Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Today's lesson, or, Scattered Pearls

greencardi1greencardi2
Alright, Green Baby Cardi. A lesson in gauge, counting, measuring, and generally paying attention. The first photo is of the back. Working from the pattern by Michelle Rose Orne in VK Summer '07 I cast on and worked in seed stitch, working in a more and more scattered pattern as I moved up the back. I worked left and right-leaning decreases in the centre of the back for shaping, and after about two or three fairly short evenings, had bound off. Fantastic.

I began the left front panel. Working in the same way, with scattered purl stitches throughout the section, I completed it in a day. Brilliant.

Not so brilliant was the rather glaring discrepancy in the size of back and front sections. Now, I'm aware that I did not gauge as thoroughly as I should have (I checked stitches, but not so much rows) and I know for a fact that I occasionally lost count of the rows I had knit, but I am certain that I checked the length of the front against the length of the back. I remember doing it! Unfortunately, there is little evidence of that to be seen. Even more sadly: neither piece is the right size.

So it's off to the frog pond with them both, a hard-learned lesson in impatience and the value of precision.

Beyond the Curtain, or, What Curtain?! It's 2007 for goodness sake!

Very little in the way of actual planning or preparation for the Super Dance Expedition to Moscow has happened, however, I have commenced Operation Find-Out-If-I-Can-Knit-On-The-Plane. I read, sadly, on the Knittyboard that EU regulations prohibit knitting needles in carry-on luggage (though they do allow pens and pencils; I fail to see the logic). Grr...It's a long flight, and no matter how fabulous a novel I have with me, I think I'll start craving some sock yarn at some point. BUT, today I read on the lovely blog The Giving Flower about the author's "airplane knitting" on her flight from Germany to the US. So I have renewed - but hesitant - hope for on-flight knitting. Let's all hope I fly out on a day with low security alert warnings, happy airport security officers and cheerful flight attendants. That would be super.

I have some knitting to show you as well as some goodies from my dear aunt, but I'm blogging from work, the things to show you are at home, and I have no way of uploading photos here anyway; you'll all just have to wait! :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

In a blur, or, Heavy

Firstly, an apology. Upon further examination, I realise that many, far too many, of my pictures are rather blurry. I only got the camera at the end of June: hopefully I'll get the hang of it before my trip.

Secondly, and far more importantly, a sad statement on the state of women's healthcare. I spent the better part of an hour weeping yesterday. Reading of the horrifying, abysmal, and shameful treatment of a woman in physical crisis strikes very deeply and very personally for me, and it just broke my heart. I ended up yelling - not at, but - near The Man about how healthcare professionals think they can push women around because we must be clueless as to our own health. We are emotional, excitable, hormonal: how can we possibly be taken seriously? The fact that necessary procedures and drugs are too-often denied women due to the exorbitant cost (yes, I'm a fan of socialised healthcare, alright; flawed and requiring serious reforms as our system of healthcare may be, at least I have never had to choose between my health and rent. Ever. I'm sorry we don't see eye-to-eye on this, honey, but this is just the way I see it.) is deplorable. It's just inexcusable. And that so-called professionals can then belittle and cajole women after bearing the burden of those costs, paying no heed to their considered and dispassionate concerns is utterly shameful. And it hurts me, deeply, personally, because when one woman is treated badly or condescendingly, by virtue only of her womanhood, the action hurts us all. I feel very strongly about this. If I am not personally upset by these things, if I and every other woman, nay, person, not directly affected by these events remain unaffected and unperturbed, there is little hope that this treatment will someday cease. Complacency is the disease which is holding every oppressed person down; minorities, homosexuals, women, children, the poor: we must get upset by things, we must. If I don't, what hope have I that our daughters, or daughters daughters will live in a better, more egalitarian world?

So I wept, and The Man did not understand why I was so personally upset by something happening to a woman I do not know, something which has never happened to me. And I tried to explain that what happens to one happens - in part - to us all, and that as a person and as a woman I am hurt and insulted on behalf of her, and of women stoned in Saudi Arabia, and of women who are told that their case of rape doesn't "count" in Germany (by a female judge, no less). And I explained that I hold a little fear, because if it could happen to a woman in the States, why can't it happen to me, in Canada? And I cried for her, and for us all, because it just. isn't. fair.

