Monday, January 31, 2011

Knitters need not fear the coming storm

It's winter. So there is no surprise that there's some snow a-comin'. (A winter storm is on it's way tomorrow afternoon, with an expected snowfall of approx 35 cm -14 in - for my area) But you'd think it was the coming apocalypse with the way people are freaking out around work.

The newspaper has proclaimed it "The worst storm in 2 years!!!!" Um.. considering we got very little snow last year, and only one or two "real dumpings" the year before - that's not saying much.

Compared to what London got a few months ago - this is a dusting. And hey - it's Canada eh? We get snow and sometimes lots of it.
(I have no other picture for this story so you get Tux romping in the snow)

There's an easy way to deal with a snowstorm - stay home.

I learned the lesson the hard way three years ago. I was the senior reporter/interim editor at a newspaper in Port Colborne. It was press day - I HAD to get to work, I convinced myself. The paper wouldn't get printed without me.

So, I backed out of my shoveled parking spot (I was already running late - who has time to shovel?) and promptly got my little Sunfire stuck.

I tromp back in the house, dial the phone. Ring ring. Ring ring. "Hey Dad. I'm stuck"

(This should have been my first clue - Dad was home at 9 am because he didn't go into work. If my parents didn't go into work - I have no business trying. They are crazypants letter carriers... they'll work in ANY weather)

Dad shows up 15 minutes later, gets me unstuck and hands me the keys to Mom's truck. "You won't get stuck again with this. I'll take the car and you can come pick it up after work"

I got to work with no problem - the truck was great - it was high, full of gas and washer fluid and Mom had even left Motley Crue in the CD player.

12 hours later, I finished laying out the paper, sent it off to the presses. It had even stopped snowing by then, but the roads were still snow covered. I called Dad and told him I was on my way. I got in the truck and headed out to pick up my car. Five minutes from work, at the last light out of Port Colborne, I hit the brakes and skid right through a red light. Got nailed in the back end by an SUV that had the right of way.

Getting in an accident is bad enough - when it's your Mom's beloved truck - it's a whole other level of craptastic.

In the end, no one was seriously hurt (I was a little banged up but didn't feel it until the next day), and I learned a very valuable lesson - there are very few things that are so important that you need to put your property, your life, someone else's life in danger. Stay home.

And besides - when you're snowed in - it's just another reason to knit!

And if you're in need of some yarn to keep you warm... Mom just loaded up the shop!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Changing gears

I've lost steam on the Crow Waltz shawl. I started knitting the leaves again, but I don't like it. The Regia is too light, and it's looking very sloppy. I don't want to go down a needle size because then I will have to knit even more leaves to get the size I want.

So, it's going to sit in the time out chair for a little longer - at least until I can get some sport weight yarn dyed up in black.

In the mean time - I cast on for Bitterroot.
I've wanted to knit this pattern ever since I first saw it on Knitty.

I had intended to make it one of the 10 shawls last year, but never got to it (making three Frozen Leaves shawls might have had something to do with bumping it down the list).

I'm knitting it in our Fluffy Cat ~ which was always my intention, but has been given greater urgency when I realized I don't have a Fluffy Cat shawl.

I made both Artemis and Traveling Woman in Fluffy Cat (in fact, Traveling Woman was my first fingering weight shawl) but I gave them to my friend Bree and her wife Jamie for Christmas.

The colour I'm using is Winter Spruce ~ a combination of two very pretty shades of grey-green. In fact, they are very close to the colour of my eyes.

I have two skeins, so I'm making the full-sized shawl. I don't know if I'll do beads yet - I like how they look, but it seems like a lot of bother. But, I'll worry about it when I get to that point ~ which could be a while.

I'm back in event planning mode at work with another trade show coming up in April. I'll be working most of tomorrow, and as we inch closer to the date, it's going to start cutting more and more into my knitting time.

And, because you've demanded it ~ I'm also devoting some time to poor neglected Beaker.

The only reason he got neglected in the first place was because of the needles I was using. They were cheap wooden needles and they kept splintering on me. But, now that I have my Harmonies, there's no reason not to finish him up.

He got his hair today, as well as mouth and one leg. He looks a little freaky right now - his pupils will be black felt, glued on. I tried knitting them but I didn't like the way it looked.

