Thursday, October 19, 2017

This One's for You, Lynne

 Last night the Wednesday Nite Nitting gals met in a new spot once again in the Clayton(188 & Fraser Hwy)Tim Hortons. We should be known as the Traveling Knitters since we move every once in a while when things get too crowded, hours of operation change or owners change - I think we've moved 7 times in the last 20 years!! And every once in a while, we get old members or out-of-towners dropping by to knit & chat. Sometimes, we get REAL Oldies like Lynne, from the back of beyond, who we normally see only at fibery events!! First thing she says is - "update your damn blog!" Yessim, I can do that. So here's yer damn update, Lynn.

I know, I know. I haven't said anything since August!! Well, dammit, I was suffering from FLC & had nothing to say. And what's FLC, you ask??? Feeling Like Crap. Everything aches, you're stiff & sore, brain is fuzzy, the old gut rumbles & talks back, can't read, can't knit, can't spin, don't want to talk to anyone so you go back to bed instead. Not sure what it is or where it came from but some guy on Public TV claims he has the diet to cure it in 21 days!! Yeah. Sure. Time to get over it!!!

So what did I do on MY Summer Holidays???

Why, nothing, dammit. Nada. I'm so bloody dull!! Can we count the times I ran the Ex to the eye specialists??? How 'bout Little Ron's trip to the ER??? Didn't even drive to Hope & dip my gold pan in the river this year. And I doubt I've been more than 30 miles away from home either.

I had so many plans for Retirement. I was going to sleep in, stay up late, drink more wine, take classes & spend more time sitting on the patio spinning. And what have I done??  I took on three new bookkeeping customers & worked all summer. That's what.

Oh, I did knit a bit - finished three more pairs of socks, just about ready to do the toe decreases on another pair & put another few inches on the blanket/shawl I've been working on for my niece. I also dug out the 5, yes FIVE, sweaters I have started for myself & contemplated finishing ONE for this winter ASAP. I'll post pictures when the sky clears & you can actually SEE the colors.

Then I blew up my computer & got a new one built while we cleaned out a whole lot of garbage from my office. I think I had 5 boxes of extra electronic parts & two old computers in there as well as two boxes of records from a client who died 10 years ago. My new computer has a solid state main drive - NO MOVING PARTS!! It's so quiet I have to check to see if it's still ON. I have 4 TERRABYTES of storage space for new Audio Books! I figure if I'm gonna keep on working in my office I might as well have good tools.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Suzie Has Left the Building

Kroy stripes
Suzie has gone to a new home & to someone who loves her. Remember Suzie??? She's, or rather was, the very expensive, imported spinner I bought & barely used since I wrecked my right knee. I have one more empty place in my livingroom!! I am slowly getting rid of stuff & looking less like a Hoarder all the time. Two of my wine crates have been spoken for & the extra chair in the kitchen can go outside. Who knows??? Maybe I'll excavate that couch one of these days!! If I do, I think I'll cover it's seats with one more layer of foam & a new cover & use it instead of piling bags of fiber on it. Just a thought.

The blanket in the bag continues. I'm enjoying the mindless garter stitch while I watch tv. I think we all need a good mindless project once in a while just because. I know my niece & the pooches will love it when it gets cold outside & that's all that matters.

Socks have once more taken over my life. Everyone I know likes a pair of wild, scrappy socks - especially the 20 & 30 somethings. I thought I'd be smart this year & get a few pairs into the 'sock basket' in advance for a change. Usually I'm knitting touques for charity but I'm down to a lot of And I'm sooooooo tired of touques.
really funky acrylic that makes my finger tips sore!! I'm thinking about donating it myself or maybe crocheting a colorful blanket or two for the animal shelter. Lost pets need comfort too!!

The sock at the top is a new-to-me Kroy colorway. I really like the colors so it's going into MY sock box for the winter season. I meant to knit a bunch of shortie socks this summer but it got so hot I decided NOT to wear socks at all. So I made a couple of pairs of diabetic socks & started back into the regular length socks for the Fall. And, while rooting around looking for the rest of the sock scraps, I found at least 4 sweaters that I've started for myself in the basket by the TV chair. Yeah, I know, I know.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ice Cream & Cold Water Days

BJ Fluff
It's been lovely since my new-to-me fridge arrived. I'd forgotten how nice ice water could be. Although I haven't found my expensive Tupperware ice cube trays yet, I have that big jug of water in the fridge. Vancouver still has the best tasting city water fresh from the tap!! Mix that up with Magnum Ice Cream bars &  you have Heat Wave Heaven. I've not enjoyed either one in a very long time. My little fridge just didn't have the room for luxuries.

