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Saturday, May 27, 2006

New Project: MaryElla

I have added yet another project to my list of WIPs; my first project which involves knitting with beads. This is the beginning of "Maryella". Needles, beads and floss courtesy of Ceramic bowl they are sitting in by me(c 1996). Criminally high "handling fee" on the package the supplies came in courtesy of Canada Customs.

I intended to make this for my one skien secret pal, but I found a better project to make for her. So this will be for my friend Ute. Took an entire evening to string the damned beads onto the floss. Now that they are on, it is knitting up more quickly than I would have expected; the benefit of there only being 15 stitches per row!
Blogger doesn't want to upload photos right now. Sigh. Earlier on I posted and the post disappeared - but I can rest easy, because their engineers have been notified;
"Oh. My. God. Her post has been lost! Quick, drop everything and search the server..."

The colour combo I chose was the "abracadabra" beads and pink floss. The floss is very pink - bubble gum pink to be exact. I am concerned that it will make the cuff look cheap, but hopefully that is just because it is a colour that I would never wear myself. As is often the case, the picture of the FO on the pattern page looks much nicer than what is on my needles right now. Have to figure out what kind of closure I should use.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

After 1 week...



Definite growth visible on the fingers, but with the pale colour, it isn't an issue. I can't really bring myself to having designs done on my nails - the "nail artist" suggested having the nail divided diagonally with a darker colour on the outer half, with an even paler colour up against the cuticle to make it less obvious when it grows out, but it's too flashy for me. I don't really feel right about having my nails "stand out". It's different with clothing - hell, I have leopardskin pants that I sometimes wear to work - than with accessories. I guess I don't like my accessories to get all the attention; I would rather that they meld with the total package. Noticable, but not screaming out.

Picked up a package from the post office containing goodies for my Secret Pals. Man, the Internet makes it way more tolerable to live some distance from a big city. Although it is highway robbery that Customs charges a $5 handling fee on somthing that only had $2 in tax and duty costs!

Silence is Golden

Had a nice relaxing weekend in the Rockies. We stayed at a friend's cabin in the woods, and did nuthin! Here's the view from the hottub.

I managed to reaquaint myself with my Somewhat Neglected Cowl, and catch some rays at the same time.. View from the hammock:

DH harnessed his inner Caveman and built a fire, and for the first time in more than 20 years, I roasted marshmallows.

Can you believe that he'd never heard of S'mores? Note the jug of chocolate milk - we went all out!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Art Show

I have now been matched with my Knitty SPs. My 3 downstream pals have quite a few similarities. I have to get around to making a summary sheet so I don't get them mixed up. Theoretically, I could keep detailed records of who got what, and when it was sent, but that's just not going to happen.

For the purpose of better edifying my readership (ha!) of who I am, allow me to present a little art show. These are the pieces of art that adorn our walls.

"Everything Counts In Large Amounts" A huuuge acrylic painting. Hasn't grossed out any of our visitors yet (at least that we are aware of)

Fox, Jaguar, and Kangaroo

Ink and watercolour drawings. The fox reminds me of Greedo, although I imagine that he fancies himself to be more like the jaguar. The kangaroo's belly is remniscent of Somerset.

Crawford Falls (B&W photo)
From our hospital gift shop, of all places.

Watercolour. Painted by the wife of our clinic's main "competitor".

Cat with Birds KitKatKlock from The World's Largest Gift Shop in Las Vegas. Oil painting - I drove by it daily for a few weeks, then finally decided to ask how much it cost. Turned out that it had been sold the day before, and was awaiting pickup. A week later I "commisioned" another painting like it - apparently mine is a bit more accurate in terms of the position of the birds in space.

And this Objet d'art is my Wedding Bouquet(c. 2000). Made by Me!
(Flowers from Lewiscraft, greenery and tape from Michaels - I doubt it cost more than $25) I also made bouquets for my bridesmaids out of white flowers. Instead of throwing my bouquet, we presented the 4 of them (mine and 3 bridesmaids') to DH's grandmothers and my great aunts. My bouquet was given back to us as an anniversary present by his Grandma.

