Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Stork Flew Over

We just received a charming card from friends in Stratford. They were part of our practice before they moved back home and we miss them. I had sewn a handbag for her and knit "childhood" for their amazing almost 2 year old daughter.
The card thanks me again for the knitting and lets us know they are only 8 weeks from delivering number 2. I'm sure I didn't know about this, but flattery will get you everywhere.

Yes, I take requests.

So I have to go to the wool shop today and find enough charm for another Haiku. I love this sweater. But I don't have any worsted in my stash except for the natural wool from aran sweaters that is earmarked for an afghan (another year). I have lots of baby weight, but it just won't suit. Perhaps I'll knit it in sport weight and get a smaller size for a smaller baby.
This puts a spark into my knitting.

The cardigan is coming along, I'm on the straight and not so narrow now, but I'm not so happy with the edge. I can live with it, but knitting with a fever doesn't lead to the extraordinary. And I've always had trouble knitting for myself.
How old do I have to be before I either accept this or overcome it?

I have a new Internet friend, Kieth, who knits mittens. Now I'm being haunted by red and white Latvian mittens. Two of my friends have stunning white parkas that are crying out for such a treat.
Mittens are romantic. I knit so many for my babies and tied them with string as they went off to school.

But so many people are too sophisticated for them and prefer mini gloves in the strain of tube socks. My daughter's skating coach will get a pair simply because she wears them at the rink.
I can't drive with mittens. I have trouble holding the dog's leash. But I remember Laura's mittens in Little House in the Big Woods ( the first book I ever bought myself) and I wish for the pleasure as if it were expensive jewellery. Who would understand?

Perhaps it's hearkening back to the days before I wore a watch or had the troubles of other responsibilities. I tend to make lists for myself with my knitting and reading and writing that are too close to the duty rosters of the army and nursing.

Why not knit for pleasure, for romance, for dreams and for babies?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nothing to Sneeze At

You may not have figured out that I'm a bit of a snob. I cook from scratch, I knit with real wool and I wear real cotton. I read really good books.

But I have allergies.

The kind that keep me going to the doctor for prescription things to put up my nose and appease my asthma. The specialist said I was allergic to birch. No problem. I'll just remove all the birch trees from the Fraser Valley.

These are false (not fake) apple blossoms. The apple blossom is my favourite flower. I have two old apple trees and several dog roses or wild roses that have the same delicate, unstructured beauty. I love these so much!! They love me too and look smashing on any table. I got them at half price as well. Yay! More money for yarn.

But not right now. I am still on my yarn diet and the Philosopher's Wool sweater kit doesn't count because ( I say so) it was money that had already been set aside and some had been for knitting for others. I did ask for a wool gift certificate, but she couldn't wait so there.

I am feeling better. I have a big volunteer commitment for the next month or two that leads into another committee, but after that I'm going to shake myself off and get me out of this house and back to work. Probably not nursing right away, but maybe in the schools so I can still mollycoddle my ungrateful spawn.

The sun has made all the difference and I was out again walking the dog after dinner. At this rate I may even get back into the great shape I was in before my surgery 2 years ago.

When the clouds are lifted, the horizon stretches out before me.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On Another Note

As part of my rest therapy, I took out the sewing machine and created a birthday gift for one of my best friends, my son's piano teacher. This bag is silk and linen blend, cotton and linen. I like to make funky patchwork for the main body. The

If I could only figure out how to rotate this picture or delete it.

I just found link on the bottom called Post Options that allows me to accept comments. How could I ever not want comments? And there it has always been marked to shut you out. I don't understand.

