Monday, January 30, 2006

Tanjina's first knitting lesson

Tanjina came over Friday night after work. We had curry for dinner (which was delicious but did not agree with my stomach, alas) and then the lesson commenced.

As a first time teacher, it was at least as difficult for me to teach Tanjina and it was for her to learn. But with some patience and perserverance, Tanjina learned how to:
1) make a slip knot
2) cast on the first row using the "knitting on" method
3) knit the "knit" stitch

After one hour and 10 minutes, at least one inch of the dishcloth had been knit. I did a little un-knitting so a few problem areas could be re-knit. Tanjina even attempted a little "knitting while watching TV" - she's definitely much more ambitious than I was as a beginner! A few mental notes I made during the lesson:
a) so glad I decided on bamboo needles - metal or plastic would have been much slippier
b) so glad I chose size 9 needles - the slightly larger stitches helped to demonstrate
c) so glad I picked a lighter colour yarn - definitely easier to see the stitches

Now, I just need to convince her that the washcloth, once finished, should actually be used for (*gasp*) washing the dishes!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Comment Away!

Here's a shout out to Anthony! I have enabled non-registered users to comment on my blog. So if this has been holding you back, any of you, now is the time to speak up!

We went to see the vet last night, presumably so Brookline could have her stitches taken out but it turns out that wasn't the case. They used surgical glue for the outside stitches - keeps kitties from chewing them out. The appointment was really to tell us what kind of stone was removed from Brookline, what diet changes need to be made - a gradual shift to all canned food except when we go away on vacation, and to see how Brookline was doing. Her weight is still a little low, only 7.5 lbs but otherwise she is back to her old self. My other car, Erin, will be thrilled that we're switching to canned food - just hope it doesn't make her fat! Many, many thanks to the Alexandria Animal Hospital for their excellent care. The doctors and staff have been wonderful.

Knitting Lesson
Tonight is the night - finally. Tanjina is coming over for dinner and after we eat our fill of chicken curry and coconut rice, we'll begin. Max will probably make himself scarce afer dinner... something about being made fun of... I don't know what he's talking about!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What kind of knitter are you?

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting

Though I hardly consider myself to be a "Knitting Guru" at all (that's Erin), I'll take it! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Work in progress photos of the now-finished red scarf, as promised

As for my other projects... work on the Viking Turid continues. It looks good and I'm happy with it. Last night I started on the armhole shaping. The Patons Bella cardigan is at a standstill... I loath to return to the grafting. The red cardigan for my MIL is coming along though. The back is done! I've started on one of the sleeves but had to stop after the cuff because the spiral notebook I use to keep track of rows (or number of times something has been done) is being used to keep track of decreases for the Viking Turid.

She's doing much better, back to her old self and has cleaned herself sufficiently to shed the lingering urine odor. She's not a fan of the vet food and only eats a little bit (if it is her eating it and not only my other cat, Erin). Thursday night we're taking Brookline to the vet to get her stitches taken out. Then she'll be allowed back in our bedroom. She'll be overjoyed at the last since, as Kristina has pointed out many times, it's where she spends her entire day - under our bed.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Red Scarf Project

I completed my scarf this weekend and will drop it off next weekend at Einstein Bagels. I used the Sideways Mock Rib pattern

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: Knit

I was going for something that was neutral, that could be given to a girl or a boy. It was about 60" long when I cast off. The yarn is one strand of cotton and one think strand of cotton/rayon (both red, and close enough to matching that Max couldn't tell the difference) knitted together at the same time on size 13 needles. Go bulky yarn! Go big needles! Photos to come.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I heard about Librivox from Brenda Dayne via her podcast, Cast On.

LibriVox wants all books in the public domain to be available, for free, in audio format, on the internet. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.

How cool!

Currently I'm downloading The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. It's about 13 minutes long. There's also a few poems that I think I'll download and add them to my playlists... like ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas for my Christmas playlist. There's recordings in other languages as well, like French, Italian, Germany, and Finnish.

The list of solo projects to come is exciting... Sun Tzu's Art of War (especially for anyone who watches Smallville or reads Superman comic books), many by Jane Austen (hopefully with a British accent), and one of my very favorites, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

There's also this site: Free Audio

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Welcome Home Mommy!

