Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 2009

My mother used to tell me that the days just go by faster as you got older. I never believed that, but I think she may be right. Now that I am getting older, I find I just don't quite have enough time to do everything I need to. Is it that the days are shorter, or that I'm doing too much? Am I just moving much slower?!

I don't get into all the hustle of the Christmas season. I don't shop, I don't bake, I don't decorate my place. I am very much a Scrooge! I don't think I can handle all the fuss and bother for one little quick burst of activity. When I get around to it, I'll do it!

I will be going back home (even though I haven't lived there for umpteen years, I still refer to it as "home") during the Christmas week. I hate travelling at the best of times, but now with all the people pushing their way through, in the bad weather, when I am too tired to think makes it much worse. I'd rather just stay in my bed, pull the covers over my head and stay there until it's all over. But I don't get to see the family that often, and Mom is older, so I need to go. I do enjoy the visits (and all the good eats), but don't like the idea of getting there, and then getting back, just in time to get back to work. But that's how it goes.

I knit this last month, or was it earlier? It's called a Colonnade by Stephen West. I liked the design, and decided I wanted to try something simple for mindless knitting. Let me tell you, you can lose your mind on this one! It's way too simple to do, and because of the repetitive design, which is the major feature of this, I found it really hard to enjoy doing this one. I like the finished product, and have already made many design changes as I was working on this one, but need to do something that is more interesting. I do think it is most practical as you cover the part of the neck that is exposed - the front of the throat, and it fits quite well. I used a finer yarn, and for the next one, I'd use a worsted-spun heavier weight yarn for something with more bulk to be warmer.

Any spare time I have when I am sitting watching movies, or waiting for something, I grab my spindle and keep busy. So I have spun up a lot more skeins of wool, and added them to the rest of the rather substantial stash. I have just finished a couple of skeins that are destined for some socks. I spun them tighter than normal, and I only did a 2-ply this time. I'll see how they knit up. I think a 3-ply or more will wear better, but I'll give these a try.

Before I run off for a hectic week, I do want to wish you all a safe and joyful Christmas season. May this Christmas find you surrounded by those you love and those who love you. For 2010, I wish you Health so you may enjoy each day in comfort. I wish you the Love of friends and family and Peace within your heart. I wish you the Beauty of nature that you may enjoy the work of God. I wish you Wisdom to choose priorities for those things that really matter in life. I wish you Generousity so you may share all good things that come to you. I wish you Happiness and Joy and Blessings for the New Year. I wish you the best of everything that you so well deserve.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Desert Colours, Part 2

I can't believe it's been a month since I posted! I keep meaning to get here every day, but by the time I get any time, I don't think I have anything to say just yet.

But I wanted to show you what happened with my plying. Yes, I did that long ago, and just didn't get a pic to you yet. This is some of my plied skeins; one is a little darker than the other because I used a darker single with that one. I spun up a more solid colour in the rusts, in the hopes that I would somehow tie in all the other colours. I did get some barber poling happening, but I'm not entirely displeased with it.

I dyed more this week, and have been spinning it as well. I enjoy the spinning more than anything, and that is the first thing I pick up rather than some knitting, or plying, or planning another project.

Here are is what I have dyed, with some of the old stuff from weeks ago, and the current spinning.

I am not really sure what I will do with this yet, but something will come to me! I have lots of projects that need getting done -- just to actually sit down and cast on. I find once I get the stitches on the needle, then I'm alright. Next time, some of my recent knitting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Desert colours

Some time ago, I was able to get some nice Corridale rovings. You may have read about my troubles in dyeing it. That has now been done, but there is still more roving that I will dye later.

I have been spinning up some of it, and I really like the way it is coming out. Some of the sections are quite short in the roving, but because I am spinning so fine (of course), I can get good separation of colours. There is a lot of blending as well, and it's really exciting to see what shade I am going to get next. It's all really fun!
Now comes the time to ply. I am having some problems here with deciding what to do. It is fine, so I was thinking I may have to do a 3-ply. I was only hoping to do a 2-ply, but I see some difficulties already.

