Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 knitting & crocheting review

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Going through the photographs tonight, I realised I've been quite busy this past year. These are just a few of the items I made in 2009.

There are a few that I particularly enjoyed knitting/crocheting; my daughter's Red Riding Hoodie, my niece's granny square top, my son's skull fingerless mitts, Samm's blue sheep and my wee sil's pink dress and shrug.

In 2009, I finally completed my first sweater using a pattern I adapted.

The piece that took the most from me emotionally was my Sister's Adamas shawl. Sadly, she never got to wear it before cancer finally claimed her. The shawl is with me and will be cherished for years.

Items I knit and or crocheted this past year:

  1. Red Riding Hoodie from DomiKNITrix
  2. Cave Girl bikini from Naughty Needles
  3. Viva la Violet Dress from Knit n Style issue June 2007
  4. Shrug sz 4/6 to match the above dress, my own design
  5. A baby wrap shawl Taylor by t does wool #
  6. A cell phone cozie, my own design
  7. A blueberry bag, my own design
  8. A strawberry bag, my own design
  9. A lovely blue sheep (Sheep in Sheep's Clothing by Frankie Brown)
  10. Pumpkins
  11. 3 sets of wristwarmers for co-workers using Twist on the wristwarmers by Diana Troldahl #
  12. Basketweave scarf, my own design
  13. Slouchie hats x3, my own design
  14. Owl neckwarmer, adapted from Owl Hat & Bag
  15. Fancy victorian style wristwarmers x3 for co-workers
  16. Bebop Cardi by Lion Brand Yarn
  17. Cushman Top by Kim Biddix
  18. A felted kitty binkie for Gambit, my own design
  19. Kaleidoscope eyes scarf, my own design
  20. Pools of color scarf, my own design
  21. A crochet cap by Teresa from The Art of Crochet
  22. First pair of real socks! from the International Socks of Doom pattern
  23. A teeny tiny turtle, pattern by Pear-kitten
  24. 2 chemo caps for my dear sister from Lacy Chemo caps
  25. 6 matching sets of the Travelling bivalves Cowl by Jenny Raymond (1 set each for mother/daughters in my life)
  26. A couple dozen washcloths using a stitch I developed
  27. Halloween faces and garlands, 24 double-sided faces, 12 twirlies and one garland
  28. Kitty Kat hat
  29. Assorted stuffed animals; catamara and a jubjub which garnered 1st and 2nd place wins respectively on Neopets
  30. A couple of Calorimetry hats
  31. Adamas Shawl x2
  32. One skein baby hooded sweater
  33. Pocketbook slippers, 6 pairs
#Pattern available on Ravelry

There are likely several that I've missed in the list. Items that were made and given away before I even thought of taking a photograph.

Items that remain to be completed in 2010:
  • My son's skull blanket (only the 24 skull squares are left to knit) the 24 border squares are done (my own design inspired by DomiKNITrix skull chart)
  • A plastic bag dispenser for my daughter (my own design)
  • A pair of socks for me (International Sock of Doom)
  • The giraffe from "Itty bitty toys"
  • Totoro
  • The Heelhead scarf for my husband's best friend Nick
  • The Kenobi Jacket for hubby (needs to be frogged and restarted)
  • A raspberry bag, my own design
Not too shabby considering the crappy year it's been otherwise. I guess I could call this the silver lining to the black cloud that insists on hovering over our lives these days. I just hope that 2010 will see that cloud dissipate and a fair breeze blows good things our way.

Happy Birthday to my darling son!

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Today, 24 years ago, we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.

Happy birthday to my son.

Here he is pictured with, from left to right, his sister Karen holding grandma's cat, his maternal grandmother and her boyfriend.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How time flies

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Now that I have time again, I thought I'd post. So here I am, 4 months after my last post dancing about getting the job of my dreams... How time has flown.

Update on the job of my dreams... turned out it wasn't the dream job I wanted. I should have known right from day one when I found out I would be working for 2 bosses from 2 departments. It might have gone better if they had not competed for my work to the point that I felt like the baby that King Solomon threatened to cut in half.

And to add insult to injury, one of my bosses turned out to be quite abusive. Didn't matter what I did, it wasn't good enough. She yelled and cussed at me pretty well daily. I didn't dare say anything because we needed the money badly and the job came with a health plan. Whee!.. yeah..right... not worth the abuse.

Last Monday, I worked late getting a powerpoint presentation printed and bound for one boss. (the one who was never satisfied) She lets me in on a "little secret"... that the other boss has been gunning to get rid of me... ."Oh wonderful" I think to myself. I've reached a point where I'm tired, emotionally and physically of all the crap getting thrown at me, so the next morning I face the other boss and ask her why she wants to get rid of me. She gives me a blank look and asks me where the hell I got that from. So I tell her, she flies into a rage and goes into my other boss's office and all hell breaks loose. I'm asked to go in the office, the one who told me the other boss was gunning for my dismissal denies ever saying that and it just goes downhill from there. Wednesday morning, the axe fell. I was dismissed. Never got a chance to defend myself, explain, etc.. just out, immediately. Talk about a slap in the face. Like I said, should have known that nothing good would come of this, working for 2 competitive bosses. Lesson learned.

