Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh the Finishing

I am deep in the finishing of the big baby surprise. This week I crocheted, sewed and then cut steeks. Really! Whew! I think I would sew first and maybe crochet on the other side, but it seems to be working. Now I'm slogging through the tapes and snaps. I have the zipper yet to look forward to. Hmm.
I also learned to knit backwards. Yes! This was a big week. The entrelac blanket is on its beginning way and I feel a bit creeped out how comfortable the backwards knitting is. I think it may be called left-handed knitting as well. I'm ambidextrous with a strong leaning to left. I write with my left hand, but do all sorts of things (ironing, tennis, dressing changes) with both hands. Like so many things in knitting, it's easy once you're shown.

The first sock of 2010 is finished. I knit on it in the car as I went to Vancouver for a workshop yesterday. It was on music and Sunday School and I felt surrounded by my people.
Today I led worship. More biggies. Prayers, message, jazz, the whole shooting match. I do it only about 4 times a year and it really shakes things up. In the future I'll be doing a whole drum service.
At home I vacuumed, washed the floor, did 3 loads of laundry and printed the nursing unit newsletter. I know. What is wrong? Maybe it's the sunshine. I'm so tired I can't stop. At the youth group meeting tonight I will either bring my Lady of the Lake sweater or the second blue sock. I'm allowed. I worked hard enough already. But I'm not finished.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trying New Things

Carly is trying to balance on her back. She does this usually when I am playing flute and can't stop to take a picture. I love it.

I've been sewing. I made a black and white apron for the Tie One On apron sew-a-long. I just got inspired and love the retro apron. It's a birthday gift for summer and aren't I smug.

The little patch is a recipe from my mom's family and the first thing I ever made. We call it Snickerdoodle, but it's really Bara Brith. I had Mom write it out in her hand, photocopied it backwards to iron on paper and ironed it onto the fabric. I burnt it a little with the iron, but it looks legitimate.
I'll make some Snickerdoodle and take photos but here's the recipe:
Preheat oven 375 degrees.
Mix together:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp oil
1 cup raisins
Pour into loaf pan, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake 40 minutes.
A verrrry quick bread.
My shifts went well and I'm a bit less knackered than last set. Yesterday I took advantage of staying in and did some on-line shopping. We made a donation to Haiti relief right away, but I hear the cry for more. So I went to this site on Ravelry and bought some knitting patters with proceeds going to Haitian relief. Thanks Stash and Burn for the great idea.
I finished the baby gift and am just setting up the steeks: crochet AND sew.
And my niece finished being pregnant! Yay! I am a great-aunt! His name is Patrick and he was early, so small like my first baby. 6lb 3 oz. I understand he's doing well and I hope to mail her gift soon.
My baby just turned 19! The day after Robert Burns birthday. Australia Day. Scotty's day. He and his friends at UVic studied for mid-terms.
My Fit Well Sock enjoyed coming out on night shift break. I'm on the verge of learning to knit backwards for Em's entrelac blanket and the Lady of the Lake sweater is ticking along. Lots of simple knitting, because I become simple when I have to switch my clock.
It is a challenge, but I'm trying to deal with it by trying new things.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Lens

I'm enjoying this 35mm lens and the natural lighting. Carly is limping on her right foot (me too) so we're just doing short walks or, like this, a romp in the garden.
I've been sewing! All the planets have to allign and the phone has to be far away in order for me to enter that multi-spacial/machine interactive space for successful sewing. This is not a pattern, but a tutorial (that may be the trick) from Two Kates. I used some of my stash fabric and did it all in one sitting. I have a surprising amount of stash fabric for a non-sewer.

It is my new slipper bag. I have to take my slippers everywhere because I need to wear orthodics at all times.
I sewed an apron yesterday! It's for Tie One On. January/February has a black and white project sew-a-long.

Lady of the Lake is alive and well, though neglected because of the super secret baby project.

And let me distract you with a sock. See the intentional blurring? That's called bokeh. I love it. But I should have put it in the background.
I really want to knit socks this year. I have decided to take them to work because I can't mess them up too much and they don't take much space. I want to turn the heel today so I can have straight knitting for the set I start tomorrow.
Right now I must get ready for the new Knitting Circle at my friend's house. I helped her mom figure out an abandoned aran sweater last time and we're hoping others can come join us. Good coffee (always) and good company.
Just talking about knitting, or blogging, or reading your blogs, helps me to solve problems and plan new projects. There are more and more knitters showing up at work, too. It is a virus and I carry the contagion.
That's one way to look at it.


