an honest living.

I'm also thankful for all the wonderful new friends I've made this year as well - Lorraine and Anne here in the Toronto area, Angie in Austria, and Chris, Carrie, Sharon, Marina, Jewel, Marji, Cynthia and a ton more. I am lucky to have met you all, as shmarmy as it may sound - you really to bring a lot of laughs and smiles to my days. I can only hope in return that I do the same for you and my silent readers (hello lurkers! yes, YOU!).

Well, the Christmas knitting is done! Thanks to one of the Little Dudes (my money's on Atticus actually...), it was cut a bit short, but nothing that can't be made up quickly at a later date. And - lookie!

One arm of Dalarna done, and one to go!

I also wanted to thank everyone for your kind thoughts and words about my diabetes. It made me feel good to read them, and to know that I have so much support. I see the Dietitan on January 3rd, so once I get a hang of this new eating business, I should be soooo much better.

Thanks everyone for tuning in! And here's hoping that wherever you are and whatever you celebrate, you do so in peace and harmony with those you love. I'll be off to see my sister and sister-in-law in St. Catharines for a few days. Next post - all about my plans for 2007!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Weird Stuff

"OK Knitsters, listen up! Mom has had a rough week, so she's sorry she hasn't blogged sooner! Me, my week has been rough too - my sleep was disturbed by my little pipsqueek brother a few times, I missed a jump trying to get away from him and knocked down Mom's bike, I had a hairball AND Mom had other humans over, which I just wasn't in the mood for. Now I lie on this mat - but it's strangely comfortable... Oh, aren't I pretty? Oh, right. Mom. Uh, whoops, she doesn't know I can type. Gotta go bye."

Mae - the feline's feline. She's everything a cat is said to be - unlike her brothers who act more like dogs and ferrets than cats! Mae is solitary, independant, finicky, and shy. But, she's a sweetheart who shows you love with rubs and tiny purrs, and will sit next to you, just because. Whereas Atticus and Gandalf want to be next to me ALL THE TIME, Mae comes out when she wants to. Making it that much more special. Awwww!

6 Weird Things

What, only 6?!! Marina and Lorraine had this up on their sites, so I thought, due to the lack of presentable knitting content (Christmas knitting ya know...), I'd give it go.

1. Like Marina - I don't drive. But, for entirely different reasons - I have a phobia of being in cars. Absolutely hate it. There are some people I will not get in a car with, because they make me too nervous. Now, I did have a license, I just never renewed it. I am a nervous passenger, and it is not the fault of the drivers in most cases, it's just the way I feel. To throw something even weirder into the mix - I think cars themselves as objects are fascinating, and I love to look at the mechanisms and new car designs. Weird...

2. Cannot stand the smell of alcohol, in particular liqueurs. Absolutely turns my stomach.

3. I will not eat anything right out of the fridge. It has to be room temperature, or I can't taste it. The only exceptions are some dairy products.

4. I have never had my wisdom teeth. No roots, nothing. They never developed. I hear I'm lucky...

5. I am a lucid dreamer. I've done everything from scratch myself, throw myself off my bed causing severe bruising, walked into my bedroom door a few times, and once woke up while feeding the Little Dudes at 2am... Dude.

6. My eye colour can change from pale grey to intense emerald green, depending on my mood. The normal colour is blue.

And just for poops and giggles - a bonus! I rarely eat meat - not because of ethical reasons - but because I cannot handle it raw. Raw meat preparation actually scares me! Like - real fear scares me. I usually only eat meat if it's prepared for me, and I'll enjoy it. If it's still on the bone, I will only pick at what I can see.


My Week In A Nutshell

I have to thank Mae for looking out for me, she's a good girl to be thinking of her Mom! It has been a trying week, that's for sure. Busy with work - an offsite Disaster Recovery test that really had me running ragged (although the very cute Sales Rep was a nice distraction...!), and the prep work for another one in January. Ugh. But - cute Sungard Sales Rep representing my company's account... Hmmmm...

