Thursday, August 31, 2006


Weeeeee!!!! Knitsters, I'm on vacation!

No alarm clock! No work clothes!

No pager. Sweet Alice Starmore. No. Pager.

Can you tell that makes me happy?!

So, I am off to lovely
St. Catharines, Ontario to visit my sister and sister-in-law (Finnegan's Moms!). This has become a yearly tradition since they moved out there. It's about an hour and a half from Toronto, in the Niagara region, famous for it's orchards and wineries (ooooo baby!). The tradition? Celebrating my birthday on Saturday. Someone asked me if I mind people asking my age? Not at all - I turn a young 38. I always view my age as something to be proud of - and something to celebrate. Which I do. Heartily! My sister is an excellent cook, and always makes the most wonderful meals. This year is my first birthday since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and she's even searched the 'net for a gluten free chocolate cake recipe!

Awwww, shucks!

Brigitte admits to another WIP...

I had the best of intentions, rumaging through my embarassing stash to look for some yarn for some volunteer knitting I'll be doing for the
Annex Cat Rescue.

When I came across this:

Oh. Hello.

This would be "
Lush", from Kim Hargreaves. Started last December when I was still in my old apartment next door.

I packed her away in one of my yarn bins. And promptly forgot her.


I guess I got caught up with the move, and unpacking. But no more!! I will make it up to her. She's not difficult, or a bore either. It's knit cuff to cuff on 4.5mm (huge needles for me!), with short rows (why do I always gravitate to WIP's with short rows?) and neckline shaping, so it's never dull. And the Rowan Kid Classic? Love it! The colour, Crushed Velvet, is actually much deeper than it shows up in my picture above. The colour on Kim's site (the link above, nudge nudge) is actually much closer to the actual.

Stay tuned.

What I Will Do On My Late Summer Vacation

My poor, neglected Western Seas. Lorraine has warned me that I will go batty with one WIP.

Thanks Hammy. You know me well... But, I will do my best! Thanks to Hurricane Ernesto, it will be nothing but cold rain the entire long weekend, while not a bad thing, will mean a lot of knitting time. It's perfect for movie knitting. And Not-My-Turn Scrabble knitting.

Must. Finish. Western Seas.

Above you see my progress thus far. Closer to 10", and I have a total of 12 before starting the gussets. Less than I thought, but we'll see how I do.

Wish me luck. Think of me.

The Little Dudes






WeeeWeeeWeeeLookat...*clunk* *zzzzzzzzzzzz*

*honkshu, honkshu*

Yup. Kittens. One minute tearing the place apart. The next. Out like a light.

"Finally, some peace and freakin' quiet..."

The life of a cat.

"For cryin' out loud, that kid's a hellion. Man, I'm bushed..."

Enjoy the long weekend Knitsters! I'll be back on Thursday, hopefully more relaxed and with much more Western Seas to show off.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Clawing Away At Too Many WIP's!

Dear Marina:

I had my Mom take this picture to show you that Western Seas is still getting a lot of attention (but not as much as me!). Here I am trying to smooth it out so that it looks nice. *Ehn!* There we go, doesn't she look great?

I'm a big help.

Love, Gandalf

Thanks to the little man and his maneuvering to help get it into proper photographing state!

I always do this to myself. You know, get into one of those "organizing" frenzies where all I want to do is catalogue my knitting magazines and bookshelves, and alphabetize my fridge (it's a Virgo thing - hey, guess who gets to wear a silly birthday hat in a week!? No, not Atticus. Or Mae.). Eventually, I get to my WIP's, and I get overwhelmed.


If it kills me...

1. Ophelia
2. Western Seas (I'm going to bring her over to my sister's next weekend)
3. Amphora

These are the priority! I hate having these seemingly unloved WIP's around (but they're not unloved!). If I tire of Sleeve Island on Ophelia, I'll finish Amphora's body, and de-Ophelia my brain for a bit.

Arangenser, my poor lovely Aran, will be next. I hope I'm not being overly confident when I say she should go fairly quickly.

I sound like a broken record! Haven't I moaned about this to you all before? Well, Diva was in the mix, so let's say it's an update.
Gandalf reminds me that when you get in the way of a kitten and his pouncing, you run the risk of becoming a casualty.

I'd forgotten how funny those little Psycho Kitten episodes can be, you know when they go all whacko on the pillows and whatever else gets in the way. Right now, his favourite thing to play with is a toilet paper roll. Hey, it's cheap, and he's happy.

