Sunday, December 31, 2006

As the Year Turns

I'll be sooo glad when all the Holiday Hoopla ends. When you're single,(separated is good enough!) have no close family & childless, its a tough & lonely time of year.

Ronn & I used to host the Orphan's Christmas Dinner for our orphaned friends who had nowhere to go. He'd cook the dinner, supply the tree & the dishwasher!!! I shopped, wrapped & supplied gifts & got to clean up the damed kitchen afterwards. They'd eat, drink, make a mess, fall asleep & leave with goody bags of leftovers that we didn't have to eat. After a few years we realized the orphans were all gone & there was just US left. And I just wanted time to spin. Not a good year for the BT.

So I'm hoping to shift him off for this New Year's evening to celebrate with a bunch of guys who just want to drink, play cards, blow off steam & yahoo into the wee hours with no women around to laugh at them. I want to spend the evening with my spinning wheel! And Arvik.

I ordered a new pattern from Just One More Row!! I love the neckline of this sweater, its easy to knit & I'm hoping to knit it out of my handspun. It goes up to a size XXXL if I remember correctly - which is 62" & all sizes are in the pattern. So, if you & your much larger or smaller friend both love it - you can both use it!!! I love Jill's patterns, they're inexpensive, easy to knit & the customer service is great. Jill is a one woman company. And, most of the designs DON'T have to be sewn together, they're knit in one piece with minimal finishing . . . . She also has some really interesting bag patterns which can be bought as a kit or just by the pattern. She's worth checking out.

So, I'm hoping the New Year will be better financially for me - the BT has been off for 19 months since his car accident & it looks like he has a permanent disability. We are NOT happy about that. ICBC & the Disability company STILL haven't paid wage loss or rehab. We've learned that paying for insurance doesn't necessarily mean you'll get it if you NEED it. A Lotto win over $100,000 would be appreciated. My Horoscope does say my financial situation will improve in 2007. Bout time.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Aftermath

Another Christmas with its guilt, excuses, complaints & excesses is over! I ignored the whole thing, stayed home, fondled Arvik & watched all the oldies on tv. Had a great day. I delivered presents hither, thither & yon but otherwise avoided the obligitory 'family' gatherings. I'm getting much better at this as I age . . . . .

And what did I get for Christmas??? Peace, quiet, a box of sock yarn from Elann & some LUSH goodies I ordered on line! Oh yeah, & my half of that 15 pounds of mill ends from Brown Sheep. The BT wants to buy me the most expensive, elaborate spinning wheel made by man but I keep trying to talk him into something plain, small & portable . . . . he can buy it when I find it!!

I spent Christmas eve & most of the Day spinning Arvik - I have two more big, fat, fluffy skeins . . . and I'm working on a third one while I watch the Home & Garden channel tonite. I was going to dribble some Astro Blaster Blue Koolaid on a bump or two from the big bag of mill ends today but got involved in other fibery things & forgot - too bad I have to work tomorrow!!! But, who knows, I may just do it tonite before bed because it'll take days to dry!! One thing about dyeing with Koolaid - you don't need any vinegar & its not totally necessary to wet the whole thing. I can inject the dye into the centre of the 'egg' & just let it dry. The fun will come when I pull out the centre & spin it up. I've got a request for a touque so this might be an interesting way to liven it up.

And of course, I've been yakking about the neat sweater I found for Arvik. It was designed for silk waste but I think it would be ideal for Arvik's lovely range of greys. Its knit in garter stitch with an elongated stitch between every couple of garter rows. Each of the three pieces is knit in a different direction with an asymmetrical front - hopefully it looks as good on someone WITH boobs as it does on someone WITHOUT!!

Geeze, did I say BOOBS?? Sweaters are hard to knit when you have em gang. And then add a belly as well . . . . . Can you say "fitting problems"???? Oh well, I'm going to give this one a try, after all, it may work out. And, what have I got to lose anyway?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Two Days Before Christmas & all Thru the House . . . .

The BumBags are all packed

and by the door they are stacked!

Stuffed with goodies, snacks & socks

even toothbrushs & paste all in a box.

The BT's small orange box filled with loot

became a crate of surprises, oh what a hoot!!

I've packed up boxes for his nephew & son

and knit socks for his dad & his mom.

I hear there's a turkey & a ham

waiting to come here & get in the pan.

So, I'm buying milk, triscuits & dip

locking the doors & no, its not a fit

I'm spending the holidays totally shut in

and communing with fibre while I spin!!

Speaking of Goodies - here's a picture of the three handpainted skeins I won for the 'OOPS' story I sent to Canspin. Joanne, of Homespun Angoras Fibre Co, did all the work for our Secret Santa exchange AND supplied the prize for the story contest!! The skeins are wonderfull!! She sent along a slipper pattern, can you imagine???? But they're much too nice for SLIPPERS!!!!! A Hat would be more like it. Or a nice long scarf or even a Hoodie Scarf - you know the kind - you make an extra long scarf, fold it in half & sew a short seam up the centre so it makes a hood & then you wrap the ends around your neck. We use to make them when I was a kid for skating. They stayed on your head & around your neck better than just a scarf. And the back of your head was warm too.

