Friday, December 29, 2006

Frivolity, Not Just an Illusion

There has been much eating and drinking and opening of gifts here, at the farm and assorted family residences. Eventhough I didn't knit for Christmas (much) , we have two out of three babies already born this holiday season. I haven't got to hold any of them yet, but the gifts were well received.
Except for the heavily gravid SIL who deemed it best to open the gift later in the week when she's alone.... you're welcome.
Some people are so strange.
This Magknits illusion scarf was as quick and easy as it was interesting to knit. It goes to the zamboni guy at the rink where my daughter takes figure skating lessons. Years ago we always had her birthday at the skating rink. These young people go out in public skating like life guards. Therefore I don't need to skate and supervise them. We gave zamboni guy some pink cupcakes when he was about 16 and he said, "No one's ever shared before". That captured my heart.
He's been such a help at turning on the parent "toasters" in the bleachers, chasing away dangerous young men doing drug deals in the wrong place and dressing up for our carnival. When he asked, "When are you going to knit something for me?" I undertook to find a pattern in our club colours.
I don't like the rink. I have issues with the self-centered young women and their shallow pit bull mothers. But I knit there. I have failed on the board, so I just do joe-jobs. I have found a few friends. I stay less than I did when she was very young. But I always look forward to seeing zamboni man. I hope he likes it.
I intend to knit the cabled DNA scarf as well.
Overwhelming yarn choices, reading choices and goodies to be saved from going stale. I must take the big dog for a walk first to earn my rest. I was at the doctor at 0900h this morning for care of an ear infection. It just about struck me out of the holiday fun, but I managed to overcome the misery and now I have backup meds if I need them. A sure cure.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Embrace the Unexpected

What a joy and delight it is to knit from this kettle-dyed pure merino wool from malgrigo.
I am not normally content to accept change and surprise. I like to know what's being flung at me. But through knitting I am becoming a better mother, wife, teacher, everything.
Just because I can't control or anticipate something does not make it bad, scary or evil. In the case of handpainted yarn, it is a blessing. What's coming next. How will my action (stitch, guage, pattern) affect the cosmos.
An unexpected Boxing Day sale. 40% off. Yay! I had my eye on this emerald mix. I want to see how Li's scarf knits up in it. I want to wade into the water eventhough I don't know what's under it. The year I went surfing I had to practice being brave. What's the worse thing that could happen? Falling off didn't hurt, it wasn't violent. I just got back on.
I hope this will be a year of embracing the unexpected. Getting out of my sun room and walking into the depths of life.
I need all my courage to work on my novel. It's already helping because my journal is filling with parallel and unrelated ideas. I'm working in pencil now to give myself the feeling of jotting down thoughts. Nothing important. Nothing in stone. No risk.
Life is all risk. Going to Christmas dinner at my in-laws is all risk. But we've grown past the days when my BIL and I poked each other with verbal turkey forks. The new SIL is megolamaniacally pregnant. But I am almost 14 years from that situation. Our new addition this year will be a cello for my daughter. Embrace that unexpectedness.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Embraceable You.

I just love my little ipod. I just downloaded my first song from itunes: Jane Siberry and K.D. Lang "Calling All Angels". Such a beautiful piece. I hope to sing it one day. I'm lucky to have a few new favourites. Not too many Christmas songs this year, but that's OK.
This is his little basket of wires and where he rests and sleeps so I can ever find him if I need to listen to a knitting podcast or a book while I walk.

I'm already excited about the 40% off sale at my LYS on Boxing Day. I'm swatching a knit from the top raglan for my eldest nephew. If I get enough for the next guy, it doesn't count for knitting from your own stash year. I may buy some beautiful emerald hand paint, too, to make Li's reversible herringbone scarf. I have some Noro Silk Garden, but I probably wouldn't wear it. Who knows what it would look like knit up.

I'm enjoying a little break before tomorrow's three musical services at church. I love my flute and I'm so pleased to be playing. But I will be exhausted after the midnight service. It will be great to be surrounded by my three part brass family. It will be so wonderful to hear the trumpets and trombone players who are my husband and kids. Maybe I should take up the tuba.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shortest Day

That was a pretty cool sostice. My best friend brought her son over and the kids played their new Dutch Blitz card game while we talked fibre and music lessons.

My daughter will be taking cello lessons in the new year. Despite the ordering of a new small car. I'll still have to schlep the soccer mom van around. It's not as bad as the year we both played bass drum in our pipe bands. The flute is much handier.

The tumbling blocks is finished and brilliant, though not bright enought to add light to the short day. Walking was so great this morning as it has warmed up a lot. I bathed the dog, so we couldn't run in the muddy field.

This is going to be a good Christmas. The 24th is almost entirely filled with carols and playing of instruments. Mom is handling the Christmas Eve soup and sandwich party that I always have. So I get to see my sisters and nephews before the big day. The big day is spent at the in-laws. But I have now shaved off the entire morning (for a classy breakfast with my parents) and the early afternoon (for a rest/ snack). We aren't expected until after 2pm. Much better than the years I had to bring the babies for 0900h. Yuck.

D. wanted me to go to the Knitter's gathering in California. It was awfully tempting. But two things held me back. First, I don't really like the sweaters/ads/ glitz of the magazine. I'm much more into knitty and IK. Secondly, my writing guilt wouldn't let me. A retreat must be a writing retreat. Not that it would be more fun. But it's something I should really explore. Perhaps a few days at UBC this summer.

In response to the finding my own knitting crowd, I tried to get onto the knitty chat room last night. But they wouldn't let me in. The scary squiggly letters were not what I read them as, I guess.

For two years I've been reading blogs, Yarn Harlot, Life's a Stitch, And She Knits Too. I've lurked. I've posted. Finally I got a blog. But I don't feel legitimate because I don't know if I'm getting any comments. Have I ever been read? It's like having a kool aid stand out the back of an ice rink. No way to meet the thirsty people.

I'm going to email Lara at Math4knitters to ask for help. I would like to politely reply to comments and get to know people better so that if I were to ever go to a knitting event, I would not be the outsider.

I don't knit as much or as well as so many of you. But this has been such a warm and inclusive gathering. I've learned lots about podcasts and blogs and computers and digital cameras. I feel that I'm not being judged in comparison, but for my own efforts.

I'll try to start a knitting group here in Sardis this year. I have a space I'm allowed to use. I'll see if there's a response. I hope it's better than the writing circle. Ew. I should try that again, too.

First get through this year. The lists have been checked off. Even the apple cranberry relish is now done. I'm going to enjoy a little rest and knitting.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You're Not Alone

My daughter sat with me for two days while we were ill and knit with me. It was strange and relaxing and at times annoying. But like my mother, I didn't solve her problems and hand back the penguin. I showed her my reference books and demonstrated on my own needles.

She's very random and will be knitting without patterns before her 14th birthday (2 weeks).

What a silly penguin. He made us smile as we trudged through all our Christmas videos.

D. is in his grumpy Christmas mood. It really does irk him. Thank goodness for our music. We are playing together in three services on Christmas Eve. I love my pieces. Huron Carol, Wexford Carol, Lulay.

I have found reception for CBC Radio 2 and have been wallowing in wonderful classical music and great hosts all week. This is not the scheduled spot on the dial, but I'll take it.

Two more days of school. On Friday I serve pizza at lunch. Chaos.

All the gifts are wrapped and the baking done. It's good that I give myself time to be sick. The fever still comes, but I was able to attend a long meeting/party yesterday and make a nice meal for supper.

Teens are funny. No Lego this year. It's a bit tough. They want hair dryers and razors. I want a cup of tea and a bit of knitting.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Knit Your Own Stash

This is a big step to take on an evening that I'm home with a fever instead of helping at the Christmas Pageant. I'm dizzy and hot and cold and weak. No, please come in.

Given time to read Wendy Knits, I am interested in her idea of knit from your own stash year. I'm having trouble finding words.

Here are her rules. I will make a few changes. A few years ago I did manage this. I also read from my own shelf for a year. It makes me feel less guilty about my abundance in a world of unequal distribution, and helps validate that I like my own taste and can make good choices, even in the frothing excitement of a wool shop. When I make my long project list, everything is in the cupboard in the basement in clear containers. I even have enough baby yarn to knit for the Oak Avenue Mission.

Knit From Your Stash 2007!
L-B mentioned to me that she was thinking about attempting to knit from her stash exclusively in 2007. I, of course, laughed at her initially, but started thinking that attempting to knit from my stash exclusively was not a bad idea. Both L-B and I have stashes of epic proportions. L-B had suggested a period of 9 months of knitting from the stash, so that we could go to Stitches East next October and buy yarn there.
So, in a phone call, we sketched out our guidelines.
Knit From Your Stash 2007: Guidelines for L-B and Wendy
1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.
2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?
2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.
2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.
3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.
4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.
Anyone else who would like to join us in this is welcome to do so! Feel free to link to this page or to post the guidelines on your own blog. You may also alter the guidelines to suit your own situation.

