Tuesday, January 27, 2015


 My knitting group, Chilliwack Common Threads has been so lucky this new year, as people are going through their stash, they are donating to us. These yarns are especially good for making hats and baby items for donation. Big bag of yarn! Dog for scale.
 I am trying to cook the perfect soft boiled egg- for me.
 This was just a bit too runny. I will try 7-8 minutes. The croissant is from a local baker, Magpie, who uses a wood fired brick oven! You can only get croissants on Friday and Saturday, and don't look for bread on Monday. That's when they do all their prep.

I was heading to a rather difficult meeting. We are looking for a new minister (ours is retiring) and I so appreciated the glimpse of rainbow on the way. It is a sign of hope. We can only do what we can do, surf the seasons. 

 It is Robert Burns season. January 25 is his birthday. We haven't hosted an event for a few years, but we did play at one in Aldergrove. Gotta say it's a slice of some kind of culture. I don't enjoy the company there much. They invited us to pipe....

 And they provided ear plugs on all of the tables. Hmmm.
Last week was also the removing of some fillings and replacing them with new. I don't get to complain about my dentist. He is wonderful and gentle and quick and thorough. But after the freezing wears off, my jaw really hurts. This was the second week in a row (the first was setting up a temporary filling), so I was also anticipating it. The home made mac and cheese helped a lot.
 And the "conversational" knitting. Love Martina Behm and Strickmich. Just knit garter stitch forever. This is the Match Maker. I will try to get pictures up of the finished item which is now resting on a towel and blocking.
 In anticipation of cross stitching D a new Christmas stocking, I got out the little bobbins and organized all the floss. I also took the graph to the office and did some major blowing up. It started Ok, but I have to use day light in the sun room to manage. Luckily, we are gaining 2 minutes of day light each day.

 But when it rains, oh boy. This is my favourite hat for walking the dog. Not only did I go out of my skin at the New York Public Library, this hat has the perfect peak and brim to keep my glasses dry.
 We have had several rain warnings this year. I still bundle up and take Carly for a walk.
She loves her towel at the end.
 In other crafting, I finished vintage tea towels and added crocheted Flower Power dish cloths. I am still not sure that these will be received well. They have been moved down the gift calendar to Mothers' Day.
 For my mom's 80th birthday, in a few weeks, I knocked out a Heartsleeve half pi shawl in a luscious ballet slipper pink bamboo and silk from Sublime that I had stashed for her. This was a 4 day event and blocked beautifully. The picture shows the picot bind off. It took extra yarn, but I was happy to break into the fourth skein.

 The puffed sleeves on this sweater, a gift to my mom in the 80's, have kept her from wearing it lately. What do I do? Offer to rip it back and reknit the sleeve cap. It sounded like a good idea.
When the cap was worked, partly using Ann Budd's formulae, I felt like a genius. It sure fit when I sewed it on. But I hope she will forgive the change in the look of the stitches. Blocking has improved it, but it will need some futzing.
 Things I love: my fresh Sugar Rose lip treatment. That's the one I bought last year, with a new one in the box! Such a treat.

 Also, my new evening bag that I bought on clearance in Palm Desert. It fits my flask! Which was great when we went to the Delta Police Pipe Band Burns Supper with D's cousins and some of our band. What a fun evening and the beginning of an annual event for us.
 It was in Tsawassen. We usually drive there, about an hour, to catch the ferry. But there are palm trees flourishing all over the place.

Yesterday was 18 degrees Celsius (64.4 American)! After walking the dog, I trimmed the red twig dogwood in the driveway, and by trim, I mean hack and carve. I ended up with two huge pots of red twigs to try to make wreaths from.
 Just winding some Sweet Fiber for a Hayward Shawl for the Susan B Anderson Knit A Long. Break it down and turn it into something new.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


 Some of you may know that I have spent the past several years as a nurse in palliative care and hospice. It has given me a much broader awareness of chronic and degenerative diseases. I trained in the Tom Baker Cancer Centre at Foothills Hospital, so I was familiar with different cancers, but of course, you can never keep up with the new findings and new treatments for all areas.
In this day and age of social media, we are introduced to a few pet diseases, and the flavour of the month campaigns. But people do not choose their illness, and every one of them have devastating repercussions in the lives of the patient, their friends and family.
I was asked to bring some awareness to the story of a wonderful woman, Heather Von St. James who has made it through to the other side of a terrible illness, pleural mesothelioma.
. In the work I have done with nursing in the final days, I have tried to advocate for removing the "war" language. "Fighting a battle" and "not giving up" can be harmful words to someone who has done everything they can do but will not "win the war". Not one of us will live our lives without dying. Most of us will be surprised. Some will see it coming like a train or a slow moving caravan. But we share our mortality.
 Heather has faced this with strength and courage, and is supported by a loving family. And she is a survivor. Now she would like to get more information to all of us about the risks of asbestos, the importance of research and the work toward a cure. You can find out more about it here: http://www.mesothelioma.com/asbestos-cancer/what-is-asbestos.htm
In Canada, we have had a large asbestos industry. It was going to be the wonder solution. I just finished reading Louise Penny's book, "The Long Way Home" and asbestos was featured in it. Our own Member of Parliament had to step down from his seat in Ottawa because of this illness.

