Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to Work

No one quite knows what to do with the few days between Christmas & New Years, including me. I sat in my favorite chair most of yesterday watching the Home & Garden Channel marathons & knitting on the Marble sweater. I watched my favorite, Peter Fallico, buy, reno & flip a house! I think my favorite Fallico series is still Home to Go, where he made simple renos & lots of design changes for renters which could go with them when they moved. Some of the best were the apartments with the smallest budgets - the man is a marvel of makeover!! Sarah Richardson is my second favorite. She favors the simple pallet with expensive elegance but I remember when she made her own slip covers & installed her own light fixtures in Room Service. My favortite episode was the one where she took the old leaky shed & turned it into a simple Beach Cottage for kiddie sleepovers . . . that girl's amazing. I enjoyed watching her do her 2008 flip all over again. And ate turkey soup.

Got into the big discussion of Stat Holidays with a friend over a cup of java at 'Bucks yesterday too. He told me all the Government & Bank offices were closed because they got Monday in leiu of the Boxing Day stat which fell on the weekend. I told him Boxing Day is NOT a statutory holiday - unless negotiated for in a contract. There are only 10 stats & Boxing Day is NOT one of them as most people think. I have this arguement every year with somebody on one of the payrolls I do so I've actually bookmarked the Labor Standards page on the subject! And why did this topic come up anyway??? Well, we were trying to figure out if we should put out the garbage Monday nite for pickup on Tuesday morning. I put mine out last nite because the City may be on an extended holiday but I was sure the contractors who pick up the garbage are not! I'm at the beginning of the route these days - by the time you hear them, it's too late - they come barrelling down the alley just after 7AM & don't stop for anything but a can - on the curb, not in arms . . . . And sure enough, just after 7, they roared down the alley . . .

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sushi & Starbucks

I knew both would be open today in Newton. And as a regular customer, it was my Duty to show my support by showing up. Since the house is feeling a little empty - I think I actually miss that damned cat m
ore than I missed the BT - I packed up my knitting, bought some California Rolls & encamped in the comfy corner chair at Starbucks with Sushi & a mug of coffee. As I sat, two little girls ran over & jumped in the other chair. I told them they'd have to share since the one behind the Sushi was MINE. We had a nice visit, talked about clothes, colors & all our favorite things before their mom took them back to Gramma's house for dinner. And then the crowd came in . . . . I tried to get a refill but the line just kept getting longer until one of the Barristas had to turn people away. The store was supposed to close at 4 but had a full house & a line to the door . . .

I'm knitting another version of Kyler's Kardigan - a simple garter stitch, top down cardi - in the purple Marble yarn I bought last year at Knitopia. I was going to knit a Wonderful Wallaby but de
cided I would prefer the cozyness of garter stitch to the stockinette of the Wallaby. And I like knitting from the top down since I need a bigger front & back with smaller sleeves to fit my Apple shape. I can try it on occasionally to make sure it'll fit this way too!! I find I tend to wear my recycled yarn Kardigan to work constantly & I throw it on to work in my home office in the mornings too - so I thought something machine washable & dryable would be a better option for work. The Marble goes a long way even in garter stitch so it may become my yarn of choice for other simple sweaters that need washing often. Yes, Virginia, there are times that acrylic is the fibre of choice even when you spin your own yarn.

I know it's a blessing not to be tripping over the cat, cleaning up barf or picking up all the half eaten chicken on the kitchen floor, but it doesn't feel natural to go to the bathroom alone anymore. It didn't matter when I headed in that direction, the cat would have to be in front & get there first. Sometimes I'd fool her by going into the Office or the bedroom on the other side but it wasn't often. She liked playing in the dripping water in the tub & bitched at me till I made it drip. She used to use the litter box & then head for the water to play & leave dirty paw prints . . .
The tub & toilet are actually CLEAN for the first time in a couple of years! It just ain't natural!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Its been a rather busy couple of weeks since the last post. And, I just haven't felt like posting for most of it. I know, I know, I get cranky when my favorite posters haven't posted in a while but sometimes, well, you just don't feel like letting anyone know how crappy your life is. My cat had a stroke last week & died. She got a little peculiar when I took a short term job & was away all day for a couple of months & took to peeing in the corner of my office! Then she started throwing up on everything. That behavior stopped & things were almost back to normal when she had the stroke. She died several hours later cuddled up in her favorite blanket.

I finally paid off my new spinning wheel!! It's a Majacraft Suzie Pro. I had great fun trying out two models at Knitopia last week. I've had mine on Lay-away for almost TWO years! I had no money for most of the time & put little dribbles on it as I had them. He, who will not be mentioned, sucked up most of my income until last Christmas when I had my melt down & gave him the boot. I was finally able to pay it off this year when I got some birthday money that didn't have to go to some bill!! Whoooopie!! The top picture is Suzie set up to full height & the second shows Suzie folded for transport. She takes up much less space than my Indian Spinner & comes with a handle!! She should travel well to Spin-Ins & Retreats. My only complaint is the size of the bobbins - my old Indian Spinner has magnificently HUGE bobbins while Suzie needs a half dozen to even approach the capacity of one of the old ones . . .

That being said, Suzie is sleek, shiny & new. With double treadles!! Now I won't get cramps in my right shin when I spin for long hours!! Suzie travels a whole lot better than my Indian & takes up less space in the car. I just have to design a padded bag for her.

I finished the socks for the Hairdresser's Boyfriend. I have the horrible feeling I'm going to be the Official Socknitter for a while . . . . He suffers from cold, swo
llen feet & managed to snag HER pair of socks which he's worn out in the heels. He says they're the only socks he can wear & have warm feet. I suppose I can swap for perms for a while. Or she can bring me Bailey's when she crosses the Border.