My plan is to get him done in time to give to Dave for Valentine's day.
If work cooperates of course.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Last night I solved a little mystery.

While I was in the studio, searching for a book - I decided to check my sock yarn stash one more time - just to see if I had any more of the heavy black yarn. And what did I discover there?

A part ball of Regia - still labelled. Light, just like the stuff Mom gave me. But how could that be? I know I only ever had one ball. So, what in the hell was the heavier stuff then?

I called Mom up - we went through all the black yarns in her stash. No dice.

And then today - I'm sitting at work and it hits me.

A few years back, I started designing a stuffie for Dave - Beaker from the Muppets to be exact - it's been languishing, incomplete in one of my baskets for months. I had bought a whole bunch of Patons Astra to make it - one of the balls was black - and I had used some of it already.

Sure enough, I get home - check the Beaker basket - no black yarn. CRAP!


Now I do have to start all over - I could get another skein of Astra - but it seem a little like sacrilege to pair Monika's gorgeous handspun with cheap acrylic. (I'm not totally against acrylic - it has its uses - this is not one of them.)

It's not really a weeks worth of knitting down the tubes - I have another idea for the completed half of the edging... but damn.... I really didn't want to knit all those leaves again.

Live and learn right? (ALWAYS keep things labeled.)

Mom did manage to cheer me up today with a little yarnie present
Twisted Fiber Art Kabam! in Netherfield.

I am such a lucky daughter.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bad knitting! No Cookie!!!

I know... you expected to see some fantastic shawl progress... finished edging, beautiful handspun, linen stitch glory.

But, as the title implies... you're not going to get it. The edging is not done. It is sitting in the time-out chair contemplating its bad behaviour.

Why, you ask?

Well you see. I ran out of yarn. Now, that's totally not the knitting's fault. I knew I didn't have enough yarn to start with - but it was no biggie. I'd gotten this particular ball from Mom, and I knew for a fact she had at least two or three more.

So, I stopped by on Monday to steal another skein. I joined it, knit a few leaves and went WTF?

See how much bigger and fuller the leaves on the right are? That's the old yarn. The new yarn is noticeably lighter.

I don't get it. It's all Regia 4 ply. I don't have the ball band to compare lots, but it all came from Mom and she's usually pretty good about matching lots. It's possible it was separate purchases (she can't remember) and I'd understand different shade of black - but a different weight?!?

Mom has one more ball of Regia kicking around. I'm going to check it out tomorrow and see if it's any better.

If not... looks like I'll be starting the edging all over again..... *sigh*

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunny Sunday

Don't let that sun fool you, it's still darn-tooting cold out there. My Lumi kept me nice and warm as Dave dragged me out to deliver a laptop he sold.

Despite that, when we got back, I didn't want to hang outside and take pictures. So, instead I threw open the curtains and let the sunshine in! (Miss Peno is VERY pleased with that decision!)

So here are some decent pics of the latest FOs.Up first - Coronet in Big Cat - colour is Kaia. I've worn this a few times now and the Big Cat is so squishy soft, and definitely keeps me noggin warm.Rocky is not the most obliging model... but he did better with the matching mitts....The mitts are my own concoction, and I have permission from the hat designer to share the pattern with you all as soon as I get it put together - it should be some time this week.

I did consider casting on the second Jungle Cat sock, but after being taunted by Minding My Own Stitches Linen Stitch Scarf I knew I wasn't going to be happy with a lacy sock.

Now, as you know, I do have a bit of a surplus of left-over sock yarn kicking around, but I don't want to use any of it for anything else until I get the Crackghan off the needles. (And I'm hoping to start a Barn Raising blanket after that)

And then there is the other thing that has been taunting me for months...
This beautiful skein of handspun from Smoking Hot Needles. I bought this back in November or maybe October, and was unable to do anything with it becuase of my Christmas obligations. It's been sitting on my coffee table teasing me, seductively whispering, "cast on... you know you want to. I'm soft and fully of pretty colours ... you want to touch me."

I have resisted until last night. I was cleaning out my Ravelry queue and I came across the Crow Waltz Shawl. It uses the linen stitch, just like that gorgeous scarf! And I thought to myself - it would be a perfect platform for showcasing the gorgeous colour changes in the handspun too.

