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Friday, November 30, 2007

Blah-ugh Contest

I have 11 hours left on call. It has been a hard week - this time mind-numbing rather than sleep depriving.

This afternoon I was sitting, staring at a page in a chart of a patient who has been in the ICU for over a month. I had written "ICU daily note" on the top of the page an hour or 2 prior, but kept getting up to deal with this, that, or the other thing in the meantime.

As I tried to decide what to write, the thought suddenly popped into my head that I would just write "What can I say that hasn't already been said before?", and then sign my name. Common sense prevailed, and I wrote a "proper" note.

I will send a skein of Malabrigo and a big bar o' chocolate to first person who correctly identifies the inspiration for that line. Include your favourite colour and chocolate varietal in your answer.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Feed your Mind, Feed the World

The pause that nourishes

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A productive weekend

I have been searching through patterns alot of late, and frequently find that the patterns that I am interested are not free. This blog post raised a good point about the price being charged for some pattern downloads. I'm not sure what a fair price is, but they do seem to be creeping upwards - for some small projects like hats and mittens, the pattern cost could end up being similar to the yarn cost.

Thank goodness for knitty, which has been the source of patterns for much that I am currently knitting.
I have finished the fronts of the Christmas Cardi,
christmascardi back nov 25
And cast on for the back. But the prospect of knitting straight stockinette in a single colour for 7 inches on 3.25mm needles is not particularly enticing.
Maybe that's why Ella Freezes Over keeps calling out to me:
Knit me!
Knit ME!!

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

I dream of Ravelry

I am not someone who remembers dreams well - within a few minutes of waking, they have pretty well left my mind. However, the other day, I distinctly remember dreaming that I had 57 yarns stashed, and that I just needed to enter another 3 yarns in order for my stash to automatically be uploaded somewhere else. Yes, when my mind has completely free reign of topics to indulge in, it chooses knitting related internet activities.

It could be worse - it could have been a medical dream. I've wasted many a good REM phase on those before.

Somerset dreams of being in pictures:

Here she is "helping" me photograph another WIP:Das Boot Socks.
These are socks for The Gambler. The yarn is Lana Grossa Mega Boots Stretch that I picked up in Nurnberg. I started them last weekend because I needed wanted to have something to knit while we were driving to see various members of The Gambler's family. They are now my official purse knitting - came in handy when I had to wait for my number to be called when I went to apply for my provincial health card.

And this is my newest WIP - Ella from knitty. That rayon/silk cone yarn just wouldn't shut up.

This is my very first lace project. Up until recently, I had no interest in knitting lace, and may have at one point declared that I would never knit lace. Lifelines and p5togs - ick. No way, not my thing at all.

So I have officially christened this project Ella Freezes Over.

Actually, after knitting 2 dozen rows of Ella, I thought that I should instead knit a Tuscany Shawl, since Ella is written for worsted weight yarn. So I frogged it, and started knitting Tuscany. Then I got totally screwed up on row 8, thought that there was an error in the pattern, tried to knit it as I thought it was supposed to be knit, and row 9 totally didn't work, searched the web for any pattern errata, and then gave up. So Ella it is. Which works better when it comes to a project name, because I'm all about the apt, yet amusing project names. Gotta do something to try and build a readership.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Urban snowstorm

Toronto has a somewhat unique status in Canada - in a way, it keeps the country united, because it is the city that the rest of the country loves to mock. I don't know if other countries have the equivalent.

It's hard to describe exactly why this occurs, it's definitely a combination of factors. At least a part of it is that in the eyes of many, Toronto is very narcissistic. One major example of this occured back in the 1990's, when a snowstorm hit Toronto. There was a large amount of snow that fell over several days, and it caused major disruptions in the city; predominantly traffic related. The (then) mayor of the city stated that he was going to call in the army to help out, and the rest of Canada laughed at the idea, because Toronto couldn't handle a little snow.

