Being the continuing story of my creations and curiosities.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Couple of Book Reviews

OK, I’ve thoroughly checked out the books I got yesterday so here’s the scoop.

Haapsalu_ShawlFirst up we have the one I’ve already mentioned, The Haapsalu Shawl: A Knitted Lace Tradition from Estonia by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi (Saara Publishing House, 2009). The authors wisely chose to go with an English translation since the tradition of their Estonian shawls is currently quite popular outside of their tiny country. Although I already own an Estonian book on this subject (Pitsilised Koekirjad, currently OOP), I can’t read anything except the charts! Plus there is also Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia and the authors credit her as consultant and editor of the English version of their book. Even though there is some information in common, these books complement each other quite well.

The Haapsalu shawl has been around long enough (perhaps 150 years) to have developed strong traditions of shape, construction and patterns. Particular to this style are nupps (meaning bobbles or buttons, rhymes with “loops”) that announce in no uncertain terms that this is a hand-knit since they cannot be replicated by machine. I remember when I first saw a photo of a stitch pattern with nupps in it and I was charmed, determined to find out how to replicate them. Evelyn Clark’s ubiquitous Swallowtail Shawl was my baptism of fire!

Apparently the Swallowtail’s triangular shape isn’t traditional though. A Haapsalu shawl is invariably rectangular and a scarf is square. They are knitted centre section first and the separate edging pieces (knit in two parts because they are so long) are sewn on. Edgings are not mitred at the corners but are eased instead. Every lace knitting tradition seems to have their own interesting way to accomplish the edgings with similar but different results. This book has detailed information and large, clear diagrams.

The section on the history of the shawls is fascinating with lots of photographs. One particular series has a group of master knitters from the late 19th century, a similar one of today’s masters in costume, and a final photograph of a relaxed group of knitting high school students. Of course it’s entitled “Past – Present – Future”!

Perhaps surprisingly, there are no actual complete shawl patterns in the book. The majority of the pages feature individual stitch patterns which consist of a photo and a chart (Estonian symbols as in the Pitsilised book but much bigger), no written directions, and each one on its own large page. They are grouped with variations and often a short history of the design’s origins. You will not need a magnifying glass to see these pattern charts – they are beautifully clear. You might want (like I will) to translate them into more familiar symbols for easier following. I never begrudge a few minutes to make my knitting go smoother.

One big “ah-ha” moment came to me when I realised that one of the reasons the edgings are sewn on is that they are knitted from the outside edge in! It’s the bind-off edge that is sewn, or rather laced, onto the main section. The finished piece is blocked on a wooden frame with dowel pegs rather than with pins or wires. I still prefer triangular shawls and scarves (personal taste) but I can totally see using some of these lovely stitches in future work. This is a fabulous book to own and indeed leave out on your coffee table for inspiration.

Enchanted_sole_cover The second book I got was yet another sock book:  The Enchanted Sole by Janel Laidman (Rustling Leaf Press, 2009). This is the companion book to Janel’s first one, The Eclectic Sole. If you’ve seen that one, then you know to expect some amazing socks that are knit up, down and sideways, long and short, and in lace, cable and stranded stitches! I think this book has even more beautiful patterns. They are not for the rank beginner sock knitter however. You’ll want some experience to tackle most of these elaborate art pieces for the foot. There’s helpful information in the beginning of the book but then it goes right into the “recipes” for 20 different fantasy designs.

OK, so why would anyone need yet another sock book? Ummm…do you need a reason beyond the obvious? I covet these socks. Whether I get around to making any of them is another story but I’m currently trying to figure out if Lothlorien can be converted to top-down or if I have the patience to knit what would only be my second toe-up pair…

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breaking News!

I just got a package from the postman. Yay books! I’m completely overwhelmed with the size and scope of The Haapsalu Shawl by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi. It’s a coffee table-sized book filled with history, tradition, photos and stitch patterns for those gorgeous Estonian shawls. I got it from The Needle Arts Book Shop here. (Marsha is lovely to deal with.) More anon. I have to go read it first.

And knit baby sleeves.

Cattywumpus

This is shaping up to be one of those weeks. You know, the ones you would just rather they be over and done and then we’re moving on into the week after instead. We’ve had a number of family issues, some very good and some really…not. I still have to write “a few words” to say at my birth mom’s memorial service on Saturday. I’ve written it a bunch of times already. In my head. The one that ends up on paper (soon!) probably won’t be nearly as good as the ones that happened while I was vacuuming, showering or already in bed and nearly asleep. And they all sound pretty lame – to me anyhow.

And speaking of sleep – not so much. I don’t think I’ve shifted to Daylight Savings Time yet. I hate that it disturbs my carefully orchestrated internal rhythms. I wouldn’t even pay attention to the clock except that T-Man still has to get to work on time. He’s having the same problem shifting as I am however and has been late a couple of times already. 5:30am comes awfully early, especially when your body says it’s really 4:30am.

And then there’s attempting to remember the things that need to be done morning and evening. Like applying my many psoriasis ointments. And putting my baby plants in and out of the greenhouse. I’m still nervous to leave them in overnight since it’s been somewhat colder than many of them can tolerate. I feel bad enough lugging them out from a toasty 18C into something around 6 or 7C. It warms up eventually. If the sun comes out it’s almost too hot in there so then I have to remember to open the door and windows – and close them again in the evening. There are just too many flats to fit under the basement lights anymore. And I’m not quite ready to plant them in the garden yet.

In knitting knews, I’m on the last Pebbles sleeve. And sadly I don’t think I’m going to have enough yarn left for matching socks. (Maybe cuffs with another colour for the foot?) Plus I’m going to have to do the garter hem on the darn sweater over again! Darn. I didn’t go down on the needle size and it flares and folds up and just doesn’t look good. I did the cuff on the first sleeve with much smaller needles and decreased a few stitches as well and it looks much better. Otherwise, I’m quite pleased with the pattern I made with the Knitware program. Any errors are mine! Next I’m going to have to come up with 7 little buttons. Don’t think I have anything suitable or in sufficient numbers in my stash. Oh no. A trip to Dressew! I’ve been avoiding that treasure palace for awhile so maybe it’s time. But I’ll have to go tomorrow as that’s the only time I have available.

OK. Back to knitting. Easter is the deadline. Have I mentioned that the older I get, the less I enjoy calendar-dictated holidays? They’re all becoming loaded with too many expectations. Or probably it’s just me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fibres West Report

Drat! Again I had camnesia at an event. I had my camera handy too but I was too busy either chatting, fondling fibres or spinning to use it. It just seems silly and rude to start snapping pics right in folks’ faces. And my hands were full. A lot.

