Sunday, July 30, 2006
I don't comment to Yarn Harlot anymore, because I think the hundreds of comments are just overwhelming. If I read the notes, I usually find someone who has a similar idea to mine. It can't be that outrageously original.
But Life's A Stitch, and And She Knits Too! are some of the first ones I ever read.
The internet has opened up such a warn community of wonderful, funny, intelligent writers and knitters for me. Now I want to join in more.
Unfortunately, as for them, my life is so busy. Will I be designing much in the future? It was knitty and blogs that lifted that obligation for me. Now I can find amazing patterns. New! Stylish! Individual! Designing can cause its own heart aches. Right now I let Grumperina do the math.
I'm more into socks than I would have been. I'm more happy with my shawl interest. I'm not alone in the Alice Starmore, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Barbara Walker fan club.
So please give me a comment on how you differ with or agree with me. I'm ready to make some friends. Now that I have the courage.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Today is my birthday. It is a hot, sunny July day as most of my birthdays are. I am going to lunch with my friends and then supper at my sister's with my family. This could be a good day. I already walked the dog, and I'll jump into the shower before heading out for a few errands.
I had a lousy anniversary (my husband away piping) and an absolutely dismal Mothers' Day. I ended up grocery shopping and cooking supper after singing and drumming in a concert. No support or interest from the nintendogs.
So I have decided to not rely on them. Next Mothers' Day I will be away enjoying myself. Possibly with a friend who is alone. Today I will not be disappointed if the very heavily supported kids and husband can't wrench themselves from their own navel gazing.
This university course is changing my work habits. I put it above a lot of their needs. They are capable. But there has been a lot of tantrums, bad behavior and backlash. I can reverse course to make them happy and comfortable, or I can let them learn to be self-sufficient and better people. This is not easy. Especially with D. who is moaning about his back and the pressures of competing in piping. Make your own decisions. I d0n't need to be a sherpa anymore.
But I still can't say this openly in a confrontaional manner. I am protecting myself from further anger and disappointment, even mean comments. What a suck.
I will go out and shine in the sun. Without comment.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The red kimono has tiny alpaca yarn and tiny needles and many stitches. This has led to boring knitting. I'm not bored by the first season of Six Feet Under. This is good TV knitting. But just as I was getting to my fill of stockinette stitch, it's time to decrease for the neck and... the pattern does not have variations for the different sizes. Bored and in a bit of a heat-induced, sitcom watching stupor, I was bolted from my relaxation to mild expletives. OK, math. Where's Lara?
It's simple proportions. But Debbie Bliss gets big bucks for her patterns, and I get nada for fixing them. I won't know for a few rows if I'm correct in my changes.
And this morning. The floor guys are coming back so I can confront them with the shoddy finishing they did or didn't do. I have my breakfast at the computer, a fresh cup of coffee, and the three stooges traipse in. This is where the floors are lifting, this is where the carpets are wrinkled. Do I dare show you where the baseboards are split and the wall needs filling and repainting, and did you realize I spent a whole day washing the walls and the appliances?
They did the little jobs as quickly as possible and bugged out while I was on the phone to my just-returned best friend. Cowards. As am I.
So this lazy morning has been a zoo. Barking dogs, other dogs, not mine. My son took her for a walk and she came back covered in dog s**t. Quickly bath her on the deck. All 90 black pounds of her. Not boring.
I'm going to head out and get the blue paint for my daughter's room and the criminally expensive wallpaper. She did the second coat of primer by herself. We'll paint the blue today. The paper will come while we're on holiday, so we'll put it up when we get back. That will allow the paint to cure. A good set back. Bad, not bad.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Yesterday afternoon I took my kids to the theatre. Our Music Academy has a summer school of Musical Theatre and they've performed really good and better and better theatre. I just want the kids to have the opportunity to see live performances. I want them to see the successes of their friends. I just want to go to the theatre myself. I studied theatre at UBC. Just first year. It was going to be my life. But it was a bit of a brutal reality for a farm girl to be around the "atristes". Not so many were interested in the allegory, the theme in Shakespeare.
I moved on to nursing. Purpose and action. I had a lot of youthful energy.