This Wednesday it rained, and the weather report indicated that overnight the rain would turn into snow. Six of the 12 nurses scheduled to work the overnight shift called in sick. The next morning, I heard how bus service was cancelled in several areas, and a handful of schools were closing. As I drove home, I heard about how several Grey Cup related events were cancelled because of "Southern Ontario's first snowstorm of the winter". (Background - the Grey Cup is the Canadian Football League championship game. Always a big deal in the rest of the country, traditionally ignored by many in Toronto, because people in Toronto are more interested in the NFL. When the Grey Cup is held in other cities, tickets go like hotcakes, but the Toronto Grey Cups often have poor attendance. This year, the 2 teams playing are from Winnipeg and Saskatchewan. Both of these teams are based in the prairies, which have much longer and harsher winters than Southern Ontario.)

So - exactly how much snow got dumped on the city?

It looks like we will need to dig out our broom to clean off our sidewalk.

Gotta love Toronto...


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I am always amazed at how big of a deal Thanksgiving is in the USA - many years back, I went to Bismarck, SD for the Thanksgiving weekend - quite the experience. I think that was my first time ever visiting a W*lmart as well.

Personally, I am thankful that I am only on call until 7 AM Friday this week. I'm hoping to make some significant progress on the Christmas Cardi and Warmfuzzy this weekend. Still trying to decide what to start next.

This silk/rayon blend keeps pointing out to me that it is pre-skeined on a cone:
"Pick me! Pick me!!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some things never change

When I was young and foolish, I had a boyfriend who was really into music. He would buy a record (because I am old enough to have purchased vinyl records in my youth), tape it, and then we'd listen to the tapes. But he firmly believed (somewhat irrationally) that fast forwarding was hard on cassette tapes.

So frequently, when I would suggest we listen to an album, he'd reply "We can't; it's not wound", meaning that we couldn't listen to side A until we had listened to side B. Drove me nuts.

Fast forward 23 years (Oh God, I am old!), and I am in the throes of startitis, trying to decide what to cast on next. Kaleidoscope - damn, all 3 sock yarns are still in skeins.
Lady of the Lake jacket - Mission Falls wool is ready to go, charcoal gracebut the Lorna's Laces is in skeins.
That groovy sock yarn that I thought of knitting into Monkeysknitwerx sock brights close - skeined.
Handspun for Candleflame shawl gift wool- skeins.
Laceweight for Tuscany mulberrypron- big hank o' silky goodness.

Everything I want to knit right this very minute - I can't. It's not wound. Drives me nuts.

Yes, I do in fact own both a swift and a ballwinder, but I find winding yarn kind of tedious. Partially because I don't have many convenient surfaces of the right width to accomodate the swift/winder clamps, so I end up with all sorts of weird arrangement, including holding the winder in my hand. Plus I always end up with one end of the yarn hanging free, and it wraps around the winder pole, and then Somerset wants to get in on the action...My life is sooooooo haaaaaaard!

But speaking of hanks o' goodness:Grignasco merino silk laceweight
This is the great laceweight that my awesome Blogger Secret Pal sent me
Grignasco merino silk laceweight close
Isn't it lovely?

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Look! It's a cat! With a scarf!

It's all about the props...scarf and cat nov 17

The scarf does knit up surprisingly quickly. I guess that there is something to be said for using needles that are 3-5x larger than what I have been knitting with of late!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Sweet Beautiful Long Weekend!!

For me at least; I am off until Monday! And ironically, I couldn't sleep in today, because my body had no interest in doing so. Oh well - that is what afternoon naps are for.