It was a fun day, though you’ll have to take my word for it since I can’t show you! I went with Madame Guild President on Friday in order to spend the afternoon demonstrating spinning and weaving. All by ourselves too as it turned out. We got there early enough for prime shopping and schmoozing before our stint started and we stayed later than we had booked for. Shoppers seemed a bit thicker on the ground than last year and apparently it was even busier on Saturday. It’s hard to tell exact numbers when several classes were in session upstairs. Nobody was complaining though which is a good thing. I sure saw lots of bags of goodies heading out the door!

We had quite a number of people coming up and asking questions about the spinning and weaving we were doing. Much better than last year. I was using both spindle and wheel alternately and Beryl had her inkle loom and was making bookmarks. One woman was researching portable wheels and was running around trying out the Schacht Ladybug, the Ashford Joy, the Lendrum, and a Kromski. I had the only Louet Victoria in the place and was very happy to allow her to try it out and get a good look at how it folds up. I think she ended up ordering one too! I should get a commission from the dealers, hey? Or just a yarn allowance.

Personally, I went without a shopping agenda since of course I don’t actually need anything right now. That didn’t stop me from buying 3 books, some yarn and some spinning fibres though. I got 2 cones of Zephyr wool/silk in vanilla and 4 skeins of 30%-off Louet Gems superwash fingering in cream (both for dyeing) at Jane Stafford’s booth. She is discontinuing carrying the Gems skeins so this was a good time to stock up. I also picked up some blending nylon for spinning from Doug at Laura Fry’s booth. (Poor Laura has a broken ankle and couldn’t make it this year!) Plus I got 6 skeins of Fortissima Socka Color sock yarn at Fun Knits that were on sale for half-price.

Socka122

The colourway is boring natural and taupe but it will overdye just fine into something rich and dark. I want to make the Abotanicity tunic (Rav link). It seems to look good on a variety of body types and I am in a “sock yarn for everything” phase right now.

Which brings me to the Pebbles Baby Cardi which I’m plugging away on. Deadline is next Saturday (or Monday depending on whether or not I can get to the proposed baby shower). It’s further ahead than this now:

Pebbles_prog

I’m nearly finished the hem and only need to do the sleeves yet. I was hoping to have enough time – and yarn left - to do socks too. Better knit faster! For some reason this colourway is hard to photograph. It’s a bit lighter and warmer than it appears in the pic.

So of course I’ve pretty much stopped working on the Tweedi Cardi with that baby-thing deadline looming. I’m nearly down to the hem here too though so it’s coming along. I don’t like to lose momentum on these things or it ends up taking forever to finish.

One of the books that I got (at Twist of Fate’s booth from a very ginormous and imminently-expectant Erynn!) is this one:

SockClub

Sock Club: Join the Knitting Adventure by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott, published by Martingale. This book includes 23 handsome sock patterns gleaned from some of the sock clubs that have taken place over the last several years. Many of these subscription kits and knit-alongs were only available to members and this book now puts them out there for everyone. The designs are tasteful and very wearable with nothing too wild or excessively complicated – apart from the sexy Gothic Temptress knee-highs! Most are of the lace and/or cables variety with a couple of slip-stitch/mosaic stitch ones. Included in each pattern where possible are several size options and a chapter is given over to discussing ways of sizing socks up or down. There’s also a short section with (some illustrated) useful techniques such as the Twisted German Cast On and the Becker Toe (adapted from Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On). A chart of standard foot measurements and another of the standard yarn-weight system are also helpful. Otherwise this is not a beginner sock knitting book; some experience is assumed.

Yes, I know I mostly like to knit plain socks. However there are a number of patterns in this book that are very tempting! The cover ones for instance. Good thing I have lots of sock yarn.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Into The Blue

I forgot that I was going to mention that Henri Lambert, the Woad Master, passed away recently. It was only back in October last that I got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a workshop with him and his wife Denise.

Henri and Denise

He was a gentle, precise, funny, kind and generous person and he gave a huge gift to the world of natural dyers by reviving the Art of Woad. It seems at least that Denise is determined to continue without his presence. I wish her all the best. There’s a blog post here from Maiwa.

And speaking of woad, my last year’s plants are bolting and my baby seedlings are getting their second leaves. I need to take a shovel to the old ones but I’m delaying as I debate whether or not to try getting any blue from them first. It seems such a shame to waste it all in the compost. But everyone always says that there’s no blue to speak of in second-year leaves. It’s a great deal of work if the outcome is going to be zip. In the meantime, the darn things are shooting up. Probably losing any blue they had while I was arguing with myself. Silly me.

Instead I’ve been obsessing about my new project, the Pebbles Baby Cardi for my nephew and his wife’s impending first child. I finally rummaged around enough in the stash to locate 2 –50g balls of Regia sock yarn in one of the Kaffe Fasset colourways. It looks like multicoloured granite or beach pebbles in subdued beige-pastels. I used my new Knitware software to design a top-down circular cardi in a 6-months size. This kid is going to be born in July so I don’t want him/her to grow out of it before they get a chance to wear it! I’m just to the underarms now but haven’t had a chance to photograph it yet. It’s raining today and too dark to get a good colour likeness. This yarn is tricksy! Trust me – it’s turning out really cute. Baby things are so popular because they are such instant gratification.

Meanwhile I’m supposed to be gathering up my stuff for the demo at Fibres West tomorrow. I’m bringing my Victoria spinning wheel, spindles, fibre and some sample yarns and handspun items. But I can’t stop knitting…

A big thank you to all those who replied that they can see my blog just fine. I’m glad it hasn’t disappeared and that the general consensus is the changes are good ones!  Whew.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Socks And Other Things

I finally have a Finished Object! I was beginning to think I never finish anything ever. Yes, I know that’s not true but I have to feel like I’m accomplishing something often.

Winter Hedgerow Socks

WinterHedgerowSocks

For: T-Man

Begun: January 31, 2010

Completed: March 19, 2010

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch Softcolor, 70% Pure New Wool, superwash, 23% Polyamide nylon, 7% Elité elastic, colour 502 (browns, greens), 100g = 400m.

Needles: Clover Takumi bamboo dpns, 2.25 mm.

Pattern: Hedgerow Socks by Jane Cochran, free download from Knitter’s Review.

