Monday, July 30, 2007

Baby Ducks and Mermaids

Yesterday was a perfect day for sailing! Nice and cool on the water, the fabulous Toronto skyline, an onboard BBQ, and someone else to cook for me - who can ask for more!

And these to boot!
As the Captain BBQ'ed our dinner, this little family swam by. Awwww, there were 4 little ducklings with their Mom. I resisted the urge to scoop one up and take it home. Something about the Mom being super pissed, and the uh, Little Dudes not being too overly impressed with their new roomie. And the Captain had issues with the little guy possibly pooping inside his new car.

No fun.

So, thanks everyone for your laughs and giggles over my fun afternoon last week! And it was something to laugh about. I did and still am, that's for sure.

And I did start something new. Because I can. No, I feel no shame. No, I do not hear my other WIP's calling out to me. Lalalalalalacan'thearyoulalalalalalala.

Now, I won't ask you to guess as to what it is, because it doesn't look like much in the picture. It said to me - "Knit me! I've been in your stash far too long! And I'm so much easier than Diva!". Meet the Mermaid. From Hanne Falkenberg. Oh yes. She of the modular knitting in need of a Short Row Intervention. I love you Hanne. But let us discuss these never ending short rows, 'k? But, they do make for a lovely piece. Now, what you see above represents around 4 hours of knitting.

Four hours, because -

1. You start off with around 462 miles of I-cord, then pick up your required amount of stitches from there.

2. Watching "Apocalypto" while knitting Mermaid is not such a good idea. I switched to socks when I realised - damn, the Maya really didn't speak english...

3. Watching "The Bourne Identity" while knitting Mermaid is also not such a good idea. Jason Bourne does not just say "ah to hell with it", and give up trying to figure out who he is. Again, switch to socks.

Gandalf and Atticus insisted on checking out the finished product.

"Dude, check 'em out! They smell just like Mom! But...I don't get it Atticus, do they come off her feet?"

"Lemme check... (paw on my leg). I don't know... Weird huh?"

Some Lisa Souza sock yarn in the Mahogany colourway. Nice! I like them much better now that they're done, I was pretty meh about the colourway when I was knitting them up. They were worked on 2.25mm's, I think. I say "I think" because I use my Mom's old size 13's and they're around 50 years old. Anyway, they do the trick.

And a last shot of the Toronto skyline at night, heading back to the Marina.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

3 Reasons I Can Start Something New


1. Shoes

See, I normally always wear a sensible pair of shoes while walking to and from the train, into work. Today I said "Self, just wear your pink and white sandals - you'll be fine." Besides, I had no room in my back pack this morning.

The straps on BOTH shoes decided to give out. On my way to the station. Going home. Don't ask me how I ended up getting on the train, but I did end up having to walk most of the way home from the train IN MY BARE FEET. Nice. Luckily, it's a short walk on side street, and no one had to see the spaz that is me WALKING IN HER BARE FEET on the dirty pavement.

Stupid Nine West shoes.

2. RBC ATM's

Thanks Royal Bank. Thanks so much for dispensing a bill with a chunk ripped out of it! Hey! And you know what?! NO store will accept it!! I can't use it!

And oh hey! Guess what else Royal Bank?! I get to STAND IN LINE at a branch just so I can get you to exchange it for me! Wow! Cool! Because the whole reason for me GOING to an ATM in the first place is because there are NO branches close to work, or home! *clapping hands*

3. Bird poop

Yes. Bird poop. Because at some point between leaving work and going to the ATM where I was dispensed the bum $20 bill, and my walk to the GO station where my sandals disintegrated, a bird crapped on my head.

So. I'm going to look through my stash, find something (oh, that'll be hard) I don't have to wind up into balls and start something new.

Just. Try. To. Stop. Me.

"Nuh-uh, no way I'm gonna try and stop her! Does it look like I wanna argue with Mom?"

(On a happier note - thanks everyone for your wonderful comments on Amphora! Aw, shucks!)

Sunday, July 22, 2007


... Amphora.