The new fridge came with door shelves wide enough to put 4 litre jugs of milk in them!! And 6 bins for fruits, veggies, meats, cheese & other things. I'm spoiled for choice!! People talk about living off the grid but I'm not ready to give up running water, a big fridge & electricity just yet.

Since I never did go back to spinning for the Tour de Fleece after my rather disastrous beginning, I have managed to knit every day on my blanket. Except for the day I decided to wind off all the yarn I spun up LAST year on the Suzie Pro. Her extra bobbins were all FULL. And I filled all four bobbins last year with NEON Pink & Green for the Steven West Shawl that caught my eye. But, I never wound it off. I got involved with other projects & ended up just looking at it for a year. Time just goes so fast these days! So, I finally wound it all off in one evening. And ended up giving myself a wrist strain from using the niddy-noddy for so long!!

Suzie & I don't really like each other even though I've tried to love her. I suppose it was a bad match from the beginning even though I fell in love at first sight. I worked very hard at getting along with her snippy little attitudes & fast ways, to no avail. She doesn't like my under-twisted singles yarn & I don't like her galloping, tightly placed treadles. She's
too heavy to haul anywhere comfortably with my arthritic hands, scratches easily for all she's supposed to be hardwood & isn't comfortable to spin on since I wrecked my knee - the treadles are too close. And I've never liked her small bobbins!! I thought we could work it all out with some time but  .  .  .  .  She's just too modern for me, so I'm selling her on to a new home. I still love my Old Indian, the best. He's the one I always took traveling even though he has a couple of scratches, a chip out of his orifice, water stained feet & glue inside one big bobbin - my fault - he still spins silk thread to bulky yarn comfortably without complaining.

Blue Jeans
I love my handspun yarn in skeins. I often hang up the ones that I really love as ART, like Blue Jeans, a mixed fluff skein that appalled me when I first opened the bag it came in. Some of the fibre looked like dirty dryer fluff!! But I spun it up anyway & loved the result so much I ordered another bag!!!  It's soooooo soft & scrunchy I don't even want to use it for anything. I just want to pet it. What a change spinning made to that awful bag of stuff.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Lazy Days

It's been a while since I had anything to say on this blog. It seems I've become a dull person. My 86 year old client - I've done his small business bookkeeping for 30 years now - called me this morning to tell me he just survived his latest birthday & the physical to keep his driving license. His doctor said he doesn't need to come back for 5 years since he's in such good shape. Ralph still leads an interesting life & works bidding BIG construction jobs. He WALKS the entire site, estimates board feet of standing timber(trees) & general costs to dig, haul & clear. And he still rents out two ROCK Trucks to Really Big Projects. Any time my old crapper cars die, Ralph finds me a better one.

I've been inundated with paperwork. I think I'm being punished for being so lazy for several years before I 'retired'. If I could've had half the work I've been doing since I 'retired', I'd have been much happier. But better late than never, I suppose.

The latest car socks are finally finished. They sat in the car for so long, I never thought they would get finished but I snuck out a couple of times, found a shady spot at the Starbucks closest to home & knit while snarking back a super BIG Passion Tea Lemonade.Tall, Icy & Pink. My favorite. I'm thinking I should knit some short scrappy summer socks for a change since I've got lots of winter socks in the bin.

