Friday, December 31, 2010
Just over a week ago, I received a phone call from a friend telling me that a dear friend of mine had liver Cancer that had spread to her lungs. Gayle, my friend had only found out this possible diagnosis a few weeks before I got this phone call. They were unable to do a biopsy due to all the fluid that was already on her abdomen. As my mother-in-law was in hospital for heart failure and kidney failure, I had to go to the hospital anyway on Tuesday, December 21, and since I'd found out from Gayle's husband that she was to have a biopsy that day, I went searching for my dear friend. I'd worked at that hospital as a registered nurse for several years, so it was easy for me to find her. She was surprised to see me, but I could see how ill she really was.
We hugged and I gave her a special plaque that we'd been sharing with each other over the years. It was her turn to have it, and I told her that I expected her to give it back to me in April. She said she would. We both knew that she wouldn't be on earth to do that, but it was our way of showing hope. As the elevator was taking us down and I had to stop on the 2nd floor to visit my Mum, I hugged her again and she said, 'I love you'. I said, 'I love you.' As the elevator doors closed, I started to cry.
However, I had to be strong for my mother-in-law, so I wiped my tears and went to visit Mum. I did tell her about Gayle, but as my mother-in-law is 92 and is of sound mind, but now has a body that is dying on her, I can no longer use my mother-in-law as a Mum and dump all my worries and concerns onto her.
I've had a rough couple of weeks. I did see Gayle again when she was admitted to hospital in a private room, but she was basically unconscious due to all the pain medications that they were giving her. I read to her, talked to her, and she held my hand tightly. She'd opened her eyes once and she looked scared, unsure of where she was, so I told her to go back to sleep. Then I said 'Good bye'.
She died on December 28th at around 3am in the morning, and I'd seen her for the last time on Boxing Day, December 26th. I'd spent time talking to her husband and of course I've been praying for him, their two adult sons and her own Mum who is 97. Gayle has left a big hole in a lot of people's lives.
Her funeral is January 4th at the Anglican Church in Langley, BC, that she'd take her mum to each Sunday. I've had some peaceful days, but mostly I feel numb. I've had some weepy days and I'd even asked God to give me a spiritual awakening and then I said don't bother. I've had more than my share of them. Later that day, while putting groceries in the trunk of my car, I found a loonie. I immediately picked it up and thanked Gayle for it. When my mom died, I found pennies for months. When my dad died, I found dimes for months. Gayle left me a loonie which has a lot of significance to me.
And while at a meeting today, a friend called me to look at what was found where I'd been sitting. Where my chair had been was a penny. I believe that they are pennies from heaven and while I'd love more loonies, I know that finding pennies, dimes, or loonies are all from those 3 people that I've loved and lost.
I've had other losses in my life of course. But losing Gayle who was my friend, my counsellor in life, a spinner and knitter, and someone who had a sense of humour that could get me out of a bad mood in a second, is a loss that will stay with me for a long time. One thing that she'd always say to me whether I was sharing something upsetting or something joyful was 'This Too Shall Pass'. And when I didn't know what to do next, she'd say, 'Do the next right thing'.
These two phrases will always stay with me. Today I went to my local yarn store to look around as I don't really need more yarn, but I told the owner about my loss and I was just looking for something to comfort me. She handed me some beautiful Alpaca that she'd just got in, and the softness of it just melted my heart. I purchased 3 skeins of a beautiful royal blue. Then I saw the new Rios by Malabrigo and saw 3 skeins of a mixed purple colour. I knew I had to purchase these also to make a triangle scarf just for myself. The pattern that I use is very simple and it is mindless once I've done the bottom and a couple of the triangles. It is a perfect project for me to be working on right now, so I can just knit and also remember all the beautiful times together Gayle and I had. I can also allow myself to grieve.
I wanted to buy some green yarn as Gayle had the most amazing green eyes and when she wore green, she was just stunning. But I realized that I could no longer make anything for her to wear. However, I can make something to charish out of both of these yarns for myself in memory of Gayle.
While I won't be making any particular resolutions for 2011, I will continue to keep my inventory of my yarn, books, magazines, and needles up to date. And I will label yarn in my huge stash to sell at a guild meeting or just give some of it away to those who have less than me but do want to knit.
Mum isn't doing well, and we will be in the process of moving her from independent living to assisted living once she is medical stable for such a move. This is a difficult time for my husband and for Mum. It is also a difficult time for my three grown children and my daughter-in-law as it is unlikely that Mum will live to 2012. However, she has surprised all of us in the past. So for now, I'm just being there for her, helping her with nursing care and communicating with the doctor to do the best for Mum. And she told me not to grieve long for her. I can grieve a little bit for her. I love my mother-in-law very much. She has been a Mum to me ever since my own mother died in 2002. And I'm so grateful to have had such wonderful women in my life to support me on my journey.
