Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Captured the above photo in the a.m. when I let the dog out the back door to do his thing ... These trees surround our property and provide a lot of much needed shade in the summer, but can be treacherous when we get snow. One of the branches on a tree at the side of the house (the neighbor's side of the fence) got too heavy with the snow and broke off, coming through our tile roof. Not impressed! This is the very same tree we offered to go halfers with our neighbor on, last summer, if they would cut it down. They decided to just top it and have a few branches taken off -- bad decision! Hubby and another neighbor were up on the roof replacing cracked tiles, and then 'jury-rigged' an A-frame to protect the peak, where several more tiles were destroyed. Thankfully, the branch only went through to the attic, and not through the laundry room ceiling, where my brand new washer and dryer reside!!!!

People, this is the south west coast of B.C. ! We don't get this kind of snow on a regular basis! We might get 4" once a year, but it's gone the next day ... We've had over 3 feet in the space of less than a week! This is the pile next to the driveway -- Note: I'm 5'5" tall! The last time we had snow for Christmas, was in '96, the year we got married. Apparently, this is the 1st Christmas in over 40 years, that all of Canada had a white Christmas.

Hubby did the bulk of the shoveling, but I did my share, too. It was endless! The above photo is at the beginning of the week, before the next 12" fell! He declared (yet, again!) that this is the last year that he is going to shovel snow -- he says that a snow blower will soon be residing in the tool shed.

Here are my 'boys' on Christmas Eve, getting ready for the visitors. Brinkley absolutely loves the snow and cavorted around like an idiot in it!

Here's our little man with his grandpa -- so cute in his 'big boy' outfit! Rosy cheeks courtesy of upper molars coming through and a head cold, which he kindly passed on to grandma :(

BTW, his mom had been working with him on the ride over to the house. He came running through the door when he saw me and said, wait for it ..."guh-i-ma"! ... I almost cried. I know, pathetic.

From the youngest, to the oldest 'grand', opening their Christmas gifts ... a talking train set for E*than,

A rocker chair for J*osh to plug in all his electronics and listen to his IPod, or play PSP games with surround sound. We handed him the cords and he had the whole thing hooked up lickety-split and soon we were listening to the theme song from "Twilight" (that reference is just for you, Tara!)

C*icely in the "I'mtoocooltoletyouknowthatIreallylovemynewlaptop" phase. The joys of being 15.5 yrs. :P******

Oh yes, there is a little knitting content. Here is my Woodland Shawl, in the "Fiddlehead" colourway from 'The Woolen Rabbit'. It's a semi solid lace weight merino, with subtle colour changes -- love it! Once blocked, all edges will have a lovely scallop to them -- so pretty! And what I like, is that it doesn't require a Kitchener join in the middle of the shawl. I really am not crazy about that, for 2 reasons: 1) I don't like doing that procedure and 2) it's always so evident, even when you do it well! The pattern is well written, easy to follow and easy to memorize, so I can actually watch TV while knitting.

BTW, we rented "Made of Honour" last night, with Patrick Dempsey (Throb!) It was hilarious! Just go rent it.

Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ascot, et al

Love this pattern! It's basically garter stitch, with a ton of wrapped stitch, short rows to make the ends flare out. Then, you knit on a border with bobbles, to finish it off. The pattern is called 'Ascot' and is from Interweave Knits Holiday Gift Guide 2007. This is Manos del Uruguay yarn which I had purchased on my recent trip to Scotland. There is still enough of the one skein to make at least a baby sized hat. It's wonderful yarn -- silk and merino blend and the colourway reminds me of the ocean.

One Tudora down, with Fetching mitts to accompany (pattern courtesy of Knitty.com) in Malabrigo, natch!

And here are the rest of them -- I'm done with this pattern -- soooooo done. There's nothing wrong with it -- in fact, it was fabulous -- I've just made so many that I'm over it. All in Malabrigo, with buttons purchased at Ram Wools, in Winnipeg, from my recent trip.

