Friday, July 31, 2009

Soft and Comforting

The soy sweater is coming along. Bigger than I expected. I now have one and a half sleeves done and I may still have enough pink to complete the lace skirt of Helena from knitty. Very soft. Some of the qualities of cotton in its non-stretch, but a better choice. The cotton sweater was hard on my hands eventhough it was so small. The acrylic sweater was good only in that it was safe to take to camp. The nurses received it very pleasantly. One of the nurses at work wants to learn to knit. I put up a sign to lure them in!

I worked hard at doing nothing today. Lastnight I watched "Miss Potter" and bawled my eyes out. I am usually an easy target, but I have been a seething pool of tears since I started to lose sleep. The Handmaiden Casbah is a soft treat and the Column of Leaves scarf has almost few enough stitches that I can follow it in my present haze.

From Monika. This is my first fleece. She brought it to night shift for me. It is clean and soft and a total conundrum to us both. I'll take it to my neice Caroline. She won't spin it or card it for me, but she'll get me started. I snuck in a big purchase while I was waiting for my anitbiotic to be filled. The doctor even asked what I would like and agreed Biaxin was a good choice.
So I hope my pictures will be clearer and sharper with my new babe. The little Canon Powershot SD450 is pretty old, but so convenient and such a great little camera. I want to explore something more now. I'll keep the little guy handy. They're like $100 now and way better. But I like my little one.
This new babe is more like a real camera. I had lots of trouble choosing because the store did not consider my needs. I finally found a clerk I could talk to and I'm all outfitted except for a lens leash. But I'll be laying low for a while to heal, finish the baby sweater and scarf and dream of other knits. So comforting.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Little Prickly

It's hot! Aparently a week of nights is too much for me after a week of camp. I have the worst sore throat- a combination of poor air quality, asthma, not enough sleep and kiddie camp germs. Today I woke at noon, called in sick and stayed in bed until 5 pm. If I do nothing, I can almost catch it with ibuprofen (which I am not supposed to take). The irony is that at work I am a pain expert with an amazing cornucopeia in my drug cart. But I won't be working this fourth night. I'll be lucky to sleep and read.
The baby bolero was finished and delivered yesterday. The pink dress begun: I chose Helena
for the pink soy and it's a real treat. Reinvigourating my desire to knit. I will probably have to pick up another ball or two in the other colour, but it will be sweet and very soft.

Thriving in the heat are the thistles. In Scotland these monsters are called Canadian thistles, and like Canada geese they are persistent. But I like the design and romance of their tenacity. I too will be prickly for a while.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finishing to Begin

The July charity baby sweater is done. I don't like the yarn. I think I was disappointed when I made it into a square round blanket about 7 years ago for little cousin Max. It is not soft. Why did I keep a sweater's worth? Now it is a sweater and I will slip it over to maternity on my night shift tonight.
All this stash busting has made (tiny) space in my pantry. It's the annual Christmas in July sale with everything 40% off at Wool A Roo in Abbotsford and Aunt Debbie's in Vedder Crossing. I went to one store before camp and bought enough. But I thought I 'd better check out the local one on Saturday. I found some good wools at great prices. First: enough Ultra Alpaca Light to make an Icelandic shawl (I think).

Some very soft alpaca blend for a masculine scarf.

Gorgeous green DK for fingerless mitts to match my sister's Casbah scarf (still in progress). I'm hoping that the heavy photo download will stop her from accessing the blog on her Saltspring dial up. Either that or she is smart enough to feign ignorance. And her daughter is too, right?

I bought some of this Rowan scottish tweed at Liberty's in London in 1996. I made my BFF a flower basket shawl from it and now I can make myself one, though the thought of brown flowers is a bit dismal.

This is what I went for. Cascade Heritage hand painted. This will make a lovely shawl and may even replace the lost Cozy.