Why can't I get a break? Doesn't matter what I do, I always end up on the losing end. What's wrong with wanting a decent job with decent money so we're not struggling from pay cheque to pay cheque? Seems that I always have to give things up, as if I can't have more than one part of my life that's happy. It's always a struggle for me and I'm tired of the constant fight to even have just the basics of life. I have a wonderful loving husband who is plagued with health problems that can't be healed. I get the wonderful job that on the surface looked like this was it, but turns out to be a pile of crap on a fancy cracker. Mind you, looking for work a week before Christmas is not what I'd call optimum time but I don't have a choice. Don't want to end up on the street. Scary when you realise you have very little to go on. Merry frakking Christmas to us. :(

Hey, at least I can get caught up on the housework. The apartment looks like it should be declared a disaster area and get federal funding. The only thing that I managed to keep up with tenuously during the weekends while I was working were the dishes and the laundry. The rest kind of slipped away from me. I was too exhausted to do much of anything on the 2 days I was off. I'd get groceries when we were low, dishes and laundry, get the recycling out and that was it. Even switched to disposable paper plates to lessen the dishes that needed washing, sad huh.

Doesn't help that my neuropathy kicked into high gear, preventing me from sleeping decently which meant I'd wake up tired and have to drag my way through a hectic work day with feet and hands sending my brain phantom pain messages strong enough to make my foot or hand jerk in response. The stress I was under didn't help my diabetes either with blood glucose readings yo-yo'ing from one extreme to the other during the same day. I know, you're probably thinking now that I'm better off without this job. I agree, but we need money to survive which means I have to work.

The last couple of months were so bad, I couldn't share with my darling husband since he had his own beasties to battle. His blood pressure climbed to scary heights for no apparent reason about a month ago. He gets palpitations, racing heart beat and never seems to be warm enough. He's on blood pressure pills which were upped but that didn't seem to help in the first few weeks. He's still getting a high bp reading and we still don't know why. 153 over 96 is NOT normal! A heart rate over 100 beats/min is NOT normal! And this is while he's just sitting there, never mind what happens when he climbs a set of stairs or tries to do any kind of physical work! Add to that chronic kidney stones and now you know why I couldn't share what was going on at work with him. Last thing he needed to hear was that I was struggling trying to keep a job that wasn't working out.

In other news, I haven't stopped knitting or crocheting. With a 5 hour round trip daily commute, I knit/crochet my way through hats, scarves, wristwarmers, Halloween decorations, slippers, cowls, anything small and portable. Some I took pictures of, most I didn't and gave them away. I know, silly of me not to take at least one picture!

Currently working on presents which I intended to send to family. I'll keep making the items, but they'll have to wait until I'm working again before I can send them out. At least I don't lack for yarn thanks to my wonderful daughter and friends.

I also created a slouchy hat pattern that I like well enough to wear it myself! It's a nice big slouchy beret. I hate tight hats and since I wear my hair in a bun most days, a regular winter hat didn't fit well or was too tight.

On my needles, I have a neck warmer for my husband. I'm using Bernat's wool blends in the off white colorway. I really liked the owl hat pattern I'd used in the past and thought it would make a very nice neckwarmer.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Power of Sister Souls

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I received some wonderful gifts from a special friend, a sister soul, Samm. The box arrived in the post today and it really cheered me up.

I opened the box to find a darling project bag that she knit for me! and in the bag is a ball of sock yarn in really pretty colors. Guess these are next on my needles. She started something since giving me her short sock recipe. It's a very pretty pattern which makes the knitting fun and the socks fit perfectly every time! Also in the box was a book for Cat Lovers, Gambit immediately took possession of the book by laying on it. Guess he doesn't want me to read it in case I might find some incriminating information on his majesty :) There was also a very cute soap bag/washcloth for collecting bar soap ends. Since we don't use bar soap, the little bag will also be turned into a project bag. It's so cute with the green and white stripes. Add to the surprises in the box some Neopet collectibles and it just made my day. The best part though was a wee friendship bracelet that I found on the bottom of the box with the words LIVE (heart with the word IN) and MOMENT. It hasn't left my wrist. Samm, if you read this, thank you so much. You managed to cheer me up, make me smile despite the tears. Thank you.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An amazing past 2 weeks and more... Oh MY!

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Of course, I've been knitting and crocheting all this time, but there's lots more that's happened since my last post!

First bit of news. I had sent in an application for an administrative assistant in the ranks of a very large corporation. When I emailed my application, I figured there was no harm done, that my resume would fall in a huge catch all and land on the bottom never to be seen again. Boy was I wrong!!!

A week after sending in my application, I get a phone call from one of their HR advisors who asks me quite a few questions over the phone (45 minutes worth) and by the time the questions come to a stop, I am told to come in for a face to face interview the following week on a Monday! Of the hundreds of resumes I'd sent in since March, this was the first & only response! So off I go to the interview, heart in my throat, have to use the transit bus, transit train to get to the town, then use that city's transit system. Two and a half hours later, I'm standing in front of the building. It's warm, and trying to stay fresh when you're already nervous is a lost cause. I went to the public washroom, brushed my hair, applied cologne, straightened my clothing that had not fared as well through 2 and a half hours of jumping on and off transit vehicles and walked in. This interview had more questions, to which I fortunately had the perfect answers, as well as concrete examples to show what I'd done in the past. It lasted around an hour and a half. At the end of that interview, I was told I'd hear back from them by the end of the following week.