I've given up on the daily blog posts during the whole month, but I'm still working on a November sweater:
christmas cardi Nov 15
This is The Christmas Cardi - intended for my niece Ambar. It's the Devan pattern from knitty that used self striping sock yarn. The sock yarns are both cotton/wool blend. The stockinette knits up quite quickly. I have just started the arm/v-neck reductions. It just occured to me yesterday that someone is going to say that it's not appropriate for a girl because of the blue stripes, to which my reply will be "Red is the new pink". Hard to say if I will finish it in the next 2 weeks; at least I've got an extra 25 days after that. Granted, 12 of those extra days will be spent on call for the ICU. (I'm not sure if I've ever explained what my work schedule is like - I do call for 7 days straight 5 weeks out of every 8: 3 weeks of ICU, which is insanely busy, and 2 weeks of Respirology, which is much less busy. I have sometimes overlapped Respirology and ICU call, but I end up having to neglect my Respirology duties, so I am not doing that at all in the winter. Even though it sounds like alot of time off, my ICU weeks are very tiring, and it feels like I don't have any spare time. Unfortunately, for the next little while, I am likely to have to pick up extra time because a fellow who joined our hospital as a 3rd intensivist just after I started decided that it wasn't the right career for him, so now there are just 2 of us, meaning that I do 4 weeks of ICU out of every 8, which further cuts into my knitting time)

I did manage to attend a Toronto Knitting Event (everything that happens in Toronto is capitalized; sometimes bolded and italicized too) yesterday evening - the opening of a new yarn shop called 'The Purple Purl' (I personally would have named it 'The Black Purl', but nobody asked for my opinion). I had planned to meet up with some of my knitting friends, but missed them by a bit (I subsequently caught up with them at a restaurant). There were many many people inside the yarn shop - enough to make it somewhat stressfull, because you couldn't walk anywhere without having to tap on someone's shoulder and ask them to move. So I quickly checked out their inventory, grabbed a skein of yarn, and left without even picking up a freebie gift bag.
(I did stop to pay for the yarn first, just in case you were worried)
Indigo moon
This is Indigo Moon yarn, which is dyed on Gabriola Island, just of BC's Sunshine Coast. Ironically, The Gambler and I spent a few days on Gabriola Island, and I planned to check out the Indigo Moon studio, but wasn't able to find it. Now, I freely admit that I need more sock yarn like I need a hole in my head (I've always wondered - could piercings be considered "holes in the head"? How about when people put those big grommets into their earlobes?), but this yarn does solve a minor dilemma:
Kaleidoscope to be
The "Blue Spruce" colourway works well with these other 2 sock yarns, so it will allow me to knit a Kaleidoscope sweater using 3 fingering weight yarns rather than a combo of fingering/sportweight. Of course, I now have to decide if I still want to carryalong the alpaca laceweight that I only have 540 yards of...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kill me now!

Ack - I agreed to do a procedure on an out of town patient (because apparently I am the only doctor in Ontario available to take care of patients, or maybe it just seems that way) this Thursday morning. The procedure is scheduled for 7:15 AM, but in order for me to assess him beforehand, I have to see him at 6:30 AM. And it's a 35-45 minute drive from home to hospital. Eek!

Oh well. The Warmfuzzy is turning out to be a very effective cat magnet. Between the broomsticks knitting needles waving around in the air, and the 4 different balls of yarn which compete as to which one will roll the furthest when it hits the floor, it is the source of much entertainment. Heck - there's even the convenience of 4 strands of yarn that hang right in front of anyone who sits on my lap. Luckily the halo from the Parisienne should disguise the cat hair.

Since scarf progress shots are not exactly fascinating at this point ( "Look! It's a scarf! Again! Except this time it's 6 rows longer!!"), I instead bring you one of the recent additions to my stash:
llama lace
Llama Lace
Because I'm such a prolific lace knitter, don't you know...
llama lace texture

1300 yards of a heathery purple/rose with a bit of gold thrown in. My initial reaction was "ick" (because of the gold), but then it followed me home...I bought it at the same shop where I picked up the PomPon yarn; it came from a "local" (to Winnipeg) farm. What ended up attracting me to it is how rustic it is. Kind of a polar opposite to the PomPon, eh? I think it calls for a fairly unstructured pattern - along the lines of the Shoalwater Shawl.

Oh dear; now Somerset is kneading the scarf...gotta go before she starts grooming it!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Just what I need...

