Thursday, December 31, 2015

Resolutions

So here we are again, at the verge of a new year, staring into the Black Hole of 2016. I'll bet most of us are making Resolutions that we'll never keep. Oh, some of us will keep them for a week or two & some for a month or two but in the end, they all fall by the wayside.
I've never been much for Resolutions. Oh, I made some minor ones like resolving to  change to brown rice because it's better for me. And yes, I did keep the rice one. Even though I'll never love brown rice like I do white, sticky rice, I can now make it well enough that I don't actually hate it.
My resolution to spend more time spinning never happened because I ended up knitting more, instead. Knitting what, you ask??? Charity knitting. Oh, hoodies, socks & hats that all went to people who needed them. I think that's half the fun. But I didn't spend any time spinning which was my original goal.

So this year, I RESOLVE to make no Resolutions at all. Why stress myself out trying to achieve a goal that I'll never meet??? Life gets in the way. Sometimes it gets in the way in the most interesting ways. While the rest of you are Resolving to lose weight & are shelling out for gym memberships, yoga pants & exercise equipment that you'll seldom use, I'll be learning about my gut.

My GUT??? Yup. A healthy gut means a healthy body which means a healthy, happy person. I'm taking a FREE class with COURSERA on 'Microbes & the Human Microbiome' to exercise my brain cells. 'The little grey cells' as Poirot used to say, need exercising to stay healthy too. One should never neglect the mind or it will become saggy & weak like an Accountant's ass. Besides exercising my brain cells, I'll also be learning about how the gut affects every other part of the body. And you thought your Brain was in charge???


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Knitting the Days Away

The Pile Grows Taller
Christmas is days away & my poor old car is in the garage. It's been there for almost a week now, ever since the Anti Theft Device discobooberated itself & locked ME out. After setting off the alarm FOUR times in a row, I gave up & called for help. I'm sure all my neighbors were thrilled when I stopped playing with it. No one, including the mechanic, knows if it can be unlocked. That's what I get from the ungrateful hunk of tin after babying it with a Winter tune-up, tire rotation & full gas tank in the last couple of weeks. I should've left it to suck air through a clogged filter & run on watery gas.


Meanwhile, back at the basement, I can't go anywhere so I might as well knit hats while I watch all the oldies & marathons they put on the tube this time of year. It's a good excuse to stay home in my jammies & knit over the holidays while avoiding line-ups, tie-ups & road checks. A nice friend brought me a gift of two pounds of sharp cheddar - sliced to boot!!! And I loaded up on Wasa crisp bread at a sale just before the car died. So I'll be munching on cheese & crackers & drinking some of that lovely Shiraz I made several years ago while I knit.


When I run out of all the single skeins, odd balls & leftovers I scrounged up to make hats, I might even get to finish the Aubergine sweater I started for myself before hats took over.  It's the "Lace Frock" from Cabin Fever. I still haven't decided whether to put sleeves on it or not. My first thought was to put cap sleeves on & wear it like a vest over long sleeved shirts for the winter but I don't have to decide right away. I was worried about having enough yarn to knit long sleeves but I've only used two skeins so far out of the nine I bought so I've got lots of yardage to complete the lace skirt & sleeves if I want them.
                                           

Saturday, December 12, 2015

LUST DENIED

I still have my little pile of balls on the table where I can see them but, other than a
small swatch, I haven't done a thing with it except look. And I still love it. I loved it even more when I cast it onto a circ that was handy & tried knitting a few rows in garter stitch. Then I knit a few more rows in stockinette, then went up a needle size or two & did it all over again. I really like the yarn. It's acrylic but knits a crisp fabric that just feels good. I like it with the 4.5mm needles. The yarn itself looks like a fine chain & feels cottony in the swatch. How come it took me so long to try this yarn??? I love it & now it's being discontinued. Story of my life. I could create a whole wardrobe in the colors in this yarn - I'm crazy about the hot pink & the steel grey in the first place but together??? Oh yeah.

Got sidetracked with the warm hats thing. Since they're to go just after Christmas, I've been trying to knit as many hats as possible in the short time I have. Thanks to a yarn donation, I found several balls of a really, really soft, worsted weight yarn that knits into terrific hats!! I've got little ones, medium ones & even a couple of adult ones to stuff in the bag. Oh, & one pair of socks from a test knit I did for the Snakes & Ladders pattern by Elizabeth McCarten. They're way too small for me but the pattern is very attractive. I know they need to keep another pair of feet warm this winter so they're going into the bag too.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

LUST

I swore I wouldn't give in to the Black Shopping Monster & wouldn't even open an email ad that came my way. I have enough stuff in bins piled in the living room to make me look like a Hoarder. If I buy any more, chances are, I'll be found dead someday, under a pile of sock yarn bins. But, in the middle of the night I clicked on one Black Hole email & got sucked in - straight into the Yarn dimension. Yup. Me. The Anti-Christmas person. 

I have to say I didn't do it on impulse because I could've piled it high in my 'basket' & ordered it then & there. I thought about it for a while. And I checked it out once more. Then I thought about it some more. And emailed a friend who orders on-line. Figured if she wasn't ordering, I wouldn't order. But she was & I did. WHY did I do it??? I fell for the colors. Hard. Yup. Sucked right down into another dimension, hot & cold, right in the gut, OMG, instantaneous, LUST. The kind of thing that happens when you lock eyes with a certain kind of stranger across a room - the Bad Kind. But Lust with Yarn is a much better option, I figure. It's safer, cheaper, hangs around longer & benefits you in the long run - especially if you get right down & make something with it! I bought enough for an afghan for my bed. I love the colors, did I say that already??? Maybe a cocoon sweater to wear in my office? Maybe I should check & see if it's still on Sale & buy more??? I really, really do love the colors. It's the Acrylic Multi from Knit Picks in the Fashion color.

