Sunday, March 28, 2010

It Feels Good!

I made a conscious decision this week to pick up and knit on the Shetland Christening Dress again. I'm so glad I did, because I'm really enjoying it again. I've been working on both skirts, the edging of the second skirt when I want a bit of challenging knitting and the garter stitch body of the first skirt when I want nothing but simple knitting.

And the best part? Progress is definitely being made! The second edging is now past the halfway point; it will have 23 scallops and right now, there are 12. Actually there are almost 13 now, since I've worked on it a bit after taking the picture.

Unfortunately, working on the christening dress means the mittens won't be done this week. It's a good thing there are no time constraints on anything I'm working on.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Time's Been Flying Again

I just checked to see when I blogged last and was surprised to realize it's been almost two weeks! I guess it's about time I got back here, isn't it?

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, emotional upheaval and work. We drove to Vancouver to deal with Tony's remains, visited my mother, visited with children and grandchildren, drove back, and have been dealing with Tony's affairs since. Suffice it to say that it has been an unpleasant task, with John becoming more and more angry at his father. We had planned on driving back to the coast at Easter for a memorial service and to spread Tony's ashes, but that has been cancelled, indefinitely postponed. I won't go into further detail, other than to say that John is extremely disappointed in his father (furious is more like it).

I've been busy with other things, too. Last weekend, I asked John to help me build my light tent (I've been calling it a light box, but it is, technically, a light tent). He very graciously cut the pvc pipe to the sizes I'd specified and was generous with advice when I encountered unforeseen problems (like some of the fittings being too big/loose). Duct tape is a wonderful thing!

Here's what the finished light tent looks like...

I bought three different colours of posterboard: black, white and blue. Below is the light tent with a white tablecloth draped over it; the only thing missing are the lamps that would be used to light the tent from the top and the sides. They will come at some point. For now, I'll just use the ambient light here in the apartment. For my purposes, it's probably sufficient since I usually take pictures in the daytime anyway. But the lights will come!

I did a bit of playing around with taking pictures using the light tent and I think it will work quite nicely. Below is a little angel that was given to me when I left Kamloops; she sits on a shelf in my living room. I've tried taking pictures of her before, but they never turned out well; this time, I'm pleased with the picture.

This beaded rose is another favourite item; it was also a gift from a woman who worked with me (she did some amazing beadwork!). Again, this is something I've tried to photograph before, but just couldn't get a satisfactory picture; this time, with a white background in the light tent, I did.

The main reason for making the light tent, though, was for taking pictures of my knitting. As you can see, I HAVE been doing some knitting. Finally. Until this week, this month has been seriously lacking in knitting progress.

These are, of course, La Joie du Printemps (The Joy of Spring) mittens, designed by Heather Desserud. It's my goal to finish the second mitten this weekend. It's a goal, but not a hard and fast one; there are a few things that John and I need to do this weekend, Tony-related, and that may cut into my knitting time. But at least I'm knitting again! I've even worked on the Shetland Christening Dress!

By the way, if you want to make a light tent for yourself, here's the link to the tutorial I used. I didn't make it exactly like the one in the tutorial, but a tutorial is nothing but a guide.

Monday, March 08, 2010

With everything that's been going on around here, I've finally managed to finish the first of the La Joie du Printemps mittens. This is a really pretty pattern. The finished mitten is a little large on me, so would equate to a woman's large or man's medium (it fits John perfectly). My gauge was 10 sts/inch, which is what the pattern called for and the finished mitten is about 4" across, or 8" circumference.

As you can see, I have the second mitten on the needles and managed to finish the cuff yesterday.

This past weekend has been a strange one, not unexpected, I suppose. John's been busy trying to make arrangements from here, having forms faxed to me at work, faxing them back from the post office across the street, phone calls to relatives he hasn't spoken to in a long time, company... yes, it's been a strange weekend.

On Saturday, which was Sit & Stitch day; I chose to stay home with John. He really needed a sounding board that day. As well, that afternoon, his stepsister (both were adults when Tony and Yvonne's mother married) and her son stopped by for a very nice visit; I baked a spice loaf just so we'd have something to serve them. At the end of their visit, I ended up giving Gabe a copy of my cookbook; apparently he loves to cook, and has been on the hunt for tried and true recipes. He was very happy to add my humble book to his collection of recipes. Incidentally, he's 17. Nice!

Then yesterday, Sunday, John's cousin stopped by for a couple of hours and treated us to dinner at a recently opened burger joint nearby. He's a long haul trucker from Nevada, and was bringing a truckload of oranges to the Okanagan. I'd never met him before, so it was nice to meet him, to get to know the other side of John's family (his father and John's mother were brother and sister).

I have to tell you, though, this onslaught of visitors is the most we've had yet in this apartment. I mean, we've had company; we don't do a lot of entertaining, but this was more company than we've had in the last two years! I'm not complaining; it was an excuse to bake!

As far as arrangements go, Tony will be cremated this week; his niece, John's cousin will be picking up the remains, and we'll likely head out to Vancouver the weekend of the 20th for some kind of memorial and to spread his ashes in an area Tony knew well. For those of you who have asked, John's doing well. He and his father did not have the best of relationships, so there are some issues for him to work through but, all in all, I think he's doing well. It's never easy to lose someone who's been there all your life, but he recognizes that no one lives forever and even death is a part of life.

In closing, I just want to say thank you to all of you who have offered your condolences. You have no idea how much that has meant to both of us. Thank you!

John & Tony, summer 2009

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Anthony Norman Skae, 1919-2010

Just a brief post this morning.

Yesterday, John called Vancouver General Hospital, where his father has been for the past three weeks. He learned that Tony's condition wasn't improving, that he no longer had an interest in food and hadn't been out of his bed in a couple of days; his toe was worsening and was giving him a lot of pain. His breathing was becoming more and more laboured and his renal system was shutting down.

Last night, just before midnight, we received a call from VGH informing us that Tony had passed away. He was 90.