Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall has Arrived

Another beautiful day in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. We did have some much needed rain, but I'm grateful that it is beginning to feel and look like our usual Fall's. Fall is my favourite season. I love to see the colours of the leaves change, feel the crispness in the air, and of course it makes me want to just sit all warm and cosy and knit.

My problem right now is that Millie needs to be walked or taken to the dog park each day. I usually just take her to the dog park in the afternoons so she can play with other dogs, run, and get rid of excess energy. We now are walking her on her leash each evening right after dinner. Soon it will be too dark to do that, and I'll be back to walking her around 4 or 5pm.

My knitting time seems to be more limited these days. I may get a bit done in the mornings, but I don't find time to knit during the afternoons much these days. Mostly because Millie needs to be out playing and having fun with her doggy friends. However, I did rip back the Lavalette shawl as I'd cast off too tightly. I have no idea what I did as I do know how to do two different methods of casting off loosely. But I fixed it and now it drapes very well.

Millie is now 18 months old and she and Heagen play very well together. They of course are still supervised.

I did a KAL with the Scary Lace group on Ravelry and used some yarn that I had in my stash from a trip to California last summer. I made The Travelling Woman.

I've started the KAL for October, Saskia, and between trying to do a few rows each evening on a lace shawl for my daughter-in-law's mom out of silky malabrigo, redoing the back of Thomas the Train, working on Charlotte's Web, and doing a few rows on the Saskia shawl, and ignoring all my other UFO's for now, I don't really feel a sense of accomplishment. Once I get going on one of these projects, I know I'll do what I always do. I'm totally focus on one of them until it is finished.
I do work on the Einstein coat when I'm out and need something totally mindless, so that may be finished by next Fall.

Our knitting guild, The Fraser Valley Knitting Guild seems to be going much better now that we've elected some people for major positions. I'm the treasurer/membership person and we opened up a bank account, which was a major accomplishment. With my husband doing all the graphic work for free for now, I can easily give him the information to be printed out and he does it.
My pain levels have increased with the shifting of weather, but so far I'm managing to do the main things that need to be done. Like taking Millie out, playing with Heagen, a couple of meals per week, and of course wanting to buy more yarn that I really don't need.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Too many hobbies

My den room is definitely too small for all of my hobbies. Shelves are filled with yarn, the closet is overflowing with yarn, scrapbooking supplies and other things that just need a place to be for now.

My daughter-in-law and I decided to do scrapbooking today since it is too hot outside to do much of anything. After I found all my printed pictures from 2006, I couldn't find the notebook where I'd written down all the places we'd visited while in Japan for Cherry Blossom Season during that year. I couldn't find any pictures for the beginning of 2006 except for one of my youngest son wearing a scarf that I'd knitted for him. It wasn't ready in time for Christmas so he got it in January. At least it kept his neck warm during the winter months while he was finishing a degree at University.

After spreading out all my papers, tools, glue that was so old it wouldn't stick, and finding new glue and acid-free sticky's and some birthday paper and some other birthday things, I proceeded to just sit on the floor and paste the birthday photos from Mum's 88th birthday and half of the pictures from my daughter's 27th birthday on pages, and then my back hurt, I was tired and felt like it was too much work to do in a totally disarrayed room.
My daughter-in-law and youngest son had moved a bookshelf into the den which now houses many containers of yarn that I haven't noted on my inventory list as to which container they are in. While my yarn inventory is kept up-to-date, finding the yarn that I want is still a bit difficult for me since I had to move all my yarn, scrapbooking, and quilting supplies into this small den and the basement and under our bed.

The thought of finishing 2006 seems like a lot of work. I still haven't printed out all the pictures from our trip to Japan, but I do have enough to fill a big scrapbook. Sometimes I wish I'd hadn't started doing this hobby or had just done books of birthdays, Christmas, holidays, and special events rather than trying to do it year by year. I still haven't totally redone my grown children's baby pictures, and many of them were damaged due to acid getting into them. At least I'd removed them from their old albums.

