Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Sweetness of the Sun

I'm doing nights now and am again astonished by the beauty of the new season. When I wake up and open the black-out blinds, it is sunny and fresh and green adn my yard is full of the pink flowers that presage the roses. From the bottom of our yard, our side of the river (Luckakuck River), the shade is deep. Carly can only come so far because we have a radio wire in the ground that warns her with a beep on her collar. When she was little and being trained, it gave her a little shock. She is so good, even when she's not wearing it.

I took my mom to the local gardening centre . She helped me pick out a replacement tree for the pot on my deck, and I bought planter fillers and prickly barberry bushes to plant at the bottom of the yard to keep the neighbours and their dogs out.
This is our little salmon river with the 40 year old rhododendrons blooming on the island. The kids always called it Cookie Island because we had a beloved Brittany Spaniel by that name when we moved in 12-13 years ago.
We could work harder to torture the garden to our pruning will, but I prefer it in its natural state and so do the ducks. I have planted many indigenous and wildish plants to encorage the birds.

My plan is to keep working with "great hope" on the Icarus shawl. I'm really not sure if I can get it done in time for next Friday, but it doesn't hurt to keep crashing through the increasingly long rows. I'm on the edging and still in the game.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seeking the Sun

I overshot the first chart on Icarus by 2 patterned rows. Unfortunately it's more than 375 stitches now. I tried to set in a lifeline, but I couldn't find a straight row. I figured I'd start tinking back and when I was more than halfway to my goal and deciding it was the wrong way to rip back, it would be too late to change.
Now I have a life line and have the first set up row of chart 2. I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to finishe it by June 5th.
Like Icarus reaching for the sun.
I'm sorry I spent 2 hours today ripping back, reknitting and setting up. But I can get lots done this evening if my hand holds out.
See the new ipod shuffle and spiffy phone? We've been busy trying to catch up with the 21st century. I wanted the little ipod for walking in summer when I don't have all the pockets of my raincoat.

This is the site that greeted me this morning when I returned from an extra night shift. The sky began to lighten at 0445h and it was warm and pleasant when I got out of the hospital at 0700h.

It was a good shift, but a last one for one of the nice nurses. We have had 2 babies and now have 3 active pregnancies (including my preceptor!) Other than knitting and showers, it means maternity leave. That is going to place a strain on our staffing. But what joy.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Scott and I took the ferry over to Victoria on Friday evening for the University of Victoria orientation. The weather was spectacular, the traffic aggressive and the reservation a blessing.
We stayed at the Waddling Dog and this is the view from our window Saturday morning. What a delightful half-timbered pseudo English hotel and pub. We were about half an hour from the campus and avoided the prices and congestion of the city.

Bristow may look good, but I'm not happy with this honest photo. The extra weight is from a foot injury and a year of studying. Thankfully I've lost 10 lbs since starting work. I am also thankful that I can walk without pain and have the time to also cycle on my new bike.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bristow Buttonless

She be done. This sweater fits so well, like it was made for me. Unfortunately I had to remove 4 1/2 inches from the sleeves. I would like to blame the pattern, but I don't have the math to concoct a plausible excuse.

When you rip out from the cast on edge, you're really taking out kitchener stitch. It's a bit fiddly. It doesn't help to "rip back". Just go from the row you want to start. I ripped out a row, picking up the stitches on a circular needle. Then I knit the seed stitch cuff down with dpns in the round. It is fine. As one of my friends said, "A blind man would love to see it".
The blind man came yesterday. That's my bedroom at 10 am with the new black out blinds. I love them. I could really have used them this weekend when I was trying to sleep between night shifts on the long weekend Monday (national mow your lawn day). They were expensive and I waited many years to get them. It's great having my own paycheques.
More Bristow. The Elann Peruvian wool is great. I had trouble with gauge, but again it was not the pattern or the wool. Wow, that's a blurry photo. It's not mohair as you might see.

The cable has the balanced asymmetry that makes me so happy. Today I will buy buttons. I'll try to get pictures on the ferry when I take my son to his university open house on Saturday. I have a dinner with my refresher nursing classmates tonight. I'd love to quietly wear it and wait to see if anyone comments. I'm not so quiet, though.
So sad!! I have lost my Cozy. I have left messages at the hotel and restaurant we were at last week. Please come home. It is cold and rainy today and I would like to warm you with my neck.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Queue the Knitting

I woke up this morning with the realization that I have nothing to wear to Scott's grad. How did I forget that I have to look presentable in front of thousands of parents. Most of these people have known me since highschool or at least since my kids were in preschool. Can I look good enough to remove their stereotypes of me? I decided I will look for a plain summer dress and knit a shawl. I know, not too much time. I called Jean who listened to my worries about matching pink shawls and all the patterns I have hoarded and received her usual uncommonly good sense. "You wanted to knit Icarus in the blue". Of course I did, and I cast on right away.
My Practical Nurse is like that this week. We are swamped with patients who are not only really sick, but have psychiatric or addiction histories. Energy sucking. But this young nurse who is studying to be an RN has a real grasp of the workload and a kind way of saying "Let's make sure we signed for all our meds." She means I didn't, but even in her youth she is a good leader. We have 2 nights together now, and I hope to sit and knit and visit between chores.
I finished my log cabin cushion cover. It was such a relief to knit just garter and to decide colour changes as I go along. Low risk. I'm not sure I like how it goes with the painting over the bed, but I'm trying to get over "matchy-matchy" and just enjoy some reckless colour.

