Monday, December 04, 2006

Cello: August 1986 - December 4 2006

I am now officially two cats old. Dad just called with the sad news that Cello (as in the instrument), my 20-year-old cat, died at 3:30-something this morning. Poor girl. She had an amazing, long life, and despite deafness and thyroid problems towards the end, she was in relatively good, if frail, health. She snuck outside a few days ago when dad went out for a couple of hours, and she got stuck outside in the cold. We suspect that this hastened her end.

I'm so glad I visited my folks on Saturday and had a chance to see her - I didn't outwardly know it, but on some level I think I realised it was goodbye. It all makes sense now.

Sleep well, Snit. I'll miss you.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Insert photos here

I'm in something of a hibernatory phase at the moment. Curled up, nose to tail, disinclined to put in any more effort than what's required to breathe as I doze.

I have pictures of many things to post - and also many things without pictures - but even uploading photos feels like a bit of a task -- that said, it's always felt that way. As has posting. Ah, fickle self. :)

So, I give you images in words. Don't worry - I'll use far less than a thousand for each one.

I have images of the finished greengold and rose text-messaging mittens, featuring a big thumbs-up from me.

I have a still-almost-finished sock #1 in the lovely Interlacements yarn that Abigail sent me. That stuff invites comments from complete strangers on the subway. It's like dappled light and shadow on some distant planet where things are far more colourful and strange than here.

I've decided a t-shirt is in order that says: 'Eunny Jang is a sadist.' I have the beginnings of a Bayerische in a delicious, warm lavender-violet that only gets more complex the closer you get to it. It's coming along relatively well, and I am indeed enjoying it, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around how a) working with a 7-stitch cable can be done without a cable needle, and b) how it would be possible to achieve 'crisp stitches' sans said cable needle. Heck - my stitches on this sock are anything but crisp. Fuzzy Bayerische, here I come.

We saw angora goats. Mum and I went on the Downtown Knit Collective's first bus trip and visited Wellington Fibres. Many goaty pictures. Those beasties are in constant motion - so twitchy. Even when they're standing still and looking at you, their eyebrows are going every which way. The sires were the only ones that seemed capable of achieving complete stillness - they were variously described by fellow bus trippers as looking like 'an old man' and 'a 97-y-o woman'. Hee. Yay goats! Mum sketched to her heart's content and came away with a few neat images. Rumour has it that the next bus trip, some time next year, will be to Koigu. Glee!

Jacquie had a funtime thankswarming party at her new digs last Friday, which was a little overwhelming to start, given the serious influx of Urban Exploration folks (none of whom I knew), but then some knitters showed up. Too tired to link to everyone at the moment (waking up at 5:30 a.m. for no particular reason'll do that to you), but familiar faces included Rocketbride, the Needle Addict, Kiwi Ceri, Heather, Avalee and the MadHatress. Fun! So glad I went. Wish I could've stayed longer, but had to hightail it because...

Sandi's husband Jay's new band, Easy Way Out, was performing -- and it was fantastic. Not only was the music great, but adding to the delight was seeing how much fun Jay was having on stage. I hadn't heard him sing rock before, and, well, he sounded kinda like Chris Cornell. That, and they were accompanied by rapper George Reefah, which just made it double-good. I had a serious urge to rush home afterwards and listen to Body Count -- not from the perspective of the violent lyrics and all that, but ohhhh, the sound of it. Took me back and made everything right with the world. The only downer was the disappearance of Sandi's purse, and with it, her dear Goldie. People are sucky sometimes.

On a happier note, one of the falcons decided to hang out on our balcony railing for a while last Sunday morning.

Right. Off to work, since there ain't much else to do at 7 a.m. other than rub my sandy eyes. I'll try to post piccies soon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

more than an owl

Today is a good day. It's cold and vaguely rainy and grey, but it feels peaceful and clean. A day to stay indoors and do housey stuff, bundled in flannel pyjamas and a sweatshirt. The kind of day that my father is prompted to gaze out the window and say: "Oh England, my England." He came here as a young man in 1967, and there's a type of day - like today - with this particular wettish, damp, cool quality that reminds him of his homeland. He's a bona fide tortured artist, and is imbued with the dual qualities of romanticism and anger. He was a stern parent, but also capable of being very silly.

Remember a while back I found an owl pellet on my balcony? It gets better. This morning I had tea and a clove on the balcony, revelling in the wind and the pewtery autumnal light, watching the pigeons and a couple of gulls riding the wind - but wait...those birds are...reddish-brown, not gull-grey, and they're biggerandtheirwingshavehugepinfeathersandcurveupatthetipslikefighterplanes...and now they're curving closer and right past my balcony about 15 feet away and they have hooked, predatory beaks like military commanders' noses and they're huge! Falcons. A pair of falcons. Today is a good day.