There was a lot of this in Winnipeg -- and in addition, -26C! Coming from the Southwest coast, this took some getting used to! Although, it is a very dry cold, so not as hard to bear. I was very grateful for my down coat, lined boots and knitted accessories, I'll tell you!

My dear friend suffered through a trip to the yarn store and very patiently waited and listened while I went into raptures over the wonderful finds! We pulled into the parking lot to discover that there was a store-wide sale on that day only -- can you say 'happy dance'????? I picked up some silk "Tussah" (pictures to follow at a later date, and some lovely Peruvian merino, along with a ton of buttons -- what a selection!

Here's my best friend, Connie, making Christmas Cards. I brought a ton of gear with me so that we would be able to do all of our cards together. I thought for sure I was going to be over the 50lb weight limit at the airport scales, but thankfully, the case was 4 lbs under! Although, they did put a 'Heavy' label on it.

And here's a sampling of some of what we accomplished! These are Connie's cards and I had about the same amount of my own. I also helped her get a start on her daughter's wedding album, so we really got a lot done. Whenever I come to visit, we always find a project to do -- I think her poor hubby lives in fear of my visits, as he knows something's going to change before I leave! One year, Connie decided she was done with the look of her table lamps, so we bought special paint and went to town on them. They turned out beautifully!

And here is a photo of Connie's daughter Kerri and I together. We have so much fun when we're out together and people realize that we have the same name! Although, I spell mine with a 'y' at the end. It's scary ... I remember when she was born, and now she's a young married woman. Please tell me I'm not that old ..... :)

Connie and I met when we were barely 20. We were assigned as roommates at Capernwray Bible School in Austria, for 3 months. We immediately hit it off and were inseparable for the whole 3 months. When school ended, Connie went home and was married within 6 months, and I stayed on and traveled for another 1 1/2 years with a band as their lead female singer. Even though our lives were very different, we still kept in touch all through the years and found time to visit each other, in between the births of her 3 children (all of whom are now 18 and older)! It such a gift to have a friend who's known you through your past and present and 'get's you'. Ok, this is bizarre ... as I was just about to hit the 'publish' button, she phoned!

Monday, November 24, 2008

This and that ...

We've spent the last 17 days going back and forth to the hospital and also to my m-i-l's place. My f-i-l was hospitalized with severe viral pneumonia and had a heart attack the same day he was admitted, due to the fact that he wasn't getting sufficient oxygen into his body. He has been in ICU, on a respirator ever since. He's holding his own, although there has been little improvement, so all prayers are appreciated! My m-i-l is particularly finding it difficult as he was her primary care-giver and she finds it lonely without him, so we're over there everyday. We've been having challenges getting home help set up, but may have rounded the corner on that one today, thankfully!

Although I've been knitting like a fiend, I can't show you much as they're all Christmas Gifts! I can tell you that many a Tudora, Fetching, and Foliage (from Knitty.com) has been made (using Malabrigo, of course!), along with 2 Ascots (from Interweave Gifts '07) ... love this pattern!!!

Below also are two Knitting Magazines I picked up while waiting in the Edinburgh bus depot ... look at all of those fabulous knitted ornaments! I've yet to make one ...

BTW, to my American friends, "Happy Thanksgiving", coming up later this week!

Thought you might enjoy a few pumpkin pictures, in honour of the upcoming occasion.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Alhambra is Blocking!

I can't tell you how much I love, love, love the colours of this yarn ... it shows up much darker when it's wet, but the dark spots are actually a fabulous plum colour. BTW, I'm very happy with the blocking wire kit that I ordered from Knitpicks. It sure makes life easier, especially when I'm currently addicted to lace knits :)

I may have never shared this about myself before, but I have a 'thing' about doorways & entrances ... to houses ... hidden side streets, you name it. Here are some more pics of my recent trip to Scotland, starting in Falkland Fife, where I spent the day visiting my cousin.

