Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Stash

I'm sure you all must think I've gone for a very, very long walk away from Blogland.  Not so, and I have been reading but not always commenting since there is never enough time.  I have been re-learning what it was like to work every day.  And I have never looked forward to weekends so much in the past ten years as I am now.  It's nice being so busy but I feel guilty when I sneak in some of my fun stuff.  Here's what I've managed to fit in around writing letters, setting up work schedules and organizing annual reports and an AGM.  Oh, by the way, the trivia Quiz night was amazing!  We all had so much fun!  Now back to stash reporting...

 My 'Stalking the Irish Sea' socks are all finished.  And I'm wearing them today.  I couldn't wait to get them on my feet.  I love them!  The cables are perfect for socks.  The yarn is light yet warm - and that's still important here - and today's photo shows the blue more accurately.  Thank you so much, Catherine, for sharing that swatch of the Lismore Cable with us.  I'll get my pattern up on Ravelry as soon as I can - don't hold your breath, please!

The next item is guaranteed to prove that not everything I knit is a success.  Usually, I just frog the yarn and try something else but for some perverse reason I kept at this.  I started with a ball of this bright Shetland chunky.  What to make?  Slippers are always a good seller at the craft corner so I set out to find a pattern that was easy but wasn't the same old garter/rib design.  I happened upon these 4.5 Hour Slippers which I knew would never take me that long.  They didn't but I'm sure that most of the time estimate involved seaming.  I chose them for the stocking stitch but neglected to account for the fact that they were knit in two pieces and had to be sewn together.  No biggie, but just another thing to do.

Anyway, as you can see, they are not things of beauty.  I'm pretty sure the yarn has something to do with it and knew this long before the first piece was finished.  But, I just soldiered on.  In the hopes that beauty would emerge in the end?  I don't know why.  Then, horrors!  just as I was finishing the last one, the yarn ran out.  We're talking stash yarn here...there ain't no more.   Well, I'm in too far to abandon the project so I found something vaguely compatible and finished.  Sewn together, buttons added - they'll do to put in my suitcase for travel slippers. 

Gabby's pretty blue cardi is almost done.  I have one sleeve and the button bands to make.  Photo next week. 

Speaking of next week...Monday begins the A-Z Challenge.  I was a bit worried about participating because I've not been a very good blogger recently.  But I'm determined and I hope I'll be organized enough.   The challenge does mean a couple of changes for me and my blog life, though.  The Saturday Stash report will move to Sunday for the month of April since Sunday is the only day off for the Challenge.  My own Sunday Wonders will be suspended after tomorrow and will return in May. 

If you haven't signed up for the Challenge yet or just wonder what the heck it is, you can click on the logo in my sidebar.  There are over 1500 bloggers participating this year.  It's a great way to find new blog friends - and to get new followers.  And you will read some fantastic stuff for the month of April. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Random thought

My reading was interrupted so I put the bookmark between the pages and closed the book.

Now I've been wondering - for the past two hours - why do we always put a bookmark at the top of the book?  And do we all do this?  

There.  That thought can stop traveling around my brain.  I'd better go do something useful.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Wonder - R

R is for River.

Around home, we mostly see creeks running through the forest on their way to the ocean below the mountains.  But we have a very big, hard-working river not very far away:  the Fraser.  It has many moods.

All day long there are tugs pulling log booms...

or barges filled with...what?

Along the river there are marinas where the playing boats wait for that day off work...

When the sun shines in the summer it's a place for kids to cool off...

And on a sunny day in winter, you can write your name on the sandy river beach - or your Grammy can do it for you.

And, any time, you can find a resident enjoying a quiet corner of this neighborhood. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Stash

This week's work looks like a study in blues.  And right now I'm hoping it can inspire more blue skies.  Spring seems to have sprung around these parts... finally.  YES!! 

So, today, I have for you one finished project:  the Silverleaf scarf is done and on her way to be a silky, shiny accessory for the person who buys it.  This isn't the greatest photo but I was so happy to see buds in the clematis that I needed to wind the scarf in the branches.  I was trying for a photo effect that didn't work very well.  I bet you can't even see the leaf buds. 

