Sunday, April 16, 2017

Another Birthday

Today is my birthday. On Easter Sunday, too. I don't remember ever having a birthday on Easter Sunday. I remember having a birthday on the Saturday between Good Friday & Easter Sunday - it snowed that year - but never on the Sunday. And it isn't even raining on my birthday, wow, after all the rain we've had this year, this is a miracle!!

I thought I'd spend my time quietly, knitting on a pair of Purple Opal socks. Yeah, they're just for me. I always thought this ball of Opal was kind of plain which is why it sat for years in the 'yarn for me' basket on the shelf. It's purple & that should say it all, but I've always jumped on the brighter yarns, the wilder yarns or the neons first thinking Yeah, this is Purple but just ordinary purple, small-p purple. If you know what I mean. But it's been glaring at me from behind the bars of the basket on the yarn shelf. Somehow it worked it's way to the front of the basket & has been giving me the Stink Eye for a couple of weeks now. So Friday night, I sat down in front of the Tube & cast on 73 stitches for the first sock in purple Opal.

Mmmmm I'd forgotten how nice Opal yarn is. It's quite sproingy without being too soft. 
Soft yarn does NOT a good sock make!! But you don't want nasty rough yarn, neither.
This yarn is nice in the hands, easy to work with & loose baby, without being sloppy. And the color's on the pinky-purple end of the rainbow. Just nice yarn. And. Well, look at that. The splotchy yarn makes a pattern!! I'm ending up with bands of large splotches with bands of fine splotches. Mmmmm - I wonder how it will look with hot pink toes??

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Little Pop of Color

My Cup & a fav pair of socks
Today I woke up to a brilliant blue sky. Nothing hurts today & I noticed nothing hurt yesterday either.  I have no idea what's going on or what magic pill or potion I've ingested, but I intend to make good use of the time I've got.


It's STILL tax season & I'm still trapped in the office banging on the keyboard but the kitchen sink is unstuck once more. Hallelujah. I thought that Drano Gel would never work. But, I kept pouring hot water down there & things began to budge. It's just about time to push the mini washer over there & wash a load of whites in hot water. That should blow it completely away!!!

The other night I just HAD to start something new. I bought - some Knit Picks acrylic - a while back. I know, I know, after all the bad things I say about acrylic .   .   .   but there are some out there that are pretty darned nice. And I took a chance with this stuff. It said it was worsted weight - looks like sport to me in the ball - but it knits up into a nice 6x6 swatch on 4 mm needles to a worsted gauge!!!

It feels good. I love the colors.  But it DOES work out to a worsted gauge - 18 stitches to 4". Wow. Looks can deceive. I've abused that swatch for several months & it looks just as crisp & nice as it did on the day I knit it up. So I dug out the Cabin Fever "Plus Cardigan"book & cast on for a Top Down, V-neck Tee with garter neck & shoulders. I might carry garter down a bit lower but no further than the end of the V. The Plan is to just cap the shoulders with the garter & then change to stockinet. The yarn was cheap, clearance cheap, which is too bad because I do love it so far. Isn't that always the way???? One great thing about this yarn is the color. Lovely color for a grey day .   .   .

Since the morning was so bright & nice, I managed to snag a good shot outside on my dirty patio table. It's funny how delicious, bright, crazy colors knit up so much faster than ordinary color-ways. And this one's going fast & easy. Maybe it's because it FEELS so good as it's being knitted too. I'm just about down to the bottom of the V at which point I'm thinking about closing the front & changing to stockinet for the rest of the sweater.



Sunday, April 02, 2017

My Exciting Life

My Desk Once More

I'm supposed to be purging items from my basement apartment. After 17 years in residence, I have it stuffed to the gills with books, yarn, fleeces & well, stuff. Not all of it's MY fault but most of it is. The place was empty when I moved in.