And Speaking of Secret Santa . . . Here's a pic of the lovely painted SILK my SS sent me! Its from Legacy Studios in Alberta . . . I just love looking at it!!!! I have some plain hankies that I wanted to dribble dye & some wild colored silk waste that I bought last year at Fibre Fest . . . . I wonder if I can pick up the colors somewhat & dye the hankies so they'd bridge the gap between the colors in this & the waste . . . . . hmmmmmm. I also dug out an old shawl I spun & crocheted up in the 70s. I was so dumb I never set the spin in the yarn. So, I pulled it apart, including the fringe - hey, there's two bricks of silk in that thing!!!

And then there's Arvik to finish spinning. I love Arvik. She has such variation in color in her grey fleece which is soooooo soft. Linda Wendelboe keeps Arvik for me, LOL. I've finished another two fat skeins for my sweater & intend to finish spinning up the smaller Arvik fleece over the holidays - yes, I'm keeping my hands off the BIG BAG until this fleece is done!! I want to wear this ARVIK sweater sometime this winter!!! The actual sweater will be simple to knit, comes in three pieces with an asymmetrical front & is found in INKnitting, the Fall, 2005 issue.

So much fibre, sooooo little time!! I have so much fibre hanging round here these days that I'm planning on adding a codicil to my will so I can leave it to some other Fibre Fanatic when I die!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

How the Time Flies When Yer Having Fun!!

I suddenly realized I haven't blogged for ages. I've got new things on the go, too many places yet to go, less time to go & its almost time for the country to shut down for Christmas!! But, I suppose there's still time to hock our souls to the Gods of Guilt, Tradition & Commerce . . . Do I have the "Christmas Spirit"?? Hell NO! Bah Humbug & all that.
I see all the families telling their sad stories to the newspapers so they can get a hamper & toys for the kids - what about their struggle to survive the rest of the year??? And, what about all the people who have no one? Its lonely enough for some but this constant barrage makes it even worse. Is there Really ANY Christmas Spirit out there??? I wonder.

Speaking of commercial stuff - I got my 15 pound bag of Brown Sheep mill ends!!!! Actually, I've been spinning, dyeing & knitting up samples - couldn't keep my fingers out of it!!!! It came about 3 weeks after ordering, no duty or GST & the box expanded nicely when I opened it!!! About a third of the bag is wool/mohair in lovely roving. The mohair blend always has a pink line thru it to identify it which rinses out easily. This pic shows it as it comes out of the bag! I am just thrilled with the quality of fibre in the bag!!! It ended up costing $150.58 for 15 pounds. Gail & I are splitting this one so I guess we'll be spinning for some time to come. We've already talked about having a dyeing party in the summer . . . . .

The rest of the ends look like large, firm, oval eggs - the wool pulls out from the centre of each weird egg so I'm figuring this is the last inside bit from a huge cone that wound from the outside. There's about 5 kinds of fibre in this bag, a polworth I think - spongey, soft & stretchy; a hairy, glossy, almost hairy fibre in sheets - might just be mohair; a glossy, creamy roving; a really crimpy, dense but soft fibre & the mohair/wool.
I spun up a little of each, dyed some & knit a small swatch for my Sheep Book. I think I like the Polworth even better than the mohair/wool roving although the roving spins up beautifully, evenly & finely. Sigh . . . . . this is a wonderful bag of stuff!!!!

I am completing Sock #26 this year for the male part of the 'Parents Who Have Everything' just in time for Christmas. They get socks now for Birthdays, Christmas & Anniversaries which makes the gift giving easy!!
I'm using my Bamboo Skewer needles here with Confetti in the light blue splotch dyelot. I started off with 73 sts & am using the Queen Kahuna heel. Yes Virginia, I no longer knit a flap & struggle to see to pick up those stitches on either side!!!! It took 3 pairs of socks before I got the method firmly in my noggin but now I can do it in my sleep without the lights on. I like this heel because there's lots of room in it & I can do my favorite slip 1, knit 1 ribbed heel from the back of the heel all the way around to the instep, giving a nice cushy heel!
The BT loves this cushy heel & got his socks at the beginning of December. Two more pairs to go to girls who asked for Frankensocks!!! And how many days till the Big Day??? Yeah, I'll get em done!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Winter Wonderland

This is the view outside my front door!! Half the town stayed home, the schools are closed in Surrey & it looks like more snow on the horizon. It also looks like good weather to knit! And spin!

I should be working . . . . But, since half the town is shut down, the place where I normally work is in an industrial park on a side road & my car doors are frozen shut, I'm better off staying home . . . . . Apparently the RCMP are asking us to stay home where we're safe, warm & off the skating rink out there. And I guess I'll be home tomorrow too since I normally travel 40 minutes across two bridges to get there.
AWWWWWWW Gee, that's just too bad for me . . . .

I dug out Ginny's sweater last nite & knit down to the cuff ribbing on one of the sleeves. The body is finished to just below the hip & I only have to pick up & knit in the side triangles that fill in the deep indent between the front & back deep Vs. I'm contemplating a double seed stitch band on the bottom & may end up crocheting a row or two along the front edge & neck with the main deep violet yarn.
Someday, I'll learn more about light & pictures!!! This sweater is actually a deep bluey purple where it looks maroon & the light pink stripes are actually light bluey purple . . . . not pink!! But you get the idea of the striping. Its very flattering & uses up all kinds of leftovers . . . . . If I get it in gear, I may just have a sweater to wear this winter!!! And the cat will finally get the ratty old raspberry sweater that I've been wearing.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And I was Complaining About the RAIN???