I have one and a half (almost) socks done in a perfect yarn and a perfect pattern.  Sometimes the universe brings ideas to a collision course that works out so well.  A few days ago, my friend Catherine swatched a vintage cable pattern that had a great story to go with it.  The design was created and used by cottage knitters in Lismore, Ireland.  You can read about it here if you want to know more.   I had been hoarding saving a plain blue sock yarn that was not a summery sky blue but more that of a cold northern sea.  Immediately, I'm thinking of our walks along the cliffs overlooking the Irish Sea.  I wanted a cable pattern - can you see the way ideas match up?  I made my own swatch and it is a wonderful design for socks.  Very simple but it looks intricate.  And it has a nice linear quality that works very well with the alternating ribs.  Having a history and a personal connection makes it all that much better.  I am so happy with these socks which are made for Stalking the Irish Sea

And I have two fronts of a new cardi for Gabby.  Since she is taking her work of growing very seriously, Grammy needs to make another sweater for her.  This blue yarn perfectly matches her beautiful blue eyes.  The pattern is easy and quick: Provence Baby Cardigan.  I think it should be finished before she grows too much more.  If you're wondering why I started with the front just put it down to the hazards of reading a pattern on the screen instead of a printed page.  I scrolled too far down and didn't see the back until after I'd started the lace design.  It did seem a little weird to start with the fronts but it's nice to break tradition now and then. 

Today, is a beautiful day and I'm going out to the garden.  Maybe this visitor will return to the neighbor's roof.  She was scouting the pond next door for fresh fish but there didn't seem to be much to get that day.  She had to go away with an empty tummy. 

Tonight I'm MC'ing a Trivia Quiz night at the seniors' center.  These are so much fun.  It's amazing how clever the answers get after a glass of wine.  We have a lot of laughs. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


You'll be glad - well, some of you will - to know that all the snow melted away at the first ray of sun.  It was all gone about four hours after I took the photo.  So, now it really feels like spring and I'm happy to be heading over to Patrice's porch for a chat.  Let's go...

What's your favorite clock- digital or an old fashioned face with hands?  I like a clock with a face.  Is that old-fashioned?  It's just friendlier and, usually, more decorative. 

What's your favorite type of bird?  No contest:  the red-wing blackbird.  And since I love almost all birds that is high praise.  I love hearing its spring song - it touches something very deep inside me.  .  Hearing that music in the field means spring is definitely here to stay. And everyone knows that spring is my favorite season.  Right?

How do you feel about being in front of people? This could include meetings, speeches, performing, or just saying something at a party.   When I was about six, my mother decided that my 'talent' would be reciting poems.  I did this for several years back in the day when schools put on this kind of performance.  Back then, I always wished that I could play an instrument, dance or even sing -  this was such a weird thing to do.  Either that or I hoped that the stage would open up and swallow me.  However, these experiences prepared me for standing up in front of people and saying, well, almost anything.  Which I have been doing for most of my adult life.  It seems that I just gravitate to the volunteer jobs where you get to be up long as I have the microphone in my hand, I'm good.  

What's the last item of clothing that you purchased?  Jammies: my favorite outfit.

Please give me a caption or a Wendell quote for this picture.  "How's a chicken-chasing horse supposed to ignore this? 

If you want to see the photo to go with the caption, just hop over to the farmhouse porch at Everyday Rurality.  You can join in the chat, too.  Thanks, Patrice - and Wendell. 

Monday, March 19, 2012


This is just not right.

I bought packets of seeds the other day.  I know it's a bit too early for planting but spring is technically just a couple of days off.
  Maybe one of the hazards of living on the side of the mountain?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday wonders - Q

Q is for Quidditch.

This is the game played in the Harry Potter novels and it makes perfect sense in that setting.