This is outside the window and matches perfectly. The sun is shining, so I didn't sleep too late. It will be a challenge to sleep all day tomorrow, but the black-out blinds come next week and should help with the next set.
The cushion matches my Bristow, too, and my Swift knitting bag. The Bristow is pieced together, but I have to take back the sleeves, and that's not a chore for a working weekend.
I still have to make a May baby sweater, but I may allow myself to knit 2 in June.
Hey Teach is on the needles and turning green in envy of the purpose I feel in starting Icarus.
This is my new exercize companion. Actually she is a frivolous pleasure companion. Very nice to ride and I'm old enough that I don't care if it's a "girl" bike. I'm a girl. The guy even switched the brakes so the back one is on my strong hand. My bike. Scott says it looks like a grasshopper so I shall call her Cricket.
I figure I can ride around a little even if I can't imagine walking anymore on my poor feet.
Scott and I are going to the Chilliwack Airport for lunch. D is piping in Portland. Em is at May Retreat Camp and for once is not sodden and shivering. We're all going to be tired at the end of this L*O*N*G* weekend. Hope you're enjoying the first taste of summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


D and I took a few days in Vancouver to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary (next week). We stayed in the same hotel and walked the streets like we usually do, taking the aquabus across to Granville Island. It was lots of fun.We had dinner with good friends (she's a knitter, so I got a dose), and good cousins who are hilariously similar and both live close to Bogarts Chop House where we had a great dinner. They were all at our wedding.
The Book Warehouse is a Vancouver icon and we found some great books at great prices. Very important blank books were bought at Opus . We use these for sketching, building ideas and writing. I hope to get back to some writing "workshop" when I get my sea legs and catch up from starting work.

This entrancing uneven spun silk is from the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island. I've been drooling over their stuff for years but never had the research done to know what I could use. At 100m per gram, I think I have enough to make a shawl. If I make a triangular one, I can just stop when I run out. It was hard to pick from the wall of colours, but I usually take a pink "pashmina" shawl on our trips and I do need to replace it with a real one.
I work this weekend, which is like boarding a space ship. If I can pack a lunch and eat healthy foods, do a bit of journalling and knitting on nights, I'll be pretty pleased.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers' Day

Happy Mothers' Day. We had a sunny day.

Bristow was blocked and ready to piece. Notice the drums I set up around the blocking area to keep out the big black dog.The seams went together as smoothly as a knife in butter. I made the mistake of starting before I had to leave the house and was just about late for my class.

Can you see the seam? It fits like it was made for me- except for the freakishly long sleeves. I'll have to rip them back in place and seedstitch to the hem. Not looking forward to that. But I managed both button bands as if it was nothing.

Emily picked me a bouquet. Scott detailed the van. We had Mama burgers and went to the new Star Trek movie. It was wonderful. I was watching Star Trek on reruns when I was a pretty young little thing. My older sisters had a thing for Kirk. My daughter now has a thing for young Spok.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Without a Title

Scott vacuumed, so I am ready to block my Bristow sweater. But apparently the elves did not sew in all the ends while I was waiting. D. says, "Those darn elves." So I'm stitching them now.
I have finished a few things and was panicking about having to start more than one project at a time. I know this is opposite many of you knitters. But beginning time takes patience and the willingness to make mistakes. I didn't have any travel knitting. Thankfully, I have gotten over my snobbery of scarves. I think I saw too many books and magazines for "easy" knitting. Grumperina helped me with this when she wrote about always wearing her scarves, even when she wasn't wearing sweaters. It's true. My Noro Cozy is a constant comfort and my Forest Path shawl in Manos wildflowers helped to perk up that long, cold February /March/ April.
So I have started Brookes Column of Leaves in Casbah. It is enough to hold this soft yarn, and enough to skip through the 8 row pattern. I'll see how easy it is for TV knitting. It is a light enough colour for the basement.
This square will be a pillow for my bedroom. It is my current "dark room" knitting" and a refreshingly playful Mason Dixon pattern. I started with Butterfly cotton in their Dotty pattern, but ended up with a rediculous turtle shell pattern. A quick stop into the Chilliwack Wool and Craft shop for my dear Smart yarn solved the problem. I noticed these pansy colours are featured in another Mason Dixon pattern in their first book.
I have joined the ranks of twitter. I don't have a texting phone yet, but I thought I'd twist it to my own purposes. I am writing one very small poem a day. When I post the day's poem, I seem to just write the next one. The small format is encouraging. I look forward to the day when I enjoy my writing as much as I do my knitting.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Proustian Stitches

I picked up my knitting this afternoon, after a good sleep after a long set of four shifts (2 days, 2 nights) and I found it in the middle of a row. When you're working the night shift, time seems to flow at inconsistent paces: like spring water, like motor oil. Last night, (or was it early this morning?) I dropped my knitting to answer a call bell and was thrown into a long intervention of medications, calling lab and doctors and doing everything I had at hand to comfort a lovely old fellow who was getting way sicker. The team jumped into action, discussion in the halls, what about this, what about that? We gathered our various resources and he was resting quietly when we left. But it's hard to let go. The final checks and charting took over and then I was home and jumping in to bed. Now I want to phone and ask how he is because the sweater remembered him.
While I was encased in the artificial climate of the hospital, the sun came out and my garden errupted. White and dark purple lilacs, apple blossoms and my very lovely dogwood.
The experience is a bit like going off world. But to re-enter this garden and the lovely comforts of my own home makes it a nice landing.