The yarn I already ordered doesn't count because it's mine and no one can take it away from me. My sister's 50th is in October. If I do two nephew sweaters, my own lace shawl(s), sister's and various socks, I probably won't even need my get out of jail free card. I will try to save it for Scotland and London in August. OOO London!

Back to bed and A.S. Byatt's wonderful Possession.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thicky, thicky

I'm trying to buy lace weight yarn over the internet, but I'm having trouble with all the numbers. That's why I listen to Math4knitters.
From my Joy of Cooking I have the equivalents.
1g =0.032 oz
10z = 28.35 g

Now if the wool comes in 150g skeins and there's 325 meters to 4 oz (why mix imperial with metric!) (Why mix ever anyway?)
Fleece Artist is Canadian. I'm Canadian. We use System International. Phooey.
How much do I need and what will it cost and is another type a better deal?
This is simple math but I'm floundering in little cards and my calculator is laughing at me.

I need 800 yds of "laceweight". That could be anything. Granted a shawl will fit, my problem is if I buy hand-dyed, I'd better have enough at the start.
Is sock weight light enough? I'm not sure it's what I want.

And the answer is Helen's Lace from Lorna's Laces in navy. Sight unseen. Thanks Urban Yarns. I hope I'm not sad with the yarn, or the pattern, or my knitting, or my sister's reaction. Who said knitting was simple?

Baby Alpaca is for Babies

Yummy yarn buy. I knew I would reneg on my intention to do no Christmas knitting. But there are two marvelous little boys in our office and I can't resist. My only regret is that they're not more a part of my life. I will drop in to bring this little gift. I may even bring my horse/dog for the older boy to tussle with.

This thick and soft yarn will be perfect, I hope for the little ones who don't want to wear a hat. I'm strict about winter hats and little ones. I knit many for my own babies. The first hat knit up so quickly last night. I'm using Ann Budd's The Knitter's handy book of patterns again. I use it a lot. You find your gauge, you pick your size and you follow the graph for that choice. So many sizes and gauges are given. It's good for adding designs, too. But this first hat was still a little big, so the second one will be the smallest size. Easy, peasy.

The Chilliwack Wool and Craft shop is so charming. The first time I walked in, it was so bright and clean, I thought I was in the wrong place. Hanne is Dutch and sweet. She has a big family and one of her boys did work experience with D. who is a dairy vet.

They have clients in the traditional Dutch community who actually still have ties with Europe, so we're seeing a whole new line of wools. Plus they'll order just about anything for me. I had a lot of trouble with the other shop over her priorities and why I was at the bottom for a year. When she got on the order, the wool came in a week. But the birthday had come and gone- twice!

Hanne orders and keeps me up to date if it will be delayed. I rarely order in a fit of need.

Right now I'm trying to order some Fleece Artist from Urban Yarns. Lace yarn is a bit thin on the ground, and I think I'm talking myself out of cobweb. My Pacific Coast Rainforest Shawl (Fiber Arts) has a hole. I'd like to give something a little sturdier. This is a 50th birthday for my second-oldest sister who is a wonderful knitter and painter and artist and lives on Saltspring Island. A true eden.

I'm looking for a dark blue to knit Print o' the Waves from Eunny. They have apologized that they don't have my choice. I emailed back that I can't start the gift until February anyway. I hope they'll order it for me. I can maybe pick it up in the New Year. That's really only a few weeks away.

Tonight I will probably make the pastry for my butter tarts. And that may be it except for more shortbread. They do love that.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Finished Object

I'm excited about how quickly this ingenious pattern knit up once I got the flow. The second half took less than half the time of the first. That's the story of "first time". Always be patient with beginning a project.

That's something that knitters understand. Invoking the god of patience is part of beginning each project. After I finished and steam blocked the Backyard Leaves scarf, I swatched for an illusion scarf. Now I have the right needles and wool for when my friend is ready to cast on. I'm doing the DNA and she'd doing the keyboard from Magknits.

This blog is a beginning project. I love my little Canon and I'm learning to play with the settings. But Blogger has changed a few times and now I have no indication of comments. Maybe I'm on a comment-blocked setting. I need to check it out more extensively. As far as I know, I've never had a comment. Perhaps never a reader. I was quite discouraged as I invested my time in my on-line course. But that's over and I have more time for writing, knitting and fun.

The on-line knitting community has been so very important to me in my creative life. I have been following knitty, Life's a Stitch and the Yarn Harlot for a few years now. But I didn't like the ethical implications of being a lurker. I started to comment. Then I slipped into this blog. I like the idea of doing my part to join in . If no one reads it, I still have moved beyond lurking. My next attempt will be to join a chat room. Even if I were in a big city, I could never find the exciting, imaginative and giving people whom I meet in blogland. It is a special place that helps me overcome my little speed bumps of life and the trials and successes of my knitting. There is inspiration being freely shared that I appreciate so much. Enough to get going on my blankie and chalk up another FO.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Well, back walking, anyway. She's big but she's not a horse. It is a theory of mine that the reason I am not pining for another horse is this 95 lb dog.

The snow has a bated, it is warm enough to trundle through our 5 km walk. What a relief. I require the walking therapy for my asthma and my nasty knees. I did spend an entire year (not last year) when I missed only 2 days. I try to be gentler on myself, though Carly requires daily excercize. If I have a busy day or can't make the full 45 minutes, I'll be OK with a smaller walk or wait until tomorrow. The kids have helped out when I've been sick. D. likes to take her out, too. It is good to have a goal. It is bad to be inflexible and not allow for real life.
But how easy do I go on myself? At what point do I just get lazy? I need to remember that walking is fun and lets me be alone and self-directed. The way I feel after the walk is important to focus on as well. It is a much better feeling than sitting at my computer for that 40 minutes.
Lots of uninterrupted (!!) knitting last night. What a rush. How long has it been? I have 6 pattern repeats left on my backyard leaves from IK Holiday Gifts and two balls of butterfly cotton left on my tumbling blocks baby blanket for early January.
The pattern developed from several sources. I can't take credit for the pattern, but neither can I cite my source. I'll try to put it down below. Sets of 10 that travel through st st, reverse st st, and seed st. I like a predictable pattern that I can knit off the stitches. I have 10 st border in seed stitch because I'm not a big fan or garter. I cast on 200 stitches to get a blanket 40 inches. I hope to knit a square. I charted it on knitting graph paper.
On right side: v= pearl and 0= knit, but this is entirely reversible.
20. vovovovovo
vvovovovoo 19.
18. vvvovovooo
vvvvovoooo 17.
16. vvvvvooooo
vvvvvooooo 15.
14. ovvvvoooov
vovvvooovo 13.
12. ovovvoovov
vovovovovo 11.
10. ovovovovov
vovoovvovo 12
8. ovooovvvov
voooovvvvo 7.
6. ooooovvvvv
ooooovvvvv 5.
4. oooovovvvv
ooovovovvv 3.
2. oovovovovv
ovovovovov 1.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Not Quite Falling

These leaves are designed by a genius. Anne Modesitt is incredible. They are as intriguing as they are impressive. I'm working on the second half (to be grafted in the middle). The ends are sculpted leaves. I'm loving it. I never intended to finish it quickly, but I would really like to wear it to one of the Christmas things.

I bought a beautiful crinkly cranberry blouse with lots of little fasteners down the front and lots of cleavage. Then I bought a light turtleneck in the same colour. I'm a bit of a fashion chicken. But what could I do with a pattern from the knitting heretic? I've asked for the Big Girl Knits for Christmas. Even when I'm at my (old and shelved) goal weight, I'm curvy. I no longer believe in goal weights. I believe in knitting goals and writing goals, exercize goals and health goals. But the scale be damned. It is not my friend. The only numbers I have ever gotten along with are in knitting.

Blogger is hating my photos again and wanting them shunted to a parallel universe. I'd love to share the pewter stitches with anyone who stops by.

One of things I adore about knit blogs is learning about the places people come from.

I'm in the Fraser Valley in a small town that used to be called Sardis. There are lots of used to be's in my town and that's partly what my book is about. The threat of development.

The snow is returning to its normal state i.e. anywhere else. I have had a lot of trouble walking my big black dog lately. But Carly needs her mileage (kilometerage) to be content to shed on the white carpet in the front room. She really is a good dog. But 95 lbs on the other end of a leash makes for a tipsy turn on the ice. I really have been tough on her "heeling" lately. The kitten chow in my pocket helps her to focus on my needs: don't pull!!!

