Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New, New

I finally traded in my "new" camera for a newer one. The shop was very good after they agreed that 4 times to the repairs was beyond expectations. Hope this one lasts better. I was pretty happy with my other pocket camera and always sorry to have it in the shop. First picture, of course, is my dog.
After the yarn crawl on Saturday to see Jane Richmond at 88 Stitches and celebrate Diane's birthday (no pictures, see above), I knit up a Maximus cowl and a Fleece Artist hat (Starving Artist) that was summarily frogged for size and colourway. Not the pattern's fault, I don't think. I was looking for my hat when I remembered I had given it to Elizabeth in Cape Town. Instead I made a replacement Gretel out of leftover Malabrigo. Isn't that scrumptious? Leftover Malabrigo. Must say my stash rocks. I bought a little yarn on Saturday, but mostly books: Island and Pacific Knits. Go local designers! I walked the dog today and it was so balmy (and wet) that I didn't need mitts. But I'm going where they have serious snow. Must have warm knits.
Last night I learned a new skill. One of our young Common Threads members taught Tunisian crochet. What a blast. Such a good teacher, she brought a sample and handouts. I made a washcloth! I can really see this for afghans (it's also called afghan stitch) and in linen for market bags.
The fabric is much less stretchy than knitting and I think that would improve the bags I've seen.
Tomorrow I take a bus to Kamloops. I really don't want to drive the Coquihalla alone. Have you seen this show?
But I look forward to staying on the ranch, seeing my sisters and maybe even my niece. We will drop by electrictree. I need a needle gauge. Not yarn. Got it?
I signed up for a Mystery KAL- a top down sweater! And signed my sister up too. I have the perfect yarn for her and for me! I trust Mel of the Single Handed Knits Podcast enough to let her lead me through a top down pullover. It's a bit too exciting. We'll see tomorrow when the first clue comes out. Why don't you join us? It's a great group on the Ravelry boards.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Starting Again

We were given this amaryllis late in the Christmas season and didn't know what to do with it. When we opened it, the flower had started anyway and has an elegant, though sad beauty.
The baby sweater for our relay is finished. We should have 3 or 4 layettes ready for our Chilliwack Common Threads baby shower/Valentine's party. Each of us does one element. I chose the Helena pattern, but swapped out the lace for a fair isle pattern that matches the finished hat that Diane knit. This is definitely a good pattern.
Now I can begin something new. Wrapped up some beautiful organic cotton from blue sky alpacas for a Baby Bobbi Bear.
And some lovely alpaca lace for a friend's Icarus shawl. She is going on a cruise and we have been planning this at least a year. I am happy to get started so she can wear it on the high seas. She is making me a quilt in return. Such a great group.
Even though I'm home a bit sick today, I made 6 dozen tiny chocolate cup cakes for tomorrow's yarn crawl. It is the Jane Richmond trunk show at 88 stitches and Diane's birthday. So we will share our celebration (and stick mess). I went so far as to make them gluten and lactose free for our allergic friends. I've never made marshmallows before. It is so messy, can you tell? They are certainly worth it!
Speaking of cooking new things, I only did a turkey soup in the crock pot on Tuesday, but I made these killer ribs that remind us of Azeka's in Maui. We are planning a trip to Sugar Beach, but have to wait till May. These sure got us in the mood for sun and sand! (I made them with chicken breasts)

Maui Ribs
3-31/2 lbs flanken beef short ribs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dark sesame oil
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp thinly sliced ginger.
Combine all ingredients and pour over meat, marinating at least 24 hours.
Grill over medium heat.
Serve with sunglasses and flip flops.

Now I'm casting on a silk shawl for the Project Help Haiti art auction and fundraiser. Thought I would have had it done by now, but at least I have time to start.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crock Pot Tuesday

This is my back yard one year ago. We had a lot of snow last year.
This is the same bridge and flower pots today. I am hoping for moderate weather. It is warm enough to feel like walking the dog. Though I need a new plan. She can't walk more than about 30 minutes and I require more activity. I hope to get down to the Vedder River Rotary Trans Canada Trail each month. Maybe today.
Tuesdays are busy with my Bible Study at 1 pm and the Common Threads Knitting Circle at 7. I have booked them all off. This means I can be more in control of my time, and open my ideas to the communities that mean so much to me.
I am going to try a new crock pot recipe each week, and can harness the favour of time.
Last week it was pineapple pork and I learned two things: cut up the meat and brown it before you put it in the crock pot, and don't be afraid to have flavourful sauce.
This week is ginger beef. I haven't found a recipe yet, but pinterest is on my side.
Knitting on the baby sweater. Just about to add the colours, which is not good for group knitting.
Maybe I'll just do the long rounds of ribbing on my Philosophers. Looking forward to the chaos and laughter!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Punky Start