Winter has officially arrived in the Lower Mainland. It snowed off & on here & there all day but decided to come down with a vengence last night so the BT & I headed off to the UBrew to bottle our last can of homemade beer! Well, if you're gonna be snowed in . . . . . but I was quite surprised to open the door this morning to about 6 inches of the white stuff. The cat rushed outside, smelled the stuff, dipped in one paw & reversed into the house! I agree with her. At least the car will get a well deserved wash! The neighbor's kids have cleaned off the fence to build a snowfort but left my drive untouched!! Drat! I considered shovelling it but the snow is still falling fairly heavily & who wants to do it twice?? I do sweep the car off regularly so it doesn't get buried under the ice!!

So what am I doing while the snow is falling down??? Well, I'm almost finished the Indian Sweater I'm knitting for my homeless gal. One arm almost done & the other down about half way until my wrists started hollering. This is not a really good pic because its just too bright outside with all that snow but it has a split front from the dark yoke to the neck & will sport a hood on the top & a secret pocket on the inside when I'm done. Its large but thats what the recipient asked for! I hope it keeps her nice & warm this winter.

I dug out the wool sweater jacket I started last winter. Since I have to retire my favorite ratty old sweater, I want another one out of wool!!! I'm knitting it out of Raspberry 'Dalesman' wool from Birkeland Bros in Vancouver. Apparently they had this spun in New Zealand & dyed to their specifications. I loved the color when I first set eyes on it!!! I look my best in blued pinks & reds like Watermelon, Raspberry & Fuschia which are really hard to find. I must have 20 of the 200gm skeins of this color in my stash!!! The color is kind of garish in this pic because of the light reflection off the snow outside . . . not enough light inside!

The jacket pattern is The Moss Stitch Blazer from the BIG KNITS book by Soudan & French. I knit it up years ago in a raspberry acrylic yarn which ended up stretching out of shape rather quickly. It's become ratty, droopy & totally derelict looking but I still curl up in it because I love the color!! So, I'm getting off my duff & knitting up the replacement in wool. The pattern is a double moss stitch, the sweater has two patch pockets & a long roll collar/front. Its the most comfortable sweater & the style is really nice on a large, round body.
I still have Ginny's Sweater to finish - that's the one with the deep V in front & back with recycled yarns & I'm spinning up my Arvik fleece like mad so I can get a light but warm handspun sweater on the go . . . Yes dammit, its all about ME for a change.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm Sick of Socks

Did I actually admit to that?? You betcha!!
After completing the thick, alpaca/shetland, handspun socks, my hands hurt like hell. They ache. The knuckles on my thumbs burn & the base of my fingers feel swollen. And I still have a Cowichan style sweater to finish. On large needles. Grrrrr. But, here's the finished diving socks leaning up against the remainder of a hanging basket - I think some of this stuff is perennial!! Who knows, maybe the survivors will end up in a new hanging basket come the spring.

And on to sock #24 - I've turned the heels & am about halfway down the instep on both of them at this point. They're nice & bright & cheerful - something we really need around the Soggy Lower Mainland these days!!! Since its still raining, the only variation in the weather these days seems to be the intensity & direction of the rainfall - is it falling down or blowing horizontally!!!
I've included a snap of something neat I found out in the garden when I went to shoot the socks for this blog - this little planter that I found almost dead in the heat of the summer, has been nursed back to health! Is that a little purple flower I see in the top, right hand corner??? In this weather??? I guess its happy!! And its nice to see something alive & blooming in the garden right now.

As soon as Socks #24 are finished, I have to get it in gear & knit some 'manly' socks for Christmas & two pairs of Frankensocks as gifts. Lucky for me, I have lots of bright leftovers including the bright pink & blue Confetti from socks #24. I'm thinking about knitting one pair with hot pink as the binder color with all the bits with pinks, blues & purples & the other with red as the binder with all the leftovers containing anything with red in it! Makes knitting socks exciting & fun!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The past couple of days have washed away all memories of summer, dry lawns, flowers, sitting outside with a beer & lazily watching the world stroll by. Life in the city is no fun in a big storm. It seems drivers become less intellegent as the years go by & lose whatever remained when the lights go out. No one knows how to take turns anymore. No one signals. No one follows the rules we learned as new drivers. I wonder what would happen if we had to retake our driving test every once in a while??? When it snows, a lot of drivers get off the road & those that remain become very polite. But, when it rains, it's a demolition derby out there! I try to stay home & spin or knit.

My friend Gail has a well, so when the power goes off, she's dipping into the water barrel outside to flush & wash. She has lamps & a good wood stove though so she's nice & cosy with her spinning wheel. My ex still has the old wood stove so he can cook, heat water & keep cosy by the fire with his battery operated radio. I was the lucky one in one sense, my power flickered but never went out, the cable was on, I raked the leaves off the drain so I wasn't flooded & I spent the evening knitting with a hot cup of tea. I really felt sorry for all those unappreciated heros working outside in the storm to get the roads cleared, the floods diverted & the power back on.

