Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Great Loss

DH and my SIL (sister in law) lost their mother on Monday. My FIL (father in law) lost his wife. She was also a sister, a daughter, a grandmother, an aunt, a colleague and a friend. At only 63 years old, my mother in law (MIL) passed away Monday afternoon, BC time after unexpectedly suffering a stroke on Saturday. Although she had been unwell for several years, her death was sudden and has come as a very great shock.

We are currently in BC with DH’s family. I am unsure when we will get back to NS but it will have to be over the next week or so. For now, we are immersed in the emotions and paperwork that come at such a time.

My MIL was a wonderful woman. She was kind, generous and beautiful, mind, soul and body. She had that wonderful trait of being able to look on the bright side of things. She is the parent the man I married most resembled.

She was famous for her fastidiousness – a trait honestly come by as she was a nurse – and had a bit of a reputation as being a ‘wiper’ of everything! I am happy to say that my MIL and I had a lot in common. We both like to shop and we both like to touch things in shops (very tactile are we!) which has occasionally gotten us into trouble. She had recently re-taken up an interest in knitting and has gone to see the Yarn Harlot speak. I was the lucky recipient of signed Yarn Harlot books from that event.

My MIL was present for Iain’s birth.

She organised the household to host a baby shower for us minutes before she and my FIL flew back to BC. She made the welcome to the family speech for me at our wedding. She was 50% part of the parental package that created the man that I love so much and for that, I will always be grateful.

She will be greatly, greatly missed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On The Road Again

There will be a brief commercial interruption here at Fibreholic while DH, Iain and I fly to Kingston, ON (via Toronto), making this coming weekend a long weekend for us (and that would be why I am on the low post side this week. I’ve been busy doing laundry and packing!). I will be back the middle of next week. Yes, although they are not in the bag yet, I considered which knitting projects to take before I decided on clothes. A true knitter am I!

Until I return, here is some knitting candy to keep you entertained. The picture at the beginning of this post is of my second Fetching glove yesterday morning.

And here is the completed set yesterday evening – a full FO!

Let’s see that again!

I’m very pleased with this knit. I followed the pattern to the letter for this, my first Fetching pair. For my next pair, I will be experimenting with the bind off, finger length, etc. Although the picot bind off the pattern calls for is pretty, is does curl quite a bit. This particular FO is a pressie for someone who uses a computer a lot and has a propensity for being cold. I felt the bind off curl was okay as it allows your fingers to move very freely which is a good thing when using a keyboard.

Details: I used some of two balls of Mission Falls merino wool (I used 'Mallow' 025) on 3.25 mm DPNs. There’s enough yarn left over to add to something else or for a very small project.

Just to keep you up to date on other knitting progress, I managed to get to my LYS on Wednesday and picked up a longer Addi Turbo for my Not-So-Shrunken cardie. Here’s a progress shot.

I really have only knit a row to get the sweater moved over onto the longer circular but I think I had knit some since I last posted a progress shot so you might notice some movement forward.

And, last but not least, we had our first hard frost last night. Yes, fall is coming – my favourite time of the year! Here is a photo of our last rose of the summer. My sweet boy was behind me saying “Mmm! Mmmm!” as I was taking this picture. It turns out he wanted up so that he too could smell the rose and say “Mmm!” more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gotta Keep Me A Lifeline

When April noticed the Celtic Cable scarf I was working on, she mentioned and then showed me how to install a lifeline. What a lifesaver! I had made a mistake about six rows up from my lifeline, tried to fix it, could not, and simply ripped back to the lifeline to start again (and learned that I need to install a lifeline halfway through my repeat as well as at the end of one or watch a lot of work get ripped out! ;O))!

Thanks so much, April (and good luck with your first week of school)!

This past Sunday, I managed to join two other knitters at a local cafĂ©. We’re considering a Sunday afternoon knit together to be a bit of a regular thing. Imagine my excitement and what a great time! Fibre was fondled, techniques and other knitting accessories discussed. One lady was using her brand new ball winder to wind, gasp, Malabrigo. She is right, it is like butter. It was my first time touching this fine, fine fibre. The other lady brought a pattern binder for us to pour over patterns. Sigh. It is so nice when you can get together with people who speak the same language.

One of the bits of information I passed on was the use of a lifeline which one of the ladies (like myself before April mentioned it to me) had never heard of before. I have to admit to not being the most confident knitter. Unlike others before me, I have never taught anyone to knit and I’m not sure that I could (but will certainly try when Iain gets a bit older). However, being able to pass on this little bit of knitting knowledge was a feel good situation for sure.