Couldn't resist enough of this Marble for a prayer shawl for the next in need.
I cast on the Baby Bolero from One Skein right away and am almost done the body. I had to stay up late lastnight to switch my clock. But we had a huge thunder storm and the mugginess kept me next to the fan in the dining room doorway. Not so comfortable, but I got to catch up with the new Lime and Violet podcast and felt "connected" to other knitters.
Thanks for making your own blogs so entertaining. I enjoyed catching up from the isolation of camp, filling that cup to take to work tonight.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back From Camp

It was a wonderful week with almost 100 campers. I have a nice quiet nursing cabin in the shade, but it was exhausting.
I knit most of a baby surprise and have been invited next week to teach knitting. I think I can get there on the one day I don't work nights.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

On Friday, I finished knitting the Cozy while watching Simon Shama's "History of Britain". It's due back at the library and I have only scratched the surface. It's a great show. The next time I'm in Stirling or the British Museum, I will have more depth to my understanding.
At 9:30 pm it was cool enough to emerge from the basement, so I just put it in a gift bag and walked it over to their house. I like dropping gifts. I have one knitting friend who has taken to reciprocating the surprises.
Right away I started Baby Surprise. I'm getting behind in my queue. This is a stash buster for the hospital.

I found a great deal on this Soy when I bought the Bernat cashmere. This will be a little dress for a nurse who has just had a girl. I didn't want to knit a neutral because she already has a boy. I wanted something quite European for her, so I stalked Alison's Ravelry page of finished projects. She makes her wee one the sweetest knits.

I'm not sure if our friend, the piano accompanist has had her third and overdue baby. I was invited to a shower that I can't go to, but I have this cotton to make another shrug.
Do you think I can get that done at camp?
The Wool-a-Roo in Abbotsford is having a 40% off sale next week. Because I'm going to camp (and because my best friend is her favourite person) we got to shop yesterday. Yes!! Treats.
I'll photograph them when I get back. I didn't have the credit card accident that J did, but I got everything I had planned- and more.
This baby is going to camp with me. First we go to church and sing and play the whole service. I'm a bit nervous. I can do the rest of the service, but the music director kept changing the key the pieces were in, so I lost track.

This baby is not going to camp. She is trying to be my photographic assistant. Not really what I'm looking for, but I will miss her.
Em and D will be back from Portland today. The plan is that they arrive in time for me to take Em with me. The best laid plans. I will stop futzing when she is signed, sealed and delivered.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dog Included For Scale

This cozy is getting really big. I'm farther along and have started the last (and seventh) ball. It's really soft and a great find for a semi-practical cashmere. We have some sales starting soon, but I don't know if I want to buy any wool. I have a noisy queue clammoring to be knit and a limited stash area. It's more difficult with a bigger stash budget. Perhaps if I make some plans to buy wool, wait a while and then fulfill the list.
Corn is as high as an elephant's eye. This is "cow corn". It is planted about 12 inches apart. People corn is planted in wider rows. This will be cut up and made into "silage" at around our Thanksgiving, the second weekend in October. It hasn't tassled out yet, so there are no baby cobs yet. It's really tall for this stage. The other side of the path is blackberries and they are also having a good year.
Yesterday I ran around like I haven't done since the kids quit soccer and skating. Em has a friend in hospital in Surrey, so we drove the dreaded summer highway. Yuck. Hopefully he'll be out soon.
Then I scooted up to the camp for a marketing meeting. We want everyone to know what a great slice of paradise it is. And only "one hour" from Vancouver. Hint: not on the dreaded and clogged summer highway.
After that I met some young musicians at the church. Our minister is off on sick leave and we are going to blow off the dust on the rafters with electric guitar and drums. Not quite deviant, but certainly sly. I told the guys that if someone says, "That was loud, you're to say..." and one of them finished my phrase with, "Thank-you." I love it.
Sun, sun, sun. Smile, it's summer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tastes Like Summer

This is my re-entry day. Like Yarn Harlot returning from one of her teaching seminars or book tours (only without the adoration), I too have laundry and correspondence to attend to when I return from my set of four 12-hour shifts. How do people do this day in and day out? Four on four off. No thanks. I'll take my part time. I barely had enough time to email and phone all my apologies for not showing up at the tea when I was sleeping, or not being able to go to the shower when I'm working. I'm such a putz, I'll send a gift and some muffins anyway.

