Monday, February 26, 2007

You scored as Hermione Granger. You're extremely hard-working and will not feel satisfied with yourself unless you've given everything your all. You're very intelligent and make good use of your witty remarks and astounding ability to insult people. You tend to be a stickler for the rules but are smart enough to know that rules sometimes need to be broken. Your major downfall, however, is your fear of failure, which you should have no reason to fear. You love your friends but also like to keep them in line.

Hermione Granger


Neville Longbottom


Harry Potter


Percy Weasley


Ron Weasley


Bellatrix Lestrange


Luna Lovegood


Oliver Wood


Sirius Black


Lord Voldemort


Draco Malfoy


Albus Dumbledore


Severus Snape


Remus Lupin


Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blogger, why have you forsaken me?

Why is it that Blogger bounces me out when I try to post these days? How frustrating is that - write out a little essay, share a giggle, vent a frustration and *poof* it's gone BECAUSE BLOGGER HATES ME?!? WTF redux!

I am really trying to rein in the fabric shopping; like a lot of craftspeople, I feel the need to hoard, store, gather, plan. The one with the most, wins right? Nah... it's just that all of this stuff (yarn, fabric, trim - whatever) is like holding unlimited potential in your hands. Piling up in your dining room. Suffocating your pets. Hmmm, maybe not.

Besides being thwarted by Blogger, it's been a fairly productive week. I've visited my small business advisor (Negative Ned, as I like to refer to him as - why do I get the feeling that he doesn't want this to succeed?), filled out countless forms, written a lengthy business report, sucked up my pride, got a filling replaced, sewed, knitted and tried my damnedest to keep smiling. What is good however is that, unlike months ago when the smile was forced, the smile is real (and really big, to boot). I am starting to feel like the path is the right one and also to understand my good friend, D when she says to trust my instincts. If it feels right, then it is right. The best news of all is that both D & K the elder have expressed interest in working with me, when we finally get this monkey out of its cage.

I got news that my swap partner received her bag so I can finally post about it. What an uplifting experience this has been and even though I haven't received mine yet, I feel as if being able to make something for someone else, a person whom I don't even know, was a gift in itself. It's so nice to make something special with your own hands and a bit of fabric. I got to put myself in the place of a younger mom, running around with a small child - what would she need? Then, apply those thoughts to the final product. I'm so impulsive that I had to undo a lot of work to add new details but the amazing thing is how little the experience felt like work. It just felt right.

I can't wait to get mine but with the strike in the port in Vancouver, it may be a while. Still, I'll keep checking the post and hoping....
I added an elastic topped pocket so that she could put stuff in it and it would stay in there - what a concept, huh? I get tired of having things fall out of pockets so I thought that it was a nice touch. Psst, can you see my label? I made it all by myself hee hee hee (just a little short bus rider, me)
I added a change purse, attached to the bag so it wouldn't get lost, as well as a key holder - I always hated trying to dig through a bag, looking for keys with a squirming toddler in one hand. Being such a proud Canadian, how could I resist the temptation to add a little bit of our beautiful flag? Well, I couldn't of course so I lined the change purse in it! The fabrics were an easy choice - I had this piece of lovely turquoise linen in my stash. It has flecks of green hiding in it and when you look closely, it reminds me of a cool, shallow bay back in the Keys. The splatter print fabric was a great find - it reminds me of the Northern Lights and I have to say it makes me homesick to think of evenings spent walking with our necks craned upwards, looking at the dance and shimmy of the beautiful Lights. That's my Canada and I really wanted to share this with M, my wonderful swap partner. I wish her and her family all the best. Use the bag in wonderful health and happiness, M!

And because I just can't stop sewing, I made a little bag for her little darling
That made my smile all the bigger

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tip Down Mitten Pattern

Wanna finally use that Noro that you got for Christmas but are struggling to find a pattern? I used 2 skeins of Noro K for these little monkeys

Short Attention Span Mittens
I love a simple knitting project that I can make while traveling, waiting for an appointment or chatting. And everyone knows about my preoccupation with the noble mitten
With my recent infatuation with toe-up socks turning into a full-blown obsession, I decided to try to find a basic fingertip-down mitten, using the same shaping that I’ve been using for my sock-toes. I found a couple of patterns but none of them suited my odd-shaped hands. What to do? Make my own pattern!

