Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
2008 was an eventful year. I graduated. I met the love of my life. Then I moved in with him. Went on a last minute trip to Paris. Visited the Musee D’Orsay…
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I believe I resolved to be happy. I think I accomplished that.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I wouldn’t say we’re close but my cousin did
4. Did anyone close to you die?
A good friend of my grandparents. I had known him my whole life. Come to think of it, my mother knew him her whole life.
5. What countries did you visit?
I went to the US twice, both times to Seattle and I went to France
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
you know, 2008 was a very fulfilling year. I can’t think of anything that was really lacking
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
It’s interesting that the day I found out I had a new breast tumour and the days of the two surgeries aren’t high on the list here. Instead the days I remember most are April 1, my first date with Augie and May 11, the date I really started to fall in love with him
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Graduating! And surviving two crazy semesters to do so
9. What was your biggest failure?
I prefer to think of them as learning experiences ;)
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
The breast tumour that took two surgeries to deal with. Hopefully this is the last year I’ll be dealing with that
11. What was the best thing you bought?
my spinning wheel and lots of yarn
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Over the past few years I have made a concerted effort not to let the behavior of others affect me in a negative way
14. Where did most of your money go?
spinning, knitting, travel (this is not counting rent or the car)
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
meeting Augie, Paris, going to France
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
La Vie en Rose – I sang that a lot in Paris for some reason
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? – happier, so much happier
b) thinner or fatter? - The same. This never changes
c) richer or poorer? – Poorer financially but richer in the ways that count
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
knit, spun, spent time with friends
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
worrying about school
20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family and Augie. We’re going East in January for belated Christmases with his parents
21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. Hate is a wasted emotion
24. What was the best book you read?
Free Range Knitter – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
nothing comes to mind
26. What did you want and get?
Augie, spinning wheel, a degree
27. What did you want and not get?
nothing stands out
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The only movie I saw was Wall-E
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26 and I had dinner with friends
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
can’t imagine a more satisfying year
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
I need to do laundry chic
32. What kept you sane?
knitting, Augie, Ravelry (not necessarily in that order)
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
no one
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
all the elections
35. Who did you miss?
I miss my cat Desi now that she doesn’t live with me
36. Who was the best new person you met?
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
love will come to you when you least expect it, sometimes when you aren’t even sure you want it
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
this year was too much of a mixed bag to be summarized in a lyric


I’ll admit, for a while there knitting wasn’t all that fun. I became so focused on finishing the sweater that I lost sight of the joy of it, at least until I was in the home stretch. It’s another reminder for me that I am not good at deadline knitting. As soon as I think I have to do something I instinctively react against it. Although giving myself a schedule helped me get the sweater done on time, I think it also made me enjoy the process less. In the future I am going to try to avoid this. After all, I knit because I like it, not because I have to.

I’ve had a lot of knitting momentum since finishing the sweater. I completed the first sock of a pair on Christmas Day and knit a pair of felted clogs over the weekend as well. I have one more sock (half finished) and a hat to do and I’m done gift knitting. Which means I’ve been spending time on Ravelry contemplated what I’m going to make next. First on the list is a second sock out of Unwind Yarns sportweight. I need more socks! Knitpicks graciously replaced my needle tip so I can take the sock out of hibernation. I also want to finish my Central Park Hoodie (hibernating since August! Sheesh!). After that I think I’ll work on Icarus. Other projects I want to knit this year include the Nederland vest and Tilted Duster. I may also exchange the two skeins of Cascade Eco I have left from the Fog Sweater for another colour. I’d like to make Hemlock ring but I’d prefer it in gray or beige.

I have ten skeins of sock yarn on their way to Vermont, where they will be waiting for me when I arrive in January. Since I already have…. well let’s just say too many, skeins of sock yarn, I am on a sock yarn diet. At least until I’ve knit more socks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dun dun da DONE!

It is done! The sweater is finished! It wasn't quite on time. I decided not to stay up all Christmas Eve to finish it but I got it done this afternoon so he did get it at Christmas! Needs to be blocked still but otherwise it turned out really well. I made a few mistakes but they aren't that noticeable and heck, it's my first sweater.

As you can see, it's good weather for a wool sweater. The snow this week has been unreal. I only ended up working one day this week. We got stuck out in Maple Ridge Sunday night, made it in to work on Tuesday and stayed home Wednesday. My parents ended up needing to come get us in Vancouver and boy was that a fiasco. We live off Cambie and our side street is just a mess. My parents' car got completely stuck. Luckily a number of neighbours came to help. Unfortunately, part of the problem was that snow and ice was collecting under the front bumper, causing it to drag on the ground. Eventually the front bumper just ripped off.

Poor car. I'm kind of glad my car spent the storm stuck in my parents garage where it's safe and dry.

I hope everyone has had/is having a good Christmas. Mine has been very nice so far. Andrew gave me a Loopy Ewe gift certificate for me to buy yarn and have it shipped to Vermont. Yay for free shipping! He also got me a cashmere shell and it is soo yummy. I've never owned cashmere anything (other than yarn). Apparently there is a store near us that sells nothing but.

I spent the afternoon finishing the sweater. For some reason I felt much less stressed about it today. It feels sooo good to be finished.

Now on to January Christmas knitting.

Friday, December 19, 2008

So much for the schedule

I swore I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to become one of THEM. You know, the knitters who get all stressed out over Christmas knitting and spend the week before December 25th staying up all night and living off caffeine and/or alcohol to finish in time. No, I wasn’t going to be one of them. I had a plan. Knit 2 inches of sweater a day starting in the beginning of November and there would be plenty of time. No problem at all. And I was doing well too, diligently knitting at least the minimum two inches every day, finishing the sweater body on time.

Then it happened. The knitting deities decided I needed to be taken down a notch. I was getting cocky. So cocky I decided I was also going to knit gifts for the Christmas visiting in January, once the sweater was done of course. They hit me with a double whammy. First, they gave me the Monster Cold: a virus so vicious and nasty that for the five days I was off work sick I barely knit a stitch. Then they made me get picky about the increases for the sleeves so I ripped that darn thing out no less than 5 times. The combination of those two evil forces have put me woefully behind and though I am still operating under the delusion that finishing on time is possible, it is going to be tough. And if I don’t finish the sweater before Christmas, my odds of finishing the January gift knitting decrease greatly.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am stressed about it. I feel guilty when I am not knitting and that despite my best intentions haven’t been able to stay up past ten. I am possibly* placing too much importance on getting this done (*read: most definitely since it is the recipient of the sweater who would particularly like me to chill out).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

8 years

8 years ago I spent the day with my parents and sister at Granville Island. Every year around this time we would go on a ‘family outing’ and pick out a new Christmas ornament for the tree (or two when Robyn and I couldn’t agree on one). When we returned home that evening there was a message from a good family friend, asking my parents to call them and that it was urgent. When my mother called them, they asked to come over. It was immediately clear that something was going on.

