Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Wonders - Y and Z

It seems fitting that the last letters of the alphabet should come on the last Sunday of this year.  So Y is for Years. 
I began this alphabet series in March of 2009 just as a little challenge for myself.  I have tried to post every Sunday and I think that I have only missed a couple.  There have been six rounds of the entire alphabet in that time.  I also participated in to A-Z Challenges.  That's a lot of alphabets.

And Z is for Zoom.  Those years and letters have gone by so fast that most of the photos are a blur.

This is the one that I think of whenever I think of the photos I've used for the letters.  In fact, it's the only one that I can be specific about.  I don't know why, really.  It is not the most scenic photo nor the most interesting.  It was Q on the first round and we were in Dublin.  The streets were so rarely at rest that I celebrated this early morning quiet. 

So, this is the way the challenge ends: with peace in the city. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday Stash

Last week I set myself the goal of completing all my UFO's before the year's end.  It would be good to start the new year off with nothing lurking in the basket.  My friend Rudee suggested that frogging might be the only realistic way to accomplish this.  At the time, I thought that that might be cheating.  However, on sober second thought and in the cold light of day without my rose-colored glasses perched on my nose, I think she's got it absolutely right.

This scarf has been sitting around since last spring.   I like the pattern but I'm not inspired by it.  And I think that's why I stopped.  I obviously didn't miss the project enough to complete it.  And it wasn't actually buried in the basket.  I know that's death to a project.  No, it was sitting right where I could see it.  It begged and pleaded but no use.  Into the frog pond it will go.  I'm sure there will be another use for this yarn.

I thought this was another scarf but it turns out to be the beginning of a shawl.  Or shawlette.  It's one of those very adaptable patterns to the amount of yarn you have.  Or  to when you get sick of knitting the increasing number of stitches.  Sorry, little shawl, but you are also going to the frog pond.  I can't remember what I saw in you.  Adios!  Now I just have to finish my Twinset & Pearls cardi before midnight on Monday.  That I can do.  The Purple Rain socks are finished.

Knitters who lunch are very different.  Yesterday, my friend Helen and I met for lunch with a bit of an agenda.  We chose a nice comfy location - an upscale pub with lots of light and good chairs - where the food was good.  She had brought me a challenge.  A thrift store sweater with an intriguing rib design.  I'd tried to get it from a photo (above) but had no success.  Eventually, she will frog it and repurpose the lovely green yarn. 

I think it was kind of wading around in my brain because it came very easily once I had the sweater in my hands.  It's a kind of travelling rib which is obviously cabled somehow.   But the back always looks like a plain 2x2 rib.  That's the part I couldn't quite make happen. 

This is the  wrong side of the ribbing which is done in the round.  It could be done flat as I was trying to do at first but it means cabling on the reverse which is not as easy.  This morning I sat down and worked it on a circular so I could write it up.  It fairly flew through my fingers.  The cable is a simple two-stitch twist which is easily accomplished without a cable needle.  As I knit, I kept visioning a ribby toque in bulky yarn made just a little fancier.  It could even be reversible! That's for the new year, though.

The pattern is quite simple  and easily memorized.  Once you see how the stitches and cables relate to each other:  in each K2 pair the first leg remains straight while the second moves to the left across the P2.   Here's the pattern if anyone wants to try it out:

C1L =  slip next K stitch onto cable needle and bring forward; purl next stitch, K held stitch

Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches .

Rounds 1 and 2:     K2, P2  around.
Round 3:  ( K1, C1L, P1)  Repeat around
Round 4: (K1, P1, C1L)  Repeat around
Round 5: K1, (P2, K2) to last stitch, K1
Round 6: (C1L, K1, P1) to end
Round 7: (P1, C1L, K1) to end
Round 8: P2, K2 to last stitch before marker
Round 9: Slip stitch before marker to right needle, remover marker; return stitch to left needle and C1L with next two stitches, replacing marker between cabled stitches. (P1, K1, C1L) to end
Round 10:  same as Round 6
Round 11: P1, (K2, P2) to last stitch, P1

Continue ribbing in this way until desired length is achieved.  

