Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Year Beckons

Suddenly it's Saturday & the end of the year once more. I stayed home for most of the week simply because I didn't feel like wrestling with black ice & snow - the Safeway parking lot was even more treacherous yesterday than the week before even though I waited until well after lunch to go for some last minute things. After deciding I wanted to make Chow Mein for dinner, I needed celery. And I used RICE noodles, finely shredded cabbage instead of bean sprouts & bought some pulled chicken for it as well. Hell, if you're going to go out, you might as well make it worth while!!!

On my way in, I met a woman a little younger than me who set herself on fire a few days ago while trying to stay warm in a tent in Whalley. Lynne became homeless about 6 months ago when her little bachelor suite was declared 'illegal' by the Surrey Bylaws Inspectors & she was given 24 hours to vacate after living there for four years. She had to abandon most of her belongings & was put up in a Shelter. She is guaranteed a bed, shower & toilet from 6:30PM to 9:30AM. She has to be OUT by 9:30AM & cannot return until 6:30PM every day no matter how she feels or how cold or wet it is outside. And she has to find her own food. She said she was grateful for the Shelter but moved into her own tent after a couple of days because the weather was good, she could have some privacy & have somewhere to go during the day. She didn't want to be on Welfare & scrounged a living collecting bottles & cans. Since the fire, she's back at the Shelter again because she lost everything, but says it's tough to sleep there with all the noise. And she's back to looking for somewhere to stay during the day where it's warm.

I listened to her story over a hot cup of coffee at Safeway. And she agreed with me when I told her she was too damn old & injured to be a hobo. I know, I know, you can't help 'em all. But this one isn't young anymore & needs to get out of the cold. So, I bought her something to eat & a hot coffee so she could get warm for an hour or so. And I was very, very glad that I had a warm, dry place to live, beat up & drafty as it is.

So, here we are, on the verge of a new, fresh, untainted year. A fresh page to draw on. A new ball of yarn to knit. A new fleece to spin. Happy New Year everyone.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One More Christmas

I survived another Holiday by staying up till the wee hours on Christmas eve watching the Dr Pol marathon - I do love the Vet shows on TV - with knitting in hand & munching on Wheat Thins & Hummus. I'm trying my best to eliminate CHIPS from my diet by buying toasted Pita chips & popped or baked Wheat Thins. It works, most of the time. And Wheat thins & hummus really fill you up while chips do not. I'm very fond of a 'dippy' supper of raw veggies & hummus too but this time of year calls for soup to warm you up. And lately, I've been making a lot of 'brothy' soups with fish balls & chopped veggies. Soup that can be eaten out of a big soup mug so there's no dishes to wash except a mug & spoon!!

Did not get out to eat breakfast or dinner on Christmas since my gut decided to rebel. You know the routine, the gut starts rumbling & mumbling with the occasional painful gassy spasm. You don't know which end will suddenly explode like a volcano. I just drank as much weak tea as I could & slept. I've had occasional bouts of this ever since that last mega antibiotic before surgery last year. Yeah, I could take a bunch of drugs but the best thing is to stop eating solids, drink clear fluids, eat yogurt & let it heal itself. I help with a couple of capsules of live culture Acidophilus too. But, this is my reminder that I've been eating too much wheat - a problem I never had until that last antibiotic made me so sick.

On the needles - just working another scrappy Blue sock - the heel is turned & I'm about
halfway down the foot at the moment. I took this picture by the outdoor light coming thru the open door so the colors aren't as bright as they should be. But, there's lots of blues & greys in this sock so far. I find it impossible to sit in front of the tube without knitting something!!
And I'm picking up the front pouch on the Wonderful Wallaby for the Dirty Face kid. I think I have enough Royal Blue to get to the armhole & make both arms to the armhole. If not, the arms will be Red & the body Blue - they will see him coming, that's for sure.

Good Grief - the neighbor across the alley is washing his driveway with water!!! It's 3:00 PM. His female relations had been out there after lunch trying to scrape the last of the Christmas snow off the drive but I guess it was still frozen. Now he's dumping gallon jugs of water on the drive & pushing the water to the side. Oh, I can't wait until morning .   .   .   .

Saturday, December 24, 2016

One More Sleep

The sun is out, the sky is blue & the black ice has finally melted. This morning, I got up early & went to Safeway because I had to have an onion soup mix, two zucchini & some Gummy Bears. I went to bed at 2:30 AM craving Gummy Bears & crawled out at 8:15 AM to go in search of them. Apparently it not only rained last night but it snowed a little too. And then it froze solid. It was not  good out there this morning, especially in the parking lots. And I wasn't the only idiot sliding across the parking lot, either. Apparently, the malls were full of last minute shoppers & a steady stream of people came & went from Safeway too. I can understand the people picking up Party Trays, Cakes & Fresh Turkeys but the rest of us??? I did manage to snag the Gummies & some bagels, though.

So, this is it. Tonight, we all settle in to listen for reindeer bells & remember our old childhood dreams. And tomorrow, a lot of the world slows down to celebrate another Christmas gathering.     May yours be happy, healthy & secure.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Almost There

So it's almost Christmas 2016. When I checked my mailbox this PM, I found two phone bills, a Visa bill, a book, a January Public TV guide & FOUR requests for money from the Salvation Army. The first four are already paid, I always love my Public TV guides but I have to say I'm really, really annoyed with the Salvation Army.

