Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy New Year, yeah, I know I'm late

Hope 2017 is treating everyone well so far.

I'll start with a roundup of 2016 in knitting:
I completed 27 projects!! That's a personal best that I don't see happening again too soon. Needless to say my stash is more than a little busted after that lol

2016 saw the publishing of three new patterns via my Ravelry shop. And the designing of three more that I hope to release this year (also the seeds of 4 others are currently germinating; stay tuned).

And what's on the go for 2017, you might be asking.

First and foremost, I have those three as yet unpublished patterns and their four friends to introduce to the world. I'm trying to find a charting system that will play nice with Google Docs, which is where I type up my written instructions and all the important information (gauge, size, yarn, etc). I'm trying to cut down the number of files a person needs to download for one of my patterns. Currently my patterns have a file of the written stuff and another for the charts. I'd love to combine them as I think that'll make my ebook easier for knitters rather having to find which chart they need for which design. That's my goal anyway. Once I have that figured out, I'll be putting out a call for test knitters via the Ravelry Test Pool group. Hoping to have the first three patterns up and running before June.

What else am I up to? In my personal knitting, I've decided to focus on color this year. My stranded colorwork is abysmal at best. With that in mind I went looking for something to ease my way into the twisted strands of multicolored projects. Then someone, I'm not remembering who, tweeted the link to an MKAL (mystery knit along). A different kind of an MKAL as it's a "quest" format. And it's being done in double-knitting.

Are you familiar with the technique of double-knitting?  I had learned it some time ago but hadn't thought about it in ages. It's a twist on ribbing or possibly brioche where you're knitting a two sided fabric that mirrors itself. Let me insert a picture to show what I mean:


As you can see, the colors and designs are reversed in both color and facing.  This is done at the same time while knitting in rows. Isn't that neat? I had forgotten about the technique completely until I started reading the thread for the MKAL. This also resulted in me searching for the designer (Tania Richter) and adding a "few" more projects to my queue ;) Do take a look at her designs on Ravelry. She's also on Instagram as @aetherfang

So I've gone down a bit of a rabbit-hole with the Yarn Quest and double-knitting. In my defense, I had to wait for more wool to arrive to start on the next patterns for the series.

So that catches me up on what's going on with my knitting :)

On to health news! And happily there is news to report: I finally got into physio!!! 19 months after injury, 12.5 months after the referral, I finally got in!

I've had two sessions so far and I have a short list of exercises to do at home as well as a list of things not to be doing (looking at you bending forward and sitting longer than 15 minutes at a go). I'm just happy to be moving forward and hopefully getting back to myself sooner rather than never.

And on that happy note, I'm gonna call this post complete :)

TTFN

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Not Quite Fall Catch Up and a Sneak Peek

Sorry, it's been a bit since I posted. There's been knitting afoot (not an actual foot, don't worry) and many pieces of graph paper have found their way to the recycle pile after being scribbled upon (Not to self: buy more graph paper).

It's back to school day here on my lovely island. I saw on Facebook that the kids back on the prairies went back the usual 2-3 days before the Long Weekend; still strikes me as nonsensical. I digress. It's the unofficial end of Summer now that they're back to their books and most adults are done with their vacations. Even traffic was quieter this morning when I popped over to the PO before making my way here. Still 16 days before Fall officially gets here but we all know it's creeping ever closer...

Which, of course, brings me to knitting. Because knitting keeps us warm as temperatures dwindle. And knitting is what I do regardless of season/ weather lol.

I'm up to 19 Finished Objects so far this year!!

This year's Ravellenic Games kicked off Aug 5th. The mass cast-on took place at 7:15pm Rio time, which was 7:45pm here; the first time I can recall actually being able to participate in the Mass Cast-on! Although I wasn't online during it; oh well. Maybe in 2 years I can have both. Anywho, I cast on my "Inamorata" and set to work aiming to be finished before Aug 21 and earn medal glory for Team Mine.