Today I tossed the George Forman grill. Why?? Because I couldn't keep the damn thing clean after the first couple of years & trying to degrease it this time completely clogged up the sink drain. That's why. These indoor grills are wonderful until they aren't anymore. When the BoyToy lived next door, we grilled almost every night. Salad & meat made a quick & easy dinner, especially in the summer & we wore out the first grill. This one got plenty of use too. I loved the removable plates but it got increasingly harder to clean as things began to stick all the time. This time around, I grilled lamb. And forgot to wipe, soak & scrub the plates right away. After soaking, scrubbing & degreasing this time, I realized the grill plates were peeling & I'd never get it clean. So, out it goes. I'd rather spend my time with a sexy cast iron pan which takes up a quarter of the space, instead.

And what's on the needles??? Just finishing up the toe on the second Purple & Green Kroy 4ply Boot Sock. These took much longer than usual since they were 'Car Knitting' for ages. Since I haven't spent much time waiting in the car lately, they never got finished. And now that I have orders for 3 more pairs of socks, they came in from the car to get finished. Tonight is the Season Premiere of two favorite series on Public TV, so the toe will get finished & a new sock partially knit while I enjoy the Midwives & Homefires - a series about small town British women surviving during WWII. A real exciting evening at home!! But, it's Tax Season once more & most of my time is spent banging on the keyboard because everyone wants their project done NOW. Wooopiee

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lunch on My Own

I had to get OUT today & decided to escape the old keyboard & head for my favorite Greasy Spoon, the cafe in the Industrial Park. It was great!! Just a sprinkling of rain, hardly anyone on the road - at 12:48???? - and a parking spot right in front! No one was there but me so I got to sit & read yesterday & today's papers in peace & quiet. They made me my favorite hot chicken wrap - just chicken & swiss cheese - with a huge bowl of Chicken with Broccoli, Veggies & Mushrooms soup. I swear the soup was the best I've had in ages - so good that they sent me home with a bucket of leftovers. They told me it was three kinds of leftovers combined. All I know is it was damn good & I got the leftovers!! I love it when you go out for lunch & get supper included. hahaha

Tax Season is off with a bang. I've been chained to the keyboard all week doing payroll, employee remittances & T4s for three little companies as well as the year end data entry. Busy, busy, busy. I thought I'd trained all these people to give me their stuff every three months but it looks like they held out on me. Bah. Men are so hard to train in paper management!!! But, you know, when it's all said & done, it keeps you alive & ticking. There's more to life than yarn, socks & spinning, I've been told.

When I'm not banging on the keyboard, I've been working on some new socks in preparation for next winter. Just about finished sock #1 in one of the green/purple Kroy colorways I got for my last birthday. I have to remember to take a photo when it's light so I can post it.

I have another project in mind - I know, I know, I should finish one of the UFO cardigan
projects I have laying about but Spring is coming & I want something lighter to wear. I'd really like a couple of Tee Shirts in the cotton/acrylic blend which I bought on sale quite a while back. After spending years looking for the right pattern, I've come to the conclusion that the sweater pattern I already have will work as nicely for a V-neck Tee as it does for a cardigan or pullover. And I know it fits.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Good Grief - it's been a while since I wrote anything on the old blog. It's amazing how a
Scrappy Summer Socks
constant cycle of grey days or snow storms make every day seem the same. It's not that I haven't accomplished anything in the last month or so, but nothing's been interesting enough to report to anyone. Luckily for we, who live in the Canadian Riviera, the snow season appears to have come to an end. Finally. Snow is not usually in the forecast around Vancouver & the southern end of the Fraser Valley but comes in 10 year cycles mostly, if we get any at all. About 8 years ago we had a big dump around Christmas that kept us all home for the holidays but nothing much since. Between the rain & snow & grey days, I'm mighty tired of it all.

There's not much spinning going on around here - better for me to spin outside when it warms up - but I've been working on UFOs & knitting new socks. I finished another pair of Summer Scrappy socks for myself in the light pink/blue & green pastel yarns & a pair of Manly socks with Neon Orange toes - just because!! They've been spoken for by two different people so I have to decide which one I like the best, I guess. Max, the cook, adores them & has offered 4 lunches .  .  .  .