I automatically toss the mailings from the Sally Ann without opening them nowadays. Why?? Because I regularly SEND money to them. I regularly email money so it saves stamps, the cost of processing checks & the costs of sending out tax receipts. It can all be done automatically. It saves money for helping people that need help. And I've always admired them for the work they do. But, FOUR mailings in ONE MONTH???? Who's paying for the Admin costs & postage??? How much of the money we donate actually goes to the people who need it???? I may have to rethink who I'm giving my money to. I really see no reason for all the begging letters & they really annoy me.

After three miserable, broke years, I now have enough money not only to live on but to buy a few extras like underwear & books. And I've been looking very hard at my single friends who're barely scraping by. It's so easy to miss the ones who need help & too many of them won't tell. Winter holidays that celebrate Family are especially hard on Seniors & single men because they don't have the friends & support systems that single women do. I'm planning on taking each of my buddies out for coffee & donuts if I can't find a little cafe that's open this year. My Ex & I used to meet all the folks who had nowhere to go at our favorite little cafe on Christmas & New Years. And we made a party of it while we ate ham & eggs & checked up on each other. I often think about how much fun we had every year & wish the cafe was still there.

On the Needles - I haven't managed to get back to my sweater yet but the Wonderful Wallaby has progressed nicely. It's amazing how fast a kid's sweater knits!!! The worsted acrylic is thicker than most of the other yarn I have too - so I had to frog it twice!! It was too big both times until I checked my gauge on CIRCULAR needles. As is often the case, I relax & my gauge gets looser on circs. So, this time, I'm knitting the size 6 to get the 8 that I want in the end. I don't think there's that much difference between a 6 & an 8 anyway except in length. Kids seem to be about the same size around but they grow taller & longer. And then, when this is done, my sweater is next.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Just a Little Rain

Sunday's snow turned into Monday's rain. And, wow, did it rain here!!! The wind came up, the rain poured down & the new snow that we got on Sunday turned to slush on Monday. Just after dark, there was this huge BANG outside where half a roof of snow came crashing to the ground!!! As of Sunday lunch, there was 13" on the ground in the yard so it was a hellova pile that slid off the roof, onto the fence next door. Oooops.

In the meantime, I've been working on the new Dirty kid Wallaby. I had this huge ball of yarn in Royal & plan on using Red for most of the yoke with Green or Yellow - whatever I can round up in the same weight. This is the hoodie I knit last time & the younger boy grabbed it before his brother got home from school. So I made a larger one in Black, Red & Yellow for the older boy ASAP because the fight was ON. And then that damn kid went on a growth spurt & grew right out of his hoodie. This time around, he's not quite a size 6 so I'm making an 8. That should do him until summer!!! And, I won't have to knit one for his brother who is now wearing both of last spring's hoodies.

I frogged most of MY hoodie. Frogged it back to the crossover yoke, that is. I added on too many stitches under the arms because I was afraid of making it too small in the bust. I keep forgetting that my H cup no longer overflows as it once did. Although I'm not small by any measure, my measurement has dropped a couple of cup sizes & I think it's bulked up more by back fat than boobage, these days. So I've gone from worrying about the bust measurement to adjusting for belly. And I'm not even sure I need short rows in the bust anymore. So, back to the measuring tape, pencil & paper. And then pick up those stitches once more .  .  .

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Well, Looky Here

Blogger has let me in at last!! I haven't been able to get in for a few days. Don't know why, it never gives any reason or explanation. Not that my life's all that exciting but it's nice to record some events.

As anyone local knows, we've been having an uncharacteristic cold snap in the Lower Mainland. And it's damned cold out there!! My favorite bad boy dug out the bottom of my drive Friday so I could get back into my drive if I felt like going out into the world. My snow tires are very good for getting me into places but not so good to back me up a hill in 9" of the stuff since I have 'All Seasons' on the back. I don't generally have to worry much about it except that I have a hump at the bottom of my drive & an icy alley to back out of so if there's a lot of snow, I can't get back IN once I get OUT. Yesterday, I got OUT, went for lunch, bought some goodies like fresh bread & salmon cream cheese & then came home & backed as sweet as you please, right up into the drive. I wish getting around in the Safeway parking lot was as easy. The store was crawling with slow moving Greyhairs!! I think every Senior in town was out there shopping yesterday.

Union Suit
I tell ya, I sure don't have the clothing for this kind of weather. I suspect a lot of us don't since we rarely have to use it. A Cowichan sweater is made for this weather but sadly, I no longer have one. And I'm sure that by the time I make one, the cold snap will be over for another decade. I did knit a warm hat to pull over my ears but that didn't help a whole lot - I needed a wool Unionsuit just to inch across the icy parking lot.

Yesterday, I downloaded a nice little cowl pattern called SHILOH. It not only covers the neck but comes down over the shoulders as well & finishes with a double or single fringe. It can be knit in chunky or worsted yarn & has a simple textured pattern to it. My crazy niece, the bee-keeper, would love it in the mossy green shown in the picture. And I think I'd also like one in some of that wild blue/purple cascade 220 I bought on sale eons ago.
Well, they weren't kidding about more snow in the forecast. There's been a break in the snow - well, it's coming down so fine that you can barely see it - but it looks like there's just a hair under 4 inches out there again. I think that makes 13 inches to wade through on the way to the garbage bins. Sigh.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter Is In the Building

I'll bet the Tire shops are busy this week because Winter has arrived on the Wet Coast in the form of fat snow flakes. This is very unusual for us in Lotus Land. Some of us wear shorts all winter long & most of us with cars don't even own winter clothing unless we drive to the mountains. So snow, before February, that lingers, is a bit of a shock.

