Saturday, September 30, 2006

Just a brief note today. I have all sorts of plans for today and tomorrow that don't include the computer or knitting. Now, that's a shock!

Anyway, I just want to let you all know that if you want the Camel Shawlette pattern, either now or at any time in the future, download it as soon as possible. I'll be removing it from the Pattern section sometime within the next week. Once I've taken it down, it will no longer be available as a free pattern. Sorry, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

If any of you know where I can find good info on Paypal (how to get started with it, how much does it cost per year, blah, blah, blah), please let me know. I'm sure you can guess in which direction I'm heading.

On with the day...........

Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, John!

Yesterday was John's birthday. He worked. Which is a good thing. The bubble in his eye is getting smaller and he's getting more comfortable. This is a very good thing.

I sort of worked. I also cooked dinner. It was amazing, if I do say so myself. Anyway, I digress. I gave John his birthday scarf (remember that little project?) at the dinner table and it was a big hit! He wore it for the next couple of hours (until he tripped over the door jamb and almost spilled beer on it).

He loves the way the scarf (a seamen's scarf á la Myrna Stahmann) sits in the neck without bunching up. He loves the softness (100% cashmere, thank you very much). He loves the colour. He also loves the colour of the second scarf I'm working on, in the same pattern.

When he felt this one, though, he commented that it wasn't as nice as HIS scarf. I've spoiled him, it seems. Now, it will be nothing but cashmere for my man!

The yarn used in the birthday scarf is Fleece Artist's 4-ply Cashmere, 178 meters per skein. I used two skeins. The green scarf is Rowan Felted Tweed in the colour named (appropriately) "Pickle". It's a combo of merino wool, alpaca and viscose. It IS nice and soft, but obviously does not compare to pure cashmere.

Now, it's time for me to get dressed and get out the door.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oh, the suspense!

Let's save the good part for the end, k? I know, the suspense is killing you. I have a hat (yes, another one) to show you. I gave a bit of a teaser in one of the previous posts. Without further waiting, here's the Man's Toque á la Strellson.

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As yet, the pattern isn't quite ready and I'm not sure if I'll offer it as a freebie or a pattern for (future) sale. I've made two now. The one in the picture is made with Sirdar Country Style DK in black (I took it out of the roomie's bedroom to photograph it and get the gauge) on 3.75 mm needles (circular and dpn). The second one was done in Galway worsted weight yarn on 4.5 mm needles. It turned out a little smaller than this one, so if I were to do another one for that certain man in my life, I'd add a few stitches. I think the worsted weight version will fit my eldest grandson quite nicely... if he likes it. When next I see him, I'll make sure I have the hat with me.

Ok, you've all been so patient. The comment left by the winner..... Congratulations AO!!

AO wrote:
"My grandmother taught me to knit when I was little, though I didn't come back to the hobby until college. Now that I'm struggling to write a dissertation, knitting (along with yoga) is incredibly important to my mental health. One of the things I like most about knitting is its history and tradition. I love that I am making some things in the way that people have made them for years, decades, centuries. Socks in particular really embody this aspect of knitting for me. So at 33, I suppose I'm an old dog who is kind of unwilling to learn new tricks, at least when it comes to socks. I've thought vaguely about learning the toe-up method, but I love the soothing, timeless ritual of knitting socks from the top down and imagining all the other people who did it before me in exactly that way. For now, I'm going to stick with this method and bask in its familiarity."

AO, you have no blog link or email address, so I'll have to get you to email me with your contact information.

Incidentally, I agree wholeheartedly with what AO wrote. I, too, feel that connection with generations of knitters who've gone before. I think I've written about my dad's comment about my knitting once before. It bears repeating here. He told me once, while watching me knit, that it reminded him of evenings when his mother and grandparents sat around the kitchen table after dinner, all knitting socks. That included my great-grandfather. What a wonderful legacy, isn't it? I hope I can pass that tradition on to at least one of my grandchildren.

To all of you who commented, thank you so much! It does seem that the standard cuff down, heel flap and gusset is the preferred, tried and true method for the majority, but not by much. There are plenty of you out there who prefer other methods as well. I found this all very interesting input. As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to knitting socks, it all comes down to.... try as many methods as you want to learn and decide which you like the best.

Looking forward to hearing from you, AO.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And the winner...................