A knitting bud is gathering hats, mitts, scarves etc for Refugees in the Middle East so I decided to make some touques. I have some nice yarn in an acrylic/wool blend so I'm making woolly hats. I handed off a bag with hats & socks last night & forgot to take a photo!!! But here's one that's just started. The yarn is Pittsburgh, it's worsted size but so soft that it knits to a DK gauge & it's easy on the hands. Just 68 sts on a 6.5mm circ knit in a twisted K2P2 rib(Knit in the back of the knit stitch instead of the front) all the way to the top with the yarn doubled. I close the top by purling the P2 together on the first row & continuing the twisted K2. Then a round of twisted K2 , P1. A round of twisted K2 together, P1. And another round of twisted K1, P1 & a final round of twisted K2 together. I leave a long end & pull it through all the stitches, draw them closed & sew it down on the inside. Makes a nice snug, warm hat that won't fall off or blow off when you bend, run or lift. I make this one for the guys who change tires, fix  cars & work construction.



Sunday, November 29, 2015

There's two big debates going on right now on the net & neither of them involve guns or war. 

The first is this Black Friday thing that seems to have morphed into Black Friday week in most places in North America. It's threatening to become Black Friday MONTH & it's echos are being heard in Europe. Can you say Retail Desperation???? It has even crawled into the net forums where peer pressure is forcing Designers to discount their work for the Black Friday monster.

The other big debate is FREE patterns. Apparently, some craft sites operate solely to supply FREE patterns. That's 'FREE' patterns scarfed from others who make all or part of their living from creating patterns for you & I. The 'Free' sites make their money from actively trolling for 'freebies' which they post on their own sites. They also take short term 'freebies' like 'Birthday Sale' 'One Week Only' 'One Day Only' etc & post them as 'FREE' forever.
Now, I like a FREE pattern as much as the next guy BUT, if someone is making money out of offering it to me, why shouldn't that money go to the designer??? Knitty, for example, has been giving us FREE quality patterns for years now. They not only PAY the Designers, list their blogs/websites/contact info, but give them a lot of exposure as well.

So what is the wise Crafter to do???  I still prefer to touch & squeeze before I buy. So I say, shop all the sites to see what's out there first. And, like the street of small shops where you know who supplies the things you love, go directly to the Designers for your freebies. See what else they have to offer. See if they have a blog or forum. Check in regularly for specials - sometimes you get BOGO. Test knit. When you find the Designers you like, support them or they won't be there when you want them. Try the 'free' patterns. Just remember, 'Free' should be a taste of what's available, not the whole meal.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Debt, debt, debt, debt debt debt . . . .

I've never been a fan of commercials which is why I mostly watch & support, Public TV. But, sometimes even I watch regular channels - I'm hooked on Longmire(APTN) - nothing like a good western, NCIS & NCIS-New Orleans - Scott Bakula has finally found his home, Mysteries at the Museum & the Ice Road Truckers - Go Lisa Go!!! And though I sometimes tolerate the commercials just to see the shows, there have been times when I had my fill early & shut the damn show off. Commercials now take up more prime time than the program you're watching.
But, you know, I've actually seen a couple of commercials lately that really resonate with me - I love the one that asks why the holidays can't be filled with L-O-V-E instead of S-A-L-E. And my very favorite this year is the one where the toys start singing DEBT DEBT DEBIT when the woman whips out her credit card, making her think about what she's doing. What a great commercial!!


Contrary to what most folks are doing right now, I am NOT knitting a Christmas gift for anyone. No one. Not even knitting hats for charity this year. Most years I knit hats but not this year. My hands are really sore - that damned one-handed stapler that takes me two hands to use - has really inflamed my right hand & fingers. I can't even pick up the coffee pot with my right hand because my right index finger shoots pain jolts into my wrist. My right middle finger knuckle burns & my right thumb is just sore, especially where it connects with my wrist bones. I can still do up my shoes & brush my teeth but I dropped the coffee pot the other day when I tried to lift it off the stove. All in all, stupidity & overuse made them sorer than usual. I guess I'm out of the knitting game for a while.

So, I'm being forced to rest my hand. Somewhat. I still have to wash dishes & carry grocery bags. I can kick the laundry basket down the hall instead of carrying it. And there's still a mountain of data entry to do but I've been taking it easy & wearing rubber finger tips to give me some protection from hitting the keys. You'd be amazed how well it works. And, when no one's looking, I've been sneaking in a row or two on my Lace Frock Vest. For Me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cross Eyed & Pole Axed

It's been a hellofa week of hard slogging through boxes of paper. I've squeezed that stapler so often that my right hand aches like an infected tooth. I can't even staple one-handed any more. But, by gum kiddies, I do believe I can see the bottom of the second box. With all my piles neatly organized, labeled, added, sorted & itemized, I can get back to the important things in life - knitting & spinning.