I finally brought in the houseplants from the patio - in December. I didn't think the Jade plant would be happy in the snow. He sure looked happy out there as long as it stayed above zero but I thought I'd better bring him in before he froze out there. The Spider got so big that I have nowhere to put it but I'll clip the babies for next year!! The Crab & Christmas cacti are already indoors blooming their little hearts out & everyone else stays outside for the winter.

Saturday, I prepared for snow. Put the latest check in the bank. Bought milk, fruit, veggies, bread & a big bag of JuJubes. Already had my snow tires put back on last Wednesday - to the amusement of all the men I know who said my 'All Seasons' would be just fine. Filled up the gas tank. And settled in with several knitting projects & a few good audio books for the duration. This is the time of year I enjoy being Retired/Self Employed. No more 6 hour commutes from hell for me!!! I'm on permanent Snow Day.

Tuesday, I couldn't stand it anymore, I dug & chipped myself out & went for lunch at my favorite truck stop cafe.

Friday, bright & early in the falling snow, I decided I wanted fish dumplings & BBQ pork & busted out once more. It was a ghost town out there!!! Everyone took a Snow Day. I was quite surprised at NEWS-radio telling people to carry blankets & shovels in case they got stranded since it might be hours before they got rescued. WOW. Doesn't EVERYONE carry emergency equipment???? I've always had space blankets, plastic ponchos, tarps, a fleece blanket & a folding shovel in the car.
Found my fish balls & BBQ pork waiting for me at Hen Long. I love that store!! Bought noodles, chicken & shrimp buns, Pho soup base, mangoes & broccoli. Let it snow!!! I'm safe inside with lots of goodies to eat!!

So, it's Saturday morning & it looks like another 4" of snow fell since I broke out of the drive yesterday. This is getting mildly alarming. Good thing the fridge is full, the cupboards are groaning, the bills are paid & the internet is connected because I may be trapped in the alley till spring .  .  .  . 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Baby, it's Cold Outside

I'm not a big fan of 'seasonal' music although I do have some favorites out there. I'll never forget Cher singing a magical 'Oh Holy Night' live on one of her Christmas Specials. And anything by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is absolutely thrilling. But, the latest version of 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' by Michael Buble really made me laugh out loud. It was considered pretty risque by the morals of the day when it was first performed in the 40s!! It's been recorded many times but Buble's rendition is very fresh & cheeky. It made me laugh, brightened up my day & made me want more. Things sure have changed.

Now that we're into the Christmas month, yeah, it's not that far off, I find I'm not as cranky as I usually am. No one is outlawing 'Merry Christmas' this year. It's Politically Correct to mention the holiday again. After the Election Battle, everyone seems to be getting along for a change. Even though no one seems to have any money this year, they're still planning on celebrating anyway with food & presents. Drink seems to be waaay down on the list of requirements. I'm finding more talk of cookies & pie crust than Rum & Vodka. And a lot more of us seem to be happier.

My latest socks were called "Perfection" & a dozen more ordered . . . .  Oh brother. Not a job I really want. Maybe I should work for Baileys or Carolan's - booze in my tea might make it better.

Yesterday, I went & got my new-to-me snow tires put on the van. I want to be able to get out of my drive if it snows this year. Several years ago, we had all that snow & I was stuck in the drive for over a week. Stuck??? you ask?? Yes, stuck. I live on an alley, off a narrow side street which is off a secondary street in Surrey where they don't plow. Well, sometimes they plow the secondary street because it's a bus route but they don't do it right away. The Safeway parking lot gets plowed as it's snowing. The streets leading to it, don't. I wanted to make sure I can get out & about if I want/need to. Most of the time I don't bother but I want to get out if I want to. My new-to-me tires were looking good but rather bumpy when I left. Then I had to go out to meet the girls to knit last night & had a hellova time with a hard to steer van. I figured the right tire was unbalanced. Today, on the way back to the Tire Store, that tire started to thump. Yup, I knew what that meant. They sold me a tire with a separated steel belt. So, today, I got a nicer set of snow tires - they drive as smooth as summer tires. So, bring on the Snow.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tis the Season, I Guess

This is one of my least favorite times of the year. The constant Buy, Buy, Buy, Sale, Sale, Sale, barrage drives me nuts. I have been known to turn off the TV in mid program because I just can't stand the constantly repeating commercials for this product or that service.
It's not even the end of November & it's Christmas everywhere. There was even some Christmas advertising just before Hallowe'en, fer gawd sake. I just can't stand it some days. I don't bake. I don't decorate. And I sure don't buy a tree. What a waste of a perfectly good tree that could live for years to purify the air, increase the oxygen levels, hold down the soil & provide food & shelter for wildlife. Why not put up a fake tree??? They come with the lights attached nowadays, buy a fake & save a tree.

I am not a total curmudgeon all the time. I do knit for charity, contribute to the Food Bank, Salvation Army & Harbor Light. I drop off clothes & household goods to the Fireman's Thrift Store. And I make loans to Kiva all year long. While Charity begins at home, I believe in giving a Hand Up instead of a Hand Out to those who work hard to build a better life without the social benefits that we, in North America, enjoy. KIVA is in the business of making Mico-Loans to people who have little or no access to financial services. Loans can be as little as $50 to buy a sewing machine so a woman can start a dress-making business.

My personal favorite targets are single women & farmers. I currently have loans to a University student in the Gaza Strip, a young weaver in Paraguay, a group of 5 women in India, 3 older women in Africa, South America & the Philippines who run small General Stores out of their homes, a chicken/guinea pig farmer in Bolivia & a man in Tajikstan who needs to pay for his wife's operation. None of these people have access to banking or financial help without Kiva & the people like me who make small loans available.