Let me know if you see any errors.  I've only worked through it twice. 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Fifty Fridays #21

Since this is a time of looking back, I thought I'd go into the way-back and bring out an older photo.

This is my mother's mother and her mother.  So, my gran and my great-gran.  My mother looked very much like hers, don't you agree?  I really don't know who the child in the middle is.  My grandmother had a lot of siblings so there were always lots of cousins.  But having the child in such a formal portrait makes me wonder who she really was.  Maybe a cousin who was a permanent addition to the family?  These things did happen quite often then.

I see that I have given Mr Blair some publicity.  I have no doubt the photographer was a man.  I think the photo looks better for having the cardboard holder. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bird food

In the winter, we leave food out for the birds.  nature does a pretty good job, too. 

This is one of the finches who came to our neighbor's rose bushes this afternoon.  A little soft-focus but this was with my zoom and through a window so I didn't frighten them away.  Finches are very nervous feeders.  The slightest movement can  send them flying off. I love how his beak is full of rose hip pulp.  And he seems to be looking at me. Maybe.

There are a couple of bird feeders and there is a full suet basket hung up after the bears go to to their dens.  The bush tits always have big family dinners here. 

I had a surprise today, though.  The suet basket has been ripped down from the eaves.  It isn't on the ground so I figure the critter took it somewhere to figure out how to get the tasty cake out of the basket.  It could be a raccoon.  It could also be a bear.  They should all be sleeping now but apparently they aren't.  Big headline today in our local newspaper said that since they still find food easily - especially on garbage day - a few have remained to share our Christmas feasts. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Wonders - X

X is for Xmas.  The timing for this letter is perfect.  I don't really see this abbreviated version of Christmas around as much as I used to.  Perhaps it has fallen out of favor?  I know I'm not a fan.  However, it works for this post.

Here is Christmas.  In two big containers.  It seems somewhat unassuming - and out of focus, sorry - to be the source of so much remembered joy and some sadness, too.  Much like the origin of Christmas itself.

As I open the boxes, out of the wrapping paper comes the Nativity creches.  We used to have more but they have been shared with our kids or given away.

The little Christmas tree is heavy with a burden of ornaments too numerous - and some too large - for its tiny branches.  But, no matter...I want to have them on the tree.

My Santa collection hasn't grown for some years but it hasn't really shrunk, either.  Each Santa is carefully placed on the shelf.    I can tell you where each one came from.  Some were gifts; some were purchased on holidays.  Each one is a memory. 

The only Christmas baking to be done around here is in the porcelain village bakery.  It's time to turn the baking duties over to the younger generation.  I'm not complaining.  Not at all. 

In the growing darkness of this shortened December day, the fishmonger's shop and the pottery glow like beacons.  I wish all my blogging friends  a bright and warm Christmas holiday! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Stash

This is sort of an un-stash Saturday since both the yarns featured today are new. 

I have finished the shawl.  Oh, it is beautiful. The long edge is over 6 feet and it's about 18 inches at the wide edge of the wedge.  For me it will be more scarf than shawl and is very flexible.  A big cowly type of scarf for keeping the neck warm.  Or it can fit over my head like a kerchief with lots to still go around my neck.  And since it's so long and tapered,  there are many ways to wind it around.  The alpaca/silk is so soft and very warm.  I'm a happy knitter. The photos are not great today.  Outside is not the easiest place to take photos today and I needed the extra light.  So colors are a little muted from reality.

I am half finished my Purple Rain socks.  These are just an easy slip-stitch design.  I was too lazy to use an actual pattern and was just going to make plain socks since the yarn was fancy.  But I really needed to break up the pooling effect of this yarn and the easiest way is with a slip stitch.  So, we have raindrops.  Actually they're pretty steady rain, aren't they?  But way better than snowflakes in my weather world. 

My current knitting goal is to have no UFO's to start 2013.  That means finishing the short-sleeved pink cardi that I started in the summer.  There's another purple sock to make.  And there are two scarves started which will be for donation.  Piece o'cake, right?   Come on back next Saturday to see if I met the goal. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fifty Fridays #20

Since it's so close to Christmas, I've tried to find some Christmas photos to share.  You'd think there'd be lots but I had difficulty finding any.  But what I lack in quantity, I have definitely made up for in quality.  Today I have two and they are sort of linked.

