Friday, 8 November 2013

I could use a minion...

I'm sure we could all use a minion or two in our lives. You know, the ones who clean the toilet, removes the greasy dust grime from the top of the kitchen cupboards and does windows. And I say this every year... gotta start that Xmas knitting in the summer. That has yet to happen so a knitty minion would be most helpful. But alas, it's unlikely I'm going to have a follower who would be devoted to me relentlessly and forever.

So many projects started and not enough time to finish them all. What do I do? Start another... squirrel!!! With somewhat sarcastic thanks to Ravelry and a group all about cosies... I discovered Xephyr's wee coffee cosy and had to make my own. If I couldn't have my own devoted lil' follower, at least I'd have one keeping my chamomile tea (cuz at this time of the knitty year, I need calming) hot for the length of knitting a lace shawl row.

Having completed three minion hats for the g-nephews... this would be a piece of cake. After rummaging through the yarn stash (and why stash building is necessary), the appropriate colours were found and voila... a Cosy Minion! Since this was knit up in an evening, a second needed to be completed in the morning to ensure that I remembered what I did. Success! So with much thanks to Xephyr inspiring me and the far too many squirrel moments...

My Cosy Minion ©knottyred

Fits regular size travel mug

Worsted weight yarn in denim blue (a), yellow (b), black (c), white (d), grey (e)
5mm DPN's
Crochet hook
Black button (or wobbly eyes)
darning needle

Rdn- round
k- knit
p- purl
ch- chain
sc- single crochet
sl st- slip stitch

With yarn a, cast on 36 stitches and join in the round.
Rnd 1-3: k1, p1 across
Rnd 4-10: k across. Change to yarn b.
Rnd 11-17; k across. Change to yarn c.
Rnd 18-19; k across. Change back to yarn b.
Rnd 20-26; knit across.
Cast off.

Rnd 1; With yarn d, chain 4. Join in first chain with sl st. Ch 1.
Rnd 2; 8 sc in centre of loop, join with sl st in first ch,
Rnd 3; sc in same stitch as join, 2 sc in each chain to end of round, join with sl st (16)
Rnd 4; With yarn e, sc in each chain. Fasten off leaving tail long enough to stitch eye to body.

Enjoy your beverage responsibly... oh, and don't be selling your minion cosies or this pattern.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Poppy Project

So Knitmonton is at it again... another yarn bombing adventure! In case you don't know about this Edmonton group... in their words... "We love our city so much that we want to make it even prettier... one yarn-bomb at a time. It's about bringing joy to the everyday of life."

Knitmonton has completed a number of yarn graffiti projects that helped pretty up the city over the past couple of years. Yarn bombing with scarves for the Bissell Centre, sunflower garden for the Alzheimer Centre, pink ribbons for a cancer walk is but a few events this group has been the shenanigators for.

It is their latest project that is very special and it involves poppies... lots and lots of poppies for their Valour Poppy Project for Valour House. Following the lead of many of our local knitters, crocheting the poppies is certainly a faster process and apparently, Knitmonton needs a lot. 

I best be getting started lest I get left behind in the dust of Loopysue... she is one fast knitter/crochet artist! Oh heck, I'll be left in her dust no matter what but we are ever so grateful she is so fast to make up for the rest of us. It's good to have a friends whose strengths make up for our weaknesses, is it not? They make our lives richer while we can only hope to do the same for them. 

Do you want to help? Go to Knitmonton's website or their Facebook page for details... now back to to mini-poppies...

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I'd rather be doing...

Three months later and I finally got those dang baby blankets done! Yes, plural... ’cuz the boss went and had twins. Silly me for choosing to make blankets instead of my usual baby tam and booties. I was feeling all smug with my new found crochet skills that showing them off by 'whipping up' the rainbow circular blanket seemed like a good idea at the time. Remind me not to do that again. First thing I did when the last knot was finally tied off? I immediately started knitting fingerless mitts and the right hand cosy was completed in a day... and all the while watching a Doctor Who marathon on the telle!

I'm so in the mood for fast knits right now but I have projects on the go that do require attention. Sadly tho, I just want to stash dive and start new projects because... well... did I mention the crocheting two blankets when the only thing exciting about them was changing colours?! The other reason for doing quick and immediate gratification knits? I'm back in school! Yup, this ol' bird is taking a University Extension course on the Fundamentals of Adult Education (insert ironic laugh here) and all I wanna do is knit!

