Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Settling in

Well... it's all over. We are officially moved (though quite a ways from completely unpacked...)

It wasn't too bad a move. We started at about 8:30 a.m., and I finally settled by 8 that night. I did lose most of my fish and a whole bucket of cat food, but otherwise, we came through relatively unscathed, except for some very sore muscles and tired bones (and I ended up with several new bruises). Both Dave and I have agreed, next time we fork over the cash for movers - we're getting too old for this!

I do have to send a huge thank you out to my helpers - my brother and sister-in-law, my Dad, and my fantastic friend Aneesha. The endured a lot of heavy lifting, and stair-climbing with nary a complaint - and all for just some pizza and beer. We really couldn't have done it without them - Knits all around (once I get some free time!)

I'll share some pictures of the new pad once I get a little more settled (and tidied up!)

I know you're all wondering how the kitties fared through the whole ordeal... well it was definitely a mixed bag.

Tux completely surprised me - he was cool as a cucumber. While we loaded the truck, he hung out on his harness and leash, munching on grass and watching as we toiled away. When it was time to head out, he sauntered right into his carrier, and napped on the ride to the new place.

Peno and Rocky, on the other hand, were thoroughly traumatized. They protested being locked in a room while we thumped and bumped on the other side of the door. When it was time to head out, I found them huddled in the closet together. Getting them into the carriers required a little ingenuity on my part. And they howled and caterwauled the whole way in the car.

Once in the new place, I tucked them all safely in the bathroom, opened the carriers, and left them while we finished the move. After everyone was gone home, it was time to set them free.

Tux immediately began to explore the new digs, and claim his favourite spots (right now it's the sliding glass doors in the livingroom, though Dave's new arm chair is a close second)

Rocky - ever my special little boy - peed in his carrier (instead of the litter box I provided them), and proceeded to lay in it. I had to pull the pee-soaked feline from the box and give him a bath (and of course, I couldn't remember which box the cat shampoo was in... Head and Shoulders it is!). Thoroughly humiliated and traumatized, he spent the rest of the night wrapped in a towel on my bed.

He's since explored the house and is mostly okay now. He's a little more clingy than usual, and has reverted to cocooning himself in my blankets - something he hasn't done since he was a kitten.

Now poor Peno -I knew she was going to be the worst of the three. When I went to release them, she was cowering in behind the toilet. Since then, she's moved from one nook or cranny to the next. She mostly prefers the bottom of the linen closet, so I've left it open for her. I put a blanket and her food dish in there too.

Last night, I brought her into bed with me, and she settled down for quite a while, purring away. She left eventually, but came back on her own accord when Dave came to bed. She was back in closer this morning, and has been there since I got home from work - but I suspect she'll start coming out by the end of the week.

So - all in all - the kitties came through okay - if a little emotionally scarred. At least we don't have to do it again any time soon.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Paving a new path - My new road is paved with salad

This is my first post in the blog-a-long- Paving a new path. 

My Goal: Get to healthier weight by eating better and getting more active.

Project start: April 11, 2013
Weight at start of project: 210 lbs
Goal weight 160lbs.
Current weight: 207lbs.

I've decided to start slow- making one small change at a time. The major thing I want to do is change what I am eating. The biggest spot where I have problems with this is at work. It's so easy to run to the restaurant downstairs and get a couple of spring rolls and big dish of sweet and sour chicken (mmmm sugar sauce....). Not only was it taking it's toll on my bank account - but on my body too. In 2012 alone, I easily put on 20 lbs.

And this really is something that's easy to change. It just takes a little forethought. So two weeks ago, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on salad supplies (read - lettuce - I don't really do other vegetables). One of my coworkers (the shrug recipient) has just gone through a dramatic, successful weight loss - her thing is lots of protien. And that's great for me - I love meats and cheeses and fortunately - chicken is one of my favourites.

So, the Sunday before my first week of tackling this goal, I roasted up some extra chicken with dinner, and put it away for lunch. A little chicken, a little shredded cheddar, a little light Italian - and you know - that salad wasn't half bad. So I did it again. And again!

I'd love to say that I took my lunch every day for the last two weeks.... but hey.... at least 60% of the the time isn't too bad for a start right? AND!!!- I'm already down three pounds.

My immediate goal is to get my healthy lunches up to 80% of the time (4 days a week). I'll let you know at the end of May how that's going.

Another coworker has also committed to start walking on at least three lunches a week with me - so come Tuesday, I'll be adding a little activity into my day as well.

So, I'm starting out with small steps - but every one is telling me that will help make them lasting steps.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Moving day

Sir Tuxedo Thunderpaws here.

Momma said we're without internet until sometime on Monday, so she scheduled a couple of posts to get you through until then.

