Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Not having been around since August (!) I thought I could put on my best sheepish grin and tip-toe on to the blogger stage.  I am, I hope, back for a while.  I have missed everyone coming to visit.  I have visited many of you but rarely speak up.   So, here`s to a brand New Year!

The back end of 2013 has been busy in other places.  Not to say it`s been a bad year...no sir-ee!  There have been some absolutely smashing times.  Unfortunately, the camera also took a hiatus so I haven`t much in the way of proof.  Here are a few highlights that you may not have seen...

a visit to Spokane which was an enjoyable surprise...

Not all the fields in Sequim, WA are full of lavender...

My favorite part of the PNE...

My shawl took a red ribbon at our local fall fair...

And the best for last.  We welcomed a new little girl to the family in November.  This is Lexi on her second day in the world.

 Happy New Year, everyone!  I`ll be back next year.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Stash

Just a quick post to catch up today.  I have some finished stuff....

The hand towel is finished.  I like it a lot but it will be a gift not a keeper.  They say that the best gifts are the ones that you want to keep.  This must be a great gift!  The cotton is so soft and thick; it was a pleasure to knit up.  And easy, too.

I have a shawl just starting. I am using the pattern for Annis which is doubly fitting because it is for Anne.  She chose the yarn from Paradise Fibers but I got to choose the pattern.  It's an alpaca/wool blend and I think it will be toasty warm as a scarf worn on a cold, windy day.  Winter will come back.

And, I'm going round and round on this skirt which has been on the needles for wa-a-ay too long.  It's about half-way there and I'm determined to finish it.  Actually, a simple pattern with a bit of lace at the bottom.  I'm not positive of the exact fiber but it is wool of some sort. I quite like the b/w tweedy look and suspect it is two different fibers plied together.   I have have knit up, washed and dyed a swatch.  It fluffs up and softens quite well with a soak and takes dye, too.  Knitting it is like working with mountain goat yarn...or what I imagine that to be like.  I'm not sure whether I should dye it when it's finished.  I didn't even contemplate dyeing it before casting on.  Can you see the gigantic cone of this stuff?  Too much skeining for me and my niddy-noddy.  So, as add rows around the perimeter, I keep wondering: should I dye it or not?  What do you think?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fifty Fridays # 42

Sort of a day late with this one.  Oh yes, it is Friday but the day I want to remember was yesterday.  It was my Mom's birthday and she would have been 91.  I find that just amazing to think of.

This is one of the few photos I have of Mom at her own birthday celebration...her 60th.  She is standing with her first three grand-children - there would be 4 more that she wouldn't meet.  And as you can see, she was a proud Gran.  Now the little boy has 4 - almost 5 - kids of his own and the younger girl has two. She would have been an even prouder great-Gran. 

When I was growing up, Mom and I had the typical mother-daughter relationship: ups and downs.  Sometimes, the downs were very low, indeed.  But as I matured and she mellowed, we came to understand each other better.  There was nothing Mom liked better than a natter and since we didn't live close to each other, a natter was the first order of business when we came to visit.  My Mom liked to read, she loved to learn new things and I know she enjoyed a challenge.  Her drawing skills always made me jealous. And she always had a great sense of style - even if I didn't think so with my youthful style-consciousness..    She had a wicked sense of humor and, even when younger, tended to be a tad absent-minded.  She was shy and didn't really do parties or big social gatherings happily.   I think Mom would have made a good interior designer.  I have lots of  memories of her (frequently) changing the furniture arrangement, re-painting furniture or cupboards or poring over magazines and library books for ideas.  She sewed all our clothes when we were kids; was a great knitter and baked the best oatmeal bread in the world.

Her most memorable advice to me?  If I was feeling down it was time for a new hat! 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, August 12, 2013


I know, we're actually finished the travelling part.  Back at home, we look at all the photos and decide that we really did have a good time.  It seemed like a lot of driving - and it was.  I'm going to start at the end and work backwards for a few posts.  It'll take that long, I think.   So, this is just my version of the home movies from our holiday.  Sit back and relax!

My last photo of Port Townsend on the Olympic peninsula in Washington State.  This is also the first view we had since it was the same ferry.  I'm pretty sure it was even the same fog.

Then, the fog lifted and, suddenly, it's not so cool.  It's turning into a hot day.  

A perfect day for sailing with Mount Baker in the background. 

These ducks are sunning themselves at Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park.  This is right in the middle of the urban landscape: behind the McDonald's and next door to a big  Safeway.  Lots of opportunity to pick up something to eat and take a walk around the lagoon. 