This is my mother and I wish I could say more about when and where.  That's the problem with so many old photographs.  I think that Mom is probably in her late teens but it's hard to know.  I am assuming that she is at home and that the older woman is her step-mother but, again,  I am not certain.  It could be my Great-Aunt Myrtle.  Mostly, I am intrigued by the details: the tree decorations, the furniture and the gift!  Oh, my.  That must have been a most wonderful gift: a wind-up phonograph record player.  I can imagine that my mother was over the moon.  She did love music. 

This is a bit later in my mother's life.  About 40 years later.  She's holding a quilt that I made her that year.  It has an appliqued 'print' of each family member's hand.  It was made in colors that my mother loved.  And the fabric print - a tiny flower calico - is very dated to the time the quilt was made...about 1980.  I remember all the intrigue and, sometimes, the hassle,  of trying to get the tracings of those hands without Mom knowing I was doing it.  Some were traced and mailed to me.  I can remember that  she was so touched by our efforts.  And, today, it has added meaning as several of the 'hands' are no longer with us - including the hands holding the quilt.

What strikes me most about these two photos is how little my mother changed over those years. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow days

We've had snow!  Now for some folks this wuld be a great thing.  For me...not so much.  It is pretty, though.

This is what the birds found on Tuesday morning.  I was planning a drive across the city and the sun came out the way I hoped, the roads were clear and off I went.  No drama at all.

But the next day it snowed, too.  In fact it snowed all through the night so this is what I woke up to - and more.  I actually like waking up to the sound of silence that snow brings.  Early in the morning, nothing - except maybe a snow plow - goes down the road.  The flakes make little kissing noises when they hit something hard outside the window.  It's quite lovely until I remember what I have to do during the day.

This was the day to drive out to the airport.  Across town again.  The weather report said it would turn to rain by noon.  OK.  Except that it didn't.  The snow kept coming down.  In my wisdom, I thought that living up close to the mountains, we would have worse driving conditions than the city streets which were lower down.  How wrong could I be?  Plenty wrong as it turned out. 

I'm sure everyone knows that we West Coasters don't get a lot of driving in snow.  And even those who have practice from other snowy places, quickly realize that our snow is different.  Wet and slippery.  Very slippery.  Put that together with the fact that many Vancouverites have never driven in snow at all...many have cars that  aren't prepared for this weather.  Often the very same people.  And that's why I usually park the car when it snows.

But yesterday, I was going to the Christmas concert at my grandkids school which was another drive across town.  And Anne had a plane to catch - airport in more or less same location.  After a few harrowing moments on what seemed like the longest drive ever, I dropped her off and went to enjoy the concert.  It was lovely as all kids performances are.  Charlie and his choir sang their piece with great expression and energy -  grade 1's can do energy.  And Becky made a very  good entrance as the Star leading the Magi.  They'd have to have been blind not to have seen such a beautiful and shining star before them.  And when it was all over, school was dismissed and there was a field of fresh snow for all the happy kids to run through.

I was feeling pretty good at how it had all worked out until we got back to the house where Anne was waiting.  Flight was cancelled.  Rebooked to this morning.  Right.  Up at 5am and drive, drive, drive to the airport in the black morning.  The rain, which finally came overnight,  had cleared the streets beautifully.  This was a much speedier commute - only 40 minutes.   Check in, sit and wait.  This time, I stayed.  I had time to do about three inches of my sock when all the passengers were called over.  Sorry this flight's cancelled, too.  No way are they flying into Trail today - or even tomorrow. 

Time to rethink the plans.  Bus schedules are being looked at.  We are expecting more snow tomorrow which means that by the time the storm is done over the Kootenays, another will be on its way.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Who knows.

Good thing I like to drive.  And I'm glad I'm staying home this Christmas. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Wonders - W

W is for Winter.

Only a few days until winter is officially here.  The maple tree is playing its part to perfection.  Just one dry brown leaf left snuggled up against that big branch right in the center of the tree.  A little of the wind that we've been promised this week and even that one one will be gone. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Stash

The huge Christmas lunch for the seniors has been cooked, served and - almost - all cleaned up.  The newsletter has been printed and sent out.  Just breathe...and knit.