Given the restless minds and bodies of university students, it's probably not too surprising that this game would have captured their imaginations.  It began in Middlebury College in 2005.  There's an official site for the International Quidditch Association complete with a history,  merchandise and all the action and opportunity of other energy-burners. There's even a World Cup which is competed for by many university quidditch teams. 

I think any game or activity that gets young men and women out running around in the open air has great value  The costumes are weird and wonderful and lend even more color to this already amazing game.  It looks as though it could get rough at times but if you play I'm sure that's all part of the game's excitement. 

 I wonder if running with a broomstick between your legs is at all dangerous?  Or am I just thinking like a mom?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Stash

 Happy St Patrick's Day!!  It will rain a bit on our parade today...and I know that there's some rain in Ireland, too.  Since my visit there a couple of years ago, my heart has stayed connected.  So, I have the Dublin weather report beamed to me via cyberspace. Just in case I need to know what to pack for an impromptu visit.  Wouldn't that be nice?
This has been a very long week and it was definitely not spent knitting.  I am up to my ears in constitutions and bylaws.  There are job descriptions to be posted and hiring committees to create.  Schedules of replacement help and a time table to be kept in place.  Whoof!  That's the hardest part.  You know, when you've been retired for a few years, you get quite used to your time being quite flexible.  But the first victim is not my time - it's my knitting! 

So, after my whine,  I present you with a finished project.  I took so long on these socks that I actually considered them hibernating. And, as all knitters know, an unwatched hibernation can quietly become a UFO.  These are my Sophisticated Lady socks.  I love the yarn with it's many shades of blue.  The pattern is my own and it's really comfortable to wear.  Not lumpy-bumpy at all. 

Not so fast to the finish line is the promised scarf made from one motif of the Leafy Baby Blanket pattern.  I'm using a shiny silvery blue yarn and just one 17-stitch pattern.  I didn't add the seed stitch borders and so the scarf will have some twists and bends as the pattern is created.  The yarn is quite drape-y  and I think the scarf will be pretty - when it's finished.

And, what would the day be without some green on the needles?  This is my Herb Garden stole.  It is very  slowly growing - I would like to have it done before the summer.  But "Que sera, sera" has to be my motto at the moment. 

That's roll call for this week.  Have a great, green day!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Yes!  It's time to go for a little walk down the road and sit a while on the farmhouse porch with Patrice and the gang.  I can tell you that I am going to enjoy every minute and soak up the relaxation - it's been a stressful couple of days.  I've been working wa-ay out of my current comfort zone and it looks like that's going to continue for a few weeks.

 But the birds are singing!  That means that spring is definitely in the air.  Everything is budding, the Indian plum is blooming in the woods.  It's time to get out in the garden and prepare for those summer veggies.  I've packed my knitting but no carrots today.  I hear Wendell favors chicken chasing this week and I'm certainly not going to pack any of those!  But, there's a lot of folks gathered already.  Can you hear them?

 What's your favorite type of chair?  To sit in - or to look at?  My favorite to sit in would have to be the one I'm in right now - my office chair.  It's comfy and has arms and I can wheel around the room when I'm too lazy to stand up and walk to something I need.  To look at would be the wooden Shaker-style chairs.

What was the last play you saw?  I'm scratching my head to remember when I last saw a play. I did see a live stage performance of The Buddy Holly Story last fall...does that count?

If you could spend an all expenses paid week in a cabin in the mountains, a cottage at the beach, or a townhouse in a city with lots of great attractions, which would you choose?  My realistic side says the cottage by the sea.  My practical side says if the expenses are all paid, a townhouse in the city sounds pretty nice, too.   I'm not crazy about the idea of being in a cabin in the mountains.  Truth to tell, I'm pretty close to having all three since the beach isn't all that far away, I'm pretty close to all the attractions of the city and I live on the side of a mountain.  I'm just missing the all-expenses-paid part.

What's your favorite condiment?  I'm not really that crazy about using condiments with my food.  But the one I like the best - when it's suitable - is a spicy  tomato salsa.  

