Thursday, May 26, 2016

Slow Road

Knitting is not a fast hobby. I am a fan of simmering a stew all day, or taking the time to write a meaningful letter. I am OK with slow. As with growing a baby, life can't be rushed. And it can be enhanced by taking the time to enjoy the moments within the hours.
I love knitting for babies. I dream of their little toes and their their sweet stares. This sweater was knit too small for one of our babies, but I knew if I waited, another one would come along. And with it come the blessings of being swaddled in hand knits and wool.

Even when the petals drop, this is my favourite rose. This wild rose grew up from the bottom of one of my nine foot tall Queen Elizabeths that flank my deck. Somewhere in its heart, it wanted to be wild.

The lace weight Featherweight sweater has taken many season. It is harder for me to knit for myself. Partly because I have to knit big sizes and the chances of it making me look smaller are lost in the tears of an adolescent. But I also enjoy thinking about others as I knit. After finishing and blocking, the sleeves were 2 inches too long. This is something I can fix. Rip it back (thank you top down knitting) and just knit it right. By fixing my mistakes, I can learn by them and not load them into the trunk of guilt.

When I am too tired or distracted, my Cozy Memories Blanket is always there for me. I keep it in a basket next to my chair by the TV and can pick it up at any time. This is a project that is loved by the doing and not by the having. I am so grateful to the podcasters who share their blankets and keep this love going.

Our wee pipe band is getting so impressive. DH is the pipe major and it's not easy. But last week, we had gone through all our parade tunes and worked hard and worked together and really enjoyed one another's company. Our season started Victoria Day with our longest parade in Fort Langley and piper friends turned up to support us and march with us.

D had some days off and when asked what he wanted to do, he said, "Go visit the kids". So a fun ferry ride, with time for knitting and reading and some nice moderate weather. 

Instead of shopping for books and wool, we walked around Oak Bay. It was fun.

Supper was a big family affair at a brew pub with great beer and great food. So much fun to just sit around a table and laugh.

Here we are after, reluctant to drive our separate ways.

Emily invited us to her band practice. They are crazy! Crazy talented and crazy fun! Eastern European Gypsy Music. They are called Bucan Bucan (Boochan) and play at festivals and weddings. 

On the way home, we discovered my knitting needle was bent! I'm making a large Waffles Blanket by Tin Can Knits for Emily's boyfriend's graduation gift. It is about the seventh time I'm knitting it because I love the rhythm and the finished object.

So a quick stop at 88 Stitches Yarn Shop in Langley on our way home solved the problem. It's a good thing we left the highway when we did because the long weekend traffic was slow or stopped all the way home. We took the back roads and it probably took about the same long time, but we enjoyed the countryside.

I am finally working on a test knit. With my cold, I didn't feel up to it, but it is an easy sweater pattern and I had the yarn in stash. Love the finished object. I did fight with the yoke a bit, but I blame it on late nights and Dr. Who. Today I am weaving in ends and it can go for a soak.

This Bradbury Shawl took a long time. I was so anxious to have a project for our trip to Israel, but the sock I was already knitting was the one I worked on. Just had to finish something. So I got it done. I thought I wouldn't be able to wear it until fall, but it goes with some of my seasonally transitional clothes too. We normally have very a very long spring and autumn, so it makes sense to have short sleeved tops in dark colours.

I am still enjoying the Pi shawl, though it has been mostly neglected. Won't let myself wind the next yarn for the projects I'm dreaming of until I get more done on it. The weather has been cooler, so the shetland yarn isn't as sticky. But when I have the choice to knit for others.....
With this cold, I have allowed myself some podcast time and highly recommend The Grocery Girls and Soxcetera. They both sell project bags, which I love, but I appreciate that they encourage us to make some of our own. So I joined the swap and am excited to use some of that fun fabric I have been afraid of.
Life is slow for a reason. If you don't push and let the project or idea come to the forefront when it is ready, you can spend less energy struggling and more time engaged in creativity.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Making Progress.

I am enjoying this early spring that feels like summer. My first morning journalling on the deck gives me such hope and anticipation.

Finally cast off the Bradbury shawl in my very old stash Suri Blue. Good idea to hold it double. Not a good idea to use the almost 400 stitches as a travel project. I still don't like leaving a knit in the middle of a row. I only used 100 of the 200 grams, but my friend said she would swap with me. 

Here it is blocked, with the lace stretched out. This will be a fine shawl for the autumn. Plus I have fabric to sew a dress to coordinate. I would definitely knit this pattern again. Wrapping a rectangular stole can be much simpler than trying to wear a triangle.
This Peace rose has resisted blooming in my garden. I have moved it twice. The last time was over 5 years ago, but it finally decided to be happy, and it makes me happy.