 I encourage you to have a look at Heather's page. It is beautifully presented and thoughtfully told.
And let us celebrate each day in the best way that we can.

Friday, January 09, 2015


 There were threats of a snow storm last week. But it started out gently. I was lucky to get Emily to the ferry before it struck. We don't get a lot of snow, and not very many storms.
 But the snow came and it stuck. Followed by freezing rain, we lost our big willow tree in the back yard and an old apple tree.
All of a sudden and am in the house and not going out. I made turkey soup!

 I finally finished the stitching on my William Morris Strawberry Thief needle point.
 I started a blanket from my very ample stash. This will be Fussy Cuts by Mason Dixon Knitting from the Craft Activism book.
 There was baking of Banana Tofu muffins.
D wore his Antler hat while he worked in the cold barns and I think it looks great.
 The start of a first hat in the 15 in 2015 Challenge from Stash and Burn Podcast. But I already did two warm up hats last year. This was yarn I bought for charity hats and I hated knitting with it. But the Wolly Wormhead pattern was brilliant.

 And the hat turned out amazingly well. The yarn was Lion Brand Amazing. It knit the whole hat in one skein. Unfortunately I have another skein. I can suck it up and have another hat in a few hours, or trade with a friend.
With the needle point done, I can move on to other stitching. I make a lot of parameters for my crafting. But I do explore a lot of different things, and generally finish and finish on time.
Being in the house makes me want to start all the things.
Then I have been feeling the weight of my wool scraps. Who knows where they are all stashed? What should I do with them? No one has ever had this problem before. A bit of time at knit night and I feel better and have some plans for unearthing and sorting. And just like that, I pick up a partial ball, start a present (Howlcat!) and dip into a jar for some more complementary yarn to make a nice cowl/hat. 
It's the feeling bad that takes all the energy out of the good. And the worrying about the next thing when, really, the thing I am working on now was what I was anticipating before.
 So now that the snow has mostly melted and friends are coming forward to help with the down trees, there is healthy baking in the house to replace all the eaten shortbread and butter tarts, I can nurture some hyacinths, watch the birds at the feeder from my window and enjoy the present.

 Tomorrow brings hope.
Slough off that sense of urgency. And, even in the snow, there is beauty and whimsy.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Next, Please

 With Christmas over and the kids back to the Island, it is time (a little late) to look forward to our new year. The trees are well on their way, setting up catkins for spring. Does this mean we will have a mild winter?

It has just started and tricks us a little with bright crisp days, and then smacks us with the mean bitter drizzle the next day.

 I already knit up one of my Christmas gifts. This Cascade Eco Duo was so soft I have no excuses. Zuzu's Petals is the perfect choice for a shawl/cowl. It took almost as long to dry as it did to knit.

 With Emily home, we did some crafting. These are had models for our table at the fair. I hope to have my charity hats knit early this year and do a good kick off for next year's Christmas hat collection. I know it's early, but this is one way I keep Christmas in my heart. Plus I get to revel in the list making that helps me keep track of everything.
 I asked for a knitted sheep and she designed one for me as she knit it. Love him! He will also sit on the table at the fair. We are going to "yarn bomb" the toy class this year and it was decided to all make sheep. Our own little flock.
 One of my favourite gifts: Gale's Art Graffiti on Asphalt. Love the pops of colour. Wait till you see what I'm planning for this!
 Em's sweater fit well and she likes the colour, too.
 Love the shapely back. That's without darts or short rows.
 On New Year's Day, it is my family's tradition to take down the decorations. Sometimes my mom and sisters ignore this, but I don't care for this chore and it helps me to have it scheduled. When I decorate the tree, I listen to Patrick Stewart reading the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
 When I cleaned up, I was able to listen to Good Omens, a book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet that was dramatized by BBC radio. It's available until the middle of January sometime. Silly and fun. So nice to have everything clean and spacious again.
 Love working on the Matchmaker, it's really growing, but it is quite simple. As is my crochet scarf. My TV time has been spent almost finishing my needlepoint. This means I am bored with my knitting. Simple knitting needs good company or a good movie.
 With at least 3 blanket quantities in my stash, I bit the bullet. I love this fussy cuts blanket (enough to collect the Noro Kureyon in various colours and a bag of ivory, and buy the Craft Activism book. You can't go wrong with Mason Dixon Knitting, but I just didn't take the plunge. Those small balls are all from the same skein. Let the yarn do the work. This way each block is a new "next". I'll decide later how many blocks make a blanket.
 Back to healthier eating. We have almost chewed through all the goodies. Tomorrow I get out my fixins for turkey soup. Already the favoured low fat and vegetarian cook books are out. We get a real jolt of energy from eating all the colours. Soup is a treat in winter, the way salad is a treat in summer.
And here's to my sister foursocks. She helped her friend get married on Christmas Eve, hosted the community New Years party in Knutsford and got a puppy for her birthday, which is today. Sounds like a good lot of celebrating.
We had fun with friends on New Years Eve who make fresh ollebollen (dutch donuts) and share all their grandkids. On New Years day we went to my nephews for a great relaxed gathering. Spending time with friends and family, always a good investment.
This year, I hope to be courageous enough to reach for joy. We'll see what's next.