Friday, November 04, 2016

Conquering Technical Difficulties

 While I have been unable to access the pictures on my phone, related to different download issues, I have been making and playing. As well as a "to knit" list, I have a queue of other crafts. I finally sat down to the sewing machine and made the lavender sachets I had embroidered. I still have lots of lavender left, not including this year's harvest. I'll have to plan for some more.
 A spontaneous crochet, I wanted to use some of my cotton stash and make dishcloths for my sister. Well, I had to learn how to do Tunisian crochet all over again! Just sat with the hook and the yarn and stared at it. Thank goodness I had a good teacher, Sarah Bee and found some on line resources at Purl Soho.
 Christmas crafting continues. I love this Wurm hat. It is for a nephew who actually wears hats I make him and used almost exactly one skein of wool blend yarn. The pattern is so easy to memorize, I 'm sure I'll make more.
 D bought some cranberries from a local farm. It ended up being about 15 litres! They were dry picked and so lovely. I washed them and bagged them up for the freezer. Seriously sharing these! He says you can put them in drinks. But he drinks scotch and beer? Should I try?
 A pair of waffle mitts from a very small skein of yarn I won in the baby pool. They are actually large enough for a man and very soft. Almost done the Christmas knitting.....
 We paraded in the Rosedale Days parade, just east of Chilliwack, and there were so many tractors and so many families with kids, including my niece and great nephew.
 Almost the last knit. It is appropriate to give mitts to ones manicurist, no? These were knit in only one day a piece! I also knit a cowl for my hair dresser, but it still didn't want to load.
 My friend, Sarah Bee, knit a Sasquatch mask and invited me over for a photo shoot.
 We went to the far side of Cultus lake and had so much fun playing on the trail and taking shots.
 Then we went to an awesome gluten free bakery and bistro in Abbotsford, about 30 minutes west on the #1 Highway. She loved choosing from the entire menu.
 There were little yarn ghosties too!! We knew we were among friends.
 On the way back we stopped in Yarrow at a pumpkin farm. Like little kids!
We had 9 trick or treaters. That's a 19 year record! Our driveway is long and dark.
 To celebrate Hallowe'en I knit some teeny zombies.
 But now it's November, so move over spookies and make room for gnomes.

 I always plant an amaryllis (and one to share) on November 1st, All Saints Day, and try to remember friends who have passed in the last year.
The morning fog is starting, but it is still nice in the afternoon. I have to do some garden tidying.
 We started practicing for Christmas music at church and in the community.
And I finally wore the hat Emily gave me for Mothers' Day. She is making them to order and selling them to her friends. I embroidered a ribbon. It makes me so happy to be surrounded by the kindnesses of my children. I have been putting up the little drawings from their early days and the setting out the pottery and gifts they made at school.
It has also been a difficult few weeks because I do a lot of volunteering and really put my heart out there. But I feel that I am underappreciated and given more and more work in isolation. After a few sleepless nights and lots of journalling, I decided to step back and then take a break in January.
My focus this year has been on wellness and I have done so well with yoga and strengthening. I don't want to risk that with becoming crazy busy and increasingly stressed.
That's one reason why the Christmas knitting is done early. I like to spend the holiday season visiting with friends and baking cookies. As old as I am, it's time to lean into my own strengths and not try to make everyone else happy. Conquering real difficulties.
Rather, spend time with people who like to be happy too. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Considering Old Things

I love the gentle thoughtfulness of the heroine in these books. It is a good example of how to handle the technological glitches that I stumble over. Hint. Try the same thing again. No logic, but it works.

These shears celebrate the 100th anniversary of Singer in 1951. They were brought to our Prayer Shawl Circle by one of the knitters. What a treasure.

My Peace rose is about 15 years old, but this is the year it decided to major in blooming.

I am back to swimming once a week and am so grateful that I have the space and time to swim laps and zen out.

Our old apple tree has given us the most wonderful apples this year. They often fall before they are ripe, or are stolen by the squirrels.

The last of my Christmas knitting is sorted. There may be surprises and disappointments, followed by new plans, but I feel the pressure off. I like to spend the season enjoying the company of others, singing and eating cookies. For less stress, there will be fewer knitted gifts this year. But I am happy with what I am scheming.

These old boots were found in the thrift store. I have spent too much time this year looking for boots that fit. They are all too expensive and don't fit my high arches and long feet. These boots fit as if they were made for me! I love the heavy soles and the leather that knows how to take polish. 
Just right for this old thing.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Big Apple

We were invited to New York to visit friends we used to go to school with. What a great opportunity to catch up and go for an adventure. He is our daughter's Godfather, so we really think he's great. His new partner is lovely and, even though they are high powered CEOs in international companies, he grew up a neighbour and appreciates that we are more than just country mice.
We stayed right in Washington Square. Greenwich Village is charming, right in the midst of NYU, lots of restaurants and live music.

At night there was even music under the Washington Arch.
One of my favourite stops was the New York Public Library. I was there a few years ago (the Rose Reading Room is still closed), but I was drawn to it.

In the children's area they have the lovely lion in Lego!

And the actual Winnie the Pooh and friends. This is so exciting because these were some of the first books I read, even before I went to school. My big sisters loved Pooh, too, so I had lots of chances to read and listen to the stories and poems.

We walked everywhere! There was subway travel too, but lots of walking in over 38 degree and humid weather. The Flatiron building is so cool. We were home and safe before the bomb went off.

Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with many others. It was pretty exciting.

The view of Manhattan is stunning.

