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Friday, December 28, 2007

Yearly wrap up

A while back I saw that Ruth (see below re: lack of link - sorry Ruth - everyone else: Ruth is an Australian blogger who lives in S. Africa , knits and quilts awesome stuff and has an adorable little baby - she's in my bloglines list) did something neat on her blog - she posted the first line of the first blog entry for each month.

I decided to instead post an amusing line from each month. I started writing this post a few weeks ago, when I had more free time. I am back to 12-14 hour days in the ICU until January 2nd, so I decided I might as well publish it tonight before I fall into bed. I was going to link each line to the respective post, but am unlikely to have time to brush my teeth in the next few days let alone go hunt down the blog entries again. If you have nothing else to do with your time are fascinated by what you see below, check my blog archives - kind of like a treasure hunt, just without a prize.


It will kind of be like The Yarn Harlot's MSF fundraising drive, but less meaningful, with more cat photos and fewer shots of people holding partially knit socks.


I did, however, facilitate someone else getting rid of their hot pink boucle yarn (the girl who sat beside me last night is going to have her first baby in June; I asked if she knew the sex. When she replied that it is a girl, I told her she had to take the pink yarn).


I wonder if the German language has a word for "not funny ha-ha, but funny in an ironic way that doesn't completely fulfill the criteria for irony. Like rain on your wedding day."


Oh great, I may be knitting Socks of Death.


I didn't think I would ever see it again, but surprisingly, as I was walking back from a quick trip to MECca (not it's official name, but a term that I coined for the Vancouver store, since there probably is a law on the books that you must own at least 5 items of gear from MEC to be a Vancouverite), I looked down at the sidewalk


i dont know why these words are smaller than the other words but thats ok because mommy doesn't know why it happens either and she says it is a blog design feature


I like to combine tangential thinking with a habit of picking up a conversation where it left off, even though the other party in the conversation has since moved on with their life and has no idea what I am talking about.


If it's The Happiest Place On Earth (TM), why are there so many crying children?


Now, personally, I wanted to speed up to get past the damned thing ASAP, because I have this little quirk of NOT WANTING TO BE ONLY 3 LANES AWAY FROM AN EXPLODING GAS TANK!!!! I'm kind of funny that way about avoiding infernos and shrapnel.


Swarovski has an amazing "Crystal Wonderland" just outside Innsbruck Austria. Sadly, it is closed for renovations until December 1st, so we had to make do with a giant bronze turd.


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.


Check out the Japanese yarn content listing - what is the 13% it refers to? Vegetable fibre content?

Have fun on the 31st; and best wishes to all for 2008!


Monday, December 24, 2007

When you care enough to send make fake the very best

First, there was wallpaper. In the 1980's, wallpaper was big. Then came the borders - to complement your wallpaper, or to use alone as an accent.

Then, some time in the 90's, faux techniques became The New Thing. Smooshing, stamping, stippling, stencilling - you could look like you had wallpaper without all the hassle and expense.

At some point, wallpaper companies started to sell wallpaper that looked like faux techniques - you could look like you had done a wall treatment without all the mess and fuss.

Art imitating life imitating art, or life imitating art imitating life?

Once upon a time, greeting cards were made by the nice people at Hallmark, Carlton, American Greetings, et al.

Then papercrafts became popular - why buy a card when you could create one yourself, complete with embellishments and personalization (or at least make one with a computer and ink-jet printer)?

Last week I had to pick up some things at the drugstore (like a new combination lock, for instance), and I picked up a Christmas card for The Gambler. Today I went to wrap his Far Side Calendar, and dug out the card. I noticed that the barcode/price blurb on the back was a sticker separate from the card. I wondered if it was because the original price was different, so I peeled it off. The card was blank underneath.


I took a look at the back of the sticker - I noticed that there were bits of glitter on it.


I looked at the card closely - it's a simple design.
The graphics and letters on the front are green glitter, slightly raised - the effect you would get if you drew/wrote them in glue and then sprinkled on glitter.The inside of the card is printed on a separate piece of paper, using a basic font.


The card looks handmade. You need to examine it closely to determine that it was commercially made.

Art imitating life imitating art, or life imitating art imitating life?
What a weird world we live in.

