Monday, November 20, 2006

Mwaaahahahaha! Got'im! Hook, line and needle. I am delighted to report that I have successfully infected recruited a new fibre-addict. You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I brought home a small frame loom for the DH to play with. He's already spent many hours joyfully entangled with his new craft, delving through the greater portion of our public library's weaving arts selection, discovering new patterns and practising with the cheap rainbow variegated chunky acrylic that came with the loom. Now he's started to hint about the need for some more and better materials to continue his line of investigative experimentation.

I am thrilled that the DH is finally experiencing the soul-satisfying experience of handcrafted fibre arts. Bonus: No more will I suffer the refrains of the past when opening packages received in the mail or returning from a stash acquisition expedition at my LYS ("What's that? Do you really need more yarn?"...etc... "blah, blah, blah"). However, the flip side is I will soon have to become a lot more sneaky about where I hide my stash. DH, reading this over my shoulder, asks snidely: "Oh really? Where will you hide it? There's more visible wool in sight all over this house than you could possibly ever hide." The poor dear. Little does he know that's just what he's supposed to think. Sorry to disappoint you, darling. That's the decoy yarn.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another 5 minutes of fame! MezzoDiva will appear on the Gill Deacon Show on CBC television tomorrow morning, knitting and singing. (I am such a media whore.)

The Marriage of Figaro finally opens tonight in a gorgeous theatre way out in the burbs - I’m leaving at 4 pm to get there! I forgot to mention that I play Marcellina and I'll be wearing a little knitterly gag on my costume: a miniature baby-hat-and-booties pinned to my quasi-Baroque gown. Hey, this knitterista's gotta represent! And if you know the story, it makes total sense.

In a nutshell, for those who don't know the story: I'm a middle-aged spinster who hopes to marry the much younger Figaro by means of an old contract wherein he promised to marry me if he couldn't repay the money I lent him. However, unbeknownst to all, in my younger days I had a lovechild with Bartolo and the babe was kidnapped shortly after his birth. Spoiler: it turns out that Figaro is our son!

It will be so good to finally get back to S&B next week! I really miss that regular weekly night, rehearsal schedule conflicts prevented me attending for a few weeks. You know, this opera career is really messing with my knitting life (despite reports to the contrary on CBC).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Has it already been a whole month?

This is the only day off I've had in weeks and I was so hoping to show up at Knitomatic for a little S&B therapy I've missed due to rehearsals in the last few weeks. Last night was the orchestral dress rehearsal for The Marriage of Figaro - we open tomorrow night(Yay!).

Yesterday was also the first day of my period. Let me just tell ya: big final opera rehearsal + big first day of menses = some very bad voodoo. Fortunately, after the first couple of days, things tend to ease up for me. And the adrenaline rush would get me through performance anyhow, but I'd pay for it later.

So sadly there will be no S&B for MezzoDiva tonight. The only way I’m leaving the house today is if I am dragged kicking and screaming from a smoke-filled burning building. My cramps have cramps and there’s a magnificent migraine trying to take up residence behind my eyes. I can't see straight enough to knit. I’d cry but that would hurt my head too much.

I'm going to crawl back over to the sofa now and wallow in self pity until this day is over. Sing it with me ladies: “I enjoy being a girl!”

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pssst... I have tentative plans to go camera shopping tomorrow (which is now today, I suppose, as the clock struck twelve here half an hour ago). If my rehearsal ends in time before the store closes, DH and I will go buy ourselves a little something happy. Yeah, I know you've heard it before. But this time I mean it! (Keep your needles metaphorically crossed for me.)

As soon as a camera is acquired I will post pix of the Stitch-Diva cardi-wrap in progress and also of the container and contents of the fabulous first package I got from my Secret Pal (ummm...okay, so the chocolate truffles may will be conspicuous by their absence by then, but I can show you the box).

Work on the cardi-wrap progresses slowly now as show-time approaches and rehearsals become more intensive, leaving less tiome for backstage/offstage knitting. I have to say it gets lots of positive comments from curious onlookers as I'm knitting, though it's just a baby rectangle so far - I'm not even up to the first armhole yet. It's amazing how a simple rectangle with sleeves can become something glamorous and divalicious - at least it is in the pattern and in my mind so far.

The Manos wool is definitely fighting me on the dropped stitches. I'm now laddering down after about every dozen rows to avoid the velcro-like tendencies which seem to increase in direct proportion to the number of new rows knitted since the last dropped section. However, the colour striations are coming out exquisitely in the cables and the dropped sections.

A friend and I decided to do our own mini scarf-swap: She's crocheting for me, and I'm knitting for her. She wants something sleek, chic and elegant, and after perusing patterns and suggestions, requested a Leaf Lace Scarf like this one Bernie made from Nora's modified vogue pattern (go see Nora's terrific designs).