Things didn't quite go as planned. First, I completed the bodice on Aug 11, which was excellent. I was well ahead of where I needed to be to finish in time. And then I couldn't find the 4.0mm circular needle I needed to continue the pattern. I went through my needles in the lead up to the Games. I swatched and earmarked the needed needles for the pattern; a 3.75mm for the bodice (twisted sts) and a 4.0mm for the lower part (eyelets). But I could not find the 4.0mm!! It was MIA. My Ravellenics project had to be set aside until the 16th when I could get to Wally World and buy another. (As an aside, after the sweater was done, I was sorting through my circulars and I found 2 24" 4.0mm circulars in the box; Grrrrrrr!) I finished the sweater with 1 day to spare, on Aug 20th. And here it is:

I used Diamond Luxury Collection Fine Merino DK in color 8974, a bluer aqua shade. So I was awarded my medal in the Sweater Triathalon by Bobicus :) I also earned the coveted laurels for cables (the bodice), lace (the eyelets and bottom edging), stash (over 6 months? pooh, this yarn was in my stash more like 5 years!!) and mine (this beauty is mine! all mine! mwahahahah!!). I think I did alright by my team.

My last post, I mentioned a series of patterns my little mind has come up with. The first of the seven is done! And by done, I mean knitting is finished, the picture has been snapped and I have both written and chart forms finished! It's not released yet as I want to have at least half the designs ready so i can have the ebook set up at the same time. Drum-roll, please...

Here it is, the "Light Reel Cowl"!

Moss st and rope cables, in a worsted weight wool (shown in Knit Picks "Wool of the Andes Worsted" color: currant), the Light Reel Cowl is a fairly simple piece to knit. I started knitting it on Aug 20 and cast off on Aug 24; hence FO #19 for 2016!!

I'm calling the series/ ebook "All the Jigs and Reels".  My inspiration is the 7 basic solo dances I learned in Irish dance. I'm going more or less in order of learning, so my first piece is the Light Reel Cowl, the light reel being the first dance learned after, more or less, mastering your 3s and 7s. In the introduction paragraph, I compare 3s and 7s to knit and purls for a dancer; I can be almost poetic at times! The cables are 4sts wide and have a 4rnd repeat; reels are in 4/4 time. And I used 7 repeats of my basic layout to form the cowl circumference; 7s move the dancer from side to side across the practice floor or stage. I might have been stretching with that last one lol.

The second pattern is in the works; I have the knitting roughly half done, as I've been tweaking the rough chart as I knit and making adjustments here and there. It's called the "Light Jig Tam" and features a braid cable (6sts) centered in each of 8 wedges of Moss st; light jigs are in 6/8 time ;) I'm knitting this one top-down in a worsted weight wool and am absolutely in love with both yarn and color (Patons Classic Wool in "royal blue"; very me, very yummy). Unfortunately no pics yet. As soon as I can, I will get a few and share.

Next up will be a project, as yet undecided, inspired by the Single Jig and following that (and rounding out the soft-shoes dances) will be the "Slip Jig Shawl". I'm looking forward to that one!! I love shawls and the slip jig has always been my favorite dance :) I'll round out the series with the three hardshoe basics: treble reel, treble jig and hornpipe. I'm introducing each pattern with a short bit about the dance it gets its name from. I'm hoping to have both functional, knittable designs and educate people on my second love: Irish dance. I think it's a perfect pairing for Knit, Dance, Repeat Designs.

And that, my friends, is all the knitterly (and dancerly) news I have to share with you :) Hope you have lots of wonderful knits ready for the cooler weather!

TTFN



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Can You Be Over-Inspired?

I have a feeling I might be. I had an idea that I thought would result in a new pattern. But after looking at how complicated that would be with all I want to do, I split that into 3 design ideas... which then became four...

Long story short: I'm in the midst of 7 new patterns!! One is all ready to be knit and photographed. The others are at various stages.

This is the first time I've had such a cohesive idea and I've decided that besides being available individually, they will also be available as my first e-book, all through my shop on Ravelry; Knit, Dance, Repeat Designs.

I'm kind of hyped up about this, to be honest. It's one of those things that just came together and blasted all the cobwebs out of my head.