When they arrived, one of them sharply requested that Robyn and I go upstairs. It was the first and only time that this person has spoken to me in that tone. I obeyed and a few minutes later my mom came into my room and told me that my sister was going to need a lot of support. Her best friend had committed suicide the day before.

The rest of that night is a blur but the image I will never forget is my sister coming back down the stairs. She was changed after that. My baby sister became an adult in the 30 seconds it took my dad to break the news to her. She was 15 years old, so was her friend.

The other thing I remember is going to the memorial and being just devastated that the crowd was standing room only, some were even standing outside, and knowing that this young girl had thought no one loved her.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 years. At the time it seemed impossible that the sun would rise the next day but it did and it has done so each of the past 2920 days. But we'll never be the same.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Love is...

Love is letting your girlfriend take photos of you wearing a half finished sweater and post them on the Internet.

Love is also knitting hundreds of yards of rib stitch in boring gray yarn when you could be knitting hats and scarves and socks and let's face it, things with colour.

The sweater body is now finished and I've cast on the first sleeve. I'm not getting overconfident about my chances of getting it done in time though, lest the knitting gods smite me. I have other gift knitting planned but luckily I don't need to get those done until January. Unfortunately that means I can't use those projects as excuses not to knit the sweater.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The Yarn Harlot’s post about her daughter’s room struck a chord with me. I’ve now moved out of my parents’ house twice. The first time around my sister moved into my room barely after I left. She had her own perfectly good room but mine had the cool built in bookcases and window seat and apparently she had been coveting it for years. She didn’t change much about it. She put up posters of anime characters and koalas but the essence of the room stayed the same. Two years later when I moved back so that I could finish school without acquiring another 10,000 in debt I moved into the office/guest room, a space that was never really mine. When Robyn moved out in March I reclaimed my old room, the one I had painted with my own hands, the one with the bookcases that a family friend installed especially for me shortly after we moved in.

Last weekend I visited my parents’ house for the first time since the move and saw my old room. It’s recently been painted taupe and most of the remnants of my former presence there are gone. And I have to admit, it felt strange. I know this is totally normal (I am 26 after all) but it is still strange to think that it is no longer my home. See, even when I lived away before, my parents’ house was still always referred to as ‘home.’ I was living in either cramped spaces or with roommates and these places never felt like mine. Now however, my parents house really isn’t home anymore. Home is with Andrew and though I am excited and happy about that it's still a little strange.

While we were visiting my parents’ on the weekend my mom started talking about Christmas and the tree. For the past 10 years my family has had two Christmas trees: my mother’s theme tree and the family tree which was decorated with the miscellaneous ornaments my sister and I have collected over the years. For years now Robyn and I have discussed and negotiated over whose ornaments are whose and last weekend my mother asked if I would be taking mine and if we needed to have the second tree. I know I should say it’s time for Robyn and me not to have our tree since neither of us live there but I’m not ready yet. Maybe next year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bits and Pieces

This was the weekend of the small project. I didn’t even touch Andrew’s sweater (sorry love). Instead I worked on my koolhaas and a sock I started ages ago. In my defense my head is getting cold in the mornings so I need a hat and I also need socks so that I can stop stealing Andrew’s. I don’t want to go out and buy more store bought socks of my own when I have plenty of socks. They’re just in yarn form that’s all.

I’ve started the second to last repeat of the koolhaas before I can start the decreases. I’ve finally learned that with my thick hair I need to knit the larger size for hats. Hats are the only item where I don’t knit the small version. I really enjoy this pattern, especially now that I have master cabling without a cable needle and have the pattern memorized. It goes really fast. And of course the Malabrigo I’m using is buttery soft.

As for the socks. I picked up the yarn at Gibsons and cast on a sock right away. Unfortunately I got almost half way through the foot before I could no longer deny that it was going to be too big. I guess I over compensated for my usual habit of making socks too small. So before we left for France I cast on another sock with fewer stitches. I made a lot of progress on the flight but unfortunately my needle tip broke and the sock went into hibernation.

For some reason, this weekend I was consumed with the desire to have some more handknit socks so I got out the super glue and fixed the needle and picked the sock back up. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I’d gotten farther along than I’d thought. I’d thought that I had done the ribbing and maybe a few rows of leg but I actually had most of the leg too. I finished the sock before going to bed last night.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh right, knitting

Did I ever mention I was moving? Back in September Andrew and I made the big decision to move in together. We found a place shortly after returning to Paris. It’s located in a nice area, about 15 minutes by bus to work for me and about 40 minutes by bike (his preferred commuting method) to work for him. Once the Canada Line comes in next year it will be even faster. It’s a decent size but seems huge to me because I’ve never had free reign over so much space before. I’ve always either lived in tiny shoe boxes by myself or with roommates and somehow never felt very at home in the common areas. This time I was able to arrange the furniture mostly how I wanted it.

And the best part, this:

That is my yarn corner. I managed to convince Andrew to let me have half of the back room for yarn and fibre. It’s not huge but I have never had a dedicated place for this stuff before. I had a ball organizing my stash into the boxes. Though I had to laugh when after I ran our of storage bins before running out of yarn, Andrew looked at the pile of yarn and commented “you still have a lot of yarn,” then, looked in another box and commented “you REALLY have a lot of yarn.” An appropriate response from someone who’s just realized how much yarn he’s actually moved in with. Mind you I also realized just how much sports equipment I’ve moved in with. And yarn smells a lot better.

Now that the move is more or less over, I can get back to more knitting. Indeed I’ve been making up for lost time the last few days. I’m working on a Fog Sweater for Andrew. It’s a good mindless project at the moment and it’s growing a little faster now that I’ve switched to the larger needles. It felt like it took forever to get to three inches on the bottom ribbing. I had to go out and buy a new Addi needle because the one I had disappeared in the move but since I am now within walking distance to the yarn store that wasn’t a big deal. I’m also working a little at finishing my Central Park Hoodie. I’m working on the sleeves now. I really want to be able to wear this soon. To satisfy a lace itch I picked up the Icarus I cast on a month back. I hadn’t gotten far on it but I completed the first repeat of chart 1 yesterday. So far I’m liking it. I’m using Plucky Knitter’s silky merino laceweight in Hot House Orchid. I fell in love with this yarn on a visit to Village Yarn and Tea near Seattle. Gorgeous stuff.

I’ve also got some smaller projects, a hat and a few socks ongoing as well but those are mostly on the backburner at the moment. I’ll pick them back up once the Fog Sweater gets too big to take on the bus.

