Monday, 31 March 2008

I have the Answer

Earlier today I was wondering if my dogs were happy or sad that I had to go back to work. I now have my answer. They were pleased. How can I be so certain of this you ask? Trust me. I can and am. T's been put on Omega 3 oils for his skin since he's been a bit itchy lately. He likes these oils. A lot. I thought it would be sufficient to hide it back in the corner of the kitchen counter behind the coffee machine, the paper towel holder and the sugar canister. It wasn't. He left eh coffee machine (fortunately for him or he would no longer be alive) and the paper towels, but the sugar and the oil bought it. All over their bed. A lovely sugary, oily mess.

I love my dogs. I love my dogs. I love my dogs. I love my dogs. I love my dogs. I love my dogs. I love my dogs...

Today’s Cliché

Because I am terribly unoriginal:

All good things must come to an end, and this morning at 5:10, my vacation came to a rather abrupt one. *sigh*

I spent most of my week knitting, sleeping, reading and walking the dogs – not necessarily in that order, but I’m not going to go figure it out percentage wise – I haven’t hit that level of Swissness yet. I spent quite a lot of time knitting, and also quite a lot of time frogging and re-knitting. Once again I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t notice that there was a cable chart for the raglan increases on the Eris, so after having done plain increases for about 20 rows, I had to frog it all and start over. Then I didn’t like the way the increases were coming out, so I *re-frogged and re-knit again*. Repeat from * to *. After that I swatched the increases so as not to have to rip out the endless stockinet each time (clever, eh? *eyeroll*) and discovered that I was just not knitting tightly enough. After that, things went a bit better until I stopped paying attention to what I was doing and increased in the wrong places. Repeat from * to * again. Now I’ve gotten it all sorted out and can start the sleeve splits tonight. I briefly considered taking a break and knitting something else, but I realized that summer is approaching fast and this sweater is knit in pretty much one piece. It’s already getting warm sitting there with it in my lap. I’m not going to wait for summer to get here so I can fry.

In other knitting news, I went to the yarn store on Sat. Once again, it’s a good thing I need to diet because I spent most of my week’s grocery budget on yarn. Hey, no calories and hours of pleasure is better than food, yes? I was going to order, but I’m glad I didn’t. I found that one of the yarns I had chosen from the catalogue was not really what I wanted and that what they had on sale was much, much better. Huge savings, better yarn, who could want more? Unfortunately, they had new Hot Socks colours that I really like. Someone really should ban me from buying sock yarn. Really. I don’t even want to know how many pair I could knit before running out. Still, they are pretty and I do have an immediate use for one of the colours. OK, fine, the others were frivolous, but they remain calorie free. Nothing like a bit of justification, oui?

I’m not quite sure if the dogs are happy or sad that I’ve gone back to work.

I’m not around 24/7 for possible ear scritching
I’m not around 24/7 for any type of attention
I’m not around 24/7 to let them out onto the balcony when they would prefer to veg out there.
They don’t get quite as much exercise as they do when I’m home all day.

They get to sleep more.
They get to get up in the morning, use the loo, and then go back to bed instead of going for a walk.
They don’t have to wait in the car while I am yarn shopping.
They don’t have to listen to random, sometimes violent, knitting-related swearing.
I’m not around to disturb them while they are napping.
I can’t vacuum in the middle of the day three times a week (that is entirely their fault too)
The cat is no longer constantly screaming at me which contributes to the quality of the dog’s naps.
They don’t have to listen to me threaten said cat with knitted clothing, such as mouth socks.

What do you think? Are they glad I went back to work? I have my suspicions.

Monday, 24 March 2008

I do so love Easter

No, I'm afraid it's not because of the real reason for the holiday, that would be hypocritical since I don't go to church any other time of the year. No, it's because of the stress free down time. It's been bliss just doing nothing. Bliss.

Friday, we had perfect weather. Perfect. It was rainy, bluster and cold all day long. Just like out of an English novel. Bliss. Since everyone else hates that kind of weather, I got to walk my dogs in total peace and it was wonderful.

Sat., the weather was rather better (in the traditional sense). As a matter of fact, it was absolutely glorious in the morning. Not even I could deny that it was beautiful. Fortunately for me, most people spent the morning asleep, after having been out the night before, so I still got to walk in relative peace. Oh wait. Hang on a min. They weren't asleep, they were all at the grocery store. I got there at 8:30 and it was already packed. You'd have though WWIII was right around the corner the way people were spending money. Honestly people, you are not going to starve to death just because the stores are closed on Mon. As a matter of fact, few of you will still want to eat come Mon., so just put that third loaf of bread back on the shelf. You won't need it.