Merry Christmas to all - hoping that the gifts of health, happiness and peace find their way into your lives.....with or without bar codes.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Short post for a short day

You know how nature abhors a vacuum? Well, it took about 30 seconds for The Speedy Yet Effective shawl to go from this:
catless shawl
To this:
Shawl + 1 cat
And then this:
Shawl + 2 cats
Apparently it is an effective cat magnet as well.

I have just enough yarn left to cast off (I hope), but first I will rip back so that the last 4 rows will be garter stitch to minimize rolling. The shawl is smaller than I'd like, so I plan to agressively block it. If that doesn't work, I will frog it and reknit with US 11 needles (I used US 10.5 needles this time - my brand new Harmony needles!!)). I am amazed that I managed to knit it in 2 days - granted, both days were reeeeeally slow at work (respirology call), so I was able to work on it during the day. I am back on ICU for the next 3 days, so I might not touch it again until Christmas Eve.

Happy Winter Solstice to all.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Birthday rush!

I have a weird relationship with my family in general, moreso when it comes to presents - I have way more stuff than I need, and am fortunate enough to be able to buy myself the things that I want; everyone else in my family is in a similar situation. But my family is very big on exchanging gifts because That Is The Right Thing To Do; at one point my siblings started a Gift exchange, where were each assigned the name of a sibling/siblings spouse and that was who we were to buy a present for. The Gambler got my older sister the first year and she told him that she wanted 2 soup bowls from her china pattern for Christmas. That was the only Christmas we participated in the gift exchange. I hate the "shopping list" mentality when it comes to gift giving - I am OK with wedding registries, but I like to have some thought put into selecting a gift. Even worse is when I am told "Just send us X dollars, and we will put your name on the gift" - nothing like a gift for which I have absolutely no input. Since my family doesn't understand that, I have more or less opted out of giving them large gifts - inpast years I sent my parents and aunt/uncle tickets to a New Year's Day concert . This year, everybody got a flower pot containing an amaryllis bulb and a bottle of wine.
I was feeling so proud of myself, having distributed all of my family's Christmas gifts back in November (when we went back to Winnipeg for a visit), and the Christmas Cardi pinned in preparation for sewing up...when I remembered. My aunt (who is also my godmother) celebrates her birthday in early January. Damn - needed to think of something I could quickly knit up for her. Considered the Quickie Cowl; I have some chunky alpaca in the stash, so it would be perfect. The next day (Tuesday), I realized that it was my Mom's birthday! Eek! I didn't have any other suitable bulky yarn in stock, so I thought that I'd knit her a shawl. I woke up early the next morning and couldn't get back to sleep, so I went upstairs to see what yarn is accessible (as opposed to being "in a box, somewhere") and perused shawl patterns on Ravelry. I decided on the Simple Yet Effective Shawl, and cast on with some sock yarn.

After knitting about 20 rows, I decided that I wasn't happy with how the colours looked (the yarn was blue and peach, and it kept reminding me of The Gambler's Da Bears Socks. So I decided to break open some handspun yarn that my previous Secret Pal Lori sent to me. It's a worsted weight merino/silk blend in a lovely periwinkle - a colour that my mom adores.
This is how much I knit yesterday (before going to work, a few rows at lunch, and an evening SnB's worth), so I have christened it The Speedy Yet Effective Shawl #1, (because I am going to knit my aunt The Speedy Yet Effective Shawl #2 out of 3 skeins of Kareoke that are also sitting in the stash) BTW- See that combination lock? It is currently driving me insane. The Gambler and I recently joined a gym, and I have only gone there together with him thus far - no need to bring any valuables, so I just hang up my coat and that is that. I want to start going before or after work, so I need a lock for the locker. I used this lock for a few years, several tiems a week. It has been at least a year since I last used it, but I thought I knew the combination. I locked it, tried the combo, and realized it was wrong. So I played around with it, tried to see where the mechanism tightens up, and managed to open it using that method. But I didn't pay close attention to what the ACTUAL numbers were - and after I re-locked it I haven't been able to open it again. I am almost 100% sure that the first number was 35 and the last one was 9. However, the middle number eludes me. Every so often I try to open it again - it's kind of like a Rubik's Cube. I hate to throw perfectly good stuff away, and I am determined to figure out the combination.