And other crap too; my week ended with a bang - a visit to the doctor's for my yearly physical. I've been seeing her a lot the second part of the year - abnormal blood work, intense fatigue and weakness unrelated to my fibromyalgia, and all kinds of issues when eating. Gotta love universal health care here in Canada, because if I had had to pay for all the testing... As I can't eat grains anyway, I had trouble figuring out what was causing my discomfort. Anyway - got the results yesterday, and I've been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. I'm relieved that I finally have an answer, at least I know that I'm not crazy. And - my biggest fear was that my fibromyalgia was getting worse, which if it was this bad at age 38, what would I be like in 5 years? Can't say I'm too thrilled with the diagnosis, but you know what? You deal with it. I have to see a Dietitian in January, as my doctor doesn't want to put me on medication just yet. Once I get the food thing straightened out, I'll hopefully start to feel better. It's an awful feeling being so tired all the time, and not having the energy at the end of the day to even eat. And when you do, eating makes you sometimes feel worse. It was getting to the point where I couldn't imagine what it used to be like to actually be able to do something in the evenings - I would barely have the energy to walk to my yoga class, which is 5 minutes away. It was frightening to me that a simple excursion to the store would leave me feeling incredibly drained. And it was tough trying to make other people understand that I couldn't do these things, and that it wasn't in my head but a real symptom that something just wasn't right. But - I know now that things will get better! And you can't imagine how relieved that makes me feel. I'm not overweight, but I am predisposed to it - diabetes runs in the family.

You know though, it could be worse. And hopefully by the time the Dale of Nor(th America) KAL kicks off in January, I'll be roaring to go! Hey, almost forgot to mention - one sleeve of Dalarna - done! It was actually a quicker knit than I anticipated. I managed to get her done in between the covert Christmas knitting I've been working on.

Uh, you do realize that in one week it's Christmas Eve!?!?!?!!

"Santa Claws is coming! Santa Claws is coming! Santa Claws is coming! Santa Claws is coming!Eeeeeee, I'm so excited! I've been good, and I'm cute, and he has my list and I've been good and I promise I'll be good and, and uh, and SANTA CLAWS IS COMING MAE!!!!"

"OK, settle down! Get off of me! I'm not Santa you little gnome! Man..."

(Oh, and as an aside - Gandalf has a new a new nickname - "Atticu-I-mean-Gandalf-stop-that!". Heh heh...did I mention Atticus was just INSANE at times when he was a baby?!)

Friday, December 08, 2006


On Wednesday morning, my support pager went off at 4:30 - not pleasant. So, I dragged my tired butt out of bed, logged in, and started stick handling not one, but two major issues at once. I had fed the Little Dudes their breakfast, and at one point I thought - "uh oh, WAY TOO QUIET!".

But - look at why! know, that made my day to see them all cuddled up like that in a row. Little munchkins. Then I decided to have some cheese, and before you can say "Double Cream Brie", the moment was gone and Atticus and Gandalf were at my feet giving me the "look", hoping for handouts. Oh well...

Knitting - well, there are no pictures! It's all Christmas, all the time these days. And the recipients, well, heh heh...can't have them see it before Santa delivers.

Speaking of Santa - I asked Santa for my Dale of Norway kit. Hi Santa!

The KAL is getting exciting! So many people are joining up, it's going to be a LOT of fun! Oh yeah... my choice. After going back and forth between stranded and Aran, I decided on a stranded design -
Oooooo!!! Ahhhhhh!!!

And, I do really, really love this Aran -, but that will be for another project...

Hopefully I'll have some non-Christmas knitting next post. Dalarna's first sleeve has been getting some attention, but this past week she has been neglected...

Stay tuned! I have not forgotten my other WIP's. Maybe I'll (re)introduce you to them next post...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lazy Weekend

Gandalf: "You know, it wasn't nearly as bad as you made it out to be."
Atticus: "Oh, I know. Gotcha going though!"
Gandalf: "You're a big meanie! Well, they were really nice to me, and I got to cuddle with all the nice people at the doctor's office you know. And they gave me a mouse to play with too! So there! NEAH! *sticks out tongue*"
Atticus: "Fine then, be like that..."

