Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A first

I have never had allergies - ever. I know I didn't really get how awful the symptoms can be for those who endure this every day.

Now, I know. Yesterday, I walked into the washroom before tai chi and I walked out to the class. Within two minutes, I was sneezing and couldn't stop. My eye started to water like a flowing stream. Just one side of my head seemed to be affected. Is that normal for allergies?

I've been trying to think what could have triggered this. Of course, it is spring (the trees think so, anyway) and there must be some pollen around somewhere. Or was there some scented thing in the washroom? I checked and couldn't find anything although I thought I could smell pot-pourri. Not that it's ever bothered me before.

Another guess for a culprit is chlorine. I was cleaning something with bleach on Sunday afternoon. Now, I love the smell of bleach...it has never bothered me. The room was ventilated and it only took a couple of minutes to finish the task. Long enough, maybe?

A day later and the symptoms have eased. I have learned that if I don't breathe really deeply, I won't trigger a sneezing fit. If I sit and read (breathing shallowly) it almost feels normal. I can live with this cure

But I am curious as to what caused it. And whatever I met, I sure hope I don't meet it again.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tiny mat

Remember the hooked rug kit that I found? Here it is all worked up and finished - it's about 5 x 6 inches. I'm using it as a coaster on the table beside my hooking frame.

I've made some changes to it from the original design. When I started hooking, the yarn that came with the kit was meant to be used as the green in the bottom part - leaves, I guess. But, I disliked hooking with the yarn; it was too thin and slippery. So, I got out some other greens but couldn't see what I wanted: I was looking for a bright yellow-green. I had a Kool-aid dyed piece that was pretty bright but too green. Time for the dye-pot.

I took a piece of plain yellow and put it in hot water with a lot of salt and the darker green piece. As the fabrics simmer, over about a half-hour, the dye will leach out of the fabric and should make a mottled combination of the two colors. This it did but the mottling is pretty subtle. A big gulp of vinegar to set the color and I was happy.

I like how the yellow has seeped into the green as well as the green going to the yellow. The two fabrics are now totally different from their parents. The photo doesn't give the true finished colors but the close-up of the little mat is pretty accurate. The original dark green is still darker than the yellow fabric became.

Then I used the yarn to bind the edges. I quite like this little piece. It's supposed to be tall flowers like lupines or foxgloves that grow wild in grassy spaces. I can see that but it looks as though the field was being looked at through a rainy-day window.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday wonders -B

B is for Bugs. The true bug is the only one I can't name. Isn't it the most beautiful jewel resting on the lemon balm leaf?

Saturday, March 28, 2009


This morning I was digging into that pile of photos for my Sunday challenge. I found these flower pictures that Anne has taken at various times. They aren't related except as garden shots. But each one is interesting.

The one above reminded me of a pig. Even more, it made me think of Alice's adventure through the Looking Glass. You know, where she meets a woman holding the baby who looks like a pig. I seem to remember the baby sneezing because of black pepper, too. Can't you see the pink Victorian bonnet? Or pig ears.

Meet Alchemilla mollis. She was a must-have plant quite a few years ago and has now multiplied to a nice border along the sidewalk. I needed to have one because I had been told about the drop of water that remained in the leaf after the rain. I still think it's a very peaceful sight. She does get quite blowsy with her chartreuse flowers, though.

And when I came across this picture, I could feel the warm sun on the grass. On a gray day like today, it's nice to have some sunshine even if it's just a photo.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More travel

I was visiting the blog list this morning and this posting reminded me of a highlight of our tour in Ireland. We'll be treated to some sheep dog trials. I got quite excited when I read that part of the itinerary.

Sheep dogs at work are just the best thing to watch. I love their agility and speed. And I enjoy their feistiness. It's just astounding what these determined dogs can accomplish with the silly sheep. I love wool but I do think that sheep are not lovable animals.

Although I am more of a 'cat person' , I admire these dogs because they are so good at what they do and seem so darn happy in their work. This happiness must be, I think, a direct result of being good at their job. I can identify with that.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Armchair travel

Today I'm confined to books and rest so that I can do more than travel in my chair. Stupid knee.

Yesterday, Anne brought home a bag full of books and DVDs on Ireland so we could better plan our itinerary. We've committed to 7 days of the walking tour but still have another 7 to fill with whatever we want. I think we'll need many more days. One travel film hadn't even left Dublin and already I think we'd used up 3 days. I was ready to scrap the walking tour and rent a car so we could get even further afield.

