Back on Track

May 8, 2015

So.  It took me a week to tink back the Saved by a Fish’s Kiss socks.  After a couple of days of being bummed and not so eager to pick them up.  However….little by little I persevered.  Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1500 stitches tinked.  And now I’m finally moving forward once again, sans vampire-bite holes and with the correct stitch count.

With the tinking came an extra little challenge:  What to do with all the yarn coming undone.  I couldn’t just rewind it, since these socks are being knit from the two ends of one skein.  So no way to really rewind.  I tried to keep the unraveled yarn neat, but in the end there were some….rather intricate tangles.  I used a pair of improvised butterfly bobbins, and managed to get it all sorted out with very little profanity used.  Well….maybe a bit more than very little, but not much, honest.

toe up taat back on track

They’re not terribly convenient to use either, but better than nothing.

I think I’m going to enter these socks into the Yarn and Falafel Fiber Fest WIP competition being held at the end of the month.  Basic vanilla socks, to be sure, but they represent a few new techniques learned, and I will be proud and relieved to finally get these finished after several years in the WIP basket.  All WIPs that are completed by the gathering are eligible for the competition, I will hopefully get a couple more things done and tag them to enter too.

I will again be teaching a double-knitting workshop at the Fest, and again use my Hot Cuppa Coasters pattern to teach.  The pattern has had great success, with two separate KALs done on Ravelry in different groups learning double-knitting, and in at least three off-Ravelry classes in double-knitting around the world.  Three that I know of – those in which the instructors wrote and asked my permission to use the pattern.  I have heard of one class taught in which the pattern was used without anyone contacting me.  Which, since it’s free, is cool, although I much prefer to be asked.  So far, in ten months the pattern has been downloaded by over 1000 people, there are 51 projects up on Ravelry, and it’s in another 94 queues.  Which makes me ridiculously happy.

More about the Y&FFF later!

I intend to get some housekeeping done around the blog soon, the pattern and book pages are woefully behind the times, and there are plans floating around my head to revamp some things as well.  We shall see.

Interesting clouds outside my window…

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Let’s erase today and start over

May 3, 2015

Well.  The week hasn’t started out as well as it could have.

I got a call from the clinic.  The VNG machine has broken down, so my tests scheduled for two days away have been postponed.  They have no estimate on when repairs will happen, so we can’t even set a new time, they’ll call when the machine is up and running again.  When I expressed my dismay, the receptionist promised to talk to the professor and see if we can get permission to do the tests at the hospital instead.  She’ll call me back when she has more information.  Luckily, the past week has been pretty much OK, but the week before that the vertigo was really making itself a nuisance.

The socks have been sailing along.  Finished both heels and started up the cuffs.

toe up taat flkh finished

The fit is amazing, and the socks are very comfy.

toe up taat starting cuff

(Partner made the comment that these are much too pretty to wear on the feet, they should be hung on the wall as art!  I refrained from making a rude retort and kept on knitting…)

Knitting well up the cuff I again tried one on…and disaster.  Somehow on one cuff I managed to make not one but two accidental yarnovers – just a couple of stitches apart, and it looked like a vampire had made two little holes above my ankle.  I was already inches past that point, and I hadn’t noticed the change in stitch count.

I tried dropping one of the stitches down to the yarnover hole, hoping that I could ease the slack from the resulting ladder into the stitches alongside it.  No such luck with this fabric.  Plus the other yarnover is only two or three stitches to the side, and dropping that stitch as well would make the ladder impossible to smooth out.

toe up taat cuff disaster

So….nothing to do but tink.  In the picture above I’d tinked a few rows already.  From both socks.  Since they’re two at a time.  I’m considering somehow just tinking the one sock, but that would require careful counting, and concentration is not at a high right now.   But still – better one than two, much less discouraging and less chance of error as well.

The momentum has definitely been disrupted.  Dagnabbit,  Fie.  Piffle.

Yes, I could have just ignored it and carried on, but those two holes would have driven me batty.  Battier.  Hmph.