I've also been knitting tuques for some of the Bum Bags. I usually fill the bags with Dollar Store goodies but I have another box of Buffalo wool -
I should never open strange boxes - I thought I might as well use it up & knit warm head coverings. Knitting Buffalo wool is really hard on my sore hands but it's such a good way to use it up. It keeps the head warm even when wet & the wind can't blow through it like the finer wools so it's a good choice for people who live outdoors. I can't imagine sleeping outside or in a unheated place in this weather!! Hopefully, these will make life a little warmer for a couple of people.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh, I fell into SIN today

Yes, I sinned today. I promised my bent & broken credit card I would use it no more until the balance was severely reduced. Today I wrestled with Temptation & Temptation won. I had the card out to pay for my old Douglas College transcripts - it seems after 15 years of taking part-time courses at the Open University, I'm required to submit a really old transcript so they can check to see if I actually completed the courses they checked 15 years ago when they let me in. They even have the courses on the computer but they aren't "Official" for Graduation. So I had the card out to pay for the Transcript to be sent by "Snail Mail" - they mustn't be touched by human hands between being sealed by one Institution & opened by the next & only a physical copy will do.
And then this email came in from Amazon . . . And I took a look. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! It was already too late. I got a deal X3. And free shipping, too! And what did I get?? Well, EZ's Knitters Almanac which I've been wanting but it was too expensive when I saw it - do you know that a couple of On-line shops are selling USED copies for up to $86!!! I got it new for under $9. I got Arctic Lace - Knitting Projects & Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters - I've read about this one but hadn't seen it anywhere local - got it on sale at 40% off!! And I got Jane Slicer-Smith's new book, Swing, Swagger, Drape - Knit the Colors of Australia - I love her designs & wanted to see how she does it.

This is my present to myself this year! When I'm snowed in this time around, I'll be happily reading, listening to the latest audio books & spinning. I almost can't wait!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Blue Skies over the cold Streets of Vancouver

I love this weather! The sky is blue, there's just enough wind to blow the leaves around & give you hypothermia if you don't watch out. It's good weather to wear your Cowichan sweater or handspun bulky knit with thick socks, mitts & a hat while you race your dog across the park. It makes you appreciate the hot toddy when you come in to a nice warm house!! As a kid I loved to be outside in this weather & still do, if I'm warmly wrapped. And that's the secret. Be warmly wrapped. It's too cold, when the sun goes down, to be out there without wool or good fleece, if you must. Time to donate blankets, good used coats, heavy wool sweaters, mitts, socks & hats to those who have not, folks.

I finished the red & pink socks last evening. And I've cast on for the Hairdresser's boyfriend socks. I found some blues, white & black Confetti yarn in the bottom of the sock yarn pile which should be good enough for him. I am ensuring good perms for the next year by doing this - I really don't give a damn about the boyfriend, who is another aging bum. Amazing how independent women attract the helpless men of this world . . . Maybe independent women need weak men, at least they stay out of the way when we're doing things.

My mother also made some "cold feet" comments the last time I called her so I guess I should get off my butt & knit some more socks for her too. I have one pair in the basket & should get another knit up quickly - maybe Santa will arrive this year for a change!!! hahahaha

Have you ever had an oil sprayer explode??? I got one for myself several years ago because I wanted to just spritz a little oil on things. Fewer calories that way! I bought the most expensive one with the classy brushed aluminum finish that you pump up every time you use it . . . So, I decided to spray just a light bit of oil into my pan to cook some fish. I pumped it up but it only drizzled so I gave it another two pumps & it exploded. Everywhere. I only hope I can get all that oil out of the front of my favorite purple shirt!! And I'm still cleaning up little blobs of oil after a week! The kitchen floor has never been so clean. Thank gawd for Watkins Degreaser.

I've been puttering away on the Wonderful Wallaby in the purple Marble yarn but my fingers have been so sore in all the damp weather, especially since I'm a Thrower - this year's extremely sore fingers appear to be my thumbs & right index finger. Hooray, lets have all the useful fingers messed up at once!!! I have to finish two sweaters for me before the old hands give out!!
I still have my heavy jacket-in-progress in the Anniversary Blue Briggs & Little yarn to finish. It's done to the armholes in the back & the shoulders in the front. If you remember, I knit it in one piece to the armholes & intend on picking up the sleeves from the deep armhole & short rowing the shoulder a la EZ's Tomten while knitting them to the cuff. I'll pay for that operation since the jacket is quite heavy. I had to quit working on it in the early spring when it was so damp because my hands just couldn't handle the weight. Nice project for the cold & dry days we have right now though - the old fingers are not as sore when it's dry!

So, maybe I'll just finish the sock projects & the pooch cowl for Christmas. I'd like to wear the heavy blue sweater but it's something to work on if I get snowed in again - if the Ice & Snow tires I just got installed don't get me out. The Famous Farmer's Almanac is making nasty, cold predictions for us this winter - apparently we're going to be 6 degrees colder than normal this winter & should get another big dump of snow.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Since I spent the rent money fixing up the Van, I'm pounding on the computer trying to finish off a client's project so I can get the money before the Landlord notices that I haven't slid a cheque under the door - again!! I'm not a bad tenant & usually pay on time, except December thru February, when money is short in the Contracting world & no one pays the bookkeeper. One thing about half finished & stockpiled projects, you can finish them & finally get paid. Usually. It also usually means long days & working into the wee hours, if not all nite, occassionally. Good thing I have Audio Books. I just downloaded three more from Nevada Barr. They're thrillers set in the National Parks in the US. The heroine is, a middle-aged Park Ranger, Anna Pidgeon. Anna's the curious type who's usually prepared for sleeping outside, falling into ravines, being chased by murderous types, swimming in the dark & getting whacked, clobbered, knocked about & generally left for dead in the wilderness. An awesome independent woman!

So, while I'm pounding on the computer till all hours, I'm not knitting or producing any wooly projects! My hairdresser wants a pair of socks for her boyfriend who's suffering with swollen ankles & cold feet. I just know what's gonna happen there . . . And I have 6 touques to make for the Tire Shop guys. And my hoodie to finish. I've managed to turn the second heel in the red/pnk Regia socks I'm knitting for myself & gather together all the "goodies" for the Secret Santa Swap so I can mail the box tomorrow. Wish we had the standard boxes the US has for parcels!! I'd like to just have the box that I can afford & then just stuff it full of goodies instead of finding something & hoping it won't cost a fortune to mail . . .

Sometime this weekend I plan on carding the pooch hair & shetland with handcarders so I can spin it up for the surprise for Mary. I decided NOT to even try to spin pure pooch - I can just see the stuff flying all over the place as I try to spin it!!! I'm hoping to get it done fairly quickly - I'll be spinning between computer sessions - so I can knit a lace cowl before Christmas. The Plan is to make a fairly large cowl that can be pulled over the hair but still cover the neck AND I'm hoping I can get the 'doggie' smell out of it. It HAS been sitting in the plastic bag for at least a couple of years . . . .