And everyone is still getting along nicely, and I've only seen Mae assert her dominance with him. In a nice, cat-language sort of way. So far, I haven't seen Atticus do so. Although... he does clean Gandalf's head, and holds him down while doing so. I believe that's one of their methods. Ah, the mysterious world of kitties. It's so funny to watch them interact. Mae can be quite cute with him, cuddling him and cleaning his...areas...and swating him upside the head when he gets annoying. Atticus just continues to be the big goofy Big Brother.

Right, I'm off for a high-fat, high-calorie but oh-so-yummy breakfast, so - have a great weekend Knitsters!

Monday, August 21, 2006

All Sorts of Stuff

Well, meow there, all my new friends in Blogland! My Mom says I need to be a polite Little Dude and thank you all for your nice comments about me! It hasn't gone to my cute little fuzzy kitten head... Although I've pretty much taken over the coveted Chair-Next-To-The-Sunny-Window spot from my big brother. I just look cute and he caves in...

Can I tell you? I adore my big brother Atticus! He's so nice to me, shows me how to do stuff like not bonk my head against the window, and use the litter box (I don't think Mom liked me using a corner of the couch), and he lets me chase him and sleep next to him and we do all sorts of neat stuff together! And, I gave him kitty head-butts today, and he cleaned my head! (Mom note: Awwwww....!)

Here we are eating. I'm eating the Big Cat food, no more of that kitten crap for me! It's the big time, baby!
(Mom note: uh, no.)

*sigh* Life is good!

I even love my sister Mae too, although she pretends not to like me. She let me nap next to her this morning, but then she decided I was getting annoying, and jumped up on the table where I couldn't reach her. Oh well, she's a softie, even if she won't admit it.

See? She may look like "Gawd, he's still here?? Man...", but she lets me snuggle with her at night!

I don't think there's an area of the apartment I have explored!

Guys, life ROCKS at my new home! Thanks again for welcoming me, even though this knitting thing isn't something my Mom is too tolerant about me learning... Dunno...

Knitting - it really does happen!

I have to say, Gandalf and his siblings have adjusted wonderfully! Pretty much within 24 hours.

So, I got back into doing some serious knitting -

Ophelia's first arm is at the cuff stage! Wheeee!!! I would have probably had the cuff done and the stitches of the 2nd arm picked up if it weren't for Gandalf and his Flying Walendas maneuvres on me. She's coming along well, if I do say so. I did one less peree repeat just before the cuff began. I have freakishly short arms...

*Have you seen the Whiskas commercial where they do scenarios with grown men in the cat roles? There's one for Hank the Kitten? Yeah, well, that's Gandalf, jumping from one thing to the other, including yarn... I'm pretty sure I've seen the commercial on both Canadian and US channels. The commercials are very original and well done, not to mention hilarious.*

And although I did say I wouldn't start anything new (what? Cynthia does it too!) I caved... But look at what I'm cheating with!

It's "Elizabeth I" from Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses. I joined Marji's Tudor Roses KAL, and after a brief stint thinking I had sufficient yarn for "Katherine Howard" (nope), I decided I would work on Liz instead. It is what I originally bought the yarn for (2-ply Hebridean from Virtual Yarns).

I am really enjoying this knit. The attention to detail - short row hemline, darts, and the delicate centre pattern make for a beautiful design. The 2-ply yarn, and I've never used AS' 2-ply for anything other than Fair Isle, makes an incredibly supple fabric, which suits the design perfectly. I've only just started the centre pattern, but check out Marji's amazing progress on her "Elizabeth I"!

So, it's been a busy time Knitsters!

A lot of you have nifty buttons - I'm hoping to load them soon! Keep 'em coming.

Friday, August 18, 2006


*Note to Self: Do not visit friend with foster kitten.
* 2nd Note to Self: Do not pick up and play with said foster kitten.

Well, lookie here!


Welcome Little Dude!

He is a 12 week old little kitten we (although at this time Atticus and Mae are suitably unimpressed I forged their names on the adoption papers) adopted from a wonderful organization here in Toronto - the Annex Cat Rescue.

At this time, his big brother and sister are just not gettin' it.

Mae is watching from afar. I think she's starting to be all - "great, I'm the middle child now", although she should be - "hey, I'm no longer the"

Atticus has his WT...? look on his face. He's been hilarious - I think he'll come around before Mae does, he's so good natured.

He's actually a bit taken aback, and although he may deny it, afraid of wee Gandalf! He'll get hissed and growled at by Gandalf, and is totally perplexed by it.

"Huh? Wha...? Uh, *hiss back*?"