5 long years

On October 9th the brutal workload of January – August paid off. After 5 long years I finally got to walk across the stage at SFU and graduate.

I was expecting it to be kind of anti-climactic. I’ve been working full time for over two years now and haven’t felt like a real student for quite a while. It didn’t end up feeling anti-climactic at all.

After many years of seeing the grads walking around campus in their blue gowns, it was finally my turn. Believe me, there were many times when I thought that day would never come. My last two semesters were a real struggle. I had a terrible case of senioritis and it was difficult to get motivated. I also felt disconnected from my fellow students since most of my peers had already finished.

The best part of the day? Sharing it with the people who mean the most to me. My parents, who stressed the importance of education early on in my life and helped provide me with resources to pursue it. My sister, who can be annoying as hell but is always there when the chips are down and Andrew, who put up a lot from me that last semester. Indeed, it could have been the downfall of our burgeoning relationship. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t have been happy to watch me study or let me hole myself up at their apartment writing a paper because I couldn’t concentrate at home. He has been incredibly supportive and patient and most importantly, incredibly encouraging. So it was very special to have the four of them there.

The five years of my undergrad saw a lot of changes to my life. It was more than just a chapter. In any case, I’m glad it’s over.

Ah Paris!

I’ve been meaning to post about Paris for over a month but it’s been so hectic around here that I haven’t had a chance. Not to mention it’s hard to put the trip into words. It was a great but very busy trip. It was also so different from the last time I was there. Here’s some back story. I went to Paris twice during my solo backpacking trip a couple of years ago. The second time around a relationship I had been putting a lot of energy into saving came to a disastrous end. That, added to my homesickness helped cause a breakdown that took months to recover from.

Returning to Paris has always been something I felt I needed to do. I didn’t want my last memories of the city to be calling my sister in tears from the train station because she’d be the only one awake back home (she keeps odd hours). This trip certainly did an excellent job of overshadowing the less pleasant memories. The most important thing for me about this trip was going to the Orsay. It’s the museum I have wanted to visit more than any other and it is also the one I didn’t visit because I was too much of a mess. It was absolutely worth the trip. I saw paintings I’ve admired in books for years and discovered new ones. I got teary a time or two. Art galleries can have that effect on me. We spent four hours there and I give Andrew many many kudos for not wanting to rush through.

Even though I’d been to Paris before, there wasn’t a lot of repetition on this trip. I’d been to Notre Dame before but never climbed the towers (amazing view). I never went to the top of the Eiffel tower (worth doing once, probably not twice). And I probably wouldn’t have chosen to visit a few of the places we did but I enjoyed them.

Versailles was the other highlight besides the Orsay. The Chateau is nice but very crowded but the rest of the grounds were really, really nice. It’s too bad so many people focus on the Chateau. My favourite part was the little hamlet Marie Antoinette had built. It has all these quaint little houses. It was very beautiful and even better, we mostly had it to ourselves.

I visited two yarn stores while we were there: Cat’Laine and La Droguerie. I was at La Droguerie on a Saturday which may have been a poor choice. It was very busy and their system was confusing to me. You line up and wait your turn for someone to help you. They’ll help you choose your yarn and get it for you. You can’t take something from a shelf and go buy it like I’m used to. I guess it was a bit of LYS culture shock. I did get some nice alpaca and some linen yarn though.

I did bring knitting and had no trouble knitting on the plane in either direction. In fact, I went through security three times. I went through in Vancouver on the way to Paris with my bamboo DPNs and an addi circ without incident. On the way back I opted to take only my sock in progress on bamboo DPNs because I had read on Ravelry that metal needles can be a problem at Charles de Gaulle. I got my bag searched in Paris but they were more interested in the chocolates than in the needles. The screener didn’t say a thing about them. We had to claim our bags in Montreal to go through customs so I had a chance to reclaim my addi needle (and the hat on it). Once again it wasn’t a problem.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a whole lot of knitting done. I made some progress on a sock on the flight over before my needle broke. I tried to knit a bit of Empoisonnee but ended up ripping it all back. I’m pretty sure there’s an error in the pattern but I haven’t seen any errata for it yet. On the way back I started another koolhaas, for me this time because it’s getting cold.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paris Bound

I am leaving tomorrow morning for an 8 day trip to Paris. This is kind of a last minute thing so I'm a lot less organized than usual. When I went to Europe for 2 months a couple years ago I planned for months. I had pages and pages of information. I remember how I excited I was when my countdown hit 100 days. We only bought our tickets for this trip 3 weeks ago.

Nevertheless I am very excited to be returning to Paris. The last time I was there was kind of rough (nervous breakdowns in foreign cities and all that) and it will be nice to go back under entirely different circumstances. I'm excited to see the city of love with the person I love (as incredibly corny as I realize that is).

I'll be back with more knitting in 9 days. Hopefully I'm able to knit on the plane.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

FO - Hanami

Is finished! This is my longest project to date: started April 19th and finished September 18th so almost exactly five months. I could have finished it a lot faster if I hadn't gotten so distracted by other things like school, life etc.

I've been off work sick with a weird sinusy thing which allowed me to finish it. I sailed through Chart G because there isn't really a chart, certainly not compared to the basketweave chart and charts A - F. It turned out about ten inches shorter than the pattern measurements which is fine because I'm short and I don't know that I want a stole that is six inches taller than me. I blocked it yesterday and since I am without blocking wires that was a bit of an undertaking (must get me some of those). The edges are slightly scallopy which I rather like. I think it suits this piece to not have a perfectly straight edge.

This was my second lace pattern and my first time knitting with actual laceweight. It isn't a particularly hard pattern. It is very well charted so there wasn't any guessing on my part. The nice thing about it is the hardest part is the first section so once you get through that it's a lot easier. I made a few little mistakes of course but nothing major.

One thing I found about this pattern was that since I couldn't memorize the chart I actually made fewer mistakes because I had to concentrate on it. I only made mistakes when I tried to work on it when I couldn't concentrate.

Pattern: Hanami Stole by Melanie Gibbons (
Yarn: unknown yarn by Botto Paola (an Italian mill), received in a Christmas Swap
Dimensions: 18inches wide, 60 inches long

I have no idea how many yards I used because I'm not sure how much of the yarn I had to begin with. It was admittedly a bit of a gamble. I have quite a big of yarn left too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

At last, an FO

I won't discuss how long it's been since I've blogged an FO. I finished the Koolhaas hat on Friday. I really like how it turned out. I was nervous in the beginning because it didn't look like I was doing it right but then the pattern began to appear and it was all good. I learned to cable without a cable needle for this project and it was definitely a godsend. Not only was it faster but I didn't have to worry about having a cable needle handy when I wanted to work on it (I tend to lose these things). It knit up very fast, taking only about two weeks of sporadic knitting to complete. And it fits its recipient nicely.