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Never Celebrate too Soon

A client paid me some money he'd owed me for a couple of years. A nasty car accident & the subsequent closure of his business made my getting paid pretty iffy. But he showed up with money last week. I was smiling a whole bunch at my good fortune & planning to buy a couple of things I wanted. Then the computer died. And yesterday the brakes on my van failed. I'm in the middle of Friday lunch traffic when I'm getting a mushy pedal. In fact I'm double & triple pumping & ended up locking them up at one point when I decided I was not going to be able to limp home. I could've probably ridden the E brake if the cable was connected!!!! Found me a little repair shop in a hurry & found they couldn't even look at it till the next day. I'd have to leave it! But my car's full of boxes of documents! Good thing I know tow truck people & do their books!!! My poor mechanic, who's going back on chemo in December, gets to fix my baby again. Apparently, I blew a wheel cylinder & was pouring brake fluid on the wheel every time I pumped . . . . I got the pickup truck to get home. Now this truck is your typical mechanic's special. Although everything appears to work, you have to wiggle, thump or curse to make it happen - but it's insured, I can go out if I want to & I can almost see to back up!

So, since I'm now broke, I'll have to stay home & work, sigh. I was going to buy one of those hot steam mops to clean my floors & may yet - eventually. I have a Swiffer Wet Jet but I hate buying the throw-away pads & bottled cleaner for it! And while it cleans the middle of the floor just fine - it pushes all the dirt into the corners! I do love my regular Swiffer though. But again, I hate buying dust cloths for it. I found a pattern on Ravelry for Swiffer washable cloths. I intend to knit them in thick crafter cotton. The Ravelry pattern looks just like the cloth with a textured bottom & little knobs to press thru the Swiffer catch points!!!! For those who're interested, here's the link - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/swiffer-re-usable-cloth

And, here's some pics of finished projects - finally.
My purple sweate
r is done & I've worn it out several times. It's Kyler's Kardigan in the largest adult size. I didn't include the triangular pockets because I didn't have enough yarn in the end. For the same reason, I didn't put on a collar or hood. I can't seem to get the whole sweater in the photo & still show the texture which is yummy!! Garter stitch really eats up the yarn but I wanted a snuggly sweater & this one is. I could've made it larger even though the gauge & my measurements said it should fit. It stretches a lot though, it's hip length & has sleeves to the wrist bone. The left pic actually shows the colors fairly well & I wear it mostly as a jacket to keep me warm in the evenings or to dash to & from the car. I'll make this pattern again but will probably make it larger if I want buttons or zip.

For those who haven't seen my Moss Stitch Blazer from Big Knits, here's the pic. I made the largest s
ize since my yarn - Dalesman's wool from New Zealand - was about sport weight & I couldn't get the gauge right. I made this sweater eons ago in a raspberry acrylic which was a 'pouffier' yarn & I wore to shreds. I finally had to throw it out to stop wearing it!!! My Dalesman's yarn sweater is a little shorter than the photo in the Big Knits book - I knew it would stretch as I wore it so I made it a little shorter on purpose. The one Dawn French is wearing looks sloppy because it's too big on her - too bad they didn't make one in her size!! It easily fits a 66 to 70 inch bust & since the front is a roll front, you can make the roll bigger or smaller to accommodate a couple of inches either way. I also think it works better in a 'firmer' yarn to give it a little more stitch definition.
I tried taking a pic with it on but my mirror reflected the flash & made it useless! I know double moss seems like a pain in the butt - but - it works, it's lovely & the pattern
is very nice on! This is the second time I've knit this one & I'll knit it again. I have some soft blue wool & acrylic yarn in the WishBin which would look lovely with navy edging . . . I might make only one change & knit it in one piece to the armhole next time around.

Socks - tis the season
for cold, clammy feet! And that's the very reason I started to knit my own socks in the first place! Since I don't have anyone but myself to knit socks for this year, I've only knit a few pairs but they're ALL MINE. Well, to be honest, I have a couple pairs for my mother & my Ex wants a couple more pairs but really, I have hardly any that I HAVE to knit! Just finished this one in Regia. Isn't it great?? It's actually red & pink stripes . . . the second pair are also Regia but in a Kaffe Fassett colorway which I just love! I love it so much that I've had them on my feet twice & forgot to take a finished picture. They're now in the washer again! The yarn was a gift from a pal & she said the yarn screamed my name from the bin! She was right. They match half my current wardrobe.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Another Day, Another Dollar

So, it's American Thanksgiving today. I've never really understood why they celebrate in November. Maybe it has something to do with Christmas shopping. They seem to get really serious about Christmas on Thanksgiving when they start planning commando raids on the nearest shopping centre as soon as the turkey's digested . . . .

So, I'm sitting in my home office reading all these emails about last minute shopping, "deals of the year", today only, last chance coupons, 45% off for Thanksgiving etc etc ad nauseum. My mailbox runneth over! I don't give a damn about Christmas shopping. And, I don't intend to do any!! I haven't even been IN a mall this year! They've wasted their time. While I admit I DO love turkey. I also love truffles & mincemeat tarts. But do I have to go thru all this commotion just to get them?? I'd rather spin!

Speaking of spinning . . . while rooting around in a bin, I discovered a shopping bag of dark brown doggie fur. I believe it came from my friend Mary's Nick, who died last year. Nick was a gigantic Newfie who cried & moaned whenever Mary left his sight. Such a big baby. Mary cried for days when he died. I'm thinking about carding it with some of the darkest Arvik shetland wool & spinning it up to knit a surprise for Mary. I know it'd be the happiest & most unexpected surprise & would
certainly make her day. So, I think it'll be my project for Sunday . . . after I finish the current tax return that is!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

The cat is still mad at me. She was still leaving brown gifts in the corner of my office although I lost it the other day, picked her up, took her into the office, pointed her pink nose right at the latest "shitty offering" - no, I did not rub her face in it - eeeeoowwww!!!- shook her & gave her a whack or two before letting her fly out the door!! I ignored her sucking up for most of the evening afterwards. So far, so good . . . She's leaving the 'gift' in the littler box. I think she got the message! But, I have been home more lately too.

