Friday, July 31, 2015

A Full Deck

 To celebrate my birthday this year (52) I picked up my reading and my writing. Two things that are easily pushed behind other endeavours. It is with a relief that I am starting each day with some journalling. Knitting's siren song has collected my thoughts and my time for so long. While I drink my first cup of coffee and listen to the early news on CBC radio, I pick up a simple project and knit, almost without thinking. That is great, except when I feel I can no longer make choices. I am going to try something new.
My oldest sister very generously invited us to her cottage on Harrison Lake for a birthday lunch. You can only reach it by boat, but her husband is an excellent boater and the day was a wonderful break from the heat, with clouds and some spatterings of showers.
 The cottage is tucked away in a bay on a peninsula, under the old growth rain forest. We haven't been there since they had just acquired it and were pleased by the lovely welcome and the bright rooms.
 There were burgers and cupcakes. And cribbage.

 Monday was my real birthday, and Mom had planned a BBQ with excellent farmer sausage skewers. She bought a new bottle of gin for my G&T and made brownies with berries for dessert. My friends took me out for brunch and I was feeling rather well fed.
 But wait, there's more. D's mom often has us over for supper on a Tuesday evening and she made a favourite of mine, angel food cake. Well, what do you do with the left over egg yolks than whip up some creme brulee. Also a favourite, but not so light. Very festive.
I had to run to knitting, and that is a change I will be making. The group is growing and changing, as it does when it is made up of people. There are some new ideas and I applaud them. But I don't need to host every gathering. I miss the lessons and charity knitting that we did so well. But I have great friends now with whom I can knit, and I look forward to being able to "drop in" as the others have been able to do.
 There has been knitting. Secret Christmas knitting. Basement blanket knitting. This is my favourite birthday cake: a new ball winder with my Churchmouse Loft in Postcard. It will soon become a shawl, but not until some more presents are finished.
 I have a shawl on the needles. The Stripe Study by Veera Valimaki is as great as advertised. I am using alpaca bamboo yarn that was given to me by my MIL. So soft and natural colours.
I have also improved enough from my pneumonia to return to sewing. If I am the least bit blunted, I will cut the wrong way, or sew the wrong way. It's not worth the grief when I can still manage to knit. But the dream of some project bags is becoming a reality thanks to internet tutorials and youtube videos.
I am back to the packed to do list, walked on my trail this morning and am ready to start playing with a full deck.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Change of Scenery

 We went to Crescent Beach in White Rock for D's aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary. The hall had windows all along the bay.
 It was so nice seeing all our kids get together and have fun. We were invited to one of the cousin's for a pool party after and they are excellent hosts. I was still not feeling 100% and enjoyed the opportunity to sit next to the pool and listen to all the interesting conversations of his younger cousins with all their kids.
 I cast on the Bonfire blanket in chunky. Part of my scheme to get all the dark knitting done in the summer light. It is crazy to switch from the fine lace crochet of my Frost Flowers scarf to this giant yarn and needles. The pattern shows great understanding of cables and I'm almost half done already. Which is good because there are more blankets to knit.
 Worked on D's Xmas stocking. It is better with an audio book or podcast but I am loving the Great British Sewing Bee and am re-watching the first season. If I get the ribbons done, it will be about 1/3. No guarantee for this year, but it is a nice change.
 The heat has continued and the tomato at our front door is outstanding. Goes well with fresh mozzarella and the basil, which believes it lives in the mediterranean.
 I love how my magnolia responds to the months of heat and drought by blooming. Thank you.
 J and I drove 3 hours to Seattle and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island. It reminds me a little of Mendocino. The shops and restaurants are terrific. But we went to see Churchmouse and were not disappointed.
 That is 100% American yarn, Loft, in "postcard" I think it will knit up beautifully in Susan B Anderson's new Perfect Retreat Shawl. It is woolen spun and lofty. I love how the colour is between grey and mauve with heathered flecks.
 We stayed at the Best Western and were lucky enough to be next door to Jake's Pick Up. We chose it for it's Farm to Table menu and were so pleased. Lovely service and great food, even if it is in the back of the Chevron gas station.
We sat and knit in our room and didn't even turn on the TV. I was working on D's silky wool sweater for Christmas that I started on our cruise and just picked up again. But the crochet scarf and the Stripe Study in alpaca-bamboo tagged along.
 The next day we went back to Churchmouse. J wanted her yarn wound. I love this colour display where each item is a felted tam. The in store patterns are classic and really show off the yarns. I just about grabbed a blanket's worth of cotton on sale. But I still have yarn at home.
 The ferry back to the mainland was on time and just a short hop. We ordered salads at Fork and Spoon to eat on the way back. Getting out of the city was easy (even for me) and we were in Bellingham by 4pm. Stopped at Trader Joe's for some special snacks and I was home in time to go to Pipe Band practice.
We are in the depths of summer now. Okanagan peaches are one of my favourites. Today it is raining, so everything is looking green and calm. I love the rain and really missed it. Fresh air to breathe and a nice change of scenery.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Not Impossible

I have been struggling with a touch of pneumonia. Lots of sitting on the deck and knitting, and ripping back and knitting again. That's OK. Not up to snuff when I can't move for coughing. I managed to get a few Christmas presents knit and am feeling better.

