Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm back

Dragon sculpture by Don Pell

As Jackie so kindly reminded me the other day, vacation time is done and it’s high time some OddBall got back to work. She’s right. I’ve had a great summer off and in fact I think I’ll do it again next year.

What did I knit on my vacance? Not a bloody thing. Instead, the summer was spent with family and friends and mostly, for the OddBall, I spent some time healing up.

We did a short bike tour, details to be found at my CrazyGuyOnABike journal. I’ll not bore you all with the details here.

So, what’s the OddBall game plan? Well, this week, my friend, is all about cleaning up. The housekeeping standards in the OddBall crib have pretty much gone to rack and ruin. This is undoubtedly the result of when faced with going out for a couple of hours with Ditto on the bike or cleaning the oven, guess what won out? That’s right, the kid. Currently, I can’t actually find the studio for accumulated crap that’s been shoved in there. There’s a knitting machine under there somewhere.

The game plan then is to evict the spiders and get this place back under control. The chaos is too distracting to work in. -- yes, it actually is THAT bad. In the meanwhile, I’m mentally inventorying the ‘stash’. I went to a workshop in July (my rare break from the NO KNITTING) rule. I learned a really good technique for shawls, wraps etc and I’m looking forward to giving it a whirl.

My mind is starting to engage again. I feel enthusiastic about starting new projects where in June, the whole thing was just feeling like more tedium.

In any event, I’m back, for better or for worse. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Still on vacation

I am still alive. Last month, when my diabetes up and kicked me in the ass, I decided to take a month off my non-stop, work 7 days a week, and actually give myself a vacation. It's been relaxing and I'm actually starting to get excited about getting back to knitting.


Not yet.

Probably going to take another 2 weeks off but in the meanwhile, I'm biking and getting healthier.

Thanks to all who have checked in on me. It's been appreciated even if I didn't get back to you.

Thanks for reading,

Kate Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 30, 2006

Oh for a good night's sleep...

Greetings to my ever-patient readers. Sorry about the disruption but I’ve been on a bit of a break. It was scheduled to be the OddBall Family annual vacation but plans got changed. This year’s interruption in service has been sponsored by Diabetes Mellitus and its ugly step cousin, Hypo Gylcemia. Nasty pair they are. I haven’t got a whole lot done because I’ve spent much of the last two weeks looking for enough sugar in my body to run my brain. Unpleasant, to say the least.

But hope is on the horizon. My insulin type and dosage was changed yesterday to something which promises to be more stable and if the Gods are willing and the wind is right, this will be the last episode of this nonsense, until of course, the next episode. Welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of diabetes, where all constants are variables and the adventure never ends.

On the knitting front, I actually have done some of it. I’m still working on the samples for the Highland Games although sad to receive the news yesterday that Jackie won’t be able to attend with us. Something about cottage, free, vacation, quiet, enjoyable, happy kids trumped Liz, me, whiskey and a thousand men in kilts. Man, she really must love those kids

Of course, July is on the horizon which means it’s Tour de France time and as the annual preamble to the greatest sporting event ever invented, it’s doping, doping and more doping. Things are so bad this year that any minute now I expect the phone to ring with some sporting director seeing if the OddBall IT and Technical Support Division is ready to make the Tour as a last minute rider. Yup, things are that desperate. As of this morning, Ullrich, Basso and Lord knows who else is sitting on the sidelines. Nice.


I’m so glad that the Spanish criminal authorities are in the loop on this one. The sporting authorities have repeatedly demonstrated that they couldn’t catch a cold on a good day. Now, maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a proper investigation to this matter. And not that any professional cyclists read this blog, but here goes the OddBall opinion anyway. I’ve spent the best part of the last month trying to manage a chronic illness and literally going to bed wondering if I’ll wake up in the morning, only to be jolted out of sleep by my body screaming for help. My work mates have been keeping an eagle eye on me and my reactions, so I don’t actually kill someone. I have very little sympathy for these lads. They want to play with needles, they ought come try out my needles for a while. The real problem is mine come with a life sentence and it’s a shortened one at that.