And, we can all use a few more feel good situations, can’t we?!?

Monday, September 15, 2008

How Things Change!

Remember this?

That is how I used to mow the lawn this past Spring.

Looky what Iain can do when Mommy is mowing the lawn now!

And Para doesn't even knock him over when she runs past him anymore. How things change!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Feast or Famine

That’s what I’ve been telling DH that the past seven days have been: feast or famine. I have little in the way of a social life for 14.5 months and then attend three adult only events in seven days! All of which involved babysitters, a significant development in my life.

Let me tell you knitters who have small children and family members in your local area: count your blessings. And, even if you have recently done that, count them again. It has been very difficult for us coming to a new community where we know very few people (none in the immediate area) with our first child, then three weeks old. I am lucky to have made several great friends through local baby groups and one of those friends is a teacher and her husband who also a teacher and who comes from a family of teachers. It is wonderful to have friends such as these who are able to refer you to babysitters.

Our first event of the week was the Wing Commanders Garden Party last Sunday afternoon, held from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. It was a ‘smart casual’ type of event (are military events the only ones where dress code is specified these days?!?) where I got to wear a skirt. This is a fairly significant fact considering that, apart from my family reunion in July where a couple of events dictated I wear a dress, I have not worn a skirt since well before Iain was born. In fact, I guess it to be at least 2.5 years since I’ve worn a skirt. This is striking considering I am the same woman who used to wear skirts most of her working career including when I was a case working social worker and going out on calls (they were long skirts that I could hike up and run in but skirts nonetheless). On Sunday, we were trying a new babysitter and this event was the perfect set up as 2:00 – 4:00 in the afternoon is Iain’s best time of the day to be joyful and playful and this offered a great introduction afternoon for both of them.

DH and I went out confident that all would be well and we were right. This was particularly wonderful given that that same sitter was at our house again Wednesday evening when DH and I went out for our first restaurant meal without Iain in 14.5 months. Yes, you read that right. And, no, it was not all that romantic. We were sharing the meal with all of DH’s immediate work colleagues and their spouses as they welcomed their new squadron Honourary Colonel. You may have heard of him – Leonard Lee – the founder of Lee Valley (well, you’ve likely heard of him if you are Canadian and have family members who are interested in gardening and woodworking). Despite the lack of romance, it was a nice evening out, Mr. Lee is a strikingly handsome man who is also a very entertaining storyteller and I really savoured every mouthful that did not involve a baby hanging off my leg and whining as the poor creature is wont to do every supper time when he is getting tired and wants to go to bed but does not realise it yet.

Then, the biggest event so far, was held on Friday evening. Our sitter was not available that night but, remember that teacher couple I mentioned earlier (lets just call the female half of the couple Wonder Woman)? Well, Wonder Woman offered to take Iain from supper time until we got home at midnight or so. I call my friend Wonder Woman for several reasons. The first is that she is due to have baby number two on October 5th yet did not hesitate to offer to take Iain when she knew that I likely wasn’t going to attend Friday nights event due to my sitter not being available. Wonder Woman also has baby number one who is only a few weeks younger than Iain. She is one of those people to whom the label ‘over achiever’ does not apply because she is a level above that title. For example, when most of my one year old party planning friends (like myself) were happy that we’d managed to print out and deliver first birthday party invitations, my friend scrap booked all of her invitations, loot bags and thank you notes. And that is only the icing on the cake. Wonder Woman indeed.

Anyway, this wonderful lady who I am so fortunate to call a friend offered to take Iain for the evening and I was pretty confident they could handle anything he threw at them. He was very, very good, we were told. It was their daughter’s first sleepover – ha! So, Friday evening saw us trundle off to the Greenwood Mess to enjoy their annual Wing Welcome party which included food and live entertainment. The food queue was long but the slightly tipsy young military members kept us entertained. There was deep fried turkey and a pig roast for eats.

The entertainment was excellent. The opening act was The Fables, a fabulous Newfoundland band. The second act was The Trews who we also really, really enjoyed. DH and I left around midnight when The Trews were starting their second set. Although I was enjoying the music, the crowd was getting to the ‘stupid inebriated’ stage and I was overtired due to it being way past my bedtime. I do not deal with drunken strangers at the best of times during the day but, when I’m tired, it’s worse so we left before things really got hopping.

And now, here I sit in the peace and quiet that is my home, enjoying the music on the radio, the sleeping breathing through the monitor from my baby upstairs and wondering where DH is currently as he is flying to Ottawa from Halifax tonight.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Day a Week for UFOs

I finally decided to become a joiner. I have never joined a KAL (knit-a-long) because I do not feel I can commit to knitting a particular project within a certain amount of time (I realise that that is not the point for all KALs but that’s my excuse). However, when I saw the ‘One Day a Week for UFOs’ group on Ravelry I thought, ‘Now, there’s a good idea for me’.