We saw West Side Story. Real young people playing young people. So exciting to see the flowing choreography in a brutal, clashing manner. The first love. The forbidden love. They danced and sang and acted. Such energy!
Beyond weird was realizing that my former fiance, whom I haven't seen in at least 20 years was sitting in the same row as me. I saw his mother. He had already passed by the time I figured it out. And I'm too Canadian to stick out my neck and get a good gander. From the impression I got, he looks the same. But I am fat and old, and he was very mean- hence the break up. I was not brave enough to say hello. Even in my own home theatre, among musicians and music students who are my friends. With my delightful almost grown up children on either side of me. I was too afraid. Of what? My own failure to meet potential? The fact that my life is still in potential energy?
We had a long, distant relationship. Why do I remember every mean thing he ever said? Were there no happy times? Mostly distance. He was handsome and funny. But didn't want me to succeed. He learned a lot of racial hate where he was working. Do you think he has changed as much as I have? I don't even want to know. What a waste.
I went back to my highschool sweetheart who is a deeply good man. I have such luxury to stay home with my kids, and now return to school. I did not waste my youthful love and energy.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
We're in a bit of a heat wave. Last night at 9pm, a sign read 35 degrees. One of my nephews said it was over 40 yesterday (double it and add 30). But D. says they're both inaccurate. On what grounds?
I'm in the basement. I opted out of going up the hill to SIL's pool this time. I don't enjoy being splashed and dunked. When I swim, I do laps and slip into a zen-like space of good breathing. This is good for my asthma, but the chemicals in the pool are usually too harsh for my skin. I come out and feel like I'm being bitten by hundreds of ants. I used to get that just from a shower, but I've become an expert at products for sensitive skin. Say LUSH with me.
I spent four hours yesterday stripping wallpaper with my daughter in her room. Yes- masochistic. She really wasn't very horrible. Can it be the first time I've asked her to work hard? I think of all the things I did with my sisters when I was young. When I was her age, my sister and I painted the kitchen for Mom while she was at work. Too bad it turned out to be a pukey bright green and not at all what she wanted.
On Monday I will prime all four wall, the two plaster, the wood and the gyprock with a top Fresh start. First I'll sand and wipe. Then we can maybe paper two and paint two. Light aqua blue. That should be nice. I did my ensuite in robin's egg blue and it pleases me.
I'm still not sure if we shouldn't just relegate her to the basement and mock up a bedroom. Then I could have her sunny room as my office/guestroom. It seems too much to ask for a door.
I used to study in the basement. But I just wouldn't come down here to the dark and artificial light when we have a beautiful back garden. It was slowly taken over by musical instruments. It's hard to write when the pipers are practicing in your room. Priming the walls won't hurt in any case.
Tomorrow I give the message at church. I did the whole service from scratch and I'm doing a duet with a young clarinet player. I hope I don't look like too much of an amateur. Next week we do a special service with lots of readers and then I'm away for three Sundays. I'll try not to let the constant heat leave me, as Jane Austen said, in a constant state of inellegance. Wish me safe delivery.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Lastnight, on a second attempt, I got the right gauge. For some this would be no good, but I have really struggled with shape and size. I did my first swatch at the rink and was off quite a bit. I rarely use the needles called for, but I thought I'd try it. This can lead me on a trail of many tries and no hits. Then I have to pick another pattern or yarn.
Last fall, I was visiting a friend in Bellingham. She and her husband are both knitters. Liz and I went on a wonderful yarn crawl, and Frank was interested in the treasures I found. I was freshly burned from the cotton Mariah gauge crisis and was whining away.
Frank said, "You just pull the string with your finger. What's stopping you?"
Good advice from a no-nonsense man.
So my gauge is much better now. But no guarantees.
I had to use a 3mm instead of 4mm. But the conquest, the victory. I am in love with this red alpaca. I can see the garter-stitch border is going to be gorgeous. This very simple baby kimono- from Debbie Bliss- will have the elegance I am seeking.
When I was expecting my first, I unexpectedly received sweater from several friends who wrote to the baby that his mother had taught them to knit. I don't even remember teaching them all, but I was so touched. I'm a softy anyway.