Let’s see the week getting better, please.

 

Do mice have waists?

April 28, 2015

Our little Mousey has had an operation.  The catbeast managed to rip a big hole at her waist (or whatever that general area is called in mice) while trying to get at the catnip inside.  I discovered the patient after finding said catbeast attempting to lick a clump of stuffing.  Which was quite a sight in and of itself.  She desperately wanted to taste it but the stuffing evidently was very unpleasant on her tongue.  Which did seem to confuse her and left her tongue hanging in limbo while she tried to figure out her next move.  Sorry I didn’t manage to grab a photo of that.

The operation went well, although the stitches were not sewn with beauty in mind.  And our catnippy little household rodent will carry a scar.

mousey post op

Catbeast was quite anxious throughout the surgery, sitting facing me and not taking her eyes off of Mousey for even one second.  She was quite happy to immediately take over supervising Mousey’s post-op recovery.

mousey post op with catbeast

Let us hope that Mousey will not suffer any further injuries.

Order from Chaos

April 26, 2015

I’m on a yarn diet.  Trying to knit from my stash.  Which is really not that big of a problem, given that my queue is longer than my life expectancy, but it does become an issue when I’m asked if I want to test knit something by one of  my favourite designers and discover that nothing is really suitable…  So I have been testing less.  :-(

Actually I’m focusing on two major tasks:

1.  Block all the things that are finished except for blocking.  (I’m a little embarrassed to admit how many of those there are…)  There are some really lovely unblocked items in the cupboard and I want them wearable!

2.  Reduce the number of WIPs in the WIP basket.  Some have been there for way too long.

Task One.  Blocking.  I started with two in the pile…

I finally blocked my Sea Dreams of Gold

2015-03-13 16.08.33

sea dreams FO 1

This has already been worn and admired, and I love it.    Success!

And I reblocked my Algonquin,

2015-03-16 14.57.26

and got a very, very nasty shock.

Algonquin disaster

Yes, my gorgeous soft lace scarf has two big holes in it!!  I don’t know how or when it happened, because I checked not too long ago, but I am heartbroken.  I have carefully wrapped it up and put it away until I can decide what to do with it.  I’m not sure I have the yarn to repair it…I may fix it with other yarn and then knit something to sew over it, as an embellishment.  But I’m too upset to decide now.  (Imagine the violin music here…)  Sniff, sniff.

On to Task Two.  The WIP basket.

This is the basket:

WIP Basket

The green basket with all the project bags is the WIP basket.  (The blue basket underneath it is the Queue basket – projects not yet started that have the patterns and yarn ready and set aside.)

So…

Starting with the project with a deadline – the Monsterpants! were finished and sent off to London.

Monsterpants FO

Because every baby should have a monster on its bum, right?  Got a text from the recipient’s mum:

Thank you SO much for the amazingly amazing monster bum pants!!!!! We LOVE them! It’s his first hand knitted clothing! It’s so nice of you and they really look professional!!! Love, (the whole family) xxxx

I had a lot of fun with these.  Many thanks to Ayelet in my Stitch-n-Bitch who was the first in the group to knit these for her little one.  However, note to self:  When doing colourwork with a lot of colour changes, WEAVE IN THE FREAKIN’ ENDS AS YOU GO!!!!

monster unwoven

Next out of the basket, I’m again working on the Mayflower socks after taking a break with them.  Finished one, started the second, and have made one of the flowers to sew on the stems.

mayflower left sock             mayflower 1st flower

Current in-front-of-the-TV project is once again the Op Art throw

op art 1

The rounds are getting l-o-n-g.  And there are many more to go.  I have also taken the note above to heart and have been weaving in the ends….  I want to cuddle up with this when I knit!