There was a cute little moment this morning when they touched noses. Then Gandalf remembered - hey, wait a minute, I'm not supposed to be cool with you just yet... *hiss!*.

Atticus and Mae just aren't getting it yet. But, as I mentioned both are very good natured, and pretty easy-going. This is just the sizing up stage (I hope). Anyone out in knitting land have any experience with bringing a new kitty to live with adult cats? How long roughly 'til they stop hissing and growling at each other?

When Mae was a baby and came to live with us, Atticus was pretty much the way he is now - curious. He was very gentle and patient with her. They did have their hissing matches, but that was a while ago, and I seem to remember it didn't go on for too long. Still, it would be nice to hear of others' experiences.

Gandalf was the "runt" of his litter, yet now that he's out of his foster home, he's showing that he's really not afraid to take on anything. He also has these very un-catlike, mysterious little mannerisms. When he lies down, he actually "claps" his front paws together! It's too cute, I've never seen that before. He's very sweet - he fell asleep last night with his paw on my arm and his head on my hand. Awwww! The name "Gandalf" suits him.

Hey, it just occured to me that Chaos now has a real-live Mini-Me!

Knitting ('cause this is a knitting blog after all!)

Lorraine was mentioning about having a bit of knitting ennui of late... I was in that funk last week - could barely do a round on Ophelia's arm without messing up. I have 100 stitches, and yet each round is taking about as long as a round for the body would take! I then moved on to the Seaweed Scarf - which is going really well, btw (!) - and I messed up pretty much every repeat. I was even dropping stitches when I tried to work on Western Seas...*sigh*. I suppose it's not ennui as much as being a space knitting cadet. All thumbs...

Atticus would like me to thank you all for all your kind comments and cyber-noogies! Although he loves being the centre of attention, he's not likely to want to go through and overnighter at the V-E-T to get them.

He's not going to like Saturday morning when he heads back for his checkup...

I leave you with this little gem.

Atticus and Gandalf, sizing each other up.

"Dude. Man, you're small. Um, that's my spot, by the way..."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Poor Little Dude...

"Really, do you always need to follow me around with that thing? Go 'way..."

Poor little Dude... Atticus has just returned from an overnighter at the V-E-T.

And he's not a happy camper. Suffice it to say peeing in the box...wasn't happening. He has problems with crystals, this one probably left over from a bad bout he had in the winter. And he's had a bad kidney infection, so at the first *ahem* sign of straining, he goes to the V-E-T. And getting a 20lbs male cat into the carrier? Think about it.

Being all male-kitty, he never shows his Mom when he's in pain... :( So, Iwatch him like a hawk.

He's home now, and all is forgiven. Mae, after moping around with him not being around, hissed at him and batted at his head, thanks to his funny Woodbine Animal Clinic smells. Poor guy, just can't catch a break these days...

So, not much in the way of knitting these last few days. Although I am pleased to report that I am 6cm away from starting the gusset on Western Seas! And, once that begins, it'a mere 32 rows to the underarm! Good times.

Now if you'll excuse me Atticus would like to lift him to the couch and feed him popcorn and Havarti cheese.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Comfortably Numb

I learned something new yesterday. Despite the Knitting Urban Legend you may have heard about, going one day without knitting will not cause you to loose mobility in either of your hands, and the Little Yarn Gnomes will not steal from your stash while you're not looking. You may feel "off", or wonder "I feel like I've forgotten something...", but nothing whacked-out will occur.

Case in point.

Say hello to the "Comfortably Numb" (well, as I've christened her anyway). Moored at Toronto's Outer Harbour Marina (on Lake Ontario, of course), she's a lovely 23ft. sailboat, and where I spent most of my Saturday.

The Captain, readying the sails.

We could not have asked for a better day. Knitsters, if summer could always be 27C, no humidity and practically no smog - I wouldn't whine so much about how lousy summer can be in Toronto. We didn't have a great amount of wind; top speed with the sails was a scant 4 knots (Marji - not the best, but when you're out on the water, sometimes it just doesn't matter, right?!).

A lovely view of the Toronto skyline. Hey, that would be me steering while The Captain lowered the front sail (and it has a name, everything on a sailboat has a name, damned if I can remember what it is though), and snapping a picture at the same time. We are getting ready to sail through the gap between the Toronto shoreline, and the Island Airport. You can only pass through on motor power, and stay well away from the buoys surrounding the approach to the Island...something about the planes (and this is just a small regional airport) getting a little bothered by sailboat masts in their view as they're trying to land... And a $10K fine for sailing withing the buoys. We then sailed off to Centre Island, and a cold one.