First stop, the local church --notice the gorgeous stonework at the arched entrance.

Love the herringbone brickwork with the wrought iron gate -- so classy!

I especially like this one ... my cousin explained that in the old days, when folks got married and moved into their new abode together, they would carve both of their initials above the door post, along with the year of their marriage ... how sweet is that???? What's truly amazing, is that the building is not only still standing, but inhabited!

The tiny round sign on the left says 'The Weaver's Cottage' ... also built in the early 1700's and currently occupied by someone who loves container gardening! Look how old and worn those steps are ... imagine how many pair of feet have climbed those stairs over the years??

Falkland recently won the award for best decorated town in Scotland. Can you guess why??? Every house is overflowing with gorgeous flower pots/gardens! I couldn't believe the size of some of the begonias -- the colours were stunning!

I was all set to buy up and move there, until my cousin told me the price -- a tiny 600 sq. ft. cottage goes for 250,000 pounds -- that's $500,000!!! It's a very desirable place to live -- so pretty, plus it has it's very own palace on the main street. Like a fairyland.

I was walking the walls in Berwick, England one day and came across this doorway -- soooo pretty! My dad grew up only 6 miles from the English border, so it's nothing for us to cross on a daily basis (no passport required!) and go shopping, sightseeing, have lunch, whatever, and then back to Scotland in time for dinner. Pretty amazing!

I'll leave you for now, with my favourite 'entrance picture' of my entire trip. At the end of the road where I was staying with my aunt, is a private residence/property solely geared for retired gardeners. It's absolutely gorgeous! There's a wonderful winding, forested path that takes you around the outskirts of the property and at the end of it was this sight -- stunning in it's simplicity.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birthday Boy

A certain young man recently had his 1st birthday and was soooooo not impressed with having to wear a birthday hat ... if he could use his words, he probably would be saying, "Get this thing off my head, right now!!!!!"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I really like the Alhambra pattern ... although, I must admit, it seems endless!!! I feel as though I've been knitting this for years. I'm using a sock weight silk/merino blend that I got off etsy and absolutely love. The copper and plum combination is even more gorgeous in real life. I usually do at least one pattern repeat in an evening (16 rows), but honestly, it doesn't seem to be getting any longer. It's getting cooler here, so I would like to start wearing it!

Yuck, yuck and double yuck. I loved this yarn when I ordered it from Hello Yarn, but clearly, this wasn't the pattern I should have chosen. Now, I absolutely hate it ... all that work for this end result :P*****. It's been suggested that I could dye it and I have given that some thought ... perhaps a cranberry? Would you care to weight in? What are your thoughts? Or, does someone really love it and want to trade me some great yarn for it? I'm open to suggestions!

More pictures of Scotland ... above is what is commonly known in Scotland as a 'Heilin Coo' ... translation, a "Highland Cow" (actually, 'Bull', in this case). These things are hairy, massive and tres smelly. It was suggested that the fur could be spun into yarn, if I cared to and I could knit myself a sweater, but all I could think of was how I would smell on a rainy day, once it got a little wet. Blech!

Here we are, back in Eyemouth at the harbour's edge. Above are Jock & Jenny, with their 4 cygnets. It's a lovely story, really ... swans mate for life ... but one year, Jock came back by himself ... no Jenny. It was assumed that she met her demise. The next year, all were surprised to see Jock return with a new wife, also now called 'Jenny'. This year, they became the proud parents of 4 cygnets, who are now almost full grown and starting to grow their white feathers. The town has adopted them all and treat them as though they were their own.

I was walking along the pier, on my way into the village, when I spotted these fishermen and asked if I could take a photo. I love the quick Scottish wit ... without even a pause, the one on the right said 'yes', but that it would cost me 4 hours of "X.X.X" in return. It was on the tip of my tongue to suggest that the likelihood of him even lasting 20 minutes was slim, but I did want the picture after all, so all I said was "you'll have to speak to my husband about that"!!!

