Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cutting Through the Grey

 There are some cheerful sights and some sightings of sunshine in this mostly dreary spring. Walking the dog is a tonic to get me out of the house. It seems my greater allergens are behind me.
 Be careful what you ask for. Actually, I don't remember asking for yarn for the Common Threads Knitting Circle, but it's arriving. I have a couple of bins of "thrifty acrylic", suitable for charity knitting. I hope to get it divvied up among the other knitters. I'm still trying to get rid of my long-pining acrylics.
I chose to keep the watermelon coloured Lanett superwash from my former drum instructor and current co-worker. I've knit very successful baby blankets in this and look forward to a dash of brightness when I'm (still) knitting the grey-blue log cabin baby blanket and am swatching (unsuccessfully) for the Simplicity cardigan which will be miles and miles of laceweight grey.
If you look up at the clouds, you may find some beauty and inspiration. I read an article in the New York Times this morning about the Cloud Appreciation Society. Gavin Preto-Pinney was quoted, "Happiness does not come from wanting to be somewhere else. Happiness comes from finding beauty and a stimulation or interest in the everyday surroundings in which you find yourself."
I'm all about that.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Wonder

Just two weeks ago I was at UBC enjoying my favourite gardents.
Today is warm and sunny and I'm running from church to a baptism to a youth group event. Whew!
Last night was the 40th birthday of our "old" pipe major.
This week as I was going from work to choir to knitting circle, I tried to bring to the surface that I am not missing out on events, but enjoying the choices I have made.
For over a decade we went to pipe band practice every Wednesday night. We had a super babysitter who now wants our daughter to babysit for her. This is living deeply.
At work I am priveleged to meet intelligent and fun nurses, those I would never have met otherwise. But if I worked full time and shifts, I would have no other life.
The church, the camp the Music Academy keep me hopping, but I am engaged in my community which is my biggest goal.
And sometimes that means the knitting goes slowly.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Waking Up

 We had the most beautiful spring day on Wednesday, but I slept through it. After the New Year Celebration with Baha'i friends on Sunday, I was looking forward to the green. But I missed the best day this week.
 The crocuses and violets are showing up all over the lawn where the ducks have eaten away the grass and the walnut tree has dropped branches. But not in the garden bed. Let it be.
 Everything is starting to green up and the ducks are dancing and bobbing in pairs. Today I walked the dog in a frigid rain, but when I came out of donating blood, it was too warm for my new Cassidy sweater.
 One of my Lenten challenges is working on donation blankets each day. When I took this picture, I realized it was a bit wonky. Though there are no hard and fast rules to log cabin knitting, there are reasonable guidelines. I'm working harder to marry the different stash cotton yarns. I already cast on another blanket to knit on my break at work, but there was no knitting because I was on the cardiac telemetry team. No one else seemed alarmed by this. I used to be hot damn at reading strips but I haven't ever lead a code. Don't tell the other tele nurses, they may laugh at me. It was, as usual, a great team and I thank my partner for taking my eager flakiness in stride.
 Where do I store my blankie you ask? In my new Piddlee bag. Woohoo. I love the careful finishing.
 And I love Mr. Sheep. Look, he loves me too.
I'm back in the swing and catching up on innumerable duties. The first order this week is to get other volunteers to share the load. It may be work up front, but I volunteer to be in community and get all cranky nursey (especially on a clock turn around day) when all the emails say they would love to help me with my thing. Hey, it's our thing. Don't expect me to lead everything. Who would knit?
Travelling Woman Shawl enjoying the sun in the living room.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Feeling Onceful