...another WIP!
warmfuzzy start
This is "Warmfuzzy", the gift that I am knitting for one of the nurses I work with as a Secret Santa gift.

warmfuzzy yarns
I'm using Optimum DK (pink), Colinette Parisienne (marble colourway), Nashua Creative Focus Brushed Alpaca (magenta), and Sublime angora merino (white) to knit a Purl Scarf.

I'm using 10mm needles, and am finding them somewhat cumbersome and clunky - they make me wish that I could knit Continental style. It's boring as hell, and I have to pay attention while I am knitting it to make sure that I don't drop one of the yarns. But it is nice and soft, and I'm pretty sure she's going to like it - every time I see her she's wearing pink.

Speaking of warm fuzzies, The Gambler got me a birthday cake this weekend as a special treat:
I'm still too shell shocked from my crazy call week to come up with a suitable caption, so I will have to leave it up to my readership.

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Trying to evict the hamster from my brain...

...because as I lie in bed awake at night, desperately trying to get to sleep, thoughts keep running around like a hamster on a wheel.

Some knitting related thoughts frequently pop in for a visit. I appreciate the comments on my prior post. I already have some sock yarn waiting to be knit into gloves, and several batches of yarn "that I can knit into a scarf...", so the 2 options I considered were a shawl and a sweater. I also have started to accumulate laceweight yarn, so I decided against a shawl, so that is why I decided on a sweater. Someone might choose to point out that I have several batches of yarn already that are waiting to be knit into sweaters, but really, how often does reality come into play when one is thinking of starting a new knitting project?

I have just under 1000 metres of yarn, so there's no way I would get a me-sized sweater out of these 3 skeins if I knit with 2 strands of sock yarn together. After I wrote the post, it occured to me that I bought 3 small skeins of medium grey laceweight alpaca at an embroidery shop which had a small yarn selection in Paris (the name of which I did not take note) that would work well as the carryalong yarn. I can't find them right now (The Gambler tidied up the room where the bag was sitting one day this week), but I vaugely recall there being 600-800m in total. Ironically, the 2 fingering weight yarns are the ones with grey in them, whereas the sportweight is all greens, but I don't think the laceweight is going to alter the colour of the fabric THAT much (see above note re: reality). Besides, the alpaca will make the fabric a bit warmer, I didn't have any specific project in mind for the laceweight, and to tell you the truth, I'm not someone who would generally wear completely grey garments/accessories. I went to the shop on our last full day in Paris shortly after it opened , and I swear to god that I stood in front of the shelf which held this yarn in at least 12 colours (multiple shades of brown and grey, cream, white, and black) for a good 10-15 minutes, sniffling from my cold, trying to decide what colour I should buy. I'm sure that the little old man running the place thought that I was a crazy person.

So I have decided that I will use this yarn to knit a Kaleidoscope sweater. For which I already bought not one but 2 different pairs of skeins of sock yarns. What sweet irony that one of these sock yarns is from Indigomouse, who had suggested that I just mix different yarns together when I ranted about a "sock yarn stash reducing project" which required one to buy more sock yarn. It's designed to have a fairly loose gauge, has minimal seams, but because it is a cardigan it will make it easier to change yarns every row. I will do some swatches to determine whether or not the combined yarns look like crap or not. Theoretically, I could change needles when I switch from sportweight to fingering in order to minimize the tension differences, but I probably won't.

And a big thanks to my SP11 secret pal for the package I recieved this week! It contained some lovely deep red merino/silk laceweight and a copy of the latest Vogue Knitting amongst other things. I haven't had time to photograph it yet (I am blogging from the hospital - waiting to find out if a patient is going to be shipped to a hospital with a Neuro ICU, or if I am going to end up admitting her), but I have found some interesting patterns in the magazine. There's one section which has some pretty avant garde (i.e weird) designs, one of which is a "scarf with sleeves"(#26 - the asymmetrical wrap). I really like the way that the right hand side of the garment looks, and was thinking that it might work out to just mirror it to knit the left side, but after some time lying awake at night mentally going through my stash for potential yarns, I moved on to trying to figure out how something that is a rectangle would end up nipped in at the waist. Which was great fodder for the hamster. But the more I think about it, the more I think that those bastards the stylists just pinned it in back.