OK - I have to confess that my incentive for doing this post tonight is to put off preparing for the Grand Rounds I am giving this Wednesday morning. "(NR)T for Two: nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy". V. exciting, I know. It should be a breeze, because I have given the rounds before, and just need to update one or 2 slides, but I HATE GIVING TALKS. I hate Public Speaking with a passion that is matched by little else. Man, I'm even considering giving my Mom a call rather than run through the rounds.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Havin' a Heat Wave...

My gourd! It hit 34 C yesterday and today. You know what that means, right? No, not just cats laying around in unusual postures. "Ohh, it's so hot. Must flop down somewhere and look like I have lost all use of my legs" The reason the cat picuted above actually has some semblance of alertness is that this picture was taken at 6:30 AM, when it was only 75F in the house (I only know Celcius, but we have a unilingual thermostat which speaks Farenheit). Rest assured that near comatose cat bodies were making maximum body contact with the tile when the thermostat read 85F.

Hot weather means sandals! Many complete with exposed toes. Eek!
Now, I can do a half decent job painting my nails, but not as good as when I get a manicure/pedicure. I have a secret power of generally doing something to shmuck up a reasonably fresh coat of polish - even getting fabric imporints from the sheets while sleeping. I am lucky if a manicure lasts 5 days. Pedicures last longer - pristine for 2, at most 3 weeks. Since I don't have the inclination to get weekly manicures and pedicures every 3 or 4 weeks, I decided to give modern nail tachnology a try.
This is a freshly applied coat of Bio Sculpture Gel, which is supposedly very flexible, so it's not likely to chip,split, or lift, and you can often go 4-6 weeks between touchups. It is nothing like the acrylic nails I once had done on my hands during a visit to Los Angeles about 15 years ago (OMG, I am old). It just feels like nail polish. It is cured with UV light, so no nasty chemical fumes. The groovy background is a great skirt that I bought at Simons in Montreal.
So, we will see how these things last. I also have the ability to break nails in unlikely situations - like by banging my nail against the car door window when I go to close the door. So it will be interesting to see how this stuff copes with that.

Total off topic - the TV in front of me is on so that DH can watch basketball. I just saw a commercial for McCain frozen Smoothie Mix - "ready just in time". Something bad happens to a family member, and you quickly make them a smoothie. Excellent - we don't already use food as comfort to an unhealthy degree?
The mark of a good wife/mother - she can make a sugary high calorie drink to console you in record time. Bah. This is why I don't miss watching TV

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Let the gifting begin!!

I have had contact from both upstream and downstream Secrt Pals (for the One Skein exchange and the Blogger exchange). Soon, I will get matched for my Knittyboard secret pals.

Now I find myself constantly on the lookout for potential SP gifts. I have managed to buy both of the single skeins for the one skein exchange, and am just waiting for both downstreams to give me a bit more info on their likes/dislikes before I pop their packages into the post box. I'm tempted to photograph their gifts and post them at the end, but I guess I can just put links to their blogs at the end.

New and improved Mobius!

I finished my Mobius Redux scarf last night (just in time for summer - ha). Murdered the applied I cord grafting, but hey, there's enough detail with the varigation of 2 colours that nobody is likely to notice. It was made using most o the yarn I used knitting the Frankenmobius

I can wear it as a shawl

or as a cowl

or as a scarf

It was knitted with Jojoland (ebay seller) brown/blue variegated yarn(I don't remember how many balls of the 10 in the package I used). When I first got the yarn, I didn't realize that the colour combinations would change within the ball itself. I still have several balls left - DH's camera has already gotten a few abrasions from being in the same packet as his keys(!), so I might use some to felt a little case for the camera - I am interested to see how the colour combination will look when felted.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My first Knitty encounter!

This is me and Nederlass. She and her boyfriend took me to Azteca after the Seattle Knitting Expo, and treated me to dinner. Great food and great conversation!

Sadly, none of the other Seattle area Knittyheads were able to make it that evening, and I couldn't catch up with any Washington State Knittyheads during our recent roadtrip. I did manage to pick up some nice yarn, though!

Friday, May 12, 2006

They seem so innocent...