The gifts are wrapped except for D and the kids. I have another gathering on Thursday with the choir. Good news, we got a lot done last night. They can stick to the tune while I play flute and I have a solo on Christmas Eve morning. I'd rather sing, but I have this Lo How a Rose ready.

My thin crust vegetarian bake at home pizza is ready. The boys are in the basement watching pirates and D has our daughter at the skate shop. Sit back and relax. Listen to Kathy Reichs on the computer while following the falling leaves. Good.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


My dragon daughter had a blow up last night at dinner. We sat at the table. Together. This is supposed to be healthy. Sometimes on a week night we have to go to meetings after dinner. Not every night. Not like a few years ago when we were at pipe band practice 4 evenings a week.
Why did she have to freak out when we pointed out that she had failed to clean up the dog after her walk? We all make mistakes.
So much aggression. I was in despair. I had to go to parent teacher night for the son. It wasn't so bad. He's an asset to the school. So is she.
When I got back, I just wanted quiet time. So I put on an audio book and I made 8 trays of shortbread. I knit between batches. The teachers' gifts are done and wrapped on square plates. Next: butter tarts.
Filling the house with the smells of our favourite food and warming the kitchen were healing.
She apologized this morning. She doesn't understand it either. Teen age is the worst.

I'm sorry. Blogger is not downloading my pictures. I'm not alone with this problem. Maybe I should just take comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my problems.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I Should Be Writing

My course is over and I'm not signed up for next semester. That means I have an opportunity, if I take it to get my first draft finished. It has been too long since I made that as a goal. Knitting is more than a diversion. It has helped me to understand the long winter of the middle of a project. I feel that often with a big sweater, lace project or blanket. But I also know now that I have the capability to finish something. I trust myself.

I'm not the kind of knitter who has lots on the needles. I used to have one knitting and one stitching project at a time. Now I have one complicated and one simple- both knitting.

I stopped journalling when I threw out my old notes. I never intended to reread them and D was pushing to clean up. It was difficult. What is the purpose of writing down all my ideas, only to toss them?

I keep my poems.

I have hundreds of cards written up for my novel. Now is the time to make a big mess and get some chapters written. Only when I'm in the middle of it can I decide on the ending. Making this decision has paralyzed me. But I wouldn't choose an edging until I had most of the shawl in my hand. I may even need to block it.
Practice forgiveness. Get that monkey off your back.
Look at how adventurous I can get in knitting. Transfer the skill to the writing.
Mur Lafferty has a great podcast: I Should Be Writing at I'm catching up on my listening and I find it so encouraging and realistic.
The baby blanket is doing great- starting my 4th of 5 balls tonight thanks to Six Feet Under. My scarf increased this weekend and I look forward to the first edge. Had a great time yesterday with my best friend as she is rediscovering her knitting self. We went to a wool shop two weeks ago and she already finished the shawl and baby hat and made a second shawl of stash. Now she's making her first socks. She called lastnight asking about the magic loop. No holding her back. I sent her the link to knitting where there are good videos. I haven't tried it yet myself but the socks and yarn are top of the pile.
I also sent her the link to the counterpoint scarf from Magknits new issue. Our sons play piano duets together. I thought I'd do the DNA illusion scarf at the same time. Go Cascade 220.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No Jealousy

The spruce trees that stradle our drive way are not jealous of the Christmas tree because they are adorned with snow.
I know it's too early to decorate, but with the teenagers home for a second snow day, I was trying to keep them occupied. We're having a dinner on Friday, and I didn't know how I'd get things done. So I asked for help. I still have to get hold of the Thai restaurant to cook. Oops. We have a tree, outdoor lights and silver decorations on many candles.
Today I have the house back. I plan to get my cards done. If I have things done ahead, I enjoy the season much more. Plus I can focus on the choir and flute.
My course is pretty well finished. My instructor is whinging and making excuses for her poor organization and huge mistakes. I'll wait till I have my marks and then I'll be blunt about my disappointment in her unprofessionalism. Too bad.
Last night was more knitting on the tumbling blocks blanket. I didn't do any of the Backyard Leaves scarf because it takes up too much brain. If I'm done my course, I can start writing in earnest... or I can do another set of rows on the scarf. Hmmm.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What's on your ipod?

MEME (my first)
This is from Stephanie of "And She Knits Too" at

1. Open itunes music library
2. press shuffle
3. press play
4. for each new entry, type the song that's playing
5. press next/fwd for next song

The results are actually kind of spooky. I had to fast forward past my audio books. I don't really want Noam Chomsky to sing at my funeral. I don't know how that affected the results. Try it.

OPENING CREDITS: "Darn that Dream" by Miles Davis, Birth of Cool

WAKING UP: "Like the Way I Do" by Melissa Etheridge, Greatest Hits

1ST DAY OF SCHOOL: "Look at Little Sister" Stevie Ray Vaughan, Live Alive

FALLING IN LOVE: "Cello Suite #6 in D, BWV 1012" JS Bach, Yoy Mah, The Cello Suites

BREAKING UP: "Anatomy of a Murder, Main Title" Duke Ellington

PROM: "Not Dark Yet" Bob Dylan, Best of

LIFE OK: "The Path of Thorns" Sarah McLaughlan, Solace

MENTAL BREAKDOWN: "Pick Up Sticks" Dave Brubeck, Time Out

DRIVING: "No 23 in B Major BWV 892, Prelude" JS Bach, Angela Hewitt, The Well-tempered Calavier

FLASHBACK: "Souls Journey" Amy Stephen, Among the Sanctuaries

GETTING BACK TOGETHER: "Long Journey Home" Elvis Costello from Sountrack

WEDDING: "Never Be the Same" Crowded House, Temple of Low Men

BIRTH OF A CHILD: "Goin' Up" Great Big Sea, Up

FINAL BATTLE: "Jade Visions" Bill Evans, Sunday at the Village Vanguard

FINAL SONG: "Closer To Fine" Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls

END CREDITS: "Your Hands Are Cold" Jean-Yves Tibaudet, Pride & Prejudice Soundtrack


I can hardly recognize my backyard. It is difficult to realize that something so beautiful can be treacherous and that many accidents occurred in the storm. We were lucky to get home because the Sumas flats between Abbotsford and Chilliwack are the most dangerous of the whole trip.
Schools are closed and I'm happy to hunker down and work on my Backyard Leaves scarf of Lana Grossa Luxor. It's a lovely pewter, but I need quite a large chunk of my brain to get each row knit properly. Anne Modesitt is a genius.
Last night I knit a little toque for our friends we just visited. They put him in the Cowichan sweater I knit him and asked for a hat. I'm very subject to flattery. The sweater did fit beautifully and keep him warm. I was lucky to have some lopi left because I used most of my chunky stash to make toques for the homeless men in East Van this year. I missed the service on Sunday when they displayed some of our work and asked for donations for First United.
I'm trying to deal with my latent anger over my biological father leaving us for alcoholism. We were a family at risk. But we are blessed. No one chooses to become an alcoholic. It is what happens to some. Most of my effort goes to women's shelters. But if you want to change the way you feel about someone, it works to start with actions. So by knitting a hat every month, I had time to knit some blessings into the stitches that the man may feel comforted. We do care. It's just not easy. Next year I thought I'd take a break from the monthly plan eventhough it was successful. I want to get some of those nephew sweaters knit. Brian's wool is under my desk where I can't avoid it. Soon I'll do a new swatch. Top down raglan with a cable down the sleeve in a dark coffee colour.
First the baby. My last nephew will be born in January. The cotton tumbling blocks is coming along. I don't need the pattern anymore! That's a big deal for someone like me who shuns numbers. I thank Lara of Math 4 Knitters for letting me open up to the math.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

No Thank-you

I'm not a snow lover. I live in Chilliwack, in a Pacific Coast Rain Forest. It has to be warm enough to rain to make me happy. Sometimes it's a very cold, dark rain, but it's home and green.
D. and I went into Vancouver and enjoyed a sunny day on Granville Island and West Fourth with friends. Then the storm hit. Driving home was treacherous. No fun. D. thinks it is unnecessary to follow the sanding plowing truck even when God puts one right in front of you and conditions are bad enough to need a plow and sanding truck on the Trans Canada Highway.
We bought some special gifts, ate real french food and enjoyed time alone in the evening.
Our yard is white with drifting snow and I'm happy to be home where I can make a cup of tea and be with my kiddies. They made it through the night and even through a Nintendo fight.
They did their chores and practiced their music. I'm grateful.
There will probably be no school tomorrow and I don't intend to go on the roads. Oh no! Knitting time!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wash Away the Schedule

I guess there will no longer be a normal day.
I may have finished Christmas shopping, but I've already turned down two evenings out and invited over 20 people to my house -twice!