The Dirt Magnet has now taken possession of his new sweater. The body bottom is black which his dad appreciated since the kid might be able to wear it for an extra day before it hits the wash.
Another friend just had a longed for baby girl last Thursday - God, are they tiny when they're a day or two old!!! with tiny, tiny feet!! So, I have to make a pair of socks for those feet. I think, I'll make a pair of l-o-n-g baby frankensocks for fun. I believe I've got lots of nice baby colors tucked away in the Pink/Purple bag of leftovers - mom & dad had her decked out in Pink, already. But frankensocks go with everything!! bwahahah

And, while sitting shell-shocked in my chair after my marathon project was done, I decided to pull out a sweater I started THREE YEARS ago for myself in a Mule Spun wool called Mulberry Heather. The yarn is quite rustic - I'm pulling out bits of straw as I sloooooly knit with aching hands - and quite greasy - but I'm sure that will change when it gets it's bath at the end. I'm using the Cabin Fever pattern, 'Lace Frock Vest' from the "Need a Plus Sized Cardigan" book. I believe the 'Lace Frock' is also available as a single pattern on Patternfish as well. I'm going to wear it over a long sleeved shirt for extra warmth in my office. I had finished  the basic yoke almost to the arm area but hadn't split the arms from the main body when it got stuffed into a bag & forgotten. While looking for more colored acrylic to finish the Dirt Magnet sweater, I found the bag with my Mulberry yarn in it. It was meant to be.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Two Weeks Since Surgery

Tomorrow, it will be two weeks since my voice operation. I'm still swollen & bruised but it's fading quickly into yellow & green. Tomorrow I see the surgeon for my official unveiling - the surgical tape comes off!! It will be nice to have a proper shower again!! And I'm still a little raspy but it's coming along very well. I don't think I'd want to answer phones all day just yet but it's nice to have a voice in the proper octave again.

The Dirt Magnet Wallaby is just about done. I ripped off the hood & some of the yoke a couple of days ago because I thought the yoke looked a little shorter than it should. Since I'm working with yarn that's thicker than usual, the decrease count is off. So, I frogged it back a bit, added about an inch to the yoke & then back to the hood. I figure I need another couple of inches on the hood & I'll be done. In the meantime, I tucked in all the ends & closed one of the underarm openings while I watched NCIS-New Orleans last night.

Just Right
My hands have really been feeling the chill in the air. The landlord & I do battle every year about this time as to when the furnace should be turned on. Neither of us wants to wimp out & be the first - he doesn't want to spend the money & I don't want to cope with my allergies. But, I feel the cold in my hands long before I feel it anywhere else - except when I'm getting out of the shower. And why do we play this game???  I've lived most of my life with radiant heat which doesn't cause my allergies to flare up. Every fall when the damn furnace comes on, I have to suffer for a couple of weeks until I get used to all the dust flying around. I'd rather postpone turning it on & wear a sweater for a while than deal with allergies. So every fall about this time, I get out the wrist warmers & wool sweater to keep me warm in my cool office. Eventually, he gets too many complaints from the family & turns it on. LOL

Too Big
This year, I decided to knit myself a pair of l-o-n-g fingerless mitts to keep my hands & thumbs warm. My hands give me hell in the damp weather. I've overused them most of my life so I guess this is payback. Since I'm still overusing them, I thought I'd wrap them in wool to see if it would help. I fell in love with the Ringwood stitch when Knitty published the Ringwood Gloves pattern. It's so easy to knit!! And so stretchy!!! I thought it would make a lovely pair of mitts for me to work in. I didn't swatch in the yarn I wanted to use so my first mitt was way too big. Let that be a lesson - swatch, swatch, swatch!! So I made the second one a lot smaller. And it fits like, well, like a glove!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The First Week With a Voice

I've survived my first week post-surgery. My voice is still raspy - they SAID it would
take at least a couple of weeks for the swelling to go down & the healing process to finish but you know how we want everything NOW. I couldn't drive for a few days - still suffering from a stiff neck & headache on the left side if I did too much turning. So, breakfast OUT on Wednesday was a real treat!! My Ex slyly gave me an envelope with November's rent money in it so I wouldn't have to worry about getting back to work so soon. And the cook in my favorite cafe bought my breakfast to celebrate!!! It was like a Birthday!!

Everyone stared at my neck. I knew they would. No point in trying to cover it - like I have anything anyway - so I wore a bright pink tee under my purple fleece jacket & called it an accessory. The colors all matched nicely. With a little eye shadow & some Dracula Phangs, I could attend any Hallowe'en party this year. But, I think I'll stay home & watch the Home & Garden channel & finish a sweater instead.

My Dirt Magnet Wallaby is almost finished. I had very little Blue left but lots of Red & Yellow & Black. So, it won't match but the colors are similar to little Brother - enough so Mom will be happy with the pictures.


My Niece wants l-o-n-g wrist warmers. I'm not exactly sure what she means by that but I'm assuming she wants fingerless gloves - I hope that's what she means. Anyway, I found some lovely THICK merino - I have four 25gr balls of it - that knits up quickly. It's a yellowy brown color I believe they call Tobacco. It's a color only a Fall color lover could love. I cast-on 36 stitches & worked K2P2 ribbing for about 7 inches & then did a double YO to make a thumb hole & K2P2 into the YO on the next round to make it slightly larger for the hand. She can wear them as fingerless gloves or turn them around for wrist warmers.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

How Sharon Got her Voice Back

I sucked it up & made it to my surgery. I decided I was sick & tired of my squeaky half voice, the shortness of breath & the constant coughing that has been my lot for the last three years since my left vocal chord got attacked my a flu virus. Yes, Virginia, the flu can render you voiceless. 

For a person who has talked too much since she learned to talk, it's had a devastating effect on my life & personality. I've become a home bound recluse with a shrinking world. I stopped trying new things & even stopped going to most of the places I once hung out. Why go if you can't talk?? Or you cough all the time. Either everyone hears my squeek or no one can. It's been a trial so I just stayed home.