But summer has come to my kitchen. No pictures of the carnage that was once "Joiner's" Peaches and Cream corn on the cob. I don't eat it any more, but I love watching my family belly up to the trough with butter and salt sliding off their lips. We had cold chicken and I got away with it because of the fresh local veggies. There are Okanagan peaches on the counter and blueberries and raspberries in the fridge. This inevitably means a trip to Dairy Queen for the perfect icecream.

I am knitting (and reknitting) the cashmere cozy as I ponder if I should be allowed to hold needles on a sleep day. Haven't tried today, but I managed to finishe the laundry, clean the floors, get my picture taken for my new (old) drivers' license, deliver the weekend crossword to my mother and get my hair cut. Whew. We also have a nurse staying with us who recently moved to Vancouver. I don't know her very well, but in the habits of young people, she's pretty easy going.
I'm waiting for it to cool down to walk the dog and I'll take more pictures of flowers to warm my winter days.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In the Pink

This is one of my favourite seasons. Partly because when the great heat subsides and the winds pick up, bringing night time showers, I can go out in the garden and enjoy the climate I always believe I live in. These Queen Elizabeth roses, planted with the house being built in 1964 and replanted to the back when I moved in 12 years ago, are the company I always choose. They remind me of the same roses I knew growing up, and the ones I stood infront of at the farmhouse for my own grad photos with D.
This is a drought tolerant gift of a plant from my naturalist interpreter sister. They laid down in the rain, but decided to keep their chins up in the warm days when I was working. They greet me with delicate strength as I prepare for my night shifts. The robins also flew the coop while I was at the hospital.

Rose of Sharon. We call it Rose of Karen because it was a housewarming present from that friend. I am always surprised that it blooms this early. Why is that?

And our lovely camp at Cultus Lake has begun. My daughter has done training for counsellor, but won't be going up this week. Next week we both go. Expect pictures of silliness.
I am knitting the prayer shawl these night shifts. The cozy pattern is intersting enough to keep me away, but easy enough to read from the stitches.
My blue prayer shawl went with my dear friend to her angioplasty and she assured me it was a comfort. This may be better than baby blankets for spreading hope and comfort.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Some Of My Favourite Things

Banana muffins are the best use of sad and tired bananas who are too flippant to withstand the heat of mid-summer.
I love this Cozy pattern. The Bernat Cashmere (I guess it's discontinued) is OK at clearance price. I need to be a bit practical for a blankie/prayer shawl that may go to the hospital and need repeated washings. My bad dreams have abated somewhat now that I am "doing something" about my friend's illness. Knitting a prayer shawl may not offer any medical relief, but it is a physical form of my caring.

This is one of my big prizes. I picked raspberries early in the morning when I was in Grade 5, I think. Some of my memories have me buying this when I was eight. Probably not. There was an office supply store on the corner between my elementary school and "five corners" on my street. It shared a building with Harper Sheet Metal. This was in the window and called to my young self. It was $35.00. I think I paid $8/month.

Yes a real typewriter for my dreams of being a foreign correspondent. It is fully "portable" (weighing about 8 lbs- similar to my rifle when I was in the medical corps reserves).

I learned to type on this beast. Like the guitar I learned on that tried to remove my identity and my fingerprints, this led to stronger fingers and faster reflexes. I wrote many short stories and even journal entries with my cobbled-together desk in my little room, or out in the field behind the barn.

This is the romantic character that was meant to lead me to adventure, the unexpected and my higher destiny.
Now I plan to bring it to camp to wow the kids and follow a stolen dream. I read an article years ago about some young women who raise money for literacy (I think) by selling poems. If you gave them a dollar, they would write you your own poem. I have held this idea like a stone and polished it many times. This old typewriter- with a new ribbon!) will help me bring it to life.