The next day, Tuesday, the phone rings, they want me to come in for an interview with the managers on Thursday at 9 am! Now that I've already done the trip once, I at least know what I'm in for which means I wear something that won't wrinkle to death on the buses and trains. I meet with the two managers, the entire interview is conducted in english and french, switching back and forth as we went. That definitely proved to them that I can speak french LOL Again, I answer a hodge podge of questions, they obviously are looking for someone who has done different types of administrative work and also someone who can handle a fast pace and changing demands at the drop of a hat. I have no problems with that since I've been doing that a long time working for different companies as a temp. Both managers seemed rather impressed with my experience and did not have poker faces as far as showing their excitement. At the end of the interview, I was told that I'd hear back by the end of the following week to which I thought to myself, of course :)

The next morning, Friday, the phone rings, they are sending me the paperwork via email for a background check and reference check and then inform me they will be proceeding with an offer when the results of the background and reference checks come back. This is the Friday before the long holiday weekend, so I fax the paperwork back this Wednesday morning (had a bit of an emergency overnight with my the next door elderly lady. She's fine, but it delayed my sending the papers on Tuesday) I called the HR advisor, explained the situation, apologized and asked if I could fax the papers to which I was told, most definitely.

Yesterday, Thursday morning, the phone rings, I have the job!!! and they are going to email my contract, to please review it, jot down any questions I may have and see you Monday!!! The HR advisor goes over the terms verbally to which I can only nod, despite the fact that I'm on the phone, as if she can see me nod, but I'm speechless! When asked for salary, I had quoted a ball park figure that I knew fell mid-range of what admin assistants receive in larger corporation. To me this amount was above and beyond what I'd made up until now, but I stuck to my guns and quoted it anyway. The HR advisor didn't even bat an eyelid, so I figured I must have done ok. During the 2nd interview, the question of salary comes up again, of course, I assume that it means I quoted too high for a starting salary, so I make sure they understand that it is up to negotiations, that I'm willing to start with a lower salary until I can prove myself, etc etc... The salary offered in the contract is MORE than I quoted!!!! My jaw is still having issues staying where it should. Every time I think about it, I can't fathom the amount quoted. I have a feeling it's going to take me quite a while to assimilate that LOL

So yes, all this to say, that I FINALLY HAVE THE JOB OF MY DREAMS!!!!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I could have sworn it was last week yesterday!

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Since my last post, I've been doing a lot of knitting, crochet and designing some patterns.

Xandy's dress is done! It came out quite nice. I did something different with the ties since I wasn't overly impressed with a simple crochet chain knotted at each end as the pattern directed. So I designed my own ties for the dress. I used one strand of the main color, dark pink in this instance and made a chain about 48 inches long. I left a tail of about 10 inches on each end. I then took one strand of the accent color used on the frill, attached it to one end and slip stitched my way back to the other end of the chain. Make sure to leave about 10 inches on each end. Took a second piece of the accent yarn, attached it the same way I did the 2nd one and slip stitched my way back to the other end. Take the finished belt and thread it through the bottom row of basketweave on the dress. Once this is done, take some pretty beads, slide the larger bead onto the yarn first, then slide the smaller bead on to make sure the larger one doesn't fall off. Put an overhand knot at the end of the yarn, snip off leaving 1/2 inch to fuzz later on. Repeat this step for each end of yarn. Voila! A very pretty tie for a very pretty dress.

I also wanted to do something about the bare arms. Since I wanted to give her some choice, I decided a shrug crocheted from the same yarn used on the frill would be a nice accessory. Looked around for a nice pattern to show off the sheen of the Bernat Satin yarn and couldn't find anything I liked. The idea of downsizing an adult shrug to fit her didn't sit right with me. So I designed one. I'll be writing up the pattern once I've tested it on a few more shrugs to make sure I got the sizing right.I absolutely love the way the yarn pooled for the shrug. It actually made a trellis pattern.

I also cast on a sweater for my 5 year old nephew. Again, this is a sweater of my own design since there are specific things I look for in a child's sweater. Roominess to grow, to wear as a layer during cold winters and easy wash. I'm not using wool since there are allergies in the family so I opted for TLC Essentials ombre. The yarn is quite lovely and is knitting up beautifully. I especially love the pooling of the yarn. Very nice. The picture is of the back part of the sweater that I did in a couple of days. I've now moved on to the front piece were I'm including some simple textural patterning to not take away from the pretty colors but just to enhance them a bit. Unfortunately, this picture of the finished back doesn't do the yarn color any justice. The actual colors are rich and dark.

This is a cardi I made, it's supposed to be for my 8 year old niece, but somehow it looks more like it would fit a 12 year old. The pattern is Bebop Cardi from Lionbrand. It's a free pattern. It was fairly easy to crochet, just not liking how big it came out. I just may end up ripping it out and starting over again.

My 15 year old niece wanted a cap for summer wear. I wanted to give her the option of wearing it with or without the flower. Using a flat button on both sides of the flower made it an easy button off or on accessory.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Time Flies!

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Wow, time does fly or so it seems. It certainly doesn't feel like weeks and months have gone by, but they have. The pain I feel in my heart is less, only by a small bit, but still, it doesn't hurt as much. I still burst out crying at the most inopportune moments, but I'm dealing with those as well. I don't think I will ever stop missing my sister, but I will continue to live my life as if she were still around since I know she's not far in my heart.

What have I been doing?

Looking for a job, any job! And there's not a heck of a lot out there. Mostly ads from temp agencies who are collecting resumes. Big whoop! And the few legitimate job ads that do show up every few days are flooded with applications I'm sure. With all the layoffs, I'm not the only one searching for a job. I keep applying with the hope that my resume will be first in line and that someone will actually read it over.

I've been knitting and crocheting a lot! I made wristwarmers for a very special friend's birthday in a lovely shade of blue, her favorite! :)

I'm still working on the Adamas shawl for a friend of a friend. But with the summer heat setting in, worsted weight yarn in a large shawl does not set well on my lap. I've also got another shawl in the works, but again, the heat is not amusing for shawl work.