Mods: I didn’t read the pattern that closely when I was working the heel flap so I just carried the rib as set down the flap (on 32 sts). Used a purl stitch on each end of the sole stitches to separate the ribs from the sole. Stopped rib 1/2” before toe decreases and decreased the 2 extra top of foot stitches. The rest of the toe is plain. Lengths: 8” before heel flap, 8.25” before toe decreases.

Comments: These socks took somewhat longer to do than I liked but got them finished eventually. The needle size is slightly larger than usual and the socks are on 66 sts total. T is very happy with these. He had them on already when I went to find him to photograph them!

Sock Count: 93 pairs.

Then I took some time yesterday and reassessed the Green Star Cardi. I liked the K2P2 rib fabric a lot and the little stars are cute and simple to knit but the garment shape was just not working out for me. Also I had changed needles midstream and the gauge was wonky. If it took since last July and spent more time languishing than being knitted on, then the writing was on the wall. I frogged it! Now I may just re-jig the numbers (a great use for my new Knitware Sweaters program) and start again on something resembling the original idea or I may make something else entirely. The yarn is a pretty “hand-dyed” superwash sock yarn and there’s lots of it! I’m determined it’s going to be a sweater eventually.

Now I’m somewhat concerned that I’ve lost a few readers in my blog redesign! I just got my reader stats for this week and they’re merely a fraction of my usual steady numbers. Did I break your RSS links or discombobulate your feed readers or something? The blog address hasn’t changed. Or is it a Blogger glitch? Perhaps I’m just boring you to death! Let me know if you encounter any problems, will you? My email addy is up in the top bar or in my profile if you need it. Assuming of course that you actually see this post in the first place!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Day At Reifel

What a lovely weekend! The weather wasn’t totally cooperative, but that’s normal. On Saturday, T-Man and I went for our usual walk. Then we got serious and did some gardening for the rest of the afternoon. The weather was perfect, a little overcast and very warm for this time of year. He put up my pea nets and I got the peas planted before it started to rain. This is early for once! I also started transplanting my little seedlings into bigger pots. Of course I only got a few done with lots more to go. It’s a time-consuming and fiddly job, but one I usually enjoy once I get going on it. I’ll attempt to do a few more each day. I also planted the tomatoes, basil, more marigolds and a few other things under the lights now that I have a little more room. I’ll be schlepping flats in and out of the greenhouse twice a day now for the next couple of weeks until things harden off. Nice to have the large protected area to put them though. Much bigger than my little cold-frame.

Yesterday, T and I plus The Ninja and the grandbeasties went to Reifel Bird Sanctuary. It’s a lovely place, even this early in spring.

Reifel

We saw lots of different birds including several different kinds of ducks, Canada geese, snow geese, bald eagles, a red-tailed hawk, several sandhill cranes, redwing blackbirds, song sparrows, chickadees and a brown creeper. And this big ol’ cormorant drying its wings:

Cormorant

There’s huge carp in that pond too but I couldn’t get a good photo of them. We enticed them up to the surface with bird seed but the ducks got there first. There were lots and lots of ducks and they were hungry:

FeedingDucks

So were the chickadees:

FeedingChickadee

We brought peanuts and sunflower seeds for them. Princess Pink was very patient holding out her hand but Stargazer had more fun throwing seeds at all the birds. While his dad was feeding the pigeons on his hand two-at-a-time, he was a little wary so we put seeds down for them instead:

FeeingPigeons

We climbed the lookout tower, peeked out several of the blinds and used up all the bird seed we brought. Just as we were getting tired and heading back, it started to rain. Perfect timing.

The beasties’ mom, The White Lady, wasn’t able to come with us because she broke her foot last week in a tumble down stairs and is on crutches for the next while. We found her back at our house sitting on the deck with a book trying to keep her cast out of the rain. Her girlfriend had dropped her there after they’d visited and we took longer to get home than she’d expected. She was just fine, though slightly damp!

On to crafty things. I finally finished and blocked T-Man’s Hedgerow Socks. There were some differences between the pattern and my results! More because I thought I knew what I was doing and didn’t read the instructions very carefully than anything else. The pattern is just fine. T likes them ok anyhow, but I need to get him to put them on for a photo shoot before I can write them up and call them a Finished Object.

On the baby sweater thing, I’ve decided to wait until Friday when I go to Fibres West to see if I can find something more suitable there. I’m not happy with the red yarn and I can’t find anything else that I like in the stash. Unfortunately that only leaves me a week to knit the thing which is cutting it kind of fine. But it’s small, right? But then of course there needs to be socks too. And maybe a hat…

I’m well down on the body of the Tweedi Cardi now, though it feels like it’s slow going. It’s not very portable due to the huge cone of yarn and it’s also not particularly suited to doing anything else at the same time. I need to watch carefully where my hook is going so it needs good light and more concentration. Somehow I can’t feel the stitches in crochet the same way that I can when I’m knitting. I’ve filled up my Palm T/X card with podcasts so at least I can listen while I work. I’m way-way-way behind on listening anyhow. It’s a good excuse to try to catch up.

I learned how to put some of the most recent Flickr photos of my projects in my sidebar. Still redecorating the blog! This is quite cool.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Miscellaneous

For some reason I’ve recently been writing posts that never actually get posted. So far I have three. They’re collecting up. I’m going to have to figure out why I can’t complete them and put them up or just delete them, pick one. Probably they’re either redundant because I’ve said it all before or too revealing of my inner self. Not that I’m at all good at hiding anything from anyone. (As you may have noticed!) Just that nobody really needs to hear all my personal drivel out loud. Or read it, as the case may be. I publish enough of it on here as it is, doncha think?

Moving right along. I’m on the toes of T-Man’s Hedgerow Socks and hoping to finish them today. I want to get something off the needles! Then I need to get busy on a gift for one of my nephews and his wife who are expecting their first child in July. It was sprung upon me suddenly that a gift is required and I have until the Easter weekend when we’ll be having a Family Marathon. More on that anon.

I was hoping to use some of the red tweed Sandnesgarn Smart yarn that I have but I think it’s too harsh for a baby even though it’s superwash. I knit up a swatch and blocked it but it didn’t help much. I think I need to go Stash Diving and if I can’t find anything suitable there then there’s no choice but to go Yarn Shopping! Oh nooooo…

The guild meeting was really interesting yesterday. The speaker was Ruth Jones, a fabulous local tapestry artist. Her work would be impressive as paintings on canvas but it is infinitely more special rendered in yarn. I don’t love all her imagery (religious icons, even with ironic, symbolic or playful meanings, are not my thing) but her traditional Aubusson technique and her amazing use of colour are just jaw-dropping. The Nitobe Garden piece is my favourite. It was really special to get to see a number of the pieces up close and in person. I loved that there are tonnes of ends on the back! No need to finish them in.

