Thursday, June 28, 2007

Birthday Addendum

Just came across this while I was blog-hopping. A few days late, but interesting. Who knew I had a power symbol! I don't know if I agree with "rigid", but the "picky" part it certainly accurate.

Your Birthdate: June 22

You tend to be understated and under appreciated.
You have a hidden force to do amazing things, doing them your own way.
People may see you as strange and shy, but they know little.
Your unconventional ways have more power than they (and even you) know.

Your strength: Standing up for what you know is true

Your weakness: You tend to be picky and rigid

Your power color: Silver

Your power symbol: Square

Your power month: April

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon

Last weekend, I was thumbing through my Barbara Walker "Treasury" books, looking for nothing in particular. Eventually (in "Second Treasury"), I came across the stitch pattern called "Dragon Skin" and thought that I could add to my Harry Potter themed socks.

I had been wanting to start socks with some Yarn Pirate yarn I had received as part of a sock club. The pattern it came with didn't appeal to me and I was looking for something else. The colour way is "Ozone" - earthy shades of green, browns, turquoise. That seemed pretty "dragon-y" to me, so I cast on for dragon socks. I had just finished the ribbing on the first sock when a picture flashed in my mind: the bright green dragon from "The Paper Bag Princess" ... bright lime green yarn ... didn't I have some of that in The Stash?

I went Stash diving and surfaced with Sweet Georgia yarn - lime green. The colour name: "Dragon"!! It was just meant to be.

The Dragon Skin stitch pattern is a 26 stitch repeat. Three repeats would have been perfect for socks in my size, but I was way too lazy to figure out how to work out half patterns on each side (since I wanted the full pattern to run down the middle front). While I was knitting the pattern, it soon became obvious how I could have done this but on paper, I couldn't figure it out. I took the easy way out and filled in with seed stitch.

And finally, a picture on an actual foot! These socks are so soft and comfy - I can't wait for cool weather so I can wear them.

Before knitting the dragon socks, I knit these very cheery ones. Regia "Nation Colors". I believe they call this "Rainbow", but I think of it as Caribbean.

Spoiled Rotten

Friday (June 22) was my birthday.

In honour of the occasion, I took a few days off work. A couple of years ago, anxious to avoid the office hooplah that would come with reaching the "big five-oh", I took three days off. By the time I returned to work the next Monday, my birthday was forgotten and I decided to start a new tradition and make the birthday holiday a yearly event.

That doesn't mean, of course, that I want the day to be totally forgotten :)

My mother and brother called (they live in Quebec). My mom always calls at 8:45am - the time of my birth. I have always been thankful that I was not born at 2:00am!

My brother, who is a trucker, called from the road - he was driving through some little town in Georgia, heading back north after a trip to Florida.

My son and his girlfriend spoiled me rotten.

There was sock yarn from Michelle. She doesn't knit, but went in to Urban Yarns in North Vancouver where she says she was very well received and counseled. The lady who helped her suggested that she should buy yarn in a colour she liked since sock knitters were likely to return the favour by gifting back the completed socks!

Michelle also showed a crafty side I didn't know she had by making me a Gryffindor knitting needle holder. A great glass vase decoupaged in red/gold stripes and checks with the appropriate coat of arms.

My son, Chris, added to my Harry Potter collection:

Silver lightning bolt earrings and pendant.

Magical currency (galleon, sickle and knut). These are marvelous! Thick and heavy. I tried taking a closer shot, but I haven't yet mastered those with my new camera. The reverse side of the coins have the picture of a Gringotts goblin.

There were also books - catering to all my inner selves.

Robert Munsch has been a favourite since I first heard him tell "Mud Puddle" on Romper Room when Chris was just a baby. If you've never heard him tell one of his own stories, you can download audio files from the "Storytime" section of his website. Can anyone listen to or read "Love You Forever" without crying? This "Treasury" book had been on my Amazon wish list for quite a while. I thought it was funny that I would receive it now, just after finishing dragon socks inspired by one of stories.