If I get the wild idea to finish two quilts, the scrapbooking stuff will again be back in the closet so I can use the table.

I think that's why I prefer knitting. It is portable, it is waiting for me next to my spot on the couch in the family room, and if I'm bored with one project, I can pick up another UFO and work on it. Quilting and scrapbooking take time, lots of equipment and of course an uninterrupted hour or two.

Millie turned 16 months old on the 25th, and she had a very exciting experience out in the lightning and thunderstorm last night. We'd gotten ready to take her out when the rain began and as we heard thunder, we decided not to go to the power easement. We walked her down to a big park with a pond, trying to gauge which way the storm was moving. It was moving with us. My husband got some pictures of the lightning and the skies but he was frustrated as he only had his small camera.

When the storm was coming right over us, I decided that we'd be safe on the stage that is covered and at the park. Along with some skateboarding teens, we sat and watched the storm, watched the downpour of rain and Millie wasn't frightened of the thunder. It was a good test for her as she is going to be a therapy dog, visiting people in hospital and eventually visiting children at Children's hospital.

Once the storm was past us, we walked very fast in the opposite direction to get home, get dry, and feel safe. Our daughter had towels out to dry off Millie, for which I was very grateful.

I needed a picture of Millie since she is now 16 months old, but she wasn't interested in sitting still. She was more interested in what 'her dad' was doing. He'd cleaned the barbecue so our youngest son could barbecue hamburgers on it tonite. Millie wanted to be with 'her dad' and he was trying to get her to sit quietly but she wanted to play.

He finally got her to sit with him, and they both seemed to be smiling. I think.

Of course the first picture of my messy den has Millie lying in her favourite spot while I'm on the computer.

I'm really enjoying working on the Lavalette shawl with Yarn Candy, Sweet Fiber silk and cashmere. The pattern is simple to memorize and although I should be finishing the Thomas the Train cardigan for my grandson, I keep returning to this shawl. I did do a few rows on the cardigan last night and plan to do a few more this evening. Doing intarsia isn't my favourite thing to do, but the fronts are looking much better than the back. After I finish the front left that I'm now doing, I will do the sleeves. Then if I have yarn left over, I may redo the back. Now that is something that I'm not looking forward to doing, but I do like my projects to look finished and well knitted.
My BSJ is finished except for buttons. Either I'll just put the buttons on and give it to my sister-in-law when she's out her visiting in August to take home with her to give her daughter, my niece who is expecting in September, or I'll wait until the baby is born and put the buttons on the correct side. I wonder who decided which was the right side to add buttons, but I'm sure I could google it and the answer would be there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Holiday's on Vancouver Island

With my car loaded to capacity, my husband and I left home for Vancouver Island with our dog, Millie on July 2. It was Millie's first long trip, first ferry ride, and many firsts for her during our week on the Island.

The picture above is of the waterfalls in Campbell River where we stayed with my brother-in-law for three days. Our queen-sized air mattress which had only been used once in 2007 during a visit of my high school friends, was filled and quickly deflated. So I chose to sleep on a small couch, while my husband managed to keep filling up the air mattress and eventually fell asleep on the floor. On our second night, I turned the air mattress over to discover about 3 rips. It probably occurred when it had been put back in the bag. A trip to get duct tape was in order.

With the duct tape, it had a slow leak. I chose the couch again. After two difficult nights of sleep, my husband went to Canadian Tire and bought a new queen sized air mattress, which worked beautifully.

We spent three days in Campbell River, visiting with my b-i-l (my husband's older brother), walking Millie around the town, down to the water, and through a great park where other people were walking their dogs or riding bikes or just taking a pleasant evening stroll. I of course found the local yarn shop called, Needle Arts Centre, which I found some yarn that I just had to have.

