Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We Made It!

No sleep for well over 20 hours, bad airplane food and service, but hot damned! We're in Cairo. First thoughts:
  • U.G.L.Y. Totally without character brick buildings, half-finished.
  • Sheep. Random herds of sheep in alleys. Goats, too; pegged beside apartment buildings.
  • Traffic. HOLY CRAP. Scary. No-one died on the way to the hotel, and I am amazed.
  • The pyramids at sunset. Sent a chill down my spine. Our hotel is practically on top of them; I don't know whether to be excited or cry at the encroachment of the new and cheap.
  • SLOW Internet. Gotta run before I run out of time. More when I can!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

At Odds

At noon tomorrow, DH and I have to make our way to the airport. I should be in a full-scale panic at this point in time, preparing to prepare to pack, but I just don't have it in me today.

Operating under the "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" clause, DH and his ex planned a birthday party at our house for my youngest step-daughter. I didn't know about said party until a suspicious number of squeal-y girls had invaded the house mid-day. Had I known, I would have politely (or not-so-politely) requested the party be held at the ex's house, or at the very least bolstered my nerves with a couple of strong gin and tonics in advance. Hubby played it marvelously, though, and I couldn't even be pissed off at him after the seemingly heart-felt apology for "forgetting" to tell me. (This, to me, is like forgetting to tell me that I was on fire.)

Then, in the spirit of packing, I threw a few clothes on the bedroom floor. I don't know if they're the right clothes, but it helps me feel like I'm making progress.

I sat down in the bathroom and began braiding my hair, or at least, started. I got one gloriously long and perfect braid done, right in front. It took me 5 minutes, but I was having a hard time finishing it... my hair is much longer then it was last time I did this and was no longer possible for me to do myself. Here's hoping I can find someplace in Cairo and have it done for me, 'cause that's the only way they'll get done. Darn it.

The blizzard isn't really helping my temperament right now, either. The 37 cms. of snow that fell today has canceled pretty much everything in and out of the airport. I know it's supposed to stop overnight, but still. And for some reason Air Canada won't let me check in in advance. Argh.

I'd like to pour me a nice stiff "accident" (raspberry vodka with lime Perrier) but I suspect that will not actually help the packing process, either.

I still haven't heard how I did on my exam last week. I know it was damned hard and I felt like I bombed it, but that doesn't necessarily mean I did. Usually, that feeling means I got 80%. A feeling like I aced it means 89%. I am not a widely variable student... somewhere in the 80's, whether I try hard or not. Hopefully the teacher will email me the exam mark before I leave so there's one less thing to worry about.

I don't know if I'll get the chance to write again before I leave; probably not. So I will take this opportunity to wish everyone who celebrates a very Merry Christmas. I hope your holidays go just the way you want them to.

We will be back before New Year's Eve, but I'll most likely talk to you in 2008. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Apropos of Nothing

When I went to LA in the spring for a work-related course, I was responsible for making my own hotel booking. It was no accident that I stayed in a hotel across from the biggest mall in Torrence. I wanted to shop guilt-free, so ate frugally in my room, saving my generous meal allowance for pretty pretty California clothes.

I met up with Victoria for the first time while I was down there, and she told me her Secret. Now, I have for my entire adult life been what Dar Williams charmingly calls a "braless wonder." I find bras uncomfortable, pointless and cruel. However, I walked into that store, determined to find out what the big fuss was all about.

I bought the first bra I ever really liked there. It's comfortable, it gives me a lovely boost, and I can forget it's even on. Why can't they all be like that?

Now that I've found a single bra that I like, I find myself wearing it more and more. Pity I only bought one as I feel a bit odd wearing the same one day in, day out. I went online and to order a single bra would be twice the price I paid in the store, by the time taxes and shipping are added on. I love that bra, but I can't decide if love is worth $80.

DH and I went to La Senza to try and find something equivalent. I bought some pretties, catching a good sale, but I find that I feel the under wires by the time a couple of hours have gone by. Dammit. I might just have to spend that $80.


They're pretty, though. I think DH is delighted that his wife is finally dressing like a lady underneath it all.

See? It's never too late to teach this old bitch a new trick. :)

I Have to Make it Through This Week First

I've been face-down in a calculus textbook for the last two weeks... my final exam is tomorrow and I am feeling the pressure.

In Grade 12 (many moons ago), I didn't give a rat's patootie... I knew I wasn't going to university, so what point was there in breaking my back for good marks? Now I know exactly how important this one single course is... it's the only required course for the program I want to take in university, so I feel like my entire fate is hanging on how well I do on it. Which kinda begs the question, "why am I blogging and not studying?", but I can't study 12 hours a day. I already feel pretty confident with the material but I also know my math-geek of a teacher will throw a curve ball or four just to make us extrapolate the material, and not just blindly plug in formulas. It's those that I worry about.

If I wasn't neck-deep in calculus, I'd be getting really, really excited about this. (ohmygodohmygod!!!) DH and I fly out next Monday to meeting his sister in Cairo for a 12-day trip to Egypt, including a week-long cruise down the Nile. (I say that like it's something I do all the time, but it sounds so surreal on "paper". I still can't believe we're going!) I haven't even really given a thought to packing, and that alone really says something about how mentally I am not there... I usually pack weeks in advance for everything and even draw diagrams and flow-charts to ensure full packing efficiency. (What can I say? I'm a little OCD at times.)

I've done two things so far... bought sunscreen and figured out how to wear my hair. The latter is a big one. I have hair down to my butt, and this isn't "jump out of bed and race to a tour-bus" hair. It's a high-maintenance thing, requiring gallons of conditioner and an hour of fussing after every casual dip in the pool. I don't want to have to worry about that while I'm lounging casually on a cruise ship, or hiking through ancient ruins. So I'm cornrowing it. I did it once before, during a similar trip (3 weeks backpacking Italy and Greece) and it was wonderfully low maintenance and stayed pretty throughout. Yes, this means I get to sit for hours on Monday putting 60-80 little braids in my hair, but seriously, the time and fuss that this will save during the trip will make it all worth-while. I'll have DH get some pics before and after... it's always fun.

We get back on the 30th of Dec, and 1 Jan is our 2nd anniversary. I found the perfect way to celebrate with my love. For our wedding, we rented a hot-tub and had a fun party in the snow... it was a perfect way to celebrate, as far as we are concerned. So, in homage to that party, I am taking DH to Le Nordik spa across the river in the Republic of Quebec. Outdoor Scandinavian baths, people. And massages. And tapas with Leffe. Are you hearing how perfect this is???! I will have a hard time keeping this a surprise.

