Monday, December 30, 2013

The Last of the Turkey Soup

I don't bake. I stir-fry, make soup or use the crock pot. My neighbor convinced me to go to the grocery store on Christmas Eve to score a few bargains at the last minute, like turkey. Why not?? I semi thaw it, hack it into pieces with my cleaver, cook the parts I want right now & bag the rest for the future. I love turkey thighs.

This time around I filled the crock pot with thighs, legs, wings and gibblets. Added a little garlic, some onion, a pinch or 5 of salt,  a couple of cups of water and let it simmer on LOW all night while I slept. Late in the morning, I took out all the meat which I stripped off the bones except for the neck which went back in, added more water,  some celery and let it simmer most of the day. The legs and thighs were delicious.  Half the leftover meat went back into the crock while the rest hit the fridge. I left it on LOW overnight and added dried tortellini the next day. While it simmered, I chopped kale and Bok Choy tops to stir in just before serving with crusty bread that day for late lunch and dinner. Couldn't finish it all so I added more water, more pepper, some barley, baby carrots and the rest of the leftover meat and let it simmer all night on LOW. Had it for breakfast and dinner again.  Best Damn Turkey I ever had!!  And the breast is still in the freezer.

The Crockpot is a lifesaver for the Single person! I didn't get dressed for three days over Christmas & enjoyed several of the marathons that ran day and night. I discovered 'The Amazing Dr Pol' on the National Geographic channel. A lovely show about the comings and goings of a modern day vet in the farmlands of Rural America. I watched Fred and Ginger cavort on the stage in several really old black and white movies on Turner Classics - it isn't really Christmas without them. This year, I did NOT watch 'A Christmas Carol' or 'It's a Wonderful Life' in any incarnation. Why? I don't know - I guess I just wanted something new for a change. 'Hawaii Life' seemed a better option this year, somehow. And while I watched, I knit.

I finally finished the socks in size 12 for the Dental Assistant I see in the spring. I have another pair to knit for her in pink - Pink Frankensocks! But I'll do them later in January.

I decided to knit a coat of many colors for myself. I knit several swatch strips about three feet long with two to eight colors on each to see how I liked the effect. A friend has one that she found in a Thrift Store which I really like but it's basically 5 or 6 colors in big blocks that are pulled from a multicolored yarn that makes up a couple of blocks in the sweater. The multicolored block ties the other colors together nicely. My bag of leftovers ranges from orange to pink, all in solid colors. The pinks and purples sort of make up one lot and the oranges, yellows and  greens make up the other with the tans and one ball of grey working with either lot. And I don't think there's enough of either group to make a sweater for me. I think it would look silly to put all the colors together unless I knit an Adult Surprise Jacket which is designed to use all the leftovers. Or maybe, a jacket with one side going horizontal and the other vertically so it doesn't look silly.

I made the only decision I could and threw it all back into the bag and cast on for a Wonderful Wallaby in blue. I have enough skeins of the Anniversary Twist from Briggs and Little to knit one for myself. Just a simple pull over to keep warm while I sit outside Starbucks with a tea or pound on the keyboard in my cold cold office.  And, by the way, toddle on over to Chez Lizzie @ and take a peek at her new jacket.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Two Days Before Christmas

The socks are all knit, the tuques have left the building, the garbage is hauled, the dishes are done & the only thing left is to live through the event. Well .  .  . I might slide by the grocery store for more cheese, fruit & a jug of milk since I'm down to a litre or so. And if I feel ambitious, I might swiffer the floors & clean the bathroom. I'm looking forward to a couple of days of Peace & Good Knitting.

I have a pair of red lace socks to finish for Moi but I've misplaced the Spin Off Sock book. I'm making the Lacy Arrow socks from the front page only mine are Red. I thought I'd like a pair of red lace socks for a change after all those wild multicolored ones I usually knit for myself. One sock is finished to the toe shaping & the other is barely started but I've misplaced the damn book. It's somewhere in this house & I'm probably looking right at it!!! But, it'll turn up when I stop looking.