So, I had the surgery on Thursday. It was a lot easier than I thought - the most painful part was giving up my nice warm socks to wear those horrible green things!!! The absolutely worst part of the whole thing was the 18 hours I spent in 'Recovery' with all the beeps, blips, noise etc. I started out in Day Surgery & ended up transferred to the main Hospital. I was too well for Recovery but they were concerned about my breathing. The surgeon DID have to work to jam in a large implant because the smaller one gave me no voice at all, so I had a lot more swelling. After an overnight in 'Recovery', I demanded to be released & came home.

I was so happy to be here, I ate yogurt, drank hot tea & fell into bed for the best nap I've ever had. I don't care what anyone says, you can have the best care in the world by the best nurses in the world - and they were pretty damned good in both hospitals I was in - but there's nothing like your OWN bed, your OWN bathroom & silence.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I'm in Trouble Now

Remember my last Wallaby?? The one for the Dirt Magnet?
Well, I sent it home with his dad on the 15th to be tried on to confirm it was the right size before I started the one for his younger brother. Since I've never seen the kids in person, I'm knitting from general
descriptions & their father's estimates of size. The smart knitter makes one & then checks to see if the other one needs to be larger or smaller before casting-on once more. Dad figured the current sweater would fit the Dirt Magnet to a T. Well, the best laid plans .  .  .  the younger boy met dad at the door, snagged the sweater, tried it on & hasn't taken it off. Apparently it was funny the first couple of days but now it isn't so much. While they can get it off at bedtime, it goes under the pillow until morning. He loves it. The bigger boy is not too happy but has been kept at bay with promises that his sweater is coming. Mom wants another one exactly the same for pictures. That should be fun. The yarn is no longer made & what's left in the bag is all there is. I never intended both sweaters to be the same. OOOOps.

And I almost canceled my surgery for Thursday. After being sick as a dawg last Thursday night & most of the weekend, I managed to get dressed yesterday but was too weak & dizzy to get further than my patio chair. I did drink a lot as advised & even slurped up some chicken soup before falling back into bed. Got up this morning feeling clear headed & able to function. Finally. If I had to be sick, I'm glad it was this last week & not the day after surgery!! Beware everyone. This one came right out of left field with no warning other than a stomach ache.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On & Off the Needles

My Wallaby is done. I changed it up a little with the top of the yoke & the hood in garter stitch for a change.  It was a fun knit as usual but my fingers are not appreciating the fun this time around - both of my forefingers & my right middle finger have decided they don't want to participate in anything. It's like having a tooth that won't let you eat. I suspect it's all the misuse I've been giving them in the office .  .  .  . 

Cold doesn't make my fingers any happier either so I decided to knit myself a nice pair of loooong fingerless gloves. What I really want is a pair that goes up to the elbow & down to each of my fingers to the first joint. But I need a pair now. So these ones will only go a few inches beyond the wrist & be open to the first joint. The nice red yarn is Kroy & I'm using the ultra-stretchy Ringwood stitch to do them. I love the Ringwood stitch. I first learned about it on Knitty when I saw the pattern for the Ringwood gloves. Although I loved those gloves, I decided fingerless gloves were far more useful. Long fingerless gloves, that is. And while I said I wanted fingerless - what I really mean is fingertip less. I want them to have knitted fingers with open ends to keep my aching joints happy. This is only the first
incarnation. It turned out to be too big & too loose. It is warm though but too bulky to wear while using my keyboard which is one of the places I need to use it. I think I'll just make the next one smaller & see what happens. Back to the needles!!!  You know .   .   .  this pattern would make a terrific sock  .   .   .   .

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Just Another Long Weekend

I knew Thanksgiving - we in Canada celebrate in October - was coming up but didn't know exactly when until yesterday. I can blame the last few weeks for my memory loss, I guess, because it's been February all over again. Sharon's taxi has been running the Ex all over town this past couple of weeks for tests, more tests, surgery on his right eye & the post surgery appointments. I've been making sure he's okay, taking him out for soup & salad every couple of days & picking up groceries. And then finishing my big project of course. So I think it's fair to understand why I tend to forget unimportant stuff. In the end, Thanksgiving has become just another Expensive Commercialized Celebration that makes no sense to those of us who are barely scraping by.
Yes, I have the Ex, but he's still recovering from surgery & his eyes tire quickly. He just wants to stay home where it's quiet & nap when he needs to. I suspect he'll want to go out for a Chinese lunch on Sunday but that'll be it for him. So, I'll finish up this project & listen to 'The Martian' instead.

As I've mentioned many times before, I'm a big fan of Audible. I got myself a membership for Christmas back in 2002 because I loved listening while I sorted paperwork. I also love listening while I knit or spin. It's a purchase I've appreciated all these years & my library is very large today. I like Thrillers & Mysteries the best but I venture off into other things when the mood hits me & have a little bit of everything from History to Anne of Green Gables.
I bought 'The Martian' last year but never listened to it!!! Great book so far!!! I'm about halfway through & our Hero has had a series of setbacks. Is he freaking out??? He swore a whole lot & then got to work to figure out how to save himself. I love the log entry that starts, "today I killed myself." People talk about McGiver, this guy can give him a run for the money. If I have to be stuck anywhere after the end of the world as we know it, I want to be stuck with Our Hero. Read the book or listen to it. It's science, it's survival, it's laughter & it's tragedy. And a hellova big adventure as well.

Knitting content - the second Wallaby is almost finished. I just have another couple of inches on the hood to complete & the armholes to close. One more to go & then I'm absolutely, positively going to complete that top-down V-neck cardigan I started for myself eons ago & never finished. I intend to to so before Christmas.