Nora decided to be a designer and so she is one. I think it's terrific that she is sharing these (for free!) with the knit-blogging community. What goes around comes around and she will be rewarded, whether financially or otherwise. All Nora's designs are lovely. I'll definitely be visiting her pattern site frequently for inspiration.

I too have ambitions to design and Nora has motivated me to tidy up my own home-made efforts and offer them here. Once my current crazy schedule slows down a bit, in a few weeks, I'll go for it!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

On November 1st my Secret Pal sent me a little note:
Happy November! And prepare to be spoiled.
A little something-something will be headed your way tomorrow morning... ...Is there anything special from here that you have trouble getting there that you'd like me to send along in a future package?
Until next time,Your Secret Pal
Since she asked me for special requests, I mentioned the curvy cabled cardigan pattern I wrote about in my blog a couple of weeks ago is still making me weak at the knees. I could reinvent one on similar principles, but it's not a no-brainer, and at present I don’t have the powers of concentration to reverse engineer it from the pictures (I am too busy cramming a full length opera into my brain in less than two weeks!) I am still drooling over this pattern, and the more I look over the other pictures, the more intriguing a few of the others become as well, so the whole booklet would be put to good use. So I said that if it’s not exorbitant I would love to receive it in a future package.

Meanwhile I've been eagerly and ignorantly awaiting the mailman every morning and guess what arrived yesterday: My very first package from my Secret Pal. I'll just break it down for you: A gorgeous cardboard suitcase exquisitely covered with beautiful pictures of decorated clay pottery. I just love boxes and containers and tins and pretty package things - I will find a very special use for this! Inside that were more amazing goodies: a huge skein (560 yards!) of Schaefer Yarn Anne handpainted merino-mohair (sock/fingering weight) - this one's too pretty for socks, it will have to be a shawl or something elegant when it grows up. A very heavy overstuffed box of Evelyn's hand-dipped chocolate truffles (and they're boozy all the important food groups are covered). And - come on, I know you guessed it - this Classic Elite book: 9075 Luxe, which contains... (fanfare please, maestro - heavy on the horns) the coveted curvy cabled cardigan!

Note that I asked for this AFTER the package had been sent. How my Pal must have chuckled when she read my email. All I can say is - I have the best Secret Pal - you ROCK!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!!!!!

And thanks for the hints update last time. I need something fun to do in the middle of the night when I come home from rehearsals too wired to go to bed, so I’ll be stalking you. When I figure out who you are, you'll be getting a very special personal thank you.

Me so happy!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fall Cable KAL 2006

Who knew? It seems, despite all my previous opinions and professed identity, I am actually a joiner at heart. I would not have believed it, but clearly knitting and blogging is bringing out my true nature. Go figure.

I finally succumbed to the urge to join the Fall Cable KAL 2006 and make up some delicious cabley goodness! Unfortunately, my blog and I are still pictorially challenged, but I anticipate acquisition of a digital camera before month’s end (I hope) and then I can finally post pictures of WIPs, FOs, and other knitterly goodies.

Meanwhile, here’s my fall cable project info (with pictures borrowed from the product web-sites for your enjoyment).
I am making the gorgeous glamorous Cable and Dropped-stitch Cardi-Wrap from Stitch Diva, using Manos del Uruguay wool, in colour no. 111 (Navy, Plum, Rust & Golden Peach).

Wow! How beautiful is this? And just wait until you see it worked up in the pattern!

I am modifying the pattern slightly: instead of the regular double rib lines, I added a twisted rib worked on the same rows as the pattern's cable, for a complementary cable accent to the horseshoe cables.

I started knitting it yesterday, and I am totally captivated. I have to mention the Manos wool has a sticky tendency to felt itself together just from being knit up, which makes dropping the stitches a bit difficult. I am already unpicking it row by row with a needle - I have to gently coax them apart. So I am dropping the stitches in sections, laddering down after every 24 rows or so, instead of waiting to drop them all in one fell swoop. I’m afraid that if I wait until it's all knit up the yarn will have bonded with its neighbouring strands make dropping the stitches at the end a major painstaking effort.

Glad to be in on all the cabley fun!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I am up in the wee early hours of dawn - a highly unusual occurence. I was so cold my insides were shivering. Have you ever had that feeling? It's very different from a surface shiver. It really feels as though your viscera are shivering and it's a bizarre disconcerting sensation. Particularly when lying snuggly next to a nice warm DH in our nice warm bed in early November. I have had this feeling on prior occasions, but only outdoors in a mid-January freeze-over with a windchill of -20. (That's celsius, darlings. Do the math. I'm not awake enough to do it for you.)

