Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Holidays with the Little Dudes

In past years, I've spent Christmas with my sister and sister-in-law, but this year was different. They live in Nova Scotia now, and are building their new house, so Christmas this year was spent quietly and quite happily at home with my little family. We didn't get a chance to wish all our friends a Merry Christmas last week, but you know they were thinking it.

It was Malcolm's first Christmas.

"OK Santa, here's my list! Some crinkly balls, a real mouse to chase around, a red fire truck, um, tae kwon do lessons, a blankie with Batman on it, a puppy, some more crinkly balls so I always have a supply when I lose them...oh! And a role in the next James Bond movie! What? Why am I sitting in this warm thing? Mae told me too. She said that when the door closes, I'll able to see stars!"

So he didn't get a real mouse. Or a puppy. Or tae kwon do lessons... Or most of the stuff on the list, but they did get some crinkly balls! And some tasty treats from the vet's office (sssshhhhhh, don't tell them). There may or may not have been an attempt to dress Atticus up as Santa, but he was not in the spirit this year.

"How is that different from any other year?"

Did everyone have a good holiday?

"Oh yeah... Eating and playing on Christmas Day is sooo tiring..."

"Why can't Santa be a girl?"

"Santa's a dude."

"Santa could be a girl."

"Santa's a DUDE."

"Yeah, well you just don't want to think that maybe because it takes so much organizational skills and pre-planning and stuff that Santa would HAVE to be a girl. Let's see you do all of that present-making stuff!"

"I thought Mom was Santa."

"DON'T SAY THAT!!! Santa's real!"

"I didn't say Santa wasn't real. I said maybe Mom was Santa."

"Mom! Gandalf is saying you're fat!"

"I'm confused about this Santa business..."

I know quite a lot of places had a LOT of snow and cold this year - we got rain. Lots of rain and wind. Usually when the barometric pressure drops this time of year, I get a migraine. This time around it blocked my ears and gave me vertigo. I've never had that happen, but I'll take it any day over the headaches.

Oh! And I did knit.

And there's more to St. Aula's second sleeve. Gotta love the power of blocking, because that sleeve sure looks pretty crumpled. As much as I love St. Aula, I'm really not enjoying the process of stranded knitting a 2nd sleeve with 3-ply yarn. Everything is that much bulkier and harder to maneuver. But, it knits up quickly, so who knows how much I'll have done next week. I also worked on Dunadd, which I realize now I didn't photograph...whoops. Now that is some pretty impressive cable work, let me tell you.

Wow, this is my last post of 2009! Where does the time go?! And, this is my 200th post!

Thanks to everyone for reading this year. For all of your encouragement and kind words, I'm very thankful. I've learned more about knitting from my blogger friends than any book could have taught me.

Be safe on New Year's Eve!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Week In Pictures

The hazards of tomatoes (fresh and just purchased) on the counter.

The hazards of leaving a plant dangling from an accessible location.

"Do it again Big Brother, that was COOL!"

The culprit.

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

So I swept up the mess, and decided to store the garbage bag in the bathroom for the time being.

I really need to pay more attention to fast moving objects before closing the bathroom door.

"I got locked in the bathroom! That was COOL!"


But, there were new discoveries to be made.

"Hello? Snow?! I'm Malcolm! Wanna play Bop Your Head on the Window? Over and over again? OK. You try to catch me, and I'll try to catch you! Yay!"

There was progress.

"What the hell is the squirt doing here?"

"He's fine. I'm fine. Relax, Mae. The more you run away from him, the more he thinks you want to play. Then he chases you. Then you hiss. Then he chases you. Then you whack him on the head. And he still chases you. You guys are lame."

"Yeah, well he'd better not come over to my side of the blanket..."

And there was some discipline, Big Daddy Atticus-style.

"Get off my chair."




"Fine. I'll just sit on you then."

"Oooof...Big Daddy! I was here first!"