Friday, October 02, 2015

One Down, Two to Go

The last three weeks have been the weeks from Hell in some ways but they've also been quite productive in others. My mountain of paper in ziplock bags has been tamed into neat, labeled & added bundles of information. I have arranged them into four big, thick files - one for each year! Now the fun begins. And I get to do the magic that reduces it all into a few concise pages of information. This is the part I really like. Well, besides getting paid, that is . . . .   Then it's on to the next one. 
 When I set up this office, I should've planned for a desk to extend around on two walls with storage shelves above for boxes & garbage boxes below. Sort of a big, L- shaped thing with everything tucked above & below instead of the cluttered arrangement it has become. I have a shredder on a bag-buddy in the middle of the floor. What's a bag-buddy???? It's a metal contraption that holds a giant bag up in your yard so you can fill it with leaves in the fall. I fill one with paper shreds. And two dead printers. And a 30 year old, 70lb copier that I can't use. Yes, it works but I have nowhere to put it. I really must reorganize.
I went to client sites, some after hours or on Sundays to do my work when I started out. I never intended to work full time out of an 8 x 10 room. Mind you, it has it's advantages, while you're fighting the traffic & weather to come & go from work - I'm safe & warm in my sweats with a big cup of tea. I listen to audio books while I work. And I can shut 'er down any time to have a nap, watch a favorite show or do my dishes. And I can do the wash, cook dinner & work at the same time. The problem is loneliness. And isolation. And chasing payment sometimes.

But I can knit at work. I can take spinning breaks & watch the 'Tea Time' British series on PBS at 3:00. And I've been trying to work on my Wallaby. Finished the arms & the
pouch fusion & am now working up the body to the yoke. This Patons 'Canadiana'  worsted is tough to knit with. It's heavy & dead & hard on the hands. I can see it better used with a large crochet hook to make rugs & fruit bowls instead of a child's sweater. And my hands agree. Knitting with the stuff makes my wrists ache & the heels of my hands burn. But, the kid I'm knitting for destroys everything else. So? What do you do???  I'll be very grateful when I can return to wool again. So soft & so alive in the hands. I have to say that working with natural fibre is a luxury that acrylic can never duplicate. And working with handspun fibre becomes a sensual experience that spoils you completely.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Do it until You go Blind

I've taken on a couple of projects that really require a 50 foot table & an industrial stapler. I suppose I should feel lucky that I have only two years to sort for the first project. And four years for the second with some of it sorted into same year, same thing in zip locks. It's still a horrendous job, sorting, batching, adding them up, adding up the GST, writing the type of expense, year & percentage on the tape before trying to get the stapler to punch through it all. I have multiple batches for Materials & Supplies, fuel, Small Tools etc & then they have to be added up before they're fed into the tax forms. Sigh .   .   .   I'd rather be knitting.

I've even relearned the joys of the Slow Cooker while I've been so busy. Chicken & yams  with Mushroom soup. Pork sirloin with potatoes & carrots. And creme of Mushroom soup. LOL  How did we live before creme of Mushroom soup??? I just don't have the time or energy to stand around in the kitchen chopping or mixing. Into the crock pot with it!!!!

And the first Wallaby is finished. Done. The hood was bound off last evening before I fell asleep in my chair in front of the tube. Haven't seen much of that tube in the last week or so because I fall asleep if I'm not knitting, eating, adding or stapling. But, the first sweater is done & in the Gift Box. Now, onto #2. Size 4 long, in acrylic in rainbow colors so his mom can find him in a crowd when he runs - cause that's the only speed he has until he falls down into bed. And I'd give you a picture except that the damned camera needs to be recharged .   .   .   .


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Wonderful Wallaby Time

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to knit a kid's size Wonderful Wallaby!!! They knit up so fast. And it's fun to find & use up all the leftovers. I found 4 balls of gold, a ball of brown/tan variegated, half a ball of blue variegated, a navy ball & a bit of red. So it's all going into the same sweater I think. I wish it was all in bright colors but it's the last of the donated Pittsburgh yarn & it doesn't go with anything else. It's soft & 40% wool & can't be combined with the harder acrylic so it is what it is .   .    .    . It was going to go to one of my dirty little boys but it has too much wool in it to be washed daily. But, there's a kid out there who will love it. I have enough red for one stripe in the yoke & I put blue on one arm for fun.

The next Wallaby is for the Kid Who Destroys Clothes. He's almost 4 & doesn't stop moving. If energy could conquer the world, he would own it all. And he's also a dirt magnet. This is the kid that gets undressed in front on the washer because nothing can be worn twice. His mom sometimes undresses him twice a day in front of the washer .  .  .  Until I can find yarn that sheds dirt, he gets acrylic because it will be washed constantly. I think I'll make the body one solid color & stripe the sleeves & yoke. Kids love lots of color even when some moms would prefer black or dirty brown. This time around I'm going to be smarter too, I'm knitting TWO Wallabies for him so he doesn't have to wait in front of the dryer for his sweater before he can go outside.

Monday, September 07, 2015

I successfully finished my 'Snakes and Ladders socks' test knit. Although I was only required to knit one sock, I knit them both so I'd have a pair to pass on to someone with cold feet. They're not large enough for my feet but I know someone will love them. I have enough yarn left over to make some matching wrist warmers as well. I think the pattern will look great on wrist warmers where you can actually SEE it. The pattern is easy to knit, the written directions are clear & the chart is easy to follow. The best part is that the pattern is up on Ravelry & it's FREE.