What's your favorite breed of dog?  OK...I'm really feeling like I'm a party pooper, here.  I'm so not a dog person.  But I do love to watch the sheep dogs work.  I admire their intelligence, their agility and their tenacity.  My choice would have  to be the  border collies for their sharp but gentle looks.  As long as someone else is looking after them - right?

Thanks, Patrice.  It's been fun as always.  I'm sure there's still room on the porch if you want to head on over to Everyday Rurality and have a chat. 


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday wonders - P

P is for Pond.

There are big ponds in parks where lots of people go to see - and feed - the ducks.  So many people that when you stop on the path all the mallards come paddling quickly.  Their happy, laughing quacks fill the air.

There are tiny ponds like the one next door.  This blue heron has it all to herself as she stalks the fish.  The teenage girls are kept busy - and broke - replenishing the fish for this hungry guest. 

There are peaceful ponds where turtles bask in the sun...

And there are ponds where nothing much seems to be happening at all.   The algae lies quietly dreaming before the ducks come to disturb the serenity.

There are ponds in the mountains where water lilies grow...

with deep mud on the bottom and room for the bugs to play.

Even a puddle can be a pond if you're young at heart. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Stash

"The times they are a-changin'..."

The change to Daylight Saving Time happens tonight - or tomorrow morning when I change all the clocks.  Have to say that springing ahead is easier for the clocks than it is for me.  I hate DST with a passion.  Don't understand the need for it.  The traditional reasons all seem to have flown out the sunny window since it starts so early and ends so late.  Why not just have regular time all year?  Whose farm is benefiting from this?

As a sign of spring, I much prefer this little hit of color which has appeared in our garden.

 Enough kvetching.  I know that you're all here to see the roll call of knitting for the week.  Well, it wasn't a lot.  There seemed to be a lot of other things to drag me away from knitting the past few days.  And, it's probably OK that I don't spend every minute on it, right?   So, first up is the  baby blanket that I finished.  The tag is on and it's on its way to the sales shelf.   I really like this pattern and would like to try it again with a few more repeats and just one strand of yarn.  It would be more blanket-ish then.  Or just one or two repeats in a finer yarn would make a very pretty scarf.  I have just the yarn in mind, too.

Speaking of scarves.  That was the theme this week.  I know it's not winter and no one neeeds to have a warm wooly around their neck any more - at least not here.  But a scarf can be a fun accessory, too.  The first is Chocolate Shake.  The pattern I used is Milkshake Reversible Scarflet by Mary Keenan.  I loved this pattern and will use it again.  The lace repeat is super-simple and fairly easily memorised.  I used a linen/cotton/wool blended yarn with some lovely big, fluffy slubs in it.  The pattern is definitely kind of frothy - and the color is exactly like a chocolate milkshake.

This next scarf was a kind of experiment and I'm not sure I'm wildly enthusiastic about some parts - like the fringe.  It is just lengths of yarn in different colors knit up lengthwise.  Knitted in seed stitch, it has the look of a piece of weaving.  It's also quite heavy and dense which I do like.  Even the 200+ stitches weren't a bother in this stitch.  I love it.  There is also a lot of texture in the fabric...quite bumpy.  It's a nice use of those shorter lengths of yarn that won't knit up into anything very meaningful.

That's it for this week.  See?  Not a lot to show but I have bigger plans for next week.  Unfortunately, I have a few meetings next week. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The past couple of days have been a bit of a blur.  My younger son has taken a job as chef on a private yacht.  For the next few months  he will be forced to sail about the Caribbean, cook great food, swim and enjoy the sun.  But he's had to work very hard the past few days to get his apartment cleared and our garage is the mini-storage unit.  Lots of details when you cut off all the landlines and take to the sea.

But now it's time to relax and have a little natter on the front porch.  I'm looking forward to a nice cup of tea when I get there.  Knitting in bag, check; carrots, what's the first question?