I often think about people like the woman in Tajikstan who cannot get medical help until her husband finds $900, like the Rwandan farmer who struggles to feed her family without access to clean water, the Palestinian girl who can't go to school because her mother doesn't make enough money to pay the fees or the village women in India who desperately want toilets. How lucky I am to be old in Canada where we often take for granted all of the 'luxuries' we have that most of the world is still struggling to get. Now that's something to celebrate.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Hats for Everyone
Usually, this time of year, I'm knitting Hats for charity. I used to knit socks as well but the cost of shipping socks to the Collection Spot has become waaaay too expensive for a Pensioner in Canada. I used to participate in a 'Secret Santa' gift exchange with a couple of my On-Line Groups too but the last package I sent out cost more to mail than it did to put together!!! And I don't know anyone who sends out Cards anymore except to family because it's just too expensive. I suspect a lot of us create a Blog or a Facebook page just to keep in touch with the folks we know & love because it's cheaper than the Postal Service in Canada.

I hung in there with Hats. Everyone needs a hat in this climate. But that's become complicated too. Local charities will only accept items made with acrylic yarns because clothing must be machine washable/dryable. One group said they would only accept DARK acrylic hats in black, brown, grey & navy because most of their 'clients' prefer black. I know, I know, street people don't want to be seen when they bed down for the night. But yarn donations don't always come in dark colors .  .  .  .  so I decided NOT to knit hats this year at all. My hands & fingers are sore enough that I CAN'T knit a couple of dozen adult hats that won't get used, so I'm making acrylic blankets for the Syrian Friendship House AND woolly pouches & cat beds instead.

Handspun wool
One of my friends volunteers at a Shelter & a Wildlife Rehab up the Valley. When my last cat died, I asked if the Shelter could use a bunch of things I had since I decided not to get another cat. It was my crocheted cat bed that really got her interest - Shelter cats really need blankets & soft plushy toys to snuggle with to thrive. When adopted, the cat takes the blanket or toy with them so the Shelter is  always looking for more items. Another thing they're always short of too, are knitted pouches for the babies in the spring. Wild babies need to be together in snug, flexible nesting materials. Knitted squares work really well for most of them, especially the squirrels & chipmunks because they can be made into hanging nests - one point being the hanger & the two side & bottom points brought together with a few stitches. The babies nest together warmly inside. Apparently babies raised this way survive better & grow faster. And squirrels don't care what color the yarn is!!!
Off to the Foxes

My cat bed was crocheted out of small amounts of White Buffalo & Cowichan yarn marketed for 'Indian ' sweaters. I washed it in my portable washer - no agitator - just soak & spin dry, but it's also easily made out of acrylic. I just single-crocheted an oval - you could make it round - & then did a few 'crochet 2 stitches together' at the top & bottom to make the sides turn up. Cats & dogs both love it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rain Rain - Enough Already

Another Sunday, another rain storm. What is it with this weather we're having on the Wet Coast?? I mean, this is extreme, even for us!! Luckily, we did have a small break in the weather yesterday  -  I even managed to get out into it for an hour or two!! But, I'm not sure that an hour or two of NO RAIN every couple of days really counts. A couple of hours of SUNSHINE between rain storms might do though .  .  .  .

And woke up this Monday morning to - gasp, head shake - SUNSHINE. Well, what's with that???? It was so pretty out there I just had to go for a coffee & sit in the sunshine with a book. While sitting there I thought about the Damn Squirrel at home who keeps burying nuts in my plant pots outside the front door. I wish I could shoot the neighbor that keeps giving the damn thing peanuts in the shell. Don't they know it just hauls them to my house & buries them in the nearest soft earth????

I have three crows that hang out at the end of my drive & talk to me when I go outside. They aren't afraid of anything or anybody. The neighbors on one side wash their work vehicles daily & the water runs down a narrow path on the side of the paved alley where the crows can bathe & drink all summer long. This morning, as a treat, I emptied half a jar of old chunky peanut butter into an aluminum pan for them & tucked it into the weeds at the side of the drive, close to the stream running past. You would have thought they'd died & gone to heaven. I know birds like peanut butter but these ones acted like they hadn't seen food in ages. Three pigs in black feathers!! One of them picked up the container & carried it over to the side of the water & set it down to make it easier to eat - & it did let it's two buds in on the feast. I miss my bird feeders. I had several in my old yard & always enjoyed watching all the birds who came to visit.

Sounding like an old Bat on a pension, aren't I??? Hahaha  I've almost finished turning the heel on the second of my 'Mostly Blue' socks for Jen at the Cafe. Must remember to take a photo. She worked her last day on Thursday, last. As the mom of 4 teens, she really wants to be home evenings & weekends to keep track of them so she took a job closer to home with better hours. She says she'll still be around to work some weekends but not ALL of them.

Dug out my 'Blue Sweatshirt' in Briggs & Little Heritage yarn. I'm down to approximately the waist & will be starting side vents in about 3 more inches. I'm considering putting a short sleeve on it to wear over the long sleeve Tee Shirts I bought for the winter. Most of the time I really don't NEED much else since I'm only going from house to car or car to store & I think it would work nicely in the house to keep me warm as well. I really prefer to live in sweats or leggings & tee shirts with a vest or sweater now that I don't go out to work anymore.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Monday, November 07, 2016

Oh Gawd, Another Monday

I'm sure I'm suffering from Soggy Affective Disorder. All this rain, cloud & greyness is getting to me. I don't bother to make my bed anymore because I know I'll be falling back into it by mid-afternoon to sleep like I'm dead. The dishes & laundry have piled up & I just feel exhausted. And it's only November.