My little sweater turned out so darned cute.  I love it.  The Fair Isle didn't make me too crazy - mainly 'cuz I've really got that left-handed knitting down now.

And, since I was on a stranded knitting roll, I thought I'd tackle this wee hat - it reminds me of ice cream.  When it's sitting on the shelf it looks like a merry-go-round.  And I still have yarn enough left to make another. Next year.

This is my birthday present to myself.  Two colors of baby alpaca/silk blend in a cool pattern:  Thin Edge of the Wedge by Shui Kuen Kozinski.  Yummy colors and a cushy texture with the garter stitch.  This yarn makes such a wonderful drape especially when knit on the bias like this.  I have used up half the yarn and the shawl grows one stitch every four rows for an asymetrical triangular shape.  The color change technique is different with the stitches sliding across to the other side of the circular needle every other row.  Interesting and pretty easy after the first couple of repeats. 

That's the knitting report for this week.  Things are quieter now and next week will be all about me.  Mostly. I will be visiting everyone I've neglected this weekend.  I've missed you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fifty Fridays #19

Yesterday when I was at the Community Center, there were dozens of gingerbread houses getting ready for the kids to decorate them.  That inspired me.

This is my younger son and his cousins decorating houses before Christmas - probably around 1990.  We did this together for two or three years. The first year, I actually baked the house pieces myself.  After that adventure, I decided it was so much easier to buy the house kits.  It's super hard to get those walls and roof pieces even and straight so that they fit together properly.  I really wasn't meant to be a carpenter!

decorating the houses became a thing to do when school was finished and I needed an activity. Like all good cooks, they needed to do a lot of tasting while they created.  I'm sure my sister was delighted to get her sugar-amped girls back at the end of the day. 

This weekend Christmas can start in this house.  All the outside busy will be ended today. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday wonders - V

V is for Violin.

The Fiddle Player by Andrew Krieger

I have been told that music lovers divide into two camps: violin or piano.  Strings or percussion.  I don't always believe everything I'm told.   I love the violin.  Its voice has the amazing ability to take on any emotion.  I can travel on the wings of violin music to almost any corner of the world. But I also love piano music. And I love winds.  And brass.  And bagpipes. 

My father could play what he called the 'fiddle'.   I think one of my nieces has that old violin now.  Oddly, I never, ever heard him play.  The violin only appeared after I had grown up and I'm sure he was pretty rusty so never took it out while I was around.

 Or maybe there was another reason?  Families and their relationships are always at work in every story.  My father's relationship with his father wasn't always the best as frequently happens with fathers and sons.  I have a memory of issues around this instrument when he was a boy.  But, as usual, I don't have the whole story and never will. 

Funny what one letter can bring up. 

* The painting was borrowed from this blog.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Stash

Thank you for the birthday wishes.  One of my gifts is definitely stash-related.  I got a phone with headset so I can talk and knit at the same time.  Yay! 

Last week was a bit of a disaster knitting-wise.  I am still working on the yarn that was given to me a couple of weeks ago and I thought I was making great progress with the almost full ball of this beautiful lavender yarn.  I was knitting up a sweet little poncho (pattern here)  and had to start knitting faster and faster because the yarn was running out.  Usually that works but not this time.   I couldn't even fake an ending.  So, I just pulled it all out and I will re-knit it in a smaller size.  That should take care of the yarn quantity issue. 

Then I picked myself up, dusted myself off and began another little sweater with the second ball of white.  Oh, you didn't think I was going to get right at the down-sized poncho, did you?  A bit of distance is needed.  Can you see that this is another Fair Isle project?  I am such a glutton for punishment.  I liked the textures and the bit of color work seemed minor.  And there were  cables in the yoke - love those cables.  Oh, and it's seamless, too.  I won't say it's easy but it is small which goes on the good side of the difficulty ledger. 