Perhaps now I will have some connection with those who have knitting dreams themselves.
I had a late meeting last night and have forgotten how to relax by going to bed and reading. I really must retrieve this skill. But I watched a Miss Marple and managed to pick up all the stitches on the fronts of my Debbie Bliss diagonal front jacket. Now I knit up to the separation for the arm holes. I hope I'm doing it right. The architecture is the draw and I'm not convinced that there is any knitting straight.
Just breathe. It's only knitting. It's the wild world of running toward mistakes to learn and grow.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Surprise In Store

I feel as if I'm fighting back now. I'm still coughing, but I've done two flute performances, I've entertained the scrogs (teenagers) on their spring break and I sneaked in a trip to the Sewing and Needlework show at the Tradex in Abbotsford.
It was a bright and overfilled room of ideas and idea makers. But it was a bit of a disappointment for the knitter. Only a local yarn shop and one other. But it was the other, a New Westminster shop that brought me there in the first place. Shan's Needlework sells Philosopher's Wool kits. I've knit one before, but it didn't fit me after I had my babies. I don't know if my sister ever wore it- even to the barn. But it was years of knitting for the time.

I tried to get up to Inverhuron when we were in Ontario this summer, but it was just too far out of the family plan.

I rolled my coins and took all my serendipity fund with me and found just what I wanted. Or, to be more honest, more than I knew I wanted. This Windows sweater is even more beautiful than the famous Kilim that I went hunting for. Thank-you Shan for the trade-show price and the lovely selection that made it worth while.

I took the kids and their friends to the Silver City movie complex in Mission through rains that obliterated the Trans Canada Highway. We had a good time, watched the lovely "Last Mimsy" (not the boys) and had snacks and holiday careless fun.

Today I will take the dog for a very wet walk and then warm up with a shower and tea. We're in for a lot more rain yet. Perhaps I will get better or at least not feel a lot worse.

There is hope in buying and starting a new sweater.

I won't start it until I get all the stitches of my Debbie Bliss cardigan into the working pattern. I don't know why. I just have to make these rules for myself. I like to leave a project at a point where I'm not afraid to pick it up, but happy to continue.

Shall I dive into the Windows? I'd sure like to.

Right now I'm pleased with just rolling in it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

If a Tree Falls In the Forest

Are there comments that I'm just not reaching because I don't get along with blogger?
Sometimes I wonder if I should carry on with my secret shiny blog that I take out and polish.
But I so appreciate what many of my favourite bloggers share and pass along to me. I do comment and that's how this blog happened (it really was a mistake).
But I was ready to be a virtual knitter with virtual friends who are so encouraging.
Because I am contributing in my own little way, I feel more confident about my public knitting and my friends are attracted to the reward I make for myself. More are knitting and starting to knit with me.
I'd really like to meet up with a blogger some day. I'd like to give the magic answer to a tough question and make her day. But these things will come in their own time. I did please myself by surprise when I googled a sweater and my own little site came up yesterday.
As a mom and a busy volunteer worker, this is my secret shiny blog that I can cherish.
I'm connecting in other ways and I'm actually writing out a pattern to submit to knitty or magknits. Maybe I'll bring my little gem into the sun one day.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Switch Swatch

Delving into the stash can turn up unexpected gems.

I was dutifully swatching for nephew #2's sweater because I'm too sick to knit anything real. I bought the cotton, wool blend in December for this project.

But the swatch was too soft and drapey. There was nothing masculine about it.

Wait. What was the gauge of that Debbie Bliss sweater I've been dreaming of. Wow. A sweater for me. I have enough yarn, I have good row and stitch gauge. It is the diagonal front jacket from her "home" book. It has the interesting yet clean lines that may flatter my ample curves. The light denim is just what I've been looking for.

So what about the nephew? I have a tub of grey marl wool that I saved up for years ago to knit myself a sweater. I can slide it over to his shelf. Instead of Leo- a beautiful sweater in another yarn, I may swatch for knitty's Annitversary sweater. I could also do it in Cascade 220.

I have only added to my list as I finished and blocked the shawl. I can't seem to move forward.
I would love to start the Forest Path Stole, but I have to finish another lace shawl: Thistle lace. I need certain thoughtful space for that. And I'm using that time to write. Not bad. Not forward on the projects.
I'm very excited about the Stitiching show in Abbotsford tomorrow. I am so going. My coughing is down. I don't know if I've convinced anyone to come yet, but I'll get to see Philosophers again and Knitopia from White Rock. I have a bit of money saved. My serendipity fund. And the money from knitting the angel blanket which I consider a gift certificate and not a breech of the stash diet.
I was unable to use prime knitting time during the Band festival because I'm just too foggy. The Haiku sweater I started with Blue Sky Organic Cotton doesn't have enough yardage. I may try to squeeze a Baby Surprise (EZ) out of it. Learn that I need 400m for a baby sweater. Three balls of worsted. It seems too much.
So today I must embroider anyway and finish a cloth for the church. I won't finish it today, but I'll use my resting time in the good light for the white work and dream of my own cardigan in light denim when I travel to Scotland.

