Monday, 1 January 2018

2017 Year in Review


I hate leading off with bad news but I must sadly say that I lost Squish this year. He had been ill for a couple of years with thyroid and, more recently, kidney failure but when he suffered a stroke (I think it was a stroke, he showed all the classic symptoms that EMTs tell you to watch for in a human) and was left partly blind and unable to walk I had to let him go. Rest easy my Squishy-cat; I miss you still.

Mouse has adjusted to being the only cat quite well and has embraced her Siamese genes by mewing constantly, mostly when she wants food; which seems to be every 20 minutes. Unfortunately, she has suffered from IBS for most of her life and has now added pancreatitis to her list of ailments. Watching her suffer through a flare-up is horrifying; the poor little cat is clearly in agony when it happens. And there isn't anything the vet can do for her, no medication or anything; all we can do is watch and hope she doesn't get worse.

Eclipse has not had any change in her health status but she does have cancer so I don't know how long she will be with us. Could be years could be months, with cancer you just never know.

Soccer's kidneys have started to fail so he's on medication for that. And he developed a fat lump on his side very quickly just before Christmas, monitoring for now and it has not become hard so far. He also seems to have a depressed appetite, food doesn't seem to interest him much and I had to move him onto a prescription vet diet; at least he'll eat it, he was refusing to eat anything for a couple weeks last spring and he's not a dog that should skip many meals given that he's always been a bit scrawny. For now he's still eating and doesn't seem to be in pain so we're monitoring.

Ahab seems to be that last healthy pet in the house and still loves playing Scent Hurdle. I'm keeping him running only one heat per race otherwise he seems to be really tired before the end of the tournament.

Knitting and other Fiber Arts

And now, let us take a look at the fiber accomplishments of 2017. I spent most of this year unemployed so my production level was high.

First completed project of this year was a pair of socks for my Niece. My Nephew's socks were completed in 2016 for his 2017 birthday so they show up on last year's review.

Followed immediately by a pair of socks for myself.

Then my Calgary Sister texted me a picture and asked if I could make her a hat like the one I had made for my Niece for Christmas 2015 in black or grey. How can one refuse? I called it Space Wurm not because of the colour (a true black) but because I was watching space documentaries while knitting it. Colour would have been a good reason to call it Space Wurm too.

Next, having learned that my Wee Niece's mauve Wonderful Wallaby just barely fit, I made a larger one for her. I have actually seen her wearing this in several video calls with her! Now, that's the way to get yourself hand knits. Or for your mother to get you hand knits. Either way.

Then came a pair of John Deere socks. I had originally intended these as a gift for a friend but one ended up longer than the other by about 1cm so I'm reluctant to gift them. They're waiting for me to make a decision.

Next I completed the first three of a series of Hats. I had some old Wool-Ease in my stash that I could never think what to do with. I can't even remember what I originally bought it for; so I made it up into a bunch of hats. This also lead to an important question - What do you call a group of hats? My personal favourite was a friend's suggestion of a "snuggle of toques".

Then came my UK Vacation. There were many adventures, but of relevance to knitting - while on the train from London to Edinburgh it broke down so I had lots of time to work on a pair of socks. I knit most of a sock while stuck on the train then completed the pair in the lounge of the hotel in Edinburgh. They're in my Scent Hurdle team's colours and I've been wearing them to tournaments, well, in winter that is.

And I finished another entire pair of socks while visiting with my Sister in Aberdeen. These went to my Mom for Mother's Day, which is celebrated in March in the UK so she got them early since we were in the UK and they were finished and it was UK Mother's Day. She did not get a second pair for Canadian Mother's Day but only because I didn't have time, I would have if I'd had time.