Mostly Blue
Maybe it's time to spin some fluorescent roving or knit a Stephen West shawl to brighten up the days!! I did spin up some neon pink & some lime green for a shawl but got sidetracked with other things. Got hooked by Cabin Fever's stripey socks is what I did!! Great method for clearing out the odds'n'sods by the way - last night, while watching the Dinosaurs on NatGeoWild, I actually had FOUR strands of sock yarn alternating like a
barber pole on the foot of a sock!! One of the gals at my favorite Greasy Spoon asked for a pair of socks in BLUES. I started one in Blue but somehow it gathered some Pink & Turquoise - which is close to Blue. It was looking so dull that I just couldn't help myself. Now to make a sibling sock that sort of resembles this one!!!

Managed to finish the Fat Ankle socks I was trading for Tillamook cheese - they're another pair of scrappy socks for a guy with ankle swelling problems - heh, I saved up almost 20 years worth of expensive leftovers from the days when I could afford sock yarn!! I always said I was saving it for Retirement. Well, here I am - Retired - sort of. I started with 72 sts & a nice loose ribbing for about an inch & a half. The heels are nice & deep with my usual knit-in gussets. I carried the K1 Slip1 all the way under the heel to make it nice & cushy. I like the very stretchy ribbing & the deep heel myself - it makes getting the sock onto my right foot - the one with the knee that won't bend all the way anymore - much easier.

Haven't done much on my sweaters dammit. I've been moping around doing nothing but beating on the keyboard. So much work & so little time!!! I'm working harder now than I did before I retired. But, it pays down the credit card. After all, I blew the budget on clothes last month - yes, dammit, I bought some new clothes!!! And then I blew the budget for this month on two pairs of glasses. So I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go .  .  .  .

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fireworks are Banned in Surrey

Diwali started yesterday. I guess there were big celebrations at all of the Sikh & Hindu temples with a big parade in Vancouver to the main temple on Ross street. Surrey's parade will be next weekend. I've always wondered why there's TWO Diwali parades but no one can tell me - not even the people celebrating. But Diwali calls for lots of food - sweets especially - and lots of fireworks. I'm beginning to think fireworks have become popular across all cultures!!
I live in a neighborhood where the majority of residents are Sikh & Hindu and most seem to celebrate with fireworks. Last night, there was a major bombardment from all sides from right after dinner to about 9:00. One of the neighbors must've invested in a huge amount in Roman candles!! Glorious colored balls of light lit up the overcast skies for almost an hour!!!

And in a couple of hours, we start on Hallowe'en. I wonder what the neighbors saved for tonight????  And for those who like to stay IN for a Treat, here's a couple for you to knit. 

 - My Vampire Boyfriend Sock  by Kate Atherley
 - Revenge of the Mummies Sock by Janine Le Crais
 - Black Widow Spider Sock by Janine Le Crais

And the Time Just Speeds Away

I meant to check into the blog & report on things  sooner but I tell  ya, the days & weeks are really speeding by. I have no idea where the time goes these days, but it sure hasn't been very productive. But I have accomplished some things.

I had this itchy, black spot between my shoulder blades that I kept on scratching. It got to the point where I was using anything long to scratch my back, including the office scissors!! My freckles are usually pale greenish brown not black, so I figured I was growing a melanoma -  Gah!! Well, the Doc thinks it's only a sebaceous cyst but it will be removed, just to make sure, whew.

And - after several years of having no money & making do - I made it to the Optometrist and have new glasses on order!!! My Driving glasses will be hot pink & I'm able to reuse my Purple frames for the bifocals for reading & watching TV. I won't mention how much they cost. It's horrifying. I have a massive correction .  .  .  .  Maybe, just maybe, I'll actually be able to see to drive after dark!

I have reached the toe shaping on the second of my Scrappy Socks that I'm trading for Tillamook Old cheese.
I've enjoyed making these socks which are made with two or three strands of different balls of yarn. The yarn changes every row so it's a nice way to use up all those single balls of sock yarn in the bin. I've found that it's not a good method for short balls or bits & leftovers - too many ends to weave in - but it's great for whole single balls or half balls but works best with a light & a dark yarn.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nothin but a Crab Ass

Yeah, that's me, the Crab Ass. All this rain, wind & damp has made my basement cold & clammy which has made my joints all ache & burn. And to go from too hot to too wet & cold in a couple of weeks - AND add the poisonous American election jacking of the media waves to the mix - it's . . it's . . . well, it's . . . . unreasonable. And unseasonable. Where's the gorgeous Fall weather we usually have this time of year??? Where are all the new shows to knit to???? The rains don't usually fall till Hallowe'en in this part of the world, fer gosh sake. So I'm crabby.

I've also been chipping away at my new sweaters -  yeah, sweaters, plural!! I still have both on the go as well as a pair of socks on the needles for a man with swollen ankles. He's offered to trade Tillamook OLD cheese for scrap socks. Yeah, I still have to knit
every stitch but I'm using up all the blue leftovers so it isn't costing me anything but waiting time - this is car knitting. I'm using the Spiral Sock method from Cabin Fever - I made several pairs of Pink socks this past summer the very same way.
No photos of the sweaters - they're in bags beside my chair in front of the tube all scrunched on short cords for knitting the main part of the body. My V-neck Cardi from Cabin Fever is halfway down the body - still thinking about knitting that lace skirt on the bottom for fun. And the Knitted Sweatshirt is about 3 inches below the armhole & still getting extra bust increases that I learned from Cabin Fever!! I am knitting that side panel from under the arm to the hem in garter stitch which will be split & finished in garter as well.