I have been working away at the Tote Bag Blanket when it's not too warm to have it in my lap!! I'd like to have it finished by September but it's really hard to sit sweating under a pile of wool in a heat wave. Maybe it's the one I should take with me to Starbucks when I knit in the shade!!!
I decided to knit for the Tour de Fleece this year instead of spinning after getting a rough start. I spun for the first couple of days & was doing rather well - even if I do say so myself.  While communing with my machine, the thread broke & buried itself - somewhere.
I tried tape - tape should catch the end when you run it over the bobbin. Nope.
I tried fingernails - run fingernails lightly over bobbin & an end should pop up. Nope.
I rubbed, I picked, I pulled, I cut. In the end, I broke/pulled/cut half of what I spun off the bobbin without finding an end. Until I made about 50 of them, that is. I cut it all off & went back to knitting.  Sorry, no picture was taken of the destruction.
I suppose this is equivalent to crashing my bike, falling off & breaking a leg while pulling away from START.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Full Sized Fridge

Tomorrow I get a new fridge. Several years ago my second hand fridge went 'kapuzt' in the middle of the night. Yeah, left me with a frozen freezer side, a warm fridge side & a puddle out front. I was clumping along on crutches at the time, barely able to get off the throne by myself & the fridge dies. Good thing I had an almost empty beer fridge!! It took me a year to finish cleaning out that fridge since my knee didn't want to bend to get into it. And then it took me another two years before I had enough money to live on, so I made do with the small fridge. You just go shopping more often & buy smaller sizes like the Europeans do. That's all. But, on Saturday, the old crapper is being hauled away & a lovely white fridge is being dropped in it's place!! It will be so nice to buy a large jug of milk again & fill up the veggie containers with chopped veggies, ready to go. I have to find the ice cube trays for cold drinks once more. It's amazing how exciting it is to get a full size fridge again. Woopie - where are the magnets????

No socks were completed in the last couple of weeks although I'm gartering my way through a big tote bag of expensive wooly sample yarn mostly in tan, beige, brown & rust. It could've been a display or two because I have several balls of the same yarn in a variety of colors. Or several little balls of European Eyelash yarn. There's enough yarn to make a child's stripey sweater but it's not machine washable. It's too thick for socks or lace shawls. I don't think it would work well for mittens but might for scarves. I was going to knit a heavy shawl but decided it would work best as a comfy blanket knitted on 5.5mm needles that a woman & two little dogs could cuddle up under on cold winter evenings after the farm animals are put to bed.

I'm also working on a new 'house sweater' for me!! Yeah, I decided to use my "Need a Plus Cardigan" from Cabin Fever, pattern book & just knit a simple, top down, garter sweater. It works up fast in garter stitch & I'm just about ready to check the length before taking off the stitches for the arms.  I fell for this colorway when I saw it but didn't want to buy a lot since it's 100% acrylic. I wish I had bought more since it feels a little crispy like linen & washes well. And boy, do I love that color!!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Banging on the Keys

Time sure speeds along when you're busy!! Suddenly it's the weekend & I have nothing much to report - as usual.
I haven't finished the socks-in-progress  - they spend most of their time out in the hot car as 'Car Knitting' & I haven't been waiting in the car lately so they still aren't finished.  The yarn for the Dragon Cowl is sitting on my desk, next to the keyboard, so it won't get forgotten!!
Beachcomber Shawl
I've fallen in love with the Shawl on the front of the latest Knit Picks advertisement. It's made out of bright, summery, cotton. Crafter Cotton. You know the stuff - we all knit & crochet those big dish/wash cloths. Someone has made a summer shawl out of the stuff. I mean, how appropriate. Throw it on over a swim suit, snuggle under it on the patio, throw it over your shoulders when out in a sun dress, toss it into the wash with your shorts & undies. I think it's one of the most appealing items I've seen lately. And I'm not even a shawl person!!! I think even the cat would love this one though.

Meanwhile, back at the Office, I've been working on sorting & adding up paperwork for another small disaster so I can file 6 years worth of taxes for a guy with a truck. I do this a lot. Small bookkeepers like me get the stuff the big Accounting offices don't want or won't do. Oh, they'll take your stuff but they'll 'get to it ' when they can .   .   .   maybe. Mostly they contract it out. Or look at it when CRA sends the final notice. As long as I'm not rushed, I don't mind a whole lot. After all, I can work all night if I want, in my pajamas if I want & listen to the latest British detective audiobook. Last night, I ate dinner at midnight & worked until almost 5 this morning. It was quiet & peaceful until the damned crows started cawing. Last night I listened to The Chessmen. It's the third book in The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May. Former Detective Fin McLeod grew up on Harris where the weather is harsh & the religion even harsher. He's now divorced, become the head of security for a private estate on the Isle & ends up investigating murders peculiar to the ingrown community. An excellent series that I highly recommend.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Livin's Easy

I like long warm days & cold nights. And the only way to get cold nights nowadays is to tinker with the vertical strip fan & convince it to blow directly on the bed. It's not hot enough to appreciate 'oscillate' yet but a soft direct blow is wonderful all the same. Since my basement & all it's windows face west, it can get mighty hot in here in the afternoon between 3:30 & 7:00 when the sun blasts directly in. When I can, I nap during those hours.

