Tuesday, 30 December 2008

No knitting Update

But since I've been a bad blogger, I'll share the view from my bedroom window at sunrise on Monday. It was a lot prettier in person, but my little camera just can't capture that.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Iz Really Bad Blogger

I would really like to keep this blog up because I enjoy writing for it, but at the moment, I'm not only short of time, I'm short of fodder. Knitting is really boring right now and most of it is for other people, so I can't blog about that. Life is equally as boring as well as a bit hectic, so you don't really want to hear about that. There's lots of prepping for my vacation and my new job at work and prepping for Christmas and vacation at home going on. So the long and the short of it is that I haven't really got the time or creativity to create anything worth reading right now and since the only thing worse than no blog is a really boring blog, I've decided to officially put this on hiatus. I'll be back sometime after my upcoming trip to England - worst case scenario, next year.

Have a good Christmas season all!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Iz Bad Blogger

But Me= Chicken-head at the moment. I've gotten a "new job" at work, which means additional work (at same pay naturally) and my head is about to explode with information, things that need doing and plans for the arc I need to build to get home today. It's pouring outside. That brought to you randomly because I chanced to look out the window. I'm wearing Crocs. The kind with holes in them. I'm going to be soaked in about half an hour. Joy.

Actually the last line of that list was supposed to say "with all the Christmas things that need doing". I'm still Christmas prepping (we don't have Thanksgiving here, so I feel a bit less guilty about starting Christmas this early), but at least I get to do it in snow this weekend. It's going to snow! And I'm the only one in the country who's happy about it!

I stopped knitting for an entire week to finish my other project and had to return straight back to Remedial Knitting Classes. Granted, the project is lace, but even I'm not usually that bad. Dropped stitches and mistakes everywhere. I decided it would be better, and more fun, to take things slowly, so I have nothing to share on the knitting front today.

2.5 weeks and counting and then I have vacation. Three whole weeks of rest, relaxation and knitting. Yay! I have plans, but I'll have to tell you about them later. I need to go meditate so I'm in the frame of mind to become one with the water outside, because become one I will, like it or not.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

No Knitting for the Procrastinator

I think I’ve forgotten how to blog. So much of not much has happened, that I don’t even know where to start. Actually, I did quite a bit of knitting in the last few weeks, but it was all Christmas projects I was finishing and I don’t want to post them yet. Besides, they aren’t really very exciting. They are for the people who are getting them, but as far as the knitting goes, it was all fairly basic.

I did finally get a package sent to and opened by my good friend Inkysticks. She’s in England for 6 weeks, so I made her a scarf/hat/handwarmer set plus a pair of thick socks for the cold weather. I figured it would be silly to wait and give them to her at Christmas because she’ll be back in California by then - so, now that you’re going back to a warm place, have some wolly items. :P Silly. So here they are. They are made from Kappa Color yarn, I think from Lang, but can’t look right now. I saw the yarn and instantly thought of Inky, so I just had to make her something from it. It is a cotton blend and not overly warm, but it’s perfect for autumn and since she lives in California and we’re not heading towards an ice age, I figured it would serve her better than 100% chunky weight wool. The socks were simple Dad’s Easy Cable socks make from thick wool, but even in Ca. your feet can get cold when you’re sitting and knitting.

OK, pictures another time since Blogger isn't playing today.

There was one small catastrophe which seriously irked me. Last Aug., I made myself some socklettes out of leftover yarn. I loved these socklettes (yes, loved, you see what’s coming). I wore them all the time at home. I loved that they were quick to slip on, warm and comfy to wear. One evening, I was taking the dogs out and slipped my foot into my winter crocs only to find they were cold and wet in one spot. I thought it was odd, so I took my foot out and looked only to find that there was a hole the size of a quarter in them! Worn right through, and no, darning is not an option since I’m A, out of that yarn and B, there wasn’t enough of the stitches left to work with. Then I looked at the other and there was a hole in that one too. I nearly cried. 2 months. They lived for 2 months. I’m still mourning them. Thing is, I’ve never worn through a pair of hand knit socks before. This is the first pair. I’m now almost too scared to wear the normal socks I made with that yarn for fear of wearing them out. *sigh*

The other tragedy, and yes, it does actually qualify as a minor tragedy in my life, is that I’m on a knitting hiatus. I have another project I’m working on which involves my really non-favourite activity: sewing. Trying to work on it a bit before going over to knitting failed, in a big way, so now I’m forcing myself to sit down and sew until it’s done. Duration? Uncertain, but I estimate I should be done by the end of next week. No, it’s not long in the scheme of things, but long enough to go without knitting. Although I may weaken and knit something this weekend, but shhhhh!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Ugly Yarn and Weekends

After much deliberation and wondering what to do with my oh so ugly yarn, I did frog the first project and started a plain sock with said yarn. After having knit awhile, I began to see that a pattern is emerging, which is fortunate. It’s still not beautiful, but the leaning stripes being created at least prevent the aforementioned look of banana split stomach flu and should make an acceptable non-present present for my aunt, who is much less picky than I am, and is pretty much willing to wear most things that are hand-knit, whether they are things of beauty or not. (Her grammar, punctuation and sentence structure are also better than mine.) Granted, she’ll probably save these for wear with her Uggs, but at least they will be worn.

Since I know there are people on the edge of their seats about this (not joking), I’m still not certain as to whether or not I’ll be able to vote. I sent in the application, they replied that I needed to supply them with a county. We (aforementioned aunt) wrote in the county where I grew up and resent. I did receive a fax saying that my application had been successfully received, but that doesn’t tell me if I can vote or not. This leaves me wondering if and when I’ll find out. In the meantime, I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking and have made my decision, so at least I know who I’ll be voting for. I’m not going to say here since I don’t need another blog with political discussions. I have enough of those thanksmuchly.

Today I feel like singing Christmas Carols. I don’t know if it’s because I’m just in a good mood because all of my work is done and my 4 day weekend starts in less than 2 hours or if it’s because it looks like the closest thing to a white Christmas in California outside today. It’s still very much autumn here. The leaves are colourful and falling rapidly, it’s raining and foggy outside (fog=white Christmas, anyone from Central California will tell you that) and it’s chilly. Perfect, in my humble opinion. Not that I haven’t enjoyed the sun of late, but it’s time for it to get cold enough for me to feel like being inside. It was sunny last Sat. morning and the wonderful rays of sunshine in my living room served to highlight that all of my cleaning efforts from the previous evening were completely pointless because my apartment is a dust mote infested hole in which one could grow potatoes in various nooks and crannies. In short, I really need to get a good cleaning in. Not that it’s going to do so much good seeing as how I live in a 100 year old farm house right underneath the not so hermetically sealed hayloft, but at least I’ll feel better about it. I’ll have tried, made the effort, gone the extra mile and all that.

After cleaning, because this is such and intelligent thing to do since baking never involves mess, I intend to make the next batch of Christmas cookies for freezing. I’ve already got 5 sticks of Ginger Snap dough in my freezer and I want to do the Chocolate Swirls this weekend. At this rate, if I do one batch of cookies a weekend, I’ll have 8 sorts made by the beginning of Dec. I also only have one pair of socks and a pair of hand warmers to do and I’ll be finished with all my Christmas knitting. Then there’s a rather larger sewing project I need to finish, plus cards and packages and then Christmas can come. It’s Oct. I should finish on time. Please to be remembering that I have to have Christmas finished by the beginning of Dec. or various packages will not arrive in time. Stressed? Me? Never. But before anyone says I shouldn’t stress about it, these are things I WANT to do. I know I don’t have to, but I would be disappointed with myself if I didn’t. I’m sure that will change as I get older, but right now, I’m not willing to give it all up. It’s part of the fun.

Whatever I do this weekend, I plan on enjoying it. I hope you all have a good one too!

Friday, 17 October 2008


I recently bought some sock yarn (oh quelle surprise!). It’s very pretty sock yarn of nice soft colours, mostly beiges and yellows with some light blue mixed in. I was certain this yarn was going to make beautiful socks, as had the same yarn in a different colour. It looked pretty and perfect and was going to make a great Christmas gift for my unrelated cousin/aunt, don’t ask, it’s difficult.

See? Doesn't it look purty?

So I found a pattern, got out the yarn and started knitting. Oh the shock. Oh the disappointment. I think I can say that this yarn is without a doubt some of the ugliest yarn I’ve ever purchased. The yellows are banana yellow, the blues a minty colour and the beiges are brown and altogether, they look like someone ate a banana split with blue sprinkles and then, well, didn’t keep it down. I am so disappointed. However, the very small optimist in me (you know, the one that makes Tom Thumb look like Hagrid?) says that maybe it will be ok in another pattern, one with more stockinet stitch in it. This particular pattern has a lot of purl stitch, so maybe with something else it will be much, much better. I hope so since I optimistically bought 2 skeins of it. The optimist in me just shrank to microscopic proportions. Oh well, live and learn.

