Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From My Window

It is common, here in Chilliwack, for the snow to come after Christmas. I was so excited for my snow-loving, snowman-constructing daughter. But she has another 8 hour drumline practice because they're going to the Olympics. She's the only girl in the snare line. I decided that after yesterday's sleep day, I really needed a snow day. I'm going to stay in and knit because I really haven't finished my mitten(s).
I have got a good start, though. Notice the Japanese Rose Garden nail polish. That's from Emily and will make great Hawaii toes in February. This mitten was too difficult for me to knit at work. I think I'll cast on a sock next shift set and just go with it.

The Fleece Artist Lady of the Lake sweater was also too hard because apparently I was playing fast and loose with picking a size. I cast on a small (huge gauge problems) and then proceded to shape a medium. I couldn't even figure it out yesterday. I did knit on it at work a wee bit but just to the 18 inch mark. I have it set up now. We'll see if I did it on purpose.
I quickly knit up a hat for a new friend and a new nurse from London. He had never had Kraft Dinner before, so I cooked some up in the microwave on nights. We were trying to compensate for a brutal work load.
Then I said, "All you need now is a canoe and a toque".
He said, "What is a toque?" and I said, "Oh, man, you just wait."
I cast it on a 3pm when I had woken up and finished it on my break that night. When I put it on his head, he was so excited and said, "Now I can go to Whistler!" What a sweetheart. He handsome and single and is so going to end up with a Canadian wife!
And now to dream of Hawaii in February. I need to finish the silk Tuscany shawl. But I really don't like the silk. It was hard to wrangle it into behavior at the beginning. I feel right now that if I stick to it like it's my only project, I'll get in the groove and it will make itself. But I get really distracted when I try to knit it and start cleaning out the fridge and stuff.
Now I'm brainstorming to set up my goals and wishes for 2010. I want to thank Neuroknitter at We Heart Yarn for this inspiring post .
The poem will be my talisman for the future.
Hope your holidays filled your heart with warmth and joy.
Finally, I want to thank Kal for introducing me to this best of Christmas songs and share it with you. Have a safe and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cheer

Merry Christmas. We had a fantastic family gathering for open house lunch. Missed some of my family, of course, but it was fun. We ate more than half the food- quite a feat, quite a feast.
I took the dog for a walk this morning and the sky was so pretty. I rarely use the long lens, and should practice more often.
Mitten knitting this morning. Trying to fall in love with the knitting as much as I was smitten by the mitten pattern. At least I knit loosely- good for colour work.
I work tomorrow, so we'll try to make it a special day for our patients and the other nurses.
Off to church to sing in the choir and then home to watch Alister Sim.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rallying Comfort

The boy sweaters are done and blocking in the short winter light. I hope the baby cousin has a name now. This Child's Placket Neck Pullover is a wonderful quick knit. With all the baby clothes I have knit in the past and especially recently, I'm happy to have a nice boy knit that churns out quickly and turns out well.
It was soup making day. Winter Italian Minestrone is from Carrie at work. I want to follow her with a notebook to pick up more good recipes, but that would get tangled in the cardiac monitor lines.

The traditional Christmas Eve French Onion soup. Just onions and soup. The secret ingredient is "time". I love slow cooking. The pot was brimming with sweet Wala Wala onions when I started. Hours later, they cooked down and carmelized and drove the kids crazy. "When will it be ready?" We actually had to have a bowl already because it was too full in the pot. You know.
Off to Avatar tonight on the big screen in a theatre in the next town. Nice to have the four of us.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Looking for Comfort

I made chicken noodle soup to take to work and it was so nice to find comfort.
Uncomfortable: too many ducks to count and having them come up on the deck toward me when I go outside. Let loose the dog.

Exciting: two sleeves on one circular. These knit themselves on my breaks during day shift. I figured out the technique for the more challenging and future two socks. This needle was too short and the outside edges are a bit uneven.

The placket neck sweater was so quick in DK that I cast on another in some sock yarn. This is for a cousin whose first baby received a red alpaca kimono. This one had to be at least "nice". I knit on the ferry and from Nanaimo to Victoria on the rainy Malahat Highway, visiting Great Grandma and then fetching Scotty home. Yesterday I joined the sleeves to the body while travelling to a family gathering. Very Christmassy.
I even knit an extra gift, soon to be revealed. Presently cast off and wrapped with the rest.
I am blessed to have the comfort of wool and successful projects. Maybe I'll cast on those mittens again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Light In the Darkness

This weekend I worked and we had an incredible to team to work together through the craziness. I can't say enough about Captain Dean. Tuesday morning was freezing rain on top of snow and a hairy drive home. Thankfully I wasn't alone and dropped of my team member who lives near my home.
There was not a lot of knitting because we kept calling the resident to deal with our sick peeps.
Last weekend I joined in a mass choir to sing Christmas carols at our very special Catholic church. One friend sent some pictures and I share my favourite with you.
May you have the peace of light and the joy of music.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Catching the Spirit

The weather is on the verge of snow. Here is a picture of snow on the verge. I have crossed off the exhaustive and exhausting list that included baking, cards, shopping, decorating, knitting and wrapping .
I have even finished and wrapped January presents. I hope this sister's incorrigible dial up keeps her from lurking. The two colours are a bit subtle, but suited to her and much warmer. Superwash! This gift should make it through the cleaning unlike last year's.