I finished my purple sweater! I ended up crocheting up the fronts & around the neck just to give it a finished look & have about 4 oz left in a ball. It's a little too small around the bust but no one's wearing them closed anymore so I'm sure it won't matter. I think it's only a little too small because it's garter stitch!!! But, it's warm & fuzzy & great to wear while watching tv or working in a cold office, that's for sure. After finishing it off, I started the pouch to the purple Marble hoodie I'm making! I've been cold lately & wishing I'd kept my ratty old pink sweater which I think I tossed into the garbage can so I'd be forced to finish something else to wear. But, I now have the recycled purple one to keep me warm!! I'll include pictures when I have a computer to publish them on . . . .

Oh yeah, the computer. Remember the big storm two storms back?? I turned it off so it wouldn't get damaged if there was a power surge or lightening strike. It decided to commit suicide on the way out. My techie buddy & I have been talking about doing something about the noisy fan for over a year. Apparently the fan was connected to the power supply. They both died. No juice. Absolutely. Dead. Time to do something about it, I guess. Steve asked about memory. Dunno, said I, you built it. Okay, says he, time for more memory. Want a bigger drive?? Sure, said I, a couple of terrabites would be nice for all the recorded books . . . . and you wanna get rid of the cache files while you're there?? Or just install a cleanup program & I'll do it. Just upgrade anything that looks like it needs it & bill me. There goes the Spring Retreat . . . .

Saturday, November 14, 2009

If I won the Lotto

If I won the big Lotto, I'd spend my time with fibre.
I don't need a lot of money but I'd get a place with a glassed in workshop area for plants & fibre. I love vines, ferns & palms. You need a lot of light - not heat - to grow huge plants. I'd have a wall of storage with see-thru fronts so I could see what I have without digging thru a mountain of stacked plastic bins. I'd have a washtub & an old washer to soak & rinse my fibre & beat it into felt.
If I had a glassed in workspace today, I'd install a really good computer/stereo/TV unit to play audio books, soft music & good movies while I worked with fibre. And I'd want space for some exercise equipment too & room for my ball chair too. Sighhhh . . . . Above is a pic of my ferns & lobelia in the cedar box against the house where I live. I took it yesterday!

I had a big south facing glassed in porch on my first house. I bought a shack by the rail yards that came with a chicken hous
e, fruit trees, outdoor toilet & a lot of wild life. The first wind storm blew down the little back porch. The City said I didn't need a permit to rebuild the porch so, the man of the moment built one that covered the entire south side of the house! We built the floor & 3 foot sides out of recycled lumber & installed recycled windows from 3 foot off the floor to the ceiling. They didn't open but we installed old doors on either end of the porch to create ventilation. I filled one end with plants, macrame hangers in the windows & the other end had a clothesline & my spinning wheel. We stacked chopped wood in the clothesline end near the door - did I mention that I had a wood burning stove that heated the house & hot water? All winter long, I simmerd soup & onion skins on that stove. I learned to dye my wool with onion skins first. I listened to a lot of radio & read a lot of books in that house - we had no tv reception. We did have pheasants, foxes, skunks, cats, dogs, a wolf, ducks & frogs. The roof leaked but there was plenty of hot water. And I was happy enough there.

Since the weather turned cold, I've been trying to finish a hoodie for myself - yeah, I have a couple of other sweaters on the needles but one is too heavy for a car coat & one - well, I have to find the rest of the recycled yarn to finish it. I've looked & looked & can'
t find it. I know it's there somewhere!! I may have to use something else to trim it! I've been looking at all that luscious purple Marble yarn in the see-thru container for months & just couldn't help myself. I've knit about 6 kid's hoodies in the past few months & decided I wanted one too! The Marble is light & yummy - I don't need anything really heavy yet - & since I'm basically running from house to car to office to shop - I don't need a heavy jacket. I do want something washable which the Marble is, since I'll probably wear it all the time. If I was smart, I'd sew one out of fleece this afternoon & wear it tonite! But then, I wouldn't be a knitter, would I?? LOL

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I can't believe it's November

How the time flies when you're busy! I'm still the official Office Slave for the small business I've done the books for for the past 20 years or so - looks like I'll be there till the end of the month. While I don't mind the work, I DO mind the lack of personal time!! The regular paycheck is nice but I have work piling up on my desk at home & the cat has decided to pee in the corner of my office instead of her litter box to get even. While she is around 13 years old & they get funny as they age, I know she's doing it because I'm not home enough. She lays on her fuzzy shelf on the window ledge while I'm at the computer & sits on the bathtub edge to get petted when I'm in the bathroom. She even has the catbed dragged into the kitchen so she can lay there when I'm washing dishes or cooking. She's so constantly underfoot when I AM at home that I know she's getting even with me for being gone every day.

So, for the moment, I'm commuting - I hate that too - & wishing I was back home in my office with the soup pot simmering on the back burner. I have an insurance exam to study for - while manning the office next week, I intend to study when it's quiet! I volunteered to work the week so the boss can go on a mini holiday with his family - their first this year ! I'm more useful at year end than he is because I can upgrade the software, pay the bills & do the business year end while manning the phones!!

I discovered I'm short of winter socks! I spent so much time these past few years knitting for everyone else that I forgot about MY needs. My socks are getting old. A couple of them have heels & toes reinforced with fuzzy nylon which have become hard over the years. I even put my toe through the end of my blue Invicta socks! But, I think they're about 10 years old!!! Time to retire some of them to house socks . . . I have several balls of yarn that were given to me as gifts - my sock knitting buddies are especially good at picking out colors they know I like. Ha ha ha . . I cast on some lovely wild Kaffe Fasset pink & purple Regia onto my 2.75mm Brittany Birch needles. It's been a while since I used my wooden sock needles. I've been working with 6mm plastic Denise needles with the Hoodies. The BBs felt really foreign for the first few rounds until I broke one! I paid a lot of money for the Brittany Birch needles but the vendor is out of business. I guess it's time to make another set of bamboo skewer needles instead. I like the bamboo because it bends without breaking & comes in 10" lengths. I bought a package of 100 for a couple of bucks a few years ago. They range in size from 2.5 to 2.75mm. I sort them according to size, sharpen one end & dull the other before rubbing them with fine sand paper & raw fleece to polish them. I've used waxed paper when I haven't had fleece around but I like the finish the fleece oils give them the best. Do they snag?? Nope. Never had a splinter or snag since I made them.

