Friday, April 27, 2012

April Showers

 We have a shower of Finished Objects (FO's). I stitched this bag for our choir director to thank her personally. We also take a collection for flower money, but I wanted to express my thanks. This was truly a catch up week, sandwiched between two busy work weeks.
 Here is the kippa. The pattern says it can be just a hat, or an object worn in observance of humility in a place of worship. You can't see how the malabrigo glows. I love this colour combination and would like to make a vest like it.
 But it may have been one of the most challenging knits I've ever done. Starting with i-cord and increasing in two colours over brioche stitch pattern. Whew! Now I want to make another because I have this skill. The pattern was influenced by the Pecan Pie Beret in I have almost crocheted a simple yarmulke to go with this gift because I don't know if our host wears a head-covering at his synagogue, and I don't know if he is very conservative, or likes a kick of colour.
 For his wife, our lovely hostess, who once knit for my babies, I have a linen Multnomah. I think it is the best use of this hand painted linen. Unfortunately, the last one-third of the skein was riddled with knots and some of them I missed. There was mending in the blocking stage. Still I'm pleased with it, and I hope she is too.
 This will take a while to soften, but it has lovely drape.
And not to forget my walking buddy and constant companion, her crocheted cushion cover is complete and it is not only soft, but will help hide the shedding hairs.
Already I have cast on the camel and silk Taize shawl that I will be knitting on our trip. The eighth nephew sweater has part of a sleeve, and the two unfinished shawls that somehow got put aside during the Christmas fuss have reared their heads and demanded some attention.
The light is bright enough to get back to the black Frost Flowers.
I hope to plant the front door pots and put the old daffodils and irises in the spring garden bed. There is weeding to do because the poor light and rain have been perfect for encouraging the dandilions and buttercups. Luckily we have lots of rhododendrons which are native to this area and don't mind the heavy rains. And I have been using my time to finish projects and hide from the rains.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Palliative Knitting

It has come to this. I joined a knit a long with friends who were excited about the interesting construction of this Dahlia Cardigan. I had the yarn already and wanted to knit with non-virtual friends. Right away there were problems with the gauge, steps, ripping out and forging ahead.
I really just wanted it finished so I could get along with other projects.
I put it on my 12 in 2012 list to make me work on it.
Can you hear where this is going.
Yesterday, taking it out again after a period of neglect I looked for the unused skeins of yarn. Three? I still needed to do one front and two sleeves. That can't be right. I had ten!
 I called my friend, J, to talk me off the ledge.
Did you look in your other knitting bags? Is it in the hidden stash inside the footstool? Was it left behind. Can you tell she has experience as a mom?
 How much does it weigh now? 320g. From a total of 500. Oh no.
There's the truth. I don't even have enough wool to finish it.
Thanks to Three Bags Full for responding to my PM. I didn't think you'd have more. Mission Falls is a late wool producer.
This is a late sweater.
I can no longer linger in the state of denial. I have moved through anger and am rapidly approaching the state of acceptance that this sweater will either be frogged or be the death of me.
Still, J's wisdom is to wait 24 hours.
Sigh. It pains me that I liked it so little, that I have to let go of my poor choices and decision making skills.
Oh well, look at the pretty mittens.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


When the thimble berries bloom, the hummingbirds aren't far behind. We have a huge bank of these humble flowers across the river in our back yard. I hope to put out some fucshia plants this year to encourage them. We have trouble keeping up with the sugar water feeders but want them to feel welcome.

I have been working a lot this last week and a half. I love the people I work with and I love being there for my patients and their families. But it has knocked my schedule off a bit.
I missed a bass guitar lesson when I had to stay late, and I don't know when I can make it up.
(When Emily started Highland Dance classes she was 4 years old. The teacher was sick and scheduled a make up class. Em started to cry when she found it wasn't a class in putting on make up but just more  dancing.)

University classes are over and exams begun. Maybe Scott will come home next week. That may mean taking a day trip across the ferry to Victoria. I had planned a visit with an old friend, but she'd probably like to come along.

Today I have an interesting workshop on Children and Grieving. It is mostly for the Hospice volunteers, I think, but I was invited and look forward to this good speaker. I did an inservice in Nursing School on how children envision death.

But I need to squeeze in more visits to friends who are unwell or in hospital getting better. I think I'll go this evening instead of to choir because I may not make it to church. I wish I had time to bake. Fresh fruit is going to have to suffice.

I took a knit shawl to a dear old friend who has moved to a higher level of care. She was so gracious and lovely, but didn't remember me. I was pleased she remembered her grandchildren whom I taught Sunday School years ago.