I've made several more washcloths which will end up in a Christmas package for my Mom. Still have to do something else though. Sending just washcloths seems cheap in a way.

I'm currently working on a dress for Xandy. This will be for fall when she starts school! It's dark pink with a lovely frill of Bernat satin faded glory ombre shade. I'll also be doing the front bodice using the satin as well as a small frill or cap for the sleeves. Right now, the bottom frill is killing me! LOL I have 528 stitches to purl, and k2tog, yo, k1 that is taking forever to do one repeat of! But once the frill is done, I'll be going down to ONLY 264 stitches! That should speed things up.

The pattern I'm using as a base is from Knit 'N Style June 2007, Viva la Violet dress, size range 2T to 6 years. I'm knitting the size 6 just to make sure the dress will be worn more than just one season.

I've been stewing over ideas about what I want to make for Christmas presents. Just have to get them down on paper and actually start making them.

The blanket for my son is slowly growing. I have the 24 outer squares done. Started working on the first of the 24 inside squares last night. Thankfully the squares are small enough 8x8 that I don't end up with a lapful of worsted weight yarn. Much too warm for that!

My darling daughter is looking for yarn for a summer top she wants. She found it in a back issue of Sandra magazine. Model 29 I hope she finds yarn that she likes so I can knit it for her.

I started knitting a curtain. The whole thing started when I spotted a cone of laceweight yarn in a lovely teal shade that was only 2 dollars at the local Talize store! I bought it thinking I could experiment using it on my Passap 201 knitting machine. But, alas, it was not to be. The solid metal workings of the Passap literally ripped the poor laceweight yarn to shreds. So back in it's box went the Passap. Out came the crochet hook as well as several skeins of a white acrylic laceweight yarn that I didn't know what to do with and I combined the two together. I found a lovely lace pattern in my stitch encyclopedia and off I went! The curtain is 24 inches wide by about 14 inches in height at this point. It needs to reach aproximately 24 inches in height and then it will replace the faux lace curtains that are falling apart from old age in the bedroom window. I'll take pics soon! I promise!

I finally found a pattern for a fall/spring jacket or coat that I like. Mind you, it will need some modifications since the collar and lack of buttons doesn't do it for me. But what else is a knitting pattern for except to modify and make it to suit yourself!?! My darling daughter purchased a large number of Bernat Solo which is a chunky yarn and would be perfect for this jacket. The pattern I found is from the free downloads at Knit 'N Style and is called Wrap Jacket.

The oversized collar is going to be turned into hood. I'll be adding a button band since I don't like my coats flapping in the wind. And since I love cables, there will be some added cabling but that remains to be seen. I still have to work out how I'm going to do it.

I love the overall construction, just don't like the collar and closure.

And last but not least, as some of you know, I play Neopets. Last week, the Random contest was called Life sized, and asked members to recreate one of their petpets in a life sized version. I chose my catamara Chewie to be the designated victim.

Using basic amigurumi techniques I crocheted this little guy and submitted pictures. I won! Came in the first place group which really was amazing! And this is what my little guy looks like.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday

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Today would have been my sister's 40th birthday. I can't even begin to express how much I miss her, talking with her, joking and laughing.

The above picture is how I remember her best. I left home when I was 18 and she was only 10.

Happy birthday ma belle Roxy.

Someone mentioned that the poem in the picture was difficult to read.

When I miss you, I don't have to go far, I just have to look inside my heart because that's where I'll find you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


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My brother is going home today!

The doctors are astounded at his recovery rate. The right eye they said was dead is now discerning shadows and movements and he could see as though through a thick fog the 3 fingers his wife held up. This is amazing in itself! He still has issues with paralysis in his face, especially his upper lip but the doctors are hopeful that with time, movement will return to that area. The nerve pathways are filled with blood and debris from the accident and until these things are cleared away, the nerves won't function properly. It may take up to 6 months before any discernible changes happen. The doctors compared this to Bell's Palsy which affects the facial nerves.

The other good news is that his career as an EMT may not be over after all. There is discussion of rehabilitation, re-training, testing and eventually he may be able to drive an ambulance. At this point, he is still an EMT, but would not be allowed to drive which is understandable.

Everyone is cheering him on, his fellow workers are there for him at the drop of a hat as are his wife's friends. Over the past couple of weeks, friends have gone over to their home daily and fed the farm animals, cleaned the house, stocked the freezer with ready to eat meals, cut the grass and many more chores that need doing. Both his children finally got to see their Dad last week. It was a joyful reunion as both of them are Daddy's boy and girl. Considering their age, 5 and 8, it's normal, but it was still a special time for them to be able to see Daddy again.

Thank you to all who have sent messages of support, said prayers and helped in any way possible. All these gestures have contributed to healing my brother and I am grateful.

Life is short, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

and there was great rejoicing!!!

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My darling little brother is AWAKE!!!

The doctor took him off the sedative in order to do an accurate EEG and my brother woke up! He recognised everyone, spoke despite the broken jaw and even made jokes with the nurse. He remembers everything that happened except for a short period of time after the accident. This is the most amazing news and by far the bestest news!

For everyone who sent encouragement, prayers, kind thoughts and strength, thank you!

And the angels danced! (this beautiful angel is my daughter)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


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Sometimes, life hands you things that you really don't want to deal with. Once again, our family has been hit. My baby brother is in ICU in critical condition after a freak accident while helping a friend.