In the meantime, I've decided to work on a Wallaby in strips! I'm going to try it. It'll be so much easier to knit in strips 8" wide than casting on All Those Stitches to work it in one piece. I'll knit the strips to the yoke, including the sleeves & then make a solid yoke & collar. I think it'll be so much fun. At least I'll knit the front strips & put them together to see how they look. You'll see me coming even in a snow storm because I have every color from orange to purple in my leftover bag. Not sure I want a pouch & I'm not certain I even want pockets yet - who knows - afterthought pockets can be fun too. So, let it rain, sleet, snow or hail - I'm ready for it all.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Same Song, Different Verse

Part Two of Dealing with Government - Just because I assessed & paid the tax at the bank yesterday didn't mean I was done with the Government Collections department.  This took up most of the morning on Friday. Hopefully, by Monday morning, my guy's business bank account will be functioning again & I can get paid. What??? You think I did this out of the kindness of my heart??? I have YARN to pay for.

Not quite yet. The bank remits payments when they get a bunch of them. This means any time from the day you pay to SIX WEEKS later. So, if you've paid & want your bank account back with the money intact - you better call the Collections department & be prepared to back up your claims with faxed proof. Don't even think about asking for a refund of money taken in error, it was your error - not theirs & they will just issue a credit to your tax account.

It was lovely today, to watch the snow fall & not to have to worry about going out in it. A friend tried to convince me that his lack of planning meant that I would have to drive him across town to Langley at lunch time but my Collections call had not yet come through so I got to wiggle out. I did think about it though since my favorite Soap & Candle supply place had a sale on .  .  .  and my favorite Sandwich Shop - home of the best Roast Beef with pickles .  .  .  .  oh oh oh .  .  .  was just down the block but common sense ruled & I waited for my call. I'll go tomorrow. 

Did the math for the Wallaby but am still trying to make up my mind dickering about whether to finish the sweater I started from the Cabin Fever Gal's new booklet, "Need an Plus Sized Cardigan?" All the designs are Top Down & mine is already down to the bottom of the V-neck. I was going to make the Sleeveless Lace Frock & wear it as a Vest for Spring & Fall like Deb does. Since I don't have long sleeved anything - I just push em up to the elbow so why bother??? - I'll have to put sleeves in this sweater. Why start from scratch???  I wanted a Wallaby dammit. Either way I have to unwind skeins & wind them into balls for knitting. I can try Deb's design on as I go & make adjustments but the Wallaby better be right because it knits from the bottom up. I just want to pull it on & go .  .  .   Will I, won't I, will I, won't I .  .  .

So, in the meantime, I'll just wind all the skeins into yarn cakes on my ball winder just in case. I love this thing. When I first brought it home, I wound up every skein I owned as well as all the leftovers. I still think it's the handiest fibre tool I've ever owned.

Nothing to do with Knitting

Christmas is less than a week away & it seems it's the hardest time of the year to deal with Government. Well, except for Fridays & Mondays all summer. I think Government employees take their holidays in long weekends all summer & no one's in on Fridays & Mondays. Not a bad idea if you don't like to leave your work to a 'temp' & have to spend two weeks fixing it all when you get back. Anyway, since I do paperwork to support my Fibre Habit & sometimes even have to do some work, today was one of those times. It seems to be my week to deal with the Government .  .  .  .

My job today was to file overdue PST forms for a business that normally files 'NIL' returns. The PST people have 'assessed' an "amount owing" & froze the business bank account. The outstanding returns are both 'NIL' returns as usual. I spent most of the morning on line trying to file these returns on the net which is the fast & easy way to deal with this problem. No dice. Seems I need a GST return with an amount not zero that has been filed before August 2013 to prove who I am. I don't have one. Technical Support is overloaded & can't take my call. Customer Service can't help me & can only transfer me to Technical Support or Collections. Collections won't take my call. I can leave a message for an appointment & they will call me or I can use the On-Line registration form to do it myself . . . .

After banging my head on my desk, I assessed the business for ONE CENT on both forms & headed to the bank to stand in line & get the damned forms taken care of. Did I tell you the Bank won't take 'nil' forms???? I told the Commercial Teller my sad story & she made out special receipts for me for ONE CENT for each of them. She attached one to the copies going to the government too. Now to get the bank account released .  .  .  .    It's a good thing my favorite cafe had REAL turkey today to soothe my rumpled nerves!