I ended up acting as AV tech and setting up the digital projector and hooking up all the wires. My experience from last month was obviously helpful since the one who was subbing for the Programs person had no idea how it all works. At least we could see the slides and nothing blew up! Whew.

Personally I have no desire to do much in the way of tapestry. Especially more realistic and life-like imagery. I’m not a painter and prefer simple geometrics, more like tribal rugs. Which brings me to a new book that I’m going to have to get: (Awww!) Sara Lamb’s Woven Treasures. I won’t give a full review now since I only leafed through the copy the guild just bought for the library. But I was totally impressed with the range of techniques (rigid heddle, pick-up bands, tablet weaving, knotted pile, soumak, etc.) all illustrated with clear photographic steps. The publisher is Interweave and they’ve outdone themselves this time with such a lovely and information-packed book, especially perfect for beginner weavers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Look – But Still Green

For Saint Paddy’s Day perhaps? Nah! It’s a pond. Ponds are green. Lots of lady damselflies are green. (See photo in sidebar.) I like green. It’s my second-favourite colour after orange.

As you might notice I’ve been playing around with the old blog. Well, I did warn you ahead of time! Do let me know if I’ve screwed anything up, hey? Obviously it’s not a huge change but it will likely continue to evolve as I learn how to use the tools available to me in Blogger’s layouts. They are not nearly as comprehensive as I would prefer! I still had to go into HTML a wee bit even though I was trying to avoid it. But at least I don’t have to do that every time I want to add something to my sidebar. And I still use Windows Live Writer for editing posts. It kicks the one in Blogger’s arse. Really. The control over photos it gives you is worth downloading and using the free program all by itself. Even if it is MS Windows. No, they don’t pay me to say this either.

So yesterday afternoon, T-Man and I walked down to Granville Island and went to the Silk Weaving Studio. It was lovely to see Chisako and her current work displayed all over the shop. I did take one photo (kind of out-of-focus, sorry hon’!):

Chisako

I’m obviously much better at photographing objects than people! But doesn’t she look like she’s having a great time? It was lovely to see her since she’s heading down to WA to visit with her husband’s family before heading back to Japan. Sniff! Hopefully we’ll see her again tomorrow at the guild meeting first.

Then of course T and I had to go shopping for yummy things in the Market! $20 worth of halibut fillets and some honey-glazed pork ribs came home with us. Well, it was dinner time! And we were hungry. I coated the halibut with a combo of curry powder, mayo and yogurt and baked at 375F for about 20 minutes. Sprinkled with some chopped green onion from the garden, some steamed green beans and a salad, and it was a quick meal. Delish! The ribs are heading for the bbq tonight.

On the way home we took the temporary Olympic tram from Granville Island to Cambie St. Just to say we’d ridden it before it disappears. I really hope they do something with that line rather than just let it rot after March 21st when the borrowed trains go back to Bombardier. It cost enough to put it in! Just for a few weeks. Dumb. And wasteful. We got a little sprinkled upon during the walk home but made it without getting wet.

Today is glorious and sunny and I really should go get something useful done.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Surprisingly (to me anyhow), I’m coming up to my Fifth Blogiversary in May. Wow! I’m thinking it might finally be time to update the look of my blog. It’s a bit grimy, dusty and old-looking and I’m getting tired of working with the HTML in the template. Just a warning that one day very soon (maybe even tomorrow) you may come to visit Damselfly’s Pond and not recognise the place. Shocking, I know. But it’ll still be me under the new paint.

Hopefully I won’t kill the thing completely in the process! I always say I have just enough computer savvy to be dangerous. I’ve saved my template and can always patch it back in if something goes awry. It’s supposed to be pretty foolproof to move to the new Blogger layouts so I’m hoping to have better navigation and a more streamlined look. Along with some new items I couldn’t have before. It might take a bit of tweaking to get where I want to be. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

In other news, I went to see Dr. Serious-Dermatologist again yesterday. It took an hour to get in to see him this time and T-Man just had to walk down with me, so he got stuck waiting too. Plus I forgot my knitting. Ack!

I think our relationship is improving – I actually got the doc to laugh a little with my tale of how my husband complains he feels like he’s tying up to a wharf every night when I apply the tar ointment! Smells like old treated logs, get it? OK, you might have to be a sailor.

He finally clarified a few things for me, now that I understand what questions to ask, and changed the Goo Schedule somewhat. And I got the prescription for the systemic anti-fungal pills. The final lab report says there’s a fungus there but that it shouldn’t be a problem. I figure if it can survive over a month’s worth of the strongest anti-fungal cream then it needs a kick in the pants to get lost! Hopefully this will finally break the cycle, which I realise is not causing the psoriasis directly but I think it’s interfering with my immune system. We’ll find out, won’t we? At least now I know my liver is in good-enough shape to withstand the medication.

However I was really optimistic in my post yesterday about when I could get in to see my family doctor. He can’t see me for a physical until the end of July! Yikes! Four months to wait. Can you feel how the lowly GP is overworked and underappreciated? I certainly appreciate mine. Bigtime. I need to remember to book the next appointment right after the last one the way I do with the dentist.

Back to some crafty stuff. (Got whiplash yet?) So have you seen the new Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Vogue Knitting? There are quite a number of very lovely and wearable garments in this issue which has a lace theme. Only a couple of them are Out There…oh, sorry…”fashion forward”. I see this as a definite improvement in the last couple of issues. Maybe a trend towards patterns that are more knit-worthy rather than just flying in off the runway? See what you think.

The article on grafting seams in stitches other than plain stockinet could be really helpful, if a bit complex to understand. I like the chart system since it eliminates so many words, but I think it will take some brain work on my part to make sense of them. (The author looks at the stitches on the back needle from the top/front as if the pieces are laying on a table, rather than the way I see them, from the back as I’m holding the needles parallel.) And it very likely won’t be utilised by anyone else writing patterns. You’d have to make your own chart to follow if the seam to be grafted isn’t one of those discussed in this article. But it does illustrate the “half-stitch” problem very clearly for me. I plan to scan and print out a copy for my tech notes.

I am also intrigued by the scarf knitted in blocks using dropped stitches. How ingenious! I don’t recall ever seeing a stitch pattern resembling this one before. If I didn’t already have so many projects ongoing, I’d be swatching it for sure. Just to see how it works if nothing else. And speaking of knitterly experimentation, I’ll have another book review for you soon.