I think these socks will go with several of my summer tee shirts - they're all fuchsia, plum & hot pink! Oh, wait, they'll also go with my Fuchsia wool sweater!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On the Needle

So, yeah, I was looking for a catchy title for the latest missive. It's amazing what a day off can do to your head. I have another pot of amazing mulligan in the slow cooker - actually, it's cooling since it si
mmered all nite. I found a leftover Thanksgiving ham on sale for 30% off the other day & bought it. Since there was enough ham for 15 people, I divided it up & froze several bags. To my surprise, it was a spiral cut ham, so I chopped it up & made two pots of soup right away. There's ham, corn & potato soup cooling - I thicken it with instant mashed spuds too. I had a taste for breakfast, added more pepper & some sour creme - Mmmmmmm, yumm!! Most of it will go to the Ex - just keeping my inheritance safe!!! he he he I also bought a huge local cabbage the size of a pumpkin so I made ham & cabbage soup for me. I like lots of pepper in mine, he doesn't! One of the things I really love about Fall & Winter is soup - along with wool sweaters, ice cold clear days & wood stoves. I used to have the kettle & soup pot simmering on the old wood stove in the winter in my little house.

And that brings us up to wool sweaters. I've seen the light or is it 'felt the cold' & de-bagged my Briggs & Little wool sweater in progress. I need something warm. Now. I have been wearing my fuchsia wool sweater a lot lately but it's fancy - I want something to lay about in. To sit outside & feed the birds in. Something long with pockets for my fingerless gloves. I've got most of it finished. It's knit in one piece to the armholes & then split for fronts & back. I put a deep armhole into it & intend to pick up the sleeve stitches, short row the shoulder & taper it to a snug cuff. Not sure about big collar or hood yet. Here's an old pic of the side vent & bottom. I've carried the garter up the fronts & will frame the collar or hood in the same. I've finished the fronts with the deep armholes & am working on the back. I haven't decided about a front zip or buttons as yet - maybe just loops & a couple of odd buttons will do . . .

My purple sweater is almost done but it's going to be too light to wear outsi
de - I could use it in the warehouse on Sundays though. I just about froze my butt off last week!! I still have to go thru all my bins & see if I can find the deep purple yarn to finish off the fronts & trim the collar. I know there's a whole sweater's worth of deep purple hidden away somewhere! Reminder to self - buy SEE-THRU bins for yarn!!!

Two Wallabies in the basket & one more almost finished!!! I've got about an inch of the yoke done on number three! I changed the yarn to the pastel green, pink & white for the yoke. I like this one better than the yarn with blue in it. It's really looking very cute & I think the solid bottom with the variegated yoke is the nicest look in this yarn. Most sweaters take between 4 & 6 balls of yarn - I'm making size 4 to 8 kids. When I get 6 done, they can go off to Knitopia to be sent to Afghanistan. Only 80 more balls to go . . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

So how did it become winter so fast??? My house plants are still outside although, I think, tomorrow they'll have to come in for the winter. I finally have some time off to shift them around a bit. I noticed the Christmas & Easter cacti are just loaded with buds!! And I'm not sure the spider plants are as happy as the Jade plant seems to be out there!!! Time to tuck everything in for the winter. And check the oil & other fluids in the car while I'm at it. My life is so exciting these days . . .

I got to enjoy the sunshine from INSIDE this past week - chained to a desk & phone! I've been working the 9 to 6, 8 by 45 routine lately & I hate it!
I have no time to do anything other than work & commute!! And I hate that too. I've become spoiled over the years by self employment! Yeah, I work odd hours for irregular amounts of money but I have lots of time to do my own thing too. I'm wasting valuable knitting time commuting! I could be knitting or working in my office while the washer runs & soup simmers on the stove. I'm used to multi-tasking for several hours at a time, THEN getting dressed & taking a leisurely couple of hours to read the paper & drink tea at my local Greasy Spoon. Or sometimes, I'll get up really, really early, work till 1 & watch Peter Fallico on the Home & Garden channel while I have lunch. Then I'll have a nap! I often work later in the evening too while listening to a murder on my headset. I don't have to be nice to anyone or get interrupted when my Mojo gets working! But, I'm helping out for another month & then I'm back to Saturdays only for a while. I can't wait!! I miss my naps. I miss Peter Fallico. sigh

There's yet another kiddie Wallaby on the needles & I just joined the body & sleeves for the yoke tonite. The body & sleeves are a slately color with a greenish cast so I've picked a multi colored green/pink/blue for the yoke & hood. I think it'll be okay. Not much progress on the purple sweater for myself. It's got so chilly that I'm thinking of bypassing it at the moment & jumping right back into my big blue B&L WOOL sweater that I stopped working on when it got so hot. That was just a couple of months ago wasn't it???? No pics lately because I've run out of batteries & haven't had time to shop. I've been crawling into bed with a book, some raisins & an extra quilt instead . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Water water everywhere . . .

Well, the little leak turned into a major flood
by Monday morning. I got up to a monstrous lake & water pouring down the wall from an air return vent. As much as I wanted to wait till my day off, this was emergency time!!! I was kind to the kids upstairs, left the water on till they left for school & then had to turn it all off to stop the flood. The plumber I called at 6:45 still hadn't returned my call by 8:30 so I called again to find out why. He told me to turn off the water - I had - & would try to get someone over by the end of the day. I told him I had 5 kids living upstairs with no water. I had a plumber by 10. I guess those damned kids are good for something after all!!!
Turned out to be an old pipe with TWO pinholes. Only TWO??? And PINHOLES?? That was a hellova lot of water for pinholes!!! The nice young plumber - they DO get younger every year - had me fixed in under an hour. He didn't mess around. Area was too small to work in without removing part of the wall. So he cuts off the pipe at a fitting he could reach & cuts off the other end at the tank & replaces the whole thing with two fittings & one length of flexible pipe which he neatly fastened to the wall. Thank god for flexible plumbing!!!
It's a small world!! Turns out he's the grandson of Jean - a spinner in the Merritt Guild, who used to break & train horses!!! I met her at Tulahead, the first time I went to a Retreat!! She taught him to spin & knit when he was little, but he lets granny send him the thick knitted handspun slippers he loves to wear when he gets home from work. I sent the nice boy home with two bottles of Port for his troubles . . . And I was only three hours late for work.