There was a bit of sun in the front room thismorning to capture the conquering. The Basic Earflap Hat is a bit long on the flaps. I hope it will suffice for feeding the chickens and moving the cattle.
Now there's nothing but hospital shifts and play. I hate slaving in the kitchen and cleaning up exhausting messes when others are having a little holiday of cookies and Christmas videos.
I am a bit overtired, but it's done. I work tomorrow without the fear of not getting the Christmas list done. I can concentrate on my patients. I even have tortiere roll ups to take Saturday night to the nursing unit party.
Then, on Tuesday, I get 10 days of fun.
I don't want to let responsibilities and unreasonable expectations get in the way of catching the Christmas Spirit.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

If I Didn't Know Better

These fingerless gloves are making another appearance because when I went to wrap them, I noticed they didn't match. I already had to cut off a bunch of the bottom on one. Now I noticed that only one had one by one ribbing at the top. If I didn't know better, I wouldn't have noticed. If I didn't know better, I wouldn't recognize my darning of ends to easily to get back to the beginning. If I didn't know better, I couldn't pick out my sewn bind off and knit up the ribbing. I guess I'm such a bad knitter because I'm such a good knitter. Or, "I've made that mistake before." One of the delights of Ravelry is the notes that are included in others' project pages. Thanks for sharing your mods and mistakes so I can learn.
I'm redoing the blue hat with fair isle to make it warmer and use the wool. This is the same grey as the gloves, so I had to finish a pattern to get a piece of it. There is no way I can knit this except in good day light.

The blue has a nice variegation of itself.
I also picked back my Hey Teach button band because I should have listened to Alison who said the buttons should be closer. I did make a note, but I didn't read it. I was able to easily pick back the button band and keep the stitches for new placement of holes. Unfortunately I knicked the wool when I cut off the now misplaced buttons and had to reknit that band too.
But buttertarts, shortbread and jam jams are made and I'm done baking. This morning I wrapped presents to put under the tree.
Oh yah, yesterday I cleaned up the huge ornament hurricane and decorated the tree. I wonder why I'm tired. If I didn't know better, I'd say it's because I'm neglecting my real life.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

First Snow

It snowed on Friday. Just the right amount. The roads were safe and the crisp air was good for dog walking.
Carly loves weather. Rain and storm and wind. I think she imagines herself on a ship off the coast of Labrador.

Paw prints submitted for forensic evidence. If I ever lose her, let me know if you find her. But she doesn't go far from my side.

We were up at the crack of dawn, which is nine in December.

And we walked through the Sto:lo Nation grounds behind us for quiet and space.
We had D's office Christmas dinner which was full of good people and authentic Indian cuisine which is all off my menu.
Saturday was crazy baking of oatmeal cookies for jam jams and taxiing Emily to trumpet Christmas carols at the Santa Lights parade. We then went to a housewarming (and very warm and friendly) dinner party.
Sunday is celebrating Advent at church with extra music. Then a massed choir in town. What a joy. I didn't sing but played flute and drummed (for my dear life). I'll have to contact my flute teacher and thank her eventhough I haven't had lessons for six months. It was pretty reckless and exciting. Our wonderful Lisa is the only choir director who works with jazz.
Tomorrow I'll do my buttertarts and be done.
The chunky scarf is almost done and Emily is knitting for Scott so I can cross that off my list. I had just the wool, too.
Now I will sit and knit for a bit.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Welcome Distractions

I managed to plant a Christmas planter before I went to work. D put the blue lights on the bushes and it was so sweet to come home to. He also edited the Youth Group Christmas skit that I wrote and we taped a few weeeks ago. It was so good to see the finished product and look forward to seeing it on the big screen on Christmas Sunday.
Who knows who is lurking?
I continue to reveal Christmas projects, merrily skipping along. If you see your gift, it's up to you to feign surprise because I have no guilt on that. This is a Pretty Thing in Misty Alpaca hand paint. I could have chosen a yarn to highlight this pattern, but J chose the yarn and I scooped it. It couldn't be softer! I'll make another one in a plain when I get my hands on some.

I chose to use the same Cascade 220 for fingerless gloves for another sister. This simple lace pattern complements the Hermione cables and lace hat that kicked off this giftapalooza of knitting. I now have 3 January birthday presents to knit/finish. And a special gift for my niece's baby, but she won't be seeing that on the blog first.

