Saturday, September 27, 2008


Dear Knittah,

Today we got to see alpacas!!! And other furry critters! We petted lots of soft things, both living and processed. :) Noricum is being a stick-in-the-mud, and hasn't even taken her photos off the camera. (She said that she *had* to do laundry. Harumph!) Anyway, another member of our tour group is obviously much better organized than Noricum, and has her photos on Flickr. :) Hmmm... let me see if I can get this slideshow thingy to work...

Did that work? At any rate, I'll work on getting Noricum to do something about her photos, and the cabin post, and the Toronto post and... *sigh*


Sunday, September 07, 2008

After all that...

We were just wiped. It was time to end the sleep over by actually getting some sleep. I got in to my PJs, and Swatchee and I cuddled down for a snooze, under a lovely afghan that Pele's human crocheted for me, and sent all the way from Arkansas!

I hope Swatchee will keep in touch with us all

Thanks for the visit (and your patience listening to the ramblings of a bear

08SeptSwatchee 015

After the game..

.... time for my music. I'm a real rock'n'roll bear.!! :) Swatchee was right into it and can do a pretty mean percussion in his boot, by hopping up and down on the desk. We ROCK!!!!

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We finally get to do our real man-thing, beer, nuts and football games. Well, I shouldn't say "man-thing" because my human is the football nut in this family, and she ends up screaming at the TV! Go Bombers!! Win a game, once in a while, will ya?

We had fun hanging out.

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After all that running around..

.. we had to toake a little break on the deck swing. We're pretty good friends at this point! It was nice to relax for awhile and listen to the deck pond.

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After being yelled at...

We ran around to the front of the house and tried to hide in the flower bed there. My human found us of course, but she wasn't mad at us anymore. We're both there -- can you find Swatchee?

BTW, that a first-time chrysanthemum behind me. Isn't it going to be fabulous when it blooms?! It's huge!

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One of those "QUIGLEY!!" moments ;)

"You boys get off the grape trellis!! What are you thinking??? "

Well, she is right. The grapes aren't ripe yet.

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High Flying Swatchee

I guess it's a super-boot, because he was able to jump really high on to one of the birdfeeders. He hung around for awhile hoping the birds would come back so he could say hi, but I guess he was scary looking or something.

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Hippo was just horsing around. Startled Swatchee at first, but they both ended up giggling. Swatchee was glad to be having some adventures. Not very often that you get to be "eaten" by a hippopotamus. BTW, Hippo is Gnome's friend, and spends that whole year outside too.

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Swatchee REALLY like his boot!

Not only was he able to get close to the the Vomiting Frog on those slippery rocks, he was able to get right into one of the flower gardens, and meet one of my favourite buddies, the Garden Gnome. He doesn't have a name either -- wel, he does, but he says it's secret. Gnome names are something special that only other gnomes know (?). Anyhow, he stays out all winter and disappears under the snow each year and hibernates. We really know that spring is coming when his cap starts to peek out thorugh the snow. Swatchee and the Gnome really seemed to enjoy each other's presence.

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Out by the pond.

The water lettuce did really well this year. Maybe TOO well since it covers most of the surface of the pond! Swatchee was quite impressed by the Vomiting Frog. That frog has never told us his name. He just sits there and spits up all the time. My human started calling him the Vomiting Frog some time ago. She had been hoping to get a fountain in her pond kit a few years ago, but ended up with a frog. She was going to replace him, but the Vomiting Frog has kind of grown on us all, even if he doesn't talk like me.

08SeptSwatchee 006

Finally outside!

It's been a weird day, alternating with heavy rain and hail, and sunny blue skies. We got out while the weather was good. Swatchee and I were going to see if we could pull some carrots, but the garden was too wet, for too much playing around. Swatchee preferred standing in the flowers anyhow. My human plants marigolds around the vegetable garden to help keep the rabbits out.

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Before we got outside...

Swatchee had to check out what my human was doing. She and her male human were peeling apples for apple pie and also for freezing. He is standing beside some jars that are all apple stuff too. That might have been and adventure for Swatchee, but my human has been playing with apples for a couple of weeks now, so I thought it was rather boring. I was polite though and didn't rush him.

