Monday, February 26, 2007

Do You Think They Are Trying To Tell Me Something?

Exhibit "A"

Exhibit "B"

The Accused


I've had the old chair for probably 8 years now. The only reason why I kept it this long is that Mae took to making it her scratching post - on the leg. And that's fine, it worked for her, it wasn't an eyesore, and she didn't scratch anywhere else. Then Little Buddy came into the picture, and I'd hoped he would take on Mae's example, and use the chair to scratch on when he felt the need. And boy, did he ever. I started noticing these pieces of hay scattered around the apartment, and well, noticed how far gone the chair had gotten!

See, I think they want a Kitty Condo. Ever since seeing Casa di Chaos y Mayhem last week, they've been giving me subtle kitty messages. It's their way of saying - "all the cool blog kitties have one Mom...".


In knitting news, I've decided to tackle that last Dalarna sleeve this week. I had hoped to finish up with Arangenser first, however my fingers are still sore from the testing to be cabling, and I seem to be OK with anything that doesn't require too much manipulation with my left index finger. I'm just fine with stranded knitting, I was able to get quite a bit of Delores done this weekend.

Send good thoughts my way! She's a stubborn one, that Dalarna! 5th time starting this sleeve should be the charm!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Feelin' The Love

Actually, not so much with this... Only feeling a sharp "ow!" everytime I use it. Guess I'm going to have to get used to it. I'm monitoring my blood glucose now, trying to find that happy place where it doesn't dip too low (causing hypoglycemia), or too high causing me to feel very sluggish in a different sort of way. I'm not sure how to quite describe it, but it's not pleasant. So, I take it day by day, learning what foods and food combinations work best for me. Whatever it takes to avoid going on medication.

So. Virtual Yarns. OK, if I had to decide right this minute, I would go for "Rona". I just love the traditional Fair Isle look, and the colours are beautiful. But have you seen the new colourway for Rheingold?! Pullover AND Wrap available. Just sayin'.

Thanks for all the compliments on Arangenser. Brenda and DeeAnn asked where the design came from. It's from the very lovely "Norsk Strikkedesign" book. The picture in the book is done in a dark colour, so it's a bit difficult to see the finished sweater. But trust me, it's a joy to knit. I absolutely love the fact that the designer chose to give you a row by row chart, such as you would get in Fair Isle or Stranded work. It takes all the guess work out of "what comes next". It is not as challenging as a Starmore cable project, but I find that Norwegian patterns are unique and so beautiful, that I would not place any of them in the same "category" as Alice and Jade's designs. The styles are uniquely Norwegian - although the methods used may be "Aran" or "Fair Isle" or "Stranded", Norwegian work adds a little bit of extra boldness to the finished design. I have a few more in my stash... Um, that's a completely different post... By the way, another beautiful book of Norwegian designs is "Poetry in Stitches", where the much maligned Dalarna is from. I will finish the sleeve, I just need to be in the right frame of mind and not run through it so quickly I end making yet another goof-up.

Oh, and Delores! The other project I am feeling a LOT of love for -

I LOVE this pattern. It's not the best of pictures, but you get the idea. Again - I'm so pleased at how this is working out.

And finally - A cheesecake photo, especially for Atticus' Auntie Lorraine.

Monday, February 19, 2007

*Passes Out*

I nearly had heart failure because there are 5 new designs up at Virtual Yarns. Well, new for me...

And I get my bonus this week from work.


For now. There'll be more. I know, I know. I'm allowed one purchase until September.

Oooo, I think I need to lie down...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Cold + Snow = Wool Sweaters!

It's been the perfect week for wool sweaters - St. Brigid, Ophelia and Diva all got their chance to shine this week. Cold, a snow storm, and I love it! There's nothing lovelier (OK, well I'm sure there is, but in this context...) than freshly fallen snow. Of course, wind chill in the -30C range first thing in the morning is a bit refresing... But, you dress for it, and your good to go! I always shake my head and laugh at those at the train station in the morning wearing no hat, no gloves, no scarf, coat opened...yikes! The no gloves thing gets me everytime. Hey, you know what? Are your hands cold? They are! Well then you know what would prevent those digits from falling off?!

*crunch* *munch* "...this is the best stuff in the world Mom!"

The life of a kitty is all about eating, followed by a cuddle from Mom, and a nap. As Chris mentioned in her post yesterday - why make a kitty bed when you have an ENTIRE apartment to use are your own personal kitty bed.

Knitting has been rather interesting this past week. Interesting because I cannot seem to focus on ONE project. I'm all over the place - apart from working Delores on the weekend, during the week... Primarily I've been working on Arangenser -

It may not look like alot, but when you consider it's done in the round, I've made quite a bit of progress! I think the fact Wendy has been working on "Cromarty", and Lorraine is talking about putting together an Aran design was what made me want to pick it up again. I started it initially during the late summer months - not the brightest plan! It's actually not a difficult knit at all, despite all the twists and turns. The cabling is all very "logical", one glance at the chart and it's easy to figure out what's next. And the other interesting thing about this pattern - instead of a series of small cable charts, she gives you a "chart" of the entire sweater, row by row. OK, so it's a bit small, but it works! And I find it moves much more quickly.