I posted about the contents of my knitting bag yesterday and, from some of the comments I received, I feel I should come clean. I was only telling you about the WIPs in my knitting bag. This does not include the, say, forty or so WIPs scattered around my house. I was not comfortable with you thinking I am controlled and stick to three projects at a time. No, that’s not me. There’s something about the adrenalin rush of startitis that blows the adrenalin rush of finishing a project right out of the window. I hope to mend my ways and follow in the footsteps of those I am not worthy of blogging next to, like Suzanne and Elizabeth. Hopefully their monogamous ways will rub off on me. Until then, I need a group like the ‘One Day a Week’ers’.

I spent the past two weeks since joining the group trying to decide what day of the week to commit to (yes, don’t jump into things too quickly there, Patty!). I thought Wednesday would be best originally. You know, Wednesday, ‘hump’ day, the day when there’s not usually a lot going on around Chez Fibreholic… Boy was I wrong. Turns out, Thursday is the better day for me. I am usually recovering from whatever went down on Wednesday and sticking close to home on Thursday.

Thanks to the group, I set up last night (aka fixed a mistake in the cabled cuff portion of my second Fetching glove) and managed to get some knitting accomplished today. Yeah peer pressure! I am now five rows away from binding off the fingers. Not bad considering most of the glove was knit while standing and watching Iain throwing the ball for Para and/or playing in his sandbox (Note to Self: If you actually pulled yourself together and gardened for ten minutes, those ten minutes of pruning might just allow you to sit and knit because you could actually see the part of the backyard that Para and Iain like to play in). No, no progress piccies. DH had the camera today so I cannot show you any progress shots to verify.

We did, however, have a visitor arrive at our screen yesterday morning that will provide the visual stimulation you’ve likely come to expect in my posts. DH, Iain and I got to watch her/him groom him/herself just before dawn (just like a cat!) and then fall asleep on our kitchen window screen for the day.

I dearly love bats, which is not to be confused with me liking vampires. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been terrified of vampire stories. Small bats, on the other hand, I think are quite neat and useful. However, like most things, I do not really like the species if they grow on the large side. We saw some frighteningly large bats when we were visiting Animal Kingdom several years ago. Bats and spiders should remain small, I say, to maintain my equilibrium with the world. As a frame of reference, our wee bat was only about 2.5 inches long. Yes, I know, there are those of you out there shuddering right now. It's only a picture on the Internet! Besides, s/he was the perfect guest. S/he hung there all day with nary a bit of movement which was quite nice as s/he was also hung right next to the door we use all day long.
And, for all of you remembering that day so few years ago, my thoughts are with you on this September 11, 2008.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What Projects Are In Your Knitting Bag?

I am shamelessly stealing an idea from Barbara’s blog. She posted about her ‘short attention span’ with a picture of her current WIPs. What a great idea!

Here are the WIPs in my knitting bag:

One Celtic Cable scarf, the second Fetching glove, and my Not-So-Shrunken cardie.

Now, I’m curious. What is in your knitting bag? Do you even have a knitting bag or am I the only one who carts around multiple projects in hopes that one of them will suit the occasion I’m attending? How many of you do things like bring knitting in your purse (like I did to the Wing Commanders Garden Party on Sunday) but do not take it out of because it just did not seem like ‘that kind of event’…whatever that is?

Come on! Curious minds (well, mine anyway) want to know!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

That’s The Way I Like It!

I really love knitters and knitting designers. I really admire someone who has a design vision and sees it through to completion and then the fortitude and business acumen to write up a pattern and sell it. Seriously, what other group of people would you feel comfortable emailing a question to, over a weekend, and get your questions answered within hours? I had a couple of questions for Wendy regarding the Marilyn’s Not-So-Shrunken pattern and emailed her on Saturday. What a sweetie – she was back to me within hours with answers and a couple of other suggestions. Thanks so much, Wendy!

This past Friday, I knit one swatch using 3 mm needles. I washed and blocked it.
Stitch gauge check = exactly on.

Row gauge check = one row too long; I can live with that.