From there we headed to Port Alberni and the weather shifted from sunny days to rain. We found a hotel that took dogs, and the staff were wonderful to Millie.

We spent one day in Tofino wandering around and took Millie on a walk that led to the ocean. She found a friend to play with there, much like she'd found a friend while walking around the park area in Campbell River as can be seen in the picture below.

At Tofino, Millie had so much fun playing in the ocean and it really wore her out. She slept well every night, but then she went everywhere with us and was walking a lot or running free when we felt that she would be safe.

After two days in Port Alberni, we headed for Nanaimo and found another hotel, a Best Western, that allowed dogs. They even had a bed for Millie plus they'd leave out treats for her like she was a prized guest.

We found a small dog park at Beban Park and Millie again found friends to play with.

Millie did very well on her first holiday. She didn't mind the ferry ride and neither did we. Instead of leaving our car and going upstairs as we usually do, we stayed in the car, walked Millie and even sat for a short time in the small dog areas that they do have on ferries. The first one was air conditioned and too cold for us, however the second one wasn't air conditioned and the door was cracked open a bit and it wasn't very comfortable. The car and just walking Millie around the cars and to the back of the ferry seemed to work well for all of us.

I did find another yarn store in Nanaimo called, Mad About Ewe and was able to find some yarns that I usually have to travel into Vancouver to obtain.

All in all, I found this week away from home very relaxing. I read two and 1/2 books and highly recommend The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. I quickly read two fairly current knitting novels which entertained me, but they were books that I'd call light summer reading.

I only worked on one project the entire time. I managed to get quite a bit done of the wrap that has been on my needles for months now. As I have two projects that I need to finish by September, I'm going to finish this wrap, which will be great in the Fall, and finish the BSJ for my niece whose baby is due in September and my grandson's Thomas the Train.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life just keeps happening

The house is chaotic again with noise from a 2 1/2 year old, questions from the adult children, whining from the dog, and meowing from the ancient cat.

My wip's are piling up and I can't seem to stay focused long enough on any one project to finish it.

The cardigan for my grandson has 1/2 of the back done, which has been a long and tangled mess. Doing fair isle/intarsia to create Thomas the Train on the back has finally paid off. I'm going quicker now and only have to work with green and white for awhile and then on to shaping the armholes in blue for the sky. I'm dreading the two fronts and have considered knitting them plain, but I want to make my grandson happy and he loves Thomas the Train and friends.

I've woven in some of the ends, but it will take me hours to totally finish the back of this cardigan, but my grandson is thrilled each time I show him how Thomas is actually being created. I have told him that when he is about 5 I'll teach him to knit. He now can handle his child chop sticks very well, and since he can manage those, I don't think needles should be too much more work for him to learn.

I have three shawls on needles and have been trying to do a few rows each evening, but between trying to concentrate, being interrupted, losing my spot on the chart and having Millie wanting to go for a walk, means that my knitting time is hard to come by on certain occasions. I did take some knitting with me to the dog park yesterday and managed to get one row done before it was time to leave.

Millie loves to run and play with her buddies at the dog park and we had to stop going there for over a week because she developed kennel cough. She is well now and of course back to requiring three walks/day or at least two and one long play time at the dog park.

Millie is almost 15months old and is definitely my best buddy and the delight of my life. She lies quietly at my feet as I'm knitting and has never gotten into my yarn or projects. She doesn't like it when the yarn happens to lie on her head, so I move it, give her a pet and she just lies down again in comfort.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yarn change rather than a yarn mistake

Today I was sitting and watching The Dog Whisperer with Millie at my feet. She'd had a good walk and run earlier so it was the perfect time to work on the Storm Cloud Shawlette. I did wonder why it seemed like I had more than 205 yards of yarn and that what I thought was Lorna's Lace in an aran weight was a fingering weight, but I just kept knitting and dropping YO's on the even rows and doing the increase rows without really thinking very hard.