In other news, thanks to Mary Lou over at the Yarnerina’s, I might actually be able to vote. OK, she didn’t actually make that happen, but she did kind of nudge me to take another look at the voting regulations. To my surprise, either I was fed inaccurate information or things have changed in the last 15 years and I should be able to vote! I’ve sent in what I think is the proper form and am hoping it works. It would be nice to be able to vote, especially as it would be the first time in 16 year. I’ve only ever voted in one presidential election, which the first after my 18th and the last before I moved overseas. I did try and vote in the one they told me I would still be eligible for, but they failed to send me my ballot and the embassy was very unhelpful. I did eventually get the ballot…several days after the president was sworn in. So basically, I’m very excited that I might actually get to vote. I’ve now got a lot of reading to do before the 4th.

Knitting, oh yes, that little thing. It’s very unexciting. I’ve been going through a handwamer phase and these are the results thus far:


These are two hats I did for down and out people in Canada. They'll be going off to Zoom soon just as soon as I get one or two more things done to put in the package.

And finally, my latest pair of Journey Cables which I LOVE. I love the yarn, I love the pattern, I love the finished product and I love the person who's getting them. The perfect project.

Oh, and because I love fall, a gratuitous picture of the yard where I live

Thursday, 9 October 2008


People, I’m not usually one for the gloom and doom scare tactics used by an increasing number of organizations out there, but I really think that there are times when they are truly necessary. I’m telling you this so you can save yourselves before it’s too late. People, there is a new threat in the world. At the moment, the greatest threat is still confined to localized forces, but the threat is growing at a rapid pace. The attacks are becoming more violent as each day passes and should become international news any day now. Can you not guess what it is? Have you not got your eyes open when you walk out the door? Seriously people. Look around you and be afraid. Be very afraid. The United Squirrel Liberation Organisation has hatched a diabolical plan to take over the world. Although come to think of it, we might be better off if we just let them. McCain or a squirrel. Banks or hollow trees. Hmmm…which sounds better to you?

Have you evidence of this plot you ask? Of course I do! Just take a walk in your local forest and witness it first hand! Once upon a time, a squirrel collecting nuts on the ground would see you and then run up a tree and hide. Then, a few years ago, they began running up a tree not to hide, but to scream at you. The younger generation took this a step further by not actually running the first chance they got, but by stopping to stick their tongues out at you before running up a tree and letting you have a verbal bashing. They found this tactic so successful that they started mocking and taunting you and your dogs prior to height and verbal expression of their dissatisfaction of your presence in what is clearly their home. This was all acceptable people, but now, now they have begun to actively attack. I should have known it was coming after the disturbing story about a single squirrel attacking 3 people before having its head bashed in by an 80 year old man with a cane. I should have seen then that they were planning something more aggressive, but failed. They learned from Alvin’s mayherestinpeace failure and have since graduated to using weapons in their attacks. This gives them the advantage of being able to hurt you from a distance, which, in turn, minimizes the chance that a feisty 80 year old will whack them to death before they complete their mission. Their weapons? Their paws. Ammo? Acorns and pine cones. They have now started bombing poor, unsuspecting wanderers in the woods as they ramble through the forest. It’s terrible I tell you!

Now, I can hear you thinking that, while uncomfortable, an acorn thrown at your head from a distance of 20 feet or so is not going to kill anyone. But their plan is cleverer than just that. They don’t actually intend injury as such, rather they just intend to give us headaches and watch us destroy ourselves from within. Politicians, who obviously aren’t over endowed in the intelligence department anyway, will wind up with headaches that prevent them from making important decisions effecting countries on all continents. Governments will collapse internally from lack of thought, preparation and action. They will no longer be able to support the people who voted for them and the squirrels will then whip in and overtake all politicians who have ever appeared in the news. They plan on tying them up to trees naked and pelting them with nuts and pinecones until they are dead or come up with enough peanut butter to make sandwiches for all squirrels across the globe. (Frankly speaking, I want front row tickets to that event. Better than football any day.) Then once the politicians are gone, they will replace all world currencies with acorns making themselves some of the riches entities whoever lived on the planet earth. After all, they’ve spent years hoarding nuts and are a heck of a lot better at saving than humans are. Humans, except for peanut farmers, will have to bow down to the squirrels and beg for mercy. We will be exactly where they want us, broken and sad, no longer able to conjure up the energy to ramble through their forests and step on their food. They will control all and humans will be subjugated to their every wish. Oak trees will become the new mints and castles with moats will be erected to protect them. Little squirrel Fürsts will appear on the scene forcing humans to collect acorns and keeping three quarters of the profits for themselves leaving the humans destitute with lives that are no longer worth living. It will be the end of the human race as we know it.

Be afraid people. Be very afraid. They are closer than you think.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Since a couple of people have commented...

Yes, the following pictures are from this weekend. As a matter of fact, I spent Sunday sitting under this tree (Walnut), and will do so again this weekend if it's sunny. Things really are nice right now. Cool enough to be comfortable in the sun, but very sunny. We have had a few clouds and a little rain, but you all know that doesn't bother me. The trees are close to going into full change now and it's beautiful. I do so love the autumn (yeah, I might have mentioned that before, but it really does make me happy).

Friday, 26 September 2008

10 Things Meme

I got this off of Yarnhog.

My list of Ten Things I Can't (Don't Want to) Do Without:

1. My dogs, even if I do want to throttle T on occasion. I agree with Yarnhog on dogs, they are so much easier to relate to than humans. The more humans I meet, the more I like my dogs.
2. Ipod. My audiobooks help keep me sane and the chores done.
3. Knitting. That one is obvious.
4. Books. I love to read and even though I love the convenience of audiobooks, I still love curling up with a good book (see #9) or reading myself to sleep at night. I can't imagine a world without books. Just recently a co-worker mentioned that he didn't like to read and I nearly fell out of my chair. I suppose I shouldn't wonder. Most people think I'm crazy because I don't like the heat.
5. Internet. Again, this keeps me sane at work when it's slow. I love that it's entertaining and helpful at the same time. Being able to Google something you want to know about is a gift from above, as is contacting all sorts of people I otherwise never would have met.
6. Privacy. I'm rather a bit of a misanthrope and I like my privacy and alone time, even though you could argue that I get enough of it since I live alone. I love being able to do what I want, or don't want, when I want and with whom I want, or don't want. I don't think I'll ever want to give that up.
7. My Cats. Not only necessary for our mouse problem, but they are the yin to the dog's yang. And they don't eat jackets. Not yet anyway.
8. Family. I don't have a huge family and although I don't see them often, I wouldn't want to be without them, for obvious reasons.
9. The Great Outdoors. I like nature for two reasons. The first is because it's enjoyable in most of it's forms (the desert and hot places are obviously excluded from my list of pleasureable places to be). There's nothing like a mossy floor in a green forest or moss covered rocks running along a river, a nice rain or a crisp day to refresh the soul. Then, there is the hiding from it, which is just as nice. There's nothing like a warm blanket, good book and a cup of tea when it's raining in buckets outside. Fondue on a cold evening? Yum. Foggy? Light some candles and the world is all right. Besides, most of the sounds nature makes are ever so much more pleasant than the ones humans create.
10. Tea. Good stuff. The only thing I really like that is really good for you. Must keep this one.

Theoretically, I could do without all of this, but would life really be worth living?

The Knitting Gods Are Cruel. Very Cruel.

Remember the Iain sweater from yesterday's post that literally screamed Made for Theblacksheep? Apparently, it's only there to taunt me. I just got an e-mail from the vendor saying that the designer doesn't release her patterns electronically so a download or PDF is not available. They do ship internationally, but even I balk at paying that kind of money for a pattern. I do appreciate the work designers put into creating a pattern and I'm quite willing to pay a fair price, but with shipping the price becomes ridiculous. I'll have to forgoe this time. Maybe I'll make up my own pattern someday.

As a consolation, I've been working on a pair of Evangeline Handwarmers (or the Rav link in case that one doesn't work) and discovered that there are things other than hats that provide instant knitting gratification. I love these handwarmers. The pattern is cool, the wool is nice and warm and they knit up really quickly. Now, if I just hadn't been so stupid as to knit one pattern repeat too many on the wrist part, I'd be in butter. Unfortunately I did and now I'm going to have to frog back to before the thumb hole on the second one tonight. On the otherhand, I did say instant gratification and I meant it. It will only take a half hour or so to re-knit correctly, so it's no biggie.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Knitting Gods Strike Again

You know, it's not like I haven't already got 2 sweaters waiting for me, along with at least 2 pair of socks and a few other random items. It's not like I haven't got enough to knit at the moment. No, I had to run into yet another sweater that was Made for ME. It's like someone said, "Let's design a sweater for Theblacksheep. What would she like?" Of course, I never would have encountered this sweater if it weren't for three things: Ravelry, ThePinkSheep and Knitterinprogress. Ravelry just because it is what it is, ThePinkSheep because she pointed out that there are different tabs for the Rav friend's feature, and Knitterinprogress because she had it queued. Had it not been for that, I never would have seen this sweater and never wanted to knit it and never wanted to wear it. BUGGER. I need a good three months off work so I can knit for me.