So I decided to make a nice pot of herbal tea to warm up my internal organs. I'm sitting in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil, with a vague "how did I get here?" look on my face. I figured I may as well be blogging to stay awake long enough to accomplish the making of the aforementioned tea. The tea which really should be progressing further long about now, come to think of it... Oops. Hold that thought I'll be right back.

In my many years there are a number of things I have learned about kettles (there is fleeting wisdom coming so catch it as it passes by). It is NOT true that a watched pot (or kettle) never boils - it just takes a bit longer. However, an unplugged electric kettle does indeed never boil, so I just sheepishly crept back over to the counter to plug in the kettle I filled about, oh, let's say 15 minutes ago, and promptly forgot about until I used it as an excuse for why I find myself awake, downstairs, and blogging at the crack of dawn.

Did I mention I do not function well in the morning? No, I am not lazy. I am a night person. I am a reasonably intelligent and capable woman who will happily function well past the witching hours. In the morning, however, I am an idiot. If you want anything done that requires a modicum of intelligence or basic common sense, let alone physical co-ordination, do not expect it from me before the crack of noon.

The kettle is boiling, so I leave this post for now to go warm up my innards. You might hear more from me before the day is through, but you might not. I have Acts 3&4 of The Marriage of Figaro to memorize before evening, so I can make no promises to update the knitting content today. Here are some headlines for the meantime:

The heating hold-out continues here at casa MezzoDiva as minor contention ensues over who will succumb first to the human imperative to be warm and go buy replacement filters for the furnace... I have resorted to sly knitterly tactics, using the cold conditions to motivate and flaunt completion of my heavy (tweedy doubled Fortissima-socka) socks while simultaneously delaying making promised slippers for the DH, however I anticipate having to brave the laughter of onlookers and knit myself a nose-warmer. Please stay tuned for further reports...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Toronto Weekend to End Breast Cancer

I just took the first step on an extraordinary journey, joining a very special group of people united in their commitment to end breast cancer. I signed up for the 2007 Toronto Weekend to End Breast Cancer benefiting the Princess Margaret Hospital, an international leader in the fight against cancer and the largest institution in Canada devoted to cancer treatment, innovative research, and education programs.

During one amazing weekend, September 7-9, thousands of women and men are joining forces Toronto to walk 60 kilometres through the neighbourhoods of Toronto in a bold display of courage and commitment. It’s a weekend of hope, as we honour lives lost, celebrate survivors, and help bring breast cancer care to those who so desperately need it. Together, we will fight to bring an end to breast cancer forever.

Each walker must raise at least $2,000 for the cause, but I am setting my fundraising goal at $5,000. With your help, I can meet and even exceed it so that we can end this heartbreaking disease for good. The money we raise makes a real difference in the fight to end breast cancer and in the meantime to bring breast cancer education, care and research to those that need it most. CLICK HERE TO SPONSOR ME!.

I am also sending a shout-out to challenge YOU to join me for this vital endeavor! One in every nine Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer - maybe even someone special in your life. The work we do together will help save lives, it's as simple as that. The Weekend to End Breast Cancer is your chance to be a hero. Make a commitment to this super cause. It will be a challenge, but that’s exactly what makes it so meaningful. Please Register for the 2007 Weekend to End Breast Cancer

The Weekend is for everyone - you don’t have to be an athlete to participate. This event is for all kinds of people: mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and breast cancer survivors. All you need is compassion, determination and a fighting spirit. The fabulous staff of coaches will answer your questions and help you put together a training plan that works for you, fits in with your life and will get you in shape for the walk. They will organize Training Walks throughout the area where you can get used to long-distance walking, and meet others who will be on the event with you. They'll also give you fundraising advice, or help you recruit family and friends to walk or crew with you. You can reach them by phone at (416)815-WALK(9255) or by email

Start talking with family and friends about your commitment to the fight against breast cancer. Tell them that you are going to walk 60 kilometres so that we may end this heartbreaking disease for good. They will be amazed by your courage, and you’ll be surprised by their generosity. You’re doing something heroic, something that many people never dare to do. Once you get going you'll be surprised by what a successful fundraiser you are! The Participant Centre allows you to recruit teammates and supporters, track your progress, and receive donations. If you are participating as part of a team, you will also be able to get the latest messages from your team captain and monitor the progress of your teammates. You can email potential donors with a link to your Personal Page so they can learn more about your commitment and give directly to your fundraising account online.

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month across North America. Let’s do something together and move one step closer to a future without breast cancer. Let's make this one of the last times Breast Cancer Awareness Month ever appears on the calendar!

Together we WILL make a difference !