I knit it out of Malabrigo worsted in a brown/grey colourway. I can't find the tag so I don't know the exact name but it's a good masculine colour. I'm surprised I didn't get bored of this because I usually prefer more interesting colours. The slight variegation helped keep my attention I think.

I'm making good progress on Hanami. I just finished chart E so I have charts F and G left and then the ruffle. I want to get this done before September 28 because I am going to Paris for 8 days and won't be back until two days before the event I want to wear it for. That doesn't allow a lot of time for blocking and there's no guarantee that I'd be able to get it done in Paris anyway. I think September 28 is doable though so long as I stay mostly monogamous.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Just keep spinning, spinning spinning

As a reward to myself for surviving school I signed up for a spinning class at Birkland Bros. I've dabbled with a drop spindle and have been playing with my new wheel for the last few weeks but figured a class wouldn't be a bad idea.

My first lesson was Wednesday. At first it was frustrating. I was having my usual problem of joining the fibre to the leader and joining new fibre later. The teacher showed me a way of doing it that clicked and it went much better after that. Below is the result after one class. It's definitely overspun in places but it's getting much more even. By the end of the class I couldn't believe 2 hours hand gone by so quickly. The fibre is corriedale from Shades of Narnia in Chilliwack.
This spinning thing might get addictive now that I'm getting the hang of it. I bought a new drop spindle too (my old one suffered a terrible accident while I was in Saskatchewan) and even that seems easier. I'm trying to practice both each day.

September and its new beginnings

Because of school, I didn’t get much of a summer this year so I made the most of the last few weeks in August. First there was Gibsons, then a weekend in Maple Ridge for the wedding of a long time friend. In fact, I helped her husband propose many moons ago. Then this past weekend I went to Ucuelet/Long Beach. There was a large group of my boyfriend’s friends (his name is Andrew by the way, I figure it’s time I referred to him by name). It was a good weekend, other than the car trouble. I had to jumpstart my car 4 times in 3 days for no particular reason. The car is only 15 months old so it will be making a visit to the car doctor as soon as I can get it to the dealer. Thank goodness for warranties though.

I spent the time in Ucuelet sitting on the beach, watching surfers and knitting. Camping with a large group is always fun too. Can you believe this was the first time in 11 years that I’ve been to Vancouver Island? Ridiculous.

And now September has come. There are many who hate this time of year: the end of summer and the start of school. Personally, I’ve always loved September. It is my favourite month. It’s always symbolized fresh starts to me. I had a pretty great summer. I think it’s going to be an awesome fall.

What’s on my needles? AKA WIP round up

Remember when I used to finish things? So Andrew mentioned rather innocently that I have not finished a project since I started dating him. I tried to refute this accusation but upon reflection I realized he was absolutely right. Whoops. I have started many things and frogged many of them, leaving far too many WIPs. So now is the time to make myself accountable. Just what am I working on?

Hanami: This is the priority right now. I want to wear this shawl for graduation in October. That was a long ways away when I started this stole but it isn’t anymore. Ugh, this was never supposed to be deadline knitting.

Central Park Hoodie: I want to work on finishing this once Hanami is done

Koolhaas out of Malabrigo – finished 1 repeat, 4 more to go

Unwind Yarns Merlot Sport Socks: Halfway done first sock

Shibui Socks: first attempt at 2 socks at once


View from the hotel

Months ago I forwarded information about the Gibsons Landing Fibre Festival to a coworker. She thought it sounded like a great idea and we decided to make a trip of it. This was the first true fibre fest I’d been too and it was great. I took two workshops: 2 socks at once and Moebius Knitting. The sock class was a lot of fun. New local Rav friend Yarn Piggy was also in attendance so there was a lot of chatting and promoting of Ravelry going on. I would have preferred that the class have more demos instead of one on one instruction. I found that I was often waiting for the instructor to finish helping someone else. One method that might work would be to use step outs to demonstrate each step at the start of the class and then provide individual help as required. It is an interesting technique though. I don’t know how much I’ll use it though because I like socks for portable knitting and I haven’t found a good way to keep the two balls of yarn from getting disorganized and tangled.

The Moebius class was fabulous. I really enjoyed it. Venessa Bentley is an excellent teacher and Cat Bordhi’s techniques are of course incredible. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, partly because my cable was a tad on the short side. Serendipitously, I found a 47” knitpicks cable in the merchant mall so the afternoon went much better. It really is incredible how it works.

I spent break times on Thursday visiting the Merchant Mall. I always enjoy the opportunity to fondle yarns that I don’t normally get to see in person. Imagine my delight when I came upon Malabrigo sock yarn. I picked up one skein right away and ended up buying two more (I couldn’t resist). It is so soft and lovely and the colours are to die for. I also bought Merlot Sport sock yarn and Chiraz Fingering Sock Yarn from Unwind Yarns (Khetala on etsy), a skein of bamboo lace yarn, a large skein of silvery tencel lace weight, a skein of Twist of Fate sock yarn, assorted spinning fibre from Twist of Fate and a sample bag of spinning fibre from Homespun Haven. All in all it was a great trip.

Olympic Failure

I must confess I was not among those knitters burning the midnight oil with caffeine and wine to get my project done. Nope, I threw in the towel by the start of week 2. It was clear that I didn’t have the time or even the motivation to complete the sweater within the timeframe. My life had been missing me during the semester and it was time to get back to it. I did get a decent chunk completed though: the back, left front and about half of the right front. It knits a lot faster than I would have thought.

Even though I didn’t finish, it was a fun excuse to cast on a project I’ve been wanting to try. I think I am really going to enjoy this sweater and will hopefully finish it sometime soon. Just in time for sweater season.

I did learn quite a bit from the Ravelympics. I learned that after a semester of having almost all my time spoken for, it’s hard to get motivated. I also learned that there are some serious overachievers on Ravelry!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Support Team Roles and Responsibilities

Ravelympics Support Team Roles and Responsibilities

Dear Ravelympics Support Team Member,

You have ‘volunteered’ to be on the support team of a Ravelympian. We understand that your participation may be under duress but we thank you anyway. Below please find an outline of what you are expected to do during the games.

1. Provide moral support. At times your Ravelympian may become frustrated and/or stressed. Signs are cursing, throwing the pattern to the floor in a huff or angrily ripping out rows of knitting. When this happens, tell your Ravelympian that he or she is a good knitter and is totally capable of this project.

2. Provide first aid. If your Ravelympian’s shoulders, neck, back, hands get sore, provide immediate massage. Bonus points if you do this at regular intervals without the Ravelympian asking.