We love thermal spas... we've been to a couple in Europe, in Terme Čatež (however you think it's pronounced, you're wrong (unless you're Slovenian)) and Bled. I have high hopes for this one, considering it's much closer then Slovenia. And, as far as these things go, reasonable priced.

So. Now I have no doubt made you feel like driving an icepick through my heart because of all the name-dropping of exotic travel destinations. I don't mean to sound snobby, it's just that DH and I love to travel! Egypt will quite possibly be the last really cool place for years, though; I can't see myself having the money to travel much while in university, to say nothing of the time. With that thought in mind, I am motivated to enjoy this trip to the fullest; from planning and packing to the adventure itself.

After my exam, that is.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tuesday in Pictures

I look out the window from my computer room and I see this:


The snow is drifting up to my waist in places. I remember feeling quite confident that we wouldn't have any snow to speak of until just before Christmas... was it my bravado that did us all in?

The pictures on the inside of the house are nicer, though.

Tannenbaum binding

I am sewing the binding on Oh Tannenbaum... I may actually have this German Christmas-themed quilt ready for Christmas!

Something that is ready well before Christmas:


This happy little Christmas cactus is always early. And beautiful. Want another shot? I do.


I think a certain furry someone in the house has the right idea about what to do on a snowy afternoon.


I may yet join her for a little nap. :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Screw You, Winter.

There's nothing like two weeks of freakin' blizzards to light the proverbial fire under one's needles. I finished the Stripy Alpaca Scarf a few days ago, and immediately cast on for a hat. I'd like to say a matching hat, but the fates did not so decree. I was intending to do a Coronet hat, but use the brioche stitch for the body instead of the stockinette.

Easier said than done. The brioche stitch in the round is a bitch, no doubt about it, especially when you're holding two strands together. I couldn't make it work, despite three tries, and decided to make a hat I could wear *this* winter, not next. Stockinette it was.


The fact that I held two different colours of yarn together adds a bit of zing to this hat, I think. The random pattern of orange and brown look cryptic, like a hidden cypher. I like it, and I love how it fits and feels. Not to mention that I went from "cast on" to "finished object" in three days. Take that, "gosh you're a slow knitter" lady. (Yes, I still bear emotional scars from her comment... :) )

Stripy scarf and Coronet hat

Bring on the snow. My hat and neck, at least, are ready.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaBlahBlahBlah Is Almost Over!

God, will I be glad when the month of "posting any old crap just for the sake of posting", otherwise known as NaBloPoMo, is over in Blogland in general, so we can return to reading (gasp!) thoughtful posts where people actually have something to say.

My apologies, and admiration, to people who managed to post something worthwhile every day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spring Cleaning for the Mind

I've been taking classes at night, and through correspondence, in order to groom myself for university. I took Physics last spring, and surprised myself by enjoying it, and doing well. I recall hating it in Grade 11, and of course, I thought the intervening 20 years might not serve in my favour. I think they did, though... there's nothing like time and experience to teach one the value of education.

After I finished physics, it was the summer. DH was deployed and I needed to keep busy and keep in the habit of study. I knew the university I chose would look at my top four Grade 12 (or 4U, as they're called out here) courses so I decided to take another course to bring up my average. I chose Philosophy as a nice, easy basket-weaving course to bring my grades up. I signed up for a correspondence course so I could pick my best times to study, and that way still take the night-school class in Calculus in September that is my sole requirement for the program I want.

I'm now half-way through the course... almost exactly. I submitted and received marks for the essays I wrote for the second unit of four on Sunday. And while this course is certainly going to bring my average up as hoped (ridiculously, I received 100% on all my assignments to date, almost 40 pages of essays), it has been anything but mindless or easy.

The first unit was on the nature of God and associated questions. Now, I abandoned Christianity years back... a few years back I converted to another religion because it made more sense to me than what I had been brought up with. I'm no stranger to questioning religion and God, but this course pushed me further then I had gone before and radically changed my thoughts yet again. I still consider myself nominally within my chosen faith group, more for the continuation of community and fellowship than anything, but many of my views don't parallel that faith anymore. Or any faith. I think I'm colouring outside the lines at this point in time...

My next unit was on the nature of truth and reality. Damned if it didn't do the same things to me. I got so involved in the questions, stewing them over for weeks, that they changed the way I thought on many topics.

This course has been, and is continuing to be, spring cleaning for my mind. There's not a stone that won't be looked under and the findings analyzed. Whatever remains, remains because I've put hard thought into it and decided it is worthwhile and valuable and true. Whatever goes, was tested and found wanting.

I didn't expect this. I thought it would be an essay here, a little reading there... I didn't think a simple course would change me so deeply. What a wonderful, difficult ride it has been and will be.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

White-Knuckle Knitting

I have been possessed this week by the Spirit of Mittens. I have never finished a project this complex this quickly, but it was like a really good book- I just couldn't put it down until I knew how it would all turn out.

Okay, I've only finished one mitten, but it's enough to give me a fairly clear idea how this story goes. I'll sum up the plot for you.

Here's the story of the back.


Pretty cabled goodness in shades of brown and purple. The cuff rolls a bit, but this is pre-blocking, so I'm not worried. I'm not worried for other reasons, but we'll get to that.

Here's the palm...


I love how the pattern continues on the thumb. I was quite tense during the white-knuckle knitting I endured while transferring the stitches from the waste yarn on to a needle, discovering I had two stitches to every one needed on the top needle, figuring out how to carefully K2Tog across them all... (is this normal? Should I have had to do this?) ... ending up with a thumb that was not quite perfect but not bad for a first attempt.

The huge holes on the side where the thumb was added concerned me for a bit, until I read the instruction to sew them up and realized that this was a normal occurrence. (Although I'd love to pick up two extra stitches in those holes at the beginning of the thumb and add another pair of purple edge stitches. Do you think this is permissible with the Mitten Gods?)

I ad-libbed a bit for the reverse of the thumb, but am happy with it overall.


There's a problem, though. Gauge, that lying rat-bastard, lied to me again. THEY DON'T FIT.
I swatched three times. I measured carefully. And they are still way, way too small. The thumb crotch is not in the right place, and I can't even dream about knitting in the divinely soft angora lining.

That being said, I'm not really that upset. They were so darned fun to knit, I'm game for casting on immediately for another, much larger, pair. This one? Let's call it a lesson.

However, I think I'll finish off the alpaca scarf first. As you can see by the pretty white background behind the mitten, winter arrived much earlier than anticipated and suddenly I need me a scarf.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bring It On

I have been knitting a fair bit recently. Here's the product of my labours since the last time I shared my stuff with you.

mum's sock

West-Jet Socks II, for Mum. The Harlot's Basic Sock recipe, OnLine SuperSocke 100 yarn.