Gandalf came through with flying colours, and is pretty much back to himself. (Chris, there was hissing and whacking on the nose too, but lasted only until Saturday morning.) He of course was a perfect little gentleman at the vet's office, charming them all to the point they told me they almost didn't want to send him back home!


Here in Toronto, we received our first good snow fall yesterday! I wish I had taken a picture... But of course, you don't think of things like that at the time.

Dalarna's first sleeve is coming along quite nicely, I'm pleased at how quickly she's knitting up. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the first pattern, so probably about half done at this point. The pattern doesn't give you a final stitch count, you just end it when you get to the end of the pattern, and knit on a facing. You increase throughout every 4th row, which is pretty standard.

I've also joined up Lorraine and Jewel's Dale of Nor(th America) KAL, and of course, selecting a project is a pretty scatter-brained affair for me. I keep going from one to the other, then I see something else... I think at this point though I will be working on one of their Arans. Pretty sure I know which one, but do I have the link? Of course not! Next post... And for anyone one on the fence about joining the KAL - it doesn't have to be a Dale of Norway ski sweater! They have much more than that - from the very complex to the "beginner" stranded sweaters, kids stuff, and loads of accessories too! I even had an afghan on my short list... So, lots to choose from. And, it starts up the 3rd week in January, so you have a bit of time to decide.

I had a good chuckle at the quiz on Marina's site - How Canadian Are You? Some of the questions are pretty stereotypical - but I still came out at 100%. (Heh, the Smarties question... oh, the memories!)

And, have you seen this?! Chris has a pattern up on Magknits! And a very cool one at that - what to do with one ball of Kureyon. A very cute little bag, Kureyon-Chan (love the name!). Check out her site for some cute pictures of Chaos and Mayhem modelling the bag.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh Wow, an FO!

And it is absolutely as LOUD and PINK as it looks in the picture!

Pretty cute, huh? Although the hat is supposed to be the same colourway as the mitts, it doesn't look it. The mittens have had some mileage. I purchased these 3 items from Morehouse Farms. Pretty standard instructions, but I have to say, the instructions for the mitts were different from what I've done before - knitting a "gusset" for the thumb, placing them on a holder and then picking up and knitting the thumb once the main body is completed. Makes for a much more comfortable thumb, and a much "neater" look as well. This will be my new standard for mitts! Now if only it would start getting a little colder here in Toronto so that I can wear it.

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments about Dalarna! I've decided to work the arms as indicated in the pattern - stranded for the whole sleeve.

And I've started it.

I know, my progress is staggering.

I haven't worked on it much - I've been knitting away on some Christmas stuff.

So, Marina (how does she find this stuff?!) found a link to another blogger who has worked on Alice Starmore's VK 1994 pattern I'll be working on (check her comments from my previous entry). And she has a name - Delores.

You should have a peek at Jewel's blog - she gives all the information you need about joining up a "Dale of Nor(th America)" KAL that she has started up with Lorraine!

"Delores? Delores? Don't you remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry couldn't remember some girl's name, but knew it rhymed with a female body part?? Delores was one of the names he thought about."
(Gandalf thanks his Aunt Lorraine for that tidbit!)

"Oh, and what's this I hear about getting something 'removed' on Friday?? Atticus says that when I get home I'll want to start redecorating the kitty beds and sit down for tea with Mae... What's up with that?"

*Atticus in the background - "...heh heh... He's so gullible..."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dalarna Update

I was home sick with a double ear infection this week - owwie. But - wow, I'm pretty pleased with myself!

Dalarna body - done! :) She may be a rumpled tube right about now, but in my mind - the biggest portion is behind me. I think I've decided on patterning the entire sleeves. Then again... (And no Marina, I will not race you!)

I'm so happy that the tension is even on both sections. You use a 3.5mm for the stranded portion, and a 3mm for the top red portion. And it looks great! Yay me!

