Friday, July 22, 2016

Wool in Ireland

We took off for Dublin from Vancouver on Canada Day, July 1st. I had prepared two toes for sock knitting, but as this is medium weight Socks That Rock, they were amusingly large. Of course I didn't find out until I pulled them out on the plane and had to start over. 

By the time we landed I was into the ribbing pattern on the foot. These are for DH. I have only knit him one pair of socks before and they were heavy DK for boots. He has only worn them a few times, but they are intended for bitter cold winter days in the barn.

As he was attending the World Buitatrics Conference for cattle Veterinarians, he had symposiums to attend and I got to walk around Dublin at my leisure. Loved the warm welcome at the Constant Knitter. The welcome everywhere was very lovely and we felt more like family than tourists. My family roots are from Ireland, so I was charmed.

This shop has a good range of regular yarns and Studio Donegal (which I can get at home). But I found some locally died speckles from Fine Fish and Ella and Ada.
I also picked up this lovely book. The patterns are simple, but it is charming and a good souvenir. There were many books I would like to have but not to carry home. I will do a whole post on book shops.
Bumped into the Dublin Cloth Shop. Very lovely, but they didn't have what I was looking for or willing to invest in.

This Is Knit was a fabulous and fun shop. It is on the second floor of a former block of flats around a courtyard that is now a restaurant. They had Hedgehog Fibres. This is what I really wanted! I didn't buy it right then because of wool fumes, but I went back with D and also found a beautiful button and some Knit Pro Zing needles.

Only Hedgehog could mix these bright colours so delightfully.

The second project I brought is the Afternoon Tea Shawl by Helen Stuart of Curious Handmade in the merino silk blend from a Vancouver dyer, Kinfolk Yarn & Fibre. It is truly a desert island knit.
We took a day trip to the burial ground at New Grange and Tara and had lunch at the New Grange Farm. Loved seeing all the animals.

In the National Museum of Archeology there are so many ancient treasures. This is the Brooch of Tara. Something any of us would love for our shawls.

Just outside the museums we found this amazing store.

These are really handknit, unlike the ones on the high street.

Was tempted by this yarn, but the pricing was confusing and I was already feeling like a wool pig.

I felt as if I had discovered the shop, but it has a strong on-line presence. Am so happy I bought a hand woven linen shawl. It was perfect for the cold and warm weather when we were walking. 
In the tourist shops there are lots of hats and sweaters. This makes me want to knit cables! It was hard to find a linen dishcloth because there were so many cotton and "linen union" (blended).

Avoca is a local store akin to Anthropologie and had locally hand woven lovelies.

We took a train across to the west coast and a Bed and Breakfast in Galway where the music festival was in full swing.
A delightful day trip to Inishmore, the largest island in the Aran Islands gave us the best experiences. 

These luscious sweaters were beautifully displayed.

Inside was a treasure trove of hand knits.  I was surprised the socks, worsted weight machine knit but with lots of cables, were only 19 Euros. The yarn to make them would cost almost that! 

The wool was lovely and came in many colours. There were even sweater kits. 

In the back was such a nice video of sheep to shawl. I think all wool tutorials should have an Irish accent.

Back in Galway, we were able to walk anywhere and enjoy the music on the streets and in the concerts. DH googled yarn shop and found this lovely store that we had walked past before.
The owner was up for a wooly chat and told me all about her shepherd who sheers by hand, dyes and spins the yarns. The light grey had to come home with me.

On leaving Galway to return to the airport in Dublin, I found "what's on".

Enjoyed the quiet of watching podcasts and continuing on the socks in tandem while we hurtled across the country. DH wore his sweater and said it was quite comfortable, especially in the chilly wind. 
Such a dream to go to Ireland, and not disappointed!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Marking Time

 It's that time of year again when you feel like eating watermelon in a bathing suit. (Were you ever warned that that could lead to pregnancy?)
It's that time of year again when the delicate blossoms shine like prom girls, even in the heat.

