Monthly Archives: January 2009

More Ox, less bull.

That’s my motto for the year.

More pushing ahead, more head-down puffing snorting working-up-a-lather action.
Less talking and whingeing and thrashing about in frustration.

This is the year of getting things done, of moving ahead, of Making Life Happen instead of watching in fear as it approaches and then crouching behind a tree until it’s moved on.

So in honour of the beginning of the Year of the Ox (OK, it started yesterday, but hey, I was busy making stuff happen!), let’s dig in and get this cart headed somewhere good!

Yucky, yummy, lucky.

So, it’s still winter out there.
Cold, dark, slushy, salty, dirty city winter.
None of the crystal clear sparkling bright white and arctic blue that I learned was winter where I grew up. Not for this lakeside city the blinding snow and arid cold of the Ottawa Valley, where the moisture is sucked out of your lungs in one utterly shocking breath and it seems like you can see forever. Here it’s all bitter, damp, gripping cold that seeps into your bones in a way that only a hot July sun can truly dry out.

And dudes, it’s not even February…


I knit.

I knit in defense against the creeping chill. I curl on the sofa, the heater pulled near and a glass of wine at hand, and I attempt yet again to ward the season off with warm woolly wonders.

Blackberry is finished:BlackberryOn
And I have to say; that Misti Alpaca Chunky is just like slipping into a hot bubble bath, only without the wet. It’s like a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream. And some chocolate sprinkles too. It’s what you thought a cloud would be like before you learned they’re all chilly mist and grey insubstantiality.
It almost makes the remaining 8 weeks of winter seem bearable.

Now that that’s done, there’s hat the first, being made of the brown chunky alpaca for the OH. Chocohat I’m doing it on smaller needles for denser fabric, and I think it will do a subtly stylish job of keeping my sweetie’s noggin toasty.
And for me, hat the second:Koolhat
I can’t say I really need this, at least not in the sense that one ever needs something lovely but non-crucial, but I am somewhat lacking in lovely hats. So while it’s fallen down the priority list a couple of times, I will still get it done and enjoy it soon.

In these ways, I attempt to placate the deities of winter, to demonstrate that I respect their power and potency and will use my skills to fortify my natural defenses against them. And they will continue to play their part, making sure we all appreciate how lucky we are. Because I am lucky, very. I have beautiful yarns, and the ability to transform them into beautiful warm wearables. I have internet access that allows me to share these crafts and my thoughts with others, and to see the things they have accomplished. I have a cozy sofa to sit upon, and a loving partner to sit beside me while I do this (not to mention bringing me yarn). And all of these things are right here, at home, in my warm, safe, sheltering, comparatively spacious, comfortable home.

Dudes, I am so lucky, I can even handle winter.


O my.
O yes.
O hooray.

I just finished watching the inauguration of the USA’s 44th prez, Mr. BH Obama, and I think he’ll do.
While his speech didn’t have any instantly recognizable quotes for the future (like that one about fear of fear, and the other one about what you can do for your country), it was chock full o’ the idea of renewing the country, using it’s founding values to bring it and it’s people into a changed world, that kind of stuff. And if even a quarter of those watching have taken his words to heart, and don’t forget about them when they have to pay a few taxes and try to conserve energy, we may even see some progress down there.
This is the first time I’ve felt real hope and optimism about any political leader (yes, I actually interrupted my work day to watch the ceremony live), and it’s a nice feeling. Now if only we could get someone like that up here…

It can’t be cabin fever yet…

The greyness? The un-brightness? The lack of sunlight?
Getting to me.
I don’t mind the cold (not much, anyway), and the snow is nice because it makes things quieter in the city (while it’s fresh, at least), but the dim, cloudy days? There’s really no plus side.

It’s days like this that even the thought of a nice cozy chunky baby alpaca sweater doesn’t lift my spirits but only reminds me that there are several more months (including the two coldest) yet to come before we’re back into serious daylight.