So what's up next??? Well, my poor fingers are feeling the change in the weather & I've been spending DAYS sorting paper into bunches & adding them up for a client, so I'm ready for a simple knit or two. Especially since I have 5 more boxes of paperwork to sort & add. So I've cast-on for a child's size 4 Wonderful Wallaby. I like the Wallaby. I've knit many of them for charity over the years & will probably knit many more before I'm done. Although I prefer to use a wool yarn, moms of small, dirty boys want acrylic yarns that can be washed over & over again. The two dirty little boys I'm currently knitting for are really hard on their clothes - especially the 4 year old. His mom says she undresses him in front of the washer every day before bed - clothes into the wash, kid into the bath. She claims he attracts dirt while he sleeps. So acrylic for him. She'd probably be happiest if I knit grey, brown or black for him but I think a rainbow - all the leftovers - is the way to go - I want him to wear the darned thing!!!  So, the sleeves are done & I'm working on the body of the first Wallaby in size 4.

When they're finished, I will finish my top down, V-neck, lace frock from the Cabin Fever book, 'Need a Plus Cardigan?'. I started it eons ago & life got in the way. I thought it would be really fun to make some winter lace that was practical. And I wanted a cardigan with something a little different too. I'll be making plain sleeves because I need extra warmth for my wrists & hands. The wool is a rustic worsted weight spun at Briggs & Little mills. And while I wanted a lovely RED yarn, the best I could do locally was Mullberry. Oh well. The sweater is started & I'm to the bottom of the V-neck.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Socks, Socks, Socks

I finished the first sock in my test knit. It's been years since I really followed anyone's pattern for socks other than the one in my head. Well, that's a lie, I AM still working on the Arrowhead lace socks from the Spin Off Socks book but I cast them on a couple of years ago .   .   .  and I DID try SKEW from Knitty like everyone else when it hit the net a couple of years ago too but I have YET to finish either sock. I WILL eventually, finish the Arrowhead lace because I have two pairs of my best Addi circs in each sock!!! But, as I was saying - normally, I use the pattern in my head to knit socks. Test Knitting sounds easy but it isn't - not when you have to use someone else's sock pattern 100%. Especially when you're supposed to report any problems, not fix them & carry on.

But, I finished the first sock. I only tinked it in a couple of places & ripped out the ribbing twice. But, I finished it. I did modify the sock because I wanted a longer foot so I shortened the leg to make sure I had enough yarn. I did not know the yardage of the wound cake but knew there was enough yarn for the pair as written in the pattern. I'm almost to the heel shaping on the second sock but am having no problems this time around. The heel itself is a simple garter heel with short rows. The pattern is easy to memorize & easy to follow with or without the chart - which is all I can say until the pattern is released for sale.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Middle of August

Can you believe it??? It's the middle of August & the 'Back to School' mobs are on the move in the malls. I tried to buy a couple of packages of paper in Staples on Saturday - OMG - I backed out & vowed to come back on a Monday or Tuesday morning instead!! The place was mobbed. I hate shopping this time of year but, the bargains are tremendous. I buy paper by the box, pencil leads by the 12 pack & big D-ring binders at close to half price during 'Back to School'. Even some software is very cheap but, oh, the pain of crowds, whining kids & long line-ups.

Finished the wild Regia socks that I had on the go & cast-on another pair in a rather scruffy 4 ply green/blue/red/white stripe that I had in the bottom of my bin. Looks like a cat or dog chewed on part of a ball but there's still plenty to knit a pair of short socks. If not, I'll put a solid colored toe on them. 4 ply is lovely for winter. It's much warmer than 3 ply when you live on unheated cement floors.

I volunteered to test knit a sock design. I got a lovely, squishy merino/nylon yarn with it. It looked much too fine in the cake for the recommended needle size - the Designer even wound the skein into a centre-pull cake for me - but once I started knitting, it became loftier than expected. I have to confess that I've never used a chart to knit a pattern before, I've always followed the written description. But, the pattern is so well charted & so easy to knit that I've had no problems at all. I even learned a new heel method in the process.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

At it Again

I'm at it again. Yes, the sock thing. I had planned on taking a summer sock project to the hospital with me because they make you hurry up to get there - a couple of hours EARLY - and then make you wait for surgery. So, rather than work up a nervous sweat, I thought I might as well take a project to work on. I like to get the cuff out of the way before I go - especially if I'm going to be interrupted or have to stuff it in a locker. I could use another couple of pairs of short, summer socks anyway, so these ones were on my needles for last Friday. The yarn is Regia - in their Brazil line of colors. I think every color in this yarn goes with a pair of shorts or a tee in my closet.

I'm using my usual cable cast-on, cuff down, heel with knitted gussets as you go & simple decreased toe with a three needle bindoff. I can make these socks in my sleep.

When these socks are finished, I have a sock test knit to do. Can't tell anyone anything about it until the pattern is published but I promise pictures when that happens. Then, I have to get my butt in gear for Fall. I have a couple of kid sized Wallabies to knit out of acrylic & then a Blue Wallaby in wool. Then it's on to touques for the charity box. Luckily for the homeless this year, I have a ton of black acrylic - my least favorite fibre in the world. Although I think wool would be a better choice, no one will accept them because they can't be washed in a laundromat. Curses.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Someone Else got my Cut

Well, here it is, almost time to check out of the Day Surgery at JPH. And I'm not there. At almost the last minute, I got bumped from my spot by someone who was just diagnosed with cancer. Even if I'd had a choice about it, I would've willingly given up my spot for that person. I just lost most of my voice but he/she may lose far more than that. I wish them good luck.

