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May 2008

Posts from April 2008

Knitterly Weekend

Phew, what a weekend. I started with the Spring Knitter's Frolic, where I did buy almost enough hempathy to make Hip In Hemp (I need to find the dark brown, probably at Romni) and I won a fabulous skein of fuschia lace weight donated by the Sweet Sheep--thanks Michelle! I got to hang with Michelle from In Yarn Veritas for the afternoon too. Lots of fun.

Sweet Sheet Prize Yarn

Then I did some work around the house and after dinner we were off to the More Big Girl Knits book launch at Lettuce Knit. There were yummy cupcakes, loads of knitters, including Amy and Jillian the co-authors extraordinaire and Shannon Okey was up for a visit too. I tried on a bunch of the garments, won a nifty bag, and gah gahed over how everything looked amazing on Keri and had a few beers before we dashed off to see The Forbidden Kingdom (which while not extra fantastic, it was still pretty good).

I forgot to add a photo of the bag.  It's similar to this one.  They're made from rice bags and each one is different. Totally fun and fishy.


I managed to have a nice long sleep before spending the day close to home, watching Xander play ball hockey, doing more yard work (deck demolition, garage cleaning), supervising homework and scaling mount laundry. I did spend some time on the vino coat too--I'm an inch and a bit away from the arm hole decreases. Laura smartly pointed out that a Vino front is smaller than a Vino back, so if I can get this done, I'll be back to more portable knitting again. This is good because the next few days look a tad cold for biking and I'll need some TTC knitting.

Mission: Frolic Skirt

Tomorrow is the DKC's annual Spring Knitter's Frolic and it's always a fun fibre day.  I generally don't buy much at this event, though I love to fondle the yarns, get ideas, see my knitter pals and just get out with "my people". 

This year, I'm going with a mission in mind (though it's not a mission that I must fulfill or anything).  I want to knit a skirt.  Currently three patterns are up for consideration.

1. Hip in Hemp.  I wanted to make this the moment I saw the pattern, and still do.  I bought some hempathy in a bunch of colours to try it out and I dug out the yarn again yesterday. 


There isn't enough for the skirt, but I got a better sense of the colours.  I catch myself wondering if this is the skirt for me--it may be better as a kid skirt (Off to peek on Ravelry).  Emma would certainly like one, though I suspect she won't wear it as much as she professes.  I may use the yarn later to make a larger version of another of Gudrun's great designs that I know Emma would wear.

2. Lovely Leaf Skirt.  This one is really nice.  Hemp would make a nice skirt.  I think a chocolate brown version would be great.

3. Wave Skirt.  I like this one too.  In a solid colour.  Like Laura's.  I think the gauge is a bit bigger than I want (I think skirts should be in dk or lighter) but if the right yarn comes along at the Frolic, this may be the one.  Maybe a louet linen blend.

So much for being in bed by 10:30

Both Craig and I have been staying up too late, lately and we've been trying to just stop doing stuff and getting to bed earlier. That was my plan tonight, as I finished packing the lunches at 10:30. But then I just had to knit a couple of rows on Vino, and I just had to check my email, and I just had to take a picture of Vino and upload it to Flickr so I could blog it tomorrow and now here I am at 10:51 blogging now. For someone with a PhD, I'm not too bright.

That being said, Vino is just swimming along. This is fast yarn. I don't know what makes it faster than other worsted weight wool, but it *feels* faster and I'm still very much in love with knitting it.

However, a 30 inch piece of brown knitting does not make for very exciting blogging. So I glammed it up by putting my piece in progress on my new living room rug--which is very pretty.

vino growing

I'm no decorator, but confess I do like this new stage in my life where a) I own a house and b) I can now accumulate things I love to put in my house. I do not have the time, money or inclination to hunt for the perfect thingamadoodle to coordinate with some whatchamacallit in my foyer (in fact, I don't think I have a foyer), but I do like that I have a new couch, ottoman and rug that are my style and which coordinate with each other. I actually have a palette (which I keep swatches of in a little daytimer binder so I can bring them shopping, geek that I am) and a plan. It sorta scares me since I used to think milk crates liquor bottle shelves were tres chic; I guess I'm growing up because I enjoy my cozy home in progress.


