Archive for May, 2011

Doctors for me and for Arianrhod

May 31, 2011

Went to the doc today with my nasty cold that can’t make up its mind what it wants to be…one day it’s mainly throat and ears, the next day it’s headache and nausea, every day different and all days miserable.  No, of course I’m not feeling sorry for myself, why do you ask?  Anyway, doc said throat, ears and lungs are ok, so just stay in bed this week and drink a lot.

The problem with staying in bed is that Arianrhod also needs some treatment.  When I went out of the house to get to the doc, I saw that some rude person or persons had tried to break into my car.  Scratches and some dents all around the door, and a corner pulled way out.  They didn’t get in, but now the door isn’t closing quite properly.

Hadn’t looked at the car – haven’t even been outside – since Saturday evening when I parked in front of the house, so no idea when this happened.  Some choice words came to mind and were uttered even before I checked to make sure there were no neighbours around to hear them…  And to make it all more interesting, the “check engine” light was on.  Luckily the car is still under warranty, so I called the dealer and they told me which garage to go to.  After I saw my doc, it was the car’s turn and off we went.

When they checked the car, the body work manager told me the entire door needs to be replaced, since the scumbag would-be thieves managed to screw up some of the inner mechanisms of the door in addition to the metal being bent out of shape.  So I rang up my insurance agent.  We opened up a claim, and she sent an appraiser right over to the garage, faxing forms before he got there.   And the appraiser agrees with the garage’s assessment.

Now I have even more forms to fill out, scan, and send – and I have to get a police report as well.  The garage has ordered a new door for me, and when it arrives they’ll give me a replacement car for the duration of the repairs, so that’s ok.

Meanwhile, the engine light went on because of a faulty EGR valve – that’s “exhaust gas recirculation” for those not in the know (like me until today).  They also needed to re-seal one of the covers, for the plugs.  And to my great relief, this is all still covered by the car manufacturer!  The coverage ends in exactly 19 days, so I calls this fortunate, I do.  Miraculous, even.  The timing system also needs to be fixed (covered!), which they will do when I bring the car back to get the door replaced later this week.

So now I’m back home, resting in bed, and thinking I’ll take care of the police report tomorrow.  ‘Cause I’m still sick.  That’s enough excitement for one day.

Just a couple of rows of shawl…   For the nerves, right?

Did I really need this?


And the weekend continued…

May 30, 2011

Reaching home after a long wonderful day of knitting, I had to gather my energy and head off to kidlet’s boarding school, where a crisis needed to be  dealt with.  Although it wasn’t an open weekend when the kids come home, she was determined to come home anyway, and was causing quite a ruckus.

After several hours of discussion between me, the house “dad” and kidlet, we reached a compromise – which wasn’t easy, since my darling daughter believes in all or nothing and forget about compromise…until she realises that it really truly will be nothing, and then she regroups and attacks.  It was quite late in the discussion when she let slip the real problem.  Seems there’s a new boyfriend in the picture, back at home, and she didn’t get to see him on her last visit, and well….   So the compromise was that partner and I would come visit the next day, bringing her best friend and the new boyfriend with us.  Fine.

So Saturday morning – despite early signs of a monster cold – we set out, picking up kids along the way, and drove up into the Galilee.  Kidlet was very happy to see all of us, although partner and I were soon ignored.  We sat at the house for a while, having fun with the other kids and the counselors.  There was a whole group doing crafts, including some felting, so I joined in.  They had a big basket of acrylic roving, which they were felting into shapes.

One of the kids was making the solar system, trying to match colours of planets.  I decided to just make a rainbow:

Brought ’em home later,  added a ring and some beads, and it’s a new keychain.

Mostly I sat and drank tea, and worked on the Summer Mystery shawl.  Then partner and I went to the restaurant for lunch, then drove out to some shops where we sat and I had more tea…the cold had hit, and I was using up tissues at an alarming rate.  Towards evening, we went back, picked up the visiting kids, and drove home, dropping them off on the way.