Legwarmers, inspired by HelloYarn's recipe. I wear skirts pretty much all the time, and these seemed a wonderfully simple way to keep my legs warm without high boots. Knit from the wonderful hand-painted yarn made at and purchased from Bullock Lake Farms on Salt Spring Island.

Finally. The icing on the cake, and looking good enough to actually be icing. The mittens.


The palm.


The top side. What you're looking at is the extended cuff (in between contract colour purled rows). I still have another 10 rows or so before I hit the thumb. Did I mention I am loving these? They're super addictive, warm as heck (already! There's still an angora lining to be added!) and without question, the loveliest thing I have ever knitted.

I never understood the Harlot's fascination with Norwegian/Latvian/Estonian mittens before. I get it now. They're tiny blank canvases to throw the most extravagant patterning you can on to them. Bring it on.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

They Were That Good

At this point in time, I think I have cheated on "10 Projects" enough times to be turfed out on my ear. I'm pretty glad there's no Project Police (there isn't, is there?) 'cause I had that little incident on Salt Spring Island, and then I had a slight indiscretion a couple of days ago in Wool-Tyme. See, I saw a really cool pair of mittens at the Inspirations Needlecraft show, and I coveted them. But I don't wear mittens, so Logical Sue said "Don't buy them" and Impulsive Sue listened. For once.

However, after a couple of weeks of trying to forget them, Logical Sue spoke up. "These mittens," she reasoned, "are Fair-Isle. If ever you hope to do that Kauni cardigan and not have it look like ass, you're going to have to learn Fair-Isle. Better to start with a nice small project. Say, mittens."

I was tempted, but defiant. Then, Logical Sue reminded me that I had a full customer card from Wool-Tyme, good for 15% off my next purchase. Like, perhaps, a mitten kit.

The next thing I knew, I was back at home, surreptitiously shredding a receipt with one hand and looking down, somewhat puzzled, at the package of soft wool, alpaca and angora in other hand. What just happened??? Somewhere in the back of my mind, Logical Sue and Impulsive Sue were howling with glee, having taken the reins and ran with it... err, me.

I finished the other quickie project on the needles (leg warmers, pics soon), swatched and cast on immediately for those mittens. The colours, the stranding, the pattern... it is delighting me like no other project has done before. This is how bad, or how good, it is: I sat beside DH, knitting on the couch tonight for three solid hours while he watched the hockey game.

Hockey always makes me flee the room. I throw up a little in the back of my throat every time I hear some grossly overpaid dimwit with no teeth tell the announcer that "Well, you see, we have to put the puck in the net more, that's what we need to do to win." I was so enthralled with the joy of the mittens that my ears didn't even start to bleed and I was barely blinded by Don Cherry's suit. Yes... They were THAT good.

I'll post pics of them tomorrow, as well. I am utterly charmed by their cleverness and colours, and I feel the need to show them off, just a little, even in their partial state.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Of Fall and the Fallen

My answer to the question "what's your favourite season?" varies... well, seasonally. I am a fickle woman... I love best whoever I'm with at the time. Today, it's most certainly fall. The tangy crunch of the air and the leaves is invigorating, and I finally get to dress like myself again. Those long wool skirts, fluffy sweaters and bright cardigans (sadly, none of it handmade yet) look and feel oddly out of place in July. I feel at home in these clothes; could it be my soupçon of Finnish blood? Perhaps that explains my abnormal love of saunas, too.

Today was a bit of a career highlight for me: I received my Canadian Forces Decoration, or CD. It's for 12 years of unblemished service in the Forces, or, as we always say, 12 years of undetected crime. Although it's been due for some time now, the actual receiving of a medal is a pretty special event (in my life, anyhow.) This is my fourth; when mounted they will cross the entire span of the left side of my jacket. Just as well it will be my last!

Sunday is Remembrance Day. This year promises to be especially poignant as it will, in all likelihood, be my last one in uniform. I will miss very much the show of solidarity in the coming years, but I have a consolation: I have stood shoulder to shoulder with veterans from past and current conflicts, and the knowledge that I have done my small share in the name of global peacekeeping will balm my sadness.

Take a moment to remember Canada's fallen... your fallen, on the 11th hour on Sunday. It truly is the least we can do.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weaving and Spinning

You were all very kind not to point out that my happy yarn from Salt Spring is, in fact, a huge violation of the spirit of "10 Projects". It is, I know, but I can live with it if you can. And even if you can't. I will not forfeit my yarn to you, Kate, even if you swear that the purchase is way out of line... :)

Lisa and I participated in another bit of fiber-y goodness today: the Ottawa Valley Weaver's and Spinner's Guild yearly exhibition and show, in the Glebe. We went last year as well, despite the fact that neither of us weave or spin. Heck, we want to do both... and eventually, we will. Too many fiber arts, so little time.

The show is a petite candy land for fiber lovers... there are lace tatters, spinning wheels, drop spindle demonstrations, bats of alpaca, wool and other goodness, handspun and dyed yarn, and needle felting. It's like the flip side of the Inspirations Needlecraft show, and equally as fulfilling in its own way. We lovingly stroked soft, soft things for an hour before moving along.

Although I very much want to learn how to use a drop spindle, I am giving myself a full year before I go there. Next year, I'll strap some training wheels on and learn yet another fiber art. That will let knitting and I have plenty of time to solidify our relationship... after all, we've only been going steady for a year at the end of November. Can you believe it! One baby blanket, three scarves, and five pairs of socks ago, I was "just" a crocheter.

I'm thankful for a little normality in life these last couple of days, and also for the chance to talk to you. You know, I missed it. There was so much going on that I couldn't bring to this public forum; I am still negotiating the fine line of how much of my private life I want up on this page. That being said, I appreciate all your support over the last few weeks. Thank you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Got My Goat

I mentioned in last night's post that we toured around Salt Spring Island. I must admit, once I chose the destination, I was also a woman with a not-so-hidden agenda... a brief Google search with "Salt Spring Island" and "yarn", I found out that there was a co-operative spinning mill on the island, not too far from Ganges, our main destination.

In all fairness, I did suggest to mum and DH that they ought to do a little research and find places
they wanted to go on the island. I can't help it if they chose to disregard my advice and the whole trip became more or less a glorified excursion in search of yarn.

So, we popped by the mill. Easier said than done, as the place isn't all that well marked, and the building itself is somewhat unprepossessing.


There's a tiny sign on the door that announces it as the mill, impossible to see from the road and quite easily confused with the recycling depot next-door. We drove by it twice before we found it.

Once inside, we found a humble little spinning mill, and two busy workers. One was washing rovings, and volunteered his daughter to give us the nickel tour of the mill (Tours by donation, call ahead to make sure someone is there.)