I have had contact with both upstream and downstream Secret Pals from both the One Skein Exchange AND SP8! Of course, I am now finding that the trick with buying something "because it might be right for my SP" is to buy something that you would be happy to part with. Buying things that you love (just in case they aren't right for your SP) is a baaad idea, unless you are a saint.

On the upside, my plan for my one skein gift should work out.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Belated Seattle entry

So April 28-30 I was in Seattle for the Seattle Yarn and Fibre Arts Expo. I took 2 workshops with Cat Bordhi. I was somewhat surprised at her appearance - I had expected her to be very bohemian, with long curly dark hair, layers of skirts and shawls, and dangly earrings with mismatched bracelets/bangles. Instead, she looks like a the former kindergarten teacher that she is.
Cat has a stunning resemblance to my aunt Che, if you ignore the different hairstyles and colouring. Note the smiles and chins - identical!

So I started a Mobius scarf the first workshop, which I finished a few days after I got home. It is incredibly huge, because I misunderstood her instruction and cast on 320 stitches rather than the 160 I meant to. It took me 45 minutes to complete each round, because you end up knitting each "edge" once, meaning each round was 640 stitches.

42 inches in diameter, unstretched!! I did like the way that the Jojoland yarn worked out, so I frogged the original, and reknit it this weekend with 150 stitches. I just need to do the applied I cord edging.

I purchased a bunch of yarn - most of it "bin ends" at $12 per lb. Also bought my first skein of sock yarn, as well as a few skeins of various yarns that I decided were meant for me.

The second workshop I started on a mobius basket that was to be felted. The yarn I had was an ebay purchase, and relatively thin gauge. I bought some Cascade 220 to go along with it. As I knit, my needles started to pick up some of the red colour from the yarn, which makes me wonder how much it will bleed when I felt it. I have subsequently bought more of the Cascade 220, so I might rip the original bascket back and make a felted bowl. I purchased my first non-icky stitch marker as well.
Again, pix will be uploaded when Blogger feels like it. I really should figure out how to use Picasa or Flickr.

SP8 questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Merino, cotton/silk blends. Don't like anything that is fuzzy, especially eyelash yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a leatherette case that my set of aluminum needles came in. My Debbie needles live in their case. The rest of my circs, DPNs and bamboo needles generally stay in their vinyl packaging, or they migh sit in a bamboo bin that I keep some knitting stuff in.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Started to knit in 2001, kept it up for about 2 years, then got too busy to knit. Picked my knitting back up last fall, because my new job and new location meant more spare time.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love the scent of cloves. Gardenia and jasmine are my favorite florals.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Love love love chocolate - the darker the better. Whie chocolate is evil, mint chocolate is a waste of good chocolate, and although I dislike raspberries on their own, raspberry chocolate is fine. Not a big non-chocolate candy freak, although I am a big gingerbread fan. My favourite candy would probably be Chocolate covered almonds - I love reese's peanut butter cups, but they should start making almond butter cups, and cover them with dark chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Nothing else right now. I do Spinning (aka Power Pacing) classes at my local Y, but don't spin yarn at all.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Eighties music - from Bon Jovi and Def Leppard to Natalie Merchant and Erasure. More current bands I like are Killers and Green Day. I have a fondness for female musicians who are more famous for their singing than their (lack of) wardrobe. I don't listen very much to commercial radio - primarily CBC Radio 1, and Sirius Radio (Alt Nation, 1st Wave, Hair Nation, and the 80's and 90's channels, with the occasional dabble in CBC Radio 3). I have an mp3 player.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Teal or lime green. I tend to like jewel tones rather than pastels, but I also like rust and rich browns.
Any colors you just can't stand? Beige makes me look washed out, dusty rose makes me look jaundiced, and I hate mustard yellow and hot pink.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have one amazing husband and 2 incredibly cute cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, hats, mitts - yes (even though I grew up in Winnipeg, I am a suck when it comes to being cold). No ponchos for me, thanks - I can never figure out how to wear them under a jacket.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I prefer top down sweaters.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I am just finishing off a mobius scarf, have a Somewhat Cowl on the go, and have a tank top that I have been knitting intermittently since 2002.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Not a fan of plastic, except for my Debbie Set. I like the fact that aluminum is cool and slippery, but also like the concept of wooden needles. I would love to get my hands on some Addi Turbo circs one day.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No, and I could totally use them. I end up hanging skeins of yarn on the back of a chair and winding the ball by hand, all while trying to keep my cats away from it. I have one skein that is a totally tangled mess, because I tried to wind it into a ball while sitting on a plane.

