Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making and Doing

 On Saturday I took my darling daughter to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to fly to Nice with her wind symphony. It's a 2- 21/2 hour drive, so we left early and did some shopping at Michaels Arts and Crafts and Pier One Imports on the way. It was hard to let her go when she was nervous about travel, but we had prepared her as much as we could. The music will be excellent and she is with her classmates. Just registered her to a whole new university: the one her brother has attended for 4 years in Victoria on Vancouver Island. No definitive word on housing yet.
Today I planted sunflowers and marigolds. The marigolds are to help keep away the voracious mosquitos that love this rainy weather and high water. The sunflowers are to cheer us.
 I also made a little succulent garden that I don't want to give away, but is a gift for the hostess of my bookclub tomorrow. It may be our last meeting. After 6 or 7 years, we are all on different busy schedules. We'll see if another compromise can be made.
 D's birthday present arrived. At first I went to Langley to shop for a chaise, but was treated so badly. When I got home, I ordered one on line. When they didn't have record of the transaction. I was relieved that it hadn't been charged, but am now 6 days late for the birthday. It's not a hammock, but it is comfortable. Mine is the wooden one and I got matching cushions.
 This is the after picture of Em's room. I tried to find a previous before picture, I'm sure there have been a few. It took me 6 hours to muck it out and take away the clothes that don't fit anymore or are worn out. I hope to gradually take this room for my craft room. But I will move gently.
 I'm making a cotton sweater for the Fair baby layette class, Fair Share, to be donated to the hospital. This simple knit was the antidote to a very stressful shift on Monday. I cast on Emily's Purple Africa shawl to test knit and it's going swimmingly.
 Inspired by Susan B. Anderson and her enthusiasm for Rebecca Ringquist's embroidery lessons, I picked up a kit from many years ago to make a coin purse. I have always embroidered. Since I was wee. It is relaxing, but I look forward to my new glasses to help with the dark brown on brown stitching.
This is our new Pathfinder. What a treat. We look forward to many great road trips!
There has been a lot of making and doing!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Seven Years

Seven years ago, today, I was reading blogs and longing for a more enriching knitting life. My kids were in elementary and middle school, I was teaching Sunday School, studying flute and, even then, trying to write my novel. I started a blog by accident, pushing the wrong button on a comment. I was so crazy about the blogs I was reading and the knitting world that was expanding on the other side of my screen.
The beginning of knitty, the local and far flung blogs of knitters who shared the same desires and mistakes as I did, but introduced me to so much more.
The wrap above is my reversible cables design that I made for many a baby, but adapted for a soccer mom cozy from merino and possum wool I bought as the local yarn shop was closing.
I made a Kiri for my sister's 50th birthday, and my lace knitting life started taking off. My BFF J also got a Kiri for her 50th but in Jean Green. My next sister (with the wool shop) got a Print of the Waves by Eunny Jang in the green she wore to her daughter's wedding. I figured it was a favourite colour and she could wear it to all the art shows she attends.
Always with my knitting companion, Carly. She has been a great walking partner, and I even crocheted her a cover for her giant cushion. She's getting old now, so we cherish her company.
We have travelled a bit. Love Hawaii! Cruised to Mexico and the Panama- that is good knitting time! We've competed in the World Pipe Band Competitions in Glasgow (three times!) Hard to find non- Rowan yarn there. Met a lovely Canadian, Catherine whose Knit 1 shop has now moved to the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. I hope to see it one day.
Knit my Taize of Noro sock on the black sand beaches of Kona. Travel knitting has been very successful, thanks to all your suggestions.
There have been nephew weddings. And now I am knitting my ninth and last nephew sweater for this one, my godson.
Two knitting retreats, thanks to my sister and her daughter who have an excellent wool shop, electrictree, in Kamloops and a new one, Elderberry Yarns, on Saltspring Island. This one was the gentle and amazing Sivia Harding.
There have charity schemes. The 300 scarves we collected for the Salvation Army this Christmas. The layettes for the hospital and our Fair Share class at the Fall Fair, where we compete for ribbons, prize baskets and a trophy, while the baby clothes are donated to the hospital.
My baby girl, Emily is also knitting. She made a cardigan for a friend from camp who also showed her around UVic for her music audition. She will be starting there in second/third year this fall. Next week she travels to France with the Kwantlen University Wind Symphony.
My next oldest sister, foursocks, moved to a ranch in Kamloops and I have enjoyed pretending to be a cowboy. She is so gracious when we visit and all her friends include us.
One year I knit a hat each month for the men in the First United Mission in downtown East Side Vancouver. Another year I made a hat each month, in a rainbow pattern, to donate to the kids in Mexico,where we are involved with a foster home. I've gone down twice at Easter, once with D and last year with Emily.
My son has grown up. He's never worn this sweater I made him before I kicked off the nephew project.
Now he's a web designer and has a lovely girlfriend. He did place dibs on some very soft navy yarn, so there may be another sweater for him in the future.
For grad, each of my kids got a blanket. Scott's was aran cabled squares. Some were blocks from sweaters I had knit, or wished to knit. His favourite is "Cables After Whiskey" with random cables from rolling dice. Emily's was the Lady Eleanor entrelac adapted into a blanket. I went back to work when the kids were in highschool and got my RN back. After working in medicine and palliative, I moved, two summers ago, to Hospice. There have been changes there, too, but I love my work and being able to use my strengths in nursing instead of chasing bells and chasing LPNs.
The knitting group I started has had it's turn meeting at Decades Coffee House and then Starbucks. But we're back in the meeting room at my church. Such a lovely group, it has really taken off in the last few years. I remember sitting at the booth at the fair, alone, or with the brave CarolJanie. Last year we had seven and this year we are planning to party with at least 3 or 4 at all times. Mom says we have made a big difference at the fair because we are friendly and let people touch our displays. I can't say enough about the great pleasure I get from the knitters.
I have made lots of prayer shawls and baby sweaters and blankets. Some I can't even remember who they went to. This was for an auntie as a hostess gift. She also got a raspberry Kiri and loves it and wears it.
Foursocks turned 50 last year and I knit her Jared Flood's Bridgewater. She keeps it on her reading chair at the ranch.
We had one knitting weekend in Tofino. It was so fun, but these gals are busy and it's hard to find a weekend. Hoping for LaConner in the fall.
One of the most cherished gifts was this Canucks scarf I knit for friends who took us to a game in Pheonix.
My mom, my daughter, and I at the Chilliwack Academy of Music Mothers' Day Tea last year.
D and I went to Africa last year and I was so pleased to knit with Elizabeth. She is a knitting machine! Mostly sweaters for orphans. What a delight to knit and discuss English literature!
We loved Victoria Falls! Zimbabwe was magical all around.