But, I'm still wondering why I can't use traditional Shetland steeking methods? The yarn seems to be sticky enough. I didn't incorporate steeks for the arms, so I'll be working the Norwegian method there. However, I cast on extra stitches for the center steek, just in case... But, I'll probably chicken out, and reinforce the edge stitches prior to cutting.


And Lorraine has offered up her sewing machine when the cutting time comes. This is one funky pattern though. Not much in the way of instructions. I'm not even sure I've shaped the neck properly. She's clear on the front neckline, however, when it comes to casting off the back neck, you're told to cast of xx centre stitches (and don't expect to be told how many stitches to work before casting off either - get out the calculator), and then cryptically told to "cast off one stitch at the neck edge on the next row". Although I'm pretty confident in my finishing/shaping abilities *stares blankly at page*, how many times? Uh, and uh, why...? So, I didn't because it didn't make much sense in the shaping department. Oh, I hope it'll be OK...

To anyone who's done this type of knitting before - do I cut the armhole steek first, then sew the shoulder seams together? Or the other way around?

Well, so it's time for the arms. In between my covert Christmas knitting! That I've restarted 3 times! Because I can't make up my mind! And knitting with bigger needles (well, bigger than 3mm) - it's overrated!

I think I may have forgotten to mention what the Jamieson's yarn bundle I recently acquired is for (a couple of posts ago). It's for a pattern Alice Starmore did for the Fall 1994 edition of Vogue Knitting. I haven't been able to find a picture of it on the Internet, so I'll have to scan it at some point. If you do have a copy of that magazine - the Jamieson's colours will have it turn out a bit darker than shown in the original Campion. I was going to start it up in January...but something else has caught my eye!!! More on that later...

{{{break while Brigitte feeds Little Dudes}}}

The way they inhale their dinner, you'd think they haven't eaten in days.

Of course, now that I've resorted to refrigerating my tomatoes, Gandalf can't supplement his diet with produce. It's Florida orange time, and luckily he has no opposable thumbs to grasp the oranges and chomp down on them. I'm not a big fruit eater (although I love nearly all vegetables) so the ones I do eat - I LOVE. I do my own version of inhaling when it comes to Sunkist oranges. Yum yum yum!

I had a cute little picture of Gandalf, but, as you can see, Blogger is not co-operating. He's had "the talk" with Atticus... about going to the "V-e-t" next week for the snip-snip.

*sigh* They grow up so quickly.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Fine Mess

The good folks at Foodland Ontario and the Banana Farmers of Honduras will be pleased to know that their produce gets 2 messy paws up from one Gandalf Kitty. The Florida grapefruit was apparently not tested, although was manipulated.

"La la la la *sniff sniff* doo dee doo...What?"

Saturday, November 18, 2006


"I thought we agreed you'd get that little pipsqueek Gandalf to do this..."

Well, it's been a bit longer than I wanted since my last post, but hey! Better late than never.

I was kind of hoping I would have these golden pictures of the Little Dudes playing with their cousin Finnegan (that's a *hint* to his Mom to send me some!). We puppysat the little guy last weekend. They all ended up being fast friends, with Gandalf and Finnegan actually napping together in his crate. Who says cats and dogs can't get along!? It was just so funny to see them interact together - Finney playing with their toys, Gandalf and Atticus sizing up his toys (he has a "Bobo" from the PetSmart commercials), especially the mysterious blue ball that squeeked. Auntie Brigitte sure loved that one after they all got a hang of making it squeek. So, hopefully next post will have some pictures of Finnegan's visit.

Dalarna update!

After babysitting, I headed out to lovely St. Catharines for a visit with Finnegan's Moms. I always have such a wonderful, relaxing time when I go there.

And I had a lot of time to work on Dalarna -

I'm at that point where it doesn't matter how much you knit, it seems like you're making no progress.

Right now, I'm toying with the idea of knitting the arms in red only, instead of incorporating the stranded red and white design as she is originally made up.

What do you think?

Here's a link to the finished picture.

It shows what it will look like with the design continued on the arms. Now close your eyes and imagine what it would look like with plain red arms!


