Friday, November 20, 2015


Took a trip up the Coquihalla Highway to see my sister in Knutsford, just south of Kamloops. It's about a three our drive and I had a great audio book, 12 Drummers Drumming by C C Benison. It's a good thing I had my knitting because, before I even got to Merritt, we were stopped by a semi that jack-knifed and blocked the road. The big problem was that it was carrying an unknown corrosive fluid. Well, two hours later, we drove past the wreckage. Thankfully the driver was OK, but it shows how quickly the road can ice up.
 There was a warm welcome when I got to Rusty Springs. I brought D's chilli and we had a nice dinner.
 Cheri is still snuggling. She is the last of the Papillons that my sister used to breed. She has Border Collies now.
 And a great, friendly cat named Apricot. Her farm in the valley had all calico kitties with names like quilt and thread.

 The chickens are giving eggs even with the cold weather. I don't take pictures of them in the red warming light because they look devilish, but they are friendly.

 Really enjoying this book that Mom gave me for my birthday. It was being sold all over New Orleans, but I had to read a few books first, before I could crack it open. Such a great literary voice.

 Riley is two and a half an bundle of fun. He lives on the ranch with them, so they see him almost every day.

 Riley's mom has a bridal shop, First Comes Love and does events as well. The new location downtown is wonderful. One wall is all bridal gowns.
The other wall is all colourful grad and bridesmaids dresses. Sales are already swift for this June's grads.
Woke up to snow. There was a huge storm back home with trucks flipping and trees toppling. Power was out, even at our house, which is rare, for 5 hours. Some of our friends still don't have power for a fourth day,
We had to chip our car out of the ice and snow. Love the remote ignition that I have never needed to use before.
 I took the Fraser Canyon, Highway 1, home because it doesn't go as high and I was not interested in packed snow and slush with a closed area near Merritt. It took about one extra hour, was very windy, but was safe. Had to go to the car wash after, though.
The sleeves for D's sweater are done and done. I was lucky to be able to do the increases while visiting with the ranchers. Lightly blocked, I will begin the construction of the collar and sewing it up. Hope to be done before the end of November.
Which means I can work on my shawl. Already casting off the Perfect Retreat Shawl by Susan B Anderson in Loft that I bought on our trip to Bainbridge Island this summer. I have one pair of fingerless mitts and then the Christmas knitting is finished and I can join the Knitmore Girls with their December Grinch-a-long, knitting only what I desire.
It's so good to get up to the ranch and spend time with family there for a quick jaunt. But it's nice to be back in the green green grass of home.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Falling Into Place

The leaves are slowly changing, but we still have sunny days. I celebrate by going for walks.

I finished increasing the second sleeve on Leo for D and found out I hadn't increased enough on the first. I almost have it fixed so I can just knit straight one or two increases and then make the sleeve cap.
I knit a wee toddler hat for a test knit of a new lovely friend. Julianna's Fibre. I found her through a recommendation of her charming podcast. What a treat she lives in Ottawa and I can perhaps order some of her yarn without going through customs.
This garter slip stitch hat will soon be available on Ravelry and it is such a quick and fun knit, I'll bet you can even make some Christmas gifts in the few weeks we have left.

I realized I was one hat short on my Christmas list, so I treated myself to a Stephen West pattern that I have wanted to knit for a long time, the Windschief hat. I am only partly done, but I know I will knit more. This big box yarn actually has some cashmere in it, so is crazy soft, but still machine washable which is the requirement for almost all my gifts.
We had our first frost. My wee mushrooms were covered in crystals.
I typed up some dramas for church and am looking forward to doing some workshops for Advent.

My amaryllis (es) are reaching up to the light. One will go to the Hospice and one will be a hostess gift, but I have a white, a pink and a red, and will not be able to choose which to keep.
In preparation for Christmas, the carpet cleaner is here. It wasn't worth doing until we had the poor dog's wound on her face surgically fixed. She is still a puppy at heart, but we have to be thankful for each day we still have her.
I wore my poppy that I knit from Laura Chau's pattern a few years ago. I don't lose this one so I just put money in the tray without taking one from the veterans. I am officially a veteran too because I served in the Reserve Forces Medical Corps when I was young.

 These days I serve by playing the bass drum in the Harrison Highlanders Pipe Band. We had super weather and great support from all the legions we visited yesterday, Nov. 11. It is one of our biggest parade days and D did a great job as Pipe Major.
I have had the joy of playing with the babies of my friends. Of visiting with friends and family and a special treat: this quilt was a gift in a swap with a choir friend. I knit her a lace shawl and she made this quilt which will be the first part of my turning my daughter's room into my own office. I am not in a hurry, as she still needs a landing pad, but I am getting excited about having a door I can close from distractions to dream and write and craft. With time, things will fall into place.

