Archive for January, 2011

Knitting for the beast

January 31, 2011

I am constantly seeing pictures online of things people have knitted for animals.  At least once a week another picture pops up somewhere.  Sometimes I share them here, like the little owl a couple of weeks ago.

Most defy rational explanation.

Many of the pictures already have captions added by those posting them, as this one from icanhascheezburger:

 

Some are just put out there for us to respond to.

This one left me speechless….     Nice knitting job, though.  Through a little digging I understand that this is a photo from a high-end fashion show.  Perhaps the sweater matches the “owner”’s outfit.  I have a really hard time with this.  I refuse to see animals as “accessories”.   But that’s a whole nother rant…

Occasionally there is reason behind the knitting.  Like this story.

This picture on the Daily Squee website was accompanied by the explanation of the submitter:

“These two chickens survived a vicious fox attack last December, and my grandmother knitted two little jumpers for them to wear, as many of their feathers were pulled out in the attack. Now they are warm this winter on the farm <3″

Aw.

One of my first amused reactions was wow, that’s a pattern that’s probably not even on Ravelry.

Of course, I then had to go and check.

Surprise, surprise.  In the Rav database, there are almost 800 patterns for dogs, at least 50 for cats, and some 20 patterns for clothes and hats for ferrets, rabbits, horses, rats, guinea pigs, parrots, geese, goats, and yes, 4 patterns for chickens!  (The hat for the goat was to protect a head wound, and even the designer wrote that it was probably the silliest pattern she ever designed…)  One of the chicken patterns was for baby chicks, but 3 were for grown chickens.  Most of the pet patterns are for sweaters, then come hats, but there are also leg warmers, paw protectors, scarves,  costumes.  (Do you want to dress your dog or cat as a bear, a bumblebee, a pig, a dinosaur, a reindeer, and more???)  I didn’t count the patterns for pet toys.

I object to many of these.  If the item has a practical use, fine and good.  Warmth, protection, bedding – fine.  But dressing up animals for decoration just bothers the heck out of me.  Even if it’s an excuse to knit something cool.  It’s a case of respect, don’t you think?

 

Hm?

 

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Wedges and Waffles

January 30, 2011

Family gathering on the weekend – two birthdays, one age 10, one age 66.  Only the 10-yr-old got to blow out  candles, and be lifted (on a chair)  into the air 10 times plus one, but we sang to both.  I think we made the wisest choice.

Niece liked the wedge scarf pattern, but not the colour, so I’m finishing this one for myself.  Halfway through.

Showed niece several pictures, and she prefers the Belgian Waffles Scarf.  The other niece decided she wants the Wedge scarf in another colour.  So…I’ve ordered the yarn for both of them, and in the meantime I’ll finish this Wedge and maybe squeeze in another project or two.  There are several I’m itching to start already – my cashmere mitts, and the marine silk scarf.  And I want to finish Persephone!!  And knit up another hat for kidlet.

So many projects, so little time…

I am managing to read.  Just started the 11th book of my challenge.  And the month isn’t out yet.    🙂

I’m told there are people who do this odd thing called sleep.  I really should check it out someday.

Chocolate. :)

January 28, 2011

Received my chocolate swap package from Jennie in New Zealand!!!   Finally.  I think it went from New Zealand to Israel via Greenland and Argentina, from the time it took, but it was worth it!

Some bright Circus yarn, which methinks is headed for a hat pattern, beautiful star stitchmarkers, a great set of  buttons, a froggie notebook and a handmade card she made with her daughter, and a whole box of NZ Breakfast Tea that I can’t wait to try!

Oh, um, yeah, chocolate too!   Cadbury crunchies and Whittaker’s bars and an interesting package of something called Pineapple Lumps….  Lovely lovely treats!

The swapaholic has been appeased.  😉 

(I should be wearing my shirt that says “Gimme some chocolate and nobody gets hurt…”)

Shabbat Shalom.

I got off easy this time…

January 27, 2011

Had my teeth cleaned about a week and a half ago.  I do it twice a year, and it’s never a pleasant experience.  Didn’t have my regular dental hygienist this time, but she seemed competent.  (This is absolutely the last time I’m doing the flouride treatment, it made me nauseous, which has never happened before.)

The following day, I had a slight pain on one side when I bit down, I assumed the hygienist had poked something and it was still sore, and didn’t pay much attention.  I felt it on and off, just used the other side more to chew with.