I'll have a bit of time to decide what I want to do with the arms, as I'm now knee deep in my Christmas knitting. I'm finishing up the last of my charity knitting. I've been knitting a bunch of kitty toys for the Annex Cat Rescue, some of them being Wendy's Catnip Mice. She was kind enough to let me use her pattern from her wonderful book - Wendy Knits. Hopefully the ACR can raise a lot of money to continue their good work in saving these kitties!

Ah, the Christmas knitting... There'll be no pictures, unfortunately, although after Christmas I will post them as FO's. One in particular I intend to finish in record time! It's going to be all *bleep*, all the time! I'm already off to a great start... Just imagine it, ok?

In Closing...

OK, I don't think I would stand in line 72 hours for new releases of Starmore books. This is just crazy though... It's a GAME people. Do you remember the mayhem when those Cabbage Patch kids came out in the 80's? You had people brawling in stores just to get their hands on one?

I hope I never become so enamoured by material items - including knitting stuff - that I forget about what's really important. Beating up my fellow knitter for the last skein of Hand Maiden Cashmere...that's just wrong.

For cryin' out loud, just stalk her in the parking lot, and offer her double the amount she paid if you want it that badly. (That's a joke...)

I can't think of anything I'd stand in line to buy. There may be a few knitting people I'd stand in line to see, but even at that - certainly not 72 hours. Or even 2 hours for that matter.

What about you?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Three Guesses!

"...the way of the Cat is different from the Dog. Their methods are crude, primitive. As a cat, you must learn the 'stare'. With patience and persistence, humans will ultimately cave. Especially Mom. She's weak, and cannot resist our little faces. You will get what you want, with patience."

"Yes, Sensei."

Hey everyone! It's been another week, but - so goes it!

OK. I never said I wouldn't purchase anything. I may have mentioned *mumble something something mumble* won't start anything yadda yadda yadda...


Wendy mentioned in her blog yesterday that I certainly know my Starmores...

Do you know yours?!

So, apart from Marina, and maybe Lorraine - do you know what the lovely Jamieson's yarn package (purchased from Anne at She Ewe Knits, of course!) I received today is for?!

A toughie, I assure you.

Hints: this design is not for sale at Virtual Yarns, and the colours are almost identical in colour to the original Scottish Campion called for in the pattern. The design is approx. 12 years old.

Can't say more than that! I will NOT start her until Dalarna is done. I will NOT start her until Dalarna is done. I will NOT start her until Dalarna is done. I will NOT start her until Dalarna is done... oh, sorry.

I was late coming home from work today (much to the dismay of the Little Dudes), but for a good reason:

A good 6+ inches removed from my hair! Wheeeee! My curls were dying from the weight of the hair, cutting it certainly makes the curl come out.

And I love that I came out of the salon not looking like a freak with Janis Joplin hair like the previous hair salon I went to made me look.

Another Birthday!

Today is the *cough cough*-th birthday of my brother Danny!

Hey Dan, Happy Birthday! I tried to call you but you weren't home. Dude, get an answering machine!

Which leads me to another event I'd like to mention - Saturday, November 11th is Remembrance Day here in Canada. I've always paid special attention to this day, it's so important that we remember our Veterans, past and present. And my brother is one of those Veterans, serving in the Canadian military for over 20 years now. He participated in Canada's mission in Afghanistan in 2001/02, and has represented and served Canada quite well over the years. Despite the conflicts all over the world, and our views on them, we should nevertheless take the time to remember the soldiers fighting in those wars. They are doing a thankless, and dangerous job.

So, thanks Dan for doing me and this country proud!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Peeps, that's how I'm feeling these days! Can't seem to stay focused on ONE FREAKIN' PROJECT.

I've started and ditched the following since the weekend: one Colinette Perugino throw which I thought would be a gift, but the colours I chose way back when I purchased the kit just look moronic now; spent an evening desperately looking for something baby-yarnish to make something for a co-worker (who leaves for her mat leave next Friday - who knew babies sneak up you like that?!). Hey, guess what?! I have NO baby yarn in my stash. And, as Lorraine can attest to - I have a stash. And a Lesser Stash. And neither have baby yarn. Scratch that. Oh, then I had the BRILLIANT idea to whip up "Persian Tiles" for an anniversay gift (not sayin' for who, but, you know who you are :) ... Dumb. Idea. It may look like a harmless 2 stranded affair, but it's a loooong knit. Won't happen for the end of the month.