And last night, I just couldn't stand it. I got several balls of my favorite Kroy 4 ply for my
birthday last year from my knitting pals in mostly purples & greens. They've been staring me in the eye for several months & I just couldn't stand it anymore. I find it impossible to watch TV without working on something, so I cast on for myself once more - in the ball it looked a lot like purple pansies with green leaves, but on the needles, more greens than purple. You can never tell what the colors truly are inside the ball!! But, it's so warm & thick & soft that I just don't care. I have nothing close to this colorway & I think they'll be very pretty when they're finished. There's four more balls in different purple & green colorways waiting in the basket too. As you can see, I dug out my favorite bamboo skewer needles - 2.50mm - & am working my simple sock pattern, cuff down.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Back to Normal, More or Less

It's over. Oh, there's still piles of snow melting all over the place, the alley is still partially blocked & the side street is one skinny lane between walls of snow thrown from where sidewalks have been cleared. But our drives have melted more or less & the bigger streets are  just wet. Most of the snow is gone from roof, tree & blacktop leaving piles & puddles everywhere. The gulls are hanging out at Mcdonald's again while the sparrows sit begging on tables at Starbucks once more. And today, while pushing a buggy around at Safeway, shoppers were arriving in shorts, once more. It's a normal winter in the Vancouver burbs!!

I haven't been out of my house since the last series of snow storms started over a week ago. I decided I had enough dry & frozen stuff stored to keep me eating for another 6 months at least, so I stayed home, pounded on the computer & watched TV in my jammies. There are compensations for being Retired, after all. I'm so glad I didn't have to spend hours trying to get home after going out in the mess for I remember horrific commutes across town only to find the bridge closed - we only had TWO then. I could almost SEE my house on the other side but couldn't GET there.

Crab Cactus Blooming
So what did I do while 'snowed in'?? I found 'Jigsaw Planet' online & worked at least one a day!! I finished one pair of scrappy socks & started another. I made soup & Chow Mein. I took afternoon naps & watched middle-of-the-night TV. I read & listened to the whole 'Harry Bosch' series by Michael Connelly & 'Kate Shugak' series by Dana Stabenow. And I worked on Payroll books, WCB & end of the year data entry. It is almost time to file those taxes again & CRA will start accepting them on Feb 20. Just about the time I started longing for a Mcdonald's coffee with two milks, the rain came & washed at least half of the snow away!! Just in time. I was OUT yesterday, coffee in hand both BEFORE & AFTER visiting the grocery store. And last night for supper I had buttered fresh Sourdough bread, papaya cubes, chicken fingers & a big glass of milk. Tomorrow, I'll have Wild Baby Greens & chicken with Fig Balsamic dressing & two kinds of seedless grapes .  .  .



Sunday, February 05, 2017

And It's Snowing Some More




Sunday afternoon here in the Vancouver burbs & it's snowing again. Big, Fat, Fluffy Flakes of Gorgeous Misery. Only one neighbor bothered to shovel his drive yesterday, twice. He even cleared the alley in front of his drive. The rest of us lazy slobs didn't bother - we know more is on the way. And it's falling as I write. I can see another 4 to 6 inches if it keeps up falling like it is right now. Is this Climate Change?? Should I go snow machine shopping???? And where the hell was all this white stuff back when we needed it for the Olympic Winter Games????

Short Summer Socks
And just so you know I'm doing something other than moan at all the falling snowflakes, I've been making Summer Socks. Yeah, I know. But the snow has to go sooner or later & then we can pull out our shorts & summer socks & go back to normal life. This one is made out of thinner 3ply yarn so it will be much cooler to wear in my summer sneakers. I fell off the wagon & started it during a good evening of Antiques Roadshow on Monday. My hands were sore & I just couldn't manage the heavy  worsted yarn that I'm using for my Crossover Sweatshirt. I suspect I'll be giving up the heavier commercial yarns when my current supply runs out to give my hands a break. Handspun & sock yarns are so much easier to work with when my hands are sore!!! Hell, what am I saying??? Handspun is so much nicer to work with than most commercial yarns at any time. But I can't dye it to match the wonderful colors I love so much, especially in the sock yarns.

Listening to the Silence

Summer Memories
The Lower Mainland is under another deep blanket of snow. At least my part is. I hear it's far worse as you go away from the water & into the Valley. 
About 7, Friday evening, I went outside to measure the deepness of the snow - I had my green knitting ruler about 6 inches long with all the needle size holes on one side & a ruler on the other. At 7PM I had more than 6 inches in the drive because the ruler went in over it's end. I thought about pushing the snow shovel around a bit Saturday morning but the snow warning was still flashing for more snow. Saturday evening, it was up to my knees & still snowing. And that's over a foot for sure .  .  .  . This is not normal for us.