With a pretty successful swatching experience in hand, I cast on Marilyn’s Not-So-Shrunken cardie on Friday night. I managed to work on it on and off throughout the weekend and yesterday while other WIPs beckoned. Here’s the progress so far:
The pattern calls for ‘at least’ 24” circulars. I’m still casting on stitches so this baby is going to be uncomfortably tight on the needles before I put the sleeve stitches onto waste yarn. It’s too bad my trip to Wolfville yesterday coincided with Gaspereau Valley Fibres’ closed day of the week or I would have gotten longer circulars. I don’t know if anyone else nearby sells them or not but, after last night’s knitting, I realise I’m going to have to try. The stitches are so tightly gathered together that they are threatening to slide off the needles and I’m having to use a significant amount of hand muscle force keeping them where they should be.

I love how you can see the raglan part of the sleeves appearing in this top down knit. It’s very exciting and my first top down sweater. Naturally I will keep you posted on how it goes. Stay tuned for a 2008 FO date - I hope!

The other big knitting news in my life is that, thanks to Ravelry (ah, Ravelry. The online community that give so much and asks so little…), I have hooked up with a fellow ‘raveller’ right here in Middleton! This is a dream come true as I was really missing other knitters to sit and knit and chat with. A group of Ravelers here in the Valley have met up a few times but I haven’t been able to attend thus far. Then, on Saturday when I was perusing Ravelry, I noticed that they were meeting that afternoon. I called Barbara to initiate a car pool but the meeting ended up being cancelled. Instead, Barbara offered for her and me to meet up at her house for an afternoon of knitting. It was great fun and I hope I can host a knit up in the future. That is a little more difficult to plan for at my house. Not that I don’t like visitors, I love them and can plan and host a play date at the drop of a hat. However, Iain is not conducive to knitting. He pulls on yarn. This is bad, bad, bad when you’re trying to knit. Particularly if you hope to finish the project you’re working on instead of picking up the stitches he keeps pulling off.

Sorry I missed writing a blog post yesterday. Iain was overdue for his twelve month needles. He was already fussy yesterday – a fact I attribute to teething seeing as the only thing that would settle him was chewing on frozen fruit – and a needle yesterday did not help the evening or this morning. Anyways, it’s been a bit of a rough 24 hours or so. I did knit a wee bit last night but had no time or extra energy to write.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Project Tart

I am such a project tart. There. I’ve said it. Now you know. I’m fairly certain you won’t hold it against me though, considering there are probably a few of you just like me out there. Likely, one or two of you are even reading this post right now.

I’ve been hit with some major startitis. I can point my finger in the two directions that have contributed to this problem. The first, Christmas is around the proverbial knitter’s corner so I’ve got to/have started casting on or started shopping for some projects in that vein. Secondly, knitting swatches for the Yogini Bolero is kicking my butt. I am on swatch five, people. Yes! You read that right. Swatch FIVE! And still no closer to getting gauge than when I started. This fact alone has me turning my adulterous eye in different directions. Really, five swatches? That’s enough to make even the most fearless knitter cringe.

However, my eye is not turning too far from my new favourite designer, Wendy Bernard. No Sir! Next on my list of Wendy’s patterns to knit is Marilyn’s Not So Shrunken Cardigan. Have I mentioned that I love it? Have I mentioned that I hope it will make me look young and hip (I’m ignoring the little voice that says ‘Patty, no sweater can do that. That requires plastic surgery and an attitude change.’)? This sweater is one sweet little number and, I think, will get worn and worn.

When we went to Australia (can you believe, two years ago in November? Time flies!), I picked me up some yarn. Likely I never told you about it. Sorry about that. Anyhoo, I did. I picked up enough Cleckheaton Country Silk 8 ply, 85% Pure Wool, 15% Silk blend in a gorgeous khaki green to knit a sweater (Hmm. The colour I have isn't on the Cleckheaton website anymore. This is slightly worrying.) And, get this, the label even says ‘Made in Australia’. Squeee! I decided awhile ago that I’m not picking up tacky tourist stuff when I travel. When I go to exotic locations (such as the other side of the world), I’m picking up quality tourist stuff. That’s where this yarn comes in. Quality and the label verifies that I was a tourist.

I need something mindless (and that cable scarf sure isn’t it…) for those times when I find myself sitting in front of my Apple TV watching Season 1 of Stargate (I’m addicted and very behind the TV times. And, I'm comfortable with that.). The Marilyn should have include a fair share of mindless stocking stitch which is perfect ‘in front of the television’ knitting for me. I do believe I’m off to, you guessed it, s. w. a. t. c. h. for another project. One that is not on my Christmas ‘to give’ list. Yep, project tart. That is so me right now.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fetching Fever

It is so nice to be able to print out a lovely pattern,

To find such a tantalising selection of yarns from your LYS,

To start knitting said project from your most recent SEX,

And to have it work out so well.

