Friday, September 25, 2009

Takin' care of business!

Doug brought me some new batteries for my camera so that I could start taking pictures again. It's been a while, and I can tell this by looking at the blog and seeing the number of projects that I've finished and with no posted pictures.

First up, I bring you the Botanical Cardigan from Vogue Summer 2009. (The new batteries make for an extra-strong flash, as evidenced by my closed eyes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

The way the front fits makes anyone seem curvy. It's really flattering.

The back fits nicely too. I had toyed with the idea of not making the little bobble thingy in the centre of the back. However, that makes the back kind of saggy, which is NOT the intent. Turns out the bobble is generally higher than the back of a chair anyway, so the "bump" is not a factor.

I used 4 skeins of Misti Alpaca Cotton & Silk (worsted weight), in colour no. 3814. Actually, I used 3 and a half balls ... Truthfully, I could've/should've done a few more repeats of the border motif. A little extra length there would have been nice, but I was just SO DONE with the pattern. Helpful hints to anyone else who is making this -- don't be skimpy on the border! Also, there is errata on the Vogue Knitting website, so be certain to check that out as well.

At the Knitters & Weavers Fair in Waterloo (on September 12th) I saw the same cardigan with added sleeves. The knitter had used the same three-strand braid around the bottom of the sleeves as well. Nice touch that, but I'm really happy with my sleeveless version. Would I do it again? Oh yeah. The centre part is a blast. The outer ring probably would've been perfect car knitting, had I had a road trip planned at the time.

Another quick little project I've finished recently is this hat, destined for my brother David.

I used two balls of fun fur and one ball of Patons SWS, colour no. 70605(apparently discontinued). Two strands of fun fur for the ribbing (2"), then 2" more of ribbing in the Patons, switch to stockinette and away you go. This bright hat certainly cheered me up when it was in the store, and I am hoping it will cheer up my brother as well.

Over at Delphi Knit & Chat, we have just finished up a gift exchange. My secret pal was in Michigan (hi Kendra!), and she sent me some yummy candy and this lovely scarf. Cables and a wee bit of lace in between, and four sparkly buttons! The buttons instantly made me think of my mother, who had used similar buttons on a sweater for me years and years ago. Smiles!

The Milk Duds are gone, and the Good & Fruity are on the endangered list! Thanks, Kendra, for the package, Sandi for hostessing the exchange, and Carol Ann for hosting the forum!

Finally, a project which had been on my list for ages and ages, and which I am happy to report is finished. Well, almost finished. I worked 20 rows of garter stitch at the beginning of the blanket, so I must add 10 more rows of garter stitch to the end. All in good time. In the meanwhile, I get to claim it is "finished!"

This is a mock-cable pattern, worked in knits and purls only, and which gives the appearance of being cabled. A nice easy pattern, generously sized for a baby blanket, and made in Patons Canadiana, colour no. 138 (also discontinued).

Apparently, my making a store sample out of a colour guarantees it being discontinued.

More finished projects, more photos, more news, all in the upcoming weeks. I can only post five pictures at a time!

Also, David has had his first chemo treatment. It really knocked him for a loop and he is still feeling rather punky, but that is to be expected. For those of you who are keeping him in your thoughts and prayers, thank you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Thursday

Wow. That was a long radio silence. These last few weeks have been ... interesting ... in the Chinese proverb sense would be the easiest way to describe them.

The first biggest piece of news, and not good news, is that my elder brother has been diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma. This is a non-Hodgkins type and treatment is a real *itch. The last month has been spent waiting for e-mails with more news, worrying and praying for him. He has started treatment, as of yesterday afternoon, so we are all hoping that the newer treatments will result in a remission ... a very long remission. He has 6 rounds of chemo (parts A and B, thank you very much), followed by a bone marrow transplant. The doctors are hoping that he'll be able to transplant his own bone marrow (I know, that sounds so wrong, but it's the way these things are done) and achieve remission. Failing that, or sometime way down the road, they will be looking at his siblings, our father, and his daughter for a second transplant option. I now have a very impressive envelope with the necessary information. Living in Canada, however, I'm not real sure how the requisition will work with my local labs. Doug and I are contemplating a quick trip to Michigan (possibly staying overnight with Phyllis!) to have the blood drawn. Apparently there are places where you can register as a bone marrow donor; I encourage everyone to think about registering. The life you save might be -- yours, or my brother's!

I have finished the Botanical Medallion Cardigan from the summer Vogue. Unfortunately, I don't have photos yet. Something about dead/dying batteries in my camera, wrong clothing to model it, and a general failure to be my customary smiling self. Promise, though, that I'll get to it. Quickly.

I've also finished a hat which I'll be sending to my brother. Again, same problem with pictures, but I'll get one before I send it off. It is guaranteed to bring a smile to his face, which is the goal. There will be many more "chemo" hats sent to him. I really don't expect that he'll wear many of them, if any. What I'm hoping to do is to make him smile, or even laugh outloud. Laughter is the best medicine, and since I'm not local to him bringing a smile or a laugh from afar is the best I can do right now.

I've also finished an exchange gift for a secret buddy from Knit & Chat. Once again, problems with getting a photo, and even getting it mailed out. I still need to get a sweet treat to tuck in the envelope. Unfortunately, the really nice candy store in town here keeps the same hours I do. Makes it tough to get over there, ya know?

Carrie is off at University and enjoying herself immensely. The work is hard, and the schedule is far more intense than in high school. The good news, however, is that she feels really comfortable and "at home," which means that she'll do fine. She will be coming home next weekend to wrap up the details resulting from the fender bender in July; I'm looking forward to having her around, even for such a short time.

Speaking of the fender bender, the car is now repaired! Yippee! Now to start working that darn deductible back down -- I didn't know it, but my insurance company gave me a $50 reduction in collision deductibles for every policy period (annual) that there was no claim. We were down to $200 deductible when Carrie had her little accident. Hmm. Increase in rates AND a higher deductible. No one ever said having teens was going to be easy.

I'll try not to be so quiet in the future, and to get some batteries for my camera. Til then!