Upon returning home the hats continued to drip from my needles, it helps that Wool-Ease is a really chunky yarn, giving me a total of nine in various sizes. I originally intended to give these to charity, except for the medium green which I kept for myself, but they kept getting claimed by those who saw them on the table at the front door. In the end I kept the medium green, the solid red went to my Mom, the large charcoal to my brother-in-law, the blue with red stripe and grey crown to my Niece, the large green to my Nephew, the charcoal with red ribbing to my Sister, the small blue to my Wee Niece, and only three went into the charity box. Still, they all found a good home.

Then I did some experimenting with loom knitting, I would like to do more of this but I'm having problems finding the right tools. I have a feeling this could mean I'm pushing the envelope here. Cool beans. I did a small blanket that I ended up not liking because I chose the wrong cast off and messed up the pattern, this may get frogged yet. Plus, I have since found that double knitting works really well when you are working with two colours, so I really I feel I should be pushing this technique more and using three or more colours.

Next a sweater for me. I wore this lot through the cold snap over Christmas and New Years.

Then socks for my Dad for Father's Day.

Another sweater for my Wee Niece. The colour in the picture is completely wrong, it's actually a light blue. Since its in Scotland taking a replacement picture is tricky.

I enlarged the fish from the "A Recipe for Fish" blanket pattern and made a dish cloth.

Followed by a couple of Aww-Poo Bags. Still working on perfecting the pattern for these as I'm not 100% satisfied with it.

A flaming red 10 Stitch Blanket. My awe for the genius of Frankie Brown continues unabated. No particular plan for this at this time. I'm not worried; there's always someone having a baby.

A blue blanket. I had no recipient in mind when I made this but it worked out well when it went to a friend of my Scottish Sister who had a baby boy this year. The friend lives in Canada so there were no shipping costs incurred.

Some cotton socks for myself as I always seem to run out of summer socks. Not that I wear socks much in summer but it is good to have some.

Next some boring and practical dish cloths. As you can no doubt tell from the Franken-Cloth I was using up old stash to make these.

Another Aww-Poo Bag, this one came out a bit small, so still working on perfecting the design.

Another baby blanket, tentatively thinking of trying to sell these. And if that doesn't work out then I have plenty of baby gifts. There is a diamond pattern in this blanket, you can't see it at all in the picture but I assure you, its there.

Reached into my stash and worked up a baby car-seat blanket. The picture may not show it well but there are holes you can buckle a baby car-seat through. That way the baby can't kick the blanket off. This was this year's only crochet project.

I had purchased some alpaca sock-weight yarn to go into my Mitered Square Sock Blanket but I ended up with too much orange so I used the alpaca (why wouldn't you choose the alpaca?) to make mittens instead. There is a finger hole in the right mitten so you can text or use your GPS without removing your mittens.

Then I finished the first Christmas present, my Nephew's Star Wars Scarf. This was my first try at double-knitting and I have fallen completely in love with the technique; it is awesome. Also, I love this pattern and am still debating doing one for myself. I fear that if I do though I'd better also do one for my brother-in-law.

There was enough alpaca left after the mittens for a headband. It is currently far too cold to wear this.

And Christmas present number two, more double-knitting to make a Horse Scarf for my Niece. The colours in the picture are really off, the background should be light beige, same as in the Star Wars Scarf picture, and the scarf itself is dark purple and mauve.

And then another little blanket, blue with a leaf pattern. This picture is pre-blocking, I suspect the pattern will calm down and it will look much better once I take some steam to it.

And finally one last blanket with a single snowflake pattern but mostly stockinette stitch. Finished this on Dec. 30, although like the blanket above it still needs blocking, so it just squeaked across the wire.

Completed this year:
38 projects
36 knitting projects
9 chunky hats
7 little blankets
7 pairs of socks
3 sweaters
3 dish cleaning apparatus
3 Aww-Poo Bags (experimental)
2 double-knit scarves
1 wurm hat
1 pair of mittens
1 headband
1 loom knit project
1 crochet project

Current Weather
A balmy -20C and sunny. After over a week of -30C temperatures -20C feels positively warm.

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