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So then I got this brilliant idea...

And lent Swatchee one of my rainboots! He was much happier and less shy at that point. Not only could he stand up on his own now, but he would be protected if we went outside for some adventures!

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So we hopped down from the top of my human's desk...

Swatchee seemed a little afraid of me at first. After all, I am quite a bit bigger than him, and I have arms! He commented on what big feet I have but I explained that I have normal feet, but the big shoes help me stand up on my own. He was jealous.

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Swatchee found me.

I was just hanging out at my usual spot with my little buddies, when Swatchee appeared and introduced himself. I was so surprised, but pleased to have a visitor around here. It can get a little boring.

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Greetings From Quigs...

Well Helloooo......!

I hear that I'm going to be a star on another website! How cool is that?! And what a surprise and treat to have a weekend visitor. Swatchee is a pretty cool dude, and it's been SO fun to have someone to play with. :)

Let me introduce myself. My really name is Quigley, but almost everyone calls me Quigs. When I get into trouble, my human puts on a stern face and says "QUIGLEY!!" but I'm usually a pretty good bear.

I came into existence in 2003, but my story actually goes back before then. My human became friends with another human, way down in California. This human was quite ill, but my human (Karen aka Mum) knew that Katie, liked and collected moose. (meese?) Karen found a cuddly stuffed moose at a local shop, that would be good to snuggle going into chemotherapy sessions. Or at least that was thought! Off the moose went courtesy of the postal system, and what a surprise Karen got when she opened her email a few days later, to find a picture of the moose in a Hawaiian shirt, sitting by the pool with an umbrella drink! He had told Katie that his name was Mort, and so Mort the Moose was born.

He DID go with Katie to some sessions, and Karen even sent him his own scrubs, so that Katie would always have an attending phyisician. Lots of up and downs for Katie, but she is still with us, so Mort just might be the Magical Moose!

Mort started to do some travelling. He even got to sit in the cockpit of a jet and help fly the plane. He had a lot of fun in Disneyworld.

Not long after that, my human bought a whole bunch of new bedding at Quilts, etc., here in Winnipeg. The lady there said that she had bought so much she could have a free collectible teddy bear -- first in a series. I was put into this human's arms and jsut snuggled right in. I was home. I had been adopted. And Mort now had a competitor.

Mort's human was THRILLED that I had joined the family here, and she started sending me tons of clothes and toys. I have big box of STUFF, which is no mean feat since I"m smaller that than the average bear, so clothes often don't fit. Still, we adapt, and I'm glad I've got my own underwear, sunglasses, swimgoggles, winter jacket and many T-shirts and pants. I even have bunny slippers.

Well, naturally I had to start to travel too, and the competition was on. I've been to Mexico (where I discovered I really like margaritas and beer, though preferably not at the same time), and I've been to Italy where I discovered a few good Chiantis. I loved exploring Pompeii and seeing Vesuvius, and have the photos to prove it! I even got to fly the 747 home (bigger plane than that one Mort flew -- nanner, nanner, nanner!!! ;))

The biggest buzz for me though is chasing aging rock and roll stars. I've had my photo taken with Mark Lindsay (former lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders), Burton Cummings (Guess Who), Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits), Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent (Zombies, and Argent), Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night). I've also had my picture taken with the President of the University, and whoever I can weasel my way to. The thing that is funny is that my human is terribly shy and awkward, but not much stops me. I'm trying to figure out how to see Neil Diamond and Elton John when they come to town in a couple of weeks. Boy! Would that be cool for my album.

Since then, other folks have joined our furry family. There is Pele, in Indianapolis (moved there recently from Arkansas), Moose in Oregon (who just managed not being a dog toy), Percy (a dog) in New Hampshire, Buddy, Samson, Catherine, and TWO Bellas!

In the meantime, I have another star here!! Swatchee!! Yee-ha!! My human had a hard time keeping up with us this weekend, but we had fun! Thanks very much for the visit AND ALL THE VERY BEST to Swatchee's human!