God help us all, if the world is really as backward as it seems.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ox and Beeties, or, Something Small

booties

My first baby garment, ever! And now I understand the allure of knitting baby clothes. The appeal of instant gratification is so lovely, and they are just so adorable! Perfect left-over stash busters, too.

The pattern is my own. Cuff-down, 2X2 rib cuff with yarn-over eyelets in the purl sections at the bottom of the cuff (to allow for the ribbon to snug the socks/booties in around the ankle)with a short row heel and simple decrease toe. They're not bad for a first attempt at sock "design" (I'm not certain that something this simple and tiny truly constitutes designing, hence the quotation marks). I am really looking forward to giving them to the mother-to-be!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Newly acquired, or, It's EASE-y Being Green

Isn't it nice to finally know what people are talking about? I've read about Lion Brand Cotton Ease from time to time, but never encountered it myself. Well, the local Michael's now carries it! I'm a big fan of supporting my LYS but, unfortunately, she just isn't open at enough non-workday hours for me to visit her regularly, and sometimes a girl just needs to buy yarn! Earlier this week - Wednesday, if I recall correctly - I felt just such a need, so it was off to Michael's to see what could be found. And find I did!

Chartreuse Cotton EaseClose-up of the green Cotton Ease worked in seed stitch

This is the beginning of a baby cardi - for one of the many babies I know of scheduled to be born next year - based on a pattern from Summer IK 07. I've altered the stitch pattern significantly so that the seed stitch edge blends into the body of the garment, with random single purls scattered across the fabric, becoming more and more diffuse towards the top. It's a nice, bright chartreuse colour - I find the onslaught of pastels and primary colours in infant and children's clothing irritating and pedantic - and is soft and lovely. And let me just say: I am so thrilled that the Cotton Ease hype is not bunk. I love this yarn. It almost feels like microfibre, but without the strange "fakey" feel so many highly finished yarns often have. Not the cheapest yarn I've used but for a tiny cardi it's lovely and also affordable.

Oh, and I have other recent acquisitions to show you! But you will juuuuust have to wait.

Un giorno bello di estate, or, Look Ahead and Grumble

Today is one of those really, truly beautiful summer days. I'm a fan of winter and late autumn and early spring (all the pollen-free months, coincidentally) and all the knitwear opportunities the season present. But some days, when the weather is lovely, and the humidity is low, when the sun shines brightly and lovingly and the grass and trees are vibrantly green, I wish - for a moment - that I could live in a land of perpetual summer. Today is such a day. And the fact that there is absolutely no one else in the office doesn't help, as it merely serves to tempt me to ditch work and go read or knit in the sun, toes in the grass, cold drink at my side. Sigh. Responsibility.

I have added to The Stash rather significantly of late - as the stash was rather minimal to begin with, it really takes very little in the way of acquisition to increase it to a large degree, proportionately speaking - and I am looking very forward to a small yarn expedition with mum tomorrow. I have a gift certificate. She has a discount card. Life is good.

With the yarn, I have started a new project. I do not have a picture, yet. Later this afternoon (not so much later; I am TOTALLY blowing off work early!) I'll take some snaps of the newest members of the yarn family and post the plans. So far, what I've done is quite adorable. I'm pleased.

Finally, on a less joyful note, why exactly is it that specialists are so damned hard to get in to see? I mean, seriously: after being diagnosed epileptic for a dozen years, I actually really need to see my neurologist. I've always been completely controlled by medication, and truly, I seem to have got off very very lucky in regard to the relative non-existence of my symptoms. But now, looking ahead, I need to see him. The soonest appointment? November 14. November-freaking-fourteenth!~! I am quite hoping that by then, the appointment will be too late! So now it's another unnecessary visit to the GP just so she can promise to refer me to someone else. Which, frankly, bites (how eloquent, I know) because I do like my neuro quite a bit; he's a great guy, and seems to have many women patients who are in a similar "stage of life", so he is very well versed in the many issues I am facing.

It's frustrating that, after 12 years of faithful pill-taking, and EEG's and CT-scans and MRI's that I now have to feel worried and fearful. I don't like it. There is enough going on, just generally, that I do not want the added stress of the many strings of "what-if's" that rattle through my brain daily. So I take my vitamins and avoid researching the topic because it's all research I've read before and only serves to make me more worked up than had I just not read up on it at all. Argh.

