Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bring Him Home

On Monday I sat myself back behind the wheel to go to Victoria to pick up my son from his first year at university. I enjoyed listening to Homer's Odyssey in the car on the Coquihala from Kamloops to home, but the mountain road requires careful driving. Once I'm on the ferry, it's just sit and knit. Unlike a bus there is only one stop. I've been going over since I was 3 years old. I like the ferry. The sky was a bit grey and the light a bit dull, so I didn't join the tourists on deck taking photos. This one is from the car deck as we were docking.
Scotty's friend graciously helped us load a years worth of stuff. I had the most difficult time finding the trail that lead to the loading zone. I think they intentionally hide it to keep regulars out.

The van was packed to the gills with clothes and bedding, books and computer equipment. We even had a fridge and a guitar. Then we went downtown to the Noodle Box, (mmm udon teriyaki) poked around Silk Road Tea (seam mist!!) and Bead World (beads for knitting lace). I bought D a tie for his kilt ensemble at an Irish shop. It was a good day. We caught the 5 o'clock ferry and were home by almost nine.

I am really enjoying the Ophidian shawl. I haven't knit with beads before and it is fascinating. But my gauge is loose and I'm not sure how much I like this shawl. It will probably woo me in blocking.

I worked on the sock during the ferry ride. This is also a Sivia Harding design, Cascadia from the Rockin' Sock Club. I hope to turn the heel this weekend. Or I could finish the shawl. We'll see.

This is some of Erin's handspun I bought at the Twist of Fate retreat. I bought pretty beads to go with it, maybe. I wonder if she had her baby yesterday?

Laceweight charcoal alpaca with irridescent beads. That 's all I had to think of yesterday to calm me during a crazy shift on a temporary nursing unit. I called it camping-nursing. We had to play scavenger hunt every time we had to do something. And the doctors didn't phone back and I didn't get my breaks. I could go on. Think alpaca and breathe.

But wait, there's more. The ivory is cashmere and silk and the taupe is yak and silk. I know!! I can't eat ice cream anymore, but this is like icecream. Better yet, Vicki and I are planning a cashmere shawl along. Yay.

With the yarn left over from the instant vest, I made myself a coffee cozy. I liked the pattern so much I used it again.
The vest is warm and comfortable. However the lovely shawl pin I was using to close it refused to behave. I would set it down or put it in a bag and then totally lose my mind about where I put it. I decided that the 5th time I found it, I would have to pass it along. I can't afford lost kittens of jewellery. So I gave it to Vicki which pleased me greatly. Now it will be worn on some of the most beautiful shawls in the world.
Today I'll try to make some comments on the Ravelry boards. It's not my habit, but I have new friends from the retreat!

Rusty Springs in Spring

My sister, Julie, has carved out a little piece of cowboy heaven. With her lifelong obsession with horses and living on a farm most of her life, she has the skills and talents to make her work count.
This beauty is Nahla, one of her students.

This is another one. She was able to catch and saddle it after a bit of non-verbal coaxing. This is a retired racing thoroughbred.

These are her own babies and she has three from last year. She likes quarterhorses that have 'cow sense' so she can move them and rope from them.

It's time for Nahla's lesson. My sister can make her walk or run around the round pen, turn direction, walk toward her- all with body language. I find it fascinating. I am not a brave rider. Nahla performed her duties beautifully and it was only her second lesson.

Another bay (brown with black mane and tail) in training is getting new shoes. We always had to cross tie horses at my Grandpa's. But Julie just holds the line and the horse is expected to just stand there like my dog.

Jake (in front) and Dexter also have cow sense and thrive on the ranch.

Her farrier is a woman and one of her best friends. Julie used to shoe her own horses, but it is a specialty that requires lots of practice. Many people think it is too heavy work for women. But you're not allowed to talk like that around my sisters.
I love to just follow her around on her daily chores. She takes me to Chapters book store and Starbucks so I don't get too homesick. She has a lovely home with lots of space for family to crash and I look forward to going back for the summer solstice.

1244 meters

Erin from Twist of Fate invited us to Sun Peaks for a lace knitting retreat with Sivia Harding. Whew. That sounds so simple, but it was very exciting. I visited with my sister on her ranch (more later) for Thursday and then drove the one hour from Kamloops to the ski resort. There was no snow on the ground when we arrived and it was darned quiet except for several hundred middle school choir students.

Sivia is as gracious and beautiful as her lace designs. She is a very gentle teacher and had her work cut out for her with us 17 gabbing ladies of all knitting levels. There was a big group from Kamloops and some from the Vancouver area, but we also had knitters from Saskatoon and California- Hi Vicki! She was a great room mate and is a test knitter for Sivia, so she really only came to the retreat to meet me. I wore my Fle

Erin brought her silk blend goodies: yak and cashmere. We each chose from her hand dyed sock yarn and 6/0 seed beads. By Saturday we were knitting with beads like pros. There was some buying.

It snowed on Saturday and Sunday and some of us chickens were afraid for the roads. But they were clear and even the Coquihala summit (1244 m) was dry.
My niece was there with her amazing 3 month old son. Eventhough we don't see each other very often, I definitely feel like family with her and she was so generous to share the little tiny with me. Thanks so much.

