Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yarn Garden

I knit another hat - in a beige/white cotton twist yarn. It is a plain, rolled brim hat. I tried to put in a couple of cables to give it some texture, but they just didn't take. The yarn is kind of splitty, and it kind of acts like it doesn't like itself, in that it pulls and gaps at the K2togs at the brim. I would show you the hat, but it exceeds the boredom limits of even this blog. I hate this hat. But it's one that mum requested. So I decided to try to make some hat accessories.

These little flowers are addictive. And cute.

They're also a great way to use up little leftover bits of yarn.

I started with the patterns on the Head Huggers page, but changed them up a bit, in that they suggested cutting the yarn after each petal. Instead, I just cast on using the same strand, eliminating the need to weave in about 12 ends. This also means I can start and finish a flower in about 10 minutes. So fun. And gratifying to see my little knitted garden grow so quickly.
And now, I have to get back to my dinner. I somehow managed to choose the most complicated recipe on Allrecipes.com in my quest to find an 'easy, lots of leftovers' casserole.

Monday, February 26, 2007


It's funny how you come across a new knitting project.

I was taking a look at my stats, and taking particular interest in the key words that have lead people to this little blog. I found one very interesting search (and I mean "interesting" in a way different than the really wacky search terms are "interesting").

Someone got here by searching for "knitting a picc line cover".


I did the search myself, and found this free pattern at KnitPicks.

When my mum was in the hospital, just before her diagnosis, she had a PICC line put into her arm. It'll stay there until she's finished with chemo, and it's kind of a pain in the ass. It's in her upper arm, and can't get wet, meaning no showers for eight months. And it's ugly. The nurses wrap it well every week after the ports are cleaned, and then cover it with a little mesh tube, kind of like the ones they use for wine bottles at the liquor store - and also ugly. A knitted cover is therefore a great idea. I cast on, and after some trial and error with different yarns - this one's too stretchy, this one's too scratchy, this one's juuust right - I finally got a nice fit, in a lovely, soft merino.

And it was fast. So I cast on a few more, and threw in some cables. I love cables, now that I don't have to fiddle with the teeny, little cable needle. So, so many thanks to Wendy and her tutorial on cabling without a cable needle.

I got three covers out of one ball of Zara fine merino. I'm planning to do up a bunch more and send them with mum to the cancer centre, since a lot of people were asking her about it during her last visit.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Learning About Beauty

On Monday, I went with my mother to a Look Good, Feel Better session at the Windsor Cancer Centre. This is a program sponsored by mainly cosmetic companies. They host sessions for cancer patients to learn about make-up and how to care for their skin. They also talk about wigs and other head coverings, like scarves, hats, and turbans.

It was an interesting afternoon. I sat behind my mum while she played with a box full of goodies from MAC, Estee Lauder, Clinque, and ... Bonnie Bell.
I got a few tips on make up application, and a chance to see, once again, how strong my mother is. My mother had her head shaved two weeks ago. I don't think I've ever been so proud of anyone as I was of my mum when she walked into the room, sat down, and took off her hat. She said her head was hot. She said that she got the courage to do it because a 'young girl' had already taken off her scarf. (The 'young girl' turned out to be just about exactly my age, as she and her sister had gone to high school with me.)
They were the only two comfortable enough (or brave enough) to go bareheaded.

My mum was glad to get some yummy new make-up, and some better ways to use scarves and hats. I was glad to get all the stuff my mum didn't want. And everyone liked my mum's hat and asked where she got it. She proudly told everyone, "My daughter knits my hats for me".
Visiting also gave me the chance to deliver a few more hats. I've been busy with the circulars.

I like this one best, I think.

This blue and black one was started (and about a quarter of it done) while I sat at the side of the 401, waiting to report as a witness of a three car accident near Woodstock.

That's my mum. :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Paczki Day!

I celebrated Fat Tuesday by eating the first paczki I've had since I moved away from Windsor.

However, with everything that's been going on lately, my parents forgot to order ahead (you MUST order ahead in Windsor) and so couldn't get the really good ones from the specialty Polish bakery. These were still decent, but kind of stale. Overall, not really worth the indulgence.

Wishing you a fatty, deep-fried, fruit-filled Tuesday!