Sat. afternoon I made a long overdue visit to Olga, the ex-owner of T. For those of you who have never heard of Olga before, she lives up on a hill away from other people, has rheumatism, is overweight, is 70 years old and has 13 dogs. This is not healthy in more ways than one, especially as she is a hoarder. Although she does have things on shelves and tables and there is room to walk, the combination of many, many ornaments, rheumatism and 13 dogs means that her house is not very clean. Now I don't mind the smell of dog, but it's worse in her place. We actually sat at a table in her garage, for which I am thankful, even though my tonsils hate me for it. Still, my sense of cleanliness is happy not to have to have spent the afternoon in her house. Don't get me wrong, Olga is a nice woman and means well, but she cannot see that her lifestyle isn't healthy and the dogs aren't as happy as she thinks they are. Yet they could have it worse. They have a warm place to be, a large garden to romp in and food. That's more than many dogs have. T however, decided early on that he would be much happier with me and my lack of 13 dogs, so that's how I wound up with him. He was a bit stressed to go back, and always is. He doesn't want to be left there. Anyway, she was glad of the visit, as she doesn't get many, and I'm glad she was glad. Unfortunately, by the time we left Olga's, the weather had turned rather nasty, even for my taste, and we actually only got a very short walk in. I don't often do that, but in the face of flying snow and clothes that were not warm, I enough allowed myself that luxury, took the dogs home, fed them and gave them a rawhide bone. They were just as happy as I was.

Sunday was again bliss. It snowed all day long (more or less) and walks were peaceful. It was also the perfect kind of snow - covered the fields, but melted on the roads. The only disadvantage was that my car was out in it and it took me 15 min. to get all the ice off this morning, or at least enough ice off of it to drive.

That brings me to this morning. I got up and took the dogs for their walk at the river. We were walking along quite happily when I saw something on the side of the path that looked like a dog curled up. I thought, no, it must be a blackened tree stump or something. We got closer only to find that it really was a dog curled up. It was 17°F / -8°C out. I thought it surely must be dead to just be laying there. However, it did pick its head up when Biscuit went up for a sniff, so I tried to see what was a matter. I didn't want to touch it too much for fear of being bitten, especially if it were injured and in pain. I couldn't see anything, but didn't know what to do with him. I couldn't get the car back to where he was, and he would have been too heavy to carry at the best of times, so I spent the next 10 min. coaxing him up. He had the oddest expression on his face when I spoke kindly to him. It was kind of like he was thinking wow, she sounds nice and I didn't know nice existed really. It was like he wanted to go all fuzzy and puppy like, but couldn't bring himself to trust me. He finally did get up and teetered around a bit. I tried to take him back to my car, but he wasn't going to go. Instead, he started walking in the other direction, which was the direction I was originally going in anyway. We walked, I found out he had the runs (poor mite) and he started too look a bit better. His walking got less and less stiff and I figured that I could call the local pound and take him there if he made it that far. It would have only been another 15 min. walk from where I had planned on turning back from home. However, by the time we got to that point, he was looking fairly good and actually picked up the pace. I stopped, but he just kept on going like he knew where home was, so I let him go. He was probably some farmer's dog who was out all night an figured he'd just like a bit of a kip. No point in going home when he probably sleeps outside anyway. I hope he's OK.

Just so I've mentioned knitting in my knitting blog, I have started the Eris and am LOVING knitting it. It's really fun. I was a bit daunted by the seeming complexity of the pattern at first, after all, it did look more difficult that the Rogue, but you just have to take it one step at a time, do what she says and it all comes together. I've got the right side of the collar done and have started on the left. It's so much fun and I'm really glad I've got time to knit on it this week. The only problem I've really had with it is not wanting to stop knitting, even when I'm too tired. I had to tink a couple of rows more than once last night before I gave in. I did finally see the light and stopped before I did more harm than good. It was a good thing too because my problem was that I had lost my place and was trying to knit too high up on the pattern. I really do need the sleep alarm thing. Must go back and see if I can find my plans for that.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

45 min. and counting…

Vacation. The last hour or so before vacation are always the worst. You don’t want to leave anything behind that others might have to take care of, so you sort that all out, get the running stuff done, file everything that needs filing and do it all in good time. Then you wait for the clock to hit TIGF time. OK, so technically it’s Thursday, but it’s the Thurs. before Good Friday which is a holiday (as is Easter Monday), which means no work tomorrow, ergo, it’s Friday.