The good news is that we are heading to the part of Ireland that we think will be the most interesting. We arrive in Dublin and leave from there so we should be able to fit in what we'd like to see. We can see a lot as we journey to Cork and Killarney. The sad news is that the Aran Islands will have to wait for another time.

The best news is that the time of year we have chosen - early July - is when the wildflowers are all blooming on the Burren. This is a desolate piece of glacier-scoured limestone but the flowers are varied and delightful. We'll take the flower and bird books and I hope we'll see this fellow, too: a Marsh Fritillary.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pizza, dilettantes and entrepreneurs

Many years ago, my then-husband was so impressed with the pizzas that I made at home, he suggested that I might like to start a pizzeria. I thought about that idea for about a minute and a half before rejecting it with a shudder. Not because I didn't enjoy making the pizza but because I would be chained to that one activity for hours , days, weeks and probably years. Oh, at age 25 there is too much still to do in the world.

Over the years, I have taken up various activities and have been competent enough that others have proposed that I make a living from them. There has been sewing for others, knitting, making unique teddy bears and most recently primitive rug hooking. Fortunately for me, none of these things has the potential to support me. But, I toy with the idea and I soon bump up against the fact that I would have to devote most of my waking hours to all aspects of one activity. But what about all those other things that I want to do, too? Being a dilettante has it's price: I know that I will never be truly proficient at any one thing. I will always be a dabbler...a jack of all trades. I'm happy with that.

While I crave variety too much to settle down, I am an ardent admirer of those who have taken the leap into creating their own workplace and made it a success. Clearly, they have discovered what they enjoy doing as well as identifying it as a necessary product. It is must be scary to make the step and I know it's hard work. I am proud to know people who have this kind of talent and skill, determination and tenacity. Hats off to them!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little rug

Here's a very little rug (12x12") that I've just finished. It was a housewarming gift for Fabric Stash who also likes to knit socks.

I'm discovering that I'm not very good at creating a design on paper and sticking to it. This little mat really demonstrated that. I drew my design on paper. I drew it out on the backing - in ink - and then I totally changed it. The sock and the ball of yarn were pretty easy to get the way I wanted. The background - not so much.

I had a vision of 3 inch squares which would be two different shades of green. I had a bright spring green which had been used to dye another fabric with salt transfer. I wanted to use it with the original green fabric so that the greens would be in the same green range. But as I was hooking it, I realized it wasn't looking as interesting as I had thought it would.

I tried adding a third green which was darker and more grassy. This just looked so busy I had to abandon that concept. My instincts were confirmed when Anne also said it had to change. So, out came all the strips and I created a pattern with the hooking direction and the grass green. Then I made a wider than normal border with an even darker, forest green. And that looked exactly right. I'm quite pleased with the result.

Clearly, I need the trial and error approach.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good reading

I finished Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things" a few days ago and I will send it out via BookCrossing to a friend. This book has stuck with me for the writing. Roy is a wonderful wordsmith as well as a good story teller.

I am a big fan of those writers who have Indian backgrounds. I don't know what makes their use of the English language so compelling. Perhaps it is the fact that there is a shared language but that Roy brings a whole different way of using English based on the idiom of another language. I suppose other writers who speak other languages and who also write in English have a similar effect. Somehow, though, I find the Indian writers have something very colorful and musical underlying their words.

The following quote is taken from a scene in which anxious parents and frightened children crowd a waiting room which is separated from the street by a curtain:

"The slow ceiling fan sliced the thick, frightened air into an unending spiral that spun slowly to the floor like the peeled skin of an endless potato."

The image has stayed with me since I read it. It conveys India to my senses as well as the conditions in which the people live. This book was full of imagery like this and it was always spot-on and powerful.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday wonders

Inspired by the many theme challenges that I see all over the blog world, I've decided to set myself one, too. Since some days it can be a challenge to write, I've come up with an idea: an alphabet of things that amaze, amuse, or inspire me. I'll dig into the photo pile for an illustration every Sunday. I am always keen to take up a dare - even if I set it myself. So, here's A for Architecture.

I loved the organized tangle of the budding magnolia branches. The structure of each individual twig is interesting in itself with the barky joints contrasting against the soft flower buds.