A DVD set to keep me company while I knit.

I am hoping my new Addi lace needles came while I was away (I get things shipped to the office) so that I can start the orange birthday stole. In the meantime, more sock.

Friday, June 15, 2007

RIP Boris

One of my budgies died tonight. Boris is the one on the lower perch in the photograph in the side bar.

I fell asleep on the couch watching TV this evening and woke up at 10pm. I decided I might as well turn in for the night, went to cover the cage and found Boris dead, head first in the water dish. I have no idea how it happened.

I had been expecting that Natasha would be the first to die - she has been having seizures for many months and regularly falls off her perch. I wonder how she will do without her long-time mate.

The pair of them have been with me for six years. My then-neighbour's husband was a mover and found them abandoned in an empty apartment he was moving people into. He brought them home but since they already had three budgies of their own, I took them in. They had been kept in a tiny little cage with hardly any space to flap their wings. I went out and purchased what I like to refer to as the "budgie condo" - a cage meant for a much larger bird like a parrot but, fortunately, with bars spaced close enough so it could house the smaller budgies. It took them a while to realize they didn't have to be squished together in a corner any more. It has been a much better life for them since then.

Things will be a lot quieter around here - Boris was the loud one. I wonder if Natasha will find her voice now that he is gone.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Monkeying Around

Monkey Socks in Seacoast Handpainted Yarns are done. I love this pattern. I don't think my photo does it justice. It looks intricate but it is a very easy knit. Plenty of ooohs and aaahs from anyone who has seen and felt the socks. I'm sure I'll find a good home for them soon.

I definitely think there is a pair of monkey socks in my own feet's future.

In the meantime, I am knitting plain socks this week, but in an extremely bright Regia yarn that yields wide stripes. I am just zipping along - the first sock is almost done.

This past weekend I went digging through the stash (high-risk adventure) to locate this yarn:

I bought this over a year ago because it was a good deal and the colour appealed to me, even though it was not in my usual range of colour choices. About a month after buying the yarn, I received my Knitter's magazine and this pattern was on the cover:

"Persimmon Lace" (which is also found in Victorian Lace Today). I knew that yarn and pattern were just meant for each other.

A friend is having her 50th birthday in September and she loves the colour orange in all its variations so this will (hopefully) be her present.

The center panel is easy enough - a simple six-row repeat - although it is patterned on both even and odd rows. It is the border that makes me feel a bit queasy as I have never done one of these before. I am not sure that attempting this for the first time in slick mohair/silk yarn is the smartest thing to do. However, since I have survived foolhardy stunts adventurous experiences in the past I will jump in feet first into this. (There is always Plan B - orange socks!).

Never one to pass on an opportunity for online shopping, I ordered some of the new Addi lace circulars to try out on this project.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The (Hor) Crux of the Matter

It doesn't happen to me very often that I am faced with the perfect combination of elements; in this case, the inspiration from a Harry Potter-related pattern, great yarn and a colourway that charmed me from the moment I saw it. That I can combine these elements and turn out a finished object I am totally enthralled with is an even rarer occurrence. I just love these socks! They were a pleasure to knit from the very start and they actually fit my FFFF (Fat Fred Flintstone Feet).

I would have taken a photo of the socks on said FFFF, but it is too darned hot in my apartment and just the thought of woolly socks on my feet makes me sweat! I do know they fit though because I tried them on as I was knitting the first one (before the heat wave struck).

As you can see, I didn't quite follow the pattern.

On the needles: Monkey Socks. Seacoast Handpainted Yarns (Panda - 60% merino, 30% bamboo, 10% nylon) in the "Seaside" colourway.

I only managed to knit two rows on the Moonlight Sonata shawl this weekend; the pattern requires way too much concentration and my brain just can't seem to handle that at the moment - so I'm keeping it simple ... more socks!