The horror that is my white knuckle sewing is a not so bad once I get going. I've taken over Scott's room because there is no cleaning up till it's done. This is a Christmas scrub top. I like wearing my jammies to work, but the tops I bought didn't fit so well before I lost weight. I have hopes of simple success. This is a grade eight sewing project after all.
The shortbread is conquered. The oatmeal-date cookies begun and the butter tarts are on deck. Right now the Christmas cards are screaming at me and I can't just work on them tonight because our choir director has once again asked me to play flute on a killer jazzy piece and I need more practice.
Off I go.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Nesting Make Over

The sunroom off our kitchen could be called a breakfast knook. But I have taken up residence because I value sunlight. I have given up calling it my "office" and have switched to the more chaotic appellation of "lab".
My favourite chair is called a "dog and man" chair, but my dog is too big to share and is no longer allowed on the furniture. We got it free when we bought a freezer and it turned out to be "just like" my friend's grandmother's chair that was promised to her. No, it was the actual chair. Whoops. But it is mine now and already needs to be recovered again.
In order to include my husband more in our morning coffee and to open up the space, I finally found the chairs have wanted since we had breakfast in the Denman Street Bread Garden about five years ago.

They are slipper chairs or armless chairs and very comfortable. I found a "roundy" table to put our coffee on.

The dresser is actually a file cabinet. Yay. I have much more stuff to put away and I need to find a flow of yarn in use and in queue. I like to have projects "in play" which means if it is out of sight, it is out of mind. Plus I can take quite a while to come up with the best idea and need little reminders.
The cold weather makes me want to feather my nest. When you come over, we can have our tea in the sunroom now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Neglected But Not Forgotten

You know those bananas you put in the freezer when they go brown so you can use them in muffins? Well, mine were threatening to take over the kitchen. It was time for action. My recipe uses dessert tofu instead of eggs and they turn out pretty yummy. I made a 4X batch on Sunday.

With the excuse of muffins in the oven, I was able to turn to my Hey Teach as "Primary Knitting". It took a lot of time to put the button bands and collar on. Then on Monday I pieced the sleeves and this morning I finished all the ends. I'm not much of a project knitter, but the soft cotton/wool helped me with the excrutiating process. This sweater clubbed me over the head this summer, but I want to wear it at Christmas for family gatherings and darned if I wasn't going to finish it. Next stop: buttons.

I also reknit the Baby Surprise Jacket so the picked up stitches weren't right on the front by the button holes. This is important when it is a gift for a very thorough nurse whom I care about a lot. She was my mentor last year this time when I was trying to get back to nursing. I can only hope that she'll return soon after having the lovely baby. Any day now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flip Flop

Yesterday was beautiful and sunny and quite warm: just a polarfleece top-no jacket required- for walking the dog. Today is grey and cold and very rainy.
The sun tried to warm the wet ground in the local stream beds. We are on flood watch.

These are snow geese or trumpeter swans. My sisters would know which. I was switching back from night shifts and happy to have enough feet left for a good walk.

But I should not be allowed to pick up my knitting. I had dropped a stitch on night shift and picked it up rather poorly. When I finished the sweater- yes bound off and starting to sew the sleeve seams- I was unhappy with the job. First thing in the morning I started "fixing" it. I ripped back to row 64 from 113!!! The whole nights knittings. Man I was disappointed. Still I couldn't give this sweater to a nurse (and my preceptor) when the mistake ended up right on the front. With the baby surprise jacket I'm never sure what's what till the end. Harumph.

Em and I were invited to a baby shower and there was no way we could fit it in. But I said yes and lastnight I knit the baby hat from Leigh Radford's One Skein. Such an amazing book. I'm taking another look at the other projects now.
J picked up the Made in Brooklyn for me at Urban Yarns when she picked up her UBC student. Thanks so much. She'll probably make the first pattern from it. I also got the Patons Street Smart when I stopped in town to get needles. I picked up some chunky wool for Em and she's already knit her boyfriend a great pair of slippers. There's enough to knit a pair for herself, too. She's been home sick. Not the same as homesick. I hope she's better to go to the shower.
That is if the rain hold off.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Organized and Controlled.

Yes, I managed to fix the fingerless mitts, er gloves. I have heard the rant. I have been ranted at. I was a rantee. My sister insists that, as mittens do not have fingers to begin with, there is no such thing as fingerless mitts. These are fingerless gloves. I was also accused of cheating as if I didn't want to finish kniting the fingers. I sure hope they don't mind these as presents.
My one sister did wear the jaywalker socks I knit her and they are almost worn out. I should make her another pair. If they are just a titch too small for me, they will fit her.
I am conquering the "Hey Teach". Not without a tussle, but I completed both fronts in the last few days. Now I cast on for the sleeves. I am going to knit them simultaneously so that the fudging of the lace pattern (as you lose stitches in shaping) is symmetrical.