Back in the Knitting World. Not a stitch was completed by me today! Oh, I wound skeins into balls, frogged a couple of samples from the past & did the math for a Wonderful Wallaby for myself. My basement office is cold this time of year & I want something easy & warm to throw on for work other than my purple Ginny which I've worn to ribbons.  Ginny was made up of two sweaters I'd made for myself years & years ago. I salvaged the yarn & knit it up again a couple of times. The yarn was an expensive wool from Germany - Scheepsjawool was the brand & I bought it out of the SALE bin before 1982 when I moved back to Surrey!! Poor Ginny's full of pulls where the old cat snagged her or I caught her on something. She needs another good soak in some wool wash but I need another sweater to wear so I can take her out of circulation for a few days!! I thought about making a Wallaby - I
made a lot of smaller ones in the last few years for kids & women in Afghanistan. And I made one for a Carpenter that got snagged by his visiting mom. So, I think it's about time I knit one for myself. I have enough 'Grape Heather' wool - not quite dark enough to be Eggplant but a lighter shade with red glints in it. I also think I have enough Briggs & Little Anniversary - a light blue twisted with a dark blue - to make one too. The nice thing about the Wallaby is that most of it's mindless knitting that can be done in front of the tube with no sewing up when you're done except for two spots under the arms. My kind of sweater.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tis the Season

Here we are again - the Season I love to hate. The time of year when Good Cheer is supposed to reign but it's more likely to be Bad Manners & Short Tempers that rule.

This year, for the first time in my life, I'm a Gimp with a Parking Pass. This means that my cane & I are guaranteed a parking spot outside the door of Just About Anywhere. Sounds delightful, right?? Nope. Seems those Handicapped Parking spots - that we pay for incidentally - are handy as drop off, picking up & various other excuses that people without passes use to park at the door. A running van, loaded with kids, was left in the Handicap Spot while the Owner ran an errand. I pulled up & had to force myself not to park directly behind it while I went into the mall to find the Post Office. It was my Good Deed this year.

And speaking of Canada Post - another sore spot on my agenda. Seems Canada Post in it's wisdom picked December, a week before Christmas, to stop delivering parcels to my Post Office box at the UPS Store. Not only will they not deliver parcels to my box, they decided NOT to drop them at the Postal Outlet at the end of the block in the same strip mall but instead, drop them inside Guildford Mall, at their new Postal Outlet. Is this advertising for their new site?? I tried to get it redelivered to my box but NO, it has to be signed for. Since I thought it was my new cheques, I made the trip. Turned out to be a box of knitting magazines. Last year, I ordered everything by internet & had all parcels delivered safely to my Box at the UPS Store, even the US ones. This year Canada Post changed the rules. I wasn't surprised to hear the Canada Post is cutting everywhere - they are overpriced, top heavy, inconsistent, slow & inefficient. Problem is, they're cutting at the wrong end to save money. The mail carriers are the most important part of the service! Without them, Canada Post might as well shut down.

And now that I've vented my spleen, it's time to get on with Knitting. I dropped wrist warmers & a tuque to the delight of my favorite Industrial Cafe on Friday. They all got a bottle of Port from the batch I made two years ago too. They make the best soup from scratch every morning & chicken/swiss on rye to go with it whenever I drop in. This time of year, they're cooking turkey constantly so I get REAL Turkey on rye instead. Today, I lucked out & took home leftover Turkey & Veggie soup - a whole gallon!!! I love that cafe! Monday, I dropped off tuques to the Front Room in Whalley  with promises of more to come. My bus driver pal will pick up some more after Christmas to hand out on his skid row run.

Since I'm so done with tuques, it's time to relax & knit for me. I need a couple of sweaters. I want one big unstructured one for indoors that I can snuggle into while I read or watch TV. I'm not a shawl lover but found a Berocco sweater which is just a very long rectangle with two openings for arms & one for neck. A button band is picked up from the front hem around the back neck & down the other side to the front hem. It can be knit as wide as you like & forms a shawl collar. The sleeves can be knitted with a cuff on the end or left as they are. Another in Interweave Crochet is a sweater called Red Rocks Wrap. It's also basically a rectangle joined to a very long rectangle which is wrapped & crossed around the body & joined with buttons at the side with a crocheted waistband.
I could knit a standard sweater in strips using leftovers. As seen above, the strips run shoulder to hem - basically 2 to 4 per side in the front & 2 to 4 in the back. Each sleeve is made up of 2 & an additional strip could be fitted from underarm to hem for extra shaping or more room at the hip if necessary. I just love this sweater in the classic sweatshirt configuration. What a great way to use up leftovers!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Slip Sliding Away

Now that I'm officially a Senior - gad, what a thought - the days are going faster & I can't figure out what the hell I did during those hours. I'm sure it didn't take me 4 hours to get out of bed & dressed for the day, if I got dressed at all. One thing about working in your home office is that it really isn't necessary to get dressed for the day. The laundry gets washed less often as a result & WOW, your Carbon Footprint is smaller. Makes you think, doesn't it?? Maybe the Nudists were right all along.