On deck for tonight: concert downtown with The Man, and tomorrow: yarn! And looking forward: the Glengarry Highland Games next weekend, at which I should see a dear old friend on whom I have not set eyes in nearly 5 years. Squee!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

UFO:Undeniably Finished Object, or, at long last!

The Kilt Hose

cables1cables4cables2cables3

Pattern: from the article "A Better Sock from the Toe Up" by Ann Budd in the Summer '07 IK, with cable patterns from: Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book, and The Girl from Auntie using the two-circ method. Adaptations for calf-increases are my own.

Materials: Phildar Preface in Cream on 2.5mm Aero circulars.

Cost: approx. $20 yarn and $7.50 needles.

This was a loooong knit, but worthwhile and oh-so rewarding. I used the middle eastern cast on and side increases on the toe, a simple 4X2 rib for the foot and a short-row heel. The Girl from Auntie's Simple Celtic Cable runs up the centre of the shin of the stocking, and the Hollow Oak cable pattern from VK up each side. There are double increases at the centre back to allow for calf-shaping, and the increases continue the ribbing pattern in kind. I switched back to the 4X2 rib a little earlier than I feel I truly ought, and continued in 1X1 ribbing for the section of stocking which lays under the turn-over cuff. The cuff is worked in smocking stitch (also obtained from VK) and it is a dream! I have designs on knitting something small and adorable for someone entirely out of smocking stitch. It's just that. much. fun!

There are a few errors, little things that only I (or one of you eagle-eyed knitties!) would ever notice, but they fit perfectly (so exclaimed the groom when I spoke with him on the phone early on the day of the wedding!) and looked lovely and suitably fancy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Grr...flickr...or, Sooner Than I Thought

Last night saw several hours of hangout-time with two of my dearest cousins, who live in Alberta. I hadn't seen them in two years, and now I've spent two good evenings in one week with them! Bliss!

Flickr was all figglety this morning, and refusing to upload much in the way of pics. But here's one of the many I now have of the hose; evidence of the fun and muddy reception can be seen:

DSCF0141
**I highly recommend clicking the pic and viewing it on flickr in the larger size!**

To tide you over until tonight, when I'll do a whole post on them. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Something good, or, Ding! Dong! The bells are gonna ring!

There's something strange and satisfying and special about having a secret. Even more special, is when we are commissioned with possessing the secret of a friend, a joyous secret, something dear. I have spent the past few days with the knowledge of just such a secret, and it has been sweet and lovely.

Ah, Saturday. May I just say: thank God it is over. It rained. It rained a LOT. There was a downpour at exactly 2pm, precisely when the ceremony was scheduled to begin. The bridal party hid out under a large umbrella, under a large tree - where a very strange and effusive woman, who was picnicking nearby, kept talking to us and trying to rub my sister for good luck - for five minutes until the sky cleared and the sun came out. The ceremony was nice and not too short - my attitude is: you're planning to be married forever, so why not take half an hour to have a nice ceremony and speak some words? - and precipitate-free. The song I had chosen to sing during the signing of the register went well - big kudos to The Man for discerning and learning the piece in only two weeks - and everyone looked beautiful.

The party - or, hoe-down, as it may perhaps be better called - was fabulous. Lots of food - potluck! - lots of wine, two kegs, which had to be replenished with the purchasing of many two-fours about halfway through the dinner - ummm....we're hosers... - some lovely Dominican cigars, and much, much merriment! I had my 7 closest cousins all in the same place, at the same time, something which has not happened in near-on to a decade; I hadn't realised how much I'd missed it. I had WAY more wine than I should have, an entire cigar, managed not to mess up the song for the first-dance too badly, though it was nearly an hour after dinner concluded, during which I had done much imbibing. A fun and memorable, if un-remembered, time. I was exhausted and dehydrated the next day, but thanks to the skillful application of 2am pizza, fluids, vitamins, and extra-strength ibuprofen, pretty good. I slept all day. It was wonderful.

steph

And toward the end of the night, I learned something wonderful, simple words whispered in confidence, and I've been ecstatic since.

Of course, with all the madness and the partying, I wasn't able to snap a really quality shot of the hose. I'll remedy that and post the details soon.

Friday, July 13, 2007

At long, long, last, or, Let the Sun Shine!