I try to get the shopping done before the season so I don't hate people. I can sit at home and make shortbread and practice flute and choir pieces. Oh, and sherpa my kids around.

It even snowed last night which is very strange.

Today D and I are travelling (90min) to Vancouver to visit with friends from UBC. Our annual shopping. They have a toddler now, so it's a little different. And they didn't leave their evening open. But we'll go to dinner as a couple. Two things- I've hardly seen him for a week and the kids will be home alone. For the first time. Why are we doing this? It's hard enough to give up my Sunday School class. But my kiddies? 15 and 13 is legal. I'll probably wake my son before we go to reinforce expectations and let him know my phone is on.

The salmon in our back yard have pretty well travelled through, but they didn't have it easy either.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Life in Series

I'm just finishing a long haul of classes and assignments and Advent preparations.
I finally finished my socks that rock- no pics yet. I cast them on in August when I broke my lace needle packing for our trip. Toe up doesn't seem to fit that well. I'll start a regular one in a bit.
On the needles: a baby blanket. I have one more nephew expected in January. I set up this pattern from I don't know where. I knit it as a blanket for another cousin's wedding. It's tumbling blocks. I like knitting a quilt and we recently learned that blocks are imperative to a child building language skills. I was only going to knit a sweater because this SIL is hard on me, but I was guilted out by the success of the Moderne Baby Blanket for a mere (but extremely precious) cousin.
There may not be enough light to see that this pattern is a simple series of parts of '10'. Five together, four and two. It is vey peaceful. The rows aren't even that long at 200 stitches. The butterfly cotton is the same I used for my son's sweater in grade one and he loved it. I'll use 5 skeins.
No knitting for Christmas. At least that's what I tell myself. I've started the Annie Modesitt Backyard Leaves scarf from the IK gift special in a stunning pewter. I needed a simple scarf when we went to Winton Marsalis before it got cold. I'll have it for next time.
The weather has been atrocious. Cold and wet and stormy. The pineapple express without the sand and sunsets. Our basement almost flooded. My daughter was excited that the salmon had returned to our river. Her grade 4 class released the little guys four years

Monday, October 09, 2006


I'm finished the Moderne Baby Blanket. I still need to weave some ends in, but I got a head start when D had his surgery. I look forward to meeting this special November baby. D knit his cousin a blanket when he (the dad to be) was born. Have I already gone over this? Well, said cousin grew up into a neat guy, married his long-time sweetheart and the blankie went to the wedding. He was so attached to it his mother always threatened to make his wedding suit out of it. So "binky" was highlighted at the reception.
This is a guy who needs a great baby blanket. They are a very trendy young couple and I hope they are encouraged this blanket which was inspired by the green of their bridesmaids dresses. Full circle.
We are going to two turkey dinners today. Don't ask. Usually D is working and his parents are away. This is sort of a holiday for me and my sisters. But I haven't finished my paper- well underway and on schedule- on Andrew Carnegie. You can see it sharing the table with the blanket. I still have to study for a mid-term soon. Do I like this course? Not really. There isn't much new info for me on the history of libraries. But I'll try to be a good sport.
I'll be thankful that I have the opportunity to persue higher education and the leisure to choose my own courses. We shall see.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Maybe this is real life

I'm still crouching in the shadowed corner of my plans.
D's back surgery has been a total success. But what a lot a work for a nurse who doesn't nurse anymore. How much do I give up to be available? Apparently early bed time. He wants to watch Six Feet Under with me. We can't let the kids watch. I'm so tired and I miss reading. Usually he's busy or out in the evening. So this is a good thing.
At least I'm sleeping again after at least 2 weeks of misery.
But my daughter is home, unable to heal from a nasty virus. That's work too. She's 13 and knows how to drink water and sleep. But it's been going on for over a week. It's everywhere. She misses skating and she was only able to go to school for a half day this week.

I hear myself saying "when things get back to normal". That'll never happen. Things will change. But nothing is normal.
Don't let external controls and others' expectations keep you from living a real life. The kids are grown now. I'm still here if I'm at school or the gym or even work.
D will heal and go back to spending all his time at work or with the pipe band. I can't give up opportunities now that will lead to greater fulfillment.
Working hard on this dreadfully poorly prepared course for library tech. New!! Job application in to the School Board to work as a Teacher's Assistant. I could use my pediatric knowledge and the experience I have from volunteering (countless) hours in the school.
And of course my lovely knitting.
I sat with my daughter on Sunday afternoon to watch a video and appease my guilt for being out in the evenings. I knit so much on my Socks that Rock that I got a cut on my finger. Serious knitting.
She knit a scarf and I was sent to the wool shop to get her more materials. Yay! I sereptiously picked up some more Kureyon. This is better than collecting salt and pepper shakers.
Sweet dreams are made of these.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Last of the Summer Sun

We're expecting rain this weekend. The cool mornings have been quickly eclipsed by scorching afternoons and sultry evenings. The lack of rain is starting to get eerie. I live in a temperate rainforest, and I'm gradually replanting with more drought-tolerant plants. A bit step away from my indigenous border.
I'm relieved that I can maybe wear some of my knits. I have a reason to finish that same pair of first toe-up socks. I turned the last heel the other night and I'm redoing the top of the first in a 3 and 1 rib. I knit them too densely. Not a tragedy. I have some more yummy yarn to make another pair. I really like this Socks that Rock. I know, the last on the planet.

That's a typical thing for me in knitting. Oh look! I just discovered short rows. Oh look. Everyone is already designing with them and way ahead. At least the knitting community is nurturing and not judgemental. Except for that one young nurse I worked with. But she would never show us her work. My friend Annie says the small mistakes are like Japanese pottery that separate the handmade from the factory.

I tried my hand at the Fetching and loved how the cashmerino felt. I bought two skeins but truly only needed one. What to do with the other skein? I'm going to try and find more to make Karen's Sugar-Free Diabetes Walk Socks ( This is a great pattern for a great cause.

To have time to make a post is a blessing. I won't read my favourite blogs until this evening, though, because my daughter is home with a cold (missing activity day) and my husband is still healing from the back surgery. He's up and about and is going to drive to the office today. But no cows. The good news is we can only pop into the three parties we're going to this weekend. We need to cuddle at home.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Red Thread

The thread of thoughts. The thread that holds lovers together. The red thread that Ariadne summoned to save Theseus and lead him out of the Labyrinth.

This Pandora yarn was a delightful gift from my outrageous flute teacher. What a lovely surprise. She thought of me while shopping at Hilltop in Seattle.

This crazy yarn changes itself as you knit. Like my thoughts that need to be wrangled in to get on with the activities of daily living while our lives are topsy turvy. Post-op D. is doing well. Tomorrow we go to the surgeon's office for an update. I miss two important meetings for which I will have to solely gather the missed information and then head to meet the teacher night at the middle school. I'm still tired from last week and I'm getting tired in anticipation.

Still, I can walk the dog in the warm summer-like sunshine. I can study my interesting papers for this (poorly executed) library course and I can study with red wine and good chocolate. Nothing like my pauper Nursing school days.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dashed by the Dashboard

My post didn't take. They decided to overhaul as I pressed Post. They? They who are better at computers than I. They who may soon see my blog switched to another channel.

For those of you who missed it, I very cleverly showed you a Mason-Dixon log cabin baby blanket which I am knitting in the wedding colours of the mom-to-be. I remember her exclaiming how much she loved the green of the bridesmaids' dresses, the ribbons, invitations, all of that. It was very cute. They have been happily married for two years now and we are excited to have another baby in the family.
But these parents-to-be are very cool. Always were. I had to stretch to find something that was hip enough for them, so I decided it was hip to be square. (They would not recognize the reference to the wonderful Huey Lewis).

My husband knit a blanket for the dad-to-be (his cousin) when that young man was born. D. was about 12, I think. It was the favourite item. They had threatened to make a suit of it for his wedding. His mom did bring it out at the wedding, too. So I thought it suitable to make a baby blanket to match said wedding.