I like the way the colours show up now, in the singles. But when I ply, I am going to get that barber-pole effect, which I definitely do not like! I've seen many others post pics in their blogs of the barber poles they have created, and everyone says how wonderful the colours look -- and they clearly are not. But that is only my opinion, so I will keep it to myself.
I have thought about using the major rusty shade that is more prevalent and using that as a single with which I can ply these other colours. I was able to separate most of that shade and spin up a couple cops. I am hoping that will sort of tie it all together, so it appears to be one cohesive whole. But I will be getting some barber poling (is that a word?) when I come to the pale shades or the green. And that may be alright too.

I have also thought of doing some Navajo plying as a way to preserve some of the distinct colouring. That certainly would do it, and I would have a lot more control of how the colours blend together. It also means I am not going to get as much yardage this way, and that may be alright too.

Really, I liked the colours as they are in the roving. I guess I should dye the finished yarn instead, and then I won't have to worry about any barber pole happening then! Hm....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving dyeing

So this is the Thanskgiving long weekend around here, and I don't have to go to work! In fact, I don't have to do anything at all. But I do have some roving that has been waiting to be dyed, so today is as good a day as any other.

This is some undyed Corriedale pencil roving that I have. I haven't played around with any dyes for a long time, so it was good to get back into it. I had to dig out my pots and dyes... ran out and got some Kool-Aid and food colouring too. Just to play around a bit, you know.

But there is a problem. Here is the undyed roving:

And here is the roving after I dyed it. I got some pretty good colours; I might want to change it just a bit, the next time. But I don't quite like the way it has come out -- the roving, I mean.
When it was undyed, it was nice and fluffy and easy to draft. But when it was wet-processed, it seems to have flattened out to almost nothing. I would almost swear there isn't as much fibres as there was before! I did open up some roving, fluffed it up, and I really don't think there is as much wool as there was! Could some of it wash away? I don't get it. I didn't weigh it after, but it just doesn't seem as if there is all the roving that I started with. Oh, well. I did spin some of it already on the spindle, but this sure does puzzle me.

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you may be. There is much to be thankful for, despite my complaining, and we need to keep that in mind. I had a good day, and I wish the same for all of you.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It's here!

Today, at about 1 pm local time, it arrived. I knew it had to come, and I kept denying it was going to be this soon. But eventually I have to admit that I can't keep it away, and I have to deal with it.

I am having an extremely difficult time handling this change. It happens every year at about this time, and I've been around for a long time so you would think I would know what to do next. I don't. I will never get used to it, no matter how many of these I go through. The trouble here is that I have to suffer through it several times a year -- it's not a one-time-only thing!

But rather than bemoan about how hard it is, let me just show you a pic, and leave it at that. The less said the better -- at least for now, while it is still fresh and raw and painful.

In the meantime, I've made this. It was for the Longest Llama Scarf project, which was at the UN this week. Obviously, mine didn't make it there! I have it sitting here with me, not knowing what to do with it. The yarn was donated to me to make a scarf, which I did. I was to return it to the appropriate people so that it could all be sent to join all the rest. Didn't make it. Oh, well.

It's a 2/2 rib, but with a twist. It's rather simple, and I don't know if I've seen it in any pattern book or not, and I can't really explain it. I called it the Wandering Rib, or the Twisted Drunken Rib. Maybe twisted rib. It was rather fun to do, and most difficult to explain! But I really enjoyed working with the yarn. It has a gorgeous feeling, and now that it is finished, the weight is something that can only be experienced. It's much like silk in the drape. I haven't worn it yet, but I think I may one day this week, seeing the present conditions.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting ripped off

Every week, we get a flyer in the mailbox from a local drug store. They have specials that start on Saturday through to Friday. So I like to check it out and see if there is anything I need. Most of the time, I there's nothing of interest.

This shopper's drug mart (as they style themselves) has started selling more and more grocery items. That's because in recessionary times, food is always a good seller. People need to eat, so why not make a profit on what people have to buy?

They often will feature their own LifeBrand potato chips in a can for $0.99, which is a little less than their regular price. That is one thing I will buy. So early on Saturday morning, I trot off to the closest store and search for my chips. None to be found. I did find the shelf with the other brands, and a space where the LB should be... but it is empty. On the first day of the sale?