It really has been crazy here the last couple of days. There was cardboard everywhere, but every time I found the perfect box to take a nap in - Momma stole it and filled it fill of her books or her knitting.

And then Thursday, she packed up all my cat beds!!! Not that I really use them - I prefer the couch or the human bed (especially the blond guy's pillow - that's my favourite!). but I slept on her clean towels to retaliate, anyway. It's the principle.

As you're reading this, I'm probably locked in a room with my stupid brother and my spastic sister, while all these weird, smelly, noisy humans help Momma and the blond guy carry all the boxes (they better save me one when they pull all of their junk out of them.

Or I might be shoved in that stupid crate in the car - I really hope we're not stopping at the vet. Either way, I'm totally pooping in it.

I hope you all are having a fine Saturday - mine will be better when it's all over and I get my beds back. And some cardboard. And maybe some catnip... yeah.... and a can of tuna!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The end is nigh

Tonight is the last night we'll spend in this little townhouse.

And it's definitely with mixed emotions that I'm leaving. The catalyst for the move was two-fold. Both Dave and I commute long-distances to work (at least 80 km one way). Not only did we not want to live in the cities where we work (Brampton or Etobicoke), we couldn't really afford to anyway - but we'd been talking about moving marginally closer and shaving a few km (not to mention minutes) off the commute.

Then, at the beginning of the year, we got the notice that out rent was being raised again. The condition of the unit,as well at the exterior maintenance of the property had slid in the last few years (and it was never spectacular) when new owners bought the complex. It was no longer worth paying what they were asking, while commuting all that way, for a poorly maintained property.

So the new-home hunt began.

And I'm excited about a lot of things about the new place - Dave gets a garage. I get a properly fenced yard where I can build a real garden. There's TWO bathrooms!!! And we'll each save 200 km a week on the drive - that's pretty big.

But - I do love this little townhouse. It's the perfect size for the two of us (and the kitties of course). Unlike many town houses, this one has large windows, so it's always bright and cheerful.

It's my first big-girl place - the first place I moved all on my own from my parents seven years ago. I was here for more than five years before Dave moved in permanently.

I came here with nothing more than a bed, dressers,a futon, a fish tank, and a tv. I didn't even have a computer when I first moved out. It was almost a year before I got one. Over the years, I was given a washer and dryer, dinette set, and couch and loveseat by kind neighbours.

I try to laugh at that as I'm navigating my way through the never-ending sea of boxes, and thinking about all the furniture we have to move now.  It's amazing how things can change in a few short years.

But - all things must end, and it's time to say good bye to this little townhouse, and the sweet little town that surrounds it.

The new adventure begins bright and early tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Emergency shawl knitting

It never fails - just when I think I'm going to have all this deadline-free knitting ahead of me - a deadline pops up.

My manager announced today that she's leaving the company. She's the best manager I've ever had, and if anyone was ever deserving of a lace shawl it's her. The kicker - her last day is May 9. And with the move this weekend and no ability to start it until Sunday at the earliest - that leaves me exactly 12 days to knit a full-sized shawl. But I think I can do it!

Mom's heading down to the dye studio tomorrow to dye me up some Desert Cat in a lovely deep red-purple. On Sunday, the needles will be upacked and I'll be setting to work. The only thing I need now is a pattern.....

Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

FO - Lady Cornwall Shrug

As you can probably guess from the dearth of posting, I'm in full-on moving mode. We move next Saturday, and everything has to be ready to go in to the truck by Friday night.

I'm not in bad shape, but you really don't realize how much stuff you have until you start putting it in boxes. In between it all, I did find some time to finish up the Lady Cornwall shrug. And I'm afraid these are the best shots you're going to get of the shrug. I don't have time to head up to Mom's for a photoshoot, so I was left with the option of contorting myself to get a few modelled shots.

Over all - the lace pattern is very easy. But, as mentioned before, starting the charts on different rows does add a little unnecessary confusion. There was a lot of stopping, counting and tinking. We're I to knit this again, I would sit down and do the math to start them on the same row.

But I prevailed! I used House Cat in Milk Chocolate - and it was perfect. Nice and soft and sproingy. The lace has lots of stretch, so the finished knit is nice and comfortable. If this was for myself, I add more rows knit the body ribbing, just to give a little more coverage. But, I'll see how my coworker feels about this. She has a specific dress she wants to wear it with. If she needs more, I can always take out the bind off and knit more.

And now all the knitting is packed up. I left my Silver Cardigan out, so you won't see much progress until after we get settled. And now I have to get back to the packing... and see what new nook or cranny Tux has found to nap in...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

PSA - Please think before you post

I love the internet - I love how it allows us all to connect, and chat and share... but sometimes it just downright ticks me off.