Oh yes, you'd like to see this sweater? It's this one: Iain or for those not on Rav, Iain. Cables + hoodie is just totally irresistible to me. I've even gone so far as to ask if they have it available electronically. Sigh. I need several more hours in each day just for knitting. And a bigger salary too.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Last week I gacked a new gidggywidget off of Mariknit’s blog. It’s the new followers item. It’s a fairly handy little thing that tells me who’s blog I read. Even better though is the new Blog List, or Blist, as I call it. It not only links me directly to everyone’s blogs, but tells me when they last posted as well. Now I can tell at a glance who posted recently and if I really need to go to their blog or not. It’s very cool. Should keep me more up to date on people’s knitting too.

I’ve finished the first of my Knitty Knotty socks. Alas, no pictures as the weather has been poor when I’ve had time to take pictures. I’ll try this weekend since we should get some sun. I really like the pattern, but I should have used a plainer yarn. You can’t really see the little knots in the variegation. Also, this particular yarn would have been pretty all by itself. It’s too bad they didn’t have it last time I went. I would have liked to do more socks with it, especially as it’s 6 ply and very warm. Oh well, maybe they’ll get more in.

It’s Fall! It’s ever so nice outside now. Either high fog or sun with cool temps. Perfect dog walking weather. I really, really love this time of year. My summer is everyone else’s fall.

Apropos cool weather, the cats have moved back in. I’m feeling a bit like a kitty motel at the moment. We’ll move back in so long as it cold out and we don’t really want to freeze in the hay all night. We’ll also leave our dead mice laying around for you to clean up because we’re too full to eat them ourselves. We’ll also show up regularly for meals now since we’re hanging out closer to home nowadays too. Makes a nice change from mouse and bird don’tcha know. Nice to know my cats enjoy room service to its full extent. Wish I had someone who cooked and cleaned for me while I was out doing what I wanted to all day. I always wanted to come back as a dog in my next life, but now I’m wondering if cat wouldn’t be better. Not even the inclination to chase a ball. How nice.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Fortunately, Life is Fairly Boring

Oh wow. It’s been a while since I posted. It always seems to me like I’ve written more, but then I look at the date and am quite shocked.

I will plead that my knitting has been quite tame lately. Nothing exciting to report, no lace that’s making my lose my mind, no projects eaten by the dogs (knock on wood really hard), nothing really and truly exciting at all.

I did start my Knitty Knotty socks last night, at last. I know, I know. I’ve been raving about these socks since the preview came out in July and am just now getting around to knitting them. It’s just that I had a few other things to do in the meantime. I love the pattern. I’m doing the top down version so it’s all fairly straight forward. It’s mostly just a simple sock with an interesting cable pattern. I can foresee this being the first of several pair of these. They are an easy knit which is interesting enough to hold your attention and to look very pretty when you’re done. In short, the perfect sock. The only thing I’m not perfectly happy with is my own choice of yarn. It’s a very pretty yarn, but it’s variegated and hides the pattern more than I would like. However, it’s still pretty and since they are for me, I’m going to do them anyway.

I’ve also knit a sock in the Schachenmeyer Bamboo yarn. At first I thought I wouldn’t like it since it’s a bit shiny and I prefer matt, but after having finished the first, I think they’re going to be good. Again, they are for me, so perfection is optional anyway. I was debating on giving them to someone else for Christmas, but I wanted to see how they would be to wear and it’s autumn and I’ll need warm socks soon.

Actually, what am I saying? I’ve already got my cotton blends on. I had ice on my windscreen for the first time this morning. It seems like we went directly from summer to fall this year. I’m sure it will warm back up again, but in the meantime, it’s wool time!

Speaking of which, the weather has also motivated me to replace my jacket from the Great Jacket Carnage of June. Last weekend was one of those weekends where you only get wet once (and remain that way all weekend). As much as I love the rain, I do prefer to remain moderately dry when I walk the dogs and none of my jackets are waterproof. It’s been ordered and should be here in 7-9 days. After getting the bill, I’m seriously considering sending T out to beg again. He’s at home practicing his pathetic looks right now. Well, either that or getting into more trouble. I won’t know which until I get home.

Monday, 8 September 2008


OK, in the meantime I’ve talked myself out of the Lord of the Rings Sock Club. See? Improvement! Actually, it’s mostly because I’ve also been lusting after the New KP Fall and Winter Kettle Dyed Essentials sampler and I figure I would rather spend my money on that, if at all, because at least I know what I’m getting. I can’t really afford surprises. Especially as Karoline pointed out, you could wind up with yarn in colours like orange or mustard yellow or brown (I’ll leave the shade to your imagination) that I would probably never use for any pattern. At least I know I would use all of the ones in the sampler.

Fortunately, I can’t bring myself to spring for the sampler either. It’s expensive and the shipping would be horrendous. With my luck, they’d probably tack custom’s tax onto it as well. So, I’ll just stick to my LYS (which I adore anyway). Much better option. Yes. Definitely.

I do have one quibble with my LYS at the moment. I was there a while back and found new sock yarns which I really liked. I did get some (oh quelle surprise!) but figured to go whole hog would be silly since they tend to have these yarns for a very long time. *sigh* They were out. Completely. There weren’t even any of the other colour ways left. That was the first time I’d done that and I regret it now. OK, so it’s not like they didn’t have any other sock yarn and it’s not like I don’t already have enough, but you know how it is. It’s just that this is the first time my LYS has failed me. Bad LYS! On the plus side, they did have some of the bamboo sock yarn in single skeins this time. Last time I was there you could only get it in packs of 6 and I don’t really need 6 skeins, especially as I wanted to try it first. So, I picked up a skein of the blue (Oh I do so like to surprise you all) and will see how it goes. I also got enough 6 Fach for a pair of thick winter socks as I’m assuming we will have winter this year, unlike last year. All in all, I didn’t buy much, which again, is progress for me. I’ve even almost finished knitting up all the non-sock yarn I bought for the blanket. I didn’t even bother to stash that in Ravelry because it sort of seems pointless when it’s already gone.

The dogs forgave me their bath this weekend. First of all it poured down rain all of Sat. (yay!) which meant they got soaked, which meant they got a thorough rub down, which they always like. Then they, or rather Biscuit, got to play with a young Irish Wolfhound for an hour on Sunday which she thought was great. T, in consolation, spent an hour getting pet, which he thought was just the way things really should be all the time. All in all it was a good weekend for all of us.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Lord of the Rings Sock Club

Somebody save me from myself. I was innocently scanning some of the Ravelry forums, when I ran across the Lord of the Rings Sock Club. I’ve never been tempted to join any of these types of clubs because they are expensive, send you unknown patterns and colours you’re not sure you will like because you’ve never seen them and usually don’t feature superwash yarn, which is what I prefer for socks. No, it isn’t as soft and luxurious as the expensive stuff, but it holds up better, doesn’t felt on the bottom and I can wear the socks constantly and without fear of putting holes in them. They also remain wearable if they land in the normal washing pile by mistake. This is a big plus in my opinion. I like things I can really use without worrying about them. This explains why you will never see me in a pretty dress or nice clothes on a daily basis. I don’t want to have to worry about my clothes all day long. I’ve got other problems thanks muchly.

So, now someone tell me why I’m still considering joining this club? It makes no sense at all. I love LotR and always have. I’ve seen artwork in the films that I would love to be able to turn into a cable (but I fail at that). I’m sure the yarn in beautiful and even if I didn’t like the pattern I could still use the yarn for something else, but can I justify it? Can I justify spending $210 for 6 pair of socks when I would normally spend $24 for all 6 pair?

I’m going to wait before joining and hope that I’ll calm down and realize it’s not necessary for me to join and indeed it would be a bad idea all around. In the meantime, someone talk some sense into me please.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Animal Cruelty, Maybe

Quick! Somebody call the animal welfare society and denounce me! My dogs are really poor, mistreated beings in desperate need of help. Why you ask? I bathed them yesterday. *gasp, run screaming from room, faint from the shock of it all* I’ve been demoted from “nice hooman who feeds and walks us” to the ranks of “evil, sadistic creature whose sole purpose is to torture and maim us”. Please send help asap.

Or not. The only thing the animal welfare society would find are two well fed, clean, nice smelling dogs. Tough luck canines! Muhahahahahahaha!

Honestly. You would have thought I was killing them the way they reacted to being bathed. It was shameful. Even T tried to escape instead of sucking it up and getting it over with. You’d even think they’d like being massaged with soap. But no, they did their best to look like they were being murdered slowly and painfully. I wonder if they’ll ever get over it.