If I think my friends and family are more important than "things", then this is the way my life will look. You are welcome to come over and share a cup of tea, but don't mind the messy floors.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Walk With Me

 This is my neighbourhood. Come take a walk with me. I like to take the 4 mile block that runs past the farmland, down to the high school and along the newer homes.
The plum blossoms are covering the trees like new snow.
 Mt. Cheam (She-AM) is the beautiful 6,000 foot dormant volcano that looks over us from the east.
 The raspberries are getting ready to delight us.
 I love me some magnolias. I'm looking forward to adding a star magnolia this year, but I'm not sure where in the back garden.
 Grape hyacinths go crazy around here. There were a few in the "shed bed" when I moved here and they have taken over.
 Late primulas. The rain has held off a bit this year so they didn't turn to mush.
 And back to our driveway.
 This is the best year yet for the Snow Lady Azaleas.
And that's my neighbourhood.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A New Neighborhood

 We joined South Wood United Church in Calgary (18 adults and teens) for a 4 day build of a boy's dorm at one of the Project Help Mexico Lunch Rooms turned foster home. The slab was poured and we had the walls up in the first half hour.
 At the end of the day the roof and the walls were on and we were tired. Dinner was at Renee's Taco Stand. Carlton takes all his groups there, so they even made him act as waiter.
 Friday some of us were chosen to do a second build that had funding and materials, but no volunteers. It was just like day one, but much faster.
 The roof was up before lunch. We even dry walled it and painted the outside. This house was completed in one day. There was a Good Friday procession on the streets below with people taking turns carrying the cross. It was still bright and celebratory.
 It's donated paint, don't blame us. Everything there was loud: the music, the colours, the tastes. It was invigorating and exhausting.
 After building all day, we took bags of rice, beans and soup to the highest homes on the terraces where Pastor Juan has a community centre. There were lots of dogs on roofs (they go, "roof, roof") and small children behind fences. There are no streets this far up. At one time, these families lived in the middle of Tijuana. One day a bulldozer came and destroyed their homes. 300 families were dropped off on the eastern outskirts. Carlton was there, 30 years ago, and started Project Help Mexico to build houses for those who have nothing.
 I enjoyed teaching origami (with my very limited Spanish) and getting the kids to decorate crosses for Easter. It was a bit hard not hiding eggs for my own kids in our burgeoning garden, but I brought little chenille chicks that kept popping up all day. What does a Mexican chicken say? "Kiky, riky".
 Here are the bunk beds our own men made and some of the blankets I helped find in the market. Everything is stretched to the limit. There is no extra food, clothing, shelter. They learn to share and look after one another. It is a joy to see the children looking after one another. Two little girls were my special friends. They liked my clapping games and drawing in the dirt. They laughed when I said, "no entiendo", and helped me learn new words.
 We had 2 pinatas! There is a song they sing while the blindfolded one swings with a broom handle. It was all very organized chaos, like driving on dirt roads and picking up a game of soccer.
On our last day, after handing over the keys and saying a blessing, we went to Rosarita, a resort area and tried to feel normal. It was an amazing sea of humanity enjoying the Easter holiday and the warm beach air. I found it difficult to be away from the team, but D and I poked around in the market, walked on the beach and joined them for a buffet dinner (same food, different setting).
You know when you say you'll keep in touch, but don't? It hasn't been like that. We're sharing photos and facebook updates. D and I hope to return to Terrases de Valle in a year or two with the same team. I have ideas for crafts and games, gifts for the wonderful women who look after the foster children (and cook for us) and a new knitting scheme for the new year.
When we are done with the scarves for our local Salvation Army Christmas Eve dinner, I want to organize knitting each of the 16 children a sweater. I know what this one's favourite colour is, and what his favourite team is. It gets surprisingly cold in the evenings now, the winter would be very chilly.
I was delighted to be able to give a Travelling Woman shawl to our lovely finance person who put it on right away and made all the right noises of approval.
We received as many blessings as we bestowed. We met some of our Mexican neighbours, and we forged a new and enjoyable group of friends.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Travel With Friends

This was my first "weekend with the girls". My friends have had long standing annual trips with others and we decided it was time to set one up for us. There was shared driving, which meant a mix of seat mates in the front or middle seats of the old van. There was a ferry ride (knitting in public) and home made soups and lunches out and lots of knitting.
 After lunch on Saturday we drove to Tofino, about 25 minutes, to poke around. Right away we found a delightful wool shop next to a jeweller who gave bonus chocolate. A little coffee and the circle would be complete!
 Felted orcas and bears, oh my!  If you're thinking of doing the BC trip, it would be incomplete without Tofino. We drove past the Clayoquat Sound rainforest on windy roads that, surprisingly, had bits of the sea out of both sides of the road.
 On Sunday we had brunch at Black Rock Resort. This has to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever been!
 Our resort was on the quiet side of the peninsula and we had better weather (most of the time) than they had at home. I elected to go for a walk instead of a spa facial or massage (I'm getting over my hesitation slowly, but would rather start with our local Powder Room).
 The view from Long Beach was, as always, spectacular. But the rain was pretty medieval and I was the only one who would get out of the car. I could have had a long walk and then gone back for a tub bath and knit by the fire. I did get the knit by the fire.
 Did these logs know the devastation of the Japanese events of last year? A fishing boat has been spotted higher up on the coast. It reminds me to knit the mitered cross blanket. I thought I could raffle it, too for the Red Cross, or similar cause.
 I spied a very cold and wind blown heron on my walk. Turned around as it started to rain, so there is still much to explore in this area.
And we were lucky enough to celebrate a birthday with the very best Victoria Sponge cake.
Hope to venture out again next year, to repeat the best parts, discover new delights, and to delight in the company of knitters.