"I'm bigger. And older. So move."

But in the end, you can always count on moments of peace.

"OK. Malcolm, we've been through this. I'm a dude. I do not have boobs."

Pictures shamelessly provided in hopes you'll not notice the lack of knitting pictures. There was knitting. But it feels like there has been no progress. I mean, a sleeve's a sleeve. And a sock is a sock. I'm aiming to have...oh wait. I'm not going to jinx it. Next week...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Lost and Found

Usually when I start looking for one thing in my stash, I end up finding something else. Actually, I'm not the one who found it -

"That would be me!"

I was searching for some red yarn I knew I had stashed along with my sock yarn. (Don't ask why, I don't remember now...). Pulling everything out of the sock yarn bin only asks for trouble with the guys. Malcolm decided to stuff himself into a plastic bag, and managed to pull this out.

A lone burgundy sock. I'm not sure why I have just one sock sitting in a bag at the bottom of my sock yarn bin. There's nothing wrong with it - it fits, there are no dropped stitches, the yarn is Fleece Artist Merino Sock Yarn, which is soft and the colour is great. Sure, it's top down, but that's OK too. I'm not sure why it ended up in a bag at the bottom of the bin, but I decided to finish up the second one. Even though I'm already working on another pair of Fleece Artist socks right now.

So it'll almost be a 2 for 1 deal when I'm done. Both skeins of sock yarn were gifties from my sister and SIL. A few years ago they stumbled upon a yarn store in Nova Scotia (where they now live. Not in the yarn store, in Nova Scotia. That would just be weird. But not for me. For them.), and thought - "hmmm, what is this Fleece Artist yarn? Must be local. Won't Brigitte like it if we brought her some local yarn from Nova Scotia?!". For non-knitters, they made excellent choices.

"Since when do you knit socks?"

Since I discovered the right yarn to use. I've learned over the years which wool is best for working with - and maybe I've become a bit of a yarn-snob as a result - and now I'm learning about which sock yarn I prefer using, and those that produce the best results. After all, if I don't like the yarn I'm using, I'm not likely to complete the project. I'm late arriving at the sock party... So, I'm actually giving myself a break from the big projects, and working on socks a couple of nights a week. And - sometimes after a long day at work, socks are about the only thing I can concentrate on.

There's more to it now, but here's the start of St. Aula's sleeve #1. This is such a beautiful design - a perfect example of 2-colour stranded knitting producing maximum results. I've been finishing up a few stealth projects as well, so - yes, that's what I have to show for myself.

Luckily, Malcolm has gotten into napping after dinnertime, leaving me with a few hours to knit without having to peel him off the body of the sweater, or try to unclench his jaw from around the stitch markers. What is it with those things?!! There's only one other cat in the household who does that...

"I love you, man."

Now that I have the last of my stealth knitting completed, I can finish up St. Aula. Oh, and work on *cough* Dunadd *cough* when I'm not in the mood for stranded knitting. (Ooooo, how gorgeous is this!)

"If I were in California, I'd be doing this cuddle action with my Auntie Carrie. She needs cuddles right now."

Sunday, November 22, 2009


"This is my impression of Mom this week. "Oooooooo, I feel crappy! Ooooooo, I need to lie down! Oooooooo, this sucks!" She was sick with the flu."

"And this is my impression of Mom not knitting. "Ooooooo, can't concentrate!" She hardly did any knitting."

"And this is me. Really starting to worry that Mom will be too out of it to feed me. I mean us."

"And this is me, acting all tough in the face of the nasty flu virus! Stay away from my Mom, flu virus! Yeah! I'm a tough guy!"

"But, mainly we did our best to make sure she took care of herself, and rested up. I think she's still a bit tired and sore, but she's getting better! Here, we're showing her how to rest up. It's important to renew your energy you know. She'll be back next week, hopefully having knit some."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some Real Progress

I really do have some real progress.