The damn Tree Rats are burying nuts in my plants again!!! I've been making sure the soil in their pots is damp so the squirrels stay out of them but someone's taken a big chunk out of the main Jade Plant stalk when digging a hole in the nice clean dirt!!! One year, I found a whole Hershey bar buried in my hanging Rock Plants!!! It must've been a hellova job hauling that thing into the yard & up the stairs to the hanging basket to bury it too. I wouldn't mind so much if they used the outdoor plant pots & bins but NOT my indoor darlings who are vacationing outside!! At least the Spider plants are loving this weather. They're waaay bigger in person than they appear in this picture!!! They've got branches shooting out all over with babies on the ends which may be big enough to save for next year. Maybe they'll survive outside if the weather stays mild & I cover them this winter because I sure don't have room for them indoors.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Baby, It's Cold Down Here

My basement is chilly & I've dug out the old woolly sweater & the garter stitch lap blanket I knit last year for my knees when I'm working at my desk. Since I live on cement floors, it feels colder inside than it does outside in the rain. I went out for coffee around lunch time & was surprised at how warm it is out there considering it's grey & dark & wet. The house plants are still thriving outside - the Jade plant is almost black with health & the spiders keep putting out  stalks with babies on the ends in all directions. And there's still a couple of almost red strawberries hanging off the Everbearing plants. It's been a good summer for the ferns too, even the one hanging out of the bottom of the Hen & Chicks basket.

The Woolly Sweatshirt is coming along quickly. I'm almost ready to put the sleeve stitches on a string & move on down the body. I put it all on a l-o-n-g cord to try it on yesterday & tried my best to take a picture. I must be horribly uncoordinated or something because I could NOT get the sweater in the picture without my big hand with the camera in the middle of it. In the end, I took it off, laid it on my messy desk & took a picture of it all stretched out. The color is bad - it's Royal Blue - because it was too dark inside but I got a damn progress picture anyway. Looking forward to wearing this thing, the sooner, the better!!! There's nothing so nice as a warm wool sweater when it's damp & cold. Unless it's a hand spun woolly sweater, of course!!! And I have one of those on the needles as well.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Mail Call

It's so much fun to get stuff in the mail. I read about a British spinning magazine somewhere on-line that sounded so interesting that I ordered a package of 5 previous issues from 2013/14. A BRITISH magazine?? Yes. I bought our American Spin Off magazine for years but it's been the same old thing for some time so I stopped buying it. But I like to spin & I want to see what others are doing. So, yesterday, I got my bundle of YARNMAKER magazines in the mail.

Right off the batt, hahahaha, I think I like this magazine. It's bright, it's colorful & it's full of local stories about local spinners (yeah, I know they're across the Pond) but they have a slightly different slant to spinning, weaving & fibre than we do here in North America. They work mostly from the sheep, not the processed, painted or dyed roving or batt. There's stories about sheep to shawl/sweater or longest thread competitions & they even bring the sheep with them. They spotlight breeds I've never heard of. They spin most of their wool right from the fleece. And every page or two is another story contributed by another spinner, knitter or weaver & their personal woolly adventures. There's projects from scraps, projects from little looms, projects from spindle spun yarns & group projects. I'm totally charmed & I think I'll spend the weekend exploring my magazines & getting all excited about spinning again. Yes, Virginia, I AM thinking about subscribing.

The Woolly Sweatshirt progresses nicely. I haven't watched a whole lot of TV but while I have, I've been working on it. The fronts are crossed over, I've begun the stockinet body & I'm about three inches lower than this picture actually shows. Another three or four inches will bring me to where I tie off the arms & start down the main part of the body. I'm thinking seriously of creating a garter 'seam' all the way down the body from the extra stitches cast on under the arm to the hem. This will give me a nice, wide contrast strip at each side to break up all the stockinet. I'm not going to put a pocket on the front but may do a shirt-tail bottom with side vents. But, I don't have to worry about that yet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September Knitting

And I'll bet you thought I haven't done a damn thing in September!! I will admit that this September has been a bit chaotic. Here I am, newly retired & bogged down with more work than I've had in ages - BUT - I did get some things done.

The 'knitted' sweatshirt I've been starting & frogging for ages is now restarted as a TOP Down sweater using the Cabin Fever 'Need a Plus Cardigan?' guidelines. I decided I wanted a Garter stitch yoke & extended the V fronts beyond the pattern requirements so I can overlap them into a front wrap. I tried it on today & have decided to frog back to the end of the garter - you can see I've just started the plain knit body - to overlap the two fronts about 6 inches. Then, I'll restart the plain knit body. I haven't thought about how I'll make the garter 'seams' down the sides yet but the Cabin Fever pattern calls for added body stitches after the sleeves are tied off. The added stitches would make a nice garter strip about 3 inches wide down both sides which - gasp - would be a slimming factor in this very large sweater!! Hopefully, there will be several new British Detective series starting soon so I'll have good TV time to knit!

Maria's socks were finally photographed this morning. I put them away & couldn't find them again to take a picture before I gave them to her. Last night, I finally found the 'safe' place where I put them. I had to go out for lunch - they made my favorite Broccoli Cheese soup today & had a bet on as to whether I'd show up or not - and gave Maria her new socks!!! The yarn was a little muted for my taste, soft yellow, grey, tan & blue so I just couldn't help myself & added a few rows of neon orange just to brighten things up. Maria loved the muted colors & laughed at my orange highlights!!

