Saturday, November 24, 2012

Craft Crawl

I had fun on Thursday with my eldest sister, who is now retired. It was Craft Crawl Weekend, but we're both pretty busy, so we were glad they added a week day. Mom is still at the ranch and my friends had other plans. It's good to do things with family. I found a quilt I love at Hamels Fabrics, hello Karen??!!! I love the happy colours and the white space, like a picket fence. Next door is the Smitts Cheese farm, and I bought assorted gouda cubes.
Instead of yarn (no yarn shops on the crawl), I bought a yarn bowl. It is exquisite. Holly form Greendale Pottery made it in my favourite glaze. See how happy it is next to my little dishes of stitch markers? It's actually more luminescent in person. She does some beautiful crystal glazes, too.
We enjoyed the lunch at the Little Beetle Restaurant, and bought some hand made soaps at Rustic Soap Co. and candles at Chilliwack River Honey. I love real bees wax candles! So there was no Black Friday shopping needed. I think I have all the gifts bought, and only 4 small ones to knit. Next month will be busy with extra shifts, two concerts, a pageant and a weekend in Vancouver. Oh, and Christmas.
The rain held off, but you can see the snow line creeping down. We certainly are feeling the weather. It is cold and crisp, alternating with monsoons.
The amaryllises (what is the collective plural) are reaching toward the window. They get a quarter turn each day. Soon one will go on my dining table and one will go with me to Hospice to share the wonder. My dining table is covered with research books right now, when I don't push them aside to do some crafting for gifts and wrapping of birthday presents.
I finished knitting the little mittens and am entirely charmed by their size and colour. Tonight I hope to string them on the i-cord and get them ready to go up in the dining room (or on the mantle?) after the first of the month. They took all year to knit, but I will have them for many years. I may even turn them into an advent calendar as there are 24.
On a sadder note, I was asked on Sunday to make a prayer shawl for a friend of a friend, whom I worked with in the hospital years ago. No, I won't sell one, but I'll make you one. This is the delightful Balm to the Soul by Jaala Spiro. She had gifted me the pattern, and I had the yarn in the stash. It came together and was blocking on Wednesday when my friend called to tell me it was too late and her friend had already passed. We talked a while and I let her know right away that the shawl was now for her. I hope I have such good friends when it is my time.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Autumn Sun

 Today is beyond gorgeous. It is clear and sunny and warm, about 20 degrees (for U.S., double it and add 30). Mt Cheam has new snow on her and I had to stop to take a picture of her.
 Later in the afternoon, I took my bike out. The dog helped me with some gardening, and by the time I put a leash on her, she was limping. So I took my bike on the same route I used to ride my horse after school. Boy is the traffic more dangerous. If you look to the bottom of "the hill" you can see some barns. That is the farm where I grew up. It's Mt. McGuire with the snow on top of it.
 My next door neighbour does not believe it's fall. She has pink roses blooming and purple beauty bush berries (callicarpa). What a nice surprise next to our driveway.
 Most of the gardening was replacing my front door pots. It's a bit early for my Christmas display, but dead mums do not say, "welcome" and we have friends coming for dinner on Saturday. I work tomorrow so I have to get most of the stuff done ahead. I also worked Tuesday and it was brutal! All our families are in stress and struggling with the grief journey, but honestly. What I can't tell you!
On a happier note, the twin sweaters are done and are currently blocking. I took them to knit night and everyone said black buttons on the white sweater. I love how they turned out and mama is 32 weeks along now, so they are pretty safe. I'm OK with her having them  now that the sweaters are ready.

Knit night was exciting in our new venue, our church meeting room. Check out our facebook page, Chilliwack Common Threads. We had about 14 knitters and they settled in so wonderfully, helping themselves to tea and pulling up soft chairs. When I arrived after work, the laughter was in full swing, the newly donated yarn had made it around the table and the young ladies were ready for their lessons. We are going to enjoy this venue.

I am working on a crazy cowl with some hand spun from Spun Monkey in the poppy colourway. It's an adaptation of the pedestrian crossing cowl which is an adaptation of the jaywalker socks. I'll post the particulars on my Ravelry page.
Plus I'm making "The World's Warmest Hat" for a BIL. It's actually a hat you knit, then pick up at the cast on and knit another hat to go inside it. A bit boring. It was exciting when I didn't think I had enough yarn and could go back to Birkeland Brothers' new store in  Abbotsford. But one ball will do each segment.
I get to choose which of the 4 or 5 other Christmas presents I'm going to knit next. I have the yarn all in a basket on my printer because I need to see things for them to stay in play.
How can I clean up my mess and not lose track of all my projects?
Maybe I'll just sit in the afternoon sun and knit.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Festival Season