Spring has sprung, but I am struggling with getting anything accomplished.
 I am having little success in taking my own pictures. Road to Skye asked for some. Not only is today not a good day for photos, I'm may not even put makeup on. These are from a few weeks ago in the lovely lighting of our main bathroom.
 The cowl is Maximus. I bought the wrong yarn for the Encompass shawl and ended up with bulky instead of chunky. I rarely knit on that end of the scale. It was quick and easy and added to the gift drawer.
Today I hope to finish a few things: the Travelling Woman Shawl and the Log Cabin Blanket. I won't give you betting odds. I did buy the gorgeous new blanket from Mason Dixon and added my sheckles to over $2,250.00 in aid for Japan. I had already had my eye on the Kaffe Fasset Cross quilt and felt the allignment of the ideas.
I also cast on a second baby blanket for my Lenten knittin, the spiral pi this time in blue. I wanted something simple for my night shifts this week. It is left over from the blanket I didn't get to give to my Grandmother before she died. That one went to charity as well. These blankets will double as my gift on behalf of the Frecklebump.
Then I will still need to swatch for my next nephew sweater and roll up all the deliciousness that was stash enhancement this spring break.
Whew! I was lucky enough to find a break in the rain to walk the dog. My real motivation was to get enough knitting time to watch the Knit Girllls podcast. I am a fan and joined the block swap as well.
So maybe I am getting a bit of direction in my knitting. Now to set that on my volunteer work.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recap and March Cap

 I had to really make an effort to drop the other knitting to work on the March Help Mexico hat in the yellow. One hat a month in a progression of rainbow colours. We had a party last night for St.Patrick's and this is my day after. One knitting friend stayed over and we went through my knitting books over coffee while I started this. It's Em's stash, but the only yellow I could work with. Again the Lifestyle top down hat. The other knitting is a log cabin for a hospital in South Africa and the last repeat of the Travelling Woman Shawl. Then on to swatching for ..... hmmm.

And I showed her the stash I got at the Fibres West in Abbotsford on Friday. The top is Fleece Artist Suri Blue then the multicoloured entwined by electrictree (my wonderful and talented niece) and the raspberry silk cloud by shibui from Valley Yarn. Julie remembered me, so sweet. They say you buy yarn that matches what you're wearing. I didn't take any photos (duh) but my finished and fitting Cassidy goes well with these.
This is a pretty small event by some standards, but it is packed with friendly vendors who bring in delights rarely seen in my neck of the woods. Electrictree yarns are all hand dyed. There was spinning stuff, too. It was enough to overwhelm me and make a serious dent in my BFF's wallet despite the SABLE talk of the day before (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy).
We also stalked Felicia at Sweet Georgia.I bought some sock yarn in the beautiful Stillwater colourway and some grey for Emily. I felt a bit stash-bloated because we went to Urban Yarns on Sunday after Emily's UBC audition and picked up some Casbah for me and some Sweet Georgia merino silk lace for Em. I just couldn't decide, so Emily did for me. And a good choice.
Spring Break continued with local Shakespeare (the Tempest in steampunk!), Red Riding Hood at the new big theatre and the party. I even worked one day.
Last night we had old friends from the now defunct pipe band and it was warm and friendly. A huge stew, biscuits and soda bread, finished with pecan pie, a bought little cheesecake and Linda's peach cobbler. Yum. Today I am slow and tired. I walked the dog on this official first day of spring.
And I'm scattered as I update this post with captured ideas. I love the new squares from Mason Dixon and got caught in a vortex of old January One posts. Wow. I can hardly remember when I started reading her blog and being led by her colourful wonderfulness. I love the writing and how engaging it is. I'm so full of ideas and opinions, but tend not to get too deep on this blog. Maybe I should try to reveal myself a bit more. I'm in a thoughtful mood. I'm not being very productive. But I knit the hat.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back On Line