We wandered around the old section of town (those photos are on the other camera - later!) appreciating the old brick buildings and the ornate architecture of the late 1800's.  Apparently, Port Townsend was meant to be an Important City, but history got in the way.  Now, it's a pretty laid-back place for tourists, boat-building and a lot of opportunities to enjoy nature. 

After visiting a yarn shop housed in one of these buildings, we were hungry for some dinner.  Most of the choices offered were pretty run-of-the-mill fare.  But I spotted a chalkboard on the sidewalk offering "risotto with green tomato, leeks and smoked salmon".  They had me at 'risotto' which is one of my favorite ways to eat rice.   It was called the Cellar Door - and they didn't lie.  This is the entrance.  No sign...just yellow arrows.

Through the door and the ambience was definitely subterranean - yet ornate.  Dark wood, exposed brick and heavy furniture including some furnishings that we couldn't figure out at all.  The menu is a delightful mix of their signature cocktails with amazing ingredients put together AND fresh, local tapas offerings.  The darkness is well lit up by the cheerful young servers and, of course, a glass of Pike Brewing Company's Naughty Nellie ale.  And, yes, that risotto was delicious with big slices of fried green tomato!  So were the lamb sliders and the baked mushrooms.  The best meal on our trip.

For today, I'll leave you with this piece of the local street scene.  It was near the waterfront in part of what seemed to be a vacant lot used for parking, vehicle repair, delivery area and other stuff.  There was a lot of driftwood and other weathered wooden structures mixed in with flowers.  The bottles were $2 each according to the scrawl on the box - just take your pick and leave the money.  I think it's been here for a long time.   Port Townsend had that same kind of sleeping-in-the-sun feeling to me.  Not a bad thing at all.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Stash

I know...I know.  I missed last week's report but, trust me, this week will be more interesting.  I've been on holiday for a couple of weeks.  Driven almost 3000 kilometers and seen lots of good stuff.  We also visited with family and did a lot of eating - and knitting.

I'm stretching the definition of 'stash' ever so slightly today.  This beautiful organic cotton yarn was gifted to me from another knitter's stash.  It was destined for afghan squares but my dil and I couldn't let that happen.  So, I swapped a bag of acrylic worsted for a bag full of cotton.  There was only one pattern choice for me and it was this one by Lois Young.  The bag of yarn went in the car and I knit while we visited.  Actually, the first stop was so hot I just wanted to sit in the air-conditioned house.  What else to do but knit and talk?  I love how it turned out but it's still too warm here to actually wear it long enough for a photo shoot.

One of the cities we visited was Spokane.  There, we adventured on to a bus - hotel parking spaces were too precious to give up - and trekked off to Paradise Fibers.  Hundreds and hundreds of square feet of yarn before my eyes.  And in touching distance.  Truly paradise.  This is the first of the products made from yarn bought there.  Just a pair of socks, right?  And plain, too.  But, wait....

They had two whole walls covered in needle choices.  I had always wanted to try the Kollage square needles so I bought a set of sock needles in my favorite size.  The blue sock is being knit on these needles.  But, I needed to do a controlled experiment to see if any of the maker's claims were true.

The results are in!  One of the claims is more even stitches:  I'm not convinced about that, are you?  The fabric is firmer but the stitches look the same.  The bamboo needles create a softer and very slightly looser stitch.  Maybe that's what they mean?  Every time I look at the square needles, I think: masculine.  The needle itself looks like an Allen key to me with  very aggressive points and sharp 90 degree angles.  Strangely, the angles are not uncomfortable at all.   I can tell that I don't knit as fast with these needles as I can with the bamboo.  And the bamboo is just warmer and softer to me.  Another claim is that they are less stressful on the hands than round needles.  Well!  For me, knitting is least stressful thing I can do with my hands.  However, I don't have arthritis or stiffness issues in my fingers so I'm not the best judge.  

My last item on the needles for this week is a hand towel.  I'm using this pattern and more yarn from the big bag of cotton.  This is a brighter avocado color and a heavier weight.  I've had this pattern in my favorites for a long time.  I must have known that something appropriate would drift by.

So, now, I'm home and the holidays are over.  My plan is to get the travel photos up in the coming week.  And, I hope, to show up more often on blogger.  Not a resolution...just a plan. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday Stash

So, this week a first!  I have actually found a yarn that I will not knit again.  Ever.  I had a bunch of Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake in several different colors donated to me.  There was enough pink and brown to make a decent size baby blankie.  I started and slogged through about half before I decided to try something smaller

like this tiny hoodie that looks like an Ugg sweater.  I ran out of blue just as I was down to the last two rows of the hood.   The Ugg look came when I had to add some 'decorative' brown rows on the hood back.  Why not just carry on?   In the end, I frogged the blankie, rewound the yarn and set it aside to donate to the thrift store.  Someone else will love it, I'm sure.