I can tell you that the first pattern is for a cabled cowl, knit in worsted weight wool. That's all I'm saying for now.

In other knitting news, the Ravellenic Games are off and running, and I'm hard at work on my "Inamorata" (Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark; Knitty.com) for Team Mine (team of the Selfish Knitters and Crocheters group). I lost 5 days waiting to be able to buy a 4.0mm/US6 circular needle; I swore I had one before the Games started! But, of course, when I come to the point when the knitting moves from the 3.75 to the 4.0, I can't find one! I digress. A new 4.0mm is happily knitting away with some of the lovely Diamond Luxury Collection Fine Merino Superwash DK that's been in my stash since... well it was already deep stash when I moved here almost 4 1/2 years ago, lol. It's color 8974, a greener shade of aqua. Here's my progress pic from Aug 12. Sorry; it's the only one I have so far.

And that, my friends, is where I'm at in everything yarn and knitting :)

TTFN


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Off Topic, Sort of. A Dance-y Look at my Health

Off topic in that this post isn't about knitting. On topic because it is about me and my life and that's kind of what this blog's about too, sometimes.

I'm still waiting to get into physio. I think I've mentioned that as an aside a couple times. Thing is, I've been waiting to get in since December *sigh* I'm beyond frustrated with the system at this point.

But I have something behind me that a lot of people don't. I have dance training.

That might not sound like a big thing, but if not for it, I don't know if I'd be walking at all right now. Because my dance training (13 and a half years of actual instruction) gave me the knowledge of the benefits of stretching.

So, I'm putting myself through a slowed down (roughly half an hour to 45 mins) and no bounce version of what we used to do before class. I'm really focusing on sitting up and keeping my posture straight. And I take some of the sideways moves a bit easier on my right side. I'm not trying to make my existing injury any worse!

I was doing some stretching now and then. I wasn't really committed to it though. Now, I'm more driven to do it. I'm starting to believe I'll never get into the physio program at the hospital here and if I don't take care of myself, who will? So, I've stepped it up and I'm making it part of my day. Right up there with my little daily walks.

I'm only into day 2 of my new routine but I already feel better. Like I'm doing something instead of sitting around waiting for something that might never come. Focusing on the positive has never been one of my strong suits (I've often said I'm a realist with pessimistic tendencies) but doing this has me feeling positive :)

From the time I got hurt (last June) until December-ish, I gained roughly 25lbs. I know it was because of going from being active to being a lump. When everything you do, including breathing, hurts you, you tend to not want to do anything. That doesn't mean I was happy about it. In February I started paying better attention to my situation. I determined to start walking a bit every day. That's paid off; I'm down roughly 16lbs!! That has me feeling better too :)

So, that's where I'm at: down about 2/3 of what I absolutely want gone weight-wise, and working on improving my muscle flexibility and a bit of stamina too. I confess, I was trying to do some toe-stands this morning. Which I realize might not be the wisest thing to do in barefeet with one foot having no feeling from the ball up through the toes lol But if I don't try things, how will I know how far I can do? And this is why I'm back to taking my full compliment of meds. I hadn't been taking one of them on a regular basis. But stepping up my activity level and the humidity lately has me back on everything. Better that than pain I could scream from, I say.

So that's it from me today. The sun is shining on my corner of my Island and I'm feeling better than I have in quite awhile.

TTFN

Friday, July 22, 2016

Woot! FOs 16 & 17 Plus News

This post puts me back in "regularily" scheduled posting. Well, maybe not scheduled but the subject matter is back on point. Today I'm updating my knitting news.

I can't remember if I told you that I finished my Zephyr Cove. I did and it turned out really nicely; have a peek:

It took 646 yds and was FO 16 :) I'm on a roll this year!! Also, because I finished this in June, it made me eligible for the draw in the monthly KAL in the Romi group :) And I was one of 2 winners for the month!! I chose the Simee Dimeh pattern as my prize; now I just need to find enough colors to make one!