3. Administer legal drugs. Although Olympic rules on the intake of drugs are of course very strict, some substances are allowed. Keep your Ravelympian well supplied with chocolate and caffeinated beverages.

4. Be patient. Your Ravelympian will probably be neglecting other activities in favour of knitting. Time is of the essence in the Olympics. Refrain from commenting on the untidiness of the house or the unkemptness of the Ravelympian’s hair. It is only for a few weeks.

5. Do not mock the Ravelympian. Olympic athletes are sometimes known to go to great lengths to achieve victory. Should your Ravelympian begin exhibiting behaviour you might call “crazy” such as knitting while crossing busy intersections, smile while guiding him or her out of traffic

6. Set boundaries. While it is understandable that your Ravelympian wants the glory of Olympic success, he or she may become blinded by this goal and unable to think rationally. Watch out for signs that the Ravathlete has ceased to sleep or eat and act accordingly.

7. Stand-by for emergencies. During the Ravelympics, your Ravelympian may suffer equipment failure. Should this horrific event occur, volunteer to run to the yarn store to procure replacement needles, yarn etc. Put the yarn store number on speed dial.

8. Provide easy access to sustenance. Your Ravelympian will not want to lose precious knitting time to cooking, or, possibly to eating. Provide access to quick, easy meals. Finger foods are a good choice. Have a selection of take-out menus on hand. Extra points if you are cooking for the Ravelympian

9. Praise the knitter. Frequently tell the Ravelympian that he or she is doing great and the project is beautiful. A boost of confidence goes along way

10. Be the official photographer. He or she doesn’t realize it now but your Ravelympian will want documentation of this madness at a later date. No really, trust me.

11. Love the Ravelympian no matter how crazy he/she may get

What you get in return

Being an official Ravelympics Support Team member can be rewarding. In return for your efforts you will receive:

1. The love and appreciation of the Ravathlete.
2. The knowledge that you have helped the Ravathlete achieve greatness
3. The return to sanity (or something resembling it at least) once it is over
4. A card to play during any future negotiations (use wisely)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympics Day 3

I suffered an Olympic setback before I even got started. I was staying in Vancouver Thursday after exams so in preparation to cast on at 5am, I packed up my yarn and needles. The pattern was already in Vancouver. Alas, I had forgotten that the CPH actually starts off with smaller needles, which I didn't have. This is the problem with so often being separated from one's army of knitting supplies. So I ceremonially cast on at 5am, knowing that I'd be ripping it out once I procured the right needle. Like a dedicated Olympian, I went to dressew on my coffee break. I managed to knit about two inches on Friday at lunch. There was no evening knitting because I went out for a lovely dinner. (There's a funny story about that to follow).

I did get quite a bit of knitting accomplished yesterday though. The pattern is nice and easy to memorize. Today I will be joining the Terminal City Yarn Wranglers for the biweekly meetup, the first one I've attended since summer semester started. Progress photo:

Not at all knitting related but it is kind of a funny story. To celebrate surviving the semester, my boyfriend took me out to a nice dinner Friday night. I just bought a new dress for a friend's wedding so I was going to wear that. Well I went to put the dress on on Friday, 30 minutes before I had to meet him at the restaurant, and the zipper broke. Like really broke, zipper was in the middle of the dress, not moving at all. In fact, I could barely get the dress off! What to do what to do. So I quickly went out and bought another dress. I am such an efficient shopper that I was barely even late! I would have been on time if it hadn't been for the Lions' Game actually.

And then, after dinner, I somehow forgot my purse on the bus. Eek! Knowing that the lost and found wouldn't be open until Monday, we got in a cab, raced to the end of the bus route, where the driver was calling it in. Purse was retrieved with everything in it. Yay.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back from the abyss (aka school)

To say it’s been a busy few weeks in my world would be a gross understatement. It would be more accurate to say it has been manic. This morning I wrote what I hope was my last final ever. I hope I hope. Finally (as my mother loves to say). It has been a bit trying, attempting to juggle career and full time school and a new relationship (yea, my timing on that one was brilliant). There have been more than a few moments when I have doubted my ability to accomplish everything that needs accomplishing.

Naturally that means there’s been a dearth of knitting. I’ve managed a few rows here and there on Hanami so that I am now about a third of the way through Chart D. I stopped trying to work on Hanami though when it because apparent that I was actually knitting about 3-4 rows for every row of actual progress. Instead I’m working on a couple of koolhaas’s out of Malabrigo. I’m figuring out how to cable without a cable needle which is also good Olympic training.

Yea, since the Olympics conveniently start the day after finals are over, I’ve decided to compete in the Ravelympics for Team Canada. I am competing in the Sweater Sprint and will be making a Central Park Hoodie. The cabling without a cable needle practice will hopefully speed things up. I’m knitting it out of some blue Cascade 220 that I bought a few months ago. And now I am itching to start.

Something came home to live with me last night. A Louet S15 spinning wheel, purchased from a fellow local Raveler. I am calling this my graduation present to myself. I haven’t had time to really sit down and get to know the ins and outs of her yet but I managed to spin something that resembles yarn. I can’t wait to have more time to really practice. I think I might take a class at Birkland bros in September, now that my evenings aren’t so occupied with school.

Pictures to be added later since I am not at home. I wanted to get this up before the Olympics start. I have swatched, gotten gauge and am ready to start.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back from the land of no Internet

I spent the last two weeks in Emma Lake Saskatchewan for a family reunion. My grandpa turned 80 so for the first time in 16 years the whole family got together. Surprisingly, the only absentee was my sister.

I thought I was going to get a ton of knitting done lounging by the lake but it turns out it's hard to get personal time when there are 19 other people around and a party for 48 to plan for. I think I managed two to three rounds of sock and that's it. Poor knitting, you have been sorely neglected. I got my first SP12 package the day before we left. My pal went with a knitting around the world theme so this package is knitting in the UK. I love getting yarn in the mail.

It was a good trip though and it was nice seeing my family again. It's strange seeing my "little" cousins as teenagers. They even called me old! Geesh. One day it will be their turn.