Stay tuned for B next Sunday. This should keep me busy for a few months.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Construction zone

Last winter, when there was so much wet snow, our carport took on a decided list to the west. Despite the downturn in construction, we had to wait until this past week to get it repaired. Part of the problem was the lack of concrete footing for the supports. In a perfect world, we would have scrapped the structure and started over. That's not possible since we wouldn't get a permit now to put a structure where it is. So, cool jack devices are helping to keep it up while the work goes on. underneath.

One of the casualties, is our favorite garden: the one we worked so long and hard over one whole summer with a truckload of dirt and many new plants. The necessary trampling in the small construction space is adding to the previous destruction by the runaway truck. But the thing about gardens is they're always a work in progress. See how the crocuses are bravely defying the big boots? Or maybe they're standing guard over the budding evening primrose.

Our other fear is that our glorious clematis montana will not survive the necessary digging near it's roots. It has some small green buds so it is alive, so far. If we can get it back in place in the next week it may yet bloom. There's another montana in the back but this is the nicer of the two. It has beautiful pink flowers and is always so beautiful.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


No, not those little economies. We were doing our part to stimulate the Canadian - and perhaps global - economy. Our visit to Steveston would not have been complete without a foray to a local yarn store. Sock yarn is always high on my list of must-have yarn so that's what I look for. This time, I found some Arequipa, an alpaca/wool mix which comes in such beautiful colorways. A bamboo yarn in pink tones and single ball of a denim wool which might make socks for a little boy to wear inside gumboots. And, Anne asked for the bright red mix. It will make her feet feel warm even on the coldest day.

On the way home, we had time to stop in at Tilley Endurables. It was kind of a lark and kind of serious as we were looking for some clothes which would allow us to travel very light when we go to Ireland. I spotted this label in the pants...how could anyone not buy them? Success is practically guaranteed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The reason

This is why we went to Steveston yesterday. We were conducting our own research on a cafe I've mentioned before: The Fisherman's Boot. We gathered up a friend who enjoys these out-of-the-way culinary experiences and off we went.

As you can see from the photos, it was an unpretentious place. To the extreme. Inside the front door, we were confronted with a long, featureless hall. The door which was ajar provided the only clue. Once inside, it's warm and worn like an old slipper. The menu is short, the coffee on tap and the waitress is old school. The kids' wagon train is evidence that they like it, too.

There's a lot of deep-fried stuff on that menu and I think every item would be great. All three of us enjoyed food that we thought had disappeared. It was just the way it used to be. You know, back in the olden days. Not that we'd want to eat it very often but good to know when you get a craving for fried food that satisfaction isn't far away.

And there's a reading room, too. Since this cafe serves all those who work at this dockyard, there seems to be a need for lots of reading material. Magazines, newspapers and lots of pocketbooks. All available in a little alcove where you could take your meal or morning coffee.

We'd go back. How much higher can the praise get?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


A day out in our favorite village: Steveston. This time we went to the shipyards on the other side of the marine history site.

It was so peaceful and quiet There was no one around but the ducks and gulls - and us. Crows struggled with branches trying to pull off twigs for their nests. A heron - or maybe an eagle - sat so still in a tree way across the river.

Looking west, we could see the snow-covered mountains of Vancouver Island. Looking north, we could see the black clouds over the mountains at home and basked in the sunshine on the pier a little while longer.

March 17

This date used to be one of those days when I dreaded going to school. We all know that this is the day for the wearin' o' the green. I was absolutely forbidden to wear green that day "because we aren't Irish - it's not right" . So, I would head off to school with very low spirits which was unusual for me as I always loved school.

The fun started as soon as I arrived and took my coat off. No green. This was a punishable offence and the green-wearers went around pinching everyone who wasn't similarly decked out. Most of those so-called Irish kids were just escaping the pinches by putting on a bit of green. How I wished I could do this, too.

When I got older (much), I began to research my family history. To my great surprise, the grandmother that I had assumed to be German like my grandfather turned out to be Irish. Really. No one had ever mentioned this fact before. I know that there was some shame in being Irish at various places and times in history but I didn't think there was any in Nova Scotia. Certainly there could be no more undesirable heritage in the 20th century than to be German. But, steadfastly German we were. Maybe it had to do with my mother having Scottish heritage. I'll never know now.