This photo gives a better view of the colour:

And this one gives a better idea of the texture of the yarn:
I added the row of yarnovers within the garter section of the shawl to maximize the size of the shawl since I only have about 300 yards of the yarn. My goal is to get both of them in the mail by January 3rd. Which is a bit past midway between the 2 birthdays. But it's the thought that counts, right?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

C minus 7 days...

7 days to finish the Christmas Cardi.
Yesterday I picked up 574 million stitches and knitted the contrast band:
completed cardi torso
The contrast is actually supposed to be knit in stockinette with smaller needles, but after looking at a few ravelry projects, it seemed that garter stitch was the way to go.

Mental note for when I next knit a cardigan with a button band:
cardi closeup
Figure out why I got the row of purl bumps at the base of the band and how to avoid it. Now I just need to find those cute little buttons I bought in Switzerland...

I realized that there is an error in this pattern - it instructed me to bind off the 30ish stitches for the neck opening on the back, and then when it was time to do the contrast edging, the pattern says "knit the 30 stitches which are on a stitch holder, then continue to pick up stitches" Argh! I could have picked up 30 less stitches!! Really really really have to get into the habit of reading the whole pattern through before starting! Granted, I don't think I would have picked that up (no pun intended).

Sunday I made much progress on the first (I'd walk a mile for a) Camel Glove:
IWAMFA 1.0 palm
BTW: Batty - this is camel coloured merino yarn, not camel yarn. Zara yarn to be precise - complete with knot about 10 metres into the projects (argh!)
IWAMFA 1.0 side
And then realized that the gloves are a bit baggy. But the good news is that they fit The Gambler perfectly, so I now have a template for when I knit gloves for him. I used the Cigar gloves pattern from knitty with some modifications such as having FULL FINGERS(!!!) and offsetting the thumb so that right and left gloves aren't interchangeable. So I have frogged them, and will start to reknit tonight at the Scarberia SnB.

Finally, in cat news, Somerset's left sided whiskers are finally growing back:
somerset's whiskers
They fell out this summer after she had a superficial infection on her face. So she's looking a little less unbalanced these days.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Day!

Now THIS is a real snowstorm

This is about an hour after I shovelled our sidewalk; looks like I'll be heading out to do it again later. Luckily for me, I don't have to go see anyone at the hospital today, so it's like a snow day for me - such luxury!

The cats have their day planned out:

And I am going to spend some quality time with my newest WIP, which I hereby christen:

(I'd walk a mile for a) Camel Gloves.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

All work and no play...

...makes pitiful blog fodder.

Well, I guess I could tell the story of how we got a kick out of making the fancy pants big city cardiologist wait on hold, and then the radiology tech accidentally hung up on him...but I think you had to be there.

Even though I am still on call, as of Friday I have been on Respirology call (otherwise known as "my spa week") , so I have had some time to finish warmfuzzy:
completed warmfuzzy
I even picked up a gift bag and card today (I cannot wrap worth a damn. I don't know what happened to me in kindergarten; I never learned how to hold a pencil properly or how to fold paper in half. Surprising that I have managed to live a relatively full and productive life) so it is ready to leave under the tree in the staffroom.

This morning I finished knitting the pieces of the Christmas Cardi, soaked them in preparation for blocking, and then realized that I do not know where my pins are. So I went to my friendly neighborhood yarn shop....

252 and 268
...and this Silk Garden followed me home. I had already picked up 3 skeins of the darker colourway at Kniterary this Thursday, not having any specific project in now I have more!

I subsequently realized AFTER getting home that I forgot to pick up the pins, so I walked back(the beauty of living 2 blocks from a yarn shop) and picked up 2 packages of pins. I hadn't done the math of how many of them I would require...
blocking cardi
...and ended up having just enough of them to pin the back and fronts. Somerset tried to help me block the sleeves, but Greedo thought it smelled like wet dog.

Tonight, I cast on for my gloves!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh Christmas Meme...

