Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baby Boy Blankie

I have finished my second Moderne Baby from Mason-Dixon knitting. This one is only about 30 inches square, but I am hoping that will encourage more use. I decided not to make anymore blankies when I found they were not being used. Some of the cousins use them, but a sweater is just as appreciated. In compromise, I have knit a small stroller cover or a blankie to be dragged around.
The Penguin Le Yarn 3 is a washable blend and it has good stitch definition. I made an i-cord edge and tried to recreate the randomness that I love so much on Mason-Dixon.

This was a quick knit and I only used half the wool. I'll keep it for another project, though.

The simple gansey had a bit of a rough start. I'm using Ann Budd's " The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns", "Knitting Ganseys" by Beth Brown-Reinsel (I've done the workshop in the book) and of course, Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Workshop.
I ended up with a channel island cast on and a two-row rib. The sleeves and body will be plain stocking stitch and then I'll do a textured chest and back with (I hope) a saddle shoulder. This is for nephew #5 and it's another men's large. Whew!
I just had to get started because I want to do two nephew sweaters this year. That will leave just the twins. After this one, I'm on the down hill portion of the course. It is knitting up with a nice gauge in Patons Classic Wool on 4.5mm.
A treat for me from the mail: a shawl pin from Nicholas & Felice. It was on my wish list, but I was reminded by Lime & Violet that they have beautiful and affordable pins.
I have bought a fancy one for a friend, but I'm happy with this light weight aluminum one.
I work tonight and then the weekend, but I get Easter Sunday off to play guitar at the sunrise service. I work Monday night and then I am on 'casual' and will prebook random shifts according to my own schedule. This is a huge relief as this past year has been very stressful trying to work and manage the family and my community responsibilities. There are things I can do especially well and make a large impact and they're not all in the hospital!
I may even have the chance to visit the new great nephew when he is born and bring this blankie.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fibres West

My plans for visiting the fibre festival in Abbotsford this weekend changed a few times. I waited until Saturday so I could go with a friend. But when she got back from her trip, she was so sick, she had even stopped looking forward to it. I won't go. No, I will. OK, just get in the car and drive down the highway 20 minutes. It's not far from the hospital where I hope to work in pediatrics. There was only one person I knew for sure that I would know: Erin from Twist of Fate in Kamloops. She did not disappoint. Her booth was great and I saw her heavily pregnant. She is due in 5 weeks. I don't know how that will affect the retreat in 4 weeks. Hmmm.
I bought this awesome fairly traded basket from her store because it can hold a sweater's worth of yarn. I also had very pleasant casual conversations with knitting strangers who are not really strangers.
Some clearance roving for thrumming, maybe slippers. It's merino, silk, kid mohair.

Cotton on sale. This is way better than the yarn I bought yesterday for the same baby blanket. It is such a compromise to knit "washable". But this is washable and still gorgeous.

Erin had "wraps per inch" tools. These are used by weavers and are another way to measure the gauge of the yarn. One is for my sicko friend, but don't tell her.

Sweet Georia Brown was there!! This is merino silk lace in the colourway blackberry. It's 765 yards, enough for just about any shawl. I love her website and have been wanting to buy some. But what is the pleasure with on-line?
Yesterday I tried to by a book at the big Chapters book store in Langley. They didn't have one of the six books on my list. I just wanted to buy a book. I was bringing home the new bookcase and , you know. Not enough books. Unfortunately I can buy them cheaper on line and they arrive at my doorstep. There is little fun left in shopping.
Unless you're at a fibre festival.

More Sweet Georgia Brown in superwash merino worsted colourway tourmaline. This is a very bright colour for me, but I'm thinking of mixing it with charcoal for the yoke of the King of Confidence sweater. Now I'll have to buy good washable merino to mix. Perhaps more of that Mission Falls.
So I'm glad I ventured forth into the unknown. I was restless. Because my stash is flush, I didn't need to get more stuff. But I was craving the newness of undiscovered riches. I also picked up needles to work on two current projects. I am stash busting a bit. More is going out than comes in. But it is so pretty and soft!
Only a few years ago I was limited to Zellers yarn department and a local yarn seller I didn't understand. We knit with whatever we could find. I am lucky that in these days we can have all the silk and merino and alpaca sellers nearby.
If you can make it, the show is on Sunday and I left a few treats behind. Say hi to Erin.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Catching Up