After the tour, I'll admit to being antsy to actually lay hands on the finished product. All the finished goodies at the mill were spoken for, but they directed us to Bullock Lake Farm where there was finished yarn for sale.

There was no help for it but to bail back in the car and drive the 10 minutes back through Ganges to the farm. John, the farm's owner, was just leaving on a brief errand as we drove in, but assured us he'd be back soon. We kept ourselves entertained on this beautiful fall day by making eyes at his llama, which made eyes right back at us.


We waited longer than expected, but when John came back and opened the store for us, it was well worth the wait. I fondled his yarn a bit, and then he asked if we had seen a mohair goat. When we replied in the negative (me looking a bit stunned... I had no idea mohair came from goats), he told us to follow him, as it was feeding time.

Thus did we meet the goats that are responsible for his mohair.




We were utterly charmed with their gentle, playful nature, and with our host's obvious compassion and love for his animals.


He keeps these bad boys around for the companionship more then the fiber... he says the amount of fiber he gets from the two llamas is negligible, but they are useful in charming the visitors to the farm and his cottage. And charming they are...


Speaking of charming. Long llama eyelashes melt my heart, but this melted my pocketbook, as well...



Wouldn't that melt your heart, too? 50-50 wool/mohair, all from the happy animals at Bullock Lake Farm, spun by the Gulf Islands Spinning Co-op and dyed by John. This stuff has an incredible sheen from the mohair, reminiscent of silk or rayon, an amazing drape, a clean, farm-goodness smell, and the pictures certainly cannot do justice to John's amazing colour work. I was in love. 1100 grams later, I staggered out of the tiny, exquisite yarn store with a paper bag full of love. I stroked it for the rest of the night, and still sneak into the sewing room to visit every now and then. (I love how you buy it in grams... like drugs. Hmmmm.)

I got enough for a sweater or vest in multiple colours, a pair of socks in the solid shades and another in the variegated. I don't know, and don't particularly care, what the weight is (DK? Sport? I don't have one of those wraps-per-inch jobbies.) The fact that I got to know the goats a little and met the man who pretty much was entirely responsible for the yarn was pretty special, and I will wear whatever this yarn turns into with happy memories.

Mum said the whole farm thing was the best part of our day on Salt Spring. I'd have to agree.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Treasures from the Rainforest

DH and I waddled in the door Thursday night, exhausted from travel and emotion. We decided to take it easy on ourselves for dinner, and DH went to the local pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) restaurant for take-out. He picked up the mail on the way home, and in it was a much-needed pick-me-up from my new friend Chelle, out there on the West Coast, courtesy of Knitter's Tea Swap 4.


What a treasure trove! The tea is amazing... chocolate cinnamon green tea, a wonderful-smelling grapefruit herbal, and a sweet little tin of vanilla green. I haven't tried any of these because you'd have to pry the cup of absolutely heavenly Pear Green (from Steeps Tea) out of my fingers. Thanks, Chelle, for getting me and my husband hooked on this from the first cup, and ne'er a local supplier in sight! :) Divine tea, as promised.

For treats, there was Lindt chocolates and gourmet jelly beans. Perfect!

Yarn-wise... well. Chelle mailed me a Dubrovnik sunset, expertly executed in superwash, hand-painted merino wool. Ironically, the yarn is from Indigo Moon Yarn, on Gabriola Island... about a 20 minute ferry-ride from Nanaimo. The colour is "Kaleidoscope", but I saw it and immediately thought of a certain perfect sunset DH and I fell in love to in Croatia. What an amazingly intuitive choice, Chelle, and what beautiful socks these will make.


Rounding out this amazing package was a clever Chinese cup with a loose-tea strainer and lid, a cute book to record patterns in, and a package of page protectors, which are invaluable to keep those patterns printed from the Internet neat and tidy.


I love it all, Chelle, and I am touched by the thoughtfulness and time you took to build this package just for me. Thank you so much.

A Little of Both

It's been another busy week. DH and I flew out, checked into the B&B, and called mum to see how she felt about us choosing not to respect her wishes (with regards to visiting), now that she'd had a couple of days to get used to the idea. She invited us over for dinner. Things were looking up.

I completely understand her instinct to curl up into a ball and let the world go to hell. I'd feel like that, too, if my DH had just died. However, we just felt that maybe the best thing for her wasn't to sit and mourn her loss. We thought if we could interest her in the outside world, give her new sights and adventures and tastes, that she would forget for a minute about her misery and begin to see that there was still much good left in the world... even with her husband, the center of her universe, gone.

So off we went. We cooked Thai and Indian food, went out for dinner, shopped, and adventured all around Salt Spring Island. DH told stories from his deployment. We watched movies, ate cheesecake daily, and laughed. She told funny stories about Dad, and seemed to rise above the grief that we could see deep down.

She's strong. She'd have to be, to make it intact through the past few years. I know it will be hard, these next few days, with life returning to normal for everyone but her. Eventually she'll take that first step, and I bet there will be no stopping her then.

Before I left, I posted that at the least, DH and I will have a nice little holiday, and at best, there would be healing. We found a little of both in Nanaimo, and I think Mum did, too.

I miss her.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Biting the Bullet

So, after a time of heavy debate, my husband and I decided to bite the bullet and fly back out to the Coast. My mum has expressed a desire to be alone in her grief, but we (my husband and I) think that closing ranks as a family and standing together is important. We're going anyhow, but staying at a sumptuous B&B in the city so as to be able to give her the solitude she needs.

This should be a no-brainer, right? Family sticks together. It just makes sense. However, when I called to let her know I was coming, the reaction was far less positive then hoped. We go prepared for anything; at the least, a nice couples holiday on the Coast. At best? Perhaps some healing.
Wish us luck and patience.

On the plus side, there's another pair of West-Jet socks in the offing. And the opportunity to spend DH's birthday together, which hasn't happened for some time... we've managed to find ourselves on opposite ends of the world for years now.

My wonderful hubby is actually pretty excited that my "gift" to him is spending 6.5 hours jammed together in a metal tube. Happy birthday, honey! :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Yesterday was the Inspirations Needlecraft show. Although Kate and Kate were women on a mission and I was invited along, it was one of those rare days when DH and I didn't have the step-kids in attendance, and I wasn't going to let him out of my sight. Besides, he truly enjoys these shows.

So off we went. It was mid-day on the second day of the show before we got there, which meant things were a little picked over... however, there were still lovelies to spare. What a treat, having quilting, knitting, cross-stitch and sewing vendors all in the same room. I thought my head might implode from fiber overload.

I was good. I was very, very good. I didn't purchase a thing! However, DH, in his infinite wisdom and love, bought me two of the sweetest balls of yarn I will ever own. I don't know if I'll knit them or just fondle them. Yes, they're that good.