A navy Bankhead hat. This was the second. The first was black and that was after a black pair of fingerless mitts. I had time to back up my computer, but I lost some photos. At least they're on Instagram.

D is piping at his aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary this weekend and he wants to use Scott's pipes which he has rebuilt. This meant sewing on a non-skid fabric to the bag cover. Too much black!
I am done with black, but still have a navy Bonfire blanket in Wool Ease Thick & Quick. It is started and the dark stitches will read better in the summer light.
 When I felt better, I tried the one hour box bag sewing tutorial. Loved it. Even with my blunted intelligence and squeezing pieces out of remnants, it was really an hour. There will be more. This will be the prize basket for the Fair Share layette class at our fair in early August.
 D took me to Granville Island for a matinee of Godspell. It was awesome. We enjoyed the brewery, too.
 And I found where Maiwa Supply moved to! Great shop.
Picked up some undyed sock yarn for Emily to dye up. One for me and one for her.
 Stopped at Memphis Blues on the way home for supper. The Pebble Beach shawl, in the second size, made of Handmaiden Seawool, was the perfect accessory in the theatre and the restaurant.

The terribly hot weather peaked on Canada day. It has been more pleasant and I've enjoyed the stormy bits of rain.
Working with dark yarn and while rather blunted is not impossible.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Bricks & Mortar Mitts

I was inspired by the A Playful Day Podcast to design a simple pattern that would pay homage to our Local Yarn Shops and encourage others to support them. I have a groaning stash, but still I am tempted when I visit 88 Stitches Yarn Shop, just 45 minutes down the Number 1 Highway in Langley, or my niece's shop, Electrictree Yarns, 3 hours away in Kamloops.
If we were to each pick up a skein or two of worsted weight yarn, we could help keep the light on. They do so much to bring a creative environment, with delicious enticements, and great events, that they deserve our patronage.
I am just uploading it as a free pattern on ravelry. It should show up in better format (with pictures).
Here is my first pattern:

Bricks & Mortar Mitts
By LoriAngela McDermid
To show support for our Local Yarn Shops, LYS, we can buy a skein or two of worsted weight yarn to knit these simple Fair Isle colour work mitts and maybe wear them on our next yarn crawl.
50 g worsted weight colour A (100 m/110 ft)
10 g worsted weight colour B: bricks (20 m/22 ft)
(Test knit in Cascade 220 and Berroco Ultra Alpaca)
4.0 mm dpn or circular needles 
(or size to reach gauge)
3 stitch markers, tapestry needle.

Gauge: 22 stitches  and 26 rows over 4 inches 
(in stocking stitch in the round)

Colour Pattern: (Repeat these 6 rounds)
Round1: Knit colour A
Round 2: (K 1 A; K 3 B) repeat to end of round. (Colour A can be gently drawn behind the 3 Colour B stitches as a small float.)
Round 3: as round 2
Round 4: K A
Round 5: K2 B; (K1 A; K 3 B) repeat to last 2 sts, K 2 B
Round 6: as round 5


Cast On: 36 stitches in Colour A and distribute on 4 dpns (or use circular needle)

Bottom Rib: Rib K1 P1 for 16 rounds

Increase Round:  *K8, Kfb*  repeat x 4

Hand: Knit one complete colour pattern

Thumb Gusset:
Increases will happen on a single colour (A) row, every 3 rounds.

Thumb gusset is knit in colour A. Carry colour B behind with short floats, to prevent snagging when slipping mitts on your hands.

Round 1: with A, K4, pm, m1, K 1, m1, pm, K to end of round.
Round 2: K round two of colour work pattern, slipping markers and knitting   colour  A between markers.
Round 3: K row three of colour work pattern, slipping markers and knitting colour   A between markers.
Round 4: with A, K to marker, sm, m1, K to marker, m1, sm, K to end.

Continue colour work pattern,  increasing every third round ( with single colour A) until 15 stitches between markers.

Knit Round 2 of Colour Pattern.
Place thumb stitches on waste yarn. Knit across Round 3 of Colour Pattern to space made by thumb gusset stitches. Using backwards loop, cast on three stitches and finish knitting row.
(I use these extra stitches to minimize the gaps at the thumb join.)
Knit round 4 until one stitch before new stitches. Knit first new stitch together with stitch before it. Knit next new stitch . Knit last new stitch together with the stitch after it and finish knitting round.
Knit around in colour pattern until mitten measures 7 1/2 inches (19cm) from cast on.
Decrease Round: *K 8, K2tog* repeat x 4

Top Rib in colour A: Rib K1P1 for 12 rounds or until desired length. Cast off. ( I don’t like the       top too loose)

Thumb: Remove the thumb gusset stitches from the waste yarn while threading your dpns into the stitches. I put 6 stitches on each of 2 needles and 3 on a third. 
In colour A, pick up 3 stitches from the hand margin of the mitten. 
K 4 rounds.
Rib K1P1 ribbing for 5 rounds. 
Cast off.