I'm really pleased how quickly this Baby Moderne blanket is knitting up in Pengouin Le Yarn 3. It is thicker than the pattern calls for, so I'm knitting it to half scale. This is a great bonus when I am achieving the "hand" of fabric I really like.
That sounds like my mom going on about the "tilth" in soil. Most of my soil's tilth is OK because I have been ammending it. This blanket does not need ammending. It was simple enough for me to knit in the car on our way to Karen's 50th.
That's saying a lot because I finished my Emergency Pediatrics course in the afternoon and my brain still hurts. I qualified! And I'm so glad we dragged our sorry buts to the city because we met the most sparkling people. Hi Monica! Can you believe there were wonderful knitters there? Loved it.
Thanks for the martini, but it was more like a 2x4 in a glass. My head still hurts.

Yesterday I finished my Taize shawl between chasing youth and singing at church. I even got all the ends darned. There were extra darned ends because of the Noro knots. I just cut the yarn and searched for the next correct end. My trick is that the yarn I rolled up, looking for the colourway repeat, was then re-rolled so the colourway came out in the right sequence. I'm happy with it.
It's almost as long as the Cozy I lost last spring. Misplacing that still hurts, too. Is it unkind to knit a replacement garment? Should I call this my sister's keeper's shawl?
I'm going for a light blocking without pins, but the cottony sock yarn needs a bit of a soak to soften up.

Carly missed me. I was still able to walk her yesterday, but she doesn't have a very good memory.
I work tonight, so I'm going to take it a bit easy today. I think I'll bring the baby blanket and listen to the new Stash and Burn podcast. There are yummy leftovers for the family supper and I'm not too adventurous. I've just come through a big adventure and am happy to catch up on my real life today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Light at the End

The forsythia are out. That is the official kick off for trimming my roses and cleaning up my garden- if I'm careful and don't weed out the good plants. But I have two chapters left in my emergency peds text and then two days of class and testing. I took Em to see Alice tonight because my brain was mush. It helped to enjoy such a wild film.
The fit well socks fit. They are a bit baggy, but may shrink down with washing. Very comfy. Very smooshy. Next sock: Cascadia from the Rockin Sock Club in pinky Happy Go Lucky. It's French name is Chanceaux.

I decided to devote myself to the Taize shawl. I was just overwhelmed with three projects. I like two at a time. I have the baby blanket ready to jump into when this is done. I don't know how much I have to do yet. I want to use all the Noro sock yarn, but the color didn't match up with the ball changes, so I wrapped a lot of it. I'll use as much as I can match up. I'm aiming for my wingspan which should be 68 inches. I am comforted by the familiar stitch and need that back up with the crazy studying and fear of testing.
But no one asked me to take this course. It is my own choice to broaden my own horizons. I hope to do well and maybe have a chance to nurse children again. It amazes me how little I really understood in the old days. The depth of my understanding of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology continues to increase. Even if I don't get to work in peds, I will make better nursing assessments and decisions.
Off to bed. Hopefully I won't have a Tim Burton dream.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Out of Focus

I'm still cracking the books. Must get the whole text done by Friday, but I had major housework today and appointments and groceries. Finished the sock and had nothing to take to the doctor. Picked up a sleeve I had started. But there are babies coming and I must get the knitting done. As well as my ongoing blanket (Miss Eleanor) and the poor Taize shawl that I would have worn today if she had been finished. Whew!
Took the new Baby Moderne to the inlaws for dinner tonight. Gotta love garter stitch. But I have to keep my hands off it till I've done another chapter at least!
When the course is over, I will celebrate with a knitting day at my best friend's when she gets back from her trip. Good thing she is away while I'm supposed to be studying. Don't tell anyone I snuck in a blog post. Back to intubating neonates! Focus.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Break From Study

D came home last night after a week in Red Deer for a Dairy conference. He was tired, but we had a Star Trek marathon. Almost done Deep Space 9 and almost done the second fit well sock. I managed despite the good theatre lighting (terrible knitting lighting). Now I'm afraid I'll run out of wool. Two choices: knit like crazy (like speeding to the gas station), or set it aside and stew. I hope to manage the first after I finish this chapter on pediatric trauma.
Went up to the camp yesterday to help clean a cabin and OK some paperwork. The lake was cold.