Monday, November 02, 2015


 The weather has finally turned chilly enough to bring out the hand knit mittens and heavier shawls. I wear light shawl just about all year. The clocks turned back to Standard Time and everyone is suitably groggy. This morning I took my car in for snow tires, so I have the excuse that I am stuck at home on a chilly, rainy day. I have some computer work to do, but I find it so frustrating when each click is just one teeny bit different than it used to be. It feels like the laptop is not listening to me.
 Now that Hallowe'en is over, I can earnestly and openly launch into Christmas preparations. I will take inventory of all the knits and gifts I have gathered throughout the year. Not a spreadsheet, but there may be coloured markers.
First: I made Delia Smith's Christmas Chutney as encouraged by the Bakery Bears Podcast. I had almost all the ingredients anyway and my DH loves vinegary things. It has to sit at least a month. Then we'll see if it can grace our turkey sandwiches.
 We had a road trip to 88 Stitches and enjoyed everything about it: the company, the yarn selection, the picnic in a riverside park, and the tea at my place after.
 I am a bit of a parking freak. We were taught in the Medical Corps to always park so you can get out easily. Next to us, this behemoth parked in two spots and knocked over the midwife sign. Sigh.
 I picked up some Sweet Fiber in Winter for a Duchess of Devonshire shawl (also by Bakery Bears).
 After driving a friend of a friend to the airport, I was trying to find my way back to the familiar, and I came across the new old yarn shop in Abbotsford. The manager has bought it and made it her own with luxury yarns and wide open spaces. She continues to be friendly and interested in the knitters.
 My secret knitting is starting to wear on my. I think making a fingering weight men's large sweater may have been folly. The first sleeve is nearing completion. Perhaps I will block the front and back today while I'm home. But I think the worry that D will never wear it has me balking. If there are lurkers here, please keep this project a secret. It has been more than a year in the making.
 Much more quickly, I finished the baby blanket for my great niece for Xmas. When I found out that her big brother did like the one I made him, I jumped into the project that I had planned for her birth present. His blanket stays in the car and can get all messy and washed as intended. This makes me happy.
Even with the heavy rains, there are periods of calm when I like to get outside and enjoy the paths just as they are. I don't long for the summer flowers or heat. This is a lovely time to be doing just what is coming up.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Working on a Phd ( Partially Half Done)

 Autumn has arrived, here in the Fraser Valley. The mornings are chilly, and sometimes foggy. The afternoons are warm and golden.
 I actually finished these ribbed socks for my son for Christmas. They should make good hiking socks in Sweet Georgia's Tough Sock with Paton's Kroy for heels and toes. Knit from the cuff down, I should be able to make the toes longer or shorter if needed (even though I fussed and worried about the fit for a long time).
 Another tea mitten. This is for the teapot of our new minister who has already served me tea in her office and shared coffee with me in many venues.
 For comfort, I knit on my sock yarn blanket. I don't want the word scrap in here because I love all these yarns and I still love the socks and shawls I made from them. This is a long term project. I keep finding more wool to use. Who knows how big I will want to make it, 40 inches? I might want it to fit my lap, or be a gift for a baby. I will miss it when it's done.

Finally making some progress on D's Leo sweater. The silky wool is not that fun to work with, and the fingering weight means a lot of knitting for a man's large sweater. I am using progress keepers to help me measure and feel I have knit a bit. Almost done the front and ready to cast on both sleeves to knit concurrently.
I want to finish this before I work on either of my two shawls or cast on a third shawl and two cowls. I am craving some colour!
 The centre of the baby Hap blanket is finished and is blocked to get rid of some of the kinkiness from unwinding it. I cast on the edging in grey, that matches her brother's blanket, and have started the feather and fan portion. This is also a priority Christmas project, because when the season starts, I don't want to have the stress of finishing. I want to work on something colourful and lovely for me.
Took a quick trip to the Island to see Emily's UVic Wind Symphony concert. It was wonderful and I met a terrific mom whose daughter was a clarinet soloist. Very exciting and a proud moment.

Saturday morning was breakfast downtown Victoria and wandering around Chinatown, which I love. Tea and import shops and there was a giant spinning whorl.

Emily and I traded bikes. Ours are a lot alike, but mine has gears, which she needs for all the hills in Victoria. This coaster bike is fine for our very flat valley. Right away I cycled to the mall for some items. It should work out fine.

