Friday, February 26, 2010

To be Free

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I did not write this, I just happened upon it while looking for another of Mike Oldfield's compositions (Let there be Light). It struck a nerve. Reminded me that there have been times in my life where I was alone, lost, and some kind of magic happened along to help me on the way. I have several magic makers surrounding me and they know who they are :)


You find yourself alone, sometimes
Without a home, no protection
You don't know which way to go
You're lost, no direction

Then suddenly, out of the blue
Some kind of magic comes to you
You don't know how, you don't know why
But someday, gonna take off, fly

(wish, make a wish ...)

My wish would be...

To be free
To be wild
And to be
Just like a child
And if I get lost
I really don't mind
Cos I'm me
Doing just fine

You're out in the cold, sometimes
As far as you can see, misty
And you want to run, into the sun
The road is lost, sand shifty

Then suddenly, out of the blue
Some kind of magic pushes you through
You don't know when, how or why
But someday, gonna take off, fly

And if I had a wish, my wish would be...

To be free
To be wild
And to be
Just like a child
And if I get lost
I really don't mind
Cos I'm me
Doing just fine

Just like a child 
I really don't mind
Cos I'm free
Doing just fine

Crochet Design Woes

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I have had this yarn for ages. A tangled mess that didn't seem to have any use. Baby yarn in pale shades of mauve, pink and white. It sat in a bag for the past couple of years, dropped in a storage container and forgotten. A week ago,  I was looking for some soft yarn that I could use to knit boobs for a pillow for my darling husband (whom btw sleeps on it every night now). Once the pillow was done, there was still a fair bit of yarn left. I decided to untangle the rest of the mess and wind it into balls for future use. While I was winding it, I remembered how soft it had been to knit with and things started to bubble in the old brain pan. I visualized a crochet top for my wee sister in law who turned 6 in January. 

I started playing with various crochet stitches, ripping back when I didn't like how it looked, poring over crochet stitch collections both online and in books and magazines to find the perfect stitches. I wanted a summery top, but one that could also be worn over a long or short sleeved shirt for cooler weather. So far I have the skirt part of the top done. It's turned out quite lovely. I love the pooling the yarn is doing. The picture is of the skirt part as well as my second attempt at the bodice section.

Now the trouble started. I did not have measurements for a size 6, nor do I know a size 6 girl that lives near enough for me to use her as a mannequin. What to do. I turned to my favorite resource for answers; Ravelry. In the forums section, there is a group for designers and there I found suggestions of sites that have sizing charts for all ages. Wonderful I thought! I'm including the links here for those who have been looking for this type of information. The first site is Knotions; under the resource tab, there are several sizing charts. Another link takes you to a blog that lists several sites that have standardized measurements.

Well, the measurements helped, sort of. I can't visualise how it would fit so my next step is to go out and buy a size 6 girl's t-shirt top, stuff it and try to see the fit that way. Will update once I have a top to go by.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ravelympics V & VI

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Yes, I know, I fell behind in my updates.

Just too many things going on at the same time. By things I mean my mind is exploring corners, looking behind long disused doors, sweeping the dust and cobwebs off cherished photos and events while at the same time trying to give me inspiration for a summery top I'm designing for my wee sil Xandy.

At this point, it's about halfway done. I need to find the perfect crochet stitch to do the bodice, then figure out how to add whimsy to it so it becomes special only for her. No smoke coming out of my ears yet, so it must mean I'm doing ok!

Now on to the Ravelympic updates.

This badge goes hand in hand with the pillow project since I only used stashed yarn to make the pillow. Being out of work means my knitting and crochet has to be born from the yarn I already own. Sometimes it can be challenging but I do like a good challenge.
The snowcross I earned for the Franken Boobaneck pillow I cobbled together using knit and crochet skills for my darling husband. After hemming and hawing about ever needing to use it, he's finding ways to use it. I knew he would, just had to give him time to figure it out.

The charity curling badge I received for making the much needed slippers for the young disabled woman I spoke of in this blog post.

I also have to get busy knitting slippers, etc... since I've been offered a chance to showcase my designs at the office where I temp off and on. The lady who sits at reception suggested I should bring in some of my pieces with prices attached and she would sell them for me. Since this is the front reception for several small offices, there is a large range of people who come in and would see my work. This may be a way for me to make extra cash while I'm looking for a job. Time will tell.

A walk down memory lane

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Yesterday I met my soul sister Samm at the "posh luncheon spot" aka Tim Horton's for coffee and bagel w/cream cheese for me and chicken salad sandwich without the bread and hot chocolate for Samm.