Then day before yesterday I had myself some corn flakes in the evening, and bit down on something hard.  I spit it out, fished it out of the bowl and wondered what on earth had gotten into the cornflakes.  Took me a few minutes to realise that it wasn’t from the cornflakes.  The front half of one of my molars had broken off and just fell out.  From chewing soggy corn flakes?!?!?!  I thought, well, that bites…and then decided that it was definitely the wrong metaphor to use…

Called my dentist’s office, and they said to come in first thing in the morning.  I really couldn’t, had some urgent work that had to be dealt with, so asked if I could come after work.  Nope, my dentist finishes and leaves before I get off work.   So yesterday I worked like a tazmanian devil  all morning and left work after lunch – being careful not to get food on the side with the  half-tooth –  and headed for the clinic.  Visions of extensive and expensive treatment played in my head non-stop.

(Ever notice that when there’s something wrong with your teeth you can’t stop probing at it with your tongue??  Drove me nuts all day…)

I only had to wait a short bit to get in to see the dentist – only managed a few rows of knitting before they called me in.  After checking and taking an XRay, my dentist said that he could probably fix it with a filling… or “dental restoration”.  He said that it should work, but there was a chance that it wouldn’t and I would need root canal work in the future.  In any case, he rebuilt the missing half of the tooth.  I obediently followed directions and opened wide, bit down, turned my head, etc. etc.   Then finally he decided to be a comedian and told me to rinse out my mouth.  Right, when I couldn’t feel my gums, lips or tongue, and none of those crucial bits were paying the slightest attention to my brain’s commands.  Honestly, I think dentists do that just to watch us fill our mouths with water and then proceed to dribble it all over ourselves.  I guess they need to get some laughs somewhere…  Very embarrassing.

I’m really hoping the filling works and I won’t need any more fussing with the tooth, and I won’t see my dentist again until my annual visit.  Not that he’s not a good guy, but it’s not my favourite place to be.

But then, I don’t know anyone who actually likes going to the dentist.  Do you?  And does this create self-esteem issues for people in the profession?

 

Musings

January 24, 2011

The stocking  cap is done, in plenty of time for kidlet’s birthday.  The only bit left is the pompom, which I will do tonight.

I finally got the right settings on the camera to get the colours right.  I think taking the picture with a white background also helped, for some reason…   I’m still fiddling with the camera to get a decent picture of the latest project to be cast on, a Wedge scarf.  Since I’m knitting it in a variegated yarn, the pattern simply is not showing in a photo, although it’s quite clearly seen by the naked eye.  The scarf is for partner’s niece, who asked for one at the last family get-together.   I have no idea if she’ll like it, but if she doesn’t I won’t mind at all, since I really like it in any case.  I may knit up a couple of different scarves and let her take her pick.  (That way partner’s niece-in-law can also choose one for herself if she feels neglected…)

I may need to change my reading challenge goals.  I was going for one book a week, but we’re just starting the fourth week of the year and I’m halfway through my ninth book.  Well, this gives me breathing room if I don’t have much time to read at some point.

I was riding the bus the other day through town on various and sundry errands, and was utterly  enchanted by a woman I saw walking along the sidewalk as the bus went by.  She was pretty tall, I would say in her seventies, white streaks through dark auburn hair slicked back and held in a clip, fashionable casual clothes…and she had both hands thrust in her trouser pockets, head up and walking proudly.  Her companion was about her age, ambling along in an easy-going way a few strides behind her.  I don’t know, she was walking with such attitude that I grinned – it totally made my day.

Makes me wonder what people see when I’m walking down the sidewalk.   If they notice at all.  How do you think that strangers perceive you?

Happy Tu BiShvat!

January 20, 2011

Today is Tu BiShvat – the fifteenth day of the month Shvat – the “new year” for trees, the Jewish equivalent of Arbor Day, or, if you will, the original “Earth Day.”  The flowering of the almond tree, which grows wild around the country, coincides with Tu BiShvat.  Don’t ask how this happens…whatever the weather has been – stormy or fair, cold or hot – the blossoms on the almond tree suddenly appear on Tu BiShvat.  Very cool.  The holiday generally falls on the second full moon before Passover, or, in a leap year, the third full moon before Passover.

In the Middle Ages, Tu BiShvat was celebrated with a feast of fruits. In the 16th century,  a Tu BiShvat seder was instituted in which the fruits and trees of Israel were given symbolic meaning. The main idea was that eating specific fruits and drinking four cups of wine in a specific order while reciting the appropriate blessings would bring human beings, and the world, closer to spiritual perfection.

