Saturday, February 21, 2015

Second Chances

 We are experiences embarrassingly fine weather. The rest of the country, and much of the continent are battling the blizzard of the week, and we are gardening.
 I love my walks at this time of the year. There are always surprises waiting to excite me.
 Mom's naturalized crocuses are divine.
 We had a lovely quiet Valentines Day. I got D a set of iphone chargers for travel, and a cow poster. Yes, that is our currency.
He found me a book on the Camino de Santiago. I love hearing about this pilgrimage, but am not sure I would be able to walk it.

 My sister had a big party for my nephew and his partner who just moved back from Brazil. The theme was Canadian food, so I made tortiere roll ups. I wanted to make tarts, but I was unable to make pastry. I was hit with a bug that made me dizzy and nauseated. It lasted a few days. So I just sat. And knit.
 Hayward was done for the Susan B Anderson Shawl-a-long. But my second skein had several breaks in it, I didn't have enough to finish the second lace chart, and I had to rob from Noro to finish the bind off.

 I kind of fell out of love with it. But it is a lovely scarf. It'll go in the gift drawer.
 The sun was teasing me as I read in the front room. We still get some very grey and rainy days, so we must enjoy the sun when it comes.
 In a fit of organizing, I switched files of magazine clippings to Pinterest. The exact item was there most of the time. These are now organized by gifts ideas, or for our home, recipes and dreams.
 I am getting better about using our little library. We are a regional library, sharing a huge selection of titles throughout the Fraser Valley (it was a Carnegie grant originally, and thank goodness was successful). I remember the thrill of waiting for the Bookmobile when I was preschool age at Cultus Lake and being allowed to pick my own two books. Now it's more non fiction books on knitting and cooking. Plus audio tapes. I am trying to read down a BBC book list. There were 100 top books and I only need about 12 to finish. Last week I finished Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and started listening to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I love dipping into things I would never have chosen. I am also starting One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Don't tell the Dean of English at UBC, but I didn't actually read that book, though I was tested on it. Who am I kidding, it was probably obvious. But 33 years later, I still have remorse. How to deal with it? Read the thing.
 My Hoaloha sweater was a bust. Two Februarys ago, I convinced my cowboy sister to knit a mystery sweater with me. That was wrong in so many ways. The sweater was not hard to knit and it fit pretty well. But it was not at all flattering on either of us. The good thing about a top down sweater is that it rips out pretty easily.
 Last February, I ripped hers out and knit an Antler, by Tin Can Knits, for my Olympic knitting project. It turned out really well, and it was hard to give to her for her birthday. Now I'm ripping out mine and will make my own Antler.
 The wool is balled up, not too tightly.
 Then I make skeins on the swift. I soak them and hang them to dry before rewinding them into cakes.
 Inspiration struck this week while listening to A Playful Day podcast.  Kate was talking about supporting our bricks and mortar local yarn shops and I thought this little fingerless glove would be a nice way to show support. The Cascade 220 was in the stash and I am still writing it up and knitting the first one. When it is done, I will send it to Kate with the pattern to share with shops like my sister's and my niece's.
 One of my knitting friends has a contract to teach crochet. I know! And she has proven herself a great and prepared teacher when she introduced our knitting circle to Tunisian crochet. I test-crocheted her pattern and ended up with a pretty nice dish cloth that will join the pile intended as a gift to the church for sharing their space with us each week.
 More inspiration. I flipped through all my Tin Can Knits and Jane Richmond books. They are the hottest designers right now and I have had the good fortune to meet them all, and So Very Shannon at 88 Stitches. My books are signed and they offer the download code when you buy them at a trunk show. Fan girl!
 That ended up in a quick 4 day Waffles. One of my sweet nurses is expecting and I want her baby to have hand knit love.

For Lunar New Years I looked in one of my own neglected cook books and found a recipe for Chicken Kung Pao, which D usually orders when we go to Earl's restaurant. I made it a bit spicy, even. I would make it again, and add even more vegetables. Gung Hay Fat Choy
And for true second chances. We had a lot of trees fall down in the storms this winter. This plum tree branch still wanted to bud. I brought it home, and put it in water for a delightful surprise. Don't give up. It's worth giving a second chance.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Looking for Love