Monday, March 12, 2007

TB or not TB

What a horrible cough and cold has spread through our house. Daughter was home most of the week with fever and cough. D. became increasingly grumpy and sleepless with sore throats. Son wanted a ride home from school, but felt the irresistible urge to join in a sweaty game of hacky sack.
Finally on Friday it caught up with me and put me in bed on Saturday and Sunday while another rain storm pounded the outside.
I'm quite a bit better today. Sometimes total rest doesn't even help. But I feel I did the right thing. Family is grumpy about losing their maid and cook. So sad.
Good side: finished meadow flowers shawl. And I think the bedrest helped heal my sore instep.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Metaphorically Speaking

I really am enjoying this shawl now that I can do the border. Is that simple of me? Just a little distraction and I am rehabilitated.
The mohair is so complex in colour and texture. I'm not sure I have chose the right pattern, but I did dream about it for over a year, and I'm using up stash (gifted generously from my spinning, knitting sister) so I'm satisfied.
It was just an incidental project while I was wrestling the angels. If I didn't appreciate the blanket, my dear friend was brought to tears. I didn't know I delivered it on her daughter's birthday. Said daughter is due in May and living in Calgary, nursing where I trained. A circle.

Now that I'm working the border, the shawl is completely new and exciting for me. But to my husband I'm still knitting. It's funny to think that I sit in my chair or at the rink or in the car and do the same thing every day.
From my side of the needles it is new and challenging and self-directed risk-taking. Something to dream about, ponder and be distracted when D. goes on about his work (vaccinating calves anyone). Because I have my nursing training, my faked interest is more convincing and I can even squeeze out semi-intelligent questions which, alas, only encourage him. I'm actually interested in epidemiology. Our poor children.
Can you imagine him asking, don't you think wooden needles would be more efficient? Or how do decide between set-in or raglan sleeves? Or don't you hate the finishing? That just makes me laugh. I'm lucky if I get a "hmmm".
But I do have friends whom I'm trying to get together with more often who knit. I've reinfected one who was always a better knitter than I. We've spent the last few weeks setting up her travel knitting for a trip to England. Her mother is the die-hard Granny knitter, but with today's grace and style.
Knitting flows through the events of my days and keeps me together.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Rink's Not So Bad

Now I do not enjoy sitting in the rink. I knit. I visit with the other moms. But I have spent so many hours freezing and listening to Skate Canada dance tapes that even the knitting does not save my mood.
But with sugar pie skating daughter home with the cough and cold, we cancelled. Guess what happens in my house on Wednesday afternoon when I'm not there. Guess.
Bag pipe lessons. Yes multiple lessons of multiple pipes. My husband in the kitchen/dining room and my nephew in the basement. One had to close the door because he was disturbing the other.
My nephew thought he was in the secret hiding room. Apparently he hasn't figured out the Very Loud Noise rule in hiding.
I'm hiding in my bedroom with my laptop. It's a wasted hour and a half, so I may as well enjoy Stephanie's reno and drool over the new knitty. I do have to go back out there to fix dinner.
I may even drag out my IK magazines to dream about what to knit for myself.

That'll Hurt

I am always astounded when I meet my post-February self.
During the dark winter, I continue to walk out of doors with the dog, but I feel increasingly dreary and tired.
Today I wrote my allotted pages, vacuumed,did the crossword, grocery shopped and returned to the Circuit Fitness gym. My healthy lunch was without carbos. Amazing.
The early light or the warmth make me respond like an amphibian.