Sandi recently tagged me for the "7 weird things about you" meme. I've already done that meme before, and I have seen a Christmas meme floating about Blogland, I decided to combine the 2 into:

7 Weird Christmas Things About Me

1) I have always hated tinsel - even before I got cats. I prefer a Christmas tree with minimal decorations. My favorite tree was one I had in my first apartment - it was a real tree, about 4 feet tall, and I decorated it with red velvet bows, star garland, white mini lights and a quilted star that I sewed up using my Mom's machine. It sat in the bay window, underneath some red globe lights, and I loved to sit on my couch in the evening with the room lit only by the tree and the window lights.
2) We don't tend to decorate the house for Christmas, but we usually put up a tree (we have an artificial one). Last year we took it down in February.

3) My favourite Christmas dish is "Kutya"; it is the only traditional Ukrainian food that I have ever prepared.

4) When I lived with/in the same city as my family, on Christmas Eve we would have a traditional Ukrainian meal, which was meatless. When I moved to Ontario, The Gambler and I would go to one of his buddy's parents' house for a traditional Swedish smorgasbord. When that buddy went to South America to teach, I felt like we had to start our own tradition. In the last few years, we have always cooked a roast or some steaks for dinner on the 24th. So our new Christmas Eve tradition is to eat beef.

5) I started knitting myself a Christmas stocking out of black acrylic Red Heart yarn a few weeks ago. It's for the staff room at work.

6) I am not at all religious, but my favourite Christmas music is either traditional Ukrainian carols sung by a choir, or Silent Night.

7) The Cat Carol makes me cry like a baby. So does the end of the cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I'm not tagging anyone specifically for this one - consider it my Christmas present to you.

Speaking of Christmas presents, the Warmfuzzy just needs to have the fringe trimmed and have the ends woven in. The Christmas Cardi is nearing completion - those are the sleeves on the straight needle (back and front panels are curled up on the circ).

I was able to knit a grand total of one row on each sleeve this weekend, because I spent most of my waking hours at the hospital from Friday through Sunday. Luckily, I don't think we'll be seeing the recipient until Boxing Day.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

I am five.

From a Frankfurt hotel bathroom:Tricky Ricky.

Hanky Panky.

Tee hee. I remember being disappointed that the toilet paper wasn't nicknamed Poopy Loopy.

(Speaking of poop: sometimes in hospital, when patients are having very loose bowel movements, a tube is placed in their rectum to keep things 'contained'. I recently learned that there is a super deluxe version of the "rectal tube" called the Fecal Management System. I don't know what is more disturbing - that someone was paid to come up with the term "Fecal Management System", or the fact that you can buy one on

Well, it turned out that nobody correctly guessed the inspiration for my creative writing last week. Not surprising - it was a bit obscure. Not Google-able.

I can't find the answer in here either...

There is a weekly CBC radio show called The Vinyl Cafe, which, in addition to music and stories with some basis in fact, features the ongoing adventures of a middles aged record shop owner and his family/neighbors. One episode was about a book club. Morley (the wife) joined a book club; it was one of those book clubs where people always sat in the same chair and picked obscure books written from the point of view of a piece of cheese, and generally made Morely feel like she didn't belong. The woman who spoke first would always say "This was a work of awe inspiring beauty which has changed me forever". Another woman, who was always the last to speak, would say "I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said here today". One day Morley decided to rebel, and sat in someone else's chair. This led to much consternation, and disorder, and the woman who usually spoke last ended up sitting in the chair which belonged to the "work of awe inspiring beauty" woman. So the woman who always spoke last found herself in the position of having to speak first. She turned red in the face, opened and shut her mouth, and then said "I have nothing to say about this book that hasn't already been said here before", and then glared at Morley, and then everyone else, daring them to challenge her blurb.

I am awarding a consolation prize to Bobbi (of The Kelly Green Rogue fame), because she thought it had something to do with music, and the Vinyl Cafe does feature live (in-studio) music in addition to the stories.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Letters from the Iditor

Letter from the Iditor #1
Dear Knitty Designer:

I need to buy 3 skeins of the same sock yarn? Do I need to repeat myself? I will give you credit for having the decency to not call it a stash-busting project.



Letter from the Iditor #2

Dear Other Knitty Designer,

Please see the above letter, but multiply the indignation by 1.6!