<<<<<<< >>>>>>>

I'm knitting up socks #25 in alpaca & shetland wool. They're knit with three different handspun yarns to make a thick, warm pair of socks for a friend who goes diving off the southern BC coast all year round. His dry suit keeps him dry but it doesn't keep his feet & ankles warm. He's tried everything but not my socks!! So, I'm knitting up a firm fabric on 5mm needles - its quite a bit slower than my regular mindless sock knitting because it IS so much thicker!!! I'm really hoping these will solve the problem but I also have some other tricks up my sleeve. I was given a big bag of almost-black Newfie hair. It's actually a brown so dark it just looks black & I was thinking of blending it with some wool & knitting it up with another strand of plain wool or maybe some mohair or llama. I have big bags of both in the closet that only need washing, picking & spinning. I haven't used the llama in socks simply because its much too lovely . . . . But - in order to save the feet of a friend, I might be persuaded. By the way these socks are progressing, they'll soon be standing in the corner on their own.

Socks #24 have advanced to the heels. As soon as the Diving Socks are finished, #24 will have their heels turned & the foot finished. And then I have to figure out #26 which will be a Manly gift for the male half of the "Parents who have Everything" for Christmas. I may have to make the trek down to Knitopia to seach for just the right pattern!! And then there's all that wool from Brown Sheep coming . . . . . . .

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Morning in the Rain

Although I like to live on the coast, all this rain is getting me down. My arthritis would prefer it DRY - cold or hot will do as long as its dry! But, if you chose to live in the Rainforest, I guess you have to get used to rust, mold, damp & rain. Good thing we have wool & gas fireplaces . . . .

The cat is especially peeved. She keeps calling me to the door to go out. I open the door, cat runs out, she sees water, cat goes into reverse & I'm left holding the door open. Twenty minutes later, we repeat the process. Its all my fault. I'm in charge of the door. And she wants the door into Summer.

Since we can't go outside & play in the garden with all the plants, I've spent my time knitting more socks. I dug into the left-overs bag & found 5 balls of the Lord & Master's favorite splotch dyed Confetti & knit up these socks. I only had enough to knit to the instep but I think they look really good with the solid band & red toe. The lighting is really off this morning since these are actually blue with a slate band & red toe! Not bad for a few left-over balls eh? It pays to knit several pairs of socks in the same color. I do put different toes on them for fun but this is almost like getting a free pair of socks.

The bright yarn on the left is going to be my new socks. Again, this is my old pal, Confetti. Confetti colors have really sharpened up & there's so many lovely combinations at a really low price that I just can't ignore it considering it really wears well too. I do knit Confetti socks on needles one size smaller than I do with Regia or Opal but the Confetti 'fulls' when washed the first time so the fabric is similar. Cheap & cheerful, that's my motto!!!

My spinning buddy Gail & I
did a really bad thing today. I admit the Devil sat on my shoulder & whispered into my shell-like ear & I passed it straight on into to Gail's. Carol, who sells Brown Sheep Rovings, tempted me with her ad. We've long heard wonderful things about Brown Sheep Roving. And Carol Lee has tons of it for sale on her Discount Page. I should never ever look but I did & there it was - ripe for the taking & I fell into the land of temptation - assisted by Gail. We bought 15 pounds of Brown Sheep white roving to spin. FIFTEEN pounds! The only thing is - I have to hide it at MY place . . . . . . .

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hallowe'en is over for Another Year!

I nominated the BT for a job watching heavy equipment & a house last nite. My client who is digging big holes in the ground around the house, worried about his expensive equipment sitting there all alone when the ghouls were out. I suggested security for the witching hours & even gave him a number! The BT was hired on the spot. Only thing I forgot was that we sold his car last month & I would have to drive him to the appointed spot & pick him up in the wee hours . . . . its amazing how empty the freeway is at 3:38 in the morning! Testosterone, being what it is, the Little Boys showed up when it was well & truly dark to burn down the house & shoot their rockets at the Hoes & Cats parked nearby. The BT, in camoflage from his army days, appeared out of nowhere like a bat out of hell & scared the crap out of them. All was quiet until the bars closed and the Big Boys came to burn down the house & shoot rockets at the Cats & Hoes. Super BT in stealth mode appeared out of nowhere & once again saved the day. I shake my head in wonder - why would mostly, perfectly normal human beings want to go out to burn things down & blow things up on Hallowe'en???

I got to stay home on Hallowe'en. I bought a big box of Pringles in Hallowe'en colors for the few kids we still get knocking at the door. I think 8 kids showed up. And now I have an almost full box of indivdual Pringles. But I got to sort thru my sock yarn & pick out a whole bunch of leftovers for Christmas socks. I think I'll knit up some Frankensocks with black or grey as the foundation color & use up all the bits as colored bands between blocks of the solid color.

And I got to spend some time spinning - I actually got to SPIN!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday Afternoon in the Swamp

Another week just whizzed by while I was trying to get my life organized. I live & work in chaos. Because of this, I signed up for a Virtual University course in 'How to Organize your Life'. I'm supposed to keep a schedule of my time in 15 minute blocks for 3 days. The instructor says that 3 days is enough to see how you actually spend your time. Well, I spend a lot of time driving. And sorting things for clients. And trying to do two or three things at the same time. I'm an Everything Out & See The Big Picture - To Hell With the Details person. Which means I live in chaos. If it isn't in sight, I can't find it & I'm only concerned with the Bottom Line not how you get there . . . . . tell me something I don't know!! When do we get to the part that helps?????

