Wednesday, November 30, 2016


A while back, I wandered into the drug store and came across some new colours in my favourite brand of haircolour - pastel shades.

If you've been anywhere on the internets, you know that pastel hair is all the rage right now (along with mermaid hair, rainbow hair, etc.) My hair is getting to the point where its going to need a good cutting (ie pixie cut).

So figured why not go out with a bang (or two) before the big chop? And I grabbed a couple boxes of the pastel pink
Now before you get all excited, I knew there was no way I was getting my hair that exact colour. Short of professional intervention, I don't think is possible to get that exact shade (user reviews seem to concur). My hair has a huge amount of red/gold undertones, so not only do I have to bleach, but also tone, to get a base neutral enough. That's just too much work for me.

Also, my skin is very pink... if I was able to achieve that shade, I think I'd end up looking like Strawberry Shortcake.

But I wanted to see what would happen if I put a pink dye over my lightened, red/gold hair. I spent the last week lightening my hair in stages, and Monday night, I finally applied the pink dye and...
The pink doesn't show up well in the picture sadly, but it's there. It's a mix of rose pink, apricot, light gold and pale copper. It's not at all what I expected, but I love it
The varying shades are a result of the variation in the base - it's been bleached and coloured so many times before that the most recent bleaching left a variety colours - from pale yellow to tawny gold.
The downside about pastels is even though the colour is permanent, they still fade quickly. But that just means I can try something new in a few weeks when it needs a refresh!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nosy Tuesday

No exciting updates today, so I give you questions from KathyB...

#1 Have you copied a good idea lately?

Not that I can think of – but I’m always on the look out for inspiration

#2 Have you seen a shooting star?

Lots. Where I grew up there was little light pollution, so you could see the Milky Way. And my brother and I would always watch for the Perseid Meteor Shower

#3 Have you found a lost yarn tag?

No - but I lose them a lot!

#4 Have you tried a new recipe recently?

I made banana bread last week and I couldn’t find my regular recipe. I grabbed the first one I found on the internet. It was a little sweeter than mine, but very good.

#5 Did you save the wishbone from the turkey and have a pull?

We haven’t in a long time,  but we used to. We always use to pull it with Dad and my brother and I would fight over who’s turn it was – thankfully there were generally three turkeys a year – Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

#6 How many knit gifts do you plan to give before the New year?

None! I’m not doing any Christmas knitting this year and it feels WONDERFUL!

#7 When are you most hungry?

Generally around lunch time. I tend not to eat breakfast so by lunch I want FOOD!

#8 Do you like highway driving?

I love it (when it’s not ridiculously congested, that is). I love driving in general and I’m really going to miss not getting behind the wheel.

#9 If someone could finish a knit in progress for you what would it be?

My lace tunic – I just have no drive to work on it. Partly because I suspect it’s going to look terrible on me when finished.

#10 Do you love your winter boots or shoes ?

I like ALL footwear. As evidenced by my 80-some-odd pair collection…..

Monday, November 28, 2016

Winging it

I've put a few rows on my lace cardigan design, but I just still haven't been in the mood for yarnovers. So I've cast on for something new.
This is  the start of Wingspan - in more of Mom's handspun. This time a Merino/Tussah blend. It's pretty close to the colours in the last skein, so I though it would be a nice compliment to my hat/mitt set.

You may have noticed that other than the Noro Knit Night set, I haven't mentioned any Christmas knitting. Normally by this time, I'd be setting up excel trackers and fretting about how to get it all done. But other than that set (which is already done!!!) I'm not doing ANY Christmas knitting.

After much discussion with our respective friends and families, we all agreed that none of us need more stuff. Quite a few of us don't have the money (or time) to be spending on each other - especially on things we don't need. So, with the exception of the children, we aren't going to giving presents.

And I tend to do a lot of Christmas shopping/knitting throughout the year to spread out the cost/time. As  a result... I have only two Christmas presents left to take care of. (I do have three birthday present, but that's another story).