 Able to do a little gardening in the nice weather. The ground is now nice and wet and easy to weed. The violets have come back to our front door.

 The hellebore is blooming. I said it was a Christmas Rose and knows all the Christmas decorations are already in the stores.
Decisions have been made about my Alpine Frost shawl. But I had to ask my best friend. I am not going to put an edge on it, but I can crochet to the end of the ball, about 10 inches more, and that will make it more wearable for me. This was cast on in January, but I have rarely really worked on it. Funny how things go faster when you actually work on them.
One reason, I discovered, that I am not working on this stole, is because I don't like the idea of not having it there to turn to. I can't do a lot of crochet because it hurts my hand, but it is soothing and rhythmic. So I bought yarn to make another of alpaca silk in a steel grey for a friend we hope to visit in New York next spring.

Tonight we are having friends over and I have my system in order. At 3 pm I will heat up the oven and start peeling the vegetables for the roaster. The dessert dishes are set aside and the wine is being chilled. Again with no last minute plans. When my guests arrive, I like all the food to be ready and I can just focus on them and let them relax.
Hang in there.
It has been a bit crazy here with D working long hours and dealing with some people who are very disappointing in their interpersonal reactions. We are just not up for that kind of unpleasantness anymore. I am learning to sit for shorter periods and do some of my work standing up, or in alternate work spaces and that is helping with my limitations.
We are no longer looking forward to it being all over. We are living in the midst of it all. When the sweater is blocked and sewn, there is another project already on the needles.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Changing Seasons

 The temperature has finally made it to "seasonable", which means crisp and chilly and much less scorching. I was able to block my Shaelyn Shawl in BFL "Mermaid Hair" dyed by my own daughter. This is a great size, even though I had to cheat the last stockinette section. It's big enough to be a versatile accessory, now that it feels like autumn.

 I have taken up the much neglected Alpine Frost scarf. Joining the third ball was an encouraging milestone. I would like to crochet 8 inches in this ball and then start the edging as Alicia did in her blog, Posy Gets Cozy. She has a corgi named Clover Meadow, but the big star is her sweet little daughter in their Portland setting.
 There was some success in making stitch markers. I also whipped up the great pattern, Maize fingerless mitts, in the clearance priced Cascade 200 superwash aran. How is it that I always underestimate the softness and roundness of 220? These are for my hair dresser to send to her husband who is in basic training in the air force in eastern Canada. 

 D read to me an article in his Discover magazine. Are we going mainstream?

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend with family and turkey feasts. On Friday I helped take my friend's son to the airport but that night my kids surprised me by coming home early.
 Here they are with their masks we brought back for them from New Orleans

We voted in the Federal election at the early opportunity so Em could have her chance.
We had a delightful evening at my SIL's on Saturday night and all the young people played board games.
 Mom and Paw came over for turkey sandwiches and salads. We had a nice relaxed meal. D was on call, so we were able to include him.
I am so thankful that I found my interchangeable needle set and their little pouch in the beading supplies. This has been lost for almost 2 years and I had given up on it. Both were gifts from D.
Last week my nephew's wife came over and we crafted a banner for her amazing 2 month old daughter. It was great fun and Mommy did a great job exploring crafting, which is totally outside her comfort level. We have known each other through camp and she was in our youth group and one of our favourite people. It amazes me how sensible young moms are these days. This is one contented baby.
 I found out that they did like the blanket I knit for their son and so got to work making a mercerized cotton blanket for the new one. This yarn was such a find. I knit a shawl that ended up too small to use and had not enough left over to do anything with. So I frogged the shawl and I'm knitting a Hap Blanket using this and some colours from the big brother's blanket. It will make a nice gift for a first Christmas.
 The yarn looks kinky, like socks knitted from a sock blank, but will relax in a soak. Cotton doesn't have memory, either. The centre is this orchid and the edging will be grey and green with a bit more of the purple.
Today I stripped the beds and washed the floors. The house is quiet again and I am still going a bit crazy with washing walls and the little nooks and crannies that get forgotten. Hopefully that will make my Xmas washing easier.
I still have D's sweater (1/2 front and sleeves) to knit out of Silky Wool in fingering. It is a bit neglected, but still sloggy. I think I'll knit the sleeves on the ferry this weekend when I go to see Emily's Wind Symphony concert.
I can feel the Christmassy feeling just around the corner, and then I'll want to work on his cross stitch stocking more as well.
I am making myself finish the crochet scarf before I can work on the other two shawls on my needles. Why? Because I am worried I will never finish it, and because I feel like there are just too many projects on the needles. By the end of this month, I hope to be starting a whole new season of projects!