The hose are finished. I finished casting off the second stocking at about 7:05 this morning, having stayed up until after 1am last night casting off the first stocking, soaked them quickly under the bathtub faucet and blocked them. Lacking proper sock blockers, I pinned them out on a mesh sweater drier, where I block all my sweaters. Hopefully, they will be dry by this evening when I get home after work. Let's keep our collective digits crossed.

I'll take pics before I unpin, and oodles tomorrow when they are in situ and fully kiltified (like that? I just made up that word. I like it). Again, hopefully, there will be lots of natural light by which to take stunning pictures. At the moment, sources are calling for scattered showers/thunderstorms through the afternoon. Which is when the outdoor, non-tented ceremony is scheduled to take place in a park. We shall see.

The stockings look good, the rehearsal was relatively free of actual rehearsing, but a great deal of fun was had - the groomsmen, none of whom I had ever met before, are all fantastic guys, and I'm looking forward to partying with them tomorrow night - and all the many parents involved mingled pleasantly despite all the divorces and present ex's (yes, both my parents and the FBIL's parents are split, and all but his mother have now found new spouse's. It's absolute madness).

Sigh. The chaos and general craziness are almost over, and I found myself actually getting excited for this wedding yesterday evening! I've been so stressed and pre-occupied what with wedding issues, work issues, and that car accident, that I've found it difficult to really be 'into' this wedding. But yay! Lil' Sis will be married in 26 hours! I'm very happy for them both.

My promise: good, beautiful pics of the hose as soon as possible. A full documenting of the hose and the wedding is to come!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just text, or, What a Smockery!

I know, I know, another one without a picture. And I have things to show you, too! Grr. I have appointments in the early afternoon on Thursday, so hopefully I'll have some nice sunshine to take some nice shiny pictures for you. Backyard photoshoot time!

The kilt hose are probably about 7 hours from finished, maybe less. And I have three and a half words for you: I love smocking-stitch! Oh my word, it is just lovely. It's easy to do, easy to keep count (four rows!) and it's thick and textured. It's knitting a beautiful turn-over cuff. I cannot wait to see these things blocked and worn.

I'm looking forward to knitting something else, since I've been knitting these hose every day on the way to work and at home in the evening for....forever? Alright, not that long, but it will be nice to start something new, or tie up some of those loose ends (check the sidebar).

I do have other things to say, and some of it is non-knitting related, but for now, kilt hose. I have a cold Creemore on my coffee table, some ice cream in the freezer, and many hours of knitting in my near future!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Spandex tubes! or, Now with a title

**Now with 100% more title!**

Grr, now blogger won't let me post titles, either! Hmph...blogger...

There is something deeply satisfying about being asked by a friend to make a dress that she has been hoping to wear for several years. A lovely girl from dancing asked me to make her and her friend from high school dresses based on a picture from a magazine circa 1988. Brightly coloured, spandex tank dresses. So I measured them carefully, calculated negative ease, broke out the old rolls of wallpaper, and chalked out some girl outlines! I was rather wishing I had a serger by the end of it, but with only two seams, and simple topstitching around the neckline, armscyes and hem, I was finished fairly quickly, and was really pleased with the result! They were surprisingly flattering, and both girls seemed very happy with their dresses. Have some pictorial evidence:

commencement dresses

In other news, our puppy is fluffy and clean, we have laundry laundrying at this very moment, and things are coming along. I'm feeling inarticulate, so I'll sign off, and go work on those never-ending hose.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Almost, but not, or, Another Verse, now in REverse!

I would just love - love! - to deliver the kilt hose on Monday evening when I see my sister and her fiance for some pre-wedding reception set-up. But we shall see. I'm about 2 cm away from starting the turn-over cuff. I'm faced with the realisation that I will have to knit the cuff inside-out, and I'm not entirely certain that doing a cable pattern in reverse is going to prove entirely simple. So I'm thinking I'll just knit in the opposite direction, maybe with a wrap to keep the stitches from gapping...

Pizza at Colonnade again, tonight! I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to that pizza.

Huh, or, HUH?!

Ever have one of those WTF?! moments? Like when you log onto Facebook to find that some guy you dated 4 years ago is now on there and there's his picture and you think: "How - exactly - did THAT happen? What was I thinking?" Not because he's such a bad guy but just because he's...

I mean...huh?!