I'm also taking a basic HTML class. I want to know why I can't make Mr Fluffy jump up & down!! I've been editing my template & adding buttons for this site by following the patterns of the original code. I've always been good at following patterns - did you know that most exams have a pattern?? And the template is no exception but I want to understand WHY it works. Mom DID say my first word was WHY, not mama, like other kids. So this has kept me busy too.

I've finished the Africa socks!! I made this first pair a little short since they're to go to one of the "Parents Who Have Everything" for Christmas. Yes Virginia, less than two months till the big day again!! I have another ball for myself hidden away - I'm not normally a brown lover but I just love the strong graphic element in these socks. They remind me of an African mud-print!!
And I'll enjoy wearing my pair. Since this yarn is a little coarser than the sock yarn I usually use, I went up a half needle size when I knit them which made the yarn feel much nicer.

I've also started to knit up the last of my Rainforest Opal - PARROT. I'm not sure if this colorway really reminds me of a parrot but it sure is bright & cheerful!! I've already turned the heel a la Queen Kahuna & am heading up the homestretch to the toe - these should be done by Saturday nite while I watch TV!! As usual, Opal knits up beautifully, feels good & has great yardage. I'm knitting it on my favorite 2.25mm needles & the fabric feels wonderful even before washing. I was looking at Opal sites since I know there's some new Rainforest colors & I want a couple of the new ones if I can ever find them again!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday morning coming down . . .

I woke up this morning with a hangover!
Well, it sure felt like a hangover although I only remember one beer last nite after work . . . and then Mizz Bitchy snapped at the BuGeyed Monster in the car & the fight was on!!! Feels more like Monday to me.!!
And here I've finished pair number 20 which I'd like to dip in gasoline, stuff in an unmentionable orifice & light with his very own Bic . . . . .

The Joys of Relationships.

By the way, the socks are laying in a bed of Rosemary - the durned thing seems to think its spring & is putting out new shoots everywhere!

And the pole beans are blooming their hearts out while the clematis is setting new buds everywhere. Aren't we getting ready for winter???

Still knitting on the Indian Sweater. As one knitter remarked, "its like knitting with turkey basters"!! She's got it right - its a great relief to get back to the nice little wooden sock needles after a couple hours of wrestling with those huge needles. I'm also making the sweater extra long so the back & kidney area isn't exposed when the wearer bends over & adding a hood to keep neck & head covered & warm. I remember cranking these out waaaaay back when my kid brothers were in their mid-teens & newly moved to Vernon. The first winter was a little out of their experience having grown up on the coast so big sister knit sweaters for the next winter!!! I think they were all the style back then too.

I've started on the Africa socks for ME. And I've stared a diamond shaped swatch in my Arvik handspun. I have a patten designed for a worsted weight cotton yarn that uses a diamond motif in a modular system to make a lovely summer sweater. Now worsted weight cotton may look good on a small figure but it becomes heavy & uncomfortable on a large one! I tried a couple of rows of the motifs & ended up frogging the whole thing in disgust. But, the pattern is lovely & I wondered how it would work with handspun . . . . . Handspun is loftier than commercial yarn but lighter in weight so the diamond motif may look really nice in a larger format. Must finish the swatch in order to test my theory. Would be a nice way to showcase the color changes in the fleece . . . .

And its 5 o'clock in the afternoon!! Where DID the day go?? Must be the hangover.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just Another Soggy Sunday . . .

The rain has started & I guess this signals the start of winter in the Lower Mainland. I know, I know, we may get a couple of sunny days yet but the wet, grey days of fall and winter always get me down, especially when my paper is missing!!!!

One of the problems of this time of year is Where Do I Put All the Plants??? I toss em outside each spring & then fill up the plant places all summer with Other Things. Now I have to find Places again. If I was smart, which I'm obviously not, I'd only buy OUTDOOR plants.
So now I have to find a spot for two Christmas Cacti, two HUGE spider plants - these were babies from the two ENORMOUS spiders I sicced on my pal Gail last winter!!, one Ginormous Jade plant & several small ones from its cuttings that I had to stick in the ground when I pruned the Momma & two baby ferns that grew too big in their little spot over the summer. I guess it actually was a blessing in disguise when Someone came along early in the spring & stole several houseplants . . . .

On the craft front - I've dug out some of the 100+ packages of Buffalo & Cowichan wool that I have laying about the place. I have basically two color palettes - greyish & brownish with no two balls the same. I met two young people about a month ago who, for their own reasons, are homeless. They struggle daily to make enough money to care for their own needs without taking anything from the government or begging. They work hard every day salvaging things that people throw away & recycling them. So, I decided to knit them both a Cowichan style sweater to keep them warm. I'm making them long, pullover style & oversized with a pocket on the inside & two on the outside. After knitting with US1 & 2 sock needles, knitting this stuff with these big needles is like knitting with broomsticks!!!! I don't know what hurts the most - the hands or shoulders!!! But I think this is a great way to use up all this yarn I've had around for a long time. I'll make hats out of the rest to give away - this wool needs a new home!!!

