Archive for April, 2010

Caps, blobs and bubbles

April 14, 2010

I’ve finished the third kiddy chemo cap.  The wide stripes are ok, I think now I’ll try to finish up the yarn and do one more in narrow stripes of both colours.

Making nice progress on the Luna Moth shawl, I’m into the fifth round of the chart.  Unblocked it’s looking pretty much like a blob of yarn with very pretty colours,  I can’t wait till I  finish and block it!

This isn’t a “quality” yarn,  it’s a blend I got in a clearance  sale, but the colours are amazing!  Beige, tan, chocolate, green, gray, charcoal, white, all blending into what I hope will be a beautiful shawl!

It actually has nothing to do with the colours of a real luna moth…but never mind.  I’ll make my own species…

(Look, purple!!!)

Got a wonderful package in the mail this week.  Kassandra over in her blog Knits in a Lively Breeze had a blogiversary contest and I was lucky enough to win.  What did I win?  A soap sock!!  What, are you asking, is a soap sock?  Well, in Kassandra’s words:

They’re a small bag of wool knit tightly around the soap. As you use it, the wool felts more and keeps shrinking to match the size of the soap. It helps your soap last longer, is exfoliating AND helps keep you from dropping your soap in the shower!

I got to choose whatever soap I wanted from her selected vendor, and I got to choose a colour.  We all know what I chose, right?  Even without peeking.  First, here’s the soap I chose:

And here’s the fantastic soap sock!

I think it’s a great job, it smells heavenly, and it will be such a treat in the shower.  Thanks, Kassandra!!

From enjoyment to sadness

April 11, 2010

Yesterday I finished the second child’s chemo cap, same pattern as the first.

I’ve started the third, which will have wide strips in both colours.

Had two meetings this morning, which led me to take several bus rides  – at least I managed a few rows of the baana scarf – and when the second meeting was over I decided to forego the bus and to walk the 5 kilometers (3 miles) home through town.   

It gave me a chance to stop at places I don’t often get to.  My favourite used book shop, where they know me as the “cozy lady”.  A bead shop where I picked up the makings for several new necklaces and matching earrings, and some supplies for making stitchmarkers as well.  Knitting is not the only craft I love, although it dominates the others by far .  A favourite café where I stopped for a salad and to knit some more outside under a tree.  Another craft store where I found an unplanned treat – a wooden triple picture frame.  I thought it would be lovely for pictures of kidlet, partner and I, so I also picked up paints in colours that would be appropriate for each of us.  I may use stencils with this, or perhaps a sticker or two.

The signs of spring are everywhere!  Trees are blooming in all the gardens.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what kind of tree this is.  Here’s a closeup of the flowers.

A woman strolling by noticed me taking the pictures and came up to me – we had a short but pleasant philisophical discussion about how people have become so oblivious to the beauty all around us. 

Even among the weeds I saw baby’s breath blooming “wild”.

The municipality has been sprucing up the city for spring and the holidays, planting gardens in the divider strips on the city streets

or using hanging baskets instead.

One thing drives me crazy, because I think it’s horribly wasteful.  When the flowers in these gardens die, or become dormant, the city sends its gardeners around, and they simply pull up all the plants and put in new blooming flowers.  The old plants are just discarded, never to bloom again.  Argh! 

The city has even switched the plastics recycling bins for newer, more cheerful ones – these can be seen in every neighbourhood in town.

Some people have begun decorating their homes for Independence Day next week, although most wait to hang flags until a few days before the holiday. 

Which reminds me, I have to get out our flag and wash it….

This evening marked the beginning of Memorial Day for the Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust.  The television is showing only films, testimonies  and documentaries about the Holocaust, and all cable stations have stopped broadcasting until tomorrow night.  Kidlet and I watched the opening ceremony from Yad Vashem together, except when she felt too close to crying and ran into her room for a moment.  Six torches were lit, one for each million who perished, by survivors and their family members (often a grandchild in uniform…).  Each year there are fewer survivors to tell their stories.  Tomorrow morning the sirens will sound throughout the country and we will all stop for a moment of silence to remember.  At school kidlet will be both doing a reading and singing a song/prayer.  At work we will gather together for the siren and to say the mourner’s prayer. 