And I must say.... this feels GREAT! I'm not worrying about deadlines, or fighting startitis! I think this is going to become the new tradition!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

FO : Knit Night Hat and Gloves

No... you're not having deja vu... I've done it again....
Another set of Knit Night hat and gloves. This time in a skein of handspun, and this time for me. With all the stress of the car, and the chaos that surrounded all the logistics, I just haven't been in the mood to work on lace - which other than my socks is the only thing I have on the needles right now.

So I went stash-diving (not difficult now that it's been reorganized), and came up with a skein of Mom's handspun. I didn't have any in worsted, which the pattern was written for, but it wasn't hard to adjust it for the sport-weight handspun.
It was a beautiful skein of SW BFL... (fibre from Nest), just full of colour. I didn't see the true beauty of it until I got it outside in the natural light.
There was about 280 yards and it was just enough for a nice slouchy hat and the mitts. When I made the first Noro one, I was certain the pattern would be perfect for hand spun... and I wasn't disappointed.
And no... you're not seeing things. My hair is quite a bit lighter than last week. I'm in the process of bleaching it down so I can do something really fun with it.... stay tuned!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

On the road... one way or another

Thank you for you kind words about poor Stella. Thursday afternoon she got put on a flatbed...
... and she's now resting comfortably in the garage while we decide the best way to say goodbye (part her out or just scrap her). The tow truck driver had an interest in her... apparently he likes to rebuild cars in new way (kind of like moving car art) and has been considering a PT convertible for a while... so who knows... she may live on in another incarnation.

And as for me. I'm just trying to look on the bright side. I'm lucky enough to have a job I can do from home, and a boss who's quite happy to give me some time to get my ducks in a rows, so I don't have to bury myself in debt getting something to run back and forth to the office in.

So it looks like I will be motorless for a while. It's going to take some adjustment, but I'm also lucky enough to live in a great spot. My main grocery store is just one kilometre to the west, and my pharmacy is just one kilometre to the east. Other stores, including the mall, are just a short bus ride away.
Over the next few months, I forsee these getting a lot more wear. Who knows, I may even lose some weight! I certainly weighed a lot less before I started driving. There's always a sunny side, right?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Stella - 2005-2016

The mechanic delivered the bad news yesterday morning. It wasn't just the starter gone on dear old Stella. The timing belt was broken too... and because she's such a special girl, and has such a special engine... that means other parts (valves and heads and some such...) are probably broken too.

The mechanic estimated at least $3,000 to fix her, and it could easily climb much higher. With more than 270,000 on the odometre, and already in need of exhaust work, suspension work.... and who knows what else just waiting to snap, bend, bust and otherwise let go... it would be foolish to put the money in, even if I did have  it.

So today, she'll be towed home, and Dave and I will decide on the best way to send her off to the great junkyard in the sky (part her out vs scrapping her all together)

I sat there yesterday morning and had a good cry about the whole thing. It's foolish to get attached to a car... but there it is. I love her.

I bought her just after I started working at my current job. It was a long commute, and my trusty Focus Wagon was getting tired. I needed something more reliable... and if I was going to be on the road that long... I wanted something fun.
She was the first car I bought all on my own with no help from the menfolk. They cursed me for that. She was a bitch to work on, every part on her was "special" and Dave thought she looked like a shoe. but she was mine. All mine.
She was small (I prefer smaller cars), but she had a mighty little turbo engine and responded quite nicely when you stepped on it. (I have the speeding tickets to prove it.)

She traveled near and far in all weather and helped me stay in touch with great friends
 She will be very, very much missed.
 Especially on those warm summer days, and starry summer nights.

Sleep well, dear Stella - you've earned your rest.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

When it rains... it pours...

I haven't really mentioned it, but the last few weeks have been a wee bit stressful around Chez Wandering Cat.