I'm going to Banff!  There was enough money left from the grant that funded my post-doc to go to one last conference, and we chose wisely. My duties are to hang up my poster and attend my colleague's papers, so I have lots of time to see the mountains.

Craig and I have never been to Banff or Alberta for that matter.  Any must-see's/do's?

Also any advice on getting around?  The shuttle from the Calgary airport to Banff is pretty expensive, so we're considering renting a car.  It just seems easier.  We've already booked our hotel (did I mention that conferences rock!) and we'll have 5 days at the end of May to play.

Must Knit Faster

Reading Claudia's Blog over the years has taught me many things, most notably:
a) To embrace my inner orange
b) That you can knit for both product and process
c) Biking is the way to go
d) If you knit one thing at a time, you get sweaters (and usually faster).

I like knitting as a process, but I also love knitted stuff for wearing. Ever since I tried on Laura Chau's Vino at the Knitter's Frolic, I knew I wanted one. A generous gift from some of my favourite knitters last spring sealed the deal and once I decided on a colour of Dream in Colour yarn, I was ready to go (It wasn't the fastest decision, sure, but it was worth the wait).

Once I started, the sleeves flew off the needles. Here they are almost finished.

Vino sleeves

I love the November Muse colour which is rich and really complicated when you look at it up close; there are greenish, bluish and grey tones in it too.

I started the back (the BIG piece) on the weekend and it's going quickly, if the back of a knee-length garment can be said to go quickly.

Vino back

Being realistic about this, I'm faced with a dilemma. If I knit this almost exclusively (it's not portable, so I might have a smaller thing on the go too so I can knit on the go) I might be done in a month. Especially if I neglect my already neglected yard, partially renovated bathroom (a story for another day), the garage and that stairway project I started way back when.

However, I probably won't neglect those things, and will finish Vino sometime in late June or later, and it'll be too warm to wear it.

So do I persist, which I suspect Claudia would do or cast on a nice truly summery sweater?

I really need to start planning my knitting around the seasons a bit more if I want new stuff to wear when the weather changes.

Earth Stripe Wrap Complete!

DSC00189, originally uploaded by Dr. Steph.

It is:    Beautiful.
It is:    Soft.


Knitting this wasn't so much a technical challenge, as an act of persistence. So many colour changes, so many ends, so long. The fringing, which I love, took two evenings.

It is warm, soft and very elegant. I wore it to work Thursday and got exactly the reaction I wanted from knitters (Hi Erin) and non-knitters alike.

Part of this cold rainy weekend will be spent with this on. Sorry I didn't model, all the photos Emma took were really blurry (note to self: camera phone not good. Buy a battery of real camera.)

And yes, Emma love it (she is my daughter afterall). She's going to have to knit her own.


Awareness and Super Models and a funny feeling I can't describe...

I have psoriasis.  I've had it since I was about 15, and it is a big pain in the ass.

Actually, it's not painful at all, it's itchy, unsightly and inconvenient.  The first two are self-explanatory; having big red scaly flaky patches of skin due to a believes -to -be -screw -up in one's immune system leading to the overproduction of skin cells isn't so great.  It's also inconvenient because in my desire to rid myself of itchiness and unsightliness I have to undergo treatments of varying levels of effectiveness that take up my time--applying creams twice a day over most of my body, and right now, undergoing phototherapy 3 times a week (it takes about 10 minutes, but I have to get there etc).  Inconvenience also arises whenever I need to buy clothes for the skin-baring months--I'm very happy 3/4 sleeves are big this year, they hide my elbows.  Or when your kids want to go to the local pool and you're not up for being all spotty.  We won't speak about those fancy occasions when I might need to wear a dress or bare my arms.  Inconvenient.