.......... will be announced tomorrow.

My apologies to all of you who did let me know about your favourite sock-knitting method. I was scheduled to be off yesterday, but worked, so it was a little difficult to choose the winner. I worked today and am very tired, so tomorrow will be the day of the draw. I'll inform the winner, either through the blog or by email... or something.

The only other thing I'll share with you today is that John went to the opthamologist again today for a check up. He's doing well. The bubble in his eye is now about half the size it was originally and is healing well. He doesn't have to go back for two weeks and is allowed to do some light work, as long as he takes it easy. I'm encouraging him to take it VERY easy, but he does have to ease into work mode one of these days.

To all of you who have sent encouraging words and have kept us in your thoughts and prayers... thank you! You really have touched us, and me particularly, with your concern and kind words. I'm often amazed that this medium can be so distant and yet so close. You're an amazing group of people. Bouquets of roses to every one of you!!

Now, where's the rest of that bottle of wine?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Two more days

Two more days until the contest closes. Don't forget! Tell me about your favourite way to knit socks and you'll be entered in a draw for a knitterly gift of some kind... not too sure just yet what it will be, but it will be good. Details are in the post dated September 11, 2006.

On the knitting front, I've finished another man's toque (stocking cap) pattern. I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, but John showed me an ad in a magazine that came in the Globe & Mail and asked if I could reproduce it. I did. It turned out really great. I'd show you, but I've already given it away (before taking pictures.. can you imagine???). You can see (sort of) the hat if you click here.

That's also the picture that was in the ad, with a little more of the model's head showing. I knit it in a DK weight yarn and am doing it again in a worsted weight yarn, just to see which I like better. All of the guys in the house have tried it on, and it's gone over really well with each of them. One of the guys, who's also a snow boarder has given me some ideas for hats that boarders might like and appreciate. He's also suggested that I check out some of the board shops to see just what kinds of hats boarders are buying. Great ideas!

John's birthday is coming up this week and I still don't have his scarf completely finished. I don't really want to work on it when he's around because he likes to ask what I'm working on and he's around a lot these days (that happens when you're not allowed to work, doesn't it?). Hopefully, I'll have it done for his birthday without him ever seeing it before he gets it. I'll also be knitting the same pattern in a regular scarf (sans ribbed section) and including it as a variation in the pattern. I've already picked the yarn, Alpaca Peru in a beautiful tweedy purple colour. Lovely stuff!

My brain today is more than a little preoccupied, so please, forgive me if I'm rambling on here. For those of you interested, John's doing ok. Physically. The distortion to his sight is really beginning to get to him and the healing just isn't happening fast enough, according to him. His patience is wearing very thin and the frustration levels are rising, making it a little difficult to live with him now and then. Thing is, I understand. Not fully, perhaps, but I do understand. I have some vision challenges myself. Certainly, at this stage, they're not the same as John's; my problem is congenital and I'm used to it most of the time. Anyway... his recuperation and one or two other situations that affect us have really been getting to me over the last couple of days. Knitting, truly, has become my refuge. And yet, knitting gives me far too much time to think.

Enough of the rambling. Ignore it. I will certainly understand. There are times that the blog becomes my release valve and today is one of those days. It doesn't matter whether anyone reads that part or not. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is it just me?

Or is it slow everywhere today? Photobucket took forever to load pictures today and Blogger's slow for me, too. Oh well, I'm here now and I have a few finished objects to show you.

First, the halfdome hat, from Knitty, is done and has already been given away to one of the roomies. He shaves his head and it looks really good on him, so it is now his.

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I'd do it again. It was a quick knit and looks good. I did make one small alteration from the pattern; I dislike sewing so I knitted it in the round instead. If you choose to do that as well, don't forget to decrease the cast on by 2 stitches (selvedge stitches) and work only the decreases between the **.

Then, the Bubble Head hat is finished as well. Again, this was a fun hat to knit and I'm really happy with the results. The pattern is almost ready. Sorry, but it will not be posted online.

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Our roomie, as I stated before, showed me her favourite toques. One of them was a very simple one, worked in k2, p2 checkerboard pattern. At the store, I found a really chunky yarn and decided to try a hat in that same design. The yarn used in this one is Online Linie 60 Tondo, 100% wool, 45 m per ball. The ball tag calls for 12.0 mm needles, but I used 10 mm and made the called for gauge perfectly (10 sts/4"). Unfortunately, it needed about 2-3 meters of yarn from a second ball. She was very impressed with the hat and it fit her (and me) perfectly.