It's unlike any shawl I've done so far - this one starts with the edging then the stitches are picked up for the middle.

So... I dug out some plain black Regia for the edging, and I'm not quite scratching the linen-stitch-itch just yet...
I'm only about half done the edging. But I will be soon. So, if you don't see a completed pair of socks for a while... blame Minding My Own Stitches!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

As our intrepid little feline reporter alluded to early, it's darn cold outside. Southern Ontario (and much of North America) is experiencing a cold snap. But despite Rocky's best intentions, I don't need cat hair to keep warm. I have this:You may remember, I bought some Mini Mochi at the Needle Emporium last month as a little Happy Birthday to me. I was going to make socks, but discovered I didn't like knitting single ply yarn on small needles. So... shawl it was.

This is Lumi, but modified. Since I was only making a little shawlette and in fingering yarn, I started the leaf motif almost immediately. Have I told you how much I love knitting leaves?

I loved working with Mini Mochi. it was so soft and the colour changes kept it interesting. I was a little disappointed though, as the first ball had TWO knots, and one joined two completely different colours, totally out of sequence. I had to do a little creative cutting and splicing, but that's why there is only one band of the real orange, orange.

Anyway, I thought this would go nicely with the beret I made from Smoking Hot Needles lovely handspun yarn. (Go buy some! It's AWESOME). I have enough of the hand spun left to make a pair of gloves or mitts.

I do have some more finished knitting to show you, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I left it too late to take pictures, and was losing the light while shooting the shawl.

So, the house is mostly clean (but it will never be completely cat hair free) so I'm going to throw a roast in the oven then sit back and let my needles click, click, click.

Hope you're all keeping warm!

Rockster Weewiggles Reports again

Rockster Weewiggles here, reporting again for mummy. She's once again gone on a crazy cleaning fit.

She got this crazy look on her face and said something about "furry beasts shedding hair all over the place" and she just "can't stand it anymore!!!!". She's already run the big scary, sucky machine all over EVERYTHING, but she says she's not done yet.

I don't see what all the fuss is about, my fur coat keeps me nice and cozy, which is why I like to share it with her. And especially that big, tall blonde guy. The look on his face when he discovers I've been napping on his t-shirt is priceless.

Oh, he says he doesn't like it, but I know he'll thank me later when he goes out in the cold, and all the fluffiness I shared keeps him warm. Besides, I just meow cutely, rub up against his legs an sucker him all over again.

Anyway, mummy has stripped all our cat beds (I don't know why she feels we need "cat" beds... I'm quite happy with the blonde guy's t-shirts) and has thrown them in the big swishy machine in the basement, so my siblings and I have decided we'll go spread some more insulation in the "people" bed.
But mummy wanted me to tell you all that she'll be back later with some pictures of the pretty things she makes with those sticks and that nummy, nummy yarn. I can't wait... something new to shed on!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lost in the jungle

Sorry for the short silence - there hasn't been a whole lot going on over the past few days.

Well, nothing excitingly bloggable anway. I mean, do you really want to hear how we slept in both Saturday and Sunday because we were being ridiculously lazy, or that I made liver for dinner (yum) or that I rearranged my bedroom this weekend - no? I thought not.

But what you might be interested in is this...The first Black Rose sock is finished! (Sorry for the crappy colour in the photo - I can't wait for daylight after 5 pm!) It's a great pattern, and I am LOVIN! our new Jungle Cat. Knit on 2.5mm needles, it makes a sturdy, but soft fabric, and these socks hug every curve of my foot. It's silky, with a nice sheen - I think it makes a great sock yarn, and will be even better for shawls! Oh, the drape it will have!

I do love this pattern too - so pretty, and easy when it comes to lace. It has a nice flow to it, and I was whipping through these socks much faster than I expected. I liked it so much, I didn't even cut it short and make ankle socks! Shocking!

And... just because he's ridiculously adorable...
"But Mummee... this IS helping you make the bed!"

Friday, January 14, 2011

You know you want to....

Are you a reader but not a commenter??? Today's the day to drop your anonymity and bare it all.. just a simple "hi" will do.