Monday, January 18, 2010


I got a new lens! Whoo hoo! I am so smitten with Pioneer Woman and her recipes and her beautiful photography. Her tutorial answered a lot of questions for me and now I'm on my way with my first prime or fixed (non-zoom) lens.
This Noro sock yarn is going to Hawaii with me next month. I don't know if I can take it on the plane, but I hope to have it swatched and ready to knit the Taize shawl. I'm going to make it a third wider. Who knows what the colours will look like, but I'll just let the yarn do the choosing. I miss my Noro Silk Garden Cozy and hope this will fill in the gap a little.
A few years ago, I wore mainly black with coloured scarves or handbag. I knew I was overdoing it when my daughter followed another lady out of the drugstore simply because she was wearing black.

But I don't know how I got into this colourful wardrobe. My Fibertrends hat is fuscia, my dog walking jacket is "Jean Green" or bright green apple, the leash is turquoise and Carly's collar is purple. Then, in the cold wind, my cheeks get pretty pink. What's new is I think they all go together well. That's way past my monochromatic, neutral comfort zone.

The super secret knitting is "funky". My niece has a limitless sense of colour. She dyes wool and spins and creates beyond my imaginings. Her mom, my sister is a painter who has a very "Van Gogh-esque" sensibility. Most of the art in my house is hers. Or my daughter's. She is absolutely reckless with colour.

So I'm knitting along in these super secret colours, and once in a while I wonder if it's not just too much. Have I stepped over the ugly sill? I love the colours on etsy and anthropologie. But I don't seek tension in my knitwear. It is super soft, though. I'm wondering if I can knit myself a sweater in the same wool but different colours. Probably monochromatic, eh?

Even in winter we are surrounded by blues and greens. Hope you enjoy your colours today.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tempest Tossed

The rain storms are abating as our own story wrestles with turmoil. I get great solace from knitting (secret) baby items and hoping for new life stitch by stitch.
My husband's dad has pulled through heart surgery and is doing as well as expected. But that means monitors and medications and driving down the ribbon of darkness across the steel grey river to the higher level hospital.
It also means coping mechanisms are tight to the teeth and talking is hollow. Delete rant.
There is love in the air. A heart is pumping and we must gather the chaff to measure our thanks before they are whipped away in the wake of time passing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter Dreams

A break in the heavy, warm rain shows the river level is up several inches and the Great Blue Heron is looking for the salmon run. It usually starts in January and the Bald Eagles sit in the Lombardy Poplar trees that line the high far bank.
This is what I saw when I woke up from nights. I sure don't mind sleeping away a dark rainy day.
This shawl is dreaming of the warm ocean breezes and black rock shorelines of the Kona Coast. I'm still waiting for the mid day sun to come through the front room windows. But not waiting in a way that leaves the shawl on the carpet.

Tuscany in silk from the weavers' store in Granville Island. The ladies there were tickled that I was crossing boundaries. I'll bring it next time I go. It was 103 grams of color 25 and yarn #6. I have about 25% left over, but I wasn't going to make this shawl any bigger than it called for. The silk is sticky and slippery at the same time. I had to go at it full power to finish it and not pick up something else.
I ripped back the baby gift. My niece will likely have a big baby, but not one as big as me. Back to the gauge pit.
I worked on the Fit Well sock at work and was able to maintain mindless pattern. Thank goodness for Cast On's new podcast for my one and only break. I didn't get one break on the first night as one of my patients died unexpectedly. Whew! I so appreciate the team of nurses I work with. I was able to look after his wife and do all the paperwork, etc. It was a heavy set of complicated patients and to spend some time in one of the offices listening to Cast On and knitting and drinking tea was a great relief.
Today I dream of quiet. I have done 5 loads of laundry, reclaimed the kitchen and vacuumed (for blocking). It takes 2-3 hours of correspondence to catch up on my real life commitments. Already it's lunch and I will be dreaming of warm soup and the delight of reading your blogs.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Birthday Celebrations

My baby girl is 17. We had dinner at E.Yong Vietnamese Restaurant on Thursday night so we could get together before I went to work on Friday. She loves the Chicken Soup there and she loved her presents. It's not easy being 17. Today is Sunday and she is at drumline practice for the Olympics.
I made an almond bundt cake. Thank you so much Amy!! I will definitely make it again soon.

Emily made her own cake with her boyfriend and it was rich and yummy. The kitchen suffered a bit and I just about swooned when I came home from work, but they cleaned it up mostly. At work we clean everything that is or is not battened down. It's a bit of a shift to come home sometimes.