So today, I'm sitting here cooking in my office while trying to dry out the carpet. It didn't all get wet - only the part nearest the wall across from the leak. Looks like the cement got soaked in the furnace room & the water was sucked through it under the tiles into the carpet - there's no subfloor here. If I get this dried out, I may avoid mold. If not, this carpet too will be hacked up & removed. Hey, if I live here long enough, there won't be any carpet left . . . . I know, I know, I should move but we decided I have to stay here till after the Olympics!! The flood got me to throw out a couple more boxes of stuff though. And I have one more monster plastic tub packed & ready to go.

Since I'm at home drying the place out, I decided to make beef stew. I dropped by my local veggie store - they have fresh & deli meat in the back - I lucked out with two big pieces of sirloin steak marked down to $3 each. I bought carrots, spuds, turnip & celery. I browned the meat, threw in some V8 juice, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, turnip, two kinds of spuds, some Knorr beef cubes & a little pepper. It smells wonderful. I've been smelling it all afternoon as it simmers slowly on the stove. My Ex, who doesn't cook, says he needs to eat more veggies. He says he's just not getting enough fruits neither. So, I'm back to cooking for him. I tossed in all the veggies I could stuff into that pot. I figure it cost me $8 to make it. And he'll get at least 5 meals out of it. He gave me $20. I still have carrots, spuds, turnip, celery & one steak. For next week when he gives me another $20. Not bad eh??? I'll just tuck the change into the sock fund . . . .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

No Spinning Weekend

I really needed to go & spin with the girls this weekend but with a sick cat, two weekend jobs & no money, I had to stay home. So, I figured I'd fire up the old spinning wheel & spin along in spirit while listening to my latest Nevada Barr mystery on my MP3 player. That was the plan. Life came along & the Plan was abandoned. I did look longingly at the spinning wheel several times, but I rearranged some of my overcrowded living room looking at all the stuff I have in bags, packages, bins & baskets instead. I could almost open my own store! But, isn't that the complaint of every fibre addict??? We become addicted, buy up everything that catches our eye & then need to throw out the furniture to make room!

So I threw out two boxes of books & one stack of magazines
I've been hauling about since 1991! I put most of my spinning fibre into one huge bin on top of another huge bin of yarn for kid's hoodies. I like my location but my place is falling apart. I plan on moving in the next year so I've been trying to throw out a box or bag of stuff every week. Packing up is sooooo hard to do.

Good thing I stayed home. I came home after work to a flood in the hallway. I noticed a wet patch around the light fixture the other day & thought the damned kids upstairs had overflowed the tub. But, today there was a flood. I have water dripping thru the air vent at the top of the wall & the gyprock is all wet. And NO, I am NOT phoning the plumber on a Sunday!! I have to go to work tomorrow too . . . . I guess I'll be mopping tomorrow nite & phoning the plumber on Tuesday. I suppose another of those strapped plumbing joints has popped open. This is my fourth flood in 6 years - if the rent wasn't so cheap & the location so convenient, I'd move!!! But, with the Olympics coming, rents have skyrocketed - especially this close to rapid transit. And my buddies with trucks have asked me to please wait till spring, if I can.

So I worked, I mopped & I actually found time to finish the blue hoodie as well as start a new one. I found a greenish grey yarn for the bottom & sleeves which I think I'll match up with a multi-colored yarn in pastel green, pink & yellow. Not sure how it'll look exactly but I'm gonna try it out. If it's too weird, I'll use the blue/white yarn for the yoke & hood. I was hoping to finish my purple sweater but I couldn't find the rest of my purple yarns. I know there's lavender & plum hidden away somewhere in the stash but it's probably in the bin at the very bottom of the 5 bin pile . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Thanksgiving

I survived another Family Holiday on my own. I actually enjoyed this one a hellova lot more than when I had to attend the BT's family gatherings. No one got drunk & obnoxious before dinner & no one was too drunk to crawl into a car after dinner. No one slept face down on the table & there were no snarky remarks from anyone. I slept in & spent the entire day knitting & reading in peace & quiet. I had Sushi for lunch - they were open from 12 to 5 - and I two huge bowls of turkey soup for dinner! I rooted around in the freezer & found TWO bags of turkey carcasses - must've been in there since LAST Thanksgiving!! I simmered them all day & dropped in a half box of bow ties pasta & two cups of small green peas at the very end. Now there's two quart jars of the stuff left in the fridge to share with the Ex.

And what do I have to be thankful for?? I really thought about that. I'm thankful for good friends & a healthy Ex. I'm thankful for having all the bills paid even though the Sushi took my last 10 bucks. I have my health, the cupboards are full even though I'm out of cat treats & the tea is running shor
t. I'm happy even though I'm alone most of the time. My brain works well enough & I'm content even though the old bod creaks & aches when its damp outside. I'm thankful that I can look after myself, earn a living & not be a burden to anyone. And I'm thankful I'm not burdened with the BT.

I even made the cat happy yesterday though I'd run out of cat treats. She got a new cat bed. I noticed she tends to lay on the sample square I knit out of Buffalo wool a couple of years ago when I knit my last sweater for someone. She snagged the square & scoots it around the house to lay on. So I grabbed a couple of balls - I found yet another box of the damn stuff - my biggest crochet hook & made her a bed. It just about killed my right hand & wrist - both are really sore today!!! - but I finished it off last nite. And she's laying in it as I type. It's big enough for two cats but I think she likes it anyway. I may make a second smaller one to lay up on her shelf in the office window!