Our meetings usually last an hour and a bit and always seem to be over so quickly with so much more left unsaid. I love Mondays. Sitting with Samm for even a short time gives me such a lift and makes the rest of the week simply fly by. We have so much fun together, words tumbling out as fast as possible since we know we have a short time to get everything out. We laugh, we get serious, we hear each other out. Sometimes we don't though, we jump in between each other's words and leave some conversations unfinished only to remember hours later that we'd forgotten to give the punch line so to speak. And yesterday's lunch did not disappoint LOL

One of the things that Samm told me about was a blog by an incredible lady who lives in Norway; Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods. After Samm sent me the name of the blog I went looking since we both end up loving the same things. After looking and reading the first few posts I saw what Samm saw and I have to agree with her. This lady shares places she's been, sights she's seen with an open heart. She also shares herself with her readers.

Reading through her blog brought back memories for me as well.

I've been to Europe, seen some of the oldest cities and fell in love with the architecture, the history, the life. Her blog brings back those memories for me. If we had the money, we'd spend 6 months in Canada and 6 months in Antwerp. I fell in love with this old city when my darling husband introduced me to it in 2001. The blend of architecture, the influence left there by different people. Belgium's past being filled by different masters has left marks on Antwerp that will never be eradicated. And that is what makes it so beautiful.

I've walked down alleys to find myself in Spain, turn a corner and I'm in Germany, another corner and I'm in France.... and it just keeps going. Courtyards that look frozen in time, corners of history look down on you as you walk by. Madonnas alcoved into the corners of buildings peer down on us and make me wonder, "What are they thinking".
Buildings that have withstood the test of time, war, weather and pollution filled with  ghosts of events long past. Stairs that make you dizzy, the narrow turns so tight and rapid, windows so high you have to climb high steps to get on the window seat. Who sat on these window seats so long ago? Did they wonder at the panorama before their eyes? or was it just everyday ho-hum to them. I wonder what embroidery they were working on since only ladies of leisure would have been able to live in such beautiful homes with tall windows.

Is it possible to be homesick for a place that technically has not been your home in this lifetime? Coming to old town Antwerp for me felt like coming home, such a strong feeling as well. I couldn't get enough of the old city. Even found places that my darling husband didn't even know existed. Some days it felt like my footsteps were guided. The pride of Antwerp, the cathedral felt familiar, the echoing footsteps, Reuben's paintings, the tombs, even the archaeological digs housed beneath the cathedral all felt familiar.Looking at this beautiful city through the eyes of a child.
Reubens house was amazing, the paintings awe inspiring and this is coming from the view point of someone who used to paint. But what fascinated me even more was the gorgeous gardens he built behind the house. The pathways, arches, sculptures all selected with care. A garden that was wild, with plants growing everywhere, not manicured gems like english gardens but a proper garden fit for an artist. Chaos, colors, shapes, everything to stimulate inspiration.

I'd better stop, I'm getting really homesick now LOL See what she woke up! Thank you Samm for sending me the link to this amazing lady's blog. A walk down memory lane was a good thing  today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ravelympics IV

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And here we gooo!  Today's badge was earned for frogging and rewinding the yarn for future use. The joys of hand winding yarn.... I wonder if that's why my arm hurts today LOL

I finished hubby's boobie pillow. When I presented it to him he blushed and giggled. I think he thought I wasn't going to go through with it. It now resides on his bed. I'm sure he will find a way to use it. I've nicknamed it the Franken boobaneck since it's supposed to be a neck pillow and I cobbled it together using various yarns and techniques. At least I know it will do well in the wash!

I'm currently working on a spring/summer  crochet top for Xandy, my own creation of course. I have a lot of the yarn I used to knit the boobies on hubby's pillow left over and it is a decent color. And why have it sit there for another year or so.

It just occured to me that I never did post pictures of those two scarves I made last fall.
The picture on the left is the Kaleidoscope eyes scarf I made for Jess.
The one on the right I gave to my soul sister Samm. I was so happy she loved it since it had been nagging at me to find it's proper owner for a few months. The way Samm's eyes lit up when I took it out of my bag, I knew right away it was hers.

Both made from the same yarn using a variation on the theme made for 2 very different scarves for 2 very different friends.

I've started a wider version of my kaleidoscope eyes scarf I did last fall. My girl friend in Chicago has been ordained chaplain and I want to send her something that she can use when she's working in the community. The yarn I'm using is the repurposed  frogging of the cowl. I'll post pictures as it grows.

For those lovers of all things Gambit. Here is where he spends his time while I'm knitting or crocheting. He looks like he broke his neck! but he seems to like to sleep that way; wedged between the sofa cushions with his head hanging over the edge. His other favorite position is on his side, claws sunk into the arm of the couch as if the couch was trying to eat him.  If you look behind him, you'll see the top of a pattern sticking out. He does a decent job at holding my pattern page in place when I need it.  The pink tassel hanging down is from my nifty little tape measure that Samm gave me. Gambit likes to play with it and it beats me fishing it out from between the cushions. I know, weird cat, what can I say, he's a bengal after all.