So, St Patrick's Day is celebrated by me with as many green garments as I can wear that day. Green is my favorite color and Ireland (as you all know) is the next stop on the travel list. I think Guiness is better than wine any day. Oh, and, my naughty voice says it would be fun to go back in time and pinch all those kids, too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


This is usually one of my favorite things to do. I usually just wander around looking and trying on/out things in my mind. But yesterday, we had to go out to buy a dryer and we decided that some new clothes wouldn't be a bad idea, either. The dryer was the easy part. Took about 15 minutes to point at the one we'd researched and pay for it.

Clothes not so easy. Why don't the fashion mavens or clothes designers or ready-to-wear folks just take note that I want something simple. I had my mind set on a white blouse. Just a simple white blouse with buttons, a collar and sleeves. Preferably cotton. Well, the fabric wouldn't have mattered in the end because I couldn't find my heart's desire anywhere I looked. White was a very under-represented color in the first place. If I spied something white on a rack, my excitement was only rewarded with some baby doll-ish top or maybe a camisole. And almost everything that caught my eye was too small. Oh, I know why I used to sew most of my clothes. It's the only way to get exactly what you want. But, really...a white blouse...how basic is that?

Saturday, March 14, 2009


So, here it is...almost finished. The hooking is all done and it's been steam blocked. I just have the dreaded binding to do now.

I still like it but I'm pretty sick of the two fabrics. There are two entire men's jackets in this rug. It's 28 by 33 inches and will take a little while to bind.

I think of it as 'stepping over the stream to Scotland' now rather than just stepping stones. Or sometimes it makes me think of ice floes - that would definitely be very northern Scotland. I'll take a photo when it's in place. Not this week, though...other hooking adventures await.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A find

This is my latest thrift store treasure. Isn't this amazing? It's an entire rug hooking kit which I assume was purchased at a group lesson. This person took the class, made copious notes and began to hook but for some reason abandoned the effort. And then, apparently, abandoned the whole idea of rug hooking. The Joan Moshimer book came with the package. So, I have a small wooden frame with backing stapled on. Enough cut strips to make the flower picture, a hook and the binding materials. All for well under $5. Oh, the student was hooking a heart for some reason. That's easily changed back to the original kit design.

The design is from a local artist, Michelle Sirois-Silver, and I do admire her designs. She has a wonderful sense of color and balance. I'll enjoy hooking this little piece up. Then I can save the frame and hook for when I get to teach one of the grandkids how to hook rugs. A few years yet, maybe.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


How do you choose a book to buy or borrow from the library? Assume that this is aimless browsing with intent rather than going with a certain book already in mind.

I realize that I must be attracted to the titles first. The last time I was let loose in the used bookstore, I headed straight for the mysteries. That's kind of the candy aisle for me. There's a huge selection at Characters and we had a lovely big credit to use up. So, I began at A and worked my way down the alphabet. By the time I got to the end my arms were full and I really felt I had enough for a while. But, right at the very end of the shelf down at the bottom were two books that immediately caught my eye.

The titles were: "Hands Like Clouds" and "Carry Tiger to Mountain". If you know tai chi, then you know that these are two moves from the 108 form. I am a novice tai chi student and these are two of my favorite moves. So of course, I was interested. The books were written by Mark Zuehlke and are the first of a series about a fictional coroner in Tofino. He may be fiction but the details of the town and all other descriptions are very real. I've finished them both now and the stories are complex and satisfying. The characters run the gamut of fully developed to caricature. But never cartoons. Even the caricatures strike a note of realism if you've ever lived in a small town in BC. And, clearly, the author loves the west coast of Vancouver Island. I found that I wanted to revisit Tofino which has happy memories for me.

His writing experience is essentially non-fiction and this shows in the amount of research and detail. It takes a bit of time to get into the first book but after a few pages the story grips and whirls you away. And his interest is in Canadian military history which also shows. He has one more novel published: "Sweep Lotus" which will now be an intentional search for me. Just another name to tuck in the memory.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good day

I went back to tai chi this morning. Hurray! It was great to be back and even better to get through 90 minutes without any ill effects. Lots of stretching before the session. I skipped the exercise bike this morning and it seemed to be OK.

My reward was lunch with a colleague who's returning to work after a year's absence. Great to talk shop and know that plans will be moving forward. Change is good but tricky. Managing change is even trickier. Like all people I have an ambivalence to change. It's good if I think of it and not so good when others do. I must remember that when promoting my ideas as most people are exactly the same as I am. And seniors can be even more sure that their way is the best. Hey! That's me!