It's the time of year when I would rather read a book on the deck than watch TV in the basement.

 But when it's really hot, I hide down there and finally get to some sewing projects, like this purse insert for my camera.
And fixing the zipper fiasco on my Christmas project bag. This will be ready for next month when I start my Xmas knitting of whimsical hats and mitts for the great nephews and nieces.

Now that I have finished two blankets, I have the freedom of mind to work on the little squares of sock yarn in my ongoing cozy memories blanket.

 The dog likes to hide in the cool basement, too. But the stairs are a real problem for her old joints. We have lately found her relaxing near the fan in the kitchen/ dining area. So now we leave it on low for her.

Going outside can take planning. Make sure you get home before it gets too hot. This week I saw 11 bald eagles hunting on a newly mown hay field, just across the road from where I grew up.
It's the time if year when reaching the shade of the woods is a great relief. We actually have whole trails under the forest canopy. Perhaps I will be brave enough to try those this month.

 Yesterday I was at the hairdressers and it was prom day!!! All the beautiful girls with their long hair getting mermaid updos. Pretty tempting. But I didn't book enough time.
It's the time of year when Carly's hair comes out in clumps. I just bit the bullet and brushed her. Plus she's afraid of the vacuum.
Most importantly, it's the time of year that we measure by the height of the corn. It had a nice wet start, but then got a bit scorched as seedlings. Thank goodness for the heavy rain to get it to this stage when it can withstand anything and thrive.
The rule is, that it should be at my shoulder by my birthday at the end of July.
We are heading to Ireland for 2 weeks. It is weird to miss the parades and BBQs of Canada Day tomorrow. We love Canada Day.
Plus I'm missing my sister's 60th birthday. But we had lunch today and she is off on a trip before I get back. The time will have flown. As will have I.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

With Wool, Let the Rain Come.

 When you change your environment, you change your actions and reactions. Moving my desk into a little room was so exciting (and a lot of work), but it means taking the intention to go into that room to write or study. This is a habit I need to cultivate. Listening to the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin, I am encouraged to work toward habits I desire.
Like yoga. The bag is packed and at the front door. I am not going to be the one thing standing in my way.
We celebrated D's birthday with 2 parties and Fathers' Day. We were blessed with sun for the last part of this Sunday. The poolside gathering was very festive. The Giant Jenga got to play and it was great fun.
 D was on call for his birthday and the weekend, so we had quiet celebration at home. But home made says party to me. It was fun to include his vet student and share a meal.
I finished the giant grey Waffles blanket. At the end it threatened to  swallow me up. But the weather is switching between warm and chilly. There was no contradiction to having its wooly weight on my legs while we watched TV in the evening. Almost done the 6th season of Big Bang Theory and enjoying laughing out loud. This blanket is destined to live in Winnipeg, so I hope it brings and easy comfort to that new start.

Love my button box. I'll just look to see if there's anything that might work. This is a baby sweater in the amazing Sweet Georgia yarns. You see that little blue dot on the button? It matches perfectly. I can hardly wait to see the sweet young bundle of joy at her first birthday.

We are excited about our trip to Ireland. I have had my clothes laid out on the guest bed for weeks. A capsule wardrobe of navy and white with a fair amount of wool and cashmere. Dublin is a swanky city and I don't like feeling like a compost heap. So I have some tidier items. There will be a gala dinner and a private party at the Guinness Storehouse. But the sun may shine, much like our own home, so sandals may make a showing.
Of course the travel knitting is paramount. I started both toes on D's Christmas socks. The left over Sweet Georgia Tough Sock is good for heels and toes. These are big men's socks, so I don't want to run out of the Socks That Rock in Bella Coola. Thank goodness I am taking the intended feet along, so I can try them on. I still plan to wrap them as a gift. He doesn't care.

Had a lovely bicycle around the western blocks near us and was charmed by these hops. Each pole has a moniker. When I was little, there were hundreds of acres of hops in our valley. They are just coming back thanks to the craft brewers.