While I was out of bed, I DID finish more tuques. I've changed my method of tuque knitting - I was knitting them with a double strand of sport yarn to make them really warm & toasty but my Tuque Tester suggested making them thinner so they'd stay on at night in bed. In BED??? My Tester is bald & currently suffering from Cold Trailer Syndrome. More cold is coming in that he can chase out in this cold snap we're having. Apparently he wakes up in the night with a freezing cold head. He wants a finely knit hat to wear all the time & a thick one to wear over the fine one when he goes outside. I suggested another heater or more insulation might be the solution. And then knit up another tuque with one ply of wool/acrylic. The tuque was perfection. 

So now that the rough edges have been taken off the tuque, I'll probably knit all the others the same even though, I like the thick ones better. Maybe my bald friend has a point in the end, some people have little or no heat & may have to wear it to bed to keep warm.
Meanwhile, there's a skiff of snow out there today. Looks like about a half inch to me. I can look out from my home office to the back stairs & railing & see how much is sitting on the railing. Looks like just enough to send a Senior gimp & cane sliding down the hill at the Chinese grocery store. I think I'll go there tomorrow instead!! I find a skiff is far more dangerous to a walker than several inches. You might have to work harder with more snow but at least you have some traction!!

Today, well, I guess it's Laundry Day. Good day for it. I'll clean out the fridge & make soup with all the findings too. I know there's tomatoes, potatoes, a whole cabbage, some kale & one sushi carrot in there that I can see & a few containers of leftovers in there too. Mmmmm - looks like Creme of Veggie soup or even Italian Soup to me.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Knitting to the Boob Tube

I do most of my knitting in front of the Tube.  Always have. I do most of my spinning in front of the Tube too. I have my corner chair surrounded by all the detritus of a fibre fanatic. My scissors, crochet hook, darning needle & needle sizer are on the right, my kleenex box & tea mug on the left. Just lately, I've added a tilting table on casters just big enough for a laptop, dinner plate or pattern. Since I'm in no shape to go shopping - even if I could - I'm churning out tuques & socks. Always hoping for something interesting on the tube especially this time of year when it gets dark & cold so early. The biggest problem is finding something good enough to watch. Tis the season of Christmas reruns.

In the wasteland of television, I've found several series interesting enough to add to my small collection. Foyle's War is one of them. I just added season 7 to my library. The series so far is shot in the English coastal town of Hastings during WW2. Detective Inspector Foyle, against his wishes, is assigned to Hastings as Police Chief to keep him busy & out of the way. He turns out to be an industrious investigator to the shock of the Government & roots out secrets no one was ever supposed to know. The series exposes the inconsistencies, brutality, lawlessness, deprivation & favoritism of war while telling stories of the people of Hastings so realistically that Historians have found only 3 mistakes. Seasons 1-6 each cover one year of the war. Season 7 starts after 1946 when everything is still rationed & the Cold War is just beginning.

Another series I bought is 'Call the Midwife'. Shot in the gritty East End streets of London in the 1950's, it's a small slice of a world just entering the modern age. While not as historically accurate as 'Foyle's War', it's the memoir of one woman who worked
those streets. It's a place where people still live without heat & a lot without sanitation, cooking facilities & running water in their own quarters. Medical care is almost unknown. Swarms of dirty children play in the narrow cobbled streets & the hospital is still a place you go to to die. Still, it's a happy series focusing on the successes & joyful moments of the Nuns & Midwives as they try to deliver healthy babies & maternal care to the poorest women.