My many projects in knitting are mostly just sitting there. In January, I will decide what I really want to make and what can be ripped out. I realize that I don't have time to spend making many projects and I don't do just one project at a time, but I will finish a sweater for my grandson, a sweater for my granddaughter, and possibly a vest for my grandson and a winter hat for my granddaughter.
Right now, I'm lucky if I can knit for a few minutes without feeling overwelmed with sadness and loss. But as Gayle would say to me, 'This too shall pass.'
Monday, November 15, 2010
I learned how to make a pdf and even add pictures and resize them. I'm not a computer geek even though I'd love to be one, but learning the few things that I did were a source of great joy for me.
The above picture is one of the cowls that I made out of Handmaiden Cashmere 4 ply. My test knitters made the same pattern out of Malabrigo Silky Merino and I also made one out of the same yarn plus one out of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. The Alpaca Silk one did stretch a lot due to the alpaca in it, but it is a perfect size for my daughter-in-law and it is brown, which she loves.
I'm now working on a pair of fingerless gloves with the same lace pattern so I can offer both the cowl and fingerless gloves together. I've put them for sale on Ravelry,however I am quite willing to send this pattern to anyone who wishes to have it. If you are on Ravelry, just send me a message with your email and I will gladly send the cowl pattern. My Ravelry name is CynthiaW.
My life has been very busy with not only designing, but trying to finish up some of the knitting projects that I hope to have finished by Christmas. Between trying to knit, spend 5-6 hours with my grandson just playing at least every other week or so, and make sure my 92 year old mother-in-law is doing well and spending time with her, and even getting the laundry and housework done, plus of course taking my wonderful dog, Millie, out each day for a good run, I tend to focus on mindless knitting in the evenings. That will have to change if I expect to finish the things that I want to finish before Christmas.
My life as the President of the Fraser Valley Knitting Guild has become a bit more demanding than I expected. I now limit the amount of time that I tend to guild business so that I can better inform the person who takes over for me in two years of what she/he has in store for them. We are a new guild, being only 2 1/2 years old, and for the first time we have a strong executive. We are now focusing on the programs and less on business and more on the teaching aspect of what a guild does. It isn't a knit and chat by any means, but we're trying to make it fun and also to encourage members to teach others of all the knitting techniques that some of our more advanced knitters know how to do without having a book open in front of them. I tend to be a knitter who has to have a book or notes available to me when I'm tackling something that is either different, or something that I've done before but need a quick reminder.
My day so far has been filled with attending a meeting, tromping through the power easement with Millie so she could run and have fun chasing a ball and of course getting muddy and wet in the process. Then it was onto some guild business and writing emails and of course updating my blog.
I'm totally into NCIS right now. I found seasons 1 & 2 hidden in our cabinet of DVD's and videos that one of my adult children had bought me at least two years ago. So, I'm totally into Gibbs and the gang. While I remember bits and pieces of each episode, I usually am knitting and not totally paying attention to any TV that I watch. Now I'm paying attention and enjoying the special features that these DVD's have.
I am a very addictive type of person and once I get into something, whether it be NCIS, yarn, books or even music, I tend to over do it until I can again find my balance. I'm slowly getting some balance with NCIS but I do want Season 5 & 6 and may have to wait until Christmas for them.
This journey of life has many bumps in the road and there are may times when I just want to give up and curl in a ball, knit and enjoy my grandchildren or adult children and of course spend time with Millie, and not interact with anyone outside of my small circle of family. However, I am a people person and I do enjoy learning and listening to what others have to say. I will forever be a student, and right now I feel that I'm a student in life. I'm learning when to let things go, and when to become passionate about something and just do it. Finding the balance is important for me.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Our second grandchild and first granddaughter was born on August 11, 2010. She is gorgeous of course. That's what all grandmother's feel about their grandchildren, I think, or at least I think my two grandchildren are the most beautiful children in the world. I'm a tad prejudiced of course.
I was elected as President of the FVKG (Fraser Valley Knitting Guild), so now I only have one role rather than the four that I had for the past two years. Our executive is very strong this year and we had three amazing members who organized a Yarn Harvest Crawl, which I had to go on and of course spend far too much money on yarn that just called my name.
I haven't been weaving since I ended my classes. I do have yarn to weave and I just need to take the time to set up my loom and actually do it. The small TV is in my craft room now so I have no excuse except for laziness or the desire to either knit or have my face in a book.
