Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Support the Community

I just bought a drawstring bag from Ravelry. I don't need one, but I wanted to patronize the minimart to support this wonderful platform for our community.
We now have one million members. If each gave just one dollar (!!) we could let them know how much we appreciate the amazing treats they have offered for free.
We also planned our second Knitting Circle meeting (second Wednesday) last night. I hope our local knitters feel invited to drop in and share the ideas, talents and humour of this new group.
If they are even half as lovely as my virtual friends, we are going to have a great time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Warm Your Heart

This weekend, while I was at an awesome drumming workshop and preparing and performing in Handel's Messiah, D helped me make a turkey and then he made the broth. Last night I made turkey noodle soup. You can see we're using the big outdoor fridge.
It is cold. The power has gone out a few times, but only for a minute.
We also had an Advent mass choir sing on Sunday, so Christmas is barging her way in to our schedule.

I finally got to the cards. I have a system and a list. We send out a photo collage instead of a letter, so that makes it easier, but only after I've copied it.

Jean says she doesn't read my blog, so I feel confident that I can post her fingerless mitts. These are from a Sweet Georgia BFL yarn that I didn't like the colour of. I like it better now, and I love the softness. We were in a club together and she just finished a scarf in this same yarn.
The pattern is an adaptation of an adaptation. I loved the Nutkin fingerless mitt pattern. It is great because you can plug in any sock pattern. I chose the Lacy Rib socks from Wendy's Socks From the Toe Up.
I hope to have enough yarn left over to make some baby socks from "2-at-a-time socks" by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Then I can work on my the 2 to 6 other Christmas gifts I may or may not knit.

Friday, November 26, 2010

When the Wind Subsided

The shock of early snow was actually a relief from the bitter cold and wind. One day God is throwing branches and little birdies at the window of my sunroom/office/lab. The next day it's feeling all Christmassy. We don't usually get real cold. For us minus 10 Celsius is cold enough. But we've been through it this week.

Carly can't believe it. She loves all kinds of weather. She'd probably like the storms in Labrador, where her breed originates. Me, not so much. But I have my warm knits to wear and my knitting to keep me warm.
After choir practice I picked up icecreams for the family. It's a Calgary thing: as soon as it gets really cold, everyone goes out for icecream.
And on my desk was the most scrumptious package. This is a warm, deep brown sock yarn from my niece and her etsy shop, electrictree. It was meant to be for bloglesscarla and the Fallmageddon swap with the Knit Girllls. But it is mine. No way is this going on my feet. Caroline dyed it special order and it's going to be a shawl. Maybe swallowtail. It will match the mittens and hat that I'm not knitting because I do have a bit of Christmas knitting. But my projects are portable and I can swap them out depending on who I am sitting with.
Also, the lovely knitwhiskers gave me a Jared Flood pattern in the swap and got me on a big day dream about the yak and silk in my stash.
Last night we were at the school for a great performance of White Christmas with our daughter on trumpet. This morning at 0430 hours I took her to the school for a marching band trip to the Seattle Macy's Holiday Parade. Whew!
Now I'm going to cook a turkey in honour of American Thanksgiving and our love of turkey leftovers. I may get my first batches of shortbread in as well.
We did the Christmas photo collage yesterday and my photos are truly lacking in the people variety. I need to take more shots that tell the story. This year my photos said, "I saw some nice places and did some knitting". Not what the relatives need. I don't post photos of my family and friends much on this blog, and you're who I think of when I have my camera.
It has warmed up a bit, so the roads aren't treacherous and I may have to put my knitting down to do some errands.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ripped Away

I just want to stay home and knit more booties! These are Christine's Stay On Booties. So simple. Great construction and quick. This is just left over sock yarn! I love the Ravelry search for most popular. There is a reason everyone knits the same things.
I can stay warm with my Estelle sweater. Finally got a few shots. Thanks Em.

The Bitteroot is actually a bit large to behave like my other shawls. I fixed the hole. Can you see it? One friend says a blind man would love to see that mistake. Another says it wouldn't be noticed by a man galloping by on a horse. Design elements all.
I wore this shawl to coffee last week and one kind friend remarked that the snow had landed and frozen on it. That is exactly the effect I was trying for with the clear beads. I hesitate to use the word crystal because real crystals cut the yarn and are not suitable for beading.

Finally some shots of the Gretel hat. Emily tried to teach me how to take a picture of myself at arms length. Somehow my arms aren't the right length.

So I plopped it on her an got a shot of the back.
I knit on the long suffering toe up gusset heel sock on the way to Bellingham. I really just made a few mistakes and then had time to rip them back. It's about an hour, but longer because of the snow and ice on the road. Seriously, no sand or salt? It was a bit touch and go, but we made it to the memorial service and got to celebrate the life of a great man. He was a great knitter, too and will be missed by all.
When I got home, I made sure I finished increasing for the gusset and tonight I must turn that heel or it will linger and taunt me.
I cast on a hat for D. He may be lurking, but too bad. Lurkers like to think I don't know they're reading. You are all welcome here. Leaving comments will maybe lead to you having your own blog like it did for me.
So now I have to rip myself away from the knitting-verse to have another Handel's practice. We are getting better, but I think it's because we're freaking scared.
Thank goodness it'll all be done before the Christmas season begins and I can get back to my other projects and important things like reading your blogs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It All Changes

Carly and I went for a few walks this week. Thanks to Cast On and Stash and Burn for great podcasts. It really helps motivate me.
The leaves had been severely whipped by heavy winds and we were revelling in a bit of autumn joy with just a hint of chill: knitted vests and shawls but not mitts and sweaters.

Then the first flakes began to fall and fall fell away.

