Friday, June 29, 2007

Hot Sticky Days...

I hate 'em.

It's probably a combination of things - having grown up on the West Coast... the west coast of *Canada*, no less, I'm just not accustomed to this humidity. I hate the fact that right now it is warmer inside my house with the windows open and ceiling fans going than it outside. And yes, I have air conditioning - but I feel silly using it when it is only 75'F outside. Right now I am hoping that when the sun goes down the house will finally cool down to a comfortable temperature.

Growing up we never had air conditioning - simply because it was not needed. Don't get me wrong, it got plenty hot during the summer, but ceiling fans did the trick. The first home I had with air conditioning was in Japan (and yes, it was needed there!), but even that wasn't until our last year in Japan and our landlord finally capitulated into installing a wall unit. People in Japan approach the heat of summer in a completely different way - for example, in Japan summer is the time for ghost stories - because the chill you get up your spine while hearing the story is supposed to cool you off.

Ugh. Heat. Having to wear my hair up all the time. Not wanting to cuddle. Not being able to knit large items. Bah humbug.

Yes, the irony is not lost on me that I am complaining about this in June... I read in the news this morning that 2007 in on its way to be the second hottest summer on record after 1998. I don't remember 1998 being particularly hot. The year 2002, now that was a doozy. Nothing like being nine months pregnant after 30 consecutive days of 90'F+ temps and being forcibly barefoot because your feet are too swollen to wear shoes...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On Turning Corners and Turning Heels

First, the big news...

I received the pathology results of my breast biopsy this morning, and my surgeon assures me there is no cancer and they biopsy showed only normal breast tissue! There is a mass (it was only small - maybe 1cm in diameter) and the surgeon is confident she extracted most of it - but I have to go back in three months to have another ultrasound to measure it and see if it has changed shape or grown. Yay! Of course, my breast currently looks like someone beat the bejezuz out of it, and she said it would be changing colours for about a month, so no topless swimming for me. Hey - don't laugh - there are nude beaches where I am going on vacation!

Now, I am not saying this whole experience hasn't been an 'a-ha' moment, but I do know I need to change things in my life. I am fairly healthy - I don't smoke or do drugs... the odd mojito or margarita makes it into my system, but they are few and far between. My nemesis is food. I love it - love cooking, love shopping in grocery stores, love eating. I really need to learn to step back and know that food is for sustenance, not pleasure. I also need to exercise more - I have a membership at the Y, I have a bicycle, and I need to get off my sizable duff and use these things!

Stay tuned for news on this front...


Knitty SP9 matches were sent out yesterday, and am really excited about this! For the second round in a row I have been matched with someone whose blog I read regularly and feel I know. One thing about my new downstream SP is that she is a sock fanatic and this inspired me to work on my Dancing socks. While watching a couple of documentaries last night I finished the heel flap, turned the heel, and started working on the gusset stitches - I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

WiP it Wednesday

May I present a maybe quarter way finished cable sweater for my husband?

This one has been in the basket since about October 2006 when I picked up my Dad's hemp-wool socks. I put down the sweater because there was no way on earth I would finish this before Christmas and Andrew saw me knitting it nearly every week anyway so it wouldn't even be a surprise. I am just about at the place where I need to start shaping for the underarms. There is about 17" here so far - Andrew is a very long-bodied individual so I even added a bit onto what the pattern called for.

The particulars:

Yarn: Plymouth Encore in Charcoal
Needles: 24" size 7 Addi Turbos
Pattern: from a Family Circle Knitting magazine from the early 90s - but I think the pattern is pretty classic.

One of the reasons I haven't picked the project up again is that I am a bit worried that I may not have enough of this colourway to finish the sweater. I bought 10 skeins (I believe that is 2200 yards altogether) before I had even chosen a pattern. I know I have complained about this before - but really, if worse comes to worse, I might just have to get a bit creative with the sleeves.

Monday, June 18, 2007

No, Still There

Yesterday a few people, whilst admiring Willow's new superhero cape, expressed dismay that she was starting to grow out of her curls. Let me assure you that it is simply not so:

Forgive the expression - it was the best shot out of about seven. I really do so much better when she doesn't look at the camera! The reason her hair looked straighter in the previous post's photos is because we have been braiding her hair before she goes to bed to help with the screaming the next morning when I try to brush the snarls out.

My new camera has a nifty video with voice feature and I have taken a few cut pictures of Willow telling me stories. I looked into the Google Video tonight to see if that was an option for posting it into my blog and the T&C were much too complicated. Does anyone use any of these video sites to upload their own videos? If so, please tell me which one you like best.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Done With the Dreaded Capelet

It's finished!





And she loves it - of course, she thinks it is a superhero cape - but I won't disabuse her of that notion.