The challenge was creating a pattern that required little thought, something that I could pull off, without referring to a pattern. So, the repetitions included here are simple (24 for the tip, 28 for the hand, 24 rows for the wrist and 20 for the thumb) – it doesn’t get easier than that.

You will need:
*100 grams of light to medium worsted weight yarn (you should have lots left over but just to be sure that you have enough – 100 grams should do it)- I used some left-over Red Heart Comfort for my test pair, 2 skeins of Noro for the 2nd pair
*4 or 5 X 3.5 mm. double-pointed needles (depending on your taste)
*a note pad & pencil (essential for your first pair – jot down the number of rows that it will take, in your own tension, to reach the end of your hand, your wrist, your thumb ect.)

I started with a provisional (crochet) cast-on and the excellent tutorial found on Knitty. It’s simply 24 stitches, worked in short rows until you have the toe of a sock (or in this case, tip of a mitten). I use 3 needles, with 1 to work my stitches (4 needles in total) but you can use 5 if that’s what you’re comfortable with. You should have 48 stitches all around so place them on your needles according to your preference; I have 24 on needle 1, 12 each on needles 2 & 3. These numbers will of course change if you are using 5 needles – adjust accordingly

Keep in mind that a narrower or shorter hand will take less rows/ stitches. If you need your tip to be narrower, cast on less stitches – try 20 or 22, and see if that suits your hand.

After your mitten tip is finished, knit XX rounds (I knit 28 rounds); this should be as long as it takes to reach your thumb crotch – get your minds outta the gutter, folks – crotch, like a tree crotch. You know - the spot between your thumb and hand?
Right here
Yes, my hand is that warped and gnarly – thanks for noticing. You’re my favorite!

This pattern was an excellent reference to help decide how long to make the top if my mitten, as well as how to decrease for your wrist. For the thumb, I was torn – how to proceed? Follow my normal thumb? No, let’s try something new? But new is scary…Long story short, I used this tutorial to make my thumb for this project.

Mitten 1 - Knit 46 stitches, then work thumb like this – in waste yarn, knit the next 8 stitches (yes, you will be knitting into the next round – breathe - everything will be fine), slip needle 1’s stitches back onto needle 1 and the stitches knit on the waste yarn back onto needle 4; re-knit these stitches in your regular yarn.
Your new starting point will be exactly ½ way around your mitten from where you began (trust me, this will ensure a symmetrical mitten)
Complete the round and continue on to knit 5 more rounds.

Mitten 2 - Knit 18 stitches – in waste yarn, knit the next 8 (yes, you will be knitting into the next round – remember? we just discussed this! Geez wouldya breathe already!?!), slip these stitches back onto their original needles; re-knit these stitches in your regular yarn. (On this mitten, your starting point does not change – use your original start)
Complete the round and continue on to knit 5 more rounds.

Your decreases for the base of your thumb/ top of your wrist will be equally balanced around your thumb’s base (d’uh!)

Begin wrist decreases: what was your beginning (where you cast on) will now be the opposite side of your new ‘start’ (see notes above for 2nd mitt)
Knit 20, ssk, knit 8, k2tog, k 16 (changes for Mitten #2 = knit 16, NOT 20)
Knit 1 plain row
Knit 17, ssk, knit 8, k2tog, k 17

Repeat decrease row every second row until 40 stitches remain (4 decrease rows followed by plain rows, end with plain row) Knit 2 more plain rows . In the Noro, I added an extra 8 rows to compensate for the thinner bits in the spinning – does anyone else find their spinning extremely tight?

Begin k2p2 ribbing (I prefer a long cuff because of the cold, damp winds along the river; this way you can tuck them up under your coat sleeve cuff. You can make your cuff to suit your preference and climate)
Mine was 24 rows. Cut yarn and weave into wrong side of knitting
At this point, you have an odd fish-shaped object that looks like this – do you see that yellow thread? That’s the scrap yarn where your thumb will be!