And, just because, I started another hat. This has become 'car knitting' since it's
nothing but Knit2 Purl2 on 140 stitches on 3mm needles. Pretty boring knitting but I've got several balls of this lovely dark green, soft 'manly' yarn which should appeal to anyone with a cold head. The K2P2 rib is very stretchy & will stay on even while moving & bending. I've found a couple of places that will take any hats, mitts & socks I can produce that prefer wool or other natural fibres to keep people warm in the absence of central heating.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Winter Sweater in Heritage

I enjoyed an evening of 'Silent Witness' - an older British series about a forensic pathologist who speaks her mind & stands up for the Truth, no matter what. Needless to say, she was always in trouble with the establishment. A good series on PBS starring Amanda Burton. It gave me knitting time to work on the latest project, a casual winter sweater in Briggs & Little 'Heritage'. 
I bought a whack of it about 9 years ago when there was a big promotion going on - I planned on knitting a couple of adult hoodies & ended up knitting only one - so I had lots left to knit something else. I wanted a hoodie for myself but I don't want the kangaroo pocket in front to accent my stomach. I also don't need the big expanse of plain stockinet to accent it either. What to do, what to do?? 
I thought about a Wonderful Wallaby without the pouch with a seed or garter stitch border instead of ribbing & maybe creating 'seams' of pattern up the sides with an open side slit for ease but I worried that it wouldn't fit right in the belly & bust. I can't try it on as I go. I have to pray my gauge doesn't change & my math is right. And by the time I closed the bottom vents, I thought the fabric was too loose & sloppy.
Top down seemed like a better option since I can at least try it on as I go & make short row adjustments across the front but leave the back & sleeves alone. So, I got out my 'Need an Plus Cardigan' book by Cabin Fever & started a sweater from the top.
Since I wanted something a little different, I knit the first 6 inches from the neck down, across the top of the shoulder, in garter stitch in light blue. Yeah, the front will end up as an expanse of stockinet but I intend to make two wide 'seams' of garter from under the arms to the hem which will be garter as well. I've also been extending the front 'V' neck opening so I can cross the fronts over & avoid a front closure. I have my fingers crossed that this will work out 'cause I've decided what I need is really a knitted sweatshirt with a tunic bottom.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Knitting to the Tube

I've been TV-less since mid April. On the whole, I didn't miss it a whole bunch other than a couple of specials & a  holiday marathon I wanted to watch on Public TV. But, I'm sure they'll all be rerun several times in the future. Last night, I became the owner of a new-to-me flat screen instead of the dead 36" old boat-anchor I've been harboring. The nice 40 something fella took away the old one & hooked up the new for me. I even got out my knitting, sat in my favorite knitting chair - yeah, I did miss that - & turned it on when he was done. It now takes TWO remotes to make it work instead of the one I used to have!! I wasn't going to bother with the one that turns it ON & OFF but I can't find any way to adjust the sound volume without the second remote, so I guess I have to have TWO.

So I sat in front of it at just before 9:00PM all a twitter, knitting in hand & tried to find something on the Sched that I wanted to watch. Sad to say I turned it off just after 11.

TV has NOT improved in the 5 months since mine died. It was the same old, same old. Hopefully Knowlege & PBS have many specials, Detectives & Dramas on the way otherwise I may just give it up for good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's the Thought

Never let a man who doesn't sew buy something for you at a Garage Sale. Bit of an oxymoron isn't it???? My little buddy Ron called on Saturday & asked me if I wanted some sewing supplies. He had run into a box of zippers, elastic etc & another box of quilting fabric. My first inclination was to say NO. No more junque. But I have quilting friends. And they have more quilting friends. So quilting stuff has a market & I said yes. Big mistake.

Sunday, after coffee, I found out how much 'quilting stuff' he & his buddy picked up. Boy, they really saw him coming!! The bitch 'nice lady' said she had some more stuff that he could have for FREE. And then she found some more. And what did I get?????

I ended up with two boxes of rags. RAGS. Clearly marked on the box as 'RAGS'. A box of pink quilted housecoat/bedspread leftovers - someone made something a long time ago & kept all the scraps. A box of old faded flannel pyjama bottoms & diapers. A box of blue plastic doilies, green plastic tablecloth & pieces of brown vinyl that hid old plastic & metal hangers. A box with a Mexican blanket & an umbrella. Two boxes of pant LEGS?? One box of kid's clothing. And one small box of zippers, 2 fingernail clipper sets, one old camera with film, one pair of pot holders, bias tape, elastic thread & other assorted waistband & sleeve edge elastic & a package of three, not four, DPs in size 4.5.

I filled an entire GARBAGE bin & half of the RECYCLING bin as well. He not only filled my garbage can with her garbage but paid to haul it away. I guess it's the thought that counts .  .  .

Monday, September 05, 2016


I'm getting really, really tired of this aging thing. If it isn't thumbs that won't hang onto something, it's a supposedly healed wrist that won't lift something else!!! It's like inclines & declines with a bad knee, you can motor along feeling pretty damn good without a cane & then boom! The knee won't do hills. Bah.
Last week I changed the battery in my big kitchen clock & then, when I tried to hang it up, down it went behind the big pantry. Got in the back with a broom & found plenty of dust & cobwebs but no clock. Totally fell into another dimension. Did Crappy Tire recall it or something??????