I want to know who's checking me out!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bedtime reading

Apparently, way back when Mom ordered my Vampire Knits book for my birthday - she also ordered another book for me. But it was on back order. It finally showed up yesterday!Do you think Dave would consider reading a sexy sock book in bed foreplay? I don't know about you, but a butter soft merino certainly turns me on....

... of course, I'll likely be asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow tonight, anyway. I just finished shoveling out our two (double deep) parking spots so Dave could have somewhere to park when he gets home tonight.

And five minutes later - the landlord's maintenance guy finally shows up with the snowblower.....

Murphy - I hate you and your law sucks!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Warm woolies

As promised...
I finished my Coronet hat. And I'm working on a pair of matching mittens (pattern will be released for the mittens soon after)

I would have had them both finished today, but I got a little distracted by a new computer game Dave got for me.... but - I said this year was a year of stressless knitting, so no biggie.

This pic doesn't do the pattern or the yarn justice - better pictures will follow sometime next week. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to the longer, lighter days..... of course, by then I'll have no use for mittens....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Adventures in Wonderland

Well Dave did have plans for us this weekend - and apparently they involved going outside to play in a blizzard.

Alright, to be honest, that wasn't quite his plans. He has some errands to run in the city, and when we left the house, it was a cold, but sunny winter day. Ten minutes down the highway, however, was a giant wall of snow.

We managed to survive it (stopping for lunch at a cute little bistro to wait some of it out) and by the time we got home, it was all over. All that remained was a peaceful, snow covered wonderland.

So I decided to throw the cats out in it.

Really, it's not as mean as it sounds - Tux has been yelling at me for weeks to let him go out. He snuck out once under Dave's feet a few days ago, but it was just cold - no snow. So I wanted to see what he thought of the wet, white stuff.Now, as many of you know, I don't know much about the first few years of Tux's life. I do know that he spent at least a year at the rescue - but other than that....

He might have been an outdoor cat - he may have seen lots of snow. It certainly didn't seem to bother him. He trotted around like he usually does, sniffed his favourite bush. Peed on it. Frolic up the side of the house to the backyard. It was all fun until he got to the backyard and spotted the Malamute that is visiting next door. Then he hightailed it back to the front door and was thoroughly finished with outside.

So, I decided to give Rocky a turn.
He came outside willingly enough, but as soon as his paws hit the cold stuff... it was time to play it safe. He wanted to stay out, but he crept along under the roses where it wasn't as deep. After a few minutes, he was pretty much finished, so inside to warmth and dinner we went.

And Peno?
Peno says "Outside??? Do I look stupid to you? Now, rub my belly, slave."

Despite all these adventures, I've made good progress on both the Big Cat hat, and my shawl. More details tomorrow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yarn Yummies

There hasn't been much knitting going on this week. In fact tonight is the first time I've picked up the needles this week - and the progress I made on the shawl doesn't make for an exciting picture.

So, instead I'd thought I'd share some pretty, pretty yarn I brought home on the weekend.
First up - Some squooshy Big Cat in Kaia! This is for me for a hat and mitt set - I think I'll probably start it this weekend.
After knitting Dave's Christmas socks in Stray Cat, I decided I needed a pair of sock in Stray Cat too. And since I wear a lot of brown, I dyed up this "Brown Sugar and Spice". It's hard to see, but it does have touches of green and pink throughout.

There's not much planned for the weekend (unless Dave has other ideas) so I'm hoping to have lots of progress to show you by Monday. That's of course if I can just make it through Friday....

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Year of Knitting Selfishly

As I read other people's blogs, it seems I'm not the only one who had a tough time of 2010. Saturn must have been in conjunction with something.... he's a rat bastard that Saturn. I'm glad my ruling planet is Jupiter - he's king of the gods... and it's good to be the king! But I digress, I wanted to share 2011's knitting goals with you.

As the title suggests - this year is going to be all about me! I'm going to knit what I want, when I want. No challenges, no deadlines, no pressures. The only Ravelry "thing" I'm joining is the Year of the Cat (of course). But there's no pressure there either - If I get something done, I do - if I don't no biggie (I won't be winning prizes.)