Socks - the 20th pair this year is on the needles & have had their heels turned!! These are in the black/white splotchy Confetti so beloved by the BoyToy & will end up in his sock drawer. Haven't decided what color the toes will be yet but will probably have another red or blue stripe just before the toe which looks soooooo neat & colorful!! Gotta get some color in there somewhere with a guy who wants only "MANLY" colors . . .

Gail is off at the Desert Mesa Spinning retreat this weekend! I didn't have the money to go this year but put in my order for a couple of things . . . . as if I NEED any more fibre!!! Before Gail left, she sent me a couple of pictures of Freya with Granny & Grampaw at the Cranberry Festival in Langley. Granny Gail decided Freya needed something to keep her hands warm so she whipped up this latest little goodie for her grandbaby Freya. Fish Mitts!! Aren't they cute???

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Speaking of Time . . . .

Was having a BAD day this morning but I'm back on track!! I finished the BoyToy's newest socks last nite - in his favorite shade of Confetti - but I just HAD to make the toe different again! He really hates the wild patterns most of us love & I HAVE to do something to keep them from being booooooring!! I haven't cast-off for the toes yet so the turquoise thingie is the stitch holder for those who are wondering . . . . .

Picked the last of the Scarlet Runner beans today & gathered in the last green tomatoes as well. I always let a couple of beans go to seed so I have them to plant next year. I put up a couple of 8x2 lattice strips up this summer for my clematis & beans to climb - some of the Runner beans are still trying to flower & the clematis is flowering its head off too!! I hope we continue to get bright sunny days till the end of the month, who knows?? I might just get more beans! The Christmas Cactus is setting buds. I know, I know . . . . but this one flowers at Easter & Thanksgiving!! I believe its actually the Crab Cactus that blooms at Christmas.

I got the brand new first edition of Interweave Crochet the other day! I think I actually prefer Interweave Knitting to all the others so I thought I'd try the new magazine out for size. There's a couple of bulky wrap jackets in there that I just love. I think they'd be very easy to size up to an Ample size too - the Cinnabar Coat is done with side panels between the fronts & back so it would be VERY easy to make the panel wider without compromising the overall shaping. The stitch is dead easy too - a half-double crochet & a slip stitch make the pattern! I dug out a crochet hook & tried it out right away. I also loved the fluffy Pineapple Lace Cardigan. I'd make it as a snuggle sweater for reading in bed or cuddling on the couch. Its really nice to see crochet patterns other than afghans, bedspreads & doilies!!!

And me with FOUR - yes, thats FOUR sweaters-in-progress now . . .
As time goes by . . . .

I'm quite shocked at how the past two weeks have flown by! Remember when we were kids & time was all we had?? And how it crawled endlessly when we were anticipating something wonderful like Summer Holidays, or Christmas or Easter??? Now you blink and another week has disappeared. Are we that busy? Are we too busy to enjoy TIME? TIME to spin, TIME to knit, TIME to laugh, TIME to spend with friends & family. I've been reminded sadly in the past two weeks that TIME is very precious when there's none left. It has been said more than once that the only thing any of us begs for before we die is to have more TIME. Savor it. Spend it wisely. It waits for no one.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr . . . . . .

Does anyone realize just how much it's rained lately??? The grass has greened up, the Manning Park fire is out & I've been cold all week. Part of this may be the remains of the virus that took me out last weekend but I really believe most of it's due to the sudden demise of summer.
I woke up the other morning with frozen feet! I've been too warm for most of this year - I show up sweaterless & jacketless with the sweat dripping off my forehead to most events. I've lived in shorts and thongs since January! I gave up wearing my own socks because I was too warm & now, with fall upon us, the rain is making everything damp & I'm cold! Is it the weather or have my hormones given up at last??? I'm knitting as fast as I can . . . .

Here's a pic of the latest pair of socks. The tops aren't really a different color, I guess I'm still not very good with the camera! The tops are the same as the foot but seem to be in the shadow so they look different. I was wondering what to do with the toes when Kathy whipped out the ball of purple that matched the purple in the socks perfectly - how does she DO that anyway??? I've already cast-on another pair in the BT's favorite black/white splotchy Confetti so he'll have some new snuggly socks for winter. I don't know what color toes they'll get but I will probably do the solid stripe of color before the colored toe like last time - he really loved those ones!!

Meanwhile . . . . the squares continue. I've picked out a couple of pink & grey ones which I think I'll keep for patch pockets on my grey handspun, Arvik sweater to be. And I'm debating whether to start knitting on the sweater as I'm spinning it or to finish my fuschia wool jacket that was started last year. The jacket is lovely but much heavier than I need right now. I'm wondering if I should just get it in gear & knit a light sweater quickly - I'll use a lace pattern to keep it light.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Best Laid Plans . . . .

My spinning & knitting buddy Gail & I had plans to go to the Ryder Lake Spin-In this weekend. We talked about little else this past week! We were dying to meet a fellow spinner/blogger of Wovenflame fame, Marlene. We even remembered to pack our favorite coffee cups. I woke up with what felt like a really bad hangover - hey, I only had a couple of brown cows the nite before!!! Dragged myself out of bed, took gravol & ibuprofen & managed to get some tea down . . . . got to Gail's house to find her in worse shape. I don't remember her being invited to the party!! I was white as a ghost but poor Gail was actually green. She was willing to go so she didn't spoil my day & vice versa for me. We decided to go back to bed! I know I slept most of the day. And I know where this came from. We are going to put Laura in a garbage can head first!