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The pattern will be typed up and available here as a pdf file sometime today, hopefully. I'll be working on it right after I publish this post. The rest of my day will be spent making plum sauce, after I pick up a few supplies I'm low on.

We're definitely getting into fall here, with days that give us a little bit of rain, a little bit of sun and too much gray. When you get the little bit of rain and the little bit of sun, though, you also get this...

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday, Monday

Got stuff to show you today. I've been playing over the weekend, with my knitting, that is.

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The halfdome hat from Knitty. It should be finished, but at this stage I got an idea for another hat that I just HAD to start. Twice.

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The only reason I had to start it twice was because I decided to put in a purl row just past the roll brim. About four inches later, I decided that the purl row didn't really add to the overall look of the hat, so I frogged it back to that point. It's not much fun frogging a 2-colour project, no matter how small it is. I'm calling this one a Bubble Head Hat (I think). It's being worked in Fleece Artist Merino Dk and Gjestal Superwash on a 4.0 mm circular needle.

The young roomie and I had a conversation about hats yesterday. She showed me some of her favourite hats and what "boarders" are looking for in their hats and how much they're willing to pay for said hats. Guys will pay more than girls will, but girls will pay up to $50 without batting an eyelash if they really like a hat... or feel they need it. That's for machine knit hats. According to her, the hats coming off my needles could fetch a goodly sum of coin. Nice to know.

Then, some not-knitting stuff...

Both John and I got up from our chairs at the same time when we heard a bird screeching quite loudly yesterday. You could tell it was quite a large bird and it was loud and it was close. Perched at the top of a tree, we saw this...

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...and a little closer...

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A moment later (I tried to capture it on film, but I wasn't quick enough), he swooped, caught what looked like a mouse and flew off. It's like watching the nature channel on TV, but it's in our own backyard. Pretty amazing!

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I took this picture this morning. It's a rainy, dull day here today, so John can't sit at the outside table to read his paper. The chairs against the window are protected somewhat by an overhang, so that's where he had his first cup of coffee, cigarette and the Globe & Mail. Romeo (the cat) didn't want to go outside again (he'd been out all night already), but wanted to stay close to the humans.

Hopefully, today I will finish the Bubble Head hat and the halfdome hat. That's my plan, anyway. If today is anything like yesterday, John may have other plans for me, plans that entail work around the house and very little knitting.

Oh, Gloria? I don't think startitis is contagious. Maybe it's hereditary. ;)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Time to Breathe

John's beginning to feel a little more like himself again. The eye has a lot of healing to do, but we've gotten through the seven days of 18 hours of lying down. Obviously, he still needs to rest a lot and do nothing that would put strain on that retina, but at least he can begin to do a few things again. He cooked dinner last night; that was nice. Today, we're going out for a while, ostensibly to pick up a few groceries, but mainly because he's feeling more than a little housebound.

It's been a busy couple of days since I last posted. At the store, we got a shipment of yarn (9 boxes) that we've been plowing through, pricing and trying to make room for. For any of you who've been to the store, you'll know that's not an easy feat. It's not a large store. Because it's been busy, I haven't had much time, or energy, to post. I haven't even done much knitting that I can tell you about. I do, however, have one thing to tell you about.

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This arrived in my mailbox on Wednesday. I knew it was coming, but had no idea when it would arrive. It's a lovely feeling, isn't it, when you get something in the mail that isn't a bill? Email and all this electronic stuff is wonderful, but it certainly can't match the feeling of opening your mailbox and finding something that someone sent via snail mail. It's something you can touch, something that the sender had in their hands before it got to your hands. And the anticipation of opening the package, is there anything that can match it in the electronic world?

I opened it (I almost didn't want to open it; I was truly savouring this package) and found this...

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The blue tissue paper was such a wonderful visual treat; it's hard to explain it but, again, I almost didn't want to unwrap it. It was so bright and cheerful and the weather here that day was rainy and gray. But, you know I did, and when I unwrapped it, here's what I found...