Despite slathering myself with sunscreen, I'm still as red as Christmas. Owwie! My crap SPF 30 sunscreen (for sensitive skin, my ass) did not live up to it's name. The one spot on my back where The Captain slathered on some of his No Name SPF45 - looking just fine. You can see where it ends, and the SPF30 begins.

And get this. When we were coming in, at around 7:30pm - Knitsters, I was COLD!!! Yes, cold. When the sun goes down on the water, it gets quite chilly. But, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

A lovely shot of the Toronto skyline at sunset...

So, wow. I survived at day without knitting. By the time I got home, I was so pooped I could barely feed the Little Dudes. But I did. Something about the "I will jump on your sunburn in the middle of the night. Oh yes. I will." look that Atticus gave me...

And - in the morning before all of this... I met up with Lorraine and family at the St. Lawrence Market for a little breakfast and produce shopping. How great a day was that!?

I hope your Saturday was equally as wonderful!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Knitted Brow


Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's lying in bed, unable to sleep because of the heat. Regardless of the why, I 've found myself lately thinking about my knitting direction - the Why-I-Do-The-Things-I-Do.

I have a confession to make. Twice in the last couple of weeks I've started projects doomed not to be completed. The What's aren't important - they are no more, now in the pile of other discarded items. I'm not sure why I do that, start a project that is relatively simple, and find it dull, and not worth my time. I should be content to simply realize that fact, and move on; however a part of me still needs to actually go through the casting-on motions before realizing that it just ain't my cup of tea, Knitsters. Why must I stubbornly stick my hand in the fire, and say to myself - hey, you're burning - before pulling it out? Perhaps only knitters can understand when I say that this remnant of an old knitting life pisses me off to no end! This is probably why I've made the commitment to de-stash my stash, as it were.

I know that my interests are squarely in the realm of the traditional. The timeless works of Fair Isle art, the complexity of the Aran twists and turns, and the unique, original designs that I know incorporate traditional materials and techniques worthy of my time.

Does that make me a yarn/knit snob?

Quite frankly, I could not care less if that's how it's labeled. It's what I like, it's what is worthwhile, it's what gives me pleasure and a sense of true pride in accomplishment.

I'm a Virgo. We think too much.

I suppose in my mind I was rationalizing why I can't focus on something that falls outside of that box. Some would say - aren't you narrow-minded in your knit focus? No, because the possibilities within that huge box are endless. Level of difficulty is irrelevant to me. I rarely pay any attention to the rating. I'm confident enough in my abilities not to be scared off by the prospect of trying something new within the framework of the tradional old.

I applaud anyone who picks up two sticks and a ball of yarn, and attempts to turn it into something wonderful. So long as you remember your own "raison d'etre", and are doing what gives you true satisfaction - you're creating your own little work of art.

I think I have it completely out of my system now. I've taken a good, long look at my WIP's - and will concentrate solely on them. They seem to be all I gravitate towards, so why waste my time on something I'll never finish?

Here they are, my long suffering WIP's:

1. Ophelia
2. Amphora
3. Western Seas
4. Arangenser
5. Seaweed scarf

Of Ophelia, Amphora, and Western Seas - I've shown pictures before. So, here is a shot of the lovely Arangenser, from the stunning Norsk Strikkedesign:

She has been neglected of late, simply because she's particularly heavy, worked on 5.5mm needles. The lower hip sections are worked separately, and joined. The rest of the body is worked completely in the round until the armholes, when it is then worked back and forth. I've done approx. 8 rounds of the body, and it is not a difficult knit. I'm looking forward to starting back on her... but not when it's 35C, merci beaucoup.

I will admit to having started something else, however I have every intention of finishing this one as I'm enjoying the pattern immensely.

This is the Seaweed Scarf, from Alice Starmore.

What's that? Lace? (Damn, I'm even sarcastic with myself). Hey, for every repeat of 12 rows you see, there are at least 4 frogged rows. I want this scarf to wear with my winter coat, which is why I'm starting now. There are 50 repeats. I've done 4.

But, I'm getting the knack of this lace thing, and the results are stunning. I'm going to make some kind of hat with the Selkie shade as well, not sure what (no eyelets...that's just plain dumb in a Canadian winter). I'm thinking a bucket hat, worked double stranded throughout. I should have more than enough Selkie, having traded a bunch of Machair for some Selkie with Lorraine.

Well, thanks for sticking with me through this post. We all have an opinion - let me know what yours is on the issue of staying true to your knitting styles.

Oh. And socks don't count!