And the squares continue . . .

Just more of the bits & pieces I've been knitting up. Took a sampling to my sock knitting group & the gang told me I was nuts to think about putting them into a sweater because the colors vary too much, sigh . . . I didn't SAY I had any color sense or fashion couth! They're just too pretty to hide away at home on the couch . . . . . but I guess they're right. The Fashion Police would come & take me away.

The weekend got off to a lousy start but I have plans to spend most of today on my spinning wheel! And what will I do with all the money I saved from NOT going to the Spin-In??? Well, I just might buy some more CYAN & MAGENTA dyes so I can have some more great squares!!! Or I might dye up some yarn to knit pockets & collar or a yoke on my shetland sweater-to-be.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Nice Little Surprise

My knitting pal Gail sent this photo over the other day - I laughed out loud when I saw it! I met her little cat Evie one Saturday when we decided to have a spinning session at Gail's house. Apparently Evie is very shy & hides when people come over. But, I guess I smelled right & she made herself at home in my lap for most of the afternoon . . . . . Evie has good taste - this is one of Gail's felted bags!

Speaking of photos - Kathy sent over a couple of photos of her 'Fishing Socks' on the feet of her Fisherman!!
And the start of her current socks - I meant to get them posted but my Mail program crashed, taking with it all my addresses, saved documents & scads of unread mail!! Managed to fix the problem - it kept telling me I had 4000+ unread emails!! Not even I can get that far behind!! Sooooooooooo TADA!! Kathy's socks . . . This is the current sock in progress. She's actually turning the heels on these right now & I think she said these ones are for her daughter.

As for me - well, I'm trying to finish the current sock but other things keep getting in the way . . . like cold breezes & drafts! I keep thinking about finishing one of those damned sweaters in time for the fall weather - which seems to have arrived TODAY!! So, I've been knitting a lot of squares. I have a whole lot of unspun dyed batts in the basket as well as spun dye exeperiment yarn in balls. So, I've been knitting 8" dishcloth squares in handspun. I like the diagonal dishcloth pattern. Its simple yet elegant in its own way & the diagonals show off the color changes in the handspun. Not sure whether these will end up in an afghan or a sweater but they are on my mind, in my hands & on the needles these days. Maybe its like that finger itch you get in the early spring when you just have to go out & dig in the earth & plant seeds. Turning leaves give me that finger itch that means I have to knit something large & warm for the winter!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Cat Who Loves Fibre

Tigger loves fibre & anything made from fibre.
Sometimes I come home to find her head end rolled up in the latest project & her back end sticking out. Sometimes she just pulls the knit blanket off the couch or chair to lay on if she can't get on the furniture. Fresh fleece has to be kept in the bag or she'll roll in it. The bag of dog fur has to be put waaaaaaaay on top of something tall or she'll have the bag torn open & the contents made into a bed. Funny thing though . . . she doesn't go for yarn. No interest in the sock I'm knitting. Hasn't tried out the fluffy skeins of handspun. Doesn't play with stray strands of leftover yarns.

I've got a hole in my sock. This is the very first hole I've ever had in any of my handmade socks!!! If you look really closely just above where the green square heel is, you'll see the hole where the yarn has broken & pulled away from the heel flap. I have no idea why this happened. Maybe I picked up a partial stitch, maybe there was a weak spot in the yarn, maybe this is a spot where I tug them on or off . . . Gives me a good reason to stay with the new heel style that I've learned where I DON'T pick up stitches at all - I increase 1 stitch on either side of my heel stitches every second row until I have a fan of increases which look just like a gusset. Sometimes I just short-row the heel - a la Jan - from there if I'm in a hurry or continue with turning a heel flap & then short-rowing - a la Queen Kahuna - if I have more time. I still use the knit1, slip 1 on my main heel stitches for that 'cushie' padded heel. This type of heel sure is easier on the aging eyes!!! And after the first couple of pairs, I can do it in my sleep!

As fall continues to creep into our lives, I'm trying to finish some of my sweater projects. My 'Ginny' is coming along. I got tired of the body & am now knitting rapidly down the sleeves on circular needles. I'm planning a 3/4 sleeve for this - hope it looks alright. And I've spun up another fat skein of Shetland for my handspun sweater.
I also have a growing pile of 8" squares of dyed handspun that I've made as 'swatches'. I wanted to see what some dyed yarns looked like when knit up or to feel the fabric that different plies make. I was going to make a blanket but I may just crochet them together to make a light sweater . . . . or put them between solid squares. I like portable projects & I may just get a sweater for myself sooner if I make it portable. Just a thought.

Monday, September 04, 2006


I hate travelling on busy roads on a holiday weekend so I always stay home & putter around the ole Hacienda. Washed the kitchen & bathroom floors, blew the dust off some boxes & peered inside, threw away some junk I've been 'meaning to get to' SOMEDAY. Discovered a couple of unfinished projects & picked some ripe tomatoes.