In knitting news, Christmas knitting is now in full swing, so I haven’t much to say about anything. Too many people who are on my list read this so I can’t even hint at anything. Suffice it to say that I’m happy with everything.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Randomness - Again

Last Friday, my Interweave FINALLY showed up. This made me a rather happy bunny. I would have liked to have read it over lunch, but it poured down with rain all day, so I took the dogs for a walk instead of just out to the field. This edition is fabulous. There are several things I would like to do, but know I won’t have time for. I will put it aside for future reference though. I might get to them some day.

I finally finished my ankle socks, which I’m really pleased with. They are terribly comfortable as well as gorgeous and I can’t wait until it gets cold enough to wear them.

I also finished another of the Falling Water scarves only in light blue this time. It’s going to be a raffle prize for one of my Internet communities.

Finally, I started a drop stitch scarf for a special project, which has yet to be announced. It’s not the most pleasant thing to knit and I’m a little worried that it will still look wonky after blocking and that it won’t be long enough, by my friend Inkysticks assures me it will all turn out alright in the end, so I’m putting my faith in her superior knowledge.

After that, I have 27 different things to cast on. Fortunately I’m working against a deadline right now, so I can resist the temptation to start too many things at once.

Just because, I’m going to throw in a picture of the old man of the house. He really is getting rather grey in the nose. He’s also started on the senile “I want to spend 5 hours sniffing this one flower thankyouverymuch” thing, which is annoying when I have to get to work on time in the mornings. I wonder what I’m going to do with him when he gets really old. I might have to get 2 sets of roller skates, put his leash on, and pull him along while Biscuit and I walk. What a sight that will be.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Time Flies

Once again, I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I blogged about anything. On the one hand time seems to go so slowly, and on the other, so fast. I do have to admit that the days have sped up between work increasing, finding things I can read at work when it is slow and my audio books. I do feel quite a bit less deprived now that I’m able to read more.

Speaking of which, I’m a bit miffed at Audible because I got my credits yesterday, promptly used them and bought two additional books and today they come out with 15% off. Blah. OK, I wouldn’t have saved that much, but all the same, hrumpf.

Knitting news: I’ve finished the Crashing Rapids
and they are wonderful! We lovsies them. I’m now working on ankle socks with the left over wool and they are really nice as well. I can’t wait until it’s time to use them. I’ve also started yet another River Rapids Scarf for a giveaway my my SPEWer group only in light blue this time. Plus I’ve started the Blue Flame shawl for myself.

I STILL haven’t gotten my Interweave and I’m a little miffed about that too. Where is it people?! Don’t send me the teaser e-mail if you’re not going to send me the magazine in time to prevent a coronary thankyouverymuch! Patience is a virtue. One that I just don’t have.

As my friend Thepinksheep said, I’ve got Castonitis at the moment. In addition to the above-mentioned projects, I want to cast on another scarf for a fundraiser, the Knitty Knotty socks and the Basket Weave Jacket from Interweave that I’m salivating over, the Winter Branches sweater, Linden from The Twist Collective and another pair of Journey Cable socks. *sigh* I need more knitting time. Must speak to the dogs about walking themselves. Wonder if they would need me less if I bought them a few more teddys (they only have about 20 stuffed animals).

Finally, a piece of fantastic news: We’re having some wonderful, beautiful fall weather! It only got up to about 70°F today and is supposed to stay under 75°-80°F for the next couple of weeks. It poured down rain yesterday and we should continue to get a bit here and there for a while. I know it won’t last, but at least the end of summer is in sight!

Having said that, we had a lovely weekend. Not even I could deny that Sat. was perfect. It was sunny and about 70°-75°F with a nice breeze. Just enough to cool you off but not enough to be annoying. Even I enjoyed it, and that’s saying something. Sun. was a little warmer, but still good until about 3pm. After that, the sun seemed to glare down and the air got that old, stale, faded sense which I so dislike. However, that made the clouds on Monday all the nicer for it.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


I had a fantastic weekend. Three whole days of reading, knitting and sleeping (with obligatory dog walking thrown in). It was glorious. I did have to hide in the house for about 2 hours on Friday evening. All the windows had to be shut and the television turned up rather louder than I like. It was the national holiday and Mr. I’m really hot stuff with my teddy bears was afraid that the world was ending but it would all be OK if he could just sit in my lap. He weighs 150 lbs. This will never happen, even if he could make himself fit. I’m too attached to my corporeal circulation. He’ll just have to tough it on his bed with aforementioned teddy(s). Needless to mention, he lived, as did we all. We are also thankful that the weather was decent and everyone seems to have pretty much shot off all their fireworks and we don’t have to have the lap question on a nightly basis.

I got quite a bit of knitting done, although it doesn’t really sound like it. I finished my Falling Water Scarf,
which I love and cannot wait to wear (OK, it’s warm out, I can wait), finished the bamboo socks which are lovely and soft and warm (again, I can wait)

and started and finished one of my Crashing River Rapid socks in the Crashing into Ewe periwinkle yarn from Thepinksheep.
The yarn is beautiful. It’s absolutely gorgeous and goes well with the pattern. Love it.

Like I said, it doesn’t sound like much, but it took a while to get it all done. Now I’ve got to get working on my squares again, plus finish the second Crashing Rapids and start another phone sock for easy knitting purposes. Then I want to do a Candle Flame Shawl and the Winter Branches Sweater for myself. I also need to check on what I still need to do for Christmas knitting. I should be almost done with that with the exception of one or two pair of socks. Lots of knitting, not enough time.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

New Pattern

Sorry about yesterday's book post in here. I have no recollection of putting it here and am fairly certain I just got confused. I'll leave it now since there are comments.

I just found my next sock pattern. It's in the new Fall Interweave, which I don't actually have yet, but should soon (if they know what's good for them). It's called Knotty or Knice, is from the same designer as my Twisted Tuplips and is just up my street. I'm looking forward to doing those. I also need to find out where she gets the yarn. It's a great shade of yellow. Dark enough not to be insipid and light enough not to be grating. I swear a sock design is half made if you get the right yarn. Even the best patterns look bad if you have an ugly yarn. That's how the yarn maufacturer's get us to buy more sock yarn. You've always got to have a little of everything on hand just in case the right pattern comes along. *sigh* They are so smart. Must learn to be smarter.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Far From a Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

I liked this book. Even though it was the same no-frills style of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, it was a lot cheerier. The characters still had a difficult time of it, but they didn’t suffer quite the hardships as Tess and also didn’t suffer the moral anguish Tess made herself suffer. I think Hardy’s point of success in life through hard work, sense and morals was better made in Far From a Madding Crowd. The characters were likeable, at least those who were supposed to be, and Hardy built up a good picture of what life might have been like in rural areas at the time. It was interesting to see how the social structure of farms worked, especially the labour markets that took place once a year.

All in all it’s a good book and one I would recommend for anyone who likes the literature of the time. Hardy is less romantic than many of the century’s earlier authors, but is still engaging and a good story teller.

Moll Flanders

I decided to create a new blog after all for the Classics Challenge and book reviews: BlackSheepBooks. Here's a link to my first post about Moll Flanders if you're interested.


Can anyone out there tell me what I was thinking? Because I really just don’t know.

I knit a hat and a scarf for my aunt in the Four Seasons Carola yarn I got on sale (same yarn as the Candle Flame Shawl only in light blue). I liked this yarn and as it was on sale, I bought some more in dark blue when I went to pick up the extra I needed for the shawl. See, for the shawl I was thinking I would need 6 because I needed 2.5 for my aunt’s scarf, so I reasoned that 6 would be good for the shawl. I was wrong. I needed more. No biggie. It was a different pattern and I just figured it needed more yarn because of that. So, I went back to the yarn store and bought 3 more skeins of orange and 3 dark blue for my planned scarf. A week or two later, I realized that I would need one more to finish off the shawl and not wanting to actually GO to the LYS where I would be tempted by the sock yarn dept. beyond my endurance, I reached for my mouse to order on-line. Only when you order by mail, you pay $7 for the package and I didn’t want to pay $2 for the yarn and $7 for the package, so I thought about what else I needed.

Suddenly, I realized that I didn’t have enough of the dark blue to knit my scarf and what was I thinking when I only bought three skeins, after all, the shawl required 10 so it makes total sense that you would need 6 for a scarf, right? I ordered another three to make the whole order worth while.

I guess you’ve all spotted the error in logic by now. In my defence, I wasn’t thinking of all this at once. It was over a period of weeks and by the time I was ordering the one orange skein, I had forgotten that I only needed 3 for the scarf. Now I have too much yarn for my project and not enough for anything really big. I guess I’m going to have to make another scarf. I’ll find some victim for Christmas. Oh what? You already have 5 scarves? Oh sorry.

Oh, and I’ve just found (quite literally as I am multi tasking) the sock pattern to the scarf: River Rapids. I don’t think it’s the same designer, but the pattern is the same. I think I’ll use the lovely Merino I got from my friend Thepinksheep for Christmas. That yarn has been languishing in my stash waiting for me to find the perfect pattern and I think this will do nicely. Can’t wait to start them now! However, I must be good and finish off the bamboo socks and my scarf (I really need these for Fall) before I start on winter projects. I have cast them on on Ravelry though. That way I won’t forget.