Monday, July 06, 2009

But Then Again

I am decidedly indecisive. I am trying to deny that I am under the weather, because it is just a little below my normal, and the weather has changed. The corn is already up to my shoulder which means my birthday is soon. But I have lots of night shifts before that.I did upgrade my office radio. This is the old beast. See the big speakers? It used to mean bigger sound. The 5 CD player hasn't worked in years. We were forced to put all our CDs on MP3. Then I got a cheap chord to link to my ipod and we didn't even use the MP3s.

So for half price, less than half the size of one speaker, I have a new radio for my CBC addiction. It also charges my ipod instead of draining it. Yay. My inner design maven has had my eye on this baby for about a year.

But the Hey Teach is tricking me. I count the stitches and I'm wrong. I rip back and realize I was right. How long should it be? Ever have those Willie Wonka measuring tapes that don't show the same number twice. I am of two minds: put it aside until my IQ improves (maybe after my birthday), or finish it because it is supposed to be a quick and easy knit. If I were to rewrite this pattern, I would account for the uneven stitches and incomplete lace panels. Just saying.

I haven't been sleeping well because D bought an airconditioner and my sleeping self thinks I am either in a hotel room or the London Underground. Possibly during an air raid. Very distressing. I have a friend whose husband is quite unwell and is expected to either stay that way or die unexpectedly. He's in my dreams a lot and not happy. I thought I'd knit him a blanket/prayer shawl for the next time he's in hospital. I like the idea of Li's Bobby Blanket.

But it was a Sunday and the wool shops weren't open and I had to check my stash anyway. I don't want to knit with acrylic, but it would be more practical than the handspun yarn I rolled into balls until I was so totally overheated in the July afternoon. (IQ again).

I did find some Bernat Cashmere at clearance when I was getting film developed and cast on a cozy with big needles. If the first ball gives me 10-12 inches, I'll continue with the rest of the 7.

But what I really want to do is knit for my dear friend who is having trouble balancing the negative (but nicely meant) comments from the seniors with the medical jargon and the good friends who want to listen to her and encourage them. When nursing and medicine cannot help, I hope that knitting can comfort.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Deeply in the Season

I try to live deeply within the seasons. I embrace seasonal food and music and especially the signs of nature. We have corn growing and grass being cut for hay and blackbirds on the barbed wire between fields. The blackberries are imminent. It is a good time of year.

I set my novel in this season and the bittersweet of late summer. I have been invited to join a writers' circle! I can hardly believe it. Of course it would be more convenient next year after I get the hang of nursing, or in a few years after I finish my degree. But here it is on my doorstep and I must say yes. I'll be working on my pages and pages and pages of notes in preparation for jumping in in August. It's decision time. I really want to finish my first draft. I have other novels, like my knitting stash, waiting for their turn.

I bought myself a new ergonomic keyboard in anticipation of many hours of tapping. Plus I have my regular writing tools: nice pens and journals. I just have to sit down and make it a habit and a priority.

This poor family of robins has returned to our patio door- a poor choice, especially since they were so startled and flustered last year. A face only a mother could love. I'm worried about our supply of worms running out at the rate they're getting fed.

Hey Teach back is done. How many times can you knit the last two inches and still consider it only two inches? It's like that 5 pounds that refuses to stay lost. I persevered when I should have just set it down, and I set it down when I could have finished those two inches in just half an hour. I gave myself a good talking to, got some better sleep after night shift and allergies and the threat of a cold and laid it down last evening during the watching of MASH. Whew. Slumdog Millionaire is not a knitting movie! Eternal Sunshine is not a movie you should watch when you can't stay awake.
Don't worry, I've done lots of walking and riding bike in this lovely weather. Not just sitting in the cool basement with the boob tube.

The Brooke's Column of Leaves scarf is coming along. There are yarn overs and knit/purl togethers on every row. So this is "Lace Knitting" not just "knitting lace", right? Anyway, for some reason, because the rows are so short, they are short enough for my short attention span. I knit at work, too. I think I'm so smart when I can do that. This is the Casbah from Handmaiden- truly luscious.

I look forward to casting on the fronts of Hey Teach, burning through the green scarf and setting up for my July baby sweater and my next nephew sweater. Also writing. Yes, I'll get to that.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009