Thanks for letting me say hi!



PS - Photos to follow.

Swatchy and Quigley

Dear Knittah,

I've started hearing from Swatchy and Quigly, so I'll start posting the messages. Sounds like they're having fun!


I Knit Day, and the Yarn Harlot in London

Oo Now I know why everyone went to bed early last night... We got up again at four to have a quick breakfast and a drive through the darkness to the airport. This time I got to travel first class by being warmly wrapped in a cardigan, snuggled into a hand-luggage backpack and left a half-open flap to look out through. Not that Aberdeen airport is particularly worth seeing...

The flight was uneventful, and Gatwick was funny because Hreow followed the signs for trains and ended up taking the transit-train to the North terminal, only to find out that the actual train-station (the one with the Gatwick express) was back in the South terminal which we had just left. She has the most giggle-inducing grumble. : D

After getting back on track, the correct one this time, she finally remembered the camera. Here's me with the travel-pattern.

Chosen because Hreow had the right yarn and the right, old banged-up needles (kitten toothmarks) for it, so that if anyone objected to the knitting, we could afford to lose the needles. Thougtfulness is a trait of all us Swatchies. ^^

Despite the little detour, we were the second to arrive at the gates to the Royal Horticultural Halls. As a matter of fact... we were a bit worried that we were in the wrong place as Hreow was expecting hordes of knitters, packed like sardines around the building and baying "Yarn Now!".

Just five minutes later the queue had grown a bit, there was some knitting going on and we spent the time matching patterns to what various knitters were wearing.

and then the delegations started to arrive. Some one by one or in pairs, some by the dozens. I suggest that we bring flags and march to the halls in true Olympian style next time.

When we were finally let in (the man with the keys jingled up to the gates a few times, but I think the sight of hundreds of knitters scared him off until he had found enough backup and the courage.

Here is a dark-and-fuzzy shot of the main hall.

No livestock, bar one angora rabbit, and much less fresh air than I saw on my last outing. Hreow spent some time running around and squealing over yarny and fibery goodness, didn't find the right drop-spindle though, and when she tired and finally though of me again we had a rest by the Great British Sheep.

Meet George:

He's covered in swatches, bits of knits and i-cords of pure British-bre(e)d wool. And one crowning-glory Swatchy who is no such thing, of course. :-) I don't think George minded a short-term rider.

(And doesn't he have a very fetching anklet?)

For (very late) lunch, we took a stroll through London looking for the right place. I wanted to try this place,

but Hreow said that it wasn't breakfast-time, she would find me a proper pub breakfast when we got back home and that that sort of breakfast would probably kill her.

She exagerates, but I'm willing to trade a full English for a full Scottish Breakfast.

We had this instead:

because it is her very favourite food and I'm generous.

I will only show you two shots from out touristy travels:

New Scotland Yard (and how much better would it be if that was an 'n' at the end, not a 'd'). I wanted to be in the photo, but Hreow said I wriggle too much to get any sort of focus. What she really wanted a photo of, but was uncertain if it was ok, was a police-scooter with policeman just outside. For some reason she found the police scooter incredibly funny. Must be a biker thing.


How to get an architecturally worth-while building, a pillar-box (post), an old-style telephone-box and a red bus or two into the same photo. Winchester cathedral is very pretty and very WOW.

For some proper shots of the sights of London, see the Yarn Harlot's blog. She has a camera that does not need to be stuck together with sticky-tape and hope, and is better at finding treasures.
Speaking of which...

When we got back, it was time to queue up for the main feature of the day, the Yarn Harlot in person!! We waited for a very long time. When it started pouring with rain for the *third* time, a brave woman marched to the head of the queue and explained to the people inside how bad it is to keep hundreds of knitters with 2mm-or-less needles waiting outside in the rain (and thus not knitting) (or at least that's what I assume she said). In any case it worked and she was applauded on her way back.

Included for evidence...

It is obviously not any wriggling on my part that causes the blurriness, but Hreow bouncing up and down! I agree that her camera has seen better days, though.

