Thursday, March 27, 2008

Halibut cheeks

yesterday, T & I went for a long ramble up Mosquito Creek from the parking lot. Since time was getting short we turned back before we got to Montroyal. Just as well...we were about 5 minutes from the car when the lightning flashed, thunder boomed and hail started bouncing around us. It got cold really fast and we walked quite quickly to the car and the nice heater.

We went shopping for dinner which he was going to cook for us. It's great having a professional cook now & then. We saw the halibut cheeks which I had never had before. Then we picked up baby bok choy, scallions, lemon and peppers. He marinated the cheeks with garlic and lemon and then quickly sauteed them. Mmmm...good.

I also finished the clamshell swap mat. I've put the wool pieces in the photo so you can see what I started with. I like how it turned out. The greens are nicely blended. It's nice when an expectation is met. Doesn't usually happen that way.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Clam shells

For those who were wondering what a curvaceous square would it is. The clam shell is one of my favorite quilt patterns. I've used it in small mats and tea cosies several times. I could explain my liking by saying it connects me to both coasts of Canada. But I think it's really because it is curvy. And I can put almost any color combination in and it looks good. Sometimes, I outline the shells but this time I wanted the greens to blend like a spring wood.

I started the color search with a beautiful piece of green wool. Nothing I had on the shelves matched, of course, and so I overdyed some tweeds to get a similar green. I just made up the dye formula and it worked pretty well, I think. I used a very small herringbone in gray/white, a tiny houndstooth check in black/white and a cream/grey/gold tweed. I decided that I needed five fabrics and chose a grey/green sweater wool which balanced not only color but also texture.

This is number 3 for the swap - just in case anyone's counting.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Yesterday, we went to the Vancouver Museum's exhibit "La Belle Epoque". Well, that was the destination but, along the way, we also saw a BC Craft exhibit. And had a walk through Granville Island.

The Craft show was well worthwhile and started in an auspicious way with a prayer sent via the gong which has been made from a pressure tank (propane, probably) and mounted with two wonderful slabs of wood. Made a great sound. And led on to wonderful handwork. I was particularly impressed with a black leather crow. To be honest, while I admired a great many pieces at the time, they are all a blur in my memory. Obviously, I need to go back! So not fair to the artists to come away and not be able to sort out the brain jumble.

The fashions were fabulous although I'm quite happy not to have to lace myself into one of those corsets. One had such a narrow waist it was unbelievable that it was for an adult. But the workmanship, the detail and the fabrics. Who would want to take care of these dresses in today's world? Who could afford the hand-worked lace and trims? The clothes from the end of the period reminded me of a series called "House of Elliot" that I enjoyed on PBS about 20 years ago. The elegantly-cut and detailed ( just as labor-intensive) styling appealed to me over the masses of lace and beads from the earlier years.

Great fish and chips off the dock for lunch. A walk through Granville Island. What more could one ask of a day?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sad tale

Well, it could be a sad tale. Remember those soakers? I have now knit 4 pairs in varying sizes. The little green chicken pants, two pair of traditional old-fashioned soakers like I used to wear (see photo) and a Curly Purly pair large enough for DGS. He was the catalyst for this marathon of soakerism. On Sunday, I proudly presented my offering. But the leg opening was just too tight. Everything else was OK but the poor little guy was NOT happy with such a snug fit! So I am back to the needles and working up another, larger pair. New babies everywhere so no soaker will go unused.

And, I have finished another swap mat. These are fun and quick. And I get to play a bit with color and texture. This one is from two wool jackets - I've put pieces of the original fabric in the photo. I just never know what something is going to look like when it's hooked in. But I've done enough straight lines, the next square will be a bit more curvaceous.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Here's me with my tai chi sword. This move is called 'immortal fairy points the way'. This is a new bit of tai chi learning for me and so far it's fun. The names are even more beautiful than in the 37 form I've learned. I'll try to add a link so you can see all the poetic names for the moves.

I thought I had a picture of my sword but I guess it didn't get downloaded. Or more likely it was misfiled. I'll look later.

Buying the sword was an adventure although we didn't think it would be. We had planned a trip to Chinatown to a recommended store. Thought we could make a day and have some good food and shopping. But that didn't happen. So, on to Plan B: a little quicker and using the car instead of the bus. Probably just as well - who wants to be on the bus with a sword?

Here's a picture: two middle-aged women walk into a storefront with heavy-duty boxing gear displayed in the window. The store guy is very helpful and we look at all kinds of wooden swords. Then he starts asking technical questions like, which master are you studying with? And, which forms have you studied? Yikes! How to feel really stupid!

But I have my lovely sword. I try to think of it as ceremonial and not a weapon. Me, who wouldn't even let my kids have water guns. I have a lo-ong way to go before I'm a threat to anyone.

Friday, March 7, 2008


So, here's the first soakers. Do you call them a pair of soakers? A. thinks they look like pants for a chicken. Unfortunately, I can sort of see that vision. Darn, I'll never look at them the same way again. My own vision involved hot water bottles with legs. Not a whole lot better, is it? I think it's the high waist that gives them an out-of-proportion look. This is the 'curly purly' pattern.

Anyway, they were fun to knit and pretty easy. But I'll definitely pay more attention to gauge and needle size (there are three size changes in this pattern) as these are just slightly smaller than I had anticipated. Because they're so stretchy I think it'll be OK for a newborn. I'm going to make some for Charlie now and he's a bit bigger. I'd better get that size thing right.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rugs and dolls

Been a busy week - or more. The rug finally was finished and sent off to its auction. I'm told the auction was a success as was the rug. I really enjoyed working on this one. The bright butterflies were a great preview of summer days and warm nights.

The first doll project was the 'reborn' CP Kid who was going in a silent auction. The request was for a skateboarding girl with piercings and dyed hair. But, in the end I couldn't find a skateboard to use with the doll so I changed her to a little girl with big 'skater grrl' aspirations. A black T-shirt with a tie-dyed peace sign applique and hand-made leather 'board' shoes. Even hand-knit socks. She was quite cute and eventually went home with a 6 year old girl. Nice.

Then all the babies and Barbies that needed to be washed and dressed and have a visit with the hairdresser. Then they go back to the thrift store for sale. Thanks to all the donors who help to brighten my day as well as that of other kids. It's fun but time-consuming.

And now I get to design another rug - or maybe another quilt square.

Oh, and I've discovered soakers to knit for all the new babies this year. So far, there are four in my world. Soakers are just such a lovely way to keep baby dry with an older, earth-friendly technology. And much softer and kinder to little bottoms than plastic!


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