I, on the other hand, spent my morning running my stressed out Ex to the Motor Vehicle to renew his license.
Driver's licenses & Medical cards are being combined. Apparently we CAN keep them separated but it costs more, it's one more card to lose & both now require a picture.
My Ex went to renew his on Thursday, opted for the combo & was told he had to produce a birth certificate to verify his name. Verify his name??? Why? My birth certificate has a different name on it than my Driver's License. I'll bet yours does too. But, he had to find his birth certificate because they wouldn't renew his license without it.
He was in a panic because he couldn't find it & turned the house upsidedown yesterday. He thought he was going to lose his license. And called me 5 times in a half hour. He was so upset he couldn't even talk. Why do people DO this to Seniors???
Today, I took him to a smaller Driver's Service office on the edge of town. The only questions  asked were about restrictions, suspensions & whether he wanted the combined license. They even took a great mug shot for his new card. And the nice gal flirted with him while she processed it all. If he still can't find his birth certificate by the time he gets his new license, I told him I'd  order a new one. So then, he took me to lunch!!!

So, it turned out to be a pretty darned good day after all. Things sort of went sideways but worked out in the end as they usually do. And it's a good thing men have women around.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Spinning & Walking . . .

Green Braid
I've been trying to spin every day of the Tour de Fleece. I spun so much the first couple of days that my feet, shins, hips & hands seized up but after an application of hot shower & Ibuprofen, things were looking up. I've taken it a bit easier since & only spent one morning stiff as a board after a marathon spin. Hey, there was a terrific line-up on the Knowledge Network so I watched & spun through about 6 hours of TV. I had a maaaavelous time.



So far, I've spun up all the Neon Pink, the Green braid & now, I'm working on 4 oz of a handpainted, multicolored, BFL roving from Sunset Fibers. I actually have 2 packages of
Rainbow Roving of the Month
the roving which was the Roving of the Month last September. My friend Gail traded me hers for another monthly offering that I didn't really like. So, I will have 8 oz when it's spun up - enough to make something larger than a hat or a pair of mitts. I'm not sure what it will be in the end but it's nice to have the choice to make something else. Who knows, it may become a Stephen West scarf since the colors sure remind me of him!!

And in the meantime, I've been booked in for surgery on my throat for the morning of July 31. Oh my Gawd, I may just get a voice once again. I got to do all the prelims at the new Jim Pattison Care Centre - a real factory style assembly line experience. All my tests were pre-booked, timed, set up on the computer & all I had to do was show up with my Care Card & lay on the bed/sit in the chair. I never even signed my name or filled in a questionnaire!!  4 hours later I was spit out into the parking lot with an instruction sheet for the surgery. Other than a acres of walking  over three different floors because the elevators & my appointments were at opposite ends of the building - oh my aching knee - and the most expensive parking I've ever seen, it was a good experience with perpetually cheerful people. I'm not certain I'll be able to stomach all that cheeriness at 7AM but I guess I'll have to try. Anything for a voice again.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spinning the Tour de Fleece

Woke up Friday morning to a cool, grey sky & the weatherman making cautious sounds about rain on the weekend. It rained Friday night & all day Saturday. It was a good day to stay inside & spin. I'm participating in the Tour de Fleece again this year but haven't spun a thing on my wheel since last year. We Spinners follow the Tour de France & challenge ourselves to spin faster & longer as we watch the Riders compete in the race. It can be a real challenge to spin every day the Riders ride, especially if you don't spin regularly or don't spin that well. Legs, feet, & hands really let you know they aren't used to the pace.

Last year my leading knee was still too sore to do much treadling so I proceeded slowly. This year, I dusted off the Suzie Pro & picked up the pace but never even thought about  how it would make my feet, Achilles tendons, hands & shins feel. Oooops, by Friday, I 
was so sore I could barely spin. They're just not used to all this treadling!! Treadling just doesn't feel much like exercise until you've been working at it for a couple of days. And I've been working hard to spin up this neon Pink - which is just about finished -  for my 'Color Craving' scarf. When this is finished, I'll spin up the greens that will go with it.

Today when I woke up, everything was seized up. Some of it from treadling and some because of the change in the weather. Drugs work. Good Thing. We've had this nice long stretch of dry weather which has been good for my body but we desperately needed the rain. It's definitely cooler outside & that rain has perked the garden right up. It looks like it also washed all the smokey gunk off my car as well. And I believe the lawn turned green overnight. It's amazing what a little rain can do.

No knitting, no socks. Spinning has taken up all my time.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Too Hot, Too Smokey

It's just been too hot to knit. It's also been too hot to spend any time in my sweatbox office. It's been too hot for the poor computer so it has to be shut down. Around 3:30 the wave of heat just pours in - it's like someone just cranked up the Blow Dryer. Not a breath of air, I shut it all down, close all the blinds & the door that faces west & go to bed for a nap. My tall, thin, oscillating fan at the foot of the bed keeps me cool & an Audio Book lulls me to sleep!! I like direct, medium air the best.

My old - doesn't oscillate anymore - fan under the TV blows directly on me as I sit in my chair to watch. So, I have two cool spots to relax in. Then it got smokey. I thought the neighbor was burning her garbage in the BBQ again because it smelled like leaves & paper. Then it got so smokey I had to keep the door closed. And so smokey that I had to get the puffer out. I changed my mind about doing laundry since I have to hang it outside & I don't want to smell like the morning after a Pub Crawl. The sky has been grey but the sunsets have been glorious as fires blaze to the North & East of the Lower Mainland. The Wet Coast is tinder dry & no rain in sight.
Today, the heat has decreased, the smoke smell is almost gone & a nice brisk breeze has blown in to keep us cooler. I can actually feel that breeze through the blinds in my office. Whooee.

Even though it's been too hot to do much, I decided to participate in this year's Tour de Fleece - Rock it TeamCanada - again. I haven't had my spinning wheel out since the last one ended. And it's  time. I have spinning stash up the ying yang, three garbage bags of roving, besides all the hand dyed packages & braids of delicious stuff I've bought over the years. There's even a fleece or two. I bought most of it when I was working, knowing I wouldn't have the money when I retired. Some of it just followed me home. And some came from others trying to downsize their stash. I gave it all a home. Hahaha - and some of it will probably get passed on to other people's stash along the way.