9 and a half hours until my on-call week ends.


Saturday, November 10, 2007


Oh. My. God.

Please tell me that's satirical.

(BTW - wouldn't powering one's computer up to make a Facebook post also generate some CO2?)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Delusion induced by severe sleep deprivation

In late summer of 2006, I bought some nice alpaca sock yarn. It wasn't superwash, but I wasn't concerned about it. But this sad sock story led me to reconsider.

I'm considering combining these 3 yarns into one project. The yarn on the right is silk/merino (246 metres), and the middle yarn is merino(382 metres). The alpaca yarn (350ish metres) is on the left (just in case the fuzziness doesn't show on your screen)

The green tones in the silk/merino are very similar to those in the other 2 yarns, so I think that colourwise it will work out. Gauge is my concern - the silk/merino looks like it might be a sportweight, and the other 2 look more like fingering.

I'm thinking of knitting something along the lines of the hourglass sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

There are a few points I'd like to get opinions on:

1) Should I use only these yarns with large needles, and have a fabric that is very open, or look for another yarn (laceweight?) to carry along that will combine to create a bulkier yarn?

2) If I do decide to use a second yarn, what colour should I look for - grey or green? Light or dark?

3) If I alternate yarns each row, will that minimize the effects of the different gauges, or will I just get a wonky looking fabric?

4) Am I ever going to make anything near a dent on my "to Knit" list?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Make it stop!

OK - I have given up on the daily blogging when I am on call for the ICU. Yesterday I got to the hospital at 4:30 AM and left at 11:30 PM, and had a crapload of code blues and a bunch of new patients. Thank god for nurses who bring food into work - because even though I had a delicious salad waiting to be eaten, I didn't have the time to eat anything that involved sitting down.

But enough about my bad day - here is sock yarn that makes me smile:
Check out those wee little pom poms!
Pompon close

I picked it up in Winnipeg this weekend - I met with my downstream secret pal, who took me to The Wosley Wardrobe, which is a combination yarn shop / consignment clothing boutique. I'd not seen "Pom Pon" anywhere else. I also picked up something else, but that'll be the subject of a future blog post.

Four and a half days to go...

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Eiffel Socks!

Eiffel Socks are fini!
completed socks
I finished knitting sock deux about 45 minutes before our plane landed yesterday, and grafted the toe yesterday evening.
cookie view
They ended up a bit shorter in the calf than I would prefer, but at least this time I didn't run out of yarn!
Eiffel calf close
Knit cuff down, with short row heels and toes.

Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern:
Eiffel pattern close
Pattern coming soon.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Introducing Inspire Knits

Well, no blog post yesterday either - I am currently batting .500 on NaBloPoMo; visiting my parents is not conducive to blogging - their computer and internet connection are painfully slow, plus I really need to upload more photos to Flickr to facilitate "away from home" blogging.

However, I did have the opportunity to graft the toe on these sockettes:
top view
They were my "purse" knitting project during our Eurotrip - designed specifically to wear with these shoes:
in use - top view
(Because I prefer the sockless look with these shoes, but dislike the effects of wearing closed shoes sans socks.) These are based on this pattern, but I've made some modifications, and am thus deeming it my first design.

Ballet School Dropout* Sockettes by Inspire Knits

I knit mine using much less than a full skein of Crystal Palace Maizey, using a set of 4 (well, they started out as a set of 5, but one of them magically disappeared during a ride on the Paris Metro) 2.75mm(US2) dpns. They are meant to fit quite snug, but if you have wee little feet, you might need to make the heel shorter by doing fewer repeats. Gauge isn't super important - best to go up at least one needle size to make them stretchier and faster to knit.

Cast on 27 stitches onto one dpn.
Knit one row.
Next row: K3, *Kfb, K3*, repeat from * to the end. 33 stitches.
Knit one row.
Row 1) *K1, Sl1*, repeat from * to last stitch, K1
Row 2) K1, Purl to last stitch, K1
Repeat these 2 rows 18 times, then repeat Row 1.