It's the body of St. Aula - completed! I always feel that once I've finished the body of a stranded project, the rest of it is just good ol' gravy. Today I plan on cutting one of the armhole steeks, and starting with the first sleeve.

I'm really quite pleased at how nicely the shoulders lined up. So pleased, I'm going to show you a crappy, slightly out of focus picture.

Well, it's actually not as bad as I thought. Nice, huh? I really love working on this project. For awhile, it was a bit hit and miss, as the boy would get seriously into either a) chasing anything that dangled, and would get his lethal little claws caught in the floats, or b) chomp on the stitch markers.

"Who? Me?? Oh, come on. I wouldn't do believe me Big Daddy, right?"

"Wanna bet?"

"Well, I would NEVER pull on your knitting. I'm too well-behaved."

"Well, I probably would because I'm not always so well-behaved."

Malcolm now passes out after their dinner, so it leaves me with a good chunk of time to work on St. Aula before he wakes up and the Witching Hour begins once again. As with most things on a kitten's brain, he loses interest as soon as he finds something new to look into.

"Gotta go."

Mostly to places he probably shouldn't be exploring.

"Ooooo, forbidden..."

By next week, it'll be a new area. I'm just crossing my fingers that he won't pick up on Gandalf's bad habit of jumping on the kitchen counter.

I have a goal of finishing St. Aula by the end of the year. In January, I'll be pulling out my beloved copy of Norsk Strikkedesign, and clicking away for the "Knit a Norwegian" KAL. You'll have to wait and see what I plan on making. So, I really want St. Aula completed by then. Oh, and another project that I didn't photograph, because it's kind this point.

So, it should be completely doable... *knocking wood*

And of course, come January when the KAL starts, Malcolm should *hopefully* be less into yarn and more into something else. Although I don't want to think what.

There's nothing like mealtime to bring everyone together.

"...nom nom nom..."

I have to finish up by telling you all how THRILLED I am to finally be back working on my own PC. Sometime during the summer, the harddrive failed (and boy did it ever). Well, I finally have it back, and better than new. I have Lorraine's son Alexander to thank for taking care of it for me. It works like a dream!

So happy! *sniff* What did we do before all of this technology?? Probably knit a whole lot more.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Cats In Hats

When I was planning my move to this apartment, I looked for suitable curtains for the french doors in my kitchen, leading out to the deck. I didn't want something heavy or dark, just something to let in the light, and allow for a bit of privacy. I settled on some off-white "netting" type curtains. Perfect! My sister helped me pick them out, and I bought a nice curtain rod that even matched the hardware on the cupboards. It was a great look, and I was quite pleased.

However. Someone had other ideas. And it's probably not who you think.

"I have no regrets."

So, looks like that experiment failed. I have a pair of curtains I'll put up that should do the trick for now. Ones that will hopefully not shred quite so...easily. I don't want to have bare windows, I need to have something there. *sigh* I keep forgetting that my home is their castle. Not mine.

I actually have a finished piece of knitting to show off!

Kittiwake is complete. It was knit on 3mm needles, and I used a little over one ball of AS' Scottish Fleet in Navy Blue. It is much more "stretchy" than I anticipated - Scottish Fleet is like twine to knit with. Not my favourite yarn, but I have to say - the results are worth the rash on my finger from the yarn, and the stabbed index finger from the needles (the dryness from the furnace didn't help either). I haven't decided if I'm going to add the tassle or not. I think it's fine the way it is, and being such a dark colour - you can't really see where the stitches are gathered at the top.

So - did I enjoy it? Meh. It wasn't the most enjoyable of Starmore projects - primarily because I chose to use such a dark colour. But, I'm very pleased with the results, and VERY glad it's finished.

"*sigh* I'm 11 years old, and yet..."

