Monday, July 09, 2007

The Year Of Living Dangerously - It's My Blog-Versary!

Who could have thought a year could make so much difference? Twelve months ago today, I started a weblog page, not knowing the slightest thing about the medium. And now... Friends all over the world, wonderful companions at the click of a button, acquaintances everywhere, advice, guidance, sympathy, laughter, teasing, as much as and more than anyone could hope for. Gang, you've given me an amazing year and I'll be showing my gratitude. All this week I'm going to be giving away PRESENTS. I'll pick you at random from my comments box most days between now and Sunday next, so keep tuned, you never know.

But a couple of those presents are already earned. In first place, stand forth Angie, who got me started on this amazing Avenue of the Internet last July 9. You gave me the idea, laughed down my apprehensions, encouraged my attempts, and gave valiant and inexhaustible assistance by email throughout those frantic first few days (haven't we all been through that baptism by fire?), even calling upon your DH and Holly to contribute help when your own knowledge did not suffice. Angie, you are a supremo. And since I know you always wanted some of that Celtic Memory designer yarn, two skeins of Torc Waterfall are already on their way to you.

This picture doesn't do justice to the yarn, but it is a grey gloomy day here chez Celtic Memory, and DH wasn't available to work miracles with flashes and things.

Here's the rather splendid waterfall which inspired this particular colourway: if you look closely at both, and use your imagination, you might be able to see all that lovely moss and white spray and lush greenery replicated in the yarn. Or not. I can anyway. Hope you like it, Angie. Thanks for everything.

And secondly, for making me laugh until I actually cried (and doing the same for DH when he came looking to see what was up with all these strange sounds coming from the study), Ms. Knitingale. If you haven't seen her post about the hot night and the two cats, go look at it now. But don't risk it if you've had stitches put in lately. It is no small talent to give laughter to all your readers and I value it when I am lucky enough to find it. Ms. K, you are a brilliant and wicked writer. I adore you. A surprise package on its way to you.

Now, to knitting matters. Delighted you all liked the West Cork Smock. I should be delighted to write it up properly and make it freely available to all of you - if someone technologically-minded will offer to help me on the how-do-you-link-this-to-that bits.

And here, at last is a picture of the finished Pomotamus sock.

Sorry about the background, I realise it's a bit gloomy and grey, but we've had such wet weather it really wasn't practical to take P down to the squelchy mosses, no matter how greenly beautiful they are as a setting. Already working on the leg of Sock 2. Whoever said the second one was much easier is right - it is. However, watching a TV show that requires any mental commitment at all is a definite no-no. As is trying to read at the same time. Total concentration required for this one. But utterly worth it. Ms. K, try it again. It will get better. Really it will!

Started on the baby gansey (and thank you, Dez, for christening it an elven gansey - that's exactly right. Maybe I could gift it to Dobby the House Elf as part of my Harry Potter KAL contribution?).

For some reason, though, it was inordinately difficult to perform the very simple task of overlapping the front and back mini-welts so as to start the main body of the tiny thingy in the round. I slipped stitches, I swore, I lost stitches, I started again - it's inexplicable that such a clearly explained and clearly understandable exercise should cause so much trouble. There are only four stitches involved at each side, for heaven's sake, and all you have to do is put two in front of two and p. 2 tog twice. How difficult is that? DH looked in at midnight to see me wrestling and swearing and wisely went off to bed. I followed once I'd finally conquered this unexpected obstacle. Looks a little strained after the struggle, but it's done. Now to create tiny initials in seed stitch. Mine? Celtic Memory's? Dobby's?

The new sock yarn that I got from lovely Andy Hammand is a delicious blend of superwash merino and tencel. Superwash, you note. That presumably means some of you, if so minded, can chuck the resultant socks into the machine. And I gather lots of people do. But honestly, is that any way to treat handknitted treasures? I always wash mine by hand - I keep a bottle of gentle wash, or even a shampoo I don't want, next to the handbasin in the bathroom and whisk them through in a moment. And they look so nice hanging on the line!

Reading from left to right, we have here Mad Bluebell Dance followed by my new Summer Lavender colourway in merino/tencel, the Austrian socks, the Sea Cave colourway, Blackberry Pie socks, Birchwoods colourway, and lastly but not leastly, a rather classy cashmere/silk in yellows and oranges, which I have notionally christened Harvest. Listed all the sock yarns and the cashmere/silk on eBay last night, all with the Celtic Memory tag for ease of finding, while the socks are now airing happily in the sitting room which gets a lot of sun when there is any in this corner of the world (no, I keep them out of the direct sunlight you know-it-all at the back, just use the warmth to ensure they're properly dry, and they look so decorative while they're airing that they're a delight to see).

