Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Frost Flowers

It's a bit ironic that I choose to knit a shawl named Frost Flowers in black alpaca silk lace. I have had this pattern 'favourited' for several years and after last summer's debacle with black lace, I wanted a new chance.
There was a question from Nancy about the pattern. It is posted on Ravelry in many forms. It is from Barbara G. Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and so has inspired different patterns. The one I'm using is actually called Flaming Flowers Stole by Dagmara. Meg Swansen published a Frost Flowers pattern in her book, A Gathering of Lace. I believe this book was instrumental in urging the current lace phase.
On Ravelry you'll also find this pattern as the Charmed Floral Fantasy Shawl. I almost knit that one. Can't remember why not. I think the directions for this one were shorter. How about a Charlene Schurch pattern? I maybe should have gone with her as I love her sock books. Or you can do socks or a shrug.
When a pattern is published in a stitch dictionary, the knitters are infinitely inspired.
Now I need to be inspired to work on mine.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Island Jaunt

 Travelling BC Ferries is actually pretty relaxed, once you make it through traffic and catch your boat. We ended going over much earlier than I had planned (after an evening shift) because Scott needed to be at his new condo to receive a furniture delivery from his Great Grandma who is no longer in assisted living. We loved unpacking her dining table and chairs and remembering many great meals served on it.
 We stayed at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe which is spiffier than we're used to, but we were at a friend's parents' 50th anniversary and wanted to stay in the same hotel. It has a stunning view of the harbour and a nice walking path. D was excited to show me this giant spinning whorl, commemorating the First Nations (Coast Salish) tradition of spinning. I was excited too. They knit the authentic Cowichan Sweaters and still do.
 We had great weather, but a jam-packed itinerary. We were treated like family and enfolded into all the extra events. What a treat from a very special family. We met some great people, including a few knitters and at least one new Ravelry friend!
Emily and I snuck into Cadboro Bay for a quick stop at the Boutique de Laine (bagfull of ivory dk merino for my granny squares and some Euroflax in lavender), but missed out on the Beehive shop and the Knotty By Nature store. I will make it a destination next time I get Scott.
Johnson Street had a fair going with music and sidewalk sales. We ventured across the bridge for a short peek, but it was pretty hip for us.
Back home (without the son) to orientation at Em's university and the last heave ho before everything starts up again.
I frogged the Simplicity cardigan. Shouldn't have worked on it after an evening shift. I finished the increases on the front to discover I had done them over 2 rows instead of 4. Can you believe it?!! Laceweight sweater of purgatory knitting didn't get a second chance.
I only worked on the sock on the trip, but I have now cast off the collar on the nephew sweater and plan to sew in the sleeves right away.
That leaves the black lace shawl and the lakeside sock. I want to cast on Annis to knit in electictree laceweight. It is a beautiful teal and burgundy named "Jersey Giant" after one of my sisters fancy chickens.
I have chosen the Mission Falls 136 in teal to do the Knit a long Dahlia sweater from the fall issue of Interweave Knits. I don't know when I'm allowed to cast on, though.
I had way too many projects on the needles this summer. Part of it was doing things that could be completed for Stash Dash, but part of it was my night shift brain. I am still a bit hampered by weariness. Why am I afraid of the Frost Flowers shawl? It is only one stitch at a time and one row at a time. I have already completed one pattern repeat of 48 rows. Can't put it off forever. Now my house is much quieter and cleaner, I can think about thinking.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer Travels and Travails