I'm also thinking of my grandfathers today.

Albert Augustine Patrick McKenna (Bertie), born in 1888, ran away at the age of 14 to join the army and lied about his age, served in the cavalry in India, was a merchant seaman, and served his country at sea in both WWI and WWII.

Francis Edward Carey Peaker (Ned), served his country at sea in WWII, and on November 1st, 1941, received a telegram on the ship informing him that my mother had been born. Pulled the gun carriage carrying the casket at King George's funeral. Owned the village shop and post office in Huddersfield, W. Yorks. "We're out of bread; you'll have to have toast."

I never had the chance to meet either of them. They both survived the wars, but died before I was born. Thanks to both of them and to all the men who served and made it possible for dad to reminisce and for me to see falcons on Remembrance Day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cats and Mittens

Thanks all for your kind words and offers of help - I really do appreciate it. I wish there was a way to respond directly to comments. In response to various questions from folks, I do spin, but to this point just on a drop spindle. I've taken a wheel class with Laura, and I desire her wheel - a gorgeous Lendrum double-treadle. I'm saving my shekels. Robin was very sweet and offered me a book, which was a lovely thing to do. I study psychotherapy and have been seeing a therapist for over 5 years, so I'm pretty much booked out on the subject of depression, but I think it's so nice that you offered. Thank you. :)

I've upped my antidepressants on the advice of my doctor and have a referral to a psychiatrist (!) so here's hoping that in the short term I'll be able to muddle through.

I've not been idle while off work for the last couple of days. Here is a mitten, knitted at the request of t's niece Laura. It isn't just an ordinary mitten, though - it's a text messaging mitten from Knitgrrl, with flip-up thumbs. Mitten #2 is on the needles, but I've been holding off so Jacquie and Sandi can see stranded knitting in action.

I've also been kicking some butt with Niamh Spins White, my latest GuildWars character. Nothing takes care of angst like handing skree's arses back to them on a plate (we won't talk about the many times mine has been handed to me in this way).

NSW is named for my beloved NuNu, who as you can see, is white, in addition to being named Niamh. I haven't seen NuNi in over a year and a half, and I think about her all the time. Here she is with Freya, a.k.a. Kitten.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On Depression - and a picture of a sock

There was a little gnome

And she had a little home

Right in the middle of my forehead.

And when she was good

She was very, very good

And when she was bad, she was horrid fucking awful.

Here's my Interlacements sock (aka The Sock of Infinite Pleasure) so far. It's accompanied by my helper, the Hocus-Pocus Bag.

The rest of this post is more serious and introspective in tone, so if you're not up for that, just distract yourself by looking at the sock.

I've suffered from depression for a long time, but I wasn't formally diagnosed until about a year ago, when my biochemistry marshalled its forces and took over my life. Things got better for a while, but it's reasserted itself, and I'm trying to figure out what to do next.

Some days, I'm fine - some moments, I'm fine. And then something happens to me. It's in part biochemical, but it's often triggered by events - work most often, sometimes family - and I transform into this bloody, suppurating, suffering mass of raw nerve endings, incapable of rational response to what should be normal stresses. Most people, given a healthy enough sense of themselves and their place in the world, would be able to process it, cope, and move on. I am plunged into black despair, unable to see any value or redemption in any part of myself. I take it all in and get lost in it.

In this place, everything bad is true. I am incapable, incompetent, hopeless, irredeemable. I am a deep void of child-fear, rage and paranoia. I project my own worst self-impressions onto my co-workers and am convinced that this is how they see me. I am a failure, and I castigate myself for it. You know the bullies that were horrible to you at school? They got nothin' on the one in my head.

Even outside of these episodes, I'm often paranoid and suspicious, certain that I'm under judgement all the time. I no longer know what is me and what is not-me. This doesn't happen with my friends so much - anywhere that official evaluation has no sway, I'm fine and relatively comfortable. Thank heckins.

I find it interesting, though, to attempt to look at this from the perspective of my observer-self; to muddle through an articulation of what happens in my head when logic and perception go awry. I hope that ultimately, I'll come to understand it better.

I can sound together as I write this, but here's how it looks from the belly of the beast. This was written last week in a few minutes over lunch:

foul demon, corrupted gargoyle, twisted and deformed - I would cast you out but you are my creation, so deeply chained that the links remain unbroken and I cannot find the source.

I am Pompeii, the ashes of Vesuvius so thick and heavy in the air, my silver shadow besmirched and blackened, buried under impenetrable layers of my own devising. My grief is red as blood.

Persephone, how I envy you. What I wouldn't give for even one glowing pomegranate seed here in the dark. At least you could move, and the sun was a certainty.

The soil is frozen hard; no seed of mine will sprout on the plains of desolation.