Okay, back to the bit of tying knots in string -- no, really, I feel better for that rant, honest -- I’ve managed to block all the pieces for the felted briefcase and I think I’ve finalized the plan of attack for putting it together. I have managed to get some serious pondering done in the last couple of weeks.

I haven’t got a damn thing done on Miss Flirty Ruffles, which is fine. I’ll play with her after the Highland Games.

In any event, here’s to hope that normal service will be restored and I’ll be back to the needles and the Blog in record time.

Talk at you’se laters; thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Catch up

Blocking the Blues

Yeah, I know. As ‘Bloggers go, I suck this month. I’ve been negligent. It happens and happily, this time it’s happened because I’m actually getting something done. This would be quite distinct from the number of times I’ve been a Bad Blogger for no reason other than I’m laying in the foetal position in the middle of the living room floor sucking my thumb over something.

The Felted Briefcase, after several attempts and no small amount of cursing, is felted. It’s not exactly in its finalized briefcase format because…well, I just haven’t got it that far yet, now have I? I’m waiting for hardware to arrive and the pieces are still drying.

Miss Flirty Ruffles turns 135

Miss Flirty Ruffles is mid-way through Chart 4 of 873. Actually, it’s not that bad. I’m 135 rows into the 236 rows for the main body. Note to non-knitters: that’s not anywhere near half ways because I’m knitting a triangle and it gets bigger by 4 stitches every 2 rows. In yarn terms, I’m about ½ way through Ball # 1 of 3. It’s moved onto the circulars which makes it much nicer for knitting.

I’ve been reading some of the Amazing Lace columns and it seems that a lot of knitters, lace knitters anyway, hate Addi needles. I’m of the “you’ll get my Addi-Turbos when you pry them from my cold, dead hand” school myself. Apparently, they prefer Inox needles because they have a sharper point. I need to check these out for myself at some point, but it’s not today. Doesn’t help that my LYS doesn’t carry Inox. In the meanwhile, Miss Flirty and I are going great guns with the Addis.

And I’m still knitting samples for the Shetland lace display at the NB Highland Games. In short, I'm too busy knitting to write about it. Next week, I’m going to be equally negligent. It’s the time of year for the OddBall Family to literally pack up the tent and go play in the rain -- yup, it’s les vacances de la famille Excentrique, heading to the fogbanks of the Bay of Fundy for a week. All members of the tribe are expected to survive the experience, only because Momma will be packing the gin.

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It doesn't look like much...

Batteries not included

This pile of plunder is a briefcase. Some assembly required.

No fur-bearing animals were harmed during the creation of this briefcase. Allergy alert: may contain nutmeg , but we doubt it. Return for refund where applicable. Not recommended for persons with caffeine-restricted diets. Batteries are not included -- best of luck finding them. May cause irritability, sleeplessness or fractured molars after prolonged use. Contents under pressure. BHT added to preserve freshness. Shake well before using. No vacuum tubes or other user-serviceable parts inside. Do not operate under water.

I'll let you all know if me and the briefcase are still on speaking terms after it goes for The Big Wash.Probably not... damn thing hates me already.

Talk at you'se all laters ; thanks for reading.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Because I ** need** another project...

Field of Flowers

What’s up at the Knittery these days?

Well, I’ve been mostly occupied with the fun and games that come with being a Momma…orthodontist appointments and et cetera. I hate having to run here, there and everywhere to look after these details. I know, it makes me your nominee for Mother of the Year but good grief, it makes accomplishing something just a tad on the difficult side.

Bitching aside, I have managed to actually do something. I’ve finished most of the machine knitting for the felted briefcase and I’ve overdyed 2 skeins of yarn for the remaining section. Just waiting for it to dry so I can knit it up and then it’s all going into the big felting machine in the basement. Undoubtedly, that’s when the cursing will start in earnest.