I read a lot this summer and now that Fall arrived, I'm still reading a lot. Millie and I walk each day that she isn't at doggy day care, and I do take a book to the dog park and try to sit on a bench and just read, but she has to be walked around the park first and stop and sniff everything, maybe play with another dog if she feels like it, and so my book is usually just something else that I have to carry.
As our knitting guild is getting so organized, I finally figured out how to add a picture and a short note about our day at the Cranberry Festival to our guild's blog. The Cranberry Festival was today, and driving through Fort Langley was a nightmare and my GPS wouldn't help me until I managed to go around in circles for awhile. Finally it gave me the right directions to where I was suppose to be. With a very poor sense of direction, I did know that I had to go in one direction but getting there wasn't easy with Glover Road blocked off and people stopping in the middle of the streets and look around. However, as I had Millie in the car, I was quite patient.
Millie had a walk this morning and a short one with me when I could leave our table. Then our secretary's brother came and he walked Millie for about 2 miles. Needless to say, I was grateful and Millie is very tired this evening. That is a good thing because she needs lots of exercise.
I have designed a cowl but now I need to finish it, make sure that my directions can be followed by anyone and I've lined up one test knitter. So I guess I've done something different lately. I'm knitting purple hats for the Shaking Baby Syndrome Project and I have purple yarn to make about 3 more. I'm currently knitting a pumpkin hat for my granddaughter, a sweater for her, a sweater for my grandson, and I just finished a mask for Millie to wear to doggy day care as her halloween costume. She's going as a superhero angel. She doesn't like her wings nor does she like her tiera and I'm sure she isn't going to be thrilled to have a white mask tied around her head.
It started raining very hard on my way back home and I was so glad to walk into a vacuumed house. My husband had done it and he's the one with the sore back now. We're having the family over tomorrow for Canadian Thanksgiving but I decided I wasn't going to get up early and stuff a bird. That can wait until Christmas. So I bought a ham and hopefully won't over cook it like I usually do. Store bought pies, ice cream, and lots of vegetables and potatoes and salad ought to keep everyone fed and content.
It's back to knitting the Pumpkin hat for me right now. I'll try to write more, but really is it that important in the scheme of life?
Friday, July 9, 2010
Yesterday I walked her in the power easement near our home, and there is a small stream there, and she was happy to step into it and roll around in freshly mowed grass, but I couldn't handle the heat. So later in the day I put her into the car and we went to a dog park in White Rock. I'd taken her there before about a year ago, but felt that it was too far to go more often. I'm so glad that I decided to take Millie there yesterday.
There is a pond or at least a small body of water and she went running into it with all the other dogs. It isn't deep enough for her to really swim, but she got cooled off and I found that the dogs at this park were well behaved and not overly excited. Millie is quite submissive and has learned to protect herself by lying down and surrendering. This works well for her but highly excited dogs aren't her favourite type of dogs to be around. She is very good with smaller dogs even if they are barking at her.
There are trails at the park and they are well shaded with lots of old and tall trees. So she got to romp around the trails and always came to find me. She's becoming very good at checking to see where I am finally.
I found a bench next to a grove of trees and there was a nice breeze. I'd taken my knitting bag with the two baby hats that I'm making for my to be born granddaughter in August, but didn't do any knitting. A very nice lady was sitting on the bench and she was a knitter. We talked about knitting, Ravelry, and quilting and doing crafts. It was like meeting a kindred spirit while at a dog park.
She found me on Ravelry and I got to see some of her wonderful projects. I now feel encouraged to finish up the baby things as quickly as possible and get to work on my many unfinished projects.
In the evenings I'm working on the baby crib sized blanket.
I'm about half done now and hopefully will be finished with it before this baby is born. I call it my neopolitan mint baby crib blanket because of all the colours that I've used for this blanket. The yarn had a knot in it that I missed in one section of the creme colour and I didn't notice it until I'd knitted away in the pink and started the brown. It was the kind of knot that was hidden and I thought maybe it was just some fluff around the yarn. No such luck. It was a very small knot. I untied it and tried to figure out how I could keep the blanket together but nothing I came up with would work. The ends were too short to really keep them together with a short piece of yarn that I could weave in. So I just knotted it again and hopefully it won't show as much to my daughter-in-law as it shows to me.
Besides, I'm not perfect and anything I make shouldn't be perfect. Hopefully with blocking it, I can make it not so noticeable even though my husband can't see it.
Once this blanket is finished, I can then finish up two shawls that I want to make. I also have a Spring sweater to make out of some Mission Falls cotton that I've had for a few years. I couldn't make up my mind what to make out of it, so I finally found a cardigan that is simple, nice looking and a top down one that makes it easier for me.