I love my kitties but sometimes... argh! After a tiring day at work of non-stop running around, what a better way for my kitties to say welcome home than a nice long streak of WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!? Okay, so it wasn't from the back end but still, barf on the carpet? Icing. I seriously thought about taking a picture of it and that would be my entire post (something akin to Dooce) but luckily Max came home JUST in time to save me from myself.

Instead I give you pictures of my Viking Turig that is coming along nicely. The back is half done and although somewhat asymmetrical, I'm quite happy with it.

The close-up shows the fabric a bit better but the flecks of tweed colour are not showing up as noticeably as they do in real life. Perhaps it's meant to be more subtle than I can tell from when I'm knitting.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Belated Delurking Week

So Delurking Week was last week but I'm behind on some of my blogs... still, I totally appreciate the sentiment! So please, leave me a note in the comments.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Brookline is home!

A voicemail message from Dr. Stewart at the Alexandria Animal Hospital at 6am let us know that we could come pick up Brookline. Normally I am asleep at this hour. Luckily Mad had decided to get up early to go to work early in case the call from the vet came at 12noon and then he'd be able to leave early.

I leapt out of bed and the two of us drove over there together to get Brookline. We were home by 7:15am and she was hungry - headed right for the food bowl and stuffed her face (which never happens). There was a bandage over her left front paw where they had shaved her fur and put in the IV. She kept shaking it trying to get it off. The vet said if we'd been home for 30 minutes then it was okay to take it off, so I did. If I could have I would have stayed home to watch her all day but I have to hope that she will be okay and that I won't come home to a dead kitty. Surely that won't happen. I hope. If not, there's a whole slew of drugs for her to take tonight: pain killers, antibiotic pills, anti-inflammatory via syringe, and her pills for the shits. There's also food to prevent it from happening again but there's nothing to stop Erin from eating it instead. She's going to be mad but it's for her own good.

Monday, January 16, 2006


The weekend started out great... Erin and Simon came over for dinner, the food was good, she really liked the hat I made for her, and we talked (and knitted) until midnight.

Early Sunday morning we noticed that Brookline was noticeably worse. Her behaviour was the same, still the same good kitty, but her pee was bright red - it looked like blood. Commence freak out. We called the Alexandria Veterinary Emergency Service at the Alexandria Animal Hospital (thank god for them!) and brought her in for an ultrasound. There was a stone in her bladder. When I looked at the picture, I swear it was a quarter of the size of her bladder. On top of that, the antibiotics they gave her for a urinary infection (what they thought it was) was giving her the shits. More medicine to treat that and we scheduled surgery for today. No food after midnight.

We brought Brookline in at 6:40am, signed some papers, put down a huge deposit, and then... all we could do is go home and wait. I was supposed to go to the dentist but rescheduled because there was no way I could handle it. As it was, there was only a little knitting done, mostly just to fill the hours but all this... it's just so draining. Dr. Donohue called us at 3:30pm and let us know that Brookline was okay. They had removed a sizeable stone - how unimaginably painful for my little 8 lb cat - and that she was awake and looking around. She was freaking out a little bit too, running a little fever and probably wondering where the hell she was, and so they gave her a tranquilizer to "cut the edge." (Could I get one of those?) Brookline will stay the night for observation and then come home tomorrow. A new diet will help prevent the stone from forming again.

As promised, pictures of Erin's hat:

Friday, January 13, 2006

Red Scarf Project

Just read about the Red Scarf Project and it's one of those things that I wish I could do if I had enough time.

Sears Sucks

Sears sucks. You may already know this. Let me tell you why I think so.

12/21: Message from Sears
Service Order #: 96014992
Product: Washer
Date Scheduled: Saturday, January 07, 2006, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Date Created: Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Minimum Charge: $65.00

The service technician will arrive between 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM on Saturday, January 07, 2006

Our technician will review the repair costs, which may include both labor and parts, with you before any work is done. If you decide not to have the product repaired the minimum charge will be $65.00

1/7: Saturday appointment
Woke up at 7:30am. Called Sears Customer Service at 12 noon, only to find out that not only is the service repairman "running late" but theree are two other appointments ahead of us. Finally arrives at 3:30pm. The repairman works quickly and efficiently - clearly this is not his fault. The total cost with parts is $165.