I finished this Tulip cardi for the donation shelves, as well.  I didn't fudge the fair isle this time since there was only a little bit really.  I had to frog the first attempt because my 'color eye' temporarily deserted me.  Usually I can get the colors right but the first try I had too light a green and it was unbalanced by the vivid tulips. So, I did the bottom band all again - just for practice.

The slipper maker was in danger of going barefoot herself this winter.  Two years ago, I made a pair of felted clogs that I loved.  This spring they started to show signs of wear and yet I kept on with them.  It wasn''t so cold that a few tattered bits mattered.  But the tatters grew into holes and they wouldn't have done me any good at all later this year.  I dug out some Lopi and created these which turned out pretty well.  The pattern calls for a doubled strand of yarn but I found the heavy yarn worked just as well. This is how they looked before felting. 

It's always funny to see these big floppy articles transform into such a beautiful - and useful - fabric. I was a tad worried about the felting (although not enough to change yarns) because the black and the brown were different kinds of Lopi.  As you can see, it all worked out.  And because I like things just a little fancy, I put a line of pink yarn against the black.  That's my favorite part.   Now, I'm ready for winter. Well, maybe there are few more 'nuts ' to store away before then.  I may even make some more felted slippers.  Got some yarn. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday Stash

Welcome to the slipper factory!  That's what I have felt like for a week of knitting.  The shelves were bare of slippers at the seniors' craft sales and I thought it would be a fun challenge: how many pairs of slippers can I knit in a week?

This many...

And one pair more that I finished after I took the  first photo.  I started off making only the easy Grandma-type slippers that are the style usually on offer and which are popular.  But, as my daughter predicted, that became mind-numbing.  So I trolled around for a few more quick patterns.  This pattern wasn't as quick as the first ones because they use a worsted weight instead of chunky.  But they have cables and kept my interest for two more pairs.

These were the fastest!  A couple of hours with bulky yarn and big needles made a pair.  But I was too lazy to repeat it.  Besides, the week was up.

And, so I can show it off...the little jumper for Katie was finished before I began the slipper knitting.  I wish that I could make myself one as it looks like a cosy thing to wear on a cold winter day. I love how it turned out. And it used up a lot of the blue yarn which is the whole point here.

That's all for today...back to the knitting.  I'm using up a bag of Snowflake in pink, brown, blue and navy. You can see the results of this stash-busting next week.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Stash

I seem to have become a once-a-week blogger.  That isn't intentional but hey! it's better than nothing at all, isn't it?  This is where the chorus says Yes.

Today, I have finished and unfinished projects to report.  Tea cosies make up half and they are so quick and easy that it's hard to resist them.  Especially when I have so many small amounts of yarn in my stash.  Plus, there are so many fun patterns.  This is my version of Spotty Dotty Tea Cosy.  It reminds me of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.  Yeah, I am that old.

But sometimes, I just like to do my own thing.  This is my Tea Party cosy.  Very easy.  Anyone could recreate this design just by looking at it, I think.  We've had such a string of gray and misty days that these bright colors were just perfect on the needles. 

And, I found this sparkly yarn in one of the more recent additions to my stash.  Just enough for a tiny glam sweater and a pair of shoes for steppin' out.  I made this pattern a couple of years ago and it was perfect over grandbaby Number Four's onesy or T-shirt and leggings.   I've just seen the ultra-sound photo of Number Five and there's no clue if this will be suitable.  If big brother has his way, it will not be!

And, right now, I'm using up a fairly large bit of light blue worsted.  Granddaughter Number two enjoys wearing dresses.  Especially knitted ones because they are easy to pull on over anything...seriously, anything.  And they fit for a lo-ong time.   The original pattern has a stranded jelly bean design around the hem.   Since I don't enjoy stranded knitting, I have taken some stash multi-colors and knit some ribbons into slip-stitch beading.  The jumper itself is easy to knit and will be fun to wear. Hope she likes it as much as I do.

And that's the week.  The stash is going down -  but so slowly.   All this week and last I feel like I've been in meetings.  Unfortunately, knitting isn't an activity to take to a meeting.  I'm not convinced that they wouldn't be more productive, if it were.  Just sayin'.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Stash

A-a-actually, I've been knitting madly all morning.  I've been weaving in the yarn ends and sewing on buttons, too.  All so that there would be some finished stuff for the report today.  Of course, it's all fun and I'd rather do that than housework.  So, I just looked really, really busy and ignored the dust bunnies.

