Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en

A very Happy Hallowe'en from our house to yours!

"Whimsy, are you a damsel in distress?"


A Jack Skellington for Elly...and a Death Star for Ian.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Loose Ends and New Threads

Two loose ends from my last post:

In the comment section Thea remarked on the background I used in the birthday present shots. I love that too, it's the new kitchen tablecloth I bought for this festive season. I'm very fond of it. So much so that I think it may become part of the regular tablecloth rotation around here.

Also in the comment section Nigel reminded me that I failed to mention a brush with greatness during my birthday supper out at a local sushi restaurant. Here's the story:

We (Nigel, Ian and I) were dining out on Saturday the 11th of October (that's two days before my birthday, but since it fell on Thanksgiving this year we went out on the Saturday) at local sushi place, Wasabi. Mid-way through our meal the waitress stopped by the table to check on us and mentioned that LeVar Burton just walked in and was sitting at the bar (the sushi bar). Ian and Nigel have been watching all the various Star Trek series' over the last year or so, and I remember him from his Reading Rainbow days (did anyone else ever watch that? It's still on you know. In re-runs). At the end of our meal we were leaving and we each glanced over to catch a glimpse of him on our way out the door. As it happened I was the last in our line of three and I could see the waitress talking to Mr. Burton and pointing to us (she knew we were there celebrating my birthday), so I paused and, well, stared at him (very uncool). Well, he smiled and waved at me. That's right he SMILED and WAVED. At me! So I smiled and waved back. However, by then Ian and Nigel had already left the building and I had to run down the dark street to catch up with them, so I didn't go ask him for an autograph, or whatever one is suppose to do in that situation. I hope I didn't offend him by not asking for an autograph - what is the protocol?

Let's move onto the needles.

I mentioned in another post that I've been working on a slipover in intarsia. Very fiddly. Lots of bobbins.

I'm almost finished the back. Can you see the pattern? I think it's fairly obvious at this point, it's a union jack. It's being worked in Elann Pure Bamboo. It's lovely yarn, very smooth and silky, though it tends to split easily, much like cotton,so you need to pay attention while you knit. Once I've finished the back I think I'll put this project away for a bit, I've got a few other projects in mind for this autumn.

I also started, finished and sent the October handmade-of-the-month.

A little pair of wrist warmers. The pattern is called Mrs. Beeton and is available for free on These were worked up in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool and Rowan Kid Silk Haze with a beaded cast-on edge. They're an extra little layer to wear peeking out from under your jacket sleeves. I thought they might be just the thing for a blustery day in the city. It should arrive by Friday, just under the line for October. Happy handmade for October Jane!

And last, but definitely not least, I finished sewing Ian's Hallowe'en costume. Inspired by the purchased hat, this year he chose to go as the pope.

In researching pope outfits online I came across this. I had no idea he was allowed more than one kind of outfit. John Paul II must have favoured the plain white robes, because that's all that comes to my mind when I imagine what the pope wears.

I like this shot, it reminds me of Saruman the White casting a spell.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Virtual Life Continues

That's it. That's the beast that ruined my week-end.

It's both pretty and poison.

I'm able to surf the 'net again, and post to my blog, and read others blogs, but checking e-mail takes a solid half hour, and sending an e-mail is just as complicated. Maybe it's just as well I lost my address book and can't contact anyone.

Let's move on, shall we?

My birthday! (We need to go back in time a week and a bit - I guess that means I'm even older now!)

This is my new camera. It intimidates me completely.

~The rest of the photos in this post were taken on the new camera.~

Nigel surprised me with the book "Bags that Rock" by Kelley Deal - she's the twin sister of Kim Deal, bass player with The Pixies. The sisters were also in the band The Breeders back in the 90's.

Elly, I think there's one in there you might just want to make. It uses a set of junior-sized drumsticks as handles. Can you see it? It's the little red one in the corner of the cover. Funky!

The boys also gave me a EP single of "Heaven" and the LP "Talk Talk Talk" by The Psychedelic Furs. I remember buying a copy of this album back in 1979 at The Bay when I was just fifteen. The music has aged much better than me. I remeber being totally smitten with Richard Butler (the lead singer), he's so cold and adorable - he must be gay. ~There's a video waiting at the bottom of this post if you want to see him.~

Nigel was concerned that these offerings weren't going to be enough, so he told me to go out and get something else for him to wrap.

Don't I have great taste? This is a sterling and moldavite necklace by artist Charles Albert. It's from his "Out of this World" collection. Moldavite is a stone from the Moldavia region in Western Romania. 10,000 years ago a meteorite struck the region, creating the gemstone called moldavite. Some believe that the stone is extraterrestrial, while others believe it's the sandy soil of the region melted into a glass-like stone. I think the melted sandy soil idea sounds pretty likely, but I'm awfully fond of the outer-space line, so humour me - it's my birthday.