We're going on holidays to Vancouver Island soon and of course I want to visit some yarn shops over there. Not that I need more yarn of course as my stash is huge, but if I can find some handdyed yarn that is the same colour of some that I have already, it makes it possible to make more sweaters than shawls. I seem to be wanting to make more sweaters lately. Maybe I just want it to cool off and be Fall. Or maybe I want to see what my unborn granddaughter looks like. I've made her a couple of sweaters, leggings, a smaller blanket and booties. It is so nice to be able to knit with pink and my stash has recently increased in the colour pink.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I finished the baby blanket and then started the baby crib sized blanket. I'm using four different colours in stripes for it, but as it is pretty boring, I only work on it when my brain needs a rest. Same goes with the leggings that I'm making to go with a baby sweater.
I do have until the middle of August to finish these projects and the new granddaughter won't need to sweater and leggings until the Fall anyway. There are so many baby items that I want to make for this first granddaughter, and several that my daughter-in-law wants me to make, but I'm planning on making them to fit the baby for Winter.
I have three shawls to finish and last night I just sat and knitted on my second Calais shawl. It is an easy pattern for me to work on, plus the yarn is pink and blue and made by Yarn Candy, Sweet Fiber and it is so nice to work with.
My mother-in-law was in hospital for a week and now has a pacemaker. Hopefully this will help her ailing heart to keep working for quite awhile. At 92, she is still knitting and finished a baby blanket for this new great-granddaughter plus a toy.
My days have been very busy with visiting her in hospital, taking Millie out for walks or even driving her to her doggy day care and then facing the horrible traffic to pick her up. But she loves it there, has lots of dog friends that she plays with and is very tired at the end of her six hours there.
The weather finally cleared up today, and she and I went to a dog park and walked around it three times and she is tired now. She'd also had a good long walk this morning with my husband. He is quite good about walking her on the weekends, and as the weather improves, we'll probably do what we did last summer, which is to walk her after dinner. That way she gets a lot of exercise, we get exercise, and if I could figure out a way to knit and walk her, I'd do it.
She is a tad overweight, but my vet wasn't concerned about it as he was giving her treats. I do take her swimming during the summer, and even though she is a retriever, she'll only retrieve a ball in the house or in the water.
Our knitting guild is going to meet in Cloverdale on June 13th for WWKIP day. I plan to go to 88 Stitches on the 12th, as I've been going there for the past two years and it is a lot of fun to sit and knit and chat.
I made a lace bag and designed it myself. I used the cast on that we were taught at one guild meeting, and then did the gull lace pattern around the bag. I'd used some stash yarn and I amazed myself at how cute it turned out. I'd love to be able to design my own lace shawl, but at this point, it is easier to use patterns that others have designed and that are written well.
I still spend far too much time wandering around Ravelry. Finding new patterns that I just have to have, and then printing them out and of course my next major project will be to weed through all my notebooks of patterns and possibly do an inventory of what I have. That is a major job for me, but I tend to see a pattern, save it to my computer and then print it out. Many times I've printed out the same pattern several times.
Hopefully this nice weather will last more than just one day. I have a lot of gardening to do, but as I'm going pretty fast on the Calais shawl, I do want to finish it so I can actually wear it this Summer.
With Father's Day, my husband's birthday, our youngest heading back East for more schooling at the end of June, it would be nice to have a new Summer shawlette to wear.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
A couple of friends thought I'd won the lottery as I'd finally gotten around to taking pictures of Fleece Artist and Handmaiden yarn that is made here in Canada. No lottery winnings for me, but I did have a good laugh about it all. Today I hauled out my big container of Noro yarn and proceeded to add them to my stash on Ravelry. Even though I have an inventory of all my yarn, plus where at least 90% of it is located in my craft room, actually seeing it and wondering why I'd bought it all in the first place got me to thinking.
I obviously had plans for particular projects at one time, and of course some of them are written on my inventory, but I keep changing my mind and of course find different yarns that I prefer to knit with.
So now I'm going to see if I can sell some of it on Ravelry for less than the cost I paid, but the shipping is the hard part. While watching Hoarding, Buried Alive this evening, I decided that I should just decide which yarns I can live without and sell them from home. Of course with our garage half filled with a lot of stuff, it would make sense to have a garage sell. However that is far too much work.
I'm going to see if some of my knitting buddies that live near me want to buy some of my yarn for a reduced price and then I don't have to deal with the shipping.
Organizing my yarn is a full time job. And of course when I see a new pattern that I want to make, I do go through my inventory for the yarn I want to use, but then I'll go into my Local Yarn Shop,88 Stitches, and just have to have something else.