And so I spin myself a green cocoon here in the black, hunker down under the poisoned ash and the weight of lifetimes and await a sign - any sign - of spring.

Maybe depression needs to be re-marketed as a development opportunity for bad free-form verse. Quality of the writing aside, I think it conveys that this is a very bad place to be. When I'm in it, it seems interminable - there's no hope and no end, and even if it does pass, there's the certain knowledge that I will be engulfed by it again and again. No amount of preparation makes that any easier.

Wow, huh? I try to take the days as they come, and in my more rational moments try to remember all of the people and things for which I'm thankful. I'll spend at least part of this afternoon in a coffee shop, knitting and reading. I'm really looking forward to it - it'll help me recharge and perhaps feel more like myself.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Me buy yarn on the TTC Knitalong? That's as likely as Elvis being alive.

Elvis wows the crowd with his killer combo of a knitted pompadour and curled upper lip.

Elvis, being Elvis, just had to try on my Clapotis.
And where else would the King re-materialise but Alterknit, Toronto's newest yarn store?
Elvis tries to find out how sensitive Jen's girlhole really is.
Nadia models her gorgeous handknitted coat.
Next stop, Princess Haley's Knitomatic (note Pluto, The Loudest Lovebird in the Universe, on her shoulder. He kinda blends in with the yarn).

Dread Pirate Vivienne, flush with victory after pillaging Knitomatic. And as the saying goes: Where there's pirates, there's zombies. Not even death could keep Erin from the Knitalong. Tom's sister Sandy and niece Laura, an accomplished knitter in her own right, pose with Al Paca. Sandy was running a fever, so it's amazing that they were able to join us, even for a little while.

One of the many faces of Lilly, at this moment reflecting her concern that there are loads of people waiting for the Bathurst streetcar -- but no streetcar.
Susan, filled with evil glee after frightening an innocent bystander into deserting the back of the Spadina streetcar.
Jen, still harshing the clown. (Jen is knitting the scarf on her shoulder for a friend. She doesn't like the colourway, and declared that it looked like dead clown. Michelle (avec camera) remarked that it was more like pureéd clown. After slagging off the colours for most of the morning, Jen decided that she'd been "harshing the clown" too much. Michelle now has a new favourite saying.)
Stop harshing the clown! Be drinkable!

Jacquie (a.k.a. The Devil Wears Clappy), overcome whilst trying to hold my yarn. She was unable to actually look at it all because she ran out of hands.

Here it is - that better? I'm highly pleased, yet also mortified at the size of the haul.
Maybe I can take some lessons from Elvis on places to hide it.

And that's the short version.
Thanks to the folks at Alterknit, Knitomatic and Lettuce Knit for making Team North's day so fantastic! You guys are the best yarn stores a girl could ever want to visit.

Monday, October 23, 2006


My camera batteries are recharging, so no pix. Lots to pic about, though. Soon, my pretties, soon.

Mon clapotis est fini. Done, done, done. 8.5 balls of Lang Mille Colori. It looks great, but now I don't know what to do with it. I feel like a cat that's finally caught the mouse she's been stalking. It's very long (VERY long), but I think it's too narrow to be useful as a wrap, and too wide to be used as a scarf. I actually didn't wear it today 'cos I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to don it in such a way that it would stay on as I carelessly cast myself about the bus en route to work. Must re-dig-out the beautiful shawl stick Laura gave me to see if that'll do the trick. And you know - I like it inside out. I didn't think I would, but it sits better on the shoulders that way, and the colours blur together in a pleasing fashion.

In other news, I admit it: I. am. out. of. control. Last week or so, I was at Lettuce Knit and finally succumbed to the Posh sock yarn. Cashmere/merino yumminess - 2 skeins: paisley and cosmopolitan. And how charmed am I that 2 of their solids are called 'boiled egg' and 'pillar box' - they look exactly as you expect them to. I won't even get into flibbertigibbet.

And then on Sunday, all hell broke loose. I returned to Lettuce to drop off some yarn for "I'm working in a yaaaaaaarrrrrrnnnnn stooorrrrrreeeee" Jen (I'm her Kureyon pusher), and to what should my wondering eyes (perhaps in my case it should be 'wandering eyes') should appear, but a whole new Lorna's Laces shipment. That would have been bad enough on its own, but it became a deadly, heady cocktail with the addition of Michelle, who makes my enabler tendencies look positively gentle. Let's sum up the damage, shall we?

Two skeins each of the following:

Purple Iris


Mother Lode

Vera (which makes me think of Nabokov's wife)


Flames (I am infinitely suggestible. When Michelle dug into the stack to find some, I needed some too. I'm now envisioning using some plain charcoal yarn to create socks with flames licking up from the toes and peeking out of my mary janes, with more flames climbing up from the heel to ring my leg. Or some such.)