I have also dug out my first pair of magic-loop toe-up two-at-a-time socks, which have been hibernating for several years because I was having trouble figuring out when to begin the heel and just put them aside.  Patterned yarn, plain vanilla socks.

toe up taat ml socks

I have since made other toe up socks with no trouble, but these were just languishing away.  Then recently I bought the Fish Lips Kiss Heel instructions, and realized that this would be the perfect project to try it out with!  Kidlet helped me make a foot template (I made one for her too), and this is the current take-along project.  I’ve now finished the first heel and have started the second.

toe up taat 1st FLKH

I’m slowly (s-l-o-w-l-y) making some progress with the infinity scarf that kidlet requested (and selected the yarn for herself – malabrigo lace – the kid’s got taste).  No pictures, because she may well see the blog, so here’s a yummy shot of the yarn:

malabrigo lace emerald

Once these are done, there are plenty more projects in the WIP basket to be chosen next.

Of course, even with the best intentions, there have been some new projects begun (and even completed), but they don’t belong in the two categories I’m dealing with here.  There are always exceptions, right?  You’ll hear all about them too.

And I’ve been doing a lot of designing, getting things test knitted and published, and that’s a whole new story.

I doubt the WIP basket will ever be totally empty.  Some things from the Queue basket may find themselves moving up.  And there are a couple of KALs calling to me…

But I feel like I’m accomplishing something, so don’t burst my illusion with reality, OK?

 

Scratch it off the list…

April 25, 2015

One of our favourite restaurants has met a nasty fate.  It has been sold to new owners who don’t quite seem to know what they want to do with it.

We didn’t know it had changed hands.  We had decided that after I had been sick in bed for the entire Pesach holiday that we would treat ourselves to a family night out.  So we chose a place that has been the site of many a meal with friends, a few celebrations, even a catered party once.   It was always packed, so we debated ordering a table, but then decided that we would go early before the rush and hope for the best.

Our first clue that change had been afoot was when we arrived and saw that in the large spacious dining room there was exactly… one table occupied.  Also immediately apparent was the absence of the long thick wooden trestle tables and benches – instead were more utilitarian cafeteria tables and chairs and brighter lighting.  Kid was dismayed that the computer screens with menu, quizzes, and other interesting things were no longer on the wall at each table.  Well, change can also be good, we decided to sit down and check out the menu.

The range of dishes on the new menu was just as varied and elegant as the former incarnation of the restaurant.  We were encouraged.  So far we had only seen one waitress, she was very friendly.  There were sounds from back in the kitchen, and there was a boy about 15 hauling boxes.  OK.

When we ordered water for the table, they brought out a lovely glass bottle with ice water and glasses for everyone.  But when partner asked for a separate bottle of mineral water, the waitress brought her another smaller glass bottle with no label, already opened and about 2/3 full.  Huh?  Then things took a turn for the worse when partner and I ordered cocktails as well as entrees.  After discussing the options on the menu, and thinking that at $11 each the cocktails were a bit pricey, I ordered a mojito and partner went for a margarita.  The waitress wrote them down looking a little apprehensive.  Then I realized there was no one behind the bar.  The waitress disappeared into the kitchen, perhaps to consult with the fellow there, then came back out and snagged the kid who looked about 15 and pushed him behind the bar.  Uh oh.

While we waited for the food our cocktails were served.  Despite the different orders, we were given the exact same thing.  (Um….they both start with the letter M?)   After tasting them, we managed to pretty much figure out what they were:  a lot of tap water, ice, a small splash of some sort of unidentified alcohol (neither rum nor tequila), and some chopped up lemons and mint.  Uh, no.  No, no, no.  Partner firmly informed the waitress that this was certainly not a margarita.  I asked the waitress what brand of rum was in my drink and she looked like a deer caught in the headlights, and stammered “Just rum”.  They tried again for a margarita. This time it looked like a margarita, albeit without salt on the rim of the glass – maybe the kid had a picture of what it was supposed to look like.  But it was frothy, sweet, and had an overwhelming taste of…dish soap.  One sip and partner gagged and covered her mouth.  The waitress quickly came and swept both “cocktails” from the table, looking a little affronted that we hadn’t appreciated their efforts.  She told us that they would not be included on our bill.  Wise move.  (If you aren’t sure about serving drinks because there’s no one there at the time who knows how, say so!!!!)