The hardest part was taking it easy at the gym because I haven't been for almost a year. I don't want to discourage myself with sore muscels.
Actually I enjoyed a 3 month membership and then didn't use the next 3 month membership.
My friend bought the gym and has invited me to use my 3 months now. What a sweetie. I really need the encouragement. I may not tell D. because he will tease me and let me know he doesn't think I can keep it up.
What did I do wrong last time? It may be that when the kids got out of school I just slept in with them. I need a plan and a goal. I had lost a bit of weight last spring and it's back. I always return to this weight. Yuck. So what if I imagine getting up at the normal time and going to the gym before the kids are up? Imagine how good it will feel even in the hot weather. Imagine how travelling will be more satisfying if I don't have to buy bigger clothes and squish in to airline seats.
Last night was a few rows of mohair knitting. I'd better get that off the needles because it is annoyingly slippery and fluffy and I don't think I can look forward to wearing it this season.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

5 hour Miracle

I am delighted with this baby sweater. I didn't clock myself, but it seriously took just a few evenings.

I knit it out of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (stash). Worsted weight on 6mm needles. I felt confident throwing it in the washer and dryer so the new mom won't have to worry. It's still big enough for the bug buttons.

It took less than a skein, so I may play around with dying the other two skeins I have. There are always more babies.
For a quick knit it was a great pleasure. But I've rewritten the woolworks pattern for my own language and to highlight changes.

I have a bit of freedom to finish my Saltspring Island mohair meadow flowers shawl and do some special stitching.

I dream of what's next. Another nephew sweater. My thistle shawl.

I was given some wool money and I may knit a wool cardigan for myself to wear to Scotland this summer.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Workshop Glow

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I was in a writing workshop all day!
It wasn't that indepth or challenging, but I was surrounded by writers and people who earnestly wanted to encourage one another.
Where do I go from here?
Write every day. Get the darn thing on the page. Make mistakes and get messy.
I feel reinvigorated to actually do the work.

Also piano festival is over. The disruption is complete and we may be able to finally find the rhythm of time table that other families get after New Years.
Despite the snow and the flu, I'm feeling like I have a good reason to be here and lots to contribute.

Friday, March 02, 2007

And a Dose of Humility

I can't believe I messed up that song!

Today is the World Day of Prayer and I was asked to sing a very pretty Kyrie in Guarani from Paraguay. I had that baby nailed, memorized. I even learned a new chord on the guitar.

But when I arrived, there was a harp where I usually sing. Then a group of old ladies went up on stage with a tent where I had decided to place my mic.

It's my turn. I have to trek across country for my guitar. I had to put the mic wherever. I brought my music, but I couldn't read it. I just crapped out. I ended up singing it in normal Latin. Humility in a good dose.

I will learn to let the sound man set up the mic. I will not accept to sing when my son is competing in the Bach class at the Music Festival and I'm supposed to be chaperoning my daughter's middle school band on the island. My dear friend has just fallen and broken her elbow and is in excrutiating pain. And my husband is still doing tests for his stroke but won't slow down or rest.

I'm firing on all cylinders, but there's an interruption. I've also been nauseated for over a week. The metalic taste of fear.

Let me sleep it off and find new light in the celebration this evening of more piano performances to just listen to and enjoy.

The angel blanket is done and blocking on the bed. Phew.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

White All Around

It snowed again last night. We celbrated my Paw's birthday and the I sat and finished the Gift of Angels blanket.

In keeping with the bad feelings I have harboured for these blameless angels, I had to rip out one of the side borders to get enough yarn to finish the last side. I also snipped all the longer ends and had to knit them in. Not my dream project, but done!!

Today I will weave in all those ends and extra ends, do a quick blocking and get it out of my house!!

So remind me: no kits. I'm too proud for angels. There was no room for adjustments because my friend who asked me to knit it wanted it just as shown.

I already started the 5 hour baby sweater during my son's first piano festival piece. I have left over Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and some wonderful ceramic bug buttons. This is the first grandchild one of my friends. Not a close friend, but I taught the new mom Sunday School when she was 7. It was the same class that this other angel blanket mom was in. It makes me wonder about the little ones I teach now.

Let it thaw.