Hope this post finds its way to the right ether path in the net.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bobbing in the Autumn Swell

I'm still here. But I am more tentative, more rushed and under more stress.
When we got back from our trip, I had only two weeks of freedom before beginning another library course.
I had wanted to walk and take pictures and maybe take the kids to the lake.
Instead I got a dreadful respiratory infection that left me asleep on the deck with a full pot of tea going cold. So pathetic.
I did read Joyce's Ulysses. I had only intended to start A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. But one thing led to another, and in a fever crazed marathon, I read them both in a week.
I get what he meant about excess.
Some of the parts were the best I ever read. A lot of it was lists and repetition to underline the mood, setting, event. Some of it was still gobbledygook to me. But if you just relax your mind, you can absorb most of it.
Now I am free to read my book club choice, the lyrical "Suite Francaise" and any mystery I wish. Last year I finished reading all of Dickens. Next will be my lovely collection of Proust.
So I got the kids back to school, D. back from highland games, skating club started, Sunday School begun. It has been heavy. With very light knitting.
The hats are on schedule. A scarf with the amazing Pandora yarn that my flute teacher bought me. A gift of fibre!!!
I started a log cabin blanket for a special cousin having a first child. I started a shawl of mohair and glitz. I started the Fetching fingerless gloves from the summer knitty. I 'll finish tonight so I can wear them at the FREEZING rink while I knit.
Our zamboni driver wants me to knit him something, so I thought the cool illusion scarf from MagKnits in our club colours.
The big thing right now is D. is going for back surgery tomorrow. Side-swiped by a cow in May. It has been a challenge.
The procedure is minimally invasive. The results are to be quick and complete. He's actually walking out of the clinic the next day. But I have nursed many a back patient in my day and they are difficult. I hurt. I want to move. You're a mean nurse. Why yes I am. Get back to bed. Or get back to walking. We'll see.
For tomorrow, it will be total disruption. We are blessed with support. Though both sets of grandparents are uncharacteristically away, the kids will be with their favourite cousins and I can knit and listen to knitting podcasts while I pretend to not be concerned.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back Home Again

Travelling makes change. You see new things. You see old things in a new way. You, the traveller are changed.
We flew to Ontario and enjoyed being with friends in their hometowns. We became familiar with our nation's capital and the beautiful parliament buildings. We walked in the old roads of La Vielle Quebec. We drove a lot, but less than last year when we toured the prairies.
Our kids had some good times. We let them sleep in and eat some junk food. They saw Shakespeare in Stratford, the Museum of Civilization and Stomp in Montreal.
It was not a shopping holiday. Nary a wool shop. I worked on my first toe-up socks while we drove and in the plane. I did not feel much like a knitter. I met no other knitters. No Toronto shops at all.
But I read three books and I enjoyed walking and visiting. We were together a lot and putting forth our argument that D. doesn't get to pick everything. Not a real democracy, but the kids are getting older and should have some respect and voice.

So I'm back home. A lovely home with a loving dog. A greater chance of eating healthy food that does me good. A chance to go to sleep early. The three hours time change wasn't so bad, but the strenuous travel did a bit of a case on us anyway.
So I have most of two weeks before my next course starts. The kids are in music camp during the day so I have a wee bit of freedom. I got my poor flute back. More on that later. I'm getting ready to start the log cabin baby blanket.
Hope the summer is rich and deep for everyone as it starts to linger and fade.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Corn Is As High

I'm packed and ready to fly out. But now I have to take a picture of the sunflower field before I go. And will the blackberries be finished? Isn't this light breeze temperate. I am ambivalent about leaving my beloved Fraser Valley. The corn in this field is edged with amazing sunflowers. Next year I'm growin me some. The food value is similar to our cattle corn silage, but the aesthetics surpass.
I wrote my final last night. Whew. That was scary saving it and emailing it to my instructor. It's the first test I didn't finish. Really. The first test ever. But I wrote the essay, did the research and all but two short answers. Citing websites. No confidence. Ran out of time. Then this morning I found I hadn't submitted a final Learning Assignment. Not good for the blood pressure. But I managed to pop it off before driving to Tswassen to pick up my son from the ferry. I can't abide holiday traffic!
With great nagging and threatening, I got the kids to pack and pack lightly. It was easier when I just did everything myself. D. still hasn't packed. No I didn't prepare your underwear. You are an adult. I am not your mother, and I am not YOUR mother. There may have been a time when I lumped him into the kids. But no longer. If they have to meet minimum standards of survival, he can suck it up, too. Did I mention I was writing a 3hour final?
So now we head off to Eastern Canada. I was born in Ontario, though I have no real memories before my 3 year old train trip to BC. My first ancestor came over from Ireland to fight on the Plains of Abraham. I think I'll get choked there.
This year we will be visiting friends, and I'll make D. let the kids sleep in a bit.
Now that my course is done, I have a month to catch up on writing and reading. A poem a day? I don't think I'll be so strict.
I'll still have 2 weeks after we come back. All the school supplies and clothes are bought. I even have my mother-in-law's September birthday gift.
Just relax and fly out over the beautiful valley.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I just got carried away, I guess. Yesterday I was a bit impatient with this program and hit the button twice. Two-for-one blogging. Sorry.
Now is the crunch. I have piles of clothes for packing and I'm on the verge of diving into my last revision before my final exam tonight. I'm not worried like I used to be. I'm not afraid of failing, or even of getting a lower grade. I want to do well, sound intelligent and complete it in the time alotted. In nursing school, everything was so frantic and competitive. But the girls who did well on exams didn't necessarily make better care givers.
This librarian study has a lot of lateral thinking and making connections. I love that. It's like my poetry. Things just crop up and put themselves in the wrong place. Juxtaposition for a purpose.
So I'm going to start the bobsled.
I hope to post regularly as we travel to Ontario and Quebec. But if I don't, I aplogize.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

High Season

These are the long, warm, drowsy days of summer. We walk in the early morning to avoid the worst of the heat. It is pleasant now, with a gentle breeze. Good for making hay.
When I was younger, my sister and I were the sons and we would help my Paw bring in the hay. Sometimes Mom would drive the tractor. I would throw the bales onto the wagon, my sister would pass them to Paw and he'd stack. The perfect, strong, never to fall stack of hay bales. She could throw a bale over her head, up three levels. Then I would unload the wagon, placing the bales on the greedy hay elevator for the poor guys in the hay mound, or loft. There was no air up there.
Now, I can barely stand to do my weeding in the heat. My kids don't go into the pool without sunscreen. We all have sunglasses. How strange. How civilized.
I do miss the long rambling horse rides through the hills. But I have my giant lab who walks with me and is very good company.
My birthday is the time of the tall corn, fresh berries and long days. I have to make sure I sit out in the shade on the deck and enjoy the outdoors today. And have a few blackberries. They are just coming ripe and the greatest indicator of the high summer.

High Season

These are the long, warm, drowsy days of summer. We walk in the early morning to avoid the worst of the heat. It is pleasant now, with a gentle breeze. Good for making hay.
When I was younger, my sister and I were the sons and we would help my Paw bring in the hay. Sometimes Mom would drive the tractor. I would throw the bales onto the wagon, my sister would pass them to Paw and he'd stack. The perfect, strong, never to fall stack of hay bales. She could throw a bale over her head, up three levels. Then I would unload the wagon, placing the bales on the greedy hay elevator for the poor guys in the hay mound, or loft. There was no air up there.
Now, I can barely stand to do my weeding in the heat. My kids don't go into the pool without sunscreen. We all have sunglasses. How strange. How civilized.
I do miss the long rambling horse rides through the hills. But I have my giant lab who walks with me and is very good company.
My birthday is the time of the tall corn, fresh berries and long days. I have to make sure I sit out in the shade on the deck and enjoy the outdoors today. And have a few blackberries. They are just coming ripe and the greatest indicator of the high summer.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Red Means Blessing

I finished the red alpaca kimono. By finished, I mean I'm ready to start the finishing. There were actually a lot of stitches in this sweetie because I chose such a fine gauge. But it is fine, and I am pleased. It will go together simply, when I fold it in half.

While it was blocking, I took my son to the ferry to walk on by himself. He's visiting an old friend just outside of Victoria. It's a blessing that he can travel safely on his own. Also that he has such a welcoming home to visit. This is his best friend from preschool who moved away when they were about seven. They are his other family. His friend is just as welcome here, but they both like it there better. I wish I was in Victoria- Beehive Wool Shop! The only Koigu I've ever seen.

I did a bit of shopping on the way home. I love Long and McQuade in Langley. I bought some flute music, but left them my flute to service. I feel a bit lost. I'd better break out the guitar tonight. I also bought some gifts-that-I'd-like-to-keep at Liberty's. What a blessing to have some time alone. My daughter was with her cousin.

My neice is here to placate the daughter and keep her out of my hair as I study for my imminent final. Give her mother a bit of a rest, too. I guess I'll be watching a movie on my laptop tonight as the girls will have the TV for videos. If I have time, I'll watch some of Ken Burns' Jazz. It'll be my third summer with that amazing series.