I ask one of the clerks wandering around if there is anymore. "Um... I'll see."

The manager comes over, an obnoxious little twerp that I've seen for many years, and he says they are sold out. They were very busy this morning. And walks away. I look around -- it is 10 am, there are about 5 people in the whole store, and they are sold out, on the first day of the sale? And there was nothing on the shelf the next day, or the rest of the week. Miraculously, the delivery truck arrived during Friday night, because early Saturday morning, the shelf was full -- at the regular price.

This is not the first time this has happened. I've been keeping an eye on them for a very long time. I can guarantee they will be "sold out" at every sale. They used to give rain checks, but that stopped a couple years ago. No wonder.

A friend tells me that she purchased something at WalMart that was on sale, but there was only one box on the shelf. A clerk conveniently went into the back and brought out more (as they should). As she was at the cashier, she noticed one was leaking and said she should get another one. The cashier said there aren't any more. My friend said yes, a whole skid was brought out from the back. The cashier blurted out "But they aren't allowed to sell that yet!"

And so there we are. While they advertise that items are on sale, they really aren't. There is "no stock available".. until after the sale, that is. Odd, isn't it? The name of the game is profit -- any way we can.

Monday, August 03, 2009

A little storm

We had a bit of a storm here last night. It’s been unusually hot here over the last few days. It’s hit above 30 degrees, which is nice, but a bit warmer than we like and a lot more humid than we are used to. Luckily, it usually cools off at night, being so close to the mountains. It’s been very hot on the west coast so we are getting some of their heat and humidity.

But there is a cold front moving in from the north, and when you get a sudden clash like this, there is some fireworks! And there were last night. I was getting ready to shut down, and go to bed just after 1 am, when there was a sudden gust of wind through the apartment and things are flying all over. I have only a small window which was wide open trying to get a breeze moving through the place. This was more than I wanted!

And when shutting the window, I looked out to find some rain starting and a lot of lightening. A whole lot of lightening, along with the thunder too. It was quite a show!! I remember sitting with my grandfather on the farm watching these summer storms, but that always seemed to be at a safe distance. This was right overheard. It was fearsome. It lasted only a couple hours, and now they are cleaning up the mess left behind – a few trees uprooted and some lightening strikes.

This is part of the same front that caused the deadly storm that went through the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose on Saturday. These things are common in summer; I was in Edmonton when they had that killer tornado in 1987. It’s very sudden and fierce.

We had a lot of wind this Saturday evening, and a young 3 year old girl on the street was killed by some flying debris from a construction site nearby.

There was a storm last week in Edmonton knocked out the power for a short time. There are a couple of oil refineries there, being close to the oil wells. It now seems that it is taking some time to get all the machinery up and running again after they were suddenly shut down during the electrical failure. This past week, you would have noticed a number of gas stations were shut down because they had no gas.
And today, you will find a lot more. You would have to drive by about 5-6 stations before you can find one that has any gas.

This is something that I have been warning those that will listen was going to happen. We are so dependant of receiving what we require from far away. There isn’t a monopoly (as we know), but when one refinery closes, why are all the service stations suddenly dry? It just takes one little break in our supply line and we are out of luck.

I was told by someone in Washington state that with the recent rains they had, the main roads were closed due to flooding. The trucks delivering all the produce to their cities couldn’t come up from California. It doesn’t take long for the stores to have empty shelves. We also receive produce from California and there are a lot more miles to travel, with more bridges, and borders to cross. Anything can happen (natural or political) so that those trucks don’t reach us – what can we do? I’m quite in favour of the hundred mile diet, of buying locally.

When I was very young, living on the farm, we had to produce everything we needed. We simply didn’t have any money to go to town and buy what we needed. We raised chickens and turkeys, had pigs and cows, had a huge garden, picked wild berries and mushrooms that were available. We had to buy flour (made from our own wheat) and sugar. If we could afford it, we would be treated with a box of pears or plums.