This morning I was alerted to the fact that another blogger had possibly used some of my images on their blog. In most circumstances, that wouldn't bother me. I'm pretty free and open with that kind of thing - like I said - I love the internet because it gives us an option to share. So if someone pulled some pictures of my knits or cats to share, attributed them, and maybe linked back - that's cool

However, when I got to the site in question, I discovered that the blogger had taken my entire Baby Jane pattern, and pasted it in the blog post - including picture! However, they changed the name and didn't attribute it to me. No link to the original pattern - nothing!

Now I'm a little miffed. I love that they are are sharing the pattern - it's a free pattern, and obviously, neither of us are profiting from it. It's just that ... well.... if  you've ever designed a pattern - it's work. It's nice, at the very least, to get a little credit for that!

Had the blog author just wanted to share the pattern, a link and a picture would have sufficed. It's the internet - we all know how to click links. And I don't know about you, but downloading a pdf is a much better format than having to cut and paste it from someone's blog. I just don't get what the point was???

Anyway, I left a comment, asking them to remove it. It still hasn't been removed, nor have I received a response from the blogger. I've now reported the copyright infringement to Google. We'll see what happens.

I'm not sharing the offending blog here, I don't want anyone heading over there and defending me - we'll let Google sort it out... but gee people... please think before you post!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


When I first designed my Elphaba mitts, way back in 2010, I always had a plan to make a "companion" pair. Sort of the anti-Elphaba. I knew what stitch pattern I wanted to use, I even had the yarn. I just needed the time and motivation.

Well, it only took three years, but I give you Glinda!!!
 The pattern is up on Ravelry now, and just like Elphaba - it's a freebie. It's a simple three row lace pattern (two of those are straight knitting), so it's nice and easy to memorize. (If you've knit my Undine socks, you'll notice some similarities.)
I knit these with Twinkle Cat in Pixie Dust... the colour and sparkles being just so appropriate for Glinda. (It's so hard to catch those sparkles on camere - but trust me - these things couldn't get any more girly if they tried!)And even though it's lace, this is a pattern that you really could  knit it with anything. Solids and semi-solids will really let the lace shine, and stripers or multis will create a pretty wave pattern.

Fingerless mitts are one of my favourite things to make. They are fun, fast, and use up just a bit of yarn, so they are great for leftovers. I'm already eyeing up the leftover Skinny Bugga from my Cranberry Bonnet... it would make a nice set, don't you think?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pretty Pixie Mitts

I love fingerless mitts!They knit up so quick!

I've got the pattern all ready, it's just awaiting some more professional pics. I'll probably have it released by the end of the weekend!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


For the few of you that have been with me from the start, you know that I've talked about getting to a healthier weight for a while now. While not morbidly obese, I've got a few extra pounds on me that I could really do with out - especially considering my back issues.

Being a knitter doesn't help. It's not exactly an active hobby (though my fingers are seriously svelt!). Even if I wasn't a knitter, I've never been overly active. My eating habits are probably my biggest enemy. If it's deep-fried or covered in high-fructose corn syrup (or both) it's my best friend.

Last weekend, I hit a very unhappy milestone. I stepped on the scale while up at Mom's. (I don't have one here - or a full length mirror....), looked down at those evil red numbers, staring back at me - 210....

Seriously?!? How in the heck did I get to 210 lbs? I was a skinny kid. I was a slim teenager! Even my early 20s weren't too bad. It did start to slide a little when I met Dave (coincidentally when I also started driving and working at a desk full-time).

And maybe I should take a look up at that second paragraph.... Okay, okay, so I know how I got here.

Anyway, this week, I'd really started focusing my what I was eating. Not dieting. Tell me I absolutely can't have something and I want it more - but making better choices (like a homemade salad with roast chicken instead of a pile of  deep fried lemon chicken and white rice smothered in soy sauce). I was doing okay, but it was just a few days.

And then along comes Dee from Tangled up in Sticks and String, and she writes this perfect post! Naturally, we got to talking, and Dee suggested a little blog-a-long. Would you like to join us? It's not just about weight loss - it's about any goal you may have - and all of us lending support and providing a little motivation. All the details are on her blog.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ooh - sparkley

I've finished the first of the Twinkle mitts up.

These are a really, fun fast knit. I was planning on putting them in the "gifting" box, but I think I may just keep them. I love this pale, pale pink. With the lace and sparkles, it's just so darn girly. I can't resist!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunshiney Sunday

Mother Nature decided to take pity on us and actually give us a day that feels like Spring! That meant a long walk for me (my friend with the broken back is out of the hospital and staying at her Mom's a few blocks away so I went for a visit). For the boys it meant open windows in the house:


I haven't had much time to knit today, but I did get a good start on the Lady Cornwall shrug last night. 
Honestly, if my co-worker hadn't picked this shrug specifically - I probably wouldn't be knitting it.  The sleeves and the back use the same chart, but they start on different rows. For the size I'm doing, the sleeves start on row 3, but the back on row 11. Since you're knitting it in one piece, it's just recipe for confusion and ripping, and no way to get to the nice "zen stage" that I usually do with a a simple lace pattern.