Must get some work done around here now that I’m feeling a bit more human again. (Tummy grumbles hopefully finally subsided. The good news: 4 pounds lost since Friday.) Later this afternoon we’re off to see the Silk Weaving Studio’s opening of a mini-show featuring the work of dear friend Chisako, who is visiting from Japan where she now lives. Her weaving is always amazing! Such fine threads and beautiful natural dyes. Love-love. I missed seeing her at Saturday’s luncheon. Hopefully I’ll have some photos for you tomorrow. If I can avoid my usual camnesia!

And speaking of cameras, here’s another photo of this city’s gorgeous cherry blossoms:

CherryBlossoms2They’re so spectacular and so short-lived that you have to admire them while they’re here. They’re already starting to make pink and white snow on the ground.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Grumble

That’s not only the noise my tummy is making but my feelings right now. I’ve had something of a tummy bug for the last couple of days, similar to (but not quite as bad as) what happened recently when I thought I had food poisoning. It’s not as awful as you might be thinking (at least, not now) but it’s rumbling and unhappy and uninterested in eating. Not the ideal way to lose weight! Just saying. It made me miss a lovely luncheon on Saturday with dear friends, including one visiting from Japan. Grumble.

Anyway, since I need to make an appointment with my family doc for a check-up anyhow I’ll just add it to my list of Interesting Anomalies To Discuss. And speaking of doctors, I’m going to see the dermatologist again today to complain that my feet and hands were improving for a short while but now they’re worse than they were last time I saw him. More grumbling. I’ve applied every kind of goo he said to use and hope that I got all his complex instructions correctly. More Discussion will ensue.

I don’t think he gets that I must have my hands and feet functional. They can’t be itching and burning when I need to use them. I work with my hands. I walk 20-30 kilometres per week. I do not want to stop doing either of those things! Arrgh!! Rant over.

Crafty news: I’m obsessing over my crocheted Tweedi Cardi:

TweediCardi_prog I’m a bit annoyed that the pattern stitch I used in the middle of the yoke seems to be pulling in some. Obviously my swatch of this part wasn’t large enough to get the full effect. I’m hoping that it will block out more. At least the thing fits! The advantage of top-down construction is that you can try it on as you go. Lengths and fit can be adjusted on the fly, no seams, and few ends to finish. No wonder this style is so popular! It also suits a multitude of body types. Please may it not go out of style anytime soon?

I also had another photo assignment, my friend Kirsten’s scarf. She needed a couple of shots to send in for an invitation card for our guild’s upcoming gallery show at the Seymour Art Gallery in Deep Cove, North Van. (That’s the same one that I hope my bison scarf will be in.) Here’s a detail shot. Isn’t it pretty?

Kscarf_det Love the crinkly loopy texture! That’s silk, tencel, paper, linen and wool/lycra all in there. She’s so talented. BTW, what’s with me being elected the go-to-girl for the guild’s gallery photography lately? Not like I have fancy equipment or anything! This was taken with my aging digital camera outside on my wet deck on a mat covered in an old (probably as old as I am!) sheet. Not exactly state-of-the-art stuff here.

What else? It’s most definitely spring around here:

CherryBlossoms Apologies to anyone still in the snow! That’s the Dr. Lam cherry garden at VanDusen in full spate. And, just because this cracked me up completely, would you send your kid to this school?

SchoolSign Ummm…I actually went there for Grade 10, some 40…mumble…years ago. Could explain me, huh? It’s name shall remain anonymous. At least in this post.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Knitware Babble

Sorry if you’re getting tired of this subject, but I’m kind of excited about it. This is too funny – Ada (who owns the company) gave me a $1.50 off my order so it only cost me US$28.50. She said it was because I included a friendly message and it made her day! That’s me: Cheerful Damselfly trying to make the world a little brighter place. It saved me a little of the exchange rate anyhow.

Got my registration key and unlocked the program almost before the message came through. The round yoke calculator is worth the price of admission alone! And I can make my very own custom size based on my measurements. Yippee! I am a definitely non-standard pear. And I’m free to create something that fits me or to alter patterns to my hearts content without having to do all the icky math. Now maybe I can go back to my Green Star Cardi and fix the armhole and sleeves to fit the way I want. Might mean a bit of frogging but I’d rather that than have the poor thing sitting around on the needles for another year. But first, my crocheted Round Yoke Cardi is calling me.

I notice that many of the messages on the Yahoogroup for Knitware are from those having trouble installing and running the programs. In Knitware’s defence, they bend over backwards to help sort out problems and make extensive information available to users. You do have to read and follow it first though! I probably had an easier time with this than most because both my little netbook computer (upon which I am currently typing) and my big desktop are still happily running Windows XP. I’m not converting over to the dark side of Vista or 7 or whatever else they come up with until I absolutely have no choice! Having used computers since the early ‘80’s I’m kind of tired of some of the continual “improvements”. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Or at least don’t release it until it ain’t broke. Software developers take note.

Back to the crocheted cardi. I’m calling it the Tweedi Cardi. I started it last evening and got partway down the yoke. I swatched and swatched and finally came up with a subtle texture pattern that doesn’t disturb the gauge and works perfectly into the stitch count but I have to work it on the wrong-side row rendering a wee bit awkward. I will definitely put some rows in the yoke (there’s a perfect space coming up) but haven’t yet decided whether I will use it on the hem. Maybe the sleeve instead? Always a good thing to put any emphasis away from the waist to thigh area!

Meanwhile I’ve also been plugging away on the Hedgerow Socks and am now cruising down the feet. Patterned socks always go faster after the heel when only half the round is patterned! I will be happy when these are off the needles.

Please remind me why everything I’m working on lately is a dark colour? And fine yarn? Explains why it all takes so long anyway. Luckily it’s not a race to the finish. Process. It’s all about enjoying the process. The Finished Object is just icing on the cupcake.