We must never forget.  Because to forget… is to allow it to happen again.

“Take heed… lest you forget the things your eyes have seen… and tell them to your children, and their children after them”
(Deut. 4:9)

A plethora of purple

April 9, 2010

Been so busy blogging about the holiday I never mentioned that my all-one-colour swap surprise arrived from Rosemary in England last week.  This perfectly peerless plethora-of-purple package popped up in the middle of the holiday to brighten my day!

First, the yarn:  Some luscious “Lavender Topaz” Serenity sock yarn that is amazingly soft – I can already picture this as a yummy pair of socks.  Some mystery cotton yarn from a huge cone of yarn Rosemary bought on ebay dyed with “Intense Violet”.    And some Carousel yarn that I have some very definite ideas for concerning something with bears.

Then she sent a purple zipper case, with a purple pen, and pencil, and eraser, and ruler.  Some purple cotton thread, lovely purple rainbow-y beads, a purple crochet hook, a purple balloon, purple nail polish that I have hidden from kidlet, and a purple ribbon-y necklace!

She did apologise that she couldn’t find a purple postcard of Cambridge, but I really think that can be forgiven.

In exchange, I sent her an entirely green package, that included yarn, beads, green tea lotion and candy, and a whole bunch of other goodies.

I’ve opted out of the April swap for this group, for the simple reason that I’ve become a co-moderator for the group, together with two of the others who have been around since the group’s formation, and I’m happily playing geek-mod and setting up lists and grids to make the whole thing run smoothly.  But never fear, I’ve signed up for both the cuppa tea swap and the vintage bitches spring swap, so I’ll  be getting my fix. 

I’ve finished the first Kiddy Chemo Cap.

I’ve cast on one in green now. 

 The first took less than a half of one ball of yarn, so I’m thinking that maybe I’ll knit a third and fourth using both colours, maybe in wide stripes.  It should work.

Shabbat Shalom.

Get those WIPs moving!

April 8, 2010

OK, I kitchenered the Artemis Burberry cowl last night, and I really like how it turned out! 

Not one to leave the needles idle, I quickly cast on for my first chemo cap for Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, for the contest on Knitty Knitty Bang Bang’s blog.

My only criteria for the yarn was very soft and very washable, so I’m using Bambino from TeDdY’s Wool.  I should be able to get several caps out of one skein.

The pattern is the Boston Red Sox Chemo Cap, by Stormy Tetreault on Ravelry…only without the BoSox colours and without the B on it.  I like that there are no knots in the finishing that would irritate a small head. 

The Luna Moth shawl is progressing, it’s my commute knit these days.  I’m almost finished with the chart for the 4th time (out of 6).

So let’s see.  The Luna Moth is in my bag for work to knit on the commute.  The CPH is on the couch by the TV.  The chemo cap is by the computer.  The baana is in my bag for all on-the-go knitting whenever I have a chance.   And for Stitch-n-Bitch night I get to choose.  (I would keep a project by the bathtub too, but I prefer showers….nope, no good.)

Where do you keep your knitting projects?

Vacation is over

April 7, 2010

Back at work.

I managed to start and finish a project this week with my “Artemis” yarn, the yarn that I dyed this winter.  My computer is acting very sluggish, I suppose I’ll have to get it checked soon.  So I wanted a project that I could do in front of the computer while things loaded slowly…mostly mindless, nothing complicated that would distract me from whatever I was waiting for.  And besides, the yarn was whispering to me.

I chose the burberry inspired cowl by Julianne Smith.  All stockinette, but every 15 rows or so you throw in a monster cable or two.  I’d never done a 16-stitch cable before!

Here it is, all the knitting done, I just have to take out the scrap yarn from the provisional cast on and kitchener the ends together.