"Hi Everybody! Sorry I missed you last weekend - apparently Mom's Internet service was down because the company she uses are tools. That's what she said anyway. Look! Here I am, with Big Daddy. You may call him Atticus, but he's Big Daddy to me. "Daddy" because I'm pretty sure if Gandalf is my Cat-Mom, then Atticus must be my Cat-Dad; and "Big" because. Well. C'mon. He's big... But he rocks! When it's night time and we're all sleeping on the couch, no one but Big Daddy will do."

"Here I am with Gandalf. I love him. He's like the coolest big brother ever. Except when he goes all Cat-Mom on me, and grabs me by the scruff of my neck. He gets all worried I'm going to hurt myself, blah blah blah... I mean really. Look at me! Aren't I getting big? Last time I went to the vet, Mom said I weighed 4.4lbs. Wow! Oh, and speaking of the vet's office. Not liking the needles. And I can do without them taking my temperature. And Gandalf told me something about going there to get my warbles removed, whatever that means..."

"And here I am cuddling up to my sister Mae. She can be crabby sometimes, and she's not much into playing with me. But, as long as I behave nicely, she lets me lie down next to her. If I get to be too much of a pill, as she calls me, she hisses at me. And boy can she ever hiss! And she can really get mad too! Phew! I guess she's just not into playing Gladiator with me. I wonder if she has warbles?"

"I really love being underneath stuff. Just like Gandalf! Mom says I can sleep through an earthquake, whatever that is. But. In case you think that I'm all about the napping and cuddling, let me remind you. I'm only 3 months old."

"See? Here I am waking up Big Daddy from his nap."

" *sigh* long 'til those warbles come off?"

"Mom says I can be a little pooper, but then I snuggle up on her lap, and that makes her go all "awwww" and stuff. Well, thanks for stopping by everyone! I'm glad Mom has so many friends out there. It makes me feel special all right! 'K, nap time. Bye!"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sanity is Overrated

"Take it back!!"


"Take.It.BACK! Say it!"

"NO! You're a big...fat...oooof...OK!!!"

"Last chance squirt!!"

"OK! OK! You don't have a crush on the dog next door!"

"That's better...and what are you?"


Ah yes, just another morning here with the Feline Family.

Remember when I decided to knit smallish stuff, because I just couldn't get in to knitting my larger, current projects? So, I knit socks, and squares for my Lizard Ridge blanket, and the odd piece that didn't work out... And I thought - well, may as well knit something small from my Ravelry queue. I decided the perfect "little" project would be the Kittiwake hat, from AS' "Aran Knitting".

See, it's deceptive. It's a hat, with simple cabling. But it's a Starmore hat, knit with Scottish Fleet, the coarsest, tightest yarn known to man, and small needles. AND. Just because. I decide to knit it in NAVY BLUE.


The ribbing just about did me in. You know, there's a reason my Fulmar gets worked on only now and then. Cabling with Scottish Fleet can be a bit rough after awhile. What made me think this would be any different?!! Well, it's coming along, and I'm more than half done the first chart.

I have been able to pick up St. Aula once again. I should have some significant progress to show you soon! The boy's interest has moved on to something else, allowing me to knit without worrying about a banzai attack from out of nowhere...

"Hello World!!"

This week, I've been keeping a low profile. It's been busy at work, and to keep my sanity somewhat intact, I've been relaxing, and not stressing myself out over the little things. This is the time of year when Project Managers suddenly realize that the end of the year is coming, and all of the stuff they've been putting off has to be done. NOW. And my group, who handle all the technical and network part of these projects, is down to half of what it was a year ago, with the work load being heavier. Not only do they want it done NOW, their project is THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE.EVER. You do what you can... I'm fortunate I have a job, and that I can work from home. So, I take the small victories where I can get them, and don't sweat the small stuff.

Like Mae on the furniture.

"This isn't all it's cracked up to be."

Or getting up from the couch to find that I've lost my spot.

"Sorry lady. We're squatting here now."

Or wondering why I had to leave the leftovers out.

"Wow, human food ROCKS!"