I think I feel ill.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Babies Are Fun to Shop For

Okay, lots has been happening - nothing in the way of news, but more like the little bits that fill up the end of the newscast. Fluff. All the good (and not so good) stuff that fills in your life between Events.
I've been down to Windsor twice in the past week, and I'm just getting kind of worn out. I've also been knitting like a mad person, trying to finish gifts and get hats done. And I did get it all done, despite broken cables and yarn shortages.

Last weekend, I came down for Cathy's baby shower. When Cathy first announced she was pregnant, I was ready. I had had an inkling of a baby-premonition, and had recently finished a Baby Love blanket. It was waiting patiently, carefully folded in my gift drawer. I do love this pattern.

Then she found out it was going to be twins. One a boy, and the second unknown (at the time). I wanted to try out a different pattern, not only for variety, but also because I don't really like absolute matching of belongings between twins. They will be unique individuals and I wanted them to have unique gifts.

So I cast on Fibercrack, from JenLa, in a basic, blue and white dishcloth cotton (Bernat handicrafter). I wanted something beautiful, but also considerate of the tendency of babies to throw up a lot.

This was another fun pattern, and I was surprised at how similar it was to Mum's old Baby Love pattern, but came out looking so different.

(I was trying here to say something about the similarity between the patterns using a lot of the same steps and techniques, yet coming out so different, and the twins having the same basic genetic material and yet will end up being two different people, while still being a lot like one another, and could not make it sound profound or poetic in any way. Moving on.)
The shower itself was fun, with people I haven't seen in a long time, fun food, fun games (like REAL fun games, not baby shower "fun" games) and a lot of gabbing. By the time the invitations were sent out, Cathy had a 'best guess' on the sex of the second twin, so the party was all pink and blue. The best of both worlds. We - all the "aunts" - can buy BOTH the frilly dresses and the cute little corduroy overalls.
Here are a few pictures from the shower, and there are lots more in the Flickr set.

The cutest little cupcakes. So... much... cuteness...

Two of the books I picked up for the kids - these are definite must haves.

More later - tired.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bien Sur

La pamplemousse est sur la table.
... Later ...
It's been pointed out to me that ce n'est pas une pamplemousse - c'est un ananas. Apparently, what little grasp I had of the French language upon graduation from high school has worn off. Oddly enough, though, I often buy grapefruit flavoured pop, and I know very well what it says on the other side of the can. I'm going to call it a brain fart and move on.
Anyway, for years, I've had this phrase running through my head, popping up anytime I see the word 'pamplemousse' or a pineapple (which is stupid). It occurred to me recently that I have no idea where this came from. It's been in my mind for so long, I thought it was 'a saying', or a phrase learned in French class many years ago.
I finally looked it up when I had on my desk (not) a pamplemousse. It turns out that it's a line from the play "Seven Stories" by Morris Panych . This was a play that our high school put on in grade 11 or 12. I was helping with the lighting, and so I heard the line repeated many, many times.
It's funny how things can stick in your brain for so long that it's just part of your thought processes.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

I snapped another Denise cable today. This is not fun.

This time I was at work, sitting at the lunch table, chatting. I was moving the stitches along the cable to knit the next stretch of the row, and describing to my friend Winston the difference between knitting and purling, when I heard the snap and froze in place. And continued to be frozen in place, just looking at the dozens of homeless little stitches in my lap, just waiting to unravel. Then I practiced my damage control and problem solving in-a-crisis skills.

I had no spare needles with me, there were too many stitches to pick up and hold with the little needle tip alone, and the blunt, broken end of the cable itself wouldn't fit through all the stitches without pulling them apart. Winston hovered near my elbow, tempted to start pestering me by pouring salad dressing down my neck or poking me with a fork while I couldn't move a muscle, but restraining himself in respect of the crisis at hand. He suggested sticking coffee stir sticks together. Um. No.

I remembered part of my Christmas gift to Jennifer - a little sewing kit. Jen is on vacation this week (in a place that is not -20 so we hate her for now), but I know where she keeps it in her desk drawer. I sent Winston running into Jen's lab in a hunt for the kit. First, he came back with a pencil tray full of paper clips. Not terribly helpful. The second time around, though, he successfully located the kit. I had him thread a needle, and ran a line of black thread through my renegade stitches. I tied the thread into a loop, and breathed for the first time in about 15 minutes.

Edge-of-your-seat stuff, here.

Guess I'm emailing Denise needles again. They're going to think I'm using the cables to strangle people, or knitting with barbed wire or something.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I've been tagged! Chelle has invited me to share six weird things about me. Some would say choosing just six will be the challenge, but they would be mean-spirited, now wouldn't they?