You might notice that the newly dyed yarns are less violent and contrasting than most you find, and that was intentional. I've been noticing lately that although I fall as heavily as anyone else for the gorgeous mixes of colour you can get these days, when it comes to knitting up anything with a distinctive pattern, all your hard work kind of tends to get lost in the frantic blur of colours. So I went this time for the 'less is more' technique, using subtle shadings and swirls to enhance and offset the natural creamy-white of the merino/tencel. (All right, all right, the superwash merino/tencel!) This way, the knitter's expertise and skill won't be lost in a clash of raspberry-meets-emerald-meets-black. I've taken it even further for a skein I dyed for my own use, spraying just the lightest touch of blush pink on to the natural colour, so that when the second pair of Pomotamus gets on to the needles, the glorious pattern will show in all its beauty, with just a faint tinge of pink here and there, like the tips of daisies in spring.

(That's how it appears in the mind anyway. The reality may be somewhat different. Keep you posted.)

Tonight we go to hear Elton John (no connection to the blog-versary, just a grateful client). And tomorrow Sophy Wackles goes to the vet to be neutered. It's good for her, it's virtually risk-free, it's wise (several past dogs barely survived the mid-age womb infection that can strike without warning), but I'm pretty hung up about bringing in a radiantly healthy little doglet for an operation. Even leaving her there will be traumatic. If it isn't too silly and self-centred a thing to ask in a world where I realise far more serious things are happening, keep her in your mind. She's only little.


Lorraine said...

Happy Blogiversary!
I like your blog, as I'm interested in travelling to Ireland, and also sharing in your yarn adventures.

You are doing the best thing for your doggie, it's an act of kindness.

cbarnwolf said...

Congratulation on your Blogiversary!

I hope all goes well with the pup. I'm sure all will be fine.

Ambermoggie, a fragrant soul said...

Happy anniversary Jo:) It doesn't seem a year since you started, must be all the excitement in the posts:)
Sending healing vibes for madam:)

Victoria said...

happy blog day to you

and its not silly to ask for good vibes for Miss Sophy...if we all cared more about the little ones the world would be a better place...

Patches sends her snuffles of courage and says "don't you worry miss sophy it will turn out ok"

Marianne said...

Happy Blogiversary Jo!
Congratulations to Angie and Ms.K, both angels not in disguise...two of my favourite people in the world.
Will keep Sophy close in my thoughts and sending all manner of protection and healing energy.
Your 'P' sock is gorgeous.
Initials? Dobby's...for certain,eh?

Anonymous said...

She may be little, but she's beautiful and must bring many smiles to your face. I "found" your blog just a short while ago and am thoroughly enjoying your yarn tales and other ruminations. Happy anniversary.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary, Jo! I've been enjoying your blog for abut 6 months. I think that you are a well accomplished knitter. I also like the beautiful hand dyed yarns you create. When you describe your travels, it's as if I am right there with you. I especially enjoyed the post about visiting Lene in Finland. That's another blog that I follow. I look foward to more of your posts in the coming year. My best wishes for Sophy when she goes for her surgery.

Stephanie said...

Happy blogiversary!

My positive thoughts are with Sophy (and of course you're not being silly or self-centered to ask for good thoughts on her behalf). Best wishes to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary,

I love your blog for the writing style, the humour and not least because I used to live in Ireland (11 years) and I love the photos you sprinkle around with gay abandon.

All the best,

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Happy Blogiversary! I missed my year of posting! Now I want to knit the Pomatomus socks. Did you change the pattern in any way, Jo? You have a slim ankle too, and I find some of the patterns are just too large for me and that pattern looks so beautiful that no one wants it hanging about the ankle like a chicken's wattle!
Take care, Sophy Wackles. Make sure you get lots of sympathy from the two-legged and four-legged creatures you share your home with!

Roggey said...

Congrats! It's been lovely to read the blog, but best of all was "meeting" your talented self!

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary! I found you quite recently through Lene, and am really enjoying your blog. You are extremely talented and have a terrific sense of humour.
I'm sending many good wishes for Sophy's quick recovery. Just because it's the best thing for them doesn't necessarily make us any less nervous, does it? She'll do wonderfully. What a sweet face she has!
All the best,

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary.

Your Pomatomus is beautiful. I attempted that once and it didn't go well. My Lorna's Laces were very angry with me. But yours are so lovely I think I'll have to try again.

And good luck to your pup. Having just had my very first surgery, I can feel her pain. Go Sophy!

rho said...

Happy Blogiversary! Can it really be a year already - it doesn't seem possible -

be sure to post that Sophie is home and resting as soon as you get home - I know that i will be thinking of her all day. I remember how stressed I was for my Cocoa years ago when she went thru this --- so I will be thinking of you also all day .

pacalaga said...