Weave in ends. Now is a good time to close those holes near the thumb.
Colour work always benefits from a good soak and gentle blocking.

Wear your
Bricks & Mortar Mitts
to your next 
Local Yarn Store visit.

Abbreviations: (in order of appearance)
K: knit
P: purl
Kfb: knit into front and then back of your stitch, increasing one.
pm: place marker
m1: (make one) lift bar between next two needles from front to back with left needle. Knit into the back of this loop, increasing one.
sm: slip marker
K2tog: insert right needle into the next two stitches and knit them together.

This pattern is made free to support the lovely people of our local yarn shops and their hard work at providing an inspiring and nurturing space for our community of crafters.

With special thanks to 88 Stitches Yarn Shop and Electrictree Yarn Shop.
LoriAngela McDermid (LoriAngela on Ravelry)

Let me know what you think of it!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wooly Fun

 World Wide Knit in Public was celebrated at my local Sardis library. They served us lemonade and cookies and put up a table in the main entrance. The librarians were very excited when we started yarn bombing.

We are yarn bombing the toy class at the fair this year with sheep. This is my version. Don't tell me he looks like a mouse or a monkey. Already heard it.
 Sheepy tail. The free pattern from Lion Brand was called a sock critter, but was knit flat. No way. I used some of the numbers but just messed around. Hence the monkey/mouse. It's made of my sister's handspun!

 We had the festival of Dan. Hamburgers on Friday night with my mom. Yum!

 Friends over for a big dinner on Saturday. We have never served raspberries at his birthday. They are not usually ripe for several weeks. The weather has been like that one week in late August. Living in the Pacific Coast rainforest usually means walking in the rain and watching the plants grow as God waters them. Not this year. We are featured in the latest Global Warming horror film.
 The basil thinks it is living in the Mediterranean. There are good things about having to water plants every day.

 The black berries promise to be a bumper crop this year. The perfect pink to the perfect fruit.
 They are already selling corn. The earliest to date has been Canada Day, July 1st. I can't eat corn anymore but I love it and I love to watch it magically grow.
 Stated my summer reading. Grabbed me right away. A bit of a brick, but worth it.
 Found some sheep graffiti on a bus bench.
 With the great heat, I hide in the basement and sew. Thank goodness for on line tutorials like Creative Bug.
 Finished Pebble Beach, but she still needs to be properly blocked. It's a very long crescent shawl, not my favourite shape, but I like the sea wool and the colour. It was fun being part of the Knitting Pipeline KAL>
And a wee success. The Golden Pear hat is a free pattern on Ravelry. I am thinking of using it as a colourwork class.
Today I was invited to 88 Stitches with my young friends and Tin Can Knits is having a trunk show!!! So much wooly fun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nine Years

 Welcome to my blog. Welcome back if you've been here before. This is the 9th anniversary of its creation. One of my better mistakes, I was just trying to leave a comment on the Math 4 Knitters blog.
Our seasons seem to be moving along more quickly than usual. The baby ducks that join me for breakfast are lucky to find green grass in the back garden because much of the front lawn is already brown.
 I was delighted to be invited to a baby shower for one of the LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurse) I used to work with. The team was there in their exceptional caring and good humour. I really miss that group. We are starting to see each other for coffee and fun. I have been so busy wrapping up volunteer activities and wrapping presents.
 These are flowers the youth group helped make for our Sunday School teachers. Youth Group ended with a wonderful and very silly party. I received gifts from my peeps too.
 With the days so hot, I am hiding in the basement and sewing. I made a thread catcher so I could feel like a real sewer. But the pattern was so bad. I would have made a separate lining and weighted the pin cushion differently. Now I don't feel like such a beginner.
 Piping has been pretty busy. We had D Day ceremonies, a fun BBQ and extra practices. One of the tenor drummers met me at Harrsion Hot Springs Resort where we laid down the plans for a New Years Eve celebration at 4 pm called Hogmany.
 Cultus Lake Days parade from my angle.
 D piped at his partner's retirement and was a wonderful emcee.
 I am now knitting on the edge. Deciding how I want the Fussy Cuts blanket to look is almost as much work as knitting it. Do I make log cabin strips on the outside or mitred? Do I add an icord edge? I have decided to decide as I go.

From the Stash and Burn podcast, I have started a crafting bingo card, and already got one bingo. This is a great motivational tool and a great group on Ravelry. We are trying to motivate our own Chilliwack Common Threads knitting circle and I am so pleased at those who step forward with their skills to help.
Also pleased to join the knitters of the Sardis Library today for World Wide Knit in Public Day (week).
Moving up. Thanks to my physiotherapist, I am taking short hikes and look forward to more in the weeks to come. I am not knitting as much because I'm not sitting as much. But there are other crafts and endeavours to pursue. And I hope that you will come along with me as I explore the new wonders around me.