The air was cold.

I got really cold. Tried to work harder at scrubbing cedar cabin to find the mystery smell. Not sure if we achieved it, but darn it's clean. We shouldn't let little boys stay at our camp- they're nasty messy.

The camp looks a little sad in the early spring. It's at least two weeks behind the seasons at home. And it's only 15 minutes away.

Cleaning done. Ready for hot tub and snuggle with D.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

White Flowers

I love white flowers. These blossoms are tinged pink, but they still count for me.
My wedding flowers were all white. I had an all white Christmas tree for years. There is something fragile and complex in their simplicity.

The sunshine is hiding today. It was warm and gorgeous while I worked. But the dark sky and driving rain can't cut the brightness of the white blossoms.

My Snow Lady azalea has decided to bloom well this year, and to bloom when I was home to enjoy her. It has been quite a long time.
I am knitting in colour. Noro sock yarn shawl; teal Lady Eleanor blanket; blue Fit Well socks. But I don't seem to be making much progress. I didn't knit at work because I used my break to study. I will focus on the socks because it would feel so satisfying to finish them.
I am studying for an Emergency Nurse Pediatric Course. If I do well, I may be able to return to nursing children. I am struggling with my work and torn about all the complexities of working with so many personalities while still trying to focus on my very sick patients. It is a lot more sensory input than I have had for many years when my home was my main base. I don't want to work more hours.
Tonight I practice a guitar/vocal duet I will sing with another nurse in tribute to her sister who died last year of brain cancer. It is not much, but it will help my friend with her grief. I almost didn't fit it in. I want to be able to give where I can without always saying, "I'm working."
I will study and pick up the sock because, like the yarn I'm using, I "Dream in Colour".

Friday, March 05, 2010


We had a great trip on the Big Island of Hawaii. The lava fields stretch on as far as the eye can see. The sky was colourful and active.

My Mai-Tai. We drove across the saddle road to Hilo. What a great drive home around the top of the island.

Like the plumaria tree, it is full of extremes. This dinasaur-like branch blooms the most delicate and highly-scented flowers.

Bananas!! I always try to eat the little ones. We learned in Costa Rico that only "gringos" eat the big ones.

I knit on the beach at Honoka'ope in the black sand. It was almost deserted and great snorkelling except the surf was too rough for me. The Noro sock yarn Taize shawl was a great choice. Not too wooly, not too difficult/ simple. It was good for knitting on the road, and there is a lot of road on the big island.

The ocean was especially blue and colourful. The white coral against the black volcanic sand is a delight.

We ate dinner on the edge of the sea, watching whales and the sunset.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Super Secret Baby Project

This is the bunting I made my own baby in 1991. Scott and Emily, both born in January, both wore it for months. It's Eaton's wool, a much-missed department store that had a lot of class. When I found out my niece was expecting, I wanted to make one for her, too.
I bought the wool in Victoria at the Boutique de Laine when we picked up Scott from UVic in December. It's Mission Falls 1824 Superwash Merino. I love it. Caroline likes green, so I just took all the greenish balls from their color line. It was a big leap for me. I struggled with the "funkiness" of the mixed colours. But I have admired similare mixes in the past, so I just went with the softness and the fun pattern. I was worried at times about running out of certain colours, but there was lots of room for choices.
It's from Maine Woods Woolies by Helene Rush. It's a book I took out from the library many times. When I found it at the Bookman I took it as a sign that the knitting planets were aligning.
One change, I remember struggling with seatbelts, so I thought it would be easy to make (my first) steeks, and add snaps.
Not so easy.

Thanks Em for taking these shots of me actually cutting my knitting. And the finishing! I sewed grosgrain ribbon along the steeks for the snaps. Then the zipper. It wasn't a small project when I finished.

But I was very happy with it! My sister, Julie, came down for Mom's 75th and took it back. Thanks for delivering it.
While we were in Hawaii I got the message that the new mom had received it. So now I'm a great aunt!
I'm back from the trip. Very exciting the last day with the tsunami warning. Luckily we were safe and it didn't pan out to much. I'll post some Hawaii photos yet. Still doing laundry, bathed the dog after her visit to the kennel and cleaned the floors! Whew!
Looking forward to seeing the little man in his bunting.