And a closeup of the motif, and bottom edging. You can't see the whole of the edging, as the facing, which I'll tack down once she's dry, is rolling up a bit.

Phew! She's done! I loved this knit. Nowhere near as difficult as it looks, I look at it and am amazed that it's worked with only 4 colours.

What: "Amphora" tunic, by Jade Starmore from her book "A Collector's Item", size Small.

I Used: 2-ply Hebridean 100% wool, purchased from Virtual Yarns.

Using: 3.25mm and 3mm needles

PITA factor: None. If you're a fan of stranded knitting (and this is NOT a Fair Isle), you'll love this one. The repeats are very easy to remember, as are the colour sequences.

Once I've sewn down the facings, I will post a modelled shot.

Hee hee! So happy!

And now... on to something else! No, not Cicely of York just yet... Another one, which I'll post a picture of next time around.

How Things Go Around Here

So, every evening, the Little Dudes get their dinner in their own bowls. And they line up the same way every time - Gandalf, Mae and then Atticus. I have to place their bowls in exactly that position, or they won't eat out of them. They'll just stand there, and stare at me until I place it in the usual order.

However. Within, oh, 5 seconds of me placing the bowls down in the order above, this happens.

Atticus muscles in on Gandalf, who in turn eats out of Mae's bowl, who has already moved over to Atticus' bowl.

Every. Time.

And, if I were to place the bowls in the order they end up in, they wouldn't touch them.

The bowls must be served to them - Gandalf, Mae, Atticus - in that order. They'll nibble for a second or two, then comes the switcheroo above.

Atticus. Gandalf. Mae.

Every. Time.

They are so funny!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


So, I'm working at home today. I decided at around 11am that I'd have a "wee" snooze, I figured for an hour or so.

Guess what time I woke up?


I didn't think I was THAT tired! Fibromyalgia can do that to you; your sleep becomes so disturbed and you wake up so fatigued all the time, you soon don't pay it much attention. It becomes a way of life. When you do finally decide on a "snooze" - you then realize how tired your body really was! Yikes! I usually have periods of time where I seem to be in remission, when the aches and pains and fatigue don't seem to affect me as much. Then there are times, like mid-summer, where I get smacked upside the head. Oh well... Heh, no worries about tonight though - I should have noooo problems falling asleep! All this little nap did was catch me up on some long needed zzzzzz's.


I've decided! I think I know which Starmore design I'll be making with the recovered 3-ply Hebridean - "Cicely of York", from Jade's book "A Collector's Item". The colour is "Summer Tide". For those of you with the book, it's pretty much the same colour as the blue example of "Cicely of York" in her book. But, not until I complete Amphora. And I'm going on record here to say that she'll be done by the weekend!

Have you read Lorraine's latest post? She explains quite clearly the differences between Fair Isle designs, and stranded ones. She even goes a bit further to explain how even a Norwegian is different from a Faroe Island design. Yay Lorraine! There is a huge difference. Fair Isle is as unique a colourwork style as an Aran is to cabling.
Today's Lesson

"Gandalf, you must learn that just because you are "cat", you are unique."

"Yes, Sensei."

"Your manner is different from others. You may have 4 legs, a small brain, and a tail and be called "cat", but you are "Gandalf"."

"Yes, Sensei."

"Although she is a "cat", you are not your sister Mae."

"Gross, she's a girl! I mean, yes, Sensei."

"If all cats were alike, would we be still as fascinating?"

"No, Sensei."

"That's our lesson for today. Now get off my blanket."

Atticus makes sure Gandalf learns his lessons well...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

So little time to knit all that we (I) want...

OK. See that blue thing sticking out of the green and black bag (my knitting bags are so classy)? It's one half of "Scalpay", started eons ago, and never finished. I was going through some of my stash, and came across it. I never finished it for a couple of reasons - firstly, it's done primarily in seed stitch. Brigitte came to the conclusion that there is nothing like seed stitch to make her want to bang her head against the wall (as opposed to intarsia or entrelac, which just makes me want to be sick). And secondly - it's got a funky, "80's" shape to it. Kind of poufy, with a tight ribbing (and my tension is accurate). Just the right kind of shape to cut you right across the middle. Flattering. So, I now have a bunch of beautiful 3-ply Hebridean in the "Summer Tide" shade. I'm trying to figure out what I could do with it. And there is A LOT.