We were just about to leave the show, when his cell phone rang, with the news that I had been expecting and dreading for some time now. It was still a surprise, though, 'cause when I saw Dad on Monday he looked strong and like he might live for a long time yet.

Tonight I made good stout German comfort food for supper... a dish that our family has indulged in time and again, a variation of potatoes and dumplings. This is, in my family, traditionally served with cheesecake for dessert. Don't ask me how these things get started, but there it is. Of course, the step kids are a little mystified by the total lack of greenery on the plate, or the lack of variety... but I needed a way to feel closer to my mum and brother out there on the West Coast, and that dish did the trick.

I used a week of compassionate to visit last week. I can go out again, but at the cost of giving up my math course... I am allowed two absences before I am given the boot, and I used them last week. The course is run again in January, but then when I apply for university in the spring it will necessarily be a conditional acceptance, as I will still be finishing the course during the consideration process. I already feel a little behind the eight-ball for missing the two classes last week, especially with mid-terms coming up this week.

Last night I cast on for Millicent, and royally screwed up the first round of lace for the cuff. I'll have to rip back at least a row to the ribbing and try to figure what went wrong.

The Plain Wintery Socks are finished. I think I will re-name them "West-Jet Socks" as I know now that I can finish a single sock in the time it takes me to fly to Vancouver and back. The woman in the seat across the aisle from me was watching in amusement as I scrambled to finish the toe (save for grafting) before the wheels touched the runway back home.

I will also wear them and think of daddy... he held and admired them last week before jokingly asking me if I'd make a pair for him. (Joking 'cause he had no need for a pair; he lost a foot... well, leg, to the complications of diabetes some time ago.)

I'm sorry. I'm not fit company tonight. Thanks for listening, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Still Thankful

I have reason to be thankful for many things, this week after Thanksgiving. I flew out to Vancouver Island to be with my family as my father was placed in a hospice, and I have seen some of the best of human nature this week.

I am thankful for the kindness of strangers, and volunteers... people who selflessly give of their time to make someone else's life just a little bit smoother. The hospice workers, always ready with a cup of tea and a kind word, ease some small sting. Dad is surrounded by family and friends, but I can imagine their worth to those who face this journey without such support.

Dad worked before his illness in this same hospital as a shift engineer. He touched many people through the years with his good nature, crazy humour and his willingness to work, and now all those chickens are coming home to roost. The nurses who he once helped look out for him, and even moved him to a private room yesterday. Kindnesses to others never go unanswered, whether in this world of the next.

I am grateful as well for that same sense of humour. It has not deserted him, and he is still funny and irreverant about everything, including his own death. With the constant laughter, we are by far the loudest room on the ward, and I bet we make everyone wonder what's going on. When he is so joyful and accepting of his choice, how can we who love him best do otherwise?

Sunday, October 7, 2007


DH took his eldest daughter to the hockey game last night, which left me alone with the youngest and her "play date." Seriously. That's the term the "date's" mother used when she called to ask if her daughter could come over. I'm not sure how to take the phrase but I do know when I went over to one of my little friend's houses to play, it wasn't a "play date." That's like calling a garbage-man a sanitation engineer... tarting up something with words. Calling me up and asking if her daughter and mine could run like a pack of wolves in the basement is much closer to the truth.

So we did a little build-it-yourself pizza for dinner, and while they were downstairs, doing whatever it is that little girls do without direct parental supervision, I was upstairs, utterly indulging. I had a glass of Bailey's, a bowl of popcorn (what? That's a balanced dinner, isn't it?), the entire first season of The Tudors (Long live Henry VIII!) and just a little wool. This is what I built.

Kauni cardigan with colourwork

A pretty, pretty swatch for the Kauni cardigan. My first experiment in colourwork, and it's obvious by the puckering that I need to learn not to carry my stranding so tightly. Also, I didn't get gauge, so I tried again (after RTFM'ing and discovering gauge was with plain knit, not the colourwork.) (RTFM= read the friggin' manual) I moved up to a 3.75mm needle from the 3.5mm and got perfect stitch gauge. Not overly concerned about row gauge, as it will be on circs and I can try as I go.

Kauni Cardigan swatch with gauge

Does it show that I am just a little bored with Wintery Socks and alpaca scarf and am looking for a little something something special in my knitting life?!

I am so going to have to develop a knitter's callus on my throwing finger. The Kauni yarn is pretty darned scratchy after a while. (A fatal flaw for a knitted undergarment, but something I am prepared to live with for a cardigan.)

This will be one hell of a long, but amusing, project.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My Friend, the Harlot

Dear Harlot;

There's something that's been bothering me for the last few days.

It all started with Ravelry. I entered a few projects, photographed some yarn, and had fun with the site. The trouble started when I went to the "friends" tab. You know how it shows you pictures of people who did the same projects as you, and suggests that you might be friends? Well, having cooked up a couple of socks from your Basic Sock Recipe, I saw, amongst the other happy sock knitters, a small black and white photo of you. I didn't even think twice. I added you as my friend.

I immediately had second thoughts. Let's face it... you don't know me. We're not even in the same city. You could ride past me on your bike and not know me from any other muggle. Sure, we met at a book signing, but you've met a significant portion of the knitter population in this country and the next, and I don't flatter myself that you'd remember my face out of the thousands. Considering those facts, adding you as my friend on Ravelry seems a little... presumptuous. Possibly even stalker-esque. Or just plain juvenile.... like the people who just add everyone to their "friends" list on Facebook, thinking that might make them seem loved and popular.

I wondered what you'd think when you got that notification that you'd been added as my friend. "Who the hell...?" you'd think, then probably shrug it off. I suspect I'm not the only one, but all the same, I was uncomfortable with you thinking that I presumed friendship. I very nearly removed you from my friends list.

Then I thought a little about it all. And here's how I see it now.

I make time in my busy life for you almost every day. I can't wait to hear what you, your family and the squirrels are up to. Your stories have made me laugh, made me cry, made me mad, and made me act. "Knitting Rules" is a constant companion, and from it I draw the courage to be the boss of my own knitting, the technical know-how to make what I want to make, and no end of amusement. Even my family knows you... the household activities come to a screeching halt when you were on CBC TV and I am forever stopping someone to read aloud a choice excerpt from a book or blog entry.

Though I think my husband sometimes regrets that you hang around the house so much. One night as we sat in a darkened theater together, I muttered and cursed over the fact that there simply wasn't enough light to knit by. "But the Harlot knits in theaters!" I exclaimed, frustrated. "If the Harlot went to movies naked, would you do that, too?" my husband growled, exasperated with this whole knitting obsession.