I have looked at my Christmas list and finally caught up with the frenzy on the web. What was I thinking?!! I now have some baby stuff, slippers, a hat and some fingerless mitts (or three) to whip up. I'm glad I finished my shawl.
I tuned into Round the Twist and brought up the wrong show from last New Years. I thought it was Carin being clever and time travelling past the Christmas knitting. Fooled myself.

This morning I went through the gift drawer and I'm in good shape for Christmas and the slew of birthdays directly following (in a non-knitting kind of way). I bought some pretty nice stuff that I had stashed away. Good for me.
I am less stressed about the family gifts. I have a tentative knitting list (because I'm allowed to change my mind at any moment) and I'm off to Langley to nail down the edges of the list.
I must remember to not get too caught up in the stress of it, because it all changes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vicarious Bitterness

I finished casting off the Bitteroot shawl this morning and I'm really pleased with it. Would you like to help me block it? I soaked it in Soak and put it in the front load washer on drain and spin. This is a great option and sort of makes up for not being able to felt.
TIG wires are my blocking wires. I slide them through the top.

Without stretching too tightly, I mark the point and work up on both sides. I even used a measuring tape!

Heart ache. What the heck is that? It's not a dropped stitch. I'll just have to carry on and fix it later.

Here she is on her soft white towels. I used clear colourless beads to mimic frost.

This is a brilliant and simple knit with a great motif. I hope to wear it this Christmas to brighten up my musician black outfit.
We practiced Messiah last night and it is so brutally not ready! We have two weeks to pound out the transitions and the runs. We perform with an orchestra on the Saturday before the first Advent Sunday.
I took some time this weekend to shop here in Chilliwack and found some great gifts and some great prices. Scotty was "home" which meant he had the car and was out with friends. But I was lucky to find things on my list nearby.
I worked Sunday night. I didn't take a break, but there were quiet times between rounds and treatments, so I was satisfied. I knit on the sock and other nurses brought out their knitting. What a treat! It was a difficult shift with palliative patients, but the other nurses are great supporters and we were able to do our best for them.
I am thankful to have a healthy family, some fun Christmas plans and a new shawl to sport to them. If I only look at the berries, I can enjoy their beauty without the bitterness.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Birth of a New Group

Wow! Local knitters are just as cool as the ones I've met on line. In fact I met a few of them on line. Thanks for coming out to our first Common Threads sit and knit. Emily came and helped set up tea and cheese and crackers.
At first people were a bit shy. But we share so much in common: yarn and knitting. There was a first time knitter who was taught by my daughter. Carol taught Emily tunisian crochet and we promised to come back next month with books and tips and finished objects.
How lovely to laugh at the same things. We love our dogs. We sometimes argue with our neighbours. We want to know where the good yarn is on sale- but we don't want to be tempted.
I hope we can slowly grow, like the projects on our needles, to have intertwined lives and many great shared knitting hours.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knitting Warmth

I met a new knitting friend today when I met the piano tuner. We had a great knit chat and I had to leave so she could get some work done. I'll catch up with her on Ravelry, and next time we'll make sure to have time to visit.
Isn't that a wonderful treat?
I'm just stoned tired from two crazy day shifts. There were doctors arguing in the hall and patients families behaving horribly. Someone said it was the time change. But you guys are amateurs. We change 12 hours every night shift!
Tonight is the first knit circle that we're hosting at our church. I have no idea who will come or what they will want to do, but I'm prepared to let the group grow organically to meet the needs of those who come. I hope we can do some charity knitting, too.
I have to buy some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran because my Fetching mitts are lost. I have worn them so much over the years! I remember buying the yarn at a wonderful store in Mt. Vernon, Wild Fibers. The pink is just perfect with my Manos del Uruguay scarf in the perfect wild flowers colourway. I just knit a few pairs for others, so I can be selfish and replace a pair for me. I may make them a titch longer.
The red shawl is my not so bitter Bitterroot. I am managing to knit this while watching Bones (thanks, Lala, I'm so hooked) and the Ken Burns War series from PBS that D and I are watching as part of our Remebrance Day remembering.
I managed to get to choir practice on Monday after work (!!) to find out how much preparation we need for Handel's Messiah at the end of the month! Now I'm scared, but I got to hang posters at the hospital and that was fun.
My son is home for reading break, so I'll try to do some fun stuff with him (going out for lunch). We are travelling head long into chilly, sweater weather, but I am warm in my knits.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Time Change

I am working between night shifts and find the whole jet lag thing a bit inspiring. If I look back at my week, I have finished and blocked my Estelle cardigan, knit two pairs of Fetching mitts, set up and knit the first graph of the Bitteroot shawl and learned how to thrum.
I actually spent most of my time in the garden, cleaning up and moving plants. The light changes every year, but the requirements of the plants don't. We try to keep the hazelnut trimmed, but the walnut and the evergreens just keep getting bigger. I took out my raised bed and I will try to put Emily's dahlia bed to rest this weekend. In the back yard, the big arthritic dog can gambol about. She doesn't seem to move much on her own.
There was gardening in pots as well, with a new front door greeting and back deck planting of bulbs under pansies. Anticipation. The Amaryllis is planted and waiting for its own inspiration.
With the time change on Saturday night (blessed sleep) I will start my winter routine of cod liver oil supplements and shea butter body cream. Soon I will trade my regular tea for Constant Comment with it's cinnamon spice.
I won't be working Christmas this year (and New Years, and my birthday) It so sucked last year.
I will appreciate the moments I have, hug my dog and cook for my family.
This Christmas I'm going to take the time to be a fearless knitter, a server of tea and cookies and open my home to friends and family.