A couple weeks back, I was leaving the mall, and Stella didn't want to start. I got her towed home, Dave determined the starter was pooched, got a rebuilt one, and a day or two later, set to work on replacing it. That starter didn't work right, so he exchanged it... but had the same problem. After discussing it, we decided to order one directly from the Chrysler dealership.

Of course, the day it came in (this past Saturday), the water pump went on Dave's car. So while he was fixing his car, I went on a long walk to the dealership and back with a 15 lb starter... in the rain.

Sadly, that starter didn't work either. We finally gave up and decided to let the professionals figure it out. I booked her an appointment with the mechanic at the dealership for Tuesday.

Monday night, I got a text from Dave... his alternator went and he was stuck on the side of one of the most dangerous highways in Southern Ontario. A tow truck was coming, so he just had to sit tight.

With no working car myself, I could do nothing but sit and wait for another text or call that the car was towed and he was safe. Thank Maude for knitting....
While I waited,  I finished the foot on the first Jaywalker sock. It was the perfect thing to sooth my nerves until I heard from him again.

Now all is well with his car (for now) and we await news on Stella. Hopefully that's the last of the automotive mishaps for a while... that or the second Jaywalker is going to knit in record time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

FO: Bosnian Booties and a hat for Corvin

As I showed you yesterday, I started on a hat to go with the Corvin cardigan. The temps have dropped substantially, so it didn't seem right that the November baby didn't have something to keep his head warm too.
Nothing fancy  - just a little twist in every other rib around the brim, and plain stocknit for the rest. It knit up in an evening.  I'll include it in the pattern for the cardigan when it's released.

Once complete, there was still plenty of yarn left, so I went in search of a cute bootie pattern
These are the Bosnian Booties - they remind me of little moccasins. They knit up super quick - just a few hours - and were the perfect thing to round out the set.
Now I've just to get it all wrapped up. Dave's students bring the little Corvin along for their lesson. He chills in his carrier while Mom and Dad practice the strumming.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Finding order in chaos

While I'm on vacation this week, there's not much plan to kick back and rest. I've got lots to do around the house - in a way, I guess I'm "nesting" - trying to get the house in order before winter sets in. One of the main things I need to do is finally organize the studio, once and for all. It's not just so I can get in there and finish my coworker's baby quilt, but also because there are still unpacked boxes in therefrom when we moved in almost four years ago.

And of course, it's become a bit of a dumping ground, because it's one of those rooms where I can just toss things in and close the door. As a result.....
Yikes! Now it's not a job that I can tackle in one day (well I could, but my ADD makes it difficult). So I'm breaking it down into smaller jobs and spreading it out over the week. By the time I get back to work on the 28th, I'm hoping it will be an oasis of organization.

While these two slumbered away the afternoon...
I started on the Aegean task yesterday.  I tackled the easiest (and most fun) - re-organizing the yarn. There's some sign of moth activity, so as I reorganized, everything got sprayed with lavender oil, and bagged up.
Now everything is nice, tidy, and protected from those little winged eaters. Of course, playing in all that yummy yarn made me want to spend the rest of the afternoon casting on all the things!!!!

Instead, I settled for a hat to go with Corvin and use up some of the leftover yarn

But more on that later...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

FO & Yarn Review: Knit Night Hat and Gloves in Noro Kureyon

At the end of October, I was contacted by a representative from Yarn Canada (an online supplier located in Vancouver, BC). They were offering up three balls of Noro Kureyon in exchange for a yarn review here on the blog.

Free yarn? Why not! So I picked out a colour and sat back to wait. 
The yarn arrived on Thursday, and you know I just had to cast on that night. I didn't have a lot of experience with Noro... I've only knit with it once before, and that was with Silk Garden. On first inspection, the Noro seemed very rough - especially after all the fine yarns I'm use to handling.

But it wasn't so much rough... as rustic. It's a single ply, spun a little thick and thin, but unlike other similar weight single ply yarns I've used (like Mochi Plus), it was more compacted - almost felted. That will help it against pilling (a major downside of single ply yarns.)