Okay, here goes:

1. My heritage is entirely Scottish. Both of my parents are from Scotland (Mum from Glasgow, Dad from Edinburgh). I even spent several months living in Glasgow a few years ago. Despite all this, I cannot speak in a Scottish accent to save my life. I think this may be put down to plain old stubborness. Because until I started kindergarten, I had a Scottish accent.

(I just remembered - I do tend to have a bit of an accent when I am very tired or drunk. I also use bigger words when I am tired or drunk. No idea why. My inner drunk is a Scot?)

2. When eating french fries from a fast food place, I hold a little packet of ketchup and carefully apply to each fry as I pick it up. I didn't even know I was doing this until it was pointed out to me. They taste better that way.

3. I am allergic to cantaloupe. It makes my mouth all itchy and my tongue feel thick. Why must every fruit salad contain cantaloupe? Or, if it doesn't have cantaloupe, then it has blueberries, which are also vile. (Is that weird?)

4. I have trouble remembering my birthday. Way back when I was little, we had a neighbour whose birthday was the day before mine, and I got them confused and now I always have to stop and think about it before I can answer.

5. When I was two years old or so, I had tonsillitis so severe that I stopped breathing for over two minutes. I'm better now.

6. I sleep with six pillows. Two of them go on my head and face. Again, didn't realise this was something I did until someone came in to my room to wake me up a few years ago and asked why I had a pillow over my head. At that point, though, I was only using three pillows. Things are much better now.

(One body pillow at the head of the bed, two normal pillows on top of that (I sleep with my head between them), one throw pillow to hold onto, one throw pillow on my head, covering my ear, and one throw pillow slightly to one side of the one on my head, blocking out any stray light)

I think those things are all weird enough to count.

I'm just going to tag anyone who feels like taking a moment to count the ways they're a little off.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Recovering from Yarn Fumes

This was a very, very good weekend. And perhaps best of all, it was preceeded by a couple of weeks of lovely anticipation.

Charlotte was coming to town for a conference, and had a free weekend following up. So we planned to meet up for a little yarn crawling and revelry in geekery. And things pretty much went exactly as planned.

I picked Charlotte up Saturday afternoon, and we headed to St. Lawrence market for lunch (savoury crepes and potato ... things. They were good. That's all I need to know) and the fixings for dinner in the form of fresh, handmade pasta and sauce, shrimp, and eggplant. Then it was time for the yarn crawl.

The first stop was The Naked Sheep in The Beach, which was a shop I hadn't visited before. It's a very nice shop, and I picked up some new bamboo needles to replace some long, ungainly plastic needles that have been driving me up the wall. This was also the place we saw the first Clapotis of the day - aside from the one I was wearing, of course. I warned Charlotte (a crocheter) that we would be seeing several of these as we wandered the yarn stores of Toronto. I should have kept track, but I do know it was at least three.

Next up was, of course, Lettuce Knit. It was here where the true enabling kicked in, as Charlotte found a great book of crochet patterns for babies, and we got some help picking out some Baby Ull in a warm, kind of milk-chocolate brown. I had to join in the illicit spending and picked up some of the Manos del Uruguay that I fell in love with during the knitting of the Kitty 62 hat for Rachel.

I also picked up a book that I am sure will very, very quickly become a favourite and a staple. I kind of feel like my bookshelf is honoured to have it join its ranks.

We ended our mini-yarn-crawl at The Knit Cafe, enjoying the chance to play with our new toys and relax with some delicious treats.

And we ended our day with some very geeky television watching, wherein I doomed Charlotte by getting her hooked on Firefly, which was very mean and I feel kind of bad about.

This morning, we had breakfast at Cora's (mmm, cheesy omelettes, awesome coffee, and crepes full of raspberry and cream) before I dropped Char off at the bus station for the long ride back to North Bay.

The whole visit was full of catching up (some much overdue catching up included) and lots of singleton bonding that is usually lacking when we meet up, as we're generally with a group of very married-with-children friends in Windsor. As much as I love my many couple-friends and their families, it's really nice to get a chance to connect with someone who is really in more of the same kind of place in life as I am. We haven't quite taken the fast train to bitter town, but we do both appreciate the chance to be with people who don't have to check with their 'better half' before planning a weekend away, or going out for an evening.

And as great as married life might be, single life can be pretty good, too. Especially when you include geekery and yarn.