That’s all changed now. No one raises chickens or has cows now. We can’t buy eggs or milk from the local farmers. Many don’t even plant gardens anymore! One day they will be sorry.

A good friend of mine has been cleaning out her basement, and found a bag of a washed fleece. She has no recollection where she got it or why. It appears to be felted somewhat and is probably not useable for much of anything. It is very nice wool, but will take far too long to salvage. I did find a few locks that were pretty free of matting, and was able to comb them and spin a bit. It’s nice stuff! But I don’t know it I want to go through all that work for a bit of yarn. Not sure what I will do with the rest of it.

This is a pic of some of the yarn I made from a lock. It was all spun and plied on my CD spindle. I use it for everything… that is the best tool I have! I really enjoy working with it. I have no idea what anyone would do with yarn like this. But it is fun to be able to do it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Auspicious moment

At this very moment, as I write, it is 5 minutes 6 seconds after 4 on July 8, 2009 (in my time zone). This moment in time will not happen again, when written this way: 4:05:06 07/08/09.

Well, I thought that was pretty neat.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

My plying ball

I have been doing a lot more spinning lately rather than knitting. I don’t know which to start first! I have many projects that I need to do, but don’t have the yarn, or am not in the mood for something like that. So I fall back to spinning, since it’s always here, and I can do it while watching a movie, or anything else.

But now it’s time to do some plying! I have a lot of these cops lying around, with the singles. I put all my singles on a quill (described previously) so they are ready to be used on the lazy kate (also described previously).

But one thing I like to do is a 3-ply yarn. I just like the roundness of it, gives it nice definition, and looks so much better when knit. Yes, it takes a little longer to spin, but I have lots of time! LOL

However, when I use high-twist yarn, it takes all my attention to keep the threads taut and even (without those little doubled-back twists sticking out). I can't watch how much twist I'm adding at the same time. Having three strands to keep even tension on is so much harder. So I break it into two steps.

I will wind the 3 strands of singles (or even two strands) around a felt ball, or a tennis ball will work just as well. The felt ball is because I can't start winding around two fingers or the ball of yarn will collapse as soon as I take my fingers out. So I wrap around something larger. I use felt because that's what I read about somewhere, but it makes sense - it's sticky enough that any yarn won't slide off it.

I wind the 3 strands evenly and with constant tension to take out any of those kinks. I try to wind in various patterns around the ball, but that is just me. It is not necessary to the success of the plying. I will place this rather large ball (since I will do a couple spindles worth at one time) into a large bowl, or even a plastic bag to keep it from rolling around all over the floor. It will roll around in the bowl or bag and release just what I need.

There are some kinks in it if you release the tension, but they are all in the same place, and you can then simply concentrate on the plying. Again, I can do this while watching ANOTHER movie! When my spindle is full, I then will wind into a skein, and put it away until I have enough to soak in the hot soapy bath.

Another alternative is to ply the strands onto my wheel with minimal twist. I just join them together and treadle them onto the bobbin in the plying direction, watching the tension very carefully. Some twist is added, but it's not much. Then I take that bobbin and put it on the lazy kate, and treadle it right back onto the wheel again, this time watching how much twist I add. It depends on how much yarn I'm making - whether it's easier to wind onto a ball or onto a wheel bobbin. It also depends on whether my wheel is with me!

This may or may not be of any assistance to anyone else, but I have found that it has saved my sanity a few times. Getting kinks in your singles while plying is frustrating, to say the least. I have my hands full and can’t easily stop and take out the kinks… so I dislike the whole operation. But using this plying ball is very “sane”, and it only takes a few moments – far less time than it does to try and untangle singles with one hand! It may not please everyone, but it does me!

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's a sign!

All day today, the weatherman has been forcasting thunder storms. But it was wonderfully sunny at noon when I ran out briefly, and continued throughout the day. That dreaded thundershower didn't materialize.

It usually likes to rain for about 10 minutes around 4:10 in the afternoon every day, regular as clockwork. That was alright, since I had to work until 4:30 and I always stayed late, so by the time I left the building, it had stopped, the sun came out and it was great! Pity the poor girls that had to leave the office right on time! It was still sunny when I went home after 5 tonight.