This is what I was knitting up over the Labour Day weekend. Always a couple of years behind the trends, I too have succumbed to Fetching fever.

This is a good thing because, the thing is, here is my current state of mind. On Tuesday when DH came home, I was a little stressed. He gave me a nice long break by taking Iain pretty much from the time he got home, including putting Iain to bed. He says,

“Are you mad at me?” and I replied,

“No, I’m frustrated but not at you. I just don’t feel like I accomplished anything today.”

This said the day after our long weekend camping trip, when: I’d washing and line dried four loads of laundry; folded all that laundry and put it in a basket to be put upstairs and put away; made supper from scratch; walked into town to go to the bank, post office, and grocery store; called and made a vet appointment for Para; had a short play date with a friend and her little boy; gotten recommendations for a local optometrist and seamstress from a neighbour; and called our oil provider to update our billing information. Not to mention time and effort involved in caring for a 14 month (today!) old. Yet, I still ended the day feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything. I think, perhaps, my standards are a little high.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

End of August SEX

Yep, that title should get me a few extra hits on Google. It’s probably a good thing I moderate my comments...

This past Friday, Iain and I had some errands to do in New Minas. Naturally, we included a trip to my LYS (Gaspereau Valley Fibres) for some SEX (see this post for a description of what SEX means on a knitting blog. I’ll wait. Back yet?). Each time I visit the shop, I mean to take pictures of the interior to show you all. This time was no exception but, unfortunately, Iain has finally hit the age where sitting in his stroller in a knitting store just isn’t good enough and letting him run loose is a little more than my pocketbook can handle. Therefore, I had to try and be quick (and if that isn’t frustrating in a knitting shop, I don’t know what is).
One really, really nice thing about my LYS is that it is on a farm complete with chickens, sheep (of course!), and a llama.

Iain really enjoyed the animals. He was particularly taken with the chickens. They seemed to be just as interested in the little human as he was in them.

As for the stash, well, I mentioned that it was a little difficult to shop with Iain. Therefore, I ‘only’ bought six balls of ‘old faithful’ (Mission Falls wool), which I love and in pretty spiffy colours if I do say so myself. I'll show you a picture tomorrow (I have to save something interesting for the rest of this week!). I also walked away with a skein of Blue Sky Alpaca’s organic cotton (the same yarn as called for in the pattern for my Nursing Sweater) to make a couple of things for a friend’s new baby due at the end of the month.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Trip to Kejimikujik National Park

Note: This blog post was brought to you today through the friendly assistance of DH who arrived home just in time take Iain away from his mother for a much needed, very much required, necessary, and crucial break (did I mention that I really, really needed a break?!?).

Warning: She’s a pretty picture heavy post today. You might want to grab your coffee/hot chocolate, knitting and sit down for a read.
Our trip to Kejimikujik was, in a word, wonderful. The weather held out the whole time we were there, only breaking after our last hike while we were feeding Iain in the hiking parking lot (safely ensconced in the van).

We stayed for two nights at the Jeremey’s Bay campground (site #85 – we highly recommend it) where our site backed into the forest and the campsites are nicely spaced so that they felt very private.

Iain has improved his walking ability on unsteady ground rapidly.

His favourite game over the weekend was running from the campsite into the road. Go Iain! Never mind your mother’s heart! Luckily, our campsite was nice, the ‘driveway’ deep and it took him awhile to run to the road. At least it took him long enough for one of us to catch him in time.

We had all kinds of ‘wildlife’ visit the campsite. Frogs, birds and squirrels were the most popular. Not bad considering we had our black and white guard dog who usually scares off wee critters. The animals living close to the campsite are used to people it appears.

We went on two hikes with Iain on DH’s back in the carrier.

The first hike, on Sunday, was to Peter’s Point and Snake Lake.

We did both loops of the trail – about 5 KM we estimate. Peter’s Point was lovely but there were already a couple of families swimming there so we visited the windy side of the point which was a wee bit too cool for swimming or loitering long.

On Monday, we hiked along the Mersey River, a very pretty little river.

Despite the fact that most campers pulled out of the campground that morning and that the parking lot we parked in was empty, we did meet other hikers and cyclists (it’s a mixed use trail). I don’t think I’d like to do that trail when it’s busy as, despite the signs saying ‘cyclists yield to hikers’, us hikers were definitely yielding to the cyclists.

It really was a great weekend and our first to Keji. We are now talking about trying to get out there for a couple of other day trips in the fall. And, there were really too many great pictures to not have a picture heavy blog post today!

And, yes, there was knitting over the weekend. I was knitting up some loot from my SEX on Friday. Interested?