After deciding that I should do some much needed housework, like clean the master suite bathroom and change the sheets on our bed plus put clean ones on our eldest son's and daughter-in-law's bed for when they return next week, I was tired of housework. Besides our air conditioning isn't working properly and it was warmer inside than out. With my husband, we took Millie to the dog park as she'd tried to help me make the beds and was getting under my feet for real.

It was a nice day outside and she sniffed, played, and milled about which is what she is good at doing at the dog park when she doesn't see any of her regular playmates. It is the Victoria Day long weekend and a lot of people are out of town or at the rodeo, which is in our small town.

When we returned, my youngest son was actually fixing dinner! I of course let him continue and sat down to work on the shawlette. Then I looked at the second ball of yarn that had been wound at the same time as the one I was using and realized that I was actually using Handmaiden 2 ply cashmere/silk for this shawlette. Since it was a 300meter ball, I was definitely going to have some leftover.

I wasn't about to frog all my work, so I decided quickly that I'd probably have enough leftover to make a lacey cowl. I had to laugh at myself. At my age, it's the best thing to do. Also my husband and I are trying to be positive about everything in life these days. If I'd gotten frustrated and frogged the entire project, I'm sure that I wouldn't have made this shawlette at all.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Killing Time

I could be working on the Shetland Triangle shawl that I decided I wanted to work on this evening, but I had to restart it and I'm now back where I was. At row 7. Not going very fast with this shawl and even though it is a very easy chart to follow, the malabrigo yarn that I'm using is delightful, I just couldn't sit still.

We're waiting to pick up our youngest son from Mexico at midnight. He did change his flight so they aren't going to have a 2 hour stop over in the airport in Mexico City, but he still will need to wear a mask. His sister has to stay with friends for a week as she does work in an independent living facility and if she stayed at home, she wouldn't be able to work for a week.

Our son will be wearing a mask at home and his boss phoned on Friday and said he can work from home for a couple of days. He and his friends are all fine, so all of this is just a precaution.

I did finish the Newsboy Cap today and I'm very delighted with how it fits my head like a baseball cap and that is how I wanted it to look. I changed the number of increases and that helped it to fit my head as I wanted it to. Of course my daughter loved it, so I'm sure I'll be making one for her.
I may be used to staying up until 11:30, but the thought of having to go into Vancouver and then driving home again isn't sitting well with me. I'm learning that being a parent doesn't end when children become adults. Some aspects do end, but since they are all living at home again, we are very involved in their lives. Well, as much as they are willing to tell us.
I'm going to sit and knit or maybe read for awhile.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring is finally here

Even though Spring actually began on March 20th, it felt like our Spring was just more of our Winter. Then it felt like we went from Winter directly into Summer. The last week has been more Spring like weather, yet it felt quite hot outside today. Hotter than I remember it being on the last day of April.

My days have been very busy with little things. Walking Millie at least twice a day takes up some time, and I usually try to get her to a dog park in Langley so she can play with dogs that she knows. I'm still waiting for the dog park in the Clayton area which was begun in 2007 to finally be finished. I don't understand how difficult it is to lay down grass, put up a fence, and actually have it finished when it has been two years. I guess I'm just tired of spending money on gas so Millie can play with her friends. Yet, I find so much pleasure in watching her run up to a dog that she knows and the both of them just greet each other and begin to wrestle. Her current best friend is Shilo. He's about 9 months old to Millie's 13 months of age, but he's a border collie and they are about the same size.

My knitting has been very slow lately. I've finished a couple of projects, but like a true obsessive/compulsive knitter, I'm constantly casting on new projects. Currently my favourite project is the Newsboy cap. I'm venturing out of my comfort zone and am using Taiyo yarn, cotton, wool, and nylon and am making it smaller than the pattern so that hopefully it will fit my small head. So far it seems to be fitting me. I'm going to do 4 repeats of the cables and then I begin the decreases. I definitely needed my calculator for this pattern. However, I did get gauge and I did do a proper swatch.