I've been working on the latest Wallaby. The new one is navy & a variegated navy yarn. I thought about doing the sleeves in the variegated yarn & the body in the solid but was halfway thru the first sleeve when I remembered. So, the yoke & hood will be variegated & th
e sleeves & body solid. It's really cute so I think this way is the best!! I had the yoke finished to the neck when I realized the back was larger than the front! I have no idea how I did what I did but the back was 10 stitches larger than the front . . . I had to frog the whole yoke to correct the problem!! So this is a photo of the Wallaby with only a couple of yoke rows on it with the back & front stitch count corrected. I think I've also solved the stretch problem under the arms too. I've increased the number of stitches to 10 from the 6 in the pattern & put the stitches on loose strings so there's give in the sleeve when I join it onto the body. The live stitches under the arms are sewed or knitted to the body stitches at the end. I have the yarn picked out for the next one already - I think it'll be another version of the solid body & variegated yoke in greens!!

My purple sweater is almost finished - I wish I had it ON today!! I have a large bal
l & a half left & I think I'm going to knit the collar right away before I finish the bottom. When the collar is done, I can use all the remaining yarn to finish the body in garter stitch. And I think I'll crochet around the entire sweater with dark plum to finish it off!!

With this sudden cool weather - cold for us, that is - I've also decided to finish off the Blue Briggs & Little sweater I started in the early spring when it was so cold. I got it
finished halfway up the front yoke when it got just too warm to work on it. It weighs a ton & that's a lot of wool sitting in your lap in the warm weather!!! I made deep side vents - in the photo - & have to finish the back yoke & sleeves. I made a really DEEP armhole a lot like EZ's Tomten jacket & planned on picking up sleeve stiches & short rowing the caps. I still think this is a great idea but the sweater may be just too heavy for me to do it with sore hands. Just have to see how it goes - I have the idea that I could make the sleeves straight from the armhole & do some short rows around the elbow for shaping . . . .

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I was reading Crazy Aunt Purl the other day & was amused by her discussion of the Meyers-Brigg personality type test. I remember doing that test in one of my Psych courses. I had to dig thru my old textbooks to find my results, I was an ENTJ. Not surprisingly, I found I was an Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Judgmental type!! After reading her blog, I thought I'd just take the test again to see if I changed - it's been over 30 years since I took that test!!! To my surprise, I HAVE changed somewhat - I'm now an INTP. Turns out I'm now sitting on the fence between Extroverted & Introverted but leaning into Introverted. Must be all that time I spend alone knitting!! I'm still well into the Intuitive & Thinking categories but, I've fallen off the fence into the Perceptive category. Hmm!! I'm still quite close to the fence but have definitely moved into Perceptive. Does this mean that Knitting Experience has changed my attitude somewhat?? Has Fibre Fanaticism softened me up??? Something to contemplate.

Speaking of Fanaticism, I've been knitting Wonderful Wallabies like mad whilst w
atching reruns of CSI lately. I've finished the pink & purple model & moved on to a navy stripe version. I have a huge storage bin full of worsted weight yarn waiting to become sweaters for cold kids. I need to win the Lotto or at least win enough Lotto to let me knit for a few months to get these things DONE. Guess what I'll be doing for Thanksgiving while you married types cook, entertain & eat? Yup, won't have to do any dishes or be nice to anyone but I'll be in my jammies eating takeout Sushi, knitting!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October Pinks & Purples

It's cold, damp & grey outside so this will be a colorful entry. You'd think the first day of October would at least bring a little more sunshine. I was hoping to harvest a couple more Butternut Squashes out of my mini-gar
den! Guess not. My old basement is cold & damp this morning - I think the landlord turned on the furnace a couple days ago but you wouldn't know it down here - mind you, I did have all the windows open until this morning . . . . I swore I was wearing shorts till the snow fell but I wimped out & put my fleece lined sweats on on Tuesday.

Then I got out the fuchsia wool sweater I finished in the
spring. And I'll be wearing it until I finish the purple Kyler's Kardigan - which is about halfway down the body at the moment. It's about 4 inches longer than the pic on the left. I was concerned about running out of yarn in the main color but I found another ball so I think I'll be okay. The sleeves were done early so I wouldn't have to worry about having enough yarn to finish them - I'd rather have a deeper color block at the bottom of the body than patchwork sleeves. I was planning on giving them a garter cuff but the sleeves are actually Iong enough so they may not get a cuff at all. It's actually kind of fun working a Top-Down Sweater because you can customize it as you go without changing the sweater pattern. And, I do like the cuddly garter stitch but haven't used it much because it really sucks up the yardage!!! But, now that I've knit one of these, I may just do it again in other colors - I have a lot of Eton in bright blue. And I have 5 bags of Magenta to spin! Oh, and there's almost two sweater's worth of lavender & deep plum Luzerne from the past aging in the stash . . . .

And speaking of deep plum, I've almost finished the pink & plum Wallaby on the
right, which will be going to Afghanistan. And I've already picked out the yarn for the next one! I've got some wild variegated yarn about the same weight as the yarn I've been using. Apparently the colors aren't that popular in our neck of the woods these days but I'm sure little kids will love them elsewhere!!! In the picture, I'm working toward the neck & will attach a hood. I think I have enough pink to finish the yoke but it will get a plum hood. I try to knit sweaters without buttons or toggles which can get lost. And I prefer not to have seams if possible too. I figure the recipient's family may not have the resources to fix seams or replace buttons. And I've tried to remember to include a safety pin or two - just because! Wallabies are really fun to knit - except for the two tight rows when you join the sleeves! But, I'm sure I'll work that out as I go.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday Nite knitting

I didn't get to knit with the Girls last nite - I was across town working on a simple little project which turned into a monster & I wanted to finish it, get paid & get out IN ONE TRIP. I finally got out about 9:47PM. Lucky for me, my favorite Starbucks was still open - barely - & one of my Techie buddies was siting there sucking down caffeine. I actually got to sit outside with a coffee & knit for about 20 minutes before they took away the chairs. I have another meeting tonite & hopefully, it will be entertaining, informative & end early!! I need more knitting time!

I carry my purple Kyler's Kardigan in the car these days so I can get another row
or two done while I'm having a coffee, waiting in the Dentist's office or attending meetings. One fella, running into 'Bucks for a coffee, stopped & asked what I was knitting. I held it up & he laughed . . . was it the purple??? Here's where I'm at. I haven't finished the sleeves quite yet - I wanted to get as much of the body knit in the lavender heather as possible - might actually finish it! Since the garter stitch is really using up yarn, I am concerned about having enough. I think I may be okay since the garter really stretches as you wear it & I've actually made the sweater a little smaller than I think I need for that reason. I mean, who needs a sweater that's hanging to your knees in the Rain Forest??? I do have lots of dark purple & the light lavender. I intend to use all three colors in the cuff ribbing & will probably crochet up the fronts & around the neck with the dark purple to finish it.