 Our community choir, through the Chilliwack Academy of Music is the Festival Chorus. We are ramping up our practices for our early December concerts. This is a great time of year to celebrate the friends with whom we join voices. I also get to do Christmas stuff early, which makes me happy. I have  gathered most of the gifts in Scott's bedroom. They will be wrapped and under the tree before he comes home after final exams. Plus his January birthday gift will be ready and delivered when I pick him up. I have some more accessories to knit, but right now I'm on schedule.
 We also have extra music at church. I am organizing the children's pageant again, and it will be a Mexican Fiesta.
 Our piano had been neglected for a while as the young musicians are away at university, but D and I are practicing our choir parts. And I have even tucked into a little Christmas music.
This is my corner. The 12 string is a bit of a disappointment, but I love my sweet guitar, my little ukelele and the bass guitar. The djembe has been a constant companion. What a great time we had a few weekends ago when I lead a drumming workshop. I usually drum in church if the music is lively enough. I like lively music when the kiddies are there.
Tomorrow I do Sunday School on Remembrance Day. We should really all be at the cenotaph, but I will try to make it meaningful for them.
The twin cardigans are done knitting. There are ends to be woven in, buttons to be chosen and sewn on and then the blocking. I need a dye saver to keep the black from bleeding into the ivory. I can maybe pick that up today when I go to get Emily. She will be playing Last Post at our service and does the best job!
Music and knitting and watching the birds at the feeder. This is a good season!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Now With (Almost) All New Content

 Baby Twin sweater the first. This is Mission Falls 1824 in cotton that I bought on sale. I was going to make a Daybreak Shawl. But I don't need another shawl. This Coffee Bean sweater is nicely written, though Karen encouraged me to make the body a little longer and that was easy to do. The second one will be cast on today with ivory ribbing and button bands. They are due in January, but are twins and can come any time. I look forward to a baby shower with the ladies from our vet clinic.
 I'm dangerously in love with this handspun from Judy Pilote. I bought it at the Lower Mainland Sheep Producers Association fibre fair. It was meant for mittens for a sister who doesn't deal with hand washing. So I knit up the Work + Shelter fingerless mitts from the Sweatshop of Love because I will be teaching it to the beginner knitters of our group. I knit them both in a day. I listened to Nicole from Stash and Burn to make a provisional cast on. It would have been great, but I did the three needle bind off on the second one upside down. D very kindly asked (three times) if it was a rookie mistake. I would say so. But I just said it will help me be a better teacher. They are for someone special for Christmas.
 I had enough left over for an "Old Pattern Kindling Coffee Cup Cozy". And maybe another one.
I have four five more small projects for Christmas plus 4 tiny mittens. I can almost imagine making it.
 I dove into my deepest darkest stash for the Knitgirllls Podcast. I bought this mohair in about 1985 when I had two small children and the February blahs were threatening to take me away. I used all my loonies I had gathered. It was the wool shop I no longer go to. The husband said they were closed. I had my money in my hand and my kids in the van and I wouldn't take no. It was expensive and I think he made an error in addition, but I took away my special yarn and made a brioche sweater from The Knitting Goddess in about 3 days. I still wear it when I feel the need for comfort, but I'm brave enough to show off my knitting.
I have 118 grams, about 345 meters. Don't know what I'll make. Maybe a stuffed toy.
Carly would like to walk more in the rain. I would like to go to yoga and then walk in the sunny break. We may not both get what we want. But it's a new day.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Turn the Calendar

I love the planning and flurry of activity that goes into the beginning of the month. At the end of the month I usually ignore it, but I embrace it on the fresh new day one.
We celebrate the seasons in this house. A way to mark the passage of time, to create and instill traditions that enhance our daily lives. I love ordinary time.
Observing and discussing the stripes on the wooly bear caterpillar has always been an important time stamp. Emily used to say callapitter.
Now she plays trumpet in the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Jazz Band. That's her on the far right in the back. Their concert yesterday was wonderful. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Hallowe'en.
I also received a Tiny Owl Card Pals package from Katsmonkeyhouse. What a treat!
Now that the spooking is done, I can plant my amaryllis, set up my Christmas picture and get ready to send out cards.
Last night I cast off my 6th scarf for the Green Heart Warm Heart project. The Chilliwack Common Threads Knitting Circle wanted to collect 160 scarves for the Salvation Army Christmas Dinner. I have 180 in my basement right now and more are thrown at me every day. What a blessing. There are lots of ladies scarves, plus hats and mitts that we will share with Chilliwack Community Services.

I am knitting mitten number 20 of 24. Now that I feel I can get this done for December, I'm enjoying it more. I need to embroider on some of the plain ones and I have to get creative with the stripes. I'll do a bit more fair isle on the last ones. My scraps of yarn may even last. Then I'll crochet hooks and use the icord machine to make a string to hang them from. It will be a banner in my dining room this year, but would make a nice advent calendar.
This is a busy month with extra shifts to help with staffing shortages. I'm getting behind on some of my church work and was a zombie at knitting- appropriate because I wore the knitted brain hat. I'll try to post a picture from our Facebook page.
But the plants have been watered and the mattresses turned. The beginning of the month is a bit more work with cleaning, but worth it.
What do you do when you start a month?