Shape heel:
1) P17, P2 tog, P1, turn
2) K3, Sl1, K1, Psso, K1, turn
3) P4, P2 tog, P1, turn
4) K5,Sl1, K1, Psso, K1, turn
5) P6, P2 tog, P1, turn
6) K7, Sl1, K1, Psso, K1, turn
7) P8, P2 tog, P1, turn
8) K9, Sl1, K1, Psso, K1, turn
9) P10, P2 tog, P1, turn
10) K11, Sl1, K1, Psso, K1, turn
11) P12, P2 tog, P1, turn
12) K13, Sl1, K1, Psso, K1, turn
13) P14, P2 tog, P1, turn
14) K15, Sl1, K1, Psso, K1, turn
15) P16, P2 tog, turn
16) K16, Sl1, K1, Psso

Break yarn.

With right side of work facing, use a 3rd dpn to pick up 19 stitches along the right side of the heel. Knit the 17 heel stitches onto the same needle. Pick up 19 stitches along the left side of the heel. Redistribute the stitches so that there are 27 on one dpn and 28 on the other dpn. (55 stitches total)

Knit the next 2 rows until you have 41 stitches remaining:
1) K3, purl to last 3 stitches,K3
2) K3, K2 tog, knit to last 5 stitches, Sl1, K1, Psso, K3

Then, repeat the next 2 rows until the sockette is 12cm/5 inches less than foot length, ending with row 1:
1) K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3
2) Knit to end

Knit the next 2 increase rows until you have 65 stitches in total
1) K2, Kfb, Knit to last 3 stitches, Kfb, K2
2) K2, Kfb, Purl to last 3 stitches, Kfb, K2

Redistribute the stitches onto 3 dpns as follows: 16, 32, 17. Knit to the end of the 3rd needle, slip the last stitch onto the first needle, and Knit that stitch together with the first stitch on the first needle to join and start knitting in the round. 64 stitches: 16, 32, 16.

Knit 2 rounds even.

Toe decreases:
Round 1:
Needle 1: work to the last 3 st, k2tog, and k1.
Needle 2 - k1, SL 1, k1, psso. Work to the last 3 st on the needle, & k2tog, k1.
Needle 3 - k1, SL 1, psso; work to the end of the needle.

*Round 2: Knit even.

*If you want the toe to be very short, decrease on every row; this will give you a sock that shows some toe "cleavage".
(If you aren't sure what type of toe you want, I'd suggest putting a lifeline in and knitting the shorter toe first - if it doesn't fit your foot, then rip back and do the longer toe)
When you are down to 12 stitches, knit to the end of needle one, When you have decreased down to a total of 24 stitches, knit to the end of needle 1, redistribute the stitches to 2 needles and graft toe closed.

Slip into your ballerina shoes and capris and channel Audrey Hepburn:
in use - side view

Note - the "cuff" on these is 3 rows longer than as written in the pattern; I hate getting blisters on my achilles tendon, so this longer cuff can fold over the edge of the shoe.

*Disclosure : I was never in ballet school, but I did take Ukrainian dance lessons for a few years.

Up next - La Tour Eiffel Socks!

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Friday, November 02, 2007

And the gods laughed...

Yeah - no post yesterday - I ended up getting home at 4 AM, becuase I had 2 sick people come in through the ER late in the evening.

Which in itself is a PITA, but we are also taking a weekend trip to Winnipeg to see my family, flight leaves at noon today and I had not yet packed. I ended up just grabbing a selection of clothes out of the still-not-unpacked-europe-suitcase before crashing.
So speaking of European clothes - this number was in the Louis Vuitton shop window on the Champs d'Elysees:

It's a neat idea, although I think I'd like it in a non-mohair yarn, and probably hip/tunic length.

Discussion point - how much of a copyright violation is it for me to post this photo and discuss creating something based on it?