 UVic is an extraordinarily beautiful campus. Scott is going into his third year there. I found yarn bombing next to the SubText (Student Union Building used book store). We had a super conundrum getting his giant desk into the tiny door of his room at the bottom of the curving stairs. But the triumph was sweet and his new condo, shared with his good friends from home, is bright and clean.
Travel is not what it used to be. We are linked in all the time. I bring my ipad and can spend the whole ferry ride on Ravelry and reading your blogs instead of knitting. I couldn't find the IK Weekend, so I bought it on line and I love it. The mailman also brought Knitting Knee Highs and Toe-Up Socks In a Box.
I'm still making knitting lists for what I dream to knit when I'm done the Simplicity cardigan and the nephew sweater (and the black shawl and the lakeside socks).
I have a few presents, I need to make a few back up baby things, there's the alpaca blanket for me. I have the Monday Morning Cardigan yarn ready to cake up, plus too many shawls. I want to knit  Barb Brown socks before I meet her at the retreat in October.  What do I really want to wear this fall? Maybe start there.
 There are a few things on my Rav page that I already frogged. Sigh. I'm not so good at mixing the colours. Or I'm just too specific in my aesthetic.
We're back in Victoria this weekend and I plan to take Emily to Boutique de Laine. They always have a bag full of yarn to buy. I'm doing a Knit A Long (KAL) of the Dahlia Sweater from the new IK Fall with some of my real friends. I think I can use stash. I'd love to find more DK Merino for my granny squares blanket. My LYS still hasn't ordered the bag full for me yet. Hmmmm. Not sure if I'll have time to teach that this fall. So many shifts at the Hospice, plus I'm doing some classes on Palliative Care. I registered for my choir, the Chilliwack Academy of Music Festival Chorus, and I cleared my schedule so I won't miss so many practices. These are the greatest people.
Tuesdays will be knitting with the Chilliwack Common Threads Knitting Circle at Decades Coffee House. I'm hoping to bring together enough people that it takes off organically.
Today, before work, I'm packing spiffy clothes for the brunch and tea this weekend. But really I'm trying to get my knitting to the simple spot for travelling.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Seeking the Slow

Things seem a bit crazy here. The house is full of big people and they are hungry and messy. Yesterday it rained so I couldn't hide in the gazebo on the deck (like I'm doing now).
It's only Tuesday and we're heading into a big weekend of travel and visiting and moving the boy to his new digs. In between, D flies to Calgary and I work two afternoons (actually 3-11 pm is an evening to me).
On Saturday morning I stayed in bed finishing a book and drinking in the chance to feel like summer. Does it ever feel like summer, or do we lose it with our childhood like Christmas?
I miss the annual trek to the beach house and I even miss the Highland Games.
We have travel plans in the fall, and in the early spring, and next summer.
But tonight I have finished some study for my new job and plan to knit and read and sit back.
If I can knit a sweater one stitch at a time, I can enjoy a summer evening one cloud at a time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stolen Knitting

 We were invited to our cousin/flower girl's daughter's first birthday. We are already scheduled to go to the Island for a 50th Wedding Anniversary. But I had to knit her something. These are the kindest couple and their children suit them splendidly. How about a monster, Geet, from Rebecca Danger's Big Book of Monsters? I had already ordered the Cozy wool from Fibernymph. It makes me happy. It was all I could fit in at home between working and a heavy schedule.
The front of the XXL nephew sweater was finished a bit ago, but I can't bring myself to pick up the neck. The sleeves were done first.
Last Thursday we had a quick trip to Victoria to set up Scotty in his new condo. He got the basement room and we used magic to get his massive desk through the tiny door at the bottom of the stairs. But it's a nicely repainted/recarpeted space.
Because it was just the two of us, I could knit on the Simplicity cardigan while he drove, and read A.S Byatt's "The Children's Story" on the boat. It was actually a good choice of activity for my turn around day. I even bought some gifts in the ferry gift shop.
But I'm bagged. I worked another day Sunday and have two "afternoons" this week. Don't you think 3-11 pm is an evening? And we're back on the ferry with our fancy clothes and a load of kitchen gear for Scott. Whew!
Did you know Labour Day is just around the corner? Thank goodness our summer weather usually goes well into September. I have so much more time to steal to knit.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