AND...It has taken me over a month to knit a baby cardigan out of sock yarn; and you want me to knit an adult sweater out of sock yarn on sock sized needles?

The fact that knitting the XS/S size is equivalent to knitting 4 pairs of socks is not particularly reassuring, since a) I have not fit anything that is size XS/S since, um, ever (even in men's sizes I am usually a Medium), and b) unless I am unemployed, it takes me between 3 and 6 weeks to knit a pair of socks.

Let's do some math: 3 weeks x 5 pairs of socks(M/L calls for 5 balls) = 15 weeks. 6 weeks x 5 pairs of socks = 30 weeks. 4-7 months of knitting a sweater on wee little needles? Where do I sign up for the straightjacket fittings?



The world is going mad...and I am back in the ICU for a week in 8.5 hours...waaaah!


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stash update

For some reason, my body decided to wake up super early today. What better use of the extra time than taking and uploading stash photos to Ravelry?

This is a very belated photo of the Silk Mountain that I got from my supergreat SP 11 Secret Pal.
Silk Mountain
Small world - her upstream was Rochelle, who I know through GTA knitting activites - most recently I been semi-regularly attending a SNB that she belongs to.

Some weirdness that I just noticed this morning:
silk mountain tag
Check out the Japanese yarn content listing - what is the 13% it refers to? Vegetable fibre content?

This yarn is to be knit into gloves to match a winter coat I just picked up at a local consignment shop:
Zara - camel
Which brings me to a pet peeve - fingerless gloves. I hate them, or at least the concept of them. If it's cold enough to wear gloves/mitts, I want to cover my whole hand, thankyouverymuch. Think about it - what part of your hands has the largest surface area/size ratio? It's not your palms! And the argument that they can be worn under mitts doesn't convince me - because you are still leaving your fingers with less coverage!

Now I am generally a live-and-let-knit kind of person; if you want to spend all of your time and energy knitting dishcloths, or shapeless/matronly sweaters, or representations of internal organs, then you go ahead and do just that. However, the Ravelry pattern browser (which is my knitting pattern source of late) is not sophisticated enough to give one the option to exclude a particular type of garment - so when I search "gloves", I end up having to scroll though dozens of fingerless glove patterns. Although I was quite happy to stumble across these instructions for converting a sock pattern into mittens, because even though my hands are large, mittens are still much faster to knit up than socks, and I am more apt to get lots of wear out of funky mittens than funky socks, or to knit mittens up as a gift for someone else.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

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

Someone has gotten a bit peeved at his lack of appearance on the blog of late.
Post photos of me, or you'll never watch CSI again!

Hmmm...this knit modelling isn't as glamourous as it seems...

Warmfuzzy is completed; I just have to finish cutting up the remaining yarn for the fringe. Unfringed length is about 62 inches. I just started the sleeves for the Christmas Cardi (no photos, because the stockinette rolls like it's going out of style, so it ends up looking like photos of icord), and I will be done with my Christmas knitting, and more or less done with getting ready for Christmas. I am not super organized - I just lucked out, because a friend of mine was selling amaryllis bulbs for her daughter's school, so all of my family members got a bulb and a bottle of wine in a planter which I delivered when I visited them in November; the in-laws are going to get the same thing. The Gambler took care of his own Christmas present by announcing that he was going to go to Las Vegas to watch a UFC fight right at the end of December. And today I ordered Unicef cards online which I will distribute at work - instead of gift baskets for the wards, I like to make a donation to a local food bank at Christmas in honor of the hospital staff.

My Christmas present is that someone is coming tomorrow to take away these empty boxes...
...the sad part is that there are still a whole lot more of them around the house, all of which still contain stuff.

In other news, The Gambler figured out how to light the pilot light on our gas fireplace - which is great, because it has freed up my lap for knitting:

I have taken advantage of the temporary cat reprieve to work more on Ella Freezes Over - I just love looking at the way the colours work with the pattern.

I just got my schedule for January through March - I will be off January 2-13th, and as God is my witness, I am going to make significant progress on a sweater for me during that time.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Pimp My Friends

Check out this talented indie dyer! I have seen her handspun in person, and it is deee-vine!

dyed in the wool handmade sport
This sportweight is destined to become a pair of gloves - to coordinate with my Clapotis