To make a long story short, since I tend to be long winded at times, he fell into a deep trench and hit his head on a large stone. He has fractured just about every bone in his skull and face including his jaw. He also suffers from a severe concussion and has to be kept sedated, despite the fact that he is in a coma, to minimize movement.

He's already gone through one surgery to remove a blood clot and move some bone pieces that were putting pressure on his brain. There will be more surgeries once the swelling goes down to wire his jaw, reconstruct his cheek bone and repair the two breaks in his skull, one large break across his forehead and another smaller break at the back of his skull caused by the impact.

One cheering point to the past couple of days was this photo my daughter sent of herself. She attended a bartending competition at her workplace and a professional makeup artist offered to paint her face. Such a pretty girl is my daughter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

WIP it Good!

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I finally did it! I finished my daughter's hoodie!

She is the most patient child when it comes to getting things. I started this hoodie with the intention of gifting it to her for her birthday which was last October. Since that didn't work out, I was planning on gifting it to her for Christmas. Again, life kept me from working on it. Then I managed to finish all the pieces but needed to get a matching zipper. After a trip to various sewing notion stores with darling daughter in tow, we finally found a matching zipper!

Now that I had the zipper, it occured to me that I had not a clue on how to install it on a knit item! I can machine sew a zipper in minutes flat, but I couldn't machine sew this one. A wonderful lady on Ravelry gave me the method to sew a zipper to knitting and I could finally move forward. I sewed in the zipper and worked in all the yarn ends and finally my daughter got her hoodie last week!

She adores it and wears it everywhere! I didn't have a chance to wash it before giving it to her, but she did wash it and a wonderful plus, it got softer and cushier. The pattern Li'l Red Riding Hoodie came from the book Domiknitrix and was supposed to be done in wool. Since she is allergic to wool, the hoodie is made of Georga acrylic yarn, 2 strands held together throughout. It makes for a nice thick fabric that's soft and cuddly. Two other requests from my daughter were that I not add the sweatshirt style pockets and the elbow twisted stitch patches. I also lengthened the ribbing on the sleeves to accomodate her long arms. Otherwise, the pattern is true to form.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Surprise!!!!!!! and more...

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I will have to blog separately for the rest of last week since it turned out to be an incredible birthday week instead of just one day. This has never happened to me before and I'm completely blown away.

I wanted to post about this first since this came as a total surprise to me. I had entered an anniversary giveaway on this blog. I like Carrie's blog, she has interesting posts about knitting, life and is very crafty and exciting.

Little did I know that entering her 300th blog post surprise giveaway would lead me to receiving a much wished for item as I was the winner! Here is the post about my prize which I am excitedly waiting for. Even my husband was very impressed with how beautiful the functional jewelry piece is.

Thank you Carrie for a beautifully crafted one of a kind yarn cutter. I never dreamed I'd finally get one and gorgeous to boot. Thank you!

You can see other works of art at Kelly's etsy shop. Her work has a heavy celtic influence which fits my taste to a T.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Birthday Goodies!

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And really cool stuff just keeps coming :) I love it!

Where do I begin. First I would have to explain that this wonderful lady whom I've known and said hello to for 3 and a half years when I worked as an admin assistant on that floor and finally came to discover that she is a fellow knitting addict, a fellow Raveler (3 weeks ago) and a gemini to boot made my day yesterday.

We met over a coffee at Tim Horton's since she told me she had a real life RAK (Random Act of Kindness) for me. What I didn't realise was that she was also celebrating my birthday! It's truly wonderful when you get to know someone and it turns out that you have so much in common, being gemini the least of it.

I was handed a reusable shopping bag with what I thought was my RAK, which was a lovely treasure pile of buttons of all sizes shapes and colors, as well as a row counter. What I got on top of that was like Christmas morning and you dump out your stocking and a whole pile of treasures come out. In this case, treasure I had to dig for in the bin of buttons!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Early Birthday goodies!

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Earlier this week, a friend dropped by to see how I was recovering from the bout of acute bronchitis I came down with several weeks back. She brought me these gorgeous flowers to cheer me up. I am quite amazed that after almost a week, they are still as gorgeous as the day she brought them.

Today was an absolutely lovely day. My darling husband who for once was relatively pain free from kidney stones decided to take me out to lunch and Walmart. Since my birthday is Tuesday, he told me to pick out a few things for myself that I wanted for my birthday. Knowing how small our budget is, I went for the things I can use over not so useful items.

First thing we did after we got off the transit bus was head over to A & W. An old favorite haunt of mine, hubby being Belgian had not been to one of these in his youth. I introduced him to A & W rootbeer not long after he'd landed in Canada, but only introduced him to the burgers and fries a few years ago. Thankfully he fell in love with the place just as much as I like it. So my birthday lunch was, of course, A & W!

Then on to Walmart where I picked up 2 bins to help store the growing stash. I have my daughter to thank for that since she found a store where she lives that was selling Bernat Solo for .99 cents a ball! She went to town and bought me enough to fill a bin! The second bin is for storing all the lovely yarn she finds at local secondhand stores where she lives. I also picked up 4 DVDs (on sale at 2 for $10) Rain Man, Dances with Wolves, Spiderman and The Princess Bride. Yes I know, girly movie but I like it and Jean Ferré, aka André the Giant, is in it. A WWF wrestler from a long time ago, and yes, I was a fan.