The special thing about the weekend was the small, intimate class, the warm and giving knitters, and meeting such an accomplished and appealing designer. I bought her Diamond Fantasy Shawl pattern and some charcoal lace weight alpaca. I know! Not your average Chilliwack fare. I am really excited about knitting this. But first I have to finish her Rocking Sock Club Cascadia sock. I did knit yesterday on the ferry when I picked up Scotty.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chugging Along

I feel I have caught my stride with this Cascadia sock. It was a difficult cast on and it took me a little while to figure out the lace. But it is a friend. I can knit on it while listening to Homer's The Oddysey. The knitting is a little tight, eventhough I still don't have gauge. When my hand tires, I turn to the opposite:

The Valour vest on 6mm straights. I don't usually use straights, but this is a quick knit and they were handy. I've knit even more than shown here, almost done the first front. The best thing about a vest? No sleeves!! I was worried that my recent hot and cold spells were hormonal. But it's still this dreadful cold. So I'm chugging down lots of hot tea while I knit and listen ( and do paperwork and correspondence). If my mind clears enough I'll continue sewing on the fantasy cupcake apron.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Proof that I am out of bed. We had a frost last night, but there is no proof of that. I have endulged in knitting and reading and drinking hot tea. Today I added licorice to the pharmacy that I am wielding to stop my *&%#$ coughing.

I felt well enough to spend my burst on energy on a walk with the big black dog.

She's not so easy to take pictures of. Partly because she is rarely still unless she is asleep. And partly because she always comes to me when I try to get her to look at me.

This is as close to a pose as I'll get unless her nose is down and sniffing.

Started two knitting projects yesterday!! Spent my energy on Judy Becker's Magic Cast On and thanks to Cat Bordhi for the video. I like her story telling- I work that way. And she is such a patient teacher, going over and over it without getting impatient. I started the Cascadia socks for the Rockin Sock Club. I still didn't get gauge, but I'm already down to 1.75mm. It's a bit hard on the hands.

To give my hands a break (I know I should not knit for a break, but, you know.) I started a bulky worsted vest in a blue tweed. It's a Rowan pattern. I know. Hoity toity. But I borrowed it from my best friend and I have the back half done already. Valour. I'm not using the expensive colour changing yarn, just some clearance Kertzner Tweed Montage. But I like it and I may have a new vest for the Twist of Fate Retreat.

This is a lot of ambition for someone who still spends hours in bed, but it's doable with audio books and lots of Puffs tissues.
Perhaps tonight I will prove that I can make supper.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Revelling In the Boring

Today I am out of my bed and trying to catch up on the messy floors. We had extra people in our house over Easter, eventhough I was a snotty mess. The nephew gansey was a god send because it was just lots of stocking stitch. But apparently not easy enough.

Look at those channel island cast-ons. The trick is that they match. This wasn't always the case. When I finished the second sleeve, I started casting on the body (212 sts!) and noticed, "That's not right." I got out my "Knitting Ganseys" book and reviewed. Oops! That doesn't match the first sleeve. Unfortunately it matched the second sleeve. I had a fever and couldn't stop coughing, but I still think ripping it out was the best choice. The wool hadn't even kinked yet.
So this is the third sleeve. I cast on the body umpteen times. But once I was set, away I went.
There aren't too many special effects on this sweater, so I was really attached to the cast-on. It went OK.
Last night I tried to finish my "March" ball of Marble on the Lady Emily entrelac blanket. I'll work on it tonight if we watch a video.
Managed to read a few books and catch up on lots of sleep. I'm still going to take it easy for a few days so I don't cough out a lung, but I am encouraged, and enjoying the boring knitting.

Friday, April 02, 2010

In Tune With the Weather

It is cold and rainy and I have a recurrent chest cold. I am not under the weather, I am right in step with it. I tried to get some antibiotics at the clinic last night, but the doctor is certain it is viral and I will just have to ride it out. I had to call in sick to work today. I sat and read "My Stroke of Insight" in two sittings. I do miss reading.
The other day I saw a tutorial on whipup.net for a butterfly wreath. I really enjoyed fishing out my paints for a silly craft. I plan to put it on my music stand for Easter Sunrise Service.
But I will really have to drag myself out. If it doesn't rain too much, I hope the wreath survives and I can give it to my mom. We're supposed to go to my sister's cabin after church, but I don't think I'm up for the boat ride and the rainy chill. I'm thinking hot tea and maybe ham and eggs.
These tulips went crazy! They crowded the sink and opened their teeth menacingly. We really enjoyed them. I am knitting along on the not very demanding sleeve of the nephew gansey. After that it will be the not very demanding body of the gansey. I set this up for my night shift brain and it works well with my stunted viral infection brain.
I started to learn the magic loop cast on but it was beyond my ken just now. As well, I still didn't get gauge (34 stitches/4 inches) on 1.5 mm needles. I think I will use the 1.75mm and knit the medium sock, hoping it comes out large enough. I really want to be into the Cascadia sock before I meet Syvia Harding at the Twist of Fate retreat later this month.
Thank goodness the Easter Bunny already bought the chocolate and boiled the eggs. Now this bunny is going to lie down and enjoy the new Lime&Violet podcast. There is medicine in laughter.