Such a simple undertaking. I have achieved gauge. I'm O.K.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Things are better than I expected. The 13 year old is preparing a sleep-over extraordinaire if camp is a no-go. I finally took meds for my IBS. The sun is shining and I'm heading to the freezing rink for an hour of knitting.
The washer and dryer should arrive on Saturday. I hope we can get our amazing neighbour to help us install it.
The little sock is still a little sock. Instead of swatching the red alpaca Debbie Bliss baby kimono yesterday, I transposed the entire Sunday Service. Good to have it done.
My husband is taking me out for supper on Friday. This is good for many reasons. Come piping season, he is either at Highland Games or taking vet call to cover his weekends away. For many years I drummed in the band and even taught the youth band. But when the daughter was done, I needed to be available to parent her. And I was choked that I wasn't getting enough bass drum time. So now he pipes alone, or with our reluctant son who is doing his final gig at the end of the month.
Also, D's sciatica has been a real trouble since it first arrived May 24. It was 6 wks before any improvement. But I did use the frying pan to the head method to get him to protect it. At least don't work on any untied cows! So it still hurts, but he can drive now and the progress is miniscule but measurable.
I have my homework done for this week (almost) and I'll have my final written before we fly out on Aug 5th. This online course has been a lot of work. First learning the online practices and then doing all the research. Can I do this for three semesters a year? That would give me very little time off. Almost all of August. Hmm. But that's like a normal job.
Will I be able to join the community band in the fall, and continue my flute lessons? We're down soccer, Emily's piano, Scott's piping and the kids have been trained to walk to school. It's a slow path.
At this age they are being introduced to so much. I try to make it one or two things at a time. But they have achieved a lot. Cooking, cleaning, heading out on bike and walk adventures.
Right now it's laundry. And I'm so thankful they are helping with that. I ended up just bringing home wet laundry from the office. We have a perfectly good clothes line. But I had run out of time. They actually helped. Without grumbling. This is good. We're carrying on.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
I did fire off an email to the registrar and a phone message to put her on a waiting list. But this is our very own camp where I worked as a nurse for 10 years. They were babies and toddlers there. I've done a terrible thing to encourage her to look forward to it. What am I going to do?
Between a back-aching husband who can only say angry denials in response to this, and the girl who "never gets to go anywhere or do anything".
I can only pray that we'll get a response soon.
Monday, July 17, 2006
On Saturday night, when I finished the hat, I was unable to start a new project. My hand was aching from entering my homework into Word. I was stuck. With new wool, several potential projects, I was just unable to move forward. Not that I had nothing on the needles, but the thistle shawl is just as complicated as starting over.
On Sunday morning, I was cured. I picked up the instructions for my first toe-up sock and read Wendy's instructions. Make a swatch. Of course. The next time I'm unambitious or overloaded, I'll set up the next swatch. I don't even have to count it. Just put it with the plans.
I feel better.
I also did some sewing. Fun! Just a very little bit, and not clothes for me. Another bag. We are travelling in August and I wanted to have nice hostess gifts. It started with the Zelda knitting bag. I saw it on knitty and it wanted to spend time with me sooooo badly. I even emailed Lettuce Knit in Toronto. They were pleased to get it in for me - for $200.00. Do you know how much wool that is? So I sewed a little bag for a sock project or baby sweater in the same kink of light blue vintage fabric. Maybe $30.00, but that was enough to make a second, larger bag. Today's bag is patchwork oriental inspired fabric with some marvelous silk and linen for the handles.
I finished my homework on time, too. And my cyber instructor is going to let me write the final before we fly out. How nice. How much do I want to do this year round? I think I was just tired of being so focussed. I also am co-ordinating the service this Sunday. I enjoyed the quiet Saturday morning, after my walk, to write the message and prayers. More types of swatching.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Today I finished hat number 7. This year I am making one hat per month, so that in December, I can contribute to the men's shelter at First United Church in East Vancouver.
Now, I like to knit for babies. I put blessings into each stitch and visualize them squirming and crawling in the little sweaters and blankets I knit. Every one of the cousins gets a knit gift. My hairdresser got a blanket last year. I am passionate about babies, and I used to word as a pediatric nurse.