If you were doing the math, you'll realise that, not counting the stuff that was in my hands and I forced myself to put back (black watch, black purl, heck knows what else), that's 12 skeins of sock yarn. In addition to all the sock yarn I already have which in no way constitutes evidence of any kind of addiction whatsoever. And next week is the knitalong.

*falls of her chair and twitches amidst dragonhordes of yarn*

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lorena Snark is teetering on the edge of sneaker envy...

...and I propose to tip her over the edge to meltdown.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I've been thinking a lot about breasts lately, for reasons both personal and wider-worldly.

Beryl Tsang - titbit creatrix, TTC Knitalong maven, Womanly Force to be Reckoned With™ and all-round mad creative genius - spoke at the Downtown Knit Collective meeting tonight about her experience with cancer and the birth of the titbit, a gorgeous, ingenious, and – dare I say it – sensual solution to what must be an overwhelming, devastating challenge: how does one feel and look good when half of one's bouncy, crazy set of taken-for-granted mammaries has been removed as a means of saving your life?

In preparation for Beryl's visit, we were encouraged to knit titbits to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society, so over the last few days, I knitted a cottony-soft, silky, lavender titbit (C-cup) whilst listening to countless episodes of Cast On and KnitCast. I thought about the eventual recipient. Dunno who she is, but I'm thinking about her and hoping she wears it in good health, and that the softness and colour gives her at least a little bit of pleasure.

It felt oddly appropriate, somehow, that I was thinking about my own breasts over the same few days. For months now, I've been meaning to pick up some new bras. The ones I own are pretty stretched out, and, as it turns out, too small – as in, WAY too small. Here I was, stupidly thinking it was their age that was causing the straps to regularly slip off my shoulders in the most exasperating fashion, when I suddenly twigged the other week that it was because my breasts were uncontainable, and their weight was pulling the straps down.

I must digress for a moment to explain to those that have never seen me in person that I'm 5'10", have weighed between 160 and 170 pounds for about the last 10 years, and have been a size 12 with 38C breasts for…hmmm…almost 20 years. In the last year or so, due to a combination of medication and eating junk with abandon, I've gained a fair bit of weight: I recently bought size 13 and 14 trousers for the first time in my whole life, and discovered over the Thanksgiving weekend that I now weigh 181 lbs. I have a pretty delicate bone structure, so my height is the only reason I don't look the size I actually am – well, to other people, anyway. I am a paragon of unfitness. So it really shouldn't be surprising to me that one of the first places I gain weight (and obviously one of the last places I notice has gained weight) is my breasts.

Knitting this titbit and thinking about breasts finally spurred me to do something to support and care for my own. Well, that, and the fact that yesterday not only was my bra giving me grief, but my tried-and-true, favourite grey tights no longer fit either. I had a sitcom-esque trip to and from work, with said tights sliding right off over my arse (attempting almost successfully to take my knickers along for the ride) and settling, gangsta-style, with the crotch just above my knees. Ever tried walking with your legs held together by the equivalent of a large elastic band? I really need to start taking better care of myself.

I've been putting it off, and putting it off, but finally – finally! – last night I ducked into a local chain store just before closing and tried on what I thought should be my new size – and by new size, I actually mean the size I should have been wearing for probably the last half-year, at least. I was dead wrong.

I got home, and threw my existing bras (and the cursed, beloved and lamented grey tights) in the garbage. I'll need all the room I can get to store these new 40DDs.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thanks Abigail!

Abigail sent me the loveliest parcel as part of the Knitters' Tea Swap. Check out this sock yarn! You all know I need more sock yarn. I posted more texty details on the tea swap blog, but here's the whole shebang:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

graced by a ghostwing

One morning last week, I noticed a strange, organic-looking oblong at the very corner of the balcony, and I thought, hmmmm...

Last night at about 11:30 or so, Tom and I were chatting on said balcony when I did my usual distracted-kid interruption routine, which I think was forgiven under the circumstances.

In the dimness, about 10 storeys below us, A Shape drifted past. t thought it was a pigeon at first. But it wasn't drifting, exactly, more...ghostly-gliding. This was an active movement, full of gorgeousness and menace. It was pewtery-grey in the streetlights. The glide continued, sans wingbeats, for much, much longer than a pigeon could manage.

Ladies and gentleman, our neighbourhood is home to an owl.

Monday, October 09, 2006

We're in - plus various bumpf

Hoorah! We're in, and starting to be unpacked, she said, even though every single box of books (i.e. a double-sized closetful) is still snugly, smugly lurking in the den, a.k.a. my knitting room.