So, changing the subject entirely, Daylight Savings Time is coming up this weekend? Guess the fact that it was finally getting light when I wake up in the morning was a problem for The Powers That Be? I’d be perfectly happy to leave well enough alone and not mess with the clock, but obviously I have no influence. Instead I have to shift my whole life around to suit. The older I get, the less I want to do that. Sometimes I barely notice and sometimes I find it hard. Unfortunately I have no choice if I don’t want to be late for everything! At least ahead is easier than back.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Snow On The Tulips

SpringSnow

Yep, we had a skiff of snow his morning just to prove that winter has not done with us yet even though the blossoms are out and folks have been mowing lawns around here already. You can see my veggie garden with the two beds of winter rye in the middle that haven’t been turned. And the forsythia blossoms that didn’t get eaten off by the birds as a light salad before going for the seeds. In the middle there are my purple sprouting broccolis that we’ve already been eating. Luckily they are tough enough to withstand a pretty cold winter. A little chill won’t bother ’em. And my seedlings are safely in the basement under the lights. A bunch have come up already and are looking good! All green and growing like they should. It won’t be long before that bare garden will be lush again.

Back to the crochet project I started yesterday. I made a swatch with an ancient Shetland tweed yarn that I’d bought in a huge cone for weaving. It made me a bit sad to realise I’d purchased it from the late Russell Groff of Robin & Russ at some conference or other. Too long ago to remember details. It’s a lovely charcoal grey tweed described on the label as “Macbeth” in size R180T/2 (the Tex number, 180 g per km/2-fold, which translates, thanks to this handy converter) to 2,760 yards per pound. I like Tex sizes because they are absolute and can be calculated for any yarn. Anyhow, for knitters/crocheters this is somewhere around a fingering weight or a bit finer. It’s nasty, oily, dusty and harsh but blooms and softens considerably with washing and makes a rather nice light and drapey fabric. Here’s my swatch in the pattern stitch of one row sc/one row dc:

CardiSwatch I used a 3.5mm hook. The little stand-up swatch in front is the unwashed sample. It’s all curly and icky but the washed swatch is perfectly behaved. Now I’m swatching for edgings and post stitches because Of Course I can’t just make a plain sweater! Instead of the cute little row of eyelets that milobo used on hers, I’d like a little texture there instead.

I’ve become quite conversant with the Knitware Sweaters software since yesterday! I even broke down and purchased this one today (though I haven’t gotten my registration key yet). I figured that of the 3 programs, this was the one I’d find most useful and the only one that really needs the extras that you get by paying for it. I’m not a standard size. Go figure.

Anyhow, it turns out that even in the demo version, as well as printing you can save the schematics as bitmaps (which I converted into a smaller jpeg just because I can). For an example, here’s the back of my new soon-to-be-sweater:

Round Yoke Cardi backPretty cool, huh? Stitches/rows and inches marked. No Adobe Illustrator involved! Of course this is a top-down circular yoke cardi so it really should be upside-down but who’s quibbling with the minor details. Plus the pattern is all written out and just needing a bit of tweaking to make it totally workable. Increases, dividing for fronts/back/sleeves, the works! I didn’t have to do hardly any math – not even in my swatch. Hurray! The program has a converter that all you do is measure your whole swatch, count the stitches and rows (even with a pattern stitch!), plug in the numbers and it converts them into the standard 4”x4” (or metric if you prefer). Those are the numbers that the program uses to generate your pattern for you. I’m happy. Now to actually use it and see how it fits, huh?

Back to swatching.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Knitware

Today, my little chickadees, we have a review of an older but still useful design program with a free and quite useful demo version. Knitware has 3 separate parts: Basics, Sweaters, and Skirts/Shawls. The Basics used to be called “Critters” because it includes doggie sweaters and garments for stuffed animals and dolls, but it also has basic garments for people as well. Use this one for dresses, pants and drop-shoulder pullovers. The Sweaters version has quite a number of different styles that can be tweaked to suit. Skirts also includes different types of shawls, ponchos, and blankets/afghans. The program generates both schematics and instructions for hand-knitting, machine knitting or crochet. Lots and lots of options. All you need to begin is an accurate gauge swatch! Washed and blocked, please.

There are extensive help files, tutorials and manuals. There’s also a Yahoogroup dedicated to Knitware and a group on Ravelry. The software developer has scaled back on individual assistance but the programs seem to be pretty robust – they’ve been around for about 5 years now. They work fine on Windows XP but there seems to be some issues with Vista and Windows 7. (Check here first if you run one of those. And then the help groups for more info.) The demo versions have a few things disabled such as Save, Custom sizing, Hat calculator, Circular Yoke calculator etc. However they are still quite useful. The full versions can be purchased individually at $30 each, with a $3 discount for buying two or $6 for all three. This is for the download. If you want CDs it’s an additional $15 each. Easier to just get a code to unlock the demo. I haven’t done that yet. Still deciding whether I’ll use it enough to bother.

Meanwhile, I don’t think this program is the be-it-and-end-all and don’t think I would follow it slavishly. However, it does give you a place to start and helps with all the mathy parts that scare people off designing. (Including this old damselfly!) I think it also might be useful in refitting something to your gauge or shape. I really like that it includes working in the round and top-down as well as bottom-up. Here’s one Ravelry crochet design that was accomplished with Knitware. I quite like this cardi and may try it myself using her tutorial. To see more examples, just search Ravelry with the tag “knitware”. Notice that a lot of machine knitters use it because it can generate specific instructions for them as well.

Now to go hunt up some yarn to crochet a swatch. I just found out that my planned tea at VanDusen Gardens has been postponed yet again to Friday instead of this afternoon. So now I have time to play.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Not Just Another Crochet Book

So here’s the promised book review:

CrochetBookCreating Crochet Fabric

by Dora Ohrenstein, published by Lark Books.

Dora is also the editor of the interesting (if somewhat sporadic) online magazine Crochet Insider. Her crochet patterns have been in Interweave Knits and other publications and this is her second book, the first with a big-name publisher. Her designs generally range quite far, from funky to elegant, but her text is always very clear, crisp and well-edited. Not so sure about the pattern instructions, since I’ve never tried to follow one. Yet. This book however is not about the patterns, though there are several attractive ones, nor is it a stitch dictionary, though there is a nice collection in the back of the book. Where this book stands out is hinted at in the subtitle “experimenting with HOOK, YARN & STITCH”. Dora starts out talking about the different fibres (similar to a highly edited version of my fibre talk!) and yarn weights and types, plus the different hooks and sizes. The first pattern is a stash-busting scarf in half-circle motifs that gives you a chance to test out many different yarns and their appropriate hook sizes. Then the author goes extensively into designing crochet by swatching and discussing the many considerations for achieving the desired results.

I particularly like that this is an empowering book. It gives you tools to create on your own rather than following specific instructions. Definitely not for the rank beginner, it is more appropriate for someone with some crochet experience under their belt. There are no basic level how-to’s and some of the pattern stitches are quite complex. The patterns are happily provided in both words and charts which is very useful. However instructions are only included for some of the swatches pictured, marked with a rather unobvious calligraphic dingbat. You have to go hunt for them in the back of the book and there is no cross-referencing of page numbers.