Those complaints aside, it's not so bad in the spectrum of immune-system diseases or other chronic conditions.  It doesn't cause pain, disability, mental illness or general unwellness.  It won't debilitate or kill me.  I do have a higher risk of developing a form of rheumatiod arthitis, and my kids might develop it (which would suck), but that's about it.  It's itchy and ugly and I've learned to live with it.

So, when I discovered that America's Next Top Model Winner CariDee English has become the spokesperson for the National Psoriasis foundation, I had mixed feelings.

I *get* all the talk about awareness that we hear whenever any celebrity is associated with a cause or disease.  I *get* that awareness may lead to more research money, less stigmatization, a greater understanding of why that person might be wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt in the summer, and all that the promise of awareness might bring.

But I dislike platitudes like these: "Psoriasis awareness is very important to me.  I want other with the disease to know they are not alone.  I want to inspire them to live their dreams."


Live my dreams?  Inspire me?  Huh?  Bleh.

My dreams haven't been tied to how I look. It may be inconvenient, but psoriasis doesn't slow me down.

Or "She spent years gathering information and trying various treatments.  Her psoriasis persisted but so did CariDee.  She maintained an optimistic outlook and a vision of becoming a model.  After a hard-won acceptance of the disease, and visits to three different dermatologists to find a treatment that works for her, she is living her dream."

Hard work, persistence, struggle, determination.  The usual triumph over tragedy story.  She changed from ugly duckling to beautiful swan or rather Top Model swan.

Does CariDee as the "face" of psoriasis, send a message of hope to sufferers of this condition or raise the bar a whole hell of a lot?

While I don't want to dismiss the emotional toll of psoriasis, I do want to state that having a beautiful face attached to this cause again privileges beauty as the most important thing.  The new (super expensive) biologics that CariDee English uses to control her psoriasis have both mild and nasty side effects. 

Is this another case of suffering to be beautiful?  What happens to her if the drugs stop working?  Does the Psoriasis foundation still want her as a spokesperson? 

And for those of us who choose not to do "everything that we can" to control our psoriasis?  Will we be slackers?  The ugly and unfortunate? (the drugs she is taking cost about $2000 a month and will only be paid for by insurance after you've tried everything else).  More stigmatized for not using the options available?  A quick surf on CariDee shows that a lot of people want to know what she's using and how they can get it so they can look as good as her.  But maybe that's the point.  I bet Raptiva is mighty happy that she's around.

Me?  I'm not sure I want to trade the good health I have now with clear skin. 

Or feel like I need to "look good to feel better".

The thing about a disease that affects your physical appearance is that it's only a problem if the person who has it thinks its a problem.  Most of the time, I don't really think much about it.  However, in the world we live in, how one looks is pretty important, especially for women.  As someone who tries to fight against the norms of physical beauty attached to women (even when I feel like I fail miserably)  having a spokesperson who is beautiful as her profession just doesn't sit right with me. 

I'm not sure I've articulated this fully.  But I've been mulling it over for about a week now and wanted to write about it. 

Any thoughts?

Socks and Stoles

I finished Emma's Socks a week or so ago and they fit (for now). She loves them. I'm very pleased with them too. I have chosen not to cast on a new pair (as is my custom) and see how life is without socks on the needles. I'm thinking the Ribbon Lace scarf might be a good alternative. Vino is my travel knitting right now (I promise to introduce you to it properly soon), but that will get too big soon.

Emma's Socks

When I do find time to knit, I'm all about the Earth Stripe Wrap. On the weekend I finished the called-for 148cm and discovered that it's too short to throw over one shoulder in that jaunty way that says I look fantastic . Shit. So, I trudge onwards to do another 20ish cm. I have about 2.5cm to go and that's my plan for tonight--tv, KSH, coca-cola and all dressed chips (or maybe a spicy tuna roll...).

Here it is at the almost completed mark.

So many ends

Notice those fuzzy things? That'd be the ends. All the ones started on the right side are woven in and just need trimming. But the other side says: "You ain't anywhere near done this puppy yet, bitch."


Sigh. Maybe I can get Craig to take me for a beer on a patio on a not-quite warm enough night and I can do that jaunty thing.