Any suggestions?

Other than that, I've been plugging away working on Amphora's sleeve, and the Kiri shawl. I really, really want to pick up something new, but I will not allow myself until I finish a couple other things. Why? Just look at the picture above! OK, so my bike bags and my needle drawer are on the table too. But the rest are stuff I still love, but just can't get to. I still love my Gingko Leaf tunic, and I have been working steadily on it - it's simply that ours is a love that benefits from taking a break... Which is probably why it's taking me so long to finish it. But finish it, I will!
And lately, I've been comforted by Western Seas' straight stocking stitch. Go figure.

Thunderstorms and Kitties

Gandalf? He's cool with it.

Mae? Barely bats an eyelash.

Atticus? Can't be found. He can sense the rain and storms well before they start, and hides. Don't ask me where. Or how a 19 lbs cat can even find a good hiding place. Little funny face...


My haul from last Thursday's Farmers Market at work. It's berry season! I confess I'm not the biggest berry fan - this is the only time of year that I really indulge, most likely because they're so fresh and yummy looking. What I really love - peaches, pears and apples. My favourites, and their season won't start until August/September here in Southern Ontario.

And some yummy cauliflower and brocolli. When it comes to vegetables, I love to eat pretty much all of them. I also picked up some new potatoes and more of the organic guacamole, which may or may not still be in my fridge. Most likely "not"...

So - have you visited Lorraine's new site? Her Twisted Traditions designs are now available for sale! She has her Fair Isle patterns up right now, and her Aran design "Kilkenny" is going to be available soon. I'm excited!! I've knit "Ophelia", I have the "Windsor Waistcoat" kit in my stash, and that would be yours truly wearing "Delphine" in the picture on the site. Oh, and I believe Marina is ready to knit "Fair Rosamund", another coveted pattern of mine...

So little time to knit all that we (I) want...

Monday, July 09, 2007

How To Fix Those Knitting Blues

So, I grumbled to Lorraine last week about how I can't seem to stay focused on any one project for more than a few rows, and then my mind wanders and the ADD kicks in.

Oooo, look it's the ice cream truck!!

No, but seriously. With the exception of my Gingko Leaf sleeve I'm working on, and here it is:

I haven't been to overly productive. Speaking of ADD, Gandalf decided playing with the end of the needle was much more fun than modelling for Mom. This represents about half of the sleeve, believe it or not. Of course, much more would have been done had I not chosen to work it while watching "Blood Diamond". And - wait for it - I LOVE this pattern now! Wow, and it only took me the entire body, and about 3 years to get to that realization! *patting myself on head* But, I have to say that the fact the sleeve is going so well is thanks in no small part to Dorothy Siemens' brilliant instructions. The sleeve is practically idiot-proof, follow the chart and you don't even need to think about when to increase, and how to incorporate it into the pattern. My kind of lace.

And I've also been working on socks:

Atticus is much more obliging. Then again, it is July... So, one half of the Lisa Souza Mahogany socks are done, and the second is well on it's way! I have 4.5 hours of "Das Boot" to thank for getting a lot of it done. No worries, I haven't tired of Kiri, I have worked on her, only it really looks no different than last time... And no, I haven't forgotten Amphora. I'm just in no rush to finish it, as it's still a couple more months before I can wear her.

All that to say... I decided to use this I-don't-know-what-to-knit phase to get a head start on my volunteer knitting for the Annex Cat Rescue. This year I'd like to make a pile of kitty blankets, and Wendy was very sweet in letting me use her Kitty Bed pattern from her book to make some kitty beds for sale as well. And a few other things as well.

I don't think I need to worry about not having any spare feltable yarn.

These are just "remnants". Some stuff I have NO IDEA how I got it.