Another quibble I had was with the abbreviation and stitch keys located in the very back. Some of the patterns include “special stitches” which are described in the box at the beginning of each pattern. But the corresponding chart symbol has to be hunted down or sussed out. There is again no cross-referencing. In reverse, if you see an unfamiliar abbreviation or symbol in either of the keys, you have no idea which pattern it’s from in order to find out how to do it! Flip, flip, flip…

I do like the way Dora expects you to adjust and tweak her patterns for different yarns and your own shape and taste. She tells you what she did and what she used but they mostly provide illustration for her personal explorations in crochet design. Take the information and go forth and design for yourself. This is even easier to do in crochet than in knitting since stitches are mostly engaged one at a time and can be picked up in any direction. It’s relatively quick to do and easy to rip and repeat if it’s not working. Multi-sized patterns are difficult and confusing to write, everyone’s gauge is different and it’s so much easier to invent your own garment than it is to follow a pattern exactly. At least that’s been my experience. Creating Crochet Fabric would make a perfect companion book to Lily Chin’s Couture Crochet Workshop. The first for swatching the yarn and stitch pattern and the second for the garment shaping advice.

You can read a sample of Dora’s book online here.

While I was on the subject of designing for crochet, I was having a good time investigating Ravelry’s crochet vests. There are a lot of them that have been made without following someone else’s pattern so it seems that many crocheters at least are quite brave enough to dive in with a hook.

Even more interestingly, not many published crochet patterns have the numbers of users that you might expect. Something like the massive popularity with knitters of the Ishbel scarf, Monkey Socks or Clapotis doesn’t exist for anything in crochet. Is that because there are less crocheters on Ravelry? (Apparently crocheters actually outnumber knitters in the general population.) Or because they are more independent and less likely to get involved in the “viral” type of patterns? Or because although there are many renowned and influential crochet designers, there isn’t anyone quite on the stratospheric level of the Yarn Harlot, Cat Bordhi or Ysolda?

Some exceptions to this are the lovely and adaptable Seraphina’s Shawl, a free pattern by Doni that has over 800 examples on Ravelry; the One Skein Scarf free from Denise Cozzitorto with over 1700 and the Babette Blanket by Kathy Merrick from Interweave Knits with over 1000. And I’ve made Kathy’s Boteh Scarf myself, along with nearly 600 others! However none of the published garment patterns seem to be as popular as shawls, scarves, blankets, throws and the individual motifs for same. Maybe because of fitting issues? Am I the only one who finds this fascinating?

And speaking of shawls, maybe I should finish my Damselfly Shawl (aka Dragonfly Shawl by Lisa Naskrent) before the poor thing self-destructs from neglect, huh? All talk/write, no action. That’s me.

(Note that all the previous links are from Ravelry. If you aren’t a member yet, why not? It’s out of beta and you can get in right away. Or perhaps you might be trying to avoid this huge time-suck! FaceBook/SmaceBook. Give me my Ravelry.)

Monday, March 08, 2010

This’s & That’s

Don’t know why but I’ve been feeling kind of ‘meh’ for the last couple of days. Part of it is that I’m kind of tired and cranky because my hands and feet, which were doing so well a few weeks ago, are getting worse again. After all my careful slathering on of various potions too. This probably means another series of appointments with Dr. Serious-Dermatologist. Bleh. He said the next thing was UV therapy. It just goes on and on…

I also haven’t been feeling the love for my current unfinished projects either. And I’ve realised that it’s rather hard to knit when your hands are covered several times a day with various ointments. The Hedgerow Socks for T-Man are very slow going and I’m not sure I’m liking the continuation of the rib pattern into the heel flap. I don’t plan to frog it though and he seems ok with it so I just need to keep slogging. Plus the Green Star Cardi is still in time-out. I haven’t gotten up the requisite steam to frog the inch or so to fix my armhole decrease error. I can feel it coming soon though. This project has been going on long enough! Need. To. Finish.

I did finally get around to planting my seeds under the lights in the basement. It took a goodly chunk of sunny Saturday to do it too. First I needed to wash out the pony flats and the trays and clear lids which keep the moisture in during the first critical growing period. Then I had to stir water into the dried-out starter mix. I use hot because it both mixes in faster and feels nicer to work with. Plus I think the seeds like a warm bed. I would! I really should have started a couple of these things (like slow-poke peppers and parsley) a week or two ago so that things could be staggered more. It’s kind of crowded down there so not everything will get adequate light when they come up. This means some stuff will have to go out to the greenhouse during the day as soon as they can stand it. And I have more seeds to plant still! I haven’t even put the tomatoes in yet.

I usually prefer to plant seeds rather than buy sets. You get a lot more variety and it’s really not hard. Plus it’s much cheaper even if you factor in the cost of starter mix, potting soil, pots and flats, seeds and grow lights. My florescent light fixtures are very old (over 30!) and the pony flats, pots and trays are recycled and reusable until they disintegrate. I really enjoy the slow and gentle planting of tiny seeds, watching them grow, watering when necessary, rotating them around, pricking them out when they’re big enough into larger digs and finally hardening them off and planting them in the garden. It’s creative and nurturing and quite satisfying when you get to eat, dye with or just admire the results later. Yes, I have the spare time to do this. But it really doesn’t take all that much attention once you set up and develop a rhythm. It’s like looking after a pet! Or in this case, many pets.

T-Man was having a good time playing in his studio with his lathe and other woodworking tools yesterday while I was catching up on some housework. He made a large wooden ball out of an interesting piece of our long-defunct sumac tree. It’s the first complete sphere he’s ever made. The inspiration came from a demo he watched recently courtesy of his woodturners’ guild. Plus he made a canon! No it doesn’t fire but it does shoot water. It’s going to be the spout for the water garden as soon as we get it set up again. It’s made from a bunch of different garden woods: barrel is black-stained holly, wheels are cedar, wagon is maple, stand to support it over the pot is lilac. Photos to come.