Just to integrate you into Swiss life a bit more, tomorrow is Sun. I know, it’s Friday, but it’s Sunday. Here, shops (including yarn shops) are closed on Sundays and holidays, so holidays are referred to as Sun. since your activity options are very much the same. You can: Go to church, take a Sun. drive or walk, participate in any sports or hobbies that don’t require a store – skiing is exempt as it is a seasonal sport and they are reliant on people coming for the weekend - read, watch telly, KNIT, or go out to eat (some places, not all are open). Other than that, your options are limited. In addition to no shopping, you’re not allowed to do anything that could possibly annoy your neighbours, like make noise of any kind. This means no lawn mowing, loud music, hammering etc. If you live in an apartment building, you’re also not allowed to do laundry or clean. Basically, if it makes noise, you can’t do it. Tomorrow is such a day, ergo, it is Sunday.

Now I know many will be thinking this is horrendous, and it is to a certain extent, but it is so and you get used to it. You learn to do everything on the days when you are allowed and just deal with not being able to do it on a Sunday. It’s annoying, but doable. Now, look on the bright side of this: You can sit and knit in peace All. Day. Long.

Knitting is quiet. It makes no noise (as long as you don’t swear too loudly or have screaming fits of anger), and since you can’t do much else, it’s a ready made excuse to do just that. Knit, read, sleep. This is what happens on a Sunday in my apartment. OK, I do have to walk the dogs for 2-3 hours a day, so I do get out in the fresh air a bit, but that only makes me enjoy it more when I can plank my butt on the couch and read, sleep, knit for several hours at a time.

The best part of it is that tomorrow is not only a Sunday, but the weather is supposed to be bad. Cold, snowy and rainy. Perfect. I love this type of weather. Yes, you heard me correctly, Love. Why? First of all, I loath the sun. My brain is wired wrong. I know, but c’est la vie. Secondly, poor weather means that people will stay at home and kindly leave me to walk my dogs in peace without having to dodge the whole of Switzerland. Sunny Sundays are an absolute horror for dog walking. If you haven’t gone by 9am, you might as well prepare to keep your dog on the leash for the entire walk because the otherwise empty pathways are packed with people. It’s like having a ant explosion on your garden walkway. You cannot move without hitting another ant/person. This makes me want to hide until it’s dark and they’ve all gone home. If I wanted to stand in the middle of a hoard of people, I’d go to a concert or football game, not try to take my dogs for a walk. I’m a little anti-social. Did anyone pick up on that? Anyway, the cold, snowy/rainy/windy weather will also mean that after the dog walk, I can go home, light a few candles and ensconce myself on my couch with a hot water bottle and read, sleep and knit and watch my rental DVDs in complete comfort. There is nothing better. Bliss. I am anticipating bliss. THREE whole Sundays of it. Friday Sunday, Sunday Sunday and Monday Sunday. *sigh*

Then I have 4 days of vacation, one Sat. and yet another Sunday Sunday. Granted, that one is a bit marred by the knowledge that the following Monday means work again, but I’ll live with that in the knowledge of getting three whole beautiful cold, rainy, snowy, windy Sundays in a row.

The down side? Sat. is the only day I can do my grocery shopping and it will be HELL. You’d think the shops were closed for a month the way people shop on Easter Sat. Add to that that they close at 4pm on Sat. and chaos is programmed. I will be up early on Sat. to try and beat the crowds. Did that last year. Got in, parked, shopped and way out by 9am (they don’t open until 8am). By the time I left, there was a 3km long line of traffic waiting to get into the store’s parking lot. Must. Get. There. Early. Before all the food supplies in Switzerland have been depleated.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Random Knitting

Knitting lately has been fairly unexciting. I’ve decided to not do anything too difficult at the moment because I was getting to the point where I felt everything was going wrong. So, like with the dog training, when something stops working, you take a few steps back and start over so that things don’t just keep getting worse.

I’ve done a Coronet hat for Ginette, who I have not actually met, but after reading about her in Zoom’s blog a while back, I thought she might like something to cheer her up, if even only for a moment. I should be getting that off in the mail today. Should.