The particulars:

Pattern: Tuneful 'Rap by Scarlet Taylor (Creative Knitting Magazine July 2005)
Yarn: 4.25 skeins Paton Astra
Needles: Size 7 and 8s in Knitpicks Options


Thank you for all your well-wishes on the biopsy. It was a quick procedure - maybe 15 minutes total. I had to write 'yes' on the breast to be cut in Sharpie pen - who knows when that will wash away, so for now it looks like I have a very ill-inked in tattoo. I didn't get to see the needle the surgeon used because they had towels rolled up under my left shoulder and side to prop me up sideways on a 45 degree angle. The surgeon numbed my breast with a local and said I shouldn't feel a thing. Well, I didn't feel the needle go in, but I SURE AS HELL felt it rooting around inside me! I gasped out loud and the surgeon said, "Can you feel that?" Me (gasping): "Yes!" Her: "Is it tolerable?" Me: "Um, it's okay..." So, she had to go in 4 more times to get more vials of tissue for the biopsy. Then they put surgical tape over the incision, put an icepack in my bra, and off I went. It was sore at the hospital, but didn't start to hurt until the drive home when the local wore off. A few extra-strength Tylenol and some judicially self-prescribed chocolate later, I was okay. Sleeping has been a bit tetchy - I tend to sleep on my front or my left side, both of which are awkward at the moment.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Egads it hurts...

I'm typing one-handed right now, the other hand propping a bag of ice against my left breast. The biopsy is finished and I will know the results on 6/26. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to pop some Tylenol and chocolate.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WiP It Wednesday

Well, suffice to say that these socks have been a WiP for so long they can practically be considered vintage socks...

I'm not entirely sure, but I may have started these socks in late 2005/early 2006. I did finish the first one in Fall 2006 and started the second one right away... but then got caught up in the insanity that is Christmas knitting and these babies fell along the wayside. The particulars?

Yarn: Knitpicks Dancing
Needles: Size 1 metal 6 inch DPNs
Pattern: Ann Budd's basic sock pattern but with only a 4" leg (I don't like long socks).

I have picked these up recently and am about 1/3 finished the heel flap. I love how featherweight and stretchy these socks are, but hate how Dancing curls up on you (because of the elastic) while knitting. And I won't be knitting socks again in these needles again anytime soon! I much prefer the 4" bamboo dpns for socks - I have small hands and find these 6" beasties a bit unwieldy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Drowning in the Stash

DSCN0245 DSCN0242 DSCN0237
DSCN0236 DSCN0234 DSCN0229
DSCN0227 DSCN0225 DSCN0224
DSCN0205 DSCN0192 DSCN0230

Wow - one of the beautiful things about loading all this stuff into Ravelry is that I am finding all this yarn I had forgotten about. Shh... don't tell Andrew.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Great Movie to Knit By

Andrew laughs at the fact that I knit while watching movies - you know that right away foreign films are out. I have a better than passing knowledge of Japanese and French, but that still wouldn't get me through a movie without having to constantly check the subtitles and potentially mess up on the knitting. Last night we watched The Departed on DVD and it was a wonderful movie to watch while knitting. Granted, we turned the subtitles on anyway - I don't know whether it was my Canadian upbringing, but the Boston accent is a little difficult for me to wrap my head around sometimes. In any case, it was a great movie - fast paced, great characters - and had me entranced whilst knitting. I think I even put the knitting down from time to time to follow what was happening... and I don't normally like cop/mob movies. So - can anyone else give me some suggestions of movies you like to knit to?

I received my Ravelry invitation this morning and set up my profile... I foresee this being a big distraction for me... but in an oh-so-good way!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

'Cause Turtlegirl told me to...

WiP it Wednesday coming up!

Here is a picture of the dreaded capelet I am knitting for Willow:

Why dreaded? It is mile upon mile of stockinette stitch. I am almost finished the body and then have to pick up and stitch the collar and button bands. And it is not a poncho! I haven't told Willow this is for her - in fact, it was supposed to be her Easter present and um, that didn't happen. The pattern is from an issue of Creative Knitting from last year and calls for worsted weight cotton and that wasn't going to happen - so I used some Paton's Astra and unintentionally got a pretty close colour match to the magazine picture.

Willow hit her first educational milestone yesterday - she graduated from Pre-Kindergarten!

I did take some video with my digital camera and I wish I could put it up on the blog - it is so funny. Willow is a ham - had to stand between the two risers in front of everyone and dance while everyone else was singing...


Squished boob update - I had my surgical consult this morning and am scheduled for the ultrasound-aided needle biopsy next Friday. The doctor told me that in my age group that it only turns out to be cancer in 10% of women and that it is her job to prove it isn't cancer. The pathology results will be available about a week after that. Thank you for all your prayers and happy thoughts.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Thinking Positively for the Weekend

Everyone, thank you for all your well-wishes. I have an appointment with a surgeon on Wednesday, so we will see what happens then. Between now and then, however, I need to keep myself occupied. I did knit quite a bit last night with one of Nell's mojitos - well, not with the mojito itself - that would have been messy - but it was my companion while I knit. I have been working on a capelet for Willow and it just may be the most tedious thing I have ever knit. Luckily for me, all that there is left is about 2 more inches on the body and then the button bands. I have received plenty of beautiful sock yarn in blog contests recently and I really want to dig into them.

For your viewing pleasure, may I present some more flowers from my father-in-law's garden?

Pink Rhododendron

Pale Pink Rhododendron

Mountain Laurel

Striped Azalea

Pink Rhododendron

White and Gold Rhododendron

And just for the hell of it, Cranky Willow:

Pouty Willow

Remember, you can click on the photos to see larger sizes and more detail. I wouldn't advise it of the last picture, though - your monitor might crack.