So... refreshed. Almost done one project. Ready to continue with the Socks That Rock in berry and the shawl I started, When? I meant to wear it to Scotland while I knit another, but that trip was postponed until we could get enough pipers. Next year? I'll pull it out to take on the plane.
It's a thistle pattern. And that, too is a blessing.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Courage To Comment

Now that I have my own blog, eventhough I don't know if anyone reads it, I feel more part of the crowd to comment on my favourite blogs.
I don't comment to Yarn Harlot anymore, because I think the hundreds of comments are just overwhelming. If I read the notes, I usually find someone who has a similar idea to mine. It can't be that outrageously original.
But Life's A Stitch, and And She Knits Too! are some of the first ones I ever read.
The internet has opened up such a warn community of wonderful, funny, intelligent writers and knitters for me. Now I want to join in more.
Unfortunately, as for them, my life is so busy. Will I be designing much in the future? It was knitty and blogs that lifted that obligation for me. Now I can find amazing patterns. New! Stylish! Individual! Designing can cause its own heart aches. Right now I let Grumperina do the math.
I'm more into socks than I would have been. I'm more happy with my shawl interest. I'm not alone in the Alice Starmore, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Barbara Walker fan club.

So please give me a comment on how you differ with or agree with me. I'm ready to make some friends. Now that I have the courage.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

No Comment

Today is my birthday. It is a hot, sunny July day as most of my birthdays are. I am going to lunch with my friends and then supper at my sister's with my family. This could be a good day. I already walked the dog, and I'll jump into the shower before heading out for a few errands.

I had a lousy anniversary (my husband away piping) and an absolutely dismal Mothers' Day. I ended up grocery shopping and cooking supper after singing and drumming in a concert. No support or interest from the nintendogs.

So I have decided to not rely on them. Next Mothers' Day I will be away enjoying myself. Possibly with a friend who is alone. Today I will not be disappointed if the very heavily supported kids and husband can't wrench themselves from their own navel gazing.

This university course is changing my work habits. I put it above a lot of their needs. They are capable. But there has been a lot of tantrums, bad behavior and backlash. I can reverse course to make them happy and comfortable, or I can let them learn to be self-sufficient and better people. This is not easy. Especially with D. who is moaning about his back and the pressures of competing in piping. Make your own decisions. I d0n't need to be a sherpa anymore.

But I still can't say this openly in a confrontaional manner. I am protecting myself from further anger and disappointment, even mean comments. What a suck.

I will go out and shine in the sun. Without comment.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bored, Not Bored

The red kimono has tiny alpaca yarn and tiny needles and many stitches. This has led to boring knitting. I'm not bored by the first season of Six Feet Under. This is good TV knitting. But just as I was getting to my fill of stockinette stitch, it's time to decrease for the neck and... the pattern does not have variations for the different sizes. Bored and in a bit of a heat-induced, sitcom watching stupor, I was bolted from my relaxation to mild expletives. OK, math. Where's Lara?
It's simple proportions. But Debbie Bliss gets big bucks for her patterns, and I get nada for fixing them. I won't know for a few rows if I'm correct in my changes.

And this morning. The floor guys are coming back so I can confront them with the shoddy finishing they did or didn't do. I have my breakfast at the computer, a fresh cup of coffee, and the three stooges traipse in. This is where the floors are lifting, this is where the carpets are wrinkled. Do I dare show you where the baseboards are split and the wall needs filling and repainting, and did you realize I spent a whole day washing the walls and the appliances?

They did the little jobs as quickly as possible and bugged out while I was on the phone to my just-returned best friend. Cowards. As am I.

So this lazy morning has been a zoo. Barking dogs, other dogs, not mine. My son took her for a walk and she came back covered in dog s**t. Quickly bath her on the deck. All 90 black pounds of her. Not boring.

I'm going to head out and get the blue paint for my daughter's room and the criminally expensive wallpaper. She did the second coat of primer by herself. We'll paint the blue today. The paper will come while we're on holiday, so we'll put it up when we get back. That will allow the paint to cure. A good set back. Bad, not bad.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Youthful Love and Energy

Yesterday afternoon I took my kids to the theatre. Our Music Academy has a summer school of Musical Theatre and they've performed really good and better and better theatre. I just want the kids to have the opportunity to see live performances. I want them to see the successes of their friends. I just want to go to the theatre myself. I studied theatre at UBC. Just first year. It was going to be my life. But it was a bit of a brutal reality for a farm girl to be around the "atristes". Not so many were interested in the allegory, the theme in Shakespeare.

I moved on to nursing. Purpose and action. I had a lot of youthful energy.

We saw West Side Story. Real young people playing young people. So exciting to see the flowing choreography in a brutal, clashing manner. The first love. The forbidden love. They danced and sang and acted. Such energy!

Beyond weird was realizing that my former fiance, whom I haven't seen in at least 20 years was sitting in the same row as me. I saw his mother. He had already passed by the time I figured it out. And I'm too Canadian to stick out my neck and get a good gander. From the impression I got, he looks the same. But I am fat and old, and he was very mean- hence the break up. I was not brave enough to say hello. Even in my own home theatre, among musicians and music students who are my friends. With my delightful almost grown up children on either side of me. I was too afraid. Of what? My own failure to meet potential? The fact that my life is still in potential energy?

We had a long, distant relationship. Why do I remember every mean thing he ever said? Were there no happy times? Mostly distance. He was handsome and funny. But didn't want me to succeed. He learned a lot of racial hate where he was working. Do you think he has changed as much as I have? I don't even want to know. What a waste.

I went back to my highschool sweetheart who is a deeply good man. I have such luxury to stay home with my kids, and now return to school. I did not waste my youthful love and energy.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Safe Delivery

We got our new washer and dryer this morning. D. installed it and sat in front of it for the entire first load. Fascinating? I'm just happy to get all the clothes clean and back in the drawers. In this heat, things are going off rather quickly.
We're in a bit of a heat wave. Last night at 9pm, a sign read 35 degrees. One of my nephews said it was over 40 yesterday (double it and add 30). But D. says they're both inaccurate. On what grounds?
I'm in the basement. I opted out of going up the hill to SIL's pool this time. I don't enjoy being splashed and dunked. When I swim, I do laps and slip into a zen-like space of good breathing. This is good for my asthma, but the chemicals in the pool are usually too harsh for my skin. I come out and feel like I'm being bitten by hundreds of ants. I used to get that just from a shower, but I've become an expert at products for sensitive skin. Say LUSH with me.
I spent four hours yesterday stripping wallpaper with my daughter in her room. Yes- masochistic. She really wasn't very horrible. Can it be the first time I've asked her to work hard? I think of all the things I did with my sisters when I was young. When I was her age, my sister and I painted the kitchen for Mom while she was at work. Too bad it turned out to be a pukey bright green and not at all what she wanted.
On Monday I will prime all four wall, the two plaster, the wood and the gyprock with a top Fresh start. First I'll sand and wipe. Then we can maybe paper two and paint two. Light aqua blue. That should be nice. I did my ensuite in robin's egg blue and it pleases me.
I'm still not sure if we shouldn't just relegate her to the basement and mock up a bedroom. Then I could have her sunny room as my office/guestroom. It seems too much to ask for a door.
I used to study in the basement. But I just wouldn't come down here to the dark and artificial light when we have a beautiful back garden. It was slowly taken over by musical instruments. It's hard to write when the pipers are practicing in your room. Priming the walls won't hurt in any case.
Tomorrow I give the message at church. I did the whole service from scratch and I'm doing a duet with a young clarinet player. I hope I don't look like too much of an amateur. Next week we do a special service with lots of readers and then I'm away for three Sundays. I'll try not to let the constant heat leave me, as Jane Austen said, in a constant state of inellegance. Wish me safe delivery.

Friday, July 21, 2006

You've Got Gauge

When I retreat into knitting to comfort me, distract me, energize me, I am rarely disappointed
Lastnight, on a second attempt, I got the right gauge. For some this would be no good, but I have really struggled with shape and size. I did my first swatch at the rink and was off quite a bit. I rarely use the needles called for, but I thought I'd try it. This can lead me on a trail of many tries and no hits. Then I have to pick another pattern or yarn.