It's almost like daylight outside because it's so bright with all that white. I didn't even bother to turn on the patio light because I don't need it out there. And it's so quiet. I live close to two Fire Stations - #1 Hall is 4 blocks to my left & #2 Hall is 12 blocks to my right. The Surrey Hospital is 6 blocks away. Usually in the evenings, especially on weekends, you hear sirens a lot. Police, Fire, Ambulance all use the main street one row of houses away from me. It's all silent - like Christmas Day silent. No trucks, no traffic bumping through the crosswalk. Nothing but silence.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

On the Mend

I believe the worst is over. Friday, I slept in till almost noon & got up without a headache!! My neck & back are stiff but not painful & I could actually scratch the top of my head with BOTH hands - whoopie. I planned on going to my favorite Truck Stop cafe for lunch. They usually make some type of Broccoli soup on Fridays & I like it a whole lot - especially with a Chicken & Swiss wrap. And sometimes I get lucky & get to take the leftovers home. Yesterday was planned & turned sideways .  .  .  .

My buddy, little Ron, who will be an official Pensioner in March, called up to take me out for a coffee. Our schedules often don't mesh & last time I could go, he came down with some sort of head cold & when he could go, I was down with whatever I just had or iced into my driveway. We keep on the lookout for food bargains for each other which is really great. Ron likes Tim Horton's so we drink a lot of it when we get together. I let him drag me out for coffee next to Walmart.

Most of the time I ignore Walmart but in the past, it was the one place I could find cheap, warm, men's sweat pants that fit the man of the moment. And they all came with pockets. I can go to any department store & buy women's sweats for three times the price but they don't have pockets. And the fabric is so much thinner. I've spent the last few years since I wrecked my knee in my Ex's old sweats - they're warm, easy to get on & have deep pockets to put keys, phone, whatever into. This is very important when cold knees mean pain & unsteady knees mean you need to carry things in pockets.
So, I dragged my butt into Walmart. They had sweats but they're REALLY cheap. And no Stanfield's sweats!! But I got bath towels in gorgeous Aquamarine instead. And new pillow cases - with Tyrannosaurs on them for FIVE BUCKS!! Then, to top it all off, I got 3 Primulas for the pot in front of my door in bright spring colors!!! A bag of Avocados for $4 & a tray of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves for $13. WOW. I was so tired after an hour of walking around that store that I came straight home, put the meat away & went for a nap!

On the Needles - another scrappy blue sock .  .  .  .  same song, different verse .  .  .  I had automatically started another sock & then remembered how much I needed thin, short socks last year when it got warm. I love the Kroy 4 ply but it's really too thick for summer wear. I have to wear socks in my sneakers & I need my sneakers for stability - I roll IN on one foot & deform regular shoes so I wear sneakers with a built in anti-pronation support. So, I thought, why not???  I dug out all the lightest yarns & decided to knit myself a couple of pairs for summer. This will be Car & Coffee Knitting.

Meanwhile - back at the Crossover Sweater - too much trouble to make it a cardigan. It will be what I intended in the beginning but several inches narrower than it was. I don't know what I was thinking but it's frogged back to the row where I joined the body & tied off the arms. I've measured it against my favorite zip-front jacket for width so I'm off again to finish it for Spring.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Just a Little Weirdness