And there's another FO too! I finished the bag I was designing :) Here is Watch the Clock:
And the special thing about Watch the Clock is, you can knit one too :) I have the pattern for sale on Ravelry as of Tuesday (the 19th of this month). Check out the pattern page on Rav for more details.

Something to add about Watch the Clock: this is the first design I've ever included charts with. I used the incredibly easy and clear Stitch Fiddle to make my charts. I'm so pleased with their site!!  If you need to do any charting, I highly recommend them.

I'm currently working on Vertices (Rosmary (Romi) Hill; Ravelry download) in two colorways of KnitPick Stroll Fingering. For Color 1 I chose "Spectrum Handpainted"; color 2 is "Train Station tonal". It looks like rainbows and storm clouds; hence my project name lol :) This one is a fairly quick knit and the garter st sections are great for tv/ movie watching. It's also an adaptable pattern: it's written for different weights of yarn and you can do options for doing all one color or following the striping. Here's my latest progress pic:

And about sums it up for today :)

TTFN

Monday, July 4, 2016

Thank You

The post I had go up yesterday, was a silly one. The one I'm writing today isn't. I'm writing this on paper; it's around 6:30am NDT on July 1, 2016.

100 years ago this very morning one of, if not the, bloodiest battles of World War I was fought; the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, the first Battle of the Somme.

As I now live in Newfoundland that has special significance. The very fabric of the Dominion of Newfoundland was changed that day. So many young men lost, lives altered. I encourage you to watch any of the specials the CBC has put together; to somewhat understand what it means to the people of this island, that at that time wasn't part of Canada (Canada and Newfoundland were officially united on April 1, 1949). Newfoundland paid a terrible price. Links are at the end of this post.

The causes of WWI (aka The Great War, The War to End War, etc.) are many. The terms imposed against Germany at the Treaty of Versailles on November 11, 1918 in many ways paved the road for WWII. But many people here ask why the first happened at all. Why were those men sent to the slaughter on July 1, 1916?

I'm a rare case amongst my generation: I heard firsthand accounts of WWI as achild from my Grandfather. He was born in Belgium in December 1907. He wasn't yet 7 years old when Germany invaded in 1914. His father died in mid-October, leaving a widow and two small boys, one nearing 7, the other just 3.
My Grandfather and his younger brother ages 4 and about 6 months; spring 1912?
WWI wasn't something I just heard as a footnote to WWII to school, it was part and parcel of my Grandfather's childhood, much the same as the Depression was to my maternal Grandfather's.

There's no excuse for the men of the Newfoundland Regiment to have been sent over the top that day. The British commanders had word that the Germans knew about their plans and deeply entrenched on their side; it shouldn't have happened.

But there was a reason those men were there. For most it probably had more to do with the paypacket than any idea of "King and country". I'm sure some were aware that innocent people had had their homeland invaded, and the thought of their own wives and children/ mother and siblings/ grannies and sweethearts in that situation was enough to want to do something about it.

Simply stated, if the combined British, Irish, Scottish, Newfoundland, Canadian and American troops hadn't gone over, I for one, wouldn't be here today.

Today has dawned with bird song, a brilliant blue sky and puffy white clouds. Later, I will join others in remembrance of a horrific event that changed the lives of every family on this island I now call home. It almost feels odd for it to be so peaceful this morning. Today, while Newfoundlanders remember their fallen, I'm thinking of a boy who was 8 years old 100 years ago today, already the man of the house. And I'm remembering one of the most important things he ever told me, some 70 years later: when others are remembering their loss, we must remember to say "Thank you".

Thank You

Newfoundland at Armageddon
Trail of the Caribou

Thursday, June 30, 2016

One Day I'll Be Drummed Out of Canada

Let me start by saying this post doesn't concern either my knitting or the furry members of my family. Weird, right?

This post got its start because Roomie said something about buying Kraft Dinner next payday, and I internally cringed. I intensely dislike KD; the watery, supposedly "cheese" sauce makes me want to gag. And then I started thinking about all the things that Canadians are supposed to like or do that I don't.

First is my aforementioned dislike of KD, which people seem to think of as our national dish.