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It's a gorgeous, soft, cheerful skein of hand-dyed sock yarn from Kirsten at Through the Loops! I won it! I almost never win things. This yarn is absolutely stunning; Kirsten, I love it! Thank you so much!

Now, I have to decide which pattern I'm going to use for the socks I plan on making. I have a couple of ideas floating around the old gray cells, but nothing has been decided yet. In the meantime, the yarn is sitting at the top of my yarn basket, where I can see it and where I can listen for it to tell me what pattern it wants to become.

It's time to do some preening, some knitting, and then some shopping. Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to get your "entry" in. Tell me about your favourite kind of sock to knit... 2 posts back from this one. There's just over one more week to the deadline.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Can we get back to our regular scheduled programming now?

So, I've learned something. I've learned that I really don't like doing socks toe up. And I especially don't like the whateverit'scalledKnittypattern. I don't like working double-wrapped stitches and then having to repeat the whole thing again for the heel. In other words, I frogged the toe-up sock. The yarn is now resting comfortably in one of my many baskets, waiting to become a regular cuff down, heel flap, normal toe (maybe) sock. And I'm a lot less frustrated. Sort of.

I've had a rough couple of knitting days. After I frogged the sock, I worked on the Irish Diamond shawl for a bit... and discovered an error 2 and a half rows down. I'm still tinking that one. The light isn't good enough today (cloudy and wet out) to tink it properly. Then I cast on (or is that casted on?) for Knitty's Halfdome hat.... and discovered after two rounds that I'd cast on an extra stitch. I put the knitting away and pulled out a bottle of white wine (Hardy's Gewurtztraminer Riesling, from Australia, in case you're interested). I figured the knitting gods were NOT with me that day and it would be best to wait for another day to again pick up the needles. In reality, I think the stress of the last two weeks and missing John (even though we're in the same house, he has to lie down for 18 hours per day this week, which means he can't keep me company). I'm not complaining, just saying I miss him, the way he usually is yanno?

Anyway, I've gotten a few comments about favourite socks. So far, it's pretty evenly divided between cuff down and toe up. I'm finding your comments interesting and there are some good suggestions there. Remember, you've got two weeks to let me know about your favourite kind of sock to knit. I'm going back to my knitting now... well, after I clean up the brunch dishes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Phew! I finally got here

Now, let's see if Blogger will co-operate. My computer hasn't been, should I really expect Blogger to be any better?

I think I said once that when I knit, I like to be learning something. Well, the last two days (yesterday and today) have been spent learning, and the lesson's haven't been easy.

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This is what I'm working on. It's the Universal Toe Up Sock pattern from Knitty (available here). I read it over. It sounded simple enough. I understood what was going on. I started it four times. Four times! The first three times, I simply wasn't happy with the way it looked. I restarted it a fourth time because I realized, just before I got to the end of the toe, that I'd missed one little thing... there's a slip stitch at the beginning of each row on the second half of the toe shaping. Four times!

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Now, however, it's all okay and I'm on to the foot. We'll see how it goes when I reach the heel. I'm determined to make at least one pair of toe-up, short row socks. I don't usually like short row heels. I'll let you know what I think after the first sock.

For those of you who want details, the yarn is (once again) Trekking XXL. I'm not sure of the colour number right now, but I'll let you know next time (I've done enough running up and down the stairs for today). It's a nice, subdued colourway; I like it so far. And I'm SO very far on these socks. ;)

Ok, so those of you who like knitting socks... what's your favourite sock type to knit? Toe up? Cuff down? Short row toes and heels? Standard heel flap and toe? This one starts with half the total stitches required (as per Priscilla Gibson-Roberts). Do you like that one or do you prefer the one that starts with the stitches cast on at the toe (figure-8 cast on, Queen Kahuna cast on, simply magic cast on... which?)

Talk to me. Let's make it interesting. Let's turn this into a contest, sort of. A draw, perhaps. Let's see... we'll give it two weeks. Post a comment telling me about your favourite type of sock to wear and/or knit; at the end of two weeks, I'll get one of the bodies in this house to randomly choose a winner. Said winner will receive a surprise package from the beautiful Okanagan. A knitterly surprise. Sound fair?

Time to put more drops in John's eyes...... Talk to me, people!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What a difference a day makes

Well, okay, it's been two days since I posted. I would have posted yesterday, but there was nothing new to show you, only news. I'll save that for the moment.