Of course, now it’s getting warm, I don’t know if I can use the cowl until next winter, but they’re saying it will get colder and rainy again this week, so maybe…

The end of the holiday was a little slower,  a little quieter.  On Monday kidlet went off to spend the day with a friend, so partner and I went to the beach for lunch.  Beautiful day.

Bit of a breeze, though.  A warm breeze, at least, not a cold one.

We sat at a favourite  cafe out on the sand.

I got some work done on the baana.

After the beach we picked kidlet up and finished the vacation with a film.  Went to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  Loved the 3D.  People seem to either love or hate the film.  We hadn’t read anything about it before – on purpose – we had fun with it once we realised that it was meant to be a sort of continuation of Alice’s story based on the books.  (Spoilers here, so if you haven’t seen it you can stop reading if you want!)

I liked what they did with Alice’s character.  A fantastic role model!  Independent, quirky – I loved her mother’s horror when Alice refuses to wear a corset or stockings because they’re not comfortable – although facing pressures to conform to society’s expectations, Alice grows into a more strong-willed and empowered heroine who chooses her own path.  She refuses both the proper subservient married woman role and the pathetic eccentric spinster role, forging a way for herself without allowing anyone to crush her visions.  Mia Wasikowska did a good job with the role.

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter were both very good as well, but then both of them usually are.  I enjoyed Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter – he said in an interview that he played the character as a “mood ring” – and his clothes, skin, hair, personality and accent changed throughout the film to reflect his emotions.

As for the animated characters, I recognised Alan Rickman immediately, Stephen Fry I only recognised halfway through, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t recognise Imelda Staunton at all.  😦  Shame on me.

Kidlet and I were both totally enchanted with the March Hare, and happily exclaimed “Spoon!” to each other all the way home.  Partner was not amused – she thought it was funny enough the first time, but once was quite enough.

And we’re still trying to come up with an answer to…

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Ideas, anyone?

More holiday adventures

April 4, 2010

We continue to travel around for the holiday.  Today we went to the Galilee.  We met up with friends of kidlet’s at Yodfat, a co-op community, where they have a “Monkey Forest” – a kind of zoo with open cages. 

We strolled around, feeding the monkeys from our hands, patting the many other beasties there, like sheep and alpacas and donkeys and rabbits and goats, while lots of birds wandered freely around us, like ostriches and peacocks and pelicans and ducks and geese and more.

As we left, we noticed that Yodfat also has a café, so we decided to stop for lunch.  Very “Mother Earth”, homey, and to our delight, wonderful food…feta salad, amazing olive spread for our matzah, lots of home-grown spices.

I especially loved their home brewed chai. Fragrant spices, and made properly with milk.

They have a shop at the cafe, with mostly organic and homeopathic type things – lots of natural products for babies and families –  and of course I went in to browse.   I loved the local pottery artists’ teapots!

And then I saw it.    Shelves and baskets of YARN

And shelves and baskets of ROVING, both dyed

and undyed

Most of the yarn is 100% merino. I could have sworn it was Soul Wool – although in colours I’ve never seen before – but the fellow claims he buys it from a guy in the Golan who imports the wool from Australia and dyes it himself, and he had never heard of Soul Wool. The roving is mostly merino, with some shetland that is rougher and is usually used in other crafts and not in knitting.

Well, of course I went nuts. Bought big hanks of yarn in 3 different colours,

roving in even more colours,

some undyed merino, 

and some undyed silk-cashmere that is the softest thing I’ve ever touched and now I’m terrified to dye it because I don’t want to ruin it…

Danced my way back to the car, to the amusement of my family.

Next stop was Kfar Tavor, a village founded in 1901 at the foot of Mount Tabor.  There we dropped kidlet off to visit with a friend, and partner and I continued up the mountain.  We passed through the Bedouin village of Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam, which has a large museum of Bedouin culture, unfortunately it was closed by the time we got there.  So up Mount Tabor we went.   At the top, the Church of the Transfiguration was built in the early 20th century, and houses a Franciscan order.   

We hiked around a bit, exploring the area and ruins of old buildings and churches.  We found this sign on an old stone building.  All I’ve been able to decipher is that someone had a vision in 1923.  Anybody read Latin???