I carefully calculated the amount of material I need for this and then basically added either 8 stitches or 8 rows in all directions. The main body of what I’m doing is done in black wool and it felts like a dream. What I’m really trying to avoid is going to sew the bag together and find out I’m ¾s of an inch short right at the worst possible place. You know it would happen, so the fudge factor was factored in. I’m probably still off by a factor of about 10. Me and felting -- sometimes it works and sometimes, not so hot.

To help me relax with the machine knitting -- let’s face it, that thing is just WORK -- I’m still beavering away on Miss Flirty Ruffles. I think I’m at row 108 or something, almost finished Chart # 3 in any event. It’s getting knit away intermittently with the latest latest project.

Every July, here in Fredericton, we host the NB Highland Games. It’s a celebration of all things Scottish, from pipe bands, and Highland Dance competitions, caber tossing and other Scottish games, whiskey tasting, Gaelic language lessons, Gaelic choirs, tartan weavers, etc, etc. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Games and in honour of that, I’m putting together a static display on Shetland lace. Eventually, I would like to have a full display on Scottish knitting in general, but realistically, the only thing I’ll get done this year is some lace samples.

Above is sample one -- Field of Flowers on both stocking stitch background and garter stitch background. Obviously, I have a few more to knit up between now and the end of July.

Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mystery Swatch Revealed!!!

Absolutely nothing like this

A rose is a rose is a rose and sometimes, a swatch is a swatch is a swatch.

The yellow swatch posted earlier was exactly that -- a swatch. It’s not going to become anything although it might get sacrificed to the wool gods yet when I need little bits of yellow stuff cut out of felt.

But, OddBall, you said it was Step 1 of some mystery project? Well, yes, my little partridges, I didn’t lie to you or even dissemble. It’s the first step in me figuring out how to build a felted briefcase. The felted briefcase is envisioned to be exactly like the one picture above except for the few adjusted details noted below:

  • Different colour
  • Different yarn in both brand and weight
  • No buttons, beads or windings
  • Different or no buckles
  • Different handles
  • No dangly lariat thing
  • Different motif design
  • Completely different construction

But other than that, it’s exactly like the one pictured above and, in interests of credit where credit is due, was found in the Winter 2005 issue of Knitter’s magazine. I loved the idea of a felted bag but for starters, there is no way on God’s little green earth that Mrs MacKay’s idiot daughter Kate is going to hand-knit a bag to felt the living tar out of it. It is not happening.

And I’m not into that whole SouthWest motif thing. And why would I use anything other than my good old home grown Briggs & Little when I’m planning to beat the living jebesus out of it in the first place? And I don’t like the construction technique for the corners. I thing they can be sharpened up a bit. Okay, I like the leather wrap on the handles but don’t like the handles, per se. And I’m all for the feet on the bottom of it. And the dimensions probably work for me. But other than that, it’s about to be OddBall’d all to Hell and gone.

The point of doing the swatch was because at some point in the design of this here briefcase, I’m going to have to figure out how many stitches and how many rows, etc, etc, etc. So, in the interests of being scientific, instead of my usual eyeballing it, I crank up the knitting machine. Eyeballing it doesn’t work so well when step 2 of the project involves lots of hot water and about 5 cycles through the washing machine. Enter the 100 stitches by 100 rows swatch. When I’m finished felting it, I’ll have an idea of how many stitches I need to cast on for each piece.

Other than that, knitting has been somewhat boring around here. A bit more has been done on Miss Flirty Ruffles. The Addi-Turbo circulars just arrived so I can switch off the straight needles.

I’ve knit 4 stockings for felting, along with some do-dads to go on the other socks. They’re in this felting run through. I would have had 5 stocks finished but, alas, I ran out of navy yarn about 30 feet short of the finish line on the last and of course, it was the last skein in captivity. I feel a Briggs & Little run coming on shortly but I’m trying to hold out a little while longer. The stash is getting to the almost manageable stage and I’d like to keep it there for a while.

In any event, work to do. In this case, it’s the work I actually get paid for but I’m off the night shifts. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.