Happy anniversary!
Fear not for little Sophy - I've had all my dogs done (I hear it's best to do it prior to their first heat, so I had them done as puppies) and they came through it fine, even with the wrestling and general chaos puppies bring. She'll do great, and get extra loves and snuggles. Will you carry her to and fro in the French market bag? :-)

Terrie D. (StarSpry) said...

Happy Blogiversary! I love the Pomotamus sock!

I will definitely keep Sophy in my thoughts! I have 2 kitties and know how you feel!

Sue J said...

I LOVE the Pomotamus sock. Is the pattern very difficult?
I knit socks all the time, always the same plain dull pattern.
Maybe I should branch out a little??


LaurieM said...

Happy Blogiversary! I totally missed my own.

She may be little, but she's mighty in your heart. I'm sure she'll be just fine since she is so healthy.

To paraphrase EZ: Knit on, with confidence, through your crisis.

Kelly said...

Happy Blogiversary!

You have been providing very pleasant reading and great photos for the past year, and I'm glad that I discovered your blog. May you have many more!

KimK said...

Many, many congratulations! I've enjoyed reading you so much, and I hope you continue for a long time to come.

My heart is with you and your sweet pup. I've cried every time I've left my cat with the vet (pets just don't understand, and you can't explain it to them -- it's just heartbreaking).

Artis-Anne said...

Happy Blogiversary, strangley enough mine is a year old today as well :)
I know how you feel taking Sophy to the vet , we had both ours done after their first season which our vet recommended . I get so upset when they have to say at the vet like little Skye who had a major life saving op last summer . I was in tears for days till we had the all clear
Enjoy Elton John :)

Tracy said...

Happy blogiversary--and many, many more to come!

It's always hard to take the little ones to the doctor for unpleasantness, but you knowing you are doing the best for her. Just give her a few extra hugs and kisses when it's all over, and she'll be fine.

Julie said...

Happy Blogiversary from a new reader! and best of luck to Sophy tomorrow. I actually spoke to Elton John what seems like eons ago when I was a young pup and gave him directions to the backstage entrance at the stadium, hope it's a great show!

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary, and many more to come!
Best of luck and get well soon wishes to Sophie Wackles. I understand how you feel, having to leave her at the vet, but you're right... it is the right thing to do for her health.
One problem though... I can't get your link to Ms. Knitingale to work? Sounds like a great story too. Oh well, I probably ought not to read it at work if I'm going to guffaw out loud.

catmum said...

congratulations, and blessings for the year to come as well. Being part of this new country of blogistan, and a member of the knitting community is so comforting and enlivening, I think. Your blog is a real treat, I love the photos. I think my climate here in foggy grey Monterey may be similar sometimes to yours. I love it, and what it does to colors and the landscape. good wishes to Sophie. BTW, the link to the cat story didn't work, I'd love to read it, as I am a catmum.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary Jo!! You've made my year a little brighter just by being around.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary Jo!

I love reading your updates and posts, whether about the joys (and frustrations!) of knitting, you adventures on holiday, or when you are leading us along your magical jaunts around Ireland. You are always a treat with your good humour and beautiful pictures. I look forward to many more posts, and blogiveraries, to come. Cheers to you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I found her! the story you mention is the second one down.
Thank you for posting about this, I enjoyed reading her blog very much.

Angeluna said...

Several hours ago, I wrote a long, long post congratulating you on your Blog Birthday and lo and behold...the internet ate it. Rats, here we go again.

First, thank you for a year of blogging, sharing your life and your knitting and your humor (and Richard's photos). It is us who should be sending you presents. I found you very, very early on, went back to read every single post (highly recommended to readers who missed the yarn brawl in Kosovo/Bosnia) and haven't missed a posting since. You were posting daily in those days!

Celtic Memory's Torc Waterfall paints nature with yarn. And the colorful line-up in the the garden drying would warm the cockles of any fiber fiends heart.

Now those Pomotamus are fabulous, gorgeous, incredible and totally desirable. Did I mention sexy on that well-turned ankle? They would be proper stockings for a leprechaun queen, so perhaps you should keep an eye on them when they are in the garden. So glad that you mentioned a second pair.

Still trying to catch my breath from laughing over at Ms. K's. Ummmm, what exactly is an airing closet?

Elton John a grateful client? We must compare notes, my dear.

Which brings us to precious darling Sophy Wackles who is only little. I shall certainly be thinking of her tomorrow and please let her know that. What an expression that bitty girl has! Do let us know when you have her back home safely and all is well. Victoria is so right, if we all cared more about the little ones, the world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversery!

Love the Pomotamus sock. How did the cast-on number of stitches suit you? Do they fit as you expected? How stretchy are they? I wondered when I looked at the pattern if I could wear them successfully.

Fiberjoy said...

I look forward to another year of terrific posts. Love everything about them!

Ronni said...

Happy Blogiversary! I'm so glad I found your blog when I discovered the world of knitting blogs last year. I've enjoyed reading along with your adventures immensely.