I just showed Ginette’s hat to a my co-worker who took care of my cats while I was in the States. She was rather taken with it. I’m now going to do another. I haven’t wanted to knit for her before because she is a knitter herself and has totally different taste to me. Although she didn’t directly ask me to make her one, she let me know that she would be happy to receive that particular hat, so there we go. :0) I like it when things work out like that.

Then I started on the second of my Fensterl socks. I still love the pattern and I’m sure my grandmother will love the socks. These will be finished by tomorrow night, I hope.

I’ve also got my standard phone sock on the needles at the moment. I’d like to say something really exciting about my phone sock, but really, it’s just not that thrilling. It’s a simple sock with 4x2 ribbing out of generic yarn (Four Seasons Marathon Komet if I’m not mistaken) and is just really uninspiring, but functional and my aunt will love it. Once I get these and the Fensterl done, I will have two out of several pair of Christmas pressie socks done.

I’ll also be starting the Eris this weekend, or whenever I finish the second Fensterl. Yes Pinksheep, my inner Hermione is still there and I still do like getting one thing done before starting another even if I have learned to have several things on the needles at once. Still, I’ve had up to 4! Yes count them 4 WIPs at once. Maybe there’s hope. Or not. Beyond help is probably more accurate.

Anyway, Eris. I’m looking forward to it. It will be challenging, but Inkysticks and I will work through it and get it done. That will be another Christmas (or maybe birthday) pressie done!

Only 286 knitting days until Christmas folks!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Oh dear

I just finished the matching North Star Tam for Grandma and I was loving it. It's a beautiful pattern, I found it a lot easier to knit than the stole, despite its being classed as more difficult (this must be because it's just more interesting than a straight, flat knit), I really liked knitting it, and I loved the look. The one thing I didn't know was how big a tam should be. No idea. I've never worn one and I can't remember ever having known anyone who owns one. This left me just trusting that it would all be OK. I should have known.

As per usual with me at the moment, it wasn't OK. I just washed it and it went gigantic on me. I don't think it's salvageable at all and now I don't know what to do with it. Yes, I know, I could take the trouble to rip it out and salvage the yarn, but with all of the breaks in it and all of the ends that have been woven in, it would be a bit of a mess and would take forever. Considering that I got a fantastic deal on the yarn (it would cost me about $3 to re-knit the whole thing) I'm not going to go that route. I have so little time at home as it is that it's just not worth it for me. That leaves me wondering what to do with the thing. Do I send it to her anyway in the hopes that she can use it as a toilette seat cover? I honestly can't think of any other use for it. Maybe a hot water bottle wrap? I dunno.

Aside from my incompetence, I really do recommend this pattern to anyone looking to do a tam. It's beautiful and interesting. Love it. I will probably re-knit the Tam, just not today or tomorrow.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Stole

Very nearly called the Stole of Doom since I've nearly lost my mind doing it, but it redeemed itself a bit on blocking and will henceforth be referred to as The Stole. It's finished. I have learned a lot from this stole, mostly that I really am not cut out for difficult and large lace projects. I make too many mistakes and it's too difficult to fix them. As mentioned, I have no patience, but then, the double portion of stubbornness makes up for it, otherwise this would never have been finished. This will be my last really difficult lace project, although I do have a couple of simple ones in my queue at the moment. Not the least of which is the matching North Star Tam which will use the rest of this yarn up.

Another thing you would think I would learn is that scarves invariably get longer once they are washed. I KNOW this. Really, I do. Yet every time I knit a scarf I think what if this is the one scarf that doesn't get longer and it winds up too short and is therefore unwearable. I don't want people thinking I short-changed them on length and not wearing something because it's not long enough. Naturally, I did the same this time. I was going for 5.5-6" total and wound up with 7". This means I could have done one repeat less. Funnily enough, the last repeat was the one I had the most trouble with. It would have been bliss to not do it. The good thing is that it is long and I'm sure she'll appreciate the length.

At the beginning of the week, I also finished the first of Deb's Fensterl socks.

I love the pattern and the finished product looks great. It was written for dpns, but is easily adaptable. They can be a bit finicky to knit in such a small weight, but not too bad and definitely worth it in the end. I'll be starting the second this evening methinks. These too are for Grandma and she will love them.

I wonder how long it will be before my family hates that I learned to knit. " years on and they only get knitted things for Christmas, and birthdays, and random presents... At the moment they say they can't get enough, but I think we still might hit saturation at some point.