It’s hard to see with such little contrast so here is the same mitten, this time knit in color-saturated Noro K. Look closely at the purple yarn – see? It’s hiding right there and you can see how the thumb ‘lives’ behind the hand, offset to fit a real human hand

Yeah, I know – it’s hard to see – look harder, dammit! Yellow on purple – you can’t miss it!
Start thumb! You’re almost finished! Pick up stitches on scrap yarn – you’ll have 8 on needle 1, 4 on needle 2, and 4 on needle 4.

I slip my needle under one of the 2 parts of the stitch that is on the scrap yarn – if you do it this way, make sure that you’ve picked the same side of each stitch so that your work hangs neatly – the other option is to simply pull out the scrap yarn and slip the open stitch onto your needle like this

Knit 8 stitches on needle 1, pu 1 stitch, knit next 8 stitches, pu 1 stitch – 18 stitches


Knit 20 rounds and begin decreases. Knit 2tog all the way around – cut yarn (about 12”) and with a darning needle, thread yarn through the remaining 9 stitches and gather. Pull thread to inside of thumb, secure and weave yarn end into thumb

Gratuitous Noro Shot

Yummy, yummy, yummy Noro
Totally gratuitous Austria/ Ski reference
This pattern is intended for free sharing – NOT commercial reproduction. Do not re-print this pattern without my express written consent. Play fair folks – give credit where it’s due. Otherwise, enjoy it!

More sewing, more planning, more energy

In a flurry of fabrics, thread and the whirrrrrr of fly wheels, I made some small cases - perfect for CDs, pens, cosmetics - anything smallish that you need to carry around

The pattern is fairly straight-forward - I used the cardboard that a pair of pillowcases came wrapped around as a template, cut out 2 of each - fabric, lining, interfacing. A super simple idea but just perfect for a pencil case (big enough to hold my addiction, post-it notes), a CD holder or even a cosmetic bag. Some of them were made using fabric swatches that I procured when I worked in the furniture business. I kept thinking that they were intended to be something but what? Now, I know. Have I told you how good it feels to use up fabric that I've hung onto FOREVER? Freakin' ahhhh-mazing!

a light dusting

Is there nothing cleaner than a little dust cover of snow? It always makes me smile. Even the dirty snowbanks down Merivale yesterday, that constant reminder that yes, you are now in an urban area, will be be refreshed this morning by that powdered sugar of snow.
I am busily planning and creating, working towards my own re-freshening of sorts. It's been cathartic to go through my fabrics and yarns, inventory them and create new objects. There's a school of thought that clutter is stored energy, sitting there but inert, draining energy from your life. By using those resources, I've noticed a definite energy shift - and to think that it all started with a simple tote bag swap...
I've made quite a few in past couple of weeks - I think that this one will be
for one of my SILs - I don't know which one yet but I'll figure it out . somehow...maybe good old Rock, Paper, Scissors will sort it out for me
Then, I made my first apron

no pattern of course - that would have been too easy. I'm sure that I've over complicated this simple project but it was fun to play - use my embroidery stitches on the Kenmore, serge the waistband... put fabrics together. Beulah liked it enough to wear it for a week; doesn't she look hot?
Then, I made this one

even more simple and again, no pattern
but wait - there's more!

that embroidered strip on the bottom is really a set of pockets... to put stuff in!

When your internal fog clears up, you get to see things that really matter - like good friends. For those of you who read through this chronicle and 'visited' for SIPD, you 'met' my dear friends, Rita and MCC. What I didn't share was that I was especially gifted that day - LOOK!!!!
First, the D.A.W.G.S. got this (and some homemade cookies)

I cannot imagine using it as a floor cloth and have to rig some way to hang this gorgeous bit of canvas on a wall so that I can enjoy it every day - isn't he the perfect dog!?!
Then (yes, it gets even better)I got this cool bag
Isn't the best message EVER?!? It's filled with workbooks for my next class, too - yum!
But wait, not only did I get that and that but I also got THIS (doesn't this feel like an infomercial?)
Yes, a shawl - my very firstest shawl, perfect for curling up with a cuppa and a good book. In it, I finally finished the Last Harry Potter book (for the 3rd time, secure in its warmth and the comfort of a good friend
One beautiful thing about this electronic age is how we meet friends from all over and yet never meet face to face. It's really opening a series of new possibilities, isn't it. Maybe the world that our parents protested for isn't so far off - maybe we can stitch this new reality together, via the Internet. More friends is never a bad thing

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Zombie Letters from
Everybody, meet my zombie legion - zombie legion, everybody - now go sit down somewhere - no gnawing on your neighbours...gawrsh!!!