The BSJ that I made for one of my niece's unborn baby is finished except for buttons. I'm also making a simple cap to match. Now my other niece is pregnant with her third baby so I need to make another BSJ. I do wish they'd find out the sex of their babies because it would make it so much easier for me to decide on a colour.
I do find it overwhelming at times to have so many UFO's but then I can pick up and knit whatever I feel like knitting in the evenings. The Thomas the Train cardigan for my grandson is going very, very slowly. It is basically fair isle knitting at this point with some intarsia for the background, but I'm constantly unwinding the smaller balls of yarn. My good friend, Karen suggested that I put them all in sandwich bags and shut the bags and leave a small opening for the yarn. That helps, but it is a project that I definitely need to focus on.
I still prefer mindless knitting for when I'm out and about and actually got some knitting done while waiting in traffic the other day. And my love for lace knitting just keeps growing and now I have two shawls on needles.
The house is so quiet with my eldest son working on Vancouver Island and my daughter-in-law and grandson in Japan until the end of May. Youngest son is in Mexico right now and he's trying to change his flight home so he doesn't have to sit in the airport in Mexico City for two hours. I did get a proper mask for him to wear but hopefully they will give him and his friends masks before we pick them up.
It's time to stop rambling and sit and watch some TV and work on the cap that I want to wear this summer.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not very focused these days

My days seem all the same so I decided to make some changes. Instead of taking Millie to the dog park 4 days a week, hosing her off afterwards as she gets all muddy when she's playing with other dogs, drying her with the hair blower, doing a load of doggy towels and being exhausted, I decided that she is social enough. Three or even two days at the dog park are enough for both of us. She walked very well with me yesterday and we ventured out further than we usually go.
The Dog Whisperer says that dogs get bored with the same walking route, so I took him at his word, and Millie got to see different things and also walk along a busy road. She did fine and she wasn't muddy and didn't have to endure a cold hosing off.
My daughter-in-law and grandson were out visiting other Japanese women who've married Canadian men and also have two year olds, so they had a good day. And I got a break from my grandson. I love him dearly, but trying to keep him from either falling down the stairs, crashing into doors, or breaking something that he shouldn't is a full time job. His parents are good at watching him, but they also need a break.
I can't seem to stay focused on one knitting project these days. However, I'm making myself do at least 4 rows of my husband's sweater each evening. Doing both sleeves at one time makes it seem longer, but they will both be done together.
I keep going on Ravelry to see what I can make out of my stash yarn, printing out new patterns and then forgetting all about them.
I have several UFO's and do try to work on at least 3 of them each day. I just can't get into the mood to stay focused for long enough to make much of a dent into these projects.
I joined the Cindy Swap at Ravelry and am excited about finding small things or a special yarn to send to my secret person.
The knitting guild that I basically began is beginning to grow and come together. I've taken the role of graphic person as my husband can do all the fliers, name tags, etc for free for us and he does a very professional job as he is a graphic designer.
I switched to taking Mum out on Tuesdays but I decided to return to Thursdays again. Millie can have a good walk before her dog obedience class and I will have Tuesdays free to do what I want. It is about the only day I have where I don't have to be somewhere.

I did finish the spiral fingerless gloves that I made out of brown Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and of course as soon as I'd worn them once, I found my pink cashmere ones. At least I now have a pair to wear out walking Millie and I don't have to worry about mucking up the cashmere ones.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


2009 is here and I'm so behind with posting anything on this blog that I wonder if it is even worth my while to continue doing it. But I don't give up easily, so even though I may only write every few months or so, it is a good outlet for me to keep writing.

I don't have the time, energy or patience to try to figure out how to add pictures within the text so they will just be spread either at the bottom or at the top. Guess all my previous years of doing HTML have been deleted from my brain.