I made a linen Multnomah for Elizabeth, thinking it would be useful. But it's a bit fancy for her and we were there in the winter when it was definitely wool cold.

We had a great canoe safari at Mana Pools and then Elizabeth and her husband joined us to show us Huenge.

Elijah, my canoe partner and guide was such a delightful man. I trusted him and his firearm to keep me safe as he worked extra hard to find us lions and interesting sights. He tried to figure out my pattern for his wife. It was the first time they had had knitting on safari. But we took a break every day for lunch, and it was World Wide Knit In Public Day,  so I brought it in the canoe. My desert island knitting, the Taize in Handmaiden Marakkesh was a good choice for a month with only one project.

On Canada Day, D helped me yarn bomb the airstrip at Mana Pools with a maple leaf.
Last weekend we yarn bombed the giant Common Merganzer at Cultus Lake. We have bombed the no parking sign outside our coffee shop, and Sarah's boyfriend's car!
Last year my friends yarn bombed my front drive for my birthday!!!

There will be fun in the future. My niece's shop continues to be a mecca for fun and wool gathering. I look forward to seeing the new shop on Saltspring. We may do a retreat there in the future.
Emily has designed her first shawl, a gift to her cousin who was in Africa on a mission last year. It is called Purple Africa, and I will test knit it as soon as I finish my Godson's sweater. She is already planning her next design and dreaming of a wool shop of her own. 
It's always the next knit that I look forward to most. The next yarn (though I am cold sheeping it and have hardly bought anything since February). Right now my list includes a baby layette for the fair, a tea cozy for a birthday, the Minimalist sweater in navy linen for me, and my first stripy socks with afterthought heel. I have a wedding shawl for the fall, must work on my alpaca blanket, the fair isle sweater that I keep forgetting about and did I tell you I'm bringing my sewing machine upstairs to do some quilting?
Next month I turn 50. Hence the looking back. I want to thank you, gentle reader, for including me in the knitting universe, for  reading and commenting and encouraging me with your own blogs and podcasts.
I was all alone with this crazy passion. I found the knitting internet and everything opened up. Then there was Ravelry, and my own knitting group and still you are there. Looking forward to our next big knit.
Many thanks.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