I’ve put the Mystery aside for a few days to make something new.  One of kidlet’s friends is always fascinated by my knitting.  She’s a self-taught knitter, has never read a pattern, just tries to work things out by herself.  She’s going in the army now, at 18 she is out of the foster care system, which was not good to her, and is pretty much on her own now.  She does have an older brother whom she sees occasionally, and a younger sister still in the system.  She has come to visit us with kidlet in the past.  She comes to the boarding school as her only real home, and was there before going to a pre-army course.   When she saw the Mystery shawl, she asked me if someday I would make her something.  I said of course, and asked what she wants – socks, hat, shawl?  She shyly said shawl, and that she loves purple.

So when I got home I did some stash diving, and it certainly was not hard to find some purple yarn (ha!).  I chose some Mondial Merino Plus in varying shades of purple, and cast on for 198 yards of heaven by Verity Knits.  I plan to make 7 rows of pattern instead of the 5 the pattern calls for, to make it a bigger shawl.  I thought the needle size suggested for the heavier yarn was a bit small, so I went up a needle size – and I think I should have gone up more, but never mind.  I’ve just about finished the 4th row of pattern.

I want to finish it quickly and block it aggressively.  Then I can continue with the Mystery!

Unfortunately the nasty cold has hit hard, the nose is running, the throat and head and ears are hurting, the eyes are tearing, the fever rises and falls, and I’m coughing to beat the band.  It even hurts my hands to knit.  I do manage a row occasionally.  I’m going to wash away in echinacea tea.  As soon as I feel human again, I’ll finish it up.

No work in the meantime, I’ll get to the doc tomorrow, and now it’s back to bed!

See ya on the flip side.


What a weekend!

May 29, 2011

Friday started bright and early as 5 of us from Haifa (that’s all that would fit, the others had to come by themselves…) piled into Roberta’s car and off we went to Tel Aviv for our annual Yarn & Falafel Israeli Spring Fiber Fling!  We met up in a big park with lots of trees for shade from the heat and commenced our chatting, eating, laughing, knitting, crocheting, spinning, and shopping.

photo by Etzion

photo by Ayelet

Every year the crowd gets bigger, and this year there were lots of spouses and kids joining in.   Lots more vendors this year, too, with yummy yarn, roving,   accessories, and handmade products.

photo by Ayelet

photo by Ayelet

A whole swapping and de-stashing area, as well.

I was very good.  Really!!   I didn’t splurge…too much.

photo by Ayelet

Just some aade long lace yarn from esse in gorgeous browns:

and a row counter from Henya (ChickenStitches)

The row counter came with a gift – a little turtle.  It was perfect for my hat!

I also got a book from Daphna – can’t wait to try some of the patterns in here!

My yarn-bombed crutches were a hit.  I sat a lot.  Worked on the Summer Mystery.  Coveted people’s toys…

photo by Ayelet

and encouraged the next generation….

The event was over way too soon, as everyone scattered to all corners of the country to get home for Sabbath.  And I still had a lot ahead of me for the evening!

But more about the rest of the weekend later….

Tap, tap, tap

May 25, 2011

It is National Tap Dance Day in America!

National Tap Dance Day falls on May 25 every year as a celebration of tap dancing as an American art form. It was signed into American law in 1989.  Tap Dance Day is also celebrated in other countries, like Japan, Australia, India and Iceland.

National Tap Dance Day was the brainchild of Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen. They deemed May 25 appropriate for this holiday because it is the birthday of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a significant contributor to tap dance.

I love tap – although it is not as popular as it once was.  I tap danced for a few years – but not nearly as long as I danced ballet.  There are tap steps that still stay with me!

Here’s me as a tap dancer circa 1961 or 62

So today, go out and tap a few steps…or at least, enjoy some fantastic dancers as they do…


May 24, 2011

Is anyone surprised??