Here are a few images. The kitchen, where Thanksgiving veggie prep is in full swing:
A corner of our living room:
Tom's niche, which in normal apartments would be known as the dining room (note the fabulous CD cabinet on the right - a fantastic, cheap as-is Ikea find):Tom enjoying the apartment (does this guy have great legs, or what?):

I'll post more as things come together. t's still sleeping, so no bedroom pix, and there's a giant futon mattress (burrito?) in residence on the den floor.

In other news, my Knitter's Tea Swap package is in the mail! I can't wait for Ms. Marie to receive it. This is most of the contents. In my enthusiasm, I added a Delerium CD and some Regia Canadian Colours sock yarn in the Ontario colourway.
I've been on vacation all week, but feeling wicked-exhausted, and didn't get nearly as much done as I'd hoped. I couldn't figure it out. I was waking up hideously early, and then in the afternoon couldn't keep my eyes open. I was NAPPING, for heck's sake! When on earth have I ever napped? They leave me feeling groggy and horrible. But I had no choice. Finally, finally I figured it out. Yesterday. At the end of my vacation. I've been taking my medication in the middle of the day, and for the first time ever, the drowsiness side effect has kicked in. Augh! And grrrrr.

In other news, the Clapotis is coming along. I'm on the last repeat before the decreases, but I think I'm going to go longer. We looked up 'clapotis' last night because t's father just had to know what it meant, and it appears to mean 'lapping' - I'm assuming as in 'waves'. Which would make sense, but t's dad isn't buying it.And I spun on a spinning wheel! Wow - I like it so much better than drop-spindling. As per usual, the Divine Laura shared her knowledge and got us treadling away in no time. I started on the most temperamental of the 3 wheels - an Ashford - and felt frustrated. I couldn't get my yarn started, and then ended up with crazy yarn, which I think is pretty normal for the first time out. But then - oh then! - I got to try Laura's wheel - a portable, double-treadled Lendrum - and I'm in love. The yarn spun itself. Sadly, it was near the end of the class, so I only spun a short single, but the difference in the feel and the smoothness of the process was transformative.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hey everyone -- it's my cousin Jason!

We're in. Not settled, but in. Boxy chaos and a new bed coming today from my cousin Jason's favourite place, Ikea.

And speaking of Jason -- hullo! He and I last saw one another when he was 8 and I was 4, so it's been 30 years. Hooray! (not for the long time, but for his reappearance) Check out his blog and give him a hard time on my behalf.

More on le move when I find le camera.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


This weekend, all hell breaks loose for a few days, and I may be incommunicado as we attempt to re-set up internet. For now, here's a plan of the new apartment, with space allocations as proposed by t.

Friday, September 22, 2006

And more pix again!

...This time thanks to Melhalla, taker of photos and creatrix of t-shirts.

For those that are curious, it reads 'I came, I saw, I knitted' in Latin.

Sandi has unofficially titled this one 'A happy coupla knit sluts'. All I have to say to you, Ms. Sandi, is - oh wait. I left my shoe at home.

And speaking of Sandi, here she is making like a bird and offering Jay a snack.

I think this is my most favourite photo. After the distress with which I started the evening, this pretty much sums up how I was feeling by the end.

And in other news, the new issue of Spacing is out, featuring a photo of yours truly (scroll down), along with Jen, Vivienne and Erin. Join us for the next Knitalong!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hooray! More birthday photos!

Madame Jentastic has posted a few photos from the swanky do. Thanks, Jen!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I can see! I can see!

Found the camera, dozing in a bag in the trunk of t's mum's car, where it had been forgotten post-cottage unload.

So I've added pix to my birthday post, but have added some here, too.

I must tell you of Ramsden. The very first time I set foot in Romni Wools last year, there was a little goth sheep hanging out with the other sheeptoys. He was gorgeous, and had his very own cable-and-bobble sweater. I didn't want to spend the $20 to take him home, but I always dreamt of doing so, and made a point of saying hello to him every time I visited. A couple of months ago, I wandered in -- and he was gone. I was so sorry, and immediately realised that I should have taken him home the moment we met. A few weeks later, mum produced him when we were 'down the pub' and said "I bought him as a birthday present, but I'm starting to enjoy him too much and am afraid that if I don't give him to you now I'll want to keep him." Hooray! She bought him right under my nose -- the first time she'd visited Romni. In this pic, he's wearing a special sari silk party hat, knitted especially for him. I figure he needed some fancy duds to celebrate.

Two weeks to the move, and it seems like now is a good time to think about packing, hmmm? At least I'm only going 10 floors up.