Luckily, when the food came it was delicious!  More expensive (with less food) than most of the other restaurants in the area, but very tasty.  Granted, my three lamb chops with half a roasted potato cut into wedges and a tablespoon of vegetables was a wee bit skimpy for the overblown price, but it was arranged very artistically.  Kid and her boyfriend were very satisfied with their meals, and partner said her fish was full of bones but well seasoned and very good.

We were a bit confused by the assortment of pickled salads they brought to the table.  With hummus or skewers they would have been perfect, but they didn’t really go with the sea bream,  lamb chops or other entrees.

While we were there, the folks at the other table left, and one other table had customers when we left.

Final verdict?  We won’t be going back there.  Sad, because we loved that place.  They do have a good chef.  And I really hope that they either remove the drinks menu or hire an actual bartender.   If they’re around that long.

 

Running to stay in place

April 21, 2015

Time is again moving much too quickly.  Events, experiences, the days just crash and blur and pile up upon each other in an untidy mess.

The vertigo is back.  Not as bad as the episode that put me in the hospital for four days last summer, but enough to disrupt plans and activity.  Because all of the tests that were done in the hospital and since – like CT scans, MRI, Doppler, etc – have been just fine, my doctor sent me to an otoneurologist, a specialist in all kinds of vestibular disorders.  I was lucky enough to get an appointment with the top guy in this field in the country, a professor who has spearheaded the study and treatment of vertigo and other balance dysfunction and dizziness.  So…he was very nice, very serious, asked good (and thorough) questions, and actually listened to my answers.  A rare breed of fellow.

From all the data available, he is pretty sure that we’re talking about MAV – migraine associated vertigo, or vestibular migraines.  The migraine headaches are hitting more often than usual as well.  Still, he has scheduled me for an additional series of tests – VNG, or Videonystagmography.  (Don’t ask me to pronounce that…) That’s in another couple of weeks.  So we’ll see what comes of it.

I had a really nasty bout of cold/flu in the midst of all of it, too.  I was in bed for the whole week preceding Pesach.  It was, I think, only the second time in my life I didn’t make it to Seder, which made me feel very sorry for myself.  I’m not a very… um, pleasant person when I’m sick, and this was enough for me to consider putting up a storm warning sign on the front door.  Niece was worried, sent Partner home from the Seder with a big food package for me, which was really a life-saver.  And I think it was the first time since I’ve had my own place – which is (ahem) quite a while now – that my house and kitchen were not ready for Pesach.  All the Pesach dishes and stuff stayed in the cupboard – I cleared one table for Pesach foods, we used plastic plates and utensils, and got through the week.

The worst part of all?  I wasn’t even up for knitting or reading.   So you can imagine what sort of a grump I was.

So I’m glad that’s behind us, and I’ll tell you soon what I’m up to these days!  If they’ll just slow down, sheesh.

A Year of Sheep

February 19, 2015

As I come up for air and look around…

It’s the beginning of the Chinese New Year today, and in 2015 the Year of the Sheep commences!

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May it herald a year  overflowing with yarn goodness, many projects coming off the needles, and joy!

happy new year of sheep

 

Still looking around.  Hm.  Lotta dust around here.  Must do something about that…

Inebriated Shoppers

December 4, 2014

Tipsy patrons.  Buzzed clientele.

Kid and I went for our weekly shopping at the supermarket.  And surprise!  Somehow we missed the memo that today the market was hosting a wine festival.  And what a festival!

We walked in to find a live band playing some lovely classical and jazz tunes.

supermarket orchestra

We looked at each other and thought oooh kay…

Just inside the entrance we were greeted by a hostess who offered us wine glasses for a token fee.  I grabbed one, they were nice glasses.  (And we got to keep them.)

Then we discovered rows and rows of wine stalls scattered throughout the store, representing lots of little local wineries and some of the big ones.  At the end of every aisle, and several in the aisles.  I stopped counting them after 30.