I think I have a couple of pairs of socks to knit before Christmas so I will have to shut down the stash knitting in the next week.  I think.  Stay tuned. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fifty Fridays #18

First up...thank you to all who helped with good advice on the photo storage.  I eventually decided to just pay .  As I said it wasn't the cost, it was the method of payment.  But, as my older - and wiser than I - son pointed out: "Google already knows everything about you".  That did it.  I had to admit I was being silly and just get on with the show.  I've since updated my T post from last Sunday with some photos.

So, here I am with a shiny new drawer in the photo file ready to be filled up.  What better occasion to do that than on my birthday.

In honor of the day, I'm bringing out this old photo.  I'm not sure that this is taken exactly on my birthday although it certainly could be.  It is clearly winter in Vancouver.  The winters were slightly colder back then so more snow than now.  And more consistent snow, too. But a lovely sunny day it was and perfect for taking pictures.  No flash bulbs and it would have been too dark in the house.

I would have been three years old that winter.  This photo makes me smile because of the slippers - which I don't remember.  And my brother's toy train engine would fetch a lot of interest on the collectible toy market, I think.   I wonder if the little stuffed dog was a birthday gift?  My mother would have taken a photo to send back East to the families there.

Today it's so easy to click off a photo on our phones. Or take a lot of photos on our digital cameras and never worry about how many we take just to get that perfect one.  Flashes are built-in to everything so we don't have to trek the kids out to the front step for the best light.  Then with another click or two, we can share them with anyone we choose no matter how far away they might be. And they see them instantly.   No taking the films in and waiting for what seemed like forever for those pictures to come back.    If I want a print - not a very common occurrence - I can easily do that online and pick them up the same day.  Then my mother would have had to wait for the prints and then reorder a quantity of whatever looked the best and mail them off with a letter or card.  

Yes, birthday snaps have really changed in those sixty-plus years. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Wonders - T & U

T is for Trees...

Christmas trees.  Yesterday, I spent some time helping to get our local town square decorated for Christmas.  Last year was the first time we had this event locally - it's been around for a long time in other places - and it was so much fun we decided to do it again.

It is a community fundraiser.  Each merchant or organization pays to have a tree to decorate.  That's step one.  Next volunteers turn out to set the scene.  Trucking in concrete stand and naked trees.  Step three is for more volunteers to turn up with tote bins full of lights and weather-proof ornaments and garlands that reflect each business or organization.

So, now it becomes a marketing exercise as well.  Our seniors' tree has objects which represent the various activities that our organization provides for seniors in the community.  There is a yellow school bus for our many bus trips; several running shoes for the walking groups.  Yin/yang for the tai chi classes and little plastic instruments for our musical drop in sessions.  Happy Fisher-Price people show off the fun and friendships that are developed.  And there seems to be a fair amount of food items on the tree, too.  We have  several food programs.

Sometimes, there is an added donation element where passersby can vote for their favorite tree.  The ballots 'cost' you a donation.  Whether it's money or an item for the food bank someone in the community will benefit from that vote.    All worthy causes.

And U is for Umbrella.  Yesterday was a two-umbrella day and we didn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Instead we wound around the tree with our light strings and climbed ladders while getting thoroughly soaked.  I always think we have more fun when conditions are less than perfect.   So, the tree is up and we think it looks wonderful.  And definitely worth your vote!

Sorry there are no photos today.  I have met Picasa's paywall again and need to decide what to do.  Deleting photos to make space is not a real option any more.  And I'm not objecting to paying...well maybe a little...but me being me, I'm not comfortable with the idea of that Google wallet...any Picasa users out there with positive experiences? While I have no choices here, I'd like to have some reassurance.  I need love to have photos - today's tree shots to come just as soon as I resolve this. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Stash

I have only finished objects today.  That doesn't mean that there are not a bunch of unfinished bits and pieces off stage.  Oh, yes.  They are there.  It's amazing how loud yarn can be.  But I'm deaf to it right now.  Soon I must get a triage system going.

The red socks are done.  And have been worn.  Just being red makes them lovely and warm on a gray, rainy day.  But no photo since I forgot in my rush to wear them.  And now they are buried at the bottom of the laundry basket.  So not today.