So, this year, I decided to join the Stash Spinning group on Ravelry & work on that stash reduction. Right now, I'm spinning up some Neon Pink that I found in the Stash. Don't know when or where it came from but I love it. I'll spin some dark grey - I have a whole bag of it that followed me home one day - when this is finished & some bright greens that my friend Gail found for me, when that's done. I intend to knit Stephen West's Color Craving shawl/scarf for myself.
I'm 10 months away from Retirement & long, lovely days to spin & knit. Nice thought, but I will still do some work out of my home office. I have every intention of knitting some of it up for me when it's spun. And some of it will become hats, socks & sweaters for the Donation Box.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Happy July 1st

Canada Day. Another holiday day. I feel like I'm missing out somehow since I'm not getting paid for this day anymore. But I'm also not trotting off to the park to wave little flags, paint my face, sing songs, eat expensive charred food, fight for parking or stand in line to use the bathroom either. I can do without everything else, but I have to admit I love the fireworks. Happy Birthday Canada.

I was laughing at my neighbors last night as they hauled the big garbage cans to the curb. I didn't even take my green garbage out because today's a stat holiday & I figured they would pick up tomorrow. Well, the joke's on me, the garbage guys are out there picking up the cans as I type. Dammit. I really hate freezing it for another week!!

This heat wave is inconvenient. I don't have a problem sleeping because I have a tall, skinny oscillating fan at the foot of my bed that can be programmed to run constantly or just an hour or two. I can vary the speed from Gentle Breeze to Hurricane Force. It oscillates from low to high & can even be programmed for the whole works at once, if you like. I like Gentle or Low with & without oscillation for all night cooling. I have to cover my knees though, or I won't be walking in the morning!! I have a second oscillating fan in the livingroom so I can watch tv - same problem with the knees.

But the room where I spend most of my time is a sweat box. It gets so hot in there that I have to shut down the computer in the afternoons. This is the place that I WORK. I WISH I could put one of the oscillating fans in there but I need to keep paper on the desk so I can work with it. I'm getting too old for this stuff. Sigh. Good thing we usually only get this kind of weather for a week or so in August. Remember this??? It wasn't that long ago that we were all bundled up with our teeth chattering! I like to remember that when I'm sitting in a pool of sweat thinking about yet another shower as the News tells me that we need to conserve water. No snow or ice on the mountain to melt into the reservoir all summer. No rain to keep everything watered. In the land of too much water, we have a drought.
I figure if we all flushed less often - do we really need to flush after every little tinkle??? - and only showered once a day, we would save a huge amount of water. This is drinking water we're flushing with, after all.

On this Canada Day, we should celebrate Freedom. And Justice. And Free Speech. And taps that always have water on demand. For now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hot Town, Summer in the City .  .  .  oh yeah, I can hear the Lovin' Spoonful singing, can't you?? You can tell it's summer out there, especially when your front door faces West. Lucky for me, I also live in a basement with cement floors. I bless those cement floors in the summer - not so much in the winter when my feet freeze but in the summer when I'm still sweating & have nothing else left to take off - yeah, they're good to have. I haven't even turned on a fan yet this year!! It's hot & dry enough that nothing hurts unless I do too many hours of data entry on the computer. And it cools down really nicely at night. I could live with this for quite a while.

I fixed my sock problem - reknit the frogged sock until it matched the unfrogged one & then put them both on the same set of circs. I'm not fond of the "Two Socks on Two Circs" method of knitting socks but this damned orange/red makes my eyes water which  makes it difficult to measure where I am. With MY luck lately, I'd end up with one that's too long as well as one that's too wide. So, not taking any chances, covering my ass & making it as easy as I can, I am knitting them both on the same circ.
I can see that the "Two Socks on Two Circs" method would be excellent for lace socks. Or very patterned socks, too. It's NOT a good method for watching TV because it's really, really, easy to knit the wrong yarn into the wrong sock or get the needles crossed if you don't keep an eye on things but it does keep the socks more or less the same. I started out loving this color but now, I'm not so sure.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer in the City

Whoooeee, Summer at last. It's so nice to commute to the office in shorts & tee shirt, work a couple of hours, open the door & windows to let the fresh air in, go outside & water the jungle & then come back to work again without putting on shoes. I've been up & down, in & out & really getting some production going until 3:30 when the sun comes blasting in. All I can do then, is close everything up until about 6:30 when the sun goes behind the trees. So I take a nap.  Sometimes I work after midnight until it just starts to get light & the birds start singing. I love summer.

Being semi-retired is not that bad at all. You just have to have enough money to survive it. LOL And along with being semi-retired is more time to knit.

The latest summer socks should've been done by now. Stupid me, I decided to work on both socks at the same time but on different circs. Since I use the 2 circ method, I had one sock on my Chiagoo metal 2.25mm circs & the other sock on my KnitPicks wooden 2.25mm circs. I was merrily knitting along, turned both heels & just about to the toe shaping on both when I suddenly realized one sock was bigger than the other. Almost a half inch bigger. Not longer - oh no - but wider. I had measured both sets of needles with my brass snail measurer & again with my green ruler measurer - both the same size. BUT, one set is metal & one set is wood. Apparently I knit tighter with metal & looser with wood. This has been a surprise to me. I had no idea that gauge could vary depending on the materials from which the needles were made.

Needless to say, one sock got frogged while I cried big tears & is now being resurrected on 4 DP needles.