Well, I was busy tonight, reading emails, looking at some new wheels (who doesn't like a little porn now and then?) and noticed eventually that the light was a beautiful pinkish gold light, which we only get rarely in the evenings here. I had to go take a better look. It's 9:17.

Well, it has rained -- finally! The streets were wet and it appeared the rain was short-lived and had stopped by now. But there was this most marvellous sight! I haven't seen a rainbow for so long. We used to love seeing them when we were kids, and I don't think we get them as often as we did then.

If you look closely, you will see the faint hint of a double rainbow. It just never quite made it. It lasted a long time, and I just couldn't get over the miracle of a little colour in our lives. It still makes me smile.
(And yes, it was on May 25 -- my camera refuses to believe it's already that late in the month!)

Monday, May 18, 2009


It's May 18, 2009 and 10:30 a.m. It's trying to snow.
I'm going back to bed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Little things make me happy

There are many things that I would really like to have. Things such as a much larger house, with a separate room just for my yarns, and another just for working with them, and a small space for the library. I would like to have a car -- no, a truck -- so I can take off here or there, on a moment's notice. I would like to have some time to do all of this!

But every day, as I go out the door, there is one thing that really makes me glad I have it. Only one thing that brightens up my day. Which is a great thing seeing as how the rest of it can be pretty uneventful and dismal. It is not much, but makes me smile every time I see it and every time I use it. I'm so glad I bought it for myself.

It's one of those things that we all need, I believe, but that no one thinks of giving as a gift. And if anyone would, I'm sure we would get looks of "wtf is this?? You call this a gift?" Well, some people would be like that, but not me. I like mine! I really appreciate it. And if anyone would have given me one, I'd be thinking of them each and every day. But I bought it myself, so I only think how happy I am that I did.

It sits there by the door, because that's where I need it the most, and it's always nearly the last thing I do before I leave the house. It's small, and unassuming, and so very quiet. It does not require any electricity (a bonus) and doesn't have to be wound up or recharged. It is just there. It is exactly the right size! It's the perfect thing to help me with my shoes, now that I'm finding it harder and harder to bend down so far. I should have had it long ago! I like it!

But wait -- I'll run home and take a pic of it, so you can see:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Spring ---

We have had a really long winter. We got spoiled here, because of the Chinooks, and because winters have been rather short in the past. But this year was very odd... although most old-timers will tell you this is quite normal.

So the snow has finally all disappeared -- there was no run-off oddly. It just seemed to evaporate! I think a lot has soaked into the ground, which is a good thing. Our water table was quite low. We still need a lot of rain, and I suspect we will get that in May.

The last few days have been absolutely wonderful! Yesterday, it went up all the way to +21.4C -- which is pretty darned nice. I loved it! I had to go out at noon to warm was colder inside than outside!

Of course, that was yesterday. Today is a different day, different story. It is +2C right now at noon. Oh, I am not going out for lunch today! And it is getting colder. They are expecting more of that white stuff this evening -- the weather-man is calling it "flurries". Oooh.. I don't like that word!
[Edit: This is a view out my window about 9 am]
Here is a pic of that same view at 4 pm today. Crazy, huh?

I've been spinning a lot lately, just to keep myself occupied. I take my spindle with me when I have some waiting to do, as I do often. And little by little, I have accumulated a lot of singles. So last week, I went on a plying binge, and plied up almost that was lying around. I could do that while watching movies so I didn't feel as if I was wasting my time!

So these skeins were piling up, and last night I decided I may as well wash them all and put them away. I always wash my yarns when I have plied them, before using them. I filled my tub (I had a lot) with hot soapy water, and then threw them all in, and walked away. It's very important to go away and resist the temptation to touch. I had some lunch, and then came back to see what they were doing. Well the water was fairly brown (I had a lot of brown this time) and the suds were all gone. I squeezed them all out (so many) and filled the tub for the rinse. Again I walked away for a few moments.