And now it is mid-July which means I have a term paper to write and exams to start thinking about. So it looks like knitting will continue to take the back burner for a bit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ribbit ribbit ribbit

Secret Pal Question of the Week # 3 answer

What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

I’m pretty happy with my stash as it stands. I have enough that if I for some reason couldn’t buy yarn for a good while I would still have plenty of things to knit but it still only takes up one bookcase. I still know everything that’s in there and have a good idea what I intend to do with it. Not that that means I’m not still buying yarn…

It’s been a tense few weeks. First I had two midterms and a nasty final and then a series of small assignments for Japanese. Now it’s into term paper/project time. I doesn’t help that I am going to be away for ten days with limited Internet access. Ugh. I’ve been grouchy since Monday. I can’t figure out how I can be more stressed out and irritable after midterms are over than I am while they’re happening. Oh well, hopefully I’ll never write midterms again.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been on a frogging spree lately, to ease a bit of ‘burden.’ I hate leaving things unfinished and I have had a few projects that have sort of been languishing. I realized I was getting less and less likely to finish them in their current configuration so rip rip rip. It’s kind of liberating to free all that yarn from the confines of a project and breathe new life into it. Now it is full of potential again.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's that bright shiny thing in the sky?

The sun is finally shining in Vancouver. Spring/summer sure have been slow out of the gate this year. The warm weather arrived just in time for WWKIP day (Worldwide Knit in Public Day on the off chance there are any non-knitters floating around this blog). There were a number of events hosted in the Vancouver area and I wish I could have attended them all. I went to the Kits event and sat on the grass knitting in the sun for a couple of hours. It was fun, particularly since it meant pulling out my knitting for the first time in a week. Sigh.

I’m just about done Chart C now so it’s coming along, just a lot more slowly than it was. I love it more and more as it progresses. It’s going to be so nice to finally wear it. One of the great things about wear I am in the pattern now is that it’s very forgiving. If I put a “cherry blossom” 5 stitches from the start of the repeat instead of 8, it’s not going to matter. After 7 repeats of the very unforgiving basket weave chart this is most welcome. Well, I’m driving to Saskatchewan with my family in a couple weeks so I should have lots of time to knit then.

I saw Twelfth Night at Bard on the Beach last night. Every year I say I’m going to go and I never do so it was nice to finally go. I highly recommend this interpretation of Twelfth Night. It’s got a lot of slapstick comedy in it that is very well done. We ended up with really great seats by sheer fluke. They recommend you get there pretty early to save your seat so we planned to have an early dinner. I guess we lost track of time because next thing we knew it was 6:30 and we hadn’t left the restaurant. Oops. We got to Bard just as they were giving the three minute warning and unfortunately, there were no seats left together. (As an aside, surely there is a way of managing this issue but it always seems to be a problem). That was disappointing but just before the show was to start the usher showed us to some sponsor seats that hadn’t been claimed. They ended up being some of the best seats in the house. Mind you, I’d still recommend arriving a little sooner than 3 minutes before the curtain.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Secret Pal Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely not like? I love all natural fibers, particularly animal fibers and silk. I don’t have any particular favourite yarns but I really enjoy trying yarns I can’t easily get in Canada.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? a shoebox lol
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I’ve only been knitting since October 2007 but I take the concept of fearless knitting to extremes so I knit intermediate to advanced patterns
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? No.
5. What’s your favorite scent? Any fruity scent, lavender, vanilla
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I try to combat my sweet tooth. My weakness is chocolate and skittles
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I am learning to spin and hope to acquire a wheel soon
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) LOL I have to admit I really hate this question, so much so that I am writing a term paper on it. I don’t like any particular kind of music so feel free to introduce me to new stuff
9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand? I love colour. I especially like deeply saturated colours like dark purples, burgundies, dark blues. The only colours I don’t like are orange, yellow and bright red
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I have a cat
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I don’t wear ponchos but I wear everything else
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? All of it. I knit a lot of socks and shawls, hoping to start my first real sweater soon
13. What are you knitting right now? Hanami
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Love it!
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I mostly knit with circs or DPNs. I don’t have a preference between wood and metal. I love my harmony interchangeables and my small but growing collection of Addis.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes, both
17. How old is your oldest UFO? I don’t have any
18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and Easter. Wait, does my birthday count? lol
19. Is there anything that you collect? Other than yarn? Postcards and souvenir pins
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Hmmm. I’d love more back issues of Interweave. My Ravelry library is up to date on what I have. I would also like to have more knitting notions like stitch markers
21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn? Fair isle and magic loop
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Definitely! I am a women’s 7. Most women’s medium sock patterns fit me well
23. When is your birthday? May 3
24. What’s your Ravelry ID? Megknitficent

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Back on the blogging wagon... for now

So I apologize for my absence. My very hectic schedule has left me little time for knitting and even less time for blogging about it.

I'm still plugging along on Hanami... slowly. I am about halfway through Chart C of the cherry blossom half. Boy is it ever a relief to be out of the basketweave section. This part is a great deal more forgiving. I am loving how the yarn and pattern are working together. I think it will be really stunning once complete. My intention is to wear it to my grand graduation celebration in October.

Speaking of, I applied to graduate this week which is oddly exciting. Even though I still have a very demanding semester to get through before anything is official it felt good to do it. Like saying hey, I really am almost done. There is a light at the end of all this.

Classes are going all right. I love one of them, it's all about music and I'm actually really looking forward to starting the paper for it. (Someone please remind me of this when it's 3 days before it's due and I'm in full school-induced-psychosis). The other two aren't as great but I'll survive.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. I am posting from school right now while I wait for class to start.

I promise more interesting posts sometime in the near future... I hope.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

I turned 26 today. Yay. Guess what my parents got me...

A swift! Since this is a knitting blog you all understand why this is a great gift. It's a nice wooden one too because it's all they had. Actually, my mom had to buy the store model because the order wasn't coming in for another two weeks.

I haven't done much knitting the last few days because I've been too busy. I babysat my friend's kids on Thursday, they're 5 and 1. I can't believe how big the baby has gotten. Time really does fly doesn't it?

I'm up to the fifth repeat of the basketweave pattern on Hanami. I'm really liking this pattern. I haven't memorized the chart so I have to pay more attention and make fewer mistakes. I've only had to rip back once. Still, I'll be glad when I get through this section and move on to the cherry blossom part. I probably won't be doing much knitting this weekend though because I have a friend coming over and then I'm going out for my birthday. Tomorrow is the first birthday of my friend's baby. As for next week... classes start. Eep.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Harlot Road Trip

My mom and I drove down to Seattle yesterday to see Stephanie Peal-McPhee aka the Yarn Harlot. We decided to spend the night in Bothell, not far from the venue to avoid six hours of driving in a single day. It was a fun trip. Before the event, we stopped by Village Yarn and Tea in Shoreline. I found out about this store via Ravelry and thought it sounded like my kind of store (tea being the other thing I can't get enough of) and was thrilled to learn that it's located someplace I travel to now and then. It was a lovely lovely store, with great tea and beautiful yarn. The ladies there were wonderful and welcoming.

I bought two skeins of The Plucky Knitter silk merino lace in the Hot House Orchid colourway.
This yarn just called out to me. 1400 yards of loveliness. I believe it is destined to be Icarus. Scrumptious.