Secondly, I don't "do" maple. Period. Not in syrup. Not in oatmeal. Not in doughnuts. Nope, not for me. And before you suggest I can't stomach the sweetness, as a kid I used to sneak mouthfuls of corn syrup. And I can drink Purity syrup (a Newfoundland staple) straight, without mixing it with water. I can handle sweet. I just don't get the big deal about maple. It's tree sap, people; why not go lick a birch or elm and see what that tastes like?

Further evidence I'll be thrown out: I don't like Tim Horton's. Not the doughnuts. Definitely not the coffee (to be fair, I don't like any coffee). And that steeped tea? It should be listed as a crime against teas!! I can walk be a Timmie's without a problem; no temptation for me at all. And that *has* to be un-Canadian, doesn't it?

Ok, enough food reasons to throw me out on my kiester, what else?

I did not get on the Blue Jays bandwagon last year. I don't care if they're the only Canadian team in MLB, I will never cheer for them. Bring back the Expos and I might start rooting for a Northern team. Until then, Go, Twins!!

I do not insert the letter and/or sound "eh" into my sentences while speaking. Actually, the only person I recall ever doing this was an old fella who said "Eh?" instead of "Pardon?" when he couldn't hear what someone said. Oh, and Bob and Doug Mackenzie, but that's shtick.

I never found "Due South" funny. Paul Gross is an amazing actor, don't get me wrong. He's been brilliant in both big and small screen projects (his role as Kevin Crocker on "Republic of Doyle" comes to mind). But "Due South"? Nope, not even a brilliant actor could save that one for me.

I don't understand the obsession with bacon. Ok, in my defense, I'm actually allergic to anything coming from a pig: porkchops, bacon, whatever you list can be spelled p-o-i-s-o-n to me. So, yeah, bacon-topped everything just doesn't appeal. Anyone for a nice turkey drumstick?

And that last one brought us back to food lol Funny how that happens, isn't it? We're a nation that thinks with our stomachs.

Or our throats, because that reminds me of something else: beer. I cannot drink beer; I can't get passed the smell. Beer, to me, is gross. And it's not like I'm some teetotaler; I drink on a fairly regular basis when I go out. I usually go for a rum and cola, a pina colada if I'm feeling festive. Or a whiskey*, neat, if it's been that kind of day/week. (* in my mind there is only one whiskey: Jameson. on less than a handful of times I have allowed Bushmills to pass my lips. That's it; after all, it was a bottle of Jameson that awoke poor Finnegan at his wake ;) ) Give me a shot of Screech, a bottle of Schnapps (peppermint preferably, but peach or butter ripple have their place), etc. But not beer. Call me un-Canadian or what have you, this girl is not a beer drinker.

Hmm. what else? I watch hockey; I even cheer for a Canadien team ;) (see what I did there?) The Holiday Season is not complete without hearing Bob and Doug Mackenzie's "12 Days of Christmas" at least once. And since they've decided to change lyrics in "Oh Canada" to make it "more inclusive", I say we scrap it and replace it with either The Arrogant Worms' "Canada is Really Big" or "We Are the Beaver". Either would provide us with a majestic anthem at the Olympics or other international sporting events.

On the basis of these points, I might be allowed to stay (I say might, because I'm pretty sure the whole beer, bacon and Tim Horton's segments of the population are gonna lobby to have me tossed.). I'm hopeful anyway. Lucky thing St. Pierre and Miquelon are only 25 clicks off the coast from here; I hear a lot of expatriots wind up in France... and they have rum. This could work in my favor...

If one day I do get drummed out


P.S. Happy Birthday, dear Canada, from a 2nd generationer (Dad's side), and immigrant's daughter (1st generation; Mum's side) who did the unthinkable and moved east from out West and didn't stop in Ontario, instead plunking herself on this lovely Rock, even though she still can't swim


P.S.S I wasn't kidding; "Canada is Really Big" or "We Are the Beaver" should be made the anthem. Have a listen and tell me what you think; personally I'm leaning a bit more towards "Canada is Really Big"
Canada is Really Big
We Are the Beaver