The de-junking project continues. I've found several hard cover crafting books that need new homes. I need the space for the new books I've acquired. No, no - I'm not adding to the chaos by bringing in new things really, they were already here piled on the freezer.
I found 4 pairs of plastic shoes I can't wear anymore. They've just gathered dust since the knee accident three years ago so they have to go. Hopefully they'll find good homes. The purple & pink ones were lightly worn before & will look good as new after their bubblebath. I don't think I paid more than 10 bucks for any of them.

I checked the local Recycling department to see what goes where these days. My landlady likes to complain about what I put in the bins & gave me hell for filling the Recycling bin with a bag of shredded paper because I put it out in a clear plastic bag. It was high quality office paper & worth more money than newsprint!! And coffee cups, she complained about them too so I've been putting them into Garbage. Apparently, in our City, shredded paper MUST be in clear plastic bags for easy separation & Take-Out cups are Blue Box items!! Our City also wants the Green garbage packaged in newsprint & the kitchen bin lined with newsprint rather than 'biodegradable' brown bags. The Compost People don't like those bags at all. Good! They're expensive on a fixed income. I was doing it right all along - I like to use old newspapers & even toss in the toilet paper rolls for good measure. I have a clear bag full of paper shreds that's almost as big as she is that's going out tomorrow!!! What a difference that will make in the office! Take that Ron!!!

Knitting content - I turned the second heel on my latest socks in the soft yellow, orange, grey, blue & white socks. They are a restful change from all those Pink/Purple Frankensocks!! I'd forgotten how much faster it is to knit socks straight from the ball!! These are to go to the new gal at my favorite cafe - Maria. She's waaaay too polite & nice for the joint & I said so on her very first day - she comes to our greasy part of the world from Kazakhstan - which used to be part of Russia - just a little north & west of Pakistan.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Personal Organizer

My buddy, little Ron, is a neat freak. I guess you have to be to live in a 35' trailer!! He offered to detail my new-to-me van in the spring & was quite shocked when I refused. I mean, it's only a car & will get dirty with the first dew-fall since it sits outside uncovered, so why bother??? So, he's decided we need to declutter my basement instead. Although I'm not ready to go to a Hoarder's Anonymous meeting & admit my addiction quite yet, I do tend to collect stuff. It's not really a sickness, but I can't help but add to the stash whenever someone says FREE. I'm also a Visual person. If I can't see it, I forget I have it & I go out & get another one. Anywhere I sit is cluttered with the stuff I use every day, right in front of my face. I tried putting things away in the past, especially in the office at the end of the day, but I need to see things or I forget about them. It leads to multiple packages of Highlighters, pens & case lots of pencil leads. And rooms full of bins & bags of fibre.

It wasn't such a problem when I was younger because I could move things around, repack stuff, get rid of stuff & toss old stuff in the back of the truck. Since I became old, all of my previous injuries, a weak left wrist & buggered right knee have ended my moving & hauling days. To add insult to injury, I've accumulated several big, dead items that I simply can't move by myself anymore. Ron has decided to organize me before I become a Public Health problem.  Can you really die if yarn bins fall on you???

So, over coffee the other day, he told me we should put it all outside on the patio - one room at a time - and sort the lot. He will back his truck up to my door & we can throw anything that isn't going back in straight into the truck. And he will haul it away. Eeeek!OMG!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Canada Post Came Thru

Mail call!! I don't get much in the mail department so I don't check the box that often. But, I fell off the wagon & bought a couple of things in the dead of the night with my handy dandy credit card, Ooooops.

And so what did I buy??? A couple of books I've been wanting for ages. Sometimes, you don't need or want just another book about Techniques or Patterns. I also love the Stories & the History of the tools in my hands.

I bought 'The Old Hand Knitters of the Dales' by Marie Hartley & Joan Ingilby in paperback. I'd seen it on Sale for $500 in hardback & almost that much in paperback on eBay but it was always out of MY price range. I finally found a copy I could afford. This is not new stuff but an updated version of the original book published just after WWII. I haven't had a lot of time to read it yet since I opened the other one first, but what I have seen looks very interesting! It's a history of knitting in the Yorkshire Dales. A story of the local people & local wool that helped make England rich before the Industrial Revolution.

I also bought 'In the Footsteps of Sheep' by Debbie Zawinski which I'd wanted since it was published last year. I wanted it so badly that I opened the package as soon as I got home on Friday & sat down with it to look inside. And then spent the rest of the evening reading it. And I continued to read it the next  morning as I ate my Cheerios & blueberries. In the end, I spent the whole weekend, to the detriment of everything else, reading the book.
And I love the book. I love that it's the story of people, of traveling & wool; of finding bits of fleece on the peat or in the bushes; of spinning that raw fleece into yarn on a stick & knitting it into socks as she meandered from place to place. I love that it has little hand drawn maps showing the route in each chapter, the method of travel & interesting spots along the way. It's not really a knitting book although it has patterns for socks, but it isn't a spinning book either, although Debbie writes about the characteristics of the wool she finds & the Scottish breeds it comes from. It's more of a Sock maker's travelogue or a Spinner's rustic walk-about in several of the Wooly Meccas of the world. You don't have to buy the book  but you do have to read it, especially if you spin, love fleece & knit socks.

My second package didn't even get opened until Saturday morning!! Inside I found a new Project bag & a cake of sock yarn. They were from the Yarn Harlot's Karmic Balancing draw for goodies for everyone who contributed to the annual PWA(People with Aids) Ride she & her TEAM make from Toronto to Montreal. Love the Bag & the yarn which matches the bag. Woohoo