I'm not a good student. I can always find something better to do than complete the required readings, write the necessary papers (took me half a day to write the opening paragraph on the first paper)... even going to class after work is a chore. This being "accountable for my learning" is for the birds. Don't get me wrong... I love learning new things. I love the anticipation of what's to come... the books... listening to others in the discussions but I have way too many squirrel moments. I can always find something better to do while waiting for a flurry of writing creativity to begin. I even understand the main issue for me... perfection. If I can't do it right the first time, I procrastinate. It's not that I'm a bad student... it's that lil' high school kid inside me screams every so often that 'I'm not good enough'. And so the procrastination and house cleansing and yarn sorting and pattern searching commences. But much like those baby blankets, if I persevere long enough I will get the results I need... then I can treat myself to a luxery knit to celebrate.

Guess I should finish up the last Christmas knit gifts before I begin new ones, huh?! Oooo... some green mereno silk blend just caught my eye... wait, it that bison yarn... oh, my...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Retreat... what retreat?

With suitcase and project bags filled with yarny goodness and glorious beads in hand, I headed off to a three day knit retreat. So why do I feel absolutely exhausted? I'm in brain overload and it's all I can do to not nap all day.

A retreat is supposed to be restful and rejuvenating, right? We were staying at a local boutique hotel with meals, wine, super comfy beds... oh, and snacks all day long. That's sounds restful, doesn't it? We were well taken care of while we sat in the creating room learning from Sivia Harding, the Queen Bee of beads!

Oh wait, maybe that was the "problem"... trying to absorb as much as we could from Sivia, a truly patient and delightful instructor. From casting on and understanding the crazy mobius cast on for Harmonia's Cowl to all the beaded treasures with the Fluency Gloves a little wrist bling, along with all of the little tricks of the trade Sivia shared with us... my brain is in information overload.

Overload is certainly better than underload, don't you think? I did confirm with myself how much I love knitting with beads... socks with beads... shawls with beads... and now, bracelets with beads. Crocheted or strung... so many tricks to knitting with beads and that I finally sorted out how and where to use them which, in this overloaded brain is a feat in itself!

Yup, this ol' bird is still learning new tricks. Now I need a real retreat of rest... maybe runaway to the mountains for a few days and apply the new learnings... except, where's my Lady's maid?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

ol' bird... new tricks

It's been a busy summer. Not because of work (we shan't be talking about that)... but because of music, food, friends, mountains, food, music festivals, food festivals, friends and... wait for it... yarny goodness. This summer was spent at home. No travelling over The Pond... just travelling in my home province... aka Home for Holidays! Definitely the right thing to do this summer.

You see, along with the music and friends and food, reorganizing the guest room was in order. Now it's a very comfortable yarn room with a sofa bed for guests! Sleep over with Great-nephew #2 included a day at Fort Edmonton Park... go ahead, ask me how exhausted I was after. Parents required extra attention... nothing too serious but distressing non the less. This acted as a reminder that we are all aging and to not waste time.

And I learned how to crochet... for purely selfish reasons. I developed tendonitis on my right thumb... my dominant hand. Self imposed no knitting for three weeks drove me crazy but could I crochet? Why, yes I could. Different techniques that didn't aggravate the thumb and I was sold. You know, I knit so no one dies... but doing nothing was killing me. So crocheting began and tis the perfect skill for blankets and toys and minion hats!

And now summer is ending and there is a crispness in the air that I love. Autumn brings sweaters and shawls and perfectly fitted socks. This fall takes me back to a classroom that will require exams and papers... ACK! Now I have to be accountable for my learnings. I guess, if I can learn new yarny skills, I should be able to handle going back to university, right? An ol' bird can learn new tricks, right?
A little nervous but I decided to help me relax and get in the learning zone, I registered for a Knitty Retreat.... Stix and the City... that starts in less than a week!!! Ok, so any excuse would do but I'm rather excited. Learning new skills and techniques with guest instructor, Sivia Harding along side new and old friends!? What's not to be excited about. Food and wine and wool and laughter all with never having to leave the hotel! So, yarn has been chosen for the classes. Now to find new pj's for those inevitable pillow fights!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Thumbs up?