I finally finsished the Little Explorer pullover.  Last week, I hit a bit of a roadblock with the neck - it was going to be too small to get over a real kid's head.  So, I made my very first steek.  Then I picked up enough stitches for a faux placket and gave it a couple of decorative buttons.  I like it. 

And I've been on a tea cosy romp.  I'm still on it so expect  a few more next week.  I've decided that they're way more fun that hats.  You can't be too creative with a hat but a tea pot will wear anything out in public.  They are shameless.  many designers have discovered this, I think, as there are so many fun designs on ravelry.  This one is not too wild.  In fact, it's rather demure for cables.  Must be the bow.  I used Ruth Churchman's pattern for a Cabled Tea Cosy.  It includes a pattern for a cafetiere as well. 

This design is all mine: The Travelling Tea Cosy.  So named for the cables that travel up the sides of the button band.  Not for the fact that it appears to be ready to tip off the railing. And mostly because it has a little something that all travellers need:

A back-pack.  And this one is just big enough for a tea bag or two.  I do believe this falls into the 'because I can' category.  Just for fun.

The whole time I was knitting the little back pack, I was humming along with Peter, Paul and Mary. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fifty fridays #41

Today's photo is one of the only photos that I ever saw of my mother's father when I was growing up.

I never met him.  I never called him Grampa.  My mother always referred to him - in my presence - as T.I. which were his initials.  I can't ever remember her ever calling him 'Dad' although I'm sure that she must have.  

Having just this one photo made him almost as romantic as Lawrence of Arabia in my mind.  I always thought this man was so dapper.  He also had a nice face with interesting lines and angles.  I knew - and still know - very little about him as a person.  He was a ship's carpenter and a joiner.  I have an old wooden chest that he made in which he carried his tools and gear when he was on board ship. 

T.I. came from a family of sea-farers and farmers originally living on the south coast of Nova Scotia.  They even had their own island!  But, by the time my mother was born they were in Wolfeville and then it was on to the big city.  In the 30's, I expect he was away from home a lot because my mother lived with her step-mother at her step-mother's parents' home.  I alwys understood from Mom that work wasn't easy to find.  And it probably was very true of the 1930's especially. 

This photo could have been taken any time in the 1930's to the 1950's.  There is an ageless quality to the man, his clothing and even the setting.  I'm leaning more towards the late1940's but I don't really know.  This is my grandfather and I think he was a cool-looking guy.  I wish I could have met him. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Stash

It's still Saturday, right?  I've been waiting...and waiting...for my batteries to charge up s I could take some photos.  I think I have to buy some new ones.  Yesterday, I put in what I thought were spares - and I knew they had been charged - only to have them die before the camera could even poke its lens out into the world.  So, I've been waiting.

I have a finished project!  Yes, I do.  The BFL Forever cardi is finally done.  Thirteen tiny buttons and a resew on the collar were what was standing in the way of success.  Last Sunday, I redid the collar.  It is still not totally satisfying but I can't do much else with it.   The wee buttons are just perfect - says me.  Thank you, Maria.  They were just ordinary buttons until we turned them over and saw the pink and green marbling on the back.  That made them work even better.  Now I'm happy.
And, I've almost finished this seamless pulli for some Little Explorer.  I'm using the Intrepid Pullover pattern by Katie Himmelberg. It isn't purple that's just my camera playing its color tricks again.  Really almost a navy blue.   It's a simple knit with just enough construction detail to keep me interested to see what comes next.  Stripes will do that for you whether they're colors or stitch variations.  It's headed for the donation basket when it's finished. 

Next week, I'll share the skirt I've just started.  And who knows what else will jump into the knitting basket by then?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fifty Fridays #40

This Sunday is Father's Day so I will, of course, be featuring my Dad this week.  I thought I would share two things that were his vacation from work and home.  When I was a kid, we never really took vacations away from home.  I was never too concerned because very few of my friends ever did either.  It wasn't as common as it is now.  But now I wonder if there wasn't another reason. 

Every summer my father would disappear for a week.  He took his Air Cadets off to summer camp.  This is a photo of Dad and the other leaders of the squadron posing in front of their barracks at Sea Island.  This is where the Vancouver International Airport is now.  When I was much younger, the name seemed magical.  I never went there and I guess I didn't see this photo of the huts.  Kind of takes the magic away for me.  But not for Dad.  He loved being away with the young fellows (not co-ed then) and sharing his own air force flying experience. 