1/10: Message to Sears
I had a service appointment on Saturday that was scheduled for 8am-12noon. The service repairman was so overbooked that he did not get to our house until 3:30pm. We spent the whole time at home waiting for him. The repairman did his work quickly and efficiently and was able to fix our washing machine by 4pm. That we had to spend 8 hours to get this done is unbelievable. The total cost of the
repair was $165. I believe there should be a discount for having to wait beyond 12 noon.

1/13: Voicemail message from Sears
"We apologize for the delay. Blah, blah, blah. Someone should have called you. Blah, blah, blah. Again we apologize for the inconvenience." In other words, screw you and there's no way you're getting your money back from us.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Only 7 more days to go

Last night there was seaming and subsequently #3 is done. Hurray! As previously mentioned, it is not perfect but even Max was impressed on how well it turned out. Best of all, no blocking is needed. Pictures will be forthcoming!

Work has recommenced on #1 and having moved it back onto metal needles, it's going much more smoothly... bamboo needles slow it down too much. And it's not so cold here right now, so the metal needles won't chill my fingers. Currently the temperature is 58F/14C!

In kitty news, Brookline is still firmly resisting her medication administration. We've discovered the best way is to lull her into a false sense of security via petting, Max picks her up and holds onto her, then I grab her head with my left hand and pry open her jaw, and with my right hand I squirt in the antibiotics. The joys of pet ownership! Only 7 more days to go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bad day? Just think about knitting

For starters, I had to get up early to help Max give antibiotics to my cat Brookline. Normally she is quiet, mild mannered (if a bit skittish) and pretty shy. This morning, it was like she was another cat altogether - from hell - claws extended, legs flailing, body twisting, and her jaw clamped shut (when she wasn't trying to bite me). It took at least fifteen minutes to administer .78 mg in a tiny syringe (all of two seconds really once we got her pinned down and jaw open).

Then there's the 10 minutes on the phone trying to explain to the woman on the other end that she had the wrong email and that she could find what she's looking for online. I've emailed them at least twice about this already. I was seriously tempted to ask where she was calling from but restained myself.

However, if I think back to last night at least there's an upside to my knitting. I've finished the knitting for
3) A suprise for one of my readers' birthday
and just need to do some seaming and some blocking. It's not perfect but still looks pretty good and definitely functional. I took a pre-seaming picture that I'll post later once it has been gifted. No work has been done on any of the other three mentioned (or the two others that are also WIP but not part of my WIP basket)

Other WIPs:
A rainbow scarf from various wool yarns purchased at a consignment shop... I think some might be handspun. I've made it to the orange section but haven't worked on it in awhile. If I can get around to it, might be nice to enter it in a fair... maybe even the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

A pocket purse from a kit from Target. The flimsy plastic needles are a turn-off but I may get back to it sometime soon with the new needles Max bought me for Christmas, if they're the right size.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kraft Dinner

Photo taken by Max Mao.
Almost lunch time and maybe if I were at home I could make Kraft Dinner.

That's right, Kraft Dinner. It's what we call it in Canada. I brought several boxes back with me (courtesy of my sister) to eat but I'll probably also keep the box of one around to show to my non-Canadian friends. Please note that the picture of the Kraft Dinner looks much less like a giant mass than the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner. I post this comparison picture as much for the Canadians as the Americans since neither seems to know that there's a difference, on either side of the border.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Grafting, argh!

The knitting was going so quickly on the Patons Bella cardigan and then... I decided that I wanted to graft the shoulders to save on yarn (since I only bought 7 balls) and for a nicer look. But I've never done it before. Argh. After an hour of trying, including having Max read the instructions from this book out loud to me, taking out more than a few attempts... I gave up. For now anyway. I will put this aside until next weekend and try again.

In more positive news, I was able to take advantage of the sales at both Knit Happens and AC Moore. I got Sugar 'n Cream Cotton yarn and size 9 needles for my knitting lesson and Caron Bliss "snow" yarn for the trim of a Santa hat for me (a little late or ahead of the curve?) at AC Moore. Knit Happens was having a pre-inventory sale, everything 20% off, and so I bought two pairs of Addi Turbos for my sock knitting class next month, two skeins of Manos Cotton Stria red, two skeins of Alchemy Bamboo in persimmon and cherry, and a ball of Mission Falls in a beautiful dark green.

