Sunday, April 24, 2016

Riches

 We went to a florist last week and I was really impressed, but I have flowers to pick from my garden.
 Finished my Malabrigo yarn with a lovely Milo vest. It is about an 18 month size which should suit an August gift for a first birthday. The mom is a knitter so working with this fabulous yarn is not a concern.
 Monday (and the one before that) found me so knocked down. First it was a cold and then a stomach bug that wanted revenge. I'm not used to that. Slept part of each hour last Monday. Hope tomorrow is better because my Monday and Tuesday are packed with appointments.
 Tonight I will work on my Shetland Pi shawl. It has been too hot to handle sticky yarn. I doubled the stitches to 576 and added the second colour, Blue Lovat.
 What's in your notions pouch? I love these threads. This is one of my bags I carry in a larger project bag. 
 Started the sleeves on my featherweight. I am afraid of ruining this sweater. Switched to double points because the cable on the magic loop was upsetting the fragile Merino Silk. I'm happy knitting the first 9 inches straight, but then I have to pay attention and make notes as I decrease so I can have two sleeves the same. I may just knit them at the same time. I have enough dpns, but the thought of all those needles clacking bothers me.
I told myself, the next time I see the giant pom pom maker, I'm buying it. Fun will ensue.
 
Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. I challenge all Canadians to be part of the circle. Our church is finally doing some conversations with the Sto:lo Nation across the street, but it is on Pipe Band evenings. Want to catch up.

Found this willow tree growing next to our Luckakuck River. Nothing is going to stop it!

The grass is already so tall! This will be second cut. It loved the hot weather and the rain, too.

Had a lovely lunch with friends up in Cultus Lake. What a blessing to be surrounded by good friends, good food and such a rich, green space.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Making Spring

 It has been, off and on, quite lovely here in the Fraser Valley. The ducks have settled in to the banks of the river and our wood is green and leafed out.
My favourite, and our Provincial flower, the dogwood here is heavy from the rains.

 But I can enjoy the morning sun from our newly opened sunroom off the kitchen. It is north facing, but we get light from an east window as well. This room will continue to change as my office gets bookshelves and I sew a cushion for the window seat. I'd like a round library table, but that is under discussion.

When I can't face the complexities of my other knitting, my sock square blanket welcomes me with comforting 31 stitch mitred squares. 
Last weekend I rode my bike to the library. A favourite escapade. But the tires were quite flat at first and the books to return very heavy. It was a much easier ride on the way home.

 We celebrated the first birthday of Rosalie, the daughter of one of our favourite knitters. I whole heartedly recommend the  Entrechat pattern. Such a treat to be able to gift a fine yarn like Malabrigo. And I whipped up a pair of bloomers from a Craftsy pattern. What a fun little girl and a lovely family.
The season of lilacs is unpredictable, but they are staying around longer this year. I picked some from the house and they weren't even damaged by the rain. It smells so much better than the ambient scent of manure that is being spread on the fields.
The Leo sweater. Sigh. It was a big task to take the sleeve off. I measured the arm hole and decided to cast on 2 sizes smaller and then fudge up to the medium, just one size smaller.

Here is the new sleeve on top of the old. Such a mistake to keep sewing in the sleeve when there was so much fabric it puffed. D doesn't want to look like Princess Diana. My friend suggested that shoulder pads could be a quick fix.

So I cast on the second sleeve when I found the first fit. I needed to keep the increases the same. These coilless pins are great. I counted out the number of increases and had them on the beginning of row marker. But there was lots of comparing one to the other.

They are now both blocked and ready to be sewn in. But it's not as if they will go bad while I finish another baby knit and work on my pi shawl.

At the bottom of my garden, I have a lot of plants that were given to me by friends and I cherish their memories. I have offered to share some of them with other gardeners as they could use another dividing. But the right time will come.
For now, I am enjoying the making of this spring.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Seasonal Moves

 My daughter has a full time home on the Island where she studies, works and teaches. I was so sad that she wasn't coming home for Easter (right before finals) but it was a sign that maybe it is the season to change her room into my office. There were many boxes of papers and books. More boxes of clothes and shoes. Everything is carefully marked for her future use. But it was hard to move on.
 What helped is that I'm really excited. Soon I will add the wall of book shelves (another trip to Ikea for Mom and me) and then my knitting and writing and study books will be with me. Already I am liking the privacy. D likes the more open sunroom and it will look even better without books and yarn on every surface.
 Today was 22 degrees C! Uncomfortably hot after wool socks and scarves for so long. But we are enjoying a glorious spring.
 This is my back garden from the trail. You can't see the purple rhododendrons, but they are happy to bloom along with the yellow daffodils.
 Determined to enjoy Easter, we had a little feast with friends and some family that worked out very nicely. 

Easter morning was busy with early service outside (I accompanied with guitar), extra choir music, an unscheduled Sunday School lesson and D playing his shofar from Israel.
And hot cross buns!!!!
I think that's just about enough chocolate and coffee and candy.