 Sometimes February feels like the longest month. After walking the dog, I have to hang up my hat and coat to dry out. The rain, like mist, has snuck into my inside sweater. The dog loves it. I seem to have missed some pictures from my phone. They got onto Instagram and some to Facebook, but didn't download properly. User error. But I do love my iphone and the photo opportunities it gives me.
I sent a box of books to the Bookman and got a huge credit! My only memories of trying to share my used books were of huge rejection.
The bakery, Harvest, is near the book store, so I got D some doughnuts (early) for Valentines. He said they taste like the ones his mom used to make. Your mom used to make doughnuts?!!!
 We are blessed with snow drops. The first arbiter of spring. I have them next to my sink to encourage me while I'm doing chores.
 Finally, I have taken some time for writing. My goal is to expand journalling into free writing exercises and get back to my novel. It will help to start planning the next ones, too. I love writing, but always turn to knitting or other activities that don't require so much courage. Looking for that feeling I get at the end of a writing session!
 So lucky to sneak off to 88 Stitches. Such a lovely yarn shop. I have signed up for some blanket squares to mail in to show some love to podcasters, but didn't have worsted superwash. This is a recurrent theme. They had what I wanted, plus some truly exquisite new yarns. Not that I need any. My stash is bursting. Next I am going to separate all the partial balls and get on some of that scrappy craft. It will probably empty the stash cupboard by half.
 Yes I did find some lovelies. I'm modifying the Holding Hands and Feeding Ducks pattern for a blanket square, first 12 inches, and then 8 inches for my swap blanket. I have a box of blue squares from a Ravelry swap that I did over a few years. I can make a few more squares and have a blanket to give away and share some of that love.
 These Noro Fussy Cuts are the first squares in my new blanket. They are already 12 inches square before I add the ivory borders. I keep thinking this one will be for me, but I tend to let the knitted love move along.
 On my walks with the scuba dog, we are discovering the blessings of an early spring. We hope that there doesn't come a mean little frost to scare away the blossoms. In my heart, I think we can't turn back now, but in my memory, I know it has happened before.
 More snowdrops in the neighbourhood.
And I finally got a fun road trip with my BFF. We went to Duft & Co for lunch. Best croissants yet. Brought home some garlic and cheese buns that totally saved the left over lasagne.
Scored more wool at Michaels. I have been plotting an afghan for the front room that will co-ordinate with our new carpet (that will go down when we put in wood floors and not this week.)
I had priced out the Wool Ease Thick and Quick and was prepared to save up and use birthday money for the Tin Can Knits BonFire Blanket from their new Road Trip book.
But there it was at half the price and welcoming my 15% off coupon. Oh yes! I have been on a pretty strict yarn diet for over a year. But I love buying yarn!
This weekend my sister is down for our welcome home party to our nephew. There will be more fun.
Looks like love is in your own back yard.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

If I Had the Time

 It's February and we are slowly but surely seeing the light strengthen and stretch. I keep bulbs in the house to remind us to look forward to spring.
 I really want February to be fun!
 I whipped up this little Milo vest for my Great Nephew's first birthday and I am in love with the pattern. Had to tweak the numbers because my stash yarn gave a bigger gauge, but that meant knitting fewer stitches. Win, Win. I will definitely knit this again, especially since I figured out the unique construction. Lala said it was one of her go-to patterns and I can always trust her! He is such a loving and curious young man! Hope to spend more time with him.
 I headed in to UBC, Point Grey, Vancouver for a day's workshop. We used to hold it in this beautiful castle, the Iona building, but that had to be sold. Our Vancouver School of Theology is still working hard and the Sunday School conference is a highlight of my year. I don't get to play with my tribe very often (I feel the same way when I am around Pediatric nurses). I met Linnea Good who writes a lot of the children's songs and hymns for the United Church of Canada and I went all fan girl on her. She has partnered with a wonderful teacher, Nancy Reeves, whom I met through Hospice. Totally bought the new book.
Just beyond those trees is the Pacific Ocean. This was a magical place to live and study in the 80's. It was a time of great potential. I ended up leaving after first year to study Nursing, but I enjoyed the trees and the beach, the classes and the fun in residence.
 We are not ready to let go of Robert Burns celebrations so easy. I made shortbread to take to a Ceilidh at our past pipe major's home.
 He is on the right with the fireside pipes while one of our drummers give the Address to the Haggis.
 Our musicians are talented in many ways, so we had quite a bit of fun sharing djembe drums and guitars. Here D is on the Irish whistle, and I'm accompanying him. There is a great force to do more varied music at another November concert. Yay. What a fun gathering of generous people. It is a good idea to meet outside of practice so we can relax and become a pipe band family.
 Scotty came home. He mainly stayed in the basement and did coding, but he appreciated the good food and the warm welcome. When we got out of church, he hadn't eaten breakfast, so we took him to our little airport.
Church was all music because it was our minister's last day before retiring. My youth helped serve Communion and the Sunday School sang the Benediction that we have been working on for a few weeks. I am so proud of them. But exhausted, too. MIL had a birthday party, but it was really all about the Super Bowl and I don't follow sportball. If you are watching TV when you invite me over, I am permitted to knit.
 My nephew is coming home from Brazil and we are having a welcome party for him and his partner on Valentines Day. See what I mean about fun? I made a banner that says bem-vindo which is welcome in Portuguese. There will be more shortbread and probably tortiere. We want to shower them in Canadian love.
 Mom's 80th birthday is tomorrow. She is disappointed that none of my 3 sisters will be around to celebrate. We are having a big family gathering in May. But I will take her shopping in the next town and out for lunch. I take her out to lunch quite oftne, so I was worried that it wouldn't be special, but that's what makes it special.
 My niece is applying to do Highland Dance at the Edinburgh Tatoo! She asked me to move the hooks and eyes on her velvet jacket. Working in black isn't so much fun, but thinking of her performing on the esplanade is. I don't see much of her and her brother, so I appreciate having a bit of involvement.
And today I am taking my Matchmaker cowl on an inaugural jaunt. Driving down to Bellingham with piping friends to have lunch with more piping friends. These are the things I would do if I had the time. Well this month I am going to make the time.
 Our front door pots are trying to welcome the spring. We can enjoy these days.