I've also just joined the Classics Challenge (courtesy of Mariknits) and will be reviewing books from time to time. I know other people have started new blogs for this, but I'm going to reach the point where I can't keep up with all that I have, so just feel free to skip the book reviews if you're not interested.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Finished Product

Thanks to all of you who sent me an opinion on the Candle Flame Shawl border. I really do appreciate the input, especially as I am designed and taste challenged. Since just about everyone was for keeping the border, I ripped it out...and then re-knit it the same way only starting at the narrow point of the pattern instead of at the wide point. It looks much better this way. I also used smaller needles than for the body of the shawl. That made the “scallops” look less floppish. I finished knitting, weaving in the ends, washing and blocking it this weekend. Blocking was incredibly easy. I just washed it and hung it up on the line with a clothes pin on every scallop. Worked like a charm. Now, for the finished product:

I liked the shawl so well that I’m going to do one for myself, only in blue. How could it be otherwise? I should have enough of my Rogue Sweater yarn left over to do one large enough. I might even be a bit quicker with this one since the yarn is thicker. Fat yarn is usually a bonus.

In the meantime, I’m working on a rather pretty scarf for myself. It’s the Falling Water scarf from Ravelry. I like the effect of the waves and yos that make it look like water streaming down with droplets on the side. Again, it is in blue. I can’t help it. I like blue. I keep buying blue. I really need to learn to branch out. However, in my defence, blue matches everything I wear since I’m usually wearing, you guessed it, some shade or other of blue.

No, wait, let me retract that. Today is probably the first day in the history of my life that I’m not actually wearing anything blue. I’ve got sage green Crocs, green pants and a brown t-shirt on. It’s a first; mark it in your calendars. I’ll spare you pictures of that at least.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


I'm in need of opinions. I've decided to change the border of the Candle Flame Shawl I'm knitting for my cousin-in-law from normal garter stitch to a bit of a fancier edge. I've "designed" one myself, but I'm not sure if I like it so I want opinions. Here it is:

The whole thing without a border (colour is more accurate):

Top border:

Whaddya think? Leave it? Scrap it? Anyone?

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Knitting Update

Skimming through my entries, I realize I haven’t actually shown any knitting lately, although I do babble on about it quite a bit. There’s nothing really exciting to tell, which is why there has been no pictures. However, in the name of knitting, I’ll post them anyway:

I finished my Cotton Stretch Phone Socks (for me):

I started working on the Bamboo Phone Socks (for me), which I think I’ve already raved about:

I’m also nearly done with the Candle Flame Shawl:

I’m looking forward to completing that one just so I can see how it looks off the needles. I am a bit wary of the garter stitch edge on the top. I think I might do moss or I dunno. Something else. I just don’t care for the garter stitch.

Oh, and I also finished my Sooper Sekrit Project, but I can’t show you pictures because it’s, well, sooper sekrit, for the moment anyway.

In real news, I’m enjoying the calm before the storm, so to speak. It’s felt like fall here the last couple of days which has been very, very nice. It’s set to get back up there this weekend and stay like that for the following week though. I console myself with the knowledge that it can’t last too long since this is the end of July and high summer is over by mid-August (yay!).

Sparkly collar update: I tried wrapping aluminium foil around T’s collar, but the flies pretty much just laughed. Like with the homemade remedy, it kept them off part of him, but not off his nose, mouth and eyes, which is the worst. I may take Gabi’s advice and look into getting an anti-fly halter for ponies. That might help. Poor T. He’ll be glad when high summer is over too. He likes laying in the grass, but not when he’s covered in flies. Poor mite.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Bags O' Water and Sparkly Collars

OK, since just about everyone asked about the sparkly vs. fly thing mentioned in my last post, I’m going to tell you what I’ve always been told: Bags of water (sparkly in sunlight) refract the light and mess with the fly’s vision and that keeps them away. Just to check and see if there was anything in this, I Googled. Apparently it’s not a scientifically confirmed thing, but a lot of restaurants use it and it’s a widely spread home remedy. I did find a blog entry on it from The Hardware Aisle which is interesting (although the ad was annoying until I figured out how to close it). Einstein’s cronies may not find the experiment scientifically acceptable, but hey, as long as you tie them well enough and make sure there are no holes in the bag, it’s not going to hurt to try. Oh yes, you might want to point out to any children in the area that they are not to be used as target practice, even if they are just thowing their pick up sticks at them like tiny javalins.

The sparkly collar is a different version of this. I think they must have adapted it because tying ziplock baggies full of water to your dog is not a very practical solution, even if it does provide him with a ready source of drinking water at all times. If the bambling against the body didn’t drive them up the wall, just imagine the chaos when they lay down on top of them. On your new carpet. Or wooden floor. Good idea. Thus, sparkly collar it is. Today we tried the cheapo version: aluminium foil. Wrap the foil around the dog’s collar. /instructions. It worked to a point. Just as with the homemade remedy I mixed up, it keeps them off part of him, but not all. They still crawl around in his eyes and nose which is what annoys him and disgusts me. However, sticking clove oil in my nose would send me up the wall within a relatively short space of time, so you can imagine what it would do to poor Mr. Sooper Sensitive “I prefer eau de horse manure” Nose. Maybe I should make him a whole suit out of aluminium foil. That might keep them off, even if it did give the dog psychological problems.

Frankly, I do have another theory about the sparkly collar thing: I think the flies see the collar, think “OMG another Barbie Worshipper” and fly off in disgust. Just think about it from a fly’s point of view; masses of Barbies are bought, played with and tossed, so after however many years Barbie has been with us (the first year was already too much Barbie, frankly) all of the landfills are full of them, crowding out the good bits of trash. Flies can’t eat or breed on plastic. They prefer things like banana skins and moldy socks for that. If we keep on buying Barbies and putting them in landfills, the flies will eventually have nothing left to live off of and become extinct.

This leaves us with the philosophical questions of Which is worse, the Barbie or the Fly? Is a Barbie still silent if there’s no one around to hear it be silent or does it start screaming its head off in rage as soon as there is no human in the near vicinity? Would the plastic used to make a Barbie have preferred to have become a plastic stitch holder or knitting needle had it been given the choice. Deep. Deep I tell you. Just about as deep as your local landfill.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Randomness - Again

This weekend, or at least Sunday, was a knitter’s dream day. Excepting dog walks and toilet breaks, I spent quite literally the whole day listening to an audio book and knitting. I finished one and a half socks. Go me. I finished the pair of cotton socks I’d been working on in Four Seasons Cotton Stretch. They’re quite nice and I’m fairly certain I will like wearing them better than the other cotton ones I have. They’re stretchier and will probably fit better.

Then, because I was curious, I started a plain pair in the cotton bamboo I bought a few weeks ago. That. Yarn. Is. Fabulous. Fab I tell you. Soooo soft and so nice to work with, especially in comparison to the normal sock yarn I use, which wears like steel and keeps your feet warm. I’ve no doubt these socks will be warm, but they will probably be waaaaay too comfy too. The only fear I have is that they won’t be quite so hard wearing and I do wear socks. Still, I’m sure they will be comfy.

I’ve also been working on the Candle Flame Shawl. It’s getting there. Slowly, but surely. One day…

Also, a huge thanks to whoever sent us the nice, cool, rainy weather! It poured rain all weekend and it’s still 55°F and overcast out. It is supposed to get warm tomorrow and Wed., but should go back to rainy and cool for the weekend. Yay!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Dogs, Flies and The Knitter's Prayer

My dog has no idea how lucky he is. Really. He doesn’t. Not only did I not throttle him, give him away, starve him, or make him go beg on a street corner, but I’m now going to spend time running around to three different shops to buy the contents of a homemade anti-fly mixture. How lucky can you get?

The poor wee mite winds up covered in flies every time we go out now. His whole head winds up looking like one huge living mass and it’s disgusting. It also cannot be comfortable. So, what does a good non-throttling owner do? One calls the vet and asks what to do. Unfortunately, they have no ready made sprays but she did give me one of those “grandma’s recipes” for keeping flies off horses. You take:

Black tea
Clover Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Citronella Oil

Mix them together and spray or dab on dog. I’ll be dabbing around his eyes, but I’ll spray his body. Poor mite. Hopefully this will help.

Oh yeah, the other option? Get him a glittery collar. I must rush out and buy a rhinestone studded collar for him to look like a complete fool in. I can see it now, walking around with my cross dressing Great Dane in public with a glittery collar. Oh the joy. Actually, the situation is so bad, I would actually consider this option, but I don’t know where to get a 26 inch glittery collar, especially not in a hurry. We’ll go with Grandma’s recipe, shall we?