But I did start the Christmas knitting. Which, amazingly, is going just fine! Wow, did you know that if you stick to your original PLANS (plans being the operative word), things usually go smoothly?! Who'da thunk.

*sigh*, or *Le Bummer*

But - I did get the stranded part of Dalarna done!

My newest Knitting Supervisor Gandalf takes time from his busy day of sleeping, eating, ambusing his siblings and bonking his head against the window as he tries to chase leaves to inspect the goods.

"La la la la...what's "punk ass" I wonder?... Mae keeps telling me how she's gonna kick mine if I don't leave her alone...ok, this is la la...can we eat now?"

The picture really doesn't do it justice, it's just so lovely, especially now that I have quite a bit of the upper portion of the red seed stitch design done. I should be able to cast off for the neckband this weekend. I had to put her down for a few days, as the yarn was irritating my fingers. I always get this at this time of year, as the heat comes on. Once I get used to it, it's fine and clears up.

And, as I was on another marathon "Sky Is Falling" after-hours calamity for work last night (Hello? People who make more $$$ than me? Yes, it IS your job to respond to your pager if you're carrying it after-hours. If it's not too much trouble. Just sayin'.), I decided to work on the little non-Christmas things I have to make up:

Some funky mittens from Morehouse Farms! These are just too cute, I'm enjoying them so much. The yarn is yummy too - variegated merino that's almost felted. It knits up a cosy, warm mitten. I also have the kit for a matching hat, and have the muffler started as my commuting knitting.

Winter can be blah, so why not add a splash of colour?

Needless to say, there'll be no pics of the Christmas knitting!

Carrie was telling me that she picked up a copy of Folk Vests, and now I'm chomping to pick this one up too.

I really want to thank everyone for their kind words regarding my last entry. I really do hope I do my mother proud with my knitting.

"...kick his punk ass if he sneaks up on me like that again...he may be cute and all..."

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!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Oh Crud.

Oh crap. I'm out of Mulberry. The main colour for Ophelia. With about 30 rows or so, and the cuff. Oh, and the 2 rows I messed up in the back that I have to duplicate stitch.
"For shame..."

It will be Lorraine to the rescue! She has some left over, now we just have to hook up!

Call me!
"I told you this would happen..."
"Nope, none here...sorry Mom."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Eeeeee! Can you tell I'm excited?!

Here she is!

Lush, by Kim Hargreaves
Knit using Rowan Kid Classic (70% Lambswool, 26% Kid Mohair, 4% Nylon) on 4.5mm and 3.75mm needles (colour - Crushed Velvet).
PITA factor - 7 out of 10, and that's simply because of the finishing. The main body of the piece is knit from cuff to cuff, with short rows used to shape the waist. That part was simple and quick. Then the cowl collar, arm bands and front and back "ribbing" are knit separately. The PITA factor - all these pieces need to be sewn on to the main body; the stitches are not picked up. I was lucky *patting me on back* - my tension was accurate, and the pieces fit like a charm. Only the arms needed to be "eased" in to fit the cuff, giving it a gathered look. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and as I've mentioned before, Kim's customer service is stellar should you need to ask for clarifications.

And you know what? She fits like a charm. Me so happy *happy happy geeky happy dance*! I would have included a modeled shot, only it's still a bit warm near the end of the day to be wearing her just yet.

I probably wouldn't knit her again, but I would recommend her to anyone looking to knit a simple, classic style. But - be warned! If finishing isn't your strong suit, you may not like this as there is quite a bit of it, and it can be tedious. The results are worth it though, so I wouldn't let that discourage you. Oooo...and Kid Classic is YUMMY!