In other news, I've started yet another project studiously avoids mentioning all the socks and have launched into a Clapotis. It was tough finding something that seemed just right for le clapo de soho, but I ended up buying a whole bag of the new Lang Mille Colori in colourway 46. After a prolonged internet search, I think I may be the very first person in the universe to attempt a clapo with this yarn. It's even hard at the mo to find good pictures of the colourways (by the way, my suspicion is that yarn sellers are creating their own names for the colours). There are no pics out there that do them justice. But know what? The yarn's gorgeous. A bit loosely twisted, so it's rather fluffy and splits a bit, but this hasn't caused a problem. It's smooth and pretty darn soft, and fun to knit with. I took one shot with the flash, and even though it's blurry, I included the other one because it better represents what the eye sees - it's a little less stark and more painterly (and no, that's not my way of describing the blur ;) ). I'm excited about starting another ball that has yellow in it; this should add another interesting element to the mix. Hooray!

And in yet other news, have joined a tea/knitting swap (button at right). Looking forward to it. I must also knit these socks. And these. Arrr matey.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Birthday Post

A birthday was had, with dashes of excitement, drama, and delight, plus some wonderful friends. I am presently cameraless (no idea where the evil thing has got to), so am dependent on other nice people for photos. Hence, sadly, no piccies here. Well, one, thanks to Mel. Here I am pretending to stick a candle up my nose.

On Saturday itself, I bought myself some art,

plus a secondhand chair - an amazing leather recliner + ottoman - that is now gracing my bachelor with its gorgeous, jade-green presence. I think it'll be more t's chair than mine; we'll likely see much happy-bear sleeping taking place in its leathery softness.

The big deal of the day was my long-anticipated birthday do at the Rosewater Supper Club. Mmmm - their amazing bar menu. The swanky lounge. Judging by the photo, you'd figure the whole thing was perfect. But if you look closely at my happy face, you'll see that my smile is a tad tremulous, and I've got big doe eyes.

Here's the short rundown: I'd been planning my birthday party for a couple of months. Bragged about how cool the Rosewater menu was to everyone and felt generally pleased and excited about the whole thing. Called in advance to confirm we'd be in the lounge (they don't take reservations for the lounge), and all seemed well.

So I show up early to ensure we have tables, and the bartendrix is confused that I don't have a restaurant reservation and I want to eat off the bar menu. Tom's sister and niece show first, followed by my mum and Tom. The server brings the menu - and it's totally changed. New chef, so bye-bye old menu. The new one is boring as snot. A few salads and other things (mostly fishy) - no mini-burgers, no portobello frites, no poutine, nary a cheese platter in sight. I falter, but rally slightly in spite of my disappointment. Then the server says they'll have to move us at some point because swanky film festival people are more important than we are. I quietly lose my composure. I'm humiliated that my carefully-planned party - a big deal for me, given all that I've gone through in the last couple of years - has just gone BLAM in my face. I almost ran out in tears.

The server could see I was upset, and she felt terrible, so she did everything she could to make it right. The manager on duty was a horrid woman, but the timing thing ended up being a non-issue, since the Beautiful Fancy People (tm) weren't due to arrive till 10 p.m. or so. It wasn't perfect, but it ended up being a pretty lovely evening all told. They brought us free champagne, plus a special fizzy drink for Laura, they re-created some of the dishes from the old menu for us, and brought us 2 plates of desserts at the end of the night.

Almost all the people I wanted there were able to come, including my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, Tom, his sister Sandy and Laura, and a host of stellar people from the blogiverse:
Sandi Purl and the famous Jay, Mellificent and Nathan, Fab Haley of Knitomatic fame, Sensitive Jen's Girlhole and the other famous Jason, the Divine Laura and her boyfriend whose name I can't spell so I'll call him V, and special guest redmagpie, who flew in from Calgary for the weekend to buy a fedora. Jacquinatrix, we missed you!

Everyone was so kind. It did my heart good to see so many of my favourite people enjoying one another's company in spite of the craziness. They ate my dad's food and taunted him, they drank various things and wrote me lovely notes in my book. Sandi made me cry.

I've penned thank-you cards, but it seems only fitting that I should publicly say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for your kindness and generosity. I was truly moved by all the love and thoughtfulness.

...and because of Tom, with help from H-Star, I'm now the proud owner of a gorgeous, polished wood swift. I can now wind yarn so fast that it makes my head spin. I finally understand the raging desire that befalls new swift owners to wind everything they own right now.

I feel so blessed to know you all.
Thanks for being part of my life.

Monday, August 28, 2006

leaving on a midnight brain

Eyes are sandy. (read: eyes=itchy, rather than 'looking at our Sandi') Yawns are broad and world-encompassing. Brain has transformed into a creeping slug. Yet I'm sleepless and knitting in the blue glow of the monitor, playing Civ IV and knitting around and around on a sock in the dark. I'd forgotten how comforting socks are. It's like...not a palate cleanse, exactly - though it is that - but a means of coming back to earth, a re-rooting in the midst of a thousand-thousand projects and the daily barrage of transit trips, e-mails, meetings, phone calls and sundry little stresses.