The only thing I'm going to try to keep under control is my WIPs. I'm thinking no more than 5 at a time (not including the crackghans)

So, speaking of WIPs... here are two I've recently cast onThis is a modified Lumi in the Mini Mochi I bought for my birthday. I did start making socks with this yarn, but the single ply was too much of a pain on tiny needles... so a shawl it is (I thought I was all shawled out after the 2010 challenge, but apparently not....)

And, since I did really want to knit some socks...These are the Black Rose Socks knit in our new Jungle Cat! I am loving this yarn (colourway is Nana's Brooch).

So yeah... this year is all about me (at least knitwise) I think it's about time!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Looking back - 2010 was not a stellar year for me. Don't get me wrong, it could have been worse, and a lot of people had it a way harder time of it than me, but I am definitely glad to see the back end of it.

All in all, it was a year marked by stress.

On Valentine's Day, we lost Dave's uncle, suddenly and without warning. With his passing came not only the expected grief, but the stressors of family politics that always follow.

In April, I made a major career move, switching not only jobs, but career paths - moving from the newspaper business to marketing. With that has come a HUGE amount of stress, leaving me wondering every day if I made the right choice. Only time will tell, and I keep reminding myself to put one foot in front of the other and not look back.

In September, Tux was diagnosed with diabetes. In the end it all worked out and we've got him leveled and as healthy as he can be - but it was a month of stressful vet visits (for both me and the cat!)

As it is for pretty much everyone I know, life has also gotten immensely more expensive - Ontarians had the joy of welcoming the HST into their lives in 2010, adding additional 8% to just about everything - on top of the continual rising costs of food and energy. So, there was definite stress from the financial corner in 2010.

But there were good points too. There were two lovely weddings to attend;

My brother Ron, and his sweetheart Jenn:And my college friend Bree, and her sweetheart Jamie:
Dave and I made it through another year together (eight so far!)
I got a dishwasher! (Loving the dishwasher I must say!)

And I did lots, and lots of knitting - 48 projects in total!

But now, it's 2011 - so it's time to look forward. I have made a few resolutions.

Be Healthy:
This was of course a resolution last year and it's definitely a work in progress. But... at least there was progress. I lost 10 lbs last year - it's not a huge amount, but its better than gaining. So - work will continue on this front, with a goal of losing at least 20 lbs this year.

To do that I am going to continue my work to eat better. I did successfully managed to severely cut my soft-drink intake in 2010 and processed foods have been cut down, but there's still room for improvement.

When it comes to regular exercise, last year was a bit of a write-off. There were a few periods where I was walking on a pretty regular basis, but not enough to really count it as an accomplishment. So - walking will increase, as well as making use of the thousand dollar piece of home gym equipment I have taking up most of the floor space in my bedroom. It is not an extra clothes rack - it is the key to much smaller clothing!

Of course, these changes will also help my one major health problem - my back! If I can strengthen my core muscles, I can take a great deal of strain off my spine and feel a whole lot better in general.

Be clean:
It's no secret - I am a messy, messy girl. I like to blame it on my creative nature - all that creativity has no time for organization. But, really, I'm just lazy.

For 2011 I pledge to keep a cleaner house. Some of the stress of 2011 definitely could have been avoided if I'd been a little more organized and had my crap together.

I do have some knitting goals for 2011, but that's really a post of it's own so I'll save it for tomorrow or soon after.

So, what will 2011 bring for you?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year of the Cat

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve.

Sadly, Dave and I are both a little under the weather (he's still fighting a cold, and my back has decided it hates me again - and the case of the sneezes I got yesterday certainly didn't help us make up and play nice) so we were in bed before the New Year rolled around.

I did wake up at midnight when everyone around us was lighting fireworks and running down the street yelling, but I rolled over, snuggled up to Dave and went back to sleep.

I do have some resolutions and goals for 2011 but I will write about those later.

Today, I want to tell you all about our new Wandering Cat projectThat's right - we're holding a Knitalong on Ravelry. With lots of fun and prizes. You can find all the details here.

Don't have any Wandering Cat Yarn? No worries - have a little visit to the shop. There will be new yarns added sometime tomorrow!

As for me - I've got a skein of Jungle Cat just begging to be socks.... so I'm off to it!