My right thumb has not be cooperating with me. My "carpometacarpal joint".... the joint closest to the wrist... has been hurtin' for some time now and I been cryin' the blues. I'm not eliminating knitting from my repertoire... au contraire! The thumb just needs a rest. When I say rest... because I can't stop cold turkey or someone will die... I've taken up crocheting inbetween finishing up some knitty projects. See, for me, right now holding the hook is easier than knitting needles... different angles and pressure and twist action.
While it didn't take long to catch on, I still have to pay more attention to reading crochet patterns than knitty patterns (crochet charts is just a bunch of gobbly-gook). It took me four tries to get a simple blanket on the right track and thankfully the 'fudging' on the adorable minion caps is hidden under the goggles! When I was a kid I would watch Mum crochet with very fine thread and wee a hook creating very delicate lace doilies and tablecloths. This must have helped me with my visual muscle memory for the movements. I'm glad because...  did I mention that if I stop playing with yarn, someone will die?

Now, don't get me wrong... it still sucks that I can't knit all day long but even this ol' bird can learn new tricks. I'm still knitting a few rows at a time for projects already on the go but if I want to continue, resting the thumb (without going cold turkey) is key. And my massage therapist Erin, has been a delight in working the hand muscles... she's really catching on to the phrase "knitter massage"!

Life will always throw curve balls... I guess it's all on how you catch 'em so  no one dies...

Friday, 24 May 2013

What's buggin me?

My condo building recently went through a fumigation as a result of discovered bedbugs. While I knew I didn't have any of the lil' buggers, it still gave me the heebie-jeebies knowing they were in one of my neighbour's unit. I felt bad for them but was cursing as I packed everything up... I mean, everything for the de-bugging day. As I sit in a room filled bags that are slowly returning to their rightful place... I was in a most disagreeable mood and I started to think about the other things that are bugging me.

A bureaucratic system at work that is slowing down project decision making... 'hurry up and wait' syndrome is getting in our way. That's bugging me. A semi-planned holiday had to be postponed because of mandated work meetings. That's bugging me. I can't seem to get a handle on setting up my guest/yarn room and that's bugging me. My favourite aunt has Alzheimer's and that's really bugging me. The worse thing... people who are so willing to be disagreeable just for the sake of disagreeing.

There are more important things to worry about and give ones energy to to be so negative about the world. Why are these people so angry, so willing to find fault in others knowing full well there's a skeleton or two in their own closets? Why are these people so willing to hide behind their social media personas to attack for reasons only know to them? Why are these people so hellbent on causing distress in others? All these disagreeable peoples are really, really bugging me...

Taking an afternoon away from work to learn a new, fun skill with yarn was sorely needed. To laugh with new friends and reacquaint with old was also needed. The result... a crochet basket to hold all that anger! Sometimes, that's all we need. Something or someone to help carry the load. When I look at this wee basket, may I be reminded that good overcomes... but right now...I think I need to crochet a bigger basket.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Doctor Who?

I love Doctor Who... not the "I-know-the-name-of-every-actor/director-in-every-show" crazy fan. I'm more the "sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride" kinda fan! I get popcorn and wobbly pop and with my knitting at the ready, in my comfy chair I sit while watching the show.

My first Doctor was Tom Baker and his brilliant scarf. I gleefully take pride in introducing the return of the series to Stefanie and Nathan... who have become brilliant Whovian. Heck, I even knit The Scarf for the lad! Now that was a labour of love!

So when HeartSister Meagheen asked for test knitters for her new designs to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, I jumped at the chance. It certainly wouldn't be as tedious as That Scarf. Whew... it wasn't but there were twists galore in the knit that made me thumbs just a bit annoyed. Clara's socks... for when The Doctor first meets his new companion during Victorian times... were well worth the discomfort for they turned out stunning.

Sometimes twists and turns in life are worth the pain for something surprisingly beautiful just might occur. Took a while for me to figure that one out... embracing those twists and going along with the turns are oft times, painful. I have a feeling they would certainly be easier to deal with if we had our own sonic screwdrivers... but then, easy is often the most boring way to learn.

Learn and grow we must... enjoying the ride along the way makes the learning memorable. Speaking of rides, I wouldn't be adverse to one in the TARDIS... I'd even knit up a bow-tie!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Deck Knitting

It's been a very long winter. Long and cold and oh, so much snow. My deck was looking as dreary as the dark winter nights. My spirit... as dreary as the dirty streets the past seven months of sand and gravel left behind.

It's no wonder our first most brilliant sun filled weekend brought folks out onto those dreary, dirty streets and to the garden centres. While it may have been our monthly knitty meet-up at the garden centre, it was the perfect time to plan and prep the deck for some... you guessed it...  outdoor knitting. There is nothing finer than sitting on the deck with a nice cold bevie and some fibre and stix.