Must post progress pictures soon and wax ambitious about my latest project-at-the-ready. The yarn-cannon is loaded...just waiting for the order to fire.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

sweet needles are made of this, plus a backhanded compliment

I should amend my title. The 'this' the sweet needles are made of would be plastic (shock + awe), and there are no backhanded compliments anywhere in their construction. They're freaky sizes, but the Denises knit like a dream. Am using them for Lace Wings, and am cruising through at a good clip - I'm now ahead of where I was before I frogged, am past the halfway point of the 6th repeat, and it's actually starting to look like something. I'd forgotten how gorgeous it is to knit without having to manage one's stitches over the tiny join-bumps that grace so many circulars.

Can you imagine how freaked out a civilian (i.e. non-knitter) would be in reading the above? It's laced (n.p.i. - and that's 'no pun intended', not 'needles per inch') with jargon. Heeeeehaha.

Here's where the backhanded compliment comes in: I'm knitting at St. Clair W., waiting for the eastbound bus, when this woman pauses in her whingeing about the bus not coming soon enough for her liking to say: "Oh! Are you knitting a hat?""No - it's a shawl," say I, wondering who in their right mind would ever consider wearing a hat even remotely resembling the airy confection in my hands. "Oh, well it's just lovely - but those are difficult colours to work with (3rd from the left)." SLAP! Translation: I think the colourway is fugly, but because I'm a well-bred woman I'm going to say something passive about it so you still know what I think, even if I don't have the balls to come out and say so - or, heaven forfend, the self-control to actually hold my tongue and say nothing at all. "I actually find them quite enjoyable to work with, and I like them very much."

So it wasn't exactly high-ranking in the comeback department, but I think I'm still justified in saying SLAPERANG!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tiddley zort

Happy birthday, Stanley McCracken (aka Billy Avenue)! He's the one on the right.

Quick snargle:

Ribbited the entire Lace Wings - sorry, those of you trying to convince me to keep going; I just wasn't happy with it - and have started agin. I've got some serious knitting to do if I'm to wear it for m'birthday in less than a month's time.

Speaking of bdays, happy 28 to mon petit frere Alex! Despite feeling like such poo that I missed the monthly drunken knitters' night and spent Sat mooning about like a particularly
consumptive John Keats (or, to be fair, perhaps Lord Byron. I could never claim to be Keatsian in my accomplishments...or Byronic, for that matter, but Byro was a bad, naughty man and so am I except I'm female) and could barely knit even in solitude, I dragged myself to Al's bday extravaganza at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum, where we rode vintage streetcars (on which I knitted, duh), and ate ice cream.

How's that for an insanely-crafted sentence? Who do I think I am - Lord Byron? Evidently.

Boom bag is at 70 rows and counting. And so am I.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Knitting ADD - now with added coffee

Early yesterday evening, my hair smelt vaguely of good coffee - a happy reminder of my day with Jacquie at Tango Palace. We spent over five hours knitting in a coffee shop. Five hours. Five hours of really good coffee/lattés. Five hours of knitting five projects between the two of us. Five hours drooling over their ridiculously good collection of snacks. Five hours of people-watching. Marathon knit.

And then Jacquie came by mine to borrow my ball winder. I cringe still at the state of my apartment. "Well," she said generously, "at least there's a path from the door. You can work with that." I think she may have been kind of freaked out at the state of the place. I certainly was. Let's just say that this afternoon will feature a serious tidy-up - after another coffee at the Tango Palace.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I apologise in advance.

The other night I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and my brain was doing its usual merry skip from topic to unrelated topic. (This may lead you to believe that I am a lateral thinker. I am not. Speaking of which, I really must do a sudoku puzzle sometime soon.)

The following is the product of said attempt to fall asleep:

What author writes sordid, true-life tales of scarf knitting gone horribly wrong, complete with tell-all photos?

Truman Clapotis.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hail, Arachne!

*insert fanfare with ancient Greek instruments here*

You eight-legged vixen, you. Yes, I saw the backwards knitting article in the latest Knitty. I even printed it off. But it was so long and involved that I didn't get beyond a cursory skim.

So I know it was your doing tonight when I idly picked up my Knitter's Handbook to see if it had anything pithy to say about Continental knitting -- and instead came across a simple, two-step explanation for knitting in reverse. My head filled with a chorus of singing muses, and I raised my voice aloud in your praise and cried: "This is fucking brilliant!!!"

I prostrate myself at your spidery feet in gratitude.
Oh look - you're wearing little handknitted spider socks.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yarn squirrel goes nuts

"You know, Soho," I said to myself, "perhaps you're stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle. You don't post that often because your posts are large and time-consuming. But they're likely large and time-consuming because you don't post that often."

"Curious thought," I replied. "Perhaps I'll think about that after I've made this large, time-consuming post."