I do have the white cardi finished, too.  I was really excited about the idea of bobbles inside the Fair Isle diamonds.  Now, not so much.  I don't seem to have the knack of keeping the bobbles white.  They look like Snoopy noses or black-eyed peas. When I made a white bobble over purple yarn, the result was a tiny purl bump that won't go away.  Makes me not love the sweater - just a little bit.  It's still nice and would be really pretty if I got it right.  Must be a trick. 

And these super-cute baby slippers.  Easy, easy design by Calista Yoo.  Really good for remnants of worsted. 

I'm out trimming the Christmas tree with the seniors this afternoon.  All part of a community fund-raiser which will have over seventy trees in the town square.  Should be fun - and beautiful when the lights  are lit up tomorrow night. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fifty Fridays #17

I can't miss Friday.  Apparently, I even have my son's attention.

This is one photo that I don't remember.  I wasn't there.  I wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eye.

It's a little odd to think of a world where I wasn't present.  I mean, we do it all the time, don't we?  But I wonder if we aren't injecting ourselves into the scenes just by trying to imagine them.  But to really  think about not being a presence on this planet?   I find it just slightly unsettling. 

So, who are these folks?  This is my Dad with his mother's parents.  So, my paternal greats.  This is quite a casual snap although it probably is not an ordinary occasion.  I doubt that my father ran around in those white clothes for play.  And, even though men dressed more formally in those days, my great-grandfather looks pretty spruced up.  Have they arrived?  Or are they leaving?  And where are they going?

There is one thing that can put the present into the past.  I think that this great-great-great-granddaughter resembles that long-ago little boy.  What do you think?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Stash

I did say that I had finished a couple of projects.  And I did.  Not near enough here to justify two weeks absence but there it is.  Ask me how many books I read in that time.  Sometimes, reading is better than knitting.  I have for you today two stash and two non-stash.  Two finished and two unfinished.  Balance in everything is important.

These are the knee socks for Becky.  She tried one on and it stayed up really well.  That was my constant worry..that the socks would fall down.  I have memories of knee socks always becoming bunchy ankle-socks by the time I'd walked to school.  They look very cute on. Great colors. This a very basic knee sock from Paton's.  You can find it here.

These are socks for me.  Red socks!  Oh, this Donegal-type yarn  knits up beautifully.  I  like the cabling although I did get lazy and just did the leg as a cabled pattern with the foot in the 2x2 ribbing.  Both of these are non-stash.

Does it qualify as stash if it's someone else's that they donate? Now I have some extra acrylic - pinky-lavender, aqua and white.    I almost always make something for babies or kids out of the acrylics.  If I had little ones to clean up after, I'd thank you for it.  Washable trumps fabulous fiber every time when it's for little ones.  So, I made a baby sweater from the aqua donation - with a touch of white.  It reminds me of whipped cream.  This pattern is very easy and fun to knit.

And, another kid's sweater with the white.  It's not capturing my attention this week...besotted with my red sock yarn! - mostly because it has Fair isle bits.  Ask me why I choose such a pattern when I don't like to knit it?  Well, I liked the look.  You will, too, if you click here for the pattern. 

Time to make some muffins and go visiting. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fifty Fridays #16

It's been the most heavenly week.  There was rain and cold weather but that was OK with me.  I took myself off to the brain spa.  I finished several books, managed to get a couple of knitting projects done, played the piano and tried very hard to ignore the computer.  So peaceful.  So restful.  Now that I'm all blissed out, I should be able to return to blogging. 

But it's hard, isn't it?  Jumping back into the busy-ness when I was so relaxed may be easier said than done.  One toe at a time.   And looking through old photos is always fun.

This photo was taken at Manning Park when I was about 20.   My then-boyfriend and I had gone for a day trip with my family.  We went in our own car and followed my Dad.  Me barely holding back the little moans as I felt the wheels slide out from under us.  I am so-o bad in snow.  Of course, being poor students, we didn't have snow tires.  We did have chains but they were in the car - not on the tires! Male drivers are invincible, don'tcha know?   It's not a scary road in the summer and only the snow slippage frightened me.  I don't think we would go over a cliff or anything...just off the road would have been bad enough for me.  Even worse when I could look ahead and see my Dad sliding a bit, too.  Back then, cars had such crummy handling and steering but they were way heavier, too.  The cars in the background were not vintage then. 