 I like Saturdays because I can read in the morning, walk the dog and then consider going for a coffee and grabbing the weekend paper. Sometimes I do some gardening, but not so much this year. It was too cold and wet, and then it was too hot. But not in the shade. Carly loves walking with me in the big field behind our house. She is eight years old this month.
 On the left is the blackberry bank and on the right, the cow corn.
 The weather was so nice this morning, we didn't have the trail to ourselves. But we were left alone most of the time so she could stay off leash.
At the end of the field trail, we enter the Coqualeetza Stolo Nation grounds. It is an ancient healing village and past TB Hospital and Army barracks. Our first nations people lived in long houses like the pictures Emily Carr painted. This teepee looks out of place in the lush greenery of our west coast rain forest. I think it's a teaching area.
I have been enjoying a little quieter pace as I chase a migraine. It has abated again. The air quality tanked when the sun came out. I work tomorrow at Hospice and then my last two night shifts at the hospital. It will take a lot of tenacity to get through the work and the sleeping in the day and the clock shifting, but it will be the last time. I have to make some muffins to bring the nurses to thank them.
But tonight is  a BBQ with friends from the pipe band and I look forward to keeping this feeling of summer.

Monday, August 08, 2011

All's Fair

After working my last day shift in the hospital, I spent 2 days at the fair. It was exhausting. I don't really like the fair, but my Mom organizes the home arts building and I was hoping we could reach out to local knitters to join our knitting circle. We will meet at Decades Coffee House on Tuesday evenings from 7 pm starting Sept 13. Decades has been really friendly.
I enjoyed meeting the spinners and weavers and connecting with the Hospital Auxiliary who need baby sets and with another group who want hats and blankets.
I still want to have a class at the fair where the items are judged and then donated to Community Services or the Hospital. I would call it Fair Share.
I helped my sister emcee the Apple Pie Contest, but she was split in several directions. I ended up just singing and playing guitar. I would have brought my own music if she had been clear about what she wanted.
Then I hosted the Mommy and Me cookie contest and read poems and enjoyed the company of about 20 kids and their families. It was very positive.
But the barn we were in has dreadful lighting, many people were there just for free stuff and I tired of their company.
Thank goodness Carol was there to keep me company and see her nieces in the gymkhana, barrel racing. I helped her start a new ten stitch blanket and she helped me not go crazy. She also shared poutine, mini donuts and lemonade with me. Big shout out to the crocheters who also sat with us.
I worked on my square swap for next month and managed to work a relatively difficult pattern in all the distraction. Love the Mission Falls 1824 Superwash Merino.
This week I catch up on cleaning up my duties with the camp. Summer camp is over and I have resigned from the board. I need to focus on my new job and the beginnings that happen in fall.
Right now the roofers are banging around above us and scaring the dog.
Change is inevitable, but I find it stressful when I am its author. Let go of the guilt and get on with the wide open future.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Wrapped in Care

It was a Knit Girllls kind of day yesterday. I received this lovely package from the courier with my second afghan square, some sparkly stitch markers, rubber duckies and an awesome Georgia peach bag from browneyegirl35. She has only been knitting a few years, but she has made some wonderful projects. I love this yearn. If I can find more, I may make it the basis for my swap afghan.
This is the square I sent to my partner. She wanted rose, so I included rose soap and note cards.

 I finished the 5 k Stash Dash. Yes, I knit 5 km of yarn this summer (including finishing the entrelac blanket but not the giant nephew sweater). This is a scarf for my head nurse so I don't feel so bad about changing jobs and she knows I think she's great. I'm also wrestling with other changes and decisions I need to make about juggling volunteer work and my new job. September is another beginning for me.
I also won a prize on the Knit Girllls video podcast contest. Yay! It doesn't matter what it is, I just was so pleased to be (randomly) chosen. These knitters are delightful and have created a community where I feel accepted, encouraged and teased a little. I include mysef in the ranks of Knit Girlll lemmings. I talk about them as if they were my neighbours and D notices when I'm watching because I pick up a little southern twang in my speech. The things I won't do for them!
Now that stash dash is over, I can get back to a few projects that have been lingering. The nephew sweater has only the front from the division of the sleeves. I think I'll knit that while I'm at the fair doing demonstration knitting for the Chilliwack Common Threads knitting circle.
The black shawl is doing better than last year's  but I seriously have to take some time to work on it. The simplicity cardigan has been out of my brain for too long. I also cast on the Summer Mystery Shawlette again, but I think I'll leave it until I've done another Christmas present shawl and maybe my soft pink Japanese Garden shawl.
I also want to start my granny square afghan to help teach crochet in the fall.
Today I must go get some yarn for my next afghan square swap partner. Nothing green in the stash. All the goodies are gathered and ready, but no knitted square yet.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to return the great kindness.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Long Journey Home