And tomorrow... just found out*does a happy dance* I'm meeting Samm at our usual posh dining spot aka Tim Horton's for coffee and bagel w/cream cheese. I love Mondays!

I give up!!! I've reformated this post a dozen times and blogger still insists on leaving giant spaces everywhere! LOL This will have to do for now. This is definitely the frankenstein of all posts! 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Heeere fishy fishy fishy!

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For those of you who have never seen this bit.... enjoy :)

Ravelympics III

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Wow, more badges! The Cable cross country is for my arm warmers and the Designer Original is for both the arm warmers and the Jayne hat.
Today I'll be submitting a picture for frogging a cowl that a friend decided it wasn't for her mother after initially gushing over the colors. Go figure. At least the yarn will be used for something else. Of course Gambit had to be in the picture. I take out the camera and he starts flirting with it. Sad but true LOL 
Once the frogging was done, I had this lovely pile of kinked yarn which I then hand wound into a center pull ball. The ball in the background is what I hadn't used and decided to just wind the yarn I'd used and start working from that one.
I figured out how to use a rigid cardboard tube to mimic one of those yarn winding machines. I've lost count of how many balls of yarn I've created using this cardboard tube.  

Last night, I started on a shawl using this yarn but I'm not happy with the look of it which in my world means frogging again and looking in my stitchionaries and Ravelry for inspiration.

Update on the surprise gift for hubby, it's not a surprise any more, he figured it out last night while I was working on the 2nd "boob". And amazingly, he wasn't overly thrilled with the idea :( I'm still going to finish it, just so he can cuddle up to it in the middle of the night when he's asleep....

My darling daughter emailed me with the news that she found 4 balls of gorgeous wool yarn good for felting and she paid 3$ for the lot! That's my girl! :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ravelympics so far

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Wow, I actually earned badges!!! I really was not expecting this to happen but it's quite nice :)
The project that got me the Hat Half-pipe is in my previous post complete with pattern.
The other project is arm warmers requested by my loving husband. I used Bernat's Heathery blue worsted weight yarn. Since he wanted them to fit snuggly but not too tight, I used 2 cables that run up the arm.   I finished knitting these while I was sitting in the ER on Monday. Still have to get a photo of hubby wearing them. Guess I'll have to corner him when he has them on :) Yes, he's camera shy but then again, so am I! The picture is of my arm while holding the camera with the other hand. It sorta works, right? :)  
Update on the infection and swelling on my face. The swelling is barely noticeable now. There is a bit that doesn't seem to want to go away but with the big blue pills I have to take 3 times a day, it should be gone by the time I'm done taking them all. Hopefully I won't have to go to bed snuggling an ice pack tonight. The freezer burn under my left eye is slowly disappearing thank goodness LOL 
I finished the red slippers! They are for a disabled young woman who comes in every week at the office where I temp on and off. She needs something that will fit easily over the distorted bones of her feet and not constantly fall off and keep her warm as well. She's very prone to getting cold and has no way of saying so. The disability is so severe that she is about on the same level as a newborn baby and cannot express what she needs except in wails. I do hope that she is happy. 
I only have one more part to go on the surprise for my husband. I was planning on doing this for Valentine's day but got sidetracked with the arm warmers and hat and slippers. I was finishing up one part last night when he asked what I was working on. It looks like a hat, let's leave it at that :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


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This is my first Ravelympics. Since I don't have a job, I may as well participate and have some fun as well as taking advantage of the incentive supplied by the competition.

My first submission is a hat requested by my husband. Not just any hat, but a Jayne hat. Only Firefly fans will know what this is and the story behind it. I went stash diving and came up with some maroon, dark orange and gold yarn and began designing the hat to match as closely as possible the one in the series. I didn't have enough dark orange so ended up combining it with the maroon to make an interesting stripe effect.
Here is a quick 'n dirty "How I did it" for those who would like to make this hat. This hat will fit a regular sized head and a large head since it has plenty of stretch to it. Warning, it's VERY warm!

Worsted weight yarn, 2 strands together. The hat is knit throughout with 2 strands of yarn held together.I used Phentex Merit Solid in Maroon 3/4 of a ball, dark orange 1/2 a ball and gold 1/3 of a ball.
Needle: US 10 circular or 4 dpns
Darning needle
Piece of cardboard 3 inches high or Pompom maker
Gauge: approximately 16 stitches by 16 rows equal a 4x4 inch swatch in stockinette stitch

Jayne Hat
CO 72 stitches using the long tailed cast on, place a marker and join to knit in the round.
Rows 1 & 2: K1, P1
Rows 3: K1, P1 (you will be placing markers in this row) K1 P1 28 stitches, place marker, K the next 16 stitches, place marker, K1, P1 the next 28 stitches (you're back at the beginning marker.
Row 4 to 9: K1 P1 to marker, knit all stitches to next marker, K1 P1 to last marker.