But I get angry about old, alcoholic men who make bad choices and drag down all those around them. Why? My father was an alcoholic and left my mother before I was born. I was the fourth girl, and he left a few times after I was born. When I was three, she packed us up from Ontario and we took a train ride to B.C. where his sister reluctantly helped us out. It was her husband who offered us sanctuary, but he died when I was about eight.
I did meet my father when I was 10. He was tall and charismatic and played jazz piano like an angel. He was also loud and impatient and still drank. He had married my mother's best friend and they had a daughter. Shaun. She was at my 10th birthday. She'd probably be 40 now. I hope she is strong and smart and funny, like she was then.
We kind of got on with out lives. Successes and marriages and children.
But last year, our biological father died in a home in East Van. The most poverty stricken area in North America. A contrast to our idyllic rural beauty in the valley, an hour away. I didn't know he was in the last stage of liver failure and in a wheelchair for years. I didn't know he was alive. I always hoped he'd dry up and clean up and wonder who I was.
So this year I am knitting my blessings into warm hats for other regretful men. Will it help? It makes me think about it. It makes me wonder about their families.
We were already involved with making donations to the mission there, but I felt it was too impersonal. I wanted to do something a bit more. I'll keep knitting.
Hopefully I can knit together my uncertainty.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Why do I think that I love summer?
My expectations are all out of whack!
Today we did have some fun at the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. That's a summer escape- a matinee with the kids. Great movie. I wish I was back in the Caribbean. I look at my lovely blue topaz with the green fire and remember the sea. Mostly it's being in an all-inclusive resort with my husband and great friends. No walls to wash- that was my other activity today.
But I did walk the dog. It's not quite so hot, and I must grasp onto the things that balance my life. Like reading- I lingered in bed this morning to read another chapter.
Like knitting. I did quite a bit in the movie house while waiting. Almost done a hat-in-stash. This is part of a bigger project.
But right now I'm going to take the kids up to Grandma's to swim. We can linger by the pool and stay out in the light summer evening, smelling the roses.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The workmen are gone, but I'm stuck with dirt and dust and filth. I swept the floors, after the 16 hour sealant drying time. I vacuumed the small amount of carpeting left and then had to remove all these gross spots. Yuck. The stair railing, fridge, baseboard, anything they touched is grimy and fingerprinted. I'm not a persnickety housekeeper, but I was a nurse, and I believe things need to be kept clean to last.
At least I have my little office back. I had to lug the furniture around myself. D is not around, and he hurt his back anyway. Grumpy bum. My cleaning list is almost complete. Then I add something. No!!!
Clapotis enjoyed watching Star Trek last night. She's all finished and rippling ocean colours in her silk beauty. I can't believe how easy it was to knit.
We're on the final season. I know, D's so impressed that we wathched ALL of the Voyager series. Don't worry. He bought the first few seasons of The Next Generation.
Some day I'll get to watch my PBS Jazz series again, and maybe some mysteries I borrow from the library. When is he going to the next Highland Games?
I'm running into the office to wash clothes. Whew. I'd better run and get the next load settled. Not really summer holidays is it? At least the kids are playing outside or in the basement and the workmen are not underfoot.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The heat has finally broken! It's raining again. I live in this Pacific Coast Rainforest in order to enjoy the warm, rich, moist air. My asthma does not like hot and dry or even cold and dry. So home should be perfect. But one of the first things we were told on global warming (in 1977) was that we were going to get someone else's weather.
Unfortunately, my house is ripped apart (slowly being put back together) by the floor layers and I am on my little covered porch with my fridge in the living room. Stressful disruption. Thank heavens I get internet this far from the router.
I apologize for the mistakes in the last post. I did immediately go back and fix them, but the program wouldn't accept the edit. It just smiled and said, "have a nice day" and then ignored me like a shop girl. I will work more diligently to edit before I post. Yes I can learn, just not everything at the same time.
My daughter returned to skating yesterday after a short break so... knitting at the rink. I'm almost finished Clapotis, so soft and lovely. Pics soon. I enjoy the visiting and the knitting, but not the cold, dry air.
