Sunday, May 27, 2007


I am spending a lot of time on very simple little baby sweaters. The knitting is very basic, the shapes are basic and the yarn is the focus.
Why would I do that when I can knit fair isle and lace, complicated sweaters of my own design and fantasitcal productions in wool?

I am enjoying the simplicity. At the same time I came upon a Lucy Neatby video at the library and I am charmed by her no nonsense and gentle approach to finishing.

Much of what she showed me was what I had been trying to do as the best choice from trial and error (lots of error) but I haven't been consistent because I never was sure.
I really felt that a "real" knitter would scoff at my finishing. I dreaded it and made a botch of it in anticipation of failure.
But now, when I'm rather exhausted from doing to much "out there", my knitting is simple and calming and I am free to gently and correctly match seams with the expertise of a great teacher behind me. What a joy.
In the past I have often charged that which I deplore. I became a crack nurse at gross dressings and the dying patient.
I'll do the nasty chores before settling in to get the nicer part of the job done- the equivalent of my oldest sister's "eat your peas first"
But finishing must be done last. It is so easy to go on to the next project with the promise of finishing later. I know people who pay others to do their finishing.
But now I have joined the ranks of those who accept finishing as part of a sweater project.

Just in time, too because I was brave enough to cast on the shawl collar of my diagonal sweater and I will have long raglan seams to finish as soon as I knit 4 more inches.
The scarf fit in a little plastic box. The kimono is ready for the mom's visit next month and the blue chunky sweater of Patagonian cotton will be ready to give our expecting skating coach this last week at the rink.
The cardigan collar is a fraction of what I thought it would be and I think I may work on my thistle lace shawl (also for myself) before beginning a nephew sweater of a birthday gift shawl. The Fleece Artist is awfully tempting. A siren rather than a muse.
I dipped into my extensive button collection to find buttons for this chunky cardigan. I finished it while watching Pan's Labyrinth. Not a great choice considering it is in Spanish with English subtitiles. But a wonderful fairy story told in a beautifully dark mood. Haunting music. I can still hum the tune.
This spate of finishing was foretold and I am not feeling any sense of loss. Rather relief to be caught up to my (artificially imposed) deadlines and expectation of future buffets of wool.
It is almost the end of the skating season, the school year, piano classes and Sunday School.
Aye Fond Farewell.

Monday, May 21, 2007

May Retreat

I'm just back from camp up at Cultus Lake. I'm so tired from helping the wonderful cook.
We had a blast but it was very heavy work for two to feed 80. Cook was so great about having vegetarian and vegan and milk free and wheat free. I got confused.
Not just camp food, either. Chicken enciladas, brilliant lasagna, they were very lucky.
Thanks wonderful cook for the fun and singing and tips on making things yummy.

My daughter went and had a good time at her second retreat.

I came home in the evenings and crashed infront of the TV. It was our 18th wedding anniversary and D. was on call, so we're going to celebrated with dinner tomorrow night at the restaurant where he proposed, La Mansione.

Right now I have to get my turn at the shower and put in a load of laundry. I have some finishing to show off next time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Too Much of a Good Thing

Mothers' Day came with a trip to Urban Yarns in Vancouver. My friend has lost both parents and I was grumpy about last year's horrific Mothers' Day, so we took off for a lovely day.
I had ordered some lace weight, but it was sent to the other store. I ended up, after more than an hour of poking about, choosing the Fleece Artist Soft Wavy Wrap. It has the luminous blue and waves look I was going to use in the Print of the Waves shawl. The bonus is the quick knit.
I seem to be up to my armpits in projects.
I am dutifully decreasing on my sleeve. Good knitter.
Also having trouble with the pink tape online solo scarf as I have to use my right hand to throw the yarn.
Also quickly knitting up a black toque with pink wormy projections for daughter's super hero costume for camp this weekend "Anemone Emily".
Also looking at list of babies due. I have found the original patterns for the thicker yarns I had chosen and now have extra light yarns for future babies. Must finish one for May and one for June. The scarf is also for June.
the new yarn. Fleece Artist shawl for October- my second sister turning 50!
Kiri in purple Rowan Kid Silk Haze for September for Auntie turning 70! I'll probably work on this during out August Scotland trip.
Another Kiri for October- good friend turning 50! She'll get her pedicure socks for Xmas.
Another baby in October- our best babysitter we had for 6 years. She will be getting a baby denim jean jacket.
That's already more knitting than the calendar allows.
And my carpal tunnel is acting up. Of course. I will try to moderate my rowing machine, but I love the way it strengthens my shoulders and improves my posture (all the better to knit my dear).
The list strangely calms me.
Don't expect me to stick to it too closely. Right now I'm a bit of a magpie.
Too many things on the needles. Perhaps in the coming weeks it will all come cascading to finishings. This is May, right?
My kids did do a lovely job of making me feel appreciated when I returned from my great escape. I'm lucky. At 16 and 14, they are poised to escape on their own adventures.

A Prayer

A new friend of mine is having a breast cancer lump removed on Friday. I feel helpless.
I start talking 'Nurse" about making sure she has what she needs and sticks up for herself. Listens to her own gut and rests and looks after herself.
I ask about pre and post-op care. But I am not her nurse and I am only a new friend.
So I made her a prayer shawl.
The stitches are in groups of three.
This one is knit on size 5mm and size 17mm needles. It is Caron shadows from Michaels. It was quick and fun. I knit it in one day and thought of her and prayed for her all day. I don't know how I'm going to get it to her. I've made myself a new problem, but I needed to reach out and I hope she can wrap herself in some love as she enters the world of the Cancer patient. I was a pediatric oncology nurse and I have trouble not immersing myself in all the care giving measures that suited me so. I cried so hard the day my son was born for all the invasive procedures I had done on other people's children. I know I helped them to live, but I didn't know how horrible it was until I held my own baby in my arms.
My friend was someone's baby and she is someone's mother and wife. She is also a good friend.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Who Are the People In Your Neighbourhood?

