Friday, September 26, 2014

Packing and Preparation

This is what my bed looks like when I'm preparing for a parade. I was surprised how easily I slipped into all the pieces of the uniform: white shirt, kilt, belt, sporran, tie, hose, flashes on hose, ghillie brogues, and the felted wedge hat, the glen. Also the harness and the bass drum and sticks!

 For Christmas I am planning sweaters. I have been planning this quite a while, which is not the same thing as doing the knitting. Scott's sweater is rustic navy. Never has it looked this bright in person. In the hope of matching the sleeves, I kept pins at each decrease. It worked except I didn't get row gauge and my sleeve cap was too tall. Had to be reworked.

 It took a long time to dry! It looks like I have the dimensions where I want them. Does that mean it will fit? There are no details on this Slade cardigan except the tubular cast on (slog!) and the wide button band which is currently sucking my soul unless I knit while watching Dr. Who.
He has just flown to Newfoundland to hike for 2 weeks with a friend from high school (a girl!) on the East Coast Trail. He and his nerd posse hiked the Juan de Fuca trail on Labour Day weekend and enjoyed the backpacking. They hiked a peak a week last year. Two of his high school buddies work at our local outfitters, Mt. Waddington, and have brought a lot of expertise to exploring our Cascade mountains.
 The corn is coming off. With the long hot dry spells, they have to put it in the bunker before all the moisture is lost from it. This usually happens on Thanksgiving weekend, October 13 this year. I remember because our turkey always had to wait for Paw to come in from the field.
 I actually finished this Newborn Vertebrae for a former Sunday school student who is now a teacher and had a baby in May. The wee thing was only 26 weeks gestation, and they have had a gallant affair with their wee feisty babe. The colour is firecracker, which I thing is fitting. She is home and just over 6 lbs now.
 There was a celebration at our Book Man, 24 years anniversary. It was a stunning affair. I got a used folio edition and a New York guide.
We have a farmers' market in the city as well, but it's just getting started, and I think I'd rather shop at the market called Local Harvest that also has freshly milled flours from Anita's and bakery items from the wood fired brick oven, Magpie Bakery.

 It is starting to feel like autumn.
 And I can wear my wool socks. These are my September/October pair for my operation sock drawer. Starry Starry Night by Opal with the OMG heel. I did end up with a pig's eye (hole at the heel join). I'll look on the Ravelry boards for ideas.
I look forward to wearing them when I visit the MOMA and see the painting.
Yes, I'm going to New York next week and then cruising up the East coast to the St. Lawrence Seaway and Quebec City with my bestest bestie. I'm pretty excited.
 I am picking up treasures on my walks with the big black dog.

 Warm lunches include borscht (not shown) from my Paw's garden. And BLT's with his tomatoes.
I whipped up this fox cowl. Need to fix the opening. We were going to wear them all on knit night at Hallowe'en. But I am going to be in Palm Desert with DH at that time. As I'm removing my summer clothes from my closet, they're going in a bin for desert packing.
 I cast on Monstermitts in Must Stash Cloudy With a Chance of Rainbows. I thought I could bring them, but it's fiddly knitting with changing colours and dpns.
Panicking about getting all the Christmas knitting done. I wound some yarn for Em's sweater and hemmed and hawed. I'll revisit it when I get back.
 Cast on the Matchmaker by the lovely Martina Behm. This would be great travel knitting, but I'm not sure if it gets to come. I'm crazy about the colours and the yarn, but that's not the only consideration.
I still have a pair of socks to make before the end of the year as well as a Baby Surprise Jacket for my drum teacher's first grandchild. Her daughter babysat for us, too. Add the mitts for Em's boyfriend, hot water bottle covers for my sister and her husband and maybe felted slippers for Mom and Paw. Granted those are a lot of little projects, but they are a lot. The socks would make good travel mates.
 Got my toes done in "Brunette on the Internet" a dark cherry plum. So I guess you could say I'm ready. That's a new hand bag because, of course, I had nothing suitable. I will revert to my long past all black wardrobe. I feel more confident in black, especially in a big city. I had to quit wearing all black when little Emily followed a lady out of the store, simply because she was all in black. I do mix it up with bright shawls and I'll pack some purple.
 This is what I've been futzing about for a few days. D's sweater. Found this Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool on sale at Three Bags Full last new years and it's a perfect colour for him. Haven't knit him a sweater since the giant full on cable crew neck that he rarely wears. It looks so good with his kilt, and he noticed the ladies looking at him on the ferry when he wore it.
 But this wool does not want to become a Cobblestone. It is tweedy, but not rustic. In checking for yardage, I searched Ravelry for a DK weight men's sweater and came up with Leo from Eventually, after much swatching and more math than I do unless I'm calculating opiate equivalencies, I cast on the back. That's right. Pieces. There will be seaming.
But each piece will be a happy companion in my purse and I think the finished product will be better. I hope to secretly knit it up on the trip, or most of it. I will need something a little more interesting as a palate cleanser. Maybe the sock in a pattern? Or the Song of the Sea that has almost been cast on if it were not for the giant navy blob. But I don't want to bring too many projects either.
I'm not sure what to pack for the trip (of course) but I think when we get to Maine, and Canada, I'll be OK in my real clothes for real rural people. I actually have an outfit to wear to the Opera and to the one formal dinner. And a black dress for the other one. Again with the black. It will look nice with my pearls. And I will be with friends, though I'll be missing my husband, my dog and my home.
And you gentle reader. I'll blog again when I get back for a week. Then I'm off to the desert. And then it'll be November. See what I mean? I'd better get back to packing and preparing.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Falling for the Ranch