Christmas was simple but nice. We didn't spend as much money as we've done in the past and yet everyone got gifts, there was plenty of food, chocolates and snacks. My grandson, Heagen loved Christmas morning. Of course, he got the most presents, but it is hard to resist buying a 2 year old a gift.

My den which was my room for quilting and storing some knitting yarn and supplies has now been taken over by a jungle gym, trains, balls, and Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. Gifts that my dear mother-in-law had crocheted for Heagen since he was born. I've tripped over the trains as they are at the entrance of the room but it is easier to deal with that then try to navigate around the jungle gym. I have suggested to my eldest son that he sell his pool table in the rec room and then his own son would have more space, but obviously that isn't happening right now. At least my son found a job and is in training right now so we don't know how much longer they will be living with us.

As much as I'd like my space back again, I know that I'm going to miss seeing my grandson every day and spending time with him. His English is coming along great and his mum works on his Japanese and he knows to speak English to us. He is definitely bilingual and hopefully it will continue.

He is very good with our Golden retriever now. Today we went to the dog park and Heagen kept calling Millie to come to him. Millie was playing with another dog and having a lot of fun so she ignored Heagen. But when she stopped playing for a bit, she'd come running to Heagen. Heagen loves to tell her to come to him, sit and give her a treat. It is nice to see that he isn't afraid of most dogs at the dog park. The bigger ones do scare him a bit, but his mum is there to pick him up and he just says, "Big dog."

I'm finally finished knitting the front and back of my husbands sweater and have started the sleeves. I told my daughter-in-law today that I will never make a sweater out of grey with 4mm needles again. I taught her to knit and she took to it like a fish takes to water. She catches her mistakes and comes to find me before it gets too messy for either of us to deal with. She's making a ribbed scarf out of some brown Classic Elite yarn that I'd purchased years ago and hadn't used it to make a sweater. Now she can go through my stash and see if there is something she wants to learn to work with. Except for some yarn that I do have specific plans for.

Speaking of that, I find that I keep changing my mind about projects and what I want to make out of a particular yarn. I can spend hours looking up one of my yarns on Ravelry and seeing what others have done with it.

I still have several UFO's that I'm determined to finish but I keep adding smaller projects to work on when I'm bored with my husband's sweater. I did make the instant gratification scarf because I had some of the yarn and needed something that was pretty mindless. It is blocking now.

I've finally begun a Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman and hopefully it will be the right size for my niece's baby that is due in the Spring.

My days are filled with playing with Heagen, taking Millie to the dog park or walking her, cleaning her after she rolls around in mud, doing laundry and trying to keep the bathrooms fairly clean. My daughter-in-law does the vacumming which is a big help as with fibromyalgia and a bad back, I was told not to do it. And she does a wonderful job. I only have to cook on Monday nights and do try to make something simple that Heagen will like. He is a good eater so I don't really have to change much for his tastes, but his dad hates cheese and that creats a problem for me as a lot of my simple recipes have cheese in them.

We had a lot of snow over Christmas and it is still on the ground but mostly it is dirty snow now and not as pretty as it was.

Having all three adult children home again has its ups and downs. Things are going fine right now so I don't want to rock the boat. I'm learning to deal with interruptions and very little free time to myself.

Heagen and I watch Frosty the Snowman and we've been watching Pooh and friends when he's allowed to watch something on a screen. He is slowly learning to play by himself for short periods of time but he and I play trains and I try to teach him new things or new words when we're playing.

I did finish the Wisp that I'd made out of Malabrigo sock yarn and got the buttons on it but I'm waiting for Yuka to model it. I'm giving it to her. She is breaking out of her wearing mostly black, grey, brown or white and something with colour makes her look even more beautiful.

My daughter is back at UBC, but she finds time to help with meals, run with Millie on the weekends and work part-time and have a social life.

I'm quite content yet I do long for more privacy. But it will come with a price. No little boy to want to sit on my lap to watch Pooh or Frosty the Snowman or no little boy to say, "Good morning, Gramme."