Anyhoo. I did finish the simple shawl: Shhawl and gave it to its intended recipient.
And that was finally the last of the holiday knitting. Now the knitting is mine, ALL MINE! Mwa ha ha ha ha… Well, except for the Toasty Alpaca socks for the OH (which are practically done except for grafting the toe on the second one – pictures will come later). But then it’s on to the sweaters, socks for myself, and scattered throughout some socks and other small things for various birthdays and such.

In other news… I sent off three of the Year of the Ox prints to PROOF Studio Gallery; one of them will go in the show for sale, and I believe the other two will be traded with other printmakers. The opening is January 25th – which will likely be the coldest day of the year. I think I’ll wear a dress, just to be contrary.

Maybe I should knit some tights…

Oh yeah…

Happy New Year!
Yes, that’s today.
No, I didn’t forget (entirely), I just got distracted by yarn. Worse than shiny things, I swear.

2008. Let’s see. Well, it kinda sucked, actually. The first six months were incredibly stressful in all the significant ways that stress occurs; physically, emotionally, financially. Then during the three months spent trying to recover from the first six, there was a death in the family, a cat surgery, and two trips by air. And this was all before everyone noticed the economy taking a nosedive.

But since late October things have definitely been improving on a personal level, plus of course the promise of a decent political scene down south (we’ll just reserve judgment on the situation here in Canada for a few more weeks…) has helped. However, I’m not one to assume the future will turn out the way I think.

So, New Year’s Resolutions? Not exactly.
How about some New Year’s Goals, will Goals do? I think Goals will do.

kapowchampers 1- Keep up with the running and yoga. I’ve been doing pretty well for the last few months, and feeling pretty good for it, so I think this won’t be too hard. Now, I’m not talking every single day, but 3-5 seems reasonable. I’ve got all the equipment I need, and I figure that if I can drag my sorry behind out of bed at 7am in mid-December (that’s about 1/2 hour before sunrise) that I can surely do it the rest of the year.

2- Learn more book arts, whether printmaking, letterpress, bookbinding or paper-making, and practice what I already know.

3- Maintain my recently regained enthusiasm and energy for my “day job”, Under The Weather. Lift the business from the last year of doldrums by spiffing up the product line, rejuvenating the website, and being more creative with marketing.

4- Knit more socks. The more I wear hand knit socks, the more I prefer them. And let’s face it; to get a yarn fix and finished object with one skein and one week (or less)? Sweet.

5- Enter into a major new creative project by Thanksgiving. I’ve got a couple of rough ideas, but I think time will show the right direction.

I’ll probably think of some other things, but five seems like a good number to go with on the official list.

Here’s wishing everyone peace, health and happiness in 2009.

Mr. Sweater; meet Mr. Frog.

So here I was, knitting merrily away on the Alpha sweater, but thinking perhaps (just maybe) the bottom was looking a little bit on the generous side, width-wise. Now, given that this pattern is of my own design, it would not be surprising for it to be a little off. But I waited until a few inches in to measure the bottom edge, thinking maybe I couldn’t really judge it visually all squished onto the circular needle.

Dudes; it was a little big. Like, 10″ too big around the hips. So, a-frogging we go!

Yeah, I know. Major malfunction. And since my tension was right in line with the swatch, that means I messed up the calculations. Seriously. So embarrassing. To be so far off on either the math or the actual design of the pattern? Not cool. Not cool at all. So it’s back to the sketchbook.

Mind you, this does give me the opportunity to revisit a couple of design decisions that, in retrospect, were not well thought through. For instance, I was running a purl stitch in the contrast yarn up the sides as a sort of false seam and though it did look nifty, man, what a nuisance. So that’s out. And then there’s the 30% too big element…

So next on the needles? Some socks, in this Atacama hand dyed alpaca. Burnt
It’s kind of hard to see when it’s balled up, but the colours make it look kind of like it’s been singed. And alpaca socks… I’m thinking toastiness.

There’s a WIP: Ruby A very simple shawl in (wait for it) Misti Baby Alpaca lace weight.

And for your viewing pleasure, the Misti Baby Alpaca Handpaint Chunky:Goosh

One thing though; while I do dearly love the baby alpaca for its incredible softness and warmth, I wish I would stop seeing mental images of naked little baby alpacas shivering in the Peruvian highlands…