Last fall, I was visiting a friend in Bellingham. She and her husband are both knitters. Liz and I went on a wonderful yarn crawl, and Frank was interested in the treasures I found. I was freshly burned from the cotton Mariah gauge crisis and was whining away.
Frank said, "You just pull the string with your finger. What's stopping you?"
Good advice from a no-nonsense man.
So my gauge is much better now. But no guarantees.
I had to use a 3mm instead of 4mm. But the conquest, the victory. I am in love with this red alpaca. I can see the garter-stitch border is going to be gorgeous. This very simple baby kimono- from Debbie Bliss- will have the elegance I am seeking.
When I was expecting my first, I unexpectedly received sweater from several friends who wrote to the baby that his mother had taught them to knit. I don't even remember teaching them all, but I was so touched. I'm a softy anyway.
Such a simple undertaking. I have achieved gauge. I'm O.K.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Carrying On

Things are better than I expected. The 13 year old is preparing a sleep-over extraordinaire if camp is a no-go. I finally took meds for my IBS. The sun is shining and I'm heading to the freezing rink for an hour of knitting.
The washer and dryer should arrive on Saturday. I hope we can get our amazing neighbour to help us install it.
The little sock is still a little sock. Instead of swatching the red alpaca Debbie Bliss baby kimono yesterday, I transposed the entire Sunday Service. Good to have it done.
My husband is taking me out for supper on Friday. This is good for many reasons. Come piping season, he is either at Highland Games or taking vet call to cover his weekends away. For many years I drummed in the band and even taught the youth band. But when the daughter was done, I needed to be available to parent her. And I was choked that I wasn't getting enough bass drum time. So now he pipes alone, or with our reluctant son who is doing his final gig at the end of the month.
Also, D's sciatica has been a real trouble since it first arrived May 24. It was 6 wks before any improvement. But I did use the frying pan to the head method to get him to protect it. At least don't work on any untied cows! So it still hurts, but he can drive now and the progress is miniscule but measurable.
I have my homework done for this week (almost) and I'll have my final written before we fly out on Aug 5th. This online course has been a lot of work. First learning the online practices and then doing all the research. Can I do this for three semesters a year? That would give me very little time off. Almost all of August. Hmm. But that's like a normal job.
Will I be able to join the community band in the fall, and continue my flute lessons? We're down soccer, Emily's piano, Scott's piping and the kids have been trained to walk to school. It's a slow path.
At this age they are being introduced to so much. I try to make it one or two things at a time. But they have achieved a lot. Cooking, cleaning, heading out on bike and walk adventures.
Right now it's laundry. And I'm so thankful they are helping with that. I ended up just bringing home wet laundry from the office. We have a perfectly good clothes line. But I had run out of time. They actually helped. Without grumbling. This is good. We're carrying on.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Just a bit shakey

I've just found out that D. didn't register our daughter for camp. Oh my goodness. It's marked full on the site. She's been looking forward to this since May Retreat. Oh no. I'm devastated. Imagine how the 13 year old will react?
I did fire off an email to the registrar and a phone message to put her on a waiting list. But this is our very own camp where I worked as a nurse for 10 years. They were babies and toddlers there. I've done a terrible thing to encourage her to look forward to it. What am I going to do?
Between a back-aching husband who can only say angry denials in response to this, and the girl who "never gets to go anywhere or do anything".
I can only pray that we'll get a response soon.

Monday, July 17, 2006

When In Doubt, Swatch

On Saturday night, when I finished the hat, I was unable to start a new project. My hand was aching from entering my homework into Word. I was stuck. With new wool, several potential projects, I was just unable to move forward. Not that I had nothing on the needles, but the thistle shawl is just as complicated as starting over.

On Sunday morning, I was cured. I picked up the instructions for my first toe-up sock and read Wendy's instructions. Make a swatch. Of course. The next time I'm unambitious or overloaded, I'll set up the next swatch. I don't even have to count it. Just put it with the plans.
I feel better.

I also did some sewing. Fun! Just a very little bit, and not clothes for me. Another bag. We are travelling in August and I wanted to have nice hostess gifts. It started with the Zelda knitting bag. I saw it on knitty and it wanted to spend time with me sooooo badly. I even emailed Lettuce Knit in Toronto. They were pleased to get it in for me - for $200.00. Do you know how much wool that is? So I sewed a little bag for a sock project or baby sweater in the same kink of light blue vintage fabric. Maybe $30.00, but that was enough to make a second, larger bag. Today's bag is patchwork oriental inspired fabric with some marvelous silk and linen for the handles.

I finished my homework on time, too. And my cyber instructor is going to let me write the final before we fly out. How nice. How much do I want to do this year round? I think I was just tired of being so focussed. I also am co-ordinating the service this Sunday. I enjoyed the quiet Saturday morning, after my walk, to write the message and prayers. More types of swatching.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Big Project

Today I finished hat number 7. This year I am making one hat per month, so that in December, I can contribute to the men's shelter at First United Church in East Vancouver.

Now, I like to knit for babies. I put blessings into each stitch and visualize them squirming and crawling in the little sweaters and blankets I knit. Every one of the cousins gets a knit gift. My hairdresser got a blanket last year. I am passionate about babies, and I used to word as a pediatric nurse.
But I get angry about old, alcoholic men who make bad choices and drag down all those around them. Why? My father was an alcoholic and left my mother before I was born. I was the fourth girl, and he left a few times after I was born. When I was three, she packed us up from Ontario and we took a train ride to B.C. where his sister reluctantly helped us out. It was her husband who offered us sanctuary, but he died when I was about eight.
I did meet my father when I was 10. He was tall and charismatic and played jazz piano like an angel. He was also loud and impatient and still drank. He had married my mother's best friend and they had a daughter. Shaun. She was at my 10th birthday. She'd probably be 40 now. I hope she is strong and smart and funny, like she was then.

We kind of got on with out lives. Successes and marriages and children.

But last year, our biological father died in a home in East Van. The most poverty stricken area in North America. A contrast to our idyllic rural beauty in the valley, an hour away. I didn't know he was in the last stage of liver failure and in a wheelchair for years. I didn't know he was alive. I always hoped he'd dry up and clean up and wonder who I was.

So this year I am knitting my blessings into warm hats for other regretful men. Will it help? It makes me think about it. It makes me wonder about their families.
We were already involved with making donations to the mission there, but I felt it was too impersonal. I wanted to do something a bit more. I'll keep knitting.
Hopefully I can knit together my uncertainty.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Summer Rose

Why do I think that I love summer?
My expectations are all out of whack!

Today we did have some fun at the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. That's a summer escape- a matinee with the kids. Great movie. I wish I was back in the Caribbean. I look at my lovely blue topaz with the green fire and remember the sea. Mostly it's being in an all-inclusive resort with my husband and great friends. No walls to wash- that was my other activity today.

But I did walk the dog. It's not quite so hot, and I must grasp onto the things that balance my life. Like reading- I lingered in bed this morning to read another chapter.
Like knitting. I did quite a bit in the movie house while waiting. Almost done a hat-in-stash. This is part of a bigger project.

But right now I'm going to take the kids up to Grandma's to swim. We can linger by the pool and stay out in the light summer evening, smelling the roses.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


The workmen are gone, but I'm stuck with dirt and dust and filth. I swept the floors, after the 16 hour sealant drying time. I vacuumed the small amount of carpeting left and then had to remove all these gross spots. Yuck. The stair railing, fridge, baseboard, anything they touched is grimy and fingerprinted. I'm not a persnickety housekeeper, but I was a nurse, and I believe things need to be kept clean to last.

At least I have my little office back. I had to lug the furniture around myself. D is not around, and he hurt his back anyway. Grumpy bum. My cleaning list is almost complete. Then I add something. No!!!

Clapotis enjoyed watching Star Trek last night. She's all finished and rippling ocean colours in her silk beauty. I can't believe how easy it was to knit.

We're on the final season. I know, D's so impressed that we wathched ALL of the Voyager series. Don't worry. He bought the first few seasons of The Next Generation.
Some day I'll get to watch my PBS Jazz series again, and maybe some mysteries I borrow from the library. When is he going to the next Highland Games?

I'm running into the office to wash clothes. Whew. I'd better run and get the next load settled. Not really summer holidays is it? At least the kids are playing outside or in the basement and the workmen are not underfoot.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

In the Early Morning Rain

The heat has finally broken! It's raining again. I live in this Pacific Coast Rainforest in order to enjoy the warm, rich, moist air. My asthma does not like hot and dry or even cold and dry. So home should be perfect. But one of the first things we were told on global warming (in 1977) was that we were going to get someone else's weather.

Unfortunately, my house is ripped apart (slowly being put back together) by the floor layers and I am on my little covered porch with my fridge in the living room. Stressful disruption. Thank heavens I get internet this far from the router.

I apologize for the mistakes in the last post. I did immediately go back and fix them, but the program wouldn't accept the edit. It just smiled and said, "have a nice day" and then ignored me like a shop girl. I will work more diligently to edit before I post. Yes I can learn, just not everything at the same time.

My daughter returned to skating yesterday after a short break so... knitting at the rink. I'm almost finished Clapotis, so soft and lovely. Pics soon. I enjoy the visiting and the knitting, but not the cold, dry air.

Today is all about messy paperwork in a temporary space, and hopefully getting out to shop for new washer and dryer. My old ones aren't worth putting back. The laundry is piling up, and I won't be using the clothesline in this warm, heavy rain.

Monday, July 10, 2006

From Party to Reality

Yesterday we had such a lovely party! The weather stayed warm and dry until we were done. My sisters were happy and laughing. Some of my nephews came to help us chow down on ribs and salmon. It was happy.
But today we have the floor workers here. Such noise! Such mess- and they're attempting to control it.