I'd have to give it some thought.

I think "friend" actually is the wrong word for it. I think "role model" might be a better fit. I know you're probably surprised at that, but there it is. You make being an "ordinary" mother, wife and knitter look pretty damned good. The humour through which you see the world, the patience you exemplify towards your family (and sometimes even your knitting), the way you're not afraid to stand up and do something to right a wrong. Even the fact that your hard labour with needles and yarn sometimes turns out looking like ass is terribly, terribly endearing. You are a quiet heroine for the everyday woman.

Steph... can I call you Steph?... Please don't think I'm stalking you 'cause I added you as friend. It's just sometimes, you're more helpful then the in-the-flesh people around me. And let's not forget, you are personally to blame for the fact that I am now obsessed with string and pointy sticks. You must be held accountable for that; it alone earns you the epithet "friend."


your admirer,


PS. See what you made me do?

Plain Wintery Sock

Plain Wintery Socks, Basic Sock Recipe (Knitting Rules), Austermann Step yarn. One to go.

PSS: Can you spot the difference?

Can You Spot the Difference?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's Just My OCD Talking...

So I was sitting outside at lunch, working on the alpaca scarf, thinking about binary code and how it can be turned into knitting (ASCII.) A knit to represent 1, a purl for 0... you could turn any text into knitting. 8 characters per letter... 110 0001 for a small-caps "a"... two knits, four purls, a knit. Some multiple of eight for the row count. It would be the ultimate scarf to be stuck on a desert island with... or to accessorize a well-dressed spy.

I was thinking of a scarf made from the Qur'an, with a lovely little lacy inset, as similar as possible to Arabic calligraphy as possible, to give the pause for the Bismillah's at the beginning of every chapter. Since each chapter in the book is arranged from longest to shortest, the lace would be closer and closer as the scarf progressed... I can see it in my mind and it's rather lovely.

So. There, in one short post, you get to feel the impact that taking philosophy and math courses at the same time are having on my mind when combined with the knitting bug. Freaky stuff.

Picture Perfect

To distract you from the lack of new knitting or quilting progress pictures, I bring you PhotoBlog Tuesday.

This is the Apple Pie "Fan and Feather" scarf I made for my mom, Linda. It's been done for some time now but needed blocking. Here it is on the wires:


Fan and Feather Scarf

Feather and Fan Scarf (Detail)

Fan and Feather Scarf (detail)

Blocking is such a minor miracle. It turns "nice" into "wow!" Wish I could find me something to do that to other areas in life! :)

A kitchen "wow!"... Home-made pad thai. I've never made it before this week, but have now made it twice because it's so delicious and fun to make. Everyone loves it, too, which is the larger surprise. (My wok can only handle two servings at once, so I make a batch of comparatively bland pad thai for the girls, and a more zippy one for DH and I.


To finish off, two pretty leaves I came across on Sunday. My husband's brother has some property out in Lanark, and we went out there to take the air. What a perfect day. We even found a little fibre festival at Almonte, and finished our trip by admiring some quilts and alpaca fur from Victory Alpaca Farm. Nice man, nice yarn.

Lovely weekend.

Autumn leaves

Friday, September 28, 2007

Kind of Funny

I ran into the other gal on station who knits today (the chunky acrylic lover), and she asked me if I had finished my socks yet. I couldn't bear to have her patronize my slow knitting again, so I exaggerated. Okay, I flat-out lied... said that one was done and I hadn't yet cast on the other.

All to no purpose, though. Her face got all pitying and she said "Slow and steady... keep on going!" like she was encouraging a mentally deficient child. I smiled the kind of smile that said child might smile... full, toothy and overly optimistic, and walked away, leaving her to her pity.

I can't be angry. I think it's kind of funny, actually. Those socks come with me to night school, so the only time they get worked on is about 15 minutes before class, and during the 15 minute break. So I'm working on those socks for about an hour a week, and still am making what I consider good progress. I am finished the gusset decreases, cruising along towards the happy toesies.

Kate and I had this discussion at the last Tuesday SnB. We concluded that I am a process knitter, and I am happy with this. If I only had one ball of wool to knit for the rest of my life, I would knit it 2,000 different ways and happily rip it all out to try the 2,001st way. I am not in this to win races as to how fast I can crank out a pair of socks... I am still pretty amazed about the fact that I can knit anything at all, let alone clever socks on tiny needles with fine yarn. I don't think Chunky Acrylic Girl would understand this, even had I taken the time to explain.

On to quilting. The ever-helpful Adriana at Quilter's Choice where I first bought this fabric has confirmed (with the manufacturer, no less) that the green paisley focus fabric is not available any longer. I think I will attempt to find fabric that is a close match instead to the sashing... this dark caramel crackle.

It will look lovely both with the green paisley and also against the burgundy bed skirt. I'll get enough fabric to make pillow shams, as well. (DH suggested that I get still more fabric and make a new skirt out of the same. I kinda like the multi-coloured theme that green, caramel and burgundy offer, but DH usually has pretty good colour/fashion sense. Any thoughts, or do you need pics to get an idea of what the girl is rambling on about?)

Speaking of colours. Gillian left a comment on my last entry, informing me that my blog is hard to read on Bloglines. Having never used that program, much less read my own blog on it, I had no idea there was a problem. I checked it out on Google Reader and found it okay (though admittedly, not optimum)... I would also appreciate your comments on readability issues, if any. I love my black/orange scheme but certainly don't want to leave anyone behind 'cause I'm hard to read.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Autumn!

Not as much time spent in the sewing room as I had wanted this weekend, but I felt a little guilty letting these gorgeous days of Indian summer pass me by without frolicking in the sunshine. Okay, I suppose I didn't exactly frolic... but the weather was enjoyed nonetheless.

I did accomplish something, though... I spent about an hour on my hands and knees in the living room, pin-basting "Oh Tannenbaum" together with its backing and batting. That wasn't a fun process, but I think it's largely square and wrinkle-free. I'll take another look later before I lay it under the machine to begin quilting.

DH and I tried out the duvet cover on the bed. Distressingly, there's a significant gap between where the duvet cover ends and the bed skirt begins. This really shouldn't be a surprise as the duvet cover is the same size as the duvet. To my mind, a duvet that hangs well over the edge just draws insulation from the rest of it... you end up with 5 pounds of feathers in the edge and not much anywhere else.