Row 10 onwards: Switch one strand of the maroon for a dark orange and knit all stitches for next 3 inches.

Once you've knit the 3 inches in stockinette using the maroon and dark orange, switch the strand of maroon for the gold yarn. Knit in stockinette for another 2 inches. 

Switch the dark orange strand for a gold strand and begin to decrease.

1st decrease round: K2 tog all around.
2nd round: Knit all around

Continue knitting 2 together until you have 8 or 9 stitches left on your needles.
Cut the yarn and pass it through the remaining stitches with a darning needle. Pull tight and pull it through to the inside of the hat.

Ear Flaps

The part where you knit instead of the K1, P1 is the front of your hat. Starting on
either side of this section count back 20 stitches. Those 20 stitches will be an ear flap. Pick up and knit the 20 stitches, work in stockinette holding two strands of maroon together for 3 inches or so. Then start decreasing by knitting (or purling) 2 together after the first stitch of each row. Keep decreasing until you only have 3 stitches left. Bind off leaving a long tail (approximately 12 inches) that will be used to make the ties.

Do the same for the other ear flap. 

Yes, that is my husband with a slightly demented Jayne look on his face LOL

Once both ear flaps are done, Cut two 24 inch lengths of dark orange (if you have it) and gold. Pass one of each color through the middle stitch of the ear flap and even them up with the maroon yarn. Braid the 2 or 3 colors together and make a knot once you reach a length that you like. Leave about 1 inch of yarn after the knot. Repeat same for the other earflap with the 2nd lengths of yarn you already cut.

Using the cardboard section and holding a strand of each color together, wrap around the cardboard approximately 40 times. If you've never made a pompom, there are tons of DIY videos to watch.

Attach the pompom to the top of your hat, pull the strings inside the hat and tie off with several knots.

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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gadgets & stuff

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You will notice something new on my blog sidebar. Fishies! I've always enjoyed feeding the koi found in parks and zoos. I happened on this gadget while browsing another blog and immediately fell in love with it. 

They also remind me of the bit on Sesame Street featuring Bert & Ernie and Ernie says he can get fish to come to him while they are fishing. Bert of course doesn't believe him, so Ernie proceeds to prove his claim. He bellows "Heeeere fishy fishy fishy!!!" and out of the water and into their rowboat jumps a fish. Bert's jaw hits the floor so to speak :)

Simple games for simple minds eh :)

Other news

I spent the better part of yesterday 7 and a half freaking hours! sitting in the emergency room. I developed an infection in my eye tooth that then spread to my sinuses. I had a bit of swelling on Sunday night but woke up Monday morning with the left side of my face swollen like a balloon. I decided it was time to head over to the local clinic which was closed! Bah!!! So not having any choice in the matter, I had to go to the emergency department at the nearby hospital. I got there around 11 am, sat in the pre-triage waiting room and finally got through triage just before 1 pm and went to sit in the post triage waiting room. I was whisked away to the examining room around 5:30 pm and finally saw a doctor shortly after 6. Had to wait for the prescription and the first dose of antibiotics and eventually walked out of the hospital script in hand around 7 pm.

Boy, am I glad that I had brought my knitting along. I was working on arm warmers requested by my darling husband and had only 15 rows knit. I finished them while waiting for the doctor to come and examine me. I'm thankful I had knitting to work on since the pain in my face had triggered a migraine and I had nothing that I could take for it and wasn't about to walk out to get some from home since I'd have lost my spot. At around 4 pm my blood sugar crashed. I hadn't brought a box lunch or water with me since I didn't think I'd be there for THAT long. That was a mistake!

Waiting for that long you get to know your seat mates on either side of you. I was entertained by the sweetest 81 year old lady with stories of the past, her great grandkids, etc... The lady on the other side of me had come in post surgery because she'd started bleeding through the sutures and not just a bit. She had to wait 3 hours before she was called in. By the time she went in the extra heavy feminine pad she'd used to staunch the blood flow was dripping through. I kept an eye on her since I didn't want her to faint from blood loss. When my blood sugar crashed I asked both if they happened to have a hard candy on them since I needed to get my blood sugar up. Neither had any but a lady across from us presented me with a granola bar. It had 8 grams of sugar in it and apparently did the trick since after about 20 minutes I started feeling better and my hands stopped shaking. It was the best tasting thing I'd ever had at that moment. LOL

I'm in shock at how much the antibiotics cost. For a 4 day supply I paid 88$!!!! Sheesh!
The T3 only cost 13$ and boy am I glad for them. The left side of my face is still hurting and threatening a migraine again. Let's hope those super expensive antibiotics do the trick and soon!