Because of my stinking foot, I'm avoiding the mall. You can't get anything without walking miles.

Yesterday I went down town. Our sad and neglected little town. I usually shop the used book store, the shoe shop and the cool home furnishings: Objekts.

But I popped in on a friend from the choir and listened about her trip to Holland. I'm not in the choir anymore and miss our casual visits. She works in a "quaint" shop of new and used lace and teacups. A bit twee for me. So good to see her.
Around the corner is a hobby shop that may have the little figurine I'm looking for. I need a horse. I'll tell you about it in another post.

I walk in and the lady shouts, "I know you!!!"
Oh no. Is this another Weight Watchers client I have forgotten? Someone I nursed years ago? A skating mom? Someone from the other side of the soccer field?
No she recognized me from the wool shop and she remembered my felted bag (constant companion from Knitters' Stash) I had bumped into her at the wool shop months ago. She's going to have a nice hobby shop. She invited me to the Tuesday night gathering. I invited her to my as yet to be formed Sardis knit group.
She was so interested in one of my projects I told her I wanted to write it up and maybe have it published and she offered to be a test knitter.

How rich it is to step out of the virtual world and visit with real knitters. She brought up knitty and we both agreed we love "folly". I think it was before its time. Maybe we'll knit it together.

Pass It On

I was honoured to be asked to teach a child how to knit.
It's been a while since I've started someone from scratch. UBC was a good time for that and Nursing School.
This is a little girl who comes to the rink with her babysitter and she has actually pestered me and didn't believe I would do it.
She's about 8, but funny and funky.
I grabbed some needles from my extensive stash. I've inherited needles from my family, D's family and the past aunties of many friends. These are for sharing.
I cast on 15 stitches and showed her the rhyme again. She already had memorized it a few weeks before. I got it from Melanie Falick's Kids Knitting.
Under the gate
Catch the sheep
Back we come
Off we leap
She sat close to me and we worked the needles together. I knew I had her when there was no break between taking a stitch off and starting the next. Good girl.
She was very philosophical about mistakes and accepted the ideas that we share in this virtual network: everyone makes mistakes. Some of them are to be fixed and some of them are to stay. Learning how to fix your own mistakes is the goal- not not making mistakes.
I hope she comes back next Wednesday. She will be the only one in her family who is so gifted that she can knit.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Time After Time

Unfortunately I just found a wonderful teaching method that so totally agrees with everything I'm trying to do with my Sunday School, that I want to drop everything and immerse myself. I'm years behind and there's all sorts of resources on line. I borrowed the book in September and never even opened it because it's a big commitment in time and understanding and the dreaded self-discovery. What if I'm not really in there?

I don't know how to juggle another ball.

Yesterday I went to the Y and had a great workout but ended up the day with terrible foot pain. What caused it? I hated being in the anorexic gym after the welcome and belonging of the teaching workshop.

Today I gave up the gym for the rose bed. Only one. I have about five and each is at least 2 hours of work. This is the first day I've had the weather and the where with all. But two wheel barrows is definitely beyond my limit.

How will I knit if my hand is crippled with pain? See the cycle?

I finished up the morning by cleaning the downstairs fridge. Ugh. I need to do the one upstairs as well as assorted spring cleaning that was cut short by my crappy health.

We need to have a family meeting and discuss what we will do to prepare for the potential flood. We are in the flood plain, but in the second zone. Does that make a difference?

I'm still waiting for paperwork to start my registration back to Nursing. These mundane time-takers will have to be evaluated and some will have to go.

One sleeve done!! I told myself I could work on my coooky scarf gift if I finished the sleeve. Well, I got the scarf done and I found myself very sensibly casting on the second sleeve. Good for me. Do I want a sweater? Yes. How will I get to enjoy it? Oh, yes, knit and finish. Some day I will be so smart... when I find the time.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Virtual Comfort

I'm back at the Y but not in the pool. It's great fun to read on the recumbant cycle.
But it hasn't been a great week.

D. has lost MY keys, locked himself out of his (my) van far away on a farm, bought a new practice van and made us late for cello, lost his phone/palm pilot and finally lost his wallet.
Make him sit down so none of us get hurt or lost.

On Tuesday I made a lovely roast beef dinner which I couldn't sit down to because Noodle pie coaches at the rink. When we came home, I sat alone with a book and a glass of wine to enjoy my dinner while the others played violent video games. Well, I choked - on a pea- and I went into an asthma attack. A real one. The first I've had in about 20 years. Now I'm on a hair trigger and have had to fight off other smaller attacks all week. More of my very own limitations.

The good thing is that, after I rescued myself from the pea and scared my family, I rested in bed with my sleeve and listened to Lime and Violet. What a fun podcast. They really comforted me. I was able to laugh and listen along.

I also found out, thanks to them, that I do have a kimono pattern for the organic cotton I bought for a baby sweater. It's in the Mason Dixon book. Of Course! Well at least I was able to be comforted and get good knitting vibes.

I'm OK now but shopping for a medic alert bracelet. I'll look on line.