In Israel today, the Tu BiShvat seder has been revived, and is now celebrated by many Jews, religious and secular.   Special haggadot have been written for this purpose.   During the seder service itself, the seven species for which the Land of Israel is praised in the Bible (figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, grapes or raisins, wheat and barley) generally play starring roles along side the four cups of wine.  Treats of dried fruits and nuts are everywhere.

Many celebrate the day as an agricultural holiday.  Children traditionally plant trees around their schools.   This year the  celebrations will span 3 days in Israel, as the country “goes green“.

The holiday has special significance following the disastrous fire last month.  Jewish National Fund Chairman Efi Stenzler has stated “Our response to the Carmel fire is that this year’s Tu BiShvat celebrations will be biggest since the State was founded. We will plant 1.5 million trees.”   The Speaker of the Israeli Knesset. MK Reuven Rivlin, announced that the official governmental 2011 Tu BiShvat tree planting ceremony will be held today in the Carmel Forest, near where the fire first broke out.   In addition, it is a chance to educate.  According to Dr. Omri Bonneh, the northern director for the JNF, the tragedy will afford an opportunity to educate local communities in how to become good stewards of the forest.

Want a special recipe to enjoy on Tu BiShvat?  Here’s a 15-fruit salad that is very appropriate.  (Why 15?  Because it’s the 15th of the month, of course!!)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • green apple
  • red apple
  • orange
  • tangerine
  • clementine
  • pear
  • persimmon
  • kiwi
  • banana
  • red grapes
  • grapefruit
  • pummelo
  • pomegranate
  • tangerine
  • canned pineapple
  • orange juice

Preparation:

1. Cut up the 15 fruits into a fruit salad.
2. Add a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice.

 

Have a good day.    Reflect on your connection to the planet.    Plant a tree.   Enjoy playing in the dirt.


 

Knitting and a quiz and an owl…

January 18, 2011

Well, the buttons are on the CPH and kidlet is pleased…

The stocking cap is getting longer and thinner and the stripes are getting narrower…

I have changed my mind about the Marine Silk from Steven.  Instead of the lovely cowl – which will be queued for another yarn – I’m planning to make the Criss Cross Scarf by Julie Gardner – very unusual and worthy of the yarn.

I was amused when fellow knitter and Yarn-&-Falafel member Orna posted this quiz on fb.  I’m pleased to say that I got four immediately.  I’m embarrassed to say that I was temporarily stumped by two…but I did figure them out eventually.  How well can you do?

Quick Knitter’s Quiz

How well do you know your yarn? Can you identify the yarn brands based only on the following clues?
1. MT
2. LL
3. Mmmm
4. DC
5. BMFA
6. WM

OK.  This next picture I encountered while browsing is cute.  I laughed.  But… why?  Why would one knit this?  Am I missing something???

What a hoot.   Ouch.  Sorry.

From livid to happy

January 15, 2011

My yarn from Steven has arrived! 

According to the usps tracking website, they “attempted delivery” earlier this week.  Steven wrote and asked if that meant that I got the yarn or not.  I phoned the post office info number here, and they told me it had been delivered to my local branch.  I waited a couple of days and didn’t receive any notice, so I went in to investigate and light a fire under their butts.  They said there was no package for me, I asked them to check.  They did, no luck.  I asked sweetly for them to please try again.  And lo and behold, there was my little parcel on the shelf. 

A gorgeous skein of Blue Moon Fibers Marine Silk in sport weight!   It’s a beautiful shiny shade of blue (“In the Navy”  😉 )  I haven’t yet decided what I’ll knit with it, right now I’m leaning toward the Dew Drop Cowl by Kelly Kingston.  But I’ll need to move a few things off the needles first.  Any other suggestions?  (And thanks so so much, Steven, you sweet thing…)

Poor Persephone has weathered the storm and is no longer being tinked.  She is growing once again.  The stocking cap is what I’m working on the most, but since kidlet is home this weekend it’s hiding away in the knitting bag so she doesn’t see it before her birthday.  She brought her Central Park Hoodie home and has changed her mind about the buttons, now she wants some.  Luckily she gave me a heads up, so I bought some toggle buttons and will add loops instead of buttonholes. 

I figure three buttons and a spare is enough.   Although one never knows with teens…

I’m continuing to enjoy Rhymes With Orange comics.  A few gems from recent weeks:

Have a great weekend!

In which I continue to tink Persephone…

January 11, 2011

It’s 11.1.11 !!    Or if you’re in the States, it’s 1.11.11 !

No idea if there’s any significance to that, but never mind.  It’s just a whole lotta ones.