Just holding up your wine glass was enough for someone to pour a slosh into it. With a pitch about the wine and the winery thrown in.  All the stalls had plates of munchies too, of course.  And it was quite professional, there were spit buckets at most.

tasting 4

wine

There were crowds around many of the stalls, much laughter and standing around.  Folks listening to the music and applauding.  A couple of photographers wandering around snapping shots of people tasting the wines and toasting each other.

Which made actual shopping kind of…difficult.  Kidlet started to get a wee testy.

Navigating the cart around people sniffing and swirling their wine glasses.  Animated discussions about wine and vineyards and types of grapes in the middle of aisles.  Even those doing their shopping were holding half-full glasses as they shopped.  Which was a rather bizarre sight.

There were all kinds of deals, naturally.  I sampled but was good, and left without spending half my budget on wine.

wine tasting 1

As the hour got later the music got a little more rowdy, a little more dramatic.  More applause.

orchestra 2

You have to admit it’s an interesting venue for a wine tasting fest.  I wonder if it brought in a lot of business or revenue for the market.

On the plus side, lots of crowds, drinks and munchies, everyone relaxed and somewhat jolly.  It would be fascinating to know how that affects our buying habits…

On the minus side, it was crowded, and somewhat inconvenient for any serious food shopping.  And I really do hope that most people were using those spit buckets, because the market is one that is out of the way and only accessible to folks with cars.

I was half wondering if I would see police holding breath analyzers at the exit.  Nope.

All in all, though, it was an enjoyable, albeit long, evening.  All that and we got our shopping done, too.

tasting 3

 

The (arbitrary) finish line!

November 30, 2014

And….NaBloPoMo is a wrap!

I did it.  I’ve done it before,  but given the break I took in blogging this was a giant leap.  Huzzah!

NaBloPoMo – blogging every day for a month.  This November the theme was “Type Your Heart Out”.  1427 bloggers took part (or at least signed up on the November blogroll).

Image of female hands on the keys typing documents

There were lots of perks to joining.

  • BlogHer PRO School – lessons on how to improve your writing. (I confess I only read a few of these – but I have them saved…)
  • Twitter Chats
  • Daily Newsletter
  • Daily prompts and help
  • Survival Guide
  • Badges!

blog Halfway through, JoAnne Apple posted a great blog entry on how NaBloPoMo feels in pictures.  She nailed it.

NaBloPoMo occurs every month on BlogHer, but November is special, it was the original month for it all to happen.  So I wanted to join in this month.

There were days the words just flew onto the screen.  There were days I wrote several posts and saved them for later.  There were days I just didn’t want to bother.  Sat staring at the computer screen and wondered what on earth would possibly be interesting to anyone (including me).  Days I was out and got home just in time to quickly type some pithy phrases of profundity in order to hit “publish” just before midnight.  But I did it.

I’ll keep on blogging!  I don’t know if I’ll continue to write every day, while the discipline is excellent it gets forced and who wants to write or read that?

In the meantime, today I’ll just kick back and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

 

finish line

 

Gift knitting

November 29, 2014

Started an infinity scarf for kidlet.  She is very knitworthy, loving and appreciating what I knit for her.  She has been known to accost strangers who come to the flat with a display of all the wonderful things her mom has knit.  Very good for the ego, if a wee bit embarrassing at times.

She chose the yarn (Malabrigo lace – kid’s got good taste), and the pattern – Lace Ribbon Scarf, by Veronik Avery.  I used a provisional cast on onto a spare circular so I can kitchener the ends to make it an infinity scarf.  It will be interesting to figure out how to kitchener yarnovers, which are in every row.  I’ll let you know how that works out…

Pal Roberta helped me wind the yarn using her swift (it’s called the “Almighty Swift”, which amused us).

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And I’ve started the pattern – almost through the chart the first time.

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It should be a very light and airy scarf, and the malabrigo will be as luscious to wear as it is to work with.

Now if I can just pry my drop-by (castanho) cowl away from her I will be happy…  I would like to wear it occasionally myself.

 

 


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