So I started the Wendy Knits mystery KAL.  With the Fleece Artist yarn.  When I pulled it out of my stash, it was much more variegated than I remembered.  All red, but a wide range of reds from burgundy to almost-but-not-quite pink (ack!), orangy to purplish.  There’s wine red and candy cane red and blood red and more, all blended into one another.  And it’s gorgeous.  I just hope it’s not too intense for a lace shawl.  I hate it when the yarn distracts from the pattern.

So far it seems to be OK.  I cast on last night and did the set up rows, then started the first chart.  Got halfway through it.

The detail is lovely.

I have one more row now before I start the second chart.  Can’t stand it, have to just see what it will look like.

Yep.  I like.  Carry on.  Time to finish the chart, bung in a lifeline and start the second chart.

The only thing so far I would have done differently is the double decrease – the pattern calls for a left- leaning dd and I would have done a centered one.  But it’s still good, nothing I would start over for!  I do have to pay attention to the SSK – Wendy specifies slipping the first stitch as if to knit, then the second as if to purl, then knitting them together tbl.  She says that for her it’s nicer, lays flatter.  So I have to remember to do them that way.  Always good to learn alternative ways.

On with the mystery.

Uh oh, temptation calling….

May 23, 2011

I am such a sucker for temptation.

OK,  let me clarify that.  At least when it comes to knitting.  And maybe just a few other things.  Which I’m not going to talk about right now.  Ahem.

One of my favourite designers is  Wendy D. Johnson, or Wendy Knits.   Wendy Knits is well known for her many patterns, especially socks.   She has written several books about toe-up socks.

She is also the author of Wendy Knits, A Never-Ending Adventure in Yarn, and the soon-to-be-released Wendy Knits Lace.

Here are some of her free patterns, if you’re interested!

Wendy’s blog is one that I follow, with enjoyment.  Last week she announced a new project, the Summer Mystery Shawlette – a KAL.    Uh oh.  I really like her lace patterns.

She is publishing clues over about three weeks, a few rows at a time.    I haven’t yet cast on, but it’s a real temptation!!!  I may well capitulate.

Her first post covers skill level, choosing yarn and needles, casting on, etc. There are a total of five parts of the pattern — here is the release schedule:

* Preliminary Information — cast-on and set-up — Sunday, May 15
* Part One — Chart A, 12 rows — Tuesday, May 17
* Part Two — Chart B, 12 rows — Sunday, May 22
* Part Three — Chart C, 72 rows — Thursday. May 26
* Part Four — Chart D, 20 rows, and finishing instructions — Thursday June 2

She adds:

Note that Part Three is a big chunk — I wanted it to be released before Memorial Day weekend (here in the U.S.) so those of you who have extra knitting time can indulge. But remember, because you are knitting from the bottom up, the rows get shorter and shorter, so it is not as daunting as it sounds!

Well, I don’t have a long weekend, so the third chunk may take me longer, but never mind.  Of course, I don’t have to cast on now at all, I can wait for the end, and see all the finished results on Ravelry, and then decide if – and when – I want to do it or just stay with my other WIPs…but where’s the fun in that?  The key word here is mystery, after all.  And you know how much I love mysteries.

I’m thinking of using the Fleece Artist yarn I got in the TTB…

Variegated, but not too much, so the lace is highlighted.  I’m also debating adding beads, but I don’t think I will…

There’s a discussion of the KAL in her Ravelry group, along with the clues she’s also publishing in her blog.


I really want to finish some of my WIPs.  I’m halfway through the Criss-Cross scarf.  Other WIPs are close to being finished.  And the yarn is ready for several other projects in the queue.

Oh, piffle.

Can I stand firm?  Should I?  What would you do?

Of tea and tiaras…

May 19, 2011

Had more tests earlier this week.  I’m starting to look like a junkie, there are little bruises all the way down my arms.  They don’t hurt, but they’re sure not pretty.