Largely unscathed, or, Another Episode at the Pizzaria

Ahem, as you may have noticed, I got a little sidetracked at work today.

Working alone in an office is just...frankly, it sucks, so to keep myself from losing my marbles entirely, I check out my blogroll, which requires me to check out my blog, and I've just sort of tired of the look of it. It was pretty, and all, and I still like that header but it was time for a change. And it seems significant that I'm just past the 100 post mark (totally missed it; completely lost track!) and that I, and my knitting, are in very different places from the places we started out 100 posts and 9 months ago.

Most of the blog construction successes were had at home, so it isn't as though I really spent an entire work day messing around in my template. Just, you know, an hour.

But now I need to sleep. I've felt *off* for about two days now, and I suspect exhaustion won't do me any favours. But - ooh! - tomorrow: dinner with The Man's best friend, Chuckles, and our very dear, Vancouver-dwelling friend, 20Scotch, and we are going to the BEST FREAKING PIZZA PARLOUR in Ottawa. Possibly, the Western Hemisphere. I don't know for certain, but it's a very real possibility. If you are in Ottawa, or happen by sometime, I recommend stopping by Colonnade Pizza on Metcalfe at Gilmour and ordering, oh, anything. The mediterranean with extra mozza is my personal favourite. Very gooey. We were there with the same two friends on Canada Day - July 1st - which I totally neglected to blog, due in large part to my entire lack of photos of the day. There's an explanation, but it'll keep until some less late-at-night time.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Machine Room, or, A Word of Advice

Should you ever be in a position where you are responsible for leasing office space, I highly recommend ensuring that the spaces you consider are located in buildings with sufficient, appropriate, and accessible storage space for archival purposes. Should you fail to do so, you may find that one of your little workers, working in the office on her own, may have to walk down the street to another office building, where storage space has been acquired, to help storage rental movers load the sheet-metal shelves into the very small elevator - two trips - travel up to the top
floor of the building, carry them up an additional flight of stairs to the MACHINE ROOM on the roof, which is small, and dirty, and very very load, and filled with a boiler, and various exposed and spinning belts working machines that are noisy, travelling up and down the seven stories in the small, enclosed, elevator with the two relatively pleasant, but rather ripe-smelling gentlemen. All because you couldn't find a building with space onsite.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Context can be everything, or, A Nother Thought

Isn't it strange how there are some things I will gladly - joyfully, sorrowfully, embarrassedly - share with 3000 largely-nameless, largely-faceless people on the knittyboard that I am not willing or able or ready to share with my closest, dearest friends and family in my actual, real life? The Board is such a comfort, so often, for that very reason. In so many ways, it is such a blessing.
The oddity is that this blog may be where my two circles of friends and acquaintances intersect. I have knitty-friends reading this blog, and I have "real" friends reading from time-to-time. And occasionally I wonder if the imaginary and interwebby wall between the two worlds will collapse, and everything will comingle and conjoin. I'm not sure I'd be ready for that if it happened.
So let's keep them separate, shall we? My brain isn't ready for added complication!

Very very very little time left, or, Those Damned Kilt Hose, or, Whose Bright Idea Was This, or, Mine: I am the Idiot

I am posting from work, because if I post from home, I will inevitably waste precious and very limited hose-knitting time. They are about 25 cm long, from the tip of the short-row heel to the live stitches on needles, and if I remember correctly - and given how many times I've looked at the post-it with the measurements on it, I believe I am correct - the FBIL's leg is 26 cm from heel to bottom of the kneecap, which is where the fold on the stockings should sit. So I'll complete the side and front patterns I'm on right now, do a little 1X1 ribbing to snug them in above the calf, and then on to the turn-over cuff! I think we're doing some sort of honeycomb or smocking stitch. Honestly, I'm going to do whichever is fastest. I'm quite open to suggestions if anyone is feeling informative and merciful.
I have 11 days to get these things finished (despite whatever madness that counter in the sidebar may be telling you). And while this has turned all insanity, I will admit to two things: I have, actually, quite enjoyed knitting these (I won't mind doing a second pair for The Man), and, if I do say so myself, they are freaking beautiful. Thank you, Vogue Knitting Encyclopedia, for the Hollow Oak pattern, and thank you, oh thank you, dear, sweet, Girl from Auntie, for the simple celtic cable pattern: I, truly, could not have done this without you.

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