Elly didn't disappoint either.

She sent a fantastic little parcel filled with goodies for everyone.

A box of Butler's Chocolates. We discovered this chain of stores in Dublin, the chocolate is fantastic. Also a bag of reds and blacks from Marks and Spencers (we can't get these here). Ian helped me eat the red ones. Also a card that made reference to "snaffling cake". Elly and I decided that snaffle must mean "to eat", and not to snag or ruin, as in "there's a snaffle on my new cardigan", or "this computer totally snaffled my week-end" . I love learning this Gaelic language.

Nigel also scored his very own bar of Butler's chocolate, with whiskey truffle filling. It made him very happy.

And Ian got an R2D2 filled with chocolate and a Beanie Bar. The R2 sat sweetly for most of a day, before he was torn open and his insides all eaten.

Elly also sent this fantastic hank of yarn from This Is Knit, dyed by Elana. The colours are much better in person (I'm still working with this new camera). It has deep purples and magentas with a great swath of rich teal, gorgeous, kind of like a medieval circus. I'm still deciding what it will become.

Thank you Elly and Nigel and Ian! I love all the pressies.

Happy Birthday to me. Let's swoon, shall we?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Standing Still


I'm writing through Ian's MacBook.

We had the new computer up and running for a day and a half and then...CRASH.

I tried installing a (Vista compatible!!!!) digital camera, and the entire system seized up and keeled over. I've been on and off the phone with Hewlett Packard since yesterday, and Best Buy won't answer their phones.

I'm pretty much at the spitting tacks stage of the process.

We've had to reset the computer back to its original settings, thus losing all the data we had in the thing - granted, there wasn't much, just my e-mail address book and Ian's Spore game, damned annoying just the same.

I'm hoping to have access to my virtual life soon, if anyone knows any really effective incantations (either to punish Best Buy, or save our newest electric family member), please start your upload now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Quick Note

Hello All!

No photos yet, but I just wanted to let you all know I had a very lovely birthday on Monday. I am now the proud owner of a very swish new digital camera that I'm still figuring out how to use. I'm sure it won't be too long.

This is also the week we're getting a new computer! It is, in fact, sitting upstairs looking supremely majestic and waiting for the technician to install it...well, finish installing it. Maybe by the end of today. Then I'll have to learn all it's crazy skills - like maybe rebooting in under a week - can you imagine?

As for knitting, I'm working on a slipover vest worked in intarsia. Terribly fiddly work, with all those bobbins, but it's looking good so far. It's a men's pattern, and no, it's not for Nigel - far too loud colourwise!

As soon as our technical world settles down I'll post a few snaps of work in progress.

'Til then...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Good, Bad and Ugly - Really Ugly

Right, we'll see what's been good lately.

The Koolhaas Hat for Elly is all finished.

I very much like how this turned out. I made it smaller than the small size (only three pattern repeats in depth - Elly's got a small head). Ian modelled it for me and I think the size should be just right. I sent it off to her in a little parcel which should arrive sometime this week.

To fill out the box a bit, I made a dishcloth for her new flat.

Can you read what it says, "Knit Now Dishes Later". I found the pattern on Ravelry. It's not really advice, more like permission.

Made with Pakucho Organic Cotton in the natural colour. Now, everyone who knows Elly knows she's not really a "natural" girl; maybe "Betty Page Red" or "Tim Burton Violet", but not "Organic Cotton Natural", however, it was in the stash and I thought the pale colour might make the words stand out more. To be truthful though, in reality it's very hard to read, it just photographs well.

Also good, I made a new dress for Maggie. White with multi coloured polka dots, and a green gingham pinafore too.

Doesn't she look happy?

But along with the good, there's also bad.

Months ago I admired the Kusha Kusha Scarf and thought it might be a great quick project. The yarn was very unusual - Habu Silk and Stainless Steel mixed with JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk. I bought enough yarn to make one in white and one in black.

I started with the white, and in no time I'd finished all the knitting. I thought it looked not too bad. Oh, but then - I continued to follow the instructions.

After knitting, you're suppose to felt the scarf. Which I did.

It was bad. Two-thirds have the felted wool and stainless steel and the other third is only the stainless steel. I love the stainless steel, it's like a moldable mesh. Very cool. The felted part is too stiff. I also didn't care for the colour, when the JaggerSpun was felted the white became more of an off-white. A bad off-white. Icky. I preferred the scarf before I'd felted it.

So I moved on to the black one.

Better. I won't felt this one. Though I wish I'd just made it with the plain stainless steel - it would have been better still.

So where's the ugly?

Well, thinking I could possibly improve the white scarf by dyeing it a different colour. I tossed it into a purple dye bath.

The hot water in the dye bath only made it felt further. Now it's almost the thickness of leather. Awful, it's not like a scarf at all anymore - more like a belt.

Ugly, ugly.