It was September 11, so we went to the memorial at Ground Zero. The official programs were over, but there were still lots of people.

The new tower is stunning. We rode to the top of it later and saw all around.

We enjoyed stopping at Central Park. One day we went to the west side and the Museum of Natural History.

Just as advertised in my son's favourite cartoon.

The Statten Island Ferry was very cool. Just 25 minutes one way. We got right on and took pictures.

Then we got back on a return ferry.

On the east side of Central Park is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. D Liked the mummies.

I liked one of the first things I saw, a Roman lion.

We had dinner out and especially enjoyed this Italian restaurant by Mario Batali. We were  treated like locals and encouraged to relax.

Some of our souvenirs. We didn't do much shopping. It was great to see live jazz and explore such a dynamic city. There was very little knitting. We look forward to returning in a few years to visit our friends again.

Thursday, September 08, 2016


Our bags are packed again. We're off to New York for a week to visit a friend.
But everyone is prickly.
I can't upload my pictures. I will google the solution or continue pulling my hair out.
I missed a pedicure appointment because I was cleaning the house like a white tornado.
But she very kindly fit me in yesterday before my mammogram. Better than a candy treat.
The kids came home for Labour Day weekend and we had so much fun. BBQs and shopping and sharing stories. They returned to the Island.
I have achieved a lot of simple Christmas knitting, but I am struggling with my list. There will be fewer knit gifts this year, but I like to make something for each of the kids, and sometimes it's a better budget choice to use yarn I already have. But finding superwash or easy care yarn is harder in my sweet stash. So I'm moving items to different names and uncertain about extras. Such a trouble.
I think getting away for a break with the hardworking D will be a good idea.
I am taking socks and a hat to knit. But it's a red eye so I don't want to trade knitting for sleep.
All I want to do is swatch my sweater. But it can wait till I get home. But it cannot wait until after Christmas.
I started reading a book, but set it in the suitcase for the trip.
Do you ever feel at loose ends like this?
Time saving devices sucking up all your mojo?
Seasons changing, focus changing.
Loving the yoga and strengthening. Loving the chilly mornings.
A bit excited about the Big Apple.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Untangling In the Heat

I found myself picking up some old and unfinished works in progress this past week.

Perspicacity. That is the stick-to-it-iveness that you need for knitting. This is a Twiddle Muff for adults with dementia to help them with the long hours on their own. This one will go to my best friend's mom who was my Chemistry teacher.

D's Grandma Sophie loved to embroider well into her 90's. His mom has many table cloths and dresser scarves and pillow cases. When we visited, we would bring a kit for her and she would collect all the flosses. Each of the women in my family has a similar basket of colour. I have offered to hand hem these items, one at a time. It it pleasant and easy. Unfortunately they are not of a nice enough fabric to do pulled thread work. But it brings them out of the closet and would make a nice gift when one of the girls (her great grand daughters) get married.
We are travelling to NYC in September and I wanted to make a scarf for our host that I saw briefly on Kenneth Branagh as Wallander. I fussed with a pattern but ended up simplifying it with baby cables. The cashmere and merino is luscious, but maybe a bit drapey. I hope he can wear it under his dark suits as he flies around the world to meetings. I call it the CEO Scarf.

Like the Seamen's scarves, I made the centre narrower and ribbed to lie behind the neck.
Going crazy? This tulle ribbon worked up into a kitchen scrubbie like the ones my friend made for Christmas last year. It turned out successful, but the texture is rather annoying on the hands.
These mitts were given to a friend quite a few years ago. Just recently, their puppy chewed the ribbing off. I was able to capture live stitches and knit the band again. It's not perfect, but it saves them from being garbage and will last till I give her new ones this Christmas. There is Christmas knitting, too.

But first, we had house guests. This is not too common for us and I was a bit surprised as they never shared their plans with us. But we had stayed with them in Cape Town and we wanted to be hospitable.

There were feasts on the back deck. The heat was less in the evening and quite fun.

D brought out his collection of single malts.

Elizabeth came with my friend and I to the city. I was delivering one to the doctor's and then trekking to a coffee shop to see my eldest nephew. I knit his son a sweater for his 6th birthday and the post really let me down and made me pay for it! Go ahead and go on strike, it makes so little difference.
We met back up and had lunch on Main Street. Great fun.

Coincidentally, this fish shop is directly across from 3 Bags Full, one of our favourite yarn shops. It is very carefully organized and uses its space to be welcoming and share skills and ideas.

I bought a few more colours for the blanket I'm dreaming of.

Elizabeth was such good company and we enjoyed evening walks as well.
Getting some of the Christmas knitting done. I like to have fun in the summer, so knitting light hearted gifts works with the plan. The kitty hat has a corresponding puppy hat already. I tried to use a pattern from a friend, but just ended up winging it, spurred on by pinterest. 

The Hat Trick is finished and has a bold pom pom. This is the yarn I bought instead of any handknits in Ireland. It is for my Godson for his November birthday. Plan ahead and you can manage the set backs.

The first of the dragon hats is finished and the second begun. I will make 2 or three more according to the stash. There are 5 little great nephews. I hope they will some day be together to share their silly hats and mitts. But they may share their memories.

The days are getting shorter, although not cooler. We appreciate the fans in the house and the cool basement in the evening. I look forward to the fall and preparations for birthdays and Christmas. Not everyone will get knitted items this year, but the list is pretty long anyway.
I'm trying to knit from my stash and to knit what the giftee will enjoy.
Keeping them close in my stitches untangles them in my heart.