I couldn't help m
yself & was trying out a pattern stitch from another Helene Rush sweater on Knitty. I'm not sure I would knit a WHOLE SWEATER with the stitch but it would look very nice as a lace panel on the fronts of a cardigan. Maybe even with a cable on each side or a couple of columns of twisted stitch on each side. It might be useful somewhere else. It's too loose for Socks but it would make a terrific Scarf or even an Infant Sweater & Bonnet. Might even make a great Shrug or Shawl. I really like Helene Rush designs. They're usually unexpected, often complex & I sometimes wonder where that woman gets all those ideas.

And a nice view of the Fern Garden in the big cedar box behind my table on the patio. The ferns are keeping company with a curly ivy & my favorite Crystal Palace Lobelia this year while the Christmas Cacti & Jade plant occupy the space underneath the table.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thoroughly Disgusted

As the title suggests, I'm a little annoyed with my performance on a knowledge test. Let me tell you about being an Aries - we're the most intelligent, artistic, wonderful beings on the planet - and WE know so! We just hate being wrong, but most of all, we hate owning up to wrongness. Even when caught, we won't admit it. So I took an Insurance Knowledge Test today & found out that I know absolutely diddly about Insurance. Mind you, I've never bothered with it unless I had no choice. I pay the car insurance because otherwise I couldn't drive. I pay the medical & house insurance for the same sort of reason. Life insurance??? Not me. So I took the test because I'm going to take the course. So, being the intellengent Aries that I am, I thought I may be able to schmooze through the back door . . . . life experience so to speak. Why take the course if I can already pass the test??? Nada. No Go. I got 33% because I know nothing about Insurance. Isn't THAT a slap in the face!

I think I'll go & knit something!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Socks in Distress

I joined the Super Sock Scarefest & cast on the 'Fangs for the Memories' socks - the ones with the 'toothed' tops & the Dracula holes the the ankle - and I hate them. I hate the top which is waaay too big given the stitch count of the pattern. I don't like the holes in the ankle - only two FANG holes but I think they look stupid. So I frogged the whole sock!!

And decided to try the "Damsel in Distress" socks - even though Karen & Gail said they wouldn't work!! I found the revised pattern which tells you to cast-on 80 stitches instead of the 64 in the original. In the previous blog entry, there's a pic of the finished socks. The knitter used 80 stitches for the ribbing & increased to 120 stitches before the lattice pattern. Yeah, I can see that happening. I didn't increase to 120 stitches but I did start with 80 stitches. I did a couple of inches of the pattern VERRRRY loosely - so loosely in fact, that the cable needle kept hitting the floor because I couldn't keep it in the stitches. It's the only way to do the pattern in standard sock weight yarn & still have some stretch left in the sock! I hate this one too. The cabling is too small & too close together. I think if the pattern was rewritten with cables twice the size or with a cable pattern down the FRONT of the sock only, it would be a great sock. The cable needle hit the floor once too often & that sock was kicked into the frog pond too!!!

Not bad for a sock knitter as prolific as I, two new patterns tried & two frogged. I must be a glutton for punishment because I downloaded the "Revenge of the Mummy" sock from last year - I think this one's a winner . . . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's not over till it's over

So I've got this big hole in my mouth apparently stuffed with gel. I went to work & felt okay yesterday till the freezing started to come out - he DID freeze me from eyebrow to wattle!!! The worst part about the whole t
hing was the horrible head & neck ache - from stress, I'll bet - so I came home around 5:30 thru all that damned traffic from Langley. I usually come home an hour or so later so I sure wasn't used to all that traffic!! As soon as I got home, I took three aspirins & crawled on the couch with the cat for a two hour nap. I turned the phone off for the evening & sipped liquids thru a straw even though I wanted Sushi, before taking another couple of aspirins & going to bed. Slept like a log & got up feeling fine this morning with nothing worse than a swollen cheek - not sure what THAT'S all about!!! I am not supposed to do anything strenuous today - not sure what THAT'S about neither!

So, since I'm not allowed to do anything strenuous today, I think I'll knit. I started the "Fangs for the Memory" socks in the Ravelry Super Sock Scarefest. They're simple socks with a "toothed" top & two 'Vampire' holes just above the ankle, LOL. I tried turning the top 'tooth' row over & knitting it into the body of the sock last nite but I couldn't make it work. I'm sure it will work though - I wasn't my best last nite & I got it too tight. I suspect I need to pick up half the stitches to allow it to stretch a little more. Why am I doing this??? Because I really really hate sewing things together after knitting . . .

I noticed some pictures of the first sock - 'Damsel in Distress' - in the series actually completed. Aren't these gorgeous???? One of the participants published this amazing picture of her socks!! I'm thinking I may try out the pattern to see if I can make it work. Gail & Karen report the pattern as written will not work. Someone cast on 72 stitches & increased to 120 stitches before the cabling & had success! I have to admit it's a very pretty sock if you get it finished!

And then there's my purple Kardigan to finish. The evenings are getting much cooler & have been downright COLD a time or two lately. Since I found another ball of the purple heather, I think I may just have enough yarn to finish it. I'm moving rapidly down the body & have the sleeves finished to the cuff. It's kind of shocking at how much yarn the Garter stitch gobbles up compared with Stockinette. But I love the cuddliness - is that a word??? - of the Garter. This is to be a relaxing, snuggly sweater that I can just throw on any time any where. I intend to drag it to work & wear it in the car too! It'll be nice with my shorts until it snows!!!

Then there's the cat. She's really getting old & funny. She follows me everywhere & settles to sleep around or on top of me when I sit down unless she can rub my legs or shoulder. She's not eating much or chasing raccoons like she used to. I guess it's time for a catbed. I found another box of White Buffalo yarn when looking for something else. I thought I'd cast it all out but found some more. My little washer won't felt anything so I was thinking I could knit a big bag & stuff it with some old fleece I have in a bag in the closet. If it's successful, I may make one for the office too.