Afterwards I was told to rest.  Left the hospital and popped over to the neighbouring mall to break the fast I had been on before the tests.  Sat at a lovely sunny café, ordered a big brunch, and pulled out my second Tiara sock.  This is before they brought all the food

With the home baked bread they serve a pesto sauce that is to die for.  I could make a meal just out of their bread and that pesto.

If you love pesto as much as I do, it’s really easy to make.  Here’s a very basic recipe:


  • 3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts  (can be lightly toasted)

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender.   Blend to a smooth paste.  Or, if you want to, use a mortar and pestle and pound away.


The project pouch in the picture was made for me in a swap by Kathy in Michigan (katinkat on Ravelry).  Perfect for small projects, and easy to hang from my wrist while I knit.

It was the perfect push to vanquish Second Sock Syndrome!  I have completed my Minion socks!

My first pair of non-vanilla socks.  And I love ’em.  Now back to the Criss-Cross.

As I was leaving the café I ran into my boss’ MIL.  I said hello, and she invited me to sit with her and have tea.  We had a lovely time!  Chatted about the wedding last week, about the family.  (She asked me what boss was like as a boss…I said she’s known him a lot longer than I have, but she said, yes, as a SIL, not as a boss…in short, we had fun.)  She is an avid reader, but she’s finding it harder to read, her eyes get tired.  Showed her my Kindle, and she became very excited about it – the next day boss asked me for details.  lol

I’m slowly but surely building up my book stash on the Kindle.  So far an eclectic assortment of bargain cozies – I see that I am going to have to establish a book budget.  When buying books was really expensive, I was careful.  Now that the Kindle books aren’t at all expensive I’ll have to watch it.  Pity.

We have solved the problem of my getting tea from the kitchenette to my office!  I’ve been given a kettle for my office, and I squeezed it in between the laminator and the spiral binding machine.

I have a stash of bottled water, so all I need to ask for is a small cup of milk in the morning, and I can make my tea at my desk.    I’m very happy about it.   I really hate asking busy people to fetch for me.

At home, on the other hand, I kinda like being spoiled.  Which probably isn’t fair.


Will you be the Last Knitter Standing?

May 16, 2011

It was only a matter of time.  I’ve found a knitting game!!!

Check out Last Knitter Standing.

From the website:

Last Knitter Standing is the first knitting game ever! The object is to be the knitter with the most knitted rows at the end of the game and be crowned the “Last Knitter Standing.” Through a series of Challenges and Questions, Last Knitter Standing will not only make you laugh, learn, and test your knitting knowledge, but will also tap into your competitive spirit . (Please remember that it is a game, so no poking your opponents with your knitting needles) So get ready to have a great time!!!

I don’t know what games go for these days, so I can’t say if the price is steep or reasonable, but it does look like a lot of fun.  And good use of scrap yarn.

Do you enjoy games?  Most games I play these days are online and/or downloaded to my PC, but although there is an online version of this game in the works, I think this one would be best sitting around a table with friends.  Knitting friends.

They also sell a winner’s bag, which does look like a great knitting bag.  And it’s purple.  sigh    It had to be purple.  Obviously not something to buy for every time you play the game.   But still…

According to their Ravelry group, at Stitches South this year, the game was bought by Debbie Macomber (#1 New York Times Best Selling Author and creator of the yarn line “Blossom Street Collection”) and Lorna Miser (Founder of Lorna’s Laces yarn and author of the new book, “The Knitter’s Guide to Hand Dyed and Variegated Yarns”).    Also according to the group, there will be at least one knitting guild playing the game during World Wide Knit In Public Day on June 11th.  Which is an awesome idea.

Want to watch their video?

Haven’t yet checked out their facebook page, but I probably will.

Now to convince partner that I actually have time to sit around and play games.  Hm.  Tough task.  Any advice?

Lucky wedding??