 I finally got the time to get away to my sister's ranch, 3 hours east on the Coquihalla highway. I miss the rolling hills and the blue sky, but I forget how much I miss just talking with her about anything. We are only a year apart, and though we have different interests, we are interested in each other. We went riding for a few hours to look for stray cattle. I was there between hard days of gathering them up.
She let me ride Vinnie, one of her older foals. He is a real gentleman. Several of her horses are named for John Travolta.
 Their summer has been cool and wet. Strange, as they are usually semi-arid. Ours was hot and dry, there was a mix up at the check out. This was only their third fire. I brought smores which tipped them over. That's her husband who can fix anything. Their whole ranch is free from broken equipment and buildings and fences. It's not normal.
 The tomatoes in the greenhouse look like they're posing for a magazine. The zucchinis are huge because they are destined for cake. This greenhouse is twice the size of the one she had on the farm down here. See the little yellow box? Her son is an electrician and he just hooked up a heater because they had frost a few nights before. It was mild while I was there.
 One of the things we have to do is go to her daughter-in-law's wedding shop, First Comes Love. My nephew has remodelled the shop to include stunning racks of dresses and fancy dressing rooms. He was working on a sparkly display for glittery shoes while we were there, and it cracked me up because he has no idea how splendid it is.
 Fall is coming. We had real rain. D made french toast for breakfast on Sunday. Which is good because, between choir and Sunday school, I need to keep up my strength.
 I replanted my white baskets with purple fountain grass. Really had to have it this year. Not sure why, but I like it. Hopefully it will last until Christmas.
 We had BBQ beef on a bun and salad from my Paw's garden. It has been a bountiful year.
There was some knitting at the ranch, which made up for the long drive, listening to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I read the books when they first came out in the early 1990's and I met the author at the Seattle Highland Games. But with the hype over the TV show,  I jumped on the band wagon. We watched on of the episodes at the ranch.
Just finished the pieces to Scott's Xmas sweater, Slade. They are blocking and I'm finishing up the October sock. I hope to wear the Starry Starry Night sock to the MOMA next month when I'm visiting the picture.
Also cast on the Newborn Vetebrae for the KAL on the Fat Squirrel Speaks. Loving the back episodes!  I tried to watch last year and didn't get the humour, but now I'm all over it. I have fallen for her, too.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

And Carry a Big Stick

It's starting to feel like autumn. The BC Teachers are striking and the government is not coming to the bargaining table, so the kids are not in school yet. It's very strange.
This past weekend was my first parade (Hope Brigade Days) with the bass drum. I have drummed tenor in parades, before, but I only played bass drum in the competition circle. It was great fun and we had a BBQ at our home for the band after.
This weekend is the Agassiz Fall Fair, another short parade and performance. DH makes a good Pipe Major and we are gathering pipers and drummers to the band who just want to play good music with good people. No competitions.
Yesterday was a rest day after a hectic weekend and I felt restless and a bit pointless going through my paper work and emails.
But this morning I am refreshed and queueing patterns, preparing Christmas ideas and getting ready for 3 big meetings to do with the children in the church. If I get all this started, I can go to my sister's ranch next week! I haven't been there since January! The picking away of every day.
I did finish the tubular ribbing on the back of Scott's Christmas sweater, Slade. It's a good thing I'm knitting it now because the navy is second only to black in difficulty to see.
In 3 weeks I head out to New York to go on a cruise with my best friend, but she leaves tomorrow on a pre-trip trip.
Will I have my September knitting finished? What will I take to knit on the cruise? Will I meet my Christmas knitting goals? Stay tuned.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Stitch In Time