The YH was just like her blogs and better and just as thought-inducing and very funny and... well, you all read her blog so I need not explain really. During the Q&A she said she wasn't averse to coming back next year. Brilliant! Can we petition for next year to come sooner, please?

I believe her when she says she's shy as well, even though she obviously knows how to pretend not to be and can prod herself to still climb a podium and charm the masses. I wonder if all great performers are? It may be a requirement, to enable you to stay that connected with your audience. She had us in tears with laughter and nodding so much in agreement that Hreow had to put her knitting away, lest the skein of laceweight escape and cause tangled havoc.

Here's a photo of just YH, but it does NOT prove Hreow's point about wriggling...

After having wiped the tears of laughter off our faces, gathered our scattered belongings and Hreow having foisted some seaweed wool on a gracious Harlot (and feeling like a bully in the process. Poor lass had just escaped the podium) we went back to the main hall for the book-signing.

The woman is amazing... She makes everyone feel that they have received special attention while signing their books and still manages to work her way through a sizeable queue.

She has seen through your plan to take over the world by Swatchy though, Knittah... Proves she's clever as well, I guess. :-)

Hreow says: Thank you for letting me take your Swatchy Green to met the YH. It made an adventure and a goalpost all the more special. (Only... what *do* you stuff them with? They all seen to be a touch cheeky. Not in a nasty way, just really not the quiet, retiring sort. :-))
I had a wonderful day, talked to complete strangers in the queues and mobs, and felt wrapped in a warm blanket of knitter-to-knitter (crochetter, spinner, fibre-artist...) friendliness from beginning to end. What a contrasts to my usual quiet solitude. (Better Half doesn't count in this case, he's part of me and vice versa.)

I've added some IKnit buttons to the collection and after I have shown why Swatchies should not have a full any-nationallity breakfast, I will send your travelling reporter back home to tell you what really happened and to show off the swag. I saw him sneaking off with my creditcard on more than one occasion. "Ooooooo, look! Yarn!!" and then stealthing for the horison only works so many times...

It was worth having my wings back for a day and something to remember for a long time.

(Sorry about the misuse-of-whitespace. I'm knackered and they like the places they've chosen the way they are, thank-you-very-much, and refuse to budge. :-/ If you're on Ravelry, there is a readable version there. )

I fiddled with the whitespace. And added a title and tags. ;) -Noricum

Making Friends

Swatchy and Griz

Dear Knittah,

Noricum here. I took Swatchy with me tonight to knit with some friends from work, and Swatchy made new friends too! He met Griz there, and now he's off for a sleep-over to meet more friends! I'll have more to report when Swatchy is back.


Off To A Sleepover

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pollock's Hardware

Swatchy at Pollock's Hardware

Dear Knittah,

Sorry I haven't blogged about my recent travels yet... Noricum has been busy refinishing her desk, and I need her to type what I dictate.

Today we went to Pollock's Hardware to get some more stripping chemicals. Pollock's is an independent hardware store in the North End of Winnipeg, within reasonable walking distance of Noricum's apartment. It made the news recently when the family-owned business couldn't find a buyer when the current owners wanted to retire. To prevent the store from closing, the neighbourhood banded together to form a co-op. The story was even on CBC's Vinyl Cafe! Noricum doesn't have a share in the co-op, but her dad does.

Noricum is back to stripping the desk tomorrow, but I'll see if I can persuade her to put up another post or two.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Boldly Onwards! :-)

Finally here! You wouldn't believe how dull it is to travel by box. *No* windows! No complimentary meals and all sorts of turbulence.

Here is the resident fuzzy. I got an extensive nosy-check and may have found a staunch admirer. I hope it's *me* he likes, not the pinball potential...

After a cuppa, I found some alpaca and knitted a scarf. It took away the worst styrofoam-peanut aches. It's a checker-board mesh which was much admired.

Here is a bit of the garden. I had to climb a tree to get a better view of the sweet-peas. I must say they've gone to some lengths to make this the perfect camouflage corner for me. :-)

Can't say I can tell it's Scotland yet (not even the promised rain and ha'ar), but I'm sure my hosts will find something to show me while I'm here.