After two weeks of barely reading knitting blogs or keeping up on Ravelry, I am relieved to have my PC back. I'm still planning on buying a Macbook soon, but I have all my data in this box.
There was some real knitting visiting to counteract the lack of virtual.
There was a trip to Bellingham to visit my dear friend and pick up some books I had ordered. This is the new anniversary edition of the Knitter's Almanac next to my well-worn copy. If it weren't for this book and Knitting Without Tears, I would have given up knitting. Despite the army of sisters and grandmothers who encouraged me, cast on my stitches and fixed my errors, I was on the road to knitting ugly, poorly fitting garments. Thank you Elizabeth Zimmerman. You also saved my sanity while I was home with two kids.
We drove to Mount Vernon where we picked up some sale Zauberball at Hellen's Needlework.
And some Shibui at Wild Fibers. I was looking for Malabrigo, but you won't feel bad for me and my runner up choice.
I am knitting on the Travelling Woman Shawl in the When Irish Eyes are smiling, but it is being neglected for some project knitting: blankets for a hospital in South Africa. I was invited to join through the charity knitting thread on Ravelry and really took to the idea. This is Lent in our Christian Calendar and it is good to do some intentional helping. Lots of people take something bad away for Lent, but I always try to add something good.
I am doing my best to channel spring. There was snow on the ground when my last photo post was so rudely interrupted by an unscheduled shut down.
So here is my welcome to spring. If the forsythia blooms it will complement the impatiens. Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I wish you blessings beyond the luck of the Irish. I grew up with Irish myths and legends (some of them about my family) and I still count myself among the diaspora.
I am celebrating by hosting book club and then a party with our old friends from the Pipe Band. There will be music and libations. I wish the same to you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Despite Discouragement

How cranky am I without my computer? Our IT guy is complaining that he's never had to fix a Windows 7 before. Boo hoo. Meanwhile I am getting on with most other things.
The Cassidy sweater is almost finished. The finishing is such a big job. A bit like giving birth. Hopefully I'll forget most of it and launch into the conception of another sweater. I chose to use the shawl collar from the twist pattern instead of the hood. I have to thank Gigi of the Knitmore Girls podcast for the great tip on tulip button holes. I have the same Summer Interweave magazine and was probably sent the same link to Eunny Jang's video tutorial, but wouldn't have followed through without her recommendation. Great button holes! I hope to finish it for Friday's trip to Fibres West in Abbotsford.
I am also screaming along on my happy Travelling Woman shawl in the Irish Eyes Are smiling Rockin Sock Club color way from Blue Moon Fibres. I would like to get this done for Easter (not St. Patrick's Day which isnalready Thursday).
I have book club on Thursday, here, and also have the deadline of the book, Body and Soul by Frank Conroy. I am really getting into it. No discussion before the group. But I know why I couldn't get my hands on a copy.
I must not forget that it's already March and I must get on with Emily's grad blanket.
Oh, and I added a Lenten challenge to kit for a hospital in South Africa. Does this sound like too much? It feels like it.
The music festival was a big success. Emily did well in all her trumpet and voice classes and Lee and I did our best run yet with the cats piece.
Tomorrow I take Em to UBC (where I studied First year Theatre and D did his pre-vet) for her audition to the music school. Next month is UVic which includes a ferry ride and staying on campus near Scotty's dorm. He'll love that.
I didn't work this week and was pretty wound up with the competition. Time seems to have morphed. It is still chilly and rainy.
I think that's all the typing I can take on this odd little iPad. Hope your frustrations are uncomplicated.

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Monday, March 07, 2011


I am longing to have my computer back so I can share with you my knitting, the Music Festival and the nicer weather for camp clean up. This weekend was double booked all around. My sweater parts are blocked an I have begun the long practice of seaming Cassisy.
I started a new sock ( a few times) and chose Conwyn from Nancy Bush's Knitting On the Road because it has nice leg shaping and not too many foot stitches. The Socks That Rock in Stonewash are (again) surprisingly soft.
My leftover STR from the sock club last year is becoming a Travelling Woman in the colourway When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (see, you need pics).
I will probably take the sock to the music festival. Emily is playing trumpet and singing all week. No piano this year. I sing on Thursday, but our recital went quite well yesterday, so I just have normal trepidation. I get to wear a cat mask which will help me focus.
The sun is out, but this will be our week allowance, so I'd better walk the big black thing and do my Monday housework.
D is off to Red Deer for a few days so Em and I can cheat on dinners and go for salads. Cooking supper begins at 3:30 here, so I should gain quite a bit of time and lose some calories.
With a bit of a break, I am longing to knit.

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