Dad not only loved the air but also the sea.  Once he moved to his island home, he liked nothing better than to get into his little boat and motor about pretending to fish.  When he retired, the first thing he bought was a sailboat which was a source of constant pleasure for him.  I can't say that I share his enthusiasm.  I believe that I stepped on his boat for a quick recce and then got off as fast as I could.  Not a chip off that old block, I'm not. 

And even in his last days, when he was very ill and not always thinking clearly, the boat was on his mind.  He would dream about sailing and think his hospital bed was his boat.  

So, Dad, here's to you! Hope the wind is blowing fair.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Stash

It's been a technicolor week in the yarn stash.  I have today two shawls that I would rather use as scarves.  Using all this color at once feels a bit like a binge.  I'm full of color; I'm overfull.  Kind of like looking at a garden of tropical flowers in the bright sunshine.  Gorgeous for a while but my temperate mind begins to crave some cool greens and blues. Probably comes from living too long on the west coast.

But that doesn't take away any of the glory in this yarn.  I wondered how all the colors would look in the eyelet lace and they do very nicely.  So this is my After the Storm shawl.  I used Beth Bradford's Sewanee pattern.  It was very easy to knit up. This is some stashed sock yarn.  So is the next...

Another many-hued sock yarn which I used for my lace in the Desert Shawl.   This is Shelly Delong's pattern,  Mairi.  Again, really easy.  The bottom scallops are made first and the body is knit up after you've got your long strip of lace.  And it's all garter stitch  - everywhere.  I love garter stitch because it's so cushy.  It has literally just come off the needles and isn't blocked.  I was nervous about the garter stitch and all these color changes - looks OK though.  I think I'll keep it...it will make a nice warm scarf.

Not that I'm exactly pining for winter.  No, I'm just ready.  Maybe I'll wear it in the 'cold room' at Costco.  It's like walking into a fridge. I know...it is a fridge. But when you're ready for summer fun and don't have your jacket, it's darn cold.   I'm always so happy to get out of there.

Now, I'm going to go digging  for some forest and ocean colors. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fifty Fridays #39

It's Friday again!  And today I have an interesting mystery photo to celebrate summer finally bringing us some sunshine.

What's summer without an office picnic?  Well, maybe that's what this is.  I have no idea what - or even who - this is and maybe that's just as well.  Some of these folks seem to having a bit too much fun.  And clearly at least one isn't enjoying the fun at all. Could it be a works outing?  With some having a bit more to their lemonade than others?

And I wonder who these folks are?  Am I related to anyone here?  From their clothes I would say sometime before WW1 but that's as close as I can get.   The picture box has a whole section of these photos that no one can identify.  It is fun to wonder but a bit frustrating, too.  I just enjoy making up a story to go with the evidence of the picture itself. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday Stash

I may have been down for the count for a while but I never stopped knitting.  I worked away on my projects and managed to finish quite a few.  I'm not really a person who makes To Do lists but I seem to have some inner demon that whispers in my ear.  Not sweet nothings, no.  This demon speaks of UFO's and then reminds me of all the yarn there is in my little hiding places.  Even more seductive is the knowledge that there are so many gorgeous yarns in the shops.  I can't justify buying anything new so I won't even try.  But I sort of can justify a little buy when I've finished a few stash things. 

I used this pattern to make a tiny little apres-ski sweater for a very little person.  I used leftover sock yarns throughout.  You may recognize the yarn from the last pair of kid's socks that I knit.  When I finished the body I realized that I picked up the wrong ball of gray to complete.  So, the sleeves had to get the same half and half treatment.  Looks a little odd but in an OK way, I think. 

This little cardi was finally finished.  After making all sorts of alterations to the pattern, I ran out of steam.  I think my brain power was beginning to dwindle about then.  So, the project sat in a corner and sulked.  I finally picked it up, realized that the sleeves awere all I had left to knit and they were so easy.  So, snap!  All done. 

And this stash-buster is in the 'because I can' category.  I found this baby hat pattern while I was browsing through some magazines.  It's silly but it actually has some cute details.  I love having it sit on the desk and smile it's big fishy smile at me.  I will give it - and all the other stuff - away, though. 

So, now we come to the part where I get a reward.  I was looking for some sock yarn for my daughter and saw this pretty purple yarn.  It's part of the Patons FX series and I've knit them before.  But I must be a sucker for purple.   All the while I was knitting it, I kept thinking of that it should be called Fifty Shades of Grape.  So that's what I named the socks.  I used Ann Budd's Seduction Socks pattern which seemed quite appropriate on all sorts of levels.  I really like how they turned out. 

I still have my red socks to finish.  And I've started two shawls.  I'll save them for next week.  Who knows?  Something may actually get finished this week, too. 


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