 A little under the weather today. After all those shifts, I'm taking a day off to sit in the sun and knit with my tea, like a cat.
 Finished the baby blanket. I know this may be a spoiler for one or two, but I'm very happy with it and especially how quickly it knit up. It's Bernat denim rag from the sadly clearances of Zellers. We are slated to have a Canadian Target in November. What could they be doing for 10 months?
The pattern is another made up one with gansey patterns from my Knitting Ganseys book by Beth Brown Reinsel. I hope to have a new great nephew or niece in March.
 The Handmaiden Cashmere 4 ply worked up quickly into Lu's Mitts. They fit swell, but I failed at reading the pattern. The lace is actually 8 rows where I only knit 4 and therefore I missed some rows before the thumb gusset. So I gave up at the top and just knit what I wanted. It's OK to be contrary when you are knitting with such luscious yarn. Now I need to change purses because I want to wear my multnomah shawl, my pi and my kiviut scarf to coordinate.
 Also a cat is my dog. We went for a small walk yesterday that was sunny and very cold (minus five celsius), but she prefers to follow the sun around the carpet. Can you see her tail wagging in the back, even though her eyes are sad? She's saying, "You're not casting on another sweater? We'll never get outside."
But yes. Starting in the middle. I dug out the Philosopher's Wool sweater kit that I started December 18 2008. The sleeves were completed before I balked at casting on the body with its steeking and all. Thank goodness I took good notes (on tiny pieces of paper that were stuffed in the pattern).
Now I have the Cassidy sweater that fits me. I measured it and extrapolated the stitches based on reported gauge. This is a sweater I would wear to meet the Yarn Harlot.
This is a technique, fair isle, that I reportedly adore. This is the year I will complete it. I have the mind-blowing technique of passing floats that I learned from Barb Brown at the Electrictree retreat a few years ago. I have the beautiful wool that shows its lovely spin and smells of... wool.
And I have a punky day to sit and catch up with podcasts and Elementary and try out all my 25 varieties of tea.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


Today is the 12th day of Christmas. The day we celebrate the Three Kings. The great gifts. It is the start of the next season.
I changed the front door pots from holly and ivy to daffodils and crocuses. I hope they have a gentle spring and lots of chance to bloom a welcome. I am ready to begin:
This year I hope to live with an open heart. That is my "resolution". I want to believe the story and write it down, to give generously and react with compassion.
I find it singularly difficult to shut myself up to write when I really want to be with my friends, who have been so kind to me this Christmas season.
I will need to return to yoga to get centred, to continue some good practices I started in the fall, and to continue to build a knitting community. The Chilliwack Common Threads girls are raring to get back at Tuesday knit night.
Our new charity knitting is for the Better Beginnings baby program. I am still collecting scarves. It will be a year round endeavour.
I am grateful for the knitting interwebs and the free sharing of designs and ideas that enrich our craft. It is an astounding truth that the generosity of this community makes all our lives richer. That is a gift.
And a true epiphany.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


 This Christmas. I did some good knitting and met almost all the deadlines. I received some lovely gifts, too. Like this sock monkey felted yarn bowl!!! His name is Stanley and he will travel with me to knit night. Thanks so much Dianeiam!
 I can now reveal some of the things I made. These thrummed mittens are for my cowboy sister who lives in a colder climate. The yarn is super wash wool and the fleece is stuff I picked up with her (years ago).
 I like them, but I learned some things about spacing and wrapping. They are very plump inside!
 For my sister and niece who own a yarn shop, I made a little sweater for their window.
 I hope they like it. I had fun making it.
 This is the world's warmest hat. That's what the pattern says. My BIL complained the hat I knit him wasn't warm enough and too small. It was hand spun and he shrunk it in the dryer. Hmm.
 So this one is super wash. It's really just one hat knit, then pick up the cast on edge and knit another hat for a lining. I hope it's warm. Next time I would knit a true double knit hat.
These are handspun fingerless mitts for my daughter to match her new cobalt blue jacket. The pattern, from work+shelter, is excellent, quick, and would be great for teaching knitting.
I really enjoyed knitting the robot mittens for my great nephews. You have seen these before, but they belong in this list of Christmas knitting. Along with the 6 scarves for our Green Heart- Warm Heart initiative.
We collected and shared over 300 scarves for those in need. What a great community we live in.
Also, I worked full time in December and was able to connect more closely with some of our patients and families to make a difference in their end of life journey. The team at work is super and even though we were full up and crazy busy, it was a nice way to spend Christmas.
I worked yesterday and then D and I had some champagne and went to bed early. The kids are back at university and the house is sighing after family gatherings, tables full of food and late night video game tournaments.
Today I took down the tree, changed the linens on all the beds, cleaned the main bathroom and put away the Christmas decorations. Everything looks fresh in the clear sunlight.
The new year unveiled.