I also picked up, Just After Sunset by Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. The book is a compilation of recent short stories. I've always liked his short stories as they have always been a fast get to the point read as opposed to his books which sometimes tend to drag on a bit too much, as if he's not sure how to bring the story to an end. I know, Stephen King fans are beating at the door, but I am only being honest in my view of his writing. This doesn't by any means say that I don't like his novels. On the contrary, I have read every one of them as well as some of his biographical works. One of my all time favorite novels is The Stand. His apocaliptic view of north american society, man as a race, the battle between good and evil is a must read. I have read both versions, the 1978 original and the 1991 re-release which is an unabridged rewrite of the original since he updated the scenario, reinserted approximately 400 pages that had been cut in the original and changed the setting to 1990 from 1980.

I headed over to the yarn department (one side of a short aisle) Didn't see anything that excited my knitting or crochet mojo and moved on to the craft aisles to check out the beads. Last time I was at that particular Walmart, they had E-beads, not a lot but maybe 10 or so colors and styles. This time, there were all of 2! and they were the last 2 bags. The pale ones were .99 cents and the dark purplish/bluish ones were $1.29 or something like that. I also picked up some nice darning needles, the ones with the flattened tip and a few half rounds for those hard to reach places that need to be seamed when you're assembling amigurumi pets or toys.

I've also been working on finishing my daughter's hoodie. As you can see from the picture, I've been sewing the zipper to the bands that will be attached to the front of the hoodie. I figured might as well sew it on the bands instead of waiting until the bands are sewed to the hoodie. Less bulky this way and since the temperatures are climbing, 20C today, it's a lot cooler if I have 2 bands resting on my legs instead of an entire thick warm hoodie on there.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fraggles knit too!

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I always enjoyed Fraggle Rock when my children were young. I'd sit and watch the show with them and had just as much fun as they did.

While cruising around YouTube, I happened to find this video of Fraggles singing about knitting. What more could you ask for, really cute Fraggles and really cool knitting.

My favorite fraggle was Red. She was so cool and fearless.

In other news, I'm still working on my son's skull blanket, the shawl for a friend of a friend and a cool looking shopping bag called a Masa bag. The pattern is available here as well as a tutorial on how to fold the bag once you're done the crochet part of it. It's a really simple project and it works great with just about any worsted weight yarn. I'll be adding a 2nd ball of yarn to the rectangle. The yarn isn't as colorful as the first ball, but I figure if I add the extra pieces to each end, thank goodness for crochet, it will look like it was done like that on purpose.. oh wait... that's what I intended to do right from the start! The shoulder strap part will also be made from the 2nd ball of yarn.
Later days...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My very first design!!!

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I'm finally doing it. I designed something that I'm confident enough to publish! Albeit free, but still, it's here!

Maneki Neko Cellphone Cozy
Design by MarieAnge Brouillard

My daughter is a huge anime and manga fan. When she lost her cellphone cozy she asked me to make her a new one. After browsing through countless patterns and not finding anything I liked, I designed my own. This cozy will fit a cellphone that is 4 inches (10 cm) in height and 2.5 inches (5 cm) wide.

You will need:
  • Size 6US or 4mm straight needles
  • Size 7US or 4.5 mm straight needles for cast on and bind off
  • Darning needle
  • Size 3mm crochet hook
  • Small amount of bulky yarn of your choice for cozy
  • Small amounts of white, pink and black dk yarn for embroidery
  • Small button

For my daughter's cozy I used Bernat Masala Hyacinth Hues because it was the closest color to match her cellphone.

Stitches used:
  • K – knit
  • P - purl

Using a knitted cast on method along with size 7US (4.5mm) needles CO 15 sts.
Switch to size 6US (4mm) needles

Row 1: *k2, p1* repeat to end
Row 2: *k2, p1* repeat to end

Repeat these two rows until the piece measures 5 inches (12.5 cm) unstretched.

Loosely bind off using the same needles used for the cast on.

Lay the piece flat, find the center and fold it to create a crease in the yarn. Mark the crease with a bit of yarn at each end. Unfold your rectangle and you should have a rectangle that looks like the one shown here.

Using a crochet hook and white yarn slip stitch the outline of the cat onto one half of your knitted rectangle.

Slip Stitch on knitting method

Hold the working yarn under the piece, with your crochet hook, from the top poke through the knitted rectangle and pick up the yarn from below. Draw up a loop and stretch it just enough so you have a nice small loop, keeping the loop on your crochet, poke the crochet through the knitted rectangle a short distance away from your first stitch and draw up another loop of yarn through the first loop. Keep doing this until the outline of your cat is done.

With a darning needle, add the eyes, and fill in the ears using slip stitch embroidery.

Take a piece of black yarn, make a triple knot in the middle, pass the two ends on either side of where you want the nose to sit and pull through and knot on the back side of the rectangle.

With pink yarn, add the mouth starting at the nose.

For the whiskers, make a knot close to the end of a short piece of 3 ply white yarn and separate the 3 plies which will give you the 3 whiskers. Poke the needle through where you want the whiskers to sit and make a large knot underneath. Poke the needle through to the right side where you want the other whiskers to sit and make a knot close to the fabric. Cut yarn leaving a short piece that you separate for the whiskers. See picture for placement.

Sew a small shiny button onto the belly of the cat.

With right sides facing, sew the bottom and side of the cozy using the mattress stitch method so both edges meet and do not overlap. You want the cozy to hold the cellphone snuggly.

I hope you enjoy the pattern. Please be respectful of copyright issues. This pattern is for personal use only and is not to be sold under any circumstances. The pattern is also not to be used to knit and sell the finished item. Charity knitting is always welcome along with the use of this pattern.

PS. If you find any mistakes, or have questions, do not hesitate to let me know. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hello world, it's been a while!

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I can honestly say that April was not kind to us. So far, May isn't looking much better but I can only hope for the best.