Tell me a fond memory of an elderly person?  I didn't have many elderly people in my own life since we were a nuclear family which moved across Canada when I was about two, leaving all the relatives behind in Nova Scotia.  But, over the years I  met many.  A stand-out was Ivy.  She was one of the older  'church ladies' when I was a younger(er) Sunday School teacher.  Ivy was a bit cantankerous and seemed to wear a perpetual scowl.  I was actually a bit afraid of her.  She was short and stout and spoke her mind.  
But the story is that she hated doing crafts.  She didn't knit or sew or join in when her group were making things for the church sales.  Until someone brought in a pom-pom maker.  She took to that in a flash and churned out hundreds of pom poms.  I'm sure it was for everyone's use but it soon became clear that the gadget was Ivy's.  She made many little bears of pom-poms.  I had a little brown bear that she had made - named Ivy Bear because it scowled like she did.  It sat on the dashboard of my car and I treasured it for many years after she died. 

What's your favorite flavor of jam or jelly?  Apple jelly, hands down.  I don't eat jelly at all any more and that's a good thing.  Because the very best apple jelly was made from the apples which grew on a tree in the back yard of the house my kids grew up in.  It was an old tree then - it's still there - and the apples were perfect for pies, applesauce and jelly.  I can't tell you how many jars I made over the years.  The house was sold and, hopefully, another family is enjoying the apples. 

What goes through your mind when you drive by one of those whopping, huge houses that look like something in a magazine?  We have a lot of those big houses in the suburbs of Vancouver.  Mostly, I wonder where the kids play and where they plant their veggies.  The houses plus car garages usually  take up all the available land.  

What's your favorite way to relax?  That seemed like an easy question at first.  Duh!  Knitting, of course.  But I like to read, too. And listen to music.  And walk   Sometimes, the only way to relax is to do some tai chi.  I think any activity where I can let my mind drift and let the busy thoughts float away is relaxing.   So even cleaning the bathroom could fit - in the right circumstances.

What's your favorite kind of pasta?  Another food I hardly ever eat any more.  But if I were to have the pasta menu in front of me and I could choose anything it would be spaghetti with clam sauce.  Oh, yum! 

Time for me to be running along.  Thanks, Patrice, I've had a good time this morning.  If you'd like to join in, just visit Everyday Rurality - you can sign in and everything.  We'll visit you, too.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday wonders - O

O is for Open.

Such a positive word!  When 'open' is added to other words we get such generosity:  open-handed or, perhaps,  hope for acceptance:  open-minded.   An open-ended question invites  much more of a story.   Staring open-mouthed in wonder is usually a good thing.  Or you could be praised for openhearted sharing.  An eye-opener may not always bring a smile but it is always enlightening. 

When I see the word OPEN, I think opportunity, adventure,  ideas, challenge, excitement : open doors or windows.  There could even be treasure if I say: open sesame in the right place and time! 

So much better than its opposite: closed.   No happy feelings here at all for me. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Stash

Baby, baby, baby!

That's the kind of knitting that's been going on this week.  I've been enjoying the speedy gratification that these tiny knits give me.  Especially nice when I get one of those insane weeks where it's hard to find the time to knit.  On the needles at the moment is a pretty blankie...just the right size for one of those car-seat thingies with handles for the smaller babies.  Or it could be an adult lap blanket.  It's quite heavy - knit with two strands of sport-weight yarn.  The pattern is the well-named Leafy Baby Blanket by Leyla Alieva.  I have lots of this green yarn and I'm hoping to use most of it here.

Just for fun one afternoon I knit up this cute little pattern, Baby Janes by Valerie Johnson.  So sweet - and so easy.  Really.  About 90 minutes from start to finish.  I have this little crush on Mary Janes, you know.

And, last a little Debbie Bliss design, the Ribbed Baby Jacket.  I'm not totally in love with how it turned out but it was very easy to do and would keep a little one nice and warm.  The ribbed front is doubled when worn.  And it's knit all in one piece - always a bonus. 

These are all headed for the donation new babies on my horizon.  And all my grandbabies are growing so fast that these little knits which go so quickly aren't useful any more.   But they are such great stash-busters and other small folks can always use them.

Oh, and the snow is gone, gone, gone!  Spring is continuing to arrive - in her own time.


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