I could sit on the pier all day long and just watch the fishing boats coming and going ... you can always tell when they've got a big load of fish as the seagulls are swarming, looking for hand outs.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm B-a-a-a-c-k!!

I'm still recovering from jet-lag (a week later!) but thought you might like to see a few photos of my trip to Scotland. Warning: no knitting content ... but I promise there will be some in my next post, as I did actually find a knitting shop in Scotland (no small feat!).

Acres of heather, all in bloom.

This is the fishing village where my dad grew up ... on the east coast of Scotland, right on the border of Scotland and England.

That's the harbour, with the North Sea beyond, taken from the highest point of the local golf course. This is a deceptively beautiful sunny day ... the area has a climate zone unto its own. Gale force winds and driving rain are the norm. I gave up on having any semblance of a hair-do while away, unless it was nailed down with Joico Ice-Mist (wonderful stuff, that!). If it's windy, while raining, you don't hold your unbrella over your head, or you'll take off like Mary Poppins! You need to hold it like a shield in front of you, as the wind causes the rain to come at you horizontally!! Thankfully, those days were very few and we actually had quite mild weather.

The white house (life/coast guard) at the far right is at the end of the street from where I stayed with one of my aunts. My cousin & husband live at one end of the street; my aunt lives in the middle and until last year, my granny lived at the other end. Sure made it easy for visiting! It's the strangest thing to be related (albeit sometimes distantly) to just about everyone in the village ... stranger still to see your last name on many of the tombstones in the local cemetary.

This is the beach with the tide out ... the large white house in front is where one of my aunts lives. This house is over 200 years old and it is reported that Robert Burns -- the Scottish poet (think 'Auld Lang Syne') resided here at some point. My uncle was an architect and he redesigned the interior of this house as well as designing several homes in the area.

More to come!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I'm taking a little break from blogging, but will still be checking in with the rest of you. See you in a while!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rainy Sunday Afternoon ...

Have you all seen this adorable pattern yet by annypurls?

I had to have it! Plus, I already have Rowan All Season's Cotton (loads of it, actually) in my stash ... in Chocolate, Denim, Cream & Lilac colours. Since I'll be making it for the adorable grandson, Lilac is out, but the others are an option ... hmmmm, what shall I choose????

For those with inquiring minds, I'll be making my Alhambra out of Malabrigo Baby lace, in the 'PAGODA' colourway ... kind of a pinky, brick red colour. Very rich and so soft!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou, Blocking Wires????

As you can see, I've been testing out new background templates for my blog ... I think this is my favourite, so far. Feel free to weigh in with your opinion ...

Your comments on 'What I know to be true ...' were so appreciated ... I was thinking that I likely should have added an 11th ... "When you bolt out of bed in the middle of the night to attend to the baby, rest assured that the dog will be lying precisely underfoot and will jump up in alarm, causing both of you to overbalance and collapse to the floor in a heap, loud enough to waken the dead!"

Here's our little flirt (notice the wink!) modeling his top down cardigan from f. pea ... a button has since been added, with a loop closure.

Thank you for your comments regarding blocking wires. I went to the KnitPicks website last week and ordered their kit for $29.99, which I thought was very reasonable. Now, I'm waiting (not so) patiently to receive them so I can finish up this scarf and show you a proper F/O!

I'm also waiting to start the Alhambra Scarf from KnitSpot. I also needed lace needles to go with the Malabrigo Baby Lace yarn I bought and had looked at the Addi's and nearly fainted at the cost! So, while I was buying the wires, I noticed that KnitPicks has some for only $4.99!!! Compared to what I would have paid for Addi's, that's a steal. I'm going to give them a try and let you know how they compare.

So, until the blocking wires arrive, this is the lumpy mess I have to look at. Once it's finally blocked, I'm expecting it to explode from it's ugly cocoon into a beautiful butterfly!