Crab Cactus blooming it's heart out
I'm trying to recover from something weird & strange. I did wonder for a brief moment if this is part of 'natural aging', an injury, heart problems or 'All in my Head'!!
About 10 days ago I woke up with a stiff neck, terrible headache, aching ribs & pain in my upper back when I turned my head or tried to raise my arm on that side. All I wanted to do was sleep. I suspected I 'kinked' my neck in my sleep. And so I swallowed a handful of pills while I heated up my "Magic Bag" before heading back to bed. Heat is always so comforting but doesn't really do anything for the pain. I don't think the pills do anything either. I decided if I was going to die, I'd rather die at home in MY bed. By the time I actually got washed, combed & dressed the next day, I was too exhausted to drive to the clinic & wait all day to see someone. So I went back to bed & slept some more instead. And I slept for most of the week although I made sure to get up, drink & sit up for a few hours afternoon & evening. Coughing hurt my head & chest so much I decided I didn't need pneumonia on top of it!!
I'm still making "Old Woman" noises when I get up, I still need to go back to bed in the afternoon & the neck & head still get worse as the day goes on. And my joints still all hurt. Hell, even my tongue hurt at one point!! But I'm sick & tired of the whole thing. This morning a customer apologized about not getting back to me because he'd put out his neck somehow & had this terrible headache. He's been suffering with the same symptoms as I have!! We came to the conclusion we have a VIRUS of some kind. Maybe this is the one that wasn't included in this year's flu shot. A crappy Virus!!

On the Needles - I did finish that second scrappy sock. Someone has already spoken for it. And out of habit, I automatically started another. I think I was halfway through the ribbing before I realized what I'd done!! I blame it on whatever I have - it makes for a fuzzy brain too. Might as well start on the 'Gift Sock' basket.

I pulled the Cross-over pullover out of the UFO basket too. Since I frogged it back to the yoke I haven't done anything else to it because I wanted to finish the sock & sort the UFOs first. I really NEED a house cardigan but I like that cross-over yoke a whole lot. Maybe I should just make it into a cardi with a side tie??

Update - Got up this morning feeling a lot better. I actually went for my mail & to Hen Long grocery for fish balls & more Pho soup cubes. My back & neck are stiff but no awful headache. I can raise my arm & turn my head reasonably well & only my hands, bad knee & hip still hurt a little. My finger joints keep cracking - I hope it's just from not being used  .   .   .  Did I mention all the ginger & garlic I've been knocking back in my PHO soup????  I've been drinking gallons of liquid. My recommendation - if you get it, go to bed & sleep as much as you can. Drink, drink, drink. And make sure you sit up for part of the day.




Sunday, January 15, 2017

I Won't Complain About the Rain

The sun is shining out there & the sky is blue. And here I sit, looking out at all the snow & ice left in my driveway. It has been melting & then freezing at the bottom of the slope. My visitor today just about fell as he got out of his car at the bottom of my drive where it's all black ice. Where is the rain when you want need some???? I'll be enormously happy when it rains for a week.
It hasn't mattered a whole lot that the drive is icy because I've been chained to my desk doing paperwork & filing reports. At least I don't have to get dressed to do it!! It's surprising the amount of paperwork a year end generates - and we aren't even talking about taxes yet.

I meant to do a lot more knitting than I've done. I haven't even finished the second 'scrappy' sock yet - but I'm just about there. I did frog one of the sweaters I had on the go - three started from the very same pattern - I thought it was a bit much so the one I liked the least - WENT. I have other plans for that yarn.
That's TWO UFOs gone - one almost finished & one frogged. 

It's Marmalade Month. I follow a blog called 'Food in Jars' where it's marmalade season. I don't do much canning anymore since there's only ME here to eat it but I love the Food in Jars small batch recipes. Often, a recipe will make two or three half pints or several 'fish' jar amounts. This is very good for the apartment dweller or small home owner with limited space. Food in Jars covers everything from cook books to counter-top fermentation to equipment. Lot's of Give-A-Ways - even for Canadians, tons of good advice & of course, the recipes.

Monday, January 09, 2017

More Bloody Snow

Freya's Fish Mitts
So after the last bit of snow - yeah, another 4 or so inches - what is it with all this snow anyway??? Can't we just get a 'skiff' instead of 4 inches??? This last 4 inches was deadly - heavy, wet, sticky & it blocked up the end of my drive again. I can get OUT but getting back IN is another story. I took the chance on Saturday & went grocery shopping - out of fresh stuff again!! Boy, do I EVER miss my old Oriental veggie store in the neighborhood!!! So I drove out with a thump & a thud & got stuck when I came home. I was JUST ABOUT into my drive when I got stuck on the icy ridge at the bottom with one snow tire in the hole in front of it. And vans don't rock very well. So I'm out there in the dark with my little pointed, fold-away shovel - good for latrines in the bush & scooping up gravel when you're panning for gold. And very good for chipping ice WHEN you can see. My neighbor saved me by pushing & chipping when he got home. I could see he felt sorry for me & I was feeling pretty damn sorry for me too by the time he showed up. That's it - I'm not coming out again until it rains for a week!!!
And to add injury to insult - all that chipping & digging gave me a really sore shoulder & an arm I couldn't raise by the next day. Still really sore today although I can move the arm a lot better!! It's really a pain in the ass this getting old .  .  .  my Ex & I used to dig up half of our street & the drives of all the old folks that lived there before tramping over to the local cafe 20 years ago . . . . .