I thought about calling myself a yarn rat, given that I'm stellar at packing it away (more on that in a moment), but then decided yarnsquirrel sounded far more amusing. And appropriate. I go squirrelly over yarn, and it's getting kinda silly. And disturbing. What long winter looms on my horizon that I must procure everything for every project right now, even though I can't possibly get through all that I've got any time soon? Hmmm. Time for some yarn psychology. And maybe some addiction counselling.

Oh, but I am dire today. Here's some lightness and good stuff as an antidote.

I organised my yarn, for one thing. Picked up a bunch of clear plastic zippy cases in a couple of sizes from Romni, and managed to tidy away most of the yarn cornucopia spilling from the baskets around my knitting chair. I'm in a (good-sized) bachelor apartment, so it's made a huge difference - things are looking far less dishevelled. While I'm definitely satisfied, I'm also alarmed by the appearance of my (narrow) broom closet, which is now piled chest-high with knitting and spinning supplies. Some folks have skeletons; I've got yarn. Which is, I suppose, something of a skeleton. *note to self: consider the possibility of knitting a skeleton out of yarn. Oh look - here's something that comes close.

Finished stuff! Finished stuff!

About a week ago, I finished the hemp tank top. Highly pleased - my first real non-extremity garment that isn't a shawl! Looks great lying flat. Less so on the body, but not unwearable. This is what I get for gaining weight and having a relatively giant chest in comparison with my back. Fits fine in front, but is rather wrinkly around the sides. Must learn more about shaping of garments so I can deviate more easily from the pattern.

Also finished the green Tropicana socks for Ms. Laura. They look pretty good - didn't get a pic, I'm afraid - but the heel instructions were doofus-y. Why oh why oh why would the designer instruct one to put one's short-row heel (hee - typed 'hell') wraps on spare needles on either side, so you're knitting with two needles, and the stitches you've already wrapped are hanging out on two more? Comment est'ce qu'on dit: loose freaking heel seams en francais? I hope they fit her. Laura ominously declared: "I will make them fit." She displayed an eerie level of determination.

And today, oh sweet today now recently, oh sweet recently, I finished my very own summer hat like the one I knitted earlier this year. It took about a week. I knew right off that the base was going to be green, but thought I'd stretch my boundaries and accent it with cream and rose pink. I didn't get far before I realised it would have the effect of making me appear as though I were wearing a salmon-and-cress sandwich on my head. WRONG. Happily, I'd messed up the gauge, so had to start again - and back I went to my usual colour palette: black and purple accents. It looks pretty good, I think.

As previously mentioned, I've been doing Freestyle Fridays at Lettuce Knit with Laura. Here's the product - my first needly stab at Fair Isle. It's the kerchief from Loop-d-Loop, knit in Rowan Handknit Cotton. Kinda Hallowe'en meets Christmas, don't'cha think? People will think I'm a runaway elf. I think next time, I'm going to go for purple, black, red, silvery grey, etc.

t's boom bag is proceeding apace.

Here's the sock yarn I didn't buy at the Lettuce Leap party.

I also went spankaloid for the Lace Wings shawl (see #5 in the link) worn by its creatrix to the YarnHarlot's birthday pardy. Yes, I sed 'pardy'. It's a lovely design, knit out of one skein of Handmaiden sea silk - which seems to excite people (see pattern in close-up shot).

And I went a little mad on a couple of other purchases too. Some Handmaiden Ottawa, which I would like to make into their new short pencil skirt - assuming I can get the pattern...and some Fleece Artist Wild and Woolly (the muppety stuff in my splendid sofa afghan [on hold due to the summer heattm], which I will one day make into a muppet in scarf form.

I also purchased a set of Denise needles - and am confounded. The sizing is crazy, in that the mm measurements are bizarre. For example, say I'm looking for a U.S. size 9 needle (which is 5.5 mm). In the Denise set, it's 5.2 mm. Size 6 is 4.2 mm. Size 10.5 : 6.3 mm. Hmph. Weird, weird, weird. I'm sure they'll work wonderfully, but my precision-oriented self gets all uptight contemplating the use of an off-size needle. When I want a size 9, dang it, all is not right with the world unless I know in my little heart that the needles are 5.5 mm. Knowing it's off is akin to fingers going down my mental chalkboard, or perhaps a mental mosquito.

I've also decided to take on some charity knitting. Knit-o-Matic is distributing donated yarn for knitters to turn into winter gear for Street Knit. You can drop off finished items at Knit-o, the Knit Café and the Naked Sheep. If you're game, it's a good cause.

As a parting amusement, I recently found a fascinating book by a guy that makes custom sock creatures out of people's old sox. The gallery...oh, the gallery. I am still mighty fond of LickLick after 2 weeks of admiration, but man, there are a lot of competitors for his spot at the top of the heap.