Today is all about messy paperwork in a temporary space, and hopefully getting out to shop for new washer and dryer. My old ones aren't worth putting back. The laundry is piling up, and I won't be using the clothesline in this warm, heavy rain.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Yesterday we had such a lovely party! The weather stayed warm and dry until we were done. My sisters were happy and laughing. Some of my nephews came to help us chow down on ribs and salmon. It was happy.
But today we have the floor workers here. Such noise! Such mess- and they're attempting to control it.
I'm not very successfully hiding in the sunroom, trying to research my homework. Week 10 of 12. Almost there. It's so very difficult to keep focused.
Tomorrow I shall retreat to the basement if I can get any time on the computer at all.
Clapotis is now in the decreasing phase. Coming along rather quickly, actually. I have a small project and then I think I'll start the tip down cabled raglan. The wool has been in a box under my desk to assert itself as the next project- for ages. Should I listen? Should I just leave it until I can no longer manage the harping? Should I stifle its cries by banishing it to the basement? At what point am I changing my own rules too much?
I should try to recreate the feelings of adoration I once held for this wool when I chose it and brought it home at 35% off. I was tickled. This is also the first sweater in a bigger project that I fear to begin because I may get swamped. I may succeed. Oh no. I need an artificial deadline that is reasonable enough to believe myself.
I could always create my own reality.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
The Highland Games schedule in the Pacific Northwest takes pipers and dancers from the north end of Vancouver Island to Portland. We used to go to every game. Every weekend. Start packing on Wednesday. Small childrens toys, small kilts, drums, pipes, snacks. Whew. And I was competing as a tenor drummer myself and teaching several kids. Whew.
Saturday was my first Games this year. Since my daughter and I stopped drumming, it isn't as compelling. Or maybe we just were immunized to the mania.
Each Games has its own character. Mt. Vernon is small and well-run. We go to a friends' BBQ after, which always makes it special. Last year, for the first time, I ventured off the grounds. I found Helen's Needlework. She sold me some Mountain Colors sock yarn, her Fibretrends pattern, some wooden double points and a little leash to hold them. I liked her matter of fact knowledge. I went back.
Jane was lovely, trying to help me find wool for a difficult gift. I loved the loose yardage of Mountain Colors. Do you think I have a red thing going? And that's real XXL Trekking sock yarn that I saw last year and wish I had bought. The red alpaca was for a baby sweater. but now I think I'll make a lace scarf. Maybe. And there's more! There was another yarn shop down the road with Rowan and organic cotton and cutting edge cool. Two stores! I'll be back next Highland Games.
Friday, July 07, 2006
It's fun travelling without boys. You don't have to worry about them getting bored or hungry or just hijacking the plans. The girls are just the right age to start this kind of trip.
I didn't get to go to a wool shop. But if we're in Mt. Vernon tomorrow, I'll nip out to Helen's like I did last year. I did get to go to Barnes and Noble (YAY) and bought copies of the Shakespeare plays we're to see in August, and a paperback Ulysses so I can read it without ruining my lovely Folio edition. My SIL does not like bookstores. But I think she was OK leaving us there while she went back for more clothes.
We know summer is here, because the border crossing took over an hour to travel two blocks! Plus it's only going to get worse. Luckily we were in good spirits and good company.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tomorrow I take my daughter and niece (both 13) to Bellingham with my sister-in-law. This is a test. Repeat, this is only a test. If the girls are rediculous, or SIL and I can't focus on the same nanosecond, we'll chalk it up to experience. However, I am very encouraged by the olive branch and the good idea. The girls can drive each other wild. SIL is the queen of bargoons. So if I'm not looking for an Hermes scarf, we can really dive into the sales. I hope I'll get leave for good behavior to walk to a wool shop, or to sip coffee at a bookstore. My dreams, my wishes. I will settle for leather handbags and cool kitchen gadgets.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
We've decided to get new flooring. Our white carpet, though of the highest quality, was never our choice. A decorator lived in this house before us and I have spent 9 years "undecorating"it. Warm, understated, flattering colours, with low contrast are what I have chosen. Items we have gathered on our travels and gifts from loved ones. Less stuff than we used to have.
So I want a floor that doesn't say "Wow! Look at that floor!" I want a floor that I can live with and that will withstand our rather hard use.