I squeezed them out, rolled them up in many towels (there were a lot) and then hung them up to dry. Whew! I counted 17 skeins. About 10 were all spindle spun and plied. The others were wheel-spun and plied. They were mostly dry this morning, but I will leave them until tonight. I will twist them up into skeins again, and put them into a box. I have some plans for all this brown, and I'll see how far I get with it. I have to take a look at all the browns I have, see what I can make with that combination. I'll have pics another time.

So I have not been idle. Just busy. I have great intentions about posting things here, but by the time I get home, I've forgotten that it was only written in my head! I need to learn how to download them from my brain to here. Anyone have the appropriate USB connection?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fibre Day!

This weekend, a good friend picked me up and we drove out into the countryside to spend most of the day with other good fibre friends for a good old-fashioned Fibre Day! This was just what I needed.

Spending so much time in the centre of a city, going to work and back again, really puts on the blinders. You tend to forget there is a whole world out there, with wide open spaces, where people work hard, and really enjoy their lives. They all seem to be doing such interesting things! I was amazed to see so much snow out in the country. What we had in the city has been cleaned up, and most of it has dried up by now. But there are wide open spaces out there, all covered with a clean white blanket. The sun was bright, and it all looked so very white and sparkling. The roads were clear and dry. It was a good trip.

It was so good to see friends from so far away. Most travelled an hour and a half from all directions, so we had good representation from everywhere. I'd forgotten how interesting people can be. How lucky I am to know such wonderful fibre friends!

I don't have any pics to post! I took my camera, but was so amazed to be seeing everyone and all the fantastic work they brought to show, that I completely forgot. I have to say that the dog sweater was really quite impressive. Not a sweater FOR a dog, but made OUT of dog fur. It is wonderfully soft, and very very warm.

I was quite taken by the cowboy boot bag. One of the girls had taken a pair of cowboy boots, cutting off the leg portion and making it into a small bag, complete with chain handle and snap closure. What a great idea! How resourceful!

Sandi is quite a remarkable person. A mother of the most well-behaved and contented little baby, she has written two books for her son. They reflect the life on the ranch, containing such rich photos of people and places that are important to them. What a remarkable treasure to give to a young person! I'm sure there will be more forthcoming from her as he gets older.

I have to give a special thanks to my driver. She made a special trip to pick me up, and then we were having so much fun that we were late in coming back. She drove me all the way home, only to hurry on to her home where her husband was waiting to take her out for her birthday! How can I ever repay her for doing that?! Happy Birthday, Judi! Thanks for the ride.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

More of the same

This week has been really outstanding. The weather has continued to be warm and windy with this Chinook sticking around for a long time. We had a lot of snow this year, and now all the piles are shrunken frozen lumps, and there is no running water anywhere. It is simply evaporating. IT feels like spring, but there isn't the mud and slush that I normally think of spring as having. I'm not complaining, and it looks like it's going to be around for most of next week, with slight cooling off coming by next weekend.

In 1988, when the Winter Olympics were held here (can it really be 21 years ago?), we also had a very similar winter. They were scrambling to find enough snow to make it look like winter, and the ski jumps had to be postponed for 2 days I recall (Eddy the Eagle had to wait for his day of glory) because of the high winds. However, it was just perfect to be out in the city and mingle with all the visitors and see everything that was happening during that time. The huge pin-trading tent was doing great business then! I think we all got caught up in trying to find that elusive pin that everyone wanted. I wonder what I can get for my pins now?

I've been working away slowly on the Merino/Tencel blend that I bought at a conference some time ago. I don't remember which one, but I don't think I went last year. I like to go if I get a ride to them, and look around for something nice to take home. This is just such a luscious colour! I tried to capture it in this photo, but you know what these cameras are like. The tencel is slightly lighter, and so you can see a wonderful richness in the purple giving it great depth of colour. I am spinning it quite fine (it just wanted to be like that!) and putting in quite a lot of twist. I like a firmly spun yarn and yet some softness so this is going to be really hard to get. I'm not sure yet if I will do a 2- or a 3-ply. I'll see how much I get -- I only have 200 gm so that won't go far. However, because it is so fine, I'm getting good yardage.