The colours of the yarn is brighter in the sun! The energy is higher while soaking in that vitamin D. The knitty mojo is hotter when that golden orb is beaming down upon you. May all that mojo help me finish up the WIP's that have been staring back at me for a while... a couple of shawls for Meagheen, socks for Joy, baby blanket and teddy bear for a new wee one, bath mat, tunic, flamingo and penguin... egads! As much as I hate monogamous knitting... I just may have to succumb in order to whittle down the wip's. Deck knitting sure makes it easier to do so.

Here's hoping finishing my Travelling Woman shawl will be incentive enough to tackle the others, don't you think?!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Help comes in all forms...

Your 'bursa' in your front hip flexor is inflamed, I was told. Bursitis? That's what old people get in their hip or what extreme athletes get in their shoulder. I'm neither... really! Such excruciating pain for two weeks that even Rx meds couldn't dull.. Moving without pain? Nope. Sitting without pain? Nope. Sleep? Nope! Knitting? Definitely nope! You know it's bad when you can't concentrate long enough to do what relaxes you the most. I mean really... no knitting for nearly three weeks!

Ain't that just the way things are tho... stuff gets in the way of doing what we want or what we need to do. For me, it was debilitating pain that stopped me from working and knitting for a few weeks. For others, it could be so many, many things that prevents them from doing what is important to them or worse, live the life they're meant to live. 

I got help... Sweetie with meals and comforting hugs, sympathetic looks from CatMate while I laid on the floor, friends with painkillers and appropriate comfort snack foods (Hello, Cheezies!) checking in on me and making me laugh, and four weeks of intense physio, acupuncture and massage therapy. I was able to do what I needed to but I am also so very aware that others are not so blessed.

Do they refuse help, don't know where to look for help or worse yet, don't know they need help? Either way, a life would not be lived to the fullest and that is the ultimate loss. I hope I am the help to others when in pain that my friends were to me. Maybe that is all we can hope for... be there for others, hold their hand and just listen.

And a good bag of Cheezies couldn't hurt. Now, back to knitting... I am so far behind.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


I'm doing a lot of weather complaining right now. With the wind chill, it's -42c! That's worth complaining about, don't you agree? I mean really... one can spit and it freezes before it hits the ground. I can't imagine what happens to the four-legged creatures trying to do their business outside! I just want to 'hyberknit'... you know... that act of curling up on the sofa with your big fuzzy blanket, knitting and drinking away the chills while watching the frozen world pass you by. photo

Yes, I know I really don't have the right to complain... I have a warm home, a car that works and a job that's inside! I know all this, but still... isn't it our duty to complain when it gets that cold? I mean, IT'S -42!!!

It's also our duty to try and help others who are not so blessed. Hope Mission or Bissell Centre or YESS or iHuman have brilliant programs for the homeless and more vulnerable residents of Edmonton. Heck, you can even be creative with your help. Outside the Bissell Centre just before Christmas, strung up were 100+ scarves and toques for the taking... a scarf-bomb?

In this cold, I reminded that while that warm scarf is definitely needed... there is more that we can do. But I am also going to go home and hyberknit...

Friday, 11 January 2013

Not a good sign when...

... you forget your password to get into your own blog. Um, I guess it's been a while. No real reason other than I just got lazy about writing. Always found something else to do because frankly, writing doesn't come all that easy for me. I can stare at a blank page pondering what to write for hours. Thoughts wander about but until that first sentence is on the page... thoughts keep wandering. 

Kinda what happens when I'm in a meeting. Everyone else chats up a storm while I'm the one sorting the ideas out in my head before sharing them. Did the same thing when I was taking Theatre and Speech at university (that's another story)... my best improv line would come two hours after the moment. SNL was never gonna be knocking on my door. 

Writing, like knitting, is a skill. Both take time and work to hone up but I admit... I've been much better at honing up the fibre skills than the writing. Took a class to work on my colour work and another class to try my hand at crochet. By doing so I became more willing to take chances with my knitting. 

Maybe forgetting my password and not posting anything since September was a good sign after all. Nothing like a little introspective pondering to kick start the new year. My pondering has taken me to this... I need to take greater chances with my writing which includes writing when I feel least like writing. Don't worry... I won't become a political blogger or a ranter about everything for there are same brilliant folks who already got that corner of the market covered. 

I'll just carry on with my ordinary pithy thoughts with hopes that I improve my skills in just plain living... and of course.... knitting!