Mothers Day was fine. I was happy to have visits with my kids on the phone and to see Mom at the niece and nephews. It doesn't have to be a big deal, I just don't like to be forgotten. This bracelet has charms that my kids have given me for Mothers' Day over the years. It's good to remember when they were wee and we were a family of four every day.

After the success of monogamy in the maroon shawl, I have decided to get cracking on my featherweight shawl. I had already knit the body and the neck band and picked up the first sleeve. Good thing I checked the instructions because it says knit 9 rows and I was aiming for 9 inches. Ripping back lace weight is down heartening. I have had to muster my bravery for much of this sweater.

What if it doesn't fit? The yarn is precious and the colour is my favourite. Why did I risk it?
But now I have the first sleeve done (put it on a line and tried it on twice before casting off) and I am faithfully replicating the second. Soon I be able to imagine that it can be finished.

Another brave day, I took the second set up stairs up the mountain and trekked across to the trail head for Mount Thom. When people say "You can't miss it, " I know I shall get lost. So I went up to the trail head and then down the path to get my bearings. My knee didn't like it later in the day, but I am so thankful for my mobility.

Plus you are rewarded by a new view. I used to ride my horse up here, but now it is all developed into what we call subdivisions.

A great opportunity this week to see Lawrence Hill speak in our small town. He is a proponent of supporting the Syrian Refugees and we have managed to cooperate with 5 other churches to sponsor 2 families. His book was written before this current crisis, but is very timely. I like the setting of the near future in a fictitious country. My hope is that people can stretch to see themselves in this novel.

He spoke beautifully and compassionately. The excerpts he read were funny. It was great to have the audience of mostly white women laugh at his characters, especially the crazy church ladies.

Big events in our house: the books in the sunroom,

and on the windowsill, are getting a new home.

Yesterday Dan and I went to IKEA. A fun trip on his day off and a practice run for future retirement. Then he put them together. They still need to be anchored into place, but watch this space for my dreams of having all my knitting, writing and teaching books in one place. My own Pinterest Room of Her Own. There are still shelves to be put back in the closet, and closet doors to be put back on, and maybe returning the glass door to the room, but I am smitten. Making progress.

Friday, May 06, 2016

When You go Away

The garden is in full bloom and the whole world smells wonderful.
We took off for a few days to the Tahiti Resort in Las Vegas. D's work has been so very busy and I have been in the midst of too many volunteer projects. We needed to extract ourselves from the crazy.
There were sights and sounds. Loved the Bellagio!

Loved "Love" the Beatles' Cirq du Soleil

And had the best double shot soy americano misto ever. Yes there was crazy in Vegas, but there was also a sand bottomed pool and thatched umbrellas at our resort.
What I really wanted to do was sit by the pool and read. Finished two books. Also worked on the crocheted shawl because I am not afraid to fly with a crochet hook.
D figured out how to relax, but it took him a while and he still got a call to do a surgery when they forgot he was away.

Cam home to a very happy mail day. Love my Midori Travellers Notebook and the inserts from Edmonton, a shop called Myadori, where she hand binds notebooks. I have been frustrated with my calendar set up this year and it too two months to find the right book and have it delivered. You can bet I stocked up on supplies for this.

Emily had her first nights not in her room, but in the "guest room". She was big about it and did a great job looking after the dog. 
Plus she gave me a Mothers' Day present of a felted hat she made. It is perfect. Love it.
Re-entry has been a bit rough with many meetings and lots of paperwork to annoy me. I haven't had much time to catch up with the people I care about, but I have been extremely happy with yoga and all the things I can do.
I dropped my phone when I was cleaning the tub and I have been dealing with the crazy aftermath of that. Thanks to YouTube I have fixed most of it, but I felt so stupid and I love listening to books or podcasts, checking Instagram and taking picture. I forgot to take my phone to Vegas (early flight) and was pleased at how relaxed I was without it on holiday. But at home, it's not the same- I want to text my sister at the ranch and follow my nephews on face book.

This week I hope to complete a few tasks so I can enjoy the good weather.
I just cast off the maroon Bradbury shawl that was supposed to be my Israel knitting. I don't need it right now, but I need to have fewer projects on the needles- WIP down! 
Today was the ninth anniversary of 88 Stitches and I was lucky to get down there to wish them well. Also lucky to grab another skein of the shetland yarn for my shetland pi (it has been worrying me because my math says I needed another skein) and a beautiful cashmere skein from Sue's daughter, Sweet Fiber.
Tonight it was good to sit and knit and watch a bit of Big Bang Theory and the last episode of Mad Men in our comfy chairs with the dog watching the credits.
So the lists have been made and priorized, the schedules intersected. Time to enjoy being home and with my family and friends. When you go away, you realize that it is just yourself and your own expectations that you are running from.