I also resurrected the woodland shawl. I knit this on the ferry last month and took it to the ice rink yesterday. Emily played O Canada for the Remembrance Day ceremony before the hockey game. She also drummed in the city parade with D piping. I took a picture with my phone, and it may be lost in cyberspace.
On Tuesday I helped a Joyful friend make juice from the grapes I picked in September. We made about 25 litres. Whew! Another phone picture. It will be used as the Communion wine. I don't care for canning and it was exhausting, but I feel it is enough of a blessing to use the gift of the grapes. It was great to see all the beautiful purple jars lined up on the counter, but I don't think I'd like to do it again.
We loved the Singing Revolution sent to me through Mason-Dixon. History in our time that we barely know about. Everyone I've talked to about it is so surprised. I hope it makes it quickly to the next knitter.
It is the season of cleaning and organizing as we get ready to cocoon. The kitchen is sanitized. The basement is being reboxed. And my sunroom is eagerly anticipating a makeover. It'll have to wait until after my set of shifts this weekend, but it should be good to organize the knitting/writing space.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Study in Contrasts

Don't knit in the dark. Don't knit charcoal black wool in the dark. This is the work of a rather experienced knitter. This is the third time this fall I've knit this pattern. I do remember thinking what a wool suck the second one was. I admit I compared them at least 3 times and didn't catch this mistake. It is fixed with a rip-back and Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn cast off.
When I am accused of being a wonderful knitter, I now say that I can do it because I have already made that mistake. I walked down the street to take a picture of the dropping snow line. Mt. Cheam has her white shawl on and the temperature is seriously dropping. I am so thankful for my new bright green dog-walking parka and the reflective leash.
I found a blooming azalea. Poor brave thing. There was nothing I could do but take a picture. With the impending freezing temperatures, these blossoms will be sacrificed.

There's the snow. Hopefully it will stay on the mountains this year (sorry 2010 Winter Olympics)
We had a really fun time at the photo shoot on Saturday. It was so good to see my three sisters and Brenda from Norman's Photographic encouraged us to be ourselves. Maybe that was my biggest worry: that I would have to pretend to be someone else. We are such big personalities, it's hard to cover. We also had a lovely dinner out with the kids we could wrestle up.
Dan was so excited about this knitting/science link I am charmed that he is looking for areas of intersection in our interests. We are both busy with music, medicine and volunteering, but we don't do much together. Right now we're making a video with the Youth Group for a Christmas story based on a greedy innkeeper (cue the Olympic music).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Just In Time

I can't believe I got the Mason-Dixon epic journey vid-a-long DVD so soon! Thanks to Anne and the readers for sharing. This afternoon I'm going to donate blood, so I can malinger on the couch (it really knocks me a whallop) with this inspiration. If I'm lucky I'll be joined by J. who is also very interested. What I won't be doing is knitting the Shalom.
I was so excited to be done in just 2 1/2 days that I took a picture before I even wove in the ends. The Nashua Creative Focus Chunky is so soft. I was hoping to wear it tomorrow for a photo with my mom and sisters, but now I guess we're wearing "earth tones". We shall see. I am the baby and apt to do what I'm told to please the rest.
I will be knitting on the BSJ in Cadenza, the last Christmas mitts or the Woodland shawl. We'll see how I feel this time.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Time Change

The weather turned cold after Hallowe'en. I worked both the spooky evening and the time change night. Thankful blessed extra hour of sleep. Because I switched to nights, the single hour change was baby sandbox stuff. I did warn the nurses that the Monday morning after the time change (when we're driving home at 0700hours after a 12 hour shift) is the most dangerous time of the year to be on the roads. We still have sunny periods in which to walk the dog.
And the first thing I did when I got off work was go back and print this month's newsletter. I'm really enjoying it.
Finished the nephew sweater #5. The good news is that he is quite a bit bigger than Scott. It was also good news that Scott was home for a Halloween party. This sweater is too big for him, but he didn't want to take it off.
He wouldn't model my next finished sweater.

The whirligig shrug. It's for a nurse's baby that is probably 3 months old now. I knit the three month size, but used bigger yarn and got a nice 12 month(ish) size. The Berroco Comfort is a dream (especially on sale). The pattern from the new Interweave Knits Weekend Knits is well written and so quick.
I knit on the Cadenza Baby Surprise on nights and it went quite quickly. I also helped a friend figure out piecing her afghan together. It was fun. I also made a new friend through the turmoil of being short staffed with such ill patients. We worked well together.
Thismorning I cast on Shalom .
In a crazy move, I'm trying to get it knit for a photo shoot with my sisters and mom this Saturday. I need you to stretch the hours between now and then for our own time change.