And just for fun - If you're over 50, you MUST see 'Last Tango in Halifax'. Childhood sweethearts Alan & Celia were separated in their teens when her family moved & he didn't get her new address. Now in their 70s & widowed, they meet again on the internet. Seems they still care about each other & decide to meet up. Sound like a simple love story?? Well, it isn't. They both have families & 60 years of baggage to bring to the party. You'll laugh so hard you'll pee your pants & then cry real tears when things all go wrong. This is one you shouldn't miss.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Countdown

Tuques, tuques everywhere!! Back in the grooooove again - will be okay until all the yarn runs out.  I managed to snag 4 balls of Eton Super Wool that a fellow Wednesday Nite Nitter was donating to the cause. Men, especially, have been asking for all the dark colors. They favor BLACK even though we tell them it's not fashionable to wear all black, all the time. They just don't give a damn. Black is the first to go. So, being the congenial submissive woman that I am, I am knitting BLACK hats. This is not as bad as knitting black socks - yes, I admit knitting ONE pair for an old Geezer with puffy, diabetic feet who needed black socks for funerals - but, never again.

Black tuques are a different bird. First of all, I'm using 6mm needles. Secondly, I can actually see the stitches. And best of all, I'm using two strands & it's all ribbing. So, you have to have black Buddy, here you are. Hopefully the dye will not run in the rain. I hope it does doesn't.

Most of my tuques will be in other colors simply because that's what I have.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Starbucks or Die

My little bout of Flu is over! While the injection site is still tender, the rest of me except my knee, is back to normal. Said knee is very tender so I guess the virus is still kicking the shit out of it. It also stiffens up quickly if I sit for too long. And sit, yesterday, I did. I actually made it to Starbucks for a tea & ran into two old buddies before the day got interesting.
My gimpy buddy was back from a visit to Edmonton - excuse me while I laugh once more - and left his medication in the bathroom there. Barely hobbling, he called for help & I ran him up to his doctor. Surprise, surprise, we were lucky, they let us in & we only waited 47 minutes!!

It seems there's a clinic on every corner these days & four within a block of his doctor alone but none of them will talk to you after 4:00 on ANY day or give you a number (waiting in line) after 2:00 on Saturday. Where are all these sick people coming from???? If you get sick or need medical attention after 4:00, is your only option the Emergency Room??? If it is, no wonder I waited for 8 hours when I had to go.

I've been lucky, I guess, I haven't paid much attention to Doctors, Clinics & Hospitals most of my life except the odd time I had to get stitched up, or wrapped up when I did something stupid. I sincerely hope I never get a lingering malady that forces me to hang around a Clinic on a regular basis. Let me drop dead suddenly, in the winter, when I can make a neat, frozen package outdoors.

Meanwhile, back at the Factory, I'm just about to put pink toes on the Dental Socks & I'm halfway through a second tuque for the Donation Bin.

I'm using my favorite Denise needles in 6mm with the 15" cord. The yarn is a donated worsted acrylic - local charities ask for acrylic so the clothing can be washed in commercial machines! I'm working K2P2 ribbing on 96 stitches for 6" then decrease every second row until 24 stitches remain. Closed the top by gathering all the remaining stitches & pulling tight. A pompom can be attached at the top if desired.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanx for Nothing

I've had a busy week catching up on a lot of chores that require walking & talking - both of which are problematic for me right now. My mother says I was walking & talking at nine months and haven't stopped or shut up since. Until now, that is.
You'd think that when one part fails, the other parts would take up the load. Ain't true when yer old! Not only am I a Gimp moving slowly but I have this little whispy,  unvoice from the nasty virus I got in January or February. I used to be able to lob a tennis ball across three courts & the church roof next door & could almost beat the ball there with my ordinary speaking voice. Old men with hearing aids could remove them & still have a conversation with me. I don't use the phone much these days because no one can hear me. I blame all this on menopause because nothing like either of these things ever happened Before The Change.

I let my doctor talk me into a Flu Shot this year in order to make sure nothing else catastrophic happens if/when I fall victim to this year's assault. I've NEVER had a flu shot because I hate needles. Why suffer when the experts are guessing a year in advance which strain will be here when they work on the vaccine. And I seldom got a bug that kept me in bed for longer than a day or so unless I had a really good book. Got that thing on Tuesday & this morning woke up to red, swollen eyes, sore throat, clogged sinuses, aching bones, headache & a pukey stomach. The only parts that don't hurt are my hands. Seems I've got the flu. I've had to cancel a Dentist appointment & a free Chinese lunch. I think this will be the last flu shot I ever get .  .  . 