 My roses have come back after the big pruning. I get about 3 wheel barrows full when I trim the first blooms. These Queen Elizabeth roses are original to the house, so probably about the same age as me (50) and grow 8 feet tall. We had one at the farm that I always loved, and we walked through giant hedges of them in Sydney when we visited Australia in 1990. The other hedge was Peace roses, but mine has been slow to take.
 The dahlia bed is growing with gusto. These were originally given to Emily by one of the men at church because she always admired the bouquets on the communion table.
 A quick knit, the Rathtrevor had in beautiful yarn, Two Junipers, from the Canmore shop I visited last fall. It was a great success, but not the kind of hat I would wear. I love Tin Can Knits designs. Thankfully Emily was home to claim it. She is back to UVic and starting 3rd year Music Education next week.
 I've picked up an old needlepoint project and it is going really quickly. Right now all the leaves are done and I'm just filling in the back with "tapestry blue". Because I'm doing it free form, I struggled a bit with making all the decisions. But I had all the yarns and couldn't spend several hundred dollars on a kit for a pillow.
 Globe thistle brought into the house. It will dry a bit, but won't be everlasting.
 At knit night, we are finding it darkening before 9 pm and many flocks of geese are moving from their day time grazing in Sardis Park to fields in the west.
 Another Tin Can Knits. Can't say enough about their patterns. The False Creek cowl knit up so quickly and only used half the yarn I bought (on sale years ago) that I made another one. Two more Xmas present: check.
 I am borrowing D's kilt and just had to move the hip buckles. My bass drum is so different from the one I used to play that I am having to work hard! Teaching the adult tenor drummers is a delight and with their music and dance background, they are really learning well.
 Our first parade together was one of our young piper's wedding. Such a great day.

More stitching, I turned this into a pin cushion.

 Two sets of pecan pies have left the kitchen for BBQ's.
 I visited our local quilt store, Hamel's, and was so pleased with the great welcome.
 The light is changing and the grass is being cut for hay.
 When you walk without the dog, you find different companions.
 My nephew and his girlfriend are having a baby in December. Did I say I love Tin Can Knits? This waffles blanket knit up within a week and I have enough yarn left over to make another one!
 Loving The Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast. Amy Beth loves apples. I appreciate that she is maintaining her recording schedule through the summer. So many of my favourites have dropped off. And I like the company when I'm downloading audio books from the library, baking pies, knitting and doing ten other things.
 My Lintilla is finished. This is my favourite yarn ever!! Emily dyed it and it is such a great mix of colours and so soft. I'm so glad I didn't ruin it with the wrong pattern, but I don't think you can go wrong with Martina Behm.
Speaking of designers, Emily's pattern, The Nesting Shawlette has made it into the "Hot Right Now" board on Ravelry!
 This has been a big week with Vacation Bible School and I am the games maestro. There were water balloons and soccer balls and hula hoops.
And a pinata. Great fun! But exhausting.

 Carly thinks so too. It is finally cool enough to enjoy our shade chair again. Right now it is even raining a wee little bit.
 The basil has been exquisite this year.

 And, never one to rest a sore wrist from over crocheting, I am embarking on ripple pattern dishcloths.
 September's sock is finished and I have already started October's. I like the OMG heel, but I have a nasty gap in the first one. I'll try again. Once the toe is on, I can knit mindlessly to 9 1/2 inches. Yes, I do not have small feet.
Last night, after dinner, I enjoyed a quiet walk on the trail with the big black dog. I can't say I'm impatient for autumn to begin, but I am worn out from very hot days that are unusual here. It has been a good summer of friends and family. Technically we still have till September 21. But all we have is the time we are given, and we can be thankful for that.