In knitting news the good news is that I’ve gotten a bit more of the Candle Flame Shawl done; the bad news is that I think I’m going to run out of yarn. I’d already gone back to get two more balls, now I’m going to have to go back again. I think I may chicken out and order over the internet. That’s got to be easier than driving there and probably cheaper too with gas being what it is (namely $8 a gallon). Plus, if I’m not there, I won’t be tempted to buy other yarn that I don’t need since I really, really do have enough stash. I don’t need more yarn. Now, let’s all say the Knitter’s Prayer together:

Our Father
Who art in the great LYS in the sky
Woollen be thy name.
Thy yarn shipment come
They skeins be spun
In Alpaca as well as in Cashmere.
Give us this day our daily skein
And forgive us our dropped stitches
As we forgive out needles.
Lead us not into Startitis,
But delivers us from UFOs
For thine is the Merino,
The Mohair
And the Qiviut forever.


PS: Please let them have more of the same dye lot.

Friday, 4 July 2008

How to know that you need treatment for Ipod addiction

This morning I got up, I got ready and took the dogs for a walk. As has become my habit since I bought my Ipod about 3 months ago, I stuck the thing in my ear and listened to an audio book (currently Far From the Madding Crowd) as we walked. I got home, fed the dogs, got ready for work, listening to my book the whole time. Just as I arrived at work, the book jumped to the next chapter. Irritated, I tried to replay it, but to no avail. The book kept jumping from the middle of chapter 19 to chapter 20. Still irritated, I thought there was a problem with the file and I’d have to check it in the evening. The problem was that I wanted to listen to something at lunch, so I fired up the comp when I got home and plugged in my Pod; nothing. Jiggled Pod; further nothing. Unplugged and replugged Pod; more nothing. Expletives commence. Then I noticed that the lock symbol was showing so I tried toggling the lock button; again nothing. And just so's ya know, banging it on the table does not make an Ipod unlock either. The bloody thing was broken.

I would have been happier had you told me that I had no electricity or water. I could live with that. We have a natural spring outside, so I could always bath in that needs be. It’s summer and light out until 10pm. I can knit on the balcony electricity free. I also have candles. No problem. No phone line? I’d live. Just don’t take my Ipod away. Take my Ipod away and I can’t listen to my books; this is terrible. OK, yeah, there’s worse, but it’s horrible all the same. Add to that that no water or no electricity are considered by most people to be a necessity so they get fixed promptly. Send an Ipod in for repairs? Two weeks min. but more like two months. I spiralled into frustrated rage. I wanted to meet Steve Jobs and thrust my Ipod into his hands and ask what kind of crap he was putting on the market. And then tell him to damn well fix it instantly or face my withdrawal symptoms which were frankly already fairly ugly by this point. It would serve him right for putting something so addicting out onto the market. Come to think of it, I could probably go to America and sue both Apple and Audible for providing addictive and mood altering substances and win billions. That aside, I wanted Steve Jobs to suffer and suffer NOW. After all, I was suffering. I was standing out in the sun with the dogs sans Ipod and audio book. OK, I wasn’t without Ipod, I had it in my hand repetitively locking and unlocking it in a desperate attempt to get it to work again. I’ve probably worn out the buttons with all the pushing I did, which did about as much good as trying to catch the shade of a fly when standing out in the blazing sun. The bloody thing wouldn’t budge. It was still frozen with the cover from Viva la Vida staring at me tantalizingly. The only thing that kept me from throwing it into the creek was the knowledge that that would have voided the guarantee.

So, after much standing around pushing buttons and flipping of the lock switch, I took the dogs back in early, gave them a big chewy for the inconvenience of lost lunch time and started searching for the receipt while wondering just how long I would have to wait, if they had loaner Pods and if not, should I really buy another one just because this one was broken. Yes, I admit it, I was ready to plonk for a second Pod. After all, what if this happened again?!? Would I survive? Would I spend weeks walking around with the ear buds in my ears that were plugged into nothing in the hopes that sound would magically appear anyway? Would they lock me up in the local loony bin? (I’m never very far away from that last option at the best of times) Found receipt. Decided to leave work early so I could take it to customer service and scream at someone to release my frustration and then thought, I’ll Google troubleshooting again.

Intense relief ensued. There is a troubleshooting page dedicated to just this problem. All you have to do is hold the middle button and the menu button down together for 6 to 8 seconds and the thing resets itself without corrupting your files. 6 seconds and the world had righted itself again. I instantly stuck the ear bud in and turned it on to chapter 19 of Far From the Madding Crowd. Not only did it play again, but it stopped skipping to chapter 20. Birds were singing, the dogs were content with their chewy and I could drive back to work whilst listening to my book. Life would be good if I hadn’t realized that it’s not a question of whether or not I am insane, but of just how insane I really am.

Rather anti-climactically, it’s cooler today and this makes me happy. I feel like my soul has been given respite. I know I complain about it a lot (mostly in jest) but I really just don’t like heat in the same manner as really just not liking fish. Yes, I can eat fish if I have to, but I won’t enjoy it. I can also live with the heat and the sun if I have to, but it maketh me a rather grumpy camper. Now just imagine if my Pod had died on a day when it was 95° and humid…no, wait, we'll just skip that particular picture shall we? The mention of it just made my blood pressure rise.

I also have an interview next week with a job agency. We’ll see what comes of it, if anything. I’m rather picky you know. No point in moving jobs if I don’t think I will be happier at the end of it all.Dogs are fine (no, I wasn’t mean to them in my frustration, indeed they got a large chewy out of it), cats are fine, work is extremely slow for the season and now it’s Friday. 1 hour and counting.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Randomness - Again

Something happened recently that hasn’t happened in a very long time: Not one, but two evenings in a row, I didn’t knit a single stitch. The world is still turning, so I’m working on the assumption that this isn’t really any big deal, it was just odd. Usually, even when I do have to do other things, I squeeze in a round or two of whatever my current project is, but it’s just been too hot to care, especially after having done a myriad of other things, like reinstalling 18 blinds and flyscreens on my windows after they were replaced. That was fun, or not.

Before any of the Californians say anything, I know. I’m glad I’m not there. Really glad and I send my sympathies. But even the knowledge that is worse where you are, was not going to make me knit despite the heat.

I’ve now had to ditch any of the heavy projects or projects made with wool, so the Candle Flame Shawl is on hiatus as is my Sooper Sekrit Project. I’ve started working on a cotton sock instead. Much better. Cool, light yarn is just the thing for the heat (coupled with lack of ariconditioner). I also like this new cotton yarn better than the other I had been knitting with to date. This figures since A: I have boat loads of the old cotton yarn and B: the new cotton yarn only comes in two colours I even remotely like. Ah well, that will force me to use the old, even if I’m not fond of the non-stretchiness of it.

By the way, should any of you think it’s odd that I work for an AC company, loath the heat, and yet don’t have and AC at home, it’s not really. There are problems with it or I would, guaranteed. The house I live in is too old, the electrics are ancient and my neighbours probably wouldn’t want the hum of the outdoor unit. Ergo, no AC. Must move to first world country, or possibly Scotland, or Canada, or Alaska…Anyone have any good job opportunities in those areas? :P

Monday, 23 June 2008


It’s been a while. The reason being that summer and my new windows arrived at the same time. The new windows weren’t supposed to arrive for another 3 or 4 weeks, but they suddenly called last Mon. to let us know that they would be installing them on Thurs. Much panicked preparation ensued on Mon.-Wed. evening to get the windows prepared (the blinds had to come down as did the fly screens and I was too embarrassed to leave the cobwebs on them, so I took them down too). Thurs. and Friday evenings and part of Sat. were spent putting everything back into place. Today the guys are returning to finish things off. I don’t know exactly what that entails, but they will be done today. Yay. Tonight will be spent putting the fly screens back up (we don’t have just screens here like in the States so I’ve got screen material tacked up onto the wooden frames, or will this evening.)

Summer also arrived rather abruptly. It just came. Just in time for me to get new windows with no fly screens on them so I can’t open everything up to cool it off at night lest I wind up with a fly/mosquito infestation. I live on a farm (flies galore) within an eighth of a mile from a lake (can you say mosquitofest?). I really hate summer. I just keep telling myself it will all be over in another 8 weeks. 8 weeks. How long can that last? No long I hope.

Knitting has taken a back seat to all of this. It had to. Plus, it’s in the 90s (and yes I do know that people in the US are suffering more. Just let me have my whinge, k?) and that’s not very conducive to knitting. I did finish the green striped socks for my grandmother and have been working on the flame shawl, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress. I think I also did a couple of blanket squares last weekend, but that’s only a vague recollection. My brain slows down to the speed of cold treacle in the heat. Don’t expect any wonders of thought from me until at least Oct.

Last but not least, I’ve given up walking the dogs except in the morning. I had to put T on the leash and practically drag him back to the car to get to work on time on Friday. It’s completely pointless to go when it’s this hot. I’m going to try and get them out earlier in the morning, but I’m not sure I can stomach a wake up alarm earlier than 4:45. We’ll see. It’s set for 4:30 tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Because I always finish everything twice

I'm finished! Again it's the Cat's Paw Shawl and this time I'm finished with the fringe.

