Saturday, July 01, 2006


days until we move to Whistler. Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians! We are so very blessed to call this wonderful country home, and so habitually self-deprecating that we don't celebrate and treasure it nearly enough.

Speaking of Whistler, CTV is launching a new series by that name. Apparently we are moving to a scandalous den of iniquity. Who knew? (Well, OK the clouds of marijuana and overt displays of wealth may have provided some clue, but it's always been just home to us.) It may be some time before we see it, since we chose to forego live television when we had children. With any luck it will come out on DVD like Corner Gas.

The BBS (big blue sweater) has reached the great armhole divide:

I took this photo in the low-angle early morning (told you I can't sleep in) light so as to highlight the lovely stitch textures.

Yesterday's packing project, which will continue today, was to wash, sort and vacuum pack my fabric stash.

I was an avid quilter before the kids came along, (and will be again someday) so have amassed a sizeable collection of cotton prints. Sadly, not nearly as sizeable as it once was, because when we moved to Winnipeg six years ago, our belongings sat in storage for a month and were apparently left out in a downpour before being sealed in the warehouse. When I opened my fabric collection, parts of it were wringing wet, and there was severe mildew damage to more than half. I was heartbroken, but due to some less than honest behaviour on the part of the moving company, had no recourse. A good share of them were vintage and therefore irreplaceable, in any case. I'm taking no chances this time.

Also in my fabric collection is a considerable amount of inexpensive polar fleece. This was bought shortly after moving to Winnipeg from Vancouver Island - I was a little freaked about the extreme prairie winters and being financially strapped at the time, had a rather over-ambitious notion about sewing fleece garments for the family. I also had a colicky baby, had to get back to work, etc. Never happened. But I dragged it all to Moose Jaw "just in case", and I've lately been thinking how cool it would be to have a fleece sweater with all the textural charm of a handknit. So I had a little go with the rotary cutter and made a swatch: I'm thinking of a crew necked pullover with big cables. I have 5 metres of the blue, which I picked up for next to nothing because it was a botched dye job - cut up and knitted, it just looks like subtly variegated yarn. Of course, none of this is going to get made for a while, but I wanted to satisfy myself that it was worth bringing along.

Friday, June 30, 2006


days until we move. I might be a little panicked at the sudden drop into the forties were it not for a very productive day yesterday. Yes, the 10 bags did get filled - five flew over the fence, two into the recycling, and three to the Goodwill pile. And I did some knitting in between: Just look at that baby grow - this sweater is so much fun to knit. Much much more fun now that the Addis arrived - I was getting serious tendinitis after only a few rows with the cheapo plastic needles. What an amazing difference. I didn't mention before that I have elected to knit this guy all in one piece, rather than separate back and sides as per the pattern - I just couldn't bear the thought of those huge lumpy seams. Also, the whole thing is only 86 stitches around - seemed silly to split it up three ways. It does have set-in sleeves, and I'm going to do something I've always wanted to try - knit the sleeves in the round and fit the set-in seam with one round piece inside the other. That will eliminate the lumpy junction under the arm.

I thought I'd post a few of the treasures, and also "treasures" I unearthed yesterday.
To start, this fascinating cotton print my in-laws brought back from Kenya a decade or so ago:
I still have no idea what to do with it, but I have faith that one day it will be exactly the right thing for something.

A cheap terracotta urn: This was purchased on our very first holiday as a couple, back in 1994. We were living on Vancouver Island at the time and drove down the coast, making it halfway down the Baja before time ran out and we had to turn around. This pot caused no end of domestic tension over how it was packed and whether the heaving of luggage on top of it was done carelessly and in a fashion likely to cause its demise. The pot made it home intact, and within a week, the cat knocked it over, breaking one of the handles. The sticks inside are cactus driftwood, picked up on the same trip. I thought, and still think, that weathered sticks naturally full of evenly spaced holes ought to be the starting point for an amazing piece of art. In 14 years, I have yet to come up with something, but I still really like the sticks, so they might come to Whistler. The pot will stay behind.

One of DH's "treasures":

This is "special" because it was a gift from his sister eons ago - a souvenir of her trip to New Zealand with her overbearing and chauvanistic then-fiance, whom she dumped a little while later and we all thought for the longest time she'd never get married, but then she did and all is well and.... Apparently, I am - at last - allowed to get rid of it.

The souvenirs of DH's four year posting to Germany:

That's it. No blown glass Christmas ornaments, no handcarved cuckoo clocks, just an assortment of receptacles for beer. He was single at the time.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Such a nice round number. It sounds big, and comfortable in a plenty-of-time-yet sort of way. Almost, but not quite, big enough to assuage my growing sense of panic. I'm going with a round number theme for today's tasks: 10 green garbage bags of stuff will leave the house today - destined either for the dump or the Goodwill. Number one has already flown over the back fence to the garbage spot.

With a little knitting between bags, this guy should grow substantially today:
Look how big he's gotten already, with just a few minutes here and there - the magic of super bulky yarn.