I'm recovering from a fairly serious bout of bronchitis aggravated by COPD. Thankfully, the chest x-rays were clear...considering how my sister was taken from us, it's a blessing that mine were clear of any nastiness. My ribs are finally thanking me for not coughing so much. Last week was wrapped in a haze of medication, pain and coughing with very little sleep. The past couple of nights I've actually been able to sleep for more than 7 minutes at a time AND laying down! I love my bed!

On the knitting and crocheting side of life, being too sick to knit and or crochet definitely meant that I really wasn't doing too well. The few times I did some knitting on the various ongoing projects, only led to disastrous results and much gnittink I did manage to figure out the 4 corners squares for my son's blanket though and that's a plus.

Yesterday, my darling daughter stopped in on her way to her Narcolepsy & Cataplexy specialist and brought presents of yarn, lovely balls of spring colors; lavenders, lilacs and variegated yarns for me to play with. She was also very concerned with my health but saw that I was weak but definitely on the mend. The lack of a job also worries her and she asked me to make up a list of absolute needs groceries. I've learned over the years not to argue with my daughter on what we need or may not need and just gave her the list without a battle or a "but hon, we're doing fine. " She returned from her appointment with groceries and the fixings for supper! She is a cook at a fairly large restaurant and last nigth we got treated to a lovely stir fry supper with veggies and chicken and udon noodles. It was delicious!

In return, while she was gone to her Dr's appointment, I crocheted a pair of cycling fingerless gloves for her. She doesn't want anything covering the palms but she definitely needed some weather protection for her knuckles and the backs of her hands since she bikes home in the middle of the night most times when the weather is still rather cold at this time of year. I made them to match her jacket, Bright Orange. We had a good laugh and then she agreed that no one would dare to grab those since they are so bright and Orange.

I also started a plastic bag holder for her when she comes next time. It sort of looks like an upside down acorn that got stretched out or the weird stem of a plant. Either way it's getting decorated with tambour crochet so it at least looks nice while holding plastic bags for reuse. I hope she likes it :)

Mother's day was difficult this year, considering my sister always sent me a card for mother's day, it just brought things to the fore for me and I just wanted to not think about it on Sunday. I called my Mom and left her a message wishing her a happy Mother's day. Her boyfriend had taken her out to dinner at a local restaurant and they ended up spending the day out driving around looking at the countryside and all the trees and flowers blooming which I know she loves to do.

Spring always reminds me of my grandmother. Two of hers and my favorite flowers bloom in spring. A breeze gently blows and the sweet smell of lilies of the valley and lilacs brings back memories. Nothing lets me know more than these that spring is here and always reminds me just how much I miss my grandmother. She passed away almost 20 year ago but amazingly, the pain I feel is just as fresh as if she'd passed away yesterday. She taught me much, including knitting, patience, love, how to survive on less and how to appreciate the simple things in life.

Born in 1913, she grew up in a poor single parent family, her Dad having passed away a few months before she was born. She was the youngest of 8 children ranging in age from 12 to 1 year. Growing up was filled with teasing from her older siblings, wearing handmedowns that had worn out 2 children earlier but were patched and made to go just one more round. She had fond memories of fishing for brook trout in the small rill that flowed behind the farm house, of eating ripe juicy blackberries off the branch while picking out the brambles that had stuck to her shirt getting to them, picking wild strawberries for jams and jellies put up for the following winter, of eating sweetened curdled milk and bread sprinkled with a few berries for supper and getting up with the sun to get the cows in for milking. Her life was not an easy one, she and her husband managed to raise 2 children during the great depression, and to retain ownership of their 100 acre farm through the second world war. They survived a barn fire that took everything but the cows in the mid 60's, rebuilt and passed the farm on to their daughter, my mother, when they retired from farming in the late 60's. Grandma was always there with a bandaid to cover a scratch or a bump, a hug to heal the teasing, and a kiss for a dusty nose sitting in the bathtub at the end of the day. I miss her wisdom, her memories of days gone by, her courage and her great love of nature and all things growing. I miss her talents at figuring out how to make do. I miss her.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Survey says: Knitting & Crochet is good for your health!

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Proof positive that knitting and / or crochet is good for you!

Later days,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dedicated to the Memory of Aunt Roxanne

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written by my daughter
17 April, 2009

Days of sun, days of ball
along with Baby Roxy,
On the farm, hear the call
"Strike Through!" from the Umpire

Days of work, days of seeking
Single halter lost in a field
Boring walking; someones peeking
Baby Roxy must go too!

Here she comes, the little pursuer
Approaching the drainage ditch
A leap too short, a smell of sewer
Bright Pink pants, covered in muck

Screaming, shrieking and howling
and mother yelling from the house
Brother and sister pull hard, scowling
as Baby Roxy pops right out

Shock and laughter fill the air
as the pop was more like a fart
disgruntled giggles from Roxy fair
situation....., though dirty.., settled.

Big sister and brother get on the bus
Little Roxy running fast to catch up
Wishing to give them goodbye fuss
The kiss of snot.... Yvon was given

Years go by, with sadness and joy
House burns down, replaced with new
A new born baby, a little boy
Here comes Martini and Roxy!

Decades fly by, in speeds undefined
Tenderly and lovingly, a girl is born
She grows, so beautiful and kind
Bouncing and bubbling, a boy is born

Small bundles of love, so quickly grown
Going to school and becoming adults
Frederick excels in school, without a groan
Genevieve grows strong, just like Mom

Then one day, a lump was found
in a breast, which wasn't supposed to be
doctors and nurses does Roxy astound
for she beats it back, blasts it away!