Thanks everyone for your kind words for Jen. The funeral and wake was held last Wednesday here in Toronto, and I think she would have been mighty pleased at how it all turned out. Also with me at the wake was blogless Rachel H., who kindly showed me that yes in fact I CAN turn off my stupid new Motorola Razr.

"I don't know about this phone Rachel, the battery dies awful quick."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm recharging the damn thing every 48 hours."

"Well, aren't you turning it off when you don't want it on?"

"See that's the problem! I don't think you CAN turn this thing off!! I doesn't tell you how to do it in the manual!"

*silence* *crickets in the background*

"No, really!"

At which point she takes the phone from me.

"Oh hey Miss Brigitte-I'm-installing-a-new-server at the datacentre tomorrow. I JUST TURNED YOUR PHONE OFF."

"Oooooo..." *Edith Bunker voice*

Rachel H. and I work together. I'm a techie systems person. She's in Customer Operations. And she had to show me how to turn off my cell phone. What? I just find it so funny now!

If you can't laugh at yourself...!

"Man, vacuuming is HARD work! Gandalf, next time you're carrying the hose, and I'm pushing it around."

"OK Atticus. But maybe I'll use my superpower glowing eyes to make it move itself! Go go Gandalf-Ranger!"

"Oh for cryin' out loud..."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Trouble With Thinking

Sometimes when I have time on my hands, and all I want is to rest, relax, de-work my brain, and think of nothing but knitting and cycling and the flowers on my deck...I end up twisting a thought in my brain, and ponder things far longer than I should.

On Friday of last week, I received a call from an old friend telling me how one of his closest friends had past away. She was young - only 41. Not much older than me. Funny how at 13 or 14 years old, anyone who was a couple years older than us seemed like decades! However, at 38 - 41 is pretty much the same. I knew her, had met her several times, and knew a lot about her. I'm sad she was so young, and I'm especially sad for her family and friends. I suppose I started thinking so much about her because I began to wonder if, at 38, I'd lived my life as best I could? Had I faced all challenges put in front of me? Or had I run away, looking to sweep it under the carpet? Had I lived in the moment, or for the moment? On and on my brain went. I thought about her family, and her friends, and wondered how they felt after the initial shock of her passing. I don't feel old, I've never been one to be bothered by age, but I suppose it was just me taking stock of myself up to this point in my life. The reality is I have to be satisfied with my life, because no one is more responsible for me than, well, me. And, if there is something that isn't working as it should - it's up to me to change it.

At the end of the day, I hope she's in a good place now. I'm sure she is, and is happy. I know those in her life should take comfort in that.
But, it hasn't all been gloom and sadness these past few days here! There has been some scattered knitting -

There have been socks, or at least the start of some. This is some Lisa Souza sock yarn, in the "Mahogany" colour way.

And the start of a sleeve for the Gingko Leaf Tunic.

AND - (wait for it) - LACE!!! Me! Lace! It's the start of the Kiri shawl. Lorraine gifted me the Kidsilk Haze last year for my birthday, and suggested the Kiri shawl would be a good intro to shawl lace knitting.

So far.

So good.

The instructions indicate that the whole shawl, including the edging, should take around 24 hours to complete. Oh, wait for that one. Once I picked myself off the floor laughing at the mere thought of that occuring, I pinned it out and took stock of what I'd done so far. Not bad! I think one of the issues I have with lace is the blobbiness of it all. You know - the fact it kind of resembles, um, nothing until you block it. Unlike Fair Isle or cabling - it all unfolds before your eyes, and you get a good picture of the finished results, not to mention your mistakes.

So, I've tried different things these past few days, and although at the time the thought was that I hadn't accomplished a whole lot, I know see that I have! Yay me!

Oh, and of course, the leave it to the Funny Faces that are the Little Dudes to remind me that I'm THEIR human girl!

"No one can see me! Hee hee, I'm So. Clever. Hey, look Mae! Neeneer neeneer! Oh yeah I'm sticking my tongue out at you! Pfffffttt! Uh oh. Crap, you can see me..."