I don't consider myself a hoarder as I'm very organized, and I do go through my clothing and small items to give away for others to use on a regular basis. It is just seeing how much yarn I actually have and not remembering why I bought it, but will I have time to use it that is key to me right now.
I have one more weaving class to take and I've missed three classes. I've learned a lot that I can apply to my new loom, but I've also discovered that I love the warping process and the actual weaving is a bit boring for me. It is like doing a sweater in garter stitch and feeling that I'm never going to be finished.
At least I'm learning more about my likes and dislikes. I still love Fleece Artist and Handmaiden yarns, but lately I've been purchasing yarn to make baby clothing and blankets as our second grandchild is due the middle of August, and she is a girl. Thus, I had little pink yarn that was suitable for a baby and of course had to buy a lot.
Also, I've been introduced to about three independent yarn dyers and their yarn is beautiful, soft and what I want to be on my needles now.
I'm trying to finish a shawl that has an edging on it and the edging is now very boring for me, but I did learn how to add an edging without a lot of mistakes.
Now to get myself organized so I can either donate some yarn or make a small amount of money back from some of my past purchases.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Birkeland Bros.Wool,. Thankfully my GPS was working, or I would have gotten totally lost and would still be wandering down the streets of Vancouver. It is amazing how a trip into Vancouver can take so long to get there, but the drive home was quick and easy.
I immediately set to work assembling this 20" weaving loom. I had to rearrange my working table in my craft room to have enough room. But it is now set up and the next thing on my agenda, after I do some writing that I do with my eldest son, I plan to play around with my new toy.
Since my eldest son, daughter-in-law, and grandson moved out two weeks ago, I have become more positive and have been busy setting up my craft room again, plus moving all my knitting books back into the den on the bookshelves. I've left my scrapbooking supplies in the closet in the den for now as the craft room is too filled with yarn. I'm hoping to pick up another shelving unit so I can store my stash in that rather in containers that tend to pile up and of course I have no idea what yarn is where.
I'm slowly taking pictures of my stash and am selling some of it on Ravelry. I discovered today that I can use up my sock yarn to weave scarves. Once I figure out how to weave, that is. The pictures in the book that came with my Ashford Loom are very straight forward, but I tend to complicate things.
I'm also in a book reading group at Ravelry on the 88 Stitches group. We're reading Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, so my actual knitting time is really being pushed aside. I did get my knitting mojo back and have been working on my grandson's James the Train hat.
My new toy is calling my name, but I must do a couple of articles before I get to play. That must mean that I'm finally a grown up.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Granted it didn't totally go away as the dreary weather has continued, but at least it has been fairly dry so I could get Millie to the dog park. We now have a regular routine for dog park days. She gets muddy, I put her into the car, she waits at the entrance in the house until I tell her to head upstairs and she will now on most days jump into the bathtub. With the handheld shower, I'm able to hose her off with warm water. Then it is towel time for drying. She is a very patient dog or maybe she doesn't like all the mud on her.
My knitting mojo flew out the window after Christmas, and isn't really coming back. I keep casting on projects that I think will help, but I do a few rows and call it quits. On the other hand, I've been cleaning my house more and have been doing some reading.
On Ravelry I've joined the 2010 Shawls in 2010 group and am working on the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West out of two skeins of Verdes Malabrigo that I had in my stash. I'm trying to reduce my stash by searching it first before going out to buy more yarn that I don't really need. Team Cindy on Ravelry is another group that I'm involved in and I've signed up to finish three WIP during the Olympics. I may have to change it to two, as one is a shawl, one a scarf that isn't mindless, and a Baby Surprise Jacket for my second grandbaby that will be born in August.
Trying to keep my sanity with this dreary and dark weather has become my main focus lately. I'd prefer snow and sunshine or even just snow instead of this mild weather, no sunlight and of course a very muddy dog most days. Millie now goes to doggy day care at Bark 'n Lounge one or two times a week and she has a lot of fun there, I get a break, and she doesn't get muddy.
I didn't make any resolutions for this year, except to try to live one day at a time, which I've been trying to do for years now. Also, spending time with positive friends helps me now as I've never felt this down in January. It could also be that my eldest son, daughter-in-law and grandson have found a place to live and since they've been here for almost one and a half years, I don't have space and as much time to myself as I was used to. I'm grateful that they will still be close by, but they need their own place and I need my home back plus I'll be busy sorting all my crafty stuff back in my old craft room.
Focusing on the positives helps me to cope with this weather. And this weather isn't very good for the Olympics that will be here soon.
I plan to work hard to finish at least two WIP during that time.