What's next? Ophelia! And Western Seas. Both of which are so close to being FO's. Well, Ophelia is at least. And I can see the light at the end of the Western Seas tunnel. The only thing that may stop me on Ophelia is if I run out of my main colour, Mulberrry, before Lorraine and I meet up, hopefully in the next week or so (she has some left over for me...phew!).

Right. I had other pics to post about this past weekend's Toronto Waterfront Marathon, but Blogger is not going to let me post any more pictures... *sigh*. It can wait until the next one.

And if you haven't already, send some nice, happy kitty "Get Well Soon" wishes to Chaos, who's feeling rather poorly of late...

Take care everyone, and enjoy this wonderful Autumn weather!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Is It Friday?

Le Bummer.

I've had better weeks... But at the end of the day, you come home to the Little Dudes, you have great Knit Buddies to cheer you up (thanks Hammy!), and good friends at work to laugh with.

It could be worse, I always remember that.

Something Is Rotten In The City of Toronto

For the past 8 years plus, I have been very fortunate to live in a lovely neighbourhood here in Toronto. I have an apartment in an old house - built in 1892, before there was anything beyond farmland in this area. It's been beautifully renovated, and it's been home here for myself and the Little Dudes.

Here's the rotten in the State of Denmark part.

I found out late last week that due to a severe mould problem in the basement, I have to vacate the apartment by the end of the year. The Health Department of the city of Toronto were here to measure the mould levels, and found out that the levels are 2 times the acceptable limit in the basement. The owners now have to do a major cleanup on all levels, and it's probably not going to be a good idea to be around for it.

So, I'm bummed. I don't want to move, for obvious reasons. I don't really want to go through all of the hassle, but you have to do what you have to do. I'm concerned for myself, and of course the kitties. Health is more important.

I've started to look for another place, and I'm encouraged by what's available. Looks like I'll be able to stay in the neighbourhood, and probably find something cheaper as well. I'm making the best of a bad situation, and looking at the bright side of things -

I'll be able to really clear out my stash! Wheeee!!

Lush Snag

I was breezing along on Lush when I reached a bit of a snag.

The cuff - kind of small for the arm edge.

It is supposed to be a snug fit, and the cuff needs to be eased in to the arm edge, but this just didn't fit! No matter how much I stretched it out.

Even though I pretty much suspected all I needed was to add a few more repeats between the short row shaping on the sides, I thought I'd be a good consumer. I sent Kim Hargreaves an e-mail, in case there was an error in the pattern. I received a response within 24 hours, and confirmed what I suspected. So, I'll just add a few more repeats, and all will be well with world.

And Kim Hargreaves? Fabulous customer service, and I would recommend ordering from her any day. You should have no worries placing an order with her, or having to ask any question on her patterns. They even offered to send more yarn if I was short.

See? Things always work out.

And, while waiting on a response, I was able to work on Ophelia's last arm. I have 2 repeats left to complete, and the cuff! I can smell victory...

You know, once I re-read this, it all doesn't seem so bad.

My brother is down for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday (7am start. Oh goodie *clapping hands*.). And - my Sis-in-Law finished 16th out of all the women participants in the Montreal Marathon a few weeks ago! Very cool!

And tomorrow is Friday.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Yarn, Yarn and More Yarn

Well, there's a lot to be said for the power of blogging and the Internet. When it comes to knitting - it has you bring out your WIP's for everyone to see, it gives you a medium for showing off your FO's, your friends can offer advice and encouragement (one of the best aspects), and you can also be right royally chastised for NOT displaying your loot picked up at a Knitters' Fair.

Me sorry...

So, here are some more details. Atticus and Gandalf decided they'd better inspect the goods as well, just in case there was something worth munching on.

Some Aran weight Philosopher's Wool in a red. I'm going to make an outdoor, cabled coat.

I love a vibrant colour for winter, and this sweater should be warm enough for mild-ish winter days.

"This had better not be another kitten..."

Some lovely spring green Peace Fleece for a top-down hoodie.

"I'm not picking up a scent...we may be in the clear..."

"Woodstock" yarn from Needful Yarns, in a marled dark purple/black. This is quite a departure from the usual for me, but it was a case of loving the finished product displayed - a car coat. Should be a quick knit!