Thank-you for the lovely comments on the jewelry. I began dabbling in jewelry making about a year and a half ago - it started in the usual way - couldn't find anything I liked for an event, cruised ebay a bit, thought "I could do that", bought a few supplies, fell in love, bought a lot of supplies and got really creative, ventured into the world of business. Applying textile techniques in metal was a natural direction for me. I am experimenting with weaving:

Knitted lace:

And of course, crochet:
Somewhere along the way, gemstones and silversmithing and chainmail caught my attention too:I have loads of cool ideas percolating for knitting accessories - stitch markers in a non-tarnishing silver alloy (because wool accelerates the tarnish process for regular sterling), innovative hammered silver pendants to hold them, shawl pins, and the like. I'm trying to discipline myself to put most of the new project development on hold until after the move, but I may have a little sit at the bench before then, just to assuage the creative urge.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


days to go. This being one of my marathon office days, the blog will be short and the packing prep non-existent. Here's the project slated to come after the big blue cardigan: The silk arrived yesterday, and I was relieved to see that it is a lovely dark olive green, just like the color sample on the monitor. I am completely taken with the Roundabout Leaf Tank - in fact, I bought Knitting Nature largely for the love of that pattern. The ability of handknit garments to conform and grow seamlessly around an individual body fascinates me - there is something primal and organic and deeply satisfying about it. I have a persistent image of vines twining up a wood nymph's supple frame - one day I shall design a cabled sweater to bring that to life.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


That's how many days until we head for Whistler. (Ten of those are 12 hour long insanely busy office days, so they don't count as prep time.) In that span, all I have to do is condense 38 years and a couple thousand square feet of accumulated possessions into a tranquil, uncluttered 800 square foot condo's worth. Since our last three military moves have been rush jobs, complicated by newborn babes and such, decluttering never quite got done - in fact there are boxes in the basement unopened from two moves ago. It stops here. Hubby retires from the Air Force this summer and we take back our lives. Just as soon as I get a grip and break out of this insomnia / exhaustion / brain fog / overwhelmed inertia thing I've got going on.

Well, if you can't beat it, blog it. Or something like that. Decluttering is actually rather visually entertaining - we have collected some seriously weird stuff over the years. Surely it would be more fun, and way less lonely to chronicle the process. There will be knitting, of course, because that's how I keep myself motivated: "fill that garbage bag and you can do 3 rows on the blue sweater". (Which at this gauge is like, an inch - this baby will be done before I've made it down the first row of boxes.)

Here's what I accomplished today: (Crocheted silver, and the card was designed by photoediting one of my yarn photos.) Can you see a pattern of avoidance developing here? Actually, this is a very worthy project - a thank-you gift to my daughter's kindergarten teacher, and since this is the last day of school, it had to get done today. I leave the house in 5 minutes to pick her up and drop it off.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Deep Blue

The lacy tank is coming along, but the fiddly bits are more tedious than transcendant, and with all the upheaval and change happening, I really need a soothing and meditative project to unwind with. So I permitted myself to dive into this: Tahki's Baby Tweed, in a rich navy blue with flecks of turquoise and sky blue - soft luscious wool wrapped with a viscose thread. And knits at.... ahem *blush* 2 stitches to the inch. Consequently, I anticipate it will not take an inordinate amount of time to produce one of these: It's not a wildly original cutting edge design or even particularly challenging (although IK gives it a 3 out of 4) but it immediately caught my eye. This is the comfort cardigan I've wanted, well - all my life really. It will be soft and warm, with a homey, unpretentious nubbly texture, and is saturated with my happiest, most serene colors.

I know it's summer now, but we're moving to the coast mountains in a little over six weeks. This is what I will wrap around me in Whistler, when I creep out of bed before everyone else (because since having kids I can't sleep in to save my life) and there's just a little chill in the air, and I take my knitting and a cup of strong dark coffee and sit on the patio to listen to the birds and gaze at the mountain.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Knitting at the Ruby

But first, the lacy tank: After an hour or so with the stitch dictionary and the ever-growing swatch, I settled on KISS - keep it stocking stitch. I'm very pleased with how it's coming together, although this is my least favorite bit of any sleeveless garment. So flimsy and fiddly, and multiple balls of yarn going every which way. The bamboo and the Mystik DK are particularly tangle prone - once released from their ball bands they instantly disassemble themselves and attempt to throttle one another.

I'm leaning towards applied i-cord for the edgings - tidy, with a bit of body to it for structure.


We have become enormous fans of the TV series Corner Gas. It's tremendously funny, in an off-handed sarcastic sort of way, and so very Canadian. Since our present posting in Moose Jaw is only an hour's drive from the shooting location in Rouleau, we figured we'd better get there before we left Saskatchewan.

Knitting at the Ruby Cafe:

We had a lovely day, ate delicious home-cooked burgers at the Dog River hotel, and took loads of souvenir photos of the kids (which I won't bore you with) at all the Dog River landmarks.

Finally, for a certain Austrian blogger who is surrounded by spectacular mountains but (for reasons I can't fathom) idolizes Saskatchewan:

Yup, it's flat. And buggy - hence the rather blotchy windscreen.