Saturday, October 30, 2010

Between Shifts

The salmon are spawning in our stream. They are about 18 inches long and very vigorous. Too bad this is the end of their journey. It has been a big year for salmon, but I have been working a lot and missed the spectacle.
We are making preparations for a non-Hallowe'en. With a long driveway and no little kids in our house, we only had 2 trick-or-treaters last year. I am going to work a short shift so that another nurse, with a chance at some kiddie fun, can indulge her family. Em and her boyfriend carved pumpkins last night. We are trying to resist the candy. Doing our usual poor job.

Estelle is trying to make her way to the festivities. With one sleeve fixed and finished, and the other on its way to the elbow, she is not far from rising from the basement theatre room. Still I can't wait to start some Fetching mitts for gifts and the red Bitter Root I hope to wear at Christmas. I got a good start on the red bitter root, but decided I wanted a tighter fabric. Before I get carried away with that, I have 3 pairs of fetching mitts on my list that I can no longer ignore. The first is for a 7 year old who "borrowed" my cashmerino ones. I want them back, so I'm knitting hers in the most important purple. Then two more for before Christmas treats.

The sock came to the passport office yesterday. Trekking XXL in Wendy's toe up with (hopefully) a gusset heel. It's a bit loose, but I'm getting gauge and I don't want to go below 2mm needles right now.
The dark weather and the drive were brightened by good company of our music director and a quick shop at a big mall. We need our passports quickly in case we get bad news and need to cross the border to help a dear friend. The normal wait is only 2 weeks now. We hoped to speed it up by handing everything over in person. Back to the safe deposit box to replace important documents.
The snow has come to Mt. Cheam and her sister Ladypeak. This is a bittersweet picture. When I was growing up, she never lost her snowy cape. At 6500 feet, she is the most important peak around and a sister to Mt. St. Helens and Ranier.

Carly-pie is struggling with a sore shoulder that is only a bit of osteoarthritis, but interrupts her plans of long walks. We are allowed to give her short walks without exacerbating the calcifications. But at 7 years old, we are feeling the long slope to old age.

I have to go to the eye doctor next week because my eyes are following her into dotage. Hopefully I can get a prescription that doesn't hurt my eyes and allows me to read knitting patterns and insulin syringes. But not at the same time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Makin' and Bakin'

I grew up in a household that celebrated all things hand made. My grand parents were pioneers on the prairie and my mother settled out west with us when I was 3. We don't have many family heirlooms and our history is lost in the mists of time. Some great conjecture about how my grandfather's father came over from Ireland to fight on the Plains of Abraham, but there were Irish on both sides.
We do have my grandmother's fruit cake recipe and I have her pans. She was militantly in the temperance movement, so I won't allow booze to sneak into this recipe. It takes fruit juice and starwberry jam to get the taste just right. What a splurge to buy all those fruits and eggs and butter! It must have been a hardship some years, even as I was growing up, to gather everything for this huge recipe baked in 3 tins of graduated size. It was also the cake for each of our weddings.
I made it Tuesday night so it could "ripen" in time for Christmas guests. I immediately divided the large cake into 4 smaller ones for each of my sisters and my mom. These traditions are worth holding on to.

I worked last night and finished the scarf on my break. This is all I can show you of its loveliness until my sister releases the pattern as a kit. What a joy to knit. Such a thoughtful lace pattern. I got permission to make it extra-long because I was using my own local alpaca. I look forward to blocking it (after I vacuum the carpet).
I also threw myself into sewing and made the three wise men costumes for our pageant. Our traditional costumes were taken in an act of desperation by the daughter of the seamstress to protect what she felt as her heritage. I am sorry that she wasn't prepared to share the costumes of 50 years with the changing worship and developing pageants.
But one wise friend said, "Let them go." and we are making new ones that will fit the children we have now and the scripts we are preparing. I hope she can come to this year's pageant and find the same hope and touch of tradition that we need at Christmas.
Now I will set up my Christmas list and look to see if I have it in my heart and hands to knit something for gifts.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Knitting

I worked nights on Thursday and then predictably frogged something on Friday. The Winterblomen mittens were too big, the Slip Jig sock was too big. This is not the fault of the pattern. I just have a terrible time reaching gauge. The mitties were cast on again in 1.75 mm. I still want to make the mittens, but I want to make a Gretel hat first in the hand spun I bought in Oregon.
Now I have fewer works in progress. That makes me happy. I'm more like Leslie than Laura.
Most of my knitting time has very happily been test knitting for my sister's new company, Elderberry Farm. Can't wait to share with you the sweet thing on my needles. But, with great effort, I can almost keep a secret.
I cast off the Woodland Shawl on Thursday at Jean's knitting circle. Whew!
It took perseverance to keep picking this up. I like the pattern, I like the yarn. But I wasn't feeling the love. It helped to change needles and knit in the sun.
I will probably wear it lots with my new charcoal winter coat. Unfortunately I like wearing things that are rather boring to knit.
Sunday morning was the start of the Rotary Book Sale. Thousands of books for a dollar or two. Jean and I went at 7 am to get the best selection. I came in under budget and they all fit in the bags I brought. Even a few Folio editions- yay! I have so many books in my queue, I was reluctant to even go. But I'm happy I did. Nothing like a bargain with the proceeds going to charity.
Sunday afternoon was a great BBQ at the lake and a walk in the sun with friends. Warm and incredibly beautiful for October. Sorry about no pics. In the moment. Happy.
Don't change a thing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Embrace the Season

It is autumn in the Fraser Valley. The mornings are a bit chilly and the afternoons are warm. Perfect cycling weather, great for walks, but awkward for dressing in the morning, especially if you want to wear your new tweeds.
D went away for a few days to do a herd health in the interior, so we got to mess around with yarn, watch videos and eat turkey leftovers.
He got us a new Wii and it's as fun as everyone says. I did really well in balancing, so I like it. I hope to spend quite a bit of time at it when the weather turns and I don't feel like going outside.