I have been knitting though. Took the sock-in-progress to the Doctor's office with me on Tuesday & managed to turn a whole heel & knit part of a foot while there. These are for my favorite Dental Assistant who loves pink. I couldn't find anything pink but thought these would be nice with pink toes. Since I'm home with the flu, they'll get finished by the weekend. And for that pink?? Last night I dug through all my leftovers & found enough of them with pink to make her a second pair of Frankensocks to add to them.

The Red Lace Socks have been in limbo temporarily. When I'm finished the Dental socks, they'll be resumed. I actually enjoy working on them & they ARE very pretty. I've actually dug out a couple of other lace sock patterns which I think I'll try. Who knows, shawls may be next. Did I actually write that????

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Gimp on the Go

I've been galloping around a whole lot more than I was last week. To the drug store, to the Farm Market, to the coffee shop. They're all short trips, more or less, but not more than 15 minutes walking time. I've learned not to walk too far or too fast or I pay the price the next day. This gives me plenty of knitting & computer time - I'm back to being self employed & frankly, I love it. The only thing I haven't gone back to is my Plant Biology course. Right now I'm wishing I'd taken the money & bought some fancy fibre, a big Ott light & a pair of purple winter boots! The Sears catalogue has several styles in Cherry & Purple .  .  .  .  sigh.

The red lace socks are still in progress although sock number two is just about to have it's heel turned while sock number one is halfway between the heel & toe! Went to take some photos & the battery is dead in the camera. Another trip to the drug store coming up.

This cold, wet weather has made my hands really sore so I'm knitting a pair of plain light socks for the gal in my Dental office. She loves my socks & gets a pair every fall but I'd forgotten her size - I have another appointment next week so I'm hustling through a pair in Confetti. Confetti has been a real favorite of mine for years. Inexpensive, wears like iron & has a lot of interesting colors in self patterning yarn. The pair I'm working on now are cream with a little pale lavender & light pink pattern every couple of inches & a quarter inch band of mustard between the pattern repeats. It's the strangest color combo that I've ever seen but I'll put pale pink toes on them to make them special 'cause she loves Pink. I was going to make a pair of Frankensocks with yarns with pink in them but I don't have the time to dig it all out & knit them before Thursday. Pictures next time.

It's knitted hat season too. I said I wasn't going to knit them this year & I lied as usual. It just wouldn't be the same without a dozen hats to warm a dozen heads. Just sorting out the yarn to decide what I need & what I have. Here we go again!! And, by the way, for all you Shoppers & Keepers of Christmas Traditions - It's a Wonderful Life was on TV last night in glorious black & white. I guess it's time to start counting the days .  .  .  .

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Boy, was that a bad Idea.

I made my planned excursion to Safeway complete with coupons. Dropped the Ex off to his appointment, made my way into the store & even got a parking spot next to the buggies!! I planned on going slowly & enjoying it. About halfway around, I knew I'd bitten off more than I should've but hung in there & made it back to the car.

I am constantly amazed at how much effort it takes to do the things I used to take for granted like shopping & taking out the garbage. That shopping trip kept me at home with the heating pad & Ibuprofen for two days. Not only is the knee more painful but the wrist I dislocated two years ago is now painful too, dammit. This gives me more time to knit but won't let me knit for long  .   .   .   grrr

All of this explains why I haven't finished my Red Lace Socks. Oh, I've turned the heel on the first one & started the ribbing on the second but normally, I would be finished one &  halfway through the other one at the very least. But, I'm still plodding along. A little here & a little there & eventually they'll be done, sore wrist or not. That's what's so nice about socks. Even if you only knit a few rows a day, they'll eventually get done.

Here's the progress so far, stuffed with an extra ball of yarn to show the lace pattern. The heel is turned & I'm just starting to work up the instep toward the toe. This sock is worked on 72 stitches & feels a little small to me. I suspect I should've worked it on the 3mm needles suggested by the author even though I always use my 2.25mm ones for this weight of yarn.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


I'm sick of the cool damp weather already. If I were an American, I'd find somewhere warm all year round to live but since I'm not, short of moving to Vancouver Island, I'm in the warmest place in Canada already. My hands do not appreciate that fact. They ache, burn and crack when it's damp outside. Someone recommended Ginger tea.