Plus, I got this dress at Ann Taylor to wear at one of the weddings this summer. It was an expensive weekend for shopping, but fun!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Current works in progress

There are four projects going on in here. From the top, clockwise:

1) Cardigan for my MIL using Red Heart Soft, size 8 needles and this pattern;

2) Cardigan for me using Patons Bella, size 15 needles, and I'm making up the pattern as I go along but loosely based on this pattern;

3) A suprise for one of my readers' birthday using Luxury Cashmere Aran (#12), size 8 needles, and a pattern from this site;

4) Viking Turid from this book using Grignasco Piccolo Tweed (shade 00741) and size 3 needles.

I suspect #2 will finish quickly and #3 is almost done. I have until the summer to finish #1 because that's the only time I see my MIL.

That leaves the Viking Turid... I love the pattern but am leaving out the chart on the stomach and back because really do I need to call attention to those areas? There was a little math involved to do this (thanks Max!) and now I'll need to rip out the first 3 inches so I can start over properly. Hopefully I'll finish while it's still cold in Virginia.

Friday, January 06, 2006

More pictures from Christmas

Christmas cookies

Max and me before the family party

My Mom wearing her new sweater on New Year's Eve

Thursday, January 05, 2006

ISBers in Toronto

A mini ISB class of 1996 reunion (4/45th) for those of us who were in Toronto after Christmas. We had drinks and dinner at The Bedford Ballroom (near the University of Toronto). Jan's girlfriend, Inga, took the requisite photos for us. We talked about what we did for Christmas, our plans for New Year's Eve, and discussed the big reunion planned for April in Berlin.

Max, me, Darren, and Jan (December 29, 2005)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Teaching someone else how to knit

My first student (eek!) has chosen her first project - a dishcloth (whew!) in blue. After some consideration, we'll be using this pattern. I figured it's the best way to master the knit stitch (k) and learn how to read a pattern. The purl stitch (p) will have to come later. For casting on, we'll be using the knitting on technique. If any of you have taught someone else how to knit before, please let me know how your first lesson went. Also, do you have any suggestions for a good cotton yarn? We'll get started once the supplies have been purchased from Knit Happens or AC Moore... they're both having sales this week!

Too exciting!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

If you blog but no one reads it, is it really a blog?

Trying to establish my reader base after 3 days would be difficult if not for Frappr

So let me know that you're out there and that I'm not blogging to myself.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Knitting for family

For Christmas, I knitted something for my family... a wrap for my sister, a scarf and hat for my Dad, slippers and a hat for my brother, and a cardigan for my mom. As well, most of my cousins got something too. The little ones received ponchos and a cardigan and the older ones my age or older got scarves. It was fun having a whole room of people trying on the things I had knitted for them. I have no idea how sensitive they would be to having their pictures posted so for now, just a couple of pictures.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

It all begins with knitting

Happy New Year!

My resolution this year is to start my own blog about knitting. I learned how to knit in December 2003 while in I was in Canada visiting my family for Christmas. It was not easy at first and my knitting project was put aside for almost an entire year. Then, in December 2004, I picked up my knitting again. The first project was finished and is now known as the white blob.

For most of 2005, I was obsessed with knitting and my foray into the online community of knitters led me to a number of blogs - of which I am a regular subscriber. It has been some time that I wished I had my own blog so I could post pictures of my projects, join knit-a-longs, and become a secret pal. While my husband Max is supportive and helpful when called upon, he can't fully appreciate the work that goes into a project and the rapture of a lovely skein of yarn. This year I also learned the basics of crochet but I have yet to find it enjoyable, merely necessary knowledge.

Prior to knitting, food was my passion. Growing up, my Mom was always trying to teach me something in the kitchen. She's the best cook in our family but it wasn't until after highschool that I appreciated how much she knew. In past alot of energy was put into making dinner and cooking for other people but these days, there's alot less energy being put into the preparation on a regular basis.

I predict that 2006 will be a very busy travel year. Already travel plans includetwo highschool reunions (one in MI and one in Europe), four weddings (in WI, CA, ON, and PA), and at least one parental visit. A blog seemed like a reasonable way to post updates and pictures.