I'm not very successfully hiding in the sunroom, trying to research my homework. Week 10 of 12. Almost there. It's so very difficult to keep focused.

Tomorrow I shall retreat to the basement if I can get any time on the computer at all.

Clapotis is now in the decreasing phase. Coming along rather quickly, actually. I have a small project and then I think I'll start the tip down cabled raglan. The wool has been in a box under my desk to assert itself as the next project- for ages. Should I listen? Should I just leave it until I can no longer manage the harping? Should I stifle its cries by banishing it to the basement? At what point am I changing my own rules too much?

I should try to recreate the feelings of adoration I once held for this wool when I chose it and brought it home at 35% off. I was tickled. This is also the first sweater in a bigger project that I fear to begin because I may get swamped. I may succeed. Oh no. I need an artificial deadline that is reasonable enough to believe myself.

I could always create my own reality.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Highland Yarn Crawl

The Highland Games schedule in the Pacific Northwest takes pipers and dancers from the north end of Vancouver Island to Portland. We used to go to every game. Every weekend. Start packing on Wednesday. Small childrens toys, small kilts, drums, pipes, snacks. Whew. And I was competing as a tenor drummer myself and teaching several kids. Whew.
Saturday was my first Games this year. Since my daughter and I stopped drumming, it isn't as compelling. Or maybe we just were immunized to the mania.
Each Games has its own character. Mt. Vernon is small and well-run. We go to a friends' BBQ after, which always makes it special. Last year, for the first time, I ventured off the grounds. I found Helen's Needlework. She sold me some Mountain Colors sock yarn, her Fibretrends pattern, some wooden double points and a little leash to hold them. I liked her matter of fact knowledge. I went back.
Jane was lovely, trying to help me find wool for a difficult gift. I loved the loose yardage of Mountain Colors. Do you think I have a red thing going? And that's real XXL Trekking sock yarn that I saw last year and wish I had bought. The red alpaca was for a baby sweater. but now I think I'll make a lace scarf. Maybe. And there's more! There was another yarn shop down the road with Rowan and organic cotton and cutting edge cool. Two stores! I'll be back next Highland Games.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Home Again, Jiggity Jog

We're back and happy to be home. The shopping trip went very well. Everyone got along, and no one insisted on their own plan. My daughter bought quite a few clothes, but they'll be good for school too. Don't think about school! They only just got out.

It's fun travelling without boys. You don't have to worry about them getting bored or hungry or just hijacking the plans. The girls are just the right age to start this kind of trip.

I didn't get to go to a wool shop. But if we're in Mt. Vernon tomorrow, I'll nip out to Helen's like I did last year. I did get to go to Barnes and Noble (YAY) and bought copies of the Shakespeare plays we're to see in August, and a paperback Ulysses so I can read it without ruining my lovely Folio edition. My SIL does not like bookstores. But I think she was OK leaving us there while she went back for more clothes.

We know summer is here, because the border crossing took over an hour to travel two blocks! Plus it's only going to get worse. Luckily we were in good spirits and good company.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The new knitty is up and I'm just getting ready to jump in. Already I have plans for the wrist warmers. The last ones I started were of Noro Kureyon. I'm not a fan. Am I the only one who finds this yarn scratchy? Plus, from a ball of mixed maroon and fuscia, I started knitting from the inside. The first (unfinished) wrist warmer was brown and grey. Who knows what color the other one would be? If I bought another ball of the same yarn, there's no knowing what else I'll get. It's "charm" is in its unpredictability. Hmmm. I smell mitre-knit felted bag.
Tomorrow I take my daughter and niece (both 13) to Bellingham with my sister-in-law. This is a test. Repeat, this is only a test. If the girls are rediculous, or SIL and I can't focus on the same nanosecond, we'll chalk it up to experience. However, I am very encouraged by the olive branch and the good idea. The girls can drive each other wild. SIL is the queen of bargoons. So if I'm not looking for an Hermes scarf, we can really dive into the sales. I hope I'll get leave for good behavior to walk to a wool shop, or to sip coffee at a bookstore. My dreams, my wishes. I will settle for leather handbags and cool kitchen gadgets.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Choices, Choices

We've decided to get new flooring. Our white carpet, though of the highest quality, was never our choice. A decorator lived in this house before us and I have spent 9 years "undecorating"it. Warm, understated, flattering colours, with low contrast are what I have chosen. Items we have gathered on our travels and gifts from loved ones. Less stuff than we used to have.
So I want a floor that doesn't say "Wow! Look at that floor!" I want a floor that I can live with and that will withstand our rather hard use.

So I'm back to comparing beiges. It took me two years to pick the one on our wall. Wheat. But it is definitely the right choice. With our grey skies in winter, I need golden tones. But not outright yellow. Those of you who compare two white yarns will understand. It's the feeling, the mood.

Everyone is putting in hardwood. But I don't want it. I was relieved to know I had another choice that isn't loud on doggie nails, is soft and warm on feet and won't mind me scrubbing it.

And bonus- less vacuuming. I hate vacuuming. I especially hate vacuuming black dog hair from a white carpet. The irony is, she's afraid of the vacuum. Well, if you didn't shed so much...

The summer is in full fling, and I fight for my computer time to do my research and homework questions. Don't tell the family that I'm not studying right now. They're all playing on the drums with a computer program. Yes. This is peace and quiet for me.

I take my choices where I can get 'em.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Bushels of Bobbles

There are now two Baby Tart hats to send to charity. Thank goodness a lady in Massachusetts is also offering a nutrition course, because my stash is wool. Very little cotton. I don't cotton to knitting cotton.

My last mistake was a pretty big one! Mariah. Yes, the beautiful Jodi Green cabled zip hoodie. I knit it a size smaller to allow for my stupid gauge troubles, and it still stretched to one size too big. Blast! It's hard enough knitting for a teenage girl, but to have the angst of poor fit. Next time I'll knit it from Cascade 220.

What's very odd, is that since I complained about this sluggish program a few days ago, the thing has run like lightning. Weird. If I ask for better service at the Bay, do you think they will listen? I don't think so either.

I went to my local yarn shop today and left without a purchase. Brutal. I wanted some bulky Lopi or similar wool. Nada. And such a good sale. But not for special orders. I'm wondering if my poncho project shouldn't sit behind a few other things. I have a baby blanket to make for November and a little sweater for January, too.

I have two balls of wool from last summer for socks that I never made. Two balls of sock yarn does not make a big stash, I know. But I also have a 2 full sweaters of wool and at least 2 shawls. I'm trying to keep things simple. I have some big plans and I wonder if I'm just putting off starting, like James Joyce Ulysses. Just read it. Well, not until I read a few other things.

The hats are to be made from stash. That's a rule. And these baby hats are just the tip of the iceburg- more on that later. When I saw Stephanie's watermelon hat (again) I was tempted to buy some cotton in yummy colours, but that is not toward the purpose.

Actually most of my stash is natural ivory aran wool. I knit a lot of cabled sweater. I did play in a pipe band and I am married to a piper. I really can't get enough of the cables and variations. That's why I'm a big fan of Alice Starmore. D bought me three books at Highland Games last year. But not the Fishermans Knits. In a strange coincidence, my drumming friend in Bellingham has the same knitting books as me- almost to a one. Kindrend knitters.

Clapotis is ticking along. It's a bit mesmerizing. I won't be doing any bobbles again soon. Do remind me that the reason I dislike them is because they totally blow my hand. I woke in the night with burning pain in my index finger. The one I'm using right now. It's OK now. But I'm on a bobble diet.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Knitting in Circles

This is a little Baby Tart hat from knitty. It's to send to California when I get the address of the health instructor who's trying to help women in need.
Why did I struggle so much with this pattern? I cast on three times! The first time I ever twisted a circular knit! Eventhough I was in a rare state of solitude, watching a rare spate of TV of my own choice, I was flustered. Then I wouldn't let it go!
Maybe the neighbour's visitor's pit bull in my livingroom (twice!!) had me rattled. Thank heavens my own dog is not agressive and "Chaos" was relatively friendly. But come on. Control your dog. If only for his own safety. Naming a pit bull Chaos is asking for it. Those people with the little fluffly dogs who lunge at my still black giant while the owners sweetly account "He's such a bad baby". No you are a bad owner who is depriving him of a happy existence.
My own daughter is grounded right now for mouthing off at her Dad. We do not think that kind of assertiveness is cute, even in a young girl.
So I hope the new mommies can feel some strength in the gifts of hats that will be sent from all over the kingdom of knitting. The blessings for the future of their own little hopes and dreams.
I'm already knitting another one to further conquer my counting errors and focus my attention away from my own need to rest (bleeding nose) and my husband's sciatica.
A blessing for myself for this quiet Sunday.