This was an exciting and productive lunch, though. Just the right mix of laughter and serious stuff.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Worth it

Some days, I sit with the newspaper and just turn pages. I usually love to read it because there are so many little facts that I can tuck away. But this morning it was just same old, same old and no insights at all. The media have a way of drivel-izing almost everything these days. I take this as a sign of desperation.

There is a bright spot to the morning paper, though. The comics. Or the daily black and white funnies as I used to call them Still do, if I must be truthful. And this is to distinguish them from the weekend colored funnies. But I digress.

This bright spot is what I save 'til last, it's that good. I like leaving my morning read with a happy taste rather than a mean-spirited or depressed one. And the comic strip that I save 'til the very last is "cul de sac". I love Alice Otterloop. I wish I had been like her when I was little. I wish I could be like her now! I suspect that I was more like her older brother. Maybe my sister was more like Alice. I wonder.

I have wondered about the artist who creates this strip for a while. Don't know why I didn't look sooner but I have now. Here is his blog...it's every bit as wise and wooly as the comic strip.

Monday, March 9, 2009


After throwing out the idea of travelling through blogs, I figured I should actually try it out. I set some ground rules to keep myself on track - it's hellishly hard to stay focused even with the rules. The rules: Start with any blog and jump from one blog to the next via each blogger's list. Spend no more than 30 minutes in total travel. That's so I wouldn't spend the whole day.

I began with a blog I had visited yesterday because of the title: "Tidings of Magpies" and I went back because I wanted to reread the poem by Robyn Sarah. So that was my jump-off point. From there I emerged into a huge photo of a bouquet of yellow mums and huge red rose hips which brightened the morning considerably. There was also a video clip of Joni Mitchell singing 'For the Roses' at Carnegie Hall in 1972.

Travelling to the UK, I found some wonderful photos which had been taken through glass. I decided to follow this one just for my own interest. Still in England, someone had posted photos of south London in the recent snowfalls there. Very bleak-looking and quite in tune with my mood over last night's storm here.

I flew across the Atlantic to Indianapolis where I enjoyed a vitual cup of coffee with a coffee house owner/operator. There were a few good coffee puns, stories and cartoons. My stop in San Diego was memorable with a video of Otis Rush and Eric Clapton performing 'Double Trouble' at Montreux in 1986. This blogger sells online and has live music in every one of his posts. I had to break away - good thing I had those rules!

And for something completely different, I ended up with a lecturer in educational computing at a university in Glasgow. He treated me to some calculator poetry: my favorite was 'Sozzle'. I then went to a conference which trains teachers also in Scotland. My last stop was another education technology blogger. And then my half-hour was up.

That was fun and I'll try it again sometime. I learned lots. It's interesting to think how different the trip would have been had I chosen different blogs in the same lists. We all have such catholic tastes and our blog reading reflects that.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


The chocolate cake was a huge success. Very easy for an almost 5 year-old and an almost 3 year-old to help make. They were very proud of their creations and took a lot of ownership.

I think they were very happy to make cakes that we could share, too. We grown-ups could appreciate their skill in the kitchen. Even their imperfect mixing turned out OK.

Probably the reason that baby sister (6 mos) screamed when she had to go to bed was that she hadn't had her share of the cake and ice cream. So, Grammy distracted her with a few turns around the garage in the stroller - a good plan. And I could enjoy the sound of wind whipping through the tree branches as I wheeled around in the dark. Maybe next time she'll be old enough for some cake, too.

Going, going, gone.

We heard the chain saws early yesterday morning. The Douglas fir, to the left of the chimney, had been topped the day before and we had assumed it was going to be left that way. That's a common enough occurrence here on the North Shore. The bylaws make it difficult to remove trees of a certain size. So, people have figured out ways of getting the light - or security - without actually taking the tree down.

When we saw the fellow at work, he was taking the limbs off. That's also pretty common and goes with the first strategy. Eventually, the tree sickens and dies and has to be removed anyway. I hate to see that happen and I think the bylaws create more problems than they solve. There are many sad, ugly trees around which should have been cut down.

So, we watched as the limbs continued to fall. It's not uncommon for a completely limbed tree to be left standing but today was a good day. The tree was taken down in sections. Two red cedars were left which are much smaller.

The trees around where we live are not old-growth. Or even second or third generation. Because we live in a once-upon-a-time forested area, we think these trees were left behind when the land was cleared to build houses. Most are not and many are planted Christmas trees that have grown out of their yard space. They were destined to always do that so why people think planting them in a small city lot is a good idea is beyond me. I guess it's sort of like getting a pet when it's young and not realizing that it will grow - sometimes very large - and it will need care for a long time.