Right now it's hard to stay indoors. I did manage to finish the Citron in the Marks and Kattens Fame. (not available on the company site). I like that it is soft and wool and the colour of denim, but I like not the obvious striping. I'm not a very stripey person. This could have ended up bigger if I had used bigger needles and busted into the second ball, but my friend is petite and probably would prefer something easier to wear. My prayers go with her as I knit this and send it off.

On the needles: Still (!!!!!) the woodland shawl in the dark grey/blue colourway. I knit for a week on our trip, at the expense of the baby blanket deadline, and feel I have gotten no where. I like it better on the addi turbos. I like it better when I'm not in the car and not forced to count every set of stitches. Will I like it more when it is blocked and I can wear it as a warm, soft scarf? Can't see it right now.
I am so excited about casting on my very first test knitting. It's an awesome pattern that my sister and her daughter are going to do as a kit. A scarf. I'm going to use some local alpaca, though theirs is in silk. I can hardly wait for it to be ready to show you.
Estelle is behaving herself in the knitting bag and very politely has been knit to the plain stockinette body. Simple, simple.
Can I resist the scarf, the mittens I started and their matching hat? Or the other two hats. I would feel so set if I got that woodland shawl done! I'll take it to the grad meeting tonight. It can't be more boring to knit than the meeting will be.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Changing Views

The Estelle sweater has made it into rotation because my hand was hurting from the small gauge knitting and overdoing it on the baby blanket. This scared me as most of my queue is tiny knitting right now: socks, mittens, shawls. Do I need to change drastically for a while? What about Christmas knitting?
The Citron prayer shawl is coming along and changing colours at its own whim. I'm not sure I adore it, though I respect it. I won't be wearing it as it's a gift I want to finish as soon as possible. This isn't altogether in my control because of said hand pain.

It's thanksgiving here at Chez Metaphor. Emily made a bouquet from our garden before the torrential rains begin. Yesterday I delivered our gourds to the church for the bountiful display. We get to sing Veggie Tales during the service! I like it when we get silly.

I have been sewing this week and I have learned a few things: my eyesight is changing. I do better without my glasses in close up. It's as distressing everyone declares. I have an eye appointment next month. Could it be bifocals? I always say, "You look better when I wear my glasses." but the truth is my ego is not looking forward to this.
I managed a gift for a sister and I still want to make a fourth (I like to do theme gifts). Do I have to change that expectation as well?
I cleaned up the extraordinary sewing mess in the dining room for our dinner tomorrow. I changed expectations there, too. I am serving cold turkey with buns and salads. I cooked it yesterday as I sewed a quilt lining for the grand piano at church: 7 by 8 feet!!! Hopefully it will help keep it in tune.
I still need to make some kings costumes for the pageant and I wish I could make more knitting bags. But with work and my dreadful eyes, I may need to succumb to etsy and buy them. There is no need, just a deep longing for more project bags: bigger than sock, smaller than sweater projects.
Reality is an unkind mistress and my views will have to change.

Monday, October 04, 2010

While You Were Out

While we were enjoying the California sunshine, autumn visited our home. I like to embrace the seasons to keep a real fingertip on time and to reinforce that change is constant and good. This is the season of soups and stews, of new pencils and casting on sweaters. I did cast on Estelle before I left, but I haven't had time to work on her. It is a habit of mine to swatch and set up a new project before I finish the last (or when I'm really tired of it) to keep the momentum going.
The corn in the field behind our house was harvested. This must be the first field because the corn is really late this year. We had many a Thanksgiving (Canadian) with everyone out in the fields or on tractors, bringing in the corn silage, while Mom was hovering over an overcooking turkey, alone in the kitchen. My job was to drive the tractor up and down the pack to get the air out of it and decrease the risk of combustion. That is a dangerous job. We lost my cousin, Darci in 1982. She was new to the farm and the tractor rolled over on her. Last year one of our friends lost their Scott to the same accident. He was a great big athlete who sometimes played soccer against our Scott. He is missed every day.

But this descent into the darkness is not without hope. We light candles and carve pumpkins and say prayers to remind ourselves of the new life in spring.
I finished the baby blanket at noon on Saturday, blocked it and wrapped it for a 2 pm shower! That's the closest I've ever cut it. My hands are a bit angry for the marathon last nights. I was so grumpy yesterday, too for the lack of sleep. But the new mom loves the blanket and I think it is important to wrap babies in love.
I just started the Citron as a prayer shawl for my drumming partner whose dear husband has just entered hospice care. I won't stay up late with this project, but I hope to finish it before we lose him. D and I will go back to Bellingham next week to pick up his new telescope and see them.
Each stitch is a prayer.