I'm confident all will go well for Sophy (Ive had three dogs have that done with no issues whatsoever), but I will keep her in my thoughts anyway. She's adorable, so it will be a pleasure as well as a privilege.

I'm happy to help with any technical stuff I can - I'd do just about anything to get that smock pattern available. It's gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary! It is always a delight to visit CMY. You do make me laugh Jo - a gansey for Dobby the House Elf! All the best for dear Sophy tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Congratulation on your Blogiversary!
And sending healing thoughts to your wee one.
I have loved all the knitting, travels and sights you have given use these past months.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy reading your blog! I follow several knitting blogs, and yours is unquestionably my favorite. Keep up the good work! I absolutely love the Torc Waterfall yarn. Is it available for purchase?

KathyR said...

Happy Blogiversary and many more to come! Your Pomotamus socks are lovely. Well done! And many good thoughts for Sophy - may she be back in your arms very soon just as healthy as she left them!

Charity said...

Happy Blogiversary! I've so enjoyed getting to know you over the last year!

The P sock is wonderful! :0)

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary! Awfully glad you decided to take the plunge into Blogland and share the madness with us. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Another Happy Blogiversary! Oh my, that Torc Waterfall yarn... Looks just like the waterfall; amazing! And boy, can hardly wait to see what you sent to Flo. You're right, she's most deserving; she regularly has me falling out of my chair!

Sending good thoughts for Sophy for an easy time of it and a quick recovery.

As to linking - you have put in links before, so I'm presuming (hoping) you know how to work Blogger's 'click this button and insert a link' when you're making a post? Once you find that button, the rest is simple. Easiest way to get a URL for the link is to copy it from the page it's on, or from a bookmark you have. Say you're at someone's blog, like Ms. Knitingale's. Hover your mouse over the title of the post you want to link to. Use your right mouse button to right-click on the title (because it is, in fact, a link). Whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, a little pop-up menu will come up that has some equivalent to 'copy link location'. (It depends on what browser you're using, too. Just look for 'copy' somewhere in there.) Click on that line. Voila; your link is copied perfectly. Go back into the post you're making; select the text you want to make into a link; click on the 'make a link' button; when the box for inserting the link addy comes up, just paste the usual way, or right-click in the field and select 'paste'. Click OK and you're done! You've just whapped a link into your post.

You can do this with any link you can hover a mouse over. And it solves that pesky problem of making sure you manage to copy everything from your browser's address bar, or ghu forbid, typing it manually.

Happy linking, too! ;)

Anonymous said...

Jo that is very naughty ...but nice ! I am being driven quite mad by my lack of knowledge about a new piece of software installation so that's how knowledgeable I am ! Happy Blogiversay!

artyfartykat said...

Happy blogaversary!
Love the pomatomas socks, I'm just about to start a pair.
I love reading your blog and wish you many more blogaversaries to come!

SueJ said...

Oh that dogs face! I just know that she will milk all the extra fuss and attention that such a trip to the vet will bring!.... and if she needs an elizabethan collar thing to stop any inappropriate attention to the scar area..... well just how cute can a little dog be? My sister's middle age Westies both came through their 'trauma' for the cost of a few extra treats (& a huge vets bill!) & my boys have all had the equivalent treatment!
Happy blogiversary anyway!Thank you for all the inspiration since I 'discovered' you & blogging. I may go and order the Gansey book now!

Saren Johnson said...

Happy blogiversary!! Here's to another good year.

I really enjoy reading your posts and looking at your knitting.

Hope Sophy is better.

knitting bean said...

Happy Blogiversary! I check every day to see if you've got something great to say - so far you haven't let me down once! Thanks for the link to Ms. Knitingale. I laughed and thought it was the greatest! Now I'm checking her everyday too!

Dez Crawford said...

Happy Blogiversary! I and many other people will always be grateful to those who urged you on and helped you in getting your blog going.

You do realize I make my living in the business of convincing people to spay and neuter their pets? It's never the wrong decision. Your pet will live a longer, healthier life, free from reproductive diseases and related illnesses. Nonetheless, naturally you are worried about her discomfort, so I'll keep the little dear in my thoughts.

Keep her on a low activity level and indoors (except for potty) for about a week and keep the wound area clean with hydrogen peroxide.

LOVE the yarns and the Potomatus socks and Torc Falls. The grey background just shows off the subtle green in those socks.

Congratulations again on your blog day! I cannot express how much I have vicariously enjoyed your knitting, the Irish countryside, your pets, your travels and your yarns. Thank you so much for bringing a little bit of happiness to me and many others every week.

Jen said...

Knitting and Ireland are a great combo for me, so may you have many more blog-versaries!

cyndy said...

A belated Happy Blogiversary! The Pomotamus look terrific!