Having said that, the people who plant the trees move on and new owners are faced with a lack of light or a feeling of danger when the big winds blow. What to do? We inherited our big trees and they provide cool shade on summer days. I enjoy the sound the wind makes in their branches. I love that the birds have a place to forage for bugs and perches to sit on out of the rain. But I sure wouldn't cut their tops off or prune their beautiful branches away just to get a bit of light.

The kindest thing we can do is not plant them if there is limited space. It's also a kindness to cut them right down instead of killing them slowly. Maybe city hall should rethink the bylaw.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


It's great to have friends who send you information. How else would we know about 5 Minute Chocolate Cake? And, it's even better when friends send it to you just before you have a big babysitting night with the grand-kids.

Since that's the case, we thought it would be a good idea to test it before we got the kids involved with making a cake. What if it didn't work? What if it 'sploded all over the microwave?

Well, as you can see it does work, it doesn't explode and it's pretty yummy, too.

This is supposed to serve one (decadently) and two (virtuously) but I think it will actually make four servings. Think warm brownie - with ice cream, of course.

Recipe review: we didn't add chocolate chips as some people have. We used less vanilla than some. The texture and taste is a lot like those chocolate pudding cakes that Mom used to make without the sauce part. Quite good without the additives. The easy factor? 9 out of 10 so I think the kids will be able to help make their own dessert tonight.

Thanks, Elaine...we needed that.

Friday, March 6, 2009


We got an envelope in the mail this morning fat with kids' photos. There was something pleasing about being able to hold the photo in my hand and view it for real.

All our photos are stored electronically now. And we send them to other people via email or post them on blogs and/or Facebook. It's great to be able to share so many photos with so many people - all at the same time. Via Ravelry, I can keep up with everyone's knitting projects and they can keep up with mine. Every rug I've ever made, large or small, is available for online viewing by anyone in the world. It's a marvel - really.

But it's nice to have something to hold, too. Thanks, Deb.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Old vs new

The little socks are done. Yes, I cheated and made some with the other yarn, too. It was such pretty yarn and I know it will be liked just as much. Who wouldn't want two pair of new socks?

This is the results of the toe-up versus top down contest. The difficulty level is about the same. Maybe the toe-up takes longer to get going than the decrease/grafting would but it was new to me, too, so hard to say. I would definitely use a different cast-on to avoid having the ridge at the toe that this version had. If you look at the full sock photo you can see that the toe-up has a more definite right-angle to the heel. This may give a better fit for little feet but it wouldn't change anything for adult sizes.

The heel method in this toe-up pattern was very quick. Maybe too quick. If you look closely at the yellow/blue sock you can see that the short-row (as instructed in this pattern) produced gaps at every row. This would probably not be noticeable when wearing but I'm not sure of that. I had never done short rows like this and wouldn't again. It's not smooth enough and I like my socks to be seamless. And I definitely don't like the holes it leaves.

The 1x1 ribbing doesn't pull in as much but I usually use a 2x2 rib which I think is better. This is easily fixed so not really a comment for or against. Using a larger size needle to bind off at the top, though, does give a sloppiness that adds nothing to the appearance. I think just making sure the bind-off isn't too tight would do the trick.

So, if I get a big thumbs up on the fit, I'll try again. If not, I'll stick to my own pattern. If the fit is significantly better, I'll look for a different method of making the heel. That was my big complaint. So, not much of a contest, really, is it?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


This morning I walked outside and there was spring. The garden has rebounded from the ice and snow. I couldn't resist taking some photos of the strong crocuses which force their shoots up through the tough old rhododendron leaves.

And the beautiful snowdrops which don't last very long. Our colony is slowly growing. It's not quite a drift in its space but, definitely,is starting a trend.

I was also very glad to see that our beautiful white clematis survived the winter in its container. There are two nice strong buds growing on otherwise dead-looking branches.

My daughter informed me that a garden with lots of dandelions indicates good soil. Well, we don't have many dandelions and I thought it was because we routed them out quite quickly. (This despite the fact that they are probably my all-time favorite flower.) We do have, even this early, a whole ton of buttercups which prosper in our soil. I wonder what that indicates?

The garden work calls...it's very loud today.


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