I finished John's socks yesterday. Once I reached the toes on both socks, I continued with great trepidation, eyes constantly on the ever-shrinking ball of yarn. The first one finished was the sock with the majority of yarn. I had enough. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then, I picked up the second sock, the one with the tiny ball of yarn attached and jumped right in. Surprisingly, I managed to make it to about 8 rows shy of finishing the toe. There was, thankfully, enough left from the other sock to finish both.

For your viewing pleasure (do I hear ooooohs and ahhhhhhs?)... it's a pair of socks.

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It's a very basic pair of socks. Details? Here we go... The yarn is Trekking XXL, colour #155, done on 2.5 mm double-pointed needles, 72 stitches, one inch of 1x1 rib and the remainder worked in 3x1 ribbing. John likes the way the 3x1 ribbing hugs his feet.

And speaking of John, ready for the continuing (hopefully, soon to be ending) saga?

After Friday's post, there was a message on the phone from his doctor's office (they called while I was on the phone with John, apparently) letting us know they had an appointment made for us, so I called back for the details. He was to go to Kamloops on Monday morning; there was a distinct possibility the surgery to repair the second tear would be done on Tuesday and the surgeon would want to see him again first thing Wednesday morning. That meant we'd have to stay in Kamloops for two nights. Notice that all of that is in the past tense?

About an hour after all the calls back and forth to different doctor's offices, I got a call from the doctor in Kamloops. The doctor, not one of his staff. He said he had an opening that afternoon (Friday), if we could get to Kamloops ASAP, or by 3:30 p.m. John was at work, where his doctor informed me he should definitely NOT be. I managed to reach him through his boss's cell number; she was just getting ready to leave the premises, so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. While I was waiting for John to get home, I was packing what we'd need for a possible overnight stay, seeing as we didn't really know how all of this would pan out.

We got there by 3:30 p.m. They were waiting for us and couldn't get John prepped fast enough. He was filling out paperwork while the nurses were giving him eye drops and trying to get him ready. By 7:00 p.m., we were in our hotel room, surgery completed.

What did they do? Well, it's called a vitrectomy; they removed some of the bloody vitreous fluid from his eye and replaced it with a gas bubble. The gas bubble is supposed to help push and hold the retina in place while it heals. At least, that's how I understand it. And, in order to facilitate this process, John has to lie on his left side, with his head in a certain position, for 18 hours per day for 7 days. Yes, you read that right. And no work for at least 2 weeks. It's going to be a long week.

Remember in my last post I wrote that I was thankful this was all being looked after so quickly? Well, it's been a whirlwind, to say the least. Now, the healing begins. My only hope is that the healing process goes as quickly and as smoothly as all of this has been so far and that John has the patience to let his body heal. To all of you who have sent your best wishes, thoughts and prayers our way, thank you. You have no idea how much it has meant to both of us. You're the best!

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's Friday Already

Where do I start?

I just got a phone call from John. He had an opthamologist's appointment this morning. It seems the blood in his left eye has cleared enough for the doctor to get a better look at the inside of that eye. There's another tear that needs to be repaired. Now, I'm waiting for a phone call from the doctor's office, letting us know when John will have to go back to Kamloops for more laser surgery. I'm thankful this is all being handled very quickly.

On to knitting and stuff. Yesterday didn't see a lot of knitting being done. I did a lot of running around, shopping and getting things done. Like getting ink for my printer so I can start printing out some of my patterns, finally. I did check out the competition and purchased some lovely alpaca yarn from Garnstudio. It's a natural colour, which I love. And, being alpaca, it's very soft. I also purchased this...

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I love simple things like this. This shawl pin is made here in the Okanagan Valley. The wood used for this one is apple wood. Apparently, the man who makes them uses a variety of woods and they're all equally beautiful. The wood is smooth and warm to the touch (the shawl pin is keeping my hair out of my face at the moment, so it's a multi-use item... I like that!) and I thought apple wood was appropriate because of all the apple orchards that used to grace the Okanagan valley. Many of the apple orchards are being removed to make way for either housing or vineyards.

Then, because I wanted to do something quick and simple, and because the pattern floated out of my files, I did this little cap.