If you do decide to knit this, I suggest you print the chart twice, get a magnet board, and keep track with magnets. I lost my magnet board and my printer is out of ink, so I'm SOL. It's a good thing it's a small project.

And, because I needed something a little cheerier than brown on the needles (and all the socks were off)
I cast on for a new fingerless mitt design. You can't tell, but I'm using Twinkle Cat (colour is Pixie Dust). Those sparkles are just so darn fun.

What did you cast on for this weekend?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Vanquished Hero

The Hero socks are FINALLY done!!!! It only took seven months..... glad to see the back end of this project.

Don't get me wrong - the pattern is great. The design is amazing, the instructions are well-done. It was just so darn tedious!
I love the way cables look, but I'm not a big fan of cabling. Sadly, the next pair of socks I want to make are cabled too...
Anyway, back to these socks. They were knit in Top Cat. The colour is Cohiba and it's one of Mom's amazing  creations. A lovely cigar brown with hints of bluish-grey. She does amazing work when she just lets herself play.

The Top Cat, of course, is stupidly soft. It's a good thing these are way too big for me - otherwise I'd be keeping them. Next up on the knit list is the Lady Cornwall shrug - I brought the yarn home today. It's a lovely chocolate brown (House Cat)... so it appears I've got a bit of a theme going.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

WIP Wrangling - Success in early spring

Well I did it! Getting the Cranberry Bonnet off the needles on Sunday brought me down to five WIPs.

On March 5, I  had a whopping 9 projects on the needles! It definitely feels good to get that number down.

It's now April 2, and the five WIPs are:

Dave's Hero Socks - There's half a foot left, but how quickly they get done will be in direct correlation of how motivated I feel - they are not my favourite thing to work on.. but I'm so close!

The Silver Cardigan - This is just past the armpits - if I really concentrate on it, I could make some good progress. But with the impending move, I highly doubt it will be done before the end of the month.

The Empire Line Cardigan - I love this cardigan, but I just can't work up my love enough to actually work on it - and now with the warmer weather on this way, there's zero motivation. If I didn't love the design so darn much (anyone who knows me knows that this cardigan is just soooo me!) I'd probably just frog it. We'll let it sit for a while and see what happens.

Barn Blankie - I started another square this week, but there's no plans to have this puppy done anytime before December.

New shawl design - This is probably the project that is going to get the most work. Mom and I have been wanting to do another KAL and I'm toying with the idea of an all-shawl summer KAL - it would be awesome to have a new design out in time for the launch.

I will be casting on the Lady Cornwall shrug this month.

A coworker recently cleaned out her closet and gave me a bunch of barely worn clothes. A week later we were talking about summer dresses and the office, and she was lamenting that she had several she'd love to wear, but the skinny straps made them work-inappropriate. I offered to make her a shrug as a thank-you for the clothing. I've got two skeins of House Cat in Muddy Mudskipper drying right now.

All-in-all, this month shouldn't be too hard to keep the WIPs under control. I've got  pretty hectic schedule - this week alone I don't expect to have much time to knit. Tonight I'll be working on some art for a friends birthday present. Tomorrow I've got errands to run and writing to do for the magazines I write for. Thursday, I'll be visitng a friend who's in the hospital with a broken back (it sounds terrible - and it's not great - but after a long recovery, she'll be fine - no paralysis).

Friday may be the first chance to touch the needles. If the blog goes quiet for a bit, don't worry.. I'm still kickin!

Monday, April 1, 2013

First dragonfly of spring

I said that once I got it on the Chiagoos, the hat was flying didn't I?
Well flew it did, and even with the beading, it was off the needles by bedtime.

I love this hat! I made quite a few mods to it though. Several other ravellers said they found it was quite large. I have a small head, and I hate it when my hats slip off, so modding I went. I cut the crown short (I didn't want a slouchy hat) and I decreased considerably more for the beaded band.
As mentioned, I used Skinny Bugga in Dragonfly Tattoo. The skein was so pretty, I just couldn't use it for socks. It deserves to be flaunted.
Don't you just love all those shades? This is hand-dyed yarn at it's best. I had the perfect beads to complement it in my stash (Thanks to Dave's mom's score a few months ago). They are a clear bead with a metallic centre and a slight iridescence. They echo the blue, green and purple of the yarn perfectly!

And even though it's April 1, it's darn tooting cold today (it was snowing this morning - well played Mother nature... well played!) so I'll probably get a few weeks out of this before all the cold weather knits get put away until next season.