We were so disappointed that visibility was dreadful, there was a haze over everything.  The temperature was comfortable by that time, after it had hit 100°F earlier in the day.

Can’t even see the Sea of Galilee, although it’s only 11 miles away.

We went back down, picked up kidlet and headed home. 

Another very full, but very satisfying day.

Just a note:  There are a couple of yarn giveaways this week – over at Alaskan Purl  Allison is giving away 3 gorgeous yarns of spring to celebrate her 100th blogpost, and on Reflections in the Pond you can win some lovely wool yarn from SilverLotus.  Enjoy!

Busy, busy, busy…

April 1, 2010

Oh gosh, we’ve been so busy this holiday that there hasn’t been time to post, and what’s more, almost no time to knit!!!  (gasp)

We decided to rent a car for the week, so of course we must use it as much as possible.

Seder night was lovely, lots of reading – the kids are now old enough to do a great deal of it (with some help) – lots of singing, and of course, much too much good food. 

The following day we headed north to Rosh Hanikra, coast, cliffs and caves at the border crossing with Lebanon.

We took the cable car down into the grottos.

Although the weather was lovely, the sea was not very calm – it came rushing and crashing into the grottos and at one point I got soaked from my knees down!

The cliffs and rocks worn away by the sea are beautiful.

(I did take advantage of the lovely spot to work a bit on my baana scarf…)

Had lunch overlooking the sea – I never get tired of this view.

 

We went down to a nearby beach to enjoy the sunset before heading home.  On the way back, we stopped at a mall to pick up a few things and discovered that Coca Cola is having a holiday promotion – get your picture taken on a Coke bottle label and add a personalized message as a gift for Pesach!  Kidlet and I decided we simply had to do this, so…

Wednesday (yesterday) we headed south for a change, and went to the “big city”, which in this case means Tel Aviv.  Since partner and I had never been to the Azrieli Center, a complex of skyscrapers with a huge shopping mall at the base,  we decided that this would be our destination.  The mall was a madhouse, but we managed to make the rounds and see almost everything.  (We drew the line at standing for ages to get into H&M – that we refused.)

There are three towers in the complex, one square shaped, one circular, and one triangular. 

 The circular tower is the tallest of the three, measuring 187m (614ft) in height. The tower has 49 floors, making it the tallest building in Tel Aviv and the second tallest in Israel, after the Moshe Aviv Tower in Ramat Gan built in 2001. The top floor has an indoor observation deck – almost 360° – and a high-end restaurant, so up we went.  It was a great day to view the city, although partner complained a lot that we had to take pictures through the windows…

    

We had already had lunch downstairs in the mall, but we sat in the bar of the “high end” restaurant for dessert and drinks – what a treat!!!   Partner was quite pleased with her espresso, but my tea was really something special!

The Ronnefeldt Orange Cream – rooibos with orange and vanilla – was full bodied, sweet, and flavourful.  I had to savour it slowly!  It went perfectly with the exotic fruit salad I had.

Finely chopped fruits topped with kiwi sorbet, strawberries and mint leaves.  Quick, what’s the difference between sorbet and sherbet??   A sorbet is basically fruit juice and other liquid flavors mixed with finely chopped ice or otherwise super chilled, it does not contain eggs or dairy products. Sherbet does contain dairy or eggs.  Did you know?

Kidlet went for the sugar overload, she had the “Choco Coco” – chocolate and coconut layers.

It was all quite luxurious, and we enjoyed every drop…

Back down on solid ground again, we headed away from the mall for some window shopping on some of the main streets.  Well, ok, not just window shopping, there were a few things that made their way into our shopping bags…  We had dinner by the beach, and went for a beach walk before getting back in the car and returning north to Haifa.

Today kidlet is spending the day with her friends, and partner and I get to relax a bit.  We’ll probably go out later, before we pick da kid up.  And I just may get some time to work on the hoodie and the baana…

Do you like to just rest on holidays, or do you prefer to run/do/see as much as possible?