Both of these are pre-blocking, but don't worry, I won't be finishing this for a third time.

This is one of the few projects I'm actually quite happy with, ergo posting about it 57 times. I'm please with how it turned out and think the recipient will be pleased as well.

That's pretty much it. Like I said, I'm just pleased with this.

I suppose I might add that the European Striped Ass still lives. I haven't starved him or worked him to death yet. I might though if he doesn't watch it! :P

Monday, 9 June 2008

Aprés Weekend

The Cat’s Paw Shawl is finally finished! It was a fairly easy knit, as long as I was paying attention and the chart was right. We’ll just gloss over those two conditions and say it was an easy knit, shall we?. Good. *glosses* OK, when I say it’s finished, that’s not quite true. I’ve finished knitting it, but I want to put a beaded fringe on it to jazz it up a bit. The child it’s for is a girly girl and will love it. I spent several hours putting the fringe on last night and tonight I’m set to start the beads. I am under no illusion that that will be a quick process. There are two beads per fringe and there must be 100 pieces of fringe per side. I’m not even certain I have enough beads to finish. I can get more though. This is the project thus far:

The beads themselves are nice. They are blue, but an opaque, milky type blue that changes colour a bit. They give the otherwise plain shawl a bit of colour. I’m also planning on getting a cat pin to use to pin the shawl together in front. That should look good, I think.

As soon as I get the beads done, or get tired of doing them, I’m going to cast on the Candle Flame Shawl (link on right for those interested) and get that started. Then I need to think of something for a swap I’m doing. I won’t say any more on that since I don’t want my Swapee running across this. It’s a surprise. I also need to work on the current phone sock and I want to start knitting with the new cotton sock yarn I got last week.

That brings me to the SEX I failed to mention. I was only supposed to be a “go get yarn for Candle Flame Shawl” expedition, but I ran into a couple of skeins of sock yarn that were begging to be tried. *sigh* I am such a sap. Must not go to yarn store ever again. At least I got the shawl yarn on sale.

Oh, I also need to work on my squares. I’ve still got at least 5 to do. So much knitting, so little time.

The dog hasn’t yet been forgiven for the jacket incident, but I am speaking to him. I’m contemplating sending him out begging or making him give small children rides in a wagen or something to make up the loss of said jacket, which was virtually new. I was just going to cut out his food and treats until he made the cost up, but I’m afraid the animal welfare offices would not have taken kindly to that measure. If you see a Great Dane with a bucket and I sign saying “disgraced” on it standing on the corner any time soon, it will be T. Please give generously. :P

NB: The above was just for fun. I have no intention of starving my dog. I might throttle him, but I will never starve him.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Dog Looks for New Home

Can anyone tell me how large a triangular shawl for an 8 year old child (who eats Miracle Grow for breakfast) should be? Anyone? Please? It currently goes around my shoulders and meets in the front (and I am a plump person), but doesn’t leave much extra. I have a feeling it will “grow” when I wash it. I can’t be sure of that since I didn’t actually wash a swatch, but it’s 100% cotton and fairly stretchy. Instinct tells me it will grow. I’m assuming instinct is about as accurate as gauge, so I have a 50/50% chance of being right.

SPEW is doing a KAL with the theme of Sunrise and Sunset. I want to do the Candle Flame Shawl (see side bar for link) and am looking forward to starting it. I’m not sure I’ll be able to start on time, but that’s life. I’d like to get the other done first. Anyway, I originally wanted to do the Candle Flame with the lovely Kauni Effektgarn 8/2 EU, but I‘ve decided to go with a burnt orange cotton blend instead. I’m afraid the recipient will not like wool. Pictures of the yarn this weekend. I’m waiting for the light to get better.

Speaking of which, it’s been raining for the last week or so. Yay! I luvz it. All the rain means that it’s gotten cooler; bad for business, good for me! Unfortunately it also means bad light for pictures, so they will have to wait.

I had more to write, but the dog just ate my jacket and I’m now in a very miffed sort of mood. Anyone want a dog?

Monday, 2 June 2008


Someone pointed out that there is a dog at the end of the rainbow. They were right! T has always been a bit of a Leprechaun at heart. Wonder if there is any such thing as an Irish Dane.

Knitting remains slow. I was too busy uploading all of my CDs to do a lot of knitting. I got a few rows of the Cat’s Paw Shawl done. Again, it’s lace. It will be the bane of my existence. I will get it done and swear never to do another lace project again, all the way until the next one pops up. I did finish a phone sock last night, so go me. I also cast on the second sock, so go me again. Finishing it, however, did point out another disadvantage to lace:

Sock toes require decreases, ergo, k2tog and ssk. That’s fine. I’ve been doing those since I learned to knit just over 2 years ago. Unfortunately, lace knitting often requires a yarn over after every k2tog and ssk. Note to self: A Sock Does Not. Sock decreases with YOs are not effective and do not add to the functionality of said sock. They just leave a hole and holes in the toe of a sock is not a good thing. They are something we even usually strive to avoid in socks. Socks with holes go into the bin. Somehow the idea of knitting a sock just to bin it doesn’t seem very appealing to me. Despite this knowledge, every single time I decreased I tried to add a YO. Fortunately, I think I managed to catch myself every time. I didn’t specifically look for them, but I’m fairly certain there are no holes where there shouldn’t be, otherwise the toe wouldn’t be narrower than the rest of the sock, would it?

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Heated Knitting

Mariknits was saying in her last post that her knitting has slowed down. Frankly, I don’t wonder at this as the last thing I want to do when it is 100+°F outside is knit. Now you might be one of those people who think, “Oh! It’s 103°F out! I think I’ll pull out that sweater, put it in my lap and knit a while so I can feel just how heavy and warm it is and imagine the joy the recipient will get out of this when it’s -30°F.” I, however, am not and quite honestly feel that anyone who belongs in the above category is in acute and immediate need of psychiatric aid. In those temperatures, knitting itself is actually questionable and knitting with anything other than cotton is pure, unadulterated insanity, especially if it’s a large project. Summer, to my chagrin, is here and it’s time to break out those cotton socks, lace hats, and small Christmas ornaments which don’t cover you in a layer of wool. Should it be absolutely necessary that you knit with wool in summer, I recommend purchasing a large block of ice and sitting on it while you knit. That would at least make it bearable.

Even though we aren’t experiencing 100+ temps – it has mercifully, until today, remained in the upper 70s here – my knitting has slowed down too. This probably has less to do with the weather and more to do with my current obsession of loading all of my CD (20 years worth) onto my computer so I can toss the cases and save space. I swear, this action has nothing at all to do with needing more space for stash. Nothing whatsoever. My stash is contained. Honestly. - No, really, it is. Besides, the space being opened up is on a dog/cat accessible, open bookcase in my living room and is thus not a good place for yarn storage; that is unless you like knitting with tangled and slobbery yarn. Loading CD takes time and patience and is not conducive to knitting at a good pace or difficult projects, so progress has been slow. I have finished another blanket square (yellow with a tulip in the middle), the Twisted Tulips and made progress on my phone sock, but the lace shawl has suffered.

Which funnily enough brings me to, you guessed it, the lace Cat’s Paw Shawl. I found this scarf one day and have now nicked the cat’s paw pattern and started making it into a shawl. I made the huge mistake of not wanting it to look contrived, so I staggered the cat’s paw rows to make it look more like a lot of cats walking over the shawl instead of just rows of paw prints – this was only partially successful, but that’s not the point. The point is that having done this, and having made the shawl triangular, there are no pattern repeats so the chart grew to ginormous proportions. It’s was 4 pages wide by the time I got done. I managed to squash it down to three by making the squares smaller, but still, it was too difficult to work from. Ergo I spent yesterday writing the whole thing out. I still had to do it in abbreviated form in order to keep it all on one page and still have it legible, but at least it’s now contained to two consecutive pages. I’m also rather happy with the initial look of the thing (the knitted shawl and not the written out pattern!), so that makes it all worth it. Besides, work is slow and it gave me something to do.