So I'm back to comparing beiges. It took me two years to pick the one on our wall. Wheat. But it is definitely the right choice. With our grey skies in winter, I need golden tones. But not outright yellow. Those of you who compare two white yarns will understand. It's the feeling, the mood.
Everyone is putting in hardwood. But I don't want it. I was relieved to know I had another choice that isn't loud on doggie nails, is soft and warm on feet and won't mind me scrubbing it.
And bonus- less vacuuming. I hate vacuuming. I especially hate vacuuming black dog hair from a white carpet. The irony is, she's afraid of the vacuum. Well, if you didn't shed so much...
The summer is in full fling, and I fight for my computer time to do my research and homework questions. Don't tell the family that I'm not studying right now. They're all playing on the drums with a computer program. Yes. This is peace and quiet for me.
I take my choices where I can get 'em.
Monday, July 03, 2006
There are now two Baby Tart hats to send to charity. Thank goodness a lady in Massachusetts is also offering a nutrition course, because my stash is wool. Very little cotton. I don't cotton to knitting cotton.
My last mistake was a pretty big one! Mariah. Yes, the beautiful Jodi Green cabled zip hoodie. I knit it a size smaller to allow for my stupid gauge troubles, and it still stretched to one size too big. Blast! It's hard enough knitting for a teenage girl, but to have the angst of poor fit. Next time I'll knit it from Cascade 220.
What's very odd, is that since I complained about this sluggish program a few days ago, the thing has run like lightning. Weird. If I ask for better service at the Bay, do you think they will listen? I don't think so either.
I went to my local yarn shop today and left without a purchase. Brutal. I wanted some bulky Lopi or similar wool. Nada. And such a good sale. But not for special orders. I'm wondering if my poncho project shouldn't sit behind a few other things. I have a baby blanket to make for November and a little sweater for January, too.
I have two balls of wool from last summer for socks that I never made. Two balls of sock yarn does not make a big stash, I know. But I also have a 2 full sweaters of wool and at least 2 shawls. I'm trying to keep things simple. I have some big plans and I wonder if I'm just putting off starting, like James Joyce Ulysses. Just read it. Well, not until I read a few other things.
The hats are to be made from stash. That's a rule. And these baby hats are just the tip of the iceburg- more on that later. When I saw Stephanie's watermelon hat (again) I was tempted to buy some cotton in yummy colours, but that is not toward the purpose.
Actually most of my stash is natural ivory aran wool. I knit a lot of cabled sweater. I did play in a pipe band and I am married to a piper. I really can't get enough of the cables and variations. That's why I'm a big fan of Alice Starmore. D bought me three books at Highland Games last year. But not the Fishermans Knits. In a strange coincidence, my drumming friend in Bellingham has the same knitting books as me- almost to a one. Kindrend knitters.
Clapotis is ticking along. It's a bit mesmerizing. I won't be doing any bobbles again soon. Do remind me that the reason I dislike them is because they totally blow my hand. I woke in the night with burning pain in my index finger. The one I'm using right now. It's OK now. But I'm on a bobble diet.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
This is a little Baby Tart hat from knitty. It's to send to California when I get the address of the health instructor who's trying to help women in need.
Why did I struggle so much with this pattern? I cast on three times! The first time I ever twisted a circular knit! Eventhough I was in a rare state of solitude, watching a rare spate of TV of my own choice, I was flustered. Then I wouldn't let it go!
Maybe the neighbour's visitor's pit bull in my livingroom (twice!!) had me rattled. Thank heavens my own dog is not agressive and "Chaos" was relatively friendly. But come on. Control your dog. If only for his own safety. Naming a pit bull Chaos is asking for it. Those people with the little fluffly dogs who lunge at my still black giant while the owners sweetly account "He's such a bad baby". No you are a bad owner who is depriving him of a happy existence.
My own daughter is grounded right now for mouthing off at her Dad. We do not think that kind of assertiveness is cute, even in a young girl.
So I hope the new mommies can feel some strength in the gifts of hats that will be sent from all over the kingdom of knitting. The blessings for the future of their own little hopes and dreams.
I'm already knitting another one to further conquer my counting errors and focus my attention away from my own need to rest (bleeding nose) and my husband's sciatica.
A blessing for myself for this quiet Sunday.