Today's shopping wasn't as productive as I has hoped but I did score the ever elusive silver grommets for my new drapes. Can you say "hallelujah"? Sure, you can.
What happened to those giant dollar store bags of buttons? There are none to be found ANYWHERE... not even one filled with ugly buttons. *Sigh* Do you have my buttons?

Last night (and keep in mind this is third hand news - I didn't witness it), K the elder accidentally stepped on Pablo's tail - Pablo squawked and in a zip, Flashlight raced downstairs and started beating on Jack. WTF!!!! Poor dog gets blamed for everything, I tell ya. She did this once before, when I was away in Vancouver for an extended project. It's like she's ready for war when she's in this mood - bully cat on the loose. Take no crap, yeah that's my girl. Probably why I kinda like her but I just wish that she'd pick another target for her rage. Jack runs and hides when it happens. He has no clue that he outweighs her by about 90 lbs. Poor old man

I'll leave you with a happier moment in his life - enjoying his visit with Santa

Man, I've been busy....

Too busy to post but I've thought about doing it... I swear!
With so much sewing still going on, the Kenmore and the serger are now residing in my dining room instead of my work room, much to K the elder's chagrin. After completing my bag for the swap, I started making bags and more bags... and even more bags. This is the first tote that I made - jerry-rigged a pattern together and started sewing like a madwoman. I've made a couple to send off to New York and Key West to the SILs and am planning a pink/ cat one for Val and a Nintendo- controller style one for Pat. He'll need one to tote stuff from gig to gig these days - he's got bookings coming out of the yin-yang (but I'm not bragging *rubs fingernails on shirt front* because he's so talented *ahem* ;) )

When will it stop? Maybe after I run out of material and interfacing...and thread. The quilt shop up the road has been calling to me as I go by and their new line of Japanese fabrics is really torture to walk past. You know my love of things Asian. I'm even going to Ikea ON A SATURDAY to pick up a roll of drawing paper to sketch out new patterns on; the thin tissue that I used for my original pattern has finally collapsed into several pieces that I've been piecing together every time I make another bag. ON A SATURDAY - if that doesn't say "addiction", I don't know what does...

I have to transport K the younger to his game today so that leaves me vulnerable to shopping madness. You'll be happy to know that I've made a list...when you ride the short bus to school (as I do), lists get lost...then I have to wing it. You never know what I'll find. I'm thinking that I'll hit Vsquared and maybe Sally Ann. I went to Goodwill last week and scored some lovely African what to do with them? Maybe as linings for totes?

I love mixing fabrics and this pink (yes, pink!) tote makes me smile

It looks like the daisy band is crooked but I think it's the way I set up the photo - being a very neurotic person, I took it down and measured after I noticed that it didn't look straight. I added a few things like a built-in key holder

and hid an interior pocket by camouflaging it

Never mind the loose threads - I did tie them off. With 2 sturdy fabrics, this is a perfect bag for library-trekking and trips to Baker Bob's

I've been thinking of new ways to do 'business' lately and was wondering if anyone out there, visitor or lurker who wants to swap - something that I make for a little graphics help? Instead of spending cash (which is very much a finite resource in this household), we could swap creativity. I need a banner/ logo for my business web site -something fun and a bit bold to advertise my consulting group,that's high enough resolution that it could be used for business cards and other printed materials. What do you think? Drop me a line if you're interested

Sunday, February 11, 2007


we went to Moscow
and Beijing.

then we went under the sea
and met a mermaid
and into a kingdom where the citizens had blades instead of feet

Then we fought off intergalactic spider-monsters at the National Gallery

We slayed the mighty beaver and devoured his tail
Um actually we bought them, here

and met some disgruntled penguins

Personally, I think that they moonlight as Mounties in the summer...
actually, we just spent the morning at Winterlude
I'll explain tomorrow, after I've slept off the excitement of the day

Friday, February 09, 2007

Let's play tag

With the eyes of a child watching the action on a playground, not quite getting the rules of engagement, I've been watching all of this tagging/'meme'ing going on. It was a real surprise to find myself tagged by fellow knitter, Zia

At this early hour, I had to laugh - 6 weird things about me - only 6!?! Hey, this shouldn't be a stretch seeing as I'm weirder than most.