May 13, 2011

Went to a wedding today – my boss’  daughter.  What fun to be married on Friday the 13th!!  Fantastic.  A lovely egalitarian ceremony, which is rare here.  And both the bride and the groom stomped on glasses, the first time I’ve seen that since I did it 30 years ago!!  Yay!

Following a map to the wedding hall in the center of the country, two minutes out of the city, and I found myself on a country road with pastoral farms on either side.  Farmer plowing with a horse-drawn plow.  (I would have stopped to take a picture of that but it was a narrow road and there were cars  behind me.  Got there early to grab a parking spot close to the door.  Found a comfy seat in the entrance hall and had fun chatting to all sorts of folks.    Wonderful food, it was so very frustrating to have to sit and rely on others to fetch for me.  After the ceremony and lunch, one of my coworkers asked me to dance, told me he’d just throw me over his shoulder and we could dance that way, and I wouldn’t have to use my hip.  Ha ha.

At least the yarn bombing was finished and people loved what I did with my crutches.

(Bad light, the colours aren’t true- can’t see the lavender at all.  I need to take a better photo.)

The weather was crazy.  Started out from home, it was sunny.  Halfway there the rain started.  Got quite stormy.  Arrived at the wedding and the rain had stopped, but it was all gray and chilly.  All the outdoor tables were moved inside.  No rain for the actual ceremony, so we were outside, when we went in to eat the wind had really picked up and we were freezing.  By the end of the meal the sun had come out and we went out to sit in the sun.  All of this in the space of about 4-5 hours!  I was kind of prepared – carried a waterproof backpack…but I haven’t yet figured out how to hold an umbrella while using the crutches.  Hm.  Seems there are lots of little details that still need to be worked out.

Oh, and speaking of weddings, here’s the latest that’s going around the web:

Royal wedding =  Cinderella

OK, so the colours have been photoshopped.  But it’s still funny.

What do you think about Friday the 13th for a wedding?

And the smoke of the BBQ covers the land

May 10, 2011

Well, Independence Day is over for another year, the country is now officially 63 years old.

The sharp transition from Memorial Day, from mourning to joy, was as difficult and as necessary as ever.  After nightfall, we repeated our custom of watching the fireworks from the beach, then went to eat at Maxim restaurant.

Why Maxim?  Aside from having superb food, it was the site of a terror attack 7½ years ago in which 21 people were killed, including three families (two of which covered 3 generations) – people we knew from work, from kidlet’s school, from local TV.  Going there to eat during the holiday just seems fitting.  We stopped by the memorial next to the restaurant where there had been a ceremony earlier in the day.

Following the solemnity of the day, after the fireworks the restaurant was crowded and noisy with families coming from the huge neighbourhood parties.  Concerts and celebrations went on through the night throughout the city and all over the country.

Today we joined what seemed like the entire population of the country in firing up the grill and having a BBQ.  First, though, we arrived at kidlet’s kibbutz where there was a show including music, acrobatics, essay reading, juggling, and group singing.    And much laughter.  Then we all headed to the forest for the picnic. 

Lots of good food and good company.

We schlepped a chair for me, once I navigated my way there on the crutches I didn’t move around much.

Plenty of activities for everyone, most popular was the slide kept slippery with soap and water.

Kidlet had quite a time with it, as did almost all of the kids, and some of the parents and school staff as well

I laughed at kidlet with her wet clothes.  She laughed right back at me, and asked me if I could have, would I have tried it too?  The answer was of course!  But, since I couldn’t this time, I consoled myself with conversation and knitting, and managed to finish most of the yarn-bombing project. 

Had my Tiara socks with me as well, but didn’t want to fuss with a chart.  (Kidlet tried to convince me to give them to her, but her feet are bigger than mine, and when she tried on the first sock realised that it doesn’t fit.  Ha.) 

We returned home quite exhausted, it will be an early night tonight, tomorrow it’s back to work.  Will take  down the flags later this week. 

Happy Birthday for another year, Israel.