I dug out the "Ginny's" sweater I started months ago & knit a couple of rows - I think I'll just finish it. The pattern comes from Medrith Glover who designs for the Ample figure - she's really reasonable & I bought several of her patterns including a Voluminous Vest knit in one piece which I intend to knit soon!!
Ginny's is knit mostly in recycled Scheepsjwool Luzern in grape tweed although I've used some lavender tweed and that wild pink yarn with turquoise & hot pink blobs in it - I only found one ball darnit!! I've knit it from the top down to make that deep V in front, back & down each arm. I used a mixture of yarns for the top and the grape Luzern for the main body. The small pic of the bobbly yarn shows the actual color of the grape yarn - for some reason the sweater is much pinker in the photo!! I enjoyed wearing the two sweaters this recycled yarn came from. I knit them up originally back in the 80s when yarn stores were few & far between. I found a delightful one over in PoCo in a mini mall that discounted yarn at the end of the season & believe me, I bought plenty of it!! I think I have this Luzern in all three of the purples it came in as well as a light blue. I eventually just got tired of the sweaters & reycled them . . . .

I've also been spinning up some grey shetland wool from a sheep named Arvik - love that fleece!! It comes in greys from light to almost black which you can see in the skeins. The wool is so lovely I've been spinning it right from the fleece. I had 5 fat skeins hanging from the skein rack but I wound two up into balls so I could knit a swatch in two ply just to see what it would look like. Since I'd like to wear this sweater THIS year, I intend to knit it up in two-ply although I love the light, airy fabric it makes when knit as one-ply. It just takes too long to knit wool gauze to fit my very ample self!!! This sweater will also be a light cardigan that I can wear instead of a jacket since I drive everywhere & don't really need a cold weather garment, especially in our climate.

I was playing around with double seed stitch on the swatch but it isn't really visible in this yarn so I'll probably use a garter stitch combined with stockinette & let the color & the rustic quality of the yarn shine thru.

And thats what I did on MY holiday weekend!!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


The Frankensocks are done! They were great fun actually - I started them off the same but decided to just carry on with the bits & pieces I could find that related to the existing colors somehow. Most of the scraps I have left have BLUE in common, not RED which is the recipient's favorite color. So, I've done what I could with the scraps I had left . . . I think they'll be satisfactory though.

Although I have another pair on the needles - I'm going to concentrate on spinning up my Shetland so I can get started on that fall sweater. Fall is in the air. I saw my first red tree this past week. Although the days are warm - even HOT, it sure cools down quickly when the sun goes down!! Fall, is my favorite season . . . I love the warm days full of sunshine, fruits & veggies. I used to produce a lot of canned fruits, jams, pickles & relishes this time of year . . . but don't bother now that I'm on my own. Sometimes I really miss canning & pickling. But, now I make fall wine instead!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


One of these days I'll learn how to do all the things I want to do on the Blog. Like, adding those neat little project counters that look like socks & sweaters . . . . and adding those wild flashing buttons - yeah, just how DO you get that fluffy sheep to jump & down anyway????

I tried to edit a previous draft - NOT!! The font was too big but wouldn't adjust so I had to nuke it & start again. The site kept kicking me out so you got the remains of the Aug 18 mixed in with the 1:30AM news that belongs to the 28th of August . . . Oh Well.

This is the blue birthday sock for the male part of "The Parents who have Everything". My pal Gail made these for her son, I believe & I liked the pattern so much I just had to knit it up for Himself. I made the same sock in the brown version of this yarn - Yes Virginia, its Confetti!!!! I thought it made a great man's sock but I wouldn't mind wearing the blue one myself.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


can't believe I ha
ven't updated the Blog in all this time!!! How the time flies . . . . I've been so busy with knitting socks, completing TWO courses at the Virtual U and trying to make a living!! The week of August 12th was MURDER!! I had to write two challenge papers, write two exams & complete two corporate tax returns. I finished the whole Shebang at two minutes to 3:00. Yup, that was 3:00AM on the 12th!!!

I finished all four pairs of socks in time - two of them are pictured - two pairs for the Birthdays & two for the Anniversay! The 'Parents who have Everything' were quite put out when their favorite granddaughter told them that 55 years of marriage was no big deal . . . . I laughed & told them we couldn't afford another big DOOOO until their 60th anyway so 'suck it up'. But,I guess we'll have to 'Flamingo' the yard again in a couple of years on her birthday since she's on the way to 75.

I promised a pair of Frankensockettes to a kid waaaaaaaaay back in the spring. So last nite I dug around in the scrap basket & came up with some bits & pieces that go together - sort of! I decided the base color would be black so the bright stripes would really stand out - so the ribbing is black & the heel ended up being black because I ran out of the cherry halfway through the heel shaping . . . . but so far, I think they'll end up looking great.

I've also been spinning like mad on my Arvik fleece. Its so nice I didn't even wash it before spinning but I have several fluffy skeins of washed wool hanging on my skein rack . . . . they range in color from light grey to almost black & should knit up into a lovely mottled fabric. I'm thinking of knitting it up in a one piece, plain cardigan, knit from the neck down in stockinette with seed borders & cuffs. I haven't decided whether to knit it up as a fine fabric in one ply or as two yet. Swatches to come . . . . will post a pic when I'm able. I'm thinking of taking some time off from knitting socks & finishing the three sweaters I have started for myself so I have something to wear in the fall . . . . .