I was going to do a book review today but since this is getting somewhat long, I’ll hold off until next time.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Ferry Ride & A Finished Object

Time seems to have gotten away from me again. Where have I been? Thursday, my Spectrum Study Group had a field trip over to Victoria to see the exhibit of Coast Salish art at the Royal BC Museum. This show sadly ended today and we were glad to get a chance to see it before it did. It was really interesting with many examples of historical items such as baskets, blankets, combs, blanket pins, dress, woven mats and much more. There were also contemporary pieces by First Nations artists. My favourite pieces were the spindle whorls, mostly carved from wood though one smaller one was in steatite (soapstone). Some had people on them, one had fish and one looked like a wagon wheel. There were also some beautiful examples of baskets, a particular one triangular to fit in the bow of a canoe, mostly coiled with elaborate designs added by a technique called ‘imbrication’. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs in that gallery. Phooey.

It seems that there are a lot of beautiful spindles around Victoria – seven of them in fact. These are public art works and represent the peoples who lived here before the Europeans came. One was right outside the museum and I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of it. I did however get a photo of my old buddy, the woolly mammoth:

Woolly I love him and make a point of saying hi whenever I visit the museum. To give you an idea of scale, I could stand up straight underneath his tusk – if they’d let me in there. I accidentally used the flash while taking his portrait. Oops!

On the way home we had another special event:

KillerWhales Take my word for it, those tiny dark spots in the water there are killer whales! A whole pod of maybe a dozen went by us in Active Pass while we were eating dinner on the ferry. One of those blips is actually doing a side breach! Very exciting. With all the sailing and ferry-riding I’ve done, I’ve never seen killer whales in the wild like this. Porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins, California grays, humpbacks yes. Orcas, no. But now I have!

So with all my travelling I had to wait until Friday to block my shawl:

Galloping Gail

For: GVWSG 75th Anniversary Exhibit at the Seymour Art Gallery

clip_image002

Spinning begun: February 23, 2010

Knitting begun: February 26, 2010

Finished: March 5, 2010

Yarn: Buffalo Gals Bison down, purchased in 2007 at ANWG in Red Deer, AB from Wild Rose Fibres. Cost: $20.00 per oz., 2 bags. Spun 2-ply light fingering weight, 360 yds = 57g.

clip_image004Spinning Notes: Found out this brand is Judith MacKenzie-McCuin's and distributed through Carolina Homespun. (Wild Rose isn't showing any more on their website!)

Z-spun on Louet Victoria wheel with lace flyer using 13:1 whorl. Two-plied S using same setup. Very short and slippery fibre! More like spinning cotton than wool. It got away from me quite a few times when it broke right where it winds onto the bobbin. It usually happened when I dropped my attention momentarily. Luckily the spun bits untwisted back into spinnable fibre because I was not wasting one tiny micro-gram of this stuff! I had to hold the end from the bobbin tightly though or it also broke again while I was trying to rethread the orifice. Tricksy bison!

Yarn was finished with Judith's Yarn Abuse and it held up wonderfully through the knitting and blocking.

Needles: 4.5 mm Addi Lace 24” circular

Beads: Czech size 6 transparent root beer with iris finish

Pattern: Gail (aka Nightsongs) by MaweLucky/Jane Araujo, free Ravelry pattern. Also used this revised chart with notes from 2sticks.

clip_image006Knitting Notes & Mods: This must be some kind of record! It only took me a week to knit this shawl.

The pattern is quite lovely but the instructions are not particularly clear. Good thing I’ve got lots of lace experience. I did re-chart the main lace to give me a better idea of the pattern repeats. And of course read a bunch of the comments from Those Who Have Gone Before!

I ended up with 6 repeats including the very beginning one, 2 short of the pattern recommendation. I have a mere 7 g of the yarn left so the fact that I chickened out on the one more repeat I’d hoped to get was justified. There would definitely not have been enough! It’s still quite large: less scarf and more shawl than I expected.

Instead of ignoring the centre marker and continuing the border straight, I added a centre border stitch (for beads) and made a mitre in the middle. I like the ‘tail’ effect much better. I also put beads down the centre spine of the border triangles, at the tips of the last leaves and along the whole edge before binding off. (I couldn’t figure out an effect way to put them in the k2togs or ssks.) I used a combination of Evelyn Clark’s (one row k on wrong side, adding beads every other st) and Nancy Bush’s Estonian (with doubled yarn) bind-off for a substantial edge.clip_image008

I blocked it on the deck in the dappled sun, using the mats and wires. I left a little curve in the top edge. It seems to be holding the blocking OK so far.

This shawl is so soft and warm and fuzzy! Lots more cuddly than the bison it came from. Heh.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Dragging Ourselves Back To Normal

This town is still totally pumped about that big O-Thingy we just survived! It was wild yesterday, especially after the big hockey game. Everyone was in high celebration mode and I have never seen such a sea of red clothing in my life. My knitting buddies ended up at my neighbour and friend Lauren’s to watch with her family because all the local venues with TV screens were full to bursting. It was fun – even though I had to tink 2 rows of my bison shawl when I got home because I made a mistake near the end of the nail-biting overtime. (Or it could have been the cider.) Totally understandable, huh? Wow, 14 of those big gold disks are ours! Plus a bunch of silver and bronze ones too! I’ve never seen such enthusiastic and patriotic fervour in us usually so laid back Canadians. Whew!

The closing ceremonies were hilarious. What a huge send up of ourselves and all the stereotypes! (I want one of those flying moose. Badly.) It was also cool hearing the fireworks outside as you saw them on the TV screen. Can’t quite see them from here unfortunately. We sighed along with everyone when the flames went out. I could pretty much take or leave the pop music at the end though I was quite pleased to discover the band Hedley who were great. I was also really happy that things quieted down enough for us to get to sleep at 9pm even if it was still wild and crazy downtown. Now we have to get back to what passes for normal around here. Hope some of the good attitudes remain.

In crafty news, I’m near the end of the first (smaller) ball of bison and halfway through the fourth repeat. I’m planning at least 2 more but I’ll wait and see if I think there might be enough for 3 before the edging. Probably safer not attempting that last one. I also want to put some beads in the edge but I can’t quite figure out where to put them yet. I have some lovely root beer seed beads with an iris finish that look great on the soft brown bison colour.

Obviously I’ve halted progress on everything else. I’m nearly up to the heel turns on the second Hedgerow sock and the Green Star Cardi is in time-out after I screwed something up on the back armhole shaping. I have to frog about an inch and a half and I’m feeling grumpy about it.

So I’ll be babysitting the grandbeasties this afternoon while their parents go to the dentist. I’m looking forward to seeing them because it’s been ages since we’ve gotten together. It’s been so long, I have a number of finished projects to give them: socks, legwarmers and hot water bottle cosy. It’ll be lovely to get them off my list.

Oh and The Ninja has 2 more of the Torchwood books for me!