I was included in a cattle round up with my sister in Knutsford. The scenery was stunning. All the cowboys were girls and I was on one of her tried and tested cattle horses, Quincy.
We very cleverly started where we were going to end. But we took a different route getting to the cattle than we drove them. I have a terrible sense of direction and just followed the herd.
These awesome active skies are not good for astronomy viewing which is what brought us there this time. D was partly disappointed because there were only specs of the sky. But not only did we hit a dark sky with a new moon, we were able to view a meteor shower. Awesome!
The round up took a couple of hours to move 180 head of heifers. They are going to a higher field to finish their days. There is so much grass because even the semi arid interior has had lots of rain.
Quincy was a good cow pony.
My sister brought her two border collies and we couldn't have moved the cattle without them. The owner had 3 red heelers and there were other assorted cattle dogs. I missed my big black dog, but she can't run that far and who knows what she would do around cows.
Herding cattle is a lot like working with children. Do don't want to be totally reactive, but you don't want to spook them with too much direction. Anticipate where they might go wrong and be a step ahead of them.
When we were done there was a big BBQ and we met some of the new friends and neighbours who are almost like family. I was invited to come back in October to move them again.
After we cleaned up a little, we went to my niece's. Kamloops is huge and it was a 45 minute drive. She was having a BC Day BBQ and celebrating the imminent opening of her new wool shop: Electrictree Yarns. yay!!! I missed the absolute closing of Twist of Fate, but Caroline said Erin was doing OK when they went there to wish her well. I bagged enough yarn last month.
Sitting in the huge back yard with two sisters and a niece, talking about yarn and laughing. I have a great family!
I only brought a scarf and a sock on this trip. I took 5 projects to camp, but only worked on the scarf and the sock. The scarf is for my head nurse whom I'm leaving to work in hospice. She has been a friend for many years and I feel bad about leaving and need some closure. I needed a non-colour and some non-lace in a non-shawl for her. I stashed out some Jo Sharp silk road in a putty lavender and am just finished the Lacy Ribbon scarf from knitty. It was a great knit and I'd do it again.
The sock is the Punta Marisock in a colourway  call lakeside. I finished the foot and turned the gusset heel at the ranch. When I started adding the diagonal lace rib pattern on the leg, Julie got out some knitting. Plus I am going to try to fix the socks I made her last year.
Thanks to Wendy Knits for answering my question about when to add pattern to a toe-up sock. I am using her generic gusset pattern, but the diagonal lace comes from her Socks From the Toe Up book.
Next I will try to get a copy of Barb Brown's sock book to prepare for the Electrictree retreat in October.
Always knitting in my dreams, it is a comfort to come home to the stash.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Such a Long Journey

 This has been a packed few weeks. I started a new job as a nurse at the Hospice. I spent a week as the nurse at music camp. And I just returned from a great few days at my sister's ranch. The weather at camp was "improving". We had mild, not too sunny days. It was good for nursing little campers. We built a stage right on the water and 250-300 people came for the concert. The parking was crazy! D piped and Scotty served popcorn.
The staff were acting as counsellors and they are wonderful musicians in their own right. The kids were all students of violin or cello. Smart cookies and kind fellows. It was an oddly calm and healthy camp.

 We had to insist that the campers rest and play. They wanted to practice their pieces and their choreography, even after hours of instruction.
Calvin Dyck is the reason they are so inspired. He is a rare gem of a brilliant musician and teacher. He deserves his world wide praise. And we shared a birthday up there.
My Emily was a champion drummer and delightful counsellor of the younger girls. It was an exciting week.