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The pattern came out of a magazine a number of years ago. My copy of the pattern is just that, a copy. I scanned it into my computer back when the magazine came out. There's no information about the magazine on the copy and all I remember about it is that the pattern was part of an article about the actress Tyne Daly, who is a knitter. I've made this hat a few times and I figured there might be others out there who'd like a copy of the pattern as well, so I've typed it out and turned it into a pdf file. It's under "My Patterns", only because I typed it out.

I suppose I really should go and get a few things done today. I did tell John I would mow the lawn today as I didn't get a chance to do it yesterday. However, I can't do anything yet that will take me away from the telephone. I guess that means I can do some knitting!

Oh, I almost forgot. Betty asked about the yarn I'm using for John's socks. It's Trekking XXL, colour #155. And on that subject, I'm a little ticked off. When I wound the yarn into two balls (so that I could knit both socks at the same time), one ball ended up smaller than the other. I weighed the other balls of Trekking and they don't weigh 100 grams as the ball band says. They all weigh 97 grams. That doesn't sound like much, but I'm running out of yarn. On both socks. I've never had that problem before. I'm up to the toe on one sock and just over halfway done the foot on the second sock. I'm hoping I have enough to get to the toe on the second one; I'll have to do the toes in a different colour. That's annoying!

Just to compare, I also weighed a skein of Fleece Artist merino sock yarn that I'd wound into a ball. It weighed 105 grams. Lesson? If you choose to wind two balls out of one, weigh the yarn first.

Alright... this is long enough and I've been sitting here long enough. There's knitting calling me!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bits and Pieces

In her comment yesterday (thanks for all the complimentary comments, by the way!), Leslie asked how John is doing. His eyesight seems to be improving somewhat, finally. He's over the initial pain of the laser surgery (thankfully) and he's back at work. This afternoon, he has another appointment with the local opthamologist, so we'll know a little more then. I'll keep you posted.

There's one other thing I wanted to share with you. Due to the forest fires in northern Washington state (and in one spot, it has spread to southern BC's Manning Park), there's a lot of smoke in the air, blown this way by winds coming from the south. It makes for some spectacular sunsets and sunrises.

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Anyway, this picture doesn't even do the sight justice. The sun was as red as it's reflection on the water when I took the picture.

Off to work I go.... enjoy your day all.

Oh, just wanted to share that today three members of my immediate family go back to school and I wish them all well. That would be my two grandsons, Zachary and Adrian, and my daughter Kristen, who is going to university this year (she's the mother of my oldest granddaughter, the lovely Miss Trinity). I'm thrilled that one of my kids is finally going to get some post secondary education!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Warning... picture intensive!

Got your cup of coffee, tea, or beverage of choice? There's plenty to show you today. Let's jump right in.

I've been doing a lot of knitting, but very little finishing. Here's what I'm working on today.

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John's Trekking XXL socks are coming along nicely. These are the socks I took with me to Kamloops and the trip to the hospital. The gusset on the second sock is almost done; then I'll do the foot to the toe on one, then the other. Two socks at the same time; that's the way to do it!

Then there's the Gansey sampler sweater. I worked on it a little bit at the store yesterday, but when I got to the shoulder saddles, I decided to put it away till I can concentrate on what I'm doing. So far, it's been a fun little learning experience.

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This morning, I picked up John's birthday scarf again. He's working today and tomorrow (yes, Sunday and Labour Day), so I can work on the scarf without him being around to ask questions about it.

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I'm past the halfway point in the ribbed section (and the scarf) and have just added the second skein... of 100% cashmere. He's worth it, though. Seeing how much he liked my cashmere scarf last winter, I'm pretty sure he'll like this one.

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Then there's this mass of knitting. Well, it's not quite a mass yet, but it's getting there. Remember my last post said I'd tell you about the Irish Diamond Shawl? Well, here it is. The yarn... yes....(picture me running down the stairs to get a ball of the yarn so I can tell you about the yarn)...Here we go. It's Gedifra Fashion Trend Sportivo, colour #5712. I like this yarn. It's supposed to be a sock yarn, and I'm sure the socks would be lovely. It has a lot of "springiness" to the yarn and looks heavier than it is. It's hard to explain, but the best way to describe it is to say that it's "cushy".