Life continues sneaking from behind
Time flies by, without a sound
Genevieve graduates from grade eight
Serene, joyful and beautiful in her gown.

Then It came, unwelcomed, unwanted
Pain flaring up from everywhere at once,
Roxy is strong, she knew what she wanted
She would blast this one, just like the last

Cancer this time, was not as fair
it took no notice of her strength
though that made her glare
and fought on still, tooth and nail

In the end, she did not win,
although she did her best
so much, there could have been
but cancer was too aggressive.

Full of compassion, hateful she was not
She loved many things, with much passion
Her family and animals, her camping spot
Reading, colouring... so much love

We WILL remember her, for her strengths,
for her love, compassion and care
all the memories she graciously gave us
we will hold dear, within our hearts,

Till we meet again Roxy
for Daddy and his little girl
are back together, forever.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What can I say....

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Today, the Dr will be unplugging the machines sustaining my sister's life. I hope her passing is swift and as painless as possible for her sake. Memories crowd their way into my mind, most of them are from her childhood but some are of her holding her newborn son and tracking down her young daughter at our brother's wedding 11 years ago. She will be at peace... finally.

The Doctor unplugged the respirator at 2 pm and my sister took her final breath at 4 pm. She went peacefully, never woke up which was best considering the cancer had invaded her brain. She leaves behind a heartbroken husband, her 11 year old son and her 15 year old daughter. She also leaves behind her Mother, 2 brothers and myself, her sister, countless nieces and nephews who will all miss her.

She sent me a card for Valentine's Day. In a telephone conversation a few weeks later she said she sent me the card because it expressed what she couldn't say and had been looking for exactly this card for many many years. The text is in french but I will translate it.

Dear Sister, For you on Saint Valentines Day. It's not only because you are my sister that I send these wishes to you but also because you are my best friend. All my love.

I will cherish this card all my life.

May she walk in beauty.

This video is dedicated to my sister, who she was, the footsteps she left through our lives, the love she gave freely to her family. This is the beauty that reminds me of my sister.

If you wish to help, make a donation to your local cancer society, give some of your time, knit or crochet some hats, comfort shawls. Any of these things will be appreciated.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update for my sister

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My mother called and gave me the news. Her heart stopped this morning while they were doing an MRI to see what the extent of the cancer was. Her husband had made the decision that she should be reanimated, so the Drs reanimated her.

After reviewing the results of the MRI in so far as it was done, the Oncologist told my family that the cancer is extremely aggressive. It has grown compared to the MRI done a month ago. It has now spread to enclose her heart, her brain, and major organs. The envelope around her heart is filling with liquid.
Currently, she is on a respirator and has a drain tube attached to remove the build up of fluids around her heart. She has 4 IVs connected to her. The Dr is keeping her sedated since if she were awake, she would be in excruciating pain and unable to breathe properly on her own. He is waiting to find out what her husband will decide; to unplug or to try and extend her life for a few extra days.

I hope that he decides to let her go. There is no hope for her recovery. The cancer has invaded every organ and is destroying her from the inside out. She has fought this monster long enough. It's time for her to take a well-earned rest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My sister & her shawl

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Cancer is a lot like a tornado when you think about it. Just as a tornado will skip over a house, a school, a church and wipe out the building next to it without a second thought, so does cancer. Why does it take one person but skips over the next. Is there anything that predisposes the person it takes? Research shows that it may be genetic, environmental, dietary or just plain old bad luck. Any way you look at it, cancer sucks rocks big time.

My sister has already had 2 chemo treatments. The treatments have been very aggressive to say the least. On Easter Sunday, my family, that lives near her, went to visit. Brought food so there would be no need for her to fuss or cook, just enjoy her company and spend time with her at home. She was weak, but still had a nice time with everyone.

Yesterday, I received a call from my Mom. My brother who is an EMT had taken the day off and brought my sister to the hospital. She was catatonic, unresponsive to outside stimuli. The Drs quickly diagnosed low blood sodium and began treating her. But she wasn't responding and they suspected an infection and scheduled tests for this morning. I wasn't told which tests. I received a call from my Mom today letting me know that the family is on their way to the hospital. My sister's heart stopped this morning after one of the tests. They successfully reanimated her, but they were not going to complete any more testing until she was stabilized. The Dr's prognosis was not very positive.

I wish I lived nearby, but unfortunately don't. With my being out of work, it means no funds for any travelling either.

I was on my way out the door to ship the shawl I made for my sister but my mother recommended I hang on to it for 24 hours until we know more. Here are the pictures of the finished shawl. It is 80 inches across the topline and 40 inches down the back. I used acrylic worsted yarn since she requested it be warm and big enough to wrap around herself. I added removable ties to each wing tip so she can wrap it and tie it behind her back to leave her hands free.

I also made two hats for her. One my own design (dark green) and the other (light green) from a pattern (lacy chemo cap) I found on Ravelry.
I added beads in both hats as I like the effect the sunlight reflecting from beads gives. It's like stars sparkling around your head.

I wanted to make a cap for my sister that didn’t look like the average chemo hat.

The softness of Patons Nuance yarn made me think of something soft and cozy, like cuddling a kitten or baby goat. The earthy colors I know would appeal to my sister as much as they appealed to me.

Loving the cabled bands seen on many sweaters I adapted it to a hat. Making the band, joining it and then picking up sts from the edge to knit the lacy hat gives it a nice shape and it should stay on her head without using the ribbing seen in so many hats. I also added beads in the lace just to make it a bit more special.