I also like long warm days for the plants & flowers. I love hanging baskets. And while Petunias seem to be the flower of THIS summer, I love the big baskets with anything & everything stuffed into them. I love waterfalls of Alyssum & Creeping Jenny pouring out from Geraniums, Coleus & Pansies. The City Mothers order huge hanging baskets hung up in public areas of Surrey & they contain every flowering plant able to exist in a pot. Someday, if I ever get a fenced & contained back yard again, I want to fill it with grasses, flowers, vines, wind chimes & spinners.

Long hot days are for drying skeins of freshly washed handspun yarn. Like all that yardage on the giant Indian bobbin. I should wind it off, splatter dye it in indigo, lime & turquoise & hang it in the patio to dry. Or macrame a triple plant hanger to decorate the corner of the patio.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wasn't that a Weekend

The May Long Weekend is over. Wow. Wasn't that a weekend???? All that lovely sunshine for a change & I didn't even get outside. I was at my desk doing a fast'n'dirty year-end GST tax return with a pencil & a calculator!! And coughing up half a lung while doing so. I've long suspected I traded one bad blood pressure medication for another a couple of years ago & when I hit allergy season this year, BINGO, the cough became constant. It was so bad last week that I couldn't breathe & went back to my puffer. It was like breathing through glue & I couldn't even walk to the garbage can without being out of breath - where's a family doctor when you need one??? eh?? Retired, gone, or working at a clinic that won't even let you in the door after lunch because they're full. And don't have an emergency because they shrug or tell you to go to Emergency. I don't want to be in Emergency with sick people on a long weekend!! Gah.
Dragon Cowl

So I stopped taking the blood pressure meds. It's taken two days but I can breathe again & I'm not coughing neither. Another $150 worth of medication in the drawer that I can't take. Whoopie. Guess I'll try the clinic again on a Thursday morning & see if I can get in.

In the meantime, not much yarny or fibery stuff is getting done!! Although my niece has Okayed the Pond Scum green fingering I bought, I'm not sure I want to make the lacy little cover-up for her. She's never been a girly-girl. She'd much rather be in the barn hunting for eggs than dressing for dinner. And lately, she's taken to farming like she'd been borne to it. Her hives are producing so much honey that she's selling it for some astronomical price & her free range eggs sell for $5 a dozen!! She's eyeballing herbs next. In 3+ years, she can take early retirement & be a full time farmer which she's seriously considering. I see no use for a lacy cover-up in her future unless she wears it over her overalls. But, she does love Dragons. So I found a dragonish Cowl that might look interesting in Pond Scum. At least she could wear it while hunting for those free range eggs.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

May Surprises

It's been a while since I last looked at the old Blog. What a bad blogger I am!! Actually, my life isn't that interesting these days other than to say it looks like I'm back in the paper-shuffling business more or less full time once more. I know how it all started - I was broke & on the edge of shifting my yarn to a cardboard tent in the park!! but I never intended to go back to working full time - just enough to pay the rent. But, that was then & this is now .  .  .  .  time to get really organized again since not only am I working full time but I've signed up for another Paleontology course at the University of Alberta. Ooops.

One of my greatest wishes through most of my working adult years was to go back to Uni full time. For someone who hated high school & dropped out as soon as she could, college was a revelation. Was I a poor learner?? Low marks?? Quite the opposite. I found high school boring & hated being held back to the speed of the slowest learner. College freed me. I could work as fast as I wanted & was constantly challenged. So, when courses became too expensive, I consoled myself with knowing I could take them all for FREE when I hit 65. I intended to be a full time Student!! The problem is that by the time I hit 65, I was working full time & the fibre bug got me. I still love Paleontology but my dreams are filled with yarn .   .   .   .

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!!