 After World Wide Knit in Public Day, we celebrated International Yarn Bombing Day. Sarah started it. She brought the beginnings of a scarf, triple yarn, big needles and sent it along each week to someone new. I did the furry green part!
 The Common Merganzer at the Cultus Lake Provincial Park gate is now fondly referred to as Drake.
 And he has a scarf.
 I don't know if it's still there, but it sure was fun.
 Meanwhile, back in the valley, I am stuck on grey. The body of my nephew #9 sweater is 14 of 19.5 inches before I separate and decrease front and back. I've been humming along on this.
 Both sleeves were done in exactly 7 days, two at a time. I added a more intricate cable to the sleeve from a pattern that I think is in Finnish. It is also in another language I can't read, but I can understand the chart. If I finish it by the end of the month, my sister will take it to Brazil, where it will live with my godson, nephew#9 and the love of his life.
 The tunisian crochet shawl has been neglected since I started the grey sweater.
 And I missed knit night because I worked (and I don't go to things after a 12 hour shift) so I didn't work on the grey boot socks. Hmm. More cables. Is that the same or different?
 Even the sky is grey and threatening today. I made macaroni and cheese (low fat and high fibre for me)  for comfort food during the impending storm, and a meatloaf, too.
 If you look down, the garden is colourful and green. D finished painting the deck and I love it.
 He also asked me to mend his kilt. There are many straps and loops that need attention. That's colourful.
And this morning I dug up the yarn for the next three things and stashed it in the footstool. J has been keeping me company while I knit the long and getting boring sweater, but the hint of a new cast on is almost too much to resist. Thank goodness for the firm deadline and the Dr. Who videos from the library!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Beauty in Reality

 The Bellingham Highland Games are held on the first Saturday in June. We haven't been for a while, but D was asked to help out the youth band and what a celebration. I love this venue, an old farm with long fields, bordered in cottonwood trees. The cottonwood fluff flies in the air like snow, or like tiny fire works as the Star Spangled Banner is sung along with the Flower of Scotland and our own O Canada. Our tradition, after competing, was for the whole band to go to one of the piper's for a great BBQ. This year, we enjoyed a quiet dinner with just our two couples. Not the same, but a sweet taste of the good past.
 In contrast, our youth groups had a scavenger hunt and some of the moms had their own team, wandering around the downtown of our small city, asking to take pictures of peoples dogs, or helping them with their groceries. Great fun. We grew up in this town, and, as many changes and growth happen, we still know all the short cuts and gave the kids a run for their money.
 The rainbow electrictree socks are finally done. I used Lala's Interrupting Cow toe up pattern with heel gusset, but switched to the Skyp sock for the leg. They are so soft! Caroline did a wonderful job of dying this! I really enjoyed having these socks in the car as emergency knitting. I still have the sport weight teaching socks, but as soon as their done, I'm doing another Lala sock project.
 Emily is designing. Her Purple Africa shawl, for her cousin has different motifs, sections of texture, a centre spine, but a nice rounded border.
 Here is one of the giraffes.
 She made a pink one as well. I will test knit it as soon as I'm done the last of the nephew sweaters. I initially wanted to knit a sweater for my godson, but he was so young, he would have outgrown it before I finished. So I started with the eldest and worked my way down. All cabled, especially on the sleeves, all quite large, it has been a big project. But this last young man has moved to Brazil, and I have a chance to have his mom deliver it. I started on June 1st and have most of the sleeves done, two at a time. It is a bit of a deadline, but I seem to respond best to these challenges.
 We went up to the ranch for a night to celebrate my eldest sister's work in her sorority, attend a banquet, and hear Emily play piano and sing her original composition. I made french toast for everyone in the morning. Julie only uses cast iron.
 The new grandson is amazing. He laughs and sleeps mainly. Not even 8 weeks old, we really enjoyed his company and his relaxed mom, too.
 The Chilliwack Common Threads is planning a yarn bombing. I did my 24 inches of ugly on this joint project.......
And I finally blocked the Queen Anne's Lace shawl. There have been too many shifts, weekends full up and no time to settle. This week I had off, so I looked at my to do list, and instead of moving everything, every day to the next one, I checked off some items. Garden beds weeded and planted, check. Patio furniture scrubbed, check. Planters repotted, check. The sun is more friendly than in past years because I started acclimatizing in Maui. It's hard to remember the sultry, hypnotic beauty of the beaches. But with camp and hiking, and working in my back garden, I am actively enjoying the beauty of my own reality.