And that brings us to knitting. I finished the latest scrappy blue sock that's been laying around unfinished. Tick. And last night I started it's mate. Tick. I'm a row or two from the heel & on a roll. This will be the last scrappy blue sock for a while. I have some lovely Kroy 4-ply singing it's Siren Song from the Personal Stash!! Remember These??? All lovely Kroy that I got for my birthday. Yeah the big Six Five.
I love the 4ply. Since I live on cold cement floors, it keeps my feet toasty warm & still fits into my shoes. And there's purple - my favorite color - in three quarters of these balls!!! I love my crazy friends who remember me, even when I'm in cantankerous Hermit mode.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Here We go Again

Just Outside my Door
The Wet Coast is continuing to get a real winter -  I can still hear the boys laughing at the Tire Shop a couple of weeks ago when I insisted on SNOW tires instead of the good All Seasons that I had all round .  .  .  .  there's another 4" of really heavy, wet snow we got for New Year's on top of the snow left in my drive. The poor old Cedar in the side of the yard is really full & I hear we're getting more before the weekend. Like I said before, I can't remember so much snow - even back in 2009 when we got a real dump over the Christmas holiday. But, the bills are paid, the cupboards are full, I still have Gummies in the bag & was out for coffee in the middle of it all on New Year's Eve when it really started coming down. I AM glad I don't live in Mission, about an hour up the Valley, because they got over a foot!!! My niece, waaaaay up the Valley, is snowed under & looking for her own tractor with blade. These days I wish I was a hellova lot younger & had MY own truck & blade.

There's a million things on my desk but I just can't find the motivation to pull the rag out of my ass & get to it. I've been laying about for the last ten days drinking tea, solving Jig Saw Puzzles, watching Marathons & Christmas Specials on TV & have lost my MoJo, I guess. Maybe I'll get up early tomorrow, find a good Audiobook & get the old routine started again. Maybe I should just make a big pot of Italian Soup to help it along!! Or some Dirty Rice. 

Almost Full

And speaking of the old routine, it's time to wind off that huge bobbin of wool I spun up on my old Indian spinner which is a lot fuller than in this picture. I think I've been looking at it for about a year now. I love those big bobbins but winding them off on a niddy-noddy is a royal pain in the old 'nether regions' as EZ used to say. But leaving all that wool on the bobbin isn't getting it dyed or knitted now, is it??? I think I have actually spun ALL of the 'knots' of spongy fibre
the Knot
from the Grab Bag I ordered & shared with my friend Gail more than 10 years ago. Gail loved the wool/mohair roving in the bag while I preferred the more rustic 'knots'. The roving was silky & practically spun itself - so beautiful!!! But I wanted to knit a simple textured Kimono - so the more rustic nature of the 'knots' appealed to me. And I think I've managed to spin them all. Only took me 10 years or so. haha

I have a dozen skeins in the bin so far & probably that many on the current bobbin to wind off. I've spun it to a fingering SIZE but it's woolen spun so it will definitely knit up thicker. And I want to dye it before I knit it up as well. Waaaaay back when I first started to spin it, I wanted a splotchy, speckled yarn with lots of white but I'm not so sure anymore. It's really dirty here on the Wet Coast - everywhere you go. White does not remain white very long, especially if you're out in crowds, eating out, drinking coffee out, sitting, resting your arm anywhere or using buggies & public transport. I don't want to be washing it all the time. So it may end up with a blued background under the splotches. If I'd realized then, what I know now, I would've ordered the GREY Grab Bag!!