In any event, we got there.  I guess the sun was shining since I had my very cool prescription sunglasses on.  This photo was taken after I had had my first - and last - slide on a toboggan.  Ouch!  That hurt.  I do remember the snowball fight that we waged against my younger brother and sisters.  I wonder if they remember it, too? 

While I have driven through Manning Park many times since then, it's always in the summer.  I have never been back for the snow. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ffty Fridays #15

Just showing up for the weekend.  That's me, these days.  Weekdays are pretty darn busy still.  But today may be the last stressful day for this year.  I shouldn't say that out loud, should I? won't tell anyone else, will you?

This is yet another of those family photos.  I remember this day quite well.  It was Easter and my sister's baptism.  And - a strange thing to me at the time - my father was also baptised.  He'd developed a grudging respect for the new minister.  All I remember about that man was that his face was extremely shiny with cleanliness.  He was somewhat aloof and definitely not someone who related well to children.

It was a happy day and I think that was because of the church activities.  This would have been very important to my mother.  And when my mother was happy, we all were.  Of course, it being Easter, my brother and I would probably be on a bit of a sugar high, too.

I remember the dress because it was made especially for Easter.  It was made from Dan River plaid cotton fabric.  This is important because it was apparently a fabric that was new to us.  I found a blog posting that tells a bit of the history of Dan River Cotton Mills.  Ack!! I can't make the link work.  Check out Quiltville's posting - you can google it.

Back to the dress.  It was soft greens and blues and I had a snazzy red plastic belt to go with.  Not sure which was more fun for me:  the belt or the three tiers in the skirt.  That dress had a wonderful spinning skirt. 

I think the ribbon in my mother's hand is from a little hat that my sister was wearing.  Her dress was pale yellow...funny the things you remember.  Ros wore a lot of yellow.  My mother was very conscious of what colors looked well on us girls.  I got the soft greens and blues....she got the yellows.  My brother escaped that kind of scrutiny. 

Off to prepare for a society general meeting that I am chairing.  It could be contentious. I am hoping that it will not be.  Then I will be free of this stuff for a week or so. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday wonders - S

S is for Service.

Today, I will be laying a poppy wreath at the end of the service to honor our local veterans.  And to remember all those who have gone off to war and never come home.  Too many wars.   At the end of the day, the gray stone cairn is made beautiful with the brilliant red poppies, green leaves and purple ribbons.

This is what the day always meant to me when I was growing up.  It meant my father marching in the parade.  Here he's leading his Air Cadet color party sometime in the early 1960's. When I was even younger, it was exciting to see him all dressed up in a kilt, black busby hat and high white gaiters. Hey!  That's my dad playing the snare drums in the pipe band.

To this day, the sound of the skirling pipes, the rat-a-tat of the drums makes me cry.  It wouldn't be a Nov. 11 service without the pipers. Thank you, veterans, for your service to all of us. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday Stash

Time for the knitting report.  It's not really stash as such this week. All four projects were worked with yarns that didn't come out of the original mountain supply.  I'm straying from my pledge - have been for a while now - and knitting what pleases me, or what's new at the moment or what I find in the stash cupboard that suits the purpose.  So, yes, I'm buying a bit of yarn here and there. 

This cool green thick and thin yarn followed someone home from the thrift shop.  Just one ball with less than seventy yards.  What to do?  I chose this quick - about an hour - hat pattern from Laurie Kimmelstiel which has enough textural interest to keep me happy and still show off the colors.  I didn't have a short enough circular or dpn set in the right size, so I knit it flat and seamed the back.  It worked beautifully, I think. Nefertiti enjoyed wearing it on the frosty morning I shot the photo. 

She needed a scarf around her neck as well.  Another refugee from the thrift shop,  this was a worsted acrylic with a lot of fluff and in the most gorgeous autumn leaves colors - oranges, rusty browns, red and green - not the washed out pink it appears here.  Think bright.  Again only one ball but it seemed to have a lot of yardage.  I doubled the strands, grabbed the BIG needles and knit up this wonderful scarf pattern from Nancy Kleiber.  I've made it before and it's really a joy to knit.  Only 15 stitches, reversible and ruffled on the ends.  The yarn made it so cushy and cosy that I could have kept it.  But these are not my colors so it joined the hat on the craft sale shelf.