I also bought 2 skeins of Shibui sock yarn.

And some Dragonfly Fibers roving.

The Yarn Harlot is hilarious. Even my mom, the non-knitter, enjoyed the talk. And never have I seen so many knitters in one spot. This poor man was wandering around lost. I guess the person he was supposed to meet had told him she would be the one with the knitting needles. I do hope she was joking. I thought it was particularly amusing when she talked about people thinking knitters were patient. It had me thinking: obviously these people weren't around any knitters when the new server was being installed at Ravelry! As always, it was fun to meet other knitters, you now, talk to my own kind. Considering how completely enthusiastic (okay okay obsessed) I am with this hobby now, it's hard to believe I only started in October.

Well worth the trip.

This morning I talked my mom into driving to another store to procure some Socks that Rock. I have been really wanting to try this yarn but cannot bring myself to pay 16 dollars shipping for a skein of sock yarn. It certainly looks wonderful. I chose Valkyrie, of the Raven series. I love the subtle tints to the black.

Now before anyone comments on my being on a "yarn fast" this is souvenir yarn and it doesn't count. None of it is stuff I can get locally. So there.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hanami made me do it

I cast on for Hanami last night. I bought the pattern months ago and have been wanting to cast on since before Christmas. Temptation finally got the better of me. I'm using an Italian yarn that I got in a Christmas swap. I think it's working really well in this pattern, even though the colour isn't exactly true to the cherry blossom theme! I'm loving the pattern so far. It's kind of addictive actually. I stayed up way later than I should have working on it.

Here's how it looks after one full repeat of the basketweave chart.

The trouble is, I am not a great multi-project knitter and other WIPs tend to get neglected when I get really into a project. I can't start neglecting the turquoise blob. Perhaps a rewards system is in order? I can knit Hanami when I knit a row of blanket?

I'm also knitting socks out of the new Noro sock yarn. It's different from other sock yarns. It isn't as soft but I love how the colours stripe together. I'm knitting them on 2mm needles though so it's slow going.

I'm feeling better after surgery except that my range of motion on my left side sucks. I hope that returns to normal soon because it's annoying having to twist around to reach for things with the other hand.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sophie Bag - pre and post felting

Here's Sophie after all the knitting was completed.

And here she is after 4 trips through the wash.

She doesn't look like much without handles does she? All in good time.

I really want to be spinning right now but alas, I think it will be a few weeks before my range of motion is back. I will have to be satisfied with knitting socks for now. I'm working on socks in my new Noro sock yarn. I love how the colours come together in wide stripes. It makes knitting on US 0s seem less tedious.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Third time's the charm?

May that be the last time I have to do that. I had my re-excision today. It was early, 8am which I far prefer to the afternoon slot. It was also shorter than last time. There's a littler more pain because more tissue was removed and I have an odd side effect from general anaesthesia: hiccups! Nothing is getting rid of them either. Apparently that happens sometimes. Maybe from the pure oxygen? I hope they go away by morning because they kind of hurt.

Anyway, onto fun stuff. I got another swap package with some lovely dark sock yarn that will be great for work socks. Thanks Kristin. She also sent a beautiful handmade bag. Must resist casting on, must resist casting on.

Ever wondered how to stop people from thinking all that knitting at lunch is crazy? Bring in a drop spindle and spin on your lunch hour! Knitting will start to seem incredibly normal. No more spinning for awhile now though as I am back to not lifting my left arm. But maybe my spinning will improve exponentially in the interim!

I am all about the instant gratification projects at the moment. Last Saturday I made this Saturday Market Bag. What a lovely quick project. I am going to have to rethink my prejudice against cotton. I've always avoided it because I don't care for now it feels in the skein or ball but it was quite nice to knit with. I am very happy with how this bag turned out and think I will get a lot of use out of it, that is, if my mother doesn't steal it.

I am now knitting a Sophie purse, a magknits refugee. I haven't seen it republished anywhere yet so if you want it, I recommend going to the wayback machine or google cache. I'm using the Knit One Crochet Too I received in a swap. I love the colours though I did have some trouble with breakage with the first ball. Don't panic though, it sounds like this problem has been resolved except for a few bad balls floating around. I haven't had a problem with the second ball so I would be inclined to believe that's true. As the bag will be felted I'm not concerned. I'm close to done the bag part and have decided to make beaded handles. My coworker bought some beautiful beads at the bead store near Three Bags Full that she isn't going to use so I am going to buy those from her. I don't have a picture yet but I'll take one before I felt it. I am both excited and nervous at the prospect of putting wool through the wash on purpose. Hopefully I'll be done tomorrow.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yarn Fast Confession

I swear I have been knitting, despite the lack of progress pictures. The blanket is coming along, I am on the third out of seven balls of yarn so getting close to halfway there. It isn't a very photogenic project as it mostly looks like a turquoise blob lol.

I'm also working on koolhaas in some alpaca yarn I got for Christmas (need to get cracking on the 2007 stash as per the resolutions) but it's not a mindless project either. Enter, the saturday market bag.

When I learned magknits was closed I immediately did a search on Ravelry to see what projects I might like to make at some point so I could grab those from google cache. That's how I stumbled across this pattern. I was just lamenting that I didn't have any cotton yarn when a package came in the mail. It was a swap package that among other things included 2 balls of Sugar n Cream cotton yarn. So I cast on for that too. It's the perfect project for those days right after finals when your brain is still fuzzy.

Speaking of swaps, I have a confession. I had to go to the LYS to buy some yarn for a swap. While I was there, I bought yarn for me: some Noro sock yarn. I also bought some roving but that doesn't count. So I am going to invoke the "sock yarn isn't stash" clause so I can still get my wheel.

On that subject, do any spinners poking around here have any suggestions? I'd prefer something that's a little portable and easy to use for a newbie. And preferably available locally in Vancouver.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spinning Confessions

Okay, I admit, I haven't exactly been spinning for 15 minutes a day. In my defense though, surgery prevented my from holding my left arm above my head for two weeks. Interestingly, my spinning improved anyway. Remember this picture of my first attempt, a thick and thing slubby yarn?

Here's the latest

The colour makes it hard to see but it's a much thinner, more even yarn.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite done with surgery. The margins were positive so they need to go back in. I'm not entirely surprised but it's definitely an annoyance. Hopefully third time's a charm.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Recovering Kitty

Very little knitting has been going on the last few days. Between the kitten crisis, term papers and lingering pain from surgery, I haven't been up to it. I am more bothered by post-surgery pain today than I have been since the first couple days, probably nerves waking up. Yuck. It probably doesn't help that my cat stood right on the incision last night (revenge?) She's home and recovering. Here she is showing off her scar, asking for sympathy.