And speaking of the old joints, the shoulder and neck recovered quickly, the knee is still it's usual sore self today. I admit to tromping around a fair bit yesterday but that last trip to the drug store just defeated me. I sat in the car, thought about it seriously and went home instead via the Starbucks drive thru. That's the problem these days. By mid-afternoon, I'm done. I want to order a couple of things from Sears but the walk from the parking lot, across the first floor to the escalator, across the second floor to the pick-up desk and back dragging a parcel, is beyond my ability. I AM gonna do the Safeway thing - I want Greek Yogurt desperately - on Thursday!!! Woohoo. I can DO this with a shopping cart to lean on and carry things. Right now, I'd like a cart of my very own. Something grocery cart tall, with the purse shelf in the same spot, that folds for the car and is about a third of the size out front. The little walker/seats the OLD folks push around are way too short for me. Carrying all those heavy bags from the car is a real problem but I'm hoping this will pass in the next month or so if I just keep on moving. Thank gawd I live in town.

And since I've been in front of the tube more than usual, I've been working on more socks. I finished my Blue Phildar socks. They were intended as men's socks at first but once I got into the daylight, I realized they had pink in them. Both men I asked said they were "too girly" to wear. Sigh.
Still experimenting with Modular Squares - don't laugh, but the needles I think I really need to make gauge are already in another project in a bin!  Let's just not talk about that at the moment .  .  .  .   

I wanted something small to make and fell into another pair of socks. I love socks and DO need a couple of pairs as emergency gifts. Sometimes I get asked for a pair to complete a Christmas hamper for a single person or for a raffle or sometimes, a friend needs something special, just because. So, I try to always have a couple of hats and some socks handy for last minute gifts. Last year I made some festive socks with lace Hearts down the front that ended up going to a Charity Raffle. This year I decided to make the Lacy Arrow Socks from the Spin-Off 'SOCKS' book. I love those dainty socks on the cover but would never wear them myself. But, like the crocheted lace tablecloths I used to make years ago, it's the challenge of making them that counts. Surprisingly, the Lacy Arrow pattern is easy to knit even though I'm using a very different yarn and smaller needles. The Designer used a fine handspun merino/silk yarn on a 3mm needle and I'm using a tough 3ply Kroy on 2.25mm needles. It's keeping track of the ROWS that's the problem of course. It's not always easy to tell which row you're on if you leave in the middle of a pattern set especially after sundown. But, I'm getting there fairly quickly because after all, it's the challenge that makes it interesting. My Kroy is a plain RED 3ply sock that should wear like iron. This pattern MUST be made on 4 dps at least to the heel because the pattern sometimes shifts a stitch or two from one needle to another. Otherwise, a nice, easy lace pattern.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I hope it isn't old age

I've morphed into a doddering old geezer. Not only am I dipping on the right & swinging a cane on the left but the other day I tripped over an extension cord - it's been there for at least 10 years now - and strained my right shoulder & neck trying to save myself from falling. Geeze - I am so DONE with being an invalid.

All this being said, I managed to get to Starbucks in the morning before it got too painful & spent an hour sitting outside in the sunshine yesterday. I've been helping a new pal get some assistance from Welfare & we're in our third month of being shuffled around, lied to & generally dismissed. But, we're actually so close to actually GETTING that extra $194 that we can taste it!.
We've been to 4 different offices, filled out applications on line, called two different Advocates, filled out the medical papers twice & finally talked to a lawyer, to get him  medical, dental, prescription, transit & the little top up. He's 61 with a useless left arm, fighting like hell not to become homeless. So, I drive him when I can & take him for coffee to make sure he's still got food. And I help fill out forms. Why?? Most of us are two paycheques from disaster. This could so easily be me. And I'm not sure I'd put up with all the nasty, condescending, arrogant jerks in charge of benefits.

In the meantime, I make sure I walk at least a block every day to keep the knee flexible - as long as it's paved, tiled or cemented. I sure can't afford Physio @ $40 a pop. This leaves me lots of knitting time when I'm not banging on the computer. I haven't quite finished the blue socks but I have decided on a winter sweater. My basement is cold so, I wear an old wool sweater all the time. If I don't, I'm really cold so I know the value of wool. I have all those Briggs & Little blue skeins. All different shades of blue - some with nylon & some without. But they should all work nicely in Mitered Squares. And that's all I'm gonna say until I get the first couple done & see how it looks.
It's Hallowe'en,  beware of the night. A big black spider has taken up residence outside on my patio. Of course it's raining here in the Lower Mainland. We've had one of the driest Octobers on record, foggy sometimes but usually sunny & warm when it burned off. I was out basking in it yesterday while feeding the birds at Starbucks. But it has to rain today, on the last day. They sure don't call this the Wet Coast for nothing.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On the Dole