Had fun last night at SnB.  We filled up two tables.  Our youngest member was interested mainly in gnawing things with her incoming teeth, luckily she found something other than yarn or needles…

I was mainly still tinking Persephone.  (Now there’s a sentence I never would have thought I’d use…)  In the end I re-did the chart farther back than I planned to before, so she’s still being tinked….

On the other hand, the stocking cap is sailing along…it needs to be ready for kidlet’s birthday in a few weeks, so no worries.  (Let’s hope those are not famous last words…)

Tillybuddy’s special cast on looks great, and the cast on is just as stretchy as the rest of the ribbing.

I’m still waiting for my chocolate swap package, but Jennie in New Zealand has received hers from me!  She loves all the chocolate goodies I sent, and for a hoot I knitted up a personal chocolate bar just for her!

The pattern is the Chocolate Bar and Wrapper from Craftbits.  I changed the pattern from knitting flat to knitting in the round to avoid seams, using a toe-up sock cast on for both the chocolate and the wrapper.   I also stuffed it lightly, to give it some firmness.  One of my more whimsical knits.  🙂

And I’m next on the list for two Traveling Tea Boxes, one coming from the UK and one from the US.  So there should be yummy hot things to drink very soon in the (finally!!!) cold weather.  Well, as soon as the post office can handle, I guess.

There’s a new page on the blog, I’ve taken a reading challenge for 2011 – 52 books.  I think between knitting projects I can handle at least a book a week.  Check out my progress on the page, can you match me?  Or beat me?  What are you reading?

Meanwhile we enjoy very dramatic skies.

I love clouds.  (Do you search for cloud pictures like I do?  What do you see?)

Storage and setbacks and stocking caps

January 8, 2011

I love IKEA.  Partner and I went this week.  I needed some new storage ideas and a few other things, she needed a few bits and bobs, and we needed some Swedish food.  And now my yarn is much more organized, and there are no more shopping bags with plastic bags of yarn piled up and around.

Of course the cat had to inspect.

I also needed a small side table for the living room, apart from the coffee table by the couch.  So I grabbed a table that can also be storage – the top comes off and can be used for a tray…  Perfect for the current non-traveling WIP – I can get at the knitting easily, but the cat can’t…and it’s right at hand without being in the middle of everything.

Partner doesn’t think it’s beautiful.  OK, perhaps it isn’t, but it’s certainly useful.  I can always drop a round tablecloth over it.  Or better yet, knit one. 

I’m not blogging as much as I’d like.  There’s a problem with the electricity – perhaps the wiring.  Part of the flat has electricity, part doesn’t, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem with the fuses.  The landlady is dealing with an electrician.  The lucky part is that the kitchen does have power, so I have the fridge, oven, etc.  The not so lucky part is that the room with the computer hook up doesn’t have power.  It’s truly a pain in the butt, and I hope it is all solved soon.   Meanwhile, I’ve been catching up with my reading.  For Chanuka partner gave me the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson.  I thought it was hilarious that booksellers are calling them “The Girl Who Pays My Salary” books.  Finished all three this week.  Partner is reading them in the original Swedish, but she’s only halfway through the second book.  But then, she worked this week and I had the week off, which gave me the unfair advantage.  And they are very hard books to put down.  One can only imagine what Larsson would have come up with if he hadn’t had a fatal heart attack while writing the fourth, apparently he was planning a series of ten books.

Knitting.  It wasn’t enough that I had to rip back 18 rows on the Persephone shawl to redo the head and arms, the Perseverance shawl also had some retreating to do.  I was a bit concerned that there wasn’t enough yarn for the final round of repeats, so I cut each pattern short – fewer repeats of each – to make the border fit.  I thought I caculated the amount of yarn I had left well enough, but I was off.  I ran out of yarn on the last third of the cast off.  Grrrr.   I now have to rip back to the first pattern of the round and end it two rows sooner.  Frustrating.

In the meantime, I’ve started the striped stocking cap that kidlet has asked for.  Using Mondial Relax yarn, a light fingering-weight Merino blend, that unfortunately is quite splitty, but otherwise nice to work with.  I wanted a stretchy rib border, so looked around for a cast on that would be nice and stretchy as well.  And I discovered a new cast on, one I’ve never tried!  It’s by Tillybuddy, here’s the demonstration.  (The actual instructions for the cast on are at 3:20…)

I found it quite easy to do.  And it’s quick, since you’re casting on two stitches at a time.  Don’t know yet how it’s going to look on the hat, since I’m only a couple of rows into the rib, but I hope it looks good and will suit the hat.  Updates will follow!

Now that the yarn is organized, I really have to do something about the needles….    Hm.  Any brilliant ideas??