She was spared the cone because of the wound on her neck from where the needle was sticking out but she doesn't seem to be licking the incision site. She has to take two different antibiotics for the next eight days. One of them is a liquid and the other a pill. I'll tell ya, giving that cat a pill is well, a pill.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Things are looking up for little Desi. I called as soon as the vet's office this morning (obsessive mama much?) and the tech said she was awake, alert and moving around but the vet hadn't seen her yet so to call back then. I called at ten and he said he thinks she'll be fine and can come home tomorrow (a very bald and probably very mad cat) so now I just have to scrape together the other 600 dollars to pay him. Doesn't matter, it's totally worth it.

I also went to the surgeon's office today for follow up. She took the steri strips off so I can have a proper shower now (finally! I've been feeling so gross) but she didn't have the pathology back yet so I have to go in AGAIN on Friday. It would save so much time and money if they would just do these things over the phone.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bad day

Today hasn't been a good day. This morning I found out that a woman who was much beloved on a forum I belong to, lost her battle with breast cancer. She was 'mama Cath' to us and while we all knew it was coming, it's still a tough blow.

And then I discovered something wrong with my kitty Desi. She's been acting a bit off the last few days, though nothing really alarming and when I took her collar off I discovered a needle sticking out of her neck! Unfortunately there was thread attached so she had emergency surgery and we won't know until tomorrow if she's going to make it. She's just 10 months old and I am just devastated. I love that cat more than I have ever loved an animal. She's definitely my furbaby and I'll be heartbroken if she doesn't pull through. And of course I feel like a terrible kitty mommy over it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Channeling the Yarn Harlot

So I had the lumpectomy today. It wasn't so bad. Actually, while I would hardly recommend having this experience once, let alone twice, the second time around wasn't nearly as bad. For one, I knew what to expect. For two, they were actually ahead of schedule! When I had surgery in 2006 it got very backed up and I was 2 hours late getting into surgery. That's a lot of anxiety building time. For three, I remembered to tell the anaesthesiologist that I had some bad nausea from the general last time so I got gravol before I woke up. It is so much nicer to not wake up queasy.

Anyway, now for why I titled this post channeling the Yarn Harlot. You remember a few weeks ago when she wrote about packing extra yarn for her daughter's weekend away? I took the same sort of approach when selecting my knitting for the hospital waiting. I brought 4, yes 4 projects which my mother thought was crazy. You knitters out there probably understand though. I brought the two projects that I am currently working on: the baby blanket and Ice Queen. The blanket requires some concentration and Ice Queen is just fiddly with the beaded parts so I wasn't sure I'd be up for them. With that in mind I brought yarn and needles for a simple hat but what if I wasn't feeling the hat? So I also brought sock supplies.

I think all the yarn was good luck because I only had time to knit 2 rounds of blanket. Maybe that's the secret, if I bring a lot of contingency knitting there won't be any waiting?

Now I'm off until the 31st, another plus this time around. I rushed back to work last time because I was temping and only getting paid for days worked. That turned out to be a mistake. Now that I have sick benefits I can take the time I need to recover. And since there's a long weekend it only works out to 5 working days missed. Hopefully I'll get a lot of knitting done.

The rush is on for the blanket now. The baby, Audrey was born on Friday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The wheels in my mind are spinning

There’s a group of Vancouver knitters over on Ravelry called the Terminal City Yarn Wranglers. There is a get together every few weeks in Vancouver. Though I’ve been a member almost as long as I’ve been on Ravelry, I’ve never been. Something tends to get in the way most weekends. There was a gathering this past Sunday and I decided that this time I was going to make a point of going. I’m so glad I did.

There were 4 others there at a coffeeshop on Main Street and one of them, Louisa, was kind enough to give me a drop spindle lesson so I spent most of the time “spinning” or at least, trying to. It was fun and though I need a lot of practice, I’ve got a starting point now. I can already see this spinning thing becoming addictive. There’s something soothing about the spinning spindle and the transformation of fiber into yarn.

That’s the result of my first attempt. My plan is to try and get in 20-30 minutes of practice a day. There’s just one little problem, now I want a wheel. I’ve done a little bit of looking and the prices make my eyes boggle a bit. One of the cool things about taking up knitting is that it requires minimal financial investment. All you need to get started is some yarn and needles, and even going high end, the single purchase price isn’t likely to be huge. (Assuming you don’t want to make a handspun quiviut sweater or something). That makes the investment in a wheel seem quite substantial, though still a bargain compared to my kayaking stuff.

So I have a plan. I get paid bi-weekly and have an extra payday in May so the deal is if I don’t buy yarn between now and the end of May, I can buy a wheel. While my stash is minuscule compared to some, it has grown exponentially in the past few months and needs to be tamed. I had it all out on my bed last night. It looks bigger than I thought it was when it’s all together like that.

Wait a second, that sounds an awful lot like a yarn diet. I have steadfastly maintained that yarn diets are a bad idea because you’ll only end up on a yarn binge at the end which will counteract any stash reduction you may have achieved. Hmmm, then again, wouldn’t a splurge like a spinning wheel satisfy any yarn binging urges?

Maybe I’ll call it a yarn fast instead of a yarn diet. Sounds shorter term.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fibrefest Damage

I couldn't resist going to Fibrefest 2008 in Abbotsford today. I was going to, because I really don't need more yarn but yarn love won out.

In the end I only bought two skeins of yarn from Shades of Narnia. Come on, they were 5 dollars a piece how was I supposed to resist??

All other purchases were spinning related and, as I said to my mother, don't count as stash until they're actually yarn.

I bought a beautiful spindle. The roving pictured with it comes from a farm in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. It will probably be awhile until I attempt to spin it but since my grandpa was born and raised in Aberdeen I had to buy it. Aberdeen is a pretty small town even now so that was a neat small world moment. And besides, the roving is beautiful. The spindle is by Viking Santa and is maple and lacewood. The roving is 50/50 Wool and Tencel.

I also bought a kit of roving for socks from Funknits.

Now I just need to learn how to spin!

Oh and here's a photo of the yarn I dyed all wound up.

I can definitely see myself doing more dyeing. What a great way to combine my longtime love of painting with my newer love of knitting.

And in medical news, saw the surgeon on Thursday. I'll be having a lumpectomy on March 20th. I'm not entirely convinced of this course of action but the priority now is to get it out of there. I will be looking into finding a doctor around here who has some more experience with phyllodes and see what they think.

Just to clarify, phyllodes tumors aren't breast cancer, at least not the kind I have. But because they can grow very quickly and are rare enough that they aren't fully understood, they still require removal.