It looks like all was for naught and I'm unemployed as of Monday. Not only that, but I'm broke and unemployed. We worked our buns off for the last month but nothing could change the fact that we were sliding into an early closure with an uncertain future. Well, we did our best and here we are .  .  .  Broke. I suppose it could be worse. At least I have enough work in my home office to keep me working till Christmas.  And, there's the sweet allure of getting up when I want and working when I want  .   .   .   .

I like to work at night. I like it when it's warm and quiet and peaceful at 3AM. No phones ringing. No kids screaming. No husbands/wives/teens yelling at each other. No clanging garbage lids or slamming doors. Occasionally a cat or a raccoon sits on the outside stairs and looks in through the window. But the night is mine, mostly. I share it with paperwork, data entry and Audible Thrillers. I'm not normally a night person in my real life but in my working life, I prefer it. I just hate to get up when it's dark outside!!

The nice things about a home office - no commuting unless you're having a breakfast or lunch meeting! No worry about fog or snow or traffic jams. You can also do laundry, bake, make soup, can peaches & sit in the sunshine at Starbucks for an hour as you work. I was too working  .   .   .
And the only problem with a home office is the loneliness. You get cut off from people with fewer opportunities to meet and talk to them. I guess while I have no voice and one gimpy leg, the best option is my home office!!

Another advantage of the home office is the freedom to take knit or spin breaks instead of drinking coffee. I keep eyeing the mountain of yarn and wooly things I have in my collection that never seems to get worked on. I am working through the sock yarns at the moment but I need a fall sweater finished ASAP & I don't know what to do. The handspun sweater is probably two thirds finished but it's now too light to wear for late Fall. The Purple Acrylic one is not warm enough either. I haven't quite finished spinning  all the 'bumps' from the mill ends which need to be dyed together in one dye lot. I think that wool would make a terrific jacket but my knee won't let me spin yet. I do have a big bag of blue sport yarn - a nice Robin's Egg blue - and enough blue in a worsted weight to make a jacket - leftovers from ManSweaters to be. But, I guess one of them will be my winter sweater even though I prefer grey or red or purple. Sigh. Is anyone giving out wool for Hallowe'en this year???

Sunday, October 20, 2013

He who does not toil . . .

I am fairly stable on my pins these days & decided, at last, to drive on Tuesday. I made my way down to my favorite Greasy Spoon & had a gloriously decedent 3" deep, real turkey & Swiss on rye! I was stranded at home for Thanksgiving so I was entitled!! Actually, I've been home eating soup or baked spuds with cheese or anything a one handed gimp can carry in an 8 cup plastic measuring cup with a handle since the morphine wore off & I decided I wanted to eat again. The pain was so bad that getting on & off the pot or a chair made me think twice about eating or drinking that first couple of days .  .  .  .   So I sipped a little water & lived off excess body fat.

Driving is okay as long as I don't have to hold the brake pedal for too long. Sitting too long with my leg at an angle is also a bad thing.That first step or two when I straighten up is a zinger. I can go UP stairs pretty good but coming down is miserable unless I go backward with my butt on the rail. Other than that, I'm walking fairly well every day. Yes, Karen, I can tell why I have to put the cane in my left hand even though my left wrist is not happy. 

Carrying is another thing - try a purse, cane & bag of something. Do I throw money & my bank card into the knitting bag??? Get a bigger purse? A shopping bag that holds money, knitting & hamburger?? One cane & one bag. That's it. Or, take a person along who carries. How do old people manage these things anyway??? How do they get on a bus with a cane and a bag???  I have renewed respect for all the folks who muddle on despite handicaps!!

And just so you don't think I've been doing nothing but laying in bed with Romances & Chocolates, another pair of socks is completed & still another is on the way. This is the blue Phildar yarn I bought eons ago. Feels thin as you work with it but fluffs nicely when given a bath! I do admit to sitting in my livingroom every evening with the heating pad on my knee, knitting. The muscles are sore from compensating for the cane so I warm them up nicely before heading for bed.