Saturday, October 21, 2006

Weekend WIPs

I had intended to post this on Friday, but Blogger was being recalcitrant, and we needed to get on the road, so here I am. Trying hard not to feel self-pitying over my inability to attend a festival which, until this year, I didn't know existed. Funny how that works - one of the perils of the information age, I suppose.

The schoolteachers were professionally developing yesterday (though judging by the way DD's teacher sounded on the phone Thursday afternoon - it was one of those days - I think a day of heavy drinking or a trip to the spa might have been more to the point), so we elected to spend the long weekend in Vancouver with Rob's sister and family. We intended to head to the Aquarium today, but the wee bug the kids had last weekend seems to have caught up with me, so the cousins had to content themselves with running amok together at home.

There has (except for today) been knitting:

white scarf

This is some of that South African handspun wool I have been hoarding for ages. After one too many chilly scarfless mornings at the bus, I decided that, in spite of the looming Yuletide gifting deadlines, I could probably justify whipping up a scarf for me. The simple chained ribbing combined with the thick-and-thin single ply yarn produces a pleasing effect that is rustic, yet feminine.

Speaking of looming chilliness, how is it that a sleeve, which is less than half the circumference of the body, can take twice as long to knit??


This might have something to do with it:


I gave up knitting in the ends after the first inch or so, as it was both screamingly tedious and making the underarm awfully bulky, but there's still no getting around the process of snipping and switching every round. Not to mention a day's worth of weaving in once it's all done.

Any guesses what this is?


Hint: it's a gift.

And finally, Friday morning's sunrise:


I never tire of watching the mountain wake up.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I discovered this poem via Mamacate:

Petals in the Dirt

Ellen Dore Watson

Your words circle, mine batter. You're a ramp, I have
no wheels. The kid who gets the brunt of our love asks us not to bicker. Think
of all the people who have lost their right
hands! The friend who says: Hug me twice,
it could be a while till the next bodyI can touch. Then there's the man who claims he wants
steady, needs steady, but each woman's a lake
he's big enough to swallow. How will hunger like that
ever learn to use a napkin? When you bring me
tenderness, it looks like one more thing
I don't have time for. Maybe when it comes
to love, the happily long-married are the biggest
fools. I'm fervent but off-and-on about my roses
--how many of us are delirious when the twenty-sixth
blossom does its gorgeous thing? I wonder
if when I get home those petals will still be
luminous and melting in the dirt. I'm thinking
maybe I need them. I'm saying what would I do
without your mouth?

--from This Sharpening

Eleven years ago today, I married the love of my life. I have written about our wedding before - it was wonderful and romantic, and entirely indicative of our mutual inclination to walk away from the crowd and do what we believed in, rather than what was expected. We have faced plenty of adversity over the years - prolonged separations, pregnancy complications, colicky-baby-crankiness syndrome, ongoing parenting challenges - and have emerged from each stronger, more settled, more robust.

Now that we have embarked on the next big adventure, turning our backs on the North American dream of working round the clock just to leverage the largest possible mortgage, shelving lucrative careers and moving into a tiny apartment in order to be where and who and what we believe in, now that we have pared down all the trappings of identity and success to the bare essentials, we realize more acutely than ever that this marvelous many-layered gift of being "us" is all that ever mattered.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In the Groove

The piles of chaos are slowly melting away. I think it's something like erosion - it may take thousands of years, but eventually the mountains wear down. Or perhaps more like the end of the ice age, with little patches of floor and counter appearing as the boxes slowly recede.

In any case, my bench emerged yesterday, and I spent a happy morning with CBC on the (newly unearthed) radio, sunshine streaming through the window and the mountain view to inspire me. It was a lovely bit of "in the groove," such as I haven't had for far too long, and I finished up a couple of WIP's and one new piece.


Thanks for the lovely comments on the scarf, although I feel compelled to mention that it is ... ahem... possibly not actually for me. Shhhhh......

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mmmmmm... Cashmere

Sunshine burst the clouds after days of driving rain,


and out of the shimmering mists came:

sun on scarf

A simple textured rib in KP Panache - understated, elegant, squooshy-warm and oh-so-soft:

close up

A perfect fit.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Steek Snipping

We awoke far too early yesterday, to the piercing cry of "MOM - I have to puke!" Racing barefoot to the bathroom, I got DD appropriately positioned, flipped on the light, and looked down to see the bloody skinless corpse of a little vole in the middle of the floor. I have no idea how we missed stepping in it, but with luck like that under my belt, it had to be an auspicious day for steek snipping.

The Fall Cardigan, body finished and shoulders seamed:

full body

In my neverending quest to avoid ever lining up two flat edges of knitting to be seamed, I worked out a way to do the short row shoulder shaping and the three needle bind-off all at once, without breaking the yarn. I was quite pleased with the results, particularly the way the pattern flows smoothly across the join.

shoulder seam

I stabilized the sleeve steeks with my trusty little Elna. I know the purists cringe at machine sewed steeks, but we can't all use authentic Shetland wool for every bit of stranded colour work (it's "sticky" enough to stay put with less secure stabilization methods) and steeking is such an elegant way to avoid both two colour purling and seams.

stabilized steeks

Took a big breath, and snipped:


Now it's on to the sleeves. Which will be somewhat tedious compared to the body, because of this:

loose ends

Ten different colours, changed every round, and even I couldn't justify stranding them all together, so they get cut and reattached every time. On the body, the yarn change occurs in the middle of the centre steek, so this wild nest of loose ends will disappear with a swift stroke of the scissors come zipper time. No such luck for the sleeves. I plan to knit the ends in as I go, weaving in the new yarn before the join, and the old yarn after, so as to reduce bulk.