So I've decided to sew a ruffle about 1.5' around the sides and bottom of the duvet cover, to hide the potential messiness of sheets and blankets. The fabric of the border, the green paisley, would be perfect for this... however, it was purchased at least 2 years ago and I imagine finding some more will prove problematic (particularly since I don't even know what it was called.) I'll try to pursue this angle but expect no luck... I will settle for another colour, I suspect. There's lots of options to pick up in the quilt... brown, cream or even that same olive green would be lovely. (Burgundy would work, too, but the skirt is burgundy, and it would have to be almost an exact match to work.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Herding Cats

You've noticed how quiet I've been lately. I knew this would happen. I began my math course last night, and of course philosophy is still ongoing, so there's a pile of time out of my life right there. Not to mention now that DH and the girls are back in the house, I am obligated to stomp around the house with a cleaning cloth in hand, wiping unidentifiable substances off of walls, doors, fridges and floors, muttering and cursing under my breath while doing so. Part of me mourns the beauty of the self-cleaning house I had for those solitary six months...

And then there's the meals to prepare, trying to corral the girls into helping in some capacity with clean-up afterwards, even though the exercise seems as futile and pointless as herding cats. I think more energy is expended in hounding everyone to do their chores, but I live in perpetual hope of having something I say stick in their heads.... so I keep trying. I am nothing if not stubborn.

So my life has been tipped into a blender set to "frappe". Part of me really gets off on the crazy pace, and another part of me wants to take the first part of me out to the back pasture and put a bullet through it. Conflicted, am I. (I was going to blame this sentence structure on Kate at first, but then I realized it's more Yoda than Gollum. Carry on.)

Crafty update... I have about 15 inches on the Fluffy Alpaca Scarf... I am switching colours as the mood strikes me and throwing in random stripy goodness... it is still amusing despite the relative monotony of the brioche stitch. I think a large part of the appeal is the heavenly texture of the KnitPicks Andean Treasure alpaca that it's being knit from... nothing that excruciatingly soft can get annoying. (I say that now, but ask me again when I have 3 feet of that sucker knit up. My tune may be different.)

Alpaca Brioche Scarf

I am done with the machine sewing on the duvet cover... the binding is attached as is one side of the snap tape closure. I have about 8 hours of hand-stitching left to do to sew the binding to the back, and the reverse side of the snap tape. Good thing Survivor starts tonight and Grey's Anatomy next week! That be prime stitching time, friends. (They had last year's season finale for Grey's on tonight, and I was crying just as hard as I did the first time around. Somehow, knowing what's all going to happen makes it worse, not better.)

In closing, here's a close-up of the free-motion quilting I did on the duvet cover. It gives you a bit of an idea of the texture that the quilting added to the lovely paisley pattern.

Duvet Cover Quilting

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Small Sunday Sadnesses

I have the duvet cover laid out in the middle of the living room floor in order to pin the finished back on. There's still binding to be cut, but the project is coming along nicely. Next weekend it will be finished? Close, at least.

I've spent a minute every day for the last few days going over to Ravelry to peek in on the Waiting List Checker, trying to guess when I'll get in. As the numbers got smaller I'd check more than once a day.

Now that I received the invite, I feel a little let down. I have no waiting list to top anymore...


The house is infused with the faint liquorice scent of French Tarragon... last night's frost warning has me harvesting and dehydrating my herb garden in a panic. I feel ripped off... it seems like the growing season and summer in general was five minutes long. I haven't even really properly enjoyed any of the summer, and now it's almost passed. I feel so sad hearing the first of the geese fly overhead.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Self-Confessed Fiber Snob

I knit at work... well, just at lunch, to be more precise. I want to knit all the other hours in the day, but that one hour is mine to do what I will with. I eat early so I have free hands for the needles, and I sit in a common area of the shop, and endure the stupid comments of the (usually) men that see me.
Now, I love me a bit of conflict. I love the juxtaposition of my colourful yarn, my tiny needles, and my "girlie" past-time against my CADPAT uniform and black combat boots. I knit, I enjoy it, and I tacitly dare people to say something stupid. Go ahead. I'm waiting for you.
Generally, they know when to keep their mouths shut. I have a certain reputation for being a bit intimidating, attitude wise, and they just know not to mess with me. (There was the fellow who asked me if I was knitting socks, when I had 4 feet of the Scarf That Never Ends pooled on the floor at my feet. Okay, bonus points to him for even thinking socks, but... dude, look at what I'm doing before you say something totally retarded.)

However, I recently got smacked down from an unexpected quarter. There's a new female in the section. She's seen me knitting a time or two and has stopped to chat. She, too, is a knitter. She watched me for a couple of moments, working on the Plain Wintery socks with 2.5mm needles, and said...

"You knit slow!"

I'm a big girl. And, as a new knitter, I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that this indeed may be the case. However, I was completely flummoxed by what happened next. She wanted to demonstrate twisted rib, so I surrendered the yarn and needles. After some fumbling, she knotted up the yarn a little... squinted at the mess, and said "The yarn is so fine I can't even feel it!" and handed the needles back to me.

I am wondering now if she would recant her declaration that I knit slowly, considering she couldn't even feel the yarn and needles.

She told me later that she buys her yarn at Sears. I think no further explanation is necessary.

Bulky acrylic yarn knits up real fast.

(Yes, I am a fiber snob. Is it showing?)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Do you Feel It?

I was in the groove, I was in the zone, and I was feelin' the love, baby... I was feelin' it.

My duvet cover has been quilted within six inches of its life. I found The Pattern that it needed... nay, demanded, to be quilted in... a simple dipsy-doodle around the paisley designs on the fabric. (Yes, dipsy-doodle is a highly technical term.) Once I figured it out, I just ran with it.

I would have finished all the quilting tonight, but my needle shattered into three pieces with six inches left to do. I'll take that as a sign from God that I am supposed to take a step back from the machine, work out the kinks in my shoulders and the twitch in my eye, and finish it off another night.

As to why the needle shattered? Besides being on the old side and used for (obviously) one too many projects, the tension on my sewing machine has been a little off since I took it in for a tune-up. Even on the lowest tension setting, it's hard to pull the top thread... I probably need to take it back to the shop but it wasn't so bad that it would stop me from quilting, you know.

Pictures? Soon. Though they'll be tricky... dark brown quilting on dark green paisley patterned fabric is not, I think, going to show up that well.

There's not much left on this duvet cover. Trim the top, cut the backing to size, sew backing to quilt, make and attach binding, sew on snap strip, and finish the top edge. Does that sound like a lot? After the hours and hours spent quilting this massive project, believe me... this is nothing. With concerted effort and a good wash, this could grace our bed next weekend.

I always listen to audio books while I sew, and somehow, they get sewn in to the project. I have a table runner in the front room that I sewed while listening to Dune... and now I think of Paul Atreides every time I see the runner.

This duvet cover will carry emotional baggage from The Thorn Birds. I will feel the heat of the forbidden love between Meggie and Father Ralph de Bricassart when we snuggle beneath its weight.