I spent a quiet afternoon preparing a super secret baby knitting project. Yay. And setting up a reading list of classics. Scott's English class is rather disappointing to me as it is mainly about research papers. I was hoping to vicariously read along. So I'm starting with Bruce Meyer's "The Golden Thread" and a copy of Homer's Odyssey that I've had for ages. I did read the Iliad several years ago. Bruce Meyer also spoke with Michael Enright on CBC about the Five Great Books and I have that on my ipod.
So tonight I go to work with the beginnings of the Fit Well Socks
and my secret project. I have a new episode of Cast On on my ipod and I pray I get my breaks.
I found another present I forgot to give Emily, and I hope to have their supper made before I need to go. Dan is on call and working hard and Em had to go to school on a weekend, so this is not the house of bliss.
Hopefully some comfort food will make them feel they are welcome at home and we can talk about the birthday celebrations.

Monday, January 04, 2010

What Dreams Are Made Of

This is the Chilliwack River. A combination of snow run-off and rainforest rain make it a pretty fast river. Men stand in it to fish for salmon and women walk its paths.
Scott and I joined our friends for a great fisherman's lunch in our new favourite cafe. We're stalking our baker who closed shop last new years.

It's also called the Vedder River because the two rivers were merged to minimize loss of land as they meandered and changed course. The Chilliwack River Honey land was totally eaten away by the river a few years ago. There are lots of downed trees. But in a rainforest they are not wasted.

Vedder also had a 40%off wool sale. This is the Marble for Emily's Lady Eleanor. I am giving myself 18 months as I did Scott's. But this one won't have to be pieced. It's in a basket by my TV chair. Swatched and cast on, it will have to wait until Tuscany has been completed. I am trying to focus on it's longer and longer rows while listening to Hawaiian music. I knit a whole set while watching Benjamin Button last night. I really enjoyed it eventhough I had to watch it by myself. My friend, J, and I started watching it on New Year's Eve afternoon, but I was called to go home with the Chinese Food. It helped that I had seen some of it because I could focus more on the lace. It was my first really good long chunk of knitting on that pattern. It helps to become intimate with the rhythm.

This great soft wool is destined to be a nephew sweater. That is when I get back on that wagon. Next is a grey gansey. I have the wool and the pattern. But did I mention the silk Tuscany shawl?

I chose this colour changing yarn for a vest like the one J made out of Kaffe Fasset. Much closer to my budget. A quick knit will sometimes inject the knitting joy into the angst.
One of my sisters has already worn out a pair of socks I made her. If I'm going to knit socks anyway, might as well get it on sale.

Some black merino lace. Just in case. You know, I don't have a black shawl and I've knit two. They make the best gift and the most versatile garment. But I don't like knitting in black. That would be for a summer knit.
I updated my Ravelry page and am a bit nervous about the number of WIPs. I can only read two books at a time: one fiction and one non. I usually have one big knitting project and one small. Whew. If I can finish 3 more sets of Tuscany and Northrop Frye's "The Great Code", I can settle down a bit.
Plus I hope to register for Rockin Sock Club. Plus I ordered Driving Miss Daisy gloves from Brenda Dayne at Cast On.
I know. There are many plans and dreams for the 525,600 minutes that will be 2010.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years To Do List

1. Take down Christmas decorations and clean up living room
2. Take Vinterblomster mitten off needles and into hibernations (with the Heritage Woodland Shawl) until August.
3. Swatch and cast on Lady Eleanor in turquoise marble to begin Emily's grad blanket for June 2011.
4. Swatch and cast on blues socks (maye not today) as I am only knitting socks at work.
5. Knit on the Tuscany shawl and try to enjoy it's pretty pinkness.

I have decided that, like the shawl, my mittens just took too long to get going. The love is gone. Next month I'm going to Hawaii and need my pink silk shawl. Then it will be an early spring. I may try to knit the matching hat, Selbu Modern, because I could probably use it.
I spent my winter knittng making gifts. That's OK. The mittens were last year's dream and they will be ready when the -as yet not budded- leaves start to fall again.
Why knit against the grain?
I made a big haul at the wool shop yesterday (yay) with details to follow. Met with my best friend for some movie knitting and then home alone with D. This is a big change. One of the benefits of having older children. He was on call, but we still enjoyed some champagne and ambience.
So to the new year. Be kind. Appreciate the clean slate I'm starting with. And let me know if there' s anything I can do to help make it a success.