Because of it's texture, I was curious how itchy it would be. So I stuck a ball down my shirt to find out. Surprisingly, it wasn't bad.

Now it was time to get knitting. The pattern I chose to showcase the yarn was Knit Night Hat...
... and Knit Night Gloves...
(Details of my minor mods are on my Rav page) The rough, uneven texture and graduated striping of the yarn was nicely showcased in both the simple slip-stitch patter at the bands, and the plain stockknit throughout.
The Noro wasn't bad to knit with - it didn't have the bounce of a highly spun merino, but other than a tendency to be a little sticky on my wooden needles, it wasn't hard on the hands.

While my experience with Noro wasn't vast, I've heard other knitters, and the two biggest complaints I've heard is knots and veggie matter. Only one of my three balls had knots (there were two), and while there was some veggie matter, it was easy enough to pick out as I came across it. My biggest complaint was how the yarn compared to the colour card I chose it from.
This is the swatch on the website for Colour 170 I chose...
Now, I expect some difference in shades (computer monitors all display colours differently), but as you can see....
The yarn is predominately teal and burgundy. The hat used a ball and a half, and went through the colour sequence almost twice. There's no purple, very little yellow and no orange - which changes the look considerably.

But aside from that. It was a quite enjoyable yarn to work with. It's perfect for hats and mitts. This set is quite toasty.  I know lots of people  have made afghans from Noro, and I can see the appeal - it would make one snuggly warm blanket. The striping nature of the yarn keeps even the simplest knit interesting, because you want to knit "just one more stripe" and watch the colour emerge.

Noro comes in a wide range of colourways, (it was hard to choose when the offer came up) so really, the project opportunties are almost endless. I imagine the Kureyon would felt well too!

While I haven't ordered from Yarn Canada yet, I plan to. It's nice to have a supplier that offers yarn in Canadian dollars (and with free shipping over $35).  I'd like to thank them for the yarn, and the opportunity to provide this review to you!

This set is going into the Christmas box, but I like that hat so much, I think I'm going to have to make another one!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

WTF? It is November, right?

Yesterday I stepped outside to fill the bird feeder, and couldn't believe my eyes.... well skin really.... it wasn't cold.

In fact, it was down right warm! I checked the thermometre... 19 C (about 66 F for my American friends). This time last year, we had snow. So far, I haven't seen a flake this year.... and it feels like summer. Did Ontario suddenly shift south, and we just didn't notice?

The signs of frost are evident in the greenery, but with balmy days, there's still quite a bit hanging in there. Blue Girl, the most delicate of my roses is still pushing up buds
Popcorn Drift, which lives directly below Blue Girl, seems to prefer the cooler weather. She's been non-stop blooms since late September
I'm not normally a fan of shrub roses, but I do love my little Popcorn.

Like Popcorn, the Blanket Flower doesn't seem to quit.
Neither do the raspberries. They are smaller, and fewer... but they are still there!
The idea of raspberries in late November still boggles my mind. But there they are!

And speaking of surprising...
The Pincushion flower stopped blooming ages ago. Or so I thought!

And the Snapdragons...
I think they may have more blooms on them now than they did all summer!!!

I'm finally on vacation, so I can finish getting the yard ready for the winter. If it ever comes....

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday felines

My two little feline peas in their pod
They are so well matched, that if I get another cat*, I think I have to get a solid black one, or a calico... just to keep the colour coordination!

* I am keen on the idea.... Dave, not so much. But give me time... I will convince him.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cheeky squirrel

Mr. Squirrely McSquirrelpants has been back almost every day.
And he's no longer content to eat the seed that the birds toss out.
Rupert and I spent a good half hour admiring his acrobatics
He may look plump, but he's pretty darn agile.
I'm not surprised really, I've seen these little guys scale the bricks on our house with ease.
Though yesterday's antics were pretty darn impressive
And he did show us that he is in no uncertain terms....
... a "Mr." Squirrel.