This brings me to my chart holder. I keep meaning to mention how much I love it. It’s brilliant. It’s made life so much easier, especially with the improvements I made on it since the initial design -not that these are anything in themselves to boast about, but they are handy. I had ordered a few magnets from a place for an entirely different reason and they sent me a few samples of tiny magnets. At first I didn’t know what to do with them, but now I’ve got them lined up on the board and they hold my darning needles, Options keys, stitch markers and any other metal thing I might be using. I’ve also got a slightly larger magnet on there to hold my scissors. No more routing around for knitting paraphernalia! It’s great. If I need a needle, it’s on the board. A key? On the board. Scissors? Board. Since the board is also nearly always necessary for a chart or instructions, I never have to look for anything and nothing ever falls off onto the floor, between the couch cushions, or into the Black Hole of Random Knitting Items that opened up in my living room as soon as I started knitting. The Black Hole is like Sockmort (the evil Voldemort of the Sock World that comes to claim single socks as his evil helpers when knitters get Second Sock Syndrome – don’t ask. It’s best not to go there.), only on a much grander scale and with a wider scope. My magnetic board has, however, deprived the Hole of nourishment and it’s now wasting away. - I just hope it doesn’t get too hungry and decide to just suck me up as recompense for its losses. Should I not blog for more than 2 weeks, you can pretty much assume that that is what happened. - Finally, the board prevents 90% of all knitting accidents. Anyone here ever sat on the scissors or needles that fell off onto the couch? I rest my case. As for flinging circular needles into your eyes, glasses are still your best bet. The board won’t help unless you can hold it up in front of your eyes and knit at the same time. Should you be able to do this, please comment here and send a picture, or better yet, a video. That’s something I’d really like to see.

I’ll leave you today with a quote from my Stupid Quote of the Day Calendar:

On Ewe Lose

Weakest Link host Anne Robinson:
Andy, which letter of the alphabet sounds exactly the same as a term for a female sheep?

Contestant: Baaaah?

Friday, 16 May 2008

I'm not quite that fast

Since a few people seemed to be under the impression that I knit everything in my last post over night, I thought I’d point out that several of those things were done long before last weekend. I just hadn’t posted pictures of them yet. I’ve actually done relatively little knitting in the last week or so. Case in point, I managed to finish a toe and cast on the second of the Tulip socks last night and that was it. Usually I would have finished the toe, cast on and knit several inches of the new sock. I have become slow of late.

I might have gotten a bit more done, but I wasted time trying to get pictures of the finished Tulip sock. They turned out so bad that I deleted all of them. This is a project that requires natural light to be photographed, so it will just have to wait until this weekend sometime, if it stops raining that is.

OK, I might also have gotten more done if I hadn’t been watching Jane Eyre. In my defence, it was the part whole will they won’t they and what’s behind the door thing. How can you knit when that’s going on? You can’t. It’s just not possible.

It’s also summer which means I’m now getting up to walk the dogs before work. This means a 5 am alarm until a week from now when it becomes 4:45. Can you hear the groaning? Still, it’s better than walking them after work when it’s still warm. The point being I need to be in bed by 10:30, so knitting time is very limited.

Oh yes, and I would have knit even more had my dog not decided that he’d try tea for a change and stolen a box of 50 tea bags from the counter while I was at work. 50 tea bags all over the floor. Apparently he decided that raw tea is not a good thing, which if fortunate because none of the bags had holes in them *insert prayer of thanks here*, but they were still scattered everywhere and it took some time to clean up his mess.

Looking back on all of this, I have determined that the knitting gods are conspiring against me. They must be because think of all of the knitting I would have gotten done had all of these things not been an issue.

Finally, I forgot to post a pic of my new stitch markers:

Thanks Tarita!

Thursday, 15 May 2008


Summary of last week of my life:
Yep. That’s about all we did. OK, I did clean on Friday and ran errands on Sat. but after that I caught the cold of doom and became one with my couch / hammock until yesterday. The dogs got their exercise and that was it. As you can see, they were happy with the situation anyway you look at it. Especially as the weather was nice, even by my standards, and we spent a lot of time on the balcony vegging.

But looky what I got! I have such nice friends! Friends who know me well, no less. I drink a lot of tea, so these were appropriate. They’ve also already been in use. Thanks again Thepinksheep!

Due to the cold of doom, I’ve done very little knitting in the past few days. I did finish a couple of blanket squares, worked on the Tulip socks and CO a new pair of phone socks, but that's it. This time there are pictures:

The blanket squares:

The Tulip Socks:

ZZ Scarf and hat commissioned by my aunt:

Last but not least, the Vanilla Cream Phone Socks:

Thursday, 8 May 2008

No Pictures

As simple as Ravelry is, and as easy at it makes things to document your knitting, it’s really quite a lot of work when you think about it. Granted, it’s voluntary, but I’m just Hermione enough to feel compelled to do everything correctly. If I don’t, I get upset with myself. I do need to let the inner Ron out more. Oh wait. I’m doing that. The state of my apartment will corroborate. Ron takes care of the housework. That tells you how much you really want to visit me, or not.

Must take pictures this weekend. Must. I have a couple of FOs and some wool I need to photograph. The ZZ Scarf and hat are done and I need to photograph those and send it on. The scarf rolls in on itself, but I think it looks good that way. Plus, it’s meant as a spring/fall (in California) scarf, so it doesn’t need to be able to keep blizzards out.

Plus, I’ve finished *insert drum roll here* the phone socks that I’ve been working on. I cast those on in February. It’s May. Over 2 months for a pair of socks. Ouch. I’ve just CO another pair of phone socks since they are just a must for those half-concentrated knitting sessions, but I must get them done a little quicker this time.

I’ve also CO the Twisted Tulips socks (another thing I need to photograph) and have a whole inch done! That’s more than it sounds like because it takes a while to get anywhere with them. Theses are not beginners socks. At All. Not that they are impossible, or really even seriously difficult, just complicated and you have to pay attention. The paying attention part is the real challenge for me since I possess all the powers of concentration of a 6 month old Cocker Spaniel with Attention Deficit Disorder. Still, I’m stubborn and that tend to make up for it a lot.

I do, however, deserve a medal for particular bravery, courage and perseverance – The Purple Ball of Wool, so to speak. I actually went into the LYS *insert another drum roll, this time bigger and louder here* and came out with nothing more than I went in to buy! *dramatic gesturing* It was difficult – the bamboo sock yarn was veritably screaming my name with the aid of a bull horn, but I did it. I put it down, purchased the Tulip yarn and left. I then went home and lay down for several hours until the dizziness passed. The recuperation time was enormous, but I am proud of myself. The question is, will it get easier or more difficult next time? I don’t aim to find out soon. I have enough yarn in my stash. I have enough yarn in my stash. I have enough yarn in my stash…

This is especially important to remember since I have a four day weekend coming up and would have time for the LYS. I am, however, planning on letting my Inner Hermione beat up on my Inner Ron a bit whilst trying to get a few things in the apartment cleaned and sorted.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Nylabones for Scarf Knitting :0)

Yesterday was Labour Day and I had the day off. Not everyone here gets it, but a lot of them do. It’s like an unofficial holiday and it’s up to your company whether they give you the day off or not. The only thing they have to do is give you the afternoon off if you want to go to the demonstrations, but if you do take it, you must go to the demonstrations and not home/shopping/bike riding etc. However, I got the whole day off and it was bliss.

I finally found a lace project that I can do without going gaga! That’s because it’s simple :0) I need to stick to simple. It’s the Zig Zag Lace scarf that I’ve been commissioned to do for my aunt – the trade off is the shipping on four NylaBones for the dogs (Um, yes, obviously for the dogs since I'm not in the habit of chewing on NylaBones), which came on Wed., but I won’t be able to get until today. Anyway, just another few inches to go and I’ll be done. I’m knitting 5.5 feet this time since, as we all know, it will get longer when washed. Right? It will get longer. Now watch it not get longer just to mess with me.

I really like this scarf. It’s simple and quick to knit. Plus the yarn I got is perfect. It’s the first time that it’s not taking me oodles of yarn to knit a scarf. By the time I’m done, I’ll only have used 200m or 125g. The last one I did for my aunt was the Leaves Scarf and that took 800m or 500g. Same yardage and weight per ball, but one seems to be going much further than the other. Still, it is a lighter weight. Somehow I have to wonder if the label on the new yarn is wrong.

After the scarf is done, I have to figure out how to make a hat out of the same pattern since I was silly and volunteered to do a matching hat. How very silly of me indeed. I’ll think of something.

I’ve also got to get my keester going on the blanket squares. Must do that. Must.

Then I need to get started on the Cat’s Paw Shawl I’m doing for my cousin. I’ll be winging the pattern, so be prepared for much gnashing of teeth. I’d like to do scalloped edges, but I may be getting myself out of my depth with that. We’ll see.

I’ve also got at least two more pair of socks planned. Cool ones. Want to start those too. So much knitting, so little time.

Randomly, Audiobooks are love. Love them. Muchly. Even if I don’t always listen to them while I knit, I do listen to them when outside with the dogs, which is a real boon. That way both the dogs and I are entertained. Must start listening to the Austen books for our RAL. Maybe this weekend. I’ve got The Reavers in at the moment (it’s funny, especially if you like history) and Making Money (Pratchett), although the file was damaged and I’m waiting for Audible to fix it. I’m also re-reading The Fifth Elephant right now which is another really fun book, especially since I know about the Stone of Scone this time.

I suppose blog entries will become few and far between now. The season has started and there’s more than enough work to do at the moment. Well, there is if it’s not the day after a holiday when the whole of Switzerland is off work anyway. The point being, by the time I get home, I’m not in any shape to blog coherently, so it’s best just to leave it.