I have to say it is truly a pleasure to spin. In fact, it almost spins itself. All I need to do is treadle and I barely hold the sliver. I have been enjoying doing the long draw on this, and what fun I am having. I remember when my spinning teacher was showing us how to do this, and it just didn't work. But she made it look so easy! Now that I have this wonderfully prepared merino, it is doing it all by itself, and I'm realizing that the preparation means everything. We normally skip that step, wanting to get right to the making of yarn. Yet, I've learned this before, and forget it, that preparation of every step is so important in the success of the next. This applies to everything. My mother was right (again) that two wrongs do not make a right!

There is only a little bit of the sliver left, and I'm really sorry to see it come to an end. I know I will enjoy the plying, and later the knitting. I know it will be some lace, but haven't settled on what pattern yet. Depends how much I have! In the meantime, I'm getting a few other things lined up, and trying to finish some lace that I started over a year ago. But that is a story for next time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's a Chinook

One of the unusual phenomena about living in this part of the country is our Chinooks. This is something that the rest of the world just hasn't experienced, and they have no concept of what it feels like.

Every winter, we (seasoned citizens) look forward to these infrequent events. It can simply be described as "relief". Winter seems to drag on and on here and any break in the constant cold and snow is so very welcome.

On Tuesday this week, it was -22C when I left for work. By evening, when I went to bed, it was -8C. And the next morning, it was 0, going up only to +4 in the afternoon. It wasn't quite the extremes some of our Chinooks have brought us, but it will do. We won't quibble!!

A Chinook happens when the winds come over the mountains from the west. As they come down the slopes, they pick up a lot of speed, and get quite hot. Quite suddenly, the temperatures will zoom up accompanied by a lot of wind. The snow seems to dry up so fast -- there is no melting -- but we will take this respite in any form it comes.

Some people have intense migraine headaches a day or so before it arrives. Most of us find the fluctuations in temperatures are a little hard on the body, and some of us suffer from a few colds at these times. But that is a small price to have a break in winter! When we see that beautiful Chinook Arch, we just can't help but smile. There is a noticeable bounce in everyone's step.

It only lasts a day or two, and then we return back into the deep freeze. Ah, well, it was nice while it lasted! There'll be another one soon enough.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Mom's socks

All these years of knitting, I have not made anything for my mother. I did knit a lace shawl when she turned 65, which she said was very nice – to nice to use, so she put it away. I have no idea what she is saving it for!

I’ve wanted to knit her some socks, but because she is so far away, I didn’t know how to get her measurements without asking her so I can knit a pair for a surprise. When I would visit at Christmas, it was usually too busy a time to do much, and I would come back home, thinking that I didn’t get her size again!

This year, I spent over a week with her and we had a lot of time together to visit and talk. She was all alone, so she really appreciated me being there. It was bitterly cold so we didn’t do too much, and stayed in as much as possible. But once the hustle of Christmas was over, and I was sitting one night with her watching TV and spinning on my spindle, I remembered that I needed to start on some socks. I got some yarn, and the needles, and cast-on for a pair of toe-up socks.

Once I got it increased enough that it looked about the right size, I had to tell her that I wanted to try it on to see if it would fit her. And after that, I put together a simple lace design and knit away. In two days, I had one sock finished, and started on the second. I got to the heel, and had to leave – about one more day would have been enough to finish them. But at least, I did have one done, and it fit perfectly (of course) and she was so very pleased that she had a sock that was custom made to fit for her!

It was quite funny: she kept telling everyone that phoned that I was knitting a pair of very nice socks just for her, and making up the pattern right out of my head! I can just see her showing off to all her friends!

I finished the second sock, and re-did the ribbing on the cuff on the first one since I didn’t like the way I did it, and washed them. All I needed to do was get them photographed and ship them out to her. Only.

The batteries died in the camera. It’s been gloomy these past few days. And I’ve been really busy at work, where I usually do my photos. So I finally got the pics done, and had them stuffed into a flattened package to send them off to her. I’m waiting to hear what she thinks of them now. And especially what her friends think of them!

It's a simple chevron lace pattern. I used a gusset on the bottom of the foot for something different (because it was boring to knit most of this sock). I kind of liked it; I'll do another one like that. Special thanks to my model.