 The old girl is liking my physio stretches on the carpet. I also lie there to read most afternoons. Sitting is the new smoking.
Mom went up to the ranch for Easter and they had a bit of a snow storm, so I had to show them our snow.

 Easter Monday was a day off after all the cooking (and piping at the curling rink). I did some gardening and finished our placemats. Learning quilt as you go and not being afraid of binding.
 Stash and Burn podcast has a Keep It Small KAL and this month was mittens. These are for me and I really missed the obvious window, but I am so glad I persisted.
Somerset vs Norway pattern in wool from Nova Scotia. It may be 20 degrees, but rabbits are part of the season, right?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Country Mouse

 This is a building in my neighbourhood, a traditional long house First Nations building for the Sto:lo Nation. Our property backs on to their Coqualeetza land, but all the land is our area is the traditional lands of the the Sto:lo Nation.
 I enjoyed sharing a day with each of my kids when their class had an interpretive lesson. The long house is where families traditionally lived and had all their ceremonies including masks and dancing.
 The forsythia is an early bloomer around here and its yellow blossoms cheer up the grey raining skies.
 I took a trip to the city for a conference with people who work with youth and families. It was held at a lovely old church which happens to be across the street from where we stay in Vancouver.
 The weather was mostly nice but we were busy most of the time, so I couldn't sneak out to any wool shops. The first day, I found it hard to connect with people the first day, so I bought my lunch and dinner during the lunch break and I just ate in my room. I may have needed the rest, too.
 On Saturday we had small groups so I connected better with some other leaders. I was the only one from my end of the valley, too. There were some great, shocking ideas, and some very practical ones. Now I need to share them with my home churches.
 Back at home, I cast on the Somerset Vs. Norway mittens again because there was a KAL on the Stash and Burn podcast, and it is still chilly enough for mittens sometimes.
 Mom and I had a trip to IKEA and I snuck in a trip to 88 Stitches. We are celebrating Pi Day next week by eating pie and casting on pi shawls! I bought a cart for my "craft room/lab". I am slowly starting the process of taking over the space that is Emily's room. All the precious things need to be carefully boxed up and removed from the room. I have asked for new book shelves. D is very excited to get my books out of many of the rooms in our home, and to have a nice, welcoming sun room with cozy chairs and a round table for breakfast and coffee.
 In preparation, I wanted to finish my Duchess of Devonshire shawl. I didn't want to pick it up and make decisions, but I did, and learned the pattern for the applied lace edging. In the process, I found I don't have enough hand dyed Sweet Fibre Winter yarn. There's no more in the shop, but I dropped a message with the dyer. Perhaps I can pick some up at Fibres West.
Today I went back up the hill to tackle the 240 stairs and come down along the gentle trail. With the home making and craft making, I do enjoy my country life.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Try Something New

 At coffee last week, my friend served monkey bread, a sweet bun with snips of bread roll in cinnamon and sugar. She told me where I could source the frozen bread roll, so I bought some on my way home and made a garlic parmesan version for dinner. Comfort food in the midst of winter.
 The skies have been alternately singing spring, or drizzling grey. February hasn't been as dreary as some years, but I have armed myself with distractions. The walking, hiking and swimming are probably the best things. I make sure I visit with at least one live person per day (in addition to DH). I'm cleaning house and decluttering and a veritable tornado of change.
 On my long walk, I took a different route and enjoyed all the gardens I used to be familiar with.
 There were creativebug.com classes and craftsy classes. I took some leftover t-shirt and jersey fabric and made strips for crocheting a mat. This idea has been in my head for a long time, but Cal Patch is a great teacher and I just up and did it. Actually, I did it twice because the first mat was even more wonky. It takes a very short time, about a day. But the large motions do stress my hands.
 I'm happy I stepped out and picked up 2 m of navy for a pittance to make a border. This will probably be a gift.
 The first daffodil is out. Unlike the groundhog, she loves her shadow and will soon be joined by friends.
 This is the problem stash. No complete skeins, no labels, some to rustic for hats or cowl. Too much to throw out, but not enough to plan something with. Plus it's all leftover from lovely projects.

Enter some more crochet. The colour block basket was the first idea, a free pattern on Ravelry that I think I found on Pinterest. This girl does not waste any time! The basket and two trivets equal 1 kg of worsted (held 6 together like the Garter Squish Blanket). Right away, I think the basket is too nice for me to keep, so I filled it with yarn and now it's used, so it can't be a gift. Three bins are empty. Plus a large bag is going to a friend for her neighbour to make afghans for charity. So glad I popped into the knitting circle for the first time since the summer.
I haven't been buying knitting magazines, but I read a review of the new Interweave and was intrigued. Bonus, classes on short row shaping in a trivet project. I love trying something new in a bite sized attempt. I'm also trying to use up this kitchen cotton, odds and sods, some from D's Grandma. I really love the dishcloths I made for my kitchen after Xmas. Here is another one in a new shape.

The promise of something new does not always end up with success. But with the right attitude and the right materials, you can give yourself a better chance. Plus I am not such a perfectionist. I delight in the character of something that shows it has been made with love by human hands. I wonder what new thing I will try next?