Another big finish. This blue chunky cotton yarn is from the deep stash. I knit a baby sweater for one of Emily's skating coaches. Couldn't tell you if that was 10 or 15 years ago. The cables were a delight. And chunky knit up quite quickly.
Now I only have the grey crochet shawl on the needles. Plus the travel socks and I started a travel shawl. Plus the shawl that is waiting for another skein to be dyed. Plus the cozy memories sock blanket. But I think that's all.

This sweet girl loves to explore the front garden. We used to walk 4 miles every day. Now she barely makes it to the road. But she loves to go out. She won't go without me, though, (even if the door is wide open) so I stand around and pick a few weeds while she sniffs and follows the paths of the bunnies.

With my computer and books in my little room, I have a little haven to explore my words and ideas.
But it is new, and I don't always walk the few steps to leave the sunroom that was my "office" for so many years. I am trying to use my desk as a centre and anchor.
There was a ball of the blue cotton left over and I just couldn't put it back into the stash. I have other creative tasks on my list, but the yarn kept me enthralled. I used a free dishcloth pattern from Knitpicks and made 2 lovely circles while watching the Bakery Bears Podcast explore the castles of Elizabeth and Mary. Delightful. I also was compelled to try the citric acid soak to make the yarn colorfast as explained by Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls.
Last weekend was World Wide Knit In Public Day, but it was a cold, dreary rainy dreich. I wasn't feeling up to taking one of the big blankets to a chilly circle of lawn chairs. So I watched some new podcasts and am so charmed by the heavy Canadian content of the Grocery Girls , Wet Coast Wools, and Soxcetera. Knit with us. Join us in a knit along. Thank you, I think I shall. 
In yoga I got very excited by starting a head stand practice and I was way better than I expected. It felt very playful. But it was bad on my neck and I could feel the migraine starting that my physiotherapist had managed to exorcise. So now I have let that go.
With my gore tex runners and rain coat, I am not afraid to go out into the showers and explore the fields and trails. I actually prefer it to the heavy heat we had last year. This is the valley that I remember and feel at home in.

Friday, June 17, 2016


This is the 10th anniversary of my blog. Unfortunately I have not been posting every Friday as had become my rhythm. I hope to maintain that in the future. I can even try when we are away.

We have been piping in parades every weekend. My DH is pipemajor (on the left) and does a great job. Our music is really sounding good and we are a fun group. I love my bass drum, but I am grateful that I don't have to carry it until September. My back is not getting better and it is keeping me from yoga. So this week I already had 2 yoga classes, swam laps and cycled. It is good to keep moving.

I love my bass drum, but I am grateful that I don't have to carry it until September. My back is not getting better and it is keeping me from yoga. So this week I already had 2 yoga classes, swam laps and cycled. It is good to keep moving.

We piped for Cultus Lake Days and the romance of this space gets me every time. Because of chill and high winds, it was quite empty- my favourite!! I was 3 when we moved here from Ontario and I will always feel it is partly my home.

On the grey days, I was able to knock out a few more skeins on the giant waffle. I'm just adding the 9th and last skein for a total of 1800 yds. But I keep hoping that the big guy will appreciate it when he is in the Winnipeg winter.

On sunny days I celebrate the roses.

These Queen Victoria roses grow 8 feet high and love our weather. We had a similar rose bush at the farm where I grew up and these are about the same age as me if they were planted in the early 60s when the house was built.

On the wellness front, I am resurrecting some recipes. Big Batch Bran muffins!

And diving into all the early fruits. Last year was the first year we had raspberries in June (D's birthday). This year we are already adding blueberries to the rhapsody.
I made a half recipe of The Pioneer Woman Cooks' Margaritas for a crowd. We had the best margaritas in Las Vegas! Now at 2 o'clock, I look around for our cool waitress.
And I have pizza dough on the go. Things I have wanted to do for a long time.
Enjoy the days you have. Celebrate. Have another cocktail.