Note: My dad came through his cancer surgery beautifully and is now home, enjoying the peace and quiet, as opposed to the busy, noisy ward. Thank you for your prayers on his behalf!

Friday, May 23, 2008

What I know to be true ...

In no particular order ...

1. There is definitely a reason why most women have babies in their 20's or 30's ... it's exhausting! But, no matter how tired I am, this adorable face just melts my heart and makes me smile!

2. Exer-saucers are God's gift to moms (or grandmas) who have supper to cook, or laundry to do

3. Moist Arrowroot cookie residue must be wiped up immediately or it becomes the equivalent of concrete cement .... perhaps they could use it as mortar in arid countries? Hmmmm...

4. The baby who sleeps 12 hours through the night at home, will awaken every 4 hours, requiring complete clothing/diaper changes and a bottle

5. I can completely change a baby,who is sleeping and drinking from a bottle, from head to toe, without ever having to remove said bottle from the baby's mouth and using only one hand.

6. Oxyclean laundry additive removes all current and even former stains, acquired from formula spitups, or feeding mishaps ... YES!

7. When the baby isn't interested in eating from his high chair, he will happily sit on the tile, in front of a large mirror and eat it there! Whatever works.

8. When there's a baby in the house, nothing else gets done ... and that's OK. It will still be there to do at a later date.

9. Golden retrievers are wonderful with babies ... great babysitters, spill licker-uppers, pillows, pull toys, guards, play mates, etc.

10. It was the best, most exhausting 10 days of my life ... a real gift to a women who was never able to have biological children of her own ... and I'm already missing him immensely.

I'm still working on my scarf and am making progress, but it doesn't look any different from the last photo, so I won't bore you.

I'm thinking about getting a lace blocking wire kit. Do any of you have one? Would you care to comment and let me know which kind you have and where you got it, and whether or not you would recommend it?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sitting in a tree ...

Here's our cutie , nestled in the trunk of the tree, with mom holding him from behind. He was more interested in trying to grab my camera, than noticing his surroundings. I was thinking that in a few year's time, I'll likely be getting after him for climbing that same tree!

Tomorrow, he comes to stay with us for 10 days while his parents are on vacation. I'm all organized ... hauled out all the toys from the last grandbaby; gave them all a bath in vinegar water; found all the 'Veggie Tale' movies that had been stashed away (they are so fun!); and my boss, bless her, offered me an exer-saucer that she no longer needed. Here's E*than given it a test drive ... seconds later, the fish was in his mouth.

My mom cleaned out her hope chest and came across a blanket that my granny in Scotland had knit for me, when I was born. Don't even ask how long ago that was! It reminds me so much of the pinwheel blanket I made recently ... the lace edging is unbelievable! There are a few holes in it that I'll likely fix, but other than that, it's gorgeous. How the moths managed to get into a cedar chest is beyond me!

Fabulous edging!
I had a skein of hand dyed yarn in my stash that I had purchased last year from Hello Yarn, intending to make a BSJ. I decided that I would use it to make a lace scarf for myself, instead. I can't seem to get the colour quite right in the photo. It has lime, lilac, cranberry& chocolate in it ... I think it will be perfect with my chocolate down coat. It would also do as a summer shawl. The pattern is a free one from Lion Brand 70337AD that I modified to make narrower. I did 4 panels of 17 stitches each, in merino/sock weight yarn. I like how the edge scallops, almost like a feather and fan pattern, but it's quite different. You'll see what I mean once it's finished and blocked.

You'll recognize the next thing ... It's amazing how odd it looks while you're knitting it and then it turns into ...

This! Yes, it's the Tudora from Knitty (minus a button). One ball of Malabrigo made both the foliage hat and the tudora, with about 2 yards to spare. Gotta love that!

That's it for now! I may get a chance to post while the baby's napping, but likely I'll be conked out too! Thank you all for your prayers and comments regarding my co-worker's niece. She's recovering well and will soon leave the hospital to go to a rehab centre to relearn how to walk, etc.