6. I can't 'watch' TV so as I listen, I knit or work on a craft project. If I can't do that, I write or plan other projects. I don't feel productive if I don't make something (or plan on how to make something while watching TV). We didn't watch TV at home when we were kids, except for special occasions and for very special shows (Star Trek & Bugs Bunny *sigh*)and were expected to be productive with our time. This must be a residual habit, from that time. We just got digital cable and I find myself having to break away from this habit long enough to figure out what channel I'm watching and when the next episode of the Simpsons comes on
Here's a little proof of this habit - my turquoise socks on a pair of my vintage sock stretchers, a farm auction score (6 pairs for $1 Cdn!!!)

5. I could eat breakfast foods for every meal... and have some days

4. When I was little, I dreamed that I would wake up with a mermaid's tail (I've shared this before but it is a little weird, isn't it). Can you imagine swimming with a real fish tail!?! It would be divine! I have total Koi envy when I visit a fish pond - if I can't live a life as a human, I wouldn't mind being a sleek, colorful pond koi. I live vicariously through my koi-friends who live in the aquarium in my dining room

3. I am working my way out of my bird anxiety by visiting the 'bird' room at the Superpet petstore. I should add that my grandfather kept birds. The Macaw (Henry) used to try to hurt us children ...because HE WAS A JERK and my brother has a scar on his forehead from being pecked by the evil, crotchety old man. Zeyde also had a Finch room/ aviary but he was the only one that the birds wouldn't attack upon entering. Considering the constant bird threat of my childhood, mastering this uncomfortabilty is a big step forwards... I am really starting to enjoy conversing with the birds and sometimes, the staff let me hold some of the smaller birds (and I don't shake or feel like crying any more!)I am even considering adopting a conure, the clowns of the birding world.

2. Speaking of fear, I have developed an anxiety disorder (geez that makes it sound as if I cultivated it, doesn't it) and have had days when I was overwhelmed by strange waves of fear that came out of nowhere. It was worse when I worked for the Übles Reich; then I had a car accident and it got much worse but I feel less and less frightened. It still rears its head from time to time. Seeing that half the people I was working with expressed the same fears and waves of anxiety, maybe this is more common than not?

1. I have very 'wet' ears and need to wipe out the ear canal with a Q-tip at least once a day. No ear wax, just damp. I had some serious bouts of swimmers ear as a child because our summers were spent in water and maybe this has contributed to this condition. I cannot stand a damp ear canal and will even wake up some nights, just to toddle to bathroom to wipe them out. Who can sleep with wet ears???? K the elder added this one when I told him what I was writing and I had to agree - I complain about wet ears all the time and carry a small container with swabs, just in case. No, I do not clean my ears in public but I have to know that I can... just in case.

On a really happy note, the Winterlude snow sculpture contest is on and one person has designed hands knitting!!!! I will try to score some photos for sharing. Maybe I can drag myself over to Jacques Cartier Park this weekend... It's certainly cold enough that the sculptures won't melt. Other years, I stumbled through Confederation Park (a little inebriated, yes, it's true - that's why I was stumbling, folks)and enjoyed some of the works of art there. I've never made it over to JC Park, though so this would be a nice way to spend a cold winter morning. It takes a lot of courage to make a snow and ice creation that is so beautiful and to do so knowing how impermanent it is. If I can drag K the elder into the cold, we could actually do something together. It's funny that this person who skied for a living doesn't like the cold. I grew up on skis and can't stand the heat. Even with my arthritis, I love winter and would spend every day in the snow, if I could live with the aftermath of pain and immobility. I've caved in and am taking some drugs to keep some mobility (yes, I know... I swore that I wouldn't but I had the choice - to walk or not... admit it, you'd take them too if that was your choice)

I'd better get off to wake the boy for his first day of co-op - he's pretty excited about this practical work experience and is already discussing possible summer employment! Mommy's little Capitalist ;)

Be warned, folks - some of you shall be tagged for weirdness-sharing, too. Put on your drinking, um, thinking caps and start listing now!