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I really like the way the colours are coming up, quite subtle. I think I mentioned that I might make this shawl a little smaller than written, but on thinking about it, this would most likely be a living room shawl (one that stays on the sofa to wrap oneself in when it gets a little chilly), so I might just go ahead and knit it as written. Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern.

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I'm really enjoying the process of knitting this shawl so far. The pattern stitch of the first section is a fairly simple one to remember and the yarn is a pleasure to knit with.

This morning, I looked at my pile of UFO's (the pile in the dining room, not the UFO's hidden away in a Rubbermaid storage bin in the garage) and realized I simply can not start anything else until I have a few things finished, preferably all of them. You and I both know, though, that it just ain't gonna happen, right? Should I be feeling guilty?

On a completely different note, I took a stroll down to the dock this morning, camera in hand. It's such a beautiful day again today that I couldn't resist. Allow me to share with you.

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John planted a row of sunflowers this spring. Considering that the soil is predominantly clay, they didn't do too badly but didn't get nearly as big as the parent plant of these seeds.

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That's the plant we got the seeds from. That picture was taken about three years ago now. The head of that sunflower was over 12" across. We let the birds have most of the seeds, but John did save a Ziploc baggie of the seeds to plant. Good soil certainly does make a difference.

I have one last picture to leave you with.

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Does it get any better than this?

Friday, September 01, 2006


Firstly, the saga of John continues. His opthamologist here in Kelowna still couldn't determine what was happening in his eye by Monday, so he scheduled an appointment with a retina specialist in Kamloops (2 hours from here) for Wednesday. After scrambling to get my shift covered (thanks SO much, Cathy!), we drove to Kamloops for his 11:00 a.m. appointment. Once the doctor had examined him, John was told, "We'll have some fun with you this afternoon". He was immediately scheduled for laser surgery to repair a tear in the retina of his left eye... and four tears in the retina of the right eye.

We arrived home at about 7:00 p.m. Since his surgery wasn't to be done until about 4:00, I had plenty of time to wander around Kamloops (where we lived for a couple of years), touch base with some previous co-workers and do a bit of browsing and shopping, while John waited in the car (his pupils were fully dilated and he was more than a little light-sensitive and tired).

And that's where the "bought" part comes in. All that browsing and all I bought was this.

That's right, a colour wheel. I've been told numerous times by the man I so dearly love that I have very little colour sense, so I decided that this would be a good idea to have. Now, I just have to figure out how to use the darned thing.

The other thing I bought, not on this trip, is this book, "Knitting Ganseys" by Beth Brown-Reinsel.

This purchase was inspired by Franklin's post about a seminar he took with Beth at Stitches Midwest. We just happened to have one copy of the book in the store and I've been eyeing it for quite a while. Reading Franklin's post (click to read it for yourself) made the decision an easy one. I bought it.

Reading through the book is one thing, but actually knitting the sample sweater while reading the book, really helps you understand how ganseys (or guernseys, or jerseys) are made.

This little bit of the sample sweater is made with Sirdar's Country Style DK on 4.0 mm needles. I was going to work on it a little more this morning, but I left my 4 mm dpns at the store yesterday. Unless I have to, I don't like knitting with 16" circulars back and forth. Heck, I try to avoid 16" circs at any time. Using them makes my hand ache.

Incidentally, when I first saw the Gansey referred to as a Guernsey, I almost choked. I lived in the Fraser Valley for many years; it was predominantly a dairy area. There were a lot of Holstein cows to be seen dotting the landscape, and there were almost as many.. yup... Guernseys... or Jerseys. I've always associated the two names with cows, not sweaters.

On another note, I did start the Irish Diamond shawl from Cheryl Oberle's book (someone smack me upside the head, please). I'll tell you more about it in my next post. So far, it's an almost mindless knit. The pattern, so far, is an easy one to read and remember. I've had a couple of good suggestions from fellow "Yahoo-ers" in the Laceknitting group that I will be keeping in mind (i.e. it's a large shawl, and being square, drapes awkwardly over the arms... lengthwise.. so, I'll probably make it a little smaller than written as I'm not tall and lanky).

That should do it for today. It's supposed to be my day off today, but seeing as I missed Wednesday and there's a lot of stock to price and put out (yes, fellow fiber fanatics, we have some loverly new stuff in the store!), I'm going to go in for a few hours today. And leaving my credit cards at home!