(But not until Ophelia's done, I know Marina...)

"What if you're wrong? I like being the only Cute Kitten..."

"Thrum" mitten kits, one in black, one in grey.

And Gandalf looking mighty cute, I might add...

"You know, you could stuff me in your mitts for extra warmth...Just sayin'."

And here's the "Alcea" kit I picked up at Anne's booth - She Ewe Knits.

It's in the latest Jamieson's book - Simply Shetland 3.

Beautiful colours! And, the book is quite good, there are a few textured designs and a gansey that would be lovely to make...

"OK, inanimate sheep, try not to steal my thunder. It's still all about me..."

Phew. OK, and there are a couple of other things I won't show, because they're to be pressies... It was a pretty productive day, wouldn't you say?! Also not shown are the sundry needles I picked up at a great price, and the blocking wires.

Marina is applying pressure to Cynthia and I... She's going to be reminding us of our unfinished Fair Isle projects (hey, mine's on hiatus) until they are done! Once I'm done with Kim Hargreaves' "Lush", I will be devoting 100% of my knitting time on Ophelia's last arm! Lush is in the finishing stages - I'm completing the bottom cuffs now, and after that I have the arm cuffs to complete. Sew her up, and she's done!

Then it's All Ophelia, All The Time.

Atticus and Gandalf, in a "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" moment. What you can't really see is Gandalf (in the Steve Martin role) with his little arm around Atticus' (in the John Candy role) back.

Later, once they woke up to the fact Atticus was not the soft pillows of Gandalf's dream, they were all - "hey, whoa, uh, heh heh, uh how 'bout those Leafs, huh?!"

And, I did not want to close off this post without wishing my wonderful sister-in-law a very happy 40th birthday! How does the birthday girl celebrate? By running a marathon - the New York City marathon in November (after running one in Montreal last weekend...).

Myself, I'd by yarn.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

No Such Thing As Too Much Yarn...

Well, such is my belief.

Atticus inspects some of the new additions, and gives them 2 paws up! Not everything is shown, 'cause, well that would be too many pictures and that would be, well, embarassing.

But what a day! I spent this past Saturday with Anne and Lorraine at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters' Fair.

Stash. Enhancement.

A great picture of Anne and Lorraine, chatting at the She Ewe Knits booth.

Did you check out the pictures on Lorraine's blog? She's got all the goods on display - the Twisted Tradition designs and all of the Jamieson's that Anne showcased. And a silly picture of me giggling away while demonstrating 2-handed Fair Isle knitting.

I myself picked up "Alcea", from Jamieson's latest Simply Shetland 3.

And other stuff. Lots of other stuff...

Lorraine, showing me the correct way to wear a beret.

I on the other hand, do not look too fetching in that type of hat...

She's wearing the beret and scarf from her "Fair Rosamund" design.

It was a fabulous day Knitsters! Saw all sorts of neat stuff, met some interesting people, and supported some great, small "cottage industry" type yarn retailers from both sides of the border. I was only too happy to lend my support...

And, I think Anne converted one lady over to the traditional knitting side... Heh heh... Reel them in with a twisted design, and the next thing you know it's Fair Isle all the way...

Back at Work

Always a ton 'o' fun...

And back to the Gym


I lazed around a bit too much this summer, so it's now time to get back to a regular schedule! I stick exclusively to classes, and will be heading back to Meditation Yoga on Wednesdays after sporadic attendance over the summer, and maybe a Back Strengthening class on Thursdays. My theory on going to the gym - if I can't do it away from the gym, then I won't do it. In other words, I can do yoga or strengthening exercises at home, but I don't have circuit machines in my basement. So I stick to the yoga and the like.

Can you imagine how buff we'd be if knitting were exercise? No, jumping up and down and throwing things against the wall doesn't count.

"Hey, check out Chaos' new little sister! I think she's kinda cute, but she's a girl so she probably has cooties."

"Aw geez Mom... now everyone'll know I secretly like the little guy... Must remember to smack him upside the head next chance I get."