And Delores! I have not abandoned her, not by a long shot. I'm mainly concentrating on her when I have long stretches of time, which have all been during the weekend. Now that the front and back madness is over with, I'm well into the "normal" Fair Isle knitting in the round.

I love this design - it is so fascinating to see the colours mesh together. It's actually a bit darker than appears in the picture. At 320 stitches around, I'm pretty pleased with myself that I'm 15 rounds into the front steek. Only around 80 or so more to go until I hit the underarm steeks! *clapping hands*

I'm pleased to report there have been no litter box mishaps this week - actually, Gandalf is staying well away from it whenever I'm cleaning it. And although I usually leave from my back door, whenever I do use those steps, I take it very slow. Although I did manage to tumble off the back deck on Wednesday. Uh, because we received so much snow, I couldn't tell where the deck ended and the yard began. So, I pretty much face planted myself in a snow drift. No harm done! Winner move!

Here's to hoping you're enjoying the winter wherever you are!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Did It. Again.

"What? I don't see it Brigitte!"

What did I do? OK. Maybe I'm being anal. I've been accussed of that once or twice in my time. When working colourwork, you're told to strand your MC on top, and the secondary colour on the bottom. Always. And there's a reason why - IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. (Why, yes I am shouting. At myself. Again.) See the sleeve on the left? The zigzag at the bottom? That's done the proper way. Red, my main colour, stranded in the back ON TOP of the white yarn. The sleeve on the right? That's the crappy sleeve. Where I stranded the WHITE yarn on top of the red yarn. And, it shows. I don't understand the dynamics behind this - but it does. The white yarn shows up less.

Now, I consciously made the decision at the very beginning to strand red over white, but I don't know what made me do it differently. I know! I'll blame Russell Crowe! I was watching "Gladiator" when I started working on it. Oh, I feel better now that I can blame it on something other than, well, me. Heh heh.

I am retiring Dalarna until I finish something else. Big. Not like socks or anything (although at the speed I knit socks on 2mm needles...could be a candidate).

Look at these though!

These are my heavy Peace Fleece socks. I made them using some leftover yarn, on 3.5mm needles (and not the 4mm I mentioned in an earlier post). Adam (who didn't leave me an address!) complimented me on my short row heel - aw shucks, thanks Adam! I always use Wendy's method for doing short row heels, it works for me everytime. Oh, I'm so pleased with them! Nice and warm, I made them to wear with my Garamond hiking boots. Because it's been cold this week here in Toronto - the coldest morning was on Tuesday, where it was -31C with the wind. Nothing compared with Winnipeg - our Head Office is there, and I was talking with some of the guys out there who told me that on Thursday morning it was -50C with the wind, with a base temperature of -40C. I love Winnipeg. Luckily, everytime I've been the temperature was much more "reasonable".

And no, I haven't abandoned Delores, not at all! I just need to sit down with no distractions to finish the back and forth rows, and set up the centre steek. Like the weekend.

I really want to thank everyone for your kind words! Considering what a spaz I am, I'm really comforted! I'm much better now, just bruised. Funny how as time goes on, the bruising on my right arm seems to be getting more pronounced (although I've been given the all clear by my doctor - no breaks). Uh, I'm sitting much more comfortably as well.

So - guess what I have been working on? Knitting blanket squares! For a great cause as well. Rebekah is asking knitters to work a square or two, so that she can put them all together for a blanket for a friend who's been recently diagnosed with lymphoma. What a wonderful, sweet gesture on her part! I've pulled out my massive stash of Mission Falls 100% wool, and have put together a couple of squares. Check out her entry for today (February 8th), she has more details, including how you can send them to her.

And how's this for exciting! Lorraine, our wonderful Sheriff of Knittingham, is going to be selling her Twisted Traditions Fair Isle patterns by PDF from her site! Go and check them out - they're all fantastic. I've knitted Ophelia, I have Windsor Waistcoat in my stash, and am seriously coveting Fair Rosemund. Oh, and hello! Who's that modelling Delphine?!! Heh, you'll just have to go and have a look. I would have mugged Lorraine for Delphine that day, only it was 32C and humid, and I was in flip-flops. She would have caught up to me. And of course, you can purchase the yarn for Lorraine's designs from Anne at She Ewe Knits.

"Look, don't do that again, OK? Promise?"

"OK Atticus, I promise. But it was kinda fun you know, sailing down the steps in the litter box like that."

"Dude. That's just stupid. You worried Mom, and then she fell. Stop being a doofus."

"Oh, all right. But only because Mom hurt herself coming to check up on me. And not because you were worried about me. You do care! I love you too Atticus! You're the best big brother ever!"


Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Bad and The Good

OK. Luckily the bad - isn't about knitting.

So, I'm cleaning the kittie box (stay with me here Knitsters) on Friday. It sits at the top of a flight of stairs (I live in an apartment on the second floor of an old house) that leads to the front door of my apartment. I have the lid resting on the floor next to the steps, and Gandalf, who's always done this, took up his regular post of sitting in the over turned lid. Only this time - it takes off and he proceeds to tobaggan down the stairs in the upturned litter box lid. Now that was FUNNY. The look on his face was PRICELESS! He probably didn't think so.

That in itself is not the bad.

I proceed to go down the stairs to make sure he was OK (he was!). And then, for the first time in all the years I've lived here - I slipped. Hard. I flew off the stairs and landed pretty hard on my butt, and right arm. As Atticus and Gandalf sniffed my head (awww), I got up, and knew the worse was too come. You know when you think you're going to throw up? Ooooo, NOT PLEASANT. The impact was so hard, my nose bled. Nothing broken or cracked, just bruising like I've never had before on my backside, my right elbow and arm, and on my back. And dazed too... Don't remember getting back up the stairs.

Now, I'm aching from head to toe, as the fall has triggered my fibromyalgia, probably one of the worst flare ups I've ever had in 17 years. Knitsters, it hurts to lift my legs, and even to get into bed. My back and shoulders are throbbing, which have always been problem areas for me. Nothing to do except take it easy, and ride it out.

But, does it stop me knitting? NO! Although I did take Carrie K.'s advice (we had been e-mailing back and forth on Friday, and I told her about it) - and put the needles down to ice my right hand and elbow. Thanks Carrie! Because it probably saved me more grief on Saturday.

My start date for Fair Isle February was Friday - and I wasn't about to let a tumble down a flight of stairs stop me. No sirree!

It doesn't look like much. The front "points" of the design are done, and I've joined them. No center steek yet, I still have about 10 or so more rows of back and forth to do (oh, look at all those ends to weave in *clapping hands*!), and uh, if I had properly read the instructions, I would have STOPPED about a dozen rows while working the first point before I actually did, and wouldn't have had to unravel said rows. And purling Fair Isle? Not as bad as I thought it was going to be, although I'll be glad to get that part over with.

"Really Mae, I'm serious! He got in the lid of the box, and just SAILED down the stairs, like he was on a sled! It was so funny! Mom laughed too, although I think she was afraid he was hurt. Then she fell - oh, that wasn't funny. But I went down to make sure she was OK! Atticus to the rescue! I think I lifted her up myself, you know."

"Uh huh, right. Sure you did."

I'm going to make a nice beef stew in the crock pot, and settle down with Delores (or maybe have a nap!). It's freezing out, a brisk -16C this morning, so snuggling with my rescue and nursing crew is going to be in order.

Have a great (and safe) Sunday!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fair Isle February

*blink blink blink*

Chris recently showed us some baby pictures of Little Kitty Mayhem, which got me to look back on some of my baby kitty Gandalf. Awwwww! Here he is discovering a brand new world from the inside. I love the look on his face, completely absorbed on whatever he's discovered.

OK. Enough distraction! You may have noticed the title of this entry - Fair Isle February. So, I uh, well, joined a KAL (Marina and Carrie K. did too!!). I'm technically not working on a Fair Isle right now, so I think I'm entitled...

Let's see - Amphora is stranded. Arangenser is cable. Elizabeth I is lace (well, kind of) and straight knitting. Western Seas is a pain in the...oops, I mean a gansey. And Dalarna is a Norwegian. See? No Fair Isle.

I've decided to work on the little known Alice Starmore design "Delores". It's from a VK issue from Fall 1994. There is a picture link that Marina sent me, however I haven't asked the blog author's permission to reprint the picture. But look! The magazine may have opened up to the picture somehow when I went to photograph my heavy wool socks I've been working on this week.
Hey! Look at that on the left. Next to the funky warm wool socks I'm making to wear with my hiking boots. I'm making them with leftover Peace Fleece on 4mm. The second one will be of the same colours, only different colour sequence.

(I just remembered something - I worked on the design on the right when the magazine first came out. One day I got into work only to discovere that my orange juice had exploded in my lunch bag, which was next to my knitting bag. Yes, I do believe I cried. I think I had almost completed the front. It was years before I attempted stranded knitting again... *sigh*)

I purchased the Jamieson's yarn for Delores from Anne at She Ewe Knits. It will actually be a little darker when it's completed. I'm looking forward to this challenge! There will be tears, no doubt. But when it's done? I think it'll be amazing!

And - if you're thinking I've abandoned the lovely Dalarna -
Yes. It's not much. But in my mind, the worst part is over - starting it up. I haven't had too much time to work on it, work...big project...won't leave me alone...blah blah blah. Which is why I was working on the socks, pretty mindless in between the e-mails and conference calls.
Hope your warm wherever you are!