17. How did you learn to knit?
I took a knitting class at a yarn shop.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
The 2002 tank top. It's probably about 75% done. This past fall, I frogged what I had completed of a sweater that I started back in 2001 - I realized that the style was too baggy for me. I had done about 50% of the back.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
A beach holiday.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
I like handblown glass, but I wouldn't call myself a collector.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. Knitting for Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg. Blue Moon Fibre Arts sock yarn. Addi turbo circs that are small enough to knit socks with. I have no knitting magazine subscriptions.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I learned cables back in 2001, but haven't done them since then. I would like to start knitting with beads, and have just done my first felt. I want to learn how to knit socks.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I have about 4 different sock yarns, but have not yet knit any socks. My foot is a size 11B - 9 inch ankle circumerence, and 10.5 inches from the back of my heel to the tip of my big toe.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
October 19.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A finished object!

Pi is done - felted and blocked. Granted, it is underfelted - as you can see it stretches to fit:

A bit of a spotlight on Somerset today. She's the first cat I ever owned, and she is kind of weird sometimes - I think it's a calico thing.

Because she's relatively small, she can sit on the back of the kitchen chair: For the longest time, she would never do this in my DH's presence. It was like that Bugs Bunny cartoon with the singing frog: "Suuure she's able to balance herself on the back of the chair"

This is one of her favorite places. Big house with picture windows, comfy couches, and I have a cat that makes a nest in a closet. We will sometimes see her patiently sitting by the closed pantry door, waiting for someone to open it.

Pi in the oven

Pi in the great outdoors to be honest. I am in the midst of my first ever felting project. I tried using a Woolite laundry bag that is a very fine mesh, but I think some fibres ended up in the machine. I will have to track down an actual zippered pillowcase. I bought 3 tennis balls at the dollar store and threw them into the machine. Stank to high heaven. Subsequently added a pair of old cargo pants and then a pair of old runners.

Here is the prefelted pi
Greedo likes it, and Somerset hides in it:

"Are you still there with that camera?"

The pi is being blocked on one of their scratching posts that is wrapped in towels, with the bottom flattened by a patio table.

There's still a bit more stitch definition than I would like.

I only ran it partway through the wash cycle, and didn't rinse it. I was paranoid that it would suddenly shrink into oblivion. When it dries, I will see how stiff it is. It might get re-felted when we get back next week. We are heading down to Washington State - our exact route is TBA, because the BCAA office was closed when we finally made it there today.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

happy may

finally posting after quite some time.
Here's my almost completed Kitty Pi, which is going to take just over 3 skeins of Bartlett Yarns 2 ply yarn (plus 1 skein of Patons CiCi as the trim - I am not a fan of the whole eyelash look, and Somerset would just end up grooming the eyelash):
I am knitting the last part inside out, because the little bobbly thingies on the Patons CiCi yarn are exactly one stitch apart, and they keep going to the back of the stitch, so I decided to harness that particular quality. I love how knitting exercises your problem solving muscles.
Here's an action shot - me knitting, Greedo sleeping, and Somerset keeping track of my progress. Amazing how the shot includes the only 2 items of cat themed decor that we have in the house (aside from scratching posts). Judging from this shot, you'd expect me to have a pink sweatshirt with kittens on the front (come to think of it, MIL gave me one for Xmas once - went directly to Sally Ann)

This is me getting Somerset love. She sniffs things like a dog does. When I held her at the humane society, she started to sniff my watch; that's when I fell in love with her and decided to take her home.

I of course should be blogging about the Seattle Knitting Expo, but will try to get to that tomorrow. French class tonight.