I like that.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Knowledge to be Gained

I've made a lot of progress on a number of projects, but nothing that is interesting, photographically.

I stitched for a couple of hours on Wolfie, while Lisa was over, using my sewing machine to learn paper foundation quilting. I finished machine quilting all the blocks on my duvet cover, and even was brave enough for a little free-motion goodness... I actually went over the blocks I quilted by hand. Let's pretend that was a design feature added as a nod to the way things use to be done. Let us never speak of hand quilting again... :)

I am now faced with quilting the border of the duvet cover. I'll free-motion it, too, but have been in a quandary as to what pattern to use. Finally I came to the realization that it is, after all, a sampler quilt... I learned two types of appliqué, paper piecing, using templates... there's a lot of new knowledge represented in the blocks. So, appropriately, there will be knowledge gained throughout the quilting process, too. I'll try a little stippling, maybe some floral patterns, some happy vines and leaves... I'll doodle all over the border and call it art and education and fun. I think my OCD soul can stomach having the quilting different all over, and now that the decision is made, I have gone from dreading the process to looking forward to playing. No matter how the quilting turns out, this has to be a good thing.

I'm mid-heel in the Wintery Blues, and have swatched and cast on a few rows on the two-coloured brioche-stitch alpaca scarf. Wait a minute... maybe that deserves a picture. Here's the swatch... done in cottons just so I can understand the mechanics of the stitch.

cotton brioche swatch

And the actual beginnings of the scarf.

Brioche Scarf

(This reminds me of Charlie Brown's shirt...)

The ribbing isn't coming up clearly but I intend to keep going for a few more rows. I am also not sure about this needle size; the fabric is very dense. I'll play a bit more and then decide. I am loving the stitch, though... it is soft and cushy and perfect for a scarf.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Seven and Eight... Did you think I had forgotten?

I finally got the pretty Project-O-Meter going on the right side-bar, so we can all track my progress, or lack of it, together. As I was setting up the bars, I realized I only had six of them. Huh? I've been blogging about 10 Projects for two months now and had only introduced you to six projects?
Time to fix that forthright. Here's Number Seven.

Sunflower Star
Sunflower Star, from the American Quilt Collection (canvaswork)

I'm about 80% done; there's an intricately patterned double border around what I've got so far and then it will be done.

Here's Project Eight, which requires a little more explanation.

YourPick Quilt

These blocks are from a quilt block swap I did with the wonderful ladies over on RCTQ last year. Each participant sends in turn a square foot of their chosen fabrics to the other participants, who then turn that fabric into whatever they want... using any style and any other fabrics they wish.

I adored participating in this swap, and played the game for a full year. I found it really stretched my horizons as a quilter;
at times I worked with fabrics that I absolutely could not stand... but when I was done, I always had a lovely block that I was proud to send back to the originator. The blocks that came back to my mailbox were always wonderful, too... each as individual as the woman who laboured over it.

This specific collection is for a very patient friend of mine. She chose the focus fabric, and I told her I'd make the quilt for her. She's been waiting a year now... but seems content to wait upon my creative process and busy workload in the sewing room. Thank god for patient friends!

This will be a wonderfully autumnal quilt when completed.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Plain Wintery Socks

Plain Wintery Socks
I just knew there would be some good knitting done yesterday.

This is about three inches of progress... I know some people could have got the whole darn sock done in that period of time but this for me is pretty good. I'll probably take them another inch before I begin the heel.

I'm getting some vicious laddering on these, and I can't seem to make it go away. I've tried making the stitches before and after the cables really tight, but that's had minimal effect. These are my first plain-janes on circs; with the monkeys, laddering wasn't an issue at all. Weird.

Today is for quilting. My husband has gone "out to the bush" with his brothers to beat his chest in a manly fashion, or whatever they do out there. He's taken the girls, too... the house is mine. I think I'll call up a girlfriend and sew away the afternoon. What a terrible way to spend the day! :)

I got the marks back this morning for my first unit in Philosophy. Although I got a diploma in BC, I'm upgrading my Grade 12-level courses. Physics last term, Philosophy over the summer and fall, and Advanced Functions beginning mid-September.

I absolutely agonized over this unit, taking twice as long as expected to hand it in... every question was something I had spent years thinking about, and now all the sudden I needed to come up with a hard answer! Wow, it was tough, and I felt my efforts were very juvenile.

Not so, apparently. I received a glowing evaluation and it was suggested that I perhaps *am* a philosopher.

Mom, you were right. :) Can you call it, or can you call it?

Friday, August 31, 2007


We are going out tonight with our neighbors to celebrate DH's safe arrival in Canada. They are Sikh, and they have been going to the temple while he has been gone, praying for his safe return. He is back, and somebody's God certainly pulled through for us, so now it's our turn to say thank-you. They offer a free-to-all vegetarian meal every Friday at the temple, so we'll go, eat, give thanks, and get a more rounded education on Sikhism. Should be interesting; I've always had a thing for Indian culture, and I love me a good excuse to put on a salwaar kameez and sparkly jewelry.

We are attending a "welcome back" party held by DH's family tomorrow, about an hour and a half out of Ottawa. We meet at Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving like clockwork, see the same family members, eat the same food, at the same house. I think it will be a little trippy to visit their house in the summer, with ne'er a turkey in sight. These family gatherings have been much less painful for me since I took up knitting. His family is all... well, mostly wonderful... but I am allergic to crowds of people and making idle, polite chit-chat. I pull up a corner chair, pull out my needles, and everyone forgets about me until it's time to leave. It's magic.
I expect to get a lot done on the Plain Wintery Blue Socks tomorrow.

Easily Satisfied

I am satisfied with small things today.

I finished The Scarf That Never Ends, and have enlisted DH to help with the photo shoot today.


This tail of yarn that is left over? It is a small thing indeed, and very satisfying to finish with that kind of grace.

scarf end

I have cast on a lovely pair of blue and grey socks... very placid, very simple. They will keep my toes warm in the depths of winter. I am loving this soft, luscious yarn and the sedate, soft wintery colours. (This is Austermann Step yarn.)


I am satisfied with having my husband in the house. I am pleased with how well things are going between me and his daughters, with the careful acknowledgment that this happy fairy time will end with the commencement of school, and busy schedules, and rising stress levels, and things will change- maybe a little, maybe a lot. But for now? I am satisfied.

I am satisfied that my time is my own for three whole days.

I am satisfied that I am allowed to wear civilian clothes to work today... a long braid, a girlie top and capri jeans, sparkly jewelry. Sandals. Perhaps too summery for the chill in the air that the sun cannot chase away, but dammit, it's still August and I will celebrate summer with everything I've got.


And so will our flowers.