I have one girl's knee sock finished. get to that second one. 

And, this is my guilty pleasure.  When I go out to Steveston each week, I stop in the village if the traffic allows me to be early.  I have a shop that stocks a good selection of sock yarn and it's fun just to browse even if I don't buy.  Last Tuesday, I shook up my routine and stopped at the other yarn store that I also like.  It stocks a lot of very nice yarns that are so much  fun to get touchy-feely with.  I know that their sock yarn selection isn't as good as the other so I felt pretty safe.  But, look!  I've never seen a Donegal-type sock yarn before.  It was red.  Oh, my, I was lost.  And, of course, I couldn't wait to start knitting it up.  Those whining UFO's will have to dry their tears and wait quietly. 

While in the store, I chatted with the woman in charge.  She  made a big fuss over a sweater I was wearing - the Tranverse Cardi - and  I was completely won over.  See how I had to buy that little ball of red sock yarn? Then, she told that she teaches spinning.  Hmmm...I will retire from the busiest part of my busy volunteer work in the coming year.  And I have a wheel that is waiting in a corner of the sewing room.   Is this an omen? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fifty Fridays #14

Another week.  I wasn't chained to the computer or the meeting table this week.

But I have been neglecting these kids for many weeks.  They've been napping in the sewing room and every week a few more have arrived looking for a home.  I just showed them into the room and told them to behave themselves...I'd get to them.  Soon.  And soon came this week.  I'm up to my elbows in Barbie clothes, shoes and hairstyles.  My babies are all bathed, brushed and bonneted.  By tomorrow, I'll be putting them all away again for a while.  I must get as many done at once as I can as the thrift store sells a lot of dolls between now and Christmas.

However, this is Friday and I must have a photo this week.  My daughter noticed!  Today's dig through the digital 'shoe-box' produced this lovely photo.   This is me and my Aunt K.  I'm the baby and I can only tell you that I'm more than 5 months old.  Clearly it's summery weather.  The notes say it was taken in PEI where we lived when I was a baby.  It could be near Summerside but since there's a car I can't tell you.  I'm guessing that the car is my Grampy's and they've come from Nova Scotia to visit.  But that's just a guess.

 What I can say is that my Aunt K was a very important character in the family stories that I heard from my mother.  Even though I never met her until I was an adult, I always felt as though I had a relationship with her.  I knew that we both were 'sturdy' girls and we both had thick, curly hair.  I think my mother talked about her whenever she brushed my hair.  Especially if I wanted to grow it long.  She feared the weight of the thick hair would pull the curl out as it did my aunt's.  What odd memories to have of someone you never met.

As she moved on with her life, I heard about her education, her first job and her wedding.  My cousins came along and all were as unknown to me as she was.  It always surprised me to think that I had real-life cousins because they were photo people my whole childhood.    I suppose they all felt much the same way.  It's hard to imagine now with all the ways that we can stay connected.  When I was a child, the only connections were letters.  Pale blue ink on thin paper written in my mother's pretty writing and an illegible note scribbled on the bottom by my father.  Letters from the east with older-style penmanship and less comfort with the writing  process.  Always received with great joy from my mother.  She loved letters. 

Photos would occasionally accompany a letter and this was always a cause for delighted scrutiny of the faces and backgrounds.  How they'd grown! Aged! Look what they've done to the house! Such things showed up in the pictures that no one ever commented on in the letters.  Just the stuff of day-to-day life.  For my parents, it was a recognition that the place they came from was changing as well as confirmation that many things stayed the same.  I'm sure for those in the east, it was a glimpse of a strange place.  Family known and unknown.  Grandchildren they would never really know. And yet, there was a familiarity with the way things were done.  As they